Saturday, November 29, 2008

Retirement Party

You know, Thanksgiving torture doesn't have to end when the last piece of white meat is gone (or, for us vegetarians, when KT eats the last piece of Quorn) --  if you are a sucker like me, you spend your Thanksgiving weekend Saturday at a retirement party.

That's right.  A retirement party.  

(P.S. - the story of thanksgiving is coming, but it involves pictures that I have been too lazy to download)

I have a friend; we've been friends since first grade.  We hated each other for a year or so in middle school, and again in high school, but have remained friends through college, our twenties, and now our thirties.  She's married and has a 2 year old.  And lives really far away.  She's not a phone talker, or an emailer, so honestly, we don't really keep in touch, unless she is here or I am there.  So, maybe once, twice a year.  Sometimes not even that.  Oh, and we have virtually nothing in common except our bad perms in 1987.

Despite that, I feel like part of the family - at least during the holidays.  So, when they threw a retirement party for the parents, of course I had to go.  And be tortured.

The thing is, you can't really hang out with the people you want to hang out with at an event like this - it was in the banquet room at a restaurant and they had invited 30 of their closest friends.  I was stuck most of the night talking to my mom and the parents of a kid I went to high school with.  Parent, whose son is now a dentist, thought I was absolutely delightful (which I am, by the way) and said several times something about how cute I was.  Good for my ego, for sure, but being that delightful with someone you don't know takes considerable effort.  Particularly when your mom is sitting next to you telling stories about your Brownie years (1981-1984, in case you were interested).

Had some awkward conversation with friend too, while we both tried to entertain the toddler and keep her from playing with knives (I was encouraging her to play with forks though, which may have been too pointy for most people to let kids play with.  Not me though!)  I love her, and she will always be my friend, but man, she just is far removed from everything that is happening in my life.  How do I answer the question "So how are you??"  "Uh, I'm sleeping with my ex-boyfriend who I have no future with; my dad is a handful, wants to stop dialysis and I'm not real sure how to have end of life discussions with him; work is stressful....yadda, yadda, yadda..."  I told her some stuff, but not much.  Maybe just enough to let her know that stuff is happening and its not all good, despite the happy face I had on.  

After two glasses of cheap red wine, some fruit, cheese and small talk, I was ready to GO.  I felt guilty about not heading back to their house with them to hang out a bit (invited by the parents, not by friend, for what that's worth) but another hour of chitchat wasn't going to catch anyone up on anybody.  So I declined and headed home, relieved.

FYI - number of single guys at the retirement party: Zero.  Not that you are surprised by this, but add retirement party to the long list of places that aren't good for meeting men.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rolling with my homies

I wrote a new song today (sung to the famous pre-school song, Row Your Boat):

Roll, roll, roll your boat
Early at the Y
Jittery, jittery, jittery
Hope that I don't die...

I got out of bed at a ridiculous hour for a Sunday (and woke up alone, and in my own bed.  Also ridiculous!), and lashed my kayak to my car in the pre-dawn hours and sub-zero temps so I could join the rest of the kayaking gang at the Y for a rolling session.  

Even though we were going to be in a warm pool, and I was going to be surrounded by certified kayaking instructors, I was still quite nervous.  I had some technical issues with some new equipment that I bought too, which didn't help.  I procrastinated getting into the water for quite a while, and ended up getting in without a boat so I could "help" others.  My "helping" really was more like getting in the way and bothering people though.  I was eventually forced into my boat.

It was slow going.  Since I haven't paddled a whitewater boat in over two months, everything seemed strange again.  We started with baby steps, slowly working me toward actually being upside down in the boat.  It wasn't great.  I got frustrated, but did a couple good attempts (with help) and quit.  Good enough for my first time out, I thought.

Until I was paddling around the pool watching everybody else.  Upside down!  Right-side up!  Upside down!  Right Side Up!  Look ma, no paddle!  Grrr.  So, I got ambitious and tried it on my own.

And I did it!  Twice in a row.  With no screw ups, no assistance; nothing but me, my awesome abdominal muscles (ha!) and my paddle.  I stopped after two - there's no reason to get greedy.  And now I'm happy and proud of myself.  Almost makes up for the fact that the only hairy thing in my bed this morning was Leroy the Cat.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another day, Another date...

Well, I've been holding out on you all, just a wee bit.

Even though I was bitterly and horribly disappointed by my last go round with Match.com, I did end up returning an email to one guy.  It took me a couple weeks before I responded to his initial email.  He seemed cute enough in his pictures, and is in school for non-profit management (right up my liberal ideal alley), seemed to like the outdoors... So why didn't I email back?  Under "Drink?" He listed "I don't drink alcohol."

I don't want to make a fuss or anything, but as long as you aren't new here, you know that my life pretty much revolves around alcoholic beverages.  And bitching about boys.  Wine and Whining, as it were.  If I give you directions, its by liquor store (turn left at Wine and Beer Superstore); if I come to your house, I never come over empty handed; and if I go to dinner, I like to choose a place with a good beer menu.  Its how I roll... Yo.

I have plenty of friends who don't drink, because they don't like it, because they don't want the calories, because they got themselves knocked up (ahem!  You know who you are!)... But some people don't drink because they are recovering alcoholics.  Given the gaps in this guy's resume, I assume that to be the case.  I guess it shouldn't really matter, but along with not being able to share one of my favorite pastimes, alcoholics can exhibit pretty specific behavior patterns that can be pretty unhealthy in a relationship.  My relationships don't typically need more unhealthy behaviors than I bring to them!

Eventually, I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt - so I wrote back.  We emailed several times, then I discovered that he is in the same program I am in, only full-time.  Then I discovered that we had class at the same time on Monday night; in classrooms directly next to each other.  At that point, meeting is inevitable.  We could meet for coffee or something and hang out, or we could meet in the hallway and share an extremely awkward moment.  I took charge and asked if he wanted to meet for lunch.

So we did.  I suggested a restaurant that I love at a time that worked into my studying schedule so it would work for me, even if he was dull.  Under normal circumstances, I would have ordered a beer.  But I didn't.  I wanted to ask him about why he didn't drink, but I didn't.  It was apparent that he was not totally comfortable and was having a difficult time trying to express himself.  Its possible that I was his first internet date and I didn't want to scare him off girls entirely by prodding too deeply.

He didn't really come to life until we started talking about...you guessed it!  Cars!  Perhaps he felt that we were on more common ground there, but, its not a good sign.  I can only talk about the awesome engine my Dodge Omni had so many times before I want to throw in the towel.

Towards the end he asked me "So, what's going on around here?"  I didn't really understand the question, but I think he wanted to "do something, sometime."  I said "yeah, absolutely" meaning that we could hang out as school buddies, but I really don't see myself getting hot and bothered about this one.  He just didn't sparkle.  I like sparkly.

But regardless, I will likely bump into him in the hallway on Monday night.  Wonder how that will go? 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My List

Apples, apples, apples

BB, Blogs, and Bluegrass

Connie

Dave, Dave and Driving

Elena, Eleanor and Emergency Rooms

Forests, Fresh Air and Freedom

Guitars and Gertrude

Herman and Hairy Men

Ipod, iTunes, and someday, iPhone...

John

Kiwi, Katy, Katie, Kristi, Kim and Kayaking

Love

Mike, Mike, Mike and Meredith

Never really growing up

Ocean

Pizza

Quiet

Red Wine

Stacey and Sunshine

Tricia, Theresa, Todd and Tequila

Under the covers...

Vacations and Vineyards

Water

Xenobiotics

You all

Zucchini

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Grateful List

So, three women take a road trip to a conference.  One is 25, one is 33, and one is 52.

25 is having some trouble adjusting to living in a new (and fairly unexciting) town and 52 and 33 try to help.  52 says "Have you ever made a Grateful List?  You start with the letter A and list something that you are grateful for, all the way to Z."

33 (that's me, by the way) giggles and says...

Appletini
Bacardi
Cerveza
Dogfish Head (that's a beer, for those of you who aren't beer snobs)
Everclear...

I got stuck at F, but in my defense, I was driving and trying not to kill us.

I mean, now, who really has the problem?  25?  Doubt it.  But maybe 33 should probably stop thinking that portraying herself as a lush is funny.

But, since I've been a bit down in the dumps lately, I think I may put some thought to this list and see what I can come up with.  Stay tuned for a non-alcoholic based list, but don't be surprised if some of my favorites still wind up there.  

Sunday, November 16, 2008

100!!

This is my 100th post!  Who knew I would possibly keep this up for so long!?  I posted my first blog entry on May 1, over six months ago.  Since then, this silly little blog has actually been a pretty big part of my life.  Thanks for letting me share my neurosis, joys and disappointments with you.

Now, its only appropriate that I provide you with an update.  This morning, I was having a conversation with BB about fountain pens as we ate our bagel sandwiches (yes, I realize that this is a really, really, really dorky conversation to have, but you should see what people pay for those things!).  In early May, you may remember that I was obsessing over a certain boy's borrowed fountain pen (http://www.lovecynicism.com/2008/05/dorky-fountain-pen-sends-me-into-fit.html) Then obsessed about whether to return it or not.  I shouldn't have bothered.  

He sold it.

I grinned on the inside when he told me that, as I thought, "wow! That's so going in the blog!"  I think I nearly choked on my egg and cheese.  I absolutely obsessed about whether to return it or not, and he gets it back and sells it on eBay.  So much for being sentimental...

Now back to the part that you are likely most interested in.  Yes, I was at BB's house early on Sunday morning.  For two weekends in a row.  Honestly, its been really nice.  Last weekend, we had lunch, sex, dinner, then a concert.  This weekend, movie, dinner and sex.  Its probably getting too easy.  We are seeing each other weekly.  The text messages (innocent ones) are getting more frequent and it seemed almost expected to both of us that I was hanging out for most of the day, then spending the night.

On another topic, I played more silly little girl games this weekend, which he actually passed.  We saw the new Bond movie (I swear, a person was killed or injured for every line of dialogue...).  We got pretzel bites for a snack.  They were rather disgusting and I only ate a couple, but as he was getting towards the bottom I thought "he's going to eat them all and not even check to see if I wanted any more!"  Wrong.  He offered me the last one.  I giggled and said no.  I mean, was he reading my mind?  About a quarter of the way through the movie, he leaned over and whispered "are you cold yet?"  The damn movie theater started out steaming, then they slowly lowered the temperature to freezing, so yes, I was.  He handed over his jacket.

Then, later on, that jerk offered me the last piece of chocolate.  He even had the balls to remember that I had never seen Superman (the original) and went to find it while I tried to figure out if I still had an account at Blockbuster (four of them, it turns out).  How am I supposed to say mean nasty things about him when his mother obviously did such a good job pounding good manners into his head, and he remembers conversations we had that I don't even remember having?  Jeez.

Hopefully he will do something stupid to piss me off soon so I can stop deluding myself into thinking that this thing we have going on is actually acceptable.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A picture is worth 100 clicks

About three weeks ago now, I joined Match.com again because a very cute, very liberal, seemingly ourdoorsy caught my eye (why, i don't know, since he wasn't fat, and didn't appear to be hairy).  I emailed him, with high hopes that he could be the one to get me over the BB situation.  Well, that didn't work out so well.  He never emailed me.  A couple of other guys did but noone who really inspired me to write back.  

My strategy on Match tends to be to sit back and wait.  I don't really like to make the first move, and when I do, I am usually disappointed.  Particularly this time - I wasn't really committed to meeting someone new and really didn't want to go out of my way to complicate my life.  And, at this point, a guy has to got to blow my socks off to separate me from the BB situation, and that's hard to do over the internet. 

Even though I was sitting back and not real interested in the outcome, I was a bit miffed that I wasn't getting many emails.  Or even any page views.  On Match, you can see who has viewed your profile and can count the number of times its viewed.  My number of views was painfully low, a couple hundred over a three week period.  That's not a lot - its been much more than that in the past within the same general time period. 

So, I did a little experiment and uploaded a new picture.  Its a pretty nice picture, taken at the wedding I went to recently (well before Donny Osmond shoved sand down my dress).  I'm posing in front of the dune, so it looks all staged, but whatever.  

Within 8 hours of my new main profile picture going live,  I had 2 new winks, and 2 new emails. Within 48 hours, I've had 100 profile views.  

I'm not sure exactly what the lesson is here.  For sure, having an attractive picture on your internet profile is absolutely essential.  But its also possible that profiles that have recently been updated get pushed up the list and boys see it more frequently.  

But also, I more likely, I  think its because boys are dogs.  Keep this in mind if and when you feel like attracting one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Boomerang Week

There IS something going on, because I'm not the only one who is being stalked and cornered by people from their past.  Is it because its dark out at 4:30 and people are bored?  Sad?  Contemplative?  Or is it because Facebook has come out with the "people you may know" function?

This week, as you know, two ex-boyfriend types contacted me.  But also an old friend who reads the blog and emails occasionally actually picked up the phone and called!  Of course, we didn't actually talk, but it added to the boomerang week.  Also, my friend in Boston ran into her most recent ex on the subway and had to make nicey nicey chat - she hadn't seen him since the breakup (and it was a bad one).  Kiwi's old friend from college randomly got in touch with her this weekend.  And a litany of people from high school that I really don't care about keep wanting to be my facebook friend.

Its just weird that this seems to be happening to other people too.  So please, dear internet friends, check the caller id before you pick up the phone.  The person on the other side is likely to be someone you don't want to talk to!  I wonder when it will be safe to live normally again?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Go away, part 2

AARRUUGH!

Its a damn good thing that I created the douchebag label for my posts last week - who knew I would have so many good reasons to use it in such a short period of time?!  (for those of you who picked up on it, I must admit to you that it wasn't original.  Fellow blogger Cheese came up with it before me and I stole it because really, its so appropriate.  Thanks Cheese!  Sorry there are so many douchebags in your life too).

Just a couple days ago, Egg came out of the woodwork just to say hi.  Today, Flake came out of the woodwork just to say hi.  How many ex-boyfriend people are going to make contact with me in one week?  Anyone want to start the betting pool?

I dated Flake briefly last fall, and its been a year since I last spoke to him, almost to the day.  I met him through Match, and ignored all the warning signs because he was sorta fun to hang out with.  The dude was an artist who taught at the local university and lived at home with his parents.  I cut him some slack since he was having trouble finding full-time employment (Duh! A master's degree in Fine Art doesn't really get you very far in life.  Especially in this red-neck part of the woods).

The living at home part should have spooked me off, but I try really hard not to judge people (well, people that I am trying to date anyway).  The part that should have really spooked me off was how he spent a lot of money on prescription pills, and how he would not be real good about calling me back and how he would make plans with me and not show up.  He "overslept" a lot.  In retrospect, I think he was heavily medicated for either depression or ADD or a combination of both.  He may have been self medicating with a little too much weed as well.

 We had a couple fun dates, and a nice little camping trip, but that was about the extent of it.  The last time we had contact, he had called and left a message that said something like "hey.  Its Flake.  I'd like to talk to you.  Gimme a call back."  It sounded like a phone call that was going to end with him telling me that he had been acting like a big flake because he had met someone else, but I called him back anyway because I really wanted to know what the hell was going on.  He didn't pick up the phone when I called back.  I left a message, and never, ever heard anything else from him.  Until today.

His email, sent through the Match system even though he has my real email address AND phone number, said "hey.  What's up?  Your hair looks nice short.  Hope you're well."  He signed it "scary" which I vaguely recall was some inside joke between us that I never, ever would have remembered.  Still kinda don't.  

What's the incentive?  What's the point?  I don't think that boys think about this stuff.  I would never randomly email somebody without a reason.  A real reason.  Telling me that my hair looks nice short is not a real reason.   

P.S.  His hair did not look nice!  Maybe I should write back and tell him that...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Hope and Optimism

A strange feeling came over me on Wednesday...

It could be described as hope, perhaps.  Or optimism.  I hadn't felt that way in a long time.  

The results of the election on Tuesday made me very, very happy.  To be at the Democratic returns party when CNN called the election for Obama/Biden was unreal.  Balloons were dropping.  People were crying and shouting and cheering and pumping their fists in the air. And cramming cheese in their faces.

(Oh wait, that last one was just me.  I was friggin' hungry.  Whatever, a black guy was going to get to be president someday anyway.  The pepper jack cheese wasn't waiting!)

But I guess I didn't know that the stress of not knowing was actually having an effect on me.  Its no secret that I've been feeling down recently and things aren't really all that great still, but Wednesday morning, I actually felt good.  Optimistic.  Hopeful.  Cheerful even.  

We won at the national level, but also won big on the local level.  I feel like now, I can actually start doing stuff, both at work and at home, that will really make a difference.  Because there are people taking office that want me to make a difference.   It feels good.  I hope I can keep up these hopeful feeling - at least until it starts getting light again and I can start photosynthesizing hope and optimism.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dirty Old Men

Mars must be in retrograde; all the planets must be lined up and Pluto must have gotten a new moon because, otherwise, I have no explanation for why suddenly, old men are finding me attractive and desirable.  And letting me know about it.  And making me want to hurl.

I told you all about the email from the older guy from the neighborhood (which I never responded to despite my best intentions), but I didn't tell you about my creepy bbq stalker who sent me a letter that started out "Susan, you look GREAT in these pictures..."  The letter contained pictures of me, stalker guy and our governor.  I don't know why, but the fact that the pictures were taken with one of those disposable plastic cameras makes it all the creepier (like, if he owned a real camera it could be used as evidence against him?).  Some 65 year old in a truck also honked and winked at me today while I was walking downtown. 

But these things I wouldn't have thought that much about really, until Tuesday, when I was propositioned.  By an elderly Jewish man.  E.L.D.E.R.L.Y.

Because I clearly have nothing better to do than blog and work on political campaigns (because I sure as hell don't seem to be dating anymore!), I was a "greeter" at my local polling place for the big election.  I got there at 7am and handed out democratic propaganda all day.  "Hi!  Thanks for coming out today !  Would you like a copy of the democratic ballot card?  I can answer any questions you have!  Just let me know!  !"   

I worked from 7 until about 1, then took a break.  Somewhere at the end, an elderly gentleman who used to come to Town Council meetings, came to vote with his wife.  "Hi! Mr. Siverstein!  Would you like a ballot card?!?"  We chatted briefly about how much we hate the Mayor and he went inside to vote.  He came out of the polling place and we chatted more about Town politics and my recent unsuccessful battle with those bastards.  He was sympathetic and he told me the best way to organize a coup, then the conversation took a turn.  A wrong turn.  A very wrong turn.  He very nicely, in what I thought was a concerned Jewish grandfather kind of tone, asked me how my personal life was.  Well, we all know the answer to that and I think I told him  that boys can't keep up with me and I'm so smart and pretty I scare them off.  That's my typical response to that kind of question anyway.  He tells me that I need an older man.  I told him that I agreed, that maybe 30 year olds weren't mature enough for me.

Then he says something about us getting together or coming to a meeting or something, and I wasn't paying that much attention until he said "Would you dress like a school girl for me?"  And followed it up with something like, "my wife wouldn't need to know."

I was dumbfounded.  Seriously.  I'm going to cut this guy a break - he's elderly and in poor health.  He could have dementia, he could be on some sort of drugs that make you say things that you should only be thinking (but he shouldn't even be thinking that!) - but even so, how do you respond to something like that.  A simple "uh, no.  That's out of the question" doesn't even do it justice, but I think that's what I said.

Eeewww.  I'm not really sure what the heebie-jeebies are, but I think he gave them to me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Go Away!

I have dated a fair number of people in my life, starting at the tender age of 14 when I had my first kiss with a guy I still talk to on occasion (turns out, we randomly like the same band that nobody else in the world has ever heard of. Who knew?!)

At 15, I "dated" a boy called Egg. He was on the football team, but I think he sat on the bench an awful lot. He had a football jacket though. I coveted that football jacket. I wanted it. Wanted it bad. I think we went to a dance together. We definitely made out in the hallway together (gross!). I vividly remember how cool I thought it was to hold his hand - mine were white, his were black. I probably thought I was rebelling against some societal ills.

I almost became a societal ill in the process.

One night, Egg came over to my house with my friend and her boyfriend and I snuck out of the house to go hang out in some apartment somebody somewhere (there were no adults present, obviously). It was bad news. There was a bed in a large walk-in closet. We went in there and made out. My friend and her boyfriend were in the bedroom on the real bed, making out. I thought she was having sex. She thought I was having sex. Egg wanted to have sex. Egg did not get to have sex, but if my self esteem had been a notch lower, I would have lost my virginity at age 15, instead of age 21. Things happened in that closet that I was not real comfortable with, but god, at least I didn't have sex with him.

You know why it was particularly good that I didn't have sex with him, besides all that STD, pregnancy crap?

Because on Monday morning when I showed up at school, he was making out with an oily-faced, bad dye-jobbed jv cheerleader. A girl whose self esteem was clearly lower than mine was... A while later, I found out that he had actually picked me up after spending the evening with that slutty cheerleader. Gross. Gross. Gross.

Of all the consternation and hurt and problems boys have brought into my life over the years, I think that particular incident still ranks as number one. I almost let him put his penis in me, and on Monday he is jamming his tongue down another girl's throat?!? Lord knows what she let him shove down her throat... Of all the guys I've dated in my entire life, he is the ONLY one I would want to spit at if I walked down the street.

Randomly, about 7 years ago, I got an email from him. How he got my email address, I will never know. I didn't respond. Spit doesn't transmit well through email. So guess what now? He just asked to be my facebook friend!! Holy mother of god. Why won't this fucker go away?! Seriously, should I have to be reminded of this little situation that happened almost 20 years ago? No! It still makes me mad!

Boys like that should disappear into a black hole. But at the very least, they should recognize that girls they f'ed over in 1991 might not want to have pleasant chit-chat with them.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Girl Game

So, its kinda hard to have a blog about dating and relationships when you aren't dating anyone, and everyone you know (and people you don't know) are pretty tired of hearing about "not-dating" BB.  But, here goes.  Its either this, or you hear details about how I cleaned my house and organized my closet this week.  Yup.  That's what I thought.

This "not-dating" gig is starting to wear on me.  I know you are shocked.  It seems that when we need something from each other, we see each other a lot.  Two, maybe three, times a week.  Case in point - when he needed me to help him with his motorcycle.  Saw him three times that week; but there was a purpose.  And bonus sex.  I needed him last week when the family crises hit.  I needed to not be alone, needed someone to comfort me (and only a fat hairy guy will do in those situations).  There was no sex, because that's not what I needed.  

I get happy and elated when I see him a lot (except when there is a family crises, but that doesn't count).  Then, I get confused and sad when I don't see him.  

It occurred to me that recently, I felt like I had been making all the plans.  I was calling.  I was suggesting hanging out.  He was agreeable (especially when I was crying), but didn't reciprocate.  So, in typical girl playing games fashion, I stopped calling him as of last Sunday morning when I left his house.

You know when I heard from him?  Friday afternoon,   when I got a text message that said he got to leave work early and was going for a motorcycle ride.  I was stuck at work, drowning under paperwork.  He thought it was amusing and wanted to rub it in.  Fine, ok.  But, hey, guess what dude?  I'm having like, serious life issues here.  Maybe you coulda called like mid-week just to make sure I hadn't flung myself off my deck (ok, well, its only one story off the ground, but I could have seriously hurt myself had I decided to!).  Most of my other friends did.  Some twice.  Some even more than that, but I suspect that those were the really bored ones...

We made no plans - girl game would not allow me to.  So, I didn't see him this weekend at all, despite the fact that he wasn't working and I had no plans.  Didn't talk to him even.  Until Sunday night, when he called.  It was kinda late, so it surprised me.  He talked about his little dilemma (Go to a funeral?  Not go to a funeral?) then finally got around to asking about me.  And we talked about me for a little while, but only for a little while because honestly, I'm tired of talking about me (can you believe it?).  He did ask if I wanted to hang out next weekend, and of course, I said yes.  Like a big dummy.

As a side note, like a big dummy, I also said yes when I was asked by the local democratic party to be a "greeter" at the polls tomorrow.  For 8 hours.  Maybe a single, cute 34 year old will ask me a question about a candidate and I can slip him my digits...

Right.


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Falling Back

Goodbye Daylight Savings Time.  Hello giant bottle of red wine!

We "fell back" last night, and I will admit that it was nice waking up at 8am (really, 7 am) to actual daylight outside.  And while its going to be easier to get out of bed now, I am going to be one grumpy girl for the next two months in the evenings.  The darkness is only going to add further to my general malaise, which, quite frankly, seems to be at an all time high.  Its been a long time since I have felt low enough to think that a therapist and a major life change are called for.  In the past, I can directly chalk up feeling depressed to actual events that were short term in nature.  I knew that if I could push through for a month or two, or even three, that things would be back to normal and I could resume my happy life.  The recent family situation is different - I've been feeling unsatisfied with life for a while, then the family situation gets piled on, and I realize that even when things go back to normal (if they ever do), I'm not sure that "normal" is ok anymore.

Its scary when you realize that you may have outgrown the life that you have built for yourself.