Sunday, November 30, 2014

This and that... Thanksgiving 2014

Hard to believe the holiday season is upon us again!  I understand the biochemical changes that occur as we age that changes our perception of time, but when you experience it first hand... WOW:-)

This Thanksgiving I did something different.  I did not make plans with other folks, I decided to have a quiet holiday home with my cats, one who is quite elderly and is becoming more and more frail as that days go on.  (I am not much of a fan of the Thanksgiving Day fairy story promulgated by schools to hide genocide and other atrocities... But I honor the desire of folks to come together to show thanks... Ahem).  These past few weeks have been full of interaction, socialization, and crazy work schedules, and I wanted just a few days of solitude, not in a self pitying or self isolating way, but just time to enjoy my own company and that of my furry family.

I took off the day before Thanksgiving, and the day after, so I had a 5 day weekend.  Really, I should have worked, but I was determined to not let the 'shoulds' intrude.  And for the most part, I have not.  I had a few invitations to share Thanksgiving with friends, but I politely declined, for the most part without a lot of explanation... and none was required.

And how has it been?  It has been FANTASTIC!  I have gone shopping with a friend once, and treated myself to a handbag that has been on my wishlist for the past 2-3 years.  Other than that, my only interaction has been the Turkey Trot I ran Thanksgiving morning, and I set my own personal record.  10 minute and one 9 minute miles.  It was cold, but it was absolutely perfect.  I had purchased wonderful organic, fresh food and my favorite wine, and a friend gave me a pie from my favorite bakery.  I was lazy around my apartment, and ran when I felt like it, often midday instead of early morning.  These past few days have been ones of quiet indulgence, and I will get back on track on Monday.  I purchased cold weather run gear online, and am planning my marathon training.  (And hoping I have not herniated around my mesh screen... more on that later, if it is indeed an issue...)

I am not planning on repeating this planned solitude at this Christmas/New Year holiday.  I will visit my family of choice, and then something new... For Christmas or perhaps New Year's eve, a friend and I are planning a quick trip to a beach, just to see the sand and surf, and although it will be cold, I look forward to running on the beach and on the boardwalk.  Just an overnight trip. I already have a schedule filling up with social/holiday mixers, parties and engagements, and I am glad I took this time for myself, for the cats.  I strongly fear that my almost 18 year kitty may not be here at Christmas time.  

How does this relate to hoarding?  I called my hoarding mother as I was leaving the grounds of the state complex that hosted the Turkey Trot.  Oh my.  Oh MY.  

The comparison could not be more definitive.  She was MISERABLE.  She has 2 folks/separate families bring her plates each year, and she compares them to what she could have/would have/has done in the past.  (I do not object to her fantasy of her cooking ability... but having eaten her food for too many years... um... NO- she once again revises history...) She has resentfully watched the neighbors, and found most sadly lacking.  She has disgusting names for each that she openly despises, things like "the village idiot"  and "trailer trash" and other names that serve her to depersonalize and dehumanize these folks, which is a common mechanism that those with power and control issues utilize.  She also speculates endlessly on the couple of neighbors she does not out-and-out hate, but they always come up lacking, wasteful, or some other judgement.  She could have made her day special.  She just had to buy a new TV, she could have done something to enjoy it- movies, got her favorite food in, something.  She did none of that.  She called her cable provider and railed about how she does not want the 'On-Demand' part at all, despite having the fact that many of the movies are free.  She railed about paying over $100 a month for cable and 'NOTHING IS ON".  She carped about the magazines she receives (over 20 subscriptions!) and how they are 'nothing but ads' and how she does not care about fashion, because, seriously... all older folks who do not work do not care about that stuff...  Really?  <<Headdesk>>   Or in this case, thumping my head against the steering wheel.  She ranted about her TMJ appliance.  She complained about not eating out because people will stare at her... Of course, everyone is looking at her.  She just was on a negative roll.  She criticises those with pride in their appearance, and pride in their home's appearance, outside and inside.

I asked her... "What nice thing can you do for yourself today?  What would you enjoy?"  That started another rant of how the holidays were miserable for her as a child, etc.  I hate to tell her, mine were no picnic... But it is not the oppression olympics, and no one wins that type of discussion.  She just can't do it.  She cannot do anything to enjoy herself.  It is heartbreaking.  She finally asked what I was doing, and I told her.  She started her crap on my running, running in the cold, etc.  I changed the subject.  She then asked, "What are you doing today?  I thought you would be somewhere with a bunch of people like you usually are..."  I reminded her that I had planned this this way, and what my plans were.  She responded with "Oh- did everyone else have something to do, or have gotten tired of you?"

ARGH.  She misses the point.  In her mind, I am doing the holiday alone because I could not attach myself to another group/family.  The saddest thing?  I may have misread her comment- she might have meant to be humorous- which I doubt, but she seemed to derive a bit of pleasure from that assumption.  How sad, she wants me to be as, if not more, miserable that she is.  

I ended the call because I just could not let her attempt to pull me into a negative space.  I had talked to her neighbor two days before, and she again talked about how increasingly negative, and nutty, my hoarding mother was becoming.  Today is my final day before I return to work and a nonstop schedule for the next few weeks.  The blogging of this is the only headspace I will allow her to have, and I have not talked to her since Thursday.  I am sure she will be surly and pouting when I do call her next week.  

<Sigh>  I cannot wait.  Hoarding... No one wins.  NO ONE.  Hope everyone had a lovely week.  Thank you for reading.


  1. Happy Thanksgiving to you Lisbeth - sounds like it was a perfectly lovely time. How lucky is your mother that two lots of people are prepared to bring her lunch. Sad for her that she couldn't find the joy in that.

  2. Happy Thanksgiving! Sounds like a perfectly wonderful time--very indulgent and restorative, in a positive and nurturing way. My Mom and Dad came for Thanksgiving, and it was so stressful! Dinner was planned for 2 p.m. (as I told her repeatedly). They show up at 11 a.m. It went downhill from there. I was exhausted when they left.

  3. Malady:

    Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes! It does make me sad that she refuses to see anything nice in anything. I am reading an interesting book on resentment and what that looks like later in life, and unfortunately I have a shining example of it. Thanks for reading!


    I am so sorry Thanksgiving was stressful. The whole inability or unwillingness to abide by a time that a person extending hospitality requests simply boggles my mind. Hope you had some peace post visit! Hang in there!


  4. This: "She has disgusting names for each that she openly despises, things like "the village idiot" and "trailer trash" and other names that serve her to depersonalize and dehumanize these folks, which is a common mechanism that those with power and control issues utilize."

    ^ Oh girl! That went off like a klaxon in my head! My momster does this and I HATE IT. When she calls the neighbor "that tramp" I reply with "Well, I've always found Lynn to be so pleasant." ^ THAT. I'm sure you have written it before but this time - the wording - it was just so very dead on.

    I love that you took this time for you and your furmly. So healthy. I think I told you last year that I do the fancy antique hotel in town. It's pricey but I enjoy the one on one with the man and no one else. It prepares me for the holidays. Gets my head right.

    Also, the marathon! So excited for you. As always, I wish you health and happiness.


  5. Malady, Good sight you have there. It IS important to stop and feel the goodness that comes our way.

  6. Evilisa: I thought of you when a friend shared a lovely B&B that I think I am going to check out next year at Thanksgiving. It will be worth it to read on the porch under heated blankets overlooking the beach, and to take nice long runs (in my thermal run gear) on the sand. It is sad that there are other folks so similar to our dysfunctional family members... <>. Do not wish this on anyone, but I have gained a lot in the way of coping mechanisms and resilience. Have a great week!