Saturday, May 30, 2009

Remember... Dreams do come true*

*unless there are high winds, in which case we cancel all dreams. No dream refunds. Thank you and please enjoy a turkey leg on your way out.

Here's me being so thrilled to wait for fireworks that didn't happen. That I knew wouldn't happen, because that always happens. (What if I happen to say happen one more time? Yeah, that just HAPPENED.) The fireworks are just so dang enjoyable. And my wittle feeties hurt. And the lady behind us on Pirates tonght smelled like a Diaper Genie. Oh well. It's all good, I'm just exhaustipated.

More in a few days, but here's a fun conversation between two guys behind us on the train tonight:

Guy #1: Where's the fireworks at?

Guy #2: At Snow White's* castle.

::pause::

Guy #1: Where's that at?

Guy #2: The CASTLE.

...

Eavesdropping is fun.

G'night everybody. TTFN.

*Yeah, I know... right? How about Sleeping Beauty's castle, nerd?

Welcome, foolish mortals...



When the crypt goes creak,
And the tombstones quake.
Spooks come out for a swinging wake.
Happy haunts materialize,
And begin to vocalize.
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize.

Now don't close your eyes,
And don't try to hide.
Or a silly spook may sit by your side.
Shrouded in a daft disguise,
They pretend to terrorize.
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize.

As the moon climbs high o'er the dead oak tree,
Spooks arrive for the midnight spree.
Creepy creeps with eerie eyes,
Start to shriek and harmonize.
Grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize.

When you hear the knell of a requiem bell,
Weird glows gleam where spirits dwell.
Restless bones etherialize,
Rise as spooks of every size.

If you would like to join our jamboree,
There's a simple rule that's compulsory.
Mortals pay a token fee.
Rest in peace, the haunting's free.
So hurry back, we would like your company.



Internets! I has them! (But I need a nap. TTYL.)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hmph.

Okay, started writing this about 5:00, before Frontiernet and the interwebs took a giant crap. I couldn't find my confirmation numbers that I printed. Also couldn't print or access anything online the night before my trip. PANIC, like to the max, dudette. Imagine, if you will, how happy that made me... yes. Exactly that happy.

Anyway... this is what I started writing before my brain took an early vacation and my computer crossed its arms, stamped its feet, and then gave me the finger:

What to blog, what to blog? I feel totally self-conscious tonight. Exposed. Today is the day I allow graduating seniors access to my online life. So here's me, being all nervous that someone will read this and go OHMIGODPDAWGISAPERSON and it's freaking me out. A little.

You'd think I wouldn't care--there's definitely so much personal crap on here already, but I am having blog performance anxiety. I can't write good. (English teacher lulz!) It's like there's someone looking over my shoulder, expecting me to do a good job. Like Debi O., hovering while I signed her yearbook today. Meanwhile, nobody cares, really. I need to get over myself. I did "The Carlton" in front of my 2nd period this morning, for the love of Pete. I think I crossed the threshold of embarrassment a long time ago.

Henry is playing checkers on the floor right now, by himself. Guess it only takes one to party. I had a good day today, but it was a draining day. No more seniors. That's simultaneously good and hard to take. I got home and had to turn right back around--forgot a check I need for this trip tomorrow. Money is just about the only thing that would get me in the car in this heat, on my way back to school.

Did you hear me? I said I'm going on a trip. This is a lot of traveling in the last three months. I don't mind that it's only within California. California's pretty rockin. Disneyland rocks my socks right off.

So tonight I just have Disney on the brain--here's some pics of Ad in her A each year we've taken her. She's not going this time--just Mom and me, but every time I walk by the A, I can't help but think of Ad. In March I heard a rumor that the proposed remodel of California Adventure means extending the park entrance past the letters... don't know if they'll move them or take them out entirely. I'm sure Mr. Rambo knows. Guess which one I'm hoping for. Anyway, here's Ad:





Do you hear Kenny Rogers singing Through the Years? Because I do.







She needs to go back. The last one is from several years ago...

Also, while I'm posting randomness tonight (and trying to pack and trying to keep myself from throwing my computer out the window with rage), two things:

Thing #1:
Dear Amazon Kindle,

Come to Momma. You had me at hello. You had me at hello...

-Me
Thing #2:
Don't forget to read my last giveaway post, What About You? and comment it by 7:00 AM tomorrow morning. (Even you recent grad creepers who are on here reading about my stupid life. You can comment too.) I'm giving away another book. That's me--choc full of NERD.
I'm tired. Fatigued. The last day for seniors always kills me.

Okay nerds: Seeya. Disneyland (and one more load of laundry, first) awaits.

-Princess PDawg

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

So You Think You Can...?

I know I can. Well, I attempt to, anyway. I do alright. Maybe I sorta dance. You know.

It's different watching SYTYCD right now. Still one of my favorite shows, but I'm wondering how it's going to be to see it through different eyes this year. Eyes that are not currently in a studio training, not dancing with a company anymore, and not really interested in teaching for a while. It makes me a little bit sad, but I'm not turning off the TV anytime soon.

PS I didn't really like last season. Just not the same oomph. Hope this season is better. Yeah, PS in the middle of my post. It's my blog, I'll do what I want.

I am so far away from last summer. Like, SO far. Last summer I was dancing with CORE, and I was in NY for 4th of July for the PULSE teachers workshop. Classes from Mia Michaels, Brian Friedman, Wade Robson, Dave Scott, etc, etc, etc... plus learning from a whole bunch of AMAZING teachers from Broadway Dance Center near Times Square. Crazy. I was so inspired, I was so enthused... I was on fire for dance.

What happened?

Well, reality. Teaching public high school is a different world from that New York conference--which I know--but... *sigh.* Back to the grind, which managed to suck my last little bits of energy or creativity out of me. I don't know what it is this year. It drained the life from me. Back to being a mom, back to a difficult marriage, which meant E's last year of law school, and deciding to divorce. Well, that's the kicker. That one sucker punched me right in the face. Basically, that ruined any creativity or vitality I had left in me.

But all this changed me too. Yes, E and I are back together. Thank God; but it's not ever going to be easy. It's work. You've probably already read all my other laments about marriage, separation, all that jazz. I'm so happy for how things have turned out, I just know that my perspective is different now. It's like I took one step to the left, and now the whole world looks different. I just know now that my family needs me. Full time. All in. 100%. Dance, though it's an honest love and will always be in my soul, is just too life-sapping. If I teach it, I need to breathe it. If I dance for myself, I need to live it.

I can't.

Am I sad? Yeah. Am I making the right decision? Yeah.

Dang, being an adult is retarded.

So back to the point of this whole post... watching this show is not the same. It hurts me a little inside. It makes me miss dancing with CORE Dance Collective so badly, and it reminds me that Sacramento is lucky to have such a talented professional Contemporary dance company. It reminds me that I'm grateful I was able to dance with them, even for a short time. It reminds me that I'm happy for the four years I've been able to make my passion my job, and that for three years before that, I was so happy shepherding the Drill Team, just in preparation to do so. I'm just tired. Sooo tired.

After I stopped dancing with Sac Ballet as an Apprentice (basically after hearing I'd never go any farther than I had--which was honest and correct, but painful... ::heartbreak::) at 21, I couldn't even set foot in the Community Center Theater for years. It hurt me too badly. I'm hoping I can approach this differently. Take a pause, enjoy running to keep myself in shape, keep writing to keep myself creative, and go back to it when I'm ready, with a new view.

For this summer, I'm going to enjoy being on this side of things--as an audience member--and enjoy the fact that not only is there something new to watch, but it's a dance show.

And now, just for fun:
*jazz hands*

...

Don't forget to comment my giveaway post by 7:00 AM Friday for a shot at winning a book.

PEACE OUT NERDS!

What about you? (another giveaway)

Okay, I tried this "asking you to show yourselves" thing once before and it resulted in massive fail and total high school-like geek anxiety on my part, but I know there are so many of you out there, lurking every day. I love comments. I'm a total comment whore. I'll do anything for comments. (I guess the last giveaway was a success though.)

So...

Let's have another giveaway.

My dad had this book from work when we were at Lake Tahoe called Strengths Finder 2.0, and he and my uncle were talking about their five strengths. Apparently you buy this book, and it gives you a code, and you go online and take the test. And then you print out descriptors of your top five strenghts. I love stuff like this. I should have been a psych major, only because I am so curious about personalities--well, mostly only about my own. I guess that wouldn't work, huh? So I just like taking these tests. Narcissism, much?

Last week I took the Myers-Briggs test again online. I always get the same thing. INFJ. I used to get INTJ when I was younger, but I'm holding steady at INFJ. If you click here, you can read more about INFJs. It's so me. Weird.

From Wikipedia:

I – Introversion preferred to Extraversion: INFJs tend to be quiet and reserved.
They generally prefer interacting with a few close friends rather than a wide
circle of acquaintances, and they expend energy in social situations (whereas
extraverts gain energy).

N – iNtuition
preferred to Sensing: INFJs tend to be more abstract than concrete. They focus
their attention on the big picture rather than the details, and on future
possibilities rather than immediate realities.

F – Feeling
preferred to Thinking: INFJs tend to value personal preference above objective
criteria. When making decisions, they often give more weight to social
considerations than to logic.

J – Judgment
preferred to Perception: INFJs tend to plan their activities and make decisions
early. They derive a sense of control through predictability


Yeah. INFJ is also called PDawg.

Anyway, the book Strengths Finder is about focusing on your strengths and then playing to them.

Sounds groovy, right? My curiosity is killing me. I'm so going to go buy this book and take the test. And I'll give one book away to somebody who comments, selected by Random.org.

Details:

Comment this post by Friday, 5/29 at 7:00 AM Pacific time to enter.

Enter once: Comment me (see question below)
Enter twice (yes, you can!): Comment me, and tell me--in addition to your lovely comment--that you're a follower of this blog (click that handy little Google follow box to the right and become a follower first!)

So I want to use this as an opportunity to get to know who's reading this thang. I know a lot of my Facebook peeps, but probably some people I don't know... Blog hoppers... I'd like to hear from any/all of you. ANYBODY OUT THERE? Seriously. I heart comments, and I heart you for reading. Did I say that already?

Answer me this:

Who are you? What do you do? Do you know me in real life? Do you have kids? Hobbies? Do you know what Myers-Briggs type indicator (letters) you are? Do you think those things are full of crap?

You can either answer any of those questions, or you can write me a poem, or say wssup?, or post your meatloaf recipe. Any comment will do. As always. Thanks, man.

Make sure to identify yourself if you want to enter, so I can figure out how to mail the book to ya later if need be. (If you're anonymous, how can I mail you a book?)

Praying against massive comment FAIL and ensuing embarrassment,
INFJ

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Confession/ Playlist


I am addicted to itunes.

There, I said it. I start thinking I'm free of my demons, I'm cured, I can get my music illegally like everyone else, and then that temptress, that Siren, itunes, pulls me back in to her quantum singularity. Come see me... I have podcasts and shiny menus and easy navigation. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Next thing I know, I wake up in the gutter smelling like vodka and Easy Mac... wait, that was something else... but this thing is bad too.

Damn you, itunes, and damn your now $1.29 songs all to heck.

Tonight's mission? The perfect running playlist. Nevermind that because of my job, I already have more digital music than the entire population of China. It's a high. I'm collecting. I am a musical pack rat. I just like having it. For some people, handbags. For others, Jimmy Choos. For me, .mp3s. Lurrrrrrrrrrrrrve them. (Okay, shoes and bags too. Shh!)

I already have a playlist called "Across the floor," the Jazz Dance teacher equivalent of running music, but I'm not satisfied. I'm like Napoleon, charging into Russia like a big dope. Unprepared and unrealistic, but clicking away and blind to the danger lurking ahead. Let's be clear--I don't have zee money to feed my addiction. Just a lust for zee tunes. A yen. A yearning.

What did I come up with? I had a gift certificate (because people in my family don't know about my problem), and I am playing right into Apple's sleek, metallic and white, calculated scheme... I see, I want.

HELP, I'm falling in love. With newness. With freedom to buy. Can't. Stop. Must. Put. Down. Mouse.

Tonight I came up with a new running playlist (I'm such a playlist fan. Sheesh.) which is a combo of the old "Across the floor" playlist plus some jammin' tunes I found on playlists at Chic Runner and Runner's World. Because that's just the kind of Awesome slash musically inclined runner slash teacher-poet that I am.

Recognize.

Wanna see my playlist? Nope. Top secret. I could show you, but then I'd have to kill you. Okay, not really, but my dad always says that and I'm just trying to be cool. Here ya go. Haters to the left.

Old, new, it's all here, including my guilty pleasures. Some of these songs are just powerfully memory-laden from the OTDC ballet/ jazz dance days of yore. Some just make me laugh. Heck, I'm not promising to be current. But I am promising a consistent runnability and appropriate tempo. I knew all that Cecchetti training for my Associate's Exam would come in handy one day. Read, admire, download; I don't want you telling me you hate Coldplay--you meanies can go suck cheese.

It's long. Sorry. I like variety and the "skip" and "random" functions. Oh yes.

PDawg's Preposturously Peppy Playlist

Baby Got Back/Sir Mix A Lot
Let's Get Loud/ JLo
Walkin' on the Sun/Smashmouth
Sin Wagon/ Dixie Chicks
Bamboleo/ Gipsy Kings
Just Dance/Jamiroquai
I Drove All Night/Celine Dion
Since U Been Gone/Kelly Clarkson
Crazy/ Gnarly Barkley
Temperature/Sean Paul
SexyBack/JT
Ain't No Other Man/Xtina
Higher Ground/Red Hot Chili Peppers
Route 66/Cars Soundtrack
What is Love/ A Night at the Roxbury Soundtrack
Lady/Lenny Kravitz
Let's Get It Started/ Black Eyed Peas
Hung Up/Madonna
Crazy In Love/ Beyonce
Oye Mi Cuerpo/ Gloria Estefan
Everybody Dance Now/ C + C Music Factory
Where Are We Runnin?/ Lenny Kravitz
Hey Mama/Black Eyed Peas
Smooth Criminal/ Michael Jackson
Beautiful Day/U2
Maneater/ Nelly Furtado
Ready Steady Go/Oakenfold
Get the Party Started/ P!nk
Hey Ya!/ Outkast
Here it Goes Again/ Ok Go
Livin' La Vida Loca/ Ricky Martin
Bodyrock/ Moby
Slide/ Goo Goo Dolls
Glamorous/ Fergie
Shake It/ Metro Station
Forever/ Chris Brown
Clocks/ Coldplay
Rehab (Hot Chip Remix)/ Amy Winehouse
Pokerface/ Lady Gaga
Push It/ Salt N Pepa
Oh My God/ Lily Allen
Shut Up and Let Me Go/ The Ting Tings
Viva La Vida/ Coldplay
Welcome to the World/ Kevin Rudolf
We Run LA/ Ya Boy
Waking Up in Vegas/ Katy Perry
The Rockafeller Skank/ Fatboy Slim
Live Your Life/ TI
Let it Rock/Kevin Rudolf and Lil Wayne
Knock You Down/Keri Hilson
I'm the Ish/ DJ Class
Harder to Breathe/ Maroon 5
Goodbye/ Kristina DeBarge
Faded/ Cascada
Beggin'/Madcon
A-Punk/Vampire Weekend

See, I saved myself some money right there. (Just FYI, I had most of them already.) Blogging, rather than buying. Who knew. Any other songs I'm missing?

Love,

PDawg
Expert of Nothing

Vows

This blog has been an outlet for my confusion, sadness, or frustration so many times. I'm so glad that I'm in a phase where I have positive things to write. Without a doubt, E and I owe our reconciliation to the Retrouvaille program. I recommend it with all my heart to anyone who is struggling in a marriage. We've learned so much since February.

It's amazing that two people who absolutely thought they were done can recommit themselves to making things work. It really is just amazing to me what you can do if you both choose to love. Amazing.

I know I still haven't really written yet about the day we shared with our family last Sunday. With E's permission, here are the words we wrote for each other: our vows. We wrote them independently and didn't share them with each other until that day. I'll let them speak for themselves.



{E's}

I remember a day just like today; a sunny, hot, spring day back in 1996 when you, my first girlfriend, dumped me in the parking lot [...] after school. It took a few months for the pain to fade, but things got better, life moved on, and by the end of our senior year we got back together and had a great summer. But then I moved away when college started in the fall. That was a tough year. So tough in fact, that I moved back home after freshman year so we could be together again. Fast forward 8 years and I’m moving out of the house again, staying in an apartment [...]. We only made it 2 months before I came home. Then last year we decided our marriage was over and I moved out for what I thought was the last time. And now we’re standing here today. The point is that I’m drawn to you. More than that, we’re drawn to each other. You are my true north, and I’m always led back to you when I get lost.

But that’s not enough. Even though we’re drawn together, we seem to inevitably move apart over time. We get back together, we make promises to each other, we reaffirm our love, and we make choices to better our relationship. But promises get broken or forgotten, commitments get pushed aside, and the choices we make are the wrong ones. I say sometimes that I’m inherently indecisive, but I think the truth is that I let decisions in my life be made for me. Sometimes that works, like when I can’t decide between Taco Bell and Carl’s Jr. But some choices, like where to go to college, what to major in, when to get married… I’ve learned that if I don’t make the big decisions, I can’t live with the results. You know how much I’ve struggled over the past few years with choosing my own path. You know how far I’ve come. I’m a better person today because I have chosen to stay home and raise our children, chosen to finish law school even though I wanted to quit every day, chosen to ride a Harley instead of a Suzuki…..

But the most important choice that I have made, and the reason that I’m here today, is the choice to love. I’ve wasted years of my life trying to figure out what love is, worrying that I lost it and trying to make myself feel it again. But once I was taught that love is not a feeling but a choice, everything clicked into place. Now we are drawn together again, and I am making the biggest decision of my life. Today, in front of our family and friends, I want you to know that I choose you for my wife, I choose to love you, and I will continue to make that choice every day for the rest of my life.



::hug, kiss, great rejoicing::



{mine}

I’m drawn to you and your wit, even when I’d like to pretend I’m immune. My life is you. Today I feel conscious, joyful, and most significantly, confident. I feel bolstered, supported by an ally in my walk. It is a warm glow in my chest and a firm hand at my back. I am free to stand or be held, lead or be a passenger, each in safety and support. This overwhelms me.

My relaxed confidence today is like that of a lizard, sunning on a rock. I want to drink in the warmth of your words, to store it up and let it nourish me through the inevitable cold. I’m safe; I can let go of defensiveness and craziness. This feeling is like a rich fuchsia, tinged by pain from circumstance and choices, but illuminated with the joy of shared life experiences. I know that I am half a partnership, and I know that partner is you. I want you to bear witness to my life: joy, pain, parenthood, grief, surprises and successes. Imperfections, stubbornness and all I have to give. You are the proof of the complete truth of me.

My confidence fills me like hearty tri tip on a summer day. It feels like warm earth beneath my bare feet, stable, solid, and vibrating with potential. If my confidence were a sound, it would be Addie’s laugh: a joyous release, free of worry about what anyone thinks. Reckless abandon, vetted in years of honest struggle… the paradox of freedom with assurance. This feeling transcends speech. At losses, births, mistakes, forgiveness--every milestone, we drop our shields and find each other. Silent confirmation, surpassing the ability of words. You hear me in one look.

So with this confidence, in spite of fears and struggles we’ll face ahead, with a true and honest understanding of what this means, I promise myself to you forever. For you, I’ll navigate life and freeways, but gift you the freedom to find—or make—your own path. I promise to call you back when you lose you way, and to stubbornly keep at this even in fear and frustration. I will honor you with my life. I give myself to you and our family without reservation; I won’t quit. I will be the eyes across the room that say “yes” and the one who just knows. I promise to choose love, trust, and forgiveness each day. All in. I choose you.



Photos by April

Monday, May 25, 2009

TA-DA!!

Here I am falling into Taylor Creek, at Lake Tahoe. At the impasse of a flooded trail, I'm attempting to demonstrate superior problem solving, nimble balance and extraordinary grace by walking the side boards; I have, in fact, plunged my first tennis-shoed step directly into the river rather than onto the railing of the flooded boardwalk, as intended. All this in full view of my family, and my mother with her camera.

BALANCE FAIL

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday

Man, it feels like summer. San Francisco, San Diego, now Tahoe... lots of family in the last two weeks. It's just... mmm... heaven. We're going to head over to the beach again today, this time avec bathing suits so as not to spend time drying water and wiping sand from the monkey butts.

Ad just tried to ride her scooter on the railing of the patio out back. Yeah. And she's not even the brave one.

I ate about three breakfasts, and I'm already hungry for lunch. Think we're going to take the monkeys to see A Night at the Museum 2.

Can't wait to finish my book today... I am such a happy nerd.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Lake Tahoe
































Goals for today:

Well, the plan was to go to the river cabin this weekend, but I didn't return my dad's email soon enough... Uncle Doug has it. I only have myself to blame. I'm jonesin' to go there again sometime soon.

Instead, I'm with the kiddos at my parents' Tahoe house. I invited myself Thursday night, actually. They were gracious enough to think that would be okay. It's nice, but I miss E. *sigh* Lis and D are here, Mom and Dad, and Grandma Lila and Grandpa Ed are coming later this weekend.

Right now I'm watching Ad read Eat This Not That to Luke and Hank. Ty has been doing the belly-crawl all over the house. Caleb's in "helping" Grandma Mary cook. (You wouldn't believe the amount of food we've got here... we could stay for a month.)

Goals for today:

1. French toast breakfast (nobody makes it like my mom!)

2. Run. Going to try to run from their house to the lake and back. Hope the altitude doesn't kick my butt.

3. Nap.

4. Hike? Lake?

5. Snack.

Shaping up to be a good day already.

Henry in Mom and Dad's Kitchen

Henry: (to me, Grandma and Grandpa): Guys, where's my water?

Me: Did you have a water, Bud? Where'd you put it down?

Henry: (annoyed) Well, I ordered one.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Random Ramblings, AKA PDawg's Off Her Rocker

What's new, right?

I'm in the computer lab at school with my 6th period Jazz Dance II class. They're (supposed to be) working on the finishing touches to their final choreography project, which includes a research-based reflection about their influences and the genre of dance they've chosen. My grades are basically done. We play this game where they act like they've been working on it in class for two weeks and I act like they are on task but we both know they're going to do it at home on Monday night, the day before it's due. No sweat though, computer lab days are number two on my list of favorite teaching days, right above essay-writing days and just below silent reading days. Plus, the air conditioner works in here, and back in the ol' dance studio, it's week two of zero AC. That was awesome for tryouts yesterday, BTW.

Speaking of tryouts, I think I am officially finished with the school dance company. I believe ::fingers crossed::

...wait, hold up. We just got kicked out of the lab by another class. To my credit, it was open on the schedule. No, I didn't actually sign up for it, but it was open. We found space in the library, where I could resume my supervisory/blogging activities. Anyway... as I was saying:

I believe this is my last obligation for the company, which means I am 100% free. Not gluten free, but teenage dancer free. Feels good. Feels like I lost 1000 pounds of complaining, ungrateful weight. It's good that I'm going now. I have some more feelings on the subject that I'll likely post after the end of the school year (this is the part where I get all scaredy about posting things about people who I am currently teaching) but it's good to know that I'll have the free time, and I'll be free of about 90% of the most difficult parent contact I have now. I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that I get 7th period prep next year, because that will save me a boatload of money on daycare for Ad. If that works out, I'll be able to pick her up from school every day. I can't wait.

Sometimes I get so frustrated that this is my job. On the way to school this morning I was fantasizing about having a job where I show up and only deal with myself all day, or whatever task is in front of me, and no teenagers. I love all the freedom that comes with this job, but the side effect is that I am perpetually slave to the doldrums of high school. For all of the same reasons that the kids get antsy about being here, I start feeling angsty and wanting a change at the end of the year. So much of teaching high school is such BS, it has nothing to do with teaching or actually affecting anyone in a positive way. It's made me really cynical. Ugh. It must be the end of the year. Whine, whine, complain, complain.

I have law school on the brain. Ever since E's graduation... well, since Mock Trial this year and since he asked me to help him study for his first law school exam four years ago... I've been dreaming about being a student again. Not for a while. Not my time right now. Patience and fortitude, as Addie would say.

Stupid fortitude.

I can't wait for this three-day weekend, followed by going to Disneyland with my mom next weekend. And summer. Oh, summer! It's going to be PDawg +2 for most of the summer as E studies for the Bar... I'm trying not to even think about him being around so when he can be, it's a happy surprise. I hope it is tolerable. I hope I'm not too lonely. I keep telling myself that it's different now, it's not like before when I didn't see him because a) we couldn't be in the same room, or b) we were, like, you know, GETTING A DIVORCE. Now I know he digs me back, and he's putting in the effort to make that known on a regular basis. We're going around like newlyweds, we're so leftover happy from our last week of vacations and vow-renewing. Life is good. Even when it's hard, it's good. I think about when I started this blog, just after the New Year, and how bleak life looked. I was staring down singleness and single parenthood and I was scared to death. I faced it, and I did it. That is amazing to me in itself. E and I coming back together just proves to me more than anything that anything is possible. I wish there was a way to say that which I hadn't cliched out already, but that's the best possible way to say it.

It's going to be a good summer, followed by an even better year. E is going to have a job (well, that's the plan, anyhoo!) I'm going to be teaching some new things, and I'm going to allow myself time to be a mom to the two best monkey-monks on the planet. And this weekend, I'm going to allow myself to do nothing! Ha!

I could really go for an iced soy toffee-nut latte right now, in case you were wondering.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

San Diego avec E



After San Fran with the monkeys, we got on a plane to San Diego. Well, it was kinda like that, only with a bunch of dirty laundry and some house cleaning (E's mom was coming over to stay with the kids), some crankiness on my part about the bathroom counter, and some staying up late because we couldn't settle down. At that point, I could tell that the Crud was getting me and I was going to be sick on our trip. What are you gonna do? *sigh* Get on a plane and go, that's what!



I awoke to a big toe the size of a soccer ball, but I like to pretend I'm fine, so I put on flip flops. Nobody will notice that one toe is red and the other one is my ordinary shade of yellow-white. Luckily, nobody cares about my toe, because I had the toe equivalent of Swine Flu. Geee-ross. Easy flight, empty hotel (it was a Tuesday, after all) and we got a better room than we paid for. Score. It became really clear to me once we were down there that between my lungs and my toe I was not well. We went to lunch at World Famous--YUMMO--and then I needed a nap. Basically that was our trip in a nutshell. Me, being okay for an hour or two. Me, feverish, chilled, and needing to get back into bed. I was downhill all afternoon, until I was basically laying around crying because I was so miserable. E, buying out Longs' cold medicine. That's better than flowers.

This is how you know E and I are not young wippersnappers anymore (yes, young still. Wippersnappy, not so much.)--we got a room with two doubles instead of one King... and we were excited. Yes! No sharing a bed to sleep. (Okay, and to his credit, when I was really sick and pitiful the second night he fell asleep next to me. I was in a Tylenol Cold-induced state, so it was pretty good all around.)





Dinner the first night was at the Gaslamp Strip Club. See, not that kind of strip club, although I found it amazing that the other sort of establishment abounds in San Diego as well. Swanky. Not really on my list of must-sees. The restaurant is a cook-your-own kind of deal, which guaranteed me a beautifully delectable fillet. Hello. My mouth is watering now. Mm, that was good. Big ol' sides... it was great, but again I was sleepy after half my margarita. It was a long dinner. Low and slow is E's BBQ motto, and we didn't even get to dinner until about eight, so we didn't finish until late. (Do you know how far that is from my real life? Normally I'm asleep by 8!) It was crash time. I couldn't stop coughing. My toe wouldn't fit in shoes and I couldn't put any weight on my right foot. It was starting to hurt up my leg. It was starting to scare me. Not cool, Toe. Not cool.



Wednesday was filled with more sick-yuck, but I decided to start taking some antibiotics, so I was on the mend. We rented a Harley Softail... quite a difference between the backseat of a Vrod (my usual) and the backseat of that Softail. E made some noises about it, but all things aside, it was a nice ride for me. We both loved riding. I love to be on the back of a bike when he's driving. We rode through beach towns up through Del Mar, stopping for lunch at a little cafe overlooking the ocean. Now that's what vacation is supposed to be like! Nevermind that we were living in a "Real Housewives" kind of world, and we rolled up in our motorcycle clothes all sweaty and wearing tennis shoes. Oh yeeeeah. I like how they looked at us. Reminded me of my students.

We took I-5 back to Mission Bay. No comment.

Dinner out again on the bike. Home early, vow renewal planning. Reading. Ah, the glorious times E and I have spent reading together. Neither of us really gets to read at home. Not enough, anyway. I'm reading a really good book called Light a Penny Candle. It's kind of like WWII meets Gone with the Wind, in Ireland/England. Good. Anyway, at dinner on Wednesday night, E checked his grades (thanks, iPhone) and found out he was officially graduating from law school. He was smiling from his insides.



The last day we were going to hit the Zoo, which I still really want to do, but we missed the kids too much. We decided to wait and also not to waste any money on my sick little patoot--I wouldn't have made it past my two hour expiration date anyway. Instead we went to Chevy's, the movies, and the Hotel Del Coronado, where we had ice cream.



San Diego's weather was in the crapper the whole time we were there, and I only found out after we were there that apparently that's a thing--May Gray/ June Gloom. Nice to know before we booked our trip. Oh well. I brought my own respiratory infection and gloom to SD and we still had an awesome time. We needed to be away. We needed to remember that we love each other and we love hanging out.



We do, you know.

I was RUN-NANG

Did that sound like Forrest, Forrest Gump? Well I meant for it to.

Quick update: 4.6 miles tonight. Longest yet. Ran to K's house and back. (No uber-cool fanny pack to hold the water yet. Still planning around hydration stops.) Have to admit I stopped halfway for a little break, but I still did it. Feels good. I feel like I've seen more of my town in the last month than in the last three years. My body feels different. I can't believe I'm able to do this.

E's aunt Mar emailed me today about possibly doing a half with her--I asked what she does and how she trained. I have been thinking for a while that signing up for a race would be good motivation, and would also help me feel more like a "real" runner.

A goal.

A deadline.

A reason.

The race she suggested was the Cowtown Half Marathon in October. Sounds like fun.

What do you think?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Should I make the switch? Blogger vs. Wordpress

(I feel like I'm cheating on you, Blogger, by even posting this here.)

I've been annoyed with Blogger for a while. I feel like it limits the way my blog can look, and while modifications can be made, they're not easy. Most of the blogs I read are hosted at wordpress.org... Eventually, I think I'd like to do that since I own my own domain, but I'm not quite there yet. I've been considering switching over to wordpress.com, the free equivalent. I can also use my own domain there if I want to.

PROS--

Cleaner, clearer pages
Easier posting
More professional looking blogs (IMHO)
Easier site management

CONS--

Losing things in the transfer?
Learning a new format
Some widgets don't transfer over
Losing site data

Anything else I'm not thinking about? Have any of you used either Wordpress dot com or dot org? I played around with the free version and set up a mock site last night--just importing straight over from Blogger. Check it out and share your thoughts:

http://nothingisheavy.wordpress.com/

What do you think? Obviously it needs a lot more customization, and some of what I have here I wouldn't be able to take with me. I'd like your opinion. I don't promise to do what you say, but I do promise to think it's interesting to hear from you.

(If you do use Wordpress.org, were you self-taught? Were you already awesome and it was no prob? I'm a quick learner, but it's a big hill for me to climb.)

Thanks!

P

P.S. All of this started because I hate this background (too dark and hard to read), I don't want to design my own, I don't like the Blogger templates, and I've been thinking about how annoying it is to post on Blogger for a while...

P.P. S. (How 6th grade am I?) I made it plain as plain can be... just for a while. Seemed like my blog needed a cleansing breath. No idea where to go from here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

On the first day, there was Francisco



My fear of someone tracking down my address and breaking into my house to steal my bags and bags full of yarn prevented me from being too specific about our vacation plans before we left last week, but now that we're home I'll share. The first leg of our trip was a trip to San Francisco with the monkeys, Sunday and Monday of last week.



The plan was to go over early on Sunday (Mothers' Day) and visit at least the Exploratorium, then to head over to the California Academy of Sciences on Monday. Originally we'd thought about going to the SF Zoo, but when we heard about the Academy, it seemed like the Zoo could wait. We'll just have to go back. I have to say, it took me by surprise that E wanted to go to SF in the first place. He hates SF, or so I thought. When I asked him what he wanted to do, his only response was "I don't want to do a lot of shopping or touristy stuff." ::deflation:: Okay. Cross those things off the list. We settled on indulging Ad's museum love, which ended up being pretty fun for us too. We're going to try as hard as we can to raise two happy little nerds. It's nerds that run the world, you know.



As we were driving over the bridge into the city, Henry asks, "Mom, do they have a Target in Francisco's?" Because, you see, Target is the pinnacle of his little four-year-old universe. Target has Transformers. Yet another great reason to get out and see the world--to realize there's more to it than Target. We drove into the city, stopping for lunch at Mel's. Yum. Fun too. Awkward moment for me: there was a French family behind us and a waitress that primarily spoke Spanish, and between the two of them nobody could figure out the word for scrambled eggs. I could completely understand the French side of the conversation, but my vocabulary and confidence are pretty poor. I couldn't remember what the word was, either. I wanted to jump in and help, but I choked. Ah, nervousness. They ended up figuring it out, but it was a bit like an SNL sketch. Lots of drawing, linguistic near-misses... but at least everyone was polite.



From Mel's we headed over to the Presidio. I know you just read that and you're like okay, no big whoop, but let me back up a little bit for a minute. Let's rewind a few years to me and E, at about age 21, trying to find his Aunt Jul's house, driving around SF at night, lost (with directions and a map, mind you), frustrated beyond belief, ending up in an area with nudie bars and hobos galore. I thought that was pretty much the nail in the SF vacation coffin. So the fact that we found our destination with ease and mutual adoration was nothing short of a water-to-wine miracle. I present to you: Apple GPS on my iPhone, in the form of the Google Maps App. How could something so simple improve my marriage so much? I love E, but the dude has no internal compass. I mean NONE. Nada. Mine's pretty good, but the amount of times we've bickered/fought/warred over being lost is infinite. Ah GPS. I pledge my love for you for all of eternity. So easy. We got there and we still wanted to get married again. We missed one turn because a tree was blocking the sign for the Palace of Fine Arts; no problemo, mon frere, we just rerouted and decided to stop at Fort Point before we made our way back.





I handed my camera to some guy to take this pic--I really thought for a few seconds that he was going to take it and sprint up the hill with it. Glad that worked out okay.

The kids loved Fort Point. They've never seen the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, the Bay, any of it. It's been a long time since I've seen it on a clear day. The scent of Eucalyptus filled the air, and we could see for miles. It was an energizing start to the trip. Hank was fascinated with Alcatraz, or as he likes to say "that jail over there." We had a little drive through the Presidio... How much do I love all those crisp, formal buildings? And the cemetery. Geez. I love cemeteries. Is that weird? I love the Marina district too. To the monkeys' delight, there were tons of kites dancing in the sky. We wound through the side streets and back the museum, grabbed some fruit snacks, water bottles, and Excedrin (headache time) and went inside.

E waited in a short line to pay, but to our surprise, it was free day. Not to our surprise once we discovered this, it was PACKED. Ugh. I don't mind most people as long as they keep their distance and mind their children. Imagine how that went for me. Yeah. My other problem? It seemed as though there was no air conditioning and/or circulation in there. Maybe they turn it off on free days. Or maybe it's SF so it's not PC to be um, un-green. I don't know. It was nasty. It smelled like the cross between an old egg and a foot in there. I'm also all for teaching my kids to take turns, but that means they get the short end of the stick in these kind of situations. I won't let them butt in and grab at things, so they lose out to kids who do. Oh well.

All my griping aside, it was fun. It doesn't really matter where you are when you enjoy your kids as much as we do. Ad was so proud that she could read the displays and directions on each exhibit to Bud. We steered them away from a couple of things--bird and bee related--but they ran around and set their hands and eyes on everything else in that place. Highlights: the dead rat case showing decomposition, the echo tube, the pitch machine, and the big rainbow on the floor.











After about two hours of Exploratory goodness, Mom and Dad were ready for a nap. Thinking I was nearing the end of being sick (ha!) I was needing some serious down time. E too, since he was on his second round of antibiotics at that point. We could tell the kids were getting a little cranky, so we hopped back in the car and typed in: Current destination to the Westin Market Street. I'll say it again. E would not have gone near Market street before. No way we would have found our way back across town. We checked in, bummed around the hotel room for a few hours. By "bummed," I mean E and I lay on beds trying to relax while the kiddos ran and bounced off the walls. We then hit up California Pizza Kitchen across the street. I know, Haute Cuisine. We have two kids, okay? It was great. After dinner we settled in and watched the finale of The Apprentice. By "watched," I mean that I watched it and everyone else in the room fell asleep by about 8:30. The kids haven't really stayed in a nice hotel before, so they hit the wall soon after a bath out of pure adreinaline letdown.





The next morning was a mix of walking the streets to find everyone something they could eat for breakfast... I needed Starbucks, E couldn't eat anything there, kids wanted cereal... once everyone was happy we set out for the Academy of Sciences. (PDawg, gazing longingly at one of the world's greatest shopping Meccas and knowing there was no shopping. Not mine.) We purchased our tickets online for the Academy ahead of time. I recommend that. We talked to several people who said they couldn't get in because it's still so busy. Going on a Monday was not a problem--the docent we talked to said that weekends and Wednesdays (free days) were the most crowded. Cut to me, breathing a sigh of relief that we didn't hit another free day.







The Academy of Sciences is separated into several areas, each with its own "theme," for lack of a better word. We went straight to Africa Hall because the penguins were being fed right then. They were cute, and there was a docent speaking about them as she fed them. We hung out in there and looked at all the stuffed (Ad says: dead) animals. They've done a really nice job of redesigning all these exhibits. The kids liked being able to get up close to each animal. From there we went through an area that talked about Galapagos, Darwin, bugs, and as far as I can remember, Madagascar. Needless to say, I don't recall what that part was called. Lots of stuff that works on different levels--good for me and E, good for the kids, and probably good for much older kids too. In teaching we call it differentiated instruction. Don't know the museum term for it.









Other areas of note: the swamp, with the white alligator, and the aquarium, with all kinds of interactive displays and touch tidepool. Side note: I hate eels. They win the prize for animal I'd least like to see whilst scuba diving. Yes, they outrank sharks. Ew. ::Squirm:: We headed back upstairs after the aquarium for an expensive--COUGH COUGH--I mean lovely lunch out on the fffffreeeezing cold patio. Everyone else in the place was eating too. Wish we'd brought a lunch, but the food wasn't bad. In fact, it was delish. It just cost us more than $40 for the four of us, and that was with Hank and Ad splitting something. At least they had pickles. By God, there were pickles.







The Planetarium was up next and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised. I don't know why I thought I wouldn't enjoy it--probably just too tired by then--but all of the sudden I was back in third grade, reenacting a lunar mission with tin foil on my head and clothes, sitting in a sideways desk saying "Houston, we are go for launch." Space is so freaking cool. And apparently my kids liked it too. Bonus: reclining chairs, air conditioning like there's no tomorrow, and a host with a soothing movie-man voice. The program(?) was about a half hour and completely fascinating. Somewhere, Mrs. Kissinger, my third grade teacher, is smiling.



This is exactly how excited we get about Space.



I have to admit, my energy was waning after the Planetarium, but we went up to the living roof. You guys, the roof is ALIVE. Pretty cool, but these are not what you'd call sexy plants. It's a lot of green flatness. But you could see really far and it was a nice view of Golden Gate park that day. From there, dinosaur bones, whale bones, and the four-story Rainforest. Coolest thing about any rainforest is the butterflies, IMHO. (Mom, that means in my humble opinion.) Butterflies as big as birds. Bats? Anyway, cool ones. We hit up the museum store, and then it was back on the road.







Two days, and it wasn't that expensive or that much trouble. This was great for our family. And (as we realized about a day and a half in, NO STROLLERS!) We live so close and we've seen so little of the city. We can't wait to go back. Like I said, Ad wants to move there. Henry said that he liked Francisco's, and that it was "ginoomous-normous." Yes.