Tuesday, February 28, 2012


It's snowing out there, and I should be in bed. It's late! I'm here with a cup of tea, running my tongue across my teeth to dislodge the tea leaves.  The bag must have split. I was all set to write, but I'm just too pooped out.  My Fiat is the Girl Scout Cookie Mobile, and for the first time since I made the switch, I miss the Tacoma.

Friday, February 24, 2012

High Point, Low Point

High Point
Watching Sara's basketball team lose their final game of the season.  They were the worst team in the league, but they had a lot of fun; and she was completely satisfied after the game, because they had managed to score 11 points.

Low Point
Simon and Chuck were both at the game, and it was awkward.  This is the first time they have been in the same space.  Simon was going to take Nate to his soccer match, which was at the same time as Sara's basketball game. Sara asked if this meant that we could finally invite Chuck to come and watch her play.  Yeah, sure.  All was well, until the first minutes of the game, when Simon called and told me that Nate's match had been cancelled, so he was going to bring Nate over to the basketball game and watch Sara play.  I told him that Chuck was with me, but he wanted to come any way.  Of course, he sat in another part of the stands - but he was grim.  I wished he wasn't there.  Chuck felt strange and said that he felt bad, making Si uncomfortable.  That Si had the right to watch his kids and feel good about being there.  I think that, when I have custody of the kids, I get to choose how we hang out.  And Sara had asked specifically of Chuck could come. In my opinion, Si was overstepping.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mascara Causes Mood Swings

 I knew it!

This is why I have lived such a happy life up to now:  makeup avoidance.  Lately, I think I am a showy little peacock because I wear a touch of mascara and lip-liner to work.  Woo-woo.

I am hardly the most qualified person in the world to show Sara anything about makeup.

I got to wear makeup when I turned thirteen, so fair's fair.  It is a coincidence I'm sure, that the advent of makeup, the thirteenth birthday, and the wild mood swings have all begun at once.  She burst into tears several times today and was only able to gasp, "Mood swing!" through her sobs.  "Well,"  I said, "at least you know what they are..."

I got her brown mascara, a brown eyebrow pencil, concealer and lip gloss.

 I know girls this eage love to wear makeup, but I can't figure out WHY.  Look!  She's young!  What more does the kid need?
 I pencilled on a little eyebrow. I have always thought that her white-blonde eyebrows were indistinct.  She is smiling for this picture, but she HATES distinct eyebrows.

She is also very sad about concealer.  Sara thinks the dark shadows around her eyes are evil and must be eradicated for ever more. I remember thinking the same thing at her age and also glopping way too much concealer around my eyes.  Then I surrendered to my DNA.  I showed her that I, too, have shadow around me eyes.  And I managed to find boyfriends when I was young.  And I can still get a date!  Yay me!   She rolled her eyes and continued to mess with the concealer.
 I showed her how to apply mascara and she managed that without any problem.
I tried eyeshadow on her.  I have two purple Clinique shadows that I don't wear, so I put them on her with a very light hand.

So, what des Sara think of makeup? 

Tears.  She thought she would look beautiful, but no, she just looks wierd.  I told ther that she is not used to seeing herself made up and it is a very different look. She needs to get used to it (or not, I thought).  Eyebrow pencil and shadow = wierd
Mascara = OK
Concealer = fail
Lip gloss=  OK
That's the final assessment.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Letter to C

[I must tell you all out in the blogosphere that this was not the entry I sat down to write AT ALL!  I was going to write to Chuck because I haven't seen him today and talked to him only a little.  I was going to tell him how I went to OfficeMax to get Sara's party invitations printed; how I left my flash drive there; and how I went back to retrieve it in my slippers and pajamas because I had managed to squirt honey all over my work clothes while I was getting supper ready.  Oh, and how I reminded myself as I walked into OfficeMax in my "space rockets" jammies that these days, people wear pajamas out in public all the time and call them "leisure pants".  Whatever.  Guess I'm not in charge, here.]

Dearest C.

You don't read my blog any more.  There was a time when it was a lifeline between us.  And a time when it was a portal into my heart that I did not want you to find or read ever again. Now, it's actually extraneous!  If you want to know how I feel, you can just ask me.  What is to be found here that you can't request any time you want?

Well... that's mostly true.  Sometimes I put stuff here that I can't say out loud to you.  Maybe it reveals too many of my insecurities; or it touches painful places that neither of us wants to probe.  My insecurities are fading, anyway; so maybe there isn't a lot here for you after all. 

You often say, "I keep meaning to read your blog.  I need to get caught up."  I generally demur with something like, "Ah, it really doesn't matter."  And it doesn't.  When I write to you here, I think I may be writing for my own self. 

On Saturday night, we were at a big party together; and I was inspired by being out with you in the company of others.  We moved from group to group, chatting with people - sometimes together, sometimes apart.  I watched you from a little distance, smiling and talking.  I knew that after a while, your hand would touch the small of my back and you would ask if I wanted a drink.  We would share a slice of birthday cake and pretend to compete for the chocolate layer.  You would introduce me to this or that friend, saying ridiculously flattering things about me and embarrassing me.  People would admire my $6 second-hand dress, and I would get to tell them that you helped me with the alterations.

Your friend told you in private that you and I "seem like the perfect couple".  That's bullshit, of course; but we really are scarily companionable, peaceful and aligned.

One of your old friends reminded you that tomorrow was Super Bowl Sunday; and that last year, you had been at a party at his house.  I know a little about that day.  It turned into a day and night of turmoil for you: fear and confrontations and heartbreak and sleeplessness.  Meanwhile, I was struggling with a similar misery.  A year ago, the pain and the trouble had only just started.  I didn't know at that point that it was going to get much, much worse before it got better. 

At this point last year, we were completely separated, and I thought I would never see you again.  I don't know what you thought at this point a year ago.  Did you think you would never see me again?  I have never had the guts to ask you much about your feelings a year ago.  I don't want you to relive all that misery; but I wonder sometimes. 

I asked you during a quiet moment at the party whether these "anniversaries" of painful times strike you and hurt you, now that a year has passed.  You said you weren't impacted in that way.  I didn't say any more about it, but I AM!  For example, I know that it's almost time to go in for my annual gyno, because I remember how utterly beaten down I felt that day at the gyno last year.  It's February, so this is a hurricane season of bad memories, for me.  I'm so glad it isn't for you.  All through March, too, and April and May, I will remember all the ugly shit, just the way it happened. 

I stand in February this year, straddling the calendar page with my arms spread out and my face pointed at the sun.  I feel like I'm s-l-o-w-l-y thawing in the warmth that radiates from you.

We had our coats on and were headed for the door.  A quick turn on the dance floor: you swung around while my purse dragged along on my arm.  I laugh and think how the days roll into weeks, then months of happy times.  You pulled me in for a little smooch and I knew - if I can make past the next few months of remembering, I will be able to let it all go.

January Ends in Pictures

Whew!  I have had a busy week!  It's already February 5, and I'm just now acknowledging the end of January.   
 Up at 6:00 AM.  I am SO not a morning person.  I have to sit on the edge of the bed and stare at my feet for awhile.

 Tea and oatmeal.

Sara can pack her own lunch, if I need a hand.

 Always rushed, dropping off Sara....
 ...but then there's time to kill before Nate meets his bus.  I organize my day a little while we wait.

Nate doesn't mind. 
Today, the workout involves a little time here...
 ...but most of the time spent here.

 I keep track of my workouts with these cards, complete with Little Stick Guy, who demonstrates for me.

 I change at work, in the girls' bathroom.

 Way to negate the workout...  Hey, I only had a piece of the doughnut, not the whole thing.  It was a BACON doughnut!  I had to try it.  In the name of science.

Becca, rummaging for pencils.

 It's a paperwork day.  I have to finish all the enrollment for the new students we brought into Family Literacy.

 I forgot to bring a proper lunch.  I will see if the Kitchen Manager feels merciful today.
 A FEAST!  I didn't realize she was doing a special Chinese New Year lunch. Check it out!
 Well, isn't that sweet.  Too bad it is not actually a fortune.  This is a little peeve of mine. 
 Back to work.
 This volunteer needs to decide which day he wants to tutor.

 As the day goes on, the office fills up with teachers.
 Administrative Staff meeting
 Time to get my lessons prepared.  A unit on families.  Here is a father and a son.
 My to-do list for the evening.
 A former volunteer is now stationed in Swaziland with the Peace Corps.  She e-mailed me this week (Yeah, shall I digress?  Back when I was in the Peace Corps, before e-mail, if we wanted to communicate with the outside world, we would light a fire on a high hill and begin sending smoke signals..) and told me that her Secondary Project is teaching English, and that she has no idea how to get started. I scanned a few Scope and Sequence pages from some popular texts and sent them to  her, with promises to put together more resources for her when I have a little time. 
 I take a minute to make myself new dividers for my recipe card holders at home. 
 Time for staff meeting / supper.

 Mel entertains us with fabulous facts such as the five largest lakes in the world, the longest rivers, etc...
 We now have a teacher's aide.  Sometimes I struggle to remember that I can actually ask her to do stuff when I'm too busy to do it.  I remembered this time, though.  Why should I climb up and get stale crackers down from the stale cracker shelf when Stephanie can do it?

Chuck brought a pizza for us.  Everyone who stops in the office agrees: Chuck rules.

Time for class to start.
Now the cafeteria is the waiting room.

 I check on all my groups and think longingly about the big to-do list.  It would have been great to do some of the things on it, but... 

 ...I did THIS all evening.  One of the new teachers called in four new students, and she is not yet licensed to administer tests.  I had to do all of her testing for her, which is fine; but I didn't get any of my own stuff done.  

 Our big "Fiesta" event is next week. Signs of preparation are everywhere.  
Traci and Stephanie:  both new enough on the staff that they still look a little bewildered at the end of the night.

Check out my seat-heater!  Makes the commute home worthwhile.  So does the fact that Chuck is waiting to have a cocktail and tell me about his day.