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November 3, 1998
a year ago


It's actually kinda nice to be alone, but not really lonely. Fezzik was good company for the bits when I wanted company and it was nice, though to be completely by myself for a while. To think, reflect, wonder, remind myself of what I am, what I'm for, where I'm at.

Those always seem to be the important questions. The answers change, depending on the time, what's available, what's going on with my life, but the questions are invariant, important to ask.

What helped the process was reading a book that my sister Kathy gave me What Dreams May Come It is the book that the Robin Williams movie was based on. It's a very interesting book, flavored with all kinds of experiences by a lot of individual people, who have written up reports on what they've experienced. I am always weird about these things, enjoying them, and still questioning.

Though, the thing that hit me viscerally, was when Chris is arguing with his wife, and how every statement of hope, of something *more*, of belief he makes is turned by her into something depressing, lost, or hopeless. I've been in so many of those kinds of arguments, both sides, perhaps. Trying to take the side of belief, of hope, and mostly of love and care. To give it to someone that needs and wants, and can derive their own flame from it. Breaking the circle, that inward-turned cycle of self-destructive back-biting, always looking at what *one believes* can't be done rather than what can be tried. How can they know it actually *can't* be done if they haven't believed in it enough to try it?

If it all every really came down to the possibility that nothing mattered, then what does it matter to try? To hope? To fail? If none of that really matters in the end, then I'd rather go through life hoping, and trying and doing, even if I fail, I'll have the gift of having tried. If, in the end, beliefs don't matter, then I'd still rather do the positive beliefs as they'll simply make my life more fun, happier, content rather than chopping it down into bloody bits of self-hating despair. I guess even if it doesn't matter to the universe in the long run, it matters to me, to the quality of my life, to the lives of those around me.

A while back the RealAstrology reading for Libras really hit me hard. What I like about the readings is that they don't predict any future, just give me things to think about. Just cool things that I'd like to think about at any time, but this one is one that I really, really loved.

The evening itself was fairly simple. Just dinner, walking the dog, then realizing that I'm a good three pounds overweight, so I took to the stationary bike for a while. Uhm, yeah. The weight consciousness thing is the thing that kicked off the 'why am I less tolerant of my own faults than I am of others?' Maybe it's because I keep thinking that no one will love me unless I'm skinny, eventhough I find myself loving folks that are anything but. What was funny was that after walking Fezzik, I went up to my bedroom for a while and thought about going to sleep, so Fezzik came upstairs and lay in the loft, just outside my door. That was so sweet.

The exercise felt good.

That was the real key. It felt really good. Good to get sweaty and good to simply get into motion again, and good, really good to have my whole body moving as a whole again. That was very nice.

John called as I finished, and we had a good time talking on the phone. I realized then that I do miss him. That I felt just a bit out of kilter without him, which worried me, some, as I like being self-sufficient and it worried me that I couldn't cope or couldn't be balanced without him. But I actually could and did and do. I am taking care of myself and I am taking care of Fezzik and the house and the things that need stuff. Dealing with people. I am going to have to deal with the Deacons tonight with the whole storm blowing through the church. That was scaring me. Also having to deal with the medical insurance people scared me, but I was doing it and going at it properly, I think.

I drank a couple of glass of water afterwards, sat and stretched and read until I cooled down again. Then I took a bath, a nice, hot bath with the French bubble bath, and, for the first time since release and other stresses started, I finally let go.

I just cracked wide open, cried until I couldn't cry anymore, and it wasn't sorrow, it wasn't pain or fear, it was just release. Release of a slew of emotions that were making my jaw hurt with just holding it all in, and it included a bunch of stuff I can't even identify. But as my body unwound in the heat of water, so did my mind and my feelings. All of 'em just slammed on out and I felt it unwind from my muscles and frame as much as the hot water was making my tension unwind as well.

Sleep was easy after that. Especially with the quiet sound of Fezzik breathing, nestling to get comfortable and just being alive right outside my door. Comforting to have a presense there, knowing he was guarding my door. It was mostly a drained sleep, and it was probably the best sleep I've had in a while, though I dreamed... I didn't write it down when I woke in the middle of the night to Fezzik going downstairs to stretch his legs and get a drink. I probably should have. It was another adventure thing, that was complex, demanding, but I was getting somewhere with it with a team of people.

I started the day pretty happily, toasted some of the bread with butter and added honey and it was lovely with a glass of water and my vitamins and stuff. Fezzik got the tail ends of the bread, which got him to eat. I also called Upton Teas to order a tea pot and some teas from them, in part reward for surviving release, for getting through my own release, for going to the effort of voting, and then also for the fact that I'm going to have to deal with church fall out this evening.

The guy on the phone taking the order was very helpful, having most of the catalog numbers memorized, especially for the popular things that I ordered. The Chatsford 2-cup tea pot was a necessity for home. I can't drink all of the 4-cup tea pot I have, and I really wanted something with a take-out basket for the leaves. I've always wondered how well the Chatsford pots really work, as I've heard a lot about 'em. I love their Moroccan Mint because they actually use, well, Moroccan mint leaves in the mix, and the aftertaste of Moroccan mint is very, very different than spearmint or peppermint or the various blends of mint that make up most American mint teas. So I bought a tin of that, and a tin of the good Russian Caravan as I'd had some and was enthralled with the taste of it, especially with a good spoonful of jam. The acidity of the tea really enhances any sweet fruit flavors that go into it. I also ordered a Makaibari Estate green tea, as a sample pack, as I wanted to see what it was like. I also got several empty tins for tea that I have in bags floating around my tea cabinet, and a they need a nice, dark, air-tight container.

Anyway. As I finish ordering and he gets my shipping info, he asks for my zip code, and I just completely, totally blank on it.

Totally. I tell him, sorry, just a moment, my brain just died.

He comes back with, "You should have some tea."

I just about busted up laughing. "What would you recommend?"

He chuckled, asked why I was ordering the sample of Makaibari, and if it was because it was organic. I answered it was because I'd liked the other Makaibari teas, and wondered how this would be. He recommended another green Darjeeling, so I asked for a sample of that, as well. That got me to laugh just a bit harder.

I remembered my ZIP code after that.

Got Fezzik into the pen, got myself out to the car, and then to the polling place after 9 a.m.. Before 9 a.m. it's mobbed by everyone wanting to vote before they get to work, so I timed it carefully to have it be pretty empty when I showed up and, indeed, it was. No wait to get my ballot and then I marked stuff. I'd read up, the day before, on the Web site, on the candidates and actually had gone through the wording of several of the initiatives the day before that.

They were right, those early guys, that said that reading is the basis of true democracy, I think. But I also have to admit that what also comes to mind is that Freedom of Speech favors the eloquent. If what they write cannot be read, or conveys sub-texts that cannot be taken favorably, well, that's that. Sometimes what's written has nothing to do with what is.

Ah well.

So I've voted. So I get to complain about politics for the next year. Hoorah!

Though there were a few Washington initiatives that just raised my hackles. So I'm glad I got to get in and make my opinion known.

Work is completely, totally, and absolutely dead today. There are only two engineers in, half of engineering is gone off-site to Colorado, nearly everyone else has just taken off. I've got small things to do and that's good. I'll do 'em, and probably meander about aimlessly to find something for lunch that's better than a Balance bar, though... I dunno. It might be amusing to just eat that and write or work on stuff.

Thing is that I'm really in the mood to eat something. What really cracked me up was the near-random daily horoscope actually lined up for today and advised me to not get the Big cake, but get something smaller that's satisfying instead of over-indulgent. I think of horoscopes like the Eight Ball, usually complete nonsense, but randomness works, and sometimes it lines something up smack on. It's what randomness is for.

Lunch turned out to be an eat out affair with three other co-workers, nearly emptied the office completely as we went out. It was at the little Redmond Cafe, and we had hot turkey sandwiches with real turkey, and I ordered a hot fudge shake, which is far smaller than any elaborate cake and worked wonders for me. Yum. Won't need to have dinner, which is likely a good enough idea anyway.

Tonight is the diaconate meeting, I've been out of it for the last few monthes, just haven't wanted to deal with people. It's funny, but I need to do it again. Just deal with people, flaws and quirks and insecurities and all. Mine, most of all.

Thing is that about a third of the church signed a petition to ask Lee to resign as about that many people have been feeling if not neglected, actively snubbed, rejected, and turned away from by her as a pastor. About a dozen people have signed a petition to keep her from resigning, saying that they'll leave if she resigns. Which is really unhealthy for a church. A congregation is supposed to be a family unto itself, healthy within itself, and not dependent on a particular pastor. If they're dependent on the pastor, then they, as a congregation, are unhealthy. Congregationalist pastors aren't supposed to be the source of a congregations spirituality, it's supposed to be the congregation itself.

Thing is in the last year and then some, Lee's been gathering folks to her, the ones that she knows favor her and she's been currying the favors. And the thing is that she's ripping them all off with her, if she goes, determined to rip the congregation apart if she can't have her power. The really sad thing is that I could see it, and I didn't have any idea how to stop it without insulting her, or the people that are following her into oblivion. An oblivion that doesn't give a damn about the congregation, only about her. That is what frightens me so much.

The unhappy thing is that the third of the congregation that's feeling rejected has said things to Lee, to the Pastoral relations committee, to the deacons, to everyone. While we do what we can, we can't change Lee, can't change how she interacts and reacts to certain people. It's really been tough, especially in seeing and knowing and being entirely conscious of defensive actions she takes unconsciously that hurt not only her but everyone around her. And the only way to stop it seems to be wading through more pain, but doing it consciously rather than her thrashing around and ripping things apart without thought.

I think that one of the reasons I had so much to let go of last night was because I'm having to take on that surgeon's detachment, go in with the scalpel and at least try and cut cleanly, with as much honest truth as I can and without harming people, even if there is blood and pain. I guess the only real solution is to let people deal with their pain, as what's causing it gets cut out.

Or at last deal with it. There are going to be round table discussions about the whole thing. The few people that offered Lee a severance package have been called off, have apologized for making a decision that was supposed to be the decision of the Counsel or even the congregation, and retracted their offer and handed back the resignation for the moment. The congregation, as a whole, has to talk about it, talk about the disappointment, about what went wrong as a whole, and what to do about it. However it turns out, it'll at least be open and in the air and everyone has to deal with it.

At least one deacon has quit already because of all this turmoil, another quit to do Lee's work on a different board, and likely another one has quit silently. Leaving the rest to do all the work, though, admittedly, none of the three did much of the board's anyway. Either too busy or too involved in other things to do lunches, or wash communion dishes or... well... anything beyond appearing in public when they had to. I'll also admit that I've been doing less and less in the face of their disregard for the work.

Which is wrong and sad, and I did the dishes this last Sunday, but found myself doing them with only Richard's help, and then with John's and his dad's help. As they usually help out.

As you can probably tell, I'm not looking forward to tonight. Of course, it may just be Richard and I, if no one else wants to deal with it, either. So, it's going to be a long night. I'm glad I at least rewarded myself, first, and we'll see how it goes.

Compared to that, it's a small thing that I finally got the ball rolling with Dr. Thayer's office over my sport knee brace. Lots of paperwork, finding out what the medical insurance will pay and then getting fitted and ordering it and finally getting to wear it. It'll be a while, but the process is started. Yay! First steps.

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