Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Would You Like Some Salsa with That Chip?

There is nothing I like more than a good Mexican restaurant…’s my little slice of heaven! I go because I can get my fill of chips and salsa (and then take my dinner home in a “to go” box). Normally, I am not a chip eater, but give me a little fresh, chunky salsa and I will eat basket after basket after basket.

What is it about those chips that keep me coming for more, even though I know they aren’t good for me?? Why don’t I just eat the salsa with a spoon for goodness sake?? There is just something about the crunchiness and the saltiness that relieves my stress - that conquers my frustration for the moment…..that just plain tastes good.

I am typically a happy person - my disposition is sunny 90% of the time…I smile…I bubble…..I laugh…..unless, of course, I have to deal with my X. Now, I try really hard to not have a chip on my shoulder about our marriage…..I really do. The X and I can be in the same room, we can sit by each other at Junior’s games, we can make polite conversation - - BUT if we need to work together in any capacity, my frustration hits Defcon 5 in a matter of minutes. I get defensive…..I get frustrated……I get impatient…..I want to throw my Blackberry across the room and jump up and down like a three year old. In short, the sunny disposition flies right out the window.

Last week, I spoke with the X about Junior’s visitation schedule…..well...he is older and we don’t really have a schedule….which is probably part of the problem…. My expectations were not being met (do you hear the chips crunching?)…. I was determined to have a polite conversation about the amount of time they were spending together. During the conversation, I felt he was not taking my concerns seriously (crunch)….to which he responded defensively…(crunch..crunch…crunch)….and my response was not much better (crunchcrunchcrunchcrunchcrunch)… Our conversation ended with him declaring, “Becky, you can no longer tell me what to do!”

Waitress…..could I have some more salsa please?????

Bitterness is like that - it changes your perspective - gives you funky glasses to look through (in my case funky glasses with rhinestones curving over the top)…. Bitterness changes everything. Just listen to people talk after an election….if their candidate didn’t win, the world is going to hell in a hand-basket. The newly elected official is second cousin to the devil once removed - nothing they ever do will be right. I have asked many a friend, “how can you hate someone you don’t even know?”

Marriage and Divorce can be like that, too. Expectations are not met and bitterness sets in……which turns in to gripiness and complaints….which turns into anger….and then even hate. But why? What does it solve? If I have a chip on my shoulder when I deal with my X, how does that improve my situation? Oh, it might feel good for a moment to “give him a piece of my mind..” but then what?? I have eroded any goodwill we may have created in the months past - I have set myself up for future failure. So why not just accept that he is human and has faults (oh does he ever)….just like I am human and have faults (very few I might add)…

Push the basket of chips aside….forgo the salsa…..and just enjoy life.

Monday, January 26, 2009

25 Things About Me

Okay - so the 25 Things About Me craze has reached all of my Facebook friends and I am now obliged to share two dozenish things that inquiring minds want to know about me… what better medium than my blog. As one friend put it, my blog and Facebook page are “like the operations manual to Becky Pruitt.” So here goes…..

I am a romantic……love the cute nicknames, picnics, candlelight dinners, presents, happy notes, holding hands….the whole shebang - - if it is sappy, think BP

Even as a kid, I joined everything and tried to learn everything - I was in girl scouts, 4-H, church groups (several at once), took baton lessons, piano lessons, dance lessons, gymnastics, craft classes, joined library groups, school groups, leadership groups, community service projects - you name it, I was involved…

I tend to be a complex being - am very girlie but am happiest when I am outside hiking in the mud, sleeping in a tent, swimming in the lake, on a horse moving cattle….

When I am stressed, my house turns looks like it was hit by a tornado - otherwise, I am pretty neat.

I tend to put every man I like into the dreaded “friend box.” If I really like you, it’s like the kiss of death - but it means that I want you around for a while……

Dancing is one of my favorite things to do - - doesn’t even matter what kind - ballroom dancing, salsa dancing, hip hop dancing, disco, little kid dances, the Happy Dance when I do well in golf……I love it all!!

I am terrified of clowns.

Most of the time, I talk to the people driving around me - but it’s typically encouraging…sweetly willing them to turn quicker, drive faster…..I may even make up a cute nickname for them……seriously…’s almost always nice….. “come on sweetie, you can do it…..go ahead…turn…’re okay…turn….come on….” It’s somewhat odd…

Mornings are my favorite time of the day……..there is rarely a morning that I don’t just bubble over with energy.

I have a thing for coats…..and shoes…..and purses…..

My favorite way to travel is “on the fly” - go to Europe with a railpass and a backpack and a rough itinerary and just “go.”

I am terrified of heights…….but am a roller coaster FREAK.

I can speak in front of people without pause, but ask me to sing…….um…..not going to happen.

My car has a name - Carlito - he also has personality……I talk about him so much that people may think we are dating……”Carlito is not happy today…”

I love cows - love to watch them, listen to them eat, smell them

I shop when I am upset……if I can’t shop, then I purge unwanted items out of my closets and drawers.

Writing is my outlet - I feel like I can best express myself when sitting down with my thoughts pen to paper (or fingers on keyboard). I work through most of my issues this way.

I used to teach Sunday School to junior high and high school students. I like to think that I made an impact - or at least gave them perspective - my favorite things to do were (a) standing on chairs (b) throwing candy (c) throwing shoes (d) drawing pictures

I love football - but only like to watch teams I like on tv. Live high school and college football rocks!!

In high school, I hated to run so much that I would get an “F” in PE for the day rather than run.

Not only can I ride a horse and rope a calf, I can also wrestle a 300 pound bull calf to the ground and cut off “the boys” with my pocketknife - a skill I have passed on to my stunningly beautiful daughter **boyfriend take note**. (sexy huh!!)

Bo Duke was going to marry me unless Shawn Cassidy swept me away first.

As a kid, I really thought animals could talk if I listened to them hard enough. I was constantly testing this theory and encouraging them that they could talk to me (yes, I am a dork)……as a result - Grizzly Adams was my hero - I even had his lunch box - in the shape of a log cabin (the top was curved).

I love, love, love to cook! The more complex the recipe, the better...... however, simple things like pancakes, meatloaf and fried chicken give me fits - I just can’t seem to get them right, much to my dismay…

I am a shutterbug - I love to take pictures - absolutely love it!! It’s my creative outlet. To me, pictures record a life….


Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Grande Pity Party

Now I have been known to throw a pretty good party. As a matter of fact, it could possibly be one of my favorite things… doesn’t matter if the party is at my house or a venue, thrown for a couple of people or for a hundred - it makes me happy. I have even been known to thrown a pretty darn good pity party when the mood strikes……these parties are the ones I try to keep on the QT……there is just no pretty dish to make what I am serving there more palatable.

Nothing puts me into full throttle pity party mode than guilt - single-divorced parent guilt to be exact. You know the kind - the guilt that starts will little Junior getting a bad report from a teacher and ends with the finely tuned orchestra in your head playing yet another rendition of, “If you were a better parent, Junior would be an angel…” I know that song well.

As a single parent, I often feel as if I am playing the role of both parents - being both cheerleader and disciplinarian…coach and line judge….windshield and bug. At times, I try to convince the world (and myself) that I am a good parent. The cycle is predictable - worry…guilt….defensiveness…..guilt….crabbiness…irritation…..more guilt…anger… call to the X….more defensiveness….more anger…more guilt… emotional exhaustion

What I have learned in the last year is that I cannot coerce, manipulate or otherwise guilt my X into being the picture of what I consider a good and proper Charles Ingalls dad to be. He has his own picture (possibly of Fred Flintstone) that he is emulating. Any attempt to coerce, manipulate, guilt or even reason him into my “picture” is met with a resistance of grand proportion. Our vision of parenting was not the same in marriage…so I am not sure why in the world I would think that if I just talked long enough…and passionately enough, he would “buy into” my vision. Honestly, I am sure he is on the other side of the phone thinking…..just shut up…..but he is typically somewhat polite and waits for the opportune moment to flee.

Being a single parent is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It’s not just the quiet house or the strain of being both household parent figures - - I feel alone on the journey. There is no one to brainstorm with, to be the voice of reason, to collaborate punishment options….. Although the X and I never really saw eye to eye in the parenting realm, I do miss our conversations about the kids - the sharing of dreams and disappointments….the feeling that we were Bonnie and Clyde…..going in no holds barred and then running for our lives in fear.

Looking back over the last year, there have been times where I have failed as a parent - I have been crabby out of sheer exhaustion, I have been too quick to mentally blame their father for their actions, I have both over-reacted and under-reacted. This year, I have been too busy….too needy….too tired. What I need to learn is to cut myself some slack - give myself a break - and then do likewise to my kids and my X. When there is slack in the rope, there is no push/pull….and then you have a partnership.

Monday, January 12, 2009


As it is only the 12th day of January and I already seem to be struggling with my New Years Resolutions, I thought it would be imperative to put them in writing and publish them for all to see…..that way, maybe I will actually truly resolve to make changes….so here goes…

Resolved…….I will run 10 miles per week - EVERY week
Resolved…….I will read 2 Pulitzer Prize winning novels this year
Resolved…….I will be 5 minutes early - ALWAYS (did I really just commit to that?? eek!)
Resolved…….I will drink 64 oz of water every day
Resolved…….I will go sailing (have never been)
Resolved…….I will learn to play polo (took one lesson last year but want to actually be able to play)
Resolved……I will entertain more at home
Resolved……I will learn more French vocabulary
Resolved……I will find a place to have my morning tea…and go there regularly
Resolved……I will find a beer I can drink in the summer on a boat
Resolved……I will actually go out on real dates not the friend kind….not the networking kind…real honest to goodness dates
Resolved……I will spend my 40th birthday in Tahiti

Who I want to be - I want to be:
-Successful - Professional

2009 is the year for:
-taking a risk
-being brave

This is my mission statement for the year: Becky Pruitt strives to be a relational yet organized professional who is connected in her community and seeks to be content and happy in her life. By taking risks and being creative she will broaden her life experiences. Becky is committed to deepening her relationships with her girlfriends through shared experiences and lots of wine and chocolate.

Resolved……2009 is going to ROCK!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I Want My Life Back!

I want my life back!!!

That’s what I hear when I talk to divorced women who were married a long time. Admittedly, those words have escaped my mouth a time or two (or ten or fifteen)…. It doesn’t even seem to matter if the divorce was amicable, if there was years of fighting, if there was infidelity…we all seem to have the commonality of missing our previous lives. I know this sounds mercenary, but we don’t even have to miss our exes to want our lives back.

You spend a long time building that “house” that is marriage - painting the walls with shared experiences, carpeting the floors with labors of love, planting flowers of joy, watering the lawn with tears, and even planning to expand the house with dreams. When you leave that house, there is an inexplicable sadness - that “house” has pieces of you in it - it was a shared vision - built with the hope that someday this “house” would be “perfect.”

It is difficult to go through a crisis without having someone at home to light a fire, pour you a glass of wine and give you a hug. Even if your X didn’t do those things (mine did) it’s just the fact that someone is there with you in your stinky day. Many women tell me that their life would be better if they just had a man - someone to share their lives with. As a social person, loneliness is very hard to cope with. It is just hard… sometimes.... Other times, I realize that it is far better to be lonely and single than lonely and married.

My girlfriends and I are learning to encourage each other and help each other out to “fill-in” that space - the gap left with divorce. We all miss being financially secure, being able to go places without looking for a sitter (myself excluded on that one), having a date for important events and even doing household chores together. Being on your own after being married for 16 years can be a very scary place. I am responsible for me…..I have no one to blame for not replacing the trash bag but myself….I have no reason to linger in bed on a Saturday morning…..I have no one to cook for…to go on a bike ride with… I worry that I will have no one to catch me when I fall…. I have cried many tears over all of these, especially the last one…… but here is the reality of the situation…if I have no one to catch me when I fall, then I have made myself an island…..I have emotionally isolated myself….I have refused to reach out to trustworthy people and LET THEM HELP ME….

In an earlier blog, I wrote about the importance of having good friends and inviting them in. As a woman taking care of herself, there are other elements that need to be in place to reduce my stress and help me get things done in a pinch….so…

Divorced Diva’s Rule #2: Have certain Essential People in your life to come to your rescue if needed. Essential People to know are: a mechanic, a lawyer, a computer whiz, a financial advisor, a good tailor (trust me), a good insurance agent, handy guy friends (to fix that broken toilet handle), a home improvement guy who can fix major plumbing, electrical, fallen gutters, etc., and an expert networker who seems to know everyone and can give you a referral in a pinch. Also, invest in a AAA Membership so if your car breaks down or you run out of gas, you have someone to call.

My last two weeks have reinforced the need to have a good strong network of “people” to help me. Where I had relied on a husband to take care of these things for me, I now have to do them myself….or call my X….. and we all know that I will do anything to avoid calling the X……I’ll climb Mt. Everest before I call the X just to show that I can… (this is probably a subject for further self discovery, but I am currently in denial that this is a bad thing)… but back to the subject at hand…

The beauty of creating a new life is that you are creating a new life. It’s exciting…'s can surround yourself with beautiful things and beautiful people. You are building a new house with colors and a design you choose. When the loneliness strikes (and it will) throw a pity party - a REAL pity party…..have brunch with friends…..start a new project….go to the grocery looking cute (trust me on that one……)…. and just breathe. Look forward and not back…the past is a piece of you but it is not the totality of you…and remember the “B” in Plan B is for beautiful.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Jean and Red

In the months following my divorce, I asked myself, “Do I really want to get married again?” The answer was always, “I don’t really know……” It’s not because I don’t believe in marriage (I do) - I’m just not sure that I was really “good” at it. I’m not sure if I want to “go there” again……

Then I remember Jean and Red…. Jean and Red were my grandparents. Red never met a stranger and Jean just loved everyone. As I kid, I can remember staying at the lake, following grandpa around talking to everyone in that entire campground. Red was a magnet for people. Jean would tell everyone to call her grandma - she would take in every problem child in the family for the summer… matter if they were the fifth cousin twice removed. She would cook for you…she would tell you stories…and when life got just too boring, she would turn up the radio…clap her hands….and make all the kids get up and dance with her. Jean and Red loved life.

On the weekends, we would go to their house….sleep on the couch, the floor, on cots, in beds….wherever we could find a place to lay our head. In the morning, we would wake to the sound and smell of bacon and coffee. Jean would have her apron on….cooking up a storm. Grandpa Red would walk by her and smack her bottom - she would fuss at him…all in a tizzy….and Red would exclaim adoringly, “that’s my bride!!” They were quite a pair - Jean and Red - full of joy, spontaneity, and love for their family.

They traveled together all over the country in their camper. It had a sign in the back window that read, “If this trailer is rockin’ don’t come knockin’ ” and I think they meant it, too!! I am sure their marriage was not perfect, but it is one I aspire to - a relationship where there is life and passion… and peace - a relationship where you dance a jig to bluegrass music one day….and sit for hours on the porch swing the next. A relationship where life is savored together…living on purpose….kissing under the oak tree when you are 60…..floating down the river on an inner tube…holding hands….smiling….laughing. A partnership of life.

When Red died, Jean missed him terribly. She developed Alzheimers. At sundown, she would start looking for Red to drive up the hill and come home to her. She would grow agitated that Red was late getting home and would become inconsolable……sometimes she would remember that he was not going to come home…..and sometimes she would just worry and ask every five minutes what time it was… A few years after Grandpa died, I came home to spend a week with her. It was the last time that I really spent time with my Grandma. While at her house, I found a letter she wrote to Red after he died….

My Dearest Darling Red,

I loved you most of all in the world. And now you are gone and my life is cold. My love for you still holds on and on. It cannot let go. If I did I would be gone, too. If only we could talk to one another, but my voice is as silent as yours. You are always beside me.

I don’t grieve as I should, but there is an empty space there always. You did not tell me how bad you were, but I knew it anyway. God showed me.

I can’t seem to do the things I should. People ask me to come see them. I can’t. I have to be at home. As if I’m waiting for you. But I know I’m not. You aren’t here anymore. You are in Arizona and that is far away.

I wear your shirt to bed so I might be close to you. But that doesn’t help. I can’t get my feet warm close to you anymore. It’s a very big bed.

Spring is here. It is more beautiful and the storm we expected to come this way went around us. Our grandkids are here, Amy and Holly. I sure enjoy them. They are my everyday sparkle.

How can I ever be me anymore without you? We’ve always been Red & Jean or Jean & Red. Now it is just Jean. No Red. Maybe soon I’ll get settled and be more myself, but for now I sure don’t know who I am.

Everyone is so helpful and understanding and loving, but me. I’m someone else. I don’t know who. I guess Jesus is the only one who knows me or who I am.

I think I will take the camper and go on the lake. Will you visit me there? No, I guess not. But I will think of you so much as I do now. Maybe the terrible hurt will go away and a beautiful memory will take its place. I pray so. With God’s help because it’s terrible to be lost by yourself with no hugs or kisses and no arms around you and you saying, “I love you.”

I love you, too.


Until I read this letter, I had no idea that my grandma wrote. Her beautiful candor moves me every time I read it. I know what it feels like to be lonely, but I was married 16 years, not 40 plus……our separation took time - hers happened in an instant. Theirs was a beautiful love story….an enduring love story…a story that grew to touch the lives of countless friends and family…..

So back to the question……..Do I want to get married??? Looking at Jean and Red’s love story gives me hope - gives me a dream……If I can find my very own Red, then yes I definitely do…..someday…..someday.