Thursday, October 31, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday and Happy Halloween

Love and hug those around you while you can.

Today I am grateful for the life I have. I wouldn't change anything about my past because it continues to shape who I am and will become. I have hopes and dreams, but I am not overlooking exactly how fortunate I am. I grew up with parents who placed importance on education, and with teachers who cared. I hope I am passing down those same values to my kids. Not through my words, but through my actions. In fact, that has been a central theme lately. "It isn't what you say, it's what you do." I am doing my best to ensure my loved ones know that they are loved. I actually probably "do" too much, but I also have inherited the need to help out when I see there is a gap.

What I haven't had in a very, very long time, is someone standing with me to help, or just offer encouragement and support. I have that now, and sometimes it overwhelms me. Sometimes I don't believe it, and sometimes I push her away a bit because I have been hurt by the last person to promise support (but not really show that). That's mine to own and work out, and I will. In times of high stress (now), I need to remember to take care of myself, and look at all I have in my life. My problems truly are first world problems, and do not impact my ability to actually live, nor will they cause me to have to make any particularly difficult decisions. For all of that, and the ability to accept the words when reminded, I am grateful.

Love and Peace and Happiness for you all.
Oh, and have a safe and happy Halloween

This year's carvings:

Mine is Corky:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Tableau Tuesday

Some pics for the last two weekends:

Band Review in Santa Cruz:
 A happy band sibling:
 Band Review in Pleasanton:
 An unhappy band sibling:
 Halloween Toes:

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another busy weekend - there are times of the year this seems to be the norm...

Signed up to work the middle school jog-a-thon from the time I dropped off The Youngest until 12:30. It was really foggy and cold out on the track in the morning, but had warmed up by the time I left. Went home, answered some e-mail and ate lunch. Turned around and taught art at the elementary school. Went to an early dinner with Corky to celebrate 3 months together (doesn't seem like that long, and yet seems much longer). The food was fab, the staff was really cool and the drinks were yum. The Boys were dropped off at 7:30 because the ex had stuff to do this weekend.

4:30am wake up which I must have been anxious about, because I woke up at 2am, 3am, and 4am... This time had to get both boys ready and out of the house by 5:45 for another band review. This is the review hosted by the high school I attended, and where I was in the band for most of my time. It's the period of time in my life when I met some of the people I still hold as dear friends. The parade was good, and the concert too. The middle school band took 2nd for drumline, color guard and concert, and 1st for drum major and marching. This review brought me right back to my days in HS. During the concert, I had a flash to seeing Diane in the crowd, and one of the kids on stage really did look like her. I know she was there, and thinking about her made me feel really good. Stopped for In-n-Out for lunch and headed home where I completed uploading the first edits on the wedding I shot. I then took a reclining beach chair to the back deck and fell asleep in the sun. Woke up stiff and a bit out of it, came in and started cooking dinner. Corky came over and after dinner we got The boys dressed in costumes and off to Halloween Fun Night at the elementary post. This is The Youngest's final year at that school, and the first year when I did absolutely nothing for HFN. It felt weird, but really good to just go, and then leave when we wanted. The boys stayed up a bit late due to the over stimulation, candy and soda. I did some processing of band review photos from the two weeks, and went to bed.

Slept in after being woken up by the cat's hunger and my full bladder at 6:30. When I did roll out of bed at 9:00, I felt rested and ready to tackle the world. Did laundry, got The Oldest to organize his schoolwork and do homework. Roasted beets, cleaned the fridge, and made a grocery list. Corky got off work and we headed out, presumably to get pumpkins to carve, but in reality to hit a sale for some late season shorts for The Oldest, and jeans for me, the costume place for a scythe for The Youngest, and grocery shop for the week. No pumpkins at that store, but after the hours in the car with two quarreling Tweens, I was done in, and Corky was over it. Dropped her off, and headed home. Had dinner and argued to get The Boys in showers, folded more laundry and painted my toenails while catching up on my TV shows. Feeling accomplished, but still left with more to do.

I hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

navel gazing

Well, Corky returned home safe and a bit more tan from Hawaii this week. I didn't realize how much I would miss her until she was gone, and I had my usual and some unusual stressors with which to deal. I missed the way she can hug me and my cares and stress just melt away. I missed her eyes. God, her eyes are beautiful. I missed the way she blushes when I tell her exactly that. I missed the look of love on her face when we are together. I missed her smile and her dimples. I missed the feel of her here, and the tactile feeling of her skin, and the way we touch each other.

I felt untethered, and by the end, a bit depressed. I was wondering if we were getting used to being apart, and it hurt. It made me more depressed, and I felt forlorn. When I did get to welcome her home, I had roses and chocolate bread pudding with me. We both cried. I want to go to Hawaii with her at some point and she can show me all that she loves about it. I want to take her to Key West so that I can show her all of the things I love about it. I want to discover new favorite places for us to share. However, I have The Boys, who I adore, and who take most of my finances at this point. Until they are grown and on their own, we can take vacations for us all, and local long weekends, but I have some serious looming large financial obligations (college, another car, possibly a larger place to live). For now we can plan and dream and talk about it.

The divorce papers are mostly complete - a few minor corrections remain, and we may get this finalized at the end of the year, and I will feel like I can honestly move on and stop fretting about all this shit. I am still holding out hope for financial upturn so that I can start orthodontic care on The Youngest sooner. Right now, I cannot swing double the current payment to the ortho, and with no help financially, I don't see that changing before the beginning of the year...

Corky comes home from work in a few minutes, so I should wrap this up, or it will likely go unpublished, languishing in the drafts for eternity... I feel like using big words, and flowery language tonight... hmmm

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

Another busy weekend in the books.

The Boys had orthodontist appointments toward the end of the school day, necessitating my signing them out early, and returning to school with The Youngest who was scheduled to sell ice cream after school. Also tie dyed a couple of shirts - the finals hopefully... The afternoon and evening were spent on homework and dinner and an early bed time.

I was up at 3:30 so that The Oldest could eat breakfast and make it to school by 5:00 for the buses to the first (of many I'm sure) Band Review. The Youngest and I followed a bit later and were in time to see the competition and walk with them the rest of the parade. It brought back such awesome memories from my time in band. Of course I took photos and wrecked my already sore hip while running ahead to get a good shot... Photos to follow. Thoughts of Diane, and Steve, and Tina, and Andrea, and Esther, and Mayumi, and Kristi, and Michelle. Also couldn't help but chuckle thinking of The Krasinskis, Mrs. Habestad and the other band parents from my youth and how I am now one of them. The band review was in Santa Cruz, bringing back other memories of college life. We spent the day at the boardwalk, riding rides and having fun. Dinner at Saturn Cafe and my day was complete. the Boys slept on the way home, and I was short on the phone with Corky - I was beat and driving Hwy 17, but I still feel bad.

Spent the day in my jammies. Cleaned house with The Boys' help. They cleaned their room, I cleaned downstairs, and we all cleaned the garage and got the Halloween stuff regrouped. Thought I broke a toe when I dragged the insanely heavy glass and solid wood coffee table across it in an attempt to vacuum. It was ice pack and head between the legs hurt. It doesn't look broken now, but still tender. Thought I was going to have to cut the toe rings off (still might, just in case). Did more laundry and The Oldest finished his homework. I edited wedding photos, hoping to get the proofs out in the next day, before Corky comes home from HI. I also read a bit, as did both Boys. Didn't hear much from Corky and wondering how used to being without each other we are getting as this vacation winds down. I hope it's because she is having fun, but I fear that is not the case. Well to bed early for me,  trying to rest this hip and catch up on the sleep I have missed all week.

May we all have a beauty and peace filled week ahead.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Thoughtful Thursday

Love and hug those around you while you can.

Today I am grateful. I am in a loving relationship with Corky. She is caring and loving and makes me feel so very happy. I spoke to her mom on Sunday before I fell asleep and I thanked her for raising such a wonderful person, and for bringing us together. I also thanked Diane and Gigi for getting me home safely to the people I love. I told Diane how much I miss her and how I would have really loved to have talked to her during the six hours of driving. I know we would have been laughing to the point of peeing ourselves, because that's what we did. I said hi to Uncle Jack, Grandma, Uncle Paul and Uncle Steve. I miss them all.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tableau Tuesday

If you read yesterday's post, you know I shot a wedding on Sunday. My camera/flash combo had a few weird moments giving me some seriously blown out shots, that I kind of like from an artistic perspective, though they won't end up in the album.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

This weekend was seriously busy, so let's get right to it!


The day was spent in Berkeley at Adventure Playground and shoreline. I love this field trip, but did not step foot into the actual playground for the second year in a row. I spend my time with the older kids (in this case, 3rd-5th graders) doing art. We did four 5 minute sketches and a longer work. One of these years, I may be able to bring watercolors, but for now we do colored pencil. The day was foggy to begin, but cleared up toward the afternoon. Got a bit sunburned, and it was a long day, but fun. After school, The Youngest, my BFF and I walked to watch the HS Homecoming Parade. The Oldest marched with the Middle School band, and The Youngest got over his upset from the ride home. After the parade, I picked up The Oldest, and we went home. I showered and The Boys made pizza. The ex didn't come to the parade, and even though it is his weekend, and he asked me to drive The Boys to his house. I did, but I wasn't changing my plans or rushing to do that, and he kept texting me to see where I was, when I was bringing them, etc. Basically being a pain, even though I was doing him a favor... whatever. Spent the rest of the evening with Corky, enjoying each other's company :-)...SaturdaySlept in a tiny bit, and got right to work. Did some photo prep work for a wedding on Sunday, laundry, emptying trash, vacuuming. Took Corky's roommate and recycling to get her cash for HI. Came back and had this for breakfast.>> More laundry, dog poop, cat poop, washed down patio, watered plants, cleaned bathrooms and kitchen and got out the rest of my gear for the wedding. Thoughts around if it will be weird with the ex and his gf there. Wishing Corky could come with me. Drove Corky's dog to the kennel with Corky and her roommate. They were sad to leave the baby. Stopped by a friend's Halloween party, and I felt bad that we weren't in costume. We didn't stay because we really wanted to spend time alone before the upcoming 9 day break Tired each other out and stayed up too late...SundayLeft the house at 7am to drive for 3 hours to the wedding. The drive was fine, and I had coffee and water and toast, plus my tunes to keep me busy. With that much time alone, I did quite a bit of thinking. My stomach flipped a few times while thinking about Corky and how amazing she is, how happy she makes me and how grateful I am to have her in my life. The wedding was really beautiful and the bride and groom are so much in love that it restored my hope for the future. There was tartan and a piper and laughter and happy tears. Having the ex and his gf there was fine. And the ex danced a whole lot more than I ever remember seeing him do so before. He must be happier than he was, and I am glad. I did end up leaving the reception before it ended because I was fading and still had the drive home. My navigational system took me a different way home that ended up giving me a headache (from oncoming headlights). Arrived home a bit after 11pm, visited for a short while with Oma, and went to bed. You will see photos of the wedding as I go through and process them. For now, I am exhausted, I miss Corky, and I have TONS to do before I rest.I hope you all have a relaxing week.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Morning Weekend Wrap Up

I need to write. It helps me cope with life and make sense out of the crud floating around in my head.

The week was hectic. I ended up needing to take a night off - I'd been out every night, and just wanted to chill, so Corky and I took Thursday off and stayed home. She made me dinner, because she is really good at taking care of me.

The Youngest was dropped off early, and I had just jumped out of the shower, came downstairs wrapped in a towel, and the ex insisted on having a discussion about how he didn't want The Oldest playing in the pep band at the High School football game because of missing assignments at school. Great start to the day... I had a meeting at the school district office, and taught art in the afternoon. Tiring, but doable. Of course, the ex had to call in the middle of my teaching so that he could tell me that The Oldest now COULD play in the band because the missing assignment was scored a 9 of 10. I sent a text to The Oldest to have him bring his instrument home. I walked in the door after school, and The Oldest wasn't even here yet. The ex called again to say there was another missing assignment and The Oldest was not to play in the band tonight. I said I'd find out what was going on. He called back later to yell at The Oldest, and then argue with me about pep band. I love how I get so much shit when he thinks I may not back up his discipline, but the week of no screen time goes completely unheeded at his house... Put me in a right fucking shit mood for the duration. It is this last minute back and forth bullshit that has always pissed me off, now more than ever. Corky came over, and I am just under so much stress that I burst into tears.
5th grade camp funds due Monday / Pay for the barking complaint / Lawyer fees / CPA fees / Pay for LA band trip / new catalytic converter for my car. I'm sure I'm forgetting something, and that my blood pressure is astronomical...

Started by reminding The Oldest that he lost all screen time until he has a week free of missing, late and incomplete assignments. Got him doing homework, after a heated argument about organizational skills, wherein he maintained he was stupid, and I maintained that he is brilliant. Breakfast and homework over for him, and the battle about homework with The Youngest ensued. I worked with him to figure out the dates when he did his work (it took about 10 minutes), and he was finished. The ex stopped by to drop off the 5th grade camp paperwork after his adamant declaration that he could and would pay the balance due Monday. Evidently, he will not be doing that, so I get to pay the full balance. He also turned in the chaperon paperwork late, and may not get to be one. This will be another disappointment for The Youngest. He is at that tipping point between every disappointment causing him great upset, and the knowledge of who he cannot depend upon. The Oldest went through this at about the same age, and it hurts me to watch. All I can do is talk to him and help him figure out how to deal with it. Laundry and more homework. Dog baths and flea meds all around. I decided to read a book today. It was the perfect distraction in an otherwise overwhelming time of my life. More laundry. Made dinner. Realized laundry isn't dry. grrr. Read more. Finished the book. Wasn't surprised by the major plot twist. Bummed me out a bit that it was that predictable. Decided I need to shoot more photos. Realized I'm shooting a wedding next week, which will likely cost me more than I am charging, because they are friends... oh well. Also, Maria is packing for her vacation to Hawaii, and I realized I'm going to miss her - probably just as much as she will miss me. Thinking about how incredible it is that someone can become so important in your life, and that her being here for me is important, in ways no one else has been able to be. So very important. Also, the boys say she's a keeper. I agree.

Awoke to a text reminding me to write a weekly parent e-mail. Got my butt up and moving, finished the email, did more laundry, had some coffee, and got The Boys and myself ready. Dropped The Boys at my folks' and headed to Maria's. We took off for her sister's house to celebrate her 50th birthday. This is the first I've had the opportunity to meet her family. Two sisters, their husbands, a niece and her husband and nephew and his girlfriend. They live kind of in a country setting which is really nice and lots of land around them. It felt really warm and welcoming and nice and open. Also got to meet her dad, and a couple of his friends and neighbors. It was a very nice day, and they had lots of pictures of my dearest throughout her life, which were fun to look at. Her niece was very sweet, announcing during the cutting of the cake that she likes me and wanted to get that out there. I'm hoping I made a decent impression on them, because I was really pretty nervous on the way out there. I did find out on the way home that one of Corky's ex' is asking around about what people close to her think of me... Not sure how to take that. Oh, and ended up picking up the boys after dinner, which was expected by me, but not Corky who thought she could somehow leave in the middle of her own party. I was worried I'd catch hell from my folks, but they were actually pretty cool about it. I find it interesting that they still have not asked anything about Corky, or anything. Kind of nice to not be under the previous level of scrutiny, but I feel like I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop...

I hope you all have a fun week!


Saturday, October 5, 2013

Happy World Teacher Day

I first posted this during teacher appreciation week in 2011, and today being World Teacher Day seemed an appropriate time to update.

My Second Grade teacher Mrs. Friedman taught us how to play chess, we got to make peanut butter, and have a field trip to McDonald's. We had 5th Graders come in and read with us, and I remember thinking how much I loved school. Mrs. Friedman passed away a while ago, but I still remember the nurturing atmosphere of that class.

In Fifth Grade, Ms. Willis was hip, modern, and told us that she was on birth control! She believed in me, and helped me dig out of the math depression I'd been in from 4th grade. We had pods that year, and floated between three classrooms. I remember thinking how cool it was to be the oldest kids in school.

Seventh Grade brought me Mrs. Humphreys and much hubris. I was the star pupil, and brown nose. I was made her assistant and was responsible for teaching spelling and vocabulary to other students. No one listened to me, and I was miserable. Thankfully, they all failed the next test, and I was removed from my post, learning that it takes more than smarts to lead a classroom...

In High School there were many teachers who helped me, but the one that really sticks in my mind was Ms. Bradley. She was my English teacher for only a part of the year when she was diagnosed with cancer. She needed a blood transfusion, my blood type was a match, but I was only 17 and my parents wouldn't sign the release. I visited her at her home, and felt really helpless. She challenged me, and wasn't always my favorite, but that year I learned much more than what was taught in school. I am happy to say that she is still at that school, and the department chair. Other memorable teachers from that time include: Mr. Nix who gave me an award, and made me think of myself in a different light; Mr. Bonetti who was extremely patient with a snotty, know-it-all 14 year old; and Mr. Hansen who was the administrator garnering my wrath at the end of my time with them all.

In College it was Michael Fisher who most inspired and formed my life. He led me to the conclusion that my various interests and strengths culminated in Technical Theater, and in fact I truly belong there. I am however practical and work in corporate.

My own children have been extremely fortunate. From Pre-school with Miss Ruth as a kind and loving director, Miss Candi just loving them to pieces and singing to them, Miss Emily laughing the days going by, Miss Amy teaching them to love Australia, and Miss Michelle not taking their crap, and loving them like they were her own. I could not have asked for a better environment.

In Elementary, The Boys have and will have the same teachers the entire time. Miss Sharon, Mrs. Henriott and Mrs. Todd have such a great balance of love and toughness, and are truly invested in all of the kids doing the absolute best they can. They have set up a program that has it all. From the basics, to Spanish, Chinese, cooking, art, projects and field trips, multi age work groups, and always ensuring each child gets what he or she needs as an individual to succeed. These three women are amazing, and I love them all!

In the last year two years, we had the addition of Mr. Brian to the elementary program. He brings youth and humor and a laid back attitude, as well as male energy which the kids love. The Oldest has a year and a bit of middle school under his belt and I could not have asked for a better environment for him. He LOVES it, which will make it much easier for his little brother next year. Last year he had Ms. Wex, an ethereal woman who is dramatic and challenging and loving. He fit perfectly in her class. The middle school band director nurtures his love of music, and lets him play the instruments he wants to play.

I do have to say that I am HEAVILY involved in both schools, serving in various volunteer positions over the years. I want my boys to know how important school is to me, and that I truly care about what goes on there. At the elementary school, I teach art to 4th & 5th graders, update the marquee out front, and am the chairperson for the site council. At the middle school, I am on the board for the Parent club, and write the weekly e-mail to all the parents. I like being involved, even though it sometimes seems like I have no time to myself. That is a bit true, but it really is such a short time that I have to be involved, and I don't want to miss it.