Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bring On Da Loot!

Happy Boxing Day!  And for those who celebrate, Happy Kwanza!
We had a lovely holiday.  On Monday I was able to get to a yoga class in the morning.  The sun was out, so we took the kids to the city to play at the beach and take turns riding a bike.  It's my S-I-L's old bike, so they're learning to use hand breaks.  LG picked it up right away, WG is getting more and more confident, and they both had a great time.
We were hoping to get to the park for more bike riding Tuesday morning, but the weather was atrocious.  So we stayed in, watched the "Doctor Who" marathon, and gave the kids bubble baths.  In the evening we had dinner & opened presents.
And, of course, watched the "Doctor Who" Christmas special.  ;).

Today Hubby went back to work, so I'm trying to figure out what to do with the kids.  The weather is odd; sunny one minute and pouring rain the next.  We're going swimming later :):):):). but in the meantime we may need to go for a drive or something, just to get out of the house.
It's particularly hard on WG:  LG can find tons of ways to amuse himself, but WG gets upset when her schedule is disrupted.  Luckily, her school is hosting swimming parties today and tomorrow, so there's that. And we play and sing and tickle.  But it's still hard. And sometimes, like right now, LG gets upset, too. It's 10:20 AM, and we've had a meltdown from each of them.
*Sigh.*  Poor babies.  It's fun to be a kid, yes, but sometimes it's really hard, too.
I'm hoping to find day camps for them next summer.  Especially for LG, since he has SO MUCH time off in the summer. But it'll be good for WG too, even if it's only a couple of weeks. (And it'll be GREAT for Mommy, lol!)

In holiday gift news, I got a Kindle Fire!   I'm so excited!  But I've been using it in the box it came in, as I haven't yet received the protective case.  It's REALLY nice!  I have to hide it away from the kids.  I also got a 10-pack of yoga classes (cue heavenly orchestral music), so Mommy is one happy camper!
As far as gifts given, they consisted mainly of gift cards, with some bottles of wine thrown into the mix.  Although we did finally get my mom a San Francisco coffee mug from Starbucks, which she's been asking for for about, oh, 12 years.
What I like is that Christmas is pretty mellow around these parts. Well, except for the idiots who set off firecrackers at Midnight on Tuesday, freaked out the poor dog and nearly woke the kids.
Poor pup: His mom & dad were in Sacramento, so he was sleeping in our room.  Add the firecrackers, and he needed A LOT of cuddles & coos.  I'd like to introduce him to everyone who's afraid of pit bulls.  They'd get over their fear in no time!  :)
I awoke Christmas morning not to the sight of eager young faces wanting to race downstairs and open presents: No, the kids were still sleeping; instead, I awoke to a pit-bull face staring me down, wanting ear rubs.  And then, about 30 minutes later, wanting to be let out to do his business.
Yeah, not exactly a killer dog, lol!

Anyway, right now the kids are pretty mellow, playing happily in their rooms.  I may leave them be for a bit, then take them out when they start getting antsy.  School vacation is often lived minute-by minute, I find.

This Saturday I teach my last regular Pilates class (!!!!!!!), then we're leaving for Yosemite.  There's a hotel just outside the park that has dirt-cheap rates this time of year.  It's the same place we stayed last February, when we were able to skate on Tenaya Lake.  No such luck this time; the roads are iced over and closed.  Of course, we knew last time that it was a rare opportunity. But it'll be nice to get away fro a couple of days before the new year, do some sledding & hiking. Get them out of the house, away form the everyday, and into nature.
And sleep in a hotel rather than a tent.  :)
I love camping, but it's such an uncontrolled environment.  Last time we went LG wandered off to go to the bathroom at night without telling us.  Took a few years off both my and Hubby's lifespan, I'll tell ya!  But he came back as soon as he heard us calling.  My fear is that WG might do the same, but not be able to get right back to us.  At least in a hotel room we can put the lock and bolt on the door.

Wg is a smart, tough cookie.  But she's also non-verbal, and her autism is a bit more severe than her brother's.  I worry incessantly about both of them, but especially her.
It's a fine line between wanting to give them independence and adventure and keeping them safe.
Such is the life of a parent.  Doubly so for parents of kids with special needs.
But we soldier on, and are thankful for every night in which we're able to tuck them in and kiss them goodnight.

So, once again, I hope you all had a great holiday.
And if I don't blog before then, have a very Happy New Year!

<3 p="p">

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Stinky McStinkalot

2 Days in and already Hubby and I have had a fight.
Sort of.
We don't yell or get into shouting matches.  We rarely even argue.  So when we do, it feels like a bigger deal than it actually is.
Sometimes his Being Who He Is and my Being Who I AM just don't mesh. Because we're human.  Sometimes he wants things from me that I don't give, and vice-versa.  But that's marriage.  Or any relationship, really: Sometimes, you're just gonna drive each other nuts.

But I've learned a few things over the past couple of days.  One of which is that, at this point in my life, I'd rather be seen as a bitch than be a doormat.
Taking a stand is hard.  Putting my foot down can result in People Being Mad AT Me.  But trying to make everyone happy only makes me miserable, and then everyone blames me for their unhappiness, as well.  Lose-lose.

Some people are the way they are, and nothing will change certain aspects of them.  So either learn to tolerate it or leave.

It's not always me, or something I've done.  In fact, it rarely is, these days.

Guilt trips don't work nearly as well on me as they used to.  And since I now have over a decade of Jewish Mother Experience under my belt, I can give at least as good as I get.

I have sacrificed a lot.  I give a lot.  I expect some sacrifice and give in return.  Sorry, but the whole "give without expectation" may work in the broad, general sense, but when it comes to a relationship, it can make things hugely unequal.  Which leads to resentment  Which leads to arguments and anger.

I have a good deal of responsibility for things being the way they are.  But I am not SOLELY responsible.

I cannot, and will no longer try to, compensate for others' lack.

I can love someone and not always like them.  And vice-versa.  But we get over it and move on, hopefully stronger and smarter.

Not a bad list of stuff to learn, all in all.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

T Minus 4 Days and Counting...

Until winter break.
For the kids, of course.  Not me.
2 weeks.
2 weeks of no school.
2 weeks of not being able to go anywhere on my own, including the grocery store. Of having to keep the kids entertained.  And fed.  And out of trouble. And trying to get them to keep their pants on.

I used to look forward to Christmas SO much!  I mean, I still do, just not with the breathless anticipation of a kid who will have no school,  some new toys, and good buddies to share them with.
(I still remember the year my parents bought toy light sabers for my brother and I.  I think those lasted about 20 minutes.  But the bruises lasted MUCH longer!  Seriously, WHAT were they thinking?!?!?!)

Hubby will be working.  I'm thinking that when he gets home, I might just have to race out the door to the nearest yoga class.
If I have any energy left.
Because my mom is coming to visit, too.  Just for a week.  But still...

I'm going to yoga this morning.  It'll probably be the last daytime class I can get to until the new year.  I have my trusty yoga DVDs, and I'm hoping I can get through them during the upcoming weeks without the kids breaking anything/getting into mischief/sitting on me.
I'm also meal planning.  Rather than going to Trader Joe's and mindlessly throwing the usual stuff in the cart (pasta, pizza, chicken, veggies, blah blah blah), I actually made a list yesterday and stuck to it!  I even got LG to eat the ground turkey I put into the spaghetti, which was a momentous occasion!
I'm trying to be a bit more organized when it comes to mealtime.  And a bit healthier, too.  I was looking at a cookbook I used to use all the time (Jamie Oliver), and I realized that I missed it. I hadn't used it in 6 years.  So I bought ingredients to make a couple of the recipes from the book. I figure we can start introducing the kids to some new flavors and textures, and then I won't have to either make the same ol' stuff every week or make 4 different dishes every night.  'Cause that way madness and boredom lie.
When we moved I ended up donating a bunch of my cookbooks to the library.  I hated doing it, but we have very little space, and I hadn't used many of them in a long while.  It still makes me kinda sad, but then I remember I can, duh, go to the library and check them out!

I'm also seriously considering hiring someone to help with the kids on a regular basis.  I'm looking at applying for a full time teaching job, so we'd definitely need someone if I were to get it.  But even if I don't, we have, I think, the resources now to hire someone at least part time.  Which would mean I could work more hours, have help when the kids are on vacation, and not have to rely on my in-laws. They already watch my niece all day, and I think, as time goes on, they'll spend more and more of the winter months in Hawaii.  Which is good for my father-in-law, with his heart condition.  He recently had a bad cough that lasted 4 months and didn't go away until they went to Hawaii for a couple of weeks.
And, to be honest, the fact that the kids have vastly different vacation schedules (other than Christmas) is a huge pain in the butt! I've spent the past decade planning what feels like troop movements on a battlefield, carting one or both kids around with me almost everywhere, making schedules that Martha Stewart would marvel at, and basically being exhausted.  I've been a one-woman childcare machine, and it's time for some reinforcements.
And maybe get a little bit of time for me.  :)

So, we'll see.
In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy these last few days of freedom.
(Which brings to mind the trailer for the new "Star Trek" film. Have you seen it?  Sooooooo excited!!!!!!)

Saturday, December 15, 2012


So, yeah, I was going to write about seeing "The Hobbit," and how much I loved it, and that Richard Armitage rocks as Thorin, the cast is great, and Martin freeman made me cry (again).
But after the movie let out I saw the story on a TV in the food court about the shooting in Connecticut, and the bottom dropped out of everything.
Because this was the nightmare come true.  Every time there is a shooting in this country, and there have been a whole hell of a lot of them, someone brings up the Worst Case Scenario: that of a gunman walking into a school and opening fire.  And it's happened.  6 adults and 20 tiny, very young children are dead. And we're all wondering how in the hell ANYONE could look at a classroom full of kindergarteners and open fire.
So now what?  Are we supposed to just accept the fact that we're not safe anywhere?  That there will be a mass shooting like this every couple of months? Do we put our kids on the school bus and simply pray they come home?  Do we dress them in body armor?  Give semi-automatic weapons to 6 year-olds?
What the hell has happened to our common sense?!?!?! Why is it easier for someone with a mental health issue to get a Glock than it is to get their medication? Does this finally, FINALLY mean we can have a REAL discussion on how to prevent this from happening, or do we retreat even further into our corners, continue to call each other names, and cling to our opinions like a lifeboat?
Both sides in this issue need to come together and listen.  Not the "pry my gun out of my cold, dead hands" or "the right to arm bears" BS, not platitudes, but genuine discussions, in which people actually listen to one another.
How many more dead kids will it take before we wise up?!?!?!
I have my own, very strong, opinions on guns.  Just because my opinions are strong doesn't mean they are all correct.
I will say this: If more guns equals more safety, we SHOULD be the safest country in the world.  But we're not.  Far from it.
I think responsible gun owners have a lot to teach us, but their voices are drowned out by the NRA leadership.
I think we can find a happy medium that most of us can agree to.
I know we can't stop every crime, every incident of gun violence, but we sure as hell don't have to make it quite so easy.
We also need to take the stigma away from mental illness and get people the help they need, before they resort to something like what happened yesterday.

In the meantime, I'll be hugging my kids a little more tightly.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Off To Middle Earth

I have the day off, the kids are in school, Hubby's not interested in seeing it, so while he's at work I'm going to see "The Hobbit."  It's a 10 AM showing, which means it'll get out around 1:00, which leaves me 2 hours to grab lunch and chill before picking up the kids.
Assuming, of course, I can actually get a ticket.  Which means I'm leaving momentarily.  But I figure, 10 AM on a Friday morning in the 'burbs, I stand a better chance than, say, the IMAX in San Francisco at 8:00 tonight, right?
I have been waiting for this!  More because of the fact that Martin Freeman and Richard Armitage are in it than for anything else.  But I'm still excited for the whole thing.
This is also assuming I can actually get my car out.  The neighbors are having construction done on their house, and there are lots of trucks.
Wish me luck!
I shall return anon and let you know how it all goes.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Yeah, That Last Post

Was written over a week ago.

The play with the urchins was on Thursday, and they did a GREAT job!!!!!  The yoga workshop was yesterday, and it was fan-flippin'-tastic! Probably the most fun workshop I've ever done, and the most challenging.  Especially since I'd taught my mat Pilates class in the morning.
The best thing was that it wasn't about sitting at the feet of a guru as he imbued us with his vast knowledge.  He swore a lot, and he told us to not take it so seriously, and kept us laughing even as we sweated, fell out of poses, and fought a constant battle between the body and the ego.
It was, in a lot of ways, the exact opposite of what I was expecting.  TRULY non-judgmental, consisting of folks of many ages and body types, and so, SO much fun!
I've been processing it today. It was, again, a message from the Universe.  Or part of a message.  I recently re-read 4 novels that I originally read about 16 years ago, and got a different take on them this time.  About being unique and reveling in it. And then I (finally!) saw "The King's Speech," which is SOOOOOO good, and I especially loved the bit where he got angry and said "I have a voice!"  And his speech therapist said "Yes, you do."
It reminded me of when I used to teach Voice.  It was very empowering; helping people, especially kids, to find the power of their voices.  Not just so they could be heard in the back row of the audience, but so they could be heard, period.  And they learned that, yes, they have a voice. Something I often forget, myself.

My favorite quote from yesterday: "Yoga doesn't want to make you strong, or flexible, or thin.  It really doesn't want to keep you young.  Yoga wants you to do what you do, and do it consciously.  Yoga wants you to wake the f*** up."
For the first time in a fitness class, I didn't feel self-conscious about my body or my lack of ability to twist my leg around my neck.  I didn't feel I had anything to prove.  I didn't feel envy for the younger, prettier, leaner bodies. I DID feel appreciation for my experience, my wisdom, my ability to back off when I needed to, or to know when I could go forward safely. I felt grateful for my strength of mind and of purpose, my ability to take the class even when I was feeling under the weather, and even though I was a nervous wreck beforehand.
I think I'm finally beginning to practice yoga: not the physical practice, but the mental, emotional practice. It's really NOT about how far I can go in a pose, or how thin I am (or am not), or whether I'm a vegan or a carnivore, or something in-between.  It IS about how I think, what I believe, whether or not I judge, or gossip, or say nasty things to myself or someone else.
How dare I believe that the most important thing about me, or anyone else, is the physical?  What business is it of mine if someone is fat or thin, muscular or pudgy, hirsute or clean-shaven? So what if a girl dresses like a boy, or vice-versa? Why do we care so much?  How does it affect our lives?

I saw a terrific documentary the other night called "Naked on the Inside.'  The filmmaker talked to 6 people about body image: One is a man with no legs who is a professional dancer, one is a young woman living as a man, there's a wife and mom whose body is riddled with cancer, another is an obese woman who performs with a synchronized swimming group, and another young man is a former gang member with scars and tattoos that tell quite a story, and the last is Carre Otis, the former model/actress who finally left the biz and lives happily as a gorgeous size 12. It was amazing and inspiring, and brought home the fact that we make such harsh judgments about people while knowing absolutely nothing about them.  That seems to be our favorite pastime, and some people make a lot of money off of it.

Finally, I re-watched the series finale of "Extras" today.  In which Andy finally realizes that fame isn't really a goal, after going on "Celebrity Big Brother."
This world we live in, the world of celebrity gossip, fashion, diets, reality shows, the worship of wealth and youth, of ads telling us constantly that we are lacking, of politics, of "winners" and "losers"... It's not real, is it?  I mean, there's so much more out there that is so much more important. There is so much to be grateful for, yet we spend all our time thinking about what we don't have, or how we ourselves are lacking.

The night before the kids' show, I was awake & worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong.  Finally, at around 4 AM, I mentally kicked myself: I reminded myself that this was supposed to be FUN!  Yet there I was, lying awake (for the second night in a row) obsessing over all the ways I wasn't a good enough teacher, or thinking that the parents would be disappointed, or whatever.  I had to remind myself that most of the parents would be thrilled just to see their kids up onstage.  And seeing them performing Shakespeare?  That's cake!
This wasn't Broadway.  We weren't betting millions of dollars, and the livelihoods of hundreds of people, on a positive review from "The New York Times." This wasn't, in the end, about the performance at all.  It was about the kids. Helping them to develop confidence, to have fun, and, oh yeah, to find their voices!
Oh yeah, that.

So I hope I can keep all of this with me.  It's a practice.

And now, I must go to bed.   need some rest.  :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'll Get You, My Little Pretty

Seriously, it was so windy out all night I thought I'd open the front door this morning to a yellow brick road and a gal in a big pink dress waving a wand at my feet. Instead, we had some knocked-over plants and a deluge of rain.
But a few hours later it was sunny and bright, with that clean feeling you get after a rainstorm, like everything dirty and yucky has been washed away.

On Thursday I did my first Dailey Method class.  Holy cow!!!!!  The pain! The burn!  The feeling of "Why in HELL did I sign up for 3 sessions of this absolute torture!"  Of course, as soon as it was over I was all "That was great, I can't wait to come back!"
It's sorta like childbirth: Painful, torturous, horrible, but worth it in the end.  And then you forget just HOW painful it was and come back for more.
Later, I hopped on the Spin bike for 30 minutes.  Needless to say, I had a bit of a hard time walking on Friday.
I'm planning on going back Tuesday.  Just to shake things up a bit.  This is our final week of Midnight Shakespeare, so getting out and exercising will be, I think, a necessity in order for me to stay (relatively) sane.
I've also signed up for a Power Yoga workshop with Bryan Kest next Saturday!!!!!!!  His were the first power yoga workouts I ever did, back in the 90's (on VHS), and I loved them.  I often thought about taking a class at his studio in Santa Monica, but never did.  So when I heard he was going to be in town, I jumped at the chance.  It's a 3-hour workshop, and I have a Pilates class that morning, so I'm a little nervous, but also excited.
Although there's one little nagging detail:  I'm feeling self-conscious about taking the workshop While Being Fat.  Silly, I know.  But that was also one of the things, I believe, that kept me from taking his classes when we lived in L.A: I'd been to other popular yoga studios and was intimidated by all the other young, bendy, svelte, coordinated-yoga-outfit-wearing students.  Even though, at that time I myself was young, svelte, and fairly bendy, I wasn't as young, svelte, and bendy as everyone else.  And I certainly didn't have the cool outfits.  It was like high school all over again, and I let myself feel inferior.  Of course, ALL of L.A is like high school.  I can't help but wonder, if I ever HAD gone to one of his classes, would I have felt badly, or would I have been able to hear his message of non-competition, being in my own body, and not giving a fig about anyone or anything else during the time on the mat, which is MY time?
That's what I'm hoping will happen on Saturday.

Because one of the things I love most about yoga is feeling myself move.  It's very freeing! And the fact is, everyone else IS more concerned about their own form to be focused on me. We're no longer in L.A., where everyone is so insecure they need to show off during yoga! We're in San Francisco, where folks proudly display round bellies, gray hair, and snaggle toes!  Hopefully some of them will be there on Saturday.  :)

I'm very much looking forward to this week being over.  I hate to say it, and I hate to wish time away.  I'll miss our Shakespeare kids, but I will NOT miss driving to southern San Jose 2-3 times a week!

The good thing is I feel like I'm getting my Drama Teacher Groove back.  The classes I taught last year were more like babysitting, and the one I taught the year before was more of an assistant job.  I can feel my confidence coming back, little by little.

Anyway, gotta run.  Laters!