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.
altarflame: (deluge)
I go through this cyclical thing where I consider self publishing erotic fiction, because it would be so easy to write and the standards for what sells are so low in the genre. It can be a real money maker, especially if you write a series and/or are prolific. I basically fantasize about sex constantly, and over the years I've had several major story lines I return to over and over, mentally, adding plot twists and developing characters just because it entertains me while I wash dishes or sit in stopped traffic. I don't think it would be for everyone, but it really doesn't have to be. On some level, the more ridiculous and outlandish erotic fiction is, the more likely it is that the people who do like it will love it. I think one of the biggest criteria is just committing and writing fearlessly about what's hot to you (the author). Probably there's almost nothing REALLY HOT to anyone out there that isn't hysterically funny bs to a lot of other people. Sex is kinda just like that, I think...

It's such an awful, sellout sort of thing though. I mean I'd be so embarrassed about it that I'd - ME - write under a pseudonym. And I do not mean "altarflame" :p

One thing it has on it's side is that I wouldn't feel this deep sense of high-stakes investment that I do with a couple of major projects I want to write in a more serious way (and, uh, as myself)... if I get interrupted a lot and lose my train of thought, or if I have to shelve it for a month during finals - well, who even cares, you know? It would also be a lot of fun. Though I'd want to die even from Grant reading it, and I would have to put a lot of thought into who to reveal myself to as people close to me ask what I'm up to.

Hmmmm.




One wall of random countertop outlets stopped working, in our kitchen, about a month or so ago - though the big appliances on that side (stove, ovens, toaster oven) still work. So now we have all the electrical gadgetry we keep out crammed on one side, next to the fridge - that's the magic bullet base, the Ninja top, the Kitchenaid (stand mixer), the George Foreman (and ours is huge), the can opener, and the speaker system I connect my phone to. All in approximately 3x2 feet of counter.

Today, while I cooked two loaves' worth of challah french toast on one side of the kitchen, Grant made bacon behind me. At some point the magic bullet cord, which was plugged in, laid against the black (hot) part of the grill, which was turned on. Then a blue flash happened ON THE STOVE where I was working, and the outlets we've been counting on, near him, stopped working. So now we have no available outlets in the kitchen, and Grant is going to attempt amateur electrical work, against all my warnings. He is turning off the breakers first, and he does have a semi-solid simple plan - replace the outlets, see if that works, if not we call someone. Still, gah. This played often enough in our house that he should know better...



Seven years into home ownership, everything is sort of falling apart at once. In the last 6 months we've had an emergency plumber out, had to replace our entire septic tank (those are two separate and unrelated issues), replaced the refrigerator, had the AC coils professionally cleaned when the unit froze solid, had this electrical kitchen thing, and realized our deck is in dire need of resurfacing - it's gone beyond "potential splinter hazard" and entered, "one more rainy season and we might not be structurally sound" territory. We also had to replace some wood planks on the picnic table, though that's not exactly "the house." The front door is on it's last leg, too, and it's a pita sort with an irregular measurement and built in side panel that makes it really expensive - and we are not handy enough to install a new door, extra segment, and frame ourselves...

It really gives me a new perspective on landlords. When you rent, it's really easy to be like, "Oh geez this guy is the WORST, he takes forever, he does everything so cheaply, am I supposed to just LIVE with x, y, and z?!" But when you live in a house you own, especially an old house, you almost always do end up living with some variation on x, y, and z, regardless of how fastidious you are. We had to go over a week between our old fridge breaking and the new fridge being in here, because of all kinds of factors - how long the repair guys took, how long Lowe's takes to deliver, and deliberating about whether we wanted to drop $500 to repair a seven year old fridge vs over a grand to replace it. That was super inconvenient, we're feeding 7 people up in here, but we weren't, like, blaming anybody else for it. I am 100% sure that if almost anyone I knew in a rental had to go without a fridge for over a week, they would be livid, and expect pro-rated rent that month, etc. Likewise, we probably need a new AC unit, as a couple of rooms of our house that are additions are never as cool as the rest of the house is, and periodically in the summer it makes random hellacious noises. But HELL NO we weren't going to try to replace a central AC unit when we could just clean the coils and keep truckin along indefinitely. I think it's easy to get entitled, when these things are on somebody else!

Related: It would be pretty sweet to be able to just demand of someone else that the front door get replaced, or the deck be resurfaced, rather than prioritizing the thousands of dollars ourselves when there's so much else we'd rather spend that money on. Like we could prooooobably afford to do those things, if we took them one at a time, and skipped celebrating birthdays or letting anyone go to summer camps, and we ate rice and beans for months, but... nuh-uh. We will probably spend about $400 on buckets of this stuff that fills in cracks and smooths out the surface, for the deck, and revisit the door issue the next time we have a tax return. Everybody's used to having to shove and lift to lock or unlock it, so eh.

It would at least be super satisfying to bitch about how someone else let these things get so bad :p

DrunkCast

Mar. 24th, 2014 12:14 am
altarflame: (deluge)
Last night I rambled in bed, late at night, DRUNK, for almost an hour - about various kinds of good news that I've had, and all kinds of things. I'm ridiculous at least some of the time, and then I get deeply into polyamory. I have to kinda close my eyes and just go for it to post this, because I really don't want to hurt or alienate anyone, or lose anybody special to me - for drunkenness or polyamorous-ness, but, hey, it is what it is. Overall I think it probably ended up answering most of the questions I've been asked, about that. I really want to be authentic, for lack of a better word, in every part of my life. I'm in a transitional growth phase in basically every area of my life and I feel terrified a lot of the time...TERRIFIED. All day anxiety attacks, self-sabotage. About being close to my bachelors, about REALLY losing weight, about polyamory, even about things like my improved credit and my writing and just...you know, limitless potential. Tons of change. So much risk. *shrug*

:)

There are a couple of points when it goes quiet for a few seconds but then I start talking again, that could be confusing. It seems like the end, but really, I'm dozing off.



Me, tipsy on some bleachers under bright lights, at the rink, earlier in the evening:

altarflame: (deluge)

illustration by Guillermo Arqueros

Click here to see Liz McMullen's complete Halloween Special, featuring 9 authors reading their horror stories, or click here to go directly to my specific page. There will be a free download of the text version of the story available, if you are not interested in the audio but would like to read it.
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: (GothMaryPoppins)
C25K almost killed me yesterday. It was suddenly hard like it was before I could do day 1, again. I'm not sure why W2D2 was so unexpectedly vicious, though I was going a little faster than normal and my stomach felt slightly off.

Grant's doing it with me! Which neither of us expected. It's cool, though.




It's 9/11 today, so my whole facebook wall is awash in semi-transparent eagles superimposed over skyscrapers. There are really awful shots of wreckage, and inspiring shots of search and rescue dogs being flown in via helicopter-towed-scaffolding, and paragraphs from super sincere people that I love - all entreating me to "never forget." It reminds me of how devastated Aaron was to learn about the whole tragedy for the first time, a couple of years ago. Profile pics have been changed to memorial spaces. The ads on my sidebar are for various patriotic charities.

In the midst of all that, an old friend of mine posted a set of plush towers with stuffed planes sticking out of them, and anthropomorphic felt tongues sticking out, and Xs over their eyes. He said LOOK HOW ADORABLE THEY ARE.

I laughed. With relief. Awhile later, after I read the casualty statistics again, and then the "I lived in NYC that day" first person horror story, and then told Ananda about how scary that day was for us personally (because she's on facebook now, so she asked), the same friend posted a link to "Why I'm really sad today." Apparently, a Nickelback album came out on 9/11/01.

This is helpful! I don't want to be held hostage to the obligatory misery of 9/11 every year. I don't want any part of it. I went doing some research, you know, and almost 3,000 people died that day, and that really fucking sucks. But then a few years later in New Orleans, almost 2,000 people died in Hurricane Katrina. And then much more recently, somewhere between 19,000 and 25,000 people died in Japan, in a series of disasters that is STILL SPEWING RADIATION EVERYWHERE. Right now, in Syria, God Knows What is happening to children on playgrounds, just like it has every day for the last however many months. There's a lot of REALLY BAD SHIT out there, a whole lot. Most of it isn't here, so we like to pretend it's not as important as the things that happen here are, just. *sigh*

If I had died that day, it would make me happy to know my kids managed to laugh at jokes about the event that caught them off guard, after being bombarded for twelve years.

I was thinking about the whole concept of laughing about things you are Not Supposed To Laugh At, and the old "Healing Through Tragicrafting" Regretsy posts that used to happen every year on this day. Then Pandora busted out with Amanda Palmer's song, "Oasis."

If you don't know, "Oasis" is about a girl who gets date raped, ends up having an abortion that is heavily picketed by Christian protesters, and has her friends turn on her as though she's a whore after someone gossips about the whole thing. The song character is a teenager and the silver lining that allows her to be happy in spite of it all is that she's writing to her favorite band (Oasis, hence title), they actually write back, and she's got tickets to see them play live.

The clincher is that the whole song is set to a Beach Boys type melody - it's a poppy, happy, upbeat tune, with a goofy, intentionally parody-style video.

It really pisses a lot of people off. Other people just roll their eyes and talk about Amanda Palmer trying to shock people for attention.

But Amanda Palmer talks about how old it gets, being miserable about having these things happen to you. How terrible it feels to always have to talk about these topics as very heavy, very hard things, when they're your life. She's been date raped, she's had an abortion, blah blah blah. She's definitely been the writing-back "band" that made victimized young people happy, too. I imagine that as a performer who gets interviewed all the time, and talks to fans a lot, heavy issues get especially repetitive and heavy. My inference is, how freeing and awesome is it to throw that weight off?!

Positive YouTube commenters on the video have opinions like:

Its how she has chosen to belittle her own attacker and show how although her rape was horrible she didn't let it ruin her whole life.

and

shes not joking about rape :) shes showing how normal people think it is through a happy song and silly video

Anyway. I did some recon and am gonna embed some junk here now. Original video:



Here's her live on stage, talking about it, and then playing the song slowly like it's sad, as well as the normal way. She says some really great stuff at the beginning. Like, "when you cease to have a sense of humor about the darkness in life, that's when the darkness takes over..." and more.






I'm starting to crack up again, feelin all...mentally ill.

What I mean is the kids seem more irritating, and things I have to do seem more undoable, and I'm just wasting huge amounts of time in semi-sadness. There is this slow cascade of factors that has contributed -

1.) A surgeon contacted me online, not as a surgeon, but as a person who is also interested in neuroplasticity - but then he found out I have a hernia, and wanted details, and I saw pictures of him in scrubs, and the whole thing just got a little, uh, icky? For lack of better phrasing? It wasn't a huge deal, EXCEPT...

2.) That it happened the same day (last Friday) that our well-meaning dentist did what everyone does when they learn a little about our family medical history...she launched into OR horror stories as the two of us stood across the hall from where Annie and Isaac were being handled by oral hygienists. I haven't really developed the ability to put my finger to another person's lips and say, "Stop right there. You are about to fuck me up for days, so just hush." Instead, I now know about the hospital wing that was closed down after a woman who was there to donate a kidney to her brother got the wrong artery nicked, bled out, died on the table, and then her brother got very bad news and died, without kidneys (since hers were ruined). It's hard for me to even focus on that shit long enough to type the words out. I just start dissociating like a motherfucker. But I really think this is worse when I don't directly deal. It's like I give triggers power by avoiding them at all costs and sometimes I just have to try to plow through, stiff and weird as it might make me...

I spent the weekend far too tense, trying to not be aware of the lumps on my abdomen that start to feel very "ticking time bomb." Then, I had a couple of the recurring nightmares it had been a long time since I'd seen around, and subsequently spent way too many hours lying awake in bed. I did a third of the homework I should have and spazzed on Grant Sunday night (meaning, lost all interest in sex after stellar foreplay and suddenly just wanted to go to sleep).

Barf. I hate this shit.

I go back to counseling Monday. It's been a few weeks, because of some scheduling issues. I have a standing appointment at the same time every week, now.

I'm also trying to reach out to people, because I've definitely been isolated, and that definitely makes me vulnerable to PTSD, as stated 700 million times...Gloria was here all afternoon and evening Monday, I hemmed 5 pairs of her pants and fed her dinner and plied her with wine :) Been facebookin' people, and textin/callin people... My sister is unavailable because her kids are sick with some terrible thing I don't want making it's way over here.




My editor messaged me yesterday - there is some YouTube channel devoted to authors reading their own erotic stories every week, that is switching to horror for Halloween, and Editor thinks my horror story - Which is in this little 2.99 e-trilogy of horror my publisher put out last year - would be perfect. So I may be reading it and being featured on her site and linking that here, which is cool :) I'm proud of that story, because it's the first time I've written something in a formulaic way meant to elicit a particular reader response (aside from essays being meant to elicit As). And it works. It does what it's supposed to do - creeps people the fuck out :)
altarflame: (deluge)
I have not had much time for actual writing, lately. I wrote two poems I'm happy with, while I was in Maryland, but other than that I am just so busy with school and life at the moment. I worked on the nieces and nephews children's books, and looked over my novel plans, between semesters.

There is still a lot of "writer stuff," though. This past week...

-I awarded a new contest winner, on tumblr.

-I got an email from Nancy, saying she ordered "another 6 copies," as she's continuously giving them out as gifts ♥

-I got an email from a former english professor of mine, saying she loves it, and asking my permission (as if I would say no!) to make it one of the 8 books her students choose from, to read and then write a major paper about! I was with my sister when it came in, and pointed out my leg goosebumps to her :p

-I got more painting-progress text images, from my wayward Illustrator.




We had the first round of follow-up dentistry, today - Ananda and Isaac. She had sealants put on all of her teeth, and an extraction of a baby tooth that was not going anywhere on it's own. He got his first 5 fillings, which covers one side of his mouth :/ They both did great, though - she has a cold, so lying back with a nitrous nose bulb thing was no fun. Isaac really blew them away. They normally give one or two "Main Street Dollars" to kids who do well during procedures, that can be accumulated and traded for movie tickets, but he got three. Sometimes I am still shocked by how calm and mature my former-tyrant is, these days.


Isaac, watching the Chipmunks while the gas kicked in. The sunglasses are so the exam lights don't blind you with glare :)


Yes, that is my 13 year old with the sides of her head shaved, wearing the skateboarding shirt, listening to Bach's cello suites while she waits...


You can see the tiny bit of her tooth that was actually sticking out, and the (comparatively) giant roots O_o

Jake let her know that the tooth fairy gave HIM $20 for an extracted tooth with big roots attached, years ago, so now I'm screwed, which Ananda clearly thinks is awesome, although she is definitely not letting on that she KNOWS there is no tooth fairy (since that would negate all benefits ever after). It's pretty funny.
altarflame: (deluge)
I'm in a bit of a whirlwind.

Last week, Grant was in Maryland. We had Izzy here Tues-Thurs, sleeping over, for babysitting when I went to my classes. Gloria came over from Thur-Sat, initially for crisis management (too many colliding demands!!!) and then because our house is pretty much awesome and she wanted to live here for awhile. Annie's (and my) friend Mia had already been scheduled to be here from Fri-Sun. Shaun was here Saturday night, for dinner. Between Izzy, Gloria and Mia doing big loads of my dishes, and Grant cleaning a bathroom and making Saturday's dinner - and another Dance Empire mom carpooling with us, for her son and Aaron - I am really feeling the help and love of "the Village."

Yesterday I left Isaac and Jake at Laura's while I ran to get Ananda and Elise from Girl Scout camp, and then the five of us stayed over there with Laura and her kids, while she cooked dinner (Aaron was at the dance studio, aka his actual home O_o). Tomorrow, we're picking Mia up to go with Annie to derby practice.

Anyway! It's good to laugh with people, eat with people, watch ridiculous movies like Party Monster with people. It is not as hectic as it sounds - actually the opposite. Having multiple adults in the house means Grant and I could get up on Saturday, for instance, and take Ananda to derby and just go have a lunch date alone, while all the other kids slept in.

The big highlight of our week, I think, was when I took Ananda and Mia to see Neil Gaiman and we had a great day (and amazing, affordable thai food for lunch), and then Neil Gaiman reblogged and discussed my tumblr post about how happy Ananda was with the whole thing. She was THRILLED, freaking, there are no words. We spent half an hour last night reading all the awesome notes on the post (it has over 2k likes and reblogs, now, so there are a couple dozen reaction comments mixed in...) It's here: http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/post/53784867902/altarflame-today-i-took-my-13-year-old




Today was emotionally intense, for me. Mostly positive, but a lot. I did things like:

-Take a longish, somewhat meditative bath with my typical breakfast smoothie (frozen fruit chunks, keffir, probiotic powder, emergen-C, coconut oil, egg, flax seed meal, fish oil...) before getting all my kids' things together, lunches packed, breakfasts eaten, driving done... today was a day that G worked from home, with Isaac and Jake

-(In Intro to Social Psych...) watch REAL FOOTAGE of the Migram Obedience Experiments and the The Stanford Prison Experiment (features nudity...). Harrowing.

-Eat more amazing cheap thai food (STIR MOON CORAL GABLES WHAT UP, I DONE YELPED YOU SO HARD), with bubble tea, while writing more of Elizabeth's book. I'm really excited about this.

-See my Summer A grades: A, B, B- ...I'm not UPSET about it, but I wanted to do better. I'm also just elated that 9 of my 60 credits are already done, and I'm working on the next 6 now/Summer B, and will do 15 more in the Fall. Then I'll already be HALF DONE with the bachelors part of this journey O_o Next legs will be challenging - I need Stats II and III, followed by Research Methods. I'm planning to spend next summer in a clinical research position (FIU has tons of available options...), probably for pay as a co-curricular.

-Try to deal with the fact that my Summer B classes are offered in an auditorium style classroom with movie theater seats that each have a folding desklet option attached - that really does not fit/work with my hernia belly. So sucky.

-Yet, I was wearing some of my (amazing) new ASOS clothes today, and rocking some badass makeup. Life is a mixed bag.

-In counseling, we did emdr about my mother. Because this guy is adamant about chronology mattering, and thinks it's important. And I grudgingly admit he's right, even though I really, really didn't want to go there.

-Talking my husband down from terrible depressive feelings and letting him rant and rave about them, on the phone. I think it helped significantly, or at least he seemed to be feeling a lot better by the time he went to bed.

-Reschedule a phone meeting with my editor. Dammit, I have to write her an email when I'm done with this...

-Open my packages, when I walked in the door! Beautiful books, how I love them. One of them is The Sound of Building Coffins, by the friend of a friend (he's the friend of my friend the painter, who I linked last week...her daughter, Izzy, recognized the book in my amazon history as "So and So's Dad's book").

-Spend an hour and a half catching up with my children, one at a time. Sitting with Elise in my lap as she tells me all about her day, and we find her missing swim cap to tuck in her backpack for tomorrow; hugging Jake quietly for a long time, and then looking at all his latest Minecraft creations; snuggling Isaac, and reading to him; listening to Aaron complain and worry and hope and dream and whine and laugh about dance,* and then put lotion on his sunburn; harassing Annie about her schoolwork, complimenting her makeup, going over her weekend trip information (derby tournament).

-Throughout the entire day, I am on tumblr and facebook. In bathrooms and classrooms and at red lights. I put my phone away for writing, therapy or direct interaction with Grant/kids...otherwise it is probably A Problem. How else can I listen to Pandora and use Google Maps to get where I'm going, though? Today, it's exciting to do, to see the notes on that tumblr post unfold and to get the crazy "new follower" emails. There's also been a friend with a kid in surgery, a friend with a legal victory, and now, many friends waiting with baited breath re: the Texas filibuster.

-I also read the first chapter of (my signed copy of...) The Ocean at the End of the Lane, tonight, and - perhaps moreso because I am also writing and this is a semi-autobiographical book - it made me so sad, for poor little 7 year old Neil Gaiman. I suppose I should not say more than that. I sent him tumblr asks (which do not have to be questions, and weren't in this case) about it.




Last, I got the questionable news via text that I was confused about times, and our day tomorrow starts an hour earlier than we had planned. NOT EXCITED. Although, tomorrow is fairly low-key after the first morning bit - just Isaac, Jake and me in a quiet house for many hours, until dinner time and mass homecomings :)


*Aaron is doing this summer intensive program, and he's running laps, stretching, doing barre work, taking classes with choreographers in all genres, just - it's all day every day. Monday was 9-8:30. Today was 9-4. Tomorrow is 8-8:30. He loves it, and is focused and determined and obsessed, and already showing marked improvements (these people are crazy, they are even going to the beach every Friday because there are supposedly things you can only learn IN THE WATER? THE MOVING WATER? Hence the sunburn...).
altarflame: (deluge)
I'm writing childrens' books inspired by my nieces and nephews, starting with my original idea - Elizabeth. She's my sister's second kid, and my middle namesake, and batshit crazy in all the best possible ways, i.e., precisely the same ones I was as a child. Her book is already almost all written.

Second on my list is the book inspired by Nadia, one of Mindy's twins. The one with a strong history of mental illness who is crying out for attention in the most dramatic ways possible on facebook every day. Her book is mostly planned.

I plan to (probably self publishing) sell them like any other books, although I'll gift a copy to each corresponding child, first. They're fictional stories.

All together, I have four nieces and two nephews. They've been on my mind a lot, as I stayed up fb chatting with Robby til 3 am the other night after he broke up with his (cohabiting, serious) boyfriend of a year (they've been back together since the next day). Robby is 18, and whip-smart, and manipulative as all hell, and laaaaazy.

I think that, all told, my own children are old enough that it's time to step up my aunt-game, at least into the realm of decency, because really a couple of these kids (like my sister's baby, and Patrice) are totally slipping through the cracks over here.




Ananda and Elise are sleeping away at Girl Scout camp tonight. I am always aware of something off in the house when Ananda and/or Aaron aren't here after bedtime, but ELISE?! ELISE?!?! She's in the lucky position of having an older sister who is a program aid at the camp and right in her cabin, and the two of them have a counselor for their group who they adore, and they've had a great day from 9-4 every day this week. Tons of new songs, crafts brought home, time in the pool. But...HOW CAN ELISE NOT BE HOME AT MIDNIGHT? We originally only planned for Annie to sleep away on the sleepover night, but my Beasty really wanted to go and was very, very excited as we gathered all the stuff on her list. There will be a campfire, and hiking in the woods. Between their ridiculous amounts of stuff, and Aaron and Jamaii's dance stuff, and my laptop case, school bag and purse...the trunk was strained, this morning. With the five of us in the seats and all our various coffees and water bottles around us, I don't know, I could not shake the feeling that we could spread out if we'd taken the van :p



I've carefully guarded her from my highly questionable interest in astrology her entire life, and she's somehow found it on her own, with friends, via Homestuck. Now they're all obsessed with everyone's zodiac signs, and she wants Gemini-everything and doodles the symbols on everything. *shrug*

She had a massive anxiety attack while I was at school and started texting me. We talked for over an hour, with her steadily like...explaining feelings and allowing me to comfort her. It was so confusing :p Really, though, there are not words for how proud of her I am or how much I love her...

She DESTROYED the boot of one of her skates at derby practice last night - it's basically wheels held to her foot by tape at this point. She was not hurt and explained the maneuver that caused it, which I no longer remember. I was not there at the time, I had dropped her and Izzy off at practice. The ruined boot would not be SUCH a thing if, 1.) we weren't totally broke from buying Aaron's birthday presents and shelling out for all these extracurriculars, and 2.) she didn't have a tournament Grant's taking her to in central Florida next weekend. *sigh* Gloria knows someone who works at Superwheels and is talking to us about options... Derby skates are such a big dumb deal. She's got $700 skates I happened to miraculously find in her size at a yard sale, used, for $30.




Today was finals for summer A. I feel very confident about one that I took (8 pages of essay questions, please), and not so great about the other (very ambiguous multiple choice exam with MOST questions leaving room for debate...)

After an online quiz tomorrow, I will be done with all three of these classes and starting Summer B next Tuesday, also the day of Counseling Appointment #3.




I'm sure I was gonna write something else here.
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Today was a day of little firsts for my little kids.

1.) Elise drew her OWN coloring page (a house with bricks, which she drew every single one of on the facade), and then colored the whole thing. Her drawings are getting way more detailed - this house, in addition to the bricks, had a chimney and a door and windows. The other day she drew me an elephant with four legs, a little tail, big ears and a long trunk. She's so sweet and affectionate lately, although that's partially because she's really having a hard time with Grant's frequent business trips. Perhaps more so this week, because she's had a cold.

2.) Isaac WROTE WHOLE PARAGRAPHS, creatively, on his own, for pleasure! I was totally floored. He's reading much, much better lately - I don't know if he was just ready, finally, for something to click, or if the software they use at his school is really what he was missing (Reading Plus - it's actually the same thing my college uses to teach ESOL kids English). But I haven't ever seen him write this way, before today. He's allocated his whole journal to be for a short story on one page, and a drawing about it on the other. <3

3.) Jake took a shower. This may not seem like a big deal, since he plays in the rain routinely and the hose sometimes, but he had never done it before and acted as though he were some sort of clean, strutting man afterward for skipping the bathtub. He's also been singing a lot, mostly songs they learned over the summer at GMYS camp, and I eat it up. In a very nonchalant way, because otherwise he would get self conscious and quit.




I interpret an awful lot of things as pros or cons for moving to Maryland. This week, for instance,

Pros:

-Crime rates are way better, there - right after getting our window busted out of the van and our GPS stolen, I was completely ready to just GO
-My kids keep talking wistfully about snow, and trying to even understand the concept of seasons
-Kristin left (in a moving truck headed there) yesterday! I'm going to miss her a lot, and it would be great to have her there waiting for me
-my earth space science teacher devoted 20 minutes to climate change, today, in the most doomsday way possible (MIAMI IS ONLY 10 FEET ABOVE SEA LEVEL, if Greenland melts WE ARE SWIMMING!)
-Grant is really set for a pretty significant promotion if we go, and his boss is pressuring him
-I, as usual, spent way too many hours driving on the highway to get everywhere I regularly go
-we're ready for an adventure!

Cons:

-I went to my old, good friend Kathy's baby shower with Ananda, and it was so fun, and she's having a BABY!! I love her, and her mom, and :/
-we helped my sister move - my sister! And my kids' cousins!
-Gloria and LJ spontaneously dropped in and ended up staying for dinner and a projector movie, Saturday night. Then, Monday afternoon, they watched kids for me while I went to an appointment. Support systems are important!
-I mean I ran into my old high school guidance counselor in Panera the other day and it was SO GREAT that we've got a catch-up date tomorrow.
-Jess is seriously considering moving down here, after all these years!
-Ananda and Aaron went to Miguel's 17th birthday party, which was on a boat with a beach and pool portion, and just generally had a blast and regaled me with stories of their awesome friends the whole ride home that night
-And this past week we've had our first seasonal visits to Knaus Berry Farm AND Santa's Enchanted Forest :/

Ah well. We're probably all going up there by train sometime next month (or maybe January) for the first of a couple of trips that involve "scoping it out."




This happened, and while I see it more as a very small part of something bigger - that something bigger is exciting!

I'm planning a trip to the Portland area, for some time in the coming months, to work with Memo to get the kids' book totally done (he's illustrating), and to get with some people who want to contribute to my PTSD book (narrative nonfiction).




I'm excited about Thanksgiving. So far I've got my Dad, Laura and her kids, Robby and Corey, and Gloria and LJ as confirmed guests. Grant Sr and my Aunt Michelle also have standing invitations (as does Frank, but that's highly unlikely). And, so far I've got the turkey, the potatoes and sweet potatoes, a bunch of cream of mushroom soup and fried onions, a frozen Cheesecake Factory cheesecake, a couple of sacks of cranberries, and a lot of wine and sparkling grape juice. We've also finished the deep cleaning of one measly room, thus far.




Tomorrow will start with Elise to school and an abdominal ultrasound for Isaac (the latest in a series of tests and visits since his hospital stay in September - we're making real progress with him being able to go to the bathroom regularly, and being more comfortable). Then I'll be teaching, hanging out, cleaning, cooking some batch stuff (probably lentil soup with sausage and red beans and rice). Grant will get home from the airport just as I'm taking Aaron to ballet, and meeting with the counselor guy I ran into to catch up - he's so great, he asked about Laura and my friend David and passed on messages for Grant. I don't even understand how he keeps everyone straight after all these years. He's still working at a high school!
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My last couple of days have been extremely hectic and fraught with extremes, albeit in mostly good ways. They've also exemplified the ways in which Grant and I make awesome co-parents and life partners.

Monday (after getting Isaac and Elise up and to school, and waking my other kids with some instructions), I had a meeting with another author and some employees of my publisher, with a Miami Herald photographer, at Books and Books in Coral Gables. Grant was working from home, so I didn't have to feel awful about leaving anyone and going far away. It was interesting - parking was easy, photographer was interesting and we talked at length because one of the people we were waiting for got in a car accident (she's fine). Picture setup was a little cheesy, having "events" is cool - you know.

G picked up Elise while I wolfed down lunch, and then we picked Isaac up together before heading around to do all kinds of financial errands (bank, paying our insurance, this and that). Incidentally, I scored a lovely antique porcelain 18" doll, with fabulous details and red ringlets, for only $15!! This doll has bloomers OVER lace tights, under her layered dress - Elise is going to flip about it, for Christmas... Then we decided to take the kids some treats, and surprise them that we were going to Santa's Enchanted Forest.

It was so good - Elise was enraptured with the cheesy displays and animals there, Ananda was so happy she was actually demonstrative AND LETTING ME FILM HER ANTICS (<--O_O) as she and Aaron gangnam style'd all over the park like fools (often with strangers joining in spontaneously), everything we ate was yummy and Isaac got on stage during a show where they called for volunteers. It was not at all busy, being a weeknight in early November, and the weather was PERFECT. Splitting up and rejoining with subgroups of big and little kids made things really simple.

We skipped last year, and somehow that meant everybody can ride everything now, basically, and nobody's afraid of anything, and we realized we have no idea how to carry everything around a place like that without a double stroller.

Aaaand then we stumbled out to the parking lot, tired and subdued, to find one of our van windows busted out and our GPS and phone chargers stolen. They also scattered my makeup case all over the asphalt. So Grant got all the glass out of/off of the van while I called the police and put a dvd on for the kids.

FYI, the cops told us they're getting multiple calls every night from outside of Santa's because people are breaking into cars there regularly. We got our Saturn broken into AND PEED ON about 8 years ago O_o

Yesterday there was no school, and we let everyone sleep in since filing the police report after Santa's pushed bedtime back really, really late. I went up to my classes while he called around and found someone to fix the window as cheaply as possible, worked and got in line at our polling place for us both. By the time I arrived, he'd been there for over an hour. We got to talk for about 15 minutes before they called us back, and then I dropped him off/picked him up at the glass place with the second car and we went and had free things at Starbucks with our "I Voted" stickers, before coming home and rallying our kids to go help Laura and Frank move. I got her kitchen cabinets' contents into reusable shopping bags and her hangers and things into trash bags while he helped move heavy things and made a food run for everybody.

Their new, rented house (they close on their house's sale tomorrow) is pretty great. It's in a really strict association I could never deal with, with very small lots I wouldn't like, but I can completely see it through their eyes and be psyched for her. The whole place is dominated by this enormous, beautiful dark wood, stainless steel and granite kitchen, and they have crazy upgraded details like hummingbirds and passion vines painted all over their guest bathroom. It's an easy place to feel safe and secure while Frank is on 24 hour shifts and she's there alone with the kids. We all ate a triple load of Pollo Tropical in her new dining room, for dinner, with some of Frank's firefighting friends who were also there.

Then I stayed up half the night alone, excitedly online-interacting with lots of people while the election unfolded, and then slept half the day away after taking Isaac and Elise to school.

So. I suppose I'll go now, and take Aaron and Jake - the former to ballet and the latter to some kind of "Mom and Jake" only date, while Aaron's dancing.
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And since we've been home it's pretty much nonstop hilarity.

"Is there even one thing you can talk about without bringing up Harry Potter?"
-my husband, to me

(kids screaming from the other room, going wild)
Him: Let's get them settled down and in bed.
Me: Oh yeah, it's getting late. I guess we can get them to bed. (more kids screaming) Well, in theory... I mean, we have the right to try.

WHY do I have to PEE SO BADLY while I'm THIS THIRSTY? My body is obviously not using resources efficiently!
-Me, yelling from the bathroom doorway

(we're lounging on the bed trying to decide on a movie)
Me: Remember when you used to pronounce "chipotle" as "chipote-eh" and wouldn't believe me no matter how I tried to tell you that was wack?
Him: Yeah those are the times when I go check something and instead of saying, "Booyah! I knew it!" I just go, "Well, that's not right. It should be my way."
Me: Oh, like the comma going inside the quotation marks?
Him: That's bullshit. I was just writing an email to Kyle about this, asking his opinion.
Me: Uh-huh.
Him: I'm not going to compromise on this issue.
Me: (laughing wildly) Oh, is that so? Who exactly do you think that effects? I mean, well in that case..(rofl)
Him: (also laughing) I'm calling the people at Oxford!




On a totally different note, here are some copied and pasted comments I left in a friend's journal when she was talking about how much she's seeing various friends want "more" than being a stay at home mom, and how it is plenty enough for her (which I totally get/respect):

Now that I am busy and/or out of the house for reasons that have nothing to do with my family at least a couple of times per week, I can honestly say I appreciate the time I have here as precious. Sitting down to have tea with everyone or reading with them in their beds before they go to sleep are so sweet, and so good, and I was not appreciating those things anymore, before I started doing my own things. I really wasn't. That would have been sacrilege to me 7 or 12 years ago, but, it's the truth. I don't enjoy cooking of any sort more than once or twice a week, anymore, and maybe I never will again - but I spent THOUSANDS of days preparing 2-3 elaborate meals per day with small people perched on counters and standing on chairs...I'm ready to move on to a new phase. I don't want that to be my whole life. I adore the simplicity of just having fruit for breakfast and salad for lunch and heating up some fish and beans for dinner. I feel SO LUCKY when Grant and Ananda cook or we can go out somewhere, because really...maybe I'm fickle or maybe it's natural, but I'm not interested or even willing to cook like I used to, anymore. My interests and sources of peace and pleasure have changed with age, experience, etc.

I think I could have stayed home indefinitely with my children for as long as I was continuing to have babies. The restlessness and ache for "more" didn't hit me at all during the decade I was producing children - but once Elise got to be 3ish, I started having major problems and asking all sorts of questions and just generally feeling like a caged animal.

I have no doubt at this point that part of why I stayed pregnant was because I crave a very high level of intensity and engagement and need to be validated that what I'm doing is important regularly. I am not even a little bit good at creating structure out of thin air, and we all really do benefit from SOME outside scheduling, but that was outweighed when I was so distracted, placated, enraptured, frustrated, terrified, and fulfilled by everything that being pregnant or postpartum, and having (attachment parented!) babies and toddlers entails. It made life an unpredictable adventure where everything was ultimately rewarding and worth my enormous efforts, and that's how I want life to feel.

It's really different, at least for me, when the kids can all play outside or amuse themselves drawing and with games unattended with no issue for literally HOURS on a daily basis, and that goes on for months, and you know you aren't having more. Everyone sleeping through the night in their own beds, no need to even own a diaper or to pack a bag to leave the house - they get themselves strapped in without me even needing to check. They brush their own teeth.

I don't know. There is a lot less affection and less frequent expression of appreciation, at the phase I'm at now. There is a lot more sarcasm, body odor, complaining, and obvious judgement/disappointment in me for little everyday things. And it's really, REALLY easy once lessons and chores are done and I know what we're having for dinner, to just realize I've spent 3 hours on facebook or to be laying on the trampoline wondering what I'm doing with my life, AGAIN.

One thing that I don't think you struggle with at all, but has always been a huge deal to me, is that I really viciously loathe cleaning of almost any kind. I have to force myself to do it, and I resent that so much of it falls to me, and I get angry with everyone else in the house whenever I devote more than a cursory effort (because of the extent to which it is an impossible uphill battle). I honestly believe that being ill in the first trimester/huge in the third, debilitated by c-sections, and stuck under a nursling all provided a great relief to me as "excuses" to be super lax about house keeping. I really love that college, homework, writing, and so forth give me excuses, now, and I really want the playing field leveled so that Grant should be doing as much as I should because he isn't the only one going out doing other things. When I'm home and have little to do and the place is a mess, the main thing I want to do is leave asap and stay gone as long as possible. I don't really think this is super admirable; I'm just being very honest. I enjoy decorating and I enjoy being in a clean space, but it's almost impossible to enjoy a decorated and clean space for even a little while, let alone a long one, without CONSTANT nagging and at least hourly attention to details, with my crew. When I devote "enough" energy to forcing my kids to keep everything clean, we're usually all miserable. One of my ultimate fantasies is to have enough money to pay others to clean my house, but a close second is to sit and imagine that one day I won't have to pick up after half a dozen other people anymore ;) But when I had babies - well, it's URGENT to clean then. I had very effective motivation! Babies live on the floor, put everything in their mouths, create tons of extra laundry, and generally inspire a strong nesting instinct. That's gone now! Nobody really suffers if I don't EVER MOP AGAIN.

*shrug*

I also have PTSD now, and had to face weeks physically away from my kids followed by months unable to care for my kids, ultimately resulting in never being able to lift any of my kids again...all that kinda breaks up the paradigm a bit. But, honestly, I think I would have come to some of the same conclusions regardless just by being forced to be "done" and having my finished family evolve - my BABIES, my 4th and 5th, are 5 and 7 years old!!

On some level I think it's funny that I've written you that novela, when I would not even contemplate getting a regular job because I couldn't bear to be out of the house that much :p Still and all, the things I am doing add up to a significant portion of time distracted, unavailable and/or gone, and they are all with the eventual goal in mind of doing things "full time" when the kids are older...




I have a million great pictures from various days/events, that I hope to post tomorrow :)
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So, I'm getting more and more tumblr questions and lj comments and facebook messages about my book, which is really wonderful, but it's also grating on me in this unexpected way...

Maybe because I'm not really used to achieving any kind of personal success unrelated to other people.

Maybe because I wasn't really taught that long term rewards are achievable.

Maybe because I've talked a lot of shit on here for a lot of years about my writing and now THIS is the first thing that's gonna be out there to represent it and this is good writing, in it's way, it really is, I'm proud of it - it's just also insane and not for everyone.

I'm just....thinking about my neighbors, and other PATH moms, and my mother in law and aunts and cousins leafing through it, dance moms and my teachers and it kind of makes me want to hide my head under a pillow until I'm old. I think I would ideally have every single person I will never encounter IRL read it.

You're either in or you're out, right? I'm in.

It's just, somewhere in between answering a bunch of interview questions for my publisher yesterday and seeing the cover pop up on my dash because Bobby reblogged it I was like, alright. I'm not going to throw up. Really I'm not. Lol, geez. It just hit me, You are choosing to publish the contents of your head.

And I wrote this ridiculous bullshit yesterday, spontaneously and like vomiting through the keyboard like all of Twenty Troubled Ladies went for me...and I'm just looking at it, like, really? This is what comes out of your head and through your fingers? THIS? This is the contents of your head...

I'm doing a lot of narrative nonfiction, and working on my children's books, just lately, and have been thinking it's sort of odd that the way time is, and production is, I would always be working on totally different stuff by the time something from years before was getting released (you know, assuming other things get released...)

Except apparently I'm still gonna periodically write totally gritty and psychotic short stories.




I am pretty pleased with this past semester of school now that it's over. It's the worst grades I've gotten so far, but it proved to me that even when the shit hits the fan and school can't be a priority, I can still keep going and make it work. January-April for me was like,

-CPS and cops at my house about Isaac counseling issues (everything resolved and closed quickly and without repercussion, but holy shit), and kicking Bob out and moving bedrooms around, and so many phone calls and forms
-Taking Isaac to Kendall and Hialeah multiple times per week for hours at a time, and twice an entire day, when Grant and I weren't interviewing with someone, or filling out packets, or making my sister fill out packets, for his counseling and his psych eval
-getting rear ended and having whiplash - trips to my insurance place and meeting their inspector and sitting on the phone, trips to the chiro, and CONSTANT PAIN and reduced range of motion, for weeks....(thank God that seems to be over)
-ER trip for my hernia and subsequent surgical consultations triggering the fuck out of my PTSD and putting me into a severe dissociative funk
-Bronchitis so bad I ended up at the hospital for it, and on an inhaler for the first time in my life
-Getting ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION and spending seriously countless hours on the phone and via email with publisher contact going over cover choices, pseudonym merits, story order, dedications, intro, fonts, my bio, their marketing, interview questions and answers, and tracking down my wayward fucking diva artist for permission to use his images, and having ANNE RICE say she'll read and review my book and having a heart attack....
-Aaron's glands swelling to chipmunk proportions and requiring multiple doctor visits and tons of meds
-walking my mother through my grandmother being put in a home and my grandfather going through open heart surgery that went badly, then ok, and now how to navigate them being in this center together and eventually (hopefully?) going home. Which reminds me I need to get the freakin' cards the kids made them in the mail...
-finding out my financial aid was flagged and cancelled and bullshit AGAIN and tediously plowing through bureaucracy AGAIN to be able to pay for school
-getting offered a refinance rather than foreclosure option for our house that we couldn't afford and my husband basically having a nervous breakdown and putting all the finances totally in my hands (as in, he doesn't even wanna know) and pulling us through that, with the help of selling crap, "manifesting" near miraculous things, and a certain Wright Bank family benefactor (that means Shaun).
-Aaron attended 12 weeks of acting classes and was then part of a performance we all went to, Ananda and Elise sold Girl Scout cookies, Jake learned to ride a bike without training wheels, Laura had a baby....
-I even hung out with/caught up with Kathy multiple times, and met up with Jess and Cale for two different cool nights in Miami and some good phone calls, and spent stolen minutes with Kristin at the bike rack and in our kitchens!

I also think Grant and I might have been nearly killed on the beach, and holy shit can I just say that looking at that list right now is making me give my monitor a severe side-eye because WHAT THE FUCK is the matter with the past few months?!

Point being, I did not drop out, or miss too many classes, or withdraw from or fail anything, NOT EVEN ALGEBRA - which I am now done with, forever.

Humanities - A
Computer Crap - B <---That's really what they call it, isn't that crazy?
Spanish - B
Algebra - C

I'm in like Flynn, it's on like Donkey Kong. I'm gonna get the fuck out of this degree. I'm gonna get STRAIGHT As again if my life ever calms down, but if it doesn't, things'll work out.

One thing this semester did teach me, is that it is ludicrous and impossible for me to go to UM's med school and enter the Extremely Rigorous neuroscience program. But, I am mostly ok with that, and it will probably be there when my kids are grown, right?

I also managed to finagle full scholarships for all five kids to go to Greater Miami Youth Symphony day camp; 2 two week sessions of beginner for Isaac, Jake and Elise and 6 weeks of intermediate for Ananda and Aaron. I think A and A are gonna have a really great time this year; there are PATH friends and Girl Scout troop members who will be there with them.




+20, some of which will be repeats if you've been looking at my fb/tumblr )
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ETA: To everyone up in arms about this post: Please be advised that Oliver has free run of our entire house when we're home, is fed a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, is taken outside regularly, gets his wings and nails clipped every couple of months, and gets carried/pet/talked to A LOT. I did not even wet the damned bird, let alone hit him with anything substantial; as I said, I have no aim whatsoever. Also, I didn't really intend to hurt him. Also also, it was (as stated) REALLY OUT OF CHARACTER ON MY PART, not so different from stories I've read of mothers yelling right back at screaming toddlers and then stepping back to go "Whoa" and laugh at themselves as they realize that is obviously out of line. Seriously. Get a grip everybody. We've had him for nearly a year and he is fully feathered and gorgeous, which everyone who knows about cokatoos knows would not be the case if he were unhappy, abused or neglected. I just spent half an hour on the couch petting him under his wings as he nuzzled my neck and was thinking maybe I should clarify for whatever person is actually concerned and not just trying to be an asshole.

Yesterday Oliver, who I am constantly bringing pasta and peanut butter and vegetables and cereal to and taking out into the sunshine, bit the living fuck out of my finger. Oliver is Aaron's cockatoo. The way his previous owners disciplined him was with a spray bottle, and he hates/understands that, so we typically do the same thing (if he's screaming, or tearing up furniture, for instance). Anyway recently the spray bottle was lost, so there I am trying to be nice to him and see if he'd like to come around town with us when he lays into me. There was blood everywhere, running down my hand and dripping on the floor, and my finger was just throbbing. The kids were already out in the van waiting for me so we could take Isaac to counseling and then go to PATH, and I had my bag on my arm.

I grabbed a mug off the bar, and threw the water in it at him, and he was giving me this super aggressive attitude continuing to lunge at me with an open beak. He is really smart and has a major power struggle thing going on sometimes and I felt so irrationally pissed at him, I went and filled the mug up with water again to come back and throw that on him, too. Something in between how he was hissing and snake-striking in my direction and how I have no aim whatsoever was making me so infuriated (combined with my pulse-throbbing hand), I actually went back a third time, filled it up again, came back (dripping blood everywhere) and threw the whole mug at him. As I said, I have no aim, but at least he startled as it shattered on the floor and then I felt satisfied.

If you know me at all, you know this is extremely out of character. I was actually standing there afterward like, "Uh...." and ended up laughing hysterically about the whole situation. Stupid bird.

I'm still finding blood around!




Izzy and Miguel (a couple of Ananda's TLC friends) have organized some kind of "let's go chalk bomb all the sidewalks in this one park on Sunday as an April Fools thing" event, and I have decided to be philanthropic as all get out and offer up my big box of amazing oil based super vibrant chalk to them. I don't really have a sidewalk anymore so they've only come out of my closet like twice in the last 3 years. I'm still having pangs, realizing that I will probably not get anything returned to me once a group of 10 teenagers takes them for an afternoon. I can't really think of a better use, though :)

Other news:

-there are flowers everywhere. I adore it <3

-I'm on antibiotics, an inhaler and some kind of ridiculous narcotic cough medicine, for what turns out to be "acute bronchitis with broncheospasms". Already somewhat improved. Weeks of coughing fits are not hernia-friendly.

-It gets SO OLD navigating the line of keeping Memo working on my stuff but not offending his hyper divo sensibilities. We've always been like this, getting on each others' nerves but it being worth it. Ugh. He lives in this never-ending maelstrom of drama. I'm also starting to hate the line of "you are my illustrator but you're also my friend"....I do love him outside of artistry, after all. We've got a couple of pieces of his in the running to possibly be the cover of my (short stories) book about to come out and he's doing some paintings inspired by it and I love all of that, I love that I can inspire him and he thinks they're so good, but part of me is like WHY DID I SHOW HIM THE PSYCHO SHORT STORIES I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN HE WOULD COMPLETELY LOSE INTEREST IN THE CHILDRENS BOOK...which is what I really want him to work on. Nevermind my tattoo design (that was a whole argument unto itself because I hated what he sent me and he is like ADAMANT that nobody else is tattooing me). I'm layering on a lot of (honest) flattery and offering him cuts and credit but sometimes I think I need to move him into my house and feed him/give him an allowance. Somehow I don't know if that level of proximity would do us any favors.

I absolutely LOVE what he's done, though...love-love. Or else I would have fired him a long time ago :p

-I am reminding myself upteen times a day that it is a miracle that Elise talks, because BOY DOES SHE TALK. The talking does not stop. Ever. She's sitting in a chair next to me right now prattling on and on about how I need to get her more probiotics because she just ran out and wondering where I got her some sunglasses because she can't remember and asking about flavors of ice cream and the lecture she gave Sophie (cat) on not eating people food anymore because it's making her REALLY REALLY FAT. It's really like it confuses or even hurts her, to just hush for a little while because I want to concentrate on something or am talking to somebody else. There are a few repetitive things - like counting down to her birthday and how I love her because she's my little Beastie - that she wants to talk about over and over and over. She also tries to dive in and photo bomb every pic I ever take of the other kids.

Yesterday morning she had something stuck in the bottom of her hair. I'd been wanting to trim it for awhile anyway, so I just cut off the bottom inch but she was like 10 minutes late to preschool as a result. She stomped in ahead of me, threw open the door such that it banged into the wall, and Boomed out over Ms Denise reading to everyone on the carpet, "I'm LATE, because I HAD A HAIRCUT!" before plopping down with them. Ms Karla (the aid) was laughing hysterically and Ms Denise was like, well, she isn't shy anymore 0_o

-Ananda and I have finished all 19 episodes of My So-Called Life

-I want to throw out another whole-hearted endorsement of Kumon workbooks - Aaron and Isaac are both burning through the 3rd grade multiplication and Jake is burning through the 4-5-6 "Rhyming Words and Phrases", and Elise is using Upper and Lower Case letters ones as well as the cutting book.

Spectrum spelling is also better than I would have expected for Annie. Sylvan Learning language arts is really valuable but also tedious for Isaac.

-I'm trying to prioritize and figure out what kind of activities we're doing over the coming months...PATH is offering a 5 week mini-semester of enrichment classes that look great (looking at things like creative writing, ceramics, chess, guitar and biology/life science), and Greater Miami Youth Symphony camps are coming up, and those are the main things on the table. Finances, how I loathe them.

Elise is still talking, to my left. Wondering aloud about how the hat for this doll was made and remarking on how it matches the dress and asking my opinion on "fragile" (porcelain) vs Barbie dolls and what my favorite doll clothes are and GOOD GRIEF MY EYES JUST KEEP GETTING BIGGER AS I ANSWER EACH NEW QUESTION! Sheesh.




I've already decided I'm going to be listed on this book, and any ensuing also-crazy books, under my maiden name. Because I want to write childrens, young adult and nonfiction under my current name. But I'm being very candid and open, obviously, online about being both and so I'm not sure how much value it has. I mean...you can only achieve a certain level of success before this sort of thing is known, anyway, but..whatever.

I've been collecting poetry and trying to get it all in one place. I know poetry is not something anyone could really hope to successfully market, I just like gathering it up and reliving phrases and playing with words. I've always wanted to publish a bunch of poetry on a small scale such that I could donate copies to libraries and used book stores, just leave them around and give them away because I know there are individuals out there who enjoy it, even though it's not at all a commercial thing.

There is a certain level of deeply shameful trauma involved with sifting through old poetry. I started writing it at like, 8, and everything from then through about 15-16 is painfully terrible. Just humiliatingly melodramatic and twee. I mean...*dead*
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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.
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I'm trying to write a synopsis of the book I have coming out, and it's hitting me for the first time just how dark and disturbed it really is. Like...holy shit all that is really about me on some level, it was all coming from where I was at, whoa.

Geez.
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The weather is so beautiful today and yesterday! 60s-70s with tons of wind. This cold front took us totally by surprise. Ananda and I were on a date on Lincoln Rd yesterday, laughing and laughing because there were all these people taken off guard - basically everyone was ducking into places like CVS to just get anything to cover up with because tank tops and flip flops weren't cutting it, and a jacket in that area would be a serious and mostly useless investment. We saw a woman wrapped in a baby blanket, several people with beach towels around them, and a lady using a cheap drugstore American flag.

Also, I cleaned the living daylights out of my long-neglected bedroom this weekend, and am really loving it in here, again :)

Medical Update:
Well, the Hernia Institute said the Homestead Hospital ER docs' theorizing was just that...wild theorizing, of the sort they've never heard before. Losing weight is definitely in order. Blah blah blah. Eating well and not too much is feeling a lot easier to me than it ever has before, so that's good, and Vegan is coming (almost) naturally. I had a sort of awful debacle with trying to wear binders as recommended to hold the hernia in, and dude, that is really not doable for me. Just...ugh. The way my back arches/butt goes out/whatever causes them to push in and bunch at the spot on my spine that is really triggering and basically within 5 minutes in either of two kinds I tried, I felt like an insane person. Grant said I looked like a deer in the headlights. Geez! I mean I've been going around with no binder for 4+ years now, if I can lose weight and have surgery in the next few months, screw the binders. Incidentally, this is the first time in that 4+ years that I have been eager for the surgery. I was actually disappointed when they didn't take me back to the OR from the ER. I was there with an IV, laying on the slidy board part of the CT scan machine, looking up at the fake sky and trees scene on the ceiling that I have seen several times before, thinking, ok. I can give myself to this. I surrender. Can we please just get it over with?

AAAAaaaand, I got hit-and-run rear ended on the highway a week and a half ago and have been suffering whiplash. It's driving me nuts. I think it's actually what sent me to the ER, because the headaches and neck stiffness cause nausea and the other side effects - like sleepiness, irritability - make me feel "off" and nausea and feeling off both make me think something is wrong with the thing they would usually indicate is wrong (hernia). Looking to the left or up repetitively causes intense, sharp headaches (so like browsing the grocery store, checking my blind spot on long drives or taking notes off a classroom board, for instance), and my neck itself gradually stiffens through the course of each day. I'm taking ibuprofen intermittently, arnica that I suspect does nothing, seeing a chiropractor and having wine more often. I really hope this is whiplash of the "3 months" variety and not the "chronic pain and residual issues" sort. It's also making me crazily lethargic at times, which is apparently to be expected? What? I've been taking more naps and going to bed early more often, and trying not to feel guilty for either in spite of having SO MUCH TO DO. Grant took two days off last week because of all this. We also spent...uh (calculating)...almost $500 on all of it. Don't get me started on "how we'll pay for the surgery" (we are insured, but it's crappy insurance).

I have moments when I feel really hopeless and helpless about how this is the only body I get and it's kind of falling apart, here.




Moving Update:
We talk about moving a lot. We've started the process of "Getting to know Ft Lauderdale" in an effort to better understand real estate listings. Basically we've got Pros:

-Grant would no longer have to drive TWO HOURS EACH WAY EVERY DAY (or drive an hour and take the train an hour) to work. This is the mother of all other pros, like
*Grant's happiness and quality of life
*seeing my husband
*kids with their awesome dad
*putting an end to the time/money/happiness sucking insanity of accidents, tickets, traffic court, maintenance and so on that has consumed so much of our lives for the last 6 months he's had this job
*no longer spending about $800 per month on gas O_O
-but there is also how Ft Lauderdale is a more diverse, prettier place with way more to do and far better walkability (and bike/public transit-ability), great beaches right there, an ART DISTRICT, and so on
-and if he loses or hates this job, there are other jobs UP THERE, near where we'd be living
-our electric bill would also presumably go down a lot - we're currently part of a small nook still served by the antiquated City of Homestead power plant, which is ludicrously expensive compared to FPL (where most of the state gets power). I've gotten bills over $600 in the summer months more than once. $450 is about a median "any time of year" bill for this neighborhood.

And maybe our van would commence with lasting a few more years as it should rather than being driven into the ground as it currently is. Because we are not really looking to add payments.

It seems from my e-search that property crime is somewhat higher in Ft Lauderdale than here, but violent crime is significantly lower, so hey. There is a wildly awesome nature center there that I've looked at longingly online more than once, that offers FREE classes and camps.

We've been hesitating a lot to even consider it because we have very bad credit and so it would be really hard to own a home again, and I am not eager to (try to) rent with a bunch of kids and pets and the ability to be kicked out so easily - eviction is way more immediate and scary than foreclosure, there is a security bubble in owning your own place (in addition to the freedom to have a turquoise bedroom and a coop full of chickens). It seemed silly to move for a brand new job with a small company just starting out that might not even last, but signs increasingly point to him staying there and getting promoted.

Now that we are considering it, there are also the Cons:

-not living in the same city with my sister anymore (we do a lot of spontaneous getting together that would not be possible anymore), when she has a BRAND NEW BABY even :/
-losing Homestead, which encompasses a whole bunch of stuff like
*walking a few blocks to Elise's preschool, which is adjacent to the charter school I know enough about to trust and have applied at for my three youngest, and where her teacher is a neighbor we see when we go in the front yard
*my college and the gynecologist I really like being a 5 minute bike ride from where I live
*free music lessons/loaned instruments with great teachers a mile away
*"cultural" stuff like Knaus opening every fall, lychee season around the corner, going to Royal Palm Grille (the weirdest oldest diner ever) to eat and see basically everyone we've ever known, my kids being in the same parades I've been going to see my whole life
*"people" stuff like my friend Kristin being a fixture in our lives and Theresa, the lady who does my kids' evaluations every year and lives right over there
*"nostalgia" stuff like just living in this neighborhood I've lived in forever - I already did the coming of age move away/come back thing :p
-OUR HOUSE because, wut, I LOVE this house.... It's so perfect for us - this is really a bit gut wrenching for me at times. Other times I think, well, we probably wouldn't stay here FOREVER regardless, but I really seem to be getting the impression that we'd be taking steps down in one if not many ways, when we move :/ Ft Lauderdale seems to have somewhat smaller average square footage and WAY smaller average yards, as well as bigger price hikes for things we take for granted (roman tubs in double vanity bathrooms and enormous kitchens, for instance)

I sort of assume we would continue to drive south for certain things that we now drive north for - like Ananda and Aaron's established group of (awesome) friends, and Isaac's counseling.

From the first mention, Ananda and Isaac have wanted to move. Aaron went from not wanting to, to wanting to once we spent some time on Las Olas Blvd and the beach, up there (Annie went from wanting to, to REALLY WANTING TO once she saw that they have baby sea turtle season with lots of viewing opportunities). Jake is the hold out that desperately doesn't want to go. Elise doesn't seem to care.

I alternate between spending time browsing real estate and thinking it's really exciting to this sense of despair that there MUST be a JOB SOMEWHERE in HOMESTEAD for him.




School Update:

Homeschool - we just ordered about $200 in new materials everyone was ready for even though we're sort of in the middle of the school year. My main "problem areas" right now are getting Ananda's spelling and grammar where they should be, getting Aaron to do more work each day, getting Isaac to really take off reading (rather than this low confidence, lazy thing he's doing now) and getting Elise to write letters. Other than those particulars, I think everyone is doing great. Some of my favorites of the educational conversations we've had recently have been about the Republican primaries, voting fraud, genres of literature and satire. My favorite new thing from the past few months is probably the website readingeggs.com, which my younger ones all love and there are many available free coupons for on retailmenot.com If we stay here and they get in, I am strongly considering putting Isaac, Jake and Elise in the charter school down the street next year. I'm really happy with either choice for them in different ways. Ananda is looking towards being ready for dual enrollment by the time that is possible for her.

College - I only need 6 more classes after this semester to have my AA, which I'm really happy with considering I just started last summer. I've fallen behind in a lot of ways recently, between Isaac's issues and mine..this has definitely been my slackest semester so far :/ Understandable but still needing change...I'm not past the point of being able to catch up, I just have to buckle down and do it. I have a dangerous amount of flexibility, between taking two of these classes online and having another only once a week (with holidays making it more like three times a month). My fourth class I have twice a week but with the spaciest, craziest, most wackadoodle teacher ever, so I can basically come and go as I want - and she ONLY grades tests, so the rest of the time we're learning or studying. Theoretically. *sigh*




FINALLY - the important part of the entry!

This is the best song to blare through your open windows as your drive over intercoastal waterways, this week:


And this is the current reigning champion of candlelit bubble baths:





I'm still waiting on the finalized contract for my book, but it's been thoroughly negotiated and talked through, so. Presumably, I'll be getting it, printing it, signing it, scanning it and sending it back posthaste.

I'm continuously blown away by how well Grant and I work together...we went out Friday night and ate, and just had a great time. Last weekend we were making out everywhere and bowling and I just am so HAPPY when I'm around him. I feel guilty sometimes lately for being a medical burden or a whiny baby, and frustrated that we see each other way less than I'd like. Also sometimes worried he's going to die on the highway (especially when I am in a vehicle he's piloting, because, well, that can be scary...) Mostly I'm grateful. I wait for his train outside of the van (or wait for his van out on the porch) so we can hug and kiss and I can grab his butt and feel him all warm and smell him, and it's the best part of my day.

Sometime soon - most likely very soon, since I should be doing schoolwork - I'll be posting many pictures.
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ETA: I fixed the html so the entry actually appears under the cut now. Sorry about that.

An entry I wrote most of Thursday before last and then let go... )




I'm up and down.

-my sister's seeming so close to having her baby

-Nancy is in town and we're going to visit today

-still eating vegan, excercising more - still at (at least) 6.5 pounds lost.

-A small press publisher wants my short stories and is putting together an offer for me.

-I sat around working on my IEP and I'll have my AA by the end of the year.

-Isaac LOVED his evaluation, continues to love counseling and having his own room too...

-In place of my normal PMS I had a crazy intense PMDD type 3 day misery-fest. After research I think this could be because I've been vegan and not supplementing correctly, because B6 is being used for treatment of PMDD and my symptoms went away almost immediately when I started taking lots of B vitamins. I guess it may have just been B12 deficiency misery? In general I've felt much better than usual these past 3+ weeks. It was very, very bad those 3 days, though, I truly felt mentally ill and a bit out of control :/

-a million other things. I'll do a real update soon.

I really really love Spandy Andy and have had this absolute bullshit song by VAMPIRE WEEKEND called "Oxford Comma" caught in my head all week.

I am desperately sick of being in our van and my favorite times are the ones spent in my bed snuggling with one or more of these lovely people I share a home with.
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So, this week has been kind of a bust. Or not, depending on how you look at it. I can look back and name off the meals I cooked and the things I cleaned and the time I spent with Aaron or reading to the little kids, or the hours and hours and hours sleeping in and laying around with my illnesses. I read a book and two epic length fanfiction stories and took a great bath and wrote poetry for the first time in a year or more. I feel decidedly crusty - nose, eyes, throat, eww.

I'm thinking about New Years Resolutions. I made a LOT of them last year, and I think i did pretty well with them. I mean I had a fucking ton of really drastic resolutions and reiterated many times that it would be "my year", and I have to say that while I didn't do everything I wanted and see more to improve on...I am no longer the creature I was this time last year, hiding inside of myself. Keeping huge secrets from my husband in an increasingly unhappy marriage, wondering what I was supposed to be DOING with myself all the long hours of everyday, feeling hopeless and helpless. Uh-uh. Big shit for me, after 3.5 years spent just trying to hang on and survive following 2007.

2011 Resolutions:

-to be totally honest with Grant and fix this shit even if we kill it in the effort

I was definitely totally honest. About how woefully unsatisfied I was and trapped I felt and the massive doubts that were obsessing me. Through the help of objective friends, counseling on both of our parts, and hitting rock bottom, as it were (I think that was the day he spent sobbing and screaming while I took the kids to a party feeling like I wanted to die), we came to some huge conclusions. He realized he's got a major problem with codependency and we both realized what that actually is. He read books about it, joined web forums, started going to meetings. This was massive. Grant hadn't ever done any "work" on or for himself. He had to accept that it might be for himself because we might not pull through it. We started having fun, realizing our youngest kid is definitely old enough to be left for a few hours every week - doing stuff we've never ever done for no damned reason but that we hadn't, like taking baths together and going to the beach at night and walking around Miami on Saturday evenings and blaring music together blasting over causeways. I think I freaked him out a bunch of times telling him fantasies and wants I hadn't ever felt like there was any point saying to him, things I didn't feel like he could deal with, let alone relate to - I had this whole GIANT ENORMOUS ALWAYS ON MY MIND secret part of myself that I was just keeping for myself, like as though I was going to get a chance to utilize it with somebody else one day or something? Subconsciously though. And we broke through a ton of it and spent a ridiculous amount of money at the sex store and he actually found some independent desire and motivation to get it on that was really amazing for me. Is really amazing for me. He also realized he has dietary intolerances that were making him grumpy and tired all the time, and fixing that...there is really no way to explain it. It's like the best of Grant I ever got, is Grant all the time without corn O_o We thought it was sugar, like, forever, but I think retrospectively that's just because corn syrup=sugar so often. And that explains why going off "refined" sugars always made such an obvious, positive difference to him. I had to fess up a lot too, that I had tons of energy and passion that I just had to find my own way to channel and address because it isn't his job to regulate my moods all the time, and that shouldn't be threatening for him. I needed/wanted a social life outside of our family, and to do things for my own sense of identity (like school, and writing, and even silly things like tumblr). He had (sometimes has) this idea that if I'm having a bad day, he's failing or sucks, and it drives us both nuts. Suffice to say...Grant has always been a good friend to me, a great support system and provider and a kickass Dad for our kids. He's always been an ideal partner in times of crisis, which we've had aplenty. But the last 6-8 months of our relationship have without question been the best time we've ever had, personal relationship-wise. I was so desperately hopeless once we settled into no more babies, no more emergencies life and I felt completely unengaged and stifled as a woman...this is badass. We still stumble, both of us, in different ways, but overall I can't believe how this has all turned out vs where we were a year ago.

-to actually make birth control happen and stop courting fate
I sucked it up and got the copper IUD. Which was surprisingly empowering and also required jumping through an awful lot of hoops (multiple exams, around $700 all told for the device and insertion which I really had to go against Grant on, financially, an ultrasound a month in when my strings had dissapeared, a hellaciously painful first period). I really love it and feel very good about it at this point. I keep meaning to post an update - my bleeding is not changed at all from what it was, I haven't had increased pain since that first month, no spotting mid cycle. It's really like it's not there. I forget about it for weeks at a time.

-to step outside my own box and do things and live my freaking life
I don't know how to explain the level to which I spent 2008, 09 and 10 and sitting around in the house, talking about how one day I'd do something, hoping I wouldn't suddenly die everytime I got a little bloated. I mean. Damn. I guess I also spent a lot of time driving the van, taking kids to activities and hoping I wouldn't die. But I definitely didn't talk to people much anymore, and just. Ugh. Aaron and I going to NYC was sort of my first taste of "WTF have I been DOING? I didn't ACTUALLY DIE IN THE ICU, gah!!" Anyway, I think I did pretty well. I went out in the evening with Kristin alone, up into the city, multiple times. I had Jess here for a week and we went out and got my nose pierced. I took walks and lunch dates just Gloria and I, and met Dana for coffee. I talked to David and Memo on the phone and Heather online again, and texted the heck out of Sara and Robby at different points. I got closer to Cybele and Karen at PATH to where they're actual real friends and not just moms I talk to at meetings. I got past this weird irrational alcohol stigma I've had my entire life from my weird childhood and discovered drinking (at 29...I swear).

-to establish real social lives for my kids
Most definitely. Every one of them has real, good friends now that they see regularly, and A and A have the kind of fun and adventures up the road that make me kind of jealous remembering being their age. We got to TLC and PATH every week now, too, in addition to Elise being in preschool.

-go back to college
This is my most measurable success, I guess. Or obvious or whatever - I think the real biggest is Grant and I. But this is still big! I spent months and literally dozens of visits to advisement, financial aid, the bursar, and registration at two campuses, filled out tons of paperwork, gathered documents, filed appeals, and generally bent over backwards and got all my financial aid in place and schedule set up for summer. Still more logistics and bureaucracy for fall. But yeah between having something for me, being challenged with deadlines, having structure, talking to other students, it's been a really positive thing. We've also gotten refund money that's been helpful for us. And I'm off academic probation now, and about halfway done with my AA :)

-finish, edit and publish my short stories, and edit, get illustrations for and publish my children's book
This is about a half success. I did a lot of stuff I might not have without the goal in place. I finished the short stories (which feels very good to me...there are 20 of them, written over 3 years), solicited great editors who did a lot of helpful work for me, got an illustrator working on the kids' book who has done a bunch of good sketches and a couple of real drawings, and did TONS and tons of research on agents, self publishing, the changing industry, book length limitations, genres, etc. My artist flaked out in a "beyond my control" sort of way due to his life circumstances and that pushed his dates back by a whole lot, and I haven't actually finished making the changes on the short stories - this is what fell by the wayside once I was back in school. But I still feel like it moved forward in exciting ways and is all much closer to fruition now as a result. It's real, all but done and I know what to do next.

-lose weight
I had a plan for this. ETL one month, off the next. I thought I had it all worked out, like I'd be off October (Grant's, Jake's and my birthday, potential trip to New Orleans, Halloween candy) and December (Christmas season). I planned to "cheat" only for Thanksgiving day. And I was on ETL faithfully MOST of January, and lost 13 pounds. Then I started doing some horseshit like I do, like well ok I'll eat whatever I want this weekend and then go back on, but be on for SIX WEEKS rather than just a month, to make up for it. But then at the end of the weekend I'm like, well, maybe I should just do 3 weeks on (like I had already accomplished), 3 weeks off (which would be immediately advantageous). Except then when the 3 weeks off was over, I was like hey why don't I try Weight Watchers instead just as a trial and see if it works as good or better? There's an iPhone app! And it didn't. And I gave up. And I was so emotional about how many times I've failed at this and how I just keep gaining gradually year by year and how I'm gonna be either in emergency surgery for my hernia or a 400 pound diabetic with black feet like my Ma, that I was like, Ok. I can't even think about this anymore. It's seriously driving me insane. I'm going to cry and have a nervous breakdown if I think about losing weight anymore. So I didn't. I ate whatever the fuck I wanted for the rest of the year. I got pissed when I would note that, say, when I started sleeping at night again (part of Grant and I's relationship improvement plan) and not eating at night anymore for the first time in my LIFE, it made no difference. Or that when school and preschool started and I had to walk and ride my bike miles regularly, it made no difference. Au Contraire, I've gained back the 13 pound loss plus an extra 20. Or so. I just got on the scale this morning for the first time in 2 weeks and I'm up another 5. AWESOME. I talked to my gynecologist about testing my thyroid when I was getting the IUD since thyroid troubles run up the same side of my family the weight comes from, but since I was getting ready to be on Grant's new job's insurance plan we decided to wait so that it wouldn't be a pre-existing thing and we could potentially get it for free. I don't have other thyroid symptoms anymore, though. I'm just fatter all the damn time. And, I didn't talk about it here because it was too painful and awful, but I was in counseling a few months ago - a low cost study program thing the UM psych dept does, I wrote about that at first - video cameras and supervisors and things, remember? Well. After a couple of sessions the guy called me and told me I have a serious eating disorder that's beyond their ability to treat so he couldn't see me anymore. They gave me a name and number to some place I never called and I freaked out and just kind of dropped that whole experience down the well, so to speak. Filed it somewhere way back in the back of my mind to hopefully never think about again, basically. I just...fuck, you know? So clearly this is something I NEED to tackle, but I really don't even know where to begin. If I think about giving up just about anything I regularly eat or drink I just immediately feel like crying and like it isn't worth it because life wouldn't be worth living anymore if I couldn't drink coffee or couldn't stay up late snacking on bullshit with Grant on the weekends or couldn't have alcohol a couple of times a month or whatever the hell. I NEED a steak when I'm on my period, blah blah blah. *sigh* My sister is apparently really concerned about how much I've gained and talked to my mother about it and UGH. Ugh ugh ugh.


So, yeah. Lots of huge success, some partial success, and some mega fail. I'm trying to map out what I want to do with this coming year, now.
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Yesterday I went to my gyn for my IUD string check and she couldn't find it, so today I'm going in for an ultrasound to make sure it is indeed still in there. Apparently during heavy bleeding it's not unheard of to lose one in the toilet and not know? I feel like I would know. And I don't want to pay $70 for an ultrasound at the diagnostic center when I just payed $25 for the string check yesterday, and it BETTER be in there because the stupid thing itself was $400 less than 2 months ago.

We discussed the possibility of checking my thyroid but decided to hold off until Grant has insurance through the new job. Because of my incessant bitching about my weight gain, I'm sure, she quietly slipped me a sheet on my way out with info on all the local Weight Watchers groups, Overeaters Anonymous and a dietician. She is a good doctor and I might persue something. *sigh*

I also got a nice letter yesterday. Like, in the mail.

And, went to my first cheapo counseling appt at UM's psych clinic. It was definitely something. A student conducts your session on camera and then goes over the tapes with their supervising clinician as part of their training o_O The guy seemed really awkward and new to this, and it is definitely a first for me to be in counseling with someone YOUNGER THAN I AM (wut). But...he warmed up and I like participating in this program. It's really interesting to imagine I could be on his end of it in a few years. And, I left feeling good.

AND

-went out for pizza as a family
-long walk "suited up" in sneakers
-nursed/cuddled Elise, hugged everyone
-oversaw chores
-read to children
-etc

AND finished Ananda's hair. We bleached strips of it day before yesterday, and colored them last night. She is thrilled with how it came out.




modeled here with her "pachyderm pajamas"

It's a weird day, I feel really unproductive even though all those things sound like so much. I'm still feeling kind of sick and blah, and I slept in really late today feeling sick in bed, and it's very gray and raining out and dim inside. Grant is using up his PTO (paid time off) at the old job before he leaves so he's here, too, just basically playing computer games with the kids crowded around his chair complaining about how bored they are. I managed to kick the burdgeoning ear infection last week with a twice-daily regimen of emergen-c to wash down a handful of echinacea, probiotics, raw garlic cut into chunks and anti-inflammatories. I'm back on that routine again now to try to fend off this crap everyone (Laura's family, PATH, Kristin's kids) seems to be passing around (sore throat, sore joints, cough, intermittent misery). Ugh. All I want lately is fruits and vegetables (and coffee and alcohol, haha). Yesterday I ate a piece of bruschetta with tomato PILED on, a slice of triple mushroom pizza, a massive salad (spring mix, peas, tomatoes, mushrooms, seeds, almond slivers, craisins, kalamata olives and bits of chicken), a mango, and I had a caramel macchiato.

G and I watched Black Swan really late last night. It was stunning cinematography, truly freaky in spots, amazing acting, and...overall sort of pointless in a way that made us look at each other and roll our eyes as the credits started.

AND THEN!! My sleepy, up-too-late self scratched somewhere and caught a glimpse of my suddenly bloody looking fingers and had a split second freakout before I realized I'm just stained from Annie's hair dye and lol'd.

Ok, so...the kids are done with their chores. I guess I'm gonna make us all salads again and go to this ultrasound with homework in tow because they said to anticipate a 40 minute wait. English tonight.

I am REALLY excited about my own non-school writing. Things are so much closer and more real than they've been before!

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