Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Going On

Yes, life does go on.  It has to.  I still find myself automatically checking the spot where Luna's bed was, in the living room, every time I walk in.  Or I hear a scratching noise and think it's her, scratching at the carpet before laying (lying?) down on it.  She was part Corgi, and they're known for arranging their sleeping spots just so. Or I'll hear Chopper walking around and, for a split second, forget that it's not Luna.

He was looking for her the other night.  Chopper.  He likes to be inside, but he stood by the door until my sister-in-law let him out.  Then he started sniffing the entire yard, and barking when he couldn't find her.  :(
At times I miss her to the point where it's a physical ache.  We knew her time was coming, but when I left for work that morning, I honestly had no idea that in a few hours I'd be holding her while she breathed her last.

Tonight I made pizza for dinner.  Luna loved to eat the crusts, and it was a small shock, again, to remember she wasn't there to beg for them.  I ended up throwing them away.

But...there are good things happening, too.  I started teaching the Shakespeare class, and the 3 hours flew by.  Always a good sign!  The fact that there are 3 of us, and not just me, makes all the difference. Plus, I'm a "floater":  I won't be responsible for any single group, but, rather, will help out wherever I'm needed.  It's very cool!

I'm a little nervous about tomorrow:  I'm babysitting my niece for the first time.  It's been a while since I've cared for a baby.  I hope I remember how, lol!
After that, I teach the Shakespeare class again, and after THAT, I race back up the freeway to teach my last Wednesday night Pilates Mat class.
Then I'll come home and pass out.

I am very much looking forward to it being 24 hours from now.

On yet another note, I've had insomnia, on and off, for the past 3 weeks.  So much has happened: the kids starting school, the new jobs, letting go of the old jobs, and, of course, the pup. I've been taking anti-anxiety meds to help me sleep.  Not every night, I don't want to come to rely on them.  I think that this, too, shall pass.  Once everything has settled a bit and I'm in my new routine, sleep will come more easily.
Plus, I've got to cut my caffeine intake!

So, yes, life goes on.
It's just a little bit dimmer at the moment.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Goodbye, Luna. We Love You!

My heart is breaking.

I just got back from the vet where we put down our dog, Luna.  She was 14 years old, and had had bladder cancer for a couple of years.  At the time of her diagnosis we were given the option of surgery, but declined. We wanted whatever time she had left to be spent in comfort, and her spirits were still high.  She was active and happy, if a bit arthritic and slower than she used to be.  She was the best family dog anyone could have asked for.
We adopted her from the Pasadena SPCA in early 1999.  She was 6 months old, and had just been brought in with her brother.  My husband saw her first, then motioned me over.  It was literally love at first sight, and as soon as we saw her, we knew she was ours.  And vice-versa.
We put out name on the list and, luckily, were the first to do so.  A LOT of people, as it turned out, wanted her.  But we got her.  And after she was spayed and given her shots, we took her home.
She was a spirited little thing: a mix of Corgi and Pit bull, she was curious, energetic, and loved everyone.  The one thing she DIDN'T like was being home alone.  One night Hubby and I returned from an evening out to find a pile of Ripped Up Stuff in the living room: books, shoes, photos, and even a role of toilet paper. I was convinced that if she had opposable thumbs she would have set the whole thing on fire.
She also tore up the bathroom wall, tried to dig a hole in the carpet, and took a while to house train. And was the sweetest puppy ever.

In 2000, when she was 2 years old, I got pregnant with our first child.  Luna became my guardian.  No one could get near me without her permission. Even, sometimes, Hubby!  When the baby was born, she became his sworn protector.  Same thing with our daughter.  She showed the ultimate in patience and tolerance with both of them, and watched over them as if they were her own. Once she got a know a person, or another animal, that was it, they were Pack.

One night, before we were to leave on a trip to Lake Tahoe, she showed signs of her recurring bladder infection.  I took her to the emergency vet to get her medicine. Another woman was there, with an old dog.  The woman started to cry, because she was going to have to put her dog down.  Luna walked over and sat by her, leaning against her leg.
Last year I took her to a dog park that was near the water. It was a hot day, so when she was done, I let her play in the water for a bit.  There were a number of other dogs there, many of them swimming into the lagoon to fetch tennis balls.  Luna's herding instinct kicked in, and every time a dog swam out, she would herd them back in.
Basically, she was the sweetest, most empathetic, and hardest-working dog I've ever known.  And I'm feeling guilty for putting her down, even though I know it was for the best.  I wish I'd taken her for a walk or something first.  But she was panting and trembling, and seemed like she was in pain.

And I'm missing her so much right now.

Our other dog has barely left my side since I've returned.  He knows his pal is gone, and that I'm sad.
Animals rule.

I have to commend the vet, and everyone in his office.  When it was time, the woman who cleans the office came in and stayed with me, petting Luna and whispering in Spanish, and crying with me.  The doctor, who is, I believe, Sikh, asked if he could say a prayer while he administered the injection.  First he gave her a sedative, and then, when she was calm, the stuff that stopped her heart.  It was quick and painless, and I was right there with her.  Then they left so I could say goodbye. It was the best way we could have let her go.  Everyone in the office was so kind, and everyone was so sad.

In some ways, Luna was MY dog.  I took care of her most of the time, took her with me to many, many places, and called her my puppy.  I told her, as I was kissing her goodbye, that she's STILL my puppy.
And she always will be.

Play in Peace, my lovely puppy.  Run around with your friends in that endless dog park, drink from the giant, never-empty water bowl, and eat as many treats (and as much cake) as you want.

And always know how very much you are loved.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Feeling A Bit Proud Of Myself...

I wrote 13 pages of a story today.  I left the kids with Hubby, went to my new favorite cafe, and sat for 3 hours, writing. And it felt SO GOOD!!!!!
I don't know if anyone will ever see what I wrote, but it still felt amazing.  And reading it over, I must say that it's not half bad!  The most important thing is that I did it.  I sat down and wrote something.  That's the first step.
I also have officially let go of the Wednesday night class, which means 2 Pilates classes are gone.  My boss was COMPLETELY understanding, and has asked me to teach 1 last session, as well as to stay on as a sub, both of which I readily agreed to.
Soon I'll start the twice-weekly Shakespeare class, and then the consulting  for the literacy-through-theater company that Hubby works with, to help develop a program for autistic kids.
And a little bit scary.
I'm giving up guaranteed income to take a chance on some POSSIBLE future income.  Granted, I'm getting paid for the new jobs, but there's no guarantee they'll last.
Maybe, however, they'll not only last, but blossom into new opportunities.  Which is why I FINALLY took these first steps, as well.  Better to fail than to look back and wonder what if.
I often think of myself as a female Walter Mitty: Staid and somewhat boring on the outside, but with a feverish imagination.  Seriously, my brain NEVER stops.  Which is a problem at 4 AM, but pretty awesome the rest of the time.
(It also makes meditation challenging, but I'm working on it.)
The main thing is to NOT let my imaginings become more interesting than my real life.  So far so good, but it was getting a little too close for comfort.  It was a sign that I needed to change things up.
So I am.
And that makes me pretty damn happy.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Take A Risk! Huh?!?!?!

When I was a young lass, a freshman in college, my acting teacher (who, you may recall, despised me), told me, as we were beginning an exercise, to "Take a risk, for once!"  Being my 18 year-old, terrified, desperate-to-please self, I nodded.  Problem was, I had NO idea what she meant.
My life up to and including that point (and for a few more years to come) was all about NOT standing out.  Not making mistakes, not disagreeing with anyone, not making waves.
Kinda funny that I chose to be on stage, but I think there was a part of me that was already rebelling against the Good Girl.
The exercise, a silly game I can't really remember, went on, and my teacher was, as usual, disappointed in me. I soldiered on, managed to get my degree (and even get cast in a few shows along the way), and eventually made my way to the Shakespeare company in Massachusetts where I learned what it meant to take a risk, among so many other things.

There's a lot of risk-taking advice going around these days.  Some of it has to do with finances ("DO NOT RISK ANYTHING!!!!!!"  seems to be the order of the day), while sometimes it's about Life.  The latter is where we hear about taking risks, doing things that scare us, stepping (man, I'm sick of this phrase) "outside the box."
Well, many, MANY years after that freshman year (wow, a WHOLE lotta years!), I'm taking one.  I dropped one Pilates class, as I mentioned, and just told my boss that I want to drop my long-running evening class.  Part of me hates to do it: I've been teaching that class for 4 1/2 years, I love the students, and I'm a little worried about the lighter paycheck, but I REALLY need to take a step in the direction I've been wanting to go in, and that means teaching more acting and less Pilates.
Plus, it'll mean I won't have to teach 3 hours in San Jose, race up the freeway in rush hour traffic and then teach another hour. I'll be a lot less exhausted, lol!
What's funny is that it din't even occur to me to drop the class until a couple of days ago.  But as soon as I thought of it, I knew it was the right thing to do.  Hubby & I discussed it  (sort of; I mentioned it to him & he said "If you think it's the right thing, it's the right thing.  Go for it." How much do I love that man?!?!?!) and I made the decision.  And immediately felt a weight lifted from my shoulders.  So I knew it was the right decision.
But it still feels scary.  All the what-ifs have been racing around my brain: What if I hate the job?  What if THEY hate me? What if I don't get more work in the future?  Will I be able to make my student loan payments? And the other side:  What if it goes well and they offer me more work?  Can I do that AND be here for the kids?  Will we need to hire someone to help take care of them?  Will we be able to afford THAT?
I keep reminding myself that the kids are older, more independent, and can probably handle mom working more hours.  In fact, that's a goal for them, to be less reliant on me and more on themselves.  They may never be fully independent, but that's certainly the hope.  Is it possible I'm holding them back, even a little bit, by being home so much?

Is it possible to have more mom guilt?  I don't think it is!  :)

Anyway, I'm waiting to hear from my boss.  I was hoping to do this is person, but LG is home sick today, so I had to tell her by email.  Ugh. Easier on me, maybe, but still not the way I wanted to handle it.

I'm also reminding myself of another old adage, everything happens for a reason.  so, I'll try to keep the faith, look on the bright side, and stop speaking in cliches.

And I'll let you know how it all works out.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Ms. Crankypants!

Yes, PMS is here.  But it's also been a helluva week.  Hubby is away on a 4-day trip, and I am, once again, taking care of the kids by myself.  And 2 dogs, one of which is like having a third child.
I finally realized that everyone else's vacations mean more work for me.  And I desperately need one of my own.  A REAL vacation; not a working vacation, or one where we go away and I'm taking care of the kids while everyone else goes off to have fun.  I realize I don't have to justify going away for a couple of days by adding in a workshop or meetings or what have you.  Because I work my butt off, and I don't get days off.  Plus, I'm preparing to start 2 NEW jobs.  Along with the ones I already have.

I also have another slight cold.  Nothing like what I had after the move, thank goodness, but enough to make me tired and irritable.  And I want a nanny to look after the kids so I can stay in be and rest! WAH!

But the main thing is that I want to give up my Pilates classes.  It's been fun and I love my clients, but I don't feel as though I'm serving them anymore.  It's also not my life's passion:  I see just how passionate my fellow teachers are, and it's just not there for me.  I'd rather put my attention and somewhat limited time into teaching my drama students and possibly performing again. I'm grateful for having been able to teach Pilates for the past 4+ years and to all my students, but maybe, in the next few months...well, we'll see.  Of course, it'll mean no more free memberships at the clubs, but there's always something.  The sad fact is, I don't workout there much, anyway. I walk, use my DVDs and weights, and go to the yoga studio.  And there are some nearby pools open year-round that I fully intend to use.  :)

Because maybe, just maybe, it's time to relinquish a bit of control-er-responsibility.  After all, hubby does have a full-time job.  We're not exactly reliant on my Pilates income. I've spent 11 years being the primary caregiver AND working. And for the next 2 months, I'll be juggling 4 jobs with childcare while Hubby rehearses/performs in a show.

I'm tired of feeling as if I'm invisible.  Of being the one who will take care of everything because, well, I always do.  It's time for some folks to learn some independence, and to ASK, not just assume. It's time for me to rediscover that artsy-type I once was, to express something beyond "Get down from there!" I LOVE being a mom, but in order to be the best mom I can be, I need to find parts of myself that have been buried.

And in the meantime, I'm gonna take some Zicam and go to bed!