Monday, August 11, 2014

Four Six

I am forty-six years old today and as I begin another turn around the sun, it's as good a time as any to take stock.

At the beginning of the year, I chose the word "stretch" as my word of the year. I wanted to challenge myself to move out of my comfort zone.

And indeed this year, I have stretched. My job responsibilities have changed, with the full participation and involvement of my boss. She has pushed for me to be less chained to my desk and more engaged out in the field. This has been fun and has led to a really productive year to date. I've been meeting a lot of people and while I am an introvert I am also good with people, so this has worked out well.

I am no longer looking for a new job. I have made a commitment to continue on this new path. I am also looking to see how I might guide my staff person to help her be more engaged, to help her spread her wings if she is so inclined. This is more of a stretch because she is very negative of late (bad breakup, for one thing). But I do want to try.

The downside to all this new work activity is that I haven't been doing much of my own writing. But I have been stretching in other ways, using my long experience in fundraising. Last month, I wrote a grant request for a film project for Sweet Dub. We will know the result in September. I don't know if we will get it, but we had to collaborate with another nonprofit to put it together, and they want to work with both of us on other projects. Time will tell what that brings...

I also started doing more yoga and body weight exercises this year, so I am literally stretching more than in recent years -- and I love it. Feeling better physically.

Emotionally this has been a rough year and I guess in that sense I am stretching too. Lots of family stuff going on, lots of opportunity for self-examination! Not comfortable, but definitely stretching my perceptions of who I am and where I fit and what the past means.

All that said, I still can't believe I am 46. Shouldn't I have it all figured out by now?!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Apparently I am not cut out for blogging at this point in my life. This is odd, because I actually want to blog, because I like the idea of connecting with people over shared interests, etc.

It's just not happening.

I should mention that I finished my ecourse on blogging and honestly it would make you laugh. It made me laugh. All this connecting your blog to your Twitter feed and your Instagram and Pinterest and podcasts and AdSense and affiliate links. Jesus Lord, it made me hate the very idea of blogging.

Clearly I am not cut out for that level of blogging. Honestly I am thoroughly sick of all social media at this moment. But perhaps I am just having a bad, particularly curmudgeonly day. I am kind of pissed at everyone today.

So don't take it to heart, O ye anonymous Internet. Perhaps it shall pass.

Far too much to get into here but I believe I am honestly having a PTSD issue related to stuff from my childhood, long repressed & resuscitated by recent family events. I just want to go to bed but I have to press on. It is a crushing feeling.

(Insert witty +/or poignant concluding statement here.)

I am at the park for lunch. I am now going to turn on my car and drive back to work blasting "Bohemian Rhapsody" and singing as loud as I can.

To better days.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Throwing Down Some Wisdom

Yesterday after work I was sitting next to Viva on the couch. Out of nowhere and with no prompting whatsoever she turned to me and said, "You know, Mom? I think we're RICH."

"We ARE rich," I said. "Rich in love."

"No, I don't mean like that," she said. "I mean rich because we have our whole family and we're all together."

(Had I been at my snottiest, I would have said, "Same thing." I am so annoying. I am so glad I did not do that. Yay, me!)

"That is really nice that you feel that way," I said. "You are right, we are so lucky to have each other. I feel grateful every day."

And I do. Much as I may complain about things, at the end of the day I am happy. What more can you ask than that?

P.S. Also, super pleased that she is aware that she is in an unusual position and doesn't take her blessings for granted. She is happy - not in a simple-minded, Pollyannaish sort of way, but in a "I've checked it out and I gotta say, I got it pretty dang good" kind of way.  I like that she doesn't define richness by having things, but by having close relationships with people who love her. Oh, my girl. She just captures my heart afresh, that one.

Friday, June 20, 2014

How Others See You

Recently, we were playing this game at the dinner table. It's a fun game, can be thought-provoking, and the answers may surprise you. 

One of the questions was (and I paraphrase): "What is a quality that one of the people at this table has, that you wish you had?"

Viva looked at me and said:  "I wish I were more like you in not being afraid of so many different things. I mean, you're not afraid of anything!"

I was stunned. I said, "You mean you think I'm BRAVE?"

"Yeah, you are," she said.

Wow. That might be one of the greatest things anyone has ever said about me.

What do you think your loved ones might say about you? Ask them. You might be surprised.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

School’s Out for Summer

Well, almost.

We are all groaning our ways through the last days of school. I have two children, and they are at the same school, so my end-of-year should be pretty standard. You’d think. You know, the usual end-of-year parties and “what to get the teacher” dilemma, combined with “what are we going to do with the kids all summer, OMG why is everything so expensive” (sob sob, rend clothing, shake fist at sky).

Oh, but no.

My fifth grader is graduating from elementary school. So there are extras, like a yearbook, and graduation picture, and Class of 2014 T-shirt, and end-of-year field trip day to some seventh circle of hell where they pour skittles into the kids’ mouths and give them IV’s full of cotton candy and let them drive go-karts, play mini golf and dominate on arcade games, following which they release them staggering into the daylight laden down with tiny plastic trinkets and huge twisty drink cups with the straws attached and a mountain of other plastic crap which they do not need but insist they do because they won it playing games, don’t you see, it’s not fair. Also, my kindergartener is sort of-kind-of culminating. It’s not a graduation, per se, but they’re also having a party. On a different day than fifth grade graduation.

Also: my kids seem suddenly to be performing arts gurus, because they have both been asked to perform this week – one, dancing at a Motown revue event last night, and the other, playing drums in her rock band this afternoon in front of the whole school.

Added to that, my children are changing school districts next year, a delicate procedure during which you must keep your shit together all whilst feeling the top of your head might pop off at any second. There are sooooo many forms. And soooo many documents you must collect from hither and yon – birth certificates, utility bills, report cards, copies of standardized tests, immunization records, etc. There’s the ridiculous health card you must fill out with the child’s medical history asking you, among other things, at what age your child first sat up? First crawled? First walked? Are they for real with this? I barely remember what I did last weekend.

And enrolling the kids is a multi-part process. Ceeya must visit the new school next month for an official literacy assessment, and in California they are doing this graduated shifting of the eligibility date for kindergarten which apparently also extends to first grade, which I don’t understand. Ceeya was three weeks too young for kindergarten this past year, but they accepted her provisionally and now she has blown all the assessments in her current school out of the water. (Seriously, the “good” proficiency score in phonics was 28, and she scored 112. She may have broken their test.) Now I have to go through the same thing with the new school so she doesn’t have to repeat kinder because she won’t be six years old by Sept. 1st.

It is like having another job. I am exhausted. No Pinterest-worthy teacher crafts over here, man. I am out.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Just Not Feeling It

FYI - this pic has nothing to do with the content of this post, but honestly. If you are going to go to the trouble of having a sign made, maybe proofread before you sign off on it?

The scene:  It is 7:55 AM. I have just emerged from my car and I am walking across the parking lot to the entrance of my job. One of our clients, a man with a mild intellectual disability, has just gotten off the bus and is walking up toward me.

Me:        Good morning, Rob [not his real name]! How you doin?
Rob:       Good morning, I don’t want to be here today.
Me:        I know how you feel, some days are like that.
Rob:       I partied too much last night.
Me:        Whuh?
Rob:       It was my birthday yesterday—
Me:        Oh! Happy Birthday!
Rob:        –yeah, so I drank a lot last night and then I passed out.
Me:        Oh. …So… you probably don’t feel so well.
Rob:       Yeah, we had some people over at the house and we was drinkin.
Me:        Do you think you’re hung-over?
Rob:       NO, NO – I just don’t want to BE here.

Well, that makes two of us. Hang in there, Rob.

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Lure of the New

I just learned that one of my co-workers is in the process of moving, and I had a twinge of jealousy. Am I crazy?

If you know anything about me, you know that I have moved an awful lot. Ceeya is only five years old and she has already lived in four different homes -- we moved from one to another only days after bringing her home from the hospital

But:  following up on my previous post, I actually took the StrengthsFinder assessment and one of the things it told me was that I constantly need new challenges, so I should look for work which is really varied. This explains my craving to move, I think. I guess I just want something fun to do, and I love looking at new places and imagining the Blah Blah family in them. I love finding just the right space for us, finding the new restaurants and shops and parks in our neighborhood, and meeting new people. I love finding the perfect chair to go in the corner, or new artwork to hang in the kitchen. Every home is different. To me, moving is a pain in the ass, and exciting and fun, all at once. 

One of the things I love about moving is that it forces us to get rid of things because we can't justify moving them. I lurrrrve decluttering. And our apartment right now is feeling ridiculously cluttered and it hurts my brain. Not to mention we are getting close to the end of the school year (lots of extra papers coming home) and the beginning of a new school year looms, with both kids going to different schools next year--Viva graduating from elementary school and moving on to middle, and Ceeya moving to our neighborhood school (more on this in a later post)--with lots of extra paperwork for that as well. And Mother's Day artwork. Also Ceeya has become a bit of a multimedia artist, and she makes these large pieces which are inevitably spread out to dry all over the dining room table, along with all the materials which have gone into making them, and this is the first thing I see when I walk into the apartment after work, and it makes me a little cuckoo. 

The idea of a clean slate is certainly a nice fantasy. But we are creative types, so I must learn to live with some mess. But it's still nice to fantasize about moving into a bigger place, where all the other members of my family would miraculously become neat freaks and the sink wouldn't be full of dishes, or the hampers overflowing with laundry. And somehow I would corral all of our hair products and hair baubles and hair thingies and HAIR so they wouldn't randomly appear all over the house. (Three out of four of us have masses of curly hair which refuse to be tamed. The other one just shaves all of his off. I'll leave you to guess who that is.)

For the moment, I'm just going to have to suck it up. We are not moving any time soon. There are other changes happening in our lives that may not seem to be major, but who knows what tomorrow will bring? Be here now, and all that.