Tuesday, November 8, 2016

2016, CC's wonderfully exciting Year of Changes

So things turned around!

The kitchen is amazing, the living room looks great, I got the weight loss surgery, and I'm getting my groove back.

I'm healing like a dream, getting back into Zumba and short hikes, and I plan to get another kitty around my birthday.

I can *comfortably* tuck my pants into my boots because there's tons of room in there now.

Things on the horizon look positive, and I feel great.

As I've said before, a clever cat always lands on her feet. :)

Thursday, June 30, 2016

2016, CC's sad trombone year

'Well,' said Frances, 'things are not very good around here anymore. No clothes to wear. No raisins for the oatmeal. I think maybe I'll run away.'

 This year sucks!

So within the span of a little over three months I left my long-term, so-called “planning for the future” boyfriend (as you know); had a major flood in my kitchen and half my living room from the upstairs neighbor, requiring new everything in those spaces (I hadn’t gotten a chance to write about that tidbit yet, so… surprise!); and last night I had to say goodbye to my old man kitten, Butchiekins. I was doing not so very badly today until freaking Facebook “reminded” me that I gave a last kiss to the original clever cat, Twinkiecakes a year ago today.

I’ll say it again. This year sucks!!!

The high spot in all of this is that I get a new kitchen... but in the meantime I have to live at a hotel. At least I got a suite this time, and I must admit, coming back to a king-sized, pillow-top bed with extremely soft striped white-on-white sheets and mountains of pillows is pleasant to say the least.

I treated myself to Heath Klondike bars last night. What would I do for a Klondike bar? Probably retain and gain, I guess.

Anyway, I’ll be meeting the contractor for a final estimate today and move on to ordering everything to take advantage of this weekend’s sales. I’ll keep you posted, and in the meantime you can imagine me nibbling on a Klondike bar.


Friday, April 29, 2016

Traction attraction

So I’ve been receiving traction at my chiropractic appointments and I love it!!! Even my unlovely baby hump seems to be diminishing! Can one become addicted to chiropractic traction? Heh.

I find it extremely relaxing… now if only the office didn’t insist upon playing country music...

Monday, April 4, 2016

Measuring time in boyfriends

Does anyone else regularly measure time this way?

“Hey, what year did Ace of Base come out with “The Sign”?” “Hmm, let’s see, I was with Ev. M at that time until I wasn’t and *sings ‘and I was happy then, living without him, I’ve left him, oh oh oh!’* so it must have been late 1993 or early 94.”

Or, “Do you know what year the Hometown Buffet in Danvers closed?” Well no, but I can narrow it down –  I wouldn’t have gone there by myself, but I did go there with someone, which meant I went with Ex-H at the time because he liked the place, which means it was definitely after 2001, because that's when we divorced.

It’s like, I can remember who I “was”, or my persona, by remembering who I was dating at the time.

It’s like measuring time in fashion, or living arrangements, or weight. What year did I wear those sexy dark blue jeans that showed off my booty so well? Let’s see… I wore them on dates with M of PGH, so that must have been 2008. Or hey, that terrific sage striped t-shirt dress that fit me like a dream? I was with Pokey at the time, which means I was living in my first apartment (a 4th floor walk-up in Astoria) which means it was 1995.

So I realized something. When we do this, we are performing a disservice to ourselves. We must remember to think of time in terms of us, not in terms of other people, hairstyles, clothing, homes, meds we were taking, or the jobs we held. Instead, let's consider who we are on the inside, our actions, our reactions, and our thoughts, and be able to communicate who we are using those descriptors and facts. 

All that other stuff is just window dressing, and it needs to stay in the freaking window where it belongs.

Wall of Paper

Much like the Wall of Sound, my collection of out-of-date wallpaper books was overwhelming. So in the spirit of de-cluttering (and who am I kidding, to vent a bit) I decided to free the sheets from the books.

rip! RIP! RRIIIIIP! So satisfying! And I made good use of my utility knife too, even having to change the blade. Working out aggression by destroying something was surprisingly fun. I found myself just pulling the books apart, screws and all, with tools and muscles. Huh! Who knew it would be that great? (Not to mention the amount of space I freed up in The Clever Cat’s Closet of Crafts!)

Anyway, halfway through my debauch it turns out I had not been choosy in my pick of the papers. Appealing as they were, I did NOT need all the paper. So by the end of the ripandsortfest, I was left with about eight or nine inches of what I considered beautiful papers… and about six inches of other pretty papers, just not exactly my style.

I posted to see if anyone could use it, and discovered that one friend will be able to use them to create covers for personal books! I’m so glad someone else can use them.

Hmm? What’s that? What will CC use it for, you ask? Well, Barbie backgrounds, for one… one book I had gotten was of large-size pages of gorgeous photographic murals; covering items such as wall switch plates – yes, decoupage; general craft and art projects; and some are even suitable as art pieces on their own. One page was so gorgeous I’m going to frame it. Teehee!

In addition, I also took apart eight or so outdated upholstery sample books, for Barbie rugs and one special hanging art project that I've had in mind ever since I got the books (however many years ago). I can't wait to do that one, but it requires thought, backing strength, and some engineering so I'll need to really figure it out. I'm excited!

Google, you schmaltzy asshole

Google really needs to stop taking pre-breakup pictures and videos and forming them into collages and events. I innocently opened the gallery on my phone to post a fun update on Facebook only to discover new creations featuring items from a month ago!

Auto Awesome, my sweet A. More like Auto Asshole, amirite?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A heat pack helps

So I never know what to expect with this whole Failed Love Affair thing.

Sometimes I’m ok. I apply makeup, go to work, make jokes, cook dinner, hang out with friends, the same regular shit.

Sometimes I’m overcome with sadness (I turned on the radio yesterday I the car and the next thing I knew my cheeks were wet).

Sometimes I’m great! Clarity! Cleaning! And clutter? Adios!

But occasionally I am overwhelmed with a rage so cold that it burns. It burns its way from my heart to my neck and hangs out there for a while. A heat pack helps, sometimes.

‘Scuse me. Gotta go heat one up…

Mad Lib Tuesday

It’s Mad Lib Tuesday!

Well, I missed last week, so I'll try to make it a biweekly feature instead, through Project Labyrinth. Today's is How to De-Clutter, and here's the link. Post your result in the comments!

Sunday, March 27, 2016

You know what's humbling?

Continuing to clean out and throw away stuff, and come across an oooold CD, containing (among other things) your marital (read: divorce) settlement agreement from 2002 and a personal mission statement from 1999, and realize they were both reasonable, and that the mission statement could have been written yesterday.

My Personal Mission Statement,  5/21/99

To find happiness, fulfillment, and value in living –

I, [theclevercat] will –
  • Lead a life centered on the principles of honesty, integrity, fairness, and quality.
  • Remember what's important in life is productivity, generosity, learning, and personal growth. I will also remember the importance of family and my happiness.
  • Respect the admirable characteristics in others, such as being enthusiastic, ethical, and organized; and attempt to implement similar characteristics like being proactive, sensitive, and truthful into my own life.
  • Recognize my strengths and develop my talents as an intelligent person who is resourceful, open-minded, creative, hardworking, and a good writer.
  • Humble myself my acknowledging that I can be sarcastic, impulsive, and often late and by constantly striving to transform my weaknesses into strengths.
Envision myself becoming a person who:
  • [Ex-husband] thinks is fun, truthful and loving.
  • Mom thinks is ethical, creative, and sensitive.
  • [Friend] thinks is self-reliant, loyal, and giving.
  • [Ex-boss, a great boss!] thinks is hardworking and responsible.  

My Personal Goals
Sharpen the Saw: To fight for what is right. To never "settle". To learn something new every day and apply that knowledge to my days. To tell others what I need and want to function as best I can. 
Wife: To love [ex-husband] and be affectionate with him. To keep him happy and satisfied and with a full stomach. To be someone he always wants to come home to. To be supportive and never to push or stifle him. To nurture his growth. To show him that books can be fun. 
Daughter: To keep Mom and Dad proud of me. To be ethical, patient, and strong. 
Sister: To be supportive when asked for direction. To give helpful answers to questions. To guide her through any rough mental or emotional times. 
Friend: To be supportive and helpful. To show my friends that beauty is what you believe it to be. 
Cook: To continuously try new things but to keep old recipes at the front of the cookbook. To get [ex-husband] to accept and enjoy vegetarian protein. To use the items we received as gifts. 
Craftsperson: To not push this aside and to keep items easily accessible. To try a new thing every month. To not go overboard buying new items. 
Assistant: To be organized. To not accept more work than I can complete in a reasonable amount of time.

Ouch. Well, at least I'm consistent.

On a humorous note, the mission statement was written in my (still favorite) font. *smile*

Thursday, March 24, 2016

It's good to have friends

For they:
  • Tell you dirty jokes when you feel low
  • Laugh with you when you aren’t
  • Remind you why you are valuable
  • Don’t “yes” you
  • Let you lean on them when you feel frail
  • Allow you to help them when it’s their turn
  • Support your choices
  • Are non-judgmental
  • Give you another perspective
  • Let you borrow their heat packs
  • Love you wholly, flaws and all

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Autopilot vs. dimmer switch

It must be freeing to only think in terms of twos: black and white; all or none; on and off; binary opposition. Nothing in the middle, no grays, no sometimeses, not a dimmer switch in sight. It confounds me, it really does. Decisions must be so uncomplicated… they already made them, a long time ago! Autopilot, anyone? Sigh.

Thoughtlessness would provide such clarity, yes? Part of me envies their decision making with the easy button: their disregard for others, vainglorious strutting, and all their extra hours free of worry, reflection, constant inspiration and not enough time to do it all.

But the other part of me reminds me how unevolved they are, how often they reject reason, and how they live a life without philosophy. How unintelligent! How boorish! How… empty.

Me? It’s all on a dimmer switch. I’m the person who when confronted with an “All…” statement, disagrees and reminds them of the “exception to the rule”.* Except the exception isn’t always an exception. Maybe the “exception” IS the rule, and the “All”-ers are the exceptions. The difference between us and them is that their speaking voice may be louder.

And hey, their speaking voice may be louder, but our cup? It’s always more full.

*(Whatever that is. Are there exceptions? Are there rules?)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Pulling stitches

What’s that saying by Louis C.K.? "When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don't get to decide that you didn't."

I’m moody today. Partly from the breakup, partly pre-menstrual, partly feeling like I’m spinning my wheels now and I detest that… this has not been the best of weeks.

As my heart begins its process of healing, I can effortlessly remember scads of good times – his treatment of me (although not always of others… why didn’t I warn myself?!) had been outstanding – which is maybe why his inaction was so hurtful and confusing. I find myself still using his sound bites (hey, they’re funny! and generally accurate) and noticing things that would make him laugh (although not always me).

His stuff sits in a lumpy pile out of sight for the moment of return, a time I don’t look forward to but also somehow do. Above all, I will keep my self-possession. I do not need to raise my voice to be heard. I’m just hurting right now, is all. Stitches sure pull, don’t they?

And speaking of stitches, I’m going to begin another (simple) blankie. I know spring isn’t the right season for blanket-making, but it will help me feel cozy and I’ll enjoy making something I can use. Maybe I’ll even post a pic when finished.

So as time knits a wound, I will crochet a blanket. And also, get a haircut… the unequivocal action of breakups! Booyah!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

New feature, [exclamation]!

It’s Mad Lib Tuesday!

I will feature a weekly mad lib beginning today, through Project Labyrinth. Today's is entitled The Breakup, and here's the link. Why not make your own?

Post your result in the comments so we can all have a giggle.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Strength mustered

So over the past few days I've thought a lot about what attracts people to each other. I suspect this was what happened in the case of my latest "fun while it lasted" relationship.

The Toxic Attraction Between an Empath and a Narcissist

"Emotionally exhausted, lost, depleted and debilitated an empath will struggle to understand what has happened to the once loving, attentive and charismatic person they were attracted to.

However, an empath should not be looking to blame anyone else. An empath has a choice, to remain the victim, a pawn in the narcissists game or to garner all strength they can muster and find a way out."
Well, consider strength mustered. Although I think "toxic" is not exactly accurate. Let's just stick with "destructive". (Apologies for the Elephant Journal site as it seems to be quite laggy.) Also, 
"A narcissist will struggle to have any connection to their authentic self and will likely walk away from the relationship very easily once they realise they have lost their ability to control the empath. The game is no longer pleasurable if they are not having their ego constantly stroked, so they will seek out their next victim."
So I’m glad it only “cost” me a little over two years. Granted, they were important years, crucial years… but I learned my lesson and had a bit of fun while doing it.

I kept reading and came across this, too:
Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: 30 Traits of a Narcissist
"A narcissist will basically role-play and respond in whatever manipulative manner that garners the best response. If they are up against a strong, determined and independent person they will move into the role of a sensitive, loving, caring and vulnerable character. If they interact with a codependent personality type, they will likely move into the role of aggressor."
So I guess I am a strong, determined, and independent person after all. *smile*

Onward! To the front room! To removing excess crap! To the future!!!

Garbage en cantidad

Along the lines of decluttering, I threw away a crapload of stuff from the front room (again! That damn front room is going to be the death of me!) I must have lugged down six black trash bags and a bunch of freshly emptied plastic tubs. Not to mention the round coffee table that I never actually sold.

One useful thing about a romantic relationship ending? The urge to purge!

What would you do?

So what would you do if the man you ardently love couldn’t identify what he wanted in a relationship after two years of dedicated romantic entanglement, a great deal of fun, and wonderfully few arguments? What if you had already asked him and he had formerly stated that he loved you, was in love with you, and indeed wanted to marry you? And if he told your family that he wanted to marry you? And he met your close friends? And if you truly, genuinely believed it?

Would you be sad and conflicted? What if you were both in your forties and you really regarded him as The One? And if you got along with his family, and he with yours, and if your parents liked his parents? And if he knew it, because you had disclosed that good news. Would you just walk away, or would you want to work it out somehow?

Would you suggest a break, for him to figure it out? Would you express your love for him and your desire to make him happy but describe your inability to do so until he told you what would make him happy? Would you tell him it was imperative to you to be certain you weren’t pushing him into something he didn’t want? Would you explain that this decision has made you ill but the only way for him to determine his needs would be for him to first be free? Would you confess that you don’t want the ride to be over, but there have been too many excuses – would you begin to list them? – and would you be interrupted? 

Would you listen openly to his repeated responses and attempt to understand his belief that a one-hour drive is a long-distance relationship? Why he never really moved in (part-time, of course) to the large condo you own even though he had agreed to? That it was the drop in the country's interest rate eight years ago that caused him to decide to not buy his own home then, and since then? Would you ponder his commute and understand, for crying out loud, that one hour each direction would kill his spirit? Would you suggest a home together halfway from each other’s workplaces, since an hour commute for you would be unfair too?

Would you remember that when he truly wanted to do something he would run with it, as with his numerous projects and ventures? Would you flash back to a conversation several months ago when you asked him if you were doing anything wrong and he had said “no”? And when you asked if he was the one doing something wrong, that he really never answered? Would you feel like kicking yourself then, just a little?

And might you quite possibly lose your shit for thirty seconds at his willful ignorance and blatant disregard for commitment after he accuses you of wanting him to go broke by living in a home of his own? You, the type to seldom raise your voice? Would you tell him you had to get off the phone right now? 


Would you expect that you were still together until you finished the conversation in person the next day, as you two had discussed earlier?

Would you expect he would show up? Or might you begin to suspect that he would cop out? Would you wonder if everything was ok, and call but not receive an answer? Would you begin to worry that something happened to him or to his parents (because you still care) and text him with the absurd “hope” that perhaps they were in the hospital, or worse? Or would you rethink it and decide that maybe he was just being petty?

Would you go to sleep wondering?


Would you try once again in the morning?

Would you believe his ability to do absolutely nothing? Would you be awestruck at his inaction, gob smacked by his show of disrespect for you and your time, stunned at his small-mindedness, dumbfounded by his cruelty, disgusted at his lies, and astonished at his lack of balls cowardly disposition?  

Would you lose all respect for him?

You might. I know I did.

Would you become bitter? Or would you simply pity him, and take the high road? I took the high road, because manners do still count these days.

Finally, would you ask yourself if you made the right decision?


Would you be right?

I was.*

*And I certainly hope he’ll stay warm at night, sleeping as he has for many years alone, on a mattress set on the floor in his parents’ house with his purportedly gigantic pile of invisible money.

"You don't own me...

I’m not one of your many toys…

You don't own me
Don't try to change me in any way
You don't own me
Don't tie me down 'cause I'd never stay…"
           - As recorded by Lesley Gore, 1963

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Headed in the wrong direction

So my neck is going the wrong way. I have arthritis, fusing, and spurs in my cervical column and the beginning of a dowager's hump. *sad face* I lean to the side and I have a tilted pelvis. There’s very little space for the nerves in my neck and my skull is sitting almost completely directly on top of vertebra number 1 (whatever it is called). I saw the x-ray and it ain’t purdy. He says it’s like a 60-something year old neck. Chiro wants me to have traction! To the tune of $4,000. Ahem. I’m not leaning toward that yet. Get it? Leaning? Ha.

I am wary. I shall check with my primary and see what she says. Meanwhile, I will get some adjustments which should help in the short term – got the first session of who knows how many last night. I enjoyed the supersonic massage thingy and then received three types of adjustments – the one where you’re face down and the table drops at your neck; the one on your tummy where you take a breath and let it all out and they press down hard on your back and it makes a scary sound; and finally the one people think of when they hear the word “chiropractor” – the one where you lay on your back and they twist your neck and it sounds like a tree breaking. Then I got five minutes of ice packs. Then I went home and applied more ice packs to my neck and a cat to my lap.

This is worrisome. I'm going to try not to let it bother me but I know me. I'm gonna worry. But I'll keep you posted, readers, and if I need advice I will ask.

My family and I have always joked that I have no neck... but I guess we were right.

On the plus side, I got a manicure today... bright green, to cheer me up!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Something's fishy

At the North America Seafood Expo, in Boston! (The company “title” given to me by JJ was Assistant Assistant. Teehee.)

I went with JJ and lasted two hours before walking past a tall woman holding a tray of crunchy dried things in tiny paper cups suitable for pill-giving at hospitals. Well, I made the mistake of breathing while passing, and caught a whiff of something that had never before been smelt by my poor nose. Smelt? At the seafood show? Get it? Haha.

In fact, I do not think it was smelt (that joke is far too easy). I had caught a glimpse on my way past and whatever it was had been chopped up, and was colorful and festive-looking: bits of red, pinkish, orange, black, green maybe? It looked like ground peppercorns of various colors to someone just beginning to learn about international fish tastes. We were in one of the numerous Asian aisles at the time.

I’ll tell you what it was NOT (to my eye – and I have watched a lot of the original Iron Chef! Heh.) It was not dried sardines, shrimp, anchovy, cod/bacalao, salmon, and it was also not bonito flakes. Maybe it was a mix of fish with spices or other things? It was not garlicky though, nor did it smell distinctly of pepper, ginger, chilies, kimchi, or soy. Or even seaweed. Whatever it was, I was overcome. I guess it was enough time at the trade show because JJ took one look at my face and asked if I was ok. I told him I wasn’t going to be able to smell fish for much longer that day, and he made the (smart!) executive decision to lead me toward the exit.

But I keep wondering about it. What a mystery! Maybe I will ask JJ to find out what it was. I must know! 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thank you for your support

So I finally bit the bullet and got a few new bras that actually fit and (seem to) manage my not inconsiderable side-boob. It's a Goddess bra that I bought at an online sale at JC Penney after trying on my sister's one in a different size.

I guess I should have gotten the next cup size up though (this is a "Dayum Girl in the Name of All That is Holy You Got Some Tig 'Ol Bitties" H) because after a day, even though it's significantly better and offers about 200% more support than what I was wearing, I still have a bit of overflow.

What sparked the sudden need for tit control? Well, it's not so sudden. It has been a long time coming, and at the price of $45 and upward for a bra that one cannot try on at buying time since the freaking size is unavailable in brick and mortar stores is not not only frustrating, it requires careful budgeting.

So one never knows what will fit. At T-giving last year my sister introduced me to a different way of chesticle measurement known as the "scoop and swoop". Using this method we arrived at a bizarre 40N. Twice. So I went ahead and bought what I thought would be the perfect bra online,  but when it arrived it was laughably large in the cups.

So when I visited her a couple weeks ago, I tried hers on and we decided that I should try the H. I think we were wrong again, or maybe the bra simply needs my imprint upon it in order to bend to my will boobs. We shall see! Good luck to me!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

MA Primary, 2016

So today is the day I cast my ballot for Hillary’s nomination, again.

It brings to mind when I was a youngster at P.S. 24 in Flushing, Queens and it was a voting day. They would drag out the voting booths with their drapes and mysterious handles, strangers at the sign-in tables, and occasional bunting. I also seem to remember voting taking place in the auditorium, but that doesn’t make much sense, does it?

Fast forward to today, through my first vote at college for Clinton in ’92 and again at the next one, the Bush/Gore/”Chad” fiasco, Obama, and now this extremely exciting and sometimes nauseating progression of events leading to today, Super Tuesday.

I was disappointed that Hillary didn’t get the nomination last time… really disappointed. Here’s hoping for this time – fingers, legs, and eyes crossed!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I miss my face

Well, I'm not any closer to getting back on the bean now than I was at last posting. But I have 5k races coming up! So I really can't do them well while lugging around an extra 30 pounds.

30? Yes, 30. Fully half of what I had lost. I miss my face and especially my ass, which was really getting quite good. :(

So. I'm taking a staycation next week and will reevaluate my eating, begin tracking on the government Supertracker, and start one of those couch-to-5k thingies. Have I mentioned that running a mile is something I've always wanted to do? Well, it is. And I will have a new bra (which will help immensely) and a new attitude, which is really the most important piece of this puzzle. I'll keep you posted.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Don't believe me? Just watch.

So. After a very long time and a bunch of pounds lost on the PP program (Simply Filling) and a few lost on the SP program (61 in total, then 20-something gained back due to Life Stuff including thyroid and other meds issues as well as falling off the treadmill and injuring myself - nice, huh?) I've thought a great deal about it and have decided to quit Weight Watchers for a while. I need to get my head back in the game, and they are not helping.

Reasons being:

  • Doing us a disservice by using a points-based system, not a nutritionally-based system
  • Constantly pushing their (not-so-great) foods (my leader does not push, but the site and their emails do)
  • Having terribly frustrating, not fully-functional website and apps
  • Focusing on the holistic crap at the meetings (ffs, I am here to lose weight. I can meditate on my own, yes?)
  • There are other reasons, but these are the ones that roll off my fingers. 

I tried tracking (yes it works, but it doesn't need to be done through WW) and journaling/blogging for a few weeks (on the website, which was slow) and can't seem to get back into it. I'm still signed up for another month at least so damned if I'm going to let that go by the wayside, though.

Anyway, I suspect I might be more prone to stick to a long-term health plan if I can think about it myself... I may try a different way of tracking that actually tells me real nutritional amounts (grams) of what I'm eating. The WW site will tell you calories, but that's only one snapshot, and frankly, for those of us who are interested in real data, it's useless.

Also, I miss this blog. That's right. I'm back, baby! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! :D

No idea on whether I will be posting food-related updates or journaling weight-loss whatnot or just sharing some shit now and then, but I might. Thoughts?