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.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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.

Itinerary

Apr. 23rd, 2013 10:03 am
altarflame: (Ahem (sebastion))
This summer's shaping up to have a lot of cool opportunities and interesting stuff for everybody. I've been in a frenzy of emails, calls, forms and combing the calendar for the last two days, as always happens this time of year. And then again before fall.

So far this is what we've got on the table as probable, counting summer as basically anything that happens after today since a lot of it begins in May:

Tina/Mom/me:

-5 classes at FIU, broken into 3 for Summer A term and 2 for Summer B. I actually have my schedule and financial aid in place since getting accepted, and am now setting up incidentals like going to get my student ID, having my parking pass mailed to me and acquiring my book advance/books.
-gardening - currently I have 3 flowering plants on the front porch, succulents and basil on the deck, about 40 houseplants, and a whole mess of seedlings in the house that will be transitioned to a raised bed in the coming weeks: white and flamingo chard, spinach, red and romaine lettuce, and lavender (for Isaac's anxiety, we're talking about it all along the way...we also have a "life cycle of a seed" poster hanging in our dining room these days).
-counseling. I finally made contact with somebody yesterday, like nails on a chalkboard though it was, and she's supposed to be calling me back about our insurance today. This is actually Grant and I both, separately and then together
-Writing dammit. It might be more like 2 hours per weekend rather than the hour per day I've been trying to strive for, but I can live with that if all this other stuff is happening.
-also with Grant, and "hopefully" - acquiring a second car, again (we sold the Civic awhile back, too many problems)

Ananda:

-regularly scheduled cello rehearsals on Sundays, and derby practice Sundays and Wednesdays, for awhile more at least
-6 hour training to be a program aide for girl scout camps, in May
-part of the color guard made up of junior derby players for the adult bout on the same day in May O_o
-GMYS finale concert THE NEXT DAMN DAY good grief
-going paintballing with her derby team later on in the month
-3 weeks of Girl Scout camp in June and July, 2 as a Program Aide (volunteer/helper basically, then next year she'll get to be a Counselor In Training) and one as a regular ol' Girl Scout
-Somewhere in the midst of that, attending the Southern Regional Junior Derby...whatever it's called, rally or some shit up in central Florida - this will involve her team being in their first two bouts!*
-auditioning into whatever ensemble for GMYS for the fall, before the summer is over - I'd also like to try to get her some kind of supplemental cello learnin' but it basically has to be free so either a public school program, a magnet she only goes to the music portion of, or this Frost mentor program...we'll see
-she also wants to look into starting to volunteer at the library, we'll see, and has a goal of "being at sleepovers as often as possible this summer"
-which could be related to the whole "SHE'S TURNING 13 ON JUNE 1!!!!" thing

Aaron:

-hip hop on Saturdays and jazz dance on Thursdays**, til the eventual Dance Empire end of year recital
-I'm basically trying to decide whether to try to get him into a camp at Dance Empire or just sign him up for their intensive weeks, and/or their summer classes
-either way he wants to do ballet technique classes again, which is interesting to me and they're offered on Saturdays in one big block so yeah sure he doesn't have to pay ~shrug~ They're offering 7-15 yo barre and stretch, 7-15 yo turn and jump, 7-15 yo open ballet and pre-point for 10-16 year olds as a 4 hour long extravanganza, and he's aghast at how inflexible he's supposedly become ever since someone complimented him on his extensions (?) last week. Dancers!
-I'm sure there will be some epic TLC party before a couple of families leave town for the summer as they generally do, and he will be in like flynn
-whatever we decide to do for his birthday on June 27th (he'll be 12)

Isaac:

-the rest of the school year obviously, which features the talent show he's doing a jump rope act in this Friday
-GMYS camp for a month***, now on clarinet
-birthday party in June for a PATH kid he loves

Jake:

-GMYS camp for a month, hopefully playing drums (HE HATES THE VIOLIN SO MUCH)
-birthday party in June for a PATH kid he loves

Elise:

-turning SIX on May 1 - we're going to the Seaquarium**** because she had no idea such wonders existed, but we have been on a big Squid YouTube kick that's somehow led into whales, and she is PSYCHED. Also, she keeps asking for a science lab so we're going to do our best to set that up as her birthday present with like, basic common kitchen ingredients common to many experiments and a space allocated in the house with a table Grant's made, and some little accessories - she will love it
-those 3 weeks of Girl Scout camps that Annie will be at, albeit in separate age groups of course
-GMYS camp for a month, back on violin

All Kids:

-(well, minus Isaac in this instance) homeschool yearly evaluations
-(and plus me in this one) dental checkups/cleanings



*It will probably be Grant taking her to paintballing and the rally, for a variety of reasons - also, Grant is not travelling anymore in the forseeable immediate future, under his new supervisor that's looking like a more quarterly sort of thing...and he works from home on the days I'll be in school.

**I actually found another Dance Empire parent IN HOMESTEAD who is WILLING AND ABLE TO CARPOOL, this is life changing people, seriously, wow. I am excited.

***the little kids' camp is actually IN HOMESTEAD, good grief A&A's was insanely far last summer, that was a circus

****If you are a AAA member, in the month of May you can go to the AAA office and get a (discounted!) Seaquarium ticket, and then take it to the Seaquarium, and they will give you another one free. Since the Seaquarium is absurdly, disgustingly, prohibitively overpriced, this is a big deal that can potentially make it possible to go. It ends up being $36 plus tax for two adults, rather than $80.
altarflame: (burning bush)
I think this was a pretty great day for my kids, which was what I wanted. My house is a disaster, I have a sugar hangover and I was really done Easter'ing several hours before them, but I am still happy with the overall results :)

They dyed eggs two ways, hunted eggs, got (bucket)baskets, ate Easter cupcakes after a protein-heavy breakfast meant to ward off sugar comas, and played with their new things. We took a good walk in the perfect weather as a family. Good stuff...



Grant got these eggs that were real egg shells, but filled with confetti, so you can throw them and they explode in a satisfying and sanitary mess. This is an accurate snapshot of any square five feet of my house.

He had them at it while I was still in bed, and I woke to screams and laughter.

Iris, my RCIA teacher, pulled all five kids aside after Good Friday Mass and took them to the office and gave them bunnies. She is in love with hers. Elise's horrific taste and Iris's tacky gift giving go together perfectly.


Those buckets, man, they were CHEAPER than baskets and won't get destroyed all over the house like baskets gradually do. They're beach toys now. So I succumb to plastic princesses, this time :p

They each got a plain white shirt, as we're gonna tie dye shirts, "egg" bath fizzies, some chocolate eggs of various sorts, and an egg-shaped straw cup thing. Annie got bakeable, paintable clay, and a glitter set. Aaron got modeling clay and magnetic tape strips. Isaac and Jake got matchbox cars and small stuffed monsters. Elise got an oversized rubber duck with rabbit ears and tail. This is to go with her giant mama and 3 small baby rubber duck set, and the Statue of Liberty rubber duck I brought her back from NYC. She immediately needed an Easter bath with her fizzy thing and ducks. I think this might have been the greatest day of her small life. At one point I suggested she could line her ducks up in a row and her eyes got enormous and she yelled "You're right!" as she ran to do it, and then made everyone in the house come view her row of ducks.




Random Tidbits:

-My plants have all been alive for like a month and a half now. They're actually doing crazy shit like growing and thriving. I'm psyched. They really help me in ways I don't quite know how to explain. It would be way too easy for me to turn our house into some kind of dense foliage rain forest...

-Crest White Strips really work. I was getting pretty intense yellowness from coffee staining and the difference is definitely noticeable, halfway through the box...

-Easter Vigil was an intense church experience Saturday evening. A 2.5 hour service you have to arrive over an hour early for. We brought M&Ms, UNO cards and Story Cubes to pass the time until it started, and had to make one trip to the bathroom during the Mass. Definitely a success...Elise fell asleep for about 20 minutes in the middle, and danced on her seat along with the dancers up front for about 5 minutes, and both of those things were fine. All of the kids were blown away by the transformation of the sanctuary overnight, from almost ugly-plain and sad for Good Friday to STUFFED FULL OF FLOWERS AND GORGEOUS FABRIC for Easter Vigil to an insane extent. There were amazingly beautiful parts, that all the kids liked...after a big projected countdown-animation thing ended Isaac, my most church-challenged kid, said loud enough for everyone to hear - "That was actually pretty cool!" After a sermon in the (DARK) dark and an Easter candle lighting that led to everyone in the church's candles being lit, one by one as the flame was passed and we all sang (Christ be our light, shine in our hearts, shine in the darkness...) Aaron was in happy tears. 1,000 candles at the end was a lot of light. Elise was in love with the couple sitting next to us and stayed "with" them most of the time.

-I am thinking I'm going to have to start really trying to sleep at night if I want to really lose weight...all the metabolism boosting supplementation and excercise in the world isn't going to work if my body is resting for like 3 hours out of 24 :/ And it shows...I am slowly, steadily gaining regardless of whether I eat perfectly or horribly. *sigh*

-I have to neglect the internet (woe!) for a little while and focus on some real writing work that is overdue. I have some things that need to get accomplished (writing the last short story in my compilation, getting Memo final info on what I need in the way of illustrations, more communication with people who sent me surgery stories, and sending out a few queries) before the summer semester starts (May 9!).

-I really, REALLY love Cadburry Cream Eggs. Which is funny because as a kid I thought they were horrifically over-sweet and inedible. Now I'm like, Bring It.
altarflame: (Default)
The biggest thing going on in my life is marital strife...basically, I have the best husband in the world and am an ungrateful bitch.

It's not quite exactly like that, but it sort of feels like it. Basically I've been having a very hard time for between 2 weeks and a year and a half (depending on which particular issue) with various issues. They're issues that feel sort of irreconcilable to me, in that they are nothing new - they're things I understood when I agreed to marry Grant that have always been as they are. So, it seems unfair and sort of irrational to suddenly find them impossible or act as though they're deal breakers... I was hoping my hard time would pass, but instead it's intensified.

I thought awhile back about how a lot of my happiness - a codependent, dysfunctional level of it - comes (or does not come) directly from my marriage, so I started making more of an effort to have friends and a social life and step up my spiritual life, too, as a way to balance that and hopefully be more fulfilled in general...I've been doing way more talking on the phone, facebook chatting, visits in and out with others and of course attending RCIA on my own, over the past many months.

Then before New Years I had my personal crisis about how I'm not happy, I'm restless, I have little to show out of the last couple of years but survival and have slacked off as a mother, etc - so I've been working on all these personal things - registering for college and financial aid for college, taking the placement exam, meeting with advisement, querying agents, taking more time to write, getting an artist friend to illustrate my children's book and dieting, excercising...my thoughts have gone that, 1., maybe I would be happier in my relationship if I was happier in general, and, 2. maybe I could deal more easily with being unhappy in my relationship, if I had more other things that made me happy. Also been working on the mother part, making sure to really attend to my top priority kind of stuff (being emotionally present with them, finding time to talk one on one with everybody regularly, remembering their Love Languages - that seems hokey as hell but there is really something to it, and the adult version). My unconscious assumptive sort of plan has been to do better for/with them, publish something, lose weight, get close to God and involved at church, attend classes, and then re-evaluate.

But Grant has known something was up for long enough that it's been causing him to act erratic and (seemingly) paranoid. I was really freaked by his fearful attitude and weird suspicions for a long time (like 6 months+) because I was really in denial about my own (bad) feelings. For the last two or so months, I've had more of a grip on myself and thus more of an idea of what he was picking up on, and that has been hard to deal with. Anyway, long story short, it's been making him nuts knowing I am hiding things (thoughts/feelings...it's not like I'm cheating or planning to leave). He's asked so often as I've come to be more honest with myself and my feelings have intensified that I was starting to feel really dishonest, and anyway, I ended up telling him everything in a tearful sobbing hysteria over the past week. That's right, I've been frequently sobbing and hysterical the entire week, as we go through many a tedious and gut wrenching 2 hour long conversation. It's...exhausting.

There is just something extremely terrifying about possibly dropping an atom bomb on your entire life. It's much less "real" to keep your crazy thoughts in your own crazy head. Which is a big part of why I took so long to reveal my crazy thoughts. Also, I didn't want to hurt Grant, and also-also, I kept waiting for this to pass or trying to figure out to what degree it's just part of my general questioning of everything in my life (faith, homeschooling, etc) or PTSD or no more babies or whatever. I'm in a generally transitional period of mental upheaval. Overblown as that sounds. Basically, I didn't (don't) want to do irreparable damage to something precious to me.

But, it is a Serious Cardinal Sin within Grant and my established set of relationship guidelines, to keep secrets. So just the fact that I was hiding anything for a significant period of time poses major trust issues for him...he is feeling really betrayed :/ And now that it's all out in the open, and he wants to know what I'm thinking/feeling that much more often, and with a much more justified and urgent sense of concern, it is REALLY STRESSFUL for me to know that my cyclical thoughts and feelings are most likely going to keep cycling for now...I mean I feel like I have to keep some kind of vice lock on my brain around him lest I reveal more hurt and scariness to this poor man who is really, really freaked. I mean the things I'm upset about are valid things I think a lot of people would be upset about, except that, as I said, they're things I understood and accepted as part of the deal from the get-go...he wants to change anyway.

We're both going to a counselor individually - same guy for us both - and we may do some sessions together but for now we both think we need more individual. I also went and talked to a priest (as well as some of my friends).

Anyway, my prioritized list of preferences/options for how this is gonna go down basically goes like this:

(optimal)
Grant and I can be happy together.

(dealable)
Grant and I can be content and satisfied together.

(sucky)
Grant and I stay together miserable.

(I feel like I should clarify that this is, to some degree, hyperbole...because even right now we manage to laugh at times, and to hug...but I think you know what I mean)

Because, really, I am not willing to break up this family. Even if I was, it's not a financial option on any level. Even if both of those things weren't true, I can't really imagine my life without Grant in it and I keep thinking that I must be delusional here, in general.


I've found myself obsessed with the idea of plants. Plants as a metaphor for something alive and thriving. Plants brought into the house showing that our house is still developing and being improved. Plants not dead because I nurture them and am not failing, at having plants. I broke down in Lowe's thinking how we can't afford more plants, and how they are one more thing I've failed at (in the past), then waited until we basically could afford some, and got a bunch (of cheap ones). And replanted them in things we already had and now I walk around looking at them feeling happier, a lot. A lot a lot. And plot more plants I can eventually get. It's sort of pathetic but sort of just helpful and hopeful. My brother keeps raising one eyebrow about how green and leafy the place is getting.

I think Grant might be feeling similarly, as he obsessively plans, maps and shops for a garden.

More later...this didn't turn out as riff raffy or bric a braky as I anticipated, just got too long...

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