Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Witching Hour

I want to apologize for the abrupt ending of my last entry, and for not blogging since.  I have been completely overwhelmed for the past couple of weeks, and not in the best frame of mind.  The in-laws are out of town, which means we have the house to ourselves (yay!), but also that we have no babysitters for the time being (boo!).
(It also means, however, that they get a much-needed break, and that maybe my father-in-law's nasty cough will recede.  They are, after all, in Hawaii.)

I have started my new (part-time, temporary) teaching job at a local high school.  I'm teaching Intro to Drama to freshmen 3-4 days a week.  The classes themselves are great, the kids are fantastic, but the technology is driving me insane.  Everything is online: the attendance sheet, which has to be sent in straightaway, as well as payroll, faculty email, etc.  And technology and I have a somewhat sketchy relationship.
I'm also trying to juggle my schedule with Hubby and the kids.  Luckily he's usually able to leave work early if I'm teaching when the kids get home from school.  And his show is still running, 8 performances a week. They recently moved the Sunday evening shows to Wednesday matinees, so I'm scrambling to find subs for my Wednesday classes.  Luckily, I don't have many of those, and teach mainly on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

The first couple of weeks have had a few bumps.  I'm hoping things will run more smoothly from here on out.

High school freshman are a lot like puppies: Cute, a bit awkward, energetic, and enthusiastic.  Sometimes I forget that my son is the same age as these students.   And other times I have to remind myself that ALL of these concepts are new for these guys, and to teach accordingly.  The rules that apply to (even slightly) older, more experienced students/actors don't necessarily apply here.

I must say that it's nice to work in a place that has amazing amenities.  After working for so many years in public schools, where budgets are severely limited, it's quite a concept to work in an environment in which resources are readily available.  And, honestly, to be paid well.  It makes me sad and angry that most schools have to beg for arts funding, if they get it at all.

OK, better get outside and keep an eye out for the school bus.  Hope everyone had a very happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Holy crud, I've done it again.
But I have good reasons!
Hubby is opening his show tonight at ACT in San Francisco.  He's been working his regular job AND rehearsing AND performing 8 shows a week.
And, this week, I started a temporary, part-time job teaching intro to drama for high school freshmen.
Very ROWDY high school freshmen.
And one of the tires on my car burst.
And the brakes need adjusting.
Also taking care of the kids, the house, the dog (who had 4 tumors removed 2 weeks ago and had the stitches taken out today) and all the usual stuff.
Plus all the in-laws are going on vacation.  Lots of stuff to do.

And, to be honest, the past 3 weeks have been...overwhelming.  I can't even point to too many specific things (other than the new job and all the paperwork that goes along with it), I just know I've been feeling overwhelmed and more stressed out than usual.  And little things have been going askew.  Nothing major, but, taken all together, they make life more difficult.

And now, today, another school shooting.
I seriously, truly, want to move.
To a country that hasn't completely lost its mind.
Where I don't have to wonder, every day, when I send my kids off to school, if they will come home safely.

And I'm realizing I just can't blog right now.
But I will soon.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The Light at the End, and an Unexpected Letter

LG started school a week and a half ago.  WG goes back in 2 days.  My mom is back home, after a nice (if busy and somewhat crazy-making) weeklong visit.  Hubby is back from Yosemite and has started rehearsals while taking a semi-sabbatical from his regular job.
Oh, and the new season of Doctor Who starts in just under a month.  :)
AND, there's a distinct possibility of a bit of teaching work here and there (acting and voice).
Things are lookin' up!

So, the letter. Last Monday I was waiting for LG's bus to arrive (Making sure I wasn't late, as, after the first 2 days, I was already on the transportation department's sh*t list.  Which was TOTALLY unfair, seeing as the bus came at 2 different times on 2 different days, AND I was originally told that there wouldn't even BE a bus the first week, AND no one told me that the schedule had changed, AND no one ever picks up the phone in that office. AND the school schedule is REALLY CONFUSING!!!!!!  But I digress...) and I checked the mailbox, hoping that a T-shirt I'd ordered had arrived.  It hadn't  but there was a letter with the BBC logo on it. From Wales.  And my family's name and address handwritten on the front.  Inside was a handwritten note, from a certain actor I have admired for over 20 years.  Thanking me for a card I'd sent, wishing us all well, and, get this, APOLOGIZING for the delay in writing back!  I'd sent the card in December, with ZERO expectation of a reply.  Just as a way to reach out during a difficult time.
So there I was, basically a melted puddle of goo on the sidewalk as the bus arrived.  I got LG off the bus and floated back up the hill to the house. (Hmmm...floating goo...not the nicest image...)

I showed the letter to my mom, who also melted a bit.  Then to my sister-in-law, who got mushy.  Then I took photos and texted them to Hubby, who was mightily impressed. I wanted to carry it around with me everywhere, but was afraid of losing it. So it's in my Drawer Of Things To Be Saved and Cherished.

I am so amazed and touched that he took the time to do that.  A man who, by all accounts, receives over 1,000 letters a week, and spends up to 18 hours a day on set, 5 days a week, only seeing his family on weekends.  It speaks volumes (as if more confirmation was needed) of what a complete mensch he is.

Oh, and the T-shirt arrived the next day.  ;)

Switching subjects completely, on the nutrition/exercise front, I've been following our local PBS station's airing of Classical Stretch workouts 3-5 days a week, and walking, along with a yoga class here and there.  And the Spin bike, usually for about 20 minutes.  I've also found a great Chris Freytag workout on YouTube that combines indoor walking and weights.  It's low-impact, but challenging. 'Cause nowadays I'm ALL about the challenge-me-but-please-don't-kill me fitness regimen.
I'm also taking advantage of Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights, when the in-laws are at church and the kitchen is free.  This past week I've made sweet potato and corn chowder (courtesy of Karma Chow), healthy chocolate banana bread muffins (Chocolate Covered Katie), granola (Healthy, Happy Vegan Kitchen), and lots of variations on a Buddha Bowl, courtesy of a bunch of different sources.

If only I could get the kids to eat any of it...

OK, gotta go do some of the (neverending) paperwork for said kiddoes.  Have a good one!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Me, Me, MEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Holy Crud!
5 WEEKS since my last post?!?!?!?!
Bad blogger!  (Slaps wrist.)
Oy, I am SO sorry!

But things have been...difficult.

Lots of issues, angst, and anxiety.
Suffice to say that my mom is in a bad situation that could become infinitely worse, but she refuses to see it.
The kids are on summer break, although LG starts high school next week.

And I think I've been going about things the wrong way lately.
I've been asking the Universe for help, for what I want and/or need, and it hasn't been working out.

I think I need to step back and take a good, hard look at that process.  I've always known that in order to get something, most of us have to work pretty hard toward it.  Whenever I've achieved a goal, regardless of what it was, it was the result of focus and effort.  I've never believed that wishing makes it so.

What I've been wanting from the universe is guidance.  And maybe I've been getting it, maybe not.  The main problem is that I have let myself believe a lot of negative and UNTRUE stuff about myself.

I've believed I'm weak.  But would a weak person be able to raise 2 kids with special needs? Would a weak person have been able to earn a living for nearly a decade in an industry that, at any given time, has a 98% unemployment rate? Do weak people wake up every morning, for years on end, get out of bed, and do the things that terrify them the most? Is it a sign of weakness to sacrifice one's dreams and goals in order to be there for the people who need them most?
Do weak people continue on despite the belief that they are worthless?

See, I've lived through a whole lotta sh*t in my 46 years.  A WHOOOOOOOOOOLE lot.  And it's made me stronger, better, and certainly more empathetic.  I very rarely get what I want.  But maybe, just maybe, I get what I NEED.  And I just have trouble recognizing it.

And maybe, just maybe, I'm actually a pretty kick-ass chick.
It's easy for people who have never struggled to sit in judgment of the rest of us.  And I have made the mistake of listening to and believing them, for far too long.
They have NO IDEA what the rest of us go through, on a daily basis.  They, as the saying goes, were born on third base and believe they hit a triple.

It's like the naturally skinny girl/guy who makes fun of overweight people.  They are basically talking out of their a**es.

And I refuse to listen anymore.  Because they're full of it.

So, instead of asking the universe, I'm going to look inside myself.  Because THAT'S where the answers are.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

When you have a baby, you pretty much say goodbye to sleep.
When you have a baby and a toddler, you get used to being in what amounts to a walking semi-coma, where the only things that register are: Is the baby awake or asleep?  Crying? Hungry?  Wet?
Is the toddler drawing on the walls? Climbing something?  Doing ANYTHING that could possibly result in injury, the him/herself or anyone else?
Coffee?  Do I have coffee available?

Then they get older.  They start going to school for a few hours a day and, miraculously, you have those few hours to yourself!  (Maybe.)  You hardly know what to do with yourself. You take walks, pull your old bike out of the garage, sign up for yoga, or, if you don't have one already, you might even Get A Job!  Like an actual grown up!

And sometimes you have to give that job up.  Because your kids have special needs, and they need YOU.  Because you're lucky enough to be in a position where you don't HAVE to work.  Because your husband works one full-time job and other, seasonal, part-time jobs in order to enable you to be home with the kids.
And time goes by, and you start to feel isolated again, the way you did when the kids were VERY young and your husband was frequently out of town for work. When none of your friends had kids yet, and just couldn't relate. When you didn't have a sitter, and those friends stopped bothering to even ask you to go out with them because you couldn't, anyway.  When the only adult you spoke to for days on end was the barista at the coffee bar in the grocery store.  When parents of other young kids shunned you because your kids were "weird", and they maybe thought their precious bundles would "catch" your kids' autism.

Now, though, you are lucky enough to have a bit of a community.  Your kids are in schools with not only others who are like them, but also neurotypical kids and adults who Get It.  And who LOVE your children!  What a huge blessing!

And then, along comes school vacation.  Necessary and needed, but flippin' exhausting! You remember why you were so tired all the time before they started school.  Except now it's worse. Because you are older.  And there is a BIG difference between what you can handle at 36 and what you can handle at (nearly) 46.  It's also a lot easier to maneuver and soothe a crying, melting-down, overly-stimulated toddler than it is a crying, melting-down, overly-stimulated teen or pre-teen.  Your children are getting bigger and stronger while you are either staying the same or weakening.  Despite your best efforts.
You work out 6 days a week, you lift weights, walk, cycle, do yoga, try to sleep 8 hours a night, everything and anything to retain strength, endurance, and flexibility. Because you desperately need all 3.  You meditate, because you need patience and some semblance of sanity.

But you're also entering perimenopause, which means your hormones are going into maniacal overdrive.

On top of it all is the Guilt. Partly because you are an Irish Jew, but mostly because you ADORE your kids!  You know how amazing, brilliant, funny, kind, and loving they are, and you wouldn't trade your life for anything.
But you are also so drained, mentally, physically, and spiritually, that you find yourself losing patience, grieving for the life you USED to have, the life you COULD HAVE had, and all the dreams you had to let go of, and all of the "What-ifs?"

Truthfully, none of that (aside from the patience) is as good as you remember/imagine it being.  But you realize you have to create some kind of balance. Something for YOU.  Something that is yours and yours alone.

And you realize that it's OK, once in a while, to NOT take the kids to the pool, or the park, or even just for a drive. To hang out at home and chill.
That, sometimes, they need it just as much as you do.

And, if you're really lucky, you just might be able to catch a catnap.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Oh, Sigh!

OK, this is my blog, and I'm just gona verbally vomit all this stuff out.
Prepare for a somewhat stream-of-consciousness-type post.

I'm using Hubby's computer, rather than my beloved Chromebook.  Because WG has been sick since Friday, and she vomited all over said Chromebook, thus killing it.  Hubby's computer is a Dell.  I don't like Dell computers, as a rule, but this one seems OK.
So far.
I'm watching it.
Veeeeeeeeery closely!

To reiterate: WG has been sick since Friday.  High fever for a couple of days, horrible congestion, no energy, low appetite.  Needless to say, she hasn't been going to school.  But she ALSO had to miss Ride A Wave this past Sunday.  Which, for her, is like missing Christmas. She tends to feel better after a bath, so she's had baths every day.  But then she backslides again.  If she's not doing better soon, we're going to the pediatrician.  I'm trying not to worry, but, please, have I MET me?!?!  Worry is what I DO!

LG was a bit sick and missed a day of school last week.  But he's been coughing and sneezing, and I'm praying that it's his allergies.

And Hubby was sick for a day last week, as well.

So I've pretty much had it with these freakin' viruses. LEAVE MY FAMILY ALONE, YOU LITTLE A**HATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

LG will be graduating from middle school on Thursday.
It feels like I JUSTdropped him off at his first day of 6th grade, and cried all the way home (yes, I was Crazy Crying Lady walking home from the school).  And now he's getting ready for HIGH SCHOOL?!?!?!?!?!?!

I recently discovered that there may be a possibility for some much-needed financial help for the kids, which would allow us to hire physical help for the kids, which would allow me to pursue some acting-type jobs.
And to, y'know, get out of the house now and again.  Maybe even with Hubby. Like, a date!

Buddhism, which I'm only slightly versed in, tells us to let go of the things that are not for us.
This is A LOT harder than it sounds!

My father-in-law just walked by wearing suspenders.  It's flippin' adorable!

My weight hasn't been this low in over a decade. Must be a combination of Weight Watchers, my new Fit Bit, and taking care of all the sickies.
Oh, and the worry.  Always that!

I've been taking the dog out for walks in the evenings.  It's good for his joints, good for his health (and mine), and he's so cute; He prances around in his harness! Even people who are scared of pit bulls smile at him, because he's just so happy and adorable!

The BBC4 Extra radio app is a beautiful thing.
(Especially on Saturday mornings at 10 AM PST, when you can hear their broadcast of Big Finish Doctor Who audio episodes.)

OK, it's now nighttime, and we've recently returned from taking WG to the doctor (they took us at 5:00, which was awfully nice of them).  Let's just say it was...eventful. And I have bite marks in my thigh.  Which is a first.
The good news is, she doesn't have an infection. And beating up a pediatrician (and a nurse, and her own parents) seems to have worked wonders!  She's much peppier, and is eating! So, maybe, she might be able to go back to school in a day or two...

OK.  I gotta go to bed.
Doctor's appointments are exhasting!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

After reading Geosomin's blog post this morning (I am woman, hear me run."  Go check it out.
No, really, go.  I'll wait...), I realize that I'm STILL spending the majority of my time existing, worrying, passing time, and not really LIVING.
Granted, I'm meeting a friend for coffee later this week.  And Hubby and I went to a Filipino arts festival in the city, where he did a staged reading.  But I spend most of my time taking care of people and things, and feeling like I'm living in a petri dish, being observed under a microscope and judged wanting.  (For example, apparently, as I found out yesterday, my shower time is being monitored.  Which is fairly creepy.)
And because we don't have our own place, I don't feel free to do things like invite people over without clearing it first.
When I get PMS-y, I start lamenting the state of my life. No career, no job (that pays, anyway, I certainly work), no money I've earned myself, no home of our own, and crushing student debt.  Few friends in the area.
So I spend A LOT of time online, which is not good for me. Or anyone, really.  Because most of the other people who spend the majority of their time online are, quite frankly, a little scary.  And I DO NOT want to turn into that!

I've spent the past couple of years stepping out of my now too-tight cocoon.  Baby steps.  It may be time to (har har) step it up.  Take giant leaps.

And also to not worry so much about other peoples' POV.  Simply remember that they are entitled to their opinions, and that those opinions need not have anything to do with me and mine.  And, that my beliefs and opinions are just as valid as anyone else's, and I don't have to justify them.

Just need to remember that.

And to NOT get caught up in arguments of Facebook.  :)

OK.  Gonna go walk the pooch.  And use my brand new Fitbit!

Have a good one!