Friday, November 28, 2014

Where Have I Been?!?!?!?!

It's a good thing that I don't make my living blogging, because I really suck at it.
3 weeks since my last post.

However, one of those weeks was spent in London, which was FAB!  But I didn't bring my laptop with me, and I prefer to not write my blog on my phone.  I'm already near the point of needing reading glasses.  :)

So. London.
Amazing!  Gorgeous!  My hotel was near both Hyde Park and Paddington Station.  I bought a visitors' Oyster card, so I was able to get around very easily.  I'd also downloaded a fantastic app that helped me plan my route wherever I wanted to go.
I ended up walking about 3-4 hours every day.  The weather was very cooperative, which was nice.  But, honestly, even if it had been pouring rain the entire time, I still would've walked.
Since I spent 2 entire days traveling to and from, I ended up with 4 full days in which to explore.  I'd thought about seeing a show, and looked into taking the train to Cardiff to see the Doctor Who Experience, but train tickets are VERY expensive. And I really didn't want to spend 2-3 hours in a dark theater this time around.  Maybe if I'd had more time.  There was certainly no shortage of great shows playing.
But what I really wanted to do was explore the city I love and have missed so much.  So each day I chose a neighborhood and did just that.

I did get to see an exhibit at the British Museum about Gothic literature and film, which was fun.  And I went to the National Gallery.  Most, if not all, of the museums have free admission.  You pay to see certain exhibits, but the permanent collections are free.  So while I didn't get to see the Rembrandt exhibit, I got to see some other lightweights.  Y'know, like Money and Renoir.  ;)

On my last day, I went to the Tower of London to see the poppies.  It was amazing!  I'm so glad I went, as they took them down a couple days later.
From there I walked over the London Bridge to Bankside, through the Borough Market, and on to the Globe Theatre, where I took a tour.  Then it was back over the Millenium Bridge to St. Paul's Cathedral.  I was going to walk from there to a store called Forbidden Planet, but by then it was nearing rush hour, and having ridden the tube during rush hour previously in the week, I wanted to avoid that at all costs, lol!

I also got to meet a friend for dinner on Thursday night.  We'd worked at the Shakespeare company together, and hadn't seen each other in 20 years.  She now lives in London and works as a producer for a VFX company.  It was so great to see her and hang out!

But I spent most of my time there not speaking.  Which was actually pretty cool. Kind of like a silent retreat, but in a bustling, crowded, amazing place.

London has changed quite a bit since I'd last been there.  But then, so have I.  Being alone in a city that is not your own is a great experience.  And, for the first time, I didn't have anyone to answer to but myself.  I went where I wanted, when I wanted, and did what I wanted to do.  
And was able to think.  About Stuff.

I'm hoping to go back next year.  My mom has said that she'd like to go, as she hasn't been in years.  And that she'd pay for a trip for both of us.  Which I think I'll take her up on, lol!  She's assured me that we won't have to be attached at the hip (especially since hers is new, wacka wacka wacka!).  That we can go off and do our own things.  Which is good, because she and I aren't necessarily interested in the same things...

The best part is the realization that I CAN go away for a bit without everything falling apart.  Hubby had  a great time with the kids, and they, in turn, were just fine while I was gone.  Sure, it's a bit humbling, to say the least, to find out that you are not nearly as essential to everyone's well-being as you'd previously believed yourself to be. But it's also liberating.  I can maybe start to let go of some of the Mom Guilt should I actually, say, do a show or get anther job.

Finally, I must say that I'm pretty proud of myself.  I planned a trip and actually WENT.  By myself. I navigated the city on my own (with the help of Google Maps and a couple of kind strangers).  I began the process of rediscovering ME, apart from wife/mom/teacher, etc.

And it only took me a week and a half to get over my jet lag!

OK, that's it for now.  I hope all my U.S readers had a lovely Thanksgiving, and everyone else had a terrific Thursday.  Have an amazing weekend!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

OK, Then. Negative to Hopeful. And Maybe a Bit Kick-A**.

Well that's done.  Election day is over, not many surprises.  Not terribly happy with most of the results, but, again, they were not unexpected.  It seems the political pendulum swings back & forth pretty quickly these days.  So one side will crow and beat their chests, and, most likely, we'll get right back to gridlock and finger-pointing while nothing much changes.
Part of me is wondering if I should just pop some popcorn, pull up a chair, and point and laugh.  'Cause I'm tired of crying.
Truthfully? Yes, I'm upset about the outcome of the elections.  It does nothing to pretend that I'm not, that I'm fine.  But it also doesn't help to panic, either.  On Facebook today, Marianne Williamson said "Don't panic, grieve." That that's the way to figure out the next steps to take.
Makes sense to me.
Across the board, not just with politics.

I do have to admit, however, that sometimes it feels REALLY good to be pissed off at people in my own political party.  'Cause sometimes they just muck it up.  And by not having any backbone whatsoever (politicians) and not voting (citizens), they have no one to blame but themselves.  And if you're gonna be like THAT, then, I'm sorry, but I can't just pat you on the head and tell you it's OK.

Because it isn't.

Which brings me to, well, me. For a long time now I've been trying to remain optimistic about my own situation.  Actually, that's the wrong phrasing.  Because being optimistic is one thing, and completely ignoring the crap is something else entirely.
I won't lie.  It's been rough these past 10 years or so.  We have been through it, and there's no point in pretending it hasn't happened.  There's been a lot of death, a lot of loss, a ton of disappointment.  That's life, yes, but sometimes it seems we've had a bit more than our share these past few years.

Right now my in-laws are out of town.  And, truthfully, it highlights just how hard it is living with them.  While I'm grateful for the roof over our heads and the (occasional) help with the kids, there's a lot of negative stuff that goes along with it. And we're not in a position right now to change that, so we just have to deal.

As always, there is the constant worry about the kids, and what the future holds.

My husband has a horrible job that pays little.  We're working on changing that.

I want my career back.  I'm working on that, as well.

There's more.  I won't go into it all.

The point of all this is to ACKNOWLEDGE it.  Because ignoring it doesn't help.  Just the opposite.  If I deny that anything is wrong, if I keep stuffing the issues down, how can I make anything better?  It didn't work when I ate to cover my anxiety/sadness/anger, why should it work on a broader scale?  If I'm feeling trapped, who else can can dig me out? No one!  I gotta grab a shovel (or even a spoon) and start getting MYSELF out of the quagmire.

And while it's all well and good to care and for strangers, wringing my hands and saying "Oh dearie me" doesn't get stuff done.  Staying awake and worrying at 4 AM won't feed the hungry or house the homeless. Donating food to the local pantry will help.  Volunteering, making donations, those kinds of things make the difference.

It's time for me to get off my butt (and my computer, as I sit typing this :) ), and DO THINGS.

Next week I'm going to London.  By myself.  And it is a trip that is not only desperately wanted, but NEEDED.  I have to get out of my environment, my everyday routine, and figure sh*t out.

(I already know one thing very clearly, that arguing with people on Facebook is nothing but a gigantic time suck that changes nothing.  Actually, that's not entirely true: My anxiety and blood pressure levels change, they go waaaaaay up.)

So this trip: I'm hoping to get some much-needed perspective. As well as a few days of peace & quiet, time to myself, and, as I've mentioned, the first genuine vacation I've had in a long while. See some shows, visit museums, walk the streets, and just BE in my favorite city in the world.

I need to figure out a way to make our lives better.  I'm tired of waiting and worrying.  Again, that will change nothing.

I should probably also say that I'm VERY EXCITED for my trip, lol!!!!!!!!

So, the take-away from all this:
-Don't Panic (and always bring a towel).
-Worry doesn't help.  Feeling the feeling, letting it go, and taking action DOES.
-Petty arguments solve nothing and only create stress.
-Acknowledge the situation as it is, and allow the corresponding emotions to surface. Feel them.  Admit them. Let them go.
-Enjoy my trip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OK.  Good. This sounds like a plan.
And now, I must go get my flu shot.

See ya!