Monday, September 5, 2011


I feel myself sinking again. My husband just started graduate school, and I'm left feeling like I'm only the provider, the rock. I'm not "moving the plot forward" - just holding in stasis until he graduates (he has 62 weeks of classes to go, we figured out).

Combine this with stupid family drama - how they can suck me in from 2,778 miles away is beyond me - and things feel bleak.

And the weather's still so hot.

At least I have my sewing. Lots of sewing, lately.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Question 12

Question 12: How do you sabotage yourself?

I set myself up to fail, quite honestly. I make goals that are ridiculous - I will work out every day or else! I will only do this task on these days when I have $x in my wallet and only on full moons! I'm very all-or-nothing.

I've been trying to get better. I make to-do lists, but I'm trying to get better about accepting the fact that I cannot do everything. This month, for example, I can't complete all the things under the "home improvement" section because my contractor is on vacation until the end of the month, so that section will get moved to July's list. I also try to make them "done lists," adding things that I've done to the list as I go so that I feel more accomplished at the end of the month.

((If you're a new reader, the list of questions I've been working from can be found on this blog, here.))

Question 11

Question 11: What do you really want? But really...

To have a kid, preferably a boy (maybe two?), and stay home and raise it/them.

To run a used book store, allowing me to indulge my passion for reading AND my OCD tendencies. Also, to finish all the books on my current to-be-read pile.

To move away from Chico, preferably to a town near a beach that also has a zoo. Like San Diego (beach + zoo + Sea World = win!).

And most importantly, to be rid of the anxieties.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

There are days

There are days when I think I am never going to get better. When the slightest thing - a comment, a photo, a phone call not received - can send me reeling, crying, and eventually into a panic attack that will only go away if I sleep - not just a nap, but all night, eight hours of recharging from the emotional drain and the feelings and the self-hatred that comes with them.

There are days when I have to listen to the same sad songs over and over, like The Band Perry's "If I Die Young" or Miranda Lambert's "The House that Built Me" or any of a number of Alanis Morisette songs, like "Your House" or "Not as We" or "Mary Jane." Or maybe put them into one terrible iTunes playlist called sadness so they loop and I cry without drawing too much attention. When I was in high school, I'd listen to "Your House" over and over, when it was difficult, because it was on the Jagged Little Pill CD as a hidden track, it's just past five minutes in, I'd listen and sing loudly after school until my sister got home at 3:40 or so and I had to start helping her with her homework or at least make her generally behave herself.

There are days when I feel like I'm no better than I was the day I had my first panic attack, the day when it took everything in me not to start sobbing on the drive home from work (which at that time was only a mile); the day when it took all I had not to drive off the road, into someone, intentionally, to hurt them, so I could go to jail and sleep.

There are days when I don't feel any of this, and no one would ever know that I had ever felt that way.

But on the other days, days like today, I know that I will never be alright. I will never be the happy-go-lucky person I'd give almost anything (even perhaps a limb) to be.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Question #10

#10 - Who do you secretly envy? Why?

Oh boy. Um...

  • Women with slender legs, particularly those who are able to successfully wear "skinny" jeans like these (or, really, any woman who can find pants that fit her entire leg, not just parts of her lower body at any given time):

  • People with jobs they enjoy. My husband's working on becoming one of those people, but I don't know that I'll ever get there. I'd love a job in a library, or doing some other kind of job that requires an OCD level of organizational skills.

I guess most of my envy centers around people who are in control (of their jobs or their...thighs?). I feel out of control of so many things, sometimes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Sometimes I feel like I just want to disappear. It comes on out of nowhere - like when I feel like no one needs me. When Jeff watches a show without me, when something good happens for one of my friends, or whatever.

So insecure.

I didn't even have a bad day. I have bad hours. Relatively good mood all day, and then now I just want to curl up and cry.

I don't know why. I don't know.

I don't know why I don't know.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Linked!? Woot

I got some link love over at Faster Than Forever this morning, so I figured I should probably actually post something, since I've been pretty neglectful of this blog lately!

Springtime is here, and as usual, my brain has calmed down a little...until last night, and today, apparently, when my anxiety has cranked up to 11. I posted about it at my other blog.

I'll try better to post here more often... but since this blog was more for emotional crap, well, I guess it's better that I haven't felt the need to, huh??

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Forgetting would be easier
than the generic Hallmark

that arrives late--
not even postmarked on time,
even though you drive by
a drop box every day,

and that arrives with no
handwritten note--
but which has your handwriting
for dad's signature, too, and my sister's,

and that arrives with the check--
happy birthday in the memo line,
a smiley face made from exclamation points--
because you can't think
of anything to give me--
because you've already given me
some genes, and I'm clearly
to want anything else.

Friday, March 18, 2011

it's just a phase...right?

i go through these phases where i don't want to be friends with anyone. where i just want to be alone, like i used to be. because it's so much easier. i know exactly what *i* am going to do. i don't let me down. i fit in with myself. i don't disappoint myself the way other people disappoint me.

i want to disappear. i cannot be everything that everyone wants. i can't abandon myself the way others abandon me.

i got home from hanging out with friends today and felt like i was an alien. like i'm not anything i'm supposed to be. i came home and had a panic attack because jeff wasn't here to help me. what's wrong with me?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

symbolism in words

I was at work the other day, helping out the new service manager, and he was having me set up a password protected screen saver on his computer. He picked the 3D floating text one, and was in the process of replacing the default "Windows 7" text. He was typing in the dealership's name, but said something like "I should probably put something else here. What would you put?"

I said "'Go away!'?"

He replied "I meant something more like 'Dream' or "success" or something like that."

"Mayhem?" I suggested.


Apparently my outlook on life is all wrong. Greg (the aforementioned service manager) suggested that the smarter you are, the longer it takes. It took him 12 years to get through college, only to b eright back where he started working in car dealership service departments.

When am I going to figure my life out? I'm at seven years, since effectively running away from home. Well... almost eight, really. My only goal is not to work at that dump anymore. To not work at all.

I just want to rest. I'm so miserable.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Question 9

It's been a while since I've done one of these. Oops.

#9: Which song do you sing only when you’re alone? What memory does it bring back?

There are a handful of songs that fit this, though it's not so much "sing only when you're alone" as "play on repeat on iTunes."

Alanis Morissette's "Not as We." I found this one after it was played in an episode of House. The song was used in the episode titled "97 Seconds," during the scene where House contemplates sticking a knife in an electrical socket in order to see if there's anything "after" we die. I've always loved Alanis, even when I was in junior high and Jagged Little Pill came out and I didn't understand what half the songs were about, but knew taht she was awesome.

Evanescence's "My Immortal." This reminds me of my high school crush, and listening to it over and over and over when he left for Army basic training. Sigh.

Those are the two I can think of right now. There are undoubtedly others. Unfortunately, both of them are songs that remind me of sadness and loss.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Question 8 (I think? I've forgotten already)

What color dominates your wardrobe? How do you feel when you wear that color? Why?

Once again, rather than answer the question, I'm going to answer something related-but-different.

Which color do I have absolutely none of in my wardrobe? Why?


No yellow. No yellow at all, hardly even as accents. Outside of a lost bumblebee or some fabric I get in a variety pack, good luck finding any yellow in our entire house, actually.

When I was in junior high, my mother took me shopping at the local factory outlets. Reading, PA is famous for them, which always seemed strange because they never seemed toh ave anything I really wanted to buy, but anywhere, there we were, in Rue 21 (now Forever 21, I think), and I found a shirt I wanted. A yellow shirt. I held it up for my mom to check out / approve, and she said I couldn't get it, and that I should never wear yellow, because yellow made me look sick.

While I'm sure this was meant to be thoughtful fashion advice (and might even BE good advice), I took it personally and practically banned yellow from my life, at least as far as clothes are concerned. I hate the color, all because of my mother's comment.

I am determined, however, to have a rubber ducky themed bathroom, so there will be some yellow in our house eventually.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Question 7

If you could change your appearance, how would you decide to look?

Right now, I'd grow my hair. I've had it short since...April of 2007. The day I broke up with my ex-fiance was also the same day I chopped of my hair - from the middle of my back, to a much-preferred pixie cut - AND got a tattoo. Talk about being dramatic, huh?

I've always gone back and forth with my hair. I first got it cut short when I was 10, to a bob, and kept it that way for a little while, but then grew it out, which wasn't so bad because the bangs were already long. I think I cut it again my freshman year of high school, to some variant of the super-short hair I have now. I grew it out again after keeping it short for about a year, then cut it short again at...16, I think. The guy I'd been on again, off again seeing at the time, Billy, thought that my cutting my hair short was some sort of "coming out" statement and that I must obviously now be a lesbian. This didn't prevent him from continuing to on again off again date me, though. Hah.

I grew it out again after that, then cut it short before leaving for boot camp in September, 2003. I figured (and rightly so) that it would be SO much easier to have short hair during basic, and it was. I kept my hair short until getting out of the Air Force in May, 2004, then grew it out again. I kept it long because the guy I was dating said he preferred it that way. My hair is so thick that, at its longest, it would take four or five hours to air dry (because I'm much too lazy to buy, let alone use, a hair dryer).

I cut it in April of 2007 and have had it super short since. It's so easy, especially with my hair being thick, but lately I've been feeling like it isn't particularly girly. The process of growing it out when it's so short, though, is daunting - I'm looking at six solid months, or more, of having hair in my eyes non-stop. Oh, and my boss likes to comment on his female employees' hairstyles, particularly when our hair does get in our eyes. Apparently he doesn't read sexual harassment memos or anything.

So yeah, I'd probably zoom my hair forward six to eight months, and have chin-length hair. :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Jeff & Iraq

I posted a...week? two weeks? I don't know. Anyway, I'd previously mentioned that Jeff applied for a job in Iraq to be an "evidence custodian."

He got an  email today saying he did not get the job...

But that he should definitely apply if/when the job gets posted again, because he was one of TWO applicants for the position, and the reason he did not get chosen was cuz the other guy had a PhD.

Oh, and the pay? $160,000 for six months.

That's more than our mortgage...and his grad school... and probably also a new truck. Combined. So yes, Jeff will definitely be applying for this position again.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Question 6

#6: If you could change your name, what would your new name be?

In high school, I decided I didn't like being Stephanie Lastname anymore. It was much too long, and not very fun. At the time, I didn't like Steph, either, so I decided that I wanted my friends to call me Wendi. With an i. I think I had my friends call me that, or tried to, but that didn't work and for a while that was that. (Do you remember htat at all, Renee? Gosh I was obnoxious in high school!!)

Before getting married, I toyed with keeping my maiden name, or hyphenating it with my husband's name... but being Stephanie 10lettername-5letters seemed a bit out of control, so I took my husband's name. It seems silly, but I love being Mrs. Mabry. I love that his family calls me Mrs. Mabry. I still giggle when I get "important" mail that says Mrs. Mabry. When I went to the Social Security Administration and to the DMV, the clerks at both agencies were surprised with how quickly I was there - we made sure to send off our marriage certificate thingamabloobery before leaving for our honeymoon, and we got it  back from the county by the time we returned home. We got married June 13th, and before July arrived, I was Mrs. Mabry.

Interesting, I like being called Steph now, too. Stephanie doesn't sound right with the new last name, but Steph sounds okay. :) So Mrs. Steph Mabry I am, now, and I wouldn't have it any other way!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Long conversations with my husband

Jeff and I went to the Sacramento Zoo today. It was Museum Day in Sacramento, so the zoo and a dozen or more museums in the area were offering free admission. Coincidentally, today was also my niece's 10th birthday! Hooray! So we took her along with.

The day proceeded pretty much as expected - Niece being all autism-y, Jeff working with her using the applied behavior analysis techniques he uses with his clients at work, my mother-in-law agreeing "Oh, yes, this really would work for her!" but all of us knowing nothing will happen. Seeing my sister- and brother-in-law, listening to them talk about whatever it is they talk about, etc. etc.

Anyway, it's a two hour drive each way. On the way down, I usually read. On the way back, I either fall asleep, or we have lengthy conversations - and by conversations, I really mean one-sided semi-therapy sessions in which I start talking about his sister and eventually get to my sister and my family or whatever.

Today I talked about how my mother let me down. How unfair it was that I always had to babysit my sister after school - particularly with my mother getting sick so unexpectedly-yet-regularly, forcing me to take care of her for even longer, to lie to her, and all with hardly a word of thanks, because after all, my mother was sick, what else did I expect them to do?

Jeff always has such remarkable insight, and I always end up so thankful that I married such a kind-hearted, understanding man. He thinks that my mistrust of female friends stems from these continued let-downs from my mother - whenever a female acquaintance does something, I assume the worst kinds of treachery. A coworker I joke with about other coworkers, well, she MUST be a double agent of some kind. A friend who rejects an invitation clearly is not actually my friend at all. The male friends who have stopped speaking to me? Not their fault, but rather that of their girlfriends.

Much to think about. Mostly, though, I'm thankful for these car rides with my love. <3

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Question 5

Question 5: What do you have to put up with in your life? How long have you been tolerating it?

There are a lot of ways I could answer this. I could talk about how much I hate my job, how much I hate being the primary wage-earner, how much I hate that Jeff was losing weight when we first met but has since stopped and that bugs me.

Instead, I'll talk about not having a washer and dryer in our house. As I guarantee you've heard me bitch about, our house was a disaster when we moved in...and while the primary living areas are much improved, to the point where I feel happy entertaining guests... the other things, like, I don't know, bathrooms, still need considerable improvement.

The house has two bathrooms. The first, and the one we use, is tiny; there's room for a potty, sink, shower and cat box. The walls are gross, one of the walls is actually a taped-shut-and-painted-over door, and the walls above the shower used to be spotted with mold because previous owners didn't replace the exhaust fan when it broke.

The second bathroom, though, is where our washer and dryer - already purchased, and waiting in storage until we can get it moved in - will go. Currently, there's no light in the room, so it cannot be used after dark. It's painted a color slightly darker than the pink of Pepto-Bismol. It's got an unfinished skylight. It's got a weird door that goes directly outside (which I've convinced myself would be good when we have a bunch of little boys running around, as they can come in to go to the bathroom without tracking mud through the house). It's also got the water heater in it.

My plan is that we replace the traditional water heater with an awesome tankless unit that would be on the outside of the house. The sink would be replaced and would slide over to where the water heater currently is, the shower would be replaced with an actual shower/tub unit, the toilet replaced with one that isn't the same 1970s olive green as the sink, and the floor would be tiled. Then we could move in the washer and dryer, and there'd be no more trips to the laundromat to pay $1.75/load to wash and 25 cents for seven minutes of dryer time.

I had Jeff call our plumber yesterday to get a quote. He must not be hurting for work, because, as he put it, he charges whatever the cost of the water heater is, plus $110 per hour to install it. He provided no indication of how many hours it would take, nor even a rough cost of the unit itself. Awesome.

So this is what I put up with.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rethinking friendship

So I have this friend. He and I briefly dated, until he decided that I was "too intense" and that he "wasn't ready" for a relationship. He had (has?) a variety of issues, related to not trusting women because his ex-wife cheated on him, and generally being insecure. Whatever, aren't we all, yadda yadda.

He and I chat online occasionally, him trying to play the therapist to me, which I think he thinks he's entitled to do because he has a Bachelor's degree in psychology.

Inevitably, the conversation comes back around to me obviously being miserable in my marriage. Today I got the added bonus of being told not to "buy too far into the American Dream," so that I'm not disappointed when it doesn't happen the way I expected.

Excuse me? I understand that your marriage fell apart because she cheated on you with another woman. I understand that things aren't going for YOU quite the way you wanted or imagined, or whatever. And yes, I'm unhappy sometimes, because life isn't always peaches and rainbows, but I'm not miserable spending a weekend by myself while Jeff's out of town. I kind of like sitting around, not having to listen to his talk radio, or the comedy shows he watches on Netflix, or whatever - but I love him, and I love our shitty little house, and you don't get to tell me I don't, because it isn't true.

Why do "friends" always end up so disappointing? What am I doing wrong?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Love...and not just the mushy feeling

It's easier to love oneself and to love others after one has accepted one's own desires and interests.

Okay, when I said love, I really meant sex. Hrm.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hope and nerves, simultaneously

Jeff applied for a job in his field. It's a long shot, but it would be a great opportunity if he gets it. He would be a "custodian" of forensic evidence, includes room/board, and promises "generous" compensation.

Oh, right, because it would involve him going to Iraq for six months.

The worst thing they can say is yes, right?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Question 4

4. What is your biggest strength? How did you develop it?

I guess my intelligence, my "smarts." How'd I develop it? How can you not, when some of your mother's favorite phrases are things like that "Why wasn't that an A?" It didn't hurt that my beloved grandfather gave me $20 for every report card, and I knew that wouldn't continue unless I kept getting good grades.

My mother once told me that she and my father were given the option of having me skip third grade, but chose not to because they didn't want me to end up socially isolated, or awkward or anything like that. Hindsight being what it is, it certainly couldn't have hurt anymore than the awkward way that I went through school anyway. I was enrolled in the gifted education program, which was mostly worthless; all it got me was out of regular classes once a week and we studied things like ancient civilizations. We also played a lot of Oregon Trail and the Lemonade Stand game or something. Not exactly the height of intellectual stimulation for developing minds. I'm reassured that the gifted ed program at the Muhlenberg school district is much better now than it was for me and my cohorts.


There are things I've been struggling with that I'm not even sure I have the words for. Questions of why I did or didn't do things. The sorts of things that I know, intellectually, other people must struggle with, but which I don't have the courage or the appropriately-close-friends to ask or even the words with which to discuss it.

Science is vaguely helpful, things like Kinsey's scale and his outdated studies. So I'm a...2? Trouble arises even there - how to define "incedentally," for example. That doesn't seem to measure thoughts, desires, that go unacted on.

And why are they not acted on - I was single, between Old-Jeff and Husband-Jeff. I've known about this since high school. Old Jeff didn't exactly disapprove, but said he was uncomfortable with further commitment if I didn't explore this first (among other reasons for not committing). Husband-Jeff doesn't care that it (they... women aren't "its") interest me. I was single for a while between them, and had no problem with randomly hooking up with men I barely knew, or who I knew weren't long-term possibilities. How did I manage to forget about this during the only time it was really an option?

I don't know.

How terrible that I'm so vague even with/around my closest friends.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


Jeff and I may not have time or money for them...ever.

Basically, in order for him to have any kind of career in his field, he has to go to grad school. Which, at Chico State, will cost between $15,000 and $20,000 dollars. He's supposed to start getting more hours at work soon... and if he does, pretty much all of his money will have to be saved in order to afford his Master's degree. He likely wouldn't be able to start until next spring, and wouldn't graduate until at least 2013.

There's no way I can continue paying to fix up our house, have him save for school, AND buy a vehicle you can actually put a kid in. Assuming he CAN pay for school all by himself, that still leaves me to pay for everything related to fixing up the house - including two full bathroom remodels, two more bedrooms, the kitchen floor, and anything we do to the outside of it.

Our long-term savings, at this point, amounts to $200.

Oh, and none of this includes his student loans, which, while they would go back to being deferred if/when he goes back to school, would still cost us probably $200/month between this coming July and whenever he goes back.

All this makes me feel like everything I want has to be put off. Because I have no career aspirations; having a kid is about the only thing I had to look forward to, and, if that's even doable, wouldn't be able to happen for at least another three years.

By that point, I'll have been working at a place I hate for 10 years.... A place, I suspect, where if I were to even take the six weeks that most women tend to take after having a baby, I probably wouldn't have a job to go back to.

I guess I'll just give up on the only thing I thought I wanted, and put all my effort into getting Jeff what he wants.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A side note on anxiety

Sometime since graduating high school, I've developed near-crippling anxiety. It isn't constant, or anything - it's not like I can't leave the house without Valium - but it's there, and it does have a negative impact on me.

Most recent example? Tonight, my silly husband was (is?) supposed to speak in front of the City Council in his (likely far-fetched) bid to be chosen to fill an empty seat on said council.

I spent the first hour of the meeting shaking so badly, I couldn't hold his hand or anything; I had to leave before he even spoke because I was so nervous that he would embarrass himself in front of the people there because he didn't really have a prepared speech or anything to say.

I'm such a terrible wife.

Question 3

Question 3. What do you think is your biggest flaw? What have you done about it?

I'm painfully insecure. I know that. I question people's motives when it comes to "me" constantly - why do they want to talk to me? What do they want from me? Why would they want to be my friend? Right now, it's "They're not my friends, they're YOUR friends," when it comes to pretty much everyone my husband met at school.

A lot of this comes from my mother. Many parents (most?) would be happy if their kid got A-'s in school; not mine. "Why wasn't that an A?" she'd ask, every time report cards came out. I probably could have gotten straight A's - I didn't put in much effort to get the grades I did get, so what did it matter? They're still A's on the paper, just with hyphens for...decoration? I don't know. It didn't make sense, why that was the only thing she cared about.

Other comments that didn't help were things like "I love you, I just don't like you very much right now." I'm pretty sure that's on the list of things-not-to-say-to-your-child.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Question 2

What would make you feel embarrassed in public?

It took me a while to think of something that would really, truly embarrass me, but I'd have to say something like having my credit card declined. Even if it was no fault of mine, like their system was malfunctioning or something, I'd be very ashamed of that. I take pride on my ability to juggle our money - I mean, we bought a house, for crissake, with barely enough money to put up for the meager 3.5% down payment on our crack house. To have someone, even just one person, think that I'd lost control of something as important to one's daily life as our finances.

I have a coworker who says that if you're not willing to have all of your money pooled together with your spouse, you don't trust them enough to be married. Jeff and I have a joint account, because you apparently have to in order to get a married-filing-jointly tax return direct deposited. Other than that, though, we don't pool our money.

Between my parents, my dad earns about 75% of their income, my mother 25%, but I spent my childhood watching my mother spend money. And spend money. And spend money. I'm not saying that they shouldn't have pooled assets or anything, but when you spend and spend into credit-card-debt-oblivion, and leave the primary earner to figure out how to pay down $100,000 in debt... that stayed with me. Thankfully this agreement works for Jeff.

Somehow I think I deviated from the prompt a bit, but I have a feeling that's the point.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Question 1 is problematic

1. What is that thing that no one, not even your partner, your mother or your best friend, knows about you?

Well. If no one knows, then I'd probably like them to continue NOT knowing, which doesn't lend itself particularly well to a blog post, now does it? I'll guess I'll have to adapt it for this purpose.

I find it incredibly difficult to share anything. Growing up, the "best friends" I had weren't those lasting ones of Lifetime made-for-TV movies where you meet in the sandbox and go to graduate school together. They were of a "Oh, we're in the same class this year, let's be friends for the year!" variety. I remember having a "best friend" in third grade, and a different one for fifth grade, but not really one after that for a long time. When I was 13 I went to nerd summer camp at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and fell in love for the first time.

He and I stayed in touch, having been lucky enough to meet at the very beginning of the era of cell phones and instant messenging. He looked out for me, in ways I never reciprocated. I was depressed, to the point of suicidal ideation, and told him about it; he had his father call my high school so my guidance counselor could check up on me. (Maybe no one at all knew that? Hm.)

Anyway... that all ended. He met a girl, dragged her around the country with him as he moved from one high paying job to the next. She found out about my friendship with him, and grew Jealous-with-a-capital-J. She decided it was inappropriate for he and I talk to talk about sex... nevermind the fact that my conversations with him were me trying to steer him away from looking for prostitutes on Craigslist.

When your best friend turns your back on you with not even a good-bye, it makes it hard to share...

So most friends don't know much about me. And that's probably for the best.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

One of these things is not like the others...

I use the StumbleUpon toolbar (which I highly recommend if you have a lame desk job with lots of time to kill) and I "stumbled upon" this website:

Basically it's a list of questions to answer to "get back in touch with yourself," whatever that means. Since my health insurance isn't worth its weight in anything, I can't afford therapy... so I'll give myself the self help version. Stay tuned.