Friday, May 17, 2013

Writing Underwater

I have been half-writing for as long as I can remember. I wrote little poems and songs when I was as young as 7. I kept a diary around that same time too. I didn't stick with it. It mainly had drawings and only a couple of entries.."Dear Diary, my daddy doesn't love me. He yelled at me and I don't know what to do. He acts like he hates me all the time." and then on the next page, "Dear Diary, NEVERMIND! He loves me again! I'm SO happy!" I distinctly remember this. I still think it's disturbing! And also pathetic, but I was 8 years old so I can't be too hard on myself.
                   
 Anyway, I always tried my hand at writing little stories. I never saved any of them. I only have vague memories of things I wrote about. An Artic Fox named "Summer"...a ghost story or two. I also remember the song I wrote when I was 7. It is pretty freaking hilarious, and I don't remember the title, but here goes:
  "I'm a city girl inside, and a country girl outside, with a tender broken heaaaart. I love to play with my animals all day long, 'cause I love them very muuuucchhh. But sometimes I'm feelin' crazy! And sometimes I'm feelin' saaaaad. 'Cause I'm a country girl inside and city girl outside with a tender broken heaaaart!"
Are you laughing?? Because I am...I think I must've been watching a lot of the "Hee-Haw" television show around that time...as well as "Dukes of Hazard" because that song is CORN-BALL.
But cute, I'll give it that ;)
When I was 9, my mother went to this little hole in the wall bookstore that was going out of business, so they were selling boxes of miscellaneous books for $3 a box. She grabbed one and brought it home. I remember digging through the box..just a lot of grown-up books that looked boring, until I noticed a very thick and old book called "The Water Babies" by Charles Kingsley.
 I get chills when I think back to this. I don't know why this became such an important book to me, or why even the way I found it was a big deal....all I can tell you is it was one of the only times in my life that felt magical. Like finding buried treasure in your backyard. Or finding a secret room in a house you'd lived in for years.
The most wonderful part of the book was the illustrations. The inside cover had a gorgeous full-color portrait of little water babies and fish and lobsters and pearls.
None of the other pages in the book were colorized, just simple black ink drawings. But they were incredible....pictures of sea creatures, ocean scenes, fairies, gods, monsters. But the most wonderful picture of all was on page 50. The beautiful water goddess. Floating underwater surrounded by seaweed and bubbles and fish and tiny little water babies....it took my breath away! Over the years, I've tried to find another copy of this exact book (I've got 4 copies...none of them are alike, totally different illustrations, same story). I've searched the internet for years. Always seem to just miss out on one sold on Ebay. Kinda makes it that much more special, but still I'd love to find out everything I can. I once let a friend borrow it, and they took it to Barnes and Noble where they said an older man came over, freaked out, and said they couldn't believe it. Said it had to be first-edition. I wished I had been there..I would have asked that man a million questions! But still,  Awesome! And I'm now never going to let anyone ever borrow my book again, haha!
Presently, I would love to have that water goddess tattooed on my body..it's that special to me. I've wanted it for years, but never had the money to spend on myself in that way....but the time is coming! I think if you've loved something since you were 9, it's safe to say you'll love it permanently etched onto your skin! (Unless it's this):

I have read the story so many times, and the interesting part is it's complicated for children to understand. It has a lot of old english in it, it has a lot of antiquated phrases and topics that I didn't understand at 9...but it didn't diminish my love for the tale! As the years went by, I re-read it over and over, always gaining something new out of it as I matured.
Then as an adult, I read the book to my own children, starting at age 2, when they couldn't really "get" it...but it was still fun. And I love seeing them able to grasp it as they age.
 As the years went by, I still continued my attempt at writing as a teenager..mostly god awful poetry, punk rock songs, and eye-rolling gothic gore stories. Again, never kept any of it.

And still as an adult, my attempts at writing are scattered (ADHD?)..you'll find scraps of paper in every purse, or jacket I own with handwritten "notes" and paragraphs to parts of a story that I have been trying to write for YEARS. I am determined to finish it one day, because it's an amazing story when I see it in my head....getting it down on paper is almost torture though...I just can't get what's IN my head, ONTO the page! It drives me bananas. But I'm never going to be able to give up until I have it all out of me. I hope to self-publish it one day. We'll see! It sure looks like I have no trouble writing a novel here on this blog! Until next time...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Boogyman, Shmoogyman

I believe everyone goes through changes. Nothing stays the same. That said, I feel like I've been morphing nonstop for the last couple of years. Making my head spin. But overall, change is good. For example, I had always been an overprotective mother...I used to be uber-religious, and that fed into my psyche as to "protect" my kids from the evils of the world. I went so far as to buy something called a "TV Guardian" which was a machine you hooked up and it filtered out ALL questionable language...even the word "dang" was blocked out!

Anyway, fear has always been an issue for me. I only found out a handful of years ago that I suffer from General Anxiety Disorder, and have probably had it most of my life. I suffered nightmares and night terrors CONSTANTLY as a child, I was always an insecure and nervous child.
Fast forward, and I was an insecure and nervous mother who felt the boogeyman was going to harm my children any second.
Well, since getting medicated for my anxiety (best thing I ever did), life has opened up for me. There are real, horrible things out there in the world. Real monsters. Real killers.
But can I let them rule how I want to run my life? Sure I can, and have for years, but I'm determined to plow through them and live free now.
2 weeks ago, I began to allow my 6 year old to ride his bike on our block. He made some friends and is now allowed to play in their front or backyards. He has a couple of friends with whom I know their parents, so he is allowed to go in their house if invited. This is ALL new for me. I never allowed my older children to ever do this...in fact, my eldest wasn't allowed to ride his bike in the neighborhood until age 13! haha.
My 6 year old (a high-energy child), comes home filthy and happy everyday. He's that kind of "Opie" kid who has frogs and lizards in his pockets and skinned knees. I adore it. He is getting the energy and stimulation he so craves. I'm getting work done around the house and don't feel guilty because I'm too tired to keep up with his need for play (he has no concept of why I DON'T always want to play). And folks, I'll be honest and bad mother-ish: I'm tired. Internally. Possibly burnt-out. And I need that 1970's lifestyle of kids playing outside until dinnertime. So I'm making it happen!

It's terrifying. And if my kid was to be kidnapped or something horrid was to happen...I'll be on here denouncing this decision. I'll never forgive myself.
But I have a fundamental belief that this really is a good thing. I am seeing with my own eyes the benefits to him (and yes, me). So, I'm swallowing fear (and NOT my intuition, mind you...I listen to my inner voice, and heed her warnings no matter what!) but I'm going to let him have more freedom than I ever gave to my older kids, and more freedom than I think modern parents think is appropriate.

 There is a website called http://www.freerangekids.com that supports and encourages this idea. I find the website to be polarizing and a bit too aggressive about their views. I think it makes parents who DON'T agree with this method, out to be crazy, meddling, bad parents...and that is NOT cool! Everyone has a right to do what they feel is best. No one should be made to feel they are fucking up when they are trying their hardest to figure out what to do. There are no instruction books, remember...
Anyway, if you go to the website, you might get offended because of the absolutist attitude they have. BUT..it's worth looking at just to educate yourself on an idea you may never have thought of. One of the founders dropped off her 9 year old in New York to take the subway home, and that's a bit much for me....but it FEELS like I'm letting my kid take the NY Subway by just letting him go outside to play!! To each, his own.

I sure have been writing a lot of parenting posts lately...but I guess that's to be expected since that is what I've been involved with for 20 years...being a stay at home mom. It's the one thing I have the most experience (but not expertise!) in.  I did touch on a couple of topics that I REALLY want to dive into with you all, the religion and anxiety things. So, until next time, everybody! :)

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Parent of the Year, and Then I Woke Up..


Let's talk about my major Parenting Fail that happened a couple of days ago. My 14 yr old daughter had a dance recital at school. I took my eldest son (20 yrs old), my daughter-in-law, and my 6 year old. It was a long program...my daughter was to be in 3 of the 15 dances. My daughter-in-law was feeling sick, so after my daughters 2 dances, I had to take them home. I was going to turn around and come right back. The dance was advertised to end at 9PM, so I took my sweet time, and arrived back at 8:30PM...thinking I had plenty of time before the final dance of the night, in which my daughter was in. Everyone was gone, dance was way over...and my daughter was the ONLY ONE who didn't have her family there hugging and praising her like all the other girls had.
I never felt so hideous in my life. Especially since I honestly didn't think she cared whether I was there or not (hint: no matter how snarly your teen is to you...they ALWAYS want you there). Seeing her cry and how much she DID care, was heartbreaking. Lesson learned.
My relationship with my teen daughter is rough. It's in its ugly phase. She regularly resorts to being a vicious, snarling beast 85% of the time, and I am usually trying to remain cool, calm, and collected while being treated like Satan's Dog, and at the same time, trying really hard to not resent being used for my chauffeur and maid services. I don't always succeed. Sometimes, I give into my base emotions and argue with her. Then we BOTH end up acting like 14 year olds.
It can be maddening to figure out the right thing to do or say to her. From my research, I am supposed to ride this out. Don't argue. Stay calm. Supposedly, this will pass one day. In the meantime, keep her safe, have consistent rules, but give her space. Done. But it's still so freaking hard. I cry every time I look at her baby or kid pictures. I miss my sweet little fairy princess.
I never went through this with the Eldest. Born as a "Golden Child"...he gave me a little trouble in his teen years, but nothing like his sister. Comparatively, it's like apples and unicorns. So, I feel like a real newbie at this.
Just my opinion...but girls are WAY harder to raise than boys...not a bad thing, just a more complicated thing. Not surprising.
So, after hugs and apologies for dropping the ball and making her feel like an abandoned child, I am taking her to go get her ears pierced again and she is super excited about that.  My way of trying to give her a special day. I still feel like an ass though. She doesn't give me a lot of chances to show her how much I love and support her, and I really blew it.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Insane In The Membrane...Insane In The Brain!!

So typical of me. I wrote a post the other day about how my kid doesn't have ADHD....COMPLETELY forgetting about the fact that I actually DO have adult ADHD. It completely went out of my head.
First of all, I didn't know I had it until I was doing mass research for my son at the beginning of this school year. Whereas, he only had 1 out of 10 symptoms for it....I had 10 out of 10. And thinking back to my childhood...I'd ALWAYS had these symptoms. So....BIG surprise/ and not so surprised for me!
In a weird way, I was so relieved...all of my issues finally made sense. All of my severe problems with forgetfulness, inattentiveness, disorganization, procrastination, and scatterbrained-ness...finally had another legitimate reason OTHER than..."You're just a big, fat LOSER" stamped on my forehead.

So in September of 2012, I bought books on mothers/women with ADHD...and promptly forgot about them and STILL haven't read them!! I also joined some email lists and started to look for online support groups, but probably got distracted by something shiny, so...that's about as far as I took it.
So...after writing  about how my son DOESN'T have it...a couple of days later I got seriously told off my my husband of 21 years. Seems he was having another breakdown due to my disorganization, forgetfulness, inattentiveness, procrastination, and scatterbrained-ness. Again. And I felt like a loser. Again. And I cried..again. You get the picture.
So, after that, I began to look up ways to help myself get better at all these things. Then I noticed an ADHD newsletter in my inbox. I click on it, and the title was: "8 Ways Your ADHD is Affecting Your Relationship"....and my god, everything my husband yelled at me about was written in that article. So I forwarded it to him, and feel some hope. So does he.
I'm still researching and figuring out solutions to all this bullshit in my life. It will be a long road ahead of me, but I'm confident I can implement techniques to better mine and my family's life.
And btw, I haven't received a professional diagnosis.  I don't have insurance and can't afford to go get tested. I have taken several online tests...I fit the profile and have all the symptoms.
I'm on meds for anxiety and depression, and they upped one of my medications yesterday because it's supposed to help with ADHD. But really, the best thing for me will be cognitive behavior therapy. Can't afford that either, so will see what I can get off the internets!!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Last Parent Teacher Conference of the Year

I was 20 minutes late like a dumb ass because I went to go have coffee after picking my son up from school...and I apparently can't multitask without something floating out of my head! I raced to the school like a madwoman, because I was already worried that the kid was going to get a bad rap because it has been a challenging year...he was diagnosed within 5 minutes of a doctor visit with ADHD. He was bouncing off the walls at school. The teacher was emailing me daily with the latest "Guess what your kid did TODAY??"

I was stressed. 
They wanted him put on meds right away but it just didn't sit well with me. So instead, I tried the diet thing...took him off sugar and gluten and dairy. Nada.
I looked into therapy for him and tried to give him more exercise. Nada.
Finally, I looked up that giving a kid a coffee bean has a similar effect as Ritalin. So I bought some chocolate covered coffee beans and gave him one before school.
I can't tell you if it worked or not..he just seemed to get better quickly afterwards.
I think it really boiled down to finding what was important to him (going to play at friends house) and using that as a reward system. Control yourself and have a good day at school...get reward. Don't have a good day at school, no reward. Therefore he wasn't "punished".  And he started to work for that reward daily.
So..skip to today, the last meeting with his teacher of the year. Not only did she say he was academically top of the class...she said he was one of her star pupils!! What the what??!!! Oh yea! High-five!  What. A. Relief.
She said he was a risk taker,  responsible, and kind..that he loves everyone and that he is respectful to everyone. WOW. What a difference from the beginning of the year when I felt like he was the reincarnation of Damien from "The Omen".
WHEW!!!!
But honestly, I knew this about him. Such a good kid...precocious, and challenging at times...but really a terrific little guy. It was so nice to have this be how his school year ends...on top, with a big, fat gold star :)

(Disclaimer: I am lucky. I don't think my kid really has ADHD. I think he's a hyper kid and they labelled him. Many of my friends really DO have kids with real issues and they DO have to use medications, and all sorts of things. I respect anyone out there doing what they do...no judgment here. I am just glad I didn't have to go down that road. I would try as many natural, holistic ways as possible to help my kid first...but if all else failed, of course I'd look into meds. I take them myself for anxiety and they changed my life for the better. Just wanted to put this out there for any of you going thru something and felt judged. High-five to all the mamas out there!)

Monday, April 22, 2013

"Everyday And In Every Way, I'm Getting Better And Better" (repeat) *Inspector Dreyfus

I joined the Gold's Gym last week. This is a huge feat for me! I am a fat american who DESPISES exercise. BUT...I'm closing in on 40, I'm overweight, and I know that if I don't get my act in order, I'm gonna pay for it later in life (and I shoulda started sooner than this! I know, I know).
I see my family members who are in their 60's and 70's having a REALLY hard time, and it's all diet-related. So...no more goofing around I say, and joining the gym was just another step on the ladder to health. That's right..health..I don't want to give 2 shites about what the number on the scale says, but I do care if I can run up a flight of stairs and not feel like I'm going to explode like this:
And so, I've actually gone EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK SINCE LAST WEEK! And I'm very proud of myself :) I'm taking my kiddos with me too, and that helps me stay motivated because they LOVE to go to the gym (weirdos!) No, but seriously, I'm really liking it and having a good time. They have a dark cinema room and I get on a machine and zone out and sweat like a whore in church.
Anything that has to do with watching movies, has got my vote! I haven't loved all the films they've shown...but an hour goes by incredibly fast no matter what. Cool.
I also have been using this App on my Ipad and the website http://www.loseit.com as well to track my calories. I know it's not recommended, but honestly the only success I've been able to maintain is by eating one high calorie meal per day. When I eat small healthy meals throughout the day, I gain weight. So I just eat during the afternoon, track my calories and keep them under the allotment, and I've dropped 20 lbs over the past few months. Sometimes my stomach growls at night when I'm trying to sleep, so I just drink a lot of cucumber water. I would NEVER suggest you do this. I am seriously overweight, and I just have to do whatever works...I'm sure once I'm in a more "normal" weight range, I won't be able to do this and will have to modify to a more traditional way of eating. Booooo! ;)
I'm feeling very hopeful that maybe in a year or so, I'll not just be another fat chick with a pretty face...
So here's to HEALTH! Cheers!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy 420 Day!

Actually, I had no idea it was 420 Day, or even that 420 Day existed! That's what I get for living out in the 'burbs...totally out of the loop! (like I care, really)
As I do most things- at the spur of the moment today, I decided to take the kid downtown for a burger at Hut's Hamburgers (an Austin icon...but I must say my veggie burger was very non-iconic) and a canoe trip down Town Lake.

And because I just did this all at the spur of the moment, I ran into a HUGE shitstorm of traffic and swarms of people...why? It just happened to be Austin Reggae Fest! (had no idea of course)
So yeah, it was a madhouse everywhere, but since we were on the water, we got to hear the music for free! And I love me some Reggae! It was fabulous..
I was worried that with my terminal clutz-itis, I would end up tipping the canoe over and not be able to get BACK into said canoe...but all was well and I felt like a freakin' Canadian fur trapper with how well I was able to maneuver the boat! 


Friday, April 19, 2013

Here's A Whole Lot About Nothin'


                                                                           
Ahhh, the bittersweet moment of the evening. All the kids are finally asleep and I have the house to myself. I want to curl up and watch a good movie...maybe a horror flick. But yep....I'm TOO TIRED. I'm just not willing to stay up late when it means I'll be a cranky zombie in the morning. I used to be a night owl..now I'm early to bed, early to rise. Seriously though....I HAVE to go to bed early to get up early...If I'm up past 9 PM on a school night, I'm toast in the mornings. I am the epitome of Garfield the cat....I need 10+ hours of sleep a night to function....plus pans and pans of lasagna. ;) 
                                                                                 
                                         
So that means I can't stay up watching movies or reading, or just sitting in wonderful silence for a while. But hey, if that's the worst thing in life for me, then I've won the lottery. First world problems, yadda, yadda, yadda.
                                                                         
                                               
Anyway, I keep checking my blog page views and it's over 750!! This is cray-cray! I don't know 750 people, so I have to assume most are strangers: Hello to all of you out there. I noticed on my stats manager that there some viewers from France, Indonesia, Canada, Germany, and Sweden!! I am currently trying to learn Swedish, and it's my #1 travel destination. So Welcome....wish I had something to offer more than just my thoughts here, but that's all I got for now......no, WAIT! I have something! Here is a horrible quality Youtube video that my sister took of me a few months ago singing The Immigrant Song by Led Zeppelin. You can ALL see how fat I am, but I've lost 20 lbs since the video was taken (like that really makes a difference? That's like Jabba the Hut losing 20lbs...you're NOT really gonna be able to tell!  P'shaw!) 
So, although I'm embarrassed by the way I look, I think I did an okay job on the song, even though it is TERRIBLE audio quality :/  You can't see in the video, but I actually had a small throng of people jamming it up at the foot of the stage..people came up to me afterwards and hugged me and high-fived me and it was very sweet. So alright, if I'm gonna have a blog audience, I might as well perform!
P.S. The Youtube video I posted below hasn't been showing up on mobile devices, but will show up on a computer. Sorry if you missed out :/

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Go The **** To Sleep!


                                                                               
I give my kid Melatonin almost every night. I've researched it and gotten Dr. approval for those of you who care about that sort of thing. I don't feel it is the same thing as giving your kid Benedryl or NyQuil or anything like that. It's actually produced by our own bodies, and it's in the herbal section. Blah, blah. The point is, I LOVE this stuff. I use it myself quite often and it sends me to slumber-land within 10-15 minutes. My kid would stay up till midnight every night if I let him, so this is a must around here. Plus, I don't know about you, but my kid turns into a holy terror 
 at night when he's tired and fighting sleep-(WHY do they do this?? Just give in to Mr. Sandman already!) So, Melatonin has been my best friend many a night. I'm not suggesting or endorsing anyone else use it...you have to research and talk to your medical professional yourself...but I had to write a little something about this great invention.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Two Fat Ladies



I LOVE the Two Fat Ladies! I can't endorse their gag-inducing food, but I absolutely love watching these 2 old crones as they whip up hideous concoctions on this now defunct television show. The personalities of these women, their fairytale witch faces, and the sometimes revolting ingredients (Brings to mind quotes of "Bubble, Bubble, Toil and Trouble!") makes for an addictive and very watchable show!  Sexual innuendo, heavy drinking and smoking, and pure camp are some reasons why I think you should watch. You're welcome! ;)
                                                                   

Monday, April 15, 2013

BREEDER



I'm one of those strange creatures that has given birth to 3 children MILES apart in age. I have a MARRIED 20 year old son, a 14 year old daughter, and a 6 year old son. Oddly enough, my own siblings and I have about the same age gaps. If I had to do it all over again, I'd absolutely have them very close in age to each other. Having 3 kids this far apart in age, creates 3 separate “only childs”. There isn't a lot of solidarity between them, they were never playmates, never shared clothes or rooms or friends with each other. I find it to be quite sad actually. There are no children to play with in our neighborhood, and so it has always been up to me to figure out and create playdates with other kids, etc. And I'm not great at that....how much simpler and consistent it would have been to have 3 kids that played together and had similar milestones. Of course they would fight and drive me bananas, but I get the pleasure of getting driven bananas in the exact same way, over the exact same things....every few years! I guess that's another bit to it: they'd all be finishing up at the same time, and leaving the nest around the same time too! Resulting in.. FREEDOM! Haha ..The great thing though....is that my 20 year old has flown the nest, my 14 year old wants nothing to do with me, and yet...I still have my little 6 year old who thinks I hung the moon and stars, and gives me big hugs and kisses...who I still have to cuddle and soothe when he scrapes his knee and all that....and who still wants bedtime stories. THAT is my favorite stuff of motherhood, and I've already done it with the other 2, and they don't need me like that anymore...so it's wonderful to still have a little one around for all that :)

(Below: Not my kids, but you get the idea) ;)