Archive for July, 2011


I am spinning my wheels. 

I have the house project, the divorce book project, my novel project, my software project, and this blog project.

They are all in different stages.  None of my projects are getting done fast enough. 
If I work too long on one project I get sick of it and switch my time and focus.

There are two sides to this:

(I confess to you that I am secretly afraid none of them are going to get done)

I know myself and they all will get done.


I remember a quote from a book I read (I just don’t remember the author) 

Something about focus and how it can be like a burning laser.

I determine that I am a rotating disco ball. 
Light pockets of energy flashing……. in a circle………on a wall.

I wonder if I am trying to sabotage myself for some hidden reason.

I throw up my hands.
This is my nature.  I have always been like this.  I can’t dissect this from myself. 
I think some of this taints and ruins my romantic relationships. 
It drives my parents nuts.
I am infecting my girls.
I am either adored or hated for this trait.

The personal push and pull for space between individuals is never quite right. 
My need to be crazy busy.
Not sure what to do with my thoughts in a lull.
Then I will crash and sleep for hours.
I get distracted with my thoughts when people talk to me.

I analyze myself:

In high school it was all honors classes, four different sports, a year in Spain, a Dan Jaskiewicz sports trophy and a Sweet Heart Crown.

In college it was travel tennis.  A trip to Nationals in Tempe, Arizona and a day trip to Mexico.  I was working on the college newspaper, working part-time, being part of the diversity club and taking full-time classes.

At Michigan it was working two jobs, taking a full course load, going to Seville and doing whatever was necessary to salsa dance all night long while trying to score all A’s with my best friend Melissa.

In law school it was running an in home business, owning and managing four rental properties, taking a full course load, and playing the stock market.  There was a scholarship and another big award.  There was Law Review and the Cooley Clinic. 

After law school it was becoming a partner in my own firm.   I cajoled my partner into a real estate deal.  My goal to continually improve our financial bottom line.  At times my partner would voice his displeasure at my need for more risk. 

(Today it looks like my pushing the envelope will pay big for him but he always reminds me we are not out of the woods yet). 

My frustration is that I need to eat and sleep.

I have to make myself go have fun because I know I will suffer burn out.
When my friends text me I go.  So it’s bowling on Monday’s at the Clique.  It’s tennis in Standale on Saturday.  I love and adore them.  I know I need these breaks. 

I am torn and distracted.


I work on surrounding myself with experts in different fields. 

I have a contractor that is going to help with the home.
I found a tree cutter who needs legal services and it appears we are going to barter.
I have a published author that is my mentor for the divorce book project.
I have family and friends helping me with my novel project.
I have found a programmer that will look at the software project.
I am surrounded by website and blog experts.

I am assembling a team.

All these people seem to genuinely want to help me and want me to succeed. 
If I succeed I know this will benefit others I really care about. 
If I don’t succeed I will keep trying until I do.

It’s me.  It’s my nature.  I still am irritated that none of it is going fast enough.



I have the yearn to focus on this area of my life.  My husband seemed to rebel against it.  Our couple hood could not support my want of this habit. 

In this family, there was really no room, for any helping. 

His response for my expressed need in this area (I thought) was often irritatingly trite and demeaning. 

I was continually reminded, “Jodi, don’t you understand, charity, begins at home.”

The struggle was too much.  I didn’t have the energy for this continual fight. I had to pick and choose my battles.  I was worn and frayed dealing with my day to day issues with this man.  I had no energy to fight for any cause that existed outside of our home. 

This is, to you, my pathetic excuse. 

I figured out how to feed my charity addiction.  I lived vicariously though my sister.  At her home I could breathe her second hand smoke.  She dealt out all kinds of causes.  This is what made her so exciting and fun.  She lived in a junkie flop house full of characters, events and parties. 

The girls and I would often cop a spot. People rotated in and out.  There were ball players, exchange students, priests and nuns.  Foreigners frequented her house.  There was always a game of cards or spoons.  Her husband Dan became addicted to her drugs.  Jen was always coordinating, packaging and delivering something soothing to someone.  Dinners, drinks, snacks, and baby blankets were bundled and packed.  She did all of these things, worked on her MBA, took care of my niece and nephew, enrolled in classes at the Y and still was the source of my number one fix.

The girls and I became hooked.

I secretly took this habit to work.  I found I could hide my addiction from Mr. P. during work hours.  I knew it was only fair to disclose my addiction to my business partner.  We discussed the parameters of any use.  My partner agreed with the concept of a humanity fix.  It was O.K. that I took that bottle to work.  I found my enabler and my excuse.  I didn’t have to hide it under any desk.

I handed out pro bono divorces. 

That drug made me sick.   

(People who do not pay for a divorce have little motivation to try and settle their disputes). 


I tried the next best thing.  

Pro bono bankruptcies. 

I find that is a pretty good high.  

(I still do those now and again).

My need and want for the next best thing was increasing.  So I decided to try God’s Kitchen.  I also went down to the shelter on Division.  I worked Veteran’s park in the winter time.  I would find myself staring into the faces of older middle aged men.  I start to feel a little uncomfortable in sharing too much with them.  I wonder what violence or sex crime they could be capable of.

I cannot help but wonder what woman they have violated, hit or abused.

I don’t do any more for any homeless man–especially with the girls in tow.


But my vein has this need.  I fully understand the plight and dilemma of a young mother.  I know what it is to buried alive. 

Try digging out of that hole with a teaspoon.

See how long you can stand in that snow drift barefoot with no overcoat. 

It’s more enlightening than Econ 101. 


My friend Dave suggests that for me to truly understand the sweet it was necessary for me to taste that bitter. 

I am still trying to get bitter out of my mouth. 

I am really trying to work on my brokenheartedness, hate and frustration. 

 I am doing this the best way that I can.  I am really trying hard not to poison my girls. 

I am trying to open my eyes as well as my heart.

Amy tells me there are really nice guys out there.


Maybe that is why the cosmic strings have pulled me toward this new group of women.  They help young mothers.  They have sought me out.  I think I can be of some assistance.  I hope I can motivate that young stripper to consider other options.   I know it’s not going to be easy.  They basically all come uneducated, unemployed or working that minimum wage job.  I am finding they all have tatooed and pierced loser boyfriends.  They share their DNA with dead beat dads.  Most of their cars don’t run, there are never enough diapers and just not enough milk. 

There is the need for PPO paperwork,  paternity complaints, motions for DNA testing and requests for increased child support.

It’s starting to sound way too familiar.   My time in that law library can be of benefit.

I know I have turned my teaspoon into a shovel. 

Maybe I can help and motivate these girls to do the same.



The Sandwich

In the past couple of weeks I have gone out on a few dates with the same guy.  He is younger than me, and he is really NICE.  None of this is normal for me.  I usually cancel first dates before I go on them, and if I really feel like that isn’t an option I go with no intention of having a second.  I do feel like a jerk about it, but even though I keep trying to take that step and starting dating again, it never feels right.

But this guy is someone I know.  And the first time wasn’t really a date, it was just drinks between co-workers.  Officially.  Unofficially, it may have been the successful result of a half-baked scheme to get him out for drinks so I could see if he was more than just a nice guy to chat with at work – without the pressure of it actually being a “date.”  Mostly, things have been going well.  I enjoy his company and want to get to know him better.  But I have still had some reservations.

The drinks went well.  So we went out again.  And again.  And then we went out for drinks with his friends, who were also young and nice.  They were also funny in much the same way my friends are funny.  Watching him with his friends, and listening to their jokes – both inside and spur of the moment, I saw a different side of him.  It made me more comfortable.

See, it isn’t that I object to dating a nice guy.  It’s that I don’t want to feel guilty about dating a nice guy and damaging him in some way.  I’m confused about where I’m going in life.  I don’t want to drag someone into my indecision.  The reason I date guys who are not “nice” is that they become somewhat disposable.  If they continue to treat me badly, I will drop them the minute my life becomes stressful.  It’s justifiable, because I didn’t need to put up with them in the first place.  But they’re fun and I like sex, which is why I hang out with them and another reason I avoid nice guys.  Nice guys deserve to be treated like people, not just sex objects.

I know that I am not responsible every time someone I date gets hurt, and no one goes into a relationship assuming it’s going to be nothing but sunshine and roses.  But I don’t think I should get overly involved with someone who is looking for something I know I’m not going to give him.  And I just haven’t been sure that I’m ready for a real relationship with a nice guy.

Our dates have had me thinking, though.  He is respectful in all the right ways, and the side of him I saw with his friends has me thinking that he also might be disrespectful in all the right ways, or at least open to exploring the idea.  Bow chicka wow wow….

And last night he outdid himself.  Like I said, we work together.  Last night we had a special event at work that was insane.  People. Lines. Chaos. Frantic. The night was a jumble.  And I saw him after about 6 hours and asked if there was any food left for the employees.  I was starving by then, and I didn’t want to get my hopes up if it was going to take another hour or two to find food.  He assured me, however, that there was indeed food left.  I went to run a final errand, and just as I completed it and turned he approached me and handed me a sandwich.  He said it was the last one, so he had grabbed it for me.

To be honest, my heart melted.  We had been working in tandem all night, and it had been going very well.  He was always there when I needed him.  But that was work.  We kind of needed to work together just to pull off the event.

This was different.  He went out of his way to come find me in the back of the building at the end of a really long shift when he had to be tired and sore and could have just waited upstairs for me.

Instead we grabbed a few quiet minutes in a back room while we chatted about the night and I tore into the best. sub. ever.

In simple terms, I liked talking to him over a sandwich at the end of a hard day.

And as I stood there watching him I knew that I was open to seeing where this goes.  He’s a nice man.  Maybe he will understand that I am at a crossroads right now and not judge me too harshly for decisions I have yet to make.  Maybe it won’t go much further than it has.  But maybe it will.  The only things that have stopped me so far are my own hesitations and hang ups.  My own concerns that are based on nothing but generalizations.

And maybe the fact that he’s nice doesn’t mean he isn’t already as much of a closet freak as I am….


According to Merriam-Webster it is:

2. a : one of the attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual b (1) : a feature used to separate distinguishable things into categories; also : a group or kind so separated <advertising of a very primitive character> (2) : the detectable expression of the action of a gene or group of genes (3) : the aggregate of distinctive qualities characteristic of a breed, strain, or type <a wine of great character> c : the complex of mental and ethical traits marking and often individualizing a person, group, or nation <the character of the American people> d : main or essential nature especially as strongly marked and serving to distinguish <excess sewage gradually changed the character of the lake>
3. position, capacity <his character as a town official>
5. reputation <the scandal has damaged his character and image>
6: moral excellence and firmness <a man of sound character>
7 a : a person marked by notable or conspicuous traits <quite a character> b : one of the persons of a drama or novel c : the personality or part which an actor recreates <an actress who can create a character convincingly> d : characterization especially in drama or fiction e : person, individual <a suspicious character>
8 : a short literary sketch of the qualities of a social type — char·ac·ter·less \-lÉ™?s\ adjective — in character : in accord with a person’s usual qualities or traits <behaving in character> — out of character : not in accord with a person’s usual qualities or traits <his rudeness was completely out of character>

Middle English caracter, from Latin character mark, distinctive quality,from Greek charaktēer, from charassein to scratch, engrave; perhaps akin to Lithuanian žerti to scratch
First Known Use: 14th century

I think about my character all the time.  I analyze the character of others all the time.  I look for the good.  I find myself making excuses or rationalizing away flaws in others.  I find this need to come up with logical reasons that fit a behavior to explain the bad.   I am the type that needs answers to my questions. 
I like to think we all have a common goal.  That we are all inherently good and want to improve ourselves.

Who doesn’t want to be the best that they can be?  Why wouldn’t you want to self-sacrifice and help others?

I love characters in books.  I am learning how to write and form characters in my stories.  I look for traits and flaws.  I wonder about the people around me.  What is the make up of their character? For the most part I find people forgivable and endearing.   It has taken me about eleven years to learn how to read clients.  I get better and better at it on every file and every case.  I learn how to read a judge or another attorney’s face.

I still have to remind myself that there are people inherently toxic, selfish, self-centered and truly evil.

In pondering all of this Pat Conroy must have been thinking the same thing when he wrote sections of his South of Broad.  It is beautifully written and I fell in love with this section when I read it:

“How do I know if I can trust you?”

“You don’t.  You got to look at me.  Study me, and come to some
decision about me.  Is this a man I want to charge the sniper’s nest
with, or a Judas who will sell his soul for thirty pieces of silver?
Or is this a Simon who will help Jesus carry the cross up to Calvary?
You got to make a decision about me.  And you got to do it fast.”

So I ask you the reader: Who are you?  Are you the leader of the snipers?  A Judas?  A Simon?
Are you trustworthy?  How do I know?  How can I tell?  What is it that I am supposed to do?  Do I take one look, close my eyes and just leap?

I really try to figure all of this out.  I look to the person’s occupation.  I look at the person’s family history.  I look to hear what other’s have to say about this person.  I even ask the person directly. 

I am wondering who is this person—really?

In my personal life I am not so good in figuring out a man’s character.  I know we are all on our best behavior when we date.  It’s the daily contact that grinds like sandpaper.  When we are all tired, hungry, and had a long day at work when our inner monsters come out.   

It’s when you are changing a flat tire and out of frustration a can of fix-a-flat has been chucked at your head.

I have a monster too–I know it’s not very big and it rarely comes out.  So small that it won’t even chuck the can of fix-a- flat back.

Ultimately, I close my eyes and try to feel the character of the person.  I ask my inner voice what it has to say. 

My Jen tells me I need to learn how to pour a beer over a man’s head.  My Kate tells me I need to start on the premise that all people are evil until they prove otherwise.  The problem I have is even when I turn to punch my self defense instructor in the face all he can do is laugh.   “Everyone Look!  It’s Monty Python’s killer rabbit.”

I am not mean.  I can’t pull it off.

They know me.  My cuteness and goodness  become character flaws.  These traits are used against me.  The line in the sand can be erased, discussed, redrawn and negotiated.   

My professor friend suggested it really is Darwin at work.  Our ability to look at people and decide if they are healthy or not.  He explains that once you get past the packaging we have to see if the product is going to make us sick. 

I am kept wondering when I am going to have the allergic reaction.

So I ask the professor: “Who are you really?” Are you the leader of the snipers?  A Judas?  A Simon?

He just simply answers, “I am a professor.”

I resign.  I acknowledge that I am flawed in the Darwin department.  I need product labels that show me content.  I need ingredients listed.  I need expiration dates.  I am convinced that somewhere in my gene pool I was gypped.  

Unless warned otherwise, I am the little girl that would help the serial killer find his lost dog.

I don’t want to waste a perfectly good beer by dumping it over someone’s head.  They aren’t worth my time nor the effort.  I want a graceful exit out.  

I just have never had the desire to key a car, pour sugar in a gas tank or punch someone in the face.  Darwin did not give me that kind of nature. 

So I understand that I need to go about self -correcting.  I think I should be like Lisabeth Salander and carry a hammer in my purse.

I wonder if I use my words if that would help.  I could wear a F.U.C.K. Y.O.U. tee-shirt.  I wonder if that would convince, be of some assistance, or help.

I doubt it. 

My shirt would be pink and white.  The profanity would be written in glitter.

To My Friends

You amaze me.  You have so much energy, and your heart seems to have an infinite capacity for kindness.  You are not cruel.  You are funny and sentimental.  Sometimes the words bubble out of you and sometimes they weave around each other in your head, making themselves known only to you.


You encourage me to follow my dreams.  You inspire me to be a better person.  Your thoughtfulness makes me both grateful and self-reflective.  You are changing the world – one person or project at a time.  You go out of your way to make others feel welcome. Your actions are meant to make the people around you feel better.  You would never intentionally do anything to make someone else feel like less.  You are always looking for ways to improve.


I want so much for you.  I want you to chase your dreams and accomplish your goals.  I want you to have love and joy that last forever.  I want you to have peace of mind and gladness of heart.  I want you to have balance.  I want you to find friends who are just like you.


I want to be part of your life.  I am thankful that you are part of mine.  You add so much to me.


I can write this same message to each of you because if it were not true I would not call you friend.  I have learned that some people will pull you down forever, and you can’t always save them or pull them up with you.  I have learned that sometimes you have to be selfish about your time and your energy.  I have learned that my choices about who gets to be a part of my life affect my energy and my own ability to give to the people around me.


I choose you because you make me a better person.  I hope you choose me for the same reason, but it doesn’t matter.  There will always be room in my heart for you.


For a Mid-Day Laugh


Fireworks & Fireflies

Parts of this day were wonderful.  The other pieces didn’t fit.  I found myself, at moments, alone.  I was fighting becoming depressed. 

It is amazing what a phone call or text from a friend can do.

I need to remind myself that is how life can be.  I like to think that someone is really looking out for me in this universe.  That some sort of string is linking me to some sort of positive energy.

But like always I have my doubts.  I always have these doubts.

I don’t know why I get stuck.  Part of my problem is that I get frustrated that things are not happening fast enough for me.  I need to remind myself that I am not on a time line.  I struggle with this.  I have a lot I want to accomplish with my work, my house, personal projects, my books and other things I want to do and learn. 

I really want to know if anyone else has this problem. I don’t feel that anyone else shares their imperfections with me.  It would help if others confessed or if I knew others felt the way I do.  I don’t like feeling that I am so alone.

I have also alienated some people.  I know I am doing it.  I am conscious of it.   They want parts of me I cannot give.  Conditions are placed.  I pull back.  I crawl back into my bed and pull the covers over my head.  A dissolving of sorts.  So I guess I actively choose to be alone.  Then rebel against it. 

This is just all so very screwed up.   

I could take an easier road (but we all know that this might not really be easier).  I choose not too.  I could link myself to men who have voiced that someday they want to take care of me.  I could move in with a so-and-so.  They push.  I pull away.  Maybe as I get older there will be no more offers.  This is a true possibility (they remind me of this).  They want to move so swift and fast.  I think a lesser, lazier, more insecure woman would take up these offers.  I am true to myself because I am a horrible actress.  They appear to want me.  I don’t yet want them.   Then I am sure if I changed my mind it would be the reverse.  It’s that crazy circular cycle.

The why’s and why not’s crop up.  I am tried of thinking about them. 

So I choose to be alone.  But I really don’t want to be alone.

My solution to my oneness is to work a second job.  I would work a third or fourth job if I had to.  I don’t understand why I have to explain it. 

I just crave for someone to understand it.

Today my focus was to spend what remaining moments I had with my middle child.  She is my Sarah.  She is an amazing person.  We talked and had real conversation.  We went out to dinner together.  I learned things I didn’t know about her.  Before I knew it our time together was gone.  She was off and running to work.  I am now on her time line.  Then I was left alone at home.  The other girls all off in different directions.  They all will be gone for the next several weeks.

I have never spent 4th of July home alone.  Maybe this was what I was supposed to experience:  A void, solace and distance.

I didn’t like any of it. 

Amy calls.  I am invited to a happy home full of fireworks and fireflies.  Children are in the back yard.  It is full of marshmallows, chocolate, wine and beer.  There is laughter and genuine like.  These people care about me.  I don’t have to give anything back.  I feel they enjoy me for me.  This feeling is mutual.  I don’t have to explain anything.  They just understand.

When I drive home the fireworks are all going off downtown G.R.  The expressway gives me the best seat in the house.  My review mirror captures it all. 

I know I am headed home to an empty house.  The pieces don’t fit.  It is too late for anymore texts or phone calls.

I tell myself that I just have to learn how to weather these voids.