Monday, August 18, 2014

In Which I Overthink Stuff...

I have three young daughters...you just KNOW that we've sung the songs from "Frozen" a time or two.  Truth to tell, my favoritest one is "Do you Wanna Build a Snowman?"  It's totally me.  As in, that Ana character?  Me.

"Dontcha wanna play with me?"  I even do the lips-in-the-door thing.

Plus, I love all the different parodies that have been made of that song...including the many MANY created by my own children...


The thing is, THE song from Frozen is "Let it Go!" 

We also really like the musical "Wicked" over here.  My favorite song being "For Good" which I got to sing with Beanie a few years ago...looka her sweet lil 12 year old self...


While "For Good" is pretty well known, it's "Defying Gravity" that so often identifies the show to those who didn't necessarily see it.

Ah, Idina Menzel, you do know how to wail out a gorgeous girl power song.  And, to be fair, who doesn't love to wail a little?  It is why they are so popular.

That final shoulder flounce at the end of the words, "The cold never bothered me anyway"...it made us all roar just a little bit.  Own it, baby!!  Own that incredibly cool, freezy gift that you have that nobody "understands".

The phrase that sticks out in my head from "Defying Gravity" is also the last one, "And nobody in all of OZ, no wizard that there is or was, is ever gonna bring me down."  RAWR...again, we cheered at her strength and bravery in that moment.

sigh

In THAT moment, we cheered. 

Few of us really thought about the next moment.  The moment where she defied gravity right away from everything that she loved.  We were proud of her for standing up against lies...but she stood against lies and walked out into the next horrid phase, nearly losing Fiyero, walking away from Glinda, bearing the guilt of knowing that she'd damaged Boq to save him from her sister and he would never understand.

"Defying Gravity" may have been a girl power song...but it was a horribly sad choice that Elphaba was making.  So many people shout, "HELL YEAH!" at the end of it, without really thinking what it MEANT to her.  The real sound for the character had to be an agonized whisper, "what now?"

But "Let it Go!" is even worse.  At least Elphaba was standing up to an evil that would be conquered and she knew that people loved her even if she couldn't be with them.  Elsa was merely running away from the fear that was created by her parents.  People who SHOULD have embraced what she was and taught her, and everyone around her, how to deal with it.  Instead they heaped fear and loathing of herself upon her, isolated her from her very best friend and sister, and, it appears, any other grown up who could help her, and then DIED, leaving her the impossible task of not only healing herself from their abuse, but being responsible to Ana as her big sister AND running a country.  Gee thanks, Mom and Dad!!!

"Let it Go!" isn't about standing up for what is right, it's about isolating yourself from the millions of things that scare you MORE than your "worst" fear.  'Mom and Dad aren't around to keep my door locked and remind me to never share myself with anyone, never trust EVER, I know what I'll do, I'll build myself a big old frozen castle and hole up in it so I never have to worry about hurting anyone, especially me.'

But, it sure is pretty.  And Idina Menzel does have awesome voice.  Sadly, so many of us can relate to the story/lyrics that we hook on to them and shout them at the sky, like they are a good thing.

My poor kids.  They can't even just watch a MOVIE or sing a pretty SONG without Mom explaining the back story from an adult's perspective to make sure they don't like it tooooooo much.

See ya around...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Who's Bullying Who??

Disclaimer:  I haven't written in awhile.  I'm not in the mood for HTML. 
Love me anyway.

One other thing, my ex-husband has a side that he has not shared with
me.  This is one of those posts where you might think he was the worst person
but be wise enough to know that there are sides and while my side/experience
is absolutely valid, his side, the side you are not hearing, is equally valid.

Man, it's a beautiful morning here in North Texas.  I'm sitting out on my patio, the sun is coming up, Teddy, my puppy, is whiney-talking to the next door neighbor's dogs and they are whiney-talking back.

I started this post yesterday.  I'm glad I got held up, because it would have been a very different post yesterday.  Yesterday I read this...

https://celebrity.yahoo.com/blogs/celeb-news/zelda-williams-quits-social-media-in-wake-of-father-s-death-150000165.html

Just a little story about some disgusting internet bullies who thought that it was A-O-Kay to criticize Robin William's little girl in the wake of his death.  REALLY?  The momma-bear in me took over and the writing was angry.

But things happened.  Life.  Laughter.  A great movie with a friend.  A great talk with my 15 year old.  A beautiful sunrise.

and this...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXmClJJz57s

As I sit here in my favorite light of the day, I realize that there will always be bullies...as a matter of fact there always HAVE been bullies.  Some of them will rip out your heart.

But I don't think it's the bullies that we need to be focusing on.  Follow me here.

See, I never really noticed bullies growing up.  Oh, sure, you don't move around as much as I did and always feel like you belong.  What I'm saying is that bullying didn't really take root and BOTHER me/change how I felt about myself until that bully was the one person that I needed to love me more than any other.

I believe I've established the fact that my parents are AWESOME.  Probably the awesomest parents that have ever lived on this planet.  If not, I would like my witnesses to stand up and corroborate the vast coolness of my parents, because there are PLENTY of people outside of my brother and I in this world who were made important and loved by Tim and Shari Perman.

And they raised me an AWESOME brother who loves me and is proud of me, FAR more than I deserve.

We had a saying in my family, when the world gets tough you stand back to back with your family and fight the world.  My family ALWAYS had my back.



From the teacher in first grade who sent me home crying because if my name was spelled with an "E", then it was CLEARLY a boy's name and I was CLEARLY NOT a boy.  (in case you were left wondering, Stacey...that's my name, don't wear it out...but please, spell it right, cuz my mom almost came to blows with my first grade teacher over it.)

To the little boy in my class who told me that my name was weird...my mother said, "Well, what's HIS name?"  "Mickey Stratanski"...she got quite a laugh over that one.  Still does.

To the boys in middle school or high school that would pick on me/throw me in the trash can/knock my books down...whatever...boys are stooooopppiiddd (which is not the same as stupid...boys are not stupid, to clarify)...to the girls who wouldn't talk to me because I didn't fit in their "group".

By the time high school rolled around, I was pretty comfortable in my own skin.  I'd moved too much to have any group except my family, and my role was pretty well-established as the darling youngest daughter in the best family ever.  Other people loved to join my family, and while that didn't make me "cool" in class, it still gave me a support system of people who believed me capable and funny.

So then I met and married my husband.  The man who would teach me that I was lazy, and fat, and had no fashion sense.  The one who would teach me that I was never going to be any good at sports. That I should never sing or laugh or sneeze because he hated the sound of my voice.  He didn't say these things all at once, but over the years, a little more every year, it became apparent that he hated every single thing about me.  I don't want to say that he was evil or even intentional in any of this.  He had his own demons that he was fighting and I was an easy target because I'd only ever really been loved.  Never mind that one of my personality traits, be it a flaw or a charm, is that I NEED attention from those people that I love.  That can be a hard responsibility.

In time, I didn't hear my dad's voice.  Or my brother's.  Or my favorite ex-boyfriend's.  (See, I didn't really care what the girls thought, weird, I know) I only heard his.  And I learned to hate myself.  And it was his voice that I heard condemning me.

It wasn't until my dad DIED that I could hear my dad say, "That's my girl, I'm so proud of you" again.  Maybe it was his death and my absolute obsession with everything about my father in the months following his death.  Maybe it was being surrounded by my family, so many of whom remembered him and reminded me of him.  I don't know for sure what fixed it in my head but that week of his funeral rang the death knell on me accepting that negative talk about my father's daughter and subsequently started the end of my marriage.

Interestingly enough, I've gone a long time STILL hearing my ex's negativity in my head.  When I wake in the middle of the night tearing myself apart, it is either the many things he said to me or my OWN voice taking up the hateful refrain.  "You are NOT good enough"..."You are lazy"..."You are a terrible housekeeper".  "Nobody cares, Stacey, JEEZ, Nobody cares."

Hold on now, before you go feeling sorry for me...please let us remember, I have not lived with my ex in over 2 years.  We actually have a pretty good relationship now.  He's kind and gentle with the girls.  He enjoys his life and I enjoy mine.  A few months AFTER the divorce he apologized for his mistakes and I forgave him, absolutely.

So who's doing the bullying here?

IT IS NOT my ex.  The man who broke up his family so that he wouldn't hurt us anymore and went on to try to get help so that he could climb out of the hole he'd fallen into during our marriage.  Honestly, leaving us turned out to be one of the most noble things that he did in our marriage.

My friends reading this are probably saying, "For crying out loud, Stacey, WE love you, WE tell you great things about you, why, ON EARTH, can you not hear OUR voices?"  Oh, how I wish that I knew.  I do know that it is pretty common.  I used to teach computer classes and we were evaluated at the end of every class.  There was an interesting phenomenon that occurred.  You might have 16 students, 15 of those students might have considered you a straight up 10...and one, might have given you 7s and 8s.  You know which one most of us focused on?  That's right, the low score.  I think it's arrogant to never consider that you might need to improve something and only believe your greatest fans.  But COME ON!  Many of us walk through this world only believing our greatest critics...BEING our greatest critics.

You wanna know who does the most damaging bullying?  We do.  To ourselves.  Sometimes we hear the bullying in other people's voices because that may be where the slur started, but every single time we repeat it to ourselves, WE ARE KILLING OURSELVES.  We are killing our potential for the day or the year or our life.  Every time we say those words in our heads that point out our weaknesses, we are forgetting our strengths. 

You know who does the SECOND most damage to our souls?  Those people that we love the most.  I avoided being too awfully bothered by bullying as a kid NOT because the bullies didn't exist, but because my parents and brother mattered more.  My parents were too much a part of every aspect of my life.  They were too ready to love and accept any friend of mine into our family exactly as they were, and build them up, too.  People joined my family because my parents didn't take no guff AND loved the stuffing out of you. PERIOD.  If you ate at our table...you ate what mom served, happily.  And if you didn't, there was always some low level of joyful mocking.  And as much as she could dish it out, she could take it and laugh and make you feel smart for your humor.  Him too.  My daddy would tell us, when we were looking particularly lovely, that he might be drunk, but we were ugly and at least he'd be sober in the morning, with a twinkle in his eye that let us to know exactly how beautiful we were to him.

With that kind of adults in our lives...both mine and my friends...how could we believe any of the nonsense that the bullies threw? 

There will always be bullies.  Idiots who should know better.  People who are angry and believe that they are "helping" by saying the most hateful thing at the wrong moment.  Sophomoric fools who think it's funny to tear people down.  Trolls.

What we need is the kind of insulation that my parents provided with their love and acceptance to my whole community of kids.  Because with that kind of insulation, eventually you can HEAR the foolishness in the unkindness.  Because it is foolishness.

Stop looking at the bullies...be the insulation. 

See ya around...







Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Barbaric Yawp

Disclaimer...1.) I am not a doctor nor do I play one on television...
2.) I'm quoting others and there is some language you may find offensive...
3.)To be very clear, I have NEVER, not even once
considered ending my life...EVER...
this is only one girl's perspective.



They announced the death of Robin Williams yesterday...not just the death...the apparent suicide.  The funniest man on earth, the one who we quoted with varying degrees of accuracy in the tone and voice...he is no longer sharing our planet...breathing our air.

 "Look at me right now, Moneypenny, I want to undo
that bow and get to know you." Mrs. Doubtfire
 
Oh my goodness, he could make me laugh...
 
 Oh, sir. I saw it! Some angry member of the kitchen staff, Did you not tip them?
Oh, the terrorists! They ran that way. It was a run-by fruiting.
I'll get them, sir. Don't worry
.... Mrs. Doubtfire

So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired,
he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented
for one reason, boys - to woo women -
and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do... Dead Poet's Society
 
 
The wisdom of the lines that were crafted for him to deliver as well as the ones that he improvised were often rough...and well thought out...and SO OFTEN made me view my very small world differently...
 
My father was an alcoholic. Mean fuckin' drunk. Used to come home hammered,
looking to whale on someone. So I had to provoke him, so he wouldn't go after my
mother and little brother. Interesting nights were when he wore his rings...
...Good Will Hunting  
 
You're not perfect, sport, and let me save you the suspense:
this girl you've met, she's not perfect either.
But the question is whether or not
you're perfect for each other...Good Will Hunting
 
 
No, I'm not kiddin' you, Will. That's why I'm not talkin' right now about some
girl I saw at a bar twenty years ago and how I always regretted not going over
and talking to her. I don't regret the 18 years I was married to Nancy. I don't
regret the six years I had to give up counseling when she got sick. And I don't
regret the last years when she got really sick. And I sure as hell don't regret
missin' the damn game. ...Good Will Hunting

Sometimes, in the middle of a dark time in my life these lines, crafted by faceless others, would repeat in my head, giving me something to focus on...

It's not your fault...It's not your fault...It's not your fault...Good Will Hunting.

As I was reading through the many many posts about this man that we, as a collective, will miss terribly, it seemed there was one point of view that was missing.  That of a person struggling with depression right now.  I thought I'd take a minute and be that voice, imperfect, maybe, but hopefully helping with understanding.

See, I struggle with depression AND I am the funny one.  I spent a very long time in a very toxic marriage and nobody knew because I was very careful to keep my depression away from people.  I didn't want to be a complainer.  I was sure that everything was my own fault and if I could JUST be better, do better, be smarter, prettier, more capable, I could fix it.  I didn't want to worry anyone.  Besides, I was really good at seeing the world in a funny way, and laughing about it.

When it all came out that the marriage was over, I had a very dear friend look me right in the eye and say, "Uh, congratulations on your performance, I NEVER knew."

I also lived with a man who was terribly depressed.  Horribly, frighteningly, increasingly depressed.  I couldn't help.  Every time that I tried, he pulled back harder and harder.  He couldn't help himself and he couldn't allow anyone else to help either.

You know the part that hurt the most?  After sleeping beside him for almost 20 years, I never got to understand WHY.  But, he was a great laugher.  Honestly, even this moment, I can remember that look in his eye that said he had thought of something very funny, and probably completely inappropriate, but very funny.

I spent time with my mommy after Daddy died.  Weirdly enough, she got MUCH worse, much less willing to talk about it, just as we all thought she was getting better.  I watched her struggle every single day...and laugh.  I watched her laugh anyway.

I don't know what Robin Williams was going through, but one thread that I've noticed whenever suicide is talked about.  You always hear someone say, "He had EVERYTHING to live for", and along the similar line, "if only he'd asked for help, we could have worked out anything."

Can I tell you something?  I have EVERYTHING to live for.  EVERYTHING.  I have three amazing kids, I have an adorable puppy, I have a mom and step dad and brother and brother-in-law that LOVE me.  I have a great relationship with my many amazing extended family. I have friends who will NEVER let me go.  Friends who make me laugh and challenge my mind and my ideas so that I am forced to grow.  And one friend who tells me how incredibly beautiful I am every single time I need to hear it.  I have enough.  Enough money, house, car, food.

When I sit alone I can not think of even one thing that I MUST have to make me happy.  There are things that would be nice...but HAVE TO HAVE?  Nope.

Still, I've had days that I've thought that it would be just great never to wake up again.  Never to have to live inside this body, inside the disappointments that we all have in our lives.  To not have to face responsibilities that I don't necessarily feel capable of completing.   

Some days are just bad.  REALLY bad.

I don't talk much on those days.  To anyone.  I don't answer the phone...I don't go out of the house...and those people that love me, usually only know after the fact.
 
There is another line of thought that is pretty prevalent out there..."He made a choice."

Oh how short sighted and judgmental we can sound when we've never ever walked a road.
 
Yes, indeed, he made a choice. 
 
The thing is, when I'm having a "bad day", there are NO choices that I can see.  NONE.  On those days, I am afraid of every choice.  Every train of thought makes me cry or mad...or at BEST, contemplative.  All that I want to do is make it stop.  I sit and watch TV, or I sleep.  Or I write pages of completely un-redemptive crap...very descriptive un-redemptive crap.  And I wait for it to pass.  I wait until I can see something that makes me laugh.  I wait until I can help somebody else or until somebody calls.  Given time, somebody always calls. 
 
I am NOT addicted to drugs or alcohol...and I haven't struggled with a life time of bi-polar disorder and the drugs meant to help that go along with it. And yet, I still have days where the biggest choice I am capable of making is whether or not to watch "Call the Midwife" or "Grey's Anatomy" to deaden my screaming brain...and on those bad days I really do think that it has always been this way and always WILL BE this way.  My intellect knows that it hasn't and won't, but on bad days, it's not my intellect that is running the show. The bad days, it's my emotions that are haywire and I CAN'T make them stop, no matter that someone thinks I should be able to.  (ick, ended that in a preposition...blech...gonna leave it anyway...I did say this would be imperfect.)
 
I can understand how Robin Williams might have had a terribly bad day...maybe a string of bad days so long that he couldn't remember the last time he'd felt normal.  I can understand how he could feel that he could not take even one more minute of this, whatever it was, that was torturing him.  
 
 Did you ever wish you could sometimes freeze frame a moment
in your day, look at it and say "this is not my life"?  ... Mrs. Doubtfire

I wish that he would have waited for someone to call.  I wish he would have been distracted from the task just long enough to realize the craziness of putting his kids and family through this kind of pain, so that he could find the space to make a different choice.

But I am NOT going to be one of the crowd that blames him for his death.  I'm not going to say, "if only" even once.  Because he had a situation...a bad day...and he was as incapable of "fixing" it himself as if he'd gone down in an airplane.  There, but for the grace of God, go I.

I am praying for his family...praying for the people in his life who knew him well enough to touch him and had the intimacy with him to look into his eyes and laugh.  I'm praying that they don't blame themselves in any way, praying that they don't blame him.

For the rest of us, I'm praying that we remember that this life, like EVERY life, was amazing, and hard, and hilarious, and precious.
 
Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful
play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play
*goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be? ... Dead Poet's Society
 

I pray that we all fight the darkness that is depression.  Fight it when our own demons come to dance on our heads.  Fight it when we know that people we love are hurting and struggling.  I pray we remember the truth of our worth in this world.  Worth that is not measured by things we have done, but by the Lord who made us, who gave us each skills and talents and tasks to do that are priceless.  I pray we call and remind each other what we mean to each other.  Every time.  As often and obnoxiously as possible.  It's not a program that is going to fix this...it's people caring and praying and calling and talking and laughing...and not stopping even when you're afraid you are going to bug someone...maybe ESPECIALLY when you are afraid that you are going to bug someone...

That's what I bring to the party...my verse if you will...so I guess for this moment...

I SOUND MY BARBARIC YAWP OVER
THE ROOFTOPS OF THE WORLD
...Dead Poet's Society

Mr. Williams, you will be missed...but I will always be blessed by YOUR contribution to the world and my life.

As for the rest of you?  See ya around...

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Unwritten Line Item.

So this week we are coming back into line with how our days SHOULD be.  We have a plan.  My schedule is a beautiful thing and it would work PERFECTLY if there weren't so many unwritten line items on it.

DAGNABIT!

My mom used to tell a story about my dad.  They were planning on going somewhere.  She had gotten up on time, gotten the kids ready, fed us, gotten herself ready, gotten everybody in the car knowing that they were running late.  After a few minutes, she went inside to check on him and found my father sorting their record collection, still in his socks.  He had found an unwritten line item.

These unwritten line items ARE any schedule.  The things that you do that add time and complexity to the list of items that you are trying to check off. 

As we have been working through the list, each of my kids has found an unwritten line item to completely alter her schedule for the rest of the day.  (no names are being used, because, well, public shaming is controversial...the important thing is that THEY'LL know who they are)

Exhibit A.

This child was to be the first up and into the shower for several reasons.  When she was out of the shower, she was to sing out "NEXT KID, I'm out of the shower" as she walked past on her way to her room.  Then she was to get dressed, make her bed and come out all golden haired and dewy eyed...and do my bidding.

Instead, she found an unwritten line item.

She got up first...CHECK.  She went into the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror...OKAY.  She got into and out of the shower...CHECK.  She walked out of the bathroom...stood in the doorway...rang a REALLY loud bell...and said, "NEXT KID, GET INTO THE SHOWER RIGHT NOW!"   Apparently, she said it 3,456 times before I became involved in the situation.

Exhibit B

This child was the planned person to empty the dishwasher.  It was on her list.  As I headed to the shower, I reminded her.  She was headed TO the dishwasher when I left the room.  What happened next is hard to know for sure.  All I am certain of is that by the time I came out to check after my shower, there was an altercation going on and the dishwasher was standing open. 

A sister had foisted an unwritten line item onto her list.

The hazy details are as follows.  She was going to unload the dishwasher when a SISTER played HER song on the piano.  She felt compelled to police the music coming from the other room and correct this good-for-nothing sister about her wretched behavior...the dishwasher would HAVE to wait.

Exhibit C

This child was to be doing two pages of well understood math that she had previously stated was so easy she shouldn't have to waste time with it.  When she was finished with the incredibly easy math, she was to go on to the rest of her well understood and planned school day. I spoke to this child.  I made sure that she had all her supplies and no questions.  I then sent her to her working room...and commenced teaching her other sisters for the couple of hours until lunch.

But she found this unwritten line item.  Truth be told, she found a FEW.

Firstly, this math was VERY boring and she HAD brought her iPod into the room, so listening to her music was needed to help her even accomplish BREATHING while she was dragging through these two pages. Then this song came on that she really liked, so she wanted to learn the words while she was doing her math so she switched to you-tube to find a lyrics video so that she could accomplish that goal.  And then she focused, I tell you.

By the time I got involved almost 2 hours later, she was singing SO loudly that I had to shush her so that I could carry on with what I was teaching.  As I opened the door, I realized that it wasn't just the song that was the unwritten line item...or even the words...but an completely choreographed number in full costume...while her math lay open, UNMARRED BY PENCIL, on her desk.

IN FULL COSTUME, dear readers.  I'm just going to let that one sink in.

I've decided that more than half of dealing with kids in any capacity, be it parenting, teaching, sports or whatever, is their ability to consider options far outside of our own ADULT imagination.  I get in MORE trouble assuming that they are going to behave in a way that I've laid out...or even in a way that they have always acted in the past.

I often find myself completely GOBSMACKED by their audacity, and if I'm honest, irritated...which tends to add a few unwritten line items of my own.

I guess that's why starting slowly on any schedule you expect to follow with any regularity with kids is so important.  It gives you the opportunity to find those unwritten line items. 

Well, and to come to grips with the fact that no matter how intelligent you are and how well thought out your master plan...you are up against small people with their OWN counter-agendas...who are wiley-er, smarter and let's face it, FAR more well-rested than you are. 

See ya around.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Slow Slide Back into Good Citizenry

Day 7 of the new year...Day 2 of the second semester...Day 1 of the ACTUAL new schedule.  That's how MY life works out.

Obviously, you can't start a new semester on the 2nd day of the year.  There is far too much fun being had on the LAST day of the prior year to be worth much productivity on the first day of the year...and the second day is merely the START of the clean up from the holiday at the END of the year.  Are you following me, dear reader?

So like all the rest of my society, we let the first 5 days of the year go by in a whirl of cleaning and visiting and, if I'm honest, laying about.  It's vacation.  This year we had the added excitement of some sickness, I'd say flu, but it seems everyone has had it worse than we have, so we'll just say, "The Crud" and leave it there.  So the first 5 days also had the fun of a few people really needing the extra sleep that a full schedule simply does not allow.

Every new year of my homeschool career...save the last two (2012 - The-WE-ARE-getting-a-divorce-and-right-soon-Year and 2013-JUST-GOT-divorced-and-moved-and-have-to-settled-Year) where my emotions wouldn't allow it...I have used January to hunker down, get a new schedule and re-connect my household. 

See, starting with my birthday in the beginning of November, we have a 2 month slide into vacation-mode (think Island-Mode without the waves) that lasts through the first week of January.  I know that most of our friends have a similar slide but I think mine is worse.  See, having a birthday at the beginning of the least productive time of the year, adds an extra three weeks of less productivity, because, "But it's your BIRTHDAY" happens a lot...and I generally let it.  Just keepin it real.

So today we start our new schedule.  This is the MOST HATED DAY OF THE YEAR.  See, generally my kids are up and reading or journaling or sometimes even playing piano, even on vacation, by 7:30.  But on SCHEDULE...it's up at 7:15.  This is a heinous thing to them...and I cause it, ergo, I am evil.  The fact that it gives me joy makes it exponentially worse.

We had "the talk" yesterday.  You know the one, "Everyone needs to be up and doing what SHE is supposed to do in the morning."  There was a motion to scrap the whole idea, which was then seconded and they hoped carried by their third member (that easy-going curly one)...thank heavens I hold veto power...or they'd stay the unwashed masses until it was time to go to church.

We spent yesterday restarting the wheels that came to a complete halt a little over 2 weeks ago at the beginning of the Christmas break...finding all the school books that got squirreled away...organizing the library list...getting math back on track...overviewing grammar and writing...overviewing our new unit in history (Industrial Revolution ... I'm excited)...and sorting out the plan for the new sciences that we got over Christmas.  Today, everybody KNOWS THE PLAN. 

It will STILL take a few days to implement it...but they KNOW it.  And it is POSTED on the wall.  (Oh yeah, I AM that mom).  So tally ho!!  I hope you all have a GREAT day, I know I will.

See ya later 2013...
See ya around...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Happy New Year - 2014

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm a little late.

We've been sick and lazy the last few days...and I'm not even feeling apologetic.

The sunset in Florida in September...that's the kind of lazy I feel...


But I woke up this morning...and the sunrise was beautiful, and I realized...We have this whole year in front of us with no mistakes in it yet. 

So, while I haven't much to say, I leave you with this...

May your 2014 be filled with a million joys and experiences to grow you in ways you can not even imagine today.  May you have friends who love you and offer you peace and grace and a kick in the butt, where needed.  May you and your family be healthy and strong so that you can face up to the challenges that will meet you this year.

There are dreams to be met and lived, my friends...Let's GO!

See ya around...

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Week 2013

(All pictures in this post are from LAST Christmas)
 
In case you were wondering at my quiet, I would remind you of something I said a couple of years ago, "I blog on the upswing."  If you are new to the blog, this drop in visual productivity, it has happened a lot over the years...I feel the downward pull of emotion or circumstance and I can't.find.words.



A girl and her "Grinch Punch" and her living back stop


Those closest to me will recognize it in my arguing style...I lose nouns and descriptors and start calling everything "crap" and "thingie" and "stuff" and find that, while I may have a valid argument in my head there is no way that it will be passing my lips anytime soon. So, I go quiet and stay that way until I find I have control of my faculties again.  It's just how I process.




The girls and Uncle K putting up the lights that I STILL have up on my back fence.


But, today, dear reader, I found my upswing.



Uncle BakerMan chattin them up


This has been a hard week for me, well...honestly...a hard month.  It's Christmas for crying out loud.  Usually I'm one of those OBNOXIOUS "Let's sing Christmas carols on Halloween" people.  I usually start in about September sizing up my kid's friends to see which would be caroling fodder and try and teach them new songs they might not know so that when Christmas comes around I can drag them around the neighborhood.  BUT...not this year.



Those are his ACTUAL horns...been there all his life...only
became so prominent as he lost his hair.  Just ask Uncle J...he'll tell ya.


It's odd how a fact that underlies your life affects you.  I've know since the divorce last year that my-ex and I would be trading off holidays...he was nice enough to give me the first Christmas, and I've KNOWN that meant that I wouldn't have my kids this Christmas.  KNEW it.  Prepared my head for it or so I thought.




There is a whole series of these
I'm saving them for her wedding video.



See, I've been "crankier" than normal since putting my feet back in my house after my Florida trip.  It started out as just little things...running out of coconut milk and butter.  Other people have other staples that they never run out of...in my house it's coconut milk (for curry) and butter (for life)...I am NEVER out.  Over time it progressed to either me being too weepy or too silent with everybody. 




Hilarity all around.


When last week started, I could feel the completely counter-productive desire to tell the kids to just "GO ALREADY!"  It's been a surprising emotion for me, "get out of here, it hurts me to know you'll be gone, so just GO."  I've felt that way a lot in the last year.  Thankfully, by the time Mom GOT married, I think I was better at recognizing it for grief and NOT saying stupid things that I didn't mean...I think. 





Anyway, when it hit this week, I definitely recognized it...I lowered my goals for the week...I pulled my kids close and actually WENT caroling on a whim with zero preparation (which was great by the way) and finished up school and tore apart caches of clothing that needed to be torn apart and went to a movie and did everything I could to ENJOY my last week with my girls for the year.




I was SO sick in this picture...but it's become on of my favorites
Go figure.



And then they left.



Singing with my family around is not something to miss...



And then I sat on the floor in the middle of the mess and cried...for awhile.  And then I reached out to people in one post...spent awhile chatting, texting, and talking...to say that my phone 'LIT UP' would not be an exaggeration.  And then I realized that this was something I was going to have to walk through ... So I did what any self-respecting total geek would do...I set up my laptop in my bathroom,  watched a couple of episodes of "Farscape" from my tub and decided that sleeping was a pretty good option, all things considered.  I find Science Fiction soothing...it is part of my charm.




Ah wrapping...a skill I hope their daddy realizes HE needs to teach them.


I wish I could say that my "funk" was over at that point.  I'm not sure it's over now.  But over the last couple of days of quiet within my own house, I realized something pretty great... I realized that I walked through another valley and made it...again.



Nine of us last year.  So much fun.


In "The Screwtape Letters", chapter 8, C.S. Lewis talks about the "Law of Undulation".  If you've not heard of this book, in a nutshell, it is letters from an elderly "Uncle" demon (Screwtape) to his younger nephew detailing ways to bring people AWAY from God.  It's a very interesting juxtaposition in Christian writing, taking it from the devil's point of view, everything that seems like a triumph is actually a defeat for Christ.  In the quote below, the "patient" is this nephew's charge.  The nephew has noticed that the patient is downhearted and supposes it is his success that has make him so.  Dear old Uncle Screwtape offers insight into our lives in his answer.

If you had watched your patient carefully you would have seen this undulation in every department of his life - his interest in his work., his affection for his friends, his physical appetites, all go up and down.  As long as he lives on earth periods of emotional and bodily richness and liveliness will alternate with periods of numbness and poverty.  The dryness and dullness through which your patient is now going are not, as you fondly suppose, your workmanship; they are merely a natural phenomenon which will do us no good unless you make a good use of it. 
Let's just say there is a LOT of estrogen in my house, and leave it at that...


I made it through another undulation...another turn of the wheel.  YAY ME! Every one of these "undulations" has taken me farther into comfortable-in-my-own-skin and given me proof that I'm capable.  It's hard to admit, but without these dips I wouldn't have made the progress that I've made.  When things coast along, I get proud...supercilious (one of Bean's words this month ...  go on, go look it up...I'll wait. ;) ).  I guess I need that humility of despair now and then, maybe we all do.




Monkey Face dazzling her Grandma


I've gotten a couple of emails from the girls and it sounds like they are having a GREAT time.  I wouldn't take that away from them for the world.  The hardest part of this week is that guilty feeling that I have in the low moments where I would rather it be ME having fun with my girls.  How selfish is that?  And narcissistic? And entitled?  I pray THAT part goes away.  I think that it's probably a natural reaction...but so SO destructive.  Just keepin it real.


Monkey Face's mantra last year, "I'm going for the Yahtzee"...and she got about 8 of them. 
Amazing!


Today is Christmas Eve...by tonight, Nali and I will be tucked in among our dear friends, probably eating cookies and playing Rummi Cube.  Tonight, I will be surrounded with family I've adopted as my own and I will make memories and they will be beautiful, too. 

Scott and Stacey 2012
Love my big brother.


And next week, when my girls get back, for the first time in THEIR lives, we won't be starting school on the 2nd.  Nope, we're going to figure out some new fun New Year's traditions beyond taking down the tree, so the NEXT time I have my Christmas week to myself, I have something great ahead of me.


I have so many pictures of the sky changing colors over those roofs.
Just my favorite spot to watch the sky change.


Well, unless we get bored...then we'll just break out the microscope...


My loves, 2012
 
 
See ya around...