Sunday morning

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Karl's an idea person. I like that and envy that and try to pretend that I am (but sadly, I am not. I can run with your idea, though, if you share it), but at 8:30 in the morning, when I am slept in and am just trying to get some some coffee in, it's hard to bear.

Had strange dreams, the kind of dreams you have when you keep waking up and drifting back to sleep (stayed up too late catching up on Game of Thrones--halfway through the third season). Parks and giant, skyscraping slides that Karl insisted on taking Gabe on, which stressed my nerves out. Finding out Karl's grandma had died and he needed to get her personal items from the nursing home, then they told him to go ahead and get my stuff from the treatment center because my time was limited. Was it weeks or days, I hadn't asked. I was just suddenly hit with the knowledge my children wouldn't have me much longer.

"I really know how to pick them," Karl sadly told him mom into the phone.

And I had to clean. Clean the crumbs, clean the kitchen. More people would be coming and they would be judging me. "I don't want to clean in my last days on Earth," I silently screamed. But they would be judging me by my house.

And I awoke to a slightly cloudier (but still sunny),slightly cooler day, with Dust in the Wind dancing in my mind and thinking of my aging dad and that perhaps I should visit my mother's grave.

Stay the Course

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

As soon as I start to doubt, as soon as fear starts to creep in, as soon as I start to compare my life to others, I want to jump ship, turn tail, run away, and just get out.

I haven't read as much fiction as I had hoped this summer. Fiction feeds the soul and shapes the character, but I have been reading mostly nonfiction. It is easier with the baby. But I have been reading good thoughts. Thoughts that sometimes chastise me, often enlighten me, and definitely fill me up.

I made a decision as far as graduate school. I am somewhat comfortable with it. I get a little shortchanged for air (anxiety, my old friend) when I think too much about it. But I pondered long and hard and I *think* my motivations were pure. Karl said he was on board with whatever I chose, but now he is a little uncomfortable with my spending money on it. And he is right. It is selfish, it won't improve the family. It is totally and completely about me. But I just have to take it one semester at a time. There is so much I want to say, but I can't anymore. Because I have learned that people take musings seriously, and judge you with them and hold them against you, even if you were only playing with ideas in the first place. Maybe there is something to that. Maybe just entertaining an idea means something. I am not so sure. Some of us can hold an idea in our mouth, taste it, and turn and spit it out if it's bitter. But maybe not everyone can.

So I will stay this course, one semester at a time. The truth is, I am not a leader. Do I even want to be? Do I want play enthusiastic and force ideas and demand compliance and enthusiasm when I see the absurdity for prestige or money or pride? Maybe everything I am trying for is just vanity and shows a complete lack of understanding of who I am. Yes, yes, we can shape ourselves, and yet-at what cost?

I may be where I am forever. I keep trying on that thought, wiggling in it for comfort. Maybe. But I can always strive, I am can always try to chisel myself into something more authentic. I may not get there, but I'll keep working at it.

And I proudly lift my chin, force my eyes up, and breathe my breaths. Because the deck is stacked unfairly. The things that I see happening aren't fair. The world doesn't always reward the good-and I am not as perfect as I like to think, anyway.

My gosh, I love this dimpled baby. Once upon a time many years ago, and again not so many years ago, I chose family over self. And it has been harder, but it has been more real and more meaningful than any professional pat on the back could have been. Status is for those who need it. Authenticity is for me.

What if I am the Josie Pye? What then?

Sunday, July 2, 2017

A week or two, I was reading another book and was struck with a scary, embarrassing thought, What if I am the not the heroine, but instead I am the antagonist?

I was filled with embarrassment and shame over this thought. Then I put it out of my mind. After all, the demands of a busy real life trump self-centered musings.

But the subconscious doesn't give up that easily. She will protect my fragile ego at whatever cost it takes. On a side note, isn't it amusing how easily one can convince themselves they are strong, reach out and take a step, and then come crashing down to reality, the fragile self in shatters around them? Sigh.

But then time and learning to let the pain wash away instead of swimming in it, helps. Shower in it, understand it, and then step away from it.

And now I know. Josie Pye has a story. Harriet Olson, ha a story. I may be weak and self-centered and selfish. But I am also loving (not hateful, not hateful, not hateful), courageous, hopeful, and honest. And we lesser mortals, who have real and selfish flaws, who still struggle with making the world fit our reality instead of stepping aside, throwing our hands up and saying, "I guess that isn't what God wanted," when thwarted and bitterly crushed, are still heroes. Maybe we aren't fashion-model, popular, smooth talkers, but we are real and we deserve as much happiness as those who are more pleasing, whether aesthetically or emotionally.

So nyah!

Maybe It's Me

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

All this time I have been waiting for someone to see me, to see my potential. I have been struggling against my natural introversion, stepping out, finally getting the nerve to ask for more, but now I am thinking it was wrong. All wrong.

Because maybe my pride and self-importance has blocked me from a very important possibility. I always thought I was an average teacher. I knew I would never be a superstar, the kind of teacher that lets her whole lift drift away so she can make a difference. I figured I was just doing enough. But looking back at my career as a teacher, I think the first year was the best. That was the year I had no training and was running on instinct. I didn't care about test scores, I just went in and did was I thought I should. And as far as reading, the students made the biggest leap that year. After that, the principal kept drilling higher sped scores and eventually that affects your teaching.

Then at the elementary. It was new to me. Sharing a room was new. Having such an experienced, confident para was new to me. I was an organizer and paper-pusher. And then Parkview. And all my experience have left me with this weak, helpless feeling. I am tired of putting on positivity. I am worn out with growth mindset. My soul is bleak, my heart is leaking, and I think I maybe it. The bottom 10%. There will always be a bottom. Get rid of the bottom and a new bottom will replace it. And maybe it is me.

Maybe this pushing for more, this asking for more responsibility is pushing me past my capabilities. Maybe other people see what I am missing. I am not trying to have a pity party. I am trying to cut the BS, to tame my pride and see the truth for what it is. I may be one of those "just good enough and willing to do the job" people.

I am hurt. I volunteered for things, hoping for new experiences and to meet new people, and my services are not wanted. How could that not hurt? Of course.
But maybe there is a reason. Maybe I wouldn't have anything to offer that someone more exciting and personable couldn't offer at a team meeting. Maybe I don't have the personality and skills to lead a freshman leadership class. Maybe I should be grateful I am allowed to stay at all. I don't know. It is painful to step back and see yourself as others might.

Let's be honest-I am not passionate about what I do. I am not passionate about anything. Maybe I never have been. All I want is my own classroom, my own space, and a little respect. And I don't think I will ever get that at Parkview. They will let me stay and manage paperwork maybe, and I am grateful that I can provide for my family. I think, though, I am going to have to move to Elementary, even though the subject matter is boring. I know as a special ed teacher, I am not supposed to be thinking about subject matter. I am supposed to be thinking about correcting behaviors, meeting goals, and bending myself into what others think I should be. But that isn't who I am.

So, I have my last day of summer school coming up in 20 minutes. I will wipe away these tears-tears of embarrassment, tears of frustration, and smile, because I like these kids. And maybe someday, life will let me just stay home and hide. I can be the top 10% at home.

"They that dance..."

Saturday, June 17, 2017

"They that dance must pay the fiddler!"

I reread those words quoted in The Wilder Life, by Wendy McClure, with  a competing sense of comfort and shame.

The Wilder Life

Image result for the wilder life

Wendy is like me, only more so. She has made sourdough bread, used Little House quotes to get through her day, read biographies, and suffered the disillusionment of realizing the Little House books are more fictionalized that first known, when consumed as a child.
But the shame. In The Wilder Life, Wendy was discussing that quote from the The First Four Years and both her and the other lady in the discussion, seemed to feel it was alluding to SEX. Sex! Not that I don't think Laura had sex. I had the feeling her and Almanzo were pretty hot for each other. But! I-always-thought- it was pointing at the joy of having a child. I never thought the "dance" was sex. Am I that naive? Still? Here I have found another kindred spirit, as Anne would say, and she already has done so much more than me. She has a book! She has been to places, she gets Laura talking about sex, while I romanticize it to mean babies. I feel like a bumbling ISFJ, just a sweet, pat on the head, mom with her innocent ideals.
I am not ! I am not that innocent! So why am I so dense? It isn't stupidity. It just surface simple shallowness. Oh I probably am, just an ISFJ. Darn it.

And I think of these characters, the Lauras and the Annes and I wonder, would they have even liked simple me? 

What if I am the spoiled, insecure NELLIE in the stories? Hopefully I can be the sweet Ida, but then WAS there an Ida really?

And Anne. Oh popular, clever, beloved Anne. I would have at BEST been the Jane in her story (On my best day). The simple, sweet, unremarkable Jane.

Oh the shame being me. No wonder my kids dance around my feelings (even though I hardly ever get mad at them). They just don't want to burst the thin bubble of belonging I have wrapped around myself where I will come crashing down and realize I am the Nellie. The Harriet of the tv shows. The JOSIE PYE.

Oh the pain.

Back to reading, self-concept in ruins.

Revisiting Decisions and Thinking of Minimalism

Sunday, June 11, 2017

I awoke too early. Isn't that the beginning of every heartwrenchingly silly blog post about nothing in particular I write?
And I want to be with my kids. I don't want to go back to work. I want to make a beautiful, waldorfian, slightly Montessori home daycare for other people's kids. I want to be home.

And I am struggling. The main issue is I am the main breadwinner. Karl works every bit as hard as I do, and a little harder, because he does the heavy lifting and/or might be spiders in that mess and/or outdoor work. I just happen to make more money.

I was excited to go back to work because it does get a little lonely at home (although there are several moms at home in my neighborhood, in their 20s or 30s, but what is age?). I could have cultivated relationships with them at the bus stop or while walking. I still stumble socially, but I am learning.

But it wasn't long before the stress set in. And the anger. It makes me damned angry that I live in a world where we have to worry about what will happen in our 70s if we don't leave our children now. Now some smug people will say, well you should have thought about that. Hush. That isn't helpful to where I am NOW. I have to work on the now without sacrificing the future.

I am in a contract for next year, what can I do but honor it? I want to help with Tierney's baby, and make a safe place for other little ones without a) feeling trapped and isolated and b) compromising our future.  I have to figure this out.

Am I leading the best life I can? Is having money for extras worth the cost of working (and it may well be). I have to get past my feelings and sit down with paper and sort it out. But alas, I awoke at 3 and I am too tired to really think. I wanted to go to church, but my body hurts with fatigue, and now I am not so sure I am up to it.

What is best? I do care about my students. I like the ones where I feel like they are happy to see me, and I am happy to see them. I like discussing books with them and ideas and sharing the world with them.

Minimalism. So some of you may now I started on a capsule wardrobe this spring. I bought a little book, did a little shopping and for the most part it worked really well. Only having 10-12 pieces to choose from made getting dressed really simple. And I think I want to expand this to other areas. Don't get me wrong. I like stuff. I like cute stuff and shopping and pretty dishes and this and that from crafters and how do I stop?

But wouldn't it be nice to clear everything out and just start with what we need. Simple white dishes. Just one matching set of pots and pans. More experiences and less clutter? Only the best toys (especially since Gabe is the only one who really likes toys), carefully selected and displayed. Photos in photo books rather than stuffed in drawers. Crafting stuff seriously pared down because 1) it generates clutter to make more clutter, and 2) the kids don't leave me much time.

And I can't help remembering all of the stuff of my mom's we threw out. Decent stuff. I guess that is why people have estate sales. I just put it all by and in the dumpster at her apartment and let people pick through it. I don't want my life to end up as stuff sitting by a dumpster. I want just enough quality items which people will value.

Something to think about. 

Alec's Birth Story (not gross)

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

After a 37 week ultrasound suggested a 9 lb 2 oz baby (they were off), we scheduled an induction for a few days before the due date. I was relieved as I work fulltime and have been completely exhausted. Also, he kept flipping with every ultrasound (being over age 40, I had weekly ultrasounds in the last  month), and I was concerned about going into labor with a possible larger than average breech baby.
We got to the hospital at 5 a.m. He was still floating very high, but the doctor was confident that once my water was broke he would drop down and be born fairly quickly. The nurse couldn't find the head and did a quick ultrasound scan and determined that he was indeed, headdown. Pitocin was started about 6:45 a.m. I got an epidural around 9, not really sure. I wasn't really in pain at this point. As is typical with epidurals, my blood pressure dropped immediately. I had two doses of whatever they give you to raise it. I threw up off and on. After a few hours, my blood pressure finally raised up to about 98/50 (something). I think the low was in the 80s over 40s, Maybe lower. I remember seeing a 68 at one point, but I don't remember exactly. Anyway, all this = SICK!
The doctor came back around one to check me and break my water. This is when we discovered there was not progress. I had gone in at a  3 and was still about a 3-4 cm. The doctor felt around and we discovered that sometimes during the day, the baby had flipped breech. His head was right under my breast. So the doctor turned off the pitocin to relax my uterus and got to work turning the baby back over by hand. All this time I was afraid she would want to do a cesarean, but she never brought it. With the nurses help, she turned the baby, and a firm stretchy "binder" was wrapped around the top of my uterus to hold him place, and when my blood pressure stabilized, the pitocin was started again, and my water was broken. Finally around 6:30 or so, they said I was at a 7-8. I was dozing off and on all day, due to exhaustion and nausea. I imagined we still had several more hours, but it was more like minutes (30, 40?) before the doctor decided it was time to start pushing (I think she wanted to go home, she pushed open the last cm, or so). 
So...the pushing commenced. With an epidural it didn't hurt, but it is still VERY HARD work to push a baby out. I swear, afterwards for several days, every muscle in my body ached. Finally after about 10 contractions, he was born. Everyone was exclaiming over his size, but I knew he wasn't all that big, comparing him to the others. 
After an hour of so of skin to skin (THIS was amazing. SO much better than the old way of whisking baby away to mess with-very little crying, much calmer baby), he weighed in at 9 pounds. Later in my hospital room, he weighed 9 lbs 4 oz., they said the labor room scale wasn't calibrated correctly, but whatever. The card says 9 and that is what we will go with. 
We spent the next day keeping his sugar up, and then had to get a biliblanket for the next two days. Thankfully at four days old, his ped said we could stop the biliblanket (it is hard to snuggle them with it), and life has commenced as usual. He has slept a lot today. We will see if I get any sleep tonight.
Anyway, loving my baby, trying not to feel pensive about no longer being pregnant and anticipating labor. 
I have always leaned away from being induced (although, I ended getting induced 4/6 times) but this is the first time I was okay with it totally, and even before my due date. In fact, I am glad we did it this way. It would have sucked to show up in active labor with a breech baby. They might not have been able to turn it, and I would be recovering from surgery right now. I am glad I went with my gut!