Tuesday, October 25, 2011


OK, part of me feels a bit ashamed when I read over my last post.  But part of me also remembers that this is a blog, not a news story, and that I'm entitled to my feelings and opinions on my own blog, even if I'm not always proud of them.  The fact is, that stuff had been eating away at me for a few weeks, and I needed to vent. I was tired of feeling beaten down and like a failure.
That's always been a big issue for me, as you can imagine: feeling as if I have the right to my own opinions and emotions without having to prove their validity to anyone else. Even the "bad" ones.  I won't go into all this again, suffice to say that I'm working on it and I'm PMS-y and cranky, lol!

On another, much nicer subject, did you happen to catch "60 Minutes" this week?  It was all about Steve Jobs, but the last story was about apps for autism on the iPad.  It's pretty amazing, how these assistive communication apps have literally changed peoples' lives. The old ones are heavy and expensive, usually only available at specialized schools, but the apps are available for, at the most, about $60. And now people who could never communicate before are doing so easily.  It's really amazing!  And I wonder if Steve Jobs had any idea that this could happen when he designed the technology.
So now we're saving up to get an iPad.  'Cause WG could DEFINITELY benefit from this!

Finally, I have the afternoon off.  No class this afternoon.  I taught Pilates this morning, and I think I'll take the kids for a walk later.  It's still gorgeous out, though not as hot as it was over the weekend.  We actually had a chance to take the kids to the pool.  Probably the last swim here until June, as the pool usually closes end of October.  Tomorrow is their big Halloween outing, and I actually have the ENTIRE day off on Friday, so I might go into the City for a few hours, just until I have to pick the kids up.  Maybe I'll meet Hubby for lunch!
It's funny, though: I guess my body knows I have the day off, because I fell asleep before I picked LG up from school, and I'm COMPLETELY unmotivated to work out today!  I suppose it's the first time in a while I haven't been plowing through, full steam ahead, so my system is taking advantage and forcing me to slow down.
Smart, this body o' mine.

OK, I'm off. Have a great night, everyone!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Oh, We're Halfway There...

(Love me some Bon Jovi!)
Halfway through the semester.  4 more sessions of my Tuesday class, 6 more for my (awesome, amazing!) Thursday class.  I'm thinking of taking a little staycay the second week of December, after everything winds down.  Finding someone to cover my Pilates classes and just taking a break. One week of not having to do anything but get the kids off to school and home again.  (And clean the house, walk the dog, shop for groceries, cook...but you get the idea!)

I've also decided to bite the bullet and apply for a teaching job at a university that's kinda far away. It's part-time, it's in my field, and it's what I wanted to do before I went to grad school.  In fact, it's WHY I went to grad school, so I could teach at the college level.  And since it's part time, I wouldn't have to go to every faculty meeting, mwahahahaha!!!!!
Oh, and I'd get to teach students who actually WANT to be there, and don't need a babysitter.  'Cause as adorable as my young little students are, I'm flippin' exhausted, lol!

On a more serious note, I don't think I'm cut out to teach kids that young.  I can't teach and direct a play if I'm trying to keep 20 kids quiet, in the room, and out of danger. I wasn't hired to babysit, and that's not what I'm good at. At this point, with 4 weeks left, I figure if we get all the kids on stage and all the lines said in something resembling the right order, it will be a big win.
But, to me, it feels like a failure.  I've written before about my beginnings as a teacher, and how I try to uphold those standards.  Well, I'm a far cry from that with this one class, I'm sad to say.  To be honest, I don't think these kids are learning anything, and I KNOW a few of them are not enjoying it at all.  And, because I'm me, I take it to heart.  I feel like a failure every Tuesday.  I feel like I'm spending a good part of the 90 minutes getting their attention and then losing it after 60 seconds.  Some of the kids have even said they may not show up for the play.

But I also refuse to take the FULL blame: Honestly, if you're gonna run a program like this, there have to be some standards about who can participate.  And while I usually like to be all-inclusive, it's impossible to run this class with this many kids and one adult when some of the kids are being dumped into the class against their will.  Quite frankly, some of them are too young.  And I have a suspicion there are a couple with attention deficit issues.  As a parent of special needs kids, I am all for inclusion, but only in environments where it has at least a chance of being successful. Otherwise it can push children backwards and do way more harm than good.
It would probably help if I had at least one other person  in the classroom with me.  Even a middle or high school student.  Someone to ride herd, as it were, while I did the work I was hired to do.
Finally, I have a feeling I'm not the only one to have had issues at this particular school. Just from rumblings I've heard.

Is it because it's a wealthy community?  Maybe in part.  I have a feeling some of these kids are used to getting what they want, and expect to be constantly entertained.  Well, I'm not a trained monkey. I'm not there to entertain. I'm not there to mediate the fights and arguments, to force kids to apologize to each other when they hurt one another's feelings, or to punish them.  More honesty: if I have to listen to all the tattling, the "It's not fair"s and the "This is boring"s for much longer, I may end up in a padded room.  I realize that sounds b**chy, but it's true. Like I said, I'm not cut out to teach this age group.

So I highly doubt I will be teaching this class again next semester, lol!  (Even if I wanted to I don't think they'd have me back.)

On the bright side, these past couple of years have clarified what I DON'T want to do!  And that's pretty valuable.  There have been times when I've beaten myself up, telling myself there's something wrong with me because I don't want to teach the classes I've been teaching, but that is simply NOT true!  They have been a struggle and not at all satisfying, which tells me they are better suited to someone else, someone who has a passion for that.  I have a passion, it's just not getting the proper outlet.  And that's not a defect, it's simply circumstances.  I honestly believe I have a lot to offer as an instructor; I just need to find the right fit.  (And I'll say it again: my Thursday class is a freakin' DREAM COME TRUE!!!!!! The polar opposite of Tuesday!)

Another problem, I suppose, is that I did my teacher training with a group that I believe has the best educational theater program in the country.  I suppose I got spoiled, and I've been trying to recreate that experience ever since I left.
Part of me regrets leaving.  Many of the people who joined the program at the same time I did are still there, still doing that amazing work.  But I would have missed out on the life I have now if I'd stayed.  I wouldn't have met my husband, and I wouldn't have my kids.  And even the thought of that is unbearable.

So there's this little voice which, over the years, has been getting louder and louder:  What if I DID re-create it?  Here?  Rather than going back, move it west?  I have one friend who has done just that.  Granted, when he started he was single and childless. (and is now married with twin boys!!!!!)  But he is the creator and artistic Director of the Tennessee Shakespeare Company, which is an AMAZING company!  What he has created is pretty mind-blowing, and I can't help but kvel.  So if you ever find yourself in the Memphis/Germantown area, go check 'em out.

***Weird Coincidence!  As I write this a song came on the radio that I used to listen to (on cassette) every morning as I drove to work AT THAT THEATER COMPANY I'VE BEEN WRITING ABOUT! In 1994!  And it wasn't a single off of the album!  SPOOOOOOKY!!!!!!!!

Anyway.  Thanks for reading all my emotional vomit/pity partying.  I'm gonna go turn off my brain and watch some TV.  Or, better yet, listen to "80's Friday Night" on the radio.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hello! Hello, McFly!

Sometimes I wonder what's going on in my brain.
OKOKOKOKOK: MOST of the time I wonder.
Case in point: the other day I went to Old Navy to check out their new active wear (Verdict: Meh.) and saw that they're hiring for the holidays.  My first thought was "Employee discount!  I should apply!"  Then I realized that, oh yeah, I'm already working at 6 different places.  And then there are those people I live with...um...oh right, my husband and children!  Who would like to see me every now and again.

I started my new Pilates class tonight.  Right after my weekly yoga class.  OK, I only had 1 student, but she really enjoyed it, lol!  And I think (I hope) that I was able to lock up the studio properly.  Yes, I had to call the owner when I couldn't find the light switch (it was hidden behind a very tall potted plant, shut up!), but I THINK everything else was in its place (knock wood). I'm such a worrywart though: I'll probably be up at 3 AM wondering if everything is OK at the studio.

I've also been watching soap operas again.  Not too much, just snippets here and there.  For a long time I thought they were basically harmless, but now I'm starting to wonder.  Not all of them.  OK, one in particular, which may or not be named later.  For one thing, the characters are scarily inappropriate with each other about details of their sex lives!  And while\ that's not dangerous, it's just kinda gross.  I mean, would you want your dad grilling you about whether or not you had sex with your fiancee last night?  EEEEEEWWWWWW!!!!!
But what I find really, truly, scary (and even sent an email to the producers, which I never do) is a storyline involving a love triangle.  2 women love the same guy.  One woman is engaged to him, but she wants to wait until they're married to sleep together. Fine, no problem. She also has a career, which keeps her busy.  The controversy?  The guy's dad doesn't like her because a) she's not having sex with his son (again, EW!) and, b) SHE HAS A CAREER.  Everyone complains that she's EMASCULATING him because she's not putting his needs above her own, not coming straight away when he beckons, not dropping everything the second he walks into the room, spending "too much" time at work.  And this IS dangerous!  These characters are in their 20's, a time when many people ARE busy establishing themselves, career-wise.  And the idea that a woman has to put her needs behind that of her fiance's is SO 1950's! What kind of message are they putting out there? Do they not know it's 2011?  Sure, women still earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by men, but aren't we past the idea that women have to prop their men up?  Aren't we beyond the idea that it's emasculating for a man to have a wife/girlfriend with a real career?  Heck, these days it's a financial necessity!

Anyway, the guy married the other woman, the one without as busy a job. (Who's also his father's ex-mistress and his ex-fiance's stepsister. Ah, soaps!)

Ah well.  Yet another reminder to turn the dang TV off. Really, the only things worth watching are baseball, "Masterpiece [Mystery, Classic, Contemporary], and "Doctor Who." The rest is fake reality, unfunny comedies, and dramas that aren't worth investing in because they'll probably be cancelled soon. Vast wasteland, indeed.  I'd rather listen to music, read, or take the kids for a walk.

OK.  Off to bed.  'Night!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Huh. It DOES Get Easier!

Hubby's on a weekend climbing getaway in Yosemite this weekend.  I usually dread his weekends, just because it means more work for me.  But this weekend has been SO MUCH easier than usual!  Partly it's the weather; it's been quite warm and the pool is still open, so we hung out there for a couple of hours yesterday.  There were even 2 other little girls there who didn't seem the slightest bit phased by the kids' "odd" behaviors and included them (as much as possible) in their games.  It was very heartening, as there are other kids around here who make fun of mine.
Today we went over to the in-laws' for a barbecue. It was mellow and a lot of fun, and there were lots of people to help out with the kids.
But the fact is, my kids simply aren't babies anymore! It hit me yesterday that they are, in fact, old enough to be alone in the house while I take the dog a few yards away to do her thing. Not TOO far, mind you; they'd be fine, I'd be a wreck, lol!  They can handle their dad being away for a couple of days without freaking out. LG isn't going to write all over the walls with a Sharpie, and WG won't cry her eyes out if I;m in another room and she can't see me.
I admit to sometimes being a helicopter mom, but, in my defense, I have good reason.  LG will still try to get out to the yard at his grandparents' house without letting anyone know.  And he did, after all, wander away on our camping trip.  (He came back right away when he heard us calling, but it was pitch-black dark, and he headed toward the restroom without asking/telling us.  I can barely write that that without freaking out!) And WG doesn't always understand potentially dangerous situations, and, of course, cannot talk.
But I also need to realize that they are growing up, and have different issues than they had when they were toddlers.  I also forget how much WORK they were at that age, lol!  How I went through the days in a near zombie-like state, waking up multiple times a night, mainlining coffee, and carting the kids with me everywhere I went.  Which was mainly the grocery store and either the mall or the public garden for walks, pushing them in their stroller.
Sometimes I miss those days.  Until I regain my sanity.
LG is 10, and WG will be 8 next month.  They're both in school all day, and are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves on the weekends (when Hubby and I aren't dragging them hither and yon trying to expand their horizons). They are so much more in the world than they were back then. Not typical, by any means, but less in their own autistic worlds and more aware, awake, and involved. More independent.  And I'm so freakin' proud of them that sometimes I just feel like I'll burst with it!

There's hopeful news in other arenas, as well: it may be that I'm able to pay down some of my debt more easily than I'd thought.  Yes, I'll still be paying off my student loans from now until doomsday, but at least I CAN pay them, knock on wood!  Of course, I'm still trying to figure out what, if anything, to do with my degrees, but it's also kind of nice to NOT be so laser-focused like I was for my first 40 years.

Finally, I've joined a nearby weight-loss center.  It's relatively inexpensive and very reasonable.  I don't have to buy any special foods (although they have some, if I do: stuff that's also available in grocery stores), I can go and talk to my counselor as much as I want, and I am paying attention to what makes me feel good, rather than counting calories/points/fat grams/carbs, etc.  In fact, at my last appointment I was told that I'm not eating ENOUGH.  That's my kind o' weight loss, lol!
I'm finally figuring out that certain things make me feel blah.  Or worse. I think I'd gotten so used to feeling tired, run down, or even sick after eating that I figured it was normal.  But over the past couple of weeks I've felt better and more energized than I have in a really long time.  No more stomach aches, reflux, heartburn, or mid-afternoon energy crashes. At least, so far.

Oh, and one more thing: I finally got to see "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part ONE."  And LOVED it!  I think it's one of the best in the series, especially the story of the 3 brothers.  How beautiful was that?! I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the performances by all the young actors.  I suppose if you grow up making movies with some of the best actors in the world, it leaves an impression.

OK.  Gotta head to bed.  'Night!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


No, not the workout (which ABSOLUTELY lives up to it's name!), but life in these parts right about now.  Can't go into TOO many details, but another trip (or 4) to the dentist will be involved.  Not for me, but the offspring.  Feeling (even more) scared and stressed (than usual).  Plus the house...the seemingly endless house/school district drama.
I'm also (finally!) realizing that I really do need to take things not just day-by-day, but sometimes even moment-by-moment. To keep breathing, keep perspective, and take action when there is action to be taken, but also realize that at 4 AM there's usually not a lot that can be done, and obsessing and creating those worst-case scenarios doesn't help.  AT ALL.  It actually makes it worse.

So, a few new experiments.  I'm ditching the coffee.  All caffeine, in fact.  Not only does it add to the jitters I already have, I can't even drink it without adding all sort of sugary crud to it.  Since I'm trying to go without processed sugar for a while, as well, it just makes sense to ditch the coffee.  Oh, and the artificial sweeteners. I'd already gotten rid of those, for the most part, but still enjoyed a diet soda now and again.
But no more.  I need to focus on putting things in my body that will help, not hurt me.  I think, for a long time, my body has been shouting at me to get rid of some of this stuff, but I just plugged my ears and sang "lalalala  I can't hear you!"

This is just for me.  I'm not going to tell anyone else (other than my kids) how to eat.  (I'm certainly not going to tell Hubby he has to give up coffee.  Especially since I kinda like my limbs, lol!  He's the mellowest guy on the planet, but if I ever took his morning joe away, I have a feeling we'd have some "Incredible Hulk" action going on!)

See, I'm experiencing a very familiar feeling: the desire to curl up in a ball on my bed and stay there.  I've felt this way so often, probably more often than not in my 42 years. Usually this feeling is trying to tell me something.  For instance, in grad school, I started feeling like this (and having panic attacks) when I realized that acting, despite the hours, money, and years I'd already put into it, might not be what I truly wanted to do. My subconscious and conscious minds started to battle it out, while the rest of me went through the days on autopilot.  When I was a kid, I missed A LOT of school for 3 years in a row. I had stomachaches, but they were part of something deeper.  Not that I or anyone else knew that at the time.  (Oh how I wish we had: would've saved me from the Barium milkshake!)
The best remedy for feeling like this is to NOT give in.  To go out and do something.  Luckily I have a Pilates client this morning and my 20 little urchins this afternoon.  They'll keep me plenty busy, lol!
The other remedy is to take my own advice: do what can be done when that's possible, and let the rest go.  As Hamlet says, "If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now. Now, if it be not now, yet it will come.  The readiness is all."
In other words, it's gonna happen sooner or later, and I need to get myself prepared.  Wishing something away won't make it go away. Time to pull on my big girl panties and deal.

Another thing to remember is that 9 times out of 10 the anticipation of something is 1,000 times worse than the event itself.

So here I am, continuing on my road of (hopefully) self-improvement.  If you see me, give me a wave!