Friday, May 31, 2013

The score

The current score:
Daschund - 3
Opossum - 0

Yes, they got another one. This hapless creature was found stiff as a board this morning when I let out the dogs. It explains why they were so crazed last night. Let us recap; first opossum was about a year ago, lived through one incident and played opossum convincingly. Was later found murdered. Second opossum was found inside one of the bags of soil I'd left out back and unceremoniously tossed out with the trash. I didn't take the time to discover whether it was alive or not. Third opossum this morning, murdered by the dogs last night and disposed of this morning.

My tiny yard is now the killing fields.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Weekend Wrap Up

Due to the extended weekend in the US, I am publishing a combo Tuesday Post.

Let's begin with Thursday - my weekend, I decide when and how to start.
I posted on Wednesday night about the funeral I was planning on attending on Thursday. I gave The Boys the option of attending or not. They both chose to go and support their friends. There were five times more people than the old church could hold and people were rotated in and out to allow visitation and final good byes. The Oldest wanted to go in with me and see the body. I do not look at dead bodies. I know the souls of these people are no longer inhabiting the bodies, so I do not feel the need to address the shell. Also I was too young when I attended my first funeral and seeing a dead body was not what I should have done. As it was, when The Oldest and I walked in was at the same time the widow was saying her final goodbye before they closed the casket. Heart wrenching. I barely kept my shit together. Seeing the 6th grade girls surrounding their friend in support broke my heart. No child should have to go through this. Of the children supporting, one lost her mother a year ago under weird circumstances. I hope the two of them are able to process and come out the other side healed. The Oldest hugged his friends and we left. One of my dear friends and an inspiration to me was coming back in and looked like she hadn't slept in a week (she probably hadn't). I had a few words with her and left teary eyed. Same night was open house at The Youngest's school. That put us home after 8pm and The Oldest spent until 10:30 completing his homework.

Friday - Morning after late night homework was stressful, and full of meltdowns. Let me just say that a 12 year old who is over 5'6" and weighs more than 150 pounds is not a fun prospect when meltdowns happen. Worked in the morning getting caught up on work stuff. In the afternoon I was in the classroom working on Father's Day gifts with the 4th and 5th graders. Went grocery shopping and finished most of the laundry in preparation for The Youngest having a friend over for a swim party on Saturday. My second time at a new organic market and the prices are too high. There is another, closer market that has much of the same items at a fraction of the cost. I'd written off the first shopping trip to purchasing stuff I didn't buy every week, but this week was the usual, and twice what I pay at the other market. Did pick up some gluten free pizza crusts which we tried for dinner. The boys determined the crust baked on the pizza stone was superior to the one on a cookie sheet - I couldn't tell the difference... I made sangria and jello shots in preparation for the swim party.

Saturday - It was pretty chilly when we woke up and the wind had already started, so the swimming was cancelled in favor of just hanging out and playing. The morning was cleaning bathrooms and finishing laundry while The Boys cleaned their room and fought over minecraft, which was subsequently taken away. Felt like I was completing stuff and things were neater and more tidy than they have been in a while. The Youngest's friend came over and they played and laughed and giggled and annoyed The Oldest who in turn was following them around making kissy noises, as the friend is a girl. In fact, The Youngest has stated he want a pool party with the 4th grade girls this summer - not the boys, just the girls. I raised my eyebrows, but said ok. I suspect the fathers of the 4th grade girls may have a differing comfort level. Quiet night at home - The Boys watched a movie while I read.

Sunday - Took Simon to the dog park after breakfast and let him run around for a while. Did some dishes and got ready for Sis' birthday dinner at my folks'. Had to practically bribe The Boys into showering beforehand. Dinner was fun with The Nephews making my laugh, which I seriously needed after mediating my parents' increasingly hostile interactions. Having sangria and jello shots helped too.

Monday - planned on attending the art & wind festival with a friend, but by the time we got moving it was starting to rain. Rented movies, snacked in front of the fire and drank hot buttered rums. It was perfect, and she cooked me dinner too! Having woken up with a sore throat, and thinking it allergies - it only got worse over the course of the day. Had to leave before the ending of the final movie because The Ex didn't bother to tell me when he was bringing The Boys back, and sent text from in front of my house.

No pics this weekend. Hoping I'm not actually sick. My nose is running like a faucet and simultaneously draining down my throat. Not sure how I'll be able to sleep like this. Worth a shot I suppose.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Hug and love those around you while you can

Today I will be attending a funeral. This is going to be a difficult one for me. The person we are remembering was a 41 year old husband, father and grandfather. He had many demons to battle, and was unsuccessful in beating them back, or keeping the darkness at bay. He committed suicide a week ago. He left a note. I do not know what the note had to say that his final action did not. His family and mine have been intertwined through friendships and shared hardships. Everyone is sad. I am sure it hasn't completely hit everyone yet. I can only hope and hold in my heart healing for the entire family.

What I ask is that you send good vibes, love, healing, prayers, or any other positive intention for the healing of this family. I love you B's.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tableau Tuesday, nearly Wednesday

For some of you reading, it may indeed be Wednesday. Never fear though late, this is what I'd planned to post for today:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

All photos taken last Friday while visiting Sacramento. Enjoy your week!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sometime Monday Weekend Wrap Up

The weekend was a blur of activity. All enjoyable, and exhausting.

Friday - spent the entire day (11 hours) on a field trip with The Youngest to our state Capitol. We began our journey at 7:10 am headed to school. I dropped off 4 students and one teacher at the train station with the rest of the class, and drove the 90 more minutes to the Railroad Museum. Following our tour, we piled in cars and headed to the Capitol where we wandered the senate and assembly galleries. We had lunch prior to our time in Sutter Fort, and ended our day at the Indian Museum and a 2+ hour drive back in traffic. Home at 6:10 pm. The kids love this trip, and frankly I do as well, but all 4 places in one day made me so tired.

Saturday - slept in. Started laundry. Grocery shopped. Took the puppy to the dog park. Chilled at home until we took off at 4:30 for the A's game. The Boys had a blast. Except for 3 innings in line for 3 different foods, so did I. There was a Star Trek themed fireworks show after the game, putting us home after 11.

Sunday - more laundry. Cleaning too. Got The Boys showered and dressed in time for a friend's birthday party where they had fun, and I drank Proseco. This is one of their friends from school (the multi-age program) and she had a fairy princess 7th birthday party theme, which was very cool, but I wasn't sure the 12 and 10 year old boys would want to go. They did, and had a blast. The moms of the other little girls want to hire the 12 year old to come over and entertain at their kid parties. He does enjoy getting everyone dressed up in costume and putting on plays. He knows some magic, and would do really well at it. Thoughts for college fund building! The X picked them up and I stayed and visited until around 9. Came home, played with the dogs and went to bed.

O.K., so it didn't take as long to type as I thought, but it seemed like way more activity than it took to write.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wild Wednesday - reflections of Mother's Day

On Sunday people gathered across the US to celebrate, remember, and even denounce their mothers. Because I did not have The Boys all weekend, I had some time to reflect on Mothers, Motherhood, and the impacts of all women on a child.

Of course my own mom and I have our issues. I think that is the nature of mother/daughter relationships. When I think back to my childhood, and the influential women during that time, I think of my mother first, my sister second - throughout our shared childhood we were at odds, but now we are happily friends and advisers. She is the reason I wanted to and ultimately did have The Boys. Outside of the two, there are a handful of women I would like to acknowledge:

Aunt Trina - My dad's sister, younger by several years and someone I admired while growing up. She ALWAYS took us to Loard's Ice Cream in her Datsun B210. She went to college. She travelled Europe and started my love of The Little Prince, Babar, and Orangina. She was so worldly, but always had time for me. Today, Trina is a widow and a Neo-Con, so we do not see eye to eye on most issues. As far as I am aware, she is still prop choice, however and I can appreciate that. She has two dogs and god knows how many cats. Her late husband was a dog person, and those dogs survived, and may in fact be the last dogs she ever has. She and I share the cat lady label, though I have been better able to handle just one cat. I am considering a road trip with her this summer, which could be interesting.

Lori - A very vibrant and flamboyant Italian who introduced me to cooking with garlic, and that being myself was just fine with the world. I cannot emphasize enough how important this one thing was for a kid who felt completely out of place in her own family. She also lived her life exactly her way, sleeping until noon and staying up late, had a mildly erotic limerick framed in the living room, and let everyone know that she expected sex on a daily basis. She bought my sister and I a new Christmas ornament every year, a tradition I continue with my own kids. Lori recently had brain surgery due to early symptoms of dementia, but was really a physical issue - she is nearly back to her old fun self, with the infectious and LOUD laugh. I simply cannot wait to have lunch with her.

The women of my street - Judy, Joey, Gail and Yvonne - These were the parents on my street growing up and showed me that everyone raises everyone's kids. It was a cooperative effort on my street with all of these women mothering all of the kids at various times of day or night. I have had to answer to them just as I would my own mother. They have informed how I interact with the children in my own life who I did not birth, nor live with.

I hope you all were able to celebrate in some meaningful way the mothers in your life.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Morning Music and Weekend Wrap Up

My weekend started with this on my brain:
And ended with this on my brain:

How did I get from Macklemore to Pavarotti? Let's see.

Thursday - The Oldest had a school friend over to work on a project and they requested Thrift Shop on the way home from school. I missed going to the Farmer's Market though.

Friday - Actually kicked complete ass and caught completely up with work. Had an AC guy come out and fix the AC - it was a blown fuse. Worked in the classroom, but really just kind of hung out and did some minor supervision while my co-teacher took the kids through their self portraits. Added to the fair board, and came home. The Boys were with their father this weekend, so I just hung at home, doing laundry, and cleaning the house.

Saturday - Woke up early to the cat biting my face because she was out of food. Tried to write a grocery list, but was completely uninspired given the new dietary constraints. Gave that up and took the dogs to the dog park where Augie spent the entire time either on my lap, or a short lead, and Simon had a complete blast. The reason Augie was constrained is that he is a complete jerk to other dogs, trying to attack them. He did that the last time I took him to the park, and same thing this time. I will continue to expose him to crowds of dogs (in a limited manner), until he reaches a point where he will be mellow. Part of the problem (or maybe the entire problem) seems to be his lack of other dog socialization as a puppy. He adored Duke, he likes my folks' dog, and really loved the puppies, but any others? not so much.
I had a nice visit with my Bestie, and grocery shopped. The boys were home around 8. The temperature hovered in the low 90's all day, the dogs slept most of that and once it cooled down, I decided to bake. Granola and a cauliflower pizza crust had me in bed at 1am.

Sunday - My kids woke me up at 8 with my present and card, and I asked them if I could go back to sleep. I got out of bed at 10:30 and kicked off the late morning with iced coffee as it was already 85 out. A cup of yogurt and granola rounded out my breakfast. I spent some time outside reading, and it was so relaxing. I made some fruit salad, took a shower, packed up the car, with the dogs and headed to my folks for supper. It was pretty mellow, except for Augie attacking my Sister's dog more than a few times. So he had to spend more time in my lap. Simon was running interference between the two the rest of the time. We came home and chilled out the rest of the night. My mom was especially emotional, crying over the church having played Ave Maria, which was also played at her mother's funeral. She requested we not play it at hers. She also cried during grace, and was particularly weepy the entire afternoon / evening. I think she was missing her mom.

And that's how my weekend went from kick ass rhymes to somber Latin.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Hug and love those around you while you can

This week has been yet another in a series of stress filled and challenging weeks for me personally. Yesterday I came to the realization that I choose to let this stress me out. I choose to be angry and sad about the situations I am in. I can choose a different way. I can choose to let these events and negativity wash over me. I can choose to let go. I can choose to let the crazy keep walking and not engage. I can choose to respond with kindness, instead of holding in the anger. I do not even have to bite my tongue, I just have to choose differently. I can choose to treat myself, my body, my psyche well, to love who I am, to accept who I am, and not hide any longer. Deep breathing and the love of friends helps. Having something to look forward to helps even more. Plans are being set for my life, and I am an active participant in that process. I will not derail my own life for anyone, or any situation. My life, my decisions, my rules. Don't like it? Fuck off.

Namaste Mother Fuckers

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tableau Tuesday 5/7/2013

Only a few pics since last week:

Taken of the art project - a board that will be displayed at the County Fair later this summer:

The arbor I built on Sunday:

The beehive across from me:

A pic from Granny's 90th:

Have a good week everyone!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Maudlin thoughts going into the weekend.

Friday - Spent most of the day out of the house. District meeting, PFC meeting and teaching art - picture of the art project tomorrow. The day was HOT for early May, in the 90's and I was outside all afternoon. Spent time texting with The Dude about The Oldest's grades. The Dude does not have any further ideas for how to help, and I am doing everything I can think of, and have found to help him be more organized. He clearly knows the material, and gets good grades on quizzes and tests, but cannot for the life of him turn in stuff on time, and with his name, and meeting the criteria. He can usually hit one or two of those, but has a very difficult time hitting all three. We are currently using a checklist to see if that helps. Also, he will be taking a class over the summer to help with organizational skills. Friday night The Boys did most of their homework and then watched TV, which they haven't been able to do because of the homework load.

Saturday - The Youngest had a birthday party to attend - all day in Berkeley, including Adventure Playground, which I have written about and photographed over the course of years. While he was there, The Oldest and I attended The Ex's Grandmother's 90th birthday party. It was ok. A bit weird being there with the girlfriend and her kids, and a bunch of family that did not know we had split up. I did get the opportunity to see many people I hadn't in years, and catch up a bit with what they are up to. Also got to finally connect with a couple I'd been meaning to for a while and invite them to a few things in the town we share.

Sunday - The Boys finished homework and extra credit. I finished laundry, changed linens, built and erected an arbor in the back yard, grocery shopped, and received a threatening letter from my "neighbors" demanding I essentially keep my dogs in the house 24/7. The first letter ( a year ago), also threatening, stated that quiet hours were 10pm - 10am. Second letter (about 6 months ago), also threatening, stated they work from home and don't want the dogs out while they are working, or while they are trying to sleep in on weekends... This was more of the same. I felt harassed and bullied. Totally stressed me out having to think that I may need to move. Also do not have the $$$$ to move, nor can I afford anything even remotely similar to what I did or do have. What I need is a house, with enough bedrooms for us all, and a nice large yard for the dogs. I would not qualify for a loan in my current financial state of attempting to dig out from under this mess. Everything for rent that meets those criteria is either half my take home pay per month, OR so far away, that I would not be able to keep the kids in this school district. I am feeling stuck again.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Mental lint

So there is a ton of stuff just floating around in my brain. If you'll forgive the indulgence to follow:

The past three weeks have been unusually stressful and weird. This week in and of itself has been a weird roller coaster of being maudlin about what I will miss at the places The Boys and I have outgrown, and delight for some of the plans in place. There has been much stress over my responsibility in the success of The Boys at school. I have spent time with new friends, and even had worlds collide with my BFF meeting my new friends. the reception was a bit cool, though to be fair, there were assumptions on both sides, but I cannot choose between them. I will always choose BFF over anyone new (other than perhaps a romantic interest). That may be the end of those particular worlds colliding.

People at work keep trying to hand off work to me that is not mine, or assign work to me that is also not mine. 90% of my work time this week was devoted to about 10% of the organization, which means I'll be working over the weekend to catch up with what I actually should have been doing...

Also this weekend brings the first event with The Dude's extended family and his new family and me. I have been eating shittily, feeling particularly fat and sad and unhappy. I want to do something just for me, maybe even just alone. I need to clear my head. I need the ocean, and the sand. I need to sleep in a hammock. Oh, yeah I also just need to actually sleep. I've been thinking about taking up running, my hip and knee have been bothering me, I just don't feel like I fit anywhere in particular. There is no where that feels like "home" to me. I feel like a gal out of sorts, out of my element and out of my time.

I need to ground myself and surround myself with those who "get" me. I wonder if anyone really does "know" me, have I allowed anyone close enough, or has anyone cared enough? Do I trust anyone enough, or even trust myself? No clue, and lots of things to examine.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wicked Wednesday

I've been wracking my brain for a Wicked Wednesday post, but I cannot come up with any additional instances where I was completely stupid while also drunk. Sure, there were minor indiscretions, weird proclamations of undying lust after a few drinks, but nothing particularly noteworthy, humorous, or moral inducing.

Damn I have led a fairly safe and boring life to this point. So now, do I come off the hinges, do all that shit I never did? No. I am a mom first and that is my focus, to raise my boys into men. Men who respect people, who are feminists. Men who are not afraid to be exactly who they are, who are proud of themselves and where they come from. Good men with good hearts. The kind of men you want to know, be with, and/or be like.

I know they will have their own wicked Wednesday tales at some point, and I suppose I'm ok with that as long as they learn from those experiences, and do not harm anyone in the process.

It has been a rather maudlin week for me, with no discernible single reason or event to cause such I will save thoughts for tomorrow.