Sunday, February 27, 2011

I Love Ya, Tomorrow!

The kids are GOING BACK TO SCHOOL TOMORROW!!!!!!!!!!
As much as I adore them, having them home for a week, in February, when the weather's not so great (can't go to the park) and the pool is closed, is NOT so much fun.  All the fun-kids'-stuff  places are packed, and I'm on my own with them both, which can be a lot to handle.
Plus, I couldn't go ANYWHERE (except work) without taking them with me.  Let's just say that grocery shopping with my two adorable urchins is always an adventure.  Less Disneyland-adventure and more "127 Hours."  As in, I think I'd rather cut off my own limb than take both of my kids to the grocery store!!!!!!!

Today we took a nice drive.  Hubby had an audition up in Marin, so we thought it'd be fun to pack the family (including the dog) into the minivan and go.  Until we got there, and WG had a meltdown.  A screaming, crying, hair-pulling, scratching, finger-yanking (and this girl has a GRIP!) meltdown that lasted nearly 45 minutes.  Finally, after rejecting her snacks, she accepted an apple, I bought her some Doritios (I know, I know, but I was desperate!!!), she not only calmed down, but was happy again.  And we all had a LOVELY afternoon!  We drove north to Point Reyes (one of my favorite places on earth), then circled back to Highway 1 and drove back along the coast.  it was a BEAUTIFUL day, and this was like a mini-vacation!  All that open space and being by the ocean made us able to breathe again.
And it was (yet another) reminder that we need to TAKE A BREAK now and then!  Yes, we're busy, yes we need to work all the hours we can, but we also need OUR SANITY.  The trip cost us a few dollars in gas and 12 dollars in snacks.  Not a bad price to pay!

And yes, we DID watch the Oscars.  Let me just say how glad I am that we live in Pacific Standard Time and it was only 8:45 when the show FINALLY ended, lol!
I'm also glad we don't live in L.A., where the Oscars are a national holiday and it's impossible to not only drive anywhere, but to find any salty snacks.  We would have been stuck in meltdown-land if we were in L.A. today!  And I'm REALLY thankful neither Hubby or I were ever successful enough to warrant an invite to the actual ceremony, and I can watch it in my jammies while baking cookies, and don't have to starve myself, spend hours getting dressed, or wear horrible high heels or listen to idiots eviscerate my fashion choices.

So tomorrow I will put WG on her bus, drop LG off at school, teach a private Pilates session, and take the rest of the day off.

It may sound crazy, but I LOVE Mondays!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


So this morning Hubby and I decided to go with the short sale of the house this coming summer.  As hard as it might be to leave the home we've had for 5 years and put LG in a new school in September, it does feel like a huge weight has been lifted.
Last night, after subbing a class, I had to go to Target for some essentials, and then put gas in the car. When I realized I could barely afford gas and that Target is a luxury, It hit me hard that we cannot continue to live here anymore.  As Hubby said this morning, the house has gone from an investment to a money pit.  And, as I've mentioned before, it's not as if we'll be moving into a refrigerator box on the side of the train tracks.  We'll be moving to a beautiful house, surrounded by loving family.
We need to save money for the kids' future: when Hubby and I are no longer around the kids will need, at the least, an aid.  Perhaps assisted living.  All of that costs money.
It will also cut WAY down on our stress levels.
Oh, and the fact that we can walk downtown, to the park, and pretty much anywhere else we need to go is a huge plus, considering that gas prices in the Bay Area are predicted to hit $5/gallon by summer 2012.

So I've been sitting here thinking about all the things we might be able to do once we're not pouring all our money into the house.  Like go out to dinner once in a while, just me and Hubby. Or even take the kids on a real vacation!!!!!  Pay off my student loans more quickly. Maybe even take Krav Maga again. (THANK YOU, Charlotte, for your post about it this morning!!!!!)  I hear there's a GREAT Krav Maga trainer in Santa Clara!
Finally, since  I won't have to take crappy jobs I hate just to pay the bills, I can find a GOOD job I actually like!  And I can go to school, part-time, for drama therapy.  I'll  be able to pay for it and I'll have the time.

It's nice to be able to take my own advice from the title of this blog, lol!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


My last couple of posts have been quite angry and full of complaints.  Part of me is embarrassed, but another part of me, the 12 year-old part, thinks "It's my blog and I can write what I want, so phphphphllllththth!!!!!"

Yes, it IS my bloggie, and I can whine if I want to.  But I do apologize if anyone was offended, annoyed, or just plain bored.  I'm trying to find healthy ways of venting my anger and frustration, and blogging seems to be one of those ways.  I COULD write in my journal, and I DO, but blogging about stuff just feels so...cleansing.  Getting it out there into the universe.  Ether.  Blogiverse.  Wherever it goes. It feels like the proverbial weight slipping off of my shoulders.
However, I COMPLETELY understand if you don't particularly want to read those types of posts!  I can try and remember to put a warning in the title: something like "Caution: Contains Whining.  May Not Be Suitable For Those Who Have Enough Crap Going On In Their Own Lives and Feel No Need To Read About Someone Else's, ThankYouVeryMuch."

Or maybe I could put a code word in the title.  Like "WCWMNBSFTWHECGOITOLAFNNTRASETYVM." Which takes almost as long to type.

Hmmm...I'll figure SOMETHING out!

It just all came to a head, y'know?  The house, the money issues, the lack of time off, getting sick, subbing a ton of classes, the issues at work, and now the kids' school vacation.  Plus, watching and reading stuff that literally makes me insane.  The news.  The commentary that passes itself off as news.  That episode of "Dr. Oz" that was all about Autism but ended up not being helpful AT ALL and just made me more nervous, addled, and hopeless.
The feeling I sometimes get that I am drowning.  That I have no control over anything, that my life isn't my own, that if I don't get some time to myself SOON I am going to explode.  But there IS no time on the horizon.
I have to MAKE time.  Because no one is gonna hand it to me.  There's no fairy godmother waiting to wave her magic wand and make time stop for a while so I can get my bearings again.  I have to demand it.  And if others don't like it, that's their problem, not mine.

I have to stop letting myself get sucked into political discussions on Facebook.  They only stress me out and take even more time away.

I need to stop feeling guilty over little things.  Like the number of books I've bought over the last few years.  If I figure in how much I HAVEN'T spent on things like going to the movies, or out to dinner, or meeting friends for coffee, or going to a spa day (or even a mani-pedi or getting my Bert-from-Sesame-Street-eyebrows waxed), or going on vacation, or shopping anywhere other than the grocery store, then I'm doing OK.
Reading is the only real ME time I get.  Yes, I'm spending more time at the library and less at the bookstore these days, but there's no need for me to feel guilty over actually buying some books when 95% of my time and energy is put towards other people.
Besides, I donate A LOT of those books to the library, so I'm sharing the wealth.

So.  More lessons learned.

I'm off to finish reading "Emily the Strange: The Lost Days."

Thursday, February 17, 2011

And the Hits Just Keep On Coming!

Some days just aren't worth the effort it takes to get dressed.
Granted, I'm not a naturally optimistic person, but yesterday would've tried even the patience of a saint.
Maybe it's me, but when I interview for a job and explain that I am a mom, and that my kids have special needs, and that I will do EVERYTHING in my power to NOT have that interfere with the job, and you tell me that it's all good, you understand, it's a family-friendly place with lots of working moms, that you yourself are a working mom and you totally get it, especially when it comes to kids on the spectrum because, after all, I'm being hired to work with kids who don't necessarily fit in with other kids, then maybe you should think about actually practicing what you preach!  Especially after you've already lost 2 other teachers over the same issue!
I have never missed a day.  In fact, I am ALWAYS the first one to show up.  I haven't let my childcare issues interfere AT ALL with the job.  Just the opposite; I have busted my a** making sure it isn't an issue.
But now I have a small problem, and you have let me know, in no uncertain terms, that you will NOT be part of the solution.  Not even for 10 minutes.  That you will rake me over the coals if I even THINK of doing, for 10 minutes, WHAT YOU DO EVERY SINGLE DAY!

Here's the deal: my babysitter's hours have changed at her regular job.  We were thinking that I could bring my kids to work with me for a few minutes, just until she can get there and bring them back home.  Once in a while, not all the time. And she'd be there before my class starts.  Seeing as my boss brings her almost-two year-old to the office every day, I thought maybe it wouldn't be a problem.  I thought, because she told me she understood my situation when she interviewed me that there might be some leeway.  But I found out that 2 other teachers before me did exactly as I was planning to do and got into serious trouble for it.  They ended up quitting.  And I am going to do the same.  Not right away, I will see my commitment through.  For the students' sake, and because I keep my promises. But I will NOT be returning in the fall.
I spend over half my paycheck on childcare.  I joined this program because I believed in what I thought we were trying to do. But between the issues in the classroom and now this, it is SO not worth it!!!!!

Later, at my other job, I was told that the lounge, where I have been hanging out between classes for 3 years, is actually NOT open to the staff.  There IS a staff lounge, but I don't have a key, since I'm only part time.  This was immediately followed by an email to the staff informing us that from now on we may only park in the spaces furthest from the building.
OK, that last one I get: the members pay A LOT of money, and we have a large senior citizen population.  It was just that 1-2-3 punch that left me reeling.  Left me feeling like a 3rd-class citizen.
Completely disrespected.
 Especially since there was no one else in the lounge at the time, and I was sitting silently reading a book! And I arrived early for my class, due to the lack of traffic.  Am I supposed to stand in the hallway for an hour?  I don't have an office.  What next?  We're not allowed in the locker rooms?  The cafe?
I just don't get it.  Are members so offended at having to mix with "the help" that we can't sit in the same room with them?  Because if that's the case, what the hell kind of place IS it?

Between all this stuff,our economic crud, and everything going on in the country and the world, I just want to curl up into a little ball and stay in bed.  And in a way I am.  LG is home sick from school and I have the day off, so we're curled up in bed watching the rain.  I may even start a fire in the fireplace.
I've decided to be selfish for a while.  To stop worrying about all the things I can't control and focus on my family.
And myself.

Because I give up.

For now, at least.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sniffle Suffle Snort Gragh!!!!!!!

So that cold I had last weekend decided to hang on all week.  I'm wondering if it was more than a cold, because my body was achy and tired, and I was awake 2 nights in a row.  Luckily I had a GREAT sleep last night, and woke up feeling much better!  It helps to have lovely, sexy dreams about Richard Armitage (the ridiculously handsome English actor, not the former deputy secretary of state.  No offense to the latter.) in order to wake up happy.
A few days ago I had another job interview, and it got me thinking about some of the jobs I have now.  Well, one in particular.  Something has been off since I started last Fall, and I finally put it all together: If I'm going to teach a class for kids, then it needs to be about more than the end product.  Yes, the show should be good, but the class needs to be about MORE than creating a good show.  It needs to be process-oriented, not product-oriented.  I realized that there are folks teaching who don't necessarily have any teacher training.  They're good at what they do, but it doesn't always translate to being a good teacher.
(Kinda like 90% of the folks in L.A. who call themselves "acting teachers!")
See, I was spoiled:  I took my first teacher-training at the age of 23.  One of the instructors said something at a PTA meeting that stuck with me, that it's not about creating actors, it's about creating confidence.  Study after study after study has shown that arts education translates to more class participation, as well as helping to keep kids in school until they graduate.  And I've seen evidence of this myself, over and over again.
My next training was in my late 20's, and we read "Multiple Intelligences" by Howard Gardner.  He theorizes that everyone learns in a different way, so education needs to be catered to the individual rather than to the group.  And I believe it!  Basically, there are 3 main categories of learning: seeing, doing, and hearing.  We all learn through a combination of all 3, but we each also have different strengths and weaknesses.

One thing I know for sure; shaming students, trying to make them feel guilty, does NOT work!  If a student is enthusiastic all around but refusing to participate in one exercise, then there's a reason for it.  Instead of lecturing, what about letting him/her observe and then easing him/her into it?
Kids aren't mini-adults, and we're not working with professional actors.  This isn't a production, it's a CLASS with a show at the end of the semester.   It needs to be fun, sure (otherwise why would the kids even bother showing up?), and there needs to be a benefit beyond being complimented on a good performance.

OK.  Rant over.  I just realize that there are certain environments in which my style of teaching won't fit.  So, lesson learned.

Anyway, Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you are celebrating with the ones you love, whether they be human, furry, feathery, scaly, or all of the above!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Like The Weather?

Maybe it's the fact that we've been having temperature's 20 degrees ABOVE normal here (as opposed to the rest of the poor country) and it has been gorgeous out (even though I've been stuck inside with a nasty cold), but I woke up this morning with a deep feeling of optimism.  My first thought upon awakening was "OK, things are gonna be So much better this year!"

And then, because I have PMS (is it me, or do I seem to post more when I have PMS?  Or maybe I just have Permanent Menstrual Syndrome), I had a temper tantrum and startled LG.  Because I let all the little things get to me.  And the big things to, like getting the paperwork done so that my S-I-L and her hubby can short-sell their house (which is in my name) and move in with the in-laws.
Yup.  Same in-laws we will eventually be moving in with.
Good thing it's a big house, lol!

I REALLY have to stop doing that!

Last night I was feeling a weight obsession coming on, so I started reading "A Course in Weight Loss" by Marianne Williamson.  It's based on her work with "A Course in Miracles," and it just makes SO much sense!  Later I was lounging in bed and flipping through the channels when I spotted Paul McKenna on "Dr. Oz."  I'd bought his book "I Can Make You Thin" a few years ago, and listened to his self-hypnosis CD for a while, until I, um, misplaced it.  (I think it might be in one of the kids' rooms.  Kids make great scapegoats, don't they?)
He works with hypnosis and "tapping,"  (literally tapping certain body parts, meridians in the body, based on acupuncture), in order to break bad habits and create new ones.  And hey, the tapping feels pretty good, and it couldn't hurt, right?  It beats banging my head against the wall, in any case.
Basically I had to remind myself that while I'm changing my behavior with Weight Watchers, I still need to fix the CAUSE of the behavior.
And I must be patient!

(OK, quick side note: I just looked away from my computer screen to find my dog staring at me.  She must want something.  But what?  What does it mean?!?!?!  Ah, the mysterious world of canines!)

I also need to learn to accept certain things: when I'm premenstrual, I WILL get annoyed.  Frequently.  I will get bloated and (sorry) constipated.  I will break out.  Reality TV will send me into the depths of despair (seriously, watching "The Bachelor" would lead one to believe the Womens' Movement never happened!), and it is all OK.  This too shall pass. It is NOT the end of the world.

And for those of you not in California, Florida, or Hawaii, the weather WILL eventually get better!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

BIG Confession!!!!!!

I was not going to write about this at all.  I was going to keep it my little secret form my blogging pals.
But then I realized I'd be doing you all a huge disservice.
And that is not cool.
I have a confession to make, and it's embarrassing.

I recently re-joined Weight Watchers.

To be more precise, I joined on the night of January 21st.  It was Friday, I had just eaten way too much at dinner (again), and I was feeling desperate.  My weight was going up again.  I was stressed to the max, feeling sick and lethargic, and needed to do SOMETHING.  So I got on the computer, looked at the new program, and signed up for a month.  I promised myself that the moment I started sinking back into ED-like behaviors, I would stop.
But then something funny happened: I started noticing more and more how I was feeling.  At times when I would normally have a snack, out of habit, I found myself asking if I was really hungry.  If so, I'd have that snack.  But if not, I'd refrain.  I just didn't eat anything until I was hungry.  And it was good!
I found myself wondering what kind of workout, if any, I felt like doing.  Sometimes it was a 60-minute, high-intensity gut-buster (like yesterday), and other times it was a walk, or a little bit of yoga, or nothing at all.
And I felt OK, with all of it.
Granted, it has only been a bit over a week, but in that time I have started ...eating and exercising according to what my body tells me.
Who knew that this commercial weight-loss program would be my entry into full-on IE?  Yes, I'm counting points, but it's an afterthought.  First I ask myself what (and IF) I really want to eat, then do the math later.  Whereas before, last time I did the program, I would abstain from even healthy fats because of their point level, I don't bother now.  My main concern is how healthy it is (seeing my F-I-L after his multiple surgeries has made me a bit obsessive, but it'll calm down) and is it what I really want.
None of the "diet-think" has come into play, which is what I was most afraid of.  I'm not thinking "I have to finish this because I already calculated my points"  or "I can't eat all of this, it has too many points."  Instead, I ask myself if I WANT to finish it, and adjust the points accordingly.  (This morning I made some oatmeal, then ate half of it.  I just wasn't hungry enough to finish it.  And when I got hungry later, I ate.  For me, this was HUGE.)
When I was first reading about IE, one of the things that jumped out at me was how IE'ers can leave food on their plates and not think about it.  They can have a cake in the house and take it or leave it.  That seemed impossible to me at the time.  Now I am becoming a person who can do just that.
I don't give WW all the credit.  Actually, I don't give them much credit at all; this is ME.  I've been working my butt off in therapy and in life to get to this point!  WW gives me structure and helps me think before I mindlessly cram food into my cake hole, but all the other stuff is ME.
And you guys!  Knowing I'm not alone in my craziness is a BIG help, lol!  And the encouragement and support I get from your comments and from reading your blogs is beyond words.

I feel lighter.  Not just because of the 6 pounds (mostly fluid, I'm sure, lol!) I've lost, but because I am finally, FINALLY, getting it.  Not just in my head, but in my body.  Yes, I'm trying to lose weight.  But I am also hopeful that I WILL be a full-on intuitive eater sooner rather than later, and I am confident that I have the tools now to better deal with life and all it's stuff.

So there it is.  My secret is out, and I am glad.  I realize this may disappoint some of you, and that's OK.  I can deal with that.  I would not presume to tell you what you can and cannot feel.

After all, that's what got me into so much trouble to begin with!