Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

Export My Content


You were all such a special part of my life. ♥ TY, linnea!

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Be mindful of my dreams (read all 5 entries…)
dreaming of dreaming

I make out vaguely the sound of a storm growing. I am half-asleep and the sound of the storm infiltrates a dream I am having, but as the noise grows in my dream, the confusion of it pulls me toward consciousness. The sound grows louder and clearer as I become awake, and identify it as a thunderstorm.

I open my eyes to the dark room. The sound is so loud and stormy that it is frightening, rather than comforting, and with a stunning suddenness, the wall of the bedroom crashes in. It is demolished as if it has been driven through by a car, but it’s not a car, it’s a gnashing wave of water and wind and branches and spraying wet darkness which now tumbles around inside the bedroom. The wave of storm rushes toward me in my bed with such instantaneousness that I scream. Hearing the sound of myself scream wakes me up.

I wake into a similar darkness, except that there is a light from the crack of the bedroom door, all walls are in tact, and the raging sound of storm has been replaced by silence. I breathe heavily, and my heart pounds, and the sound of myself screaming still hangs in my head. My dad comes into the room and sits down on the edge of my bed to comfort me, because he heard me screaming, too. Outside is a sound I can’t make out. A lawn mower trying to start, or a car. A repetitive, whining, grinding sound. The annoyance of it pulls me out of the dream of my father, which was murky, toward waking in a bright room.

Even in waking, I cannot identify the sound. It is louder now. A chainsaw, maybe? Some kind of lawn care equipment? I realize it must be far past 9am. It might be as late as 11. I grope around for my phone to check the time. It’s 9:30. I can’t find the will to move. I close my eyes again and lay my head on the pillow and think about how I don’t remember my father ever comforting me after a nightmare. He wasn’t around often enough.

I think about will power. It will take all of my will power to get out of bed. The prospect of going to work, again, makes me question my will to live at all. I don’t know if I have it in me. I open my eyes again and stare at the bright October light falling in slats across the ceiling and walls, and I listen to the silence. I want to lie in bed and listen to this silence and look at this light, for as long as I can.

Be mindful of my dreams (read all 5 entries…)
An unprecedented series of nightmares.

I have the urge to call my mom…. but I’m trying to not do that, because we have some codependency stuff that I need to work on.

I want to call her to tell her about these dreams I’ve been having. Last night was the third in a series. But there was a 4th there were two others on the little boy theme… I’ve never had dreams like this, where they are all related over the course of a few weeks.

Last night was the third recent nightmare involving my biting people.

In the first one, I had a little boy who had been kidnapped by a pedophile. The whole dream long I was sure I would still get my kid back, and I was going through all manner of scheming and climbing fire escapes and hunting people. In the end, though, it was in vain. I was in a van with a man and a woman who were complicit in the kidnapping. They knew where my boy was, but they wouldn’t give him up. I was pleading and begging with the woman, and then, at some moment, I realized it was hopeless. I started punching her face. I was punching her as if she were one of those blow-up plastic punching dolls that they had when I was a kid, where it would fall down and then roll back up because of the weight at the bottom. She seemed to be unaffected by my punching, still smirking at me. So I grabbed her hand off the steering wheel and started biting her as hard as I could. I was pleading and crying and biting her hand as hard as I could.

I was in a motel with my family – my mom and sister – and woke myself up with the sound of my crying. When I woke up, I could still feel the strange rubbery quality of her hand between my teeth. I peered around the motel room. It was still very dark. I wondered if anyone had heard me crying, and went back to sleep.

The second dream I don’t remember too well. I remembered it vividly upon waking and meant to note down something someone had said that was important, but I fell back to sleep and forgot it. There was a similar theme of pleading and bad guys and I remember that when I woke up, my last memory of the dream involved biting one of the bad guys’ heads. It was a small head, as small as a lime, and when I bit down on it, it caved in, with my teeth marks, just like you’d imagine, if I had bitten a lime.

Last night was strange. There was a long narrative. I don’t remember most of it, but I saw my father. He’s been dead for 15 years. I saw him clear as a bell. The clearest I’ve ever seen him in any dream. I almost never dream of him. I can’t remember dreaming of him except right after he died. He was standing in front of me. His whole body was there, with arms and legs and a torso and a head, standing there. Wearing clothes. With a face, and thick hair. He was substantial. He was alive. And I was looking at him thinking…. he faked his death? Why would he do that? All these years he’s been alive?

And then, upon questioning him… it turned out quickly not to be him. He morphed into a small woman. A small blonde woman with short hair. And I realized I was dealing with some kind of a demon.

I should point out that I don’t believe in demons, when I’m awake, but in the dream it was pretty darn clear that this was a demon.

Again, I can’t remember about what… but there was some kind of pleading and interrogation. I was pleading with her, and then I took her finger and bit it, only a little bit hard at first to try to get her to confess something. And she seemed to be taunting me, smirking at me. So then I bit her as hard as I could on the hand, and her hand cracked apart. It was a mannequin’s hand and the brittle white wood/plastic just broke in half. She stood there with half her hand held out in front of her. Two of the fingers and half of the hand were gone. It had broken off diagonally, across the palm.

That was the last image I remembered from last night’s dream, just as biting the rubbery hand had been the last image, just as biting the little head had been the last image.

I don’t know what to make of this series of nightmares. I don’t know. So much pleading and biting…. where is it coming from?

Create a space that feels like a home (read all 6 entries…)

I hate this apartment. I hate it. It makes me feel like shit. It’s dark as hell. There’s no natural light. I want to get out of here.

I cannot really unpack my things and move in. No matter how much I try to make little bits of progress, the depressing energy of this place pushes me backward.

I have to get out of here. That has to be the goal.

2013 - a year in which to be 39 years old - magnificently (read all 5 entries…)
This goal is foundering

This year is going to hell. Nearly half over. I have been depressed, isolating, watching a LOT of TV. Doing very little that’s productive or fun. I’ve gained 25 lbs since I moved to Pittsburgh…. accounted for by a lot of binge eating of take-out food.

I have to make this downward spiral STOP. I have to put the breaks on and get out of this. I HAVE to stop it.

Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 9 entries…)
3/26/13 - grateful

1) My APARTMENT… which I HATED for the last 7 months (yeah, hated), but which I have suddenly today realized is a fantastic GORGEOUS place, thanks primarily to the INTERVENTION staged by my girl-wonder of a colleague, Amelia, who forced her way in here on Sunday (after threatening an intervention for several months) and helped me unpack my furniture.

2) My SALARY. Which renders me independent of mean men and meddlesome mothers for the first time in these long 40 years. I can’t believe it took me this long. Independence is good. (Okay, not totally independent…. but, I’m getting there.)

3) Amelia. I’ve never had a friend who was… well, she’s not even a friend; she’s an associate, a colleague. But, she came in here like a gang-buster, determined to help me up my self-care. I don’t have friends like that. And, now look at this place! It’s like a person lives here!

4) efg and smartstuff, loyal and true and always here.

5) Kali popping back on my radar

2013 - a year in which to be 39 years old - magnificently (read all 5 entries…)
March 26, 2013 - the day I realized there were too many grays to pluck them

The texture of my hair is changing

You see, it’s the tipping point, here.

Before this, all the changes associated with aging were tiny incremental changes. Now, things are really CHANGING.

I used to have straight hair, and now there’s frizzy hair at my temples. I used to pluck the white hairs, and now, if I wear the magnifying glasses to see them, I give up hope on plucking all the whites.

A tipping-point has been reached.

I have arrived at the inflection point.

Now what?

NOW. What?

Now. Here. This.

That is the eternal refrain which will never change. NOW. HERE. THIS.

Stay with experience of being. There is no such thing as an inflection point.

OH BUT THERE IS!!! THERE IS!!! This is the point in the road at which I curve rapidly away from
1) child-bearing potential
2) men

Funny, that. How evolution works out just exactly right. Right on the clock.

I can saunter through a room now, and no man will look up from his book. Maybe I’ve forgotten how to saunter.

It’s all expectation of course. Plenty of women in their 40s and even 50s and 60s know how to turn men’s heads. And women in their 40s still have babies.

I am simply believing…......

SO, something’s gotta change this year.

I need to unlearn the belief that …

Well, hell. I remember when I was 16, maybe 17, I went to this high school party after I’d gotten in this massive car wreck and lost 20 or 30 lbs. I’d always been chubby, but after the accident and the hospital stay and getting thin, I looked awfully different.

(Unfortunately, it came with the expense of getting my nose broken and teeth knocked out and a big scar on my forehead… but at least I was thin. And believe it or not, the boys liked me better with my broken nose and teeth and scar, than when I had been fat.)

So I went to this party and wore a dress for the first time, ever.

I sat on the steps, and this boy, Justin, came over to me and he said, “You look beautiful.”

It was one of those FLASH BULB memories, like remembering where you were when Kennedy was shot or the Challenger went down.

I can see everything about that moment, to this day. Everything in my peripheral vision. I remember my posture. Holding the plate on my lap.

But… here’s the thing about it. The thing I was getting at.

Right now, I’m nearly 40, with broken teeth and broken nose and scarred forehead, and I have the same belief that I had back then. That I cannot be loved. That there are good reasons no one will ever love me, and that you can see them all over me.

I believed it as much then as I do now. The only thing that’s changed is that now I say it’s because I’m too old and ugly in various ways. And back then I said it was because I was too fat or ugly in various ways.

Justin never asked me out. He never followed up. He was just paying me a compliment. Maybe he was being nice because of my accident. That’s what I told myself, later. Or, maybe he was just being nice. Maybe that’s just what people do.

No one ever asked me out. High school. College.

And, then I just fell in with people I didn’t really want to be with, but I didn’t think I could do any better.

I need to study the women who strut triumphantly through their lives, feeling deserving of love. Somehow, before I’m dead, I want to lift my eyes off the ground and believe I’m as lovable as anyone.

Secretly, I hope there’s such a thing as reincarnation, cuz I’ve really wasted my chance at being alive, this go round. Half of it’s over and all I’ve done is protect myself from insults as well as I could. What a stupid way to live. But, what else would you do, if insults were what you were always expecting?

I just don’t want to live like this for the rest of it, because this might be my only turn at being alive. How can I let myself be this limited by these stupid beliefs?

Get honest about my drinking. When I drink, take time to reflect and write how I feel about it. (read all 6 entries…)

I had 9 sober days.

better than no sober days.

then, today….

well, it was a long week.

Friday was an awkward day.

Al said, “why are you being so ..” something. Affectionate, or something.

He meant, don’t touch me.

I felt ashamed when he said that and tried to explain myself by saying, “I don’t know, I’m in a good mood.”

He also asked me if I had been missing my notebook for a long while because he had found it on his desk.

It’s the notebook where I had the sticky on the cover that’s folded over and under the folded edge it says “God does love you. More will be revealed.”

I was embarrassed at the idea that he had seen that, too.

All day, today, Saturday, I was feeling…. I don’t belong here.

I don’t belong anywhere.

I thought it over. I turned it over in my head. The decision to drink. It didn’t seem any big deal.

I got some wine and made a dinner and drank the wine.

After I drank it, I felt pretty convinced of the idea that .. well, the typical ideas occur to me.

They’ll go away again.

The trouble I have is that I really don’t know who is wiser: my sober self, who says, hold on a little longer, with no evidence that life is ever going to get better, or my drunk self who says, throw in towel already, accept reality. It’s been 40 years.

Get honest about my drinking. When I drink, take time to reflect and write how I feel about it. (read all 6 entries…)
31.1.13 - I did not drink today.

It was a long day at work. Mr. B emailed me to say, in Europe one would write the date: 31.1.13….. and I thought, holy … it’s a SIGN. (313 is my special number, with 13, 31, and 3 being the runners up… whenever I see the number 313, I think it’s a sign from the universe that whatever is going on at that moment, the universe is saying, “yes.” If I see a clock that says 3:13, or a number on a building, or a seat number… anything. And, one of my guiding principles in number favorites is also symmetry, so my second favorite time is 11:11.

you can’t get much better than 31.1.13 for a sign. It’s the accordion form of my favorite number, AND the symmetry!

Obviously, the universe likes the idea of this as a sobriety date. Clearly, it’s a good date for changing the trajectory of my life, in some major way. That, I really believe.

Then, this evening, A called from a bar around the corner to say she and K were there. It was K’s birthday tomorrow and they were having drinks and she was chatting up a single guy, and should she vet him to see if he might be suitable for me?

She offered to invite me to join them but then said in the same sentence “but you shouldn’t, I don’t want to encourage you to have a drink already on the first day of your new sobriety.”

I thought she was right, so I said I’d stay home.

On the other hand I was bored and this morning my therapist asked me why being sober meant I would have to give up opportunities to socialize.

Never mind the upshot of the conversation. The point is I found myself thinking, I’m going to go to the bar and order a non-booze beverage. Why can’t I? Sean had water two nights ago. I can too.

I rehearsed in my head how I would order. I still stammered. “I’m. I’m, I’m not drinking tonight? DO you, can you recommend some non-alcoholic beverages?” Stupid.

The bartender was pretty. She looked like an alien with short brown hair.

“Would you like, something like juice?”

Juice? What the fuck is JUICE? I felt like a child.


“Something sparkling?”

“yes, something sparkling and juice-like would be good. Anything you concoct will be good.”

What do sober people drink? I don’t even know what you call things. Sparkling? Do people say that?

I joined K and A. The single guy kept hitting on A, even though she already has a boyfriend. I mean… she is 28 and has this beautiful mature character and loveliness that turns intelligent men into fruit flies.

In particular, tonight she looked like an advertisement from an early 70s magazine, shiny black fabric draping low enough to be way suggestive but not scandalous, a cascade of silver pieces the size of thumbprints, jangling the light around her neck, and her cool glasses, and her hair which falls as straight as a sheet of glass, so it also bends the light around. It’s hard not to feel like a tree trunk next to somebody like that. But it was alright, because she reached her arms out at me like a toddler, scrunched her eyes, and smooched at the air obscenely when she saw me, and I felt lucky to be the recipient of a gesture like that from someone that sexy.

K seemed pretty sober. She was a little bummed to cede all attention to A, because she knew this guy and liked him. And A can have anyone, and already has someone. While K is single and has been for ever… She bitterly resigns herself to the idea that she’s “not for everyone,” because of her size. So she just turns around in her seat and talks to me while A bats away flies.

The bartender made me a concoction of pineapple juice and orange juice and sparkling water, and, she says, put some cardamom in there. It was delicious, especially because she tried to make it something kind of la-dee-da. The effort was sweet. I was completely at peace with not drinking.

A’s boyfriend has been having problems with the sauce lately. They had decided they’d be on the wagon together for 6 months, starting December 1, because of some inciting incident. A’s big thing is weed, but she was giving up drinking, too. The first few weeks she said M had all the resolve and she wasn’t as good as he was at it. She missed weed and thought about it, but M would say, “Sure I want a beer, but I don’t do that anymore.” And that was that.

I don’t know how long that lasted. Since booze isn’t her issue, A had a beer here, a beer there, which she felt was fine and she felt she was still doing her 6 months. Then she and M would drink a beer together and made new qualifying rules. It was all under control and fine. Except then M went out to the bar without her and accidentally had 15 beers and they had a big fight about it.

After that, they agreed M couldn’t go to the bar without her. As long as she’s there to say they’re going home, it’s fine and he’s fine.

Anyway. I guess she agreed to that rule. Relationships are a negotiation process.

She had to pick him up from the hospital last Friday morning. I got to work late. I got into the office and C said, “A wants you to call her.”

“What’s going on?”

“I don’t know. She had to go do something. She’s stressed out this morning.”

I called A and she jabbered at me that she needed me to do some of her work, which was nothing, and then told me “Mother fucker fell his drunk ass down the stairs and fractured his fucking skull and now I have to pick him up from the hospital and watch him for 24 hours and not let him go to sleep.”

Apparently the night before he had gone to the bar at 5pm, and she had begged him to come home because it was too early, the sort of story that is so familiar in certain circles, you don’t need to tell it.

A little while later she rushed into the office and said some more to me and C, and said our boss, obviously, could not know under any circumstances about the event because she couldn’t hear his mouth about it.

It’s strange. Our little marketing department. C, A, and I… we seem to be unusually dense with the substance issues. I wonder about our boss and his personality profiling.

C is the least of the offenders. Her shenanigans are normal college stuff. She’s managed to keep things respectable. But, even she chips in with an occasional face-plant story. So the three of us have something like a we-should-be-in-AA meeting every morning.

A doesn’t really have a problem with the sauce so much as with pot. She used to smoke every day. But admirably, she’s only had one slip since getting on the wagon in December. She drinks, but manages that just fine somehow. Still, she describes to me the loveliness of waking up on a Sunday morning, smoking a bowl, having a nice cup of tea and reading a novel in bed, as if it were something the Queen of England might do. It sounds utterly romantic, the way she describes it. In fact, I’ll bet you she does make it romantic. Knowing her. She was smoking every day, though, and more than anyone else, and felt it was probably not good, if only because it would give her cancer.

Her boyfriend is like me. A garden variety drunk. The kind that falls down stairs and cracks his head open and then calls her to come get him from the hospital in the morning, and then gets mad at her for making a big deal of it. Listening to the stories between the two of them is like reading straight out of the Big Book. He’s a drunk who doesn’t take care of himself or anyone around him. She’s a co-dependent who runs in circles around him to fix it, and resents him and worries about him and can’t do anything to fix it. Second verse! Same as the first!

Anyhoo. I dunno. The night was really kind of great. I didn’t get too obsessed with myself and my inadequacies. I had fun talking with K and A about M and shenanigans. I liked my cardamom laced virgin cocktail.

It was as if the universe decided to put a little special red carpet and awning out, for my crack at day 1, just to show me how much it approves.

Get honest about my drinking. When I drink, take time to reflect and write how I feel about it. (read all 6 entries…)
1/31/13 - Another batch of scrapped intentions, and my decision to stop, again.

Yesterday, I left work early, with intentions to work at home. And like many good intentions, they came to nothing. In fact I fairly knew they would and said so while talking on the phone with David on the walk home.

He said, “How is it you get to leave work so early?”

“A. left early for therapy. C. had class. I just wanted to get out of the office. I needed a change of scenery. I’m going to work from home.”

David was quiet on the other end of the phone which made me feel weird.

“I hope I’ll actually work…. I have a ton of work to do. We’ll see how it goes.”

“You’re still walking?” was all he said. “I can hear your boots.”

We were still on the phone as I got in the door and dropped my bags, pulled off my boots. We were on the phone as I plugged the phone into the charger, and as I poured my first drink and got into bed.

We were on the phone a long time. I pulled out my laptop. Finally we hung up.

I started drafting a letter.

I wrote an email.

I IM’ed for a while with someone on a plane from Aukland.

I don’t know where the evening went.

I got on the phone with Greg.

Greg and I were on the phone for a long time.

By the time we got off the phone, I was drunker than I had been in a long time. In as long as I could remember, and I didn’t know how i had gotten so drunk, and I wished that I wasn’t so drunk.

I really wished it. I felt sick.

I emailed my friend in AA and said, help me get sober, even though I know tomorrow I might not want to.

I could barely stand. Walking to the bathroom to throw up, I saw how unbalanced I was on my legs in the full-length mirror, in the dark. Thinking of it now, I can’t imagine being sober, and watching myself in that state… what I would think. Then, I couldn’t really throw up… I wished I could be undrunk, but I couldn’t be.

I wrote on the mirror with a dry-erase marker:

We were powerless over alcohol
- what we drank – how much
- what it did to us
- the consequences

If i could have drunk differently, I would have.

It was meant as insurance, to remind me that I couldn’t drink anymore, in case this morning I felt differently. That last part was something I heard a guy say at a meeting one time. He was talking about how he could never decide whether he was an alcoholic, and after years and years of repeating the same patterns he finally realized, “If I could have drunk differently, I would have. Nobody would choose to do this.”

This morning, I didn’t need any insurance, but seeing the messy scrawl on the mirror certainly fortified my resolve.

So, I dumped the better half of a 1.5L bottle of gin down the sink. For a penny-pincher like me, that was a bold move.

Get honest about my drinking. When I drink, take time to reflect and write how I feel about it. (read all 6 entries…)
"You were unreachable"

a boy I knew long ago, with whom I had a talk about the past, says to me, “You were unreachable.”

that was it.

that little phrase, out of everything we said tonight, was the phrase that grabbed me. He was talking about the past. A past I don’t remember, but he does. He was talking about what I was like, when I was drunk… and I knew exactly what he meant, when he said that.

You were unreachable.

He even said that he was … I can’t remember the exact words… “deeply concerned” or something… “worried”... who knows.

The point is. I went to a place where I said to him that it was the worst night of my life. And I frightened him, ON PURPOSE, CLEARLY… I manipulated him, by saying that. And then I shut him out, like a helpless child. I wanted him to feel fear, obviously. I wanted him to want to help me, and to be unable to.

What is it in me that is programmed that way?

I’m a torturer. i’m a bad nurturer, in my core.

I can see it.

The only thing that I can say I feel some self-respect about is the fact that I haven’t had kids. I’ve protected them by not having them.

Get honest about my drinking. When I drink, take time to reflect and write how I feel about it. (read all 6 entries…)
Tuesday night at the bar, with Amelia and Sean

At the bar, I drank “sparingly.”

Two cocktails: “vespers.”

Pure alcohol, the whole recipe, who knows what kinds, except that the recipe includes Bluecoat Gin, made in Pittsburgh, bottled in such a pretty blue bottle that I have one such bottle saved on my kitchen window sill.

Shawn, the gay bartender, knows Sean, my colleague’s gay friend, who also knows Eric, who happens to be sitting one bar stool down the bar when we get there.

So, it’s like we’re all friends, at the beginning of the evening.

At the end of the evening, I am the only one who’s ordered 2 cocktails.

Sean has had water, and food.

Amelia has had 1 cocktail, and food.

I have had 2 cocktails, and no food.

I think we’re all still friends. I think everything is fine. It’s all vague in my memory. Sean pays. I don’t know why I let him. I shouldn’t have. He’s poor.

Amelia drives me home. Looking back, I think I was too affectionate, maybe. A little too lavish with endearments and touching and praise. She must have been uncomfortable. I was probably inappropriate.

I think I continued to drink after I got home, but I don’t remember. But I suspect maybe so, because then after receiving Sean’s sweet email at 11:50PM, thanking me and Amelia for our help with his website, somehow I seized on what I perceived to be my failure to handle my relationship with Amelia quite right. And my making a stupid gesture, that must have come across as really arrogant. And, I seized on what I perceived to be the air of rejection around her. I slipped into a spiral of anti-self hate-talk, concluding around 3:30am with some ridiculous posts on 43t and facebook. I woke up early with welts on my arm. It was ridiculous.

I had to erase everything promptly.

I say to myself, “it’s the drinking.” the way any adult would.

And then I say, “No it’s not. It’s that you’re a f*ing loser. It’s you.”

And then I say to God, “God, I don’t know if you exist, but if you are listening, I need some kind of help.”

Well….. that was just one evening’s evidence that I probably shouldn’t partake. i don’t want to describe another. All of it is embarrassing and makes me hate myself. All of it makes me hate myself. And then I wonder…. how do you prefer this to sobriety? And, the answer is generally… because, I’m just as big an asshole when I’m sober – and I have to endure it being sober.

But, it’s not true. That’s a lie I tell myself, because of all the fear I have of being around people, sober. How would I do it.


The truth is, I would be better. I would hate myself less.

Morning pages for 12 weeks. As a spiritual practice. (read all 7 entries…)
Back to day 1 writing.

Words today:

Mindset while writing…
Time orientation: The Present
Primary sense: Touch
Us and them: You

Jan 24th I got up to a 4-day writing streak. Let’s see if I can break that this time.

take on 43 small challenges to build fresh momentum (read all 8 entries…)
yowza! final stretch on the initial mini-task list.

9) put the small table in the basement

10) Put all the clothes in the bedroom

11) drag the matress into the bedroom

12) bring the mirror into the bedroom

13) FLATTEN BOXES and STORE in basement – or recycle unusable.

well, the living room is basically cleared out, so when the furniture gets here day after tomorrow, there won’t be a major crisis in having space to put it.

I have the mattress dragged into the bedroom and made up – nice and toasty with my space heater and my two little ones cozied up in here.

I have the big table moved out to the dining room (aka study).

Tomorrow is GARBAGE DAY – so I do need to be sure to get up in the morning and take out the garbage and the recycling…... which has been accumulating for a bit.

All in all, a good day’s work. I’m nervous about work work – job and all that – but happy to have some progress on the home front.

take on 43 small challenges to build fresh momentum (read all 8 entries…)
A well-timed disaster, to motivate a little progress.

The furnace failed this morning. With some graceful luck we are having a mini heatwave. Where last week it was 6 degrees on waking, this morning and tomorrow we have record highs of 60. Thank god for that.

The thing about that is… not only is my apartment in such disarray that I’ve been too embarrassed to let my landlord schedule painters for the last (sept..oct…) 5 months, but also… I’m not allowed to have pets.

But, one can’t endlessly delay notifying the landlord about the furnace when a mini-heatwave is scheduled to last only 2 days.

I would HAVE to notify the landlord of the furnace situation; I would HAVE to accept that he would potentially be in my apartment within 24 hours.

AND, I would HAVE to get my mattress into the bedroom by TONIGHT, because it is the only room I am able to keep warm with a space heater.

So, my untidy flophouse has undergone quite a bit of work today, despite my mood, which has been not so stellar lately.

Progress has been slow, but steady. I keep returning to the tasks, because I know I can’t not finish—moving everything, and ridding the place of traces of cat lady lifestyle. When he actually comes, the little ones are going to have to go into the car, which they’ll hate, but it can’t be helped.

(One also can’t help notice how gentle and well-timed this mini-disaster is. It happens on a day when the record temperature gives me enough time to get all of this done… so that I can go one night before notifying the landlord, so that I don’t have to panic. And yet, it lights a fire under me to get moving, really moving, on all this. And tomorrow morning is garbage day. THEN!! I get a phone call from the IKEA delivery people and they say that my furniture is not coming this Sunday… rather, they are ready to deliver TOMORROW. I was able to put them off until the day after tomorrow. Sometimes, I’m amazed at how life tucks itself around me, trying to help me get along.)

3) take apart the computer stuff and put it on the floor

4) bring the lamp into the living room.

5) Turn the table over and take off the legs

6) bring the top into the living room

7) bring the legs

8) reassemble

9) put the small table in the basement

10) Put all the clothes in the bedroom

11) drag the matress into the bedroom

12) bring the mirror into the bedroom


Create a Breakthrough (read all 6 entries…)

just start over

Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 9 entries…)
thursday, january 24, 2013

tonight, i’m feeling like a real nobody, which is exactly when i have to be extra diligent about setting my mind on gratitude.

1) We are more than half way through the winter (not technically, no, maybe not, but still). December, January, February = winter.
MARCH is already spring, as far as I’m concerned.

2) My little cats. My big galumphing guy and my little girl with her sniffles. Every day, I don’t care how repetitive it gets, I’m grateful to have two living beings here who are so sweet to live with.

3) An interesting post today about how to do something new at work, that got me sort of mentally engaged.

4) My co-worker Carla, who is so youthful and energetic and smart, and who makes me want to make our company better, so that she’ll have reason to stay when her internship ends.

5) Driving in to work today… even though I would have been more proud of myself for walking, it sure was nice to have a cozy warm car in the 6 degree evening.

Be mindful of my dreams (read all 5 entries…)
wild dreams remembered, Thursday morning, after a lovely night out seeing music for the first time in such a long time.

The strangest part of the dream last night was .. well, there were a lot of strange parts. A girl around 20 and I become friends. She says to me I look slutty because I put on mascara. I said, when you get to be 40, you have to, when you’re young and gorgeous like you, men chase you around like cartoons of floating dogs and you don’t need to do anything. I looked at her and it was true, she was absolutely stunning to look at. She said “I like you!” I liked her, too, and then we were friends and I thought maybe I would have a positive influence in her life.

In another part of the dream there was some kind of scuffle and shake up in a group, I think the Scotsman may have been among them. A woman had seen a crab escape from the room. He had gotten into the hotel and she had stepped on one of its legs in an effort to stop it. You could see the leg there, some fleshy part hanging out of the broken shell. It was disgusting. The Scotsman went running after it, into the halls of the hotel, which was the sort you imagine existing in a place like Jamaica, everything open to breezes with slatted white walls.

The woman had hurt her foot, stepping on the thing, and now she felt that a demon in the crab had gotten into her. Another girl in the group, with whom I was staying, got with her on a bench and they started pouring and splashing some kind of dark liquid on the woman’s face while the woman knelt on the floor in front of the bench increasingly agitated in belting out some unintelligible incantation at the demon.

I sat next to the other girl on the bench who had brought the supplies, as a helpless supporter. I thought the supplies were mostly culinary in nature, like hot sauce or something. Then, sure enough, a shimmering disembodied devil – vague looking, because he was shimmering like steam, but red and wrinkly and horned – emerged out of the face of the shouting, keeling, writhing woman.

And, I thought to myself, cynicism gone. I have seen a shimmering devil evaporate out of the skin of a woman.

Just as suddenly, I felt a kind of bubble of energy enter my hand and I knew it had gone into me. Everyone had gone off to do their own thing and I thought, I need someone to help me now. I don’t know how to do that ritual. It felt urgent and real, I think, in the dream….

The kitties woke me up then, for a brief moment, and I reminded myself that it wasn’t urgent and it wasn’t real. I lay awake listening to the echo of what the woman had been saying in her incantations, and I reflected… there was something about the way she phrased it (unfortunately I can’t remember now) but something about it was expressly sexual and reminded me of that thing I thought of years ago when I was young, of the idea that the devil gets put into you, and left there, and you carry him around. You contract him like an infection. And then you become like him.

After going back to sleep, I lived in a marvelous apartment with two swimming pools out on a huge patio. It was in a high rise hotel and the two swimming pools glittered against the sky, overlooking the city. Now I was living in the apartment of a friend of mine whose mother had died. We were all in school and went to graduation and at the graduation the principle or dean or whomever, said she wanted to read the eulogy.

My friend didn’t want her to, and I thought it was strange that our graduation was co-opted like this. I went to stand by her and she tried not to cry and I also tried, especially for her sake. I managed it by focusing on the humor in the situation, the humor in life. I looked around the room and thought about how funny it was, and so I managed to stay somewhere in a balanced tension between trying not to laugh and trying not to cry, with the odd swelling in my nerves moving around my body, from my belly and my cheeks to my eyes and my throat. I kept my knees locked and kept biting my lips to manage the whole affair. It was vivid.

Later, there was a story line to which I cannot remember the connecting thread, or the introductory plot, but I remember a scene in which I was in a (yet another) hotel room with people meant to be my family. They weren’t my real family.. I don’t know what my real relationship was to them. The phone rang and we didn’t answer it. Then we knew that the hotel management, or someone, would next be coming to the door. I meant to hide so they wouldn’t find us and I ducked behind one place. But maybe we weren’t on the same page… not everyone was properly hidden by the time the man got to the door. So we had to stage a scene of some kind. I pretended that we were paranoids afraid of a nuclear holocaust or some kind of natural disaster, and that I was hiding behind the wall out of fear. When the man brought me out into the sunshine I faked astonishment at how nice the sand was and how safe.

There was so much more to the dream. It’s astonishing how much one can dream in one night, and remember, and not quite remember but know one has dreamed (for example I know there was another story line about the highrise hotel, where I had some kind of interaction with a man and I was telling him about the swimming pools, and that one chat with the beautiful 20 year old where she said “I like you!” wasn’t all there was to it), while other nights one cannot find even the faintest scrap of dream – not even one image left – on waking.

Daily: Reflect on 5 things for which I'm grateful. (read all 9 entries…)
Gratitudes - tues Jan 22

1. Waking up with two little snugglers beside me

2. The first night that these two little snugglers let me sleep through the night since they joined me in the new apartment, instead of getting up for regularly scheduled 4:30AM carousing

3. Hearing two great stories on selected shorts

4. Already noticing what a difference it makes to be able to see the floor in the dining room, and feeling excited about what the changes in the apartment will mean for my quality of life

5. The fact that the pushpin in the wall is actually holding up as a hook for my jacket (for now).

Accomplish one thing each day that makes me feel proud of myself. (read all 5 entries…)
Mon/Tue Jan 21/22

Monday: Skipped replenishing liquor cabinet, instead, picked up cat food.

Tuesday: Walked to work – dressed like an Inuit

It was 9 degrees this morning, and my boss said I could drive in and have his parking spot, and I decided to walk anyway.

I bundled up in layers and enormous ski gloves, and walked in. Admittedly, by the time I arrived my feet were frozen, but I was quite proud and happy.

Get honest about my drinking. When I drink, take time to reflect and write how I feel about it. (read all 6 entries…)
Didn't quite manage it tonight.

I left work early today. I was starving. I forgot my wallet, so all I had was the orange in my bag, and half my boss’s bagel at lunch.

I walked home through the on-and-off blizzard, listening to Joe&Charlie tapes on my iPod.

When I walked in the door my text message alert went off. It was my brother reminding me of my sister’s birthday, in case I forgot. I called her while I made myself a rough chicken quesadilla and popped it in the microwave. I talked with her a long time, about nothing, and asked questions, to try to seem interested. Then my mom wanted to talk to me.

I wanted to eat.

Then, I hung up and threw my phone on the bed and jumped into the bed after it with my chicken quesadilla and the two cats came romping in after me. and after that I don’t remember much. We zoned out for several hours, rating movies on Netflix.

At approximately 8:40 I became keenly aware that at 9PM the pet store and the liquor store both close.

The cats are low on food, and I am low on booze.

I continued to lie in bed, obsessively looking through movies, hoarding information, trying to decide what movie I would watch when I got back, until 8:50. I took up my keys and looked at the bottle, which had what looked to me to be two drinks left in it. I decided the cats would do with the food they had and I had better get to the liquor store.

Then, as I was about to head out the door, I had the following discussion with my higher power:

I already feel sick. I don’t even want to drink. It’s not good for me.

What if you just go tonight? Can you try just going tonight?

Yeah. Sure.

So, I went to the petstore. Even on the way there, I felt the danger of going to the liquor store instead, but I drove past it and got to Petland, and got the little guys their preferred brands of kibble.

On the drive back, I said out loud in the car, “I was a very responsible cat mom, tonight.” “I would like full credit for making the responsible decision.”

But, when I got home I was glad there was that small quantity of booze left, and I made a hot toddy. It was yummy.

So, that’s how it went, today.

(There is a little part of me that says, what’s so wrong with it? What’s wrong with it? Why do you really want to stop? And… as often as not, I don’t know.)

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