Mar 03 2010

Ant Rant

I’m going to come right out and say it: I HATE ANTS.

I don’t want to hear about how amazing they are; how incredible their communities can be; how fascinating their food finding skills are. I don’t want to hear about how your best-friend’s cousin is married to an ant and that some of them are quite lovely when you get to know them or how an ant saved your grandfather’s life one night.

I hate them. This will always be true. I think I may even have a bit of PTSD about them. When I see them in my house, I panic. I can’t rest until they are gone. Even when they are gone, I imagine them everywhere. I can’t lean against the counters in my house anymore. They are out to get me, BUT NOT IF I GET THEM FIRST. I kill on sight. I used to feel bad about it, but not any more.

I hate ants, and I won’t apologize.

Mar 03 2010

It’s On My Mind.

If  you happen to know anything about them, please discuss the relative merits- pro and con- of the following places:

Portland, OR

Austin, TX

The Sacramento Foothills area (like around El Dorado Hills)

I really appreciate your help

Mar 02 2010

Change

We’ve been throwing around the idea of moving for some time now. It’s always been just a daydream; an exercise in escapism. What if we moved there? Oooh- look at THAT house! How cool would it be to live in a city with that?! Hey! We’d be near those friends! What a nice school- the kids could go there. It’s fun; it’s diverting; it’s just for play.

It’s different, apparently, when it could be for real. Those “fun” things are still there, but they get overshadowed by everything we would miss; everything that would be different; all of the unknowns.

Change is scary. Even when it will probably end in a general improvement, change is scary. Even when I see all of the amazing opportunities, change is scary.

Change is coming, and I’m still scared.

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.”  ~Anatole France

“Without accepting the fact that everything changes, we cannot find perfect composure.  But unfortunately, although it is true, it is difficult for us to accept it.  Because we cannot accept the truth of transience, we suffer.”  ~Shunryu Suzuki


Mar 01 2010

Madness in March

Exactly a week from today, I will be starting something new that may change my life.
That sounds ridiculously melodramatic, but it’s true.
Next Monday is the first day of Masters Swimming 101; the class that prepares you for Masters Swimming. This means that I will start swimming three days a week for a month, and then several days a week (actual number TBD) forever (I hope, anyway) after that.
This should be an interesting experiment. The class is at 5:00- that’s PM (a distinction that is very important in this case)- which means that John will have both of the kids for about an hour and a half each day I have class. This is notable because Rowan still isn’t doing well with being without me. And by “not doing well” I mean cries PITEOUSLY until she’s in my arms.
After the month-long class, the swimming time I think is most feasible for me to attend is 5:30, but this time it’s AM. 5:30 A-frigging-M. I feel insane to be even considering it, but I think it may be the best time because the kids will, I hope (please, jeebus!), still be asleep and I will be able to go out and come back without anyone noticing. Given the state of my morning hair, it’s a really good thing that I will be spending all of that time in a swim cap.
I am a multiple-exercise-program dropout, but I really need to be doing something. I can feel my body atrophying, and I don’t like it. I know that I feel better when I’m getting regular exercise, but it takes so much to get me motivated.
I would not be able to do this at all if not for my dad, his girlfriend, and, most especially, John. They have all been so supportive. My dad and his girlfriend are swimmers and have been encouraging me to try. I didn’t want to start something like that while I was pregnant, but I don’t have that excuse anymore and likely never will again. I will be starting my class exactly 2 years after my dad started his, which is a fun coincidence. It has been really inspirational to see what swimming has done for him, and I hope to have similar success.
And John is taking on a huge task in this, and just so that I can have some time to work on myself. I don’t think I’ve expressed my gratitude that he is willing to help me with this enough. It’s wonderful.
Wish us luck! It’ not going to be easy, but I think it will be worth it.

Feb 27 2010

Hello! And Welcome.

Thanks to the help I’ve received from my own, personal IT team, I finally have a blog I can stand to look at again. It’s so fancy! And it’s on WP now, too! Maybe it will help me actually BLOG more often…

So help me get started, if you don’t mind, and break in my comments section. What do you think of the new look?

Feb 12 2010

I Should Memorize My License Plate

Cole is sick, Rowan is sick, I am sick.

After spending far longer than anticipated at Promptcare this afternoon(because I am dumb and never learn that Promptcare is everything BUT), I went to the grocery store to get the prescription filled for Cole’s possible Strep/definite double ear infection with secondary symptoms. I had to wait 20 minutes for it to be filled, all while Rowan, though sick, charmed the pants off of everyone in a 20 foot radius and Cole shivered in my sweater (which I had only worn to cover the fact that I am basically wearing stretched-out yoga pants and a t-shirt today). I then had to wait in another hideously long line to pay for a few “essential” groceries. By the time I got out to the car, opened the back, and started to load in groceries, it was shocking that I noticed anything wrong at all.

The first thing I noticed was that it looked a lot cleaner than my car. Then I noticed that there were two teenage girls in the front seat. It was only then that it dawned on me that I had opened the back of someone else’s car.

I babbled something about being sorry and that I had the exact same car and then slammed the door and bolted.

If anything can be said in my defense, it is that it was the exact same make, model, year, and color as my car, parked in the same row, and only a couple cars from my own. Also, there was a very large pickup truck that was blocking me from seeing my car.

All I keep thinking about, though, is what those poor girls were thinking when the frazzled mother in yoga pants toting the two coughing kids was doing loading her gingerale in the back of their car.

Jan 11 2010

Beanie Baby

What do you do with a (nearly) 6 month-old baby all day when you are also supposed to be working? Riddle me THAT, Batman. (Batman has, so far, been useless in this respect).

Though Rowan is my second child, this is my first go-round with actually being a completely full-time mom. Cole was already in daycare by the time he was 4 months old, and I went back to work full-time when he was only 9 WEEKS old, all of which is really painful and hard to believe to this day. The point is that I only had to entertain him on nights and weekends, which I was more than happy to do, given that I had to work at all other times and he was a wonderful break from that.

But now, I am still working from home about 20 hours/week and Rowan is with me every second of every day, and I mean EVERY. I can barely put this chick down without her pitching a fit, and I love her to bits and don’t want to overly distress her (figuring that being a teenage girl someday is going to be distressing enough for both of us). I can’t get housework done, I can’t get work-work done. I’d quit and just be free to be with her, but I can’t afford to do that and have my house. She hates the swing, she hates the bed, she hates the floor, she hates sitting with me at the computer, she hates the bouncy-thing. I no longer have arms. I no longer have much of anything except this baby girl chewing on me all day and night.

I also haven’t had a really good nights sleep in 6 months, which is, I’m sure, wreaking havoc with my perspective.

So what do YOU do? How do you entertain babies? Keep in mind that I can’t really go anywhere because of the work thing, so taking walks and going to the store midday, and joining mother’s groups are all right out.

(I’m fucked, aren’t I?)

But as super-attached babies go, she is GLORIOUS. She is charming and lovely and sweet and full of beans. See? This proves it:

100% Beans.

She’s 18 pounds of delicious beans, that one.

And she and her brother have formed a serious mutual-admiration society.

Me? I’m working when I can, am a brand-new member of the Arts Council Board, and have started working out, mostly at home and to the sound of screeching baby girl (“cause I’m not holding her, you see).

Dec 14 2009

I’d rather be riding the elephants.

Life is not a box of chocolates. Life is a tightrope. It’s a high-wire balancing act without a net.

Lately, balance has been the theme. The attempt to perch precariously on the edge of everything that must be done has left me so very tired, not to mention the fact that I still don’t get more than 2 hours of sleep at a time.

I balance wanting to quit my job, but wanting financial stability. Wanting to let Cole be a quirky little human with his own needs and desires with raising a spoiled tyrant. Wanting to give him discipline with not wanting to crush his spirit. Wanting to give Rowan the comfort she wants with wanting to have some time for myself. Wanting to be free with loving my family with painful ferocity. Wanting to leave the US with wanting to be near family and have my support network. Wanting to keep up with my responsibilities with wanting to fulfill difficult dreams. Wanting financial stability and responsibility with Oooh! SHINY!

I feel as if,at times, I have an auto-immune disorder of life- my life is fighting itself.

Which is not to say that I have a bad life, in any important way. Yes, there are things I’d like to change, but they are mostly things that I think will improve with time. Overall, though, I have a pretty amazing life, what with the family I love, the nice home, the food in my refrigerator, the presents under the tree, the loving husband, the brilliant children, the supportive family. It’s just that I feel that, personally, I’m merely sustaining, not thriving. It takes so much energy just to maintain that I am tapped for anything greater. I’d like to do more than just live- I want to enjoy.

So this blog isn’t the only thing that has suffered. I’m not exactly… productive these days, even though I have great aspirations of being. There are many, many things I’d LIKE to be doing, but they don’t really add to the stability of this family very much, so they are put aside. One day…

These days, my time spent online is either to post a quick update to my status on my facebook page (which I have because it has proved to be the most reliable way of keeping in touch with everyone), or to investigate New Zealand immigration. I’m serious. I want to move to NZ so bad that it’s kind of all I’ve wanted to talk about lately. I restrain myself. Mostly.

I know how lucky I am. I mean, I did look at my babies today:


(PS- these were not actually taken today, but I can guarantee that the children pictured are just as cute (or cuter) now as they were then.)

Oct 14 2009

IT IS DECIDED.

Cole WILL be attending the Waldorf school next year. I had been waffling (Mmmmm… waffles), but events of this morning solidified my position. In fact, it only took three fingers and one word. What three fingers and one word could do what years of deliberation could not, you ask? I’ll tell you! It was the pointer, pinkie, and thumb, held up while my not-quite-4-year-old said “Shocker.”

Oh yes, he did.

And he told me where he learned it, too. Not surprisingly (for me, anyway), it was from his teacher’s son (who is 4) who learned it from his teenage brother. She knew about it, but didn’t know what it meant.

I know that I am overreacting to some extent, but I don’t care. I had been teetering on the fence between public and private school for a long time, and I really needed a push in one direction or another. It is not only this that is making my decision, but this didn’t help public school’s chances, either.

I don’t want my children to be sheltered forever, but I think that 4 is a little too young to know the Shocker. I realize that he doesn’t actually understand what he’s saying- if he did, he’d be in homeschool TODAY- but I also know that’s it’s only the beginning.

I also think that elementary school is WAY too young to be doing boring busy work. We have our whole adult lives for that! I want him to enjoy learning, and to be able to carry that joy of learning throughout his life, rather than having it beaten out of him before 4th grade. I want him to learn about myths and history and math and science, not just as subjects but as things that influence the world around us. I believe that the Waldorf education is an education in context, and that lessons make more sense and stick with kids longer than those taught in the public school model. I don’t want my child learning for the next test, I want him learning for life. I don’t want him to be another number or stat, I want him to be a CHILD.

I also want to be a part of the community, which I think I’ve written about before. I want to be with a self-selected group of parents that are willing to sacrifice to give their children the kind of education they think they should have. I want to be one of those involved parents who helps with Michaelmas and building the Haunted House and putting on the Auction. I think my children deserve to be in a place with parents like that.

I know there are downsides. Having gone to this Waldorf school, I am WELL aware of the downsides to this particular school and to the Waldorf education in general. For instance, I DO NOT believe in Anthroposophy, the guiding philosophy behind the Waldorf model, but I also know that there are major philosophical differences that I have with the Public school model, too, and this seems less harmful in the long run.

I believe that we can give Cole anything that is lacking in his Waldorf education, I don’t believe that we can do the same with Public school. Further, I don’t think that we can heal the damage caused by the Public school system.

I believe it’s Waldorf for us.

*************************************

Also, THANK YOU all for your kind words of encouragement on my sugar problem. I have had a rough, but mostly successful, two weeks of trying to cut it out. The biggest problem is that I can’t let myself have ANY sweets, no matter what the sweetener. Even agave kicks off the cravings. It’s like (or so I’ve been told, not having ever been a smoker) when you’re trying to quit smoking and you go out for a drink, except that you always used to smoke after having a drink, so now you want to smoke even though you weren’t doing anything necessarily smoking-related. Does that make sense?

The thing that has worked the best is apples. Whenever I get a sweet craving at home, I eat one of the (incredibly lovely, delicious, organic and locally grown) apples I got at the Farmer’s Market. It’s satisfying enough and occupying enough that I usually can stop there. Special bonus: FIBER!

Oct 05 2009

Addict

I am an addict. Have been for some time, but lately it has moved from controllable to life-running. Like, I have structured my days around it and been thinking about it constantly and been a bitch when I am coming down.

What’s my addiction?

Sugar.

I’m not joking. It is an addiction. Perhaps not as life-ruining as alcohol or prescription drugs, but it is a problem for me nonetheless.

I was doing fairly well up until a couple of weeks after Rowan was born. I didn’t crave it as much while I was pregnant for some reason. But, for whatever reason, be it sleep deprivation or hormones or breastfeeding, after about two weeks in, I was a slave to it. I literally think about dessert all day. Cookies, pies, cakes, cupcakes. I am mostly a fan of baked-goods, but I will take anything. Even worse, I get a pass by everyone around me- shit, they even SUPPORT my addiction- because I am breastfeeding and “You can eat ANYTHING when you’re breastfeeding.” Sure you can.

Except that I started to gain weight, and I saw my energy dropping, and I noticed that I was spending 15 minutes straight in front of the cookie jar shoveling handful after handful of animal crackers down my gob and not really even enjoying them. But they were organic! And low sugar! Yeah- doesn’t mean so much when you eat 10 servings at a time. I was making excuses to stop and get turnovers every week and then getting them again at the farmer’s market on the weekend. I was figuring out which paths from home to the grocery store would take me past a drive-through coffee place and wondering when the pumpkin-spice latte would be available. I was dreaming up reasons for me and Cole to go to the candy store for a treat “for him.”

Last night, John caught me eating a half-roll of Necco wafers. As I had already expressed my concern over my problem, he asked if I should really be eating them. I told him that it was either that or I was going to bake cookies or start drinking heavily, and I thought this was probably better. I think he thought I was joking, but I was ABSOLUTELY serious.

Today, I have been making fucking TEA all day (decaf) just to do something when a craving comes. The only really sugary thing in the house is sorbet, and I don’t get cravings for that. I have a headache, and HOW. I am feeling significantly more tired that I ought to. I’m also feeling lucky that Rowan and I didn’t get thrush through all of this.

This week I should be receiving a bathing suit from Land’s End (it was on sale!). When I do, Cole and I are going to go to the local gym and pay their exorbitant fee so that we can start swimming in the heated pool two times a week. It means learning to really swim before next summer for him, and a little bit of exercise and butt-kicking shame for me. Shame is a good motivator for me, at least to start. I need to start somewhere. I need to be healthy. I need to have energy for my kids. I need to be in good shape so that, when the kids are finally ready to leave the house, their father and I can still have fun together. I don’t want to be old before my time because of poor health choices now. I am 30, but right now I feel like I’m 50, and an unhealthy 50 at that.

So laugh, if you feel you need to, at my little problem, but know that it really is a big problem for me. But also know that I intend to do something about it, and writing it down here is my start.

ETA: And what should I get in my mailbox today but the November issue of Bon Appetit with HOLIDAY DESSERT recipes, reminding me once again that the season of greatest temptation is upon us. Thanks a lot, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, you fuckers.