Gabrielle's Life and Writings

Gabrielle Lawson, writer of Fanfiction. I will use this space to keep a journal about my writing, the progress I'm making, stories I'm working on, writer's blocks I'm having, our adoption process and progress and just life in general.

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Location: Missouri, United States

I'm multifaceted and highly educated. I have a BA in History and an MA in Museum Studies. But I couldn't make a living in a museum, so my hobby--computers--became my living. I'm now a charter member Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician. I aspire to be a professional writer and/or poet. I am a Christian and have been living by His grace for the last four years or so, despite the MegaStress and now the GigaStress. He keeps me going, and displays His glory still, in my life.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Diet and Training Update

The diet is going well! I've lost 25 pounds and feel a lot better about my appearance! I had a break day (a day off the diet--I get one a month) on Sunday and promptly gained 1.5 pounds, but lost them again the next day! And there are so many more low-calorie snacks out now that it's quite easy to not feel like I'm going hungry. Only problem is that there is such a variety out there that I want to eat those snacks and thus end up limiting my calories for dinner. I need 520 for a frozen pizza and a cup of milk, 400 for waffles and milk, but less for some other things.

And training. I've kept up-to-date, mostly, with the schedule I was given for the time before Kick-off. I walked a total of 10 miles last week, and I've already walked 9 this week. And so far, I'm keeping my pace of 4mph through it. The longest distance I've walked at one time, so far, is 5 miles and it took just 1 1/25 hours. I need to walk three miles on Wednesday (though I may have to switch to Thursday because of choir practice) and then 6 miles to start next week on Saturday.

The four miles yesterday was a lot easier than the four miles last Saturday, but that could be contributed to the weather perhaps as much as to my training. It rained on Saturday while I walked. And it was still quite cool last evening. It should be a bit warmer tomorrow and Thursday so we'll see how I do.

No. :-( I haven't written anymore of The Honored.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Marathon Anyone?

Me! Yep, a marathon. No, I'm not running one. Walking, yes; running, no. I can already walk 4 mph and have walked for at least 5 miles and I've got until January to train, so I am confident that I can walk the whole 26.2 miles. In Bermuda!

How and why am I doing this? The American Stroke Association has only one fundraising program. Train to End Stroke is it. I registered last night for training, the trip, and the marathon. The catch is I have to fundraise, of course. And I need to raise at least $4000 to do it.

That's not so bad really. I actually need $4100 but my registration fee went toward that total. So I really have only $4000 left to go! That means only 40 people need to donate $100. Or 80 need to donate $50. Or just 152 people need to donate just $1 a mile. It's doable!

And I plan on having a Pampered Chef fundraising party as well. 40% of the proceeds there go to the fund, and the people who donate get to keep the products they buy.

Did you know that strokes can happen to anyone at any age, even children? Or that strokes kill more women every year than breast cancer? Or that stroke is the 3rd leading cause of death in the US behind heart disease and all kinds of cancer? Chances are, you know someone who has had a stroke. And it could even happen to you. At least 70% of the money donated goes directly to the cause, and most of what is raised by us here in KC stays in the heartland area. In fact, in our area, the ASA is striving for even more of the funds to go to the cause. Last year they only used only 22% for operating expenses, with the other 78% going to the fund.

If you are reading this blog, would you consider donating even just $1 a mile? That's just $26. E-mail me: gabrielle dot ainae at gmail dot com (Obviously, you need to put that altogether. I'm just trying to keep the spammers away.)

I'll keep an update on my progress here in my blog and on my Kintera website that I should have soon for tracking donations and such.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Oh the pain!

I've lost my internet connection at home. I lost it sometime during the day last night. When I got home, I was able to see that my computers would network together. So that meant that the PCs, NICs, network cables and the router were fine. The problem had to be in the cable or cable modem. I called Earthlink and then Time Warner and still, no luck. A technician should be out Saturday evening. Sigh. Maybe it will come up before then.

Status of Stories

Nothing new to report. I know, I know.

Friday, July 02, 2004

One kitty comes, another kitty goes

First, LeStat, one of Sister #4's kitties came back to live with me on Tuesday after being neutered. However, he is not integrating well with the other cats. He even attacked Poodie yesterday evening. Poodie, you have to know, is my most mellow cat. He doesn't get too worked up about much but the vaccuum monster. Yes, monster. LeStat had started his growly thing and Poodie walked away. About half a room away. LeStat couldn't leave well enough alone. He went right up to Poodie and jumped him. And not in a playful way.

So, he's off to a no-kill shelter today. He needs to be in a one-cat family, I think. I wished he could fit in, but that just shows an agressive streak.

So if LeStat is the kitty that goes, who is the one that is coming? Belle! As in Thumbellina. We can't call her Lina for short because we already call Zmrzlina that. So Belle it is. And it fits. She's beautiful....and she has extra toes that look like thumbs on her paws. If ever a cat looked like she had mittens, it's this little kitty.

She's about 11 weeks old, which puts her observed birthday right around the same time as mine. So we'll share the day! She is kind of a gray tabby, with some other colors mixed in there and a mostly white undercoat. And she's fuzzy. I predict that we'll see some Maine Coon features as she grows!

Unlike LeStat, Belle is doing a fine job of integrating and I only got her just last night. Lina has gotten the closest so far. She's curious but still a little stand-off-ish. Still, she got to within a foot of Belle without hissing. And at one point Rigby was under the couch and Belle went right in under there, maybe less than four feet from Rigby. He didn't run off or swat at her or anything. I didn't even hear any hissing, though it was hard to tell when I wasn't under the couch with them. As for Poodie, well, he mostly kept his distance, but I think the thing with LeStat put him in a "leave me alone" attitude for the evening.

I had hoped things would work out with LeStat, but it just won't if he's that agressive with my cats. The shelter will hopefully find someone to adopt him. He's cute and loveable with people.

Belle, I'm glad to say, looks like she has a lovely future in my now 4-cat household! So now I have 9, 4, and 1-year-olds and a baby. Their birthdays are in April, May, June, and July (not respectively), which is kind of neat, too.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Sister #1 called....

Did you hear the ominous music playing the background? (Figuratively, I mean.)

Well, at first it was fine. She was calling to say that her husbands daughter was coming to live with them. Which is great news! But then she stepped over into inviting me up for Independence Day.

That required a response. And I did try to temper it. "I don't know where we stand." She didn't take that well. "We were fine until you said that." Well, no. We weren't fine. We were civil. We were acquaintances talking about a person we mutually care about. Going up to see them on Independence Day is something entirely different and well, we're not sisters anymore.

So that opened up quite a kettle of worms, as you might imagine. I can't even remember all the dialogue. I do remember saying several times that we should have this talk with Pastor Joe. Mediation is a good thing, not a bad thing. At one point she agreed only if it wouldn't be a session of telling her off basically. I asked her how much she respected Pastor Joe. I think she was trying to dig at me, but she was putting down Pastor Joe. Either Pastor Joe is a fair, impartial, wise person whom be both respect and who loves and respects us both...or he's just a patsy in my pocket. No, I didn't use those words with her. There's a lot that goes on in my mind that doesn't make it out my mouth. Which is probably a good thing. Either way, she had to ask herself how much she respected Pastor Joe.

And she fell into her usual pattern of accepting blame if only it's shared. "We both said stuff...." Well, I've gone back over every e-mail in the whole exchange. I didn't read every word yet, but I could. I didn't see a single time when I insulted her. She called me cold, incompassionate, and more like a corporation than a person. She thought I was a loveless automaton of some sort. I didn't say those things to her.

I presented my evidence, stated my case, and gave my perceptions of things. She railed at me for how things "felt". Try using that in a court of law. Feeling isn't fact, I told her in one e-mail and I'll hold to that line to my dying day. Feeling isn't fact. No one better dare punish me on how it "feels". Punishing me for fact is fair. For feeling is not.

I struggle with forgiveness. I really do. I think I've done it and then something comes up and all the anger at mistreatment comes back. I think I read somewhere that forgiveness is a process, something you are doing. Not something you are ever really done with. At least, it's not a single instance, but maybe you have to keep forgiving and forgiving...for the same thing even...until you have finally gotten fully past it all.

Anyway, she didn't like my answers to her questions. She misses certain aspects of me. (Nice that she doesn't miss all of me, isn't it?) She said she'd been to a counselor and she was thinking about making a step forward to me. Calling to tell me about my neice was one way of doing that. No, that's sweeping it under the rug. Pretend that nothing happened. Nothing new with sister #1. I pegged that right at Brendan's birthday party. Anyway, she asked if I want a relationship with her. "Not a dysfunctional one. A functional one, yes." She didn't think that was a straight answer. "I don't want one like we used to have." Nope, didn't like that either. "Not enough to have a dysfunctional one." Nope.

She tried to steer things away from the whole incident with Sister #4. But that's where it all came from! Or where it all came out, rather. She didn't like how I dealt with the situation. I reminded her that she didn't have any sympathy for me. Unfeeling? I was crying on the her! She even said I'd be angry one day, yelling at her, and crying the next. I tried to tell her how close I was to going insane, the toll it took on me. Not being able to read, for example, should be a huge red flag to anyone. Nope. Sister #4 deserved some charity. Hold that phone! I'd given her charity for two months. I was going broke! And Sister #4 was really treating me like dirt. She didn't say thank you. She smarted off or snapped. I gave God the $962 she owed me and I didn't so much as get a "thanks". Mentioned that to Sister #1, but it didn't even get a response.

In the end, it was this: "I'll go on one condition. I'm willing to change some things to have a relationship with you. Are you willing to change, too." She didn't like my answers again: "I'll change what God tells me I need to change. Not what you tell me I need to change."

So far, from what I've seen, I don't think there will be a relationship. Who knows, though. It wouldn't be the first time God worked a miracle through Pastor Joe. Still, barring that I'm left with what I can see. I can't see a change in her. I can see the same old patterns in her. I can see she's still upside down.

I have set my boundary and I will stick to it. No more dysfuntion. I had a right (and still do) to decide what to do with my own house and my own money. I had a right to cut off someone who wasn't working, wasn't paying her share. And I have a right to decide who I will have a relationship with. I will not change and mold to fit the shape she wants. She will either take me, love me, respect and honor me as I am, or she will not. It's her choice. She has a right to that choice. She doesn't have a right to change me.

So, you might be saying, why do I have the right to change her? I don't. If you were saying that, you weren't reading right. I don't have the right to change her, but I have the right to not have a relationship with her until she decides to change herself. She has that same right in relation to me. And she can wait until Mordor freezes over. She can't turn me into a clone of her. She seems to still not realize that just because I'm different from her that I'm not defective in some way. Just because I'm rational and logical does not mean that I'm unemotional. And she is throwing away a whole lot of evidence to the contrary when she tries to make that case.

If I have only one vice (of course, I have more....), it's stubbornness. I can hold out a LOT longer than she can. If it takes 40 years for her to get right-side-up, I can last that long and longer. Right-side-up or no relationship. I did as well as I could do in that whole situation with Sister #4. And for a person teetering on the wall between sanity and insanity, I think I handled it exceptionally well! I finally managed to stay on the side of sanity.

And this is what it all comes down to: I'm not going back. I'm not going to conform to her up-side-down idea of right and good. I'm not going to stand there and be villified when I don't live up to their cockeyed insanely high standard of perfect they hold me to, knowing that I have no choice but to fail. I don't think they realize the standard they hold me to. But it's higher than the standard they hold themselves to. They wouldn't want to admit that even if they did realize it. They would think it would give me a big head. No, it gives me a big headache. I'm no more perfect than anyone who isn't Jesus. And I'm not even striving toward their standard, but His. His is a right-side-up standard, it doesn't fall in line with theirs, and so, of course, I am not hitting their standard. And here they come attacking.

And it was the three most dysfunctional people in my family who did the attacking this time: Sister #1, Sister #4, and my birth mother. Sister #3 had enough of her own problems and realized it. Brother #5 (only brother, but he's #5 in birth order) doesn't think he has any issues, which might be an issue in itself, but so far, the evidence shows he's living up to that. Sister #6 doesn't have a whole lot of contact with the rest of us and is still closer to Sister #1 than to me, but still, she didn't join the rally and gang. Sister #1 and Birth Mother did though. True to form.

Well, I'm not going to fall into that old pattern. Dysfunction doesn't give you a choice. Not a real one. It's the "stay and like it or leave" choice. The only option to get back in the graces of those who rally and gang is to admit they were right and you were wrong. Which would be a lie. I don't care for their graces enough to lie. I'm not a cold, unloving, incompassionate automaton, no matter how much Sister #1 wants to think I am. I found this in one of the e-mails: What she thinks I am has no bearing on what I am. What she perceives does not equal truth. God knows me. And His opinion is the one that matters.