altarflame: (deluge)
I love it when I have lots of leftovers available. I got up this morning and ate cold pumpkin oatmeal right out of the fridge with some seeds sprinkled on top (steel cut oats store pretty well), and now I'm having some cream of mushroom soup I cooked last night. I heated the soup, because I am not a barbarian.

I got the practicum agency placement I wanted, for Spring, so that's exciting. It's hospice work, and my program's rule is that 75% of intern time must be spent directly with clients (we're actually supposed to "inform" them we aren't allowed to do "administrative tasks" if we get assigned things like document shredding or getting a boss's coffee - which doesn't sound awkward at all :p) There was only one on the list of local hospices that was open to students at my level who aren't fluent in spanish, and they were only taking ONE student, so I was afraid I'd be stuck with my backup choices. Which would have been cool in a different way, but, this is better!

My practicum interview, a couple of weeks ago, was interesting - I walked away feeling the faculty member who had interviewed me knew an awful lot about me for us having just met. But that's sort of how it goes in this field of study... I had to lay out that I'm too personally impacted by work with children and REALLY don't want to do that, but am interested in death and passionate about funeral industry reform, for instance. She was obviously seeing it as par for the course.

I also had a big, unidentifiable black smudge on my forehead the whole time and didn't realize until I went to the bathroom on my way out. Of all the nonsense.

Hard to believe there's only about a month left of this semester. I'm getting used to absurd grad school demands, like "15 minutes late counts as absent, and two or more absences means you fail the class," and "bring 6 copies of your paper next week for peer review" - 6 copies of a 14 page paper! Also, professional dress as part of the grading rubric for class presentations.

I have SO MANY REBELLIOUS THOUGHTS about professional dress for social work IN GENERAL, let alone during class time - if you get to the bottom of these standards of what is and is not "appropriate," to wear, isn't it all a lot of classism and bs? Who actually decides these arbitrary standards of what constitutes "appropriate?" And, if we're supposed to be working with the disenfranchised, is it really the best way to build rapport, to always immediately class off from them through appearance? I understand the arguments FOR professional dress - I really do. I just also think there are some legitimate counterarguments that are not being explored.

Tangential, perhaps... the Switchboard is closing. After 45 years. I went through 40 hours of training in January to be a volunteer crisis counselor there, and had a huge array of experiences on the phone in just my short time being a part of it. The good news is that callers' experiences won't really change - the Jewish Community Center is taking over and many of the same people will be working. Calling the National Suicide Lifeline, the Veteran's Crisis Hotline, etc will still (hopefully) be the same experience. That Switchboard awning downtown is such an institution. *I* called the Switchboard when I was 14 and wanted to run away from home, and talked for an hour with someone in the middle of the night. It's hard to believe. But, the JCC has a really stellar financial reputation, and the Switchboard has at least been rumored to be a big mess in that one regard, for some time...

Grant and I are butting heads about stupid little things a lot lately. Not wanting to go the same places, for instance, and having different budgeting priorities, garbage like that. I feel like he's always trying to hug me AS I try to pull on a shirt, which is something that actually happened today and is a little too representative. We're basically NEVER ready for sex at the same time. Sometimes I think we just have too much time together, with him working from home so much while I'm here homeschooling Jake and Elise during the weekdays. And/or, that I'm too isolated and don't have enough local friends. As previously stated, I have lots of people I text with and fb message daily, and now I also have some pretty cool "school friends," but many of them are travelling south to get to the school that is 45 minutes north of me, and we're all trying to work grad school into pre-existing schedules, so. Not a ton of socializing there (outside of the 12+ hours per week we spend together whether we like it or not).

With Grant, I dunno... we still hug a lot, and mean it. We cuddle as we fall asleep most nights. He makes me (DAMN GOOD) coffee every day, left behind in a thermos if he goes to the office. We're like really supportive and affectionate friends who encourage each other, and get on each others' nerves too often, and are both scared shitless at times by how divergent our interests are getting.

Part of the problem may be that he's just gradually coming out of a long, dark depression. He thinks that's most/all of the problem. I dunno. I do think I get more irritated now than I did while he was in a worse place, because I feel like I can. It's not a conscious decision like, "oh if you're not REALLY MISERABLE I can be grumpy with you," but it kinda naturally happens sort of like that as my acute concern recedes. And I have leftover anger I was repressing from when it was worse, and I didn't even realize that until it was "safe" to deal with.

Bleh. In a way I'm bitching about absolutely nothing, since we still work together as well as we do and can be as honest as we are. I mean he came to my Research Methods class with me a couple of weeks ago, and charmed everyone raising his hand to participate and talking with me the whole way home about gaps in literature and motivations for new experiments. I have moments of deep gratitude that we have what we do, that can make me cry with happiness.


Random Bits:

I've texted and talked way more than normal lately, with my mom. Which is still not a ton, but for us... There's a small blinking "Danger" light in the back of my mind about it. "We'll see," as she herself would say.

I got plants in the mail, for my birthday, from my friend Jess!! It was epic. I love her so much. And she sent me really great things, after researching my hardiness zone and everything. Beyond adorable <3

I realized there is such a thing as The Society of Professional Obituary Writers, and I will be adding a membership in that organization to my collection of obscure memberships (Medicinal Plant Savers, Florida Native Plant Society, etc) post haste. I wrote my grandfather's obituary for the Key West newspaper and was really happy with how I managed to be totally honest about someone I did not like, and still make the people who loved him very happy with the end result. I also think about writing the story of my other grandparents' lives regularly, a la Speaker for the Dead (Orson Scott Card... you know...)

I also realized that I'm not WRITING-writing because I'm AFRAID TO, which is horrible and also motivating. Anytime I've written things I'm really proud of in the past, I've written them for my own eyes only, often in secret, and with the intention that nobody else will ever see them. Then I'm like, oh, but holy shit - I love this! I have to share it, even if it's excruciating! Now I'm thinking of writing in that deep down, no holds barred way, WITH THE INTENT of sharing, and it's got me at a standstill such that I keep endlessly procrastinating even when I get excited about my ideas. Now that I know I've gotta just fucking do it because art > fear etc etc.

My friend Kathy, who I've had since high school and truly love, and is nearby, is spending a LONG time in-patient for potentially dangerous pregnancy complications. They're hoping to get her to 34 weeks gestation before inducing or doing a c/s, which would make SIX WEEKS in the hospital! I did some research and sent her some links, but man. I am tormented by how terrible I am for not visiting her regularly, and super aware of how triggering it will be for me to do so. She's also aware of that and going out of her way to tell me she doesn't expect me to come. I get mad at myself, I don't WANT to be freaked out by this shit, I don't feel it SHOULD continue to have power over me, it feels so pathetic and even silly, etc etc... It's a merry go round in my head like, oh come on, I do great taking Isaac to the psychiatrist, that's in a children's hospital and it only bothers me if I'm already a mess - but man, I was tense and almost in tears by the time I left MARSHALL'S the other night, because this motherfucker was walking around near me in OR scrubs the whole time I shopped. And she's in the maternity ward, having frustrating arguments with obstetricians (a word I say like a cat hissing), no doubt losing her shit from this long stay WHICH IS WHY I AM UNIQUELY POISED TO RELATE AND HELP!

On the one hand, I might just be able to go in anticipating it being hard for me, and come away journaling about it and processing, and be ok by the end of the night. It's usually only when I really repress that something is triggering me that it becomes an ongoing issue in my day to day life. I keep running into her family around town and talking with them, and her coworkers, about how she's dealing and the latest conflicts and the juggling of her other kids. Argh.

Ananda is doing way better than she was awhile back - general mental health and academic upswing. Which is enormously relieving for me and makes everything else in my life seem easier, like I can at least breathe through it.

Aaron is doing pretty well for quite awhile, too - and I took him out to DRIVE this past weekend. WTF. He goes out skating miles and miles regularly, and then ends up stranded in the rain or hopelessly lost, and sends me a google pin to come pick him up. He's so weird and wonderful. He's always wearing my clothes and lately my jewelry - almost as much as Annie does... he choreographed a dance for some people at school that involved a flowy thin cardigan of mine. He has a YouTube following, making intros for people, and is always on about some contest he's won or placed in...

Isaac is great. He's obsessed with annoying middle schooler shit like dabbing and water bottle flipping. He's always got a long and convoluted story to tell about the latest rounds of gossip in his friend group. He has a ridiculous and unintentionally hilarious Instagram account that absolutely kills me.

Jake is following along in his wake, and half of what comes out of his mouth is "suh dude" and "nah fam I'm good." PRETEENS, OMFG. Give me a teenager any day over this eye rolling, unenthusiastic, painfully awkward phase!

Elise continues to be a ray of sunshine. She is OBSESSED with Uno and we must all play often. She would live on caprese salad if I let her (although she's currently begging me to heat her up some onion soup, so I guess I have to wrap this up soon).

We managed to finish The Order of the Phoenix and go see it in theaters! She was so crazily pumped. She's just so much fun.

Frequent: her and I chasing each other around trying to smack each other's butts, while Ananda says, "Mom, you can't release her into the wild with this value system."
altarflame: (deluge)
feel free to click here for a weeks old entry I forgot about )

(and/)Or, find out how not long after that entry I felt pretty triggered (haha, how ironic).
That led to some serious two steps forward, one step back personal struggles (challenges? INSURMOUNTABLE BARRIERS I'VE SINCE BEEN CHINKING AWAY AT ONE CRUMB AT A TIME?!) with polyamory, as polyamory in general - even in it's infancy - has a way of highlighting every single thing you didn't know you were avoiding dealing with at once. I'm very fortunate to be so deep in a bond that allows for sharing everything patiently, even when that involves stop and starts, and backtracking... Even if we never acted on any of this we know each other so much better, now, and I feel so much closer to him. Paradoxical, I guess, but getting to the "why" underneath every scared and sad feeling is something that's taking us places we might never have gone otherwise. I feel like I'm going to understand life differently and have a different attitude as I get older, because I'm tackling this deep shit inside of me that I've never looked straight at or felt so directly and consciously, before...
I am also pleased to report I can once again take an IQ test without any sense of personal tragedy.

Here are some pics of me and Elise around our neighborhood one weeknight, and some others from a tour G and I took of R.F. Orchids last weekend.


TL;DR - I am on a general broad upswing that involves some hard times and is not a simple curve. I travel this path with a bunch of other people who are also all on varying and irregular (usually) upward slopes. I feel good about life, and also get tired.

I will probably make a way shorter update soon, about apps I'm using and things I've recently cooked. Take heart, if this is just too damned long and convoluted and TMI.
altarflame: (deluge)
This month has been extremely productive and overall wonderful.

My semester end was hectic, with finals and papers (I turned in a 35 page paper full of statistical analyses, with various graphs and SPSS readouts in the appendix, for my Research Methods class...) coming fast and furious as soon as we got back into town. I felt a bit rushed about the Christmas season - we never got decorations up on the outside of the house at all, and it's the first year my kids haven't had little mini trees in their bedrooms. We baked a scant, single batch of gingerbread cookies before Christmas Eve!

And, I had some intense sadness about Christmas Eve, and my incapacitated Nana, and lost traditions and family gatherings gone by.

But, in the end it all turned out pretty great, and we've been coasting on the Twelve Days of Christmas ever since.

Grant and the kids all have two full weeks off, and I'm now "only" in this one mini-session course (online). It requires working every day, but is very manageable. Overall this is an unstructured and luxuriant time full of visits from out of town friends and relatives galore, with dates and cuddle sessions and repotting plants and so on. G is doing half of the cooking, cleaning, and parenting. Everybody's got a ton of new stuff, so there's a lot of taking Elise out on her new bike, and taking various people one at a time to spend their various gift cards, and viewing and videotaping the K'Nex roller coaster Jake worked on for hours. Life is pretty sweet.

Grant and I gifted each other an espresso machine, and the coffee around here has improved dramatically as a result. He also got me some essential oils, dark chocolate, and a new teacup and saucer. I got him Dune magnets and buttons and a new water bottle (that he'd been asking for), and some caramels and cookies.

I actually got the old granny square pattern book back out and looked up the one I was using for a blanket I had half finished, earlier in the year. My (very dusty) sewing machine was brought out for the first time in some 8 months.

Kid Updates!

Elise (8.5) just got a (requested) haircut that I think makes her look like an elegant mushroom. It's a short bob, longer in the front.

She is very high energy and usually really happy. She had a major breakthrough a few months back that shoved her forward in many areas - she could suddenly listen to more complex chapter books with thorough understanding, play Minecraft by herself, speak with less hesitations and searching for words. I think another of those is happening, now. She's also growing RAPIDLY - on December 11 I stood her against our height wall and she'd grown at entire INCH since December 2! At which point, she was a centimeter taller than a week before that! She's still obsessed with My Little Ponies, and plays with hers on the library carpet every single day. I don't know how much longer we can stretch this sweet innocent period of bath toys and "underwear girl" running around the house in the evenings, but I'll savor it while I can.

Jake (10) is hitting the slightly chubby phase that happens before the big puberty growth spurt. He reads a lot and usually has a pile of books next to him when he falls asleep. He's still affectionate and sweet with me, still moody and stoic in general. He's not as quick to anger as he used to be. I think he's going through a fearful period - scared of death, of fair rides, of social awkwardness. He's got some friends in the neighborhood but still seems restless and lonely at times. I think he's in a transitional phase. He still spends a lot of time building/innovating/drawing/etc. He is so in love with his cat, Jake Jr, the fluffy demon who rules us all, and says nonsense like, "how does it feel to be a grandmother?" He'll carry her up to Elise and tell him, "that's your Aunt, Jr." He's also a total sucker for any kind of cute animal video, and has this involuntary giggle that reminds me of a hamster.

Isaac (almost 12) looks an awful lot like a teenager all of a sudden. He's also really quick to assure us that he understands complex things and knows about everything. He's got a kind of image conscious defensiveness that wasn't there before, and is almost strangely matter of fact about the girl he has a crush on. He and Jake sometimes have a great time together, but Isaac is more and more likely to want to go somewhere with friends or just Dad and/or me, or close his bedroom door to be alone (a brand new thing). His anxiety seems to be mostly under control, but there was a relapse recently and I'm eager for him to get into a couple of programs that currently have him wait listed. He continues to be more "together" (organized, prepared, able to easily find misplaced items, etc) than the rest of us. His vibrancy - bright blue eyes, freckles, white eyebrows, etc - is stunning these days.

Aaron (14) is over the moon that he got a Wii U for Christmas. At school, the various art areas recently did performances during the school day for other students in other art areas, and it was the first time he danced for peers who are not dancers (including his siblings, and girls he likes, and friends/acquaintances/etc, and there were also core subject teachers in the audience...) This seems to have really changed his life. People who had never seen him dance were in awe of him and he said getting up there was the scariest stage fright he'd ever experienced. Typically recitals have been just for parents of dancers and dance teachers, and competitions or like the Hammerstein Ballroom thing in NY were for strangers - this was some whole other deal and he says he almost didn't do it. Just wearing tights on stage at 14 in front of your whole school of band kids and theater kids and writer kids, etc, is a lot! His tarantula, Tulip, is about half grown now. He's not depressed lately and I'm eating it up. He's still awkward and sensitive. He makes me laugh whether I like it or not pretty often. He's fucking obsessed with Chipotle and drives us all nuts wanting to go there constantly.

Ananda (15) is the bee's knees. She's so comfortable in her own skin and brilliant. I feel really proud of her almost all the time, lately. She has this horrible ironic fashion - like she just got SHINY GOLD HEELIES for Christmas like she wanted, and she's pairing them with these light wash, high waist mom jeans she had to have - it's painful! But she kinda pulls anything off. We talk a lot and I drive her friends places with her and we show each other things we find online. I betray her any time I get a note from a teacher that she should come to math tutoring or retake a spanish test, by immediately telling them she can do tutoring every day and this is my number, etc. She groans and says "THE WORST!" but with a smile, and then worries about how she's gonna do stuff like that in college without me forcing her to. Her teachers adore her. She has chai with the one she has an aid period with. We have a lot of fun eating gourmet food and exclaiming about science. She adopted some elderly rats a friend of hers needed to rehome and she's completely smitten with them, constantly feeding them vegetables and carrying them around.

So, that is them, and they are epic :) I'm gonna edit this entry to throw some pics in, since that's so much easier to do on a phone now.

These are their Christmas Even pajamas - Jake got a Gryffindor robe instead of regular PJs and immediately ran to grab the cinnamon broom, to go with it. He's trying to somehow be "in character" in the first shots :p

altarflame: (deluge)
This has been a really, really hard month or so.

1.) I am triggered all to hell and back.

So many doctor's appointments, so many tests, so many tense, anticipatory waiting periods. I can't go to bed, can't sleep when I get there, feel tense and on edge most of the time for what appears to be absolutely no reason. It's isolating and I keep pushing people away even though I feel so lonely. Ignoring texts, postponing vists. Normal efforts feel like huge efforts, though school, kids' schedules, kids' needs, and so forth keep marching on as I metaphorically drown in life. I have horrible intrusive thoughts when dealing with scissors and knives.

I'm still in counseling, it's better than it was, and it's been a year since I really felt triggered, so... I'll be ok. But this is coloring everything else.

2.) Grant's been depressed for a long time. He's gained weight, he's eating like shit, hates his commute, etc (those are his reasons/contributors, not mine). This, in addition to periodically worrying me and generally making things feel a bit glum, results in things like less fun, less interaction, less sex, etc, within our marriage. I've been in a "make my own happiness, be responsible for my own day" paradigm for years now, but it gets a lot harder to maintain when I feel like a shaky crazy person and just really want affection and distraction from my own BS. Also, his subtle and not so subtle rejections really underlie how few real life friends I have locally. I think I'd turn to him a lot less if he wasn't the Fount of All Adult Interaction, these days. But so long as I'm in this transitional period of being completely bogged down with my (mostly online) schoolwork and homeschooling a couple of kids, I don't exactly have a ton of resources for a social life. I fantasize constantly about being in a communal living situation with other adults, such that they would just be readily available for a sit-down breakfast, or a late night talk, or whatever.

Spoiler: "whatever"=sex.

3.) My sister and I keep having these knock-down drag out mega dramatic messaging sessions that just sap me of all strength and happiness. She's working out a lot of old pent up issues, we're both trying to bridge a communication gap we've always had, and it's the most tedious, long winded, emotionally exhausting thing. I don't even know how to explain it. We're so similar that our differences always seem glaring and cause us to clash. New issues tend to feel like historic patterns, which magnifies them...

There was the evening I spent crying on a sidewalk, and in a public bathroom, and on a dock, weeping and sending fucking novellas back and forth by the dozen. The immediate following weekend filled with more of the same. I turned off facebook messenger notifications because of how stressful the sound of receiving a new message became, but just checked it obsessively anyway.

We ended up having a "date" that went really well and seemed to settle a lot in a positive way, but I feel all the old stuff edging back in again and then today feels right back where we started a month ago. I think we mean too much to each other to drive each other this fucking crazy. I also think we both have too much on our plates to devote nearly as much to the other, as we'd each like... GAH.

I don't have any other relationship that's like this (and neither does she). Neither of us are dramatic in our friendships or even put up with this shit with other relatives. It's this migraine of a paradox that "us" can be important enough to us both that we'll wade through the muck and "do the work," buuuut...that still doesn't fix the muck. Both of us feel like we bend over backwards for the other one in a way we never would for anybody else.

With my sister and with Grant, I don't know to what degree my PTSD kicking into high gear is affecting things. I know it makes me more sensitive, at times, and more loathe to deal with conflict at all. What's less clear is how it alters my perception of the relationship issues themselves. Basically, I have trouble trusting my own judgement on subjective interpersonal things at all, when I'm in this state.

Those are the main three things. ISIS is also getting me down, and taking up all my NPR airtime, and Boko Haram and antibiotic resistance just make me want to never look at the news again. I've spent an awful lot of heavy time talking to my children lately, about terrible current event stories they're confused about.

They're great, though. Shining stars every one :) Isaac has had some resurgence of anxiety for the first time since he went on Zoloft and that's been a struggle, for him and for me, but he seems to be back on the upswing and all told it was nothing on how he used to just always be.

I'm reading him Stephen King's Eye of the Dragon (which is not at all like other Stephen King books), and it's SO DIFFERENT than it was to read the same book to A&A, years ago. Isaac is so complicated and brilliant and...worried? He also interrupts constantly, but that is another story.

Elise is SO WONDERFUL. She's had a massive cognitive leap in the past couple of months, I'm so proud of her. All of a sudden she can listen to more complex chapter books (and be really into it), play Minecraft on her own, speak with far less hesitating and searching for words - her drawings have went from stick figures and suns (exclusively, for years) to varied and detailed. And, she also maintains her bubbly, high energy, chipper self a solid 90% of her waking moments. She makes me laugh and we snuggle and take walks and she's constantly got something to show me.

We finally found a couple of good homeschool resources, too, so she and Jake are able to get out around more people and do more things regularly and I'm relieved about that, even though I sometimes feel as though I'm walking uphill with cinderblocks as I initiate these activities and get us out the door for them.

They are the bees knees, those two, and my school days with just the two of them are sweet even when I'm dragging a bit, and preoccupied. They're both really into TERRIBLE MUSIC, I don't know which is worse - Jake wants to listen to things like "It's Raining Tacos" and "Best KittyCat Song" and Minecraft music from YouTube all day, and she wants a steady stream of Katy Perry and Taylor Swift. That I still enjoy our time so much speaks volumes ;)

They're still very innocent, our interactions are so simple and focused on them in an easy way, and I'm keenly aware of how fleeting that is. I adore taking Ananda for an afternoon at a tea shop or staying up watching Montage of Heck with her, and I love to slip off with Aaron for Chipotle or lie around talking about his school issues/girlfriend, but...I don't know. Jake and Elise are still with me in the moment, for now, in a really different way. And not just because they don't have smart phones yet.

There's some adolescent complexity that tints everything with self-consciousness, once it comes on, and something about the lack of it in Jake and Elise seems really vibrant, and temporary.

I'm still doing well in my classes, and am so ready for them to be over. I have less energy for obsessing over grad school options and am taking it one day at a time until a few upcoming events that may clarify things for me.

Very pleased with how spring seems to be shaping up for me, re: part time internships and other professional opportunities, as well as my determination to use it to write. Hopefully this triggery bs will be long past by then, but if not writing is about the best purge there is. Just sitting down to write this nonsense has lifted me up significantly since I sat down to start it.
altarflame: (deluge)
Friday (a teacher's work day for the school kids), I spent the first half of the day feeling like I was about to have an accident, or sitting on the toilet irritated that I could only force myself to pee approximately 3 drops. This was a rapidly escalating situation that had started to be annoying on Wednesday but hadn't previously taken over my life. Friday, it was neverending anxiety and discomfort that was distracting enough that I felt incapable of studying, or cleaning, or basically anything but orbiting the bathroom and scouring WebMD.

At one point Elise and I walked up to the bank to get a money order, which is about a 1/2 mile walk - I (barely, sort of) peed before we left, did kegels the entire way there, peed(ish) in their bathroom, did kegels the entire way home, ran back to our bathroom, aaaaand saw blood. I was like, ok, MAYBE this is not urethra oriented? Maybe it's not about peeing? Maybe? But then the next time I had to go (you know...7 minutes later when I couldn't stand it anymore), I was careful in my inspection and, yeah, it was "from there." Tiny amounts, but peeing blood is not something I have any experience with or feel even a little bit ok about.

My doctor's office isn't open after noon on Friday, and the local Urgent Care places are out of network for Cigna. So I went to the stupid ER, and spent hours waiting around for the lab to get results on my urine. They were all really nice, honestly, and I got in quickly, and Grant was able to come home from work early. I had an outlet for my phone, so hey. When I peed in the cup, there was way more blood and I tried to just take a deep breath like, "I am currently in the hospital. This will be ok. This is why I'm here." Anyway, it was/is my first UTI. The nurses acted amazed that I made it to 33 years old without a UTI. So here I am on antibiotics again for the second time in just a few months. What can you do, I guess... Also taking a ton of probiotics so I don't have to tell you all about another yeast infection, and chugging tons of water constantly, sometimes with cranberry pills, to possibly be rid of this bs faster...

I think I haven't been drinking nearly enough water, lately, especially considering how much coffee I drink when I first wake up and that I have a glass of wine almost every night in the evening. I know from a friend and female relatives who get UTIs all the time that they pee after sex, which is not something I've ever even thought about? Hopefully I can just go back to drinking enough water, and easing up on the caffeine/alcohol, and all will be well.

Saturday I was scheduled to be on the Rink Rash Radio show I linked here previously - and YouTube put that back up for some reason I don't understand. So you can watch that if you feel like it. I considered not going, because I woke up tired and really not wanting to squirm around in my seat dying of discomfort in the studio for an hour, but Annie was counting on me for a ride and the team had it planned that I would be a guest and Grant would call in, and I felt a little better - I had this pyridium stuff that makes your bladder stop spasming and numbs your urethra, until your antibiotics work, with bonus bright red/orange pee, and it's pretty effective. Plus, it functions as an anti-anxiety med, since with the red/orange effect you can't see if you're still peeing blood (yay?). So we went. It didn't end up being too bad, and the show itself was a lot of fun. I was glad I went. They were thrilled with everything I had to say, which is cool. Annie and I went to lunch afterward.

That night, Grant and I drove up to an improv comedy show, with no idea what to expect. He's been talking about trying stand up for awhile and we used to be big "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" fans. It ended up being pretty good - a few points that drug, but also lots of laughing out loud, and it was fun overall. Tons of audience participation. The place was full of good energy, if that makes any sense. And, for liking their page on fb during an intermission, I was randomly picked to come up and get free tickets to a future show :)

Then we went on a dumb mission that involved paying for parking twice, walking right out of a place that was WAY too loud, and finally settling at a place that was outside and had an interesting menu, but was way too expensive. I was freezing (since it was an arctic 70 and I AM A TROPICAL CREATURE), and tired, but Grant was sweet and talking was good. Food was ok - we get in a situation A LOT where we go out somewhere to eat, and it's not as good as the things we cook at home. To some degree the experience and not having to do anything are worth it, but other times it's just disappointing. Still came home happy overall. After I scrubbed them, Grant gave me a foot massage that was just...ecstasy.

Sunday, we had to take Isaac up to (clarinet) mentoring at UM. He likes his mentor and is into it. We were distributing derby propaganda everywhere we went, too. We took him to the farmer's market afterward, which is heaven - and made the restaurant the night before seem even more overpriced and lackluster. We ran into Mia and her parents, and our old neighbors, in addition to all the vendors we know and love :)

If you ever go to Pinecrest Gardens Farmer's Market, the Imperial Roasts booth there has THE BEST iced coffee - it is hands down the best coffee I've ever had in my life. It is so good that I was drinking it with my damned UTI, I just chugged a whole glass of water before and after and made sure it was my only coffee of the weekend. The woman that runs that booth is SO sweet, and warm, and just fucking perfect. She sells bagged coffee too and we've asked what she uses in the iced coffee, but she won't tell us. "It's a special blend." Clearly, it's witchcraft. Voodoo. And, probably, cream.

Also at the farmer's market, I was flagged down by the sausage lady, because they'd used my pun in their latest silly booth poster, which means I won a free breakfast sandwich. They're breakfast sandwiches are TO DIE FOR. Thick cut, fresh bacon on brioche with perfectly fried eggs and lotsa cheddah. Normally $7, so hey. The pun was "Don't go bacon my heart," which is now displayed with a picture of Elton John.

Later in the afternoon, Grant took the 4 kids who are now in derby up to derby practice. I took Jake for a walk. It ended up being almost ridiculously epic. We saw puppies (behind a chain link fence with their mama dog), kittens (running around - they're fed ferals...) and chicks galore (in an avocado grove where they also keep chickens). The sunset was not fucking around, either, and somehow we ended up having this whole existential talk - Jake can just drop bombs on you. On this walk he said, "I just don't understand what the point of living is. You go to school, you go to college, you work, and you die. You die at the end no matter what and then you're dead, so what's the point?"

It was a long talk. About making art and having babies, about friends and travelling, and beauty around us, and the value of experiences even when they end - as well as all the different religious and scientific theories about what death even is. The legacies we leave behind. This talk featured me attempting to express to him what a big silhouetted tree against the colorful darkening sky does for me, and actually weeping like a ninny. He chuckled at me and put his arm around my waist. He is great.

He also said, at one point, "When you die, I'm going to have a heart attack. Then we'll be together?" I could tell this was actually heavy for him, though he was trying to act light hearted. I talked about life expectancies, and some of my very old Cuban relatives, and what actually sort of helped him was the idea (that had never occurred to him) of how old HE would be, by the time I was really old.

I was exhausted by Sunday night, but this woman down the street, who is pretty cool, had been texting me since Thursday to try to take Isaac to her house, and drop her daughter off with us - there are a lot of friendships between our groups of kids and we have pretty compatible parenting styles. They all love each other. I have a hard time with her kids and feel very shitty for it because she's so hospitable and generous with mine. She's had Isaac, Jake and Elise at her house for more than 24 hours more than once, and she's had Isaac for days on end when it's summer vacation. She feeds them pretty well, takes them out to fun places, and always tells me how impressed with them she is. *sigh* I just don't enjoy being with most other peoples' kids. It's something I struggle with. Her house/their house/whatever is this very free and easy, "more the merrier" kind of place, and I always WANT to be that way... But I only really manage it with teenagers and adults :/

When her youngest comes over (this daughter that spent the night Sunday), she talks SO. LOUDLY. I can hear her talking in our tv room when I'm in our bedroom - that's like, 4 rooms and a hallway away, around 2 corners, and the tv room is carpeted and has pocket doors. My kids can't hear me when they're in there and I call for them, from my room. Being in the same room with her is earsplitting. As in, it actually echoes off the tile. And she's one of those kids who just interrupts and talks over everyone constantly with a lack of self awareness, as a way of existing from moment to moment, which is something I tediously correct ANY TIME my kids do it, because that makes me nuts. But, she's also a kid who will freeze and then burst into sobbing over the littlest things. So like, when Grant very gently asked if she could please lower her voice a little? Or when he asked again, an hour later? Or when he tried to have a talk with her about inside voices and how it was getting late, an hour after that? I finally was like, "please just stop, she's going to leave traumatized or something. For whatever reason she just can't follow those directions or cope with you giving them." I think talking really loud and interrupting a lot are things you can't just ask someone to stop doing when it's deeply ingrained stuff they've always done. This is a fourth grader though, so she's probably just destined to be a much more loud and extroverted adult than I am.

On a previous sleepover, Grant was playing music they were dancing to, and when he picked "Gangnam Style" she ran to the other end of the house and slammed/locked herself behind a door, sobbing and (really) screaming. When I finally coaxed her out and asked what was wrong, she said the song reminded her of a friend that "ended badly."

She's not a bad kid, at all. Just kind of thoughtlessly rude by "quiet people" standards, and extremely sensitive. It all makes me tired. She gets along great with Jake and Elise, who take turns with her and seem to naturally take little breaks to chill on their own. I kind of get the picture that she does better with younger kids. She's almost the same age as Isaac, who views her as a "little kid."

The best part of Sunday night was splitting some Ben & Jerry's with Grant and Ananda while I got the last of my schoolwork turned in online and they sat nearby, laughing and distracting me. It was relatively autopilot kind of stuff. In general, I am a little worried about how to make my schoolwork fit into everything else.

Monday was Day 4 of the weekend, Martin Luther King Day. I spent obscene and luscious amounts of it just texting with Kristin, facebook messaging with friends, and cuddling with Elise. Our guest situation also worked out, when I suggested she, Jake and Elise could have a picnic and tea party out in the yard. They stayed out there for hours, happy as clams, so it was perfect. I cleaned the kitchen and listened to NPR for most of the afternoon.

Isaac did something that's been happening when he comes home from there, and that I don't really understand aside from his maybe getting overwhelmed - he has a great time, is in good spirits when we grab him, tells us all about it on the way home, and then gets very grumpy and hostile within about 15 minutes of walking in the door. This culminates in him crying and locking himself in his room, and needing to either take a nap or just let enough time pass awake that he's over it. They have a lot of kids too, but a much louder household, and from what I gather he's not sleeping much (they stay up goofing around like typical kids at a sleepover, but then those kids still get up early when they go to bed late, which is something I've never understood - my kids sleep late when they go to bed late...) Isaac also has to put more effort than a lot of kids into NOT being anxious around others. Sometimes I think he's just "on" for too long at a time, and then needs to be as grumpy and pissy as he needs to be for a little while when he gets back home. He generally puts on an uber responsible and polite face at school or around other parents. People tend to be totally shocked if I need to talk to them about his issues for some reason...

Monday evening Shaun came over, and I made lasagnas for the first time in forever. Also, Isaac and I started Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I really can't over emphasize how much fun reading this series to him is, and re-experiencing everything from his perspective. He is so into it, and he's smart enough to really get it all as I go and be emotionally invested every step of the way. Reading these books together has totally brought us closer than we ever were before, partially because they provide such a calming distraction for him before bed, or when he's otherwise freaking out. It's one of the only times in his life I've really felt like I know exactly what to do and how to help him, and it basically always works. I've been TRYING desperately his whole life, but he's rebuffed so many of my efforts, and it's generally been Grant who comes up with the perfect bedtime routine or just the right thing to say as he's melting down, or what have you...

Also, Chapter 2 of that book is BRILLIANT and one of my favorite chapters in the whole series. small cut for spoiler-y talk )

Today, Tuesday, the first day back to school and work (from home, for G) was nonstop in a nice way. I have a lot of great things I'm very grateful for, that keep me busy.

I made Elisey and I salads, and heated up lasagna for Jake. After we ate, I took them for a walk, to get my shot. Elise LOVES to watch me get shots. She's totally fascinated. Jake will not look. On the way, we pet a cat, inspected lots of dropped fruit from a mahogany tree, and took pictures of a simple swing set we might want to build one like. We noted the mango trees about to make fruit again, everywhere. Introduced new concepts like duplexes, and Episcopalianism, and what information goes on a dog collar. We're definitely going to make long slow walks with lots of talking part of our's something Ananda and Aaron got a ton out of, years ago. Those walks and our open ended late night conversations are some of the most valuable times I think I've given them.

When we got home, because of conversations we'd had while we were out, we watched videos of clams burrowing under sand, of scallops running along the ground underwater, and of how oysters make pearls (and how we then harvest those pearls, and how to tell real pearls from fake). I think they're going to be seeing shells at the beach a lot differently, now. Jake wants a real pearl for his birthday.

I set him up with a cursive assignment and put her on Reading Eggs. Washed dishes.

Read him the rest of Goblet of Fire. Read her a pile of books she picked out. Listened and coaxed as she painstakingly made her way through reading one to me.

Eventually it was time to pick kids up. Aaron had an awful day all around, and forgot his lunch, and was tired and very down. I made him fried eggs on buttered toast with sausages, and a big cup of chai, and he looked from it to me, when I called him out of his room, and then gave me a giant hug. I love him so much. He took it all outside to eat, which I think is one of the best ways to clear your head. For me, anyway... I measured that kid the other day again, on a lark, and it was ANOTHER INCH. He's so damned big! 5'7" the last time I actually got out a measuring tape rather than just making another mark on the wall. Which was awhile ago.

Isaac had a headache. He feels like he's getting sick...I gave him tylenol, and Grant went and got him ramen from Tim's (oriental grocery). Read him another chapter and a half. Grant took the other boys to Game Stop to search for some used thing they want to get with their own pooled money. G also did all the prep work for some lentil soup I then finished.

I hang out with Annie in the kitchen a lot. She sits on the counter if I'm cleaning, or sous chefs if I'm cooking. Last night she was searching for a dessert recipe for the leftover ricotta, with a laptop. Today she was showing me art (hers, and other peoples'). And talking about horrific pregnancy things she heard about that resolidify her decision to NEVER HAVE CHILDREN, EVER. Many times she walks in while I have NPR on and we pause it, and then end up talking about whatever story I was listening to. Jake Jr (the cat) is generally laid out across the middle of the floor, I don't know, apparently hoping to be stepped on? He's like an irresistible bear trap, with all his belly fluff up in the air, and his claws and teeth ready if you dare to touch it. We say, "What a bad cat" about a hundred times a day.

We had some stupid Wii remote battery dispute situation and had to tell people to go to bed too many times, but overall I think I'll keep them.

The problem is that I want to chronicle all this. And I want to write creatively. And I have to do my schoolwork.

Tonight, right now, I have to eat something so I can take my antibiotics with a big glass of water. And tomorrow I have to make a big BJ's run AND take everyone up to derby...between that and the school drop offs/pick ups, and getting Jake and Elise taught things in between, I'm already feeling like I can't possibly sleep enough tonight. WHAT THE FUCK WILL BE FOR DINNER WITH THE DERBY TIMELINES? I don't read to anyone before bed after that because it's just too late.

But when I get this feeling, I also can't just go to's hard to explain, I guess. I have to have space to decompress and time to zone out, or else I'll start to hate everything and be unproductive as all hell. On the weekend days, I can just go to bed at a normal hour when I get tired, and that's fine, because enough of the day was very chill or about things I wanted that it feels easy to do that. But on weekdays where I never stop attending to other people for a minute, and Grant and I "partner" but barely connect at all? I dunno mang. I can't go to bed and wake up and do it again, over and over, without some winding down in between. I've never been able to.

There are so many appointments coming up. A filling for Elise, and her pediatrician follow-up, Isaac starting new counseling, Aaron starting allergy shots, my weekly counseling, my shots, Annie's oral surgeon consult. We're bailing on the radio show this coming Saturday (or Annie is, she's the only recurring guest) because my little niece Elizabeth is going to be in a parade and we obviously have to be there, for that. In a good way, I mean.

Next month ISAAC - just Isaac - has got an out of town overnight field trip, an audition (for next year) at A&A's school, his birthday, and the Valentine's dance (that he's been counting down to forever, since there's a girl he has in mind).

Here's to coming up with some kind of workable game plan that involves more hours than actually exist. Somehow things always work out and years continue to pass, so that's generally what I keep in mind. Also - Isaac will be 11, on his birthday next month. It seems monumental to me somehow. The really big ones in my mind this year are him turning 11, and Annie turning 15.
altarflame: (deluge)
It's January 1, 2015. <--I'm sitting with that sentence for a bit, trying to take it in.

I ate two eggs on toast with some iced coffee from our fridge, for breakfast, at the picnic table outside. Then I wrote a 3 page long poem, and then I took Ananda and went on a BJ's run.

I'm very happy, which tends to scare me. I'm learning to be happy and scared about the happiness at the same time, which is possibly the most important life skill I could master.

In the process of trying to fill out that end of the year meme, I read back over some old entries for the first time in a long time. I remembered how much I love having them to look back on, and decided I need to blog more, or at least more honestly. I'm not dishonest, here, but sometimes I'm less honest, if that makes any sense.

For instance, I feel wildly head over heels in love with Grant. I fell in love with him either for the first real time or on some whole other level, in late 2013/early 2014. And I'm embarrassed, to say that, and I don't know why. It's just so much. I wasn't even willing to let him know yet, a year ago today.

I was sitting in a coffee shop with him yesterday and I looked up at him, feeling my heart swell, and I thought Oh this is terrible. How do people live like this?

The night before he'd told me, holding me, "I know the sex must have been really good if you're crying about how I can die afterward."

It's really sweet and torturous and awful, and silly, and wonderful.

And I feel like it, in addition to my peaceful and conscious choice to just be monogamous, are both somehow sprung from the total freedom he extended to me to do whatever I wanted. The level of honesty we were able to achieve with no assumptions and wiping the slate clean. The understanding that we could make our own rules for our marriage. His exploration and humble tackling of his own faults, and willingness to change, and my own realizations about shit that is just my own but I unfairly blame on him. I could just work on me without blaming him forever, you know? Most of the time that's actually more productive, for me AND for us.

All of it somehow added up to me feeling like the luckiest woman in the world for what I've already got, and really not wanting anything else. Even though that's terrifying and means he can leave me and devastate me, he can be with other people if he wants because I'm not gonna close that door on him just because I changed my own mind, he can die and I'll have "nothing" (not exactly true, but love-relationship true), just... I'm gonna get old, right here. And I can smile and cry about it at the same time. The hardest part is how good it is. It's so much to lose.

I have a really hard time with vulnerability. What a stupid sentence that is. Nevertheless... I crave it and I seek it, but I struggle with it, bigtime. I didn't want Grant to know I was falling so much more in love with him, butterflies-kinda-love, because what if he's too far past that phase with me and I'll just be a big idiot. What if he's tired of my shit and our neverending, tedious as all fuck "Conversation" (about our sex issues, our interests-are-diverging issues, our he's-codependent issues, blah blah blah). I spent weeks thinking sadly that I was going to be really totally in love with him right as he decided he was finally and completely done, with me. It would all be a tragedy of timing.

It was actually FAR easier for me to say, "I don't know if I've ever really been in-love with you," than "I've fallen in-love with you." It was far easier to get to, "maybe we should be open to outside relationships," than to take it back with a "I only want to be with you. No matter what you choose, for yourself, I mean." It was far easier for me in years past, when I was keeping our problems to myself, and I had my private doubts, to go on and on about Grant's (valid) good points online. To convince myself? To make up for some of what was missing? I was also hugely distracted by and focused on pregnancies and babies and toddlers, of course. And Grant and I make great partners, as parents, and are very good at piloting a family together. The point is that now that the kids are older and we're standing here as individuals who've had to re-evaluate who we even are, I'm often too overwhelmed by his good points to share them.

The other day I had this ridiculous "you are the reason I'm smiling when there's no reason to smile" pic on my phone that I wanted to put on his facebook wall, and it took me the whole day to do it, and then I was BLUSHING when I did. Because...I don't know why. Because it's so true that it hurts. Because I'm afraid of it disappearing and so I hold it close.

I also didn't want to tell Grant, initially, because I didn't know how to blend our prioritizing of our individual selves (hobbies, friendships, time alone, etc) with being "in-love." And I didn't want to fuck anything up either, because clearly the individual self prioritizing ALLOWED the love blossoming.

I wrote a whole lot about this, just not publicly. It was all for me, and later, him. I deleted my OkCupid account. I did weird shit like avoid him at all costs and refuse to make eye contact and sob with relief in our kitchen when he was like, "Dude, it's really ok, let's just be monogamous, why are you freaking out? I'm glad you're in love with me. How did you think I would react?"

We're just so much better like this, good lord. And it's this balancing act and I don't want to like, LOSE the total, raw, sometimes painful honesty that asking hard questions and opening up the marriage and all that caused, or start taking each other for granted and acting codependent again, but for the last, I dunno, uh...6 months? 8? We've done a really great job of walking the line. Even when he got depressed, or I stayed sick, or whatever...

He'll give me this knowing look with a pat and tell me polyamory can come back into the conversation and he sort of assumes it will one day in the future. Maybe he's even right. We make a lot of casual jokes we never could have made years ago, like about how we'll have a bed and breakfast and I'll sleep with guys passing through.

More likely I'll be spending too much money on flowers to put everywhere and wasting a lot of tea and baked goods because I always over prepare.

This Christmas break has been some of the best days of my entire life. I'm not kidding even a little. It's just perfect. Sleeping in every day til whenever I feel like getting up, taking one kid at a time out places, lying in cuddle piles with all of them, having SO MUCH EPIC SEX ALL THE TIME THERE IS NO OVERSTATING THIS - Grant took a week and a half of their 2 weeks off, so it's been all of us, unstructured, nowhere to go. I've got hickies and feel like I've had a professional massage or something, most of the time. Lots of coffee here and at Starbucks and at other shops, lots of wine in the evenings - Christmas was beautiful. Everything is beautiful. The weather is good. The house is a mess and nobody gives a shit.

One day I was standing by the mailbox and said, "Wait, is it Saturday or Sunday?" and Grant said, "It's Tuesday."

We went out to the Everglades the other night to just look at stars on a whim, after Annie suggested it. Jake complained the whole time, and I got mosquito bites on my feet, but it was still perfect.

I spent a whole evening texting with Kristin.
I've caught up with Jess.
Kathy sent me a picture of her out with her new baby in our Kozy carrier that made me warm.
I was going to send Laura a picture of her (awesome) cheese grater, that she left here after Thanksgiving, with a big red bow on it, and say "Thanks so much for the present, we all love it!" but she's giving us a fat credit they had leftover somehow at a school uniform store, which is pretty sweet and honestly makes my gift for her (a dark chocolate bar with orange bits in it) seem hilariously lacking.

Grant gave me Amanda Palmer's "Art of Asking" book for Christmas, since he had just finished listening to the audio version, loved it, and REALLY wanted to talk about it all with me. I'm done with the whole thing and started on a new book already, since this is surreal-heaven-timeless time. It was great, btw, and I highly recommend it, though all the notes and afterwards at the very end got kind of redundant.

The other night in bed, I dozed off and dreamed the beginning of a story. I woke up excited, tapped it all into Evernote on my phone, and have been fleshing it out ever since.

I also went to FIU and worked out my Fall Failures. Since Elise needs me here for some unknown time and I do not have any older kids about the place during the school day for times I might need to go in when Grant can't be home, I'm contemplating switching to FIU fully online for the rest of my bachelors. That's simultaneously really disappointing and also no big deal. I've loved and gotten a lot out of my on campus classes, but it's really far for the kind of logistical things we're dealing with re: kids, school, etc. And I've had some online classes that I got a lot out of too, even back at MDC, so we'll see.

Yesterday Isaac, Jake and Elise took bags and a stepladder across to our neighbor with a starfruit tree, since it was dropping fruit everywhere again and he encourages them to do this. Whenever they knock he says to take what they want, and will even come with trimmers to help them get high ones. They've been eating starfruit basically anytime I look at them ever since. Elise has probably had 10 today. I tried to get Shaun to take some home last night.

A couple of days ago we had pizza out, all 7 of us, after shopping at Get Smart.
Then hit a park.
This morning while we were snuggling in my bed, Elise said, "Can we have dinner at the beach?" and I was like, "Hmm. Ok!" It will probably actually end up happening tomorrow, because of how the hours are passing, which is also ok.

The kids are all having so much fun all the time with their new (presents) stuff. Building with legos and clay, painting, Aaron sometimes seems to never get off his new unicycle. The old one looks so tiny next to it, it's no wonder he couldn't use it anymore, he's SOOOO much taller now.

We watched "Her" (the Joaquin Phoenix movie). It was really thought provoking and strange.

We might all go and see "Into The Woods" soon.

It's really almost too awesome, right? I mean I'll be back in the whirlwind of our normal schedule soon, but I'm considering taking this semester off, and with Elise home life is just way simpler even when we're not enjoying a holiday. And I love teaching her. She keeps talking about how she can talk silently inside her mind now, and sound things out in her head, and I love the window into her development that she gives me. She's so eager and interested.

I had counseling yesterday. We talked about new years resolutions. I'm still getting mine together. I like to make them realistic and planned out in some detail, so that they actually happen.

I will stop gushing and go back to luxuriating, now, because at the moment a mountain of dirty dishes and NPR really sounds like more luxuriating. I'll water all my plants. Whatever I decide to make for dinner on no specific timeline. Grant and Jake are almost done sanding a desk they made, out back. Tonight might be a bubble bath night. I haven't had one in I don't know how many months.

I even have period cramps today. But coupled with a massive capacity to savor small pleasures and a good perspective? Or maybe I just really hate structure and schedules. Maybe it's LOVE. Ooooor all the sex.

I'll take it. And try not to get caught up in the poignancy of existential crises too often.
altarflame: (deluge)
I am so mentally exhausted.

Ananda is tired all the time. Part of this may be due to correctable environmental stuff we're learning at the allergist, but part of it is definitely regular ol' insomnia making mornings a drag. She's SO MEAN AND RUDE AND RIDICULOUS, in the mornings. It's really hard to deal with sometimes, as none of my kids normally talk to me like that, but also because she and I especially usually have a great relationship. She's not really saying any terrible words, she's just saying things like, "Give me a minute" and "Hold on" and "I'm trying Mom" in the most accusatory, loud, pissed off ways you can imagine. And if I DON'T nag her (which I viciously loathe doing), she basically won't get ready/she'll make Aaron late. So I do, and she responds as though she feels about me like I feel about the alarm on my phone (perish the thought). She's also been having the nerve to be visibly irritated and eye roll-y and just awful about, say, me having her favorite foods ready for breakfast and/or packed lunch.

When it isn't morning, all is well. She's got a couple of great friends and teachers she raves about, at school. Older, homeschooled weekend friends. Derby practice she adores. She's getting good grades and drawing all the time and eager to show or tell me some hilarious thing pretty often. She's very helpful in the afternoons and evenings, around the house. There IS still the hour-at-a-time in the bathroom issue but overall she's experimenting with makeup and enjoying the only door in the house she can lock and we have another bathroom, so who cares.

I went and got numbing cream for her arm and mine, for tomorrow morning when we both go back to the allergist for intradermal testing (needle instead of plastic thing, deeper in the skin, bleeding, ow). She is putting on a brave face about the whole process for someone who used to be so opposed to anything of the sort.

Recent Convo...
Me: you're not gonna believe what I did today.
Ananda: hmm?
Me: I got a bowl of coffee Heath bar ice cream, and I put a partially frozen chocolate snack pack on it as a topping.
Ananda: MOM!
Me: It was awesome!
Ananda: Well, duh.

In one hour recently, she accidentally called her BFF "Mom" in a conversation and then when her teacher was calling for them to turn in their notes, she accidentally referred to hers as her "manuscript." She was like, "I've been to two author events in the last week! I live with a writer!"

Aaron is super emo about his new (requested) haircut. He actually wore a hood the whole first day back at school, thus prolonging the shocked reactions he then had to deal with today. His chronic disorganization and scatterbrained ways are making me nuts at times.
"Mom, my spider needed to eat like 3 days ago, we have to go get it crickets right now or she'll die!"
"Mom I need a math workbook for class by tomorrow, don't you remember me mentioning this a month ago? I don't know what it's called but I think I'll recognize it if we do a Google image search."
"Mom I'm going to be bringing a note home from my math teacher, because I didn't log any of the time I was supposed to on Kahn Academy over the last few weeks."
"Mom, we have a field trip to somewhere, I don't have the form but I think you should come in the office with me when you drop me off because we were supposed to have it turned in by Friday. It costs some amount of money."

Those are all this week. It's only Wednesday. I THINK I strike a pretty good balance between helping him out and making him face his own consequences. It's this constant battle to guide him into setting up systems to be more on top of things, and then seeing where the holes in the systems are. For what it's worth he's doing more, and better, than he ever has (by a long shot) - he gets up right away and gets ready quickly, keeps track of all his school notebooks/supplies/dance laundry, and takes the right stuff for the day on "A" and "B" days. He's getting good grades and becoming less awkward as he gets used to his height, deep voice, very hairy legs, and so on. He's 5'7", btw.

I actually fantasize about taking his headphones out back and beating them flat with a hammer - I have to either scream myself hoarse, go get him, or send somebody anytime I need him for anything because he's always got them on. He has these cushy big noise cancelling headphones we were foolish enough to buy him for his birthday.

He's also a ball of mucus. It's nonstop nose blowing, sniffling, coughing, repeat, for weeks. I can't even keep track of what is a new illness and what is lingering illness, since the beginning of November. The allergist gave him Nasonex and recommended sinus rinses, which I've taught him to do and helps a lot - for about 10 minutes.

His piano playing has moved from amazing to transcendent. I'm not even kidding. It makes everything better for a little while, anytime he plays.

He's going with his dance class to see The Nutcracker. I'm excited for him. We know a lot of ballet dancers who are in that show year after year, but he's never been before. The last time his dance class took a field trip, it was actually to his old studio, where all his old teachers flipped about his height and his being in school now and generally tried to woo him back (none of us have the resources for that at the moment).

When we're just hanging out, the two of us, like walking back from an appointment or talking in the van on the way over to school, it's unreal how well we get along. If you take all the logistical stuff out of the equation, he and I just have very compatible personalities and have a really easy time being together. Sometimes I have to stay up late with him or take him out somewhere alone just to remember that. I was telling him yesterday how amazing it is that someone ELSE has to try to make him do all his schoolwork, now, and he was saying he likes that better too - and then actually said, "You were so nice, I totally took it for granted how nice you always were about it all."

Isaac is coughing, and coughing, and coughing. He caught whatever Aaron has had over Thanksgiving break. Monday, Tuesday and today I've woken him up, he gets ready, and it's clear by the time I'm driving everyone else that he just can't go to school. He feels ok otherwise, but the booming, violent, uncontrollable coughing fits are just awful. Leaving him gagging and choking sometimes, making him teary often - he coughs like I do :/ He's sleeping semi-upright in the tv room tonight, prescription cough syrup having done nothing, with a humidifier full of Vicks liquid nearby. I read to him for over an hour, during which Grant ran and got him popsicles and some other things, and he's heart breakingly sweet and appreciative about it. There are lots of periods of time when he feels fine, but then the coughing starts again. It's worst in the mornings and at night, like most sickness tends to be.

He is so eager to help out with anything and everything, and so reasonable, and just has such a high threshold for discomfort in general from all the years dealing with his own anxiety and digestive problems - it's kind of unreal. Sometimes I think he's the most mature person in the house.

I am having a GREAT time reading him Order of the Phoenix - he's so into it and this is probably my favorite HP book. He practices his clarinet (and leaves it out all over the house with his stand and case) a lot. He's got music for the GMYS holiday show, music for the school holiday show, and music he just wants to learn on his own.

I went down to their school today, to pay for a field trip of Isaac's, and buy tickets to their holiday show, and get his makeup work for missed days. And I couldn't do any of those things. It was so stupid. Nobody in the office even knew how to help me or where to direct me to, for ANY of my requests. They told me to try to email his teachers about the work, but I don't have email addresses for all 5 of his teachers, only 2 of them. The lady behind the desk didn't have those, and recommended seeing if they're available on the parent portal. Logging into their parent portal requires a student ID for each kid, and my parent PIN for each kid (it's different, I have 5 different parent PINs). I tracked down about 7 of those 10 numbers when I went searching various desks and folders, only actually getting both for two kids. Who were not Isaac. I've never had need of the freakin' portal before, I meet with and talk to their teachers without a portal, some of them even text regularly (though again, not Isaac's).

Jake is all melodrama all the time, lately. I'm trying to ascertain whether or not we need to pull him back out of school, and it's a weird situation with him - he got all As except for one B, and perfect attendance, for the first grading period. Girls like him, teachers like him, he has something he drew or wrote that he wants to show me almost every day. He brings home special treats and rewards for top behavior regularly. Buuuuuuut... he hates it. He desperately wants to stop going. He begs to be homeschooled again - daily. There are many mornings when he cries about going, and many afternoons when he calls from school asking to please, PLEASE be picked up early.

I'm torn between how Jake was the easiest kid in the world to homeschool and used his time well (meaning, he stayed at or above grade level in every subject with almost no effort from me, and then spent all the rest of his time drawing, writing, reading, building, and playing outside), so obviously I should bring him back home if he's that unhappy - and thinking he's doing SO WELL, has such a sweet and cool teacher, and was getting really lonely for friends, here. Also, he is very averse to almost all structured activities (bitching NONSTOP about GMYS til we pulled him out, years into that, even though he had friends and good teachers and his siblings have all also been in it, asking to please be allowed to stop things like Lego Club and Ceramics that he initially asked to sign up for...) and I always have this idea nagging at me that he has to be in SOME kind of structured SOMETHING...doesn't he? Why does he? Maybe he's just a certain kind of weirdo that it's ok to be. A smart, productive, charismatic little weirdo. I mean he is that, whether it's ok or not.

He's always been kind of moody. And it's definitely gotten worse as puberty looms in the distance (he's 9) - he really acts like my son, coming into our room to announce that he just doesn't understand what the purpose of life is, and that you grow up and you learn things and you do things but then you just die at the end so what's the point. Or, that he sometimes thinks maybe it would be better to just die so you don't have to worry about dying, and can see what happens after death.

The biggest complaint he has about school is that he "doesn't have any time to be creative" anymore. When you've got a 9 year old telling you that with tears dripping off his face, you pay attention. Or I do, anyway. He's kinda gutting me over here. FYI, our original agreement was that barring some kind of truly horrible situation, everyone was going to stay in school through Christmas break, when we would evaluate how it was working for everyone. Ananda, Aaron, and Isaac have no desire to leave school, which suits me fine, especially in the cases of Aaron (who was just a huge pita to force to do things and seems to respond much more easily to school structure and accountability) and Isaac (who really does a lot better being at school than he does being home too, in different ways related to his own anxiety, and ambition).

This morning -
Jake: Here, blow these bubbles while I do my homework.
Me: Why?
Jake: It's an ancient tradition.
Me: Well, alright then.

Yesterday Jake asked to go to a cemetery. Elise was psyched that there are REAL GRAVEYARDS and that's not just in movies. Isaac was yelling, "Can we really do that? Can we go right now? Is it far?" So I took them. They were ready with shoes on and out the door faster than I've ever seen them go.

At first they did math and pronounced ages reached, for awhile, looking at headstones. They thought a couple of things were creepy, and asked some funny/weird questions (If you lay down on the ground here do you just automatically die? If a car hits you while you're walking here, do they just bury you immediately? If your ride dies, are you stuck living at the cemetery forever?). Then Jake said that if I died there he'd take my phone and call Dad, they got really sad, Jake announced that he wants to be cremated whenever he dies, and that he never wants to think about me and Dad dying ever, and we left.

Elise loved it. She wrote a letter "to give her grandchildren" that (sort of, to her, almost phonetically) says, "I am dead. I had a good day while I was alive, but I had to move on, and now I am dead. -Elise" For her this is all just very intriguing stuff.

Elise is being homeschooled again. It's a long story I may or may not ever go into here, but for her school was truly horrible and the decision couldn't wait til Christmas break. She is SO HAPPY and it's really nifty to have her one on one, with everyone else at school. That's one reason why I hesitate to say, "yeah, Jake come on back home." She is very behind in some academic ways and was really struggling hard to exist in a 2nd grade classroom. There were things she liked about being there, but nothing she loved, and I have regrets about immersing her in an environment of strictly other 7 year olds...all of whom could read well and write much better than she can. She has some serious doubts about her own abilities and self consciousness about her own intelligence that just weren't ever there before, and probably didn't ever need to be. I could really go my whole life without ever listening to her talk about her Fs on tests, or cry about having to sign the Penalty Pad, again.

It's in my head so often, that Ananda didn't read until she was a whole year older than Elise is now. That never had to involve shame or failure or comparisons, for her. There is a whole schooling movement (Waldorf) based on not even beginning to teach kids to read until they're 7 (Elise's age).

We're doing a lot, at home, but the key is that we can do things that actually help her progress, now, instead of having to devote huge amounts of time to things that just go way way over her head. She can do 3rd-5th grade science and history and art, with 2nd grade math, and K and 1st language arts, and it all works, to move her forward.

We're also moving ahead with the round of private evaluations that were started over the summer. Not the sort she had as a baby or as a preschooler, but the learning disabilities and IQ and so on kinds that they don't do on kids younger than 7. She really enjoyed the parts of the evaluation process that she already experienced, so I hope that stays that way. Isaac always loved it when he was getting evaluated.

Tangential, back to Jake wanting to come home - I have hesitations about him having really given school a fair chance? But I don't even know exactly what that means, either. Or why he has to, or I'd force that issue, when it started out primarily as an experiment, and only because he wanted to try it. Parenting is hard. Sky is blue, water is wet, blah blah blah.

Elise talking to me CONSTANTLY all day every day, while everyone else is gone, is somewhat frazzling. I think it's good for her and one of several things she needs right now - to be able to engage and talk like that (having to sit quietly all day is really sort of the opposite of speech therapy...) It's just also a lot of talking. Did I emphasize "a lot"? I'm not sure you can understand. I'm actually strategizing ways to get her to hush for just a little while, sometimes - like today, when I brightly introduced the idea of audiobooks for car rides. WOULDN'T THAT BE GREAT?! LET'S GET SOME RIGHT NOW! O_O

She really wants to do schoolwork all day and into the evenings, and on the weekends. Her enthusiasm almost never wanes, so that is definitely in our favor. We have handwriting practice and books of number games, as well as a Reading Eggs login, for when she needs to work on her own for awhile and is tired of writing and drawing in her journal. But working with her is really FUN, for me, even though it can sometimes also be tedious as all hell. It's hard to explain, but she just tries so hard and makes so many different kinds of leaps and I do enjoy researching/buying/planning out curriculum materials SO MUCH MORE for the younger grades. I'm truly EXCITED, about the program we have put together for her here.

It is so validating and awesome, btw, how often A&A tell me, or their teachers tell me, how much MORE they know than other kids their age. They consistently wow people with their vocabularies, books they've read, history knowledge, science knowledge, general current event and government understanding, all of it. Other kids ask them to explain things regularly. Both of them have actually thanked me for always taking the time to answer questions and to explain things to them and just generally talk to them about anything and everything. It's pretty great.

Isaac is an A/B student who gets a ton of positive teacher comment codes in the margins next to his grades, on his report cards. Third grade was hard for him, but 4th was easy, and he's eating 5th up. He sometimes gets irritated by his Bs, but with as much school as he's missed this year already? I think As and Bs is incredible.

I'm so tired. I know I started this entry saying this. I know it's late. But I NEED the wind down time, once they're all sleeping, to breathe. Every minute today was cooking, or running to some errand, or teaching/explaining/coaching/asking, or carting people around - I got my shot, picked up prescriptions, went and bought more probiotics, finally got Elise's homeschooling form printed at Office Max (we're out of toner) and mailed, went by the younger kids' school (FOR NOTHING APPARENTLY), took Elise all through a botanical garden and to play at their splash pad, sat with her and worked, ran out this evening with Annie because she needs charcoal pencils and a kneaded (sp) eraser, medicated and sat up with Isaac - my head is just spinning. It never ever ends, and it's all (well mostly...) good stuff, but if I just lie down at the end of it I'm in for hours of tossing and turning. It's hard to let go of this quiet house and surrender, knowing that tomorrow starts early and will be just as relentless.

For whatever reason, I am also feeling pangs over the long lost feeling of nurslings, sling babies, and so on. Not really "baby rabies" feelings, though... it's all very specifically about my own babies gone by. Aaron nursing for an hour and a half at a time. Ananda only sleeping with her face on the "booby pillow." Wrapping my arms around Isaac in the kozy carrier, holding Jake close in the pool while he slept on my shoulder, Elise nursing under a blanket. I think the infinite mama part of me that has to spring eternal for everyone is really thinking it could use a heavy dose of prolactin to offset some of the more stressful moments.

On the (totally) other hand - I have SO MANY different kinds of moments, lately, when I stop and think about something that used to be the bane of my fucking life, and I just almost cannot believe I don't have to deal with it anymore. I don't know why so much of it has been happening, but geez is there a palpable sense of relief when it does. I recently visited a good friend with a new baby, and I have a few online friends who are pregnant, and here are a few of the things they remind me of that just make me think I am glad to say I've DONE MY TIME:
-everything to do with labor, OBs, birth, C-section, midwifery, maternity wards, and so on (picture me heaving a GIANT SIGH of relief, and then behind me a curtain opens and a combination fireworks display/dance party starts)
-pumping breastmilk (which for me is linked to the NICU)
-infants crying in carseats while driving
-the laundry avalanche of having two in cloth diapers while someone else is still wetting the bed
-getting head/face butted (and having a split lip, bloody nose, or just seeing stars...) when a baby/toddler threw their big disproportionate noggin at me...this is one of those things I'm not sure non-parents even know about. Like how I can stretch now, for years, anytime I want, because I am not pregnant. Stretching while pregnant is a recipe for charlie horse disaster.
-sleeping on a mattress on the floor because of co-sleepers/safety
-the struggle to get somebody to take a nap (HOW MANY CUMULATIVE MONTHS OF MY LIFE....)
-pulling teeth to make Aaron do homeschool work (this...this is cloud-parting kind of shit. It was important. It really seems like it was the right thing. BUT NOW THE RIGHT THING IS SOMETHING ELSE! Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat :D)

All in all I'd say the cuddling and kisses and oversized lap loungers I get now - all of whom use toilets and GO TO THEIR OWN BEDS at night, and every one of which can stay away from the street on their own in our front yard - are just about perfect for this stage of my life :) I like kids who can all do part of making dinner, and who each appreciate at least something that's happening on YouTube, and none of whom ever stand on the dining table. It's just a lot of intense, draining, rewarding, amazing, infuriating, affectionate, hilarious, terrifying, high stakes, entertaining, interesting, warm...

I suppose I could write adjectives all night, but I've got to go to bed.
altarflame: (deluge)
I decided while we were working on breakfast that maybe I would do something like a ditl. It didn't end up being complete, but it mostly worked for a few hours and hey, this means I'm actually posting pictures (a couple of hours after...) the day I took them!

many many pics, from today )
altarflame: (deluge)
I've had a kind of "what is my life" morning. It's featured calling what will hopefully be my new rheumatologist a half dozen times before I could get through, scheduling their soonest appointment (mid January - this is actually the first group I started calling a week ago, but I assumed I'd be able to find someone else to see me such luck, so mid January it is). And calling and then emailing the Disability Services guy I've been meeting with, at school. And wincing and grimacing my way through my stool sample kit instructions *dies*

Mostly I've been like, ok, here, double dose of b-12, prescription folic acid, second cup of coffee...I'll This has involved much forgetting what I was doing and sitting back down at the computer, trying to keep my eyes open. Attempting all the while to force myself out the door to go do 30 minutes of cardio that might perk me up, and/or get started on formulating my answers for the final I have tomorrow (she gave us 5 essay questions, and 3 will actually be on the exam).

I feel entirely too confused and startled by the requests and interjections of Jake and Elise, but also grateful for them because, you know - they're awesome. And otherwise, today, I feel as though I'd just refresh facebook and tumblr with a furrowed brow every few minutes until it was time to make dinner. Even if I don't feel like getting up to see how cute Tom looks under the Christmas tree or coming to check out the stuffed animal classroom they've set up, it ends up being (mostly!) worth it. Soon we'll be sewing poor battered Beary up again and putting yarn loops through the million gingerbread cookies to hang on the tree, and it's them dragging me along and asking to open the doors since the weather is nice and the fact that I'll be carting people all over for activities in a few hours that are probably keeping me from turning into some sort of drooling lump. I have to squint and concentrate and explain why it's important to water the Christmas tree, and how the wooden bench will warp if we keep it outside, and show them what guava fruit actually looks like since the paste is in everything down here. They really are so awesome, so curious and questioning and aware, all five of them.

This morning I stumbled out of my room to wake Isaac up for school, and he was sitting at the dining table in his school uniform, with his backpack on and his packed lunch next to his chair, reading on Jake's Nook. I was like, "Wow. Good morning." He smiled and said it back in a distracted way, obviously absorbed. On the way to school he told me Jake had read this same book, and told him he should read it, and then went on about how he's not so sure books are actually always longer than their movie versions anymore because of some comparison he did with Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

Vaguely related: There are a lot of things I don't like about his school, like the standard overbearing focus on the FCAT and the gross Common Core emphasis. But something I love is that his class last year and his class this year have read novels as a class that Isaac really loved and talked about often, and they did a lot of projects around the books. His favorites have probably been Because of Winn Dixie and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

He's going to be in 4 different parts of their holiday show, this year - dancing with the cheerleaders, playing the recorder, singing with his class, and something else he refuses to tell me because it's a surprise. And, I learned my lesson last year about ordering tickets early, so I won't have to stand around outside dealing with scalper auctioneering and then get in late (that actually happened!).

Yesterday afternoon, I went and picked up Ananda from a friend's house - she'd went with three people, Saturday night, to see Catching Fire and then sleep over. She was going on and on about everything they'd talked about the night before, like North Korea, the possibility of Amazon shipping packages via drones, Kanye West's hilarious narcissism, how to put together Les Mis cosplays, and the music one of them is writing. Her friends are so fucking priceless.

I just love giving them (all 5 of them) space, and then seeing what they do with it. Elise is always taking this little notebook and a pencil up into the mango tree to "write down observations."

Anyway, back to my muddled morning - I also have Kristin texting me and a date to schedule with Nancy, so those are good things, even if good through a sort of haze. Ugh.

Here's hoping crafty time and more hours lift me up a little, sometimes it's like that and I just have a hard time getting going. Otherwise, well, here's hoping the nap I succumb to works.
altarflame: (deluge)
I am really struggling.

I've only ever been this consistently exhausted, before, last fall-February (i.e., before I changed my diet to more anti-inflammatory stuff, which it still is primarily made up of) and in early pregnancy (that is not a possibility).

I just went and got blood drawn today for a new SED rate, and am going back to my rheumatologist Monday. I don't even know what I expect, though - my pain levels/mobility troubles are not bad enough for me to embark on the sort of drugs arthritis patients are offered (steroids and immunosuppresants, for the most part)... they're "just" really annoying. I suppose I'd like some validation.

And additional documentation, for my professors, would be nice. *sigh*

Today was actually a pretty ok day, overall. I went to a rehearsal that my group, from our theater class, had scheduled. That was actually really fun, we laughed a lot. Then I talked on the phone with Robby, catching up, on my way to get my blood work done - and they were very fast and efficient at Quest, and only needed one vial. All of that was finished very early.

I did a lot of scolding and reprimanding here at home, which I hate, but I'm trying to orchestrate a really massive whole-house deep cleaning because, 1. we're having a LOT of Thankgsiving guests, and 2. we're actually moving sometime in the coming months. All week has been a lot of guiding, cajoling, threatening, time-outing, praising, and so on... Ananda and Elise actually have their room spotless, including things like their closets and drawers, and Isaac is close, but Aaron and Jake are being ridiculous about it. Normal everyday chores are a battle now because we're doing so much OTHER cleaning that they can't believe I still expect those to get done, too. The other day Jake actually said to me, with the hot water running behind me and a sponge in my hand, "Why don't YOU have chores?!" He'd just been in the next room in plain sight as I cleared and scrubbed the bar and counters, and then swept the floor, before I started on the dishes. Aside from the whole "stfu I'm your mother" factor. I gave him a toned-down version of all that and he was like, "But nobody bugs you about it!" I was like, "Right, because I DO THESE THINGS without being 'bugged'! If you woke up in the morning and did your chores right away without being told, I assure you I would never mention them again, except perhaps to say, 'Jake, you deserve an allowance!'"

That kid can really scowl.

Aaron also did more of his ridiculous, oblivious, maddening Aaron sort of crap this evening. He had solo rehearsal tonight, and I'd been reminding him of that in a countdown way all day long. He needed his knee pads for this. He never found the knee pads, and for whatever reason right after I said, "We're leaving in 7 minutes" he decided to get in the shower. I realized this 10 minutes later, when I'd been yelling for 3 minutes for him to get out here and come on, and he wasn't coming.

The weather, driving him, was lovely though - and I took the other four kids to BJ's after we dropped him off, and was happy to see they've added more really surprising items I won't have to go elsewhere for anymore. There have been a lot of these kinds of additions in recent months - I can get gluten free cookies and crackers there, and really good bulk grape seed oil. They've expanded their organic apples to a bunch of different varieties now (Grant is some kind of bizarre apple connoisseur - I don't even like apples at all). This time they actually had organic virgin coconut oil and gluten free pasta.

Prior to today, I've had a lot of the inverse - the kids being the only good thing, and/or thing I'm doing well at. Grant just got back from a week out of town for work and the whole time he was gone I was doing what they needed aaaaaand...that was pretty much it. Also pondering how I really don't give myself credit for "just" mothering, anymore - I feel as though I've done absolutely nothing if I was a great mom all day, cooking for them, reading to them, teaching them and driving them places, settling the petty squabbles and soothing the minor injuries...if there is still a backlog of undone assignments, of my own, and a mess all over the place, I feel like I've just done NOTHING. Which is clearly not true, but...I dunno.

Some highlights from the week:

-Finishing the Prisoner of Azkaban, and starting Goblet of Fire, with Isaac. Sheesh it's fun reading to him, now. He was soooo caught up in the tension and drama of the Shrieking Shack scenes, and laughing so hard at all the cool happy last chapter moments. Then, starting the new one, I was watching him figure it all out and's great. Really great, to where I have to make myself stop where we should and march out of his room (because his bedtime is important since he goes to school, and since I have other people waiting on me to read to them).

-Making Elise bed-curtains. She has a bottom bunk, below Annie's, and saw some Pinterest style picture of a little girl with drawn curtains over her bed-area in an attic and just fell in love. I was like, YOU KNOW, it would be reeeeally easy to do that to your bed! So we went over to Opa's (Grant Sr's) house, and got the unused curtains I bought fabric for and sewed years ago, that were just sitting around, and came home and used camping rope and strung them up. Now - she is so. happy. She has a little table Grant made her in there, and I let her take the lamp from the tv room. She talks about it nonstop.

-Everything, ever, with Annie. But especially - last night, cooking dinner together and talking, while she made brownies and sat on the counter. And reading, all the time. And snuggling like we've done a lot of, in my bed and in the "round spinny chair" (we've really never thought of anything better to call it...)

-Aaron is playing Sail, by Awolnation, on the piano all the time. He's camera shy so I can't share the video *stomping my foot*

-We went and did PATH's "Scientifically Speaking" event: the four homeschooled kids each dressed up as a scientist, and presented as though they were that person ("I'm _____, I was born in _____ and....") Elise was Mary Treat, Jake Albert Einstein, Aaron Carl Sagan, and Ananda Hank Green. Jakey froze up a bit but saved it in the end. Elise's little spiel was intentionally very short, but she did well with it. Aaron is actually a performer and spoke with a voice and gestures designed to mimic. Annie had the most real information. I was super happy with the stuff I managed to find at Goodwill and in the clearance/Halloween section of Party City for them, for this.

I am, as I am every night, FREEZING shivery cold in my 70+ degree house, with goosebumps and a fever and all. Gah. It's a good thing I've been making some real counseling strides, or just the recurring fever would be giving me panic attacks (it's normally a definitive sign I look for, to mean "Yes, I may have a strangulating hernia making me septic again," partially because it's unusual and the lack of it keeps me from misinterpreting stupid minor things like indigestion for a reason to worry).

The good news is my husband is actually waiting for me in our bed again, all furnace-warm as he tends to be and sweet enough to reach out and pull me in, in his sleep :)
altarflame: (deluge)
How my kids spent most of the evening:

These three watched Toy Story 3 in a heap in this round thing while the couch sat nearby, empty.

And these two played Magic: The Gathering as they have all day long, excepting meals and chores. Now that Jake can read well enough to keep up with him, Isaac never has to try to trail after the oldest kids begging for a partner.

In between online tests and making dinner, I got on skype behind a locked door with a woman who has a YouTube channel and soon-to-be podcast of authors reading their stories. Normally, the stories are lesbian erotica. For Halloween, she's doing a horror special, of which I am a part. <--These are the kind of gigs my publisher lands me, no doubt partially because my editor is a LAMDA recognized, multiple award winning author of...lesbian erotica. She also writes full-time for the (Miami) New Times, which means lots and lots of free food and events for her, and sometimes, Grant and I. He is more impressed with VIP passes and the like than I am, but it's nice.

I felt grateful for aaaaaaall the hours I log regularly, reading aloud. It was fun. I'll post a link when there is one.

It's so important to me to protect quiet time with my kids, and unstructured time, and time to talk. We have so many things happening these days, and it can be really challenging. I spend 30 minutes in bed with Isaac EVERY single week night, no matter what, talking and reading to him regardless of how late it gets or how tired I am - because he goes to school all day every day, and thus misses SO MANY "moments" I automatically get with the others...even if they are only Monday, Wednesday and Friday (the school days when I am not in school). I say, "yes, of course" when Jake asks to go around the side of library and look at a spider web as we're leaving, even when I really, really don't want to. I sit in the dark of the tv room listening to Aaron play piano, for long minutes, and tell him how great he is. But it's hard! I'm always saying things like, "Elise, what if you come with me to BJ's, just you and I, to shop?" and trying to milk the ride to cello class or derby practice for all the catching up I can with Ananda. I don't ever want our interactions to be dominated by me assigning school work or asking why x, y or z isn't done.

I think we're still doing pretty damn well. I'm just also aware of how easy it would be, to not be.

Amanda Palmer reblogged my post about the concert, with commentary. Just sayin' :)
altarflame: (MeandJakesleeping)
Today is Jake's birthday - my fourth child, my afro boy, my Jakey Bakey Pudding and Pie, is EIGHT years old. Eight!

We took him out shopping for his party (tomorrow), and I took him out for a treat, just the two of us. We gave him his small presents (a new sketchpad, and an over-the-bedroom-door basketball hoop with small ball). We cleaned and did yard work. Grant took him, Isaac, and Elise to go see Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, this evening. I stuffed goody bags, while they were gone.

I'm having some pretty major pain issues. And what seems from googling to be a baker's cyst, on the back of my right knee. You know, to go with the ganglioic cyst on my left wrist. It's weird to be so physically out of it and so happy, at the same time. Also weird to feel it's obvious I need to go to the doctor, and also obvious that the doctor can't really do anything. I'm going anyway, but...bleh.

The friend time, in Boston, was fucking amazing. I loved it so much.

Nancy picked us up at the airport, she took us out to dinner, she loaned us her boyfriend's car (we did make sure he was ok with it, but it totally went down just like that) and subway pass (he had nowhere to go that weekend, and she has a vehicle he can drive). She made us breakfast, gave us a bedroom and bathroom for the time we were there.

More than any of that, though - a lot more - she is just so easy to be with, listens so well, says things I truly care about, i.e., anything she does...she also showed me emails from people she's given my book to, discussing the book. Because she has a stack of them in her house, on top of a shelf of books just like how they are at my house, and she gives them out constantly.

She showed me an email from an 80 year old friend of her mother's who was horrified, said I must be "sick...sick...SICK" and that she couldn't even get through it - and then the follow-up, apologizing, saying she read it and was so glad she did, and that I was saying things all women think and feel and are afraid to share, and all kinds of really dumbfounding things I didn't even know how to reply to.

Another person had just finished the first 3 stories, and said they were "completely bizarre, but in a very good way" which is, I hope, the truth. It's so insanely emotional to me, to hear peoples' opinions. I brought my own stack with me and gave out 7 while I was in town, and it's this urgent combination of excitement and anxiety as I imagine them being read (or forgotten all about) and loved, hated, cast off as boring...whatever.

Nancy and I talk about everything. Sex, sickness, therapy, exercise, recipes. She's 65 and she is not very internet savvy, but she wants to know who the Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer are, when she knows I'm interested, and she loves the videos I show her. She wants to know where to get the glitter cream eye shadow I'm wearing. She walks so fast I can't keep up. She's doing important work every day, in both the lives of individuals and for people in general. She is such an inspiration overall, still learning and researching and GOING and DOING, every day, much more than most people half her age. She has amazing stuff all over her house that is from Etsy or friends of hers, and there were house guests leaving the day before us, and other guests coming in the day after we left. She sent me home with bags of jewelry she doesn't want anymore, for Ananda and Elise, that both of them were SO EXCITED to get, because they're FROM NANCY :D

Perhaps best of all, she's coming to our house for Thanksgiving ♥ I am SO EXCITED, too, about that :D So is Gloria, since Gloria's here with us for Thanksgiving every year and is a total fangirl for Nancy, as a doula and aspiring midwife. It's funny; I tend to leave the room when Nancy gets a birth call because I don't want to end up triggered all to hell and back. We don't talk about that very much, aside from indirect things like birth laws and interesting clients - we tend to fixate more on her relationship ups and downs, though, and her kids and granddaughter, and paint choices for her new walls, and how she's training her little dog.

Grant and I agree she is an uncanny combination of me, and his mother (who I adore).

This is beautiful, though:

Another book Nancy has in her house:

I did a double take, because Kristin - who is a bona fide chicken nerd - also has it, and has made me read and look at most of it several times over. IS THIS THE SORT OF COMMON DENOMINATOR THAT WILL DEFINE MANY OF MY BEST FRIENDS?! :p

I texted Kristin that pic and she was like, "No, I have a different edition." O_o Like that negates the silliness.

Nancy's deaf cat, who I kept psst-pssting before checking myself. And her dog, who Grant played with almost nonstop the entire visit. His name is Sir Chocolate Sundae With Sprinkles, though the sprinkles were cut off by a groomer soon before this was taken.

Grant made her one of the little pumpkins he does with the kids every year.

And she left these Happy Birthday notes for him, and scattered kisses, in "our" bathroom, for us to come back and find very late, after our concert was over (the 7th was his birthday, and this was a joint birthday trip for the two of us).

There was also our Sunday afternoon visit with Julie/[ profile] emeraldrabbit. I've "known" Julie online for a lot of years, and met up with her briefly in Boston before Elise was born, but this was so much better. We traipsed there via train, bus and short walk, on a cool and rainy afternoon. It was slightly awkward for about as long as it took to climb their stairs and say hi. After that, I basically felt like I could talk and stuff my face with them forever :) It's awfully easy to imagine living closer and seeing her and Mark all the time, and how Elise would drag their twins around in ways they would hate, and how Annie would join in the adult conversations and Isaac would make Julie laugh. Grant and Mark could become real friends really quick. It almost happened in the time it took them to go get some donuts for all of us. I felt sad that I hadn't started visiting sooner, so that I could have done it twice. *distancesigh*

Monday afternoon I had a shorter visit at a bookstore with [ profile] idiolecto. We've read each other for lots of years, too, though I'd never met her before. She is ravishingly beautiful and super easy to talk to - if we hadn't been on our way to something else I could have easily kept that conversation going for several more hours. She had an Iowa friend with her and had given her some kind of altarflame debriefing similar to the idiolecto synopsis I lectured Grant with, as we all headed in the direction of our meet up spot. It's so funny, talking livejournal nonsense with other LJ'ers IRL.

She also brought Grant a delicious looking pastry as a birthday gift, which you can see him enjoying here:

There are a lot of reasons for me to go back to Boston again!

We spent the middle night of our 3 nights in a hotel, to try to have some "Grant and I" time. With the last of his work travel points, we were able to spend only $50 to stay in the W, where this is the lobby:

That pink is illuminating moving water, and the curtains are chain mail. It's just ridiculous, I mean -

This is part of the room service menu.

And this is the floor to ceiling, repeating wallpaper in the halls? I just do not even know.

So anyway, because he does travel so much, Grant is considered a "Gold Member," one perk of which is that he gets any available room upgrades they can give him. Which, this particular night, was a freakin' "WOW Suite" that normally rents for over $1,000 per night. It was insane, and we had to sign a liability waiver before we were allowed into it. This is the living room, curtains closed:

And open:

Before we even had time to look at everything properly, someone was knocking on the door to deliver these :) Sometimes really good things come from talking to strangers!

That is a stainless steel kaleidescope, next to a glass prism puzzle O_o The room was filled with little things like that, such as a (not pictured) wooden block puzzle, and a stack of art magazines...

We went out for thai food, and he had to sleep off a persistent headache for a bit. A lot of my accumulated tensions from the frenetic week before caught up with me, along with some (non kid related) drama I'd had with Gloria (who was with our kids - and we worked it out)... and I had to cry my eyes out to let it all go, which thankfully he totally understands and can even guide me to before I get it.

This tumblr post from a pretty cool guy I like a lot was very timely - the quote is, "Most people think happiness is about gaining something, but it’s not. It’s all about getting rid of the darkness you accumulate." Basically, this amazing hotel suite was real neat but I still felt awful in it until I cried, and he still felt awful in it until he napped - then we were both happy, and then we would have been happy no matter where we were.

Not that it wasn't still badass. That bed was really something.

So we watched more episodes of Louie (the show we're currently working our way through), and got it on, and generally didn't sleep much but were better off for it.

It was kinda showing the next morning over breakfast.

Good stuff all around. Like this, that we got via facebook :D

I was so happy that his birthday was acknowledged over and over in so many cool ways. Otherwise I don't think I could have dealt with not being in a position to bake him a cake :)
altarflame: (deluge)
-the latest in a string of really productive and helpful counseling sessions

-5 wake up calls, breakfasts served, lunches packed, and camp drop offs, for Isaac, Jake and Elise

-feeling really lonely really often, and getting frustrated with how hard to reach and unable to talk Grant and my sister are

-feeling a spectrum from guilt to irritation about a few people who are calling and texting me really often, that I don't feel up to talking to - like this one chick from school who sent me 8 emails and kept calling til 10:30 the other night, when she was having final exam anxiety, and how my mother and grandfather are really eager for me to talk to my Nana - but only when all the kids are here and not after 8 and my phone gets no reception inside while I try to cook, all these caveats that basically make it really hard

-lots of communication with this new prospective illustrator for my nieces-and-nephews series of children's books

-not enough communication with my editor about where my royalty check is

-installing the C25K app

-making tacos, and a pot of soup, roasting chickens and vegetables, slicing a million tomatoes, browning too many mushrooms, heating frozen pizzas, cooking this stuff, french pressing (never enough) coffee

-hacking my lungs out anytime I talk too loud or too much

-drinking soooo much emergen-C, and forcing it on kids left and right, too

-two trips to the airport

-two dance rehearsals for Aaron

-one grocery run

-one gas station

-a totally creepy late night involving my (exterior) bedroom door being unlocked with my curtains moved, that was probably just about my kids, but also featured me seeing Grant's stupid fake arm and bloody hand sticking out from under the bed, SO I ALMOST DIED BASICALLY

-gratitude for and hosting of Gloria, who picked up the Grant's-in-Maryland slack so we could do what we normally do (mostly rides and supervision while I was in school)

-cumulative hour and a half coaching Annie through GCFs, turning improper fractions into mixed numbers, common multiples, longer division, inverse operations...if we don't work on math concepts for awhile, it seems, she COMPLETELY forgets them as though she never knew...

-triumph when she finished her (high school! as was the guitar class she finished) science class with an improved grade

-4 hours of late night studying

-lots of ongoing thoughts on Robert Maslow and self actualization - I uploaded 10 pages worth of my textbook here hoping other people would want to talk about it

-2 final exams, one other exam, and one quiz

-selling my textbooks back

-accepting my fall financial aid package, getting my disbursement dates, and being totally irritated by how EVERY FUCKING CLASS IS FILLING UP AND THERE WILL BE NOTHING ELSE BY THE TIME I CAN REGISTER ON THE 6TH

-starting my period

-feeling too aroused to live or be in public, too distracted by erotic fantasies, and too foot-stomping OVER sexual frustration (the frustration part, not the sexual part)

-scheduling our homeschool evaluations

-lots of texting about bee keeping resources with a PATH kid

-taking 300 selfies and then deleting 295 of them <--those are slight exaggerations

-conversation with a woman at school about why Santeria means she can't take a class on voodoo


-actually doing a modified day 1 of couch to five k (with sneakers on! Out in public!) and damn near dying

-cathartic and wonderful welcome home sex leading directly to blacking out and then sleeping in
altarflame: (deluge)
I almost always privatize to-do lists, because I want privacy and/or they're boring, but I feel so idyllic and pampered lately - with my AA done and GMYS, PATH and TLC having been on holiday break; with Aaron not dancing due to leg injury; with a period of no doctors appts for Isaac and no counselor for me; I'm living the life of a stay at home mom the way I remember it from when my kids were babies and toddlers...except they don't need any of the things babies and toddlers need, anymore. There's an endless barrage of requests to "watch" and to "see" from the younger ones, and a lot of cajoling necessary on my part towards the older ones, but...I am feeling all this free time, and it feels good. For most of the last two years, I didn't have time to cook really good food the way I wanted to, or to educate them AND have minutes of leisure for myself in the same day.

Wednesday, the 9th...
-up at 7; make orange breakfast muffins
-help Isaac get ready for school (include choosing science fair topic and writing first sentence to take to Ms Lopez)
-go in and sign the homeschooling-Elise-again-form when I drop him off (8:15ish)
-wake up all those dratted whatsits and offer them muffins, butter, honey and jam; I'm having leftover lentil soup for breakfast
-write the Elise homeschooling letter to the school board and put it in the mailbox; make an appt by phone with TK about evaluations at some later date
-make them do their chores
-assign everyone their schoolwork for the day
-somewhere in there, get some amount of dishes washed
-NAP for 2 hours (approximately 10-12)
-french omelettes for Me, Annie and Jake's lunch; eggs for Aaron and something (like pbj) for Elise
-checking, going over schoolwork done while I was napping; helping with things they need help with, teaching things that require lessons; assigning more (also includes making contact with Ananda's marine science teacher via phone or email)...this is also the time period I'll be preparing tea
-picking Isaac up at 3; talking with him about his day for a bit
-"High tea" out on the deck at 3:30, featuring cream cheese sandwiches (ham and cucumber, respectively) and this flourless chocolate cake I baked tonight with the girls
-get him started on his homework; get everyone else working on whatever they have undone
-bubble bath for me once they're set
-walk for everyone so Elise can run (6ish)
-roast chicken with vegetables all in the pan (Isaac and Elise bathe while it cooks, as they're least recently bathed), for dinner, which is around 7:30
-do at least a few dishes
-assign them all a brief cleaning job
-they brush their teeth
-reading to everyone one and two at a time, Isaac first since he has to wake up early and Elise second since she fell asleep before reading tonight. This takes forever, Isaac will be read to around 9:15, Elise 30 minutes (i.e., a chapter of Harry Potter) later, then Jake at 10ish, and when the littles are all sleeping I end up talking and reading long chapters to A&A until God knows when (tonight it was til 2...last night, I think more like midnight)
-make a real blog post while they're sleeping, with pictures and so on

I am taking these slower days to finalize my plans and goals for this year, and they'll wisk us away again soon enough, onto the highways and into the waiting rooms, with food bags packed in the van. Today, we sat around the dining table playing Jenga and Chinese Checkers and watching educational videos and there was a lot of jumping rope on the trampoline. I cleaned out our big dining room storage closet and they've been using all kinds of things that have been MIA for months - like the pattern blocks, and the stamping set. Annie cleaned out her own closet without any prompting and passed down so much stuff (clothes, accessories and toys) to Elise that it was like second Christmas for her.

The weather has been perfect for keeping the french doors open all over the house in the afternoons and evenings.

Thursday is a designated sewing day, where there would be naps and a bubble bath for me tomorrow; teach Annie to sew, and in the process work on her quilt, do a few little things people have been waiting on me to do (stuffed animal repair, dress alteration, et al.) - I am getting close to a point when I have to do some maintenance on my machine again but I think we can get a couple of more days like this out of it first, and they don't come often enough for that to be pressing.

Friday is a writing planning day - I have at least half a dozen emails to send, 3 different projects' notes to gather, and a schedule to settle on that may include travelling.

I also have to keep in mind that I have a personal guideline to apply to 3 universities and for financial aid before my diploma comes in the mail (which is supposed to be 6 weeks after graduating, or 3.5 weeks from now).

I feel so wildly lavish and blessed to be financially taken care of and able to live this way. I mean, my God, what rare and precious opportunities all around.
altarflame: (CharlieBrownChristmas)
Sitting on a big L-shaped sectional couch tonight with Laura at one end nursing Isabelle, while Frank sat on the floor with his head in her lap - DRUNK to the point of being ridiculous - and Jake stood nearby making Isabelle smile with toys - next to Isaac, who was next to Brian cuddled up to Annie, who was hogging my lap, as I had my other arm around Elizabeth, who was holding hands with Elise (who is trying to campaign to make Elizabeth her sister)...I was thinking life is pretty good. Grant stayed home with Aaron, who was sick, and my mom was in another room on a phone, and we were saying geez - geez, Annie was the nursing baby. We were the middle schoolers. Look at all these fucking people we've made, and one of them isn't even here! Gray hairs and 30s and time. Christmas trees again. Let's just sit in a heap for awhile and have a truce and not worry that hours and hours are passing, and laugh.

I'll write more soon.


Nov. 21st, 2012 11:36 pm
altarflame: (Default)
Ananda was my firstborn, and for awhile it was just the two of us in day to day life. She made me a mother, turned my whole life upside down, and she is more like me than any of my other kids. I spend the most money on her, BY FAR, on a regular basis - be it in driving her to social events and getting her ridiculous shirts from Hot Topic, humoring her penchant for gourmet cheese and coffee, or finding a way to get her own cello and wanting her to have a good phone for texting. Her birthday and Christmas present amounts regularly triple the dollar amounts of the other kids, though the gift quantity is often similar. I recognize that her love language is "quality time," and try to make sure I give it to her. I also make a lot of "oldest" exceptions for her (although they're balanced with "oldest" responsibilities), like staying up latest watching a movie just she and I. She's always been complex, and obviously had an intense internal life, and I've always went out of my way to respect that, through everything from therapy to privacy to copious unending research on and support for her various issues (ongoing - dyslexia; recovered - selective mutism; once upon a time - impending menstruation). People around us like to give her a lot of sympathy for having a lot of younger siblings, as though it's a hardship. People online say she's beautiful, which is true but also the least of her. All of the other kids think that she is my favorite.

I get along with Aaron best out of all of them, when it's just the two of us - our personalities are very compatible, and it's "easy," to hang out with him. When we are a family, though, he is BY FAR the most frustrating, and I lose my temper on him with a frequency and vengeance none of the others experience. I continue to harbor some soul-crushing guilt, for things that happened with him and other people, early in his life. Aaron has the most challenges in everyday living, and the most "interesting" and showy talents, as well. He's also the most drop dead gorgeous, and the most full of himself. I have to search for ways to try to be positive with him to balance the lectures and scolding on a regular basis, as well as to encourage him in his strengths - especially since he is the most sensitive and intuitive, and really is just gutted by criticism and anger. I tend to bend heaven and earth if there's something he's fixated on that I think will really benefit him - and then he ends up in New York City, riding his unicycle, or with a cockatoo and a drum set in his bedroom. Relatives rarely know what to make of Aaron. Most people on the internet misinterpret SPD symptoms as meaning he's a jerk - and/or assume I'm exaggerating his positive traits. They also think it's obvious he's my favorite.

I have always put in the most effort and time, with Isaac. From his impossible high needs infancy and into his difficult, destructive, and miserable toddlerhood, moving along through his troubled early childhood to his learning disabilities and stomach problems - it is always Isaac. Whether everyone else is parked in front of the tv as I pace with him, left at home with a sitter while I take him to an appointment, or waiting in a line to talk to me while I sit and help him with homework, it does not end. Pacing outside the OR for appendicitis, waiting for the sling for his humerus, having it out with Grant Sr that he can wear glittery shirts if he wants to and panicking because his croup moves up to 911 levels anytime he gets a little stressed...oh, my Isaac. I've also always taken the most pictures of him, and had the most pictures of him printed, because I am so enchanted with his vibrant and unique looks within our brood. Strangers gravitate toward Isaac and LJ readers pick him as the one to root for, as well as getting disgusted that I obviously don't like him. His counselors, teachers and doctors/specialists all tell me I need to be careful because I cannot always favor Isaac as I do and have been, since it isn't fair to the rest of the family.

Jake and I had a special bond from day 1. Laura talked jealously about how the two of us always seem to be "skipping through a field of daisies together." I have a very difficult time telling him no, about damn near anything, or enforcing negative consequences with him. He is the only baby I bonded closely with right at and after birth, and he was my easiest baby, too. He did everything the earliest, and has always been the biggest for his age. He was the first who looked anything like me, in my own eyes. I find endless pride in his glowing good health, huge appetite for healthy foods, crazy awesome afro hair, and amicable, independent nature. I video tape anything he asks me to, and just ask him for hugs throughout the day. He was the first to nurse until he was 4 years old, and the one I quote most often. One of the moles on my arm is "his mole," and he still messes with it as a comfort object sometimes, and we have a lot of oft-repeated phrases for us, like "we have a lot of love." Other people tend to not notice Jake much beyond his hair, and people online rarely mention much else about him, either. People in my real life who are close to us - like Laura, and Grant - always feel he is my favorite.

Elise and I went through absolute hell together. I worried about her as I have never worried about anything else in my entire life. I have gray hairs and probably ulcers, because of her, and I continue to analyze her growth, behavior, comprehension, speech, creativity, temperament and so forth far beyond what I ever have any of the others. There has also been soaring joy, rushes of relief, and still on a daily basis disbelief at how adorable her ATTITUDE is. I also feel like the two of us emerged from 2007 together as survivors, battered and scarred but doing alright. There are always people online and in PATH who approach me just to find out how Elise is doing :) It's her I constantly text pictures of to all the grand and great grandparents, and post pictures of on facebook, and it could be because of that - along with her being the youngest, and my girly girl, and "the miracle baby" - that all of our distant relatives are sure she's definitely my favorite (and theirs).
altarflame: (Default)
There are flowers EVERYWHERE, and I love it so so much. We always have a lot of flowers down here, but springtime is ridiculous. I took pictures of SOME of the flowers in the 6 blocks between our house and Elise's preschool, on our walk there the other day:

These guys are so benign and unnoticeable most of the year, and then they all do this at once:

They're lining Krome Ave and Biscayne in places.

Bougainvillea of all sorts, everywhere, all the time.

(this one under a bottle brush tree)

I don't know what any of these are.

We call these tiny things fairy flowers, they carpet the grass in places and always appear to be sparkling.

But these are a type of orchid, over some jews ("purple heart wandering jews" is what google tells me they're really called).

And these jasmin may not look like much, but the smell blows all over the neighborhood on the wind at night.

Nature is trying to overcome all these broke-busted pickup trucks.

Flowers in my house.

Those lillies were HUGE, smelled so strongly that it filled the room, and lasted over 2 weeks :)

This way for 12 other pics of us )
altarflame: (Default)
Sometimes my kids are so profoundly misinformed that I can't help but wonder if I've taught them anything at all.

Cases in point:

1. We were at the beach the other night, for picnic dinner/moon rise/etc. Isaac said to me, "You know Mom, I used to wonder why anyone would put salt in water, like what's the point of that? But then I realized, OH, it's because creatures can't live in salt water - so they just put it in the water at the beach since people are swimming there and don't want to swim with fish and things."

2. Jake was schooling Elise on all the middle names in the family, and he told her his was Bluke. Bluke, as in "Jacah Bluke".

These are the times to calmly explain the truth to your children before going behind the nearest closed door and laughing hysterically while calling all your relatives to reiterate.

I've had some really exciting, validating, badass shit go down in the last couple of weeks that are making me feel that all this missed sleep and running in circles is actually accomplishing some stuff. Like:

-Elise went back to preschool after missing 2.5 weeks for head lice, illness and Spring Break, and when I picked her up the first day her teacher raved about how much her handwriting, letter recognition and so on improved while she was out ♥ I ordered her extra Kumon books when I got new school supplies for everyone awhile back because she was struggling and we've been working together.

-I was able to finish my IEP with an advisor and register for graduation in December (after the fall semester is over)

-I spent the weekend reviewing potential book covers and discussing them with my publisher, and getting a REALLY EXCITING HOLY SHIT WHAT person to agree to order/read/support it

-Ananda organized a group trip to the Hunger Games midnight showing, used her own money budgeted over months (she really doesn't get much) to get a HG shirt to wear and her ticket and have funds for snacks, and had a REALLY great time with the girls who went along with. It may not seem like a big deal, but she was just SO shy and introverted and afraid of separating from us for awhile there after all the 2007 trauma we had. I'm perpetually amazed by how vibrant and wonderful she is now, and "out there". It makes me feel really good about the counseling and art therapy I got her but also about the PUSHING her I did, and felt so conflicted about doing. Really glad that didn't backfire ;)

Other news: I'm still sick. Might actually have to go to a doctor and/or get antibiotics or something, but I really don't want to. Ugh.

Isaac had his first solo-session with Fernando (counselor) and seemed to enjoy it. He got to take Jake and Elise in the room and show them Fernando's games and stuff afterwards, too. We should have his psych eval results any day now.
altarflame: (boomdeyada)
One of my New Years resolutions was to drink (a lot) more water. I'm doing it, but the thing is I wonder every day whether or not the health benefits are worth it when compared to the loss in quality of life because of how much I fucking loathe having to go pee all the time. I realize this is ridiculous but, like, seriously, it is extremely annoying to me to have to stop what I'm doing and go to the bathroom. Ever, not just when it's frequent. I just don't understand why my body is so inefficient and irritating. It seems like a total waste of time and effort to me, to a degree I understand is both unusual and irrational.

For what it's worth, I have the same reaction to needing to stop and get gas. I frequently get to the bathroom feeling ready to burst, and frequently pull into the gas station when my little indicator countdown warning says I only have *** miles left til we break down on the side of the road.

I wonder if this is because some subconscious part of my brain feels like my bladder and my van should be advancing the same way other technology is. I think my iPhone has totally died once since I got it 6 months ago, and I can plug it in while using it anywhere I am :p Sort of similar to how I got an IUD 6 months ago and haven't thought about birth control since.

Urination is archaic bullshit, this is 2012 and I won't stand for it!

So, this classy establishment is where I purchase my car insurance:

As you can see, they spare no expense where decorating is concerned:

Priorities = straight:

And this is Miami for "shirt".

I do love where I live.

Do they have coffee so strong it's served in thimbles other places?

This is not vegan, but as cheating goes I felt ok about it ;)

Also not vegan. Who the hell finds a picture like this appetizing?!

Jakey at TLC.

A Jake story copied and pasted from facebook:
My Jakey is so sweet ♥ He just brought me his beloved teddy bear, Beary, in panic, because he had a hole. I told him to bring me the sewing kit and he was all worried it was going to hurt Beary. So we put him to sleep first, and then Jake ran to make him a pretend cake while I did the surgery so he could have a treat when he woke up. When I called him to tell him Beary was all done and good as new he threw his arms around my neck with all this emotion, telling me "THANK YOU MAMA!" *sigh* This kid is awesome.

Immediately upon recovery, Beary had a birthday party that I was invited to.

He is about 115 in Favorite Stuffed Animal years (they have a birthday approximately once a week).

Here he is dressed, in some of Jake's old clothes :)

View through my bedroom doors one day:

One night, we were at Kristin's, and she had Hennessy and Hennessy Hammocks:

The next morning, I took a shower:

Packed up my vegan food for a long day out:

And talked to Kristin on the highway as we serendipitously rolled along side by side:

Aaron and Isaac at Dr Geraldi's last week...they could not be more different.

My oil and water children.

My surprise when I came out from the bedroom on Valentine's Day morning:

Das right, baby <3

I'm not really a Starbucks person anymore, I guess, since 1. I can't afford that! and 2. I can't get non-dairy stuff from them that isn't soy.

I am eating seafood. Pesce-vegan?

P.F. Chang's Asian Pear Mojito trumps all other Mojitos.

Ananda has improvisational style for days. Here she is in a brother's shirt, my tank top, shorts she just cut...

Here she is taller than Nancy. It's clear who's happier about this development.

That park was great.

Isaac turned 8! Here he is with his card from Nana and Pa.

He's really getting something of a birthday week...he's gotten cards in the mail a couple of days, and got a new bike and to choose the whole day's menu on the day. This weekend just him and Dad are going camping and we're doing cake and pinata with some people (which will be extra special since Oma is coming down from Lake City).

A random shot of a Magic game. They play a lot lately.

Gratuitous Elise pictures:

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