Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Regifting is Resourceful

Spoiler Alert:  Parental Failure

Monday, June 30, 2014

No Crap Accepted Today

...As seen via 2 Girls & A Dream....advice that is often easier said than done, but so true.  I try to instill this in my two teens (and my lovelies) this attitude - the more attention we give the "crap givers" the more crap they tend to dole out to us.  Sometimes it works for them, other times they fall into that "poor me, they're picking on me" funk.  But I'm here to snap them back into reality, as it is much easier to dole out the advice and admonitions than it is to apply it, right?

Ten years ago I was the people pleaser, little Miss Helpful.  My first teaching position had really allowed me to grow, creatively and spiritually, and I became the giver...always there to share supplies and advice.  Well, this was not accepted by the "experienced" staff members of my new school, who took my helpfulness to mean that I thought I was better and knew more.  I was often mocked & deemed an overachiever - little barbs were thrown out and eventually it wore me down - or rather I allowed it to wear me down.
I'd like to say that I overcame their nonsense and triumphed (she says as she marches the hallways singing "We will overcome," NOT) but I spent six (LONG) years in this (work) environment and not only did I learn (upon leaving and moving 1200 miles away) that they were not worth sacrificing my time & energy for but also that maybe they chose to bring me down because of something within them, that it really wasn't about me. But it's not as easy to see that when you are in the thick of things & my feelings were hurt, I stressed, I worried and ultimately I let my naysayers win.

I wasn't able to "see" their motives because I allowed their crap-slinging to bring me down.  I chose to entertain their nonsense and didn't ignore often makes me wonder how different things would have been if I had learned to ignore and overcome.  But then I wouldn't be where I am now, physically and mentally and I am pretty damn content (happy too, but comfortable in my own skin, with the me I have become). So...

Fast forward to the present, where I attempt to only keep myself surrounded by like-minded people.  I still help but have learned to do so when it comes from MY heart, not what I believe others will want to see or hear from me.  I use humor to mask irritation, hurt & disgust.  Those that know me and know me well understand that this is just ME and isn't a lack of caring but rather caring too much - but it can be off-putting and can become an obstacle in my building relationships. Note:  I've ALWAYS been this way, using humor to mask, and that has really been a source of contention for some people...I think it is genetic, therefore incurable, so they can learn to accept or move on, right?

My pleasing is done for family & friends first and even then I am truly lacking...and the lovelies that I work so diligently to help become successful & productive citizens of our society.  As a matter of fact, I am a proponent of my lovelies to a fault & the needs of my friends and family follow behind - I'm not proud, just honest. So...

This leads to the question I posed yesterday via my Superior Nonsense FB page, "How do you see people?" This question was posed at church - we'd attended a new one, just to check it out, and I believe that we were there for a reason - simply to hear this question & reflect upon it...especially since D & K were like "mmm, we like the other church (which we've been attending for the past six months) better."

But in reflecting on this question, it made me realize that I don't spend enough time seeing the true potential in people.  I often see them through my teacher eyes: are they going to help or hinder progress.  I see complainers as hinderers and I see go-getters as helpers...yet not every body fits into these two categories and I am learning that I am short-changing them and myself from getting to know some potentially cool people.  And even then, not only am I missing out on some great friendships, but they are missing out because they don't get to know me & my kick arse-self, right?

Moral of the story:  Ignore the crap disher-outers and be true to you and what you believe in.  Oh, and hug your friends and family for putting up with your crazy arse.  Peace out my homies!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Happy Pill...the Whole Truth and Nothing But!

I make a lot of jokes about my happy pill...professionals call it Cymbalta, an anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication prescribed for a variety personal issues.  My issue?  Anxiety and irritation...without it I have the shortest fuse on the block and I am emotional, yeah, a bit of a cry baby - not the greatest combination, right?

I haven't always been on an anti-depressant - just the past eleven years.  That's not to say that I didn't need something before that, but becoming a parent made it a necessity.  Sad, but true.

Becoming a parent is an emotional journey, especially when you've been trying/waiting to become one for almost ten years.  Five years of trying "naturally," a few years of tests & fertility treatments, until we came to our senses & sealed the deal with adoption.  International adoption - we had been through enough emotionally that I was not going to risk having some crackhead knocking on our door to get their kid(s) back.  Just sayin'...

I know, I am making light of a pretty emotional journey, but that's how I roll...and besides, that is not the point of this story.  So, back to the happy pill...

We'd been home from Samoa for about two months and I noticed that my patience level had become non-existent.  I was wound tight and for once in a very long time, had no real reason to feel that way.  My family was complete - awesome husband, two beautiful little girls and two very loyal springer spaniels...we'd even just moved into a new home that completed our 21st Century nuclear family.  So why so anxious?  Why so emotional?  Was I just an ungrateful bee-otch that didn't know how to appreciate her awesome life?

Well, did you know that a woman can put their body into post-partum depression without giving birth?  Yeah, me neither.  But apparently I am pretty damn special and that's exactly what my doctor felt was happening to me and my snarky, quick to snap self.  She said that the sudden change from no kids to two kids who only wanted ME (the girls were not accustomed to men) was enough to kick the hormones into overdrive, creating an imbalance.  It also does not help that I was genetically pre-destined for this nonsense...depression, to varying degrees, runs deep in my family, so honestly, it was inevitable.  And to say that my life had changed would be an understatement.

I had gone from a married woman/teacher who could come and go as she a mother who was married and taught for a living.  I couldn't go anywhere without hearing "mommy" or feeling somebody poking or squeezing me, wanting something, if not food, just a snuggle.  And now that I type this I feel a little bit of guilt because it was what I'd always wanted...but damn, so much so soon?

So back to the pill...the doctor hooked me up with an anti-depressant and two weeks later, I was a calm, cool collected mama on summer break.  I felt better - even keeled, chill, going with the flow and loving my new life.  After a couple of months I had to go in for a check-up and D went with me...the doctor (military docs so it was my first visit with him) looked at D and said, "What do you think?  She needs it?  Do you notice a difference?"  Now this was over ten years ago so I don't recall exactly what D said but it was along the lines of "it works, keep it coming Doc."  Yeah, well that was certainly confirmation that my nonsense was being taken care of thanks to the miracle of modern medicine.

Now I've tried, over the years, to take a break from the happy pill, but to no avail - this chemical imbalance nonsense that turns me into a cry baby bee-otch is here for good folks.  The longest I've gone without it is one year and hmm, it was interesting to say the least.  The mood swings were nuts - I went from laughing, happy go lucky to getting my feelings hurt over nonsense that would normally crack me up.  The final straw was when we attempted to move to Wisconsin and it did not work out -- the crying jags, oh the freaking crying jags, even I couldn't stand me!  So, back to the doctor (it was time for the annual poke & prod anyway) and back to NORMAL.

But I don't always learn the first time, so I tried it again last year...yeah, two weeks and when I broke down in tears because I couldn't concentrate long enough to dial the number to the doctor and then when I do get through I get the voice mail...let's just say they got me in the next day and we were all (including my work colleagues) singing Hallelujah and speaking in tongues.  Okay, not really, but all was right in the world, again, and for that I am thankful.

So fast forward to today, where I realized, quickly, that I had not taken my pill last night.  Now one would not think that 24 hours without it would make a difference.  Hmm, yeah, right.  For me, it's as if I am instantaneously blanketed in a serious case of adult ADHD...full on with the lack of focus, giggles, and the incessant need to move.  If I were a stay-at-home mom this might not be that big of a deal.  But I am attempting to educate the masses my dear friends and if a teacher needs one thing it is focus and control...

Point in case:  We are neck deep in test prep and standards review. The lovelies have been reading passages and answering questions, using test taking strategies that we've been doing all year long.  No biggy, right?  Well, it is when you begin to read & review the passage with your students and realize that even YOU are bored to tears.  Here is where I confirmed, that I had not taken my pill:

Question 5 asks:  Which word would describe Blobbity Blob (can't recall her name, that is how disengaged I was from this reading passage):
a) interesting

Lots of vocabulary discussion ensued and we narrowed it down to a & b...and in full-on teacher mode I say "well, she was a spy, so she was not very honest or trustworthy, therefore she was deceitful. But on the other hand she led a pretty interesting life so I can see where someone would choose "interesting."  Now folks, this is where I SHOULD have reiterated the character and her actions so they'd clearly understand she was deceitful.  But nope, that's not what happened...instead I continue discussing "interesting" and proceed to say "Now, I think she was pretty interesting, I'd probably want to read more about her.  Well, no, that's a lie, I don't think she was that interesting and besides...she's dead."  Yes, that is EXACTLY what I said...WTH, right?

And this is where I lost it - I couldn't stop giggling because I knew that I had truly lost it.  I'd even said, out loud, "Hmm, what's wrong with me today?  I should have kept that in my head!"  And because I'd realized, quickly, why I was so goofy, I embraced it and the rest of the day went off without a hitch - at least in my opinion....and I promise, I will take my happy pill (+ vitamin D) tonight and all will be right in the world of educating my lovelies.

BTW - My morning lessons are normally repeated for my afternoon group but due to MY morning shenanigans, I spared the group my personal views on Blobbity Blob (Belle something or other) and opted for a more low key afternoon.  So yes, I do learn from my mistakes, sometimes;-)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

There are two things that I really cannot tolerate in life, as in "I am scared sh$tless and I am going to run and scream like a five year old girl" intolerance: snakes and mice.  Now, where we reside, snakes very rarely get into your home, therefore not much to worry about there.  But mice, yeah, frequent visitors in the winter - we live in a somewhat rural area and when they cut the corn fields, BAM, Mickey and all of his freaking pals try to sneak into our house for food & shelter.  And by sneaking I mean practically opening up the front door and shouting (in their best Ricky Ricardo voice) "Hey Lucy, I'm HOOOOMMME!"  

We had a particularly bad year, about four years ago, where the little bastards thought they were going to move their entire family (and we all know how quickly they procreate) into our home, via the pantry & fire place.  D was out of town, work related, and the girls and I were holding down the proverbial fort and the little shit droppers were literally storming the home front.  It was a Friday, as I clearly remember because D was coming home the next day.  I opened the pantry and to my surprise (and apparently the Fieval raiding my pantry) one of the nasty buggers jumped out at me and as I belted out a blood curdling scream, ran behind the fridge.  Panting like I had just run a marathon (or around the block, same difference), the girls and I ran to the car and abandoned the house...for school.  I promised myself if those little buggers were going to invade my home they had another thing coming...sticky traps (cue ominous background music) and many of them.  

Now we had tried a variety of trapping devices in the past, my favorite being the little electric box - the crafty critters were lured into the box by the wafting fragrance of peanut buttery goodness and when they stepped closer they stepped onto a metal plate which ZZZZZAAAAAPPPPed the life out of them.  It was awesome - no mess, no screaming, no blood (I'm sure there was but D took care of that nonsense).  But a year later, after our influx of rampaging rodents shorted out our trap, we sadly learned that Lowe's was no long carrying them.  Argh, this meant we had to go one of three routes:  Poison (nope, they die in the walls & stink to high heaven), Traditional with bait (nope, too easy for them to get the peanut butter and they were bloody by nature) or sticky traps.  

So you see, I really had no choice but to line my baseboards with the infamous torture devices. Mind you, I considered them torturous and I'd shunned them because I'd heard that the trapped/stuck mouse will emit an ear piercing scream.  Hmm, no thank you - that's all I need is to have that nonsense replaying in my head!  But I had reached my breaking point folks and having mouse after mouse mock me, laughing in my scared to death face caused me to jump on the "Last Resort" train and not turn back. 

Note:  Upon arriving home after a day at school, totally forgetting the morning mouse incident, I walked right into our kitchen only to have another freaking mouse run out from under the pantry door (apparently my pantry was the "happening place" for these bastards and their wicked friends), right past me and behind the fridge (again).  I screamed and told the girls to get back in the car, we were going to Lowe's - all the while wondering if it would just be easier to pack a bag and go to the damn Hampton Inn for the night!

Traps were purchased, dinner brought home in a paper bag that may or may not have had golden arches and we were ready to chill out for the night.  Little did we know that we were going to have an influx (no exaggeration) of mice scampering their shitty little arses along the living room walls.  All it took was one scurrying past, bypassing my ONE trap, and I quickly devised a plan:  big bottle of wine, myself and fed children in pj's on the couch and sticky trapS strategically planted along the based boards of the living room...and BAM, Friday night's entertainment, a homespun extermination experiment, was up and running.


Now my dear hearts, this was four years ago and I was under the influence, but I do know that we snagged at least three of those sneaky little buggers and threw them out into the cold night air (yes, trap and all), where D would be home the next day to take them to their final resting place.  C & I screamed every time one raced out and K giggled with glee as she knew IT would be meeting an untimely demise.  K was also the brave soldier to scoop the trap (with mouse) onto a dustpan and toss them out the door.  I should be ashamed to admit that, because she was only eight years old at the time, but hell, someone had to do it, right?  And who am I to strip my child of such obvious joy?  Heck, she even talked to the little arseholes as she took them outside...hmm, what does that say about my kid?  Pfft, just another one of my parenting wonders, right?

We woke the next morning and decided that the majority of the day would be spent the little buggers and buggerettes had yet to journey to the second floor.  But a unanimous decision was made: if we saw any more mice we'd leave a note for D informing him that he could find us at the Hampton Inn.  We had displayed immense bravery the night before but we were officially tapped out. 

Lucky for D & us, all went well and he eventually took care of the mice situation...poison that dehydrates the mice, thrown under the house and kept in the garage for those that snuck in for a quick munch.  Fast forward four years and we now own Frappe', a 1 1/2 year old cat that we adopted from the SPCA after I saw a mouse, dead on a sticky trap, in our front closet.  She has kept us mouse free and now insect free - certainly earning her keep, more than I can say for the teens, but that's another story for another day.

BTW:  The mice don't scream, but rather emit a high pitched squeak...that is, when they aren't trying to gnaw their own leg off to "release" themselves from the trap.  Stubborn little bastards.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Guilt Schmilt

What would it be like to never live with regret?  To never worry about making the right decision and how it would affect others?  I'm certainly not the one to ask because I feel guilty all of the time.  For big things and little things and things that should not even matter - it's all about questioning myself, not being confident in decisions that I have made.  But why?  I know that I come off as very confident, self-assured, and definitely capable of handling a wide variety of nonsense - and many times this confidence is interpreted as being a bee-otch.  So be it, right?

I once asked my husband if I came across as someone that thinks they are better than others...he paused.  Yes, paused, WTH was that about?! Well, if he didn't agree you know darn well his silly self would have said "oh no, honey, you're just self-assured."  But not only did he pause, he proceeded to say "Yeah, pretty much, but it's okay, you're just particular."  Wow, particular?  I don't about you, but I would say that's a great vocabulary word  for "picky."

Now this really should not come as a surprise since my Grammy and Grandpa G used to call me Picky Nikki - no lie and sometimes it was Nickle Pickle (hmm, this must be where I get my love of rhyming, but that's another story for another time).  If I wasn't picky, as in particular about what I ate or wore, I was picky in the respect that I "picked" at others.  If you had lint on your shirt, a hair out of place or a boogie hanging from your nose, I'd be the first to bring it to your attention.  Lucky for me I saved this not so redeeming character trait for my family members - good thing or I'd probably never have had a damn friend throughout my childhood!

I'd like to think that this "picking" was because I was becoming a detail oriented person, something that would be necessary in my future profession as a hairstylist (yes, that was my major career goal from the 6th grade on).  But why did that lint on your shirt or that "bat in the cave (my absolute favorite reference to boogies in the nose) bother me so much?  And even worse, why did I feel that persistent need to share it?  And even better, let's wonder why I didn't turn this constant "picking" onto myself.  I promise you that if I had I would have been a textbook case of OCD, taking perfection to a whole new level.

So fast forward 30+ years - do I really think that I am better than others?  Hmm, no...but I would like to see others step up and live/work to his or her full-potential.  Is that wrong?  I'll be honest with you: the poor choices of others, laziness in general and disrespect towards others drive me NUTS.  But who am I to judge if you've chosen to wear your pj's to Walmart (another place that I despise, but I will not waste key strokes on that nonsensical place), or you come to work unprepared and disorganized?  If your nonsense doesn't affect me, why do I care?  

I'll be honest, my best guess is this: if I focus on your issues, I can ignore my own.  So it's time to change (yes, I am hearing Peter Brady singing in his puberty stricken voice) my friends, time to focus on making the best ME - not just for me, but for my family.  Because a better me will share, not pick.  A better, kinder me will exude positivity (how's that for some sappy nonsense?) and it will be contagious.  People will be singing from the rooftops, smiling at strangers, completing random acts of kindness like there is no tomorrow...Okay, now I'm just cracking myself up, because I am a realist and while I can work on not being so "picky," I don't think that I'm ready for that much change...not only do I not have the motivation to become Polly Positive 100% of the time, but I kind of like ME - picky, judgmental, sassy and witty.

But I can work on keeping some of my comments to myself.  I am sure that dropping my "picking" habit will not be easy, nor will it be fun.  I mean, when I see someone with dragon talons for toenails, kicking it in flip flops, I will literally have to bite my tongue to NOT share this nonsense with someone, ...seriously, that's some funny stuff and how can I not share it?  Damn, this is going to be harder than I thought...

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Oops, I Think I Made a Mistake...

Happy Sunday and hello to the eve of the work week.  I have had a wonderful week filled with family and relaxation - both over due and just what the proverbial doctor ordered!  And during this time of peace and tranquility (with a wee bit of retail therapy) I've been able to think, re-think, and come to a conclusion that has been difficult to admit but necessary...for the sake of my sanity.  Don't get me wrong, I embrace my inner crazy (normal is boring, in my honest opinion), but not to the point where my inner crazy becomes an all encompassing, full-time ready for the loony bin crazy.  We all have limits.

First of all, the first step in handling a problem is admitting that you actually have a problem - and obviously I do have a wee bit of a problem.  I am the type of person that embraces change, especially when it comes to professional growth...and moving, I love to move to new places...but that's not what we're talking about here.  Now when I say I embrace change, I'm not talking about tiny little changes like tasting new foods (not too daring in this department) or trying out a new haircut (too daring in this department).  We're talking whoppers, huge changes that have lasting effects on not only myself, but my family as well. I mean, what the hell, go big or go home, right?

So, in the last post I mentioned my new job, media coordinator.  Now THAT has been a change, a change that has certainly affected myself & my poor family.  Poor family?  Yes, my poor family are always subjected to my schemes.  In retrospect I should have been a  lawyer (or a sales person, but the former sounds more lucrative) because I can plead my case, no matter how foolish or spontaneous it may be, swaying my audience (family and close friends) to go along with my whackadoo ideas & opinions.  I am grateful that they believe in me enough to support me but I'm thinking that maybe I need to tone down my enthusiasm a bit and let them truly give me their opinion.  After sharing my "hard sell" tactic, I always ask "What do you think?" and they usually respond with 'sounds great' or 'you'll be great at whatever you do.' have I never noticed that they always tell me what I WANT to hear?!  Wow, I am slow on the draw - I have become one of those people where others tell me what I want to hear so I will SHUT UP!!  (head in hands, shaking my head).

D says that I suffer from "the grass is always greener" syndrome - see new fabulous vocabulary word below as it totally describes my true issue, just saying.  But before I explain his theory, let me clarify one thing: my "changes" are always work related.  I love dear D and my girls and really work diligently to make sure that my schemes are really only going to affect me...but I'm not always so successful with that since I can be a touch dramatic...not Academy Award winning dramatic, but enough where my emotions can  cause my family to ask "Have you taken your happy pill?" or "Could you take another?"  So, when I came home saying "Hey, our school needs a new media coordinator and I think I would LOVE that job," they didn't know what to say except 'okay (mom/honey), you'd be a great librarian.'  No questions, no "are you sure?"

Long story short: I interview, I'm offered the job (with a pay cut that I minimize because I just know that I'm going to LOVE this job), I take the job...and now, fifteen days later I'm like 'WOW, this is so not me."  What?!  Yes, you read that correctly, I am not digging the new job and have formally asked to go back to the classroom.  A big ol' slice of humble pie, sliced, served and EATEN my friends.  I'm not sure if it's my age (read: wisdom) or the fact that I truly dislike the job, but I am totally comfortable with changing my mind, i.e. admitting that I was wrong.  But in my favor, I've held a job of some sort for the past 28 years, and in that time period I've only had two other jobs that I office clerk for a maritime law lawyer (HORRIBLE) and an assembly line worker in the "clean room" of a factory that packaged the toys for cereal boxes (monotonous but fun co-workers).  So, my friends, life is too short to not do something that you are passionate about and I am passionate about teaching.  Bam, simple as that...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Over due...

It has been well over a week since my last post and while I am feeling slightly guilty, I'm feeling a bit uninspired.  I think it is the extreme physical exhaustion that has taken over me.  The new job...careful what you wish for, right?  

Here's the deal, I've been a classroom teacher for thirteen years and each year has been special, unique and wonderful, all in their own way.  My first three years were perfect it was almost wrong.  Wrong?  Because it spoiled me - nothing has really compared since those first three fun-filled years.  But overall, they've all been filled with awesome students and their families and a ton of learning experiences - theirs and mine.  The majority of my co-workers have been pretty damn cool too...there is always an exception to the rule, but in thirteen years I can honestly say that only one could be labeled as a the straw that could always break this camel's back.  Not bad for four different schools, four different grade levels, hundreds of students and a butt-load of co-workers, right?

But the time has come to move on and I have...I am now a media coordinator, i.e. school librarian.  Librarian...not the most attractive job title is it?  Because most of us are probably envisioning a cardigan clad older woman with spectacles, knee-length skirt and comfortable shoes.  Ah shit, that is me...44 isn't a spring chicken, I do wear glasses and my most recent hair-do isn't exactly setting any trends.  And we won't even discuss the denim skirt, wiener dog blouse, and Sperry's, all worn TODAY!  Oh no, have I just left the classroom for my twilight years dream job?!  

No, because I cannot go there.  I may be in my 40's but I'd have to say that I feel younger today than I have in a long it younger or just more confident?  Potato, potah-toe, who cares, right?  Now, we will not factor in the extreme exhaustion at the end of the day, the back pain and crows feet...I DO feel younger (damn it!).  Who cares that I am now willingly taking supplements, drink a bazillion ounces of water (which means I don't sleep through the night!) and have a green smoothie for breakfast every morning (with flax seed to make me, you know, regular)?  Heck, I'd have done all of that at age 23, if it would have been popular.  

Aww, who am I fooling?  Aging is not fun, it is not easy, but the wisdom that I've gained throughout the years...totally worth it.  Now, time to hit the sack or this old girl will not get to read her book before she nods off;-)

Sunday, March 30, 2014

How Can Something So Easy Become So Difficult?

Two years into our marriage I decided that it was time to have a baby.  I had a timeline that needed to be adhered to:  pregnant at 25 and 30, two kids, preferably boys, and all would be as planned.  I'd planned on breast feeding, cloth diapers, and I'd make my own baby hell with Gerber's and their nonsense, I'd be whipping up my own puree'd veggies and rice.

Scrreeeeech, put on the brakes...apparently getting pregnant wasn't going to be as easy as it seemed.  No wham bam thank you ma'am would be happening in our household.  Nope, we'd be the couple that would be keeping a calendar of body temps, scheduling the "right" time to knock boots, and going to the doctor to check the quality of my bodily fluids.  How could something, pregnancy, be so scientific, so difficult, when teenagers across the nation were getting knocked up without "trying," much less wanting.

Long story short, it became my obsession, to get pregnant and have a baby that was part of me, part of D.  Nothing else would be acceptable.  We had the test where they shot dye through my Fallopian tubes - this is where I learned that I had a very mild case of endometriosis (which was later cauterized and the tubes were healthy and clear) and according to the German radiologist that was reading my x-ray...'when you feel mittleschmerz (German for ovulation pain/cramping) on the right, that is when you DO IT.'  Wow, how's that for a bedside manner?  Needless to say, it was not going to be so simple...

Pregnancy was like the unicorn in the forest for me or the infamous Elvis sightings...possible (although the odds were 50/50) but never to be a reality.  Honestly, the more hoops we jumped through to obtain the (in our case) obtainable, the more I became like a disgruntled postal worker rather than a maternal maven.  Why me?  Why us?  We were a great couple with the emotional and financial means to raise a child - so why was this not meant to be?  Prayer, vitamins, exercise, diet, bum propped up with a pillow, etc.  But I couldn't give up, I could not admit to failure.

Intrauterine insemination - this was our method of choice.  This means that the swimmers get washed in a protein solution and are then injected into one's uterus - pretty much a no brainer for those wayward swimmers.  But your swimmers do need to be plentiful and strong to break through my stubborn egg(s)...yeah, go figure, eggs as tough as their creator, not cool my friends, not cool at all.  This process included hormone shots, multiple trips to the doctor for blood tests (yeah, not fun in normal circumstances, but add to this that I have crap veins - deep & they like to roll, of course) and the vaginal ultrasounds to check out your eggs...hmm, I wish I could have seen the look on my own face when they pulled out the "wand" and rolled a condom on it, complete with K-Y jelly.  I'm sure I was thinking "yikes, what the hell are they going to do with that?!"  Yes, this had become quite the educational experience, lol.  But it all seemed like it would be worth it...

That is, until I had to miss my grandmother's funeral due to hyper-stimulated ovaries - travel was out of the question because I was walking around with the proverbial basket full of eggs (nine to be exact) and if any of them were to burst they could fill my lungs with fluid, giving me instant pneumonia.  This was the emotional straw that broke this camel's back...not having the opportunity to say good bye to my Grammy AND no pregnancy (which would be confirmed three weeks later) and I'd decided to jump off of the emotional roller coaster called fertility treatments.  Hormonal beyond compare, I could not take the repeated failures anymore.  So, we just stopped.  Just like that - cold turkey, no more rushing to the doctor in Virginia, no more shots in my hips and arms, no more nasty prenatal vitamins, and no more counting days on the calendar, filled with false hope that "this time it has to work."

The decision to stop was liberating but heartbreaking - I'd had us investing so much time, money and emotions towards becoming parents and now we'd be giving up the dream.  Or would we?  We still wanted to become parents, we would just need to move on to plan B, adoption.   And that my friends, is another story for another evening.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Parenting Teens: No Wimps Allowed

This has been a weekend chock full of self-examination of myself as a parent.  I feel that D & I provide a pretty structured environment that supports open communication.  We offer just enough wiggle room for either C or K to express themselves, but not to be disrespectful.  So while I sit back, patting myself on the proverbial back, I realize that I have a sixteen year old who is NEVER wrong and a thirteen year old who can sulk, kiss ass (via baby talk) and have an intelligent conversation about about WWI, all in a 3 minute time span.  Hmm...and I'm the one that needs a happy pill?

Patience, not my strongest virtue, was tested beyond my wildest dreams this weekend.  First, I will take full blame for all nonsense that I trudged through - if I would just let them, my girls, do their own thing, I'd probably know way less, saving me from unnecessary worry.  But that is not how I roll.  I've always been involved - when they watched Disney Channel, mama watched Disney Channel - loved me some Penny Proud and the Proud Family.  I've kept up on trends, dressed them fashionably without over doing it financially; allowed them to invite just about anybody over for play dates and sleepovers, providing snacks & tasty meals (Sonic & pizza, duh!).  Their friends love us and we love them - well, most of them.  But none of this "chill parent" stuff would prepare me for my book smart/common sense deficient daughter's learning to drive...the whole cool mom nonsense becomes a facade and goes right out the window when your child says "I'm ready" and proceeds to step on the gas while the damn car is still in park!

Like many things in life, obtaining a driver's license is waaaay different now.  C currently has a permit that allows her to drive with an adult, up to ten hours per week, for one year.  So, as we will need her to drive she & her sister to school in the fall, it's time to get cracking.  We've limited practice drives to the neighborhood, about 30 minutes at a time.  But today I put on my big girl panties (okay, bigger than normal big girl panties) and decided she could drive us to the store.  Don't ask where this extreme level of cockiness and bravery came from, but I will confidently blame it on hormones...just like everything else that goes awry in a periomenopausal woman's life.

Where would this little adventure on the roads take none other than Walgreen's.  I had a $5 off coupon and we needed toothbrushes & coffee, so it seemed like the right idea.  And overall, all went well.  Parking is a major issue - and we're talking attempting to go straight into a space with no obstacles...but we can work on that and we will.  My poor little toes were clenched beyond repair, pushing that imaginary brake through the damn floor board takes a lot of work - especially when you want to grab the wheel or shout out really helpful questions like "what the hell are you doing?"  or "did you not see that huge dumpster looming before us?"

But all kidding aside, the real issue is this: my daughter is growing up, too quickly, before my very eyes and there is nothing I can do to stop it from happening.  She is wise beyond her years and yes, sometimes I'd like her to lighten up and enjoy life a bit more.  But her work ethic is commendable, better than most adults I know, and her teachers genuinely love her.   Honestly, what parent could ask for more?  Where I once worried that she was going to be too passive, a door mat for her (at the time) middle school peers to trample on, she really stepped up, made great choices and avoided the girl-drama that most girls fall prey to.  Yes, I am thankful and yes, I am proud.  But damn, can't we have a little rewind? Not to any particular "favorite" moment, as they are all my favorite.  If not a rewind, then a freeze-frame, to stop this nonsense we call growing up?

Yeah, I know, not possible - I'm a realist, I get it.  So, if I've learned anything this weekend it is to cherish and savor every little moment, even the tough ones, because they are gone before you know it.  And even the superior attitude of an "always right" sixteen year old can be seen as a positive...hell, we all need comic relief, right?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring & International Happiness Day

Happy Thursday my Superior friends and welcome to the official first day of spring...crazy right, since many of you still have snow on the ground.  Growing up in Michigan, snow during the spring was the norm and if anything it was just the official "light at the end of the tunnel," the gateway to summer.  But that is not the point of this it is also International Happiness Day!  To be quite honest, I've never heard of it but I'm feeling pretty damn grateful lately and figured I'd post a list of things that make me happy/feel grateful.  So, here goes:

1. Daylight savings time because the sun is rising as I leave for work and it is still shining bright when I head home.  The older I get the more I appreciate the healthy affects of sunshine - it brightens my mood ten fold, there is really nothing like it to lift my spirits...and it is also a guarantee for outdoor recess;-) 

2. Pedicures - which I desperately need right about now...thank goodness we don't have many rooms with carpeting anymore or I'd be snagging some serious carpet fibers if you know what I mean.  Freshly pedicured feet also mean...

3.  FLIP FLOPS, because I love me some naked feet action!  Never one for flip flops as a kid - hated anything between my toes - I could live in flip flops, especially some Yellow Box flip flops because they are squishy and come in so many different designs...bedazzlingly beautiful!

4.  Caffeine, preferably coffee, but I will succumb to a Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper (easy ice) every now and then...just a little jolt, not excessive, but just knowing that I have the option to savor some tasty java when the feeling moves me (or needs to move me) makes me happy;-)

4.  Friends that support me, laugh with me and give me great, supportive, non-judgmental advice...or so I think, maybe I've just strategically made some damn good choices to surround myself with awesome peeps that appreciate my crazy, spontaneous matter, they rock and I love them to pieces!

5. My awesome family - they love me just like I am, whackadoo nonsense and all, I couldn't ask for anything more, right?

So Superiors, my bucket of gratitude is pretty damn good;-)

Friday, March 14, 2014

March Words Challenge

This week’s post is a writing challenge that I heard about via Baking In a Tornado and seeing that I am trying to increase my personal writing, this seemed right up my alley.   This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

Have you ever felt like you really understood a concept, only to find out that you were totally clueless?  Yep, this was me, totally sideswiped by my own ignorance.  Rather than beat myself up about my idiocy, I’ll share my idiocy and how it left me completely and totally spent - and not in the way they write about in those Fabio-like bodice ripper short stories.

Today’s prime time TV is littered with reality TV nonsense - a great way to make the ordinary seem special, right?  One of my least favorite types of reality TV, due to the graphic (non-sexual) nature, are the ones that have to do with addictions or weird habits.  Do I really care if you eat laundry detergent?  Nope, not really, unless of course it helps with grass stains.  Do I need to see your family attempt to intervene in your bizarre toenail chewing habit?  Hmm, only if I am feeling like my life is crap and therefore watching you would make me feel like the queen of the freaking universe.  I understand that the addiction is a manifestation of a deeper lying issue, but that doesn’t mean I feel sorry for you or that I could give two hoots about you and your bizarre rituals.  

So how does all of this connect to me being clueless?  Hmm, let’s just say that people who have issues with germs are probably dirty rotten hoarders.  Okay, that may be a little harsh but after yesterday’s experience, it is my story and I am sticking to it!

I have recently taken a position as our school’s media coordinator, replacing the gal who has held the position for the past 13 years.  Yesterday I had the opportunity to get into my new “office” and check it out.  Little did I know that three hours later I would come out with a fresh case of black lung disease.  And although I expected to do a little cleaning/straightening up, I didn’t expect a truly DIRTY environment.

Why would I be so sure that I’d  walk into a fairly clean situation?  Hmm, because my predecessor has an issue...with germs which has manifested itself into a severe handwashing issue.   Cleanest damn hands on the planet, working in the dirtiest library in the universe!  Here I am, because I’ve watched enough TLC and A& E to know that most people with OCD issues are neat freaks, clean freaks, however you may want to classify them.  But holy wow, not this chica...the friggin’ dust bunnies were the size of a half dollar and they were multiplying before my very eyes.  And the cupboards were a menagerie of complete and utter nonsense...never, since 1989, have I seen so many VHS tapes in one area.  All I could think was “be kind, rewind” and then had a great urge to go home and pop in my taped from television VHS tape of Weird Science!  But then, of course, it kind of makes sense: if you don’t touch anything, your hands can’t get dirty...and if you don’t touch ANYTHING, nothing gets cleaned, right?

The only way to get over this traumatic experience...a big ass tub of hot water and BUBBLES, lots of bubbles to wash away all of the yuck that I had just experienced.  Because not only did I want to get clean...I needed to wash away all of the weirdness that I had waded through in my soon to be new work environment.  And I was pretty successful...because there isn’t much that a relaxing tub and a couple of hits off of your inhaler can’t cure.  Just another day of Superior Nonsense my friends, just another day.
At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.
I’m using:       bubbles ~ grass ~ clean ~ special~ toes         
They were submitted by:
Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:                   Baking In A Tornado              Follow me home . . .              Confessions of a part-time working mom                       Spatulas on Parade                      Someone Else’s Genius                Searching for Sanity                      Battered Hope                       Healing Tomato                   Superior Nonsense               Rocks, No Salt Mommy              Evil Joy Speaks             Stacy Sews and Schools               The Bergham's Life Chronicles

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Karmic Intervention

Well, it's that time again my friends, Sunday's blog entry of nonsense.  This week I think I've been thinking about Karma - I capitalize it because I've given her a personality, simply because she shows up so often, kicking me in the arse, nipping at my heals, when I deserve it most.  When we're young & foolish we call it bad luck, when we are older and supposedly more wise, we call it karma because honestly, we should know better.

Treat others as we wish to be treated, the good ol' Golden Rule.  So easy to say, much more challenging to put into action.  Why?  Because we're human and making mistakes is what we do - sometimes we learn, sometimes we are insane (according to Einstein) and make the same mistakes over and over again...not all of us are quick study's if you know what I mean.

First, let me school you on my personal thoughts on the whole "golden rule" and "what goes around comes around"...It starts when we are kids and we join in gossip - always wanting to fit in, I'd find myself pulled into silly conversations about someone and to prove how funny I could be (perpetually the class clown, a great way to detract others from seeing your lack of confidence), I'd throw in my two cents of sarcastic wit and nine times out of ten, it would come back to bite me in the arse.  Blame it on lack of self-confidence or lack of maturity, but it took me a while to learn to NOT engage in these nonsensical conversations.  And at the age of 44 I am still amazed at how many adults still try to bait you into this negative banter.  I mean I am all for a good laugh and I am certainly not Positive Polly 100% of the time, but I know how to read a situation and when someone wants to  start the Negative Nelly nonsense, I make a joke and move on...nothing is worse than having your own words come back to bite you in the arse - not only is it unprofessional but immature and it says more about the speaker than those that they are speaking of.  So, as a self-proclaimed socially mature woman (yeah right), I should not have issues with Karma...right?  Ha Ha Ha

Our first major move, with the Coast Guard, was to Kodiak, Alaska, back in 1995.  Being in my mid-20's and newly married, my potential peer group were the yummy mummies - stay at home mom's whose identity was based upon their husbands position at the air station.  I was invited to many "parties" where you were expected to purchase items - Pampered Chef, Mary Kay, Cloudberry, etc.  And at these parties were stay at home mommies and their babies/toddlers/kids...and this is where karma comes into play.  One particular baby always had a runny nose - double barrel snot nose and to make matters worse he constantly had a pacifier in his mouth, which was chapped and crusty.  Of course I couldn't resist commenting about this to my friend, frequently.

So what, right?  It's okay to joke and confide with a trustworthy friend - my witty comments never did get back to the oblivious (and hygienically challenged) mama. But my sass -assiness would come back to get me, in the guise of Karma...

After unsuccessfully attempting to have children naturally (and with medical assistance), about ten years, we decided to pursue international adoption and traveled to Western Samoa (an island in the South Pacific, south west of Hawaii) to make our family complete.  They were the most adorable little girls, ages 5 (C) & K (2) and we were just smitten, unable to remember a time without them.  From two to four in the blink of an eye - mini-van, yard toys, Play Doh and the Wiggles - our lives were filled with laughter and an abundance of unconditional love. Sweet & sappy, right? Well you know me better than that and you are probably wondering: what about Karma?

Neither of our girls had major health issues, but K had a nasty ear infection that was treated while we were on the island - we were new parents and oblivious to the woes of ear infections...they are persistent little bastards, one right after the other, complete with green (yes, green!) gobbledy gook seeping from her left ear.  But along with this came...a DOUBLE BARREL SNOT NOSE.  No pacifier because she was beyond that, but the nose...damn, it was non-stop running. Poor kid, I know that if it drove me crazy it really had to drive her nuts!  Hell, she probably thought that my hand came with a tissue attached to it.  Multiple trips to the ENT, a tube in the right ear and surgery in the left ear, we (yes, we, cuz I was the one Karma was nipping in the buns with her snarky teeth) suffered two years of drippy, slurpy snot , finally getting it under control...but there was a lesson to be learned and I know that Karma was trying to teach me something, loud and clear: keep my damn mouth shut because you never know when it is going to happen to you!

Since her first appearance, or at least the first one I will acknowledge learning from, back in 2003, Karma is always there to keep me straight.  She helps me to not get too big for my britches, keeping me grounded in reality and best of all, humble.  When things are really awesome and I feel the urge to brag, Karma pokes her head around the corner and gives me the ol' finger wag, reminding me that even the briefest case of diarrhea of the mouth has the potential to sting...and hells bells, being a perio-menopausal mama comes with enough stings of its own, no need to add fuel to the fire!

Moral of the Story:  Don't make fun of snot-nosed kids.  No, seriously, think before speaking...don't say anything that may possibly come back to bite you in the arse cuz that nonsense will leave a mark.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Poetic License...Day 2

Just Say No... the little voices in your head
especially the ones that say: lets get a donut or two! the negative nellies that say they want you to succeed,
but in the end they really only want you to do their bidding. spending money to make you feel better,
because in the end the empty wallet is going to really suck.

...wearing uncomfortable clothing, 
as it will only make you feel ugly and have you worrying all day for nothing. fads, as you are wiser than that and don't need any more nonsense clogging up your closet - which is already filled with crap you don't want to wear!  Classic all the way baby! competing with your peers as it can suck the life force out of you AND you'll still be right where you started. Walk with the like minded and conquer your tasks together - two heads are always better than one tacky nonsense like gossip, eating cafeteria food, and neon colored clothing, because life is too short to waste it on things that make you feel and look like crap!

Just Say Yes... embracing the beauty that is you, inside and out, because life is too short to do anything else!

Superior Nonsense: Hair, It's Overrated

Superior Nonsense: Hair, It's Overrated: As I sit here with a hole on the side of my head (and no, not my ear canal), I am wondering why I have never just grown my hair out in one l...

Hair, It's Overrated

As I sit here with a hole on the side of my head (and no, not my ear canal), I am wondering why I have never just grown my hair out in one long Crystal Gayle sheath of nonsense.  How much easier would life be?  I mean, I'd just wash it, dry it, brush it, maybe even put it up in a pony tail.  No gel, no hairspray, minimal visits to the salon (annually would work for me), no perusing for a new style to get through a mood.  Yeah, if only I had the patience...

My downfall is that in my prior life, prior to becoming a teacher that is, I was a hair stylist.  Thirteen years, on and off.  Went to cosmetology school right out of high school and completed the program a month early...dedicated, motivated, excited to do something I had always dreamed of doing.  But near the end of the program I learned that I was highly allergic to perm solution...Superiors, this was the late 80's, white women could not function without their curls, and therefore a stylist would not be able to make a living without cranking out some curls.

What to do, what to do?  Hair, my friends, I did hair.  I worked and my hands turned into minced meat, despite the bizarre and ineffective help from the dermatologist - cotton gloves, soaked in ice water with Alpha-Keri bath oils.  Yes, true story, multiple times a day when I wasn't working.  But I had a car payment and a small student loan to repay, so work it was.  And what do hairstylists without a wee bit of time on their hands (no pun intended)? Each other's hair, of course!  I'll give you a brief recount of some of the really bad fiascos, just to prove that I really don't learn from bad experiences....

First hair fiasco occurred in beauty school:  my cute little wedge haircut took on a very masculine transformation within the first month of school.  I freaked, I cried, and everybody was pissed with ME because I'd hurt my friend's (who apparently did not hold my hair at the proper angle to keep the weight line, i.e. fullness, in the back) feelings.  Umm, wasn't I the one walking around looking like I should be wearing a pressed oxford shirt, jeans and Tretorn tennis shoes?  Just in case that reference is lost in translation...the hair cut made me look like I liked chicks and although I support gay rights, I wasn't playing for that team, if you get my drift.

Second hair fiasco, post-beauty school - blonde (read: WHITE) highlights...yes, it was bad, I am PALE with freckles & greyish blue eyes, red or gold highlights work, NOT extreme blonde, i.e. white.  I walked into the house and my mom was on the phone and I remember her saying, 'I think my daughter is blonde, I'll call you right back.'  It lasted a day and the only thing that covers yucky, mucky ashy blonde hair is RED...and I've been rocking various shades of red, on & off, for over 20 years now.  Proof that mistakes can open doors, right? No worries, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Numerous, bad haircuts, perms and some wee bit wacky color issues.  But nothing really topped the time I had my hair straightened.  I know, silly white girl, you already have straight hair, is exactly what you are thinking.  Well, I had impulsively had my hair permed and after going to a workshop where we learned how to cut the latest version of the shag haircut (the infamous "Rachel" from the TV show "Friends") I just HAD to have straight hair.  Lisa, an African-American stylist who worked part time in our little salon, volunteered to straighten my hair...a simple run through with perm solution does the trick.

Well, we all know that there are major differences between Caucasian hair and Black the fact that she combed the solution threw my hair with the same pressure and intensity that you would an African-American's hair...and while my hair was considerably unattractive in it's permed state, there was no "nap" to cut through.  Which is why I had difficulty getting my hair OFF OF MY scalp for the first two volume, no lift at the root, just flat ass straight hair stuck to my head.  Be careful what you wish for, right?  But wait, it gets better...two months afterwards I feel this bizarre little stubble in the crown of my head -  yep, my hair had broken off, at the root, and was now growing back didn't take long to me a little crew cut going at the crown of my head, kind of like natural texturizing to give me lift.  Again, my story...

Which leads me to yesterday's haircut really should have taken minutes because I'd already cut the majority myself and only needed her help blending in the back.  I wanted no major changes, just blending so that when I styled my hair I didn't look like I was working two different looks.  So why did I leave with hair that was not only shorter in ALL areas, but I have HOLES, more like gaps but they feel like cavernous holes that cannot be filled without major work!!  As she wrapped up the experience, her departing words were: I blended the back and texturized a bit.  Hmm, A BIT!!  $20 to walk away with holes in my head and a grandma hairdo to boot...

The moral to my story:  Thank goodness for cute headbands.