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Archive for October, 2008

Could it be? A good day?

So I hauled myself out of bed at 6:15 this morning and threw on some pants.  I broke the cardinal rule of parenting and woke the bub up as well.  We got him dressed and I nuked a cup of coffee.  I had a little bit of time before I had to leave so I checked my email to find my ‘Welcome to College’ email.  And then I beamed for a good ten minutes.

The baby and I stood outside in the freezy-windy morning to hand out Vote for Change flyers.  And then we came home and went straight back to bed.

At some point I’ll write my big turning- point essay wherein I tie together the things I’ve learned about myself this year, but right now I’m really just feeling like basking a little bit.  I’m sort of feeling…good.  About who I am and being true to myself and being involved in something bigger than my little world, all of that.  It is really, really nice.  I like that I’m finally going to finish college.  I like that I’ve given time over the past year, both copyediting and in this election.  And I like that our electric usage hit an all-time low last month.  I like the parent I am, and I’m coming to like the wife I am.

Yep, it’s a good day.

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So Snotty and other woes

I got my college transcripts over the weekend, which is quite a mixed blessing.  On the one hand, it means that the college application process should speed along nicely now.  On the other, I am confronted by my erratic-at-best performance the first time around.  I fell asleep last night working out an essay about the whys and what fors but it was replaced overnight by massive amounts of snot.

It’s really pretty sobering to realize that I had forgotten about at least two of the classes I took in my two years in college.  I remember relatively little of what I learned while in college.  I was a little surprised to see how bad my grades were overall, especially after a school career with barely anything under a C+.  And I did a little fist-shaking over the whole thing because I am so not the type of person who blows everything off for partying anymore.

Back then?  Oh hell yes.  College was, in many ways, my childhood.  I spent my early childhood years immersed in ice skating.  It started out after school and moved to before-after-and, for a while, weekends.  And it cost a lot of money so it was important to my family that I not waste time or not progress.  Which, to be honest, was a lot of pressure on me both because of the actual pressure and because of my tendency to crave approval.  I quit skating in 8th grade, and a year later my mom and I moved in with the man who would be my brother’s father.

I learned a lot during those years.  About working, about needing to take responsibility for getting myself up and to school and keeping my grades up without anyone riding my ass.  I also learned that gin glasses smelled horrible the next day and that one man could drink an awful lot of Budweiser.  I learned that it was tough to get chili out of a Tupperware container when it had been microwaved for too long.  I learned that sometimes it was easier when your husband was traveling for business.  And later, I learned about diaper changing, daycare pick-ups, miscarriages and cleaning baby puke off of furniture.

By the time college came around, I was pretty convinced that I could handle it with my normal maturity.  I had been self-starting and self-motivating for several years, taking tough classes, and I both was expected and expected myself to sail through school and on to grad school.

The thing is, though, I couldn’t handle not having the pressure to excel.  I got the opportunity to do what I wanted and make my own choices and I chose to goof off and party.  And I think it was good for me in some ways.  Maybe not my fried brain cells and certainly not looking at transferable credits from this vantage point.  The thing is, when you go from having no choices as a young child to having to be a full grown-up as a teen, there’s a lot of letting off steam that doesn’t happen and a serious lack of confidence in one’s ability to make choices.  Like I said, it isn’t all bad.  But the farther I get from those days, the more I’m able to see why I had so much trouble in college.

Anyhow, this is why I have no problem letting Lucy run around in a red jumper with blue pants and a pink striped shirt.  This is also why she is not taking any classes or playing any sports until she’s older and we’re not feeling as though we’re struggling to find time for her to just play.   And most of all it’s why I constantly remind myself that she’s a very small child and nobody’s college career was ever decided by what classes she took at five years old and nobody’s work ethic was ever thwarted by not having enough extracurricular activities in kindergarten (for the record, at five I started ice skating, took an art class wherein I determined I wasn’t a very good artist, and was taking ballet and tap.)

I’m also trying to remind myself that being mature has nothing to do with how many responsibilities you take on and that grown-ups probably need extracurriculars more than kids do.

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I was an extraordinarily good worker yesterday and cleared out a bag of clothes that Lucy had outgrown, packed up all of her and Francis’ summer clothes (I’m trying to get used to calling him by his name so that he responds to it for the doctor) and packed up my summer clothes as well.  I loaded my smaller-than-ever-before sweater collection into my dresser, refolded everything in Lucy’s drawers, including making sure her socks were all in pairs.  I washed all of C’s winter stuff.  I reorganized the crap in my closet so that I can once again walk all the way in and pulled out my good winter coat to be cleaned (or at least fluffed in the dryer.)  I found a bunch of framed stuff I had stuck in there during one of my mass redecorations, which has been stacked carefully to fill in some blank wall spaces (it’s like shopping only with stuff I already own!)

And then I beat C in a game of Illuminati.  No, wait.  Not that Illuminati, this one.  I can’t actually read too much about the first Illuminati because my imagination is far to fertile and I’m prone to paranoia from time to time.

Despite all of this manic and fitful action, I still feel about three weeks behind the curve.  I still have a bunch of squash to make and freeze, not to mention ravioli to prep and cook.  I had hoped to achieve a sense of zen-like calm after getting long-ignored items crossed off my list but instead keep looking around at the stuff strewn about the apartment and shaking my head.

It’s the most frustrating thing about housework; you are really never finished.

On the other hand, I do get a sense of real joy when I see my family living happily in the home I care for.

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He is completely transitioned to grown-up food and yesterday ate a great feast of falafel, Moroccan spiced carrots and beets, red cabbage, cucumber and pita with hummus and tahini.  Chico enjoys long crawls pushing his ‘ba’ from room to room, can throw overhand, stacks rings atop each other to the number of three, and will sit and flip through book after book as though he is really reading (without taking big bites like his sister did.)  He loves wooden puzzles, the cats, and big sister Lucy.  And, happiest of all for me, we are still nursing strong despite the two weeks of hospitalization back in January and my now-recurring plugged duct. I’m also particularly proud that he has not had a disposable diaper on his chickpea butt since last October.

A year goes by like lightning, doesn’t it?  I sure do love my little guy, big helper, companion, nursling and entertainer.  My biggest fear about having a second child was that I couldn’t possibly love anyone as much as I love my Lucy.  Thank you, Francis, for showing me how big my heart could grow.

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Seriously, I love baking squash.  The eating of said squash hasn’t had as good of a track record, but there’s always the freezer.  I’m excited though, because I feel as though I’m finally falling into some sort of a groove with food prep and classes and kids.  I haven’t managed to find much time for the knitting, but all things in their time, right?

On the list for cookin’ n freezin’ today are 2 butternut squashes and another mess of apples.  Then I want to make up some flash cards for Mandarin because this week we got a mess of new words and I’ve only been really learning the pinyin.  I need to learn the characters, though, and to do that I need to practice with them.  Then I need to do some general housey-cleaney stuff, make sure the newest plugged duct is cleared up (my new Monday night friend), pick the Girlchild up from school and finally, plan the menu for…

My son’s first birthday.

Holy Mackerel.

I’m thinking squash.  No, seriously.  For Lucy’s first birthday, we served her mango sorbet in an actual mango.  She thought we were nuts.  So I’m thinking we’ll slap a candle in an acorn squash and call it a day.  At least we know he’ll eat it 😛

Actually, I’m going to (finally) try out ravioli with wonton wrappers.  And for the filling?  Butternut squash.

I told you I’m really into squash.  And talking about squash.  Squash squash squash.  Be thankful you aren’t in the room with me.

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I got an email from UMass letting me know they received my application and are just awaiting my transcript.  I am seriously excited.

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What?

I am decidedly preoccupied with potential scenarios right now.  I was awake in the middle of the night worrying about working the million-hour shift at the polls, going to Mandarin tonight and being completely behind, and then gripped by fear that I can’t handle everything I’ve taken on, despite being pretty certain I can by the light of day.  It’s like my brain tries to punish me for having any sort of confidence in myself.  Because sometimes?  My brain can be a real asshole.

The pollworker training was actually really cool and I came away with this really great sense of having a great opportunity to fully take part in democracy.  I know it sounds all cheesy, but as a cautious idealist, it’s important to me that I do what I can to ensure that everyone who can vote votes and this is a really good wat to do so.  If I get chosen (which I assume I will) I will be helping with the ballot marking device for people with disabilities, which is beyond cool.

Anyhow, I’m enjoying this sort of civic-minded space I’m in right now.  It’s a nice next step from the personal change duties I’ve been undertaking since I started the (on-hiatus) Riot efforts last June.  Despite my middle-of-the-night mental ramblings, I feel as though I am closer to the person I am supposed to be and it has had a definite effect on my confidence at least when it comes to making decisions.  I will probably always be the sort to second-guess myself, but at least now I don’t seem to be as paralyzed about taking a step.

Not that I’m not stressing about going to class unprepared tonight, but I’m trying to remind myself that the only person I have to please is myself.

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Tomorrow I go for my pollworker training!  I am really excited.

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