Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Ends in Pictures

Do you see Nate's tongue sticking out 'cause I'm making him put his soccer stuff away?

Hair... sticking... out...AGAIN!  Lie down!  Lie down!

The mediator wants us to establish family calendars after I move out, so the kids can see everyone's activities and know what's going to happen next.  I figured I'd get that going now, while we're still all living together.
Spending a little time with Guadalupe

 I got home from the gym to find Nate shakin' his bootie and singing "Can't Touch This".  So we had to call Diane and leave some of that on her voice mail....
 I spoiled myself by buying a book today.  Usually I just go to the library;  but it's about time I owned Rain of Gold, because I love it so much.  My aunt recommended it and I raved about it to my book club.  They loved it, too.  And their husbands loved it!  Since that was eight or nine years ago and the author has some new stories out, we are going to read it again.

I read a lot of books, but this one remains my favorite.  I gravitate toward novels, but this is non-fiction:  a family history.  It contains:  Mexican immigrants; revolutionaries; migrant workers; bootleggers; gold mines; pool halls; and a passionate, predestined love.  Villasenor is so lively and so tender in his writing that my lashes are a little damp all the time when I am reading this book.


Chai and Italian sodas at Beans and Brews

I like "City Weekly" with my chai.

You know it's a big project when he has to work on it on a Saturday.

Oh, Canada!

Chives are up in the garden.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Position:  Floor Manager (Part-time)
Adult Education seeks a Floor Manager to supervise support services for the program:  collection of student attendance; orientation of new volunteer tutors; supervision of one kitchen assistant, one van driver, one computer lab assistant and two child care providers.
Mark is quitting after about 15 years as our Floor Manager.  He got a raise at his day job, and he would rather have extra time than extra money right now. I have dreaded trying to fill this job, because it is so uniquely Mark's.  I have only posted it internally so far, hoping that a current volunteer might want to do it.  It would be really hard to cast my net upon the sea of Craig's List and come up with the right person.   
Sean M. has expressed an interest. He wants to follow Mark around for a couple of classes, to see exactly what he does.  I think Sean could be a good choice. 
Sean asked Mark, "Would I have to grow a ponytail?" (Mark has a long braid.)  "Yes," said Mark.  "That's so she can catch you when you're goin'.  Watch."  I played along.  When he walked by, I grabbed his ponytail and he spun around to face me.  "And how does she catch you when you're comin'?"  I laughed and reached up to snag my fingers in Mark's chest hair where it emerges from his collar.  Sean laughed too, but his hand went protectively to his throat.

Once, on a hot, lazy afternoon when we were camping, Mark was walking along without his shirt on.  He was carrying two-year-old Nathan, who snuggled up to him sleepily and started running his fingers through Mark's chest hair.  Nate murmered, "You're so sof'... jus' like a lamb.  You got a lotta lamb.  You got more lamb than my daddy OR my mommy."  We always call chest hair "lamb" now.

Although Mark and I have enormous affection for each other, we have absolutely no chemistry of any kind. He has no butt.  Jokes that if he wants people to think he has an ass, he has to put a wallet in each pocket.  To me, he's like a super-fantastic older brother. He and his wife Edie were the first good friends Simon and I made when we moved to Salt Lake 19 years ago.  Mark slept on my sofa and took care of the kids when Si was in the hospital a few years ago.  He sometimes calls me when he needs to comb though a problem with a fellow mind-fucker.  I sometimes need him to sit across from me and listen to my unburdenings, too. 

Here's the thing.  Some other person will do Mark's job, but no one will ever fill his shoes.  The requirements to fill his job are above; but what candidate would also be willing to:
  1. Rub my neck while I work because, "your think-muscles are all in a knot, Miss Kate!"
  2. Allow the staff to dress him up in wizard hats, fuzzy sweaters or super hero capes and then take his picture;
  3. Allow children to follow him everywhere, like some kind of hippie Pied Piper;
  4. Tell me that I have a "tiny hiney";
  5. Bring in chocolate bars for the teachers on stressful nights;
  6. Arrive at work from his other job and say, "Whew!  It is great to get here and be able to spend some time with some SANE women!"  (If you have read much about this staff, you will raise your eyebrows at this comment.)
  7. Take a fussy baby from a mother who is trying to study and carry it around while he works;
  8. Say the same trite things over and over to me for 19 years:  "Drive cheerfully!"  "That dude was a few fries short of a Happy Meal."  "What time is it?  Is it beer-thirty yet?"  "You look like you been rid hard and put away wet!"
  9. Bring a huge grill to the annual picnic and be the weenie roaster guy.
  10. Gently remove the crazy guy who comes around looking for his old teachers from the Catholic school days and ransacks the Kindergarten room.
  11. WAY overdo high fives.  High five for EVERYTHING. 
I came down the stairs last night and heard him talking to a couple of volunteers who were expressing sadness that he would be going soon.

"How long have you worked here?"
"Well, 20 years!  But first I was the building custodian, then I took this job about 15 years ago."
"Wow, you have stayed for a really long time."
"I love working with these students and this staff."
"Was Kate your boss all that time?"
"No, just the last eight years.  But we work together great!"  I walked up to him as he was saying, "We go together like... like... uh...  Kate, how do we go together?"
"Like peanut butter and jelly, Babe!"
"Like peanut butter and jelly!  WHOO!"

High five!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Happiness is a Choice

That is such a goofball title.  Gack. 

I am winding down from a day that was emotionally more difficult than yesterday, for no real reason. Day 11!  I forgot when I chose my shoes this morning that I would be conducting a training for new volunteers tonight and would be hopping all over the place.  I think I will just kick them off.  Yessss!  My feet were killing me!  I have crates and attaches  piled up around me, ready to haul out to the truck:  administrative work; materials for my assessment workshop tomorrow; more materials so I can give the salesman a speech test.

I'm committed to getting more sleep tonight.  I have felt really fried all day.  Becca noticed my fatigue and asked me whether I have insomnia.
"No, I sleep great!"
"Then why are you so tired?"
"'Cuz I don't go to bed."  Becca really does not understand this.  "Well... I procrastinate going to bed in favor of reading the newspaper, or blogs; or thinking about stuff.  Late at night is when I have peace and quiet so I can think or write.  I lose track of the time and Si isn't around getting ready for bed, so nothing reminds me." It isn't as much about lack of reminders, though, as it is about general preoccupation with my current difficulties.

She knows about the divorce part, but not about CB; so she only knows a portion of my preoccupation.  She asked me if she could express her opinion about my divorce.

"Lay it on me."

Becca gives voice to her thoughts in a way that makes it clear:  she has been waiting to tell me what's on her mind for ages but has never had the chance to say it.  She has been sad at times over the years.  This could surprise some people, given that she is generally so gregarious, positive and humorous. 

She feels that when you are down and don't work hard to change your point of view, you make yourself MORE down and drag yourself and others into a nasty cycle.  Staying UP when life sucks is an exercise in willpower that pays you back by becoming easier and easier as time goes by.

Now any of you who have struggled with depression probably know this already and you are amazed that I don't.  But I'm not depressed.  The therapist I visit tells me that I have situational sadness.  I have never even experienced sadness for more than a few days at a time.  I had a couple rough weeks when I was sick, I guess; but that's it.  My gloom skills are lagging.  Becca reminded me that I am usually so happy; also strong and determined.  Surely, I could make the choice to put some effort into my happiness?  Yes, she is absolutely right.  I have made loads of progress since the darkest days, in February.  The part that heals alone with time is doing really well. The parts that require me to actively pursue joy require some remediation.

Becca was very careful in her language, as she always is.  I admire the way she takes her time to express her ideas clearly and diplomatically.  She was very tactful and loving, but takes a very strong position that divorcing Simon is a huge mistake.  She wants me to turn back NOW.  To actively seek happiness would mean staying in the relationship and do what I have done before:  shrug off the things Si does that hurt me.  I should create a well of happiness that is fortified against the vicissitudes of my relationship with Si. She is very worried that I will divorce Si, I will be overwhelmed with problems, I will be alone and lonely, I will be sorry.

I was happy to hear her thoughts, but pointed out that the argument for happiness being a choice would also be a rationale for leaving, rather than for staying.  I see leaving as a step in the right direction.

"So, Becca.  Have you been dying to tell me this for weeks or something?  You've been talking like you've rehearsed what you want to say over and over."
"Yes. I've been waiting for an opening."
"You know that you don't have to wait for an opening.  We're friends.  You can just speak your mind when you want to!"
"Well, I'm your friend.  But I'm also your subordinate," [Oh, ick.]  "and this is the work place, so I can't be unprofessional."
"Oh, no!  'Cuz you are NE-VER unprofessional."  [Pfffft!]

Then we decided to wrestle.  I have a dream of someday being able to knock Becca down. We are about the same height, but she is more muscular.  It has been over a year since my last attempt.  I attacked, but she effortlessly tipped my feet out from under me, grabbed me and put me on the floor.  Because we're professionals, Becca.  And I thought you were my subordinate!  Nothing Becca says to me could ever hurt my feelings, but she did rug-burn the hell out of my elbow.

Custody is the First Step

Hey, can I call a short sabbatical on attempted quality writing?  Just for today?  I am so awfully sleepy.  My short rations are catching up with me.  Maybe something slap-dash today, huh? 

Day 10, finished. It feels like it has been weeks.  I'm always amazed at the low number. Ten.  Just ten.

Still missing.  Always wanting.  Today was a little better, though. I know from my experiences over the last months that this relief is temporary, but y'know? One day of respite is enough to let me adjust the burden and keep on going.

I managed better, I think, partly because I woke up with his voice in my ear.  A couple weeks ago he sent me a text and told me that spending time with me made him feel calm and peaceful.  That is exactly how I felt this morning. I popped up out of bed and got choppin' on my day. I can't remember the words I heard, but the meaning was clear.  The trust and confidence I woke up with has faded now, but I HAD it.  For me, with no faith in love, that small flame was real progress.   (Not that the workings of my subconscious mean a damn thing.)  (Hah!  There you go!  That's more typical Kate.)

The other thing that helped me was just being busy as hell all day:
  1. Woke to the realization that, if I am going to get lasered today, I need to shave first.  Dang!  Into the shower I went.
  2. Kids:  breakfast, hygiene nagging, bed checking (Nate was dry all night again!), slip signing, one last run-through of Nate's poem, etc... All the usual. Out the door.
  3. Rec Center:  3 miles.  Changed at the rec so I didn't have to go to the mediator in my ratty hoodie and stinky sweats.
  4. Mediator.  Two and a half hours...oof... She continues to amuse me.  Showed up today dressed to the nines again, but clutching one of those gargantuan Holiday Oil mega drink mugs.  The gaudy clowns on it were such a sharp contrast that I was very amused.
  5. Work!  Because I have a job- a detail the mediator kind of forgets.
  6. Bugged out of work for a few minutes in the afternoon to get a bikini blast.  Which means advance application of the dreaded (bum, bum, baaaaah!) numbing cream.  I wash my hands twice after I put it on; but even so, one careless move that gets a finger tip in my mouth results in a numb tongue.   AKA "hyuhg nuh".
  7. More work.
  8. Girls on the Run.  They did their practice 5k today, and each girl was matched up with a woman from the community to be her running buddy.  I probably only ran a couple of miles, 'cause I had some chores.  A phone conversation in Spanish with one girl's grandma, reminding her that Natalie needs to have her running shoes.  She ran her practice 5k today in boots.  Then I spent some time putting stickers on girls as they ran past me on the sports field.  12 stickers means they have run 5k.  Finally, a little time running with Mia, who didn't have a running buddy.  She is in 6th grade, so she's older than the other girls, and she is a really good runner. I finally wore her out by teaching her about wind sprints.  "OK!  From this cone to that one!  FASTERFASTERFASTER!"  This, to ensure that I could keep up with her on the rest of the lap!  I have short legs, but I like sprinting. Once I get going and the momentum is moving me forward, it feels like flying.
  9. Grocery store.
  10. Home, a little drinkie-poo, make supper.  I cheated tonight and just got a roasted chicken and a crusty loaf of bread from the store.  Then I made a spicy miso cucumber salad to go with it. I thought it was pretty tasty!  But it got voted off the island by everyone else in the family.  I suppose when I am living alone, I can eat cucumber miso salad all I want....
  11. Supper was a quickie so we could get out the door for the Real Salt Lake vs. Monterrey FC match.  This was the championship showdown of the CONCACAF tournament, and the stands were packed!  20,000 roaring fans.  We lost in a total smack-down.  Embarrassing.  So funny to watch the Monterrey players jumping around and kissing each other in a silent, sulking stadium.  Sara told Nate that the reason they lost was that Nate didn't wear his Real Salt Lake jersey.  He wore his new Chelsey FC jersey instead, and hence, the loss.  He believed it and got teary-eyed.  I must just air one small peeve about stadium etiquette.  It is a giant booger when five guys in the front row of the deck decide that they are going to just stand for the entire match.  This means that everyone behind them also has to stand for the entire match. I can be sweetly assertive when I need to, but I can't stretch my influence forward 15 rows.
Today's mediation was all about child-related issues.  How are they taking the news?  How did we tell them?  Does one of us have to wear the "black hat"?  ("No," says Si.  "Yes," says Kate.)  We worked on hashing out custody.  Si came to the meeting prepared with a custody plan.  It incorporates solutions to two problems:  that we both want to be able to have weekend time with the kids; and that I work on Tuesday and Thursday nights.  Si's plan is that he will have them every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night; I have them every Sunday and Monday night;  we alternate Friday and Saturday nights.  But if you incorporate this, we end up with Si getting them 202 nights per year, and I only getting them 163 nights. 55% vs. 45%.  And that means that I would be expected to pay Si $180 per month in child support.  Even Si was a bit surprised at the calculation.  If Chad were here, I think he would tell me to insist on taking the kids every Wednesday.  That is too much back-and-forth to be good for them, I think.  Or Chad would tell me to keep them on some T/W/Th blocks and hire a sitter.  Well, that racks up.  Plus, the law gives Si the right of first refusal before I hire a sitter for more than three hours.  And it would have to be a sitter who drives, because they have most of their soccer practices, Girl Scouts, etc... on T/W/Th. 

So, I'm stressin'.  He likes this custody plan, and I agree that it's sensible.  But...  He makes more!  He is suggesting making it up to me by not asking me to pay for 50% of the kids' health coverage.  There are some other possibilities. It's like I told the mediator:  all the pieces that we need to bring  together are floating in the air above our heads, like in Willy Wonka.  Every time I pull something down to examine it, I realize that the necessary prerequisites  are still floating. 

Si is not as mad as he has been, though. I don't know if it was because he came out ahead in this first part of the negotiations?  But he was pretty friendly for the rest of the day. Good enough that I could ask him questions at the soccer match and he would answer them.  He made me a cup of tea when we got home.  He's leaving on a long business trip on Saturday, which is a relief to me.  He says that I don't like him, so I'll be glad when he's out of town.  It's not that.  It's just a break from all the tension.

Tricky.  Divorce is tricky.  Since we are mediating, I think I could move out at this point and we could start trying the custody plan to see how it works in practice.  My friend Kristen has found some pretty good deals on rent in this neighborhood.  Two bedrooms, $835 per month? 

But now?  I am off to bed! I'm too tired even to spell-check and it is almost 2 AM.  Tomorrow!  Bed by midnight!   My goal!  

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Dear Lillian

Putting my name in your title line certainly got my attention, so I will get yours the same way!

I would LEAP at the chance to have lunch with you!  We have been friends for YEARS and have never met!  It would be fun. 

Please find a different hero.  Crimeny!  One who has such awesome superpowers such as the ability to:
go to bed;
exercise properly;
stay off the rim of her bathtub;
not pull her hair;
make decent money;
buy a house;
get her kids where they need to go;
mend her heart.
That's the hero I'm looking for.  Oh, and she needs to laugh.  And be able to loosen her own lug nuts.

But camping? No big deal.  We should exchange e-mail addresses.  Wanna be an Eleanor?  When camping, men are very handy for lifting the cooler out of the truck.  They are also absolutely lovely to sit with by a fire and drink and maybe make out.  Otherwise?  Camping is gender neutral.  What does it involve, really?  Select the site, pitch the tent.  Goof off.  Build a fire.  Cook food, clean up.  Goof off.  Smoke a cigar (optional!). Depending on the group, you might do some star gazing, fire staring, deep conversation, story telling, bad dance moves, marshmallow roasting, tequila shooters, sing-alongs,  watermelon seed spitting, dirty jokes or fart lighting.  Well, OK, I've never been with a group where anyone lit their farts.  They just talked a big game.  Then you crawl into your sleeping bag and go to sleep. It is stinkin' fun, and if you haven't gone, we will fix that.  I will help you plan it, I promise; and I have gear.  Be in touch!

The Day's Balance Sheet

What day are we on?
Are you fucking KIDDING me?  That's all?
Yep!  'Fraid so.

It's the end of a long day.  I am surveying the destruction of my desk.    Four dirty coffee mugs.  This is a sure sign of turmoil, because it means that people have been bringing me coffee before I get up and fetch it from the staff room myself.  Hmmm... One of these had chicken soup in it, not coffee...  How long ago did I have chicken soup?

I really should just stay here and work on administrative stuff.  Maybe I will, maybe I won't.

Let's see... what was good and bad about today?

Good:  Nate is ready to recite his poem for his book report tomorrow.  He knows it all and is adorably dramatic when he does it. "Spaghetti, spaghetti all over the place. Up to my elbows, up to my face!"

Bad:  Very short run.  No time for more. 

Bad:  Didn't eat at all until 2 PM.  Very unusual for me to skip breakfast. 

Good:  I went to see my counselor today.  The last little while has been dreadful and it helped to talk about it.  She thinks I am handling things reasonably well.  This surprises me.

Bad:  The weather.

Good:  Jokes from Chad in my e-mail.  I reminded him that we had said we would get together for a cuppa and asked what it takes to get a busy attorney out of his office?  Did I have to book him via his secretary? (That's pathetic, Chad!) Bomb scare?  Forklift?

Bad:  I had to go up to University of Utah to help conduct some job interviews.  I swear:  every time I go up there, they have rearranged the campus.  Wait! Was this road always here?  I also got every red light on 400 South.

Good:  I enjoyed doing the job interviews, once I got there.  I like college students.

Bad:  I left my planner up at the Union building.

Good:  One of my volunteers was studying at the Marriott Library right near the Union and was happy to retrieve it for me and bring it when he came to tutor. Thanks, Jeff!  What kind of cookies do you want me to bake you?

Good:  I got my first bit of corporate contract work.  A company out of New Hampshire wants me to assess the verbal English of one of their Utah-based salesmen.  Customers are complaining that they have trouble understanding him. He called me a little later in the day to set up an appointment with me - I thought his English sounded really good!  Sometimes, I think people can just be bull-headed where accents are concerned.  I think I'll give him my usual assessment that I use, but I will  also probably have him do a  few intonation exercises for me.  At any rate: money, money.

Good:  Hug from Zina - I needed it.

Bad:  I think my upcoming Tutor Boot Camp is going to be sparsely attended.  We just didn't add very many new volunteers this quarter.  More people = more fun.

Bad:  The student Adi did return to school today and was very, VERY angry that I have banned her from the childcare.  Mark was unable to reason with her so he brought her to me; he hates being the "bad cop".  This was not difficult:  "Threatening the babysitter is not OK."  Except that I don't actually know the word for "threaten" in Spanish, and my workaround ("saying a bad thing about your plan to do a future bad thing") was a little, uh, clumsy.

Good:  We had a fun student assembly tonight.  The choice was to crowd into the tiny, hot cafeteria or be cold out on the front lawn.  I chose the front lawn, finally.
 Student assemblies can have any sort of agenda.  We have done interviews, speeches, games, songs, reports, role plays, graduations, awards, whatever.  Tonight, we had a group of students interview Laura, the new teacher.  She has been an excellent addition.  I'm so happy with her work!  The students think her language background is a little odd.  "What languages do you speak?"  "German."  "WHY!?"  Here she is sitting on the fallen tree outside the school.  I wanted her to pose with it because it fell over in the wind storm on Thursday, just as she was driving into the parking lot - almost smashed her car.  You can see that it completely demolished our picket fence.  While we waited for everyone to get outside, I was amusing some of the students by jumping off the log in fake gymnastic poses.  Aaaaand, she NAILS that landing!
 Next on the agenda was a visit by a couple of pit bulls.  Rai talked to the students about socializing pit bulls, and about spaying/neutering.  Pit bulls are a popular breed in this neighborhood.  It was getting dark, so this is a really bad pic. 
 This one is better.  The owners took the dogs into the childcare room so the kids could play with them.
  Last item ion the agenda:  lots of jobs available with a custodial company.  They just got a contract to clean all the floors in one of the big new buildings downtown.  You have to be documented and you have to have a security check, but a lot of students were interested.  I'm holding the ads in my hand.  Amina wanted one for her husband, then wanted a photo with me for no particular reason.

As usual, my students saved the day for me. They have no idea how much they can move my daily balance sheet from "bad" to "good".

Time to Have a Quick Gaze at my Navel

So I use my blog for a couple of different things:  as a place to record my observations and feelings; but also (and this is a little more complicated) to examine myself and try to learn a few things.  I go back and read old blog entries from time to time to see how I handled an issue in the past.  The reason that this blog is called “There Once Was a Woman” is that I want to get through his very difficult period in my life but still hang on to all the things I like about myself:  gotta manage a steep learning curve; gotta use my head to safely navigate an enormous love; gotta stand up for myself and stop being a doormat.  Yet, I still want to be sweet and compassionate and considerate and fun.
Can I be both of these women?  NO.  It’s all one woman.  Divorce does funny things, and I don’t mean the funny ha-ha kind.  I have to live with intense longing but still maintain a sense of humor.  I feel like hiding my head when I think about managing my investments, but I need to be focused on the needs of my kids and my students.  I CAN stop apologizing for sticking up for myself, and still be loyal.  I have heard such balancing acts called “threading the needle”.  I used to be better at it than I am right now.  It seems like a lot of aspects to pull together and balance properly right now. 
As I move through my time away from CB, I am becoming more focused on the issues that have driven wedges into my marriage for a long time.  However, I have removed some writing from my blog in which I focused on these wedges.  Its veracity is not the issue.  Its loyalty?  Questionable.  Not what I want from myself.  When this divorce is over, I want to be changed, but only for the better.  That’s why I’m doing it.  I don’t need to pick it to pieces:  suffice to say, “We tried, and it worked for a while. Culture and temperament and time wore it down.  I am not happy.  I want to be.”  When I’m hurting, it feels so good to vent, but I need to be more circumspect.  I came over to hide out on this blog so I could lay it on the line, but I’ll draw a line on that…line (we’re getting a lot of lines, here…) and try to be more considerate of Si.  Can I learn when I’m afraid?  Can I love passionately and think clearly?  Can I be firm and soft?  Is this a mattress advertisement?  Have I muddled my metaphors again?
Light at the end of the tunnel?  Aaaarrrrgh.  Yes.  I have faith.  Hold on:  which pocket did I put it in? 

Even the Mud is Prettier There

Day 8 of Detox is over, and the distractions of the office await tomorrow. 
I had hoped to get some of those iconic red-rock-with-snow shots at Bryce Canyon this weekend, but the light would not cooperate.  See how the trees are not luminous, as they can often be?  The rock just looks tan?  This picture is not a keeper, but I put it in to show just how hard it can be to get a good shot when the light is flat.  I did see one great shot:  beams radiating through a break in the cloud; verga from a distant dark storm; short, stout rainbow. We were in the moving truck when I spotted it, though, with nowhere to pull over.
I did try hard to get good shots, and ended up with a very muddy butt.  This was early on, as well.  It got even muddier.  I kind of thought it would, so I took my ski pants.  My coat is pretty splattered as well.  I am always a little embarrassed about this coat:  I call it my John Denver jacket, 'cause on the cover of..."Rocky Mountain High"...(?), he is wearing an identical one.  This is of the same vintage; well, almost.  My dad gave this to me in about 1985.  It got me thinking about all the really old stuff that I have and use, forgetting that it is old.  My tent is now...22 years old.  My sleeping bag...19.  My backpacking stove...23 years old.  All of which makes me really fucking old.
As is often the case when my photographic muse is letting me down, the kids come through for me.  They are always photogenic.  Sara likes to pose for me.  Nathan has to be persuaded.

The weekend turned out to be fun despite the weather.  Layers on, layers off.  Layers on, layers off.  At one point down in the canyon, I had my coat off and was still too warm. At another point, up on the rim, we were wearing hats, scarves, coats, etc.... 
Trail conditions?  Less than ideal!  Do you want to hear about how fabulous my kids are, though?  Eight and a half miles of challenging hiking, and they didn't bat an eyelid.  They did eat vast amounts - well, Nathan did.  Sara did some sketching.  They had a ball in the pool.  I promised Si that I would tell the truth in this entry about how I wussed out on swimming.  It's true.  The first night, I dozed off after supper and Si took the kids to the pool without me.  The second night we all went to the pool, but I luxuriated in the hot tub instead of swimming in the regular pool.  Si swam in the pool AND luxuriated in the hot tub. Should I feel guilty?  My parenting can be compromised by naps and decadent soaks. I did applaud Nate's cannon ball from the hot tub....

Friday, April 22, 2011

Why I Own Huge Purple Wrestling Shoes

 [Misery is absolutely mountain high today.  I need to grow up!  I need to get a fucking backbone!  I will have a great life again some day, because I will make it happen.  As soon as I pull my head out of my ass and stop being a heartbroken, cowardly SCHOOB.  In the meantime, I'll indulge in a little story telling.  Not so little!  This is a very long story, but writing it will serve as an anesthetic.  HAHAHAHA!  I even found some old, rather blurred photos to illustrate it!] 

First of all, schools in Poland are different from how they are here.  In my opinion, teachers in Poland at the end of Communism had a ridiculous amount of power over their students' futures.  Getting on the bad side of a teacher could cost you the grades you needed to get into a decent university or major in the subject you wanted.  Grading criteria were entirely up to the individual teacher.  I remember introducing the concept of objective grading criteria and taking a hell of a drubbing at several faculty meetings.  Twice, they even had an interpreter present, to make sure that I clearly understood my pissed off colleagues when they were giving me a piece of their minds.  So, school was a stressful place for kids; and although teachers were treated with the utmost respect by students and parents, this respect mostly came from fear and loathing. 

In 1992, not long before I left, our school tried to create a kinder, gentler atmosphere.  They hired a guidance counselor, painted the classrooms cheerful colors and removed the daises from the fronts of the classrooms.  The first two things were fine, but I missed the daises.  They didn't lower the blackboards when they took the daises out, so every time I wanted to write on the board, I had to jump on a chair.

Here I am teaching my Sophomore class.  Note jazzy, stress-relieving stripes painted on the walls.  Note lack of dais.  Note chalk tray, level with the top of my shoulder.  The chair I would leap onto is just out of the frame.
I had Michal J. (Hey!  Pronounce that "ME-how" rather than "Mitchell", OK?) in my English class for his Junior and Senior years.  He was very good-looking, sweet and quiet.  He was built like a Mack truck:  national wrestling champion in his weight class the year before I met him.  I wish I could say that he was a good English student, but...not really.  He got a lot of B minuses from me.  That group of kids were in the Economics track, with a greater emphasis on math than language.  Michal was a bit of a non-entity in class, for the most part - not a standout in any way.  Except that I began to notice that he was often hurt .  Broken finger. Then a burn.  Then a sprained wrist.  One thing after another.  I asked a few questions in the faculty room.  The other teachers shrugged.  No suspicion of abuse:  he and his sister were being raised by a single mom who would be no match for a big guy like Michal.  And in Poland at that time, teachers didn't intervene in home problems.  Huh.  Well, I thought it was weird.

One night, the last spring that I was in Poland, I left a meeting at the school pretty late - it was dark.  And cold, because I remember that I had my hands in the pockets of my canvas field coat.  I was walking down the sidewalk when a large tree said, "Miss P.!"  After reinserting myself into my skin, I saw Michal in the tree's shadow.  "Miss P., do you have any money?  I need bus fare."  "Yeah, sure, Michal.  You scared me!  Why are you behind that tree?"  He hesitated, then said, "And do you have a shirt I can use?"  He stepped out to where I could see him in the streetlight. His face was a fucking mess!  His shirt was in blood-soaked ribbons. Blood from his mouth had trickled down his chest. "God!  Michal!  What happened?!  Did you get in a fight!?"  He started to give me the globally-recognized teenage eye-roll, but it dissolved as his eyes filled and his face crumpled.  Ooookay.  I knew he would die of embarrassment if he cried in front of me.  "Let's walk." 

I had a one-room apartment in the local dormitory for girls.  Kids who lived out in the smaller villages couldn't travel back and forth every day for school, so they stayed in these dorms during the school week.

Home sweet home

We took a round-about way that was not well-lit until we were behind the bushes at the front of the dorm, just beyond the lights from the windows.  "I have first aid things.  I'm worried about your mouth!"  "I can't go in there, Miss P.  Everyone will see. Can't you just go in and bring me something to wear?"  "Well, OK."  Luckily, in the early '90s, you may recall, we are all wearing giant sweaters than reached below our butts.  I had a wine-colored one, which I grabbed and took out to the bushes where Michal was waiting.  He pulled off the bloody remnants of his shirt and shoved them deep into the bushes, then put the sweater on.  He smiled the best he could with a bashed up mouth; and then he was gone.

So, Michal got in a fight.  Well, it happens.  That must have been a Friday night, because I didn't see him again until Sunday morning, when he knocked on my apartment door.  I was still in the long johns I usually slept in, and was washing my face, so I reached to open the door with one hand, toweling water out of my eyes with the other.  Michal was standing there holding my neatly folded sweater.  "Oh, hi."  I was a little embarrassed  that one of my student was seeing me in my long johns, but, whatever.  "Thanks for this."  "You're welcome."  I reached to take it, but he wouldn't relinquish it.  He sucked on his (still bad-looking) lip for a second, then said, "Can I talk to you?"

Yeah, the first of a thousand times that I have heard this sentence.

"Um, yeah.  Come in."  I didn't have a sofa - I had two beds.  One I treated like a sofa, so we sat facing each other cross-legged on this sofa-bed, and I began my education about organized crime in Poland.  This was one of the most difficult conversations I have ever had:  he couldn't tell me much in English; I struggled to understand in Polish.  Lots of hand-waving and sketching.  And the more I understood, the more frightened I got, because I realized that he was in deep shit.

In a nutshell, if possible... Years before, he had been befriended by a man in his apartment complex.  The guy was nice, and since Michal had no dad, he got pretty attached to this guy.  Well, the guy taught Michal how to  rip off cars and Michal started working for him.  Because Michal as a juvenile... yeah, are you thinking, "Fagin?"  That's pretty much what it was like, except this guy had another guy that he answered to.  As Michal got older he was doing well in school and was accepted to a high school for university-bound students.  He wanted to get out of the stereo theft business, but when he would complain about it or threaten to tell anybody, they would hurt him.  He was going to be 18 soon, but before that happened, they had a plan they wanted him to carry out:  to break into an office at the local police station where there were materials for making identity papers.  No way did he want to do this.  Juvenile or not, this was a whole different level of crime.  He was worried less about prison (although he was very worried about it) than he was in a panic that the whole story would come out and that he would lose his place at university.

What should he do?

He was asking me?!?

"You need to tell someone!"  "I AM telling someone.  I'm telling you."  "No, like a real, Polish someone.  You need to go to the police!  Tell them you're being coerced!  You need to tell your mom!  How can she not know?"  "It's dangerous to tell her.  I think she guesses, but she's afraid to say anything.  She just cries a lot.  I can't tell other people.  Miss P., just tell me:  should I do the police station break-in?"  Wha-? Oy.  What was I supposed to say?  "I have to tell you that you shouldn't.  Anyway, it's a stupid idea.  Bound to fail!  Maybe if you say you won't do it, they will just abandon the plan."  He agreed that he would tell them, "No". 

Just in case anyone thinks that I am a font of wisdom...

Michal was absent on Monday and on Tuesday afternoon, he was late for English class.  It was warmer that day and I had the windows open.  I remember that when he opened the classroom door, the cross-breeze billowed the long net curtains in across the desks.  He eased the door shut and slid into a seat in the back while I continued explaining something to the class.  Then I glanced up at him and our eyes locked. My vision narrowed - I thought I was going to pass out.  He had a cut that went all the way from his forehead, curving down the side of his face to his chin.  It was expertly done:  like a deep scratch. Not so deep that it needed stitches, but deep enough to leave a scar.  I'm sure it couldn't have been the case, but I felt like I did the entire presentation of "if-then" conditionals while staring into that boy's eyes.

Naturally, he was waiting by the front gate when I got off work that afternoon.  I marched up to him and got in his face.  Well, not really, because he was much taller than I.  You know what I mean, though.  "Michal, we need help!  I don't know about Polish criminal law!  I'm going to make things worse for you."  "NO!  You can't tell!"  [light bulb!]  "What about Jolanda, the new guidance counselor?"  "No way!  No teachers!"  "She's not really a teacher.  What if...  What if I asked her for advice, but I didn't tell her your name?" It took me two days to wear him down and get him to agree. 

Jolanda was delighted when I asked her if we could talk.  She was completely distrusted at the school, and the kids wouldn't confide in her about anything.  But, hey!  I come from America:  a therapist-friendly culture!  I told her the whole story (again, complete with language barrier), leaving out identifying characteristics.  And...she knew a lawyer!  "Awesome!"  (Well, I didn't say, "awesome".  I must've said something like, "wspynjala".)  "So, we simply have to have your student come to the office of-"  Uh-oh.  Here we go again.  "Michal, how can the lawyer help you if you won't-" "No way!"  "What about a phone call?"  Etc... etc... Finally, he agreed to call the lawyer from a phone booth.  No names.  Confidential.  "For now.  Sooner or later, you have to meet him, OK?"
At this point, the story left my orbit a little.  It was out of my hands, happening in Polish legalese; too difficult to explain with hand-waving or sketches.  I understood the important part.  Michal was meeting with the lawyer. The lawyer was helping Michal report the criminals, protecting him from repercussions and working to get him off the hook. 

June came and the weather got hot.  It was almost time for me to go, so I was busy:  returning borrowed items; eating and drinking too much vodka at different peoples' houses; packing. 

I did this a lot.  Note quantities of booze on table. 
I was rolling up my carpet so I could haul it out to the line and beat it when there was a knock on my open door.  It was Michal, gazing around my almost empty apartment.  "When are you going, Miss P.?"  "Tomorrow, " I said, stepping over the carpet and joining him at the door.  "Who is taking you to Warsaw?"  "I'll take the bus, but Filip is going with me, to help me with my bags."  "I brought you something.  These are my lucky shoes."  He handed them to me by the laces.  "You know, Michal.  Really, I didn't-"  I never finished the sentence because I was nearly suffocated by the enormous pressure of his embrace.  He kissed the top of my head, and because he knew that both of these actions were inappropriate, he darted out the door and jogged away down the corridor.

I was left to ponder the enormity of his gift.  At first in the literal sense, as I was trying to find room in my suitcase and wishing that he had a!  Or coin!  And of course, the real gift, which was simply that he trusted me despite the fact that I was not at all prepared or equipped to be trusted with a problem so big.  I went and found Jolanda before I left.  I took flowers and gave her a big hug to thank her for all her help.  But...I kept the shoes!

Some of my students stayed in touch.  The girls, of course!  I never heard another word from Michal, but when others from that class wrote to me with bits of news, I heard that he was in university and doing well.

I had a letter from classmate Beata C. about a year later.

Teacher, Michal will have to take an extra year of university!  He has dropped out of the economics program and changed courses.  He plans to be a LAWYER!  It's a pity:  if he wanted to be a lawyer, he should have chosen the Humanities track when we were in school, rather than the Economics track.  I wonder why he did that.

Dear Beata, 
Wow.  That IS strange.  Huh.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Mediator

So, Simon and I are mediating our divorce, which basically means that we are trying to avoid paying lawyers, if we can manage it.  Saves money, saves time and is a little friendlier.  Today was our first meeting with the mediator.

She was half an hour late, which didn't impress me; and when she walked into the office, my left eyebrow went up.  Imagine an explosion at a potpourri factory.  Visualize a woman being eaten alive by the trappings of her femininity.  She tottered on five-inch stilettos.  Ruffly mauve skirt with equally ruffly blouse.  French manicure (of course) and a sparkly rhinestone necklace that I might wear to a dinner party or something.  Sara Palin designer glasses; bleach-blonde hair all piled up on top of her head;  eyeliner drawn out onto her temples, a la Cleopatra.  She led us into her office, scented by aromatherapy candles and accessorized with a little tray containing perfume, body spray, hand lotion, etc....  Elementary, my dear Watson!  We zigged when we should have zagged and have wandered into the office of an Avon representative.  Or (for you Harry Potter fans) Dolores Umbridge.

"Sorry to be late," she said, dropping into her chair.  "I needed to go to my mother's house and put in her IV."  "You have to set your mom's IVs?  Yourself?"  "Uh-huh."  OK, I started to like her.  Then she rattled her biscotti jar and said, "I'm arriving too late to make coffee for you, but would you like a biscotti anyway?"  She unwrapped one for herself and I took one, too.  We both sat there during the meeting, gnawing biscotti in a very unladylike way.  I decided that her necklace was perfectly OK for daytime wear. 

I will maintain my divorce attorney relationship with Chad, but mainly as a check and a balance for this process. 

The mediator says that, if we don't hit any major snags in the negotiations, she can complete the divorce in about 6 weeks.  Three sessions, two hours each. We are going in for the first of these sessions already next week.  She wants to meet us once a week for three weeks, then get the papers drawn up and move forward.

Six weeks.

I thought it takes months?  Not if the wheels roll smoothly, I guess.  So, am I experiencing cold feet?  No.  I don't want our marriage back.  I am scared to death, though.  So scared that my knees feel weak.  A while ago, I listed all the things I could think of that scared me.  What were they?

Poverty. Yep.  That still scares me.

Where I will live.  Yes, this scares me, but less than it did. I will not end up under the Fourth South viaduct. I will find something. Just hope it's not a fixer-upper, because I'm not very fixy-uppity.  On the other hand, my friend Aimee learned all sorts of things by simply Googling how to do them.  If Aimee can take out a toilet and put in a new one, so can I.

Loneliness.  Maybe I will be too busy learning the basics of plumbing to be lonely.  I'm not afraid of the "time on your own" loneliness.  I am scared that I will miss the kiddos horribly when I don't have them.  I won't miss getting affection (since there wasn't much) as much as will miss giving it.  Not being needed will make me lonely.

Dating.  That doesn't scare me much any more. I'm feeling a bit fatalistic about it at this point.  I still keep hoping that my stray dog of a heart will  come home.  My friends roll their eyes and say, "Oh, for Pete's sake, Kate!  Just go to the Humane Society and get a new one."  "Guys, the dog is not a real dog.  It's a metaphor!"  "Then this is a metaphorical Humane Society."

Regarding the state of my heart, I try to be good. No contact with CB.  Gifts and reminders put away.  I am trying to spare my friends the role of Breakup Buddy.  I ran today. I wore my favorite silk skirt.  No backsliding!  It's so hard, though.  At least 14 times a day, I think of how I have backed off and wonder whether I have made a huge mistake.  How, if we never bridge this gap, maybe it'll be my fault.  When I get to thinking this way, my fingers itch for the phone.  But I don't do it.  I mean, holy shit!  Let's have some dignity, here!  If nothing else will pull me through, please let my ego save the day.

Which gets me to, "Please".  This is what the voice in my head says all fucking day.  I muffle it by trying to engage myself in different things.  I made Red Flannel Hash for supper!  I let Sara have a friend to sleep over!  I listened to Real Salt Lake vs. Monterrey on the radio!  I weeded the front garden (until I got rained out of that activity)!  I worked hard all day!  I bought picnic supplies for our weekend at Bryce NP.  But still, I found myself sitting in the truck or frozen with my hand on a cupboard handle;  at those times, all I am thinking is, "Please."

Please WHAT?!?  Whom am I asking for help?  Not God, 'cause I don't believe in God.  Am I begging myself for something?  Is it just a plea to myself to be tough?  To stay focused?  To find the beauty in radishes again?

I need to figure it out.  [Sigh]  Ah, well. One thing I know I am not begging the universe for:  peaches.  I have thawed a bag of them that I picked from the tree last fall and ate some with plain yogurt, a sprinkling of brown sugar and a few pecans.

Tomorrow, I'll make smoothies for  for the kids' breakfast.  And it will be a new day, maybe one that will hurt less than today.  Please.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


To:  The World
From:  Kate
Re:  My current emotional state and the need to be nice to me

Day 2 of Detox is over and we are embarking upon Day 3.  All I can say for Day 2 was that it was busy.  I kept hoping that being busy would help me feel better.  Nope.  Welcome to my world.  Jump and shout.

It was an overall sucky day, which is why being busy didn't help. 

Simon is now barely speaking to me, which creates a really nasty atmosphere in the house.  I have hated this for 18 years and continue to hate it.

The server for Rosetta Stone is still down.

Eleven tutors called in absent.

I had to go through my e-mails and delete everything to and from CB.  There were a  couple that were so happy and sweet that my finger did NOT want to press down.  I thought, "Maybe I'll just save these two. No! I can't. Uuuuugggghhhhh. Maybe I'll open this one and read it just once more."  Get a grip, Kate.[Delete]

The chronically loose screw in my keyboard tray has fallen out and disappeared, so I'm holding it together with a paperclip.

We finally heard back from the Migration Policy Institute about the Immigrant Integration Awards.  We were not selected.  Remember how I spent most of the month of December banging my head against the wall, shouting, "I can't do that right now!  I'm writing MPI!"?  I didn't really expect that we would get it; but it was a little spark that persisted.  The money reeeeaaaaallllly would have helped us.

Administrative Staff spent an hour in the morning and another hour or so in the afternoon trying to hash out the budget for next year.  Let's just say that it wasn't pretty.  I was home with my kids during the morning (spring break), so was "conferenced in" for the morning skirmish.  Since my hands-free headset is kaput, I was trying to hold the handset and dry off from my shower, towel my hair and deal with this very important conversation (naked, because it is hard to get dressed without putting the phone down...) from a distance while my kids and their friends were playing that mysterious game which involves lots of banging in Nate's room.   Plus, it meant didn't get to run.

A double hug from volunteer Bill S.:  one from him and an extra, proxy hug from my friend Naomi, whom he saw at the university today, and who sends her love.

Store signs forwarded to me from my friend Diane, courtesy of

The State Office of Education called and asked me to do another training for them this spring.  That is three trainings in the space of only a few weeks, and that means MONEY, for a girl who needs it.  Plus, judging by the speed with which the State Office pays its contractors, the checks won't arrive until my divorce is final.  I believe that means that it is MY money.

When I came into the office and told the staff that we needed to come up with solutions to the budget issue, everyone who was here spun her chair around and started brainstorming without complaint.

I am getting to know Laura, our new teacher.  She is also going through a divorce, loves camping and drinks beer. I wonder if she would come down to the Swell next month...

Nate has had a dry bed every night for nearly two weeks.  When I praised him for his success, he said, "I've gotta do it, Mom.  If I wet the bed, how am I gonna get a girl?"

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Memory Box

[Yes, I realize that a scant 24 hours ago, I thought I was too fucked up to write.  I still am! Welcome to my fucked up little blog.  And now, a word from our sponsors:  Kate's spongy, fogged-up mind and Kate's emotion-fatigued fingers. Fact is, I do better if I write.  I had better keep on.]

So, I have finally landed in front of my computer where I am allowing my toenail polish to dry (Orchid!  Very pretty!  Doesn't improve my mood just now, but effectively covers the very black toenail that I bruised running the Salt Lake Half.  Soon, it will come off.  In the meantime, it will be Orchid.) and drinking a cup of tea.  Earlier in the evening, I decided to waste some of my precious time weeding out my memory box.  This is a foot locker in which I hold my clabber. I try not to be TOO much of a pack rat, so when the foot locker gets so full the lid won't close, I go through it.  I often find Precious, Precious Treasures, so precious that I have forgotten their provenances.  And WAY too many t-shirts. 

My memory box contains all the same stuff you have in yours:  programs, graduation tassels, certificates, diplomas, key rings, pins, passports, maps, letters, t-shirts, junk jewelry... But here are ten things I found that I'm figuring NO ONE else has in his/her memory box.  If I am wrong, and you have any of these things, please comment and I will stand corrected.  And I will ask to meet you.
  1. A silver teaspoon with a porcelain handle, upon which is painted a portrait of Calvin Coolidge.
  2. A likeness of Nicolas Copernicus, rendered from gingerbread (now a little fuzzy and dusty).
  3. A child's dress-up dress from Chile.  A few years ago, when I went to Concepcion to do some volunteer work, I stayed with a host family that had a 7 year-old girl.  The family was not well-off:  there were seven of them living in three tiny rooms.  They were so happy, though, to squeeze me in for a few weeks and make me part of the family.  The little girl had an old cast-off dress that she played dress-up in constantly.  She presented it to me as a parting gift.  
  4. Four wisdom teeth, strung as a necklace on a piece of dental floss.  My dentist's idea of a little joke.
  5. Microscope slides, assembled in a box labeled "Katie's Box of Small Wonders".
  6. A Singapore Airlines flight attendant uniform shirt.
  7. A brown paper bag with a handful of little felt, shield-shaped patches.  School crests from the high school where I taught in Poland.
  8. A little photo book made by my dad, commemorating the bumper local harvest in my hometown one year:  CORN '99! 
  9. A ginormous pair of wrestling shoes.  These were way down in the bottom of the box, due to their awkward size, and my throat tightened when I pulled them out - I hadn't seen them in many years.  They were a parting gift (yeah, I know - I get some very odd parting gifts) from one of the high school boys I taught in Poland.  You know, I should write this story down.  I'll give it a blog entry of its own tomorrow.  Michal J. and I had a perilous adventure in which blood was spilled and I decided I was meant to be a teacher.  If the house caught fire, I would try to save these shoes.
  10. Dutch paratrooper's wings. Filthy and frayed because for many years they kept company with a bunch of other patches I had sewn to my ratty day pack that traveled the world with me.  I have written about my Dutch pen pal in the past.  When we "broke up" (for lack of a better word, since we had never really managed to be together), I sent his paratrooper's wings back to him.  He sent them back to me again.  He thought that, maybe someday, I would miss having them. 
And since he was right about that, maybe I can make room in my memory box for two action figures, two Nerf swords and a very short note?

Yes, to the relief of sensible people everywhere, I have gone back into Detox. 

[Sigh!]  Day ONE, I'm afraid.  Today was not too first.  But the miserable reality of it is starting to sink in.  I found myself back on the rim of the bathtub for the first time in a while. 

This is not because of anything CB did wrong.  He has never lied to me or deceived me about how hard this is.  He hasn't prevaricated or obfuscated or done any other big words.  He has been ridiculously steadfast. He's just not a single man, and not in a position to be in a relationship with me.   At first, I was just so glad to see his face and hear his voice that I thought I could have him in my life while he continued to work through  a lot of difficult stuff. But I can't.  I would be elated at times, but would then become sad.  We can't really spend time together, so we can't explore the potential of the relationship.  And since the little bits if the relationship that we had were so fabulous, this frustrated me. I kept hemming and hawing about what would be a better choice:  staying close to him or backing away. 

It was the Salt Lake City Half Marathon that decided me.  CB insisted on coming to meet me after the race.  No, no, no.  Not necessary.  It's crowded at the finish area.  Hard to park.  He has other things to do.  I wasn't sure exactly when I would finish.  I don't want a man that I'm interested in to see me with sweat-salt crusted in my hair.  And no one ever meets me after races.  Simon has never been to any of mine.  Anyway, the kids had soccer.  Heedless of my objections, he was waiting for me when I got in.  He had a thermos of sugary chai.  He put his hoodie on my sweaty, nasty, crusty wet self when I got chilled and shivery.  He walked back to my truck with me.  And I thought, "Geeze, I love this guy.  Every time I am with him, I love him more."  And then [cue the sinister music] I thought, "You are setting yourself up for an absolute fucking train wreck of a heartbreak.  Run away now!  CB is not available to be your guy." 

It was very hard to turn away from him.  Easier than last time, because we both know that we aren't mad at each other.  Harder than last time, because I felt that I had a choice, even though the choice SUCKED!  And harder because the few times we were able to see each other during the last couple weeks were so great.  Conversations about the future.  It's hard to pack it all up and really lock it away.

CB maintains that he will be back. "A month or two", he needs. 

I maintain that I will not be seeing him again.  Bleak?  Necessary.  Know what happens if I hope?  I wait.  Detox is all about recovering and moving on.  Not about waiting.  My job is to get on with it.  Maybe he'll come and find me and tell me he's ready.  Or maybe he'll decide not to. In the meantime, if even ONE PERSON says that horrible junior high cliche about how if you love something, you should set it free?  I will blow snot on that person's shoe.  I will put a blackening banana peel under the driver's seat of that person's car.  Fuck the inspirational posters with pictures of fucking sea gulls. 

SO... remember the rules? 

  1. Don't see him or talk to him.  I'll block my phone tomorrow.  I don't think he'll try to contact me, but it will keep me from getting the DTs every time I get a text.
  2. Get yourself a breakup buddy.  I have several.
  3. Get your ass in motion every day.  Back to the gym tomorrow, now that my quads have recovered from the race.
  4. Don't wear your breakup out into the world.  Both my fingers and toes are now Orchid.  I'm meeting a nice guy for drinks tomorrow night after work.  I think I remember how to flirt.  If not, I'll check the handbook
  5. NO backsliding.  If I see CB before the detox is over, it'll mean that he wants to be with me and I will gladly walk away from the detox.    
  6. Remember to put YOU first.  Well, shit.  That's what I'm trying to do.  Are we having fun, yet?  [Gasp!]  FUN!  Time to reconvene the Eleanors.  I wonder if I could get a group of folks who want to go down and do some camping in the San Rafael Swell in a few weeks.  Planning a camping trip would distract me.  And I LOOOOOVE the Swell. "Course, I'd love it more if I were there with him, but... we will soldier on, regardless.
  7. Get rid of the things that remind you of him.  OK, I checked the fine print.  It is all right to keep a few things, if you put them away.  The action heroes, swords and little note can go in the remodeled, spacious memory box.  Because there is an idiot inside me who dares to hope a little.  Just a little
What about your memory box?  What are five things you have stashed away?  Tell us about them in the comments section, if you feel like it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Taking a Break

Sometimes, even I run out of words for all the stuff running through my heart and mind.  I begin so many entries that I don't finish because they ramble so far afield. (Don't laugh!  I know:  rambling has never stopped me before...!)  I will stop writing for a little bit, then I hope I will come back, superpowers fully restored. 

Soon?  Maybe.  I hope so. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blood and Drama

Oof.  What a day this has been!  I was incredibly busy from start to finish; often with hysterical people, querulous people, people piled three deep, all asking questions at once.  "Wait a sec.  How many problems do we have here? Do you two people have two separate problems, or are you sharing a problem?"  Do I attract this? Why, yes, I do.

I opened my truck door in the parking lot today just as fourth-grade Tejawna bit the dust on the playground.  Bit the asphalt, actually.  Mmmmm.  One of those wipe-outs where the victim was going full tilt?  Hands and knees...  She sat up screaming with her hands were so scraped that she had paint from the four-square embedded in there.  Blood running down her leg into her sock.  You know. 

I was headed into the building anyway, so I told the playground monitors that I would clean her up.  I kind of like playing doctor.  We went into the girls' room and loud was the screaming, especially cleaning up her hands.  Hell, YEAH!  If it had been me, I would've cried, too!  Road rash is the worst!  Except a burn, maybe.  So, I was clucking and commiserating.  The elementary teachers clean up a lot more owies than I do, though.  They were like, "C'mon, Tejawna.  You're fine.  Hurry up, you're missing lunch."  Aw, you guys:  have a heart. Poor little kiddo...  Later in the staff room, they were talking about how Tejawna was milking it.  I thought, "So would you be." 

That little drama queen had my sympathies.

Not so much for Adi M., my evening drama queen.  She needs to give it a rest, already.  I have to hear a new Adi hissie 'bout every other week.  [sung, in a "la-la" tone of voice] She's CRA-zy.  I hope it's not CATCH-ing. 

I was in the copy room when I heard a kerfuffle in the cafeteria across the hall, then one of the teachers came in and said, "I need to find the mom of one of the babysitting kids."  "Which kid?"  "I don't know his name. Come and look."  I went to the cafeteria to find Rosa, the head babysitter, with Adi's 3 year-old son, Alex.  Big, gushing nose bleed.  "OK.  That's Adi's son, so go find Adi, please.  Rosa, do we need ice?"  Someone appeared with ice.  But right about then the nosebleed stopped.  You know how they are.  Adi arrived to find that he was pretty much done. 

Now is it just me?  Nosebleeds are NO BIG DEAL. Personally, I have never had one.  Never.  Really.  But my kids get them all the time.  Sara gets huge ones that drip a trail from her bedroom to the bathroom.  They don't hurt.  Kids don't seen that freaked by them.  So, we wiped up Alex's face and I took a little look up his nose to see if there was more to come.  Nope.  Adi picked him up.  [In Spanish]  "Oh, my little darling!  What happened, are you all right?  What happened to him!?"  Clearly, her little prince had almost bled to death.  To Death!  Rosa explained that he bumped his nose slightly on the playground.  Adi fondled the bridge of his nose while Alex fidgeted.  "Maybe there's something wrong there.  Maybe we should see a doctor."  "You know, Adi," I said, "Some kids just get nosebleeds sometimes.  My son gets them if he cries.  My daughter gets them if she sneezes."  "But, Darling, how do you feel?  Do you need a transfusion?  Are you OK?"  Rosa asked him in Spanish if he was ready to go play again, and of course he trotted away without a backward glance.

But, at the end of class, there was Rosa, waiting for me.  "I need talk to you!  Is very important!  About that crazy woman!"  [Back to Spanish]  "When Adi picked up Alex at the end of class, she said to me, 'How could you let this happen!?  Why was I not brought in immediately!?  I'm taking Alex to see a doctor and I'm SENDING YOU THE BILL!!!'"  Hoo-kay.  I'm done.  She lost me at the threats.  I'm banning her from the childcare before Rosa gives HER a bloody nose.

Nathan Entertains Me

Pity this turned out a little blurry.  All through supper, I thought I saw something dark in Nate's hair.  Finally, I asked him what it was and he reached up there.  It landed on the table to quite a bit of squealing, which turned to "EWWWWW!!!!!" when I picked it up.  Yeah, a slug.  With a smooshed head.  Can you imagine what an everlasting impression I would have made if I had eaten it?  It's so tiny - I could have washed it down with my gin and tonic and barely noticed. Dad would've. The opportunities I miss because I don't consider them...

Then we had to go to Target to get a new swimsuit for Sara. ("The butt is baggy on my old one!")  Nate stands there by the rack and loudly declares, "Get this one, Sara.  In this one, you'll have a man in five minutes."