Tuesday, September 29, 2009

1 Year

Dad died a year ago today.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I've Found My Heart in San Francisco

Yesterday it was 100 degrees. My SIL came over and we took the kids to the pool. For 2 hours. (And they STILL weren't tired!!!!)
It was about 35 degrees cooler today. A perfect Northern California autumn day! After school we took the kids to the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, and they had a GREAT time!!!!! They just love it there! And we got to see the albino alligator for the first time. He's beautiful, and I swear he was posing for us!
(And I think the penguins believe that they're the observers and we're the display. They all turn to look at us when we watch them. "Look! The humans are back! Boy, are they weird. And kinda ugly. At least the tall ones are. The short ones are pretty cute."
Then tonight we watched the pilot episode of "Trauma," which is not only set but actually filmed in San Francisco. (Hubby had an audition for an episode of it, but didn't get it. He will get cast in it, eventually, I just know it.) I must say I'm not CRAZY about the show, but the exteriors are pretty darn nice!
As we were driving home, I realized (again!) how happy I am that we live here. Did you know that Golden Gate Park is bigger than Central Park? I love that we're surrounded by water; the Pacific on one side and the Bay on the other. I REALLY love the complete and utter lack of snow and ice. (Can you imagine driving around the hills of SF in the snow?!?!?!)
But one of the things I love the most is that IT'S NOT LOS ANGELES!!!!!!!!
The kids are really happy here. They have family nearby, wonderful teachers and therapists, and things like the Academy of Sciences, Exploratorium, Stow Lake, Crissy Field, etc. It's a great place for kids.
And did I mention the lack of snow?
OK, I know some people cannot wait to go to Tahoe to go snowboarding, skiing, sledding, etc. I prefer Tahoe in the summer, when you can swim in the
Really freakin' cold) lake. Maybe it's because I grew up in New England, but I HATE being cold. (And, actually, WG agrees with me. We went to Tahoe for New Year's a couple of years ago, and tried to take her sledding. Let me tell ya, she was having none of it! She preferred to stay in the nice warm hotel room, and I didn't blame her one bit!) I think because many folks in certain areas of California didn't grow up with the snow, and don't have to deal with the everyday headaches it brings (shoveling the car out 14 times a day, letting it warm up, scraping the ice off the windows, slipping on the ice on the ground, etc.) it's a novelty. Something to play in.
When I was a junior in college, I spent a year at Boston University, where my mother is a professor. My cousin was a freshman there. He grew up in El Salvador and then Miami. He stayed with us over Thanksgiving weekend, and saw snow for the first time ever. At 7 AM he was running around the backyard, playing in it like a little kid on a snow day.
By February he was completely over it and wondering why he didn't go to Florida State.
He and his family live in Atlanta now.
Not a lot of snow there, either.
Anyway, I just want to say that I love San Francisco. And so does my family. I hope we can stay here forever.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Working Out Without a Mirror

The studio at the gym is getting a facelift. Or rather, a floorlift? They're putting in a new floor. (Why, Alyssa, do you have to try and be so CLEVER all the time? It rarely works!) Anyway, the studio is closed for a few days, and all our classes are being held in the multi-purpose room at the pre-school. So last night I taught my mat class in there.
Normally I teach with my back to the clients, facing the mirror. That way I can say "right leg" and mean it. I get very confused when I'm facing them, and say "right leg" while using my left. I have ENOUGH trouble with right and left! I can also look in the mirror to check their form. But the multi-purpose room doesn't have a mirror.
And you know what? I really, REALLY like it!
Now I know that having a mirror is important so that students can be sure they're moving properly, but I also find them distracting. I notice all the little things about my body that I don't like. I realize that, when we're doing the Hundred, I have rolls of fat on my tummy, or that, yes, my face does INDEED turn bright, Defcon 1-red when I sweat.
All of which detracts, I think, from my teaching. Last night I felt MUCH more focused than I normally do, and I think I taught a better class because of it. So now I'm thinking I should teach AWAY from the mirror whenever possible. Turn around and face the clients. Deal with my left/right dyslexia. And, the truth is, if I'm not LOOKING at myself in the mirror, I'm FEELING a lot more. Within my body. I feel how I'm lifting my head and shoulders off the mat by using my core, rather than my neck. And I can translate that to my students.
Next week we will be back in the studio. With a brand-new floor, which is great, and hopefully I'll have a brand-new attitude. (What I WILL miss from the multi-purpose room are the hula hoops, parachutes, and ITTY-BITTY ADORABLE gym equipment used for the pre-schoolers!)

And I noticed something else, too: On Wednesdays, I spend the entire morning and afternoon dreading my full schedule (teaching from 4 PM until 8:30). Then I get to work, and I have so much fun! I LOVE teaching my classes, I ADORE my clients, and it's a blast! Sure, I'm tired at the end of it, but it's a good tired, a "wow, I really got a lot done, got a good workout, AND I'm getting paid for it" tired. The total opposite of grad school "I'm exhausted all the time and the work is never-ending" tired, or the Mom-tired, where you just float through the days in a haze of exhaustion, dirty laundry, carpools, doctor's appointments, and caffeine.
Ijust need to remember how much I enjoy my work, and how lucky I am to have it!
And to face away from the mirror when I teach.
Oh, and to pay the electric bill.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I Think The Universe is Trying To Tell Me Something

So between Toothgate, which forced me to miss my 3 classes last Thursday AND my yoga workshop on Friday, the cold I had over the weekend, the extreme exhaustion (I think from said cold), and then, this morning, pulling a neck muscle, I think I'm being told, in no uncertain terms, to TAKE A BREAK!
Up until last Wednesday, I was doing A LOT of working out, despite my resolution to ease up. Bikram yoga, 2x/week, teaching 4 or more Pilates classes (often teaching off the reformer), and doing CardioBarre or other barre-based workouts 1 or 2 times a week. And taking the kids to the pool.
So, yeah. Today I took a LOOOOOOONG nap, and it was GOOD, lol!
And tomorrow, I'll be teaching all my classes off of the reformer and off the mat.
Yup. I'm 40.

On the plus side, I have a brand-new blender! My Magic Bullet finally shuffled off its, erm, metal coil? So I ordered the Master Health blender, and we'll see how it goes. (Luckily it has a 30-day guarantee. Someday I may have a VitaMix, but not today.)
And, to end on a REALLY good note, in the past couple of days I've heard from 2 friends whom I haven't seen/spoken with in a very long time!!!!!! Through Facebook, of course!
OK, I'm off to brush the infamous Teeth. And to put away the dinosaur currently sitting on the bed. 'Cause it's plastic (did you think I meant a REAL dinosaur? I'm not THAT crazy. Yet.) and I keep poking my arm on its claws.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"Toof" Update

The second of LG's permanent teeth started coming loose last night. Hubby was in school, again, so I called my mother (at 11 PM her time) and had a phone freak-out with her. Then I left ANOTHER message with the dentist and, before he had a chance to call back, had my SIL pick up WG so I could take LG to the local emergency room.
Unfortunately, there wasn't really anything they could do. So we picked up (a very much awake, at 10:30 PM) WG and went home. Hubby, meanwhile, had been home for a bit and was able to speak to the dentist. He referred us to Oakland Children's Hospital, which is where LG and I spent the entire day today. First in the emergency room (ERs at childrens' hospitals are NOT fun! All these poor little bunnies who are sick and unhappy!) (Oh, and the patient in the room across the hall had SWINE FLU!) and then in the dental clinic.
The dentist there had an idea that maybe there's been a slight trauma to LG's mouth recently that we didn't know about. Perhaps he fell at school, or while jumping on his bed (after we've told him NOT TO a billion times!), and just picked himself up, dusted himself off, and went on his way. Maybe that jarred his teeth a bit, and he just kept poking at them until they loosened up and one of them came out. Because, as the dentist pointed out, pulling out your own stable teeth HURTS! And LG hasn't been in pain.
LG also has a bad habit of using his teeth in ways he REALLY oughtn't; like opening water bottles. I've caught him doing that a few times, so who knows how many times he's tried it when no one was looking?!
The good news is, even if this second tooth comes out (he's on a strict regimen of soft foods and no-fingers-in-the-mouth for the next 2 weeks, until his follow-up appointment), he can have dental implants put in a few years down the road. And who knows what dental technology will be like then? Maybe we'll be able to grow teeth in a test tube and plant them in a human mouth! Maybe they'll be BIONIC! That'd be COOL!!!!!!
But until that time comes, he's still as handsome and adorable and sweet as can be. I just hope his sister, who just lost her first two baby teeth, doesn't decide to follow in his footsteps.
(Oh, and I had to miss my yoga teacher-training, but I can make it up another time.)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Oy! Such is Life!

Last night, after his bath, LG came up to me and said "toof out." I was kind of excited; another baby tooth coming out to make way for a permanent one! Except when he showed me which tooth was loose, I freaked.
Because it wasn't a baby tooth. It was one of the bottom front teeth, and it was a permanent one. It was loose and bleeding, and I called Hubby's phone and left a message saying "CALL ME AS SOON AS YOU GET THIS!!!!!!"
Suffice to say, it was a rough night. LG didn't sleep well and cried a lot, which woke up WG, who also started crying. The poor dog wanted to help, but ended up pacing the hallway nervously (her short legs, and lack of opposable thumbs, were a distinct disadvantage in this case).
This morning we got WG on the schoolbus and left to take LG to his dentist in the city. About two minutes out, I saw that the tooth had disappeared from his mouth. So we turned the car around and searched the house for the tooth, finally finding it in his pocket (?!?!?!) I then put the tooth in milk (it said to do that on the internet) and off we went.
After fighting rush-hour traffic, we arrived at the dentist's office. Only to cool our heels while he finished surgery on a two-year old. This dentist is very popular, and for good reason; he's AWESOME!!!!!! I had actually called him at 11:30 the night before to get advice, apologizing profusely for calling so late. He not only waved off my apology, he apologized TO ME, saying he normally didn't go to sleep that early!
Anyway, a valiant effort was made to temporarily replace the tooth until we could get to a specialist in the afternoon who would try and replace it permanently. It took 5 people to restrain and work on LG. Who then proceeded to rip the tooth right out of his mouth again. So then he had to be placed in restraints; it basically looked like a sleeping bag with heavy-duty velcro. Then they re-sealed the tooth. Let me tell ya, seeing my son in restraints, listening to him scream and cry, is NOT an experience I wish to repeat. Ever. But it had to be done. And they didn't like it any more than I did.
So then we had to spend the next 2 1/2 hours holding his tooth in place, so he wouldn't rip it out again. Because our appointment with the specialist wasn't until 2 PM, and Hubby had to drive back home, pick up WG from school, then come back and pick us up.
The staff was AMAZING! One of the assistants sat for the first 2 hours holding the tooth in place. The dentist and all the other assistants came in every few minutes to check up on him, and to tell him what a wonderful, brave, smart boy he is. Even when he was crying and saying "All done dentist!" (One even made a point of coming in to say goodbye before leaving for his lunch break.)
Eventually it was time to drive across town: the same assistant who had sat with us also walked us to the car, keeping the tooth in place. Hubby drove while I took over tooth-holding duties, then we came into the specialist's waiting room, where I filled out paperwork with one hand while still holding the tooth in place with the other.
Hubby and I switched duties on and off (alternating between tooth patrol and looking after WG). It took 2 more hours of waiting to see the doc, during which time my SIL (who deserves a medal) drove into the city to pick up WG and take care of her until we were finished.
Oh, and I should mention that I had to find last-minute subs to teach the 3 pilates classes I was supposed to teach today. And they were found! Including one instructor who threw her back out yesterday and called on her way home from the chiropractor to volunteer to teach the evening class!
OK, so the doc looked st the tooth, consulted with our regular dentist, and it was decided that, despite the brave efforts to save the tooth, it would have to come back out. Because the prognosis for the tooth itself wasn't good; even if they HAD restored it, it would probably only last 2 years, and then LG would have to have root canal. Plus, it could contaminate the surrounding teeth.
So, he's got a big ol' gap in the front of his mouth. We still have the tooth: one option is, in a few years, the dentist could cut it in half and try to re-plant it. but the best option seems to be putting a dental transplant in, eventually.
The weird thing (OK, weirdEST) is, none of us could figure out how the heck the tooth got loose and came out in the first place! 'Cause the ENTIRE thing came out, including the roots! (Sorry if this is grossing you out!) And the tooth was healthy.
But, apparently, LG wanted it out, and out it came. I'm just praying that it doesn't happen to anymore of his permanent teeth!
And I must say, that between the dental professionals, my SIL, and everyone at the Peninsula JCC, my faith in humaniy has been hugely restored!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

WWSBD? (What Would SpongeBob Do?)

For many years, I have been engaged in a half-assed pursuit of what we call Balance. Finding my Zen. Centeredness. Equanimity.
And failing miserably.
Especially in the car.
(I HATE it when someone tailgates me! Especially when there are 20 cars in front of me. And it's rush hour. And we're in the slow lane. I mean, come on! Whaddaya want me to do, levitate?
Or the idiots who try not to let you in when two lanes merge into one and your car is in front of theirs. Or you stop at a stop sign and the idiot behind you starts honking their horn and screaming at you to move. Although, when that happens, I tend to stay at that stop sign for a loooooooong time, mwha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!!!!!)
Lately, however, it's been (slowly) dawning on me that the calm I seek isn't necessarily about NOT getting angry, it's more about dealing with the anger differently. Intellectually I've known this for some time. But knowing something and KNOWING something are two different things, ya KNOW?
I realize that I have to cut MYSELF a break or two before I can do that for others. Just like I had to learn to love and forgive myself before I could truly love and forgive anyone else.
It's OK to have feelings. Even the "bad" ones, like anger, hurt, sadness. I don't have to be pleasant and reasonable all the time. I'm not a robot. On the other hand, I don't have to have tantrums and take my anger/hurt/sadness, etc. out on anyone else. Writing things down helps. As does therapy. And, hey, letting loose with a string of curses that would make a truck driver blush when I'm alone in my car isn't bad, either!
But I've also realized that my Zen model isn't a Bhuddist monk or my yoga instructor, it's Spongbob.
Spongebob gets mad. He gets sad. Sometimes he cries so much he puffs himself out to the point of near-bursting. He gets confused. But he always manages to find a solution, and to make everyone happy in the end. He's also very sweet, and never intentionally hurts anyone. He takes off his pants and runs with the jellyfish.
OK, so maybe I'll skip that part.
But The Spongy Dude ALWAYS tries to help his friends, and he is full of love.
So I have to ask myself, the next time someone is riding my bumper, what would Spongebob do?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Confession Time!

Yes, I have a confession to make.
I HATE football!
I hate watching it, hearing about it, the glorification of it, the exploitation of the young men who play it, the players who think they're G-d, the damage it does to the bodies of the players, and the pseudo-macho baloney that surrounds the game. I even hate fantasy football.
I hate the cheerleader mentality. The scantily-clad women prancing around half-naked on a freezing cold field for the "entertainment" of the drunken guys in the crowd, many of whom are also half-naked, but feeling no pain because they're plastered.
I HATE how long it takes to play a single freakin' game! Thank heavens the Super Bowl is only one game, rather than a series!
And I REALLY hate the whole high school football-as-religion thing. Quarterbacks are gods, cheerleaders are goddesses, and anyone who doesn't worship at the altar must be punished. I was lucky, my high school football team wasn't that great. Our school excelled in track and field and womens' field hockey. The only real football hoopla was the big game on Thanksgiving, when we played our arch-rival. The day before we'd have our one pep rally of the year. And it was actually fun: we got out of classes early and got to see the football team in cheerleading outfits! (It was tradition. I'm not entirely sure how it started.) Later, the football team would play the powderpuff (girls') football team in what was SUPPOSED to be a tag ball.
But the ladies didn't buy into that!
I've been pretending, for as long as I can remember, that I actually care. That I LIKE football. That it MATTERS to me who wins. But the truth is, I just don't. Care, that is. Sure, I like the superbowl parties, as long as I don't have to pay too much attention to the game. (Last year I read a copy of "Entertainment Weekly" during the game, in which I discovered that the president is a fan of "Spongebob Squarepants." I KNEW I liked Obama!!!!!)
Now baseball, THERE'S a game I can get behind! Sure, it takes a long time, and it moves slowly, but there's NOTHING like being at the stadium on a summer night watching your team beat the tight pants off the visiting team! Plus, you can actually TALK to the people you're at the game with, as opposed to a noisy football stadium.
Look, I understand that football, whether at the high school, college, or professional level, is an obsession for many. They enjoy it. they arrive at the stadium hours before the game and tailgate (which actually sounds like a lot of fun), and that's great. Enjoy! (And, after all, since I'm not buying a ticket, there's one more for you, right?)
Just, please, don't ask me to join you. Don't buy an extra ticket for me, even though I appreciate the thoughtfulness of the gesture. I've never been to an NFL or college game, and I only went to (part of) one high school game. It's not on my bucket list.
Hubby is a RABID Raiders fan (really, is there any other kind?), and I love his enthusiasm. I just don't share it. I'll root for the Raiders for his sake, but I won't watch the game. I'll suffer through the seemingly-constant noise every Sunday and Monday (night) for the next few months. The yelling (and occasional swearing) at the TV, the endless coverage on ESPN, and the complete and uttter lack of "Baseball Tonight" on same. Then, come March, I will turn on the TV and see (cue heavenly music) footage of BASEBALL SPRING TRAINING!!!!!!! And I will know that spring is coming, and the boys of summer will soon be back!!!!!!