Saturday, January 31, 2009

Where have you gone, Daffodil Campbell ?

Good GOD people.

I have been accused of living a chaotic life by design, and I swear to you, that is simply not true.

However, chaos reigns.

First, the car saga. We ended up trading in the truck, and getting the car I wanted, and I don't feel totally and completely screwed, so I guess that is good - right ?

Second, the depression. It's been hard. HARD hard. I think things are getting better. I am coming out of the fog, a bit, and having some clarity with regards to my life, my goals, my I just have to clear out the chatter and riff raff. HAH !

Third, and now for something COMPLETELY different. We are bringing home a new foster baby next week. He has a complicated medical history, and will need a lot of extra-special care. I am really looking forward to the opportunity to foster again, and I will be dialing back my level of involvement with other work, in order to focus on the baby, and my family. I think it is going to be good for everyone, frankly. Yes, I will be up at all hours with a newborn again. Yes, he will eventually go home to his parents. Yes, his medical history is complex and the level of care required is very VERY high. But still. And yet. I feel totally prepared, completely ready, and honestly when I foster parent I feel as though I am serving my community in a valuable tangible way. And Sami is a great partner in all of this. He is an amazing father, a supportive partner, and a caring foster parent. The fact that he accepts this part of me, and allows me to fill a need I have that I cannot fully explain, is a sign of the utter faith he has in me. God, I love that man.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Totally Not Totalled

I should rename this blog "Adventures in Car Accidents and the Resulting Post Traumatic Stress" because I am having one HELL of a time this week (Like things were going so smoothly before).

So today, at about 4pm, I was informed that the truck - the one that looked all smashed up and smooshed and totally totalled ? Not so much. They are going to fix it, which is great and all, except that I do not think I can overcome my total paralyzing fear of ever driving that truck again.

Let me try to put into words how completely and totally freaked out I am. I have to take off my black seat covers in my station wagon, because it reminds me of the interior of the truck. I cannot drive through an intersection without flinching and making a little shrieking noise and kind of hunching over. I want to cry every time someone brakes in front of me. If I am driving, I get all white-knuckly and sweaty. If I am the passenger, I grab the "Oh Jesus" handle next to my head, brace my feet, and make that weird shrieky noise again. I drive at about 20 miles an hour, in the right lane, and if anyone gets near me in either direction, even oncoming traffic, I pull over. I refuse to drive at night. I am supposed to go out tomorrow night, and I honestly do not think I can physically make myself do it. I am going to try, very hard, but I just don't know....maybe I can get someone to drive me. Or take a cab. Or walk. I would honestly rather walk, in the rain, in the dark, on a country road, then drive.

So back to the condition of the truck. The truck is definitely NOT totalled. It is at a collision center, that is conveniently located at a car dealership. The car dealership conveniently has an SUV I am interested in. The dealership *might* be willing to work out a trade. HOWEVER. I am feeling very defeated at the moment, so I am not expecting this to work out.

Here's what I prophesize is going to happen.

I believe that I am gong to wait 6 weeks for the damn truck to be repaired, then have to drive it for the next 3-5 years. I will be miserable and bitter, and you will have to hear about it ALL THE TIME.

(i.e. "It was such a beautiful day today, only made less beautiful by the presence of that godawful truck that I am being forced to drive.")
("It would have been a wonderful trip, had we not been riding in that damn truck that I hate.")
("Everything in my life is perfect, except for my vehicle - a truck - which I hate to drive, and hate to ride in and hate to see in my driveway or to have associated with me in any way at all.")

So for all of our sakes, please send lots of positive thoughts my way. Thoughts that involve me being able to trade in a truck that is currently missing it's entire front end, for about what it would be worth had it not been in an accident. Because then all will be right with my world, and I wil be able to think of something besides this ridiculous twist of fate that smacked me right in the face. fucker.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A day worth celebrating

I am not going to get all negative about Bush. With a 22% approval rating, I think most people get it. However, Brittany has declared it "Get Rid of Bush" day, and I am duly making my waxing appointment right now, as directed.

But the joy I am feeling about Obama taking office ? Yeah, I'm going to talk about it. I reserved my judgement for a very long time. I did not jump on the Obama wagon right from the start. I was definitely in the "Any Democrat would be fine with me." contingent. I held off on supporting a specific candidate, because I was afraid. I was afraid to put my eggs in one basket, only to have them crushed. Again.

So I waited. I watched. I sent money to Because that was all I wanted to do - move on, and leave the Bush administration in our past.

And when Obama accepted the Democratic nomination, I rejoiced, and celebrated, and threw my wholehearted support behind him, and started sending money to his campaign. I wasn't afraid anymore. I couldn't hold back my enthusiasm. I hadn't dared to hope that our country, the country that had elected Bush two times, would actually nominate Obama, who was really the polar opposite in political ideology. But I had a glimpse of the future. And all I could do was hope. I could only hope that we would elect him president. And then, suddenly, they did, and I did, and we did. Together.

We did this together.

And this morning, my husband called me from work, because he couldn't contain his excitement. Our excitement.

I feel proud. I feel relieved. I feel energized. I feel united. I feel motivated. I feel inspired.

I feel HOPE.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

all better now

It is amazing how a painkiller and a muscle relaxer can really take the edge off.

For the past three days, I have been on edge, gritting my teeth, impatient and aggravated.

Turns out, I was just IN PAIN. I have to stop and explain that I have an incredibly high pain threshold according to several doctors, and I have a tendency to wait until the pain has reached epic proportions (and I am vomiting in the bushes) before I will take something for it. Today was no different. I woke up and said to Sami "I think I am going to see the doctor today." I got to the clinic and reconsidered. I was just a little sore, it was totally normal to be sore after a car accident. I didn't need to see a DOCTOR for GOD'S SAKE.

But I figured, since I was already there (and since Sami was not going to leave the clinic unless I did because I suspect he was sick of my whining) I would see a doctor.

The doctor examined me, agreed with me that it was just normal post-accident aches and pains, and then gave me a prescription for the muscle in my chest thats spasms are making it very painful to breathe. And some vicodin or something like that for the pain.

I stood in line at the pharmacy, contemplating bagging the whole thing and not getting the prescriptions. But once again, I decided "What the hell, I'm already here" and went through with it.

Oh people, I am so glad I did.


It was the weirdest thing. All of the sudden, I wasn't all cranky and tense and sore. I was relaxed and cheerful and HUNGRY. So we went to Moana for a huge breakfast of crab cake benedicts and sausage gravy and biscuits and coffee and a bloody mary and pastries and it was FUCKING AWESOME and I thought to myself "see, I am totally fine, I didn't need those silly pain killers after all !" Then I realized that I had actually, um, already taken them. And that actually I probably felt real good BECAUSE of them. And now I totally understand how people end up showing their coochies to the paparazzi and driving into trees and ending up in rehab because of these things. They are really indescribably awesome. And if I see a papparazzi, I am totally going to show them my business end.

Promises Malibu, here I come.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Gross exaggerations and broad generalities

So today, once again, I find myself feeling...what ? Overwhelmed ? Angry ?

Maybe, at the end of my rope. With everyone. And everything.

I am so very, very tired of being out of control. Nothing is under control. Not the house, not the bills, not the car, not the kids, not the dog. Everything, and everyone, is running amuck, all loosey-goosey, if I am not contantly On Alert. And my alert is sore. I can't stay on it anymore.

You know what would be fucking awesome ? It would be fucking AWESOME to come home from work to a spotless house, clean kids, and dinner. Now, granted, Sami doesn't come home to that too often, but maybe once or twice a week he does come home to a pretty clean house and dinner.....however, *I* have *never* had that experience. Except for when I came home from that hideous trip last month. The house was clean then - but there were no KIDS in it, so I don't think it really counted. Because the real trick is cleaning the house with the kids INSIDE.

To add insult to injury, Sami told me tonight our house was cluttered. It was like a knife in my heart. I don't WANT a cluttered house.

Cluttered house, cluttered mind.

So I guess that explains everything.
My House. Cluttered.
My Mind. Also cluttered.

This is a vicious cycle.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


Today was an interesting day. I woke up with a pounding, nausea inducing headache, and went to the chiropractor right away. Then I took Lucy to story time at the library. And after story time we headed to town to run errands. Our first errand was to pick up some more headache medicine - I have a prescription to help fight off migraines, and I was running low - and with this hideous headache in the wings, I decided to stock up.

But picking up the prescription turned into a ridiculous drama of missing hard copies of prescriptions, and doctors on vacations, and needing signatures, and it all required that I wait in several very long lines for an hour. An hour I spent standing in front of CNN watching other people standing on the wing of an airplane in the middle of the Hudson River on the other side of the country. That certainly put my day in perspective. Sure, maybe not the greatest day ever, but at least I am not standing in the middle of the Hudson in sub-zero temperatures, on the wing of my crashed and rapidly sinking airplane. Bonus: my headache was gone.

So I left the clinic relieved, and with our morning completely shot to hell and needing to get back and walk the dog and get the gorceries and pick up Max from school, I headed homeward. As I mentioned yesterday, it is exceptionally windy here right now - so windy that all the schools are closed tomorrow. They are anticipating hurricane-like weather. And as I rounded the corner and entered the highway, I spotted what looked like an accident off on the shoulder. As I got closer, I realized something had blown out of the back of a truck in this ridiculous wind (it turned out to be a mattress, but at the time I had no idea what had hapened, or what to look for). So I was paying very close attention to my surroundings - was there debris in the road ? People in the road ? Would the traffic come to a stop ? As I passed the two trucks dealing with the escaped cargo, the traffic slowed. I slowed. And as I was trying to see WHY we were slowing, and if we were stopping, we stopped. Or rather, the guy in front of me stopped. I did not stop in time, despite putting both feet on the brake with all of my strength, and steering to the side. I was actually stopped by the rear of his truck. Which went right into the engine of my truck. Which ended up in the general vicinity of my dashboard.


I was not going fast, my airbags didn't deploy, but boy, I really smooshed my car big time. The guy in front of me fared slightly better - he got a good whack to the passenger side rear bumper, and his rear quarter panel kind of bowed out a bit.....but my car did this:

There were no injuries, and I took Lucy to the doctor to have her checked JUST to be sure...... we're fine. Sore, tired, and my adrenaline rush just crashed a while ago, so I think I need to go to bed soon.

More later, I am now waiting for calls from the various insurance companies. I feel sick just thinking about it. The good news is, because of my husband's phenomenal(ly awful) driving record, we have full-coverage insurance. So it's all going to be OK. Eventually.

It's still better then standing on the wing of a sinking aircraft.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

There's a storm a comin'

I have just come inside from removing all small and/or unsecured objects from our outdoor living space. The wind has really picked up, and I am not sure exactly what tonight, or tomorrow, holds in terms of weather. If tonight is any indication, there is definitely going to be something interesting going on out there !

As the wind picked up, I got everyone in the truck and headed down for an afternoon beach excursion. It was windy - but not unbearably so. And I remembered to bring a beer this time, so that was exciting ! I lazed about in the sun, drinking my beer and trying to keep track of the kids AND the dog, all three of whom had very different objectives for this beach day.

Lucy wanted to bury everyone in the sand, and touch everyone with her sandy self, and drag the dog around to introduce him to people who really weren't interested.

Max wanted to jump off the rocks, into the ocean, wearing as much equipment as possible - at one point he jumped wearing flippers, a mask, a snorkel, and carrying a boogie board. He's a freak.

Boston just wanted to sniff everyone's ass - man and beast. He's very easy to keep entertained.

So, with the leash around my ankle, a clear view of Max, and surrounded by piles of pails and shovels, I managed to actually finish my beer, visit with some friends, and recover from a very quiet shift at the cafe.

Very Quiet.

It's official, the holiday season is over, the tourists are dwindling, and the weather has taken a decidedly wintery turn. And yeah, the word wintery IS relative. Enough with the snarky comments. If you hate the winter, YOU should move to Hawaii and quit bitching about it. Because you know what ? It's freaking AWESOME to live here, and enjoy the beach and the outdoors all year round. Which is why I grew a pair, and moved far from everything and everyone I knew and loved. And now I spend my days warm, tan, and happy. No Seasonal Affective Disorder over here !

Pina Colada, anyone ?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Regularly Scheduled Programming

Good lord. Sorry about that. I have no idea what I was thinking, is my oversharing light still on ?

Today is Monday - Do you know what is so exciting about Monday ? It is Lucy's first day at SCHOOL.

Oh, the humanity.

She is ready to go, bag packed, lunch in the car, nap mat and blanket at the ready......I'll take a commemorative picture and post upon our return......

And we're back.....or at least, I'M back. Because of course, I had to leave Lucy at school. Which was fine with her - but unspeakably difficult for me. My stomach is twisted into a tight little knot. And my little girl is not so little anymore.

It is such a huge, life changing moment, when your youngest goes off to school. Suddenly, you aren't NEEDED all of the time. And while we're on the topic of time, about that suddenly free time.....what should you do with it ? I plan to break out our new power washer, and wash the windows and screens. But not today. Today is just for getting used to the idea that she is in school, and that I don't have babies. Anymore. And I will never have babies again.


Sunday, January 11, 2009

Trouble in paradise

This weekend has been full of work and friends and family and fun, and a massive struggle to keep myself together. But really, it's not a crisis or anything like that, and I feel like a shit for even bringing it up. I mean, I know there are a lot of people out there who actually have REAL PROBLEMS. And mine seems like nothing. A shadow of what real problems should be. So does that make them less valid ? I think it does......and yet.......but still.

Even with my trusty Prozac, over the past few months daily life has become increasingly difficult for me. I go for days without leaving the house. I avoid answering the phone. I sit at home, online, drinking tea, and thinking. And worrying. If you have recently sent a text or left a voicemail, there is a pretty good chance I haven't checked it. I get my email, but rarely respond - I don't know what to say. I don't have anything really important to say right now. I guess. I don't feel much like talking. I don't know how to respond.

The night sweats are back with a vengeance - one of the first sure, physical signs I have that the medicine is losing it's efficacy.

And more frequently now, I am having panic attacks - with the pounding heart and blurred vision and tight chest and breathlessness that, when I first experienced them, I thought were signs I was having a heart attack. Now, all of these years later, I know I'm not dying, but it's still scary. Especially since I have experienced them so INfrequently the past year or so - theirs is not a welcome return.

But the worst is I am not sleeping - maybe because my bed is soaking wet and I am chilled to the bone from the damn night sweats. Maybe because I lie in bed thinking about Sami and the kids and money and work and the dog and the truck and the house and things that happened that day and people I know and conversations I had......

With that said, it should come as no surprise to hear that I am constantly exhausted. You know, I read that sentence and I think: I feel as though every time I speak to someone, or write something, I mention how exhausted I am. I am starting to think that isn't even an accurate description. I am not exhausted. I am not just tired, or weary, or sleepy, or fatigued, or worn out.

This is more then that. This is having to pull over on the side of the road at 3pm because I am afraid I am going to fall asleep at the wheel. This is struggling to stay awake in the morning to get Max to school, then coming home and climbing back into bed with Lucy and a movie on the laptop, and sleeping for another few hours. This is having to drink an espresso to go out to dinner. It's not every day, but it is frequent, and frustrating. I have a lot to do, a lot to get done, a lot of things I want to accomplish - not just in my day, but in my LIFE. And this struggle is keeping me from doing too many things.

I hate to be on a prescription. I hate to take a pill every day. I have tried Paxil, and also tried a higher dose of the Prozac, but both left me feeling like a zombie. Since I am already barely awake as it IS, that option is not very appealing. I always hoped I would take the Prozac for 6 months or a year, and then stop, and be magically better. But as I have gotten older, and progressed through menopause, then had the hysterectomy, then dealt with the emotions and hormones relating to all of has been a hard couple of years, and instead of getting easier, it just seems to be getting harder.

This shouldn't be so hard.

This doesn't feel like me.

That is the weird thing about depression - it's not as though I am sitting around feeling SAD all the time. I'm not ill, I am still dressed and functioning. I'm still ME, everything still WORKS, but I feel like the Grinch Who Stole Christmas, with a heart 3 sizes too small. I'm living life wrapped in a comforter, muffled and confused and a little off balance. I can't feel things the same way. Reaching out is almost impossible. I cannot touch, or be touched. I can barely lift my arms sometimes. But inside, I am fully aware that I am wrapped up like a mummy, and I WANT to get out, shed the weight, the constrictions of all of these layers......I just don't have the energy. Maybe tomorrow, I think. Maybe later.

I have been here before. Depression is cyclical for me - damn long cycles, but cycles nonetheless. Crippling sadness, followed by outrageous, manic behavior, followed by a period of calm - where I can give advice ad nauseum, and take my own advice to heart. And then, something happens, a switch is flipped, and suddenly everything that was do-able is now undone. Sometimes, a stage lasts for months - but it always evolves. Or at least, it has before. I am sure it will again, sooner rather then later since it has been a while now......

So, this post is really just to say "Hey. I am still struggling. I am here, but it feels very far away. Hang in there with me."

I am fine, and yet I am not fine - all at the same time. Not a scary "not fine" - they're not going to admit me to the Molokini ward or anything for God's sake - this is just a muddled version of the real me, right now. I have all sorts of thoughts and feelings in here - and I am trying to find a way to let them out, share them with you, show them to everyone and say "HERE. THIS is what I think. THIS is how I feel."

It should be VERY interesting, hm ?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The truth of the matter

The past few days, first on blogs, and then on NPR of all places, I was reading about a woman who Twittered (Tweeted ? Twitted ? Twhatever...) about her difficulties in trying to get her child to go to bed. It was late, and the mother made a comment about smothering her kid, and asking if - in this situation - that would be so wrong.

I'm not going to get into it anymore then that, and I have left out a great deal of detail (purposefully) but the reaction of the people who received this Twitter (Tweet ? Twit ? Twhatever.) covered the gamut, from sympathy to concern to outrage. In the end, the police were notified, and they went to the woman's house to make sure she had not, indeed, smothered her child in an attempt to get the kid to go to sleep.

And I am telling you all of this only so that when I get all honest and down and dirty here, you know that No Children Were Hurt in the Writing of This Blog. There is no need to track down my address via my Amazon wishlist and send the police over here. (Seriously).

So, the cold, hard truth.

I don't like most Other People's Children (OPC). I love ALL babies, I think toddlers are wonderful and funny and I can't get enough of them. Once kids get to be about, oh, say, 4 or 5, and they start to get a bit of an attitude, they stop being so cute, and start being FUCKING OBNOXIOUS.

Lately I have had several run-ins with some completely obnoxious bahavior - some from my children, some from OPC. And I have 0 (zero, as in NO) tolerance for OPC who are rude/obnoxious/intrusive/dirty/smelly or have bad table manners.

Let's talk about table manners, shall we ? I work my kids to death about their table manners, and their table manners STILL suck. But compared to OPC? They eat like the God Damned Queen of England. I just spent 20 minutes cleaning greasy, disgusting fingerprints off my glass door in the kitchen - OPC's fingerprints. I have seen kids do some of the most disgusting things imaginable (and I am including my own children in this, I promise you they are GROSS). And along with the actual feeding of themselves, the table conversation leaves a lot to be desired when you have a group of kids together. My solution ? The kids eat outside on the screen porch. Hey, it's Hawaii. And it's nice out there !

And then, there is just the general hospitality, enthusiasm and good old fashioned manners offered up by OPC. When people come to visit our house, for the most part you would think a God damned Circus had just pulled up out front. The kids are running and screaming and tumbling down the stairs to greet the arrivals. There is frequently someone standing on the couch shouting out the window as friends approach. It is the warmest, most enthusiastic welcome you could imagine, and the response of OPC is, well, tepid. To be fair - they might just be frightened. But many times, the disinterest continues with one child (sometimes mine, but rearely) preferring to watch a movie or play a video game, despite actively seeking out other children's company prior to the playdate. Children can be downright rude - and I m not talking about how they speak to adults - I am talking about how they interact with EACH OTHER. Unless we have mandatory enrollment in charm school, I have no idea how kids these days are going to be able to get along as adults, where announcing that someone's breath stinks or that they are boring, or annoying, or whatever is just not socially acceptable.

I do like SOME people's children. It is a small minority, mostly made up of the children of my closest friends. And even then, it is not always a love-fest. But I know the kids well enough (and my kids know the kids well enough) to just let the whole thing roll, or call for backup. And when faced with a complete breakdown in communication, or when my tolerance has dipped to frosty levels, I can just call it a day. My friends understand. And there are children who can (and have) gone o the bathroom in the middle of my livingroom, and I have not batted an eye, it didn't bother me one little bit. Whereas if that little punk from across the street even looks at me the wrong way I load my kids in the car to run an errand, just to GET AWAY from him.

I am known for my strategy of cut and run. Iam the mother who WILL call the whole thing off. Starting when Max was a toddler, we lived with 3 strikes. Strikes were whining, hitting, crying, throwing, grabbing, not sharing, or any other behavior I found unacceptable or hurtful to others. For instance, if we went to the park, and Max caused any sort of problem, that was one count - and those counts could add up fast. Sometimes we were only at the park for 10 minutes.

We used to frequent a playgroup at our local playground, and some days I would be working, and Sami would have to take Max to playgroup instead. I saw one of the other mommies one day shortly after playgroup and she laughed and told me that Sami had been at the playground, and Max had been acting like a nut job, and finally one of the mommies went over to Sami and said "This is usually when Max goes home." He was relieved to hear it, and left immediately. Because being out in public with a kid that is being bratty is NOT a lot of fun. So the 3 count rule was a win win win - good for us, because we didn't have to put up with infinite amounts of pleading and negotiating. Good for max because it set clear limits. Good for everyone else because they didn't have to deal with our kid when he was on the warpath.

And that, right there, is the most important part of my whole post. Yeah, I don't like OPC. But I get it. I understand that kids are tired or whiney, or excited, or overwhelmed. I get all of that. And I have the utmost respect for parents that can also see that in kids, understand that, and respect that. And react to it. If my kid or your kid is acting like an ass, let's not hang out and suffer through it - let's just try again another time, with more prozac (for me) alcohol (for you) and snacks (for the kids). 'Kay ?

Finding Peace

Today I am feeling aggravated - and it is 6:30 in the morning.

Not a great start.

It all comes from checking email for work. I shouldn't do that anymore.

Except, I have to. For now. But I am slowly unwinding from that obligation - because yes, it does feel like an obligation. I used to love my job. I loved my job when I worked in an office. When I had co-workers, and the buzz of energy, and a hot pot of coffee, and multiple phone lines and a copier and fax.

Now, everything feels more intrusive. It's all here, in my house. Nagging at me. What I have decided is, working from home sucks. I love GOING to work. And then LEAVING WORK. Working from home when Lucy was young was wonderful. It was a blessing. It allowed me to parent AND earn some money. But the fact is, I am happier - and thus more productive - AT WORK. And I am happier at home without work intruding on my family time. This point was driven home during our family vacation over Thanksgiving. I had one client that was planning a very complicated itinerary. (Just thinking about it right now makes my stomach hurt.) And I emailed and called about this itinerary EVERY DAY OF MY VACATION. It was awful. It was intrusive. But I was obsessed, and didn't want to stop until I got it right.....In the end, the client decided that my price wasn't good enough, and my service was lacking, and they went to a different agency after the holidays. So I lost the booking anyway, despite all of the time and effort and intrusion. Bah. And then this morning, an email from one of the companies that I was working with on that booking, to tell me that all of my work was being transferred to the new agency. Thus, I am feeling aggravated. I do have one small bright spot in all of this - the destination they are headed to (with their kids) is in the news, both for malaria and for burning people at the stake. Have fun !

So. First resolution of 2009 (and I thought I wasn't going to make any !) Check work email ONCE per day. In the morning. New inquiries will be responded to ONCE a day. I will set aside one hour to deal with work-related issues. If they want to call my cell, that is fine - but email is ONCE per day.

Personal email can continue to be checked obsessively.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

An embarrassment of riches

I am writing this because we, as a family, have a similar experience every January, and I need some help figuring out an alternative.

Between Max's birthday and Christmas, he receives an insane amount of stuff in December. So much that it cannot be appreciated or enjoyed.

We honestly have stopped buying Christmas presents for the kids, because it has gotten so out of control. This year, I had bought a few things over the past few months, and we put half of them back in the attic to be given at another time, or to friends.

Max received about $500 worth of LEGOS this year, which was wonderful, but really too much for him to handle. We have Legos everywhere. They are under every piece of furniture, scattered in the backseat of the car, and probably in the yard (though I have specifically asked him - over and over again - not to take them out of his room.) He has lost pieces, and I just discovered has given some away, or "traded" - though he can't remember what he got in return. In addition - these new Lego sets are just that - sets. They are basically teaching kids to build models - and once the model has been built, well, the fun appears to be over. No more building nameless, brandless castles in red and blue and green and yellow - now everything has a specific place it belongs, and frequently the design cannot really be diverted from. The creativity is definitely limited....Which I didn't realize, really, until I saw all of these TINY pieces, many of them CLEAR !!!!!

And the Transformer obsession of last year ? Over. I am going to be devastated if next year he has decided he is "over" Legos, considering everyone's generosity.

So, I need advice. I am trying to rein Max and Lucy in, teach them about want v.s. need, and I hate to be a scrooge. But I really cannot handle the influx of "stuff" every December. Their rooms are full to overflowing. Their clothes don't fit in their dressers. They are VERY lucky kids, and I would love some ideas to help them to be more aware of this, and perhaps ways that they could share what they have. It's not that I don't want them to have Christmas presents - because I really REALLY do. And I want them to get gifts they love and are excited about. But Lucy, for example, got ONE Barbie Doll. Perfect. Max got 6 different Lego sets. Argh.

I know I don't get too many comments here (and I am not sure if it is my settings, or just that I don't inspire them !) but if you would be so inclined as to share any words of wisdom, I would really appreciate it.

A hard call

I am supposed to be going out to dinner tonight with friends, to celebrate a girlfriend's birthday. It's not going to work out for tonight - I have already phoned my regrets to the birthday girl - and when I actually sat down and thought about it for a bit, I came to the conclusion that maybe it is for the best. We have these dinners 5 times a year - once for each birthday. The birthday girl tonight is a sweetheart, and I haven't seen her in ages. We talk on the phone from time to time, but we never seem to connect in person.

There were a few things about tonight that had me worried. The restaurant they chose for dinner is one that competes directly with the restaurant I work with. Times are tough, and every table counts these days. They are just around the corner from each other, and I felt guilty for going to this other restaurant. But I don't feel comfortable explaining my discomfort. I would almost rather just NOT GO and avoid the whole thing. And I certainly don't want to ask to relocate the dinner just because of where I work, or MY preferences..... Maybe they didn't suggest my workplace on purpose, so that I wouldn't have to hang out at work on my off night. But again, I wouldn't bring it up, because I don't feel comfortable making suggestions with this group anymore.....I feel that I should be grateful that they continue to include me in these dinnners.....

And the issue of money does enter the equation. I began 2009 choosing a cash-only lifestyle. And I do not have any cash right now. I used to think nothing of throwing down my platinum AMEX for these dinners - but not anymore. These dinners are to celebrate a birthday, so I definitely need to have extra cash on hand, to chip in for the birthday girl's dinner.....something that I never used to think twice about, but now I have to consider very carefully. My income and expenses have changed considerably. And that is not something I feel really comfortable opening up about with these women - especially at a birthday dinner.....and maybe, you know, that's a sign for me that I shouldn't ignore. If I *don't* feel comfortable being honest, then maybe I *shouldn't* be hanging out with them. They deserve better then that - these are awesome people, and great friends.....

And with that I begin to touch on how much our relationships have changed. Things have changed a lot since this group of ladies started going out on a regular basis 3 or 4 years ago. I feel like a 5th wheel. A stranger in their midst. I don't have much contact with them other then these every-few-months girls nights out....and I don't feel like I am their really good friend anymore. Of course, I don't know how much time they are spending together other then these dinners - maybe we ALL only see each other once every few months ? I honestly have no idea.

When taken all together, the prospect of tonight made me nervous. Uncertain. Not just a fun night out with the girls - it's loaded with all sorts of worry, concern, stress.......which is SO not what this is supposed to be about ! It's supposed to be FUN ! Birthday celebration ! Girl's Night OUT ! Woo FUCKING HOOOOO.

And for me, right now, well....not so much. And if I said anything, I would feel like a spoilsport. A pouter. A "take my toys and go home" kind of girl - which I am definitely NOT.

This is just the sort of thing that I will worry myself sick about...... and it seems so ridiculous. Stressed over going out to dinner ? Afraid of offending friends by sharing my fears and concerns ? God, I'm a schmuck. It's all moot anyway - I'm not going, so the problem is solved, essentially.

Monday, January 5, 2009

When the hell is this vacation going to be over


The State of Hawaii adopted a year-round school schedule.....which would be SWEET except it's a total pain in the ass to have the kids home for such long periods of time, several times during the year.

Max doesn't go back to school until sometime next week (Tuesday, I think) and I just don't know if I can take it. And then the following week, I think he has another day off for MLK day or something.....and then a few weeks after that MORE time off for something else......the whole thing is a hassle and I am annoyed. I like the concept of the year-round calendar, but the reality is tough to live with.

Moving on...... I am signing Lucy up for nursery school this week.
It's time.
I am kind of freaking out, because it is a lot of money.....but she is ready (more then ready) and I think she will really enjoy it, so......yep. School. I just have to come up with the money for the deposit. HAH !

IN other news.......Sami built a fence this weekend, for the dog that he didn't really want, but secretly takes pictures of at any opportunity. He finished everything but the gate - it is currently closed with a piece of plywood. Last night, the plywood blew down, the dog got out, and RAN RIGHT TO OUR BACK DOOR AND SAT THERE.

I love him.

When we didn't go get him (it's a long story, but we didn't go right out there - let's just say we had some ghosts and we were trying to get Lucy to go back to sleep in her own room) he took one of my slippers from the doormat, and went back into the fenced yard (stepping over the fallen plywood) and resumed his post under the house, eating my slipper.

I hate him.

But the fact is, he is awesome, and he loves car rides, and I think that when my baby goes off to school next week, he is going to keep me company. He'll be my sidekick (I just typed "sidelick" and almost left it like that on purpose. Freudian.)

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I think I may have mentioned this before, but I am, um, loud.

And, sometimes I am rushed, and do not take the time to be as nice as I could be. SHOULD BE.

I try. Oh, how I try. I am all too aware of my shortcomings, and they eat away at me in a constant inner dialogue that is far too annoying to relay here.....suffice to say - I will always go there. Assume it was my fault. That I was in the wrong. That I hurt someone or offended them, or infuriated them.......and of course, that is accompanied by the guilt, and the inner dialogue which kicks into high gear at a higher volume, and makes me, well, a teensy bit crazy.

Today, I got really aggravated at work. There was a communication problem, perhaps a language barrier, or maybe I was just being an impatient, short tempered bitch. God knows stranger things have happened.

And today, when I was frustrated, and I tried to explain why I was frustrated, I was unsuccessful. I don't know why. It was as a result of a mistake made by someone else, and perhaps by the end of the discussion, I was no longer trying to be diplomatic - or friendly. I ended up being quite, well, loud.

And here's the thing. I am aware. I try. I apologize. I make amends. I try to change. I OWN MY ISSUES. But when it's just plain NOT my issue......well, fuck 'em.

So, today, when I was frustrated, I ended up having to apologize - and I wasn't even sure for what. And that really pissed me off. More then the *thing* that had frustrated me to begin with. Because dammit - I didn't do anything to apologize for. Being loud is not a crime. Frankly I was loud only because the person I was speaking to was louder. And the person who was really the root of the problem doesn't like loud. Doesn't like swearing either. But usually, is fairly good at communicating, or asking questions, or clarifying. Not this time.

Luckily, in this case, it was a very minor issue - just an order that was screwed up at the cafe. But It was screwed up three times over, and by the third time, the customer was aggravated, and I was aggravated on their behalf - and my own. In a job that is a fast paced as the restaurant business, there is not a lot of time to walk back and forth to the kitchen because of forgotten items. If I have forgotten the items, then it's my problem, and I deal with it. If it is someone else's mistake, I accept that shit happens, and wait for them to fix it, while appeasing the customer.......But if there is a mistake, and I point it out, then I damn well expect a quick fix - just as fast as I would be expected to respond if I had made the mistake myself. (And for the record, I have been known to RUN when necessary.) And if something is missing because we are OUT of it, and I was never told, well then, you had best have a few options for me to present the customer.

Stony silence is not one of the options.

I have the next several days off - or maybe forever.......but whatever the outcome, I would just like to reiterate.....a lesson that can be applied to so many of our life experiences......

If you fuck up, own it. Just own it. It's yours. Fix it, or apologize, or compromise - but make it better.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Next stop, Crazytown

Today, Max was looking at his quarters. He has the complete set from each state, I think. And he just LOVES to look at them. And count them. And talk about them endlessly. Oh, he loves money. He loves to get it, he loves to spend it, he loves to think about things to buy, and how much money he needs to squirrel away to buy the things he wants......

So today, he was looking at his quarters. He was particularly taken with the Vermont quarter.
"Look Dad, it's the Vermont quarter ! You were born in Vermont !"

"No, I wasn't. I was born in Massachusetts."

"Oh. MOM was born in Vermont."

"No, man, mom was born in Connecticut."

"Oh. Was LUCY born in Vermont ?"

"Dude. Are you serious ? Lucy was born HERE. On Maui. Don't you REMEMBER ?"

"Oh. Right."

"Hey, Max. Where were YOU born ?"

And that is when Lucy had had JUST ABOUT ENOUGH. From the TV room her sweet little voice echoed down the hall:


Girlfriend, you have NO IDEA.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

And she's back.......and she's gone again......

Sorry, bear with me. It's nuts right now. (Derfina, I said "nuts").

I am resurfacing briefly, but I have two more days of head down, ass dragging work ahead of me. And I am totally dealing with an internal struggle, I just wrote a column about how hard it is to live with tourists in your space all the time - and I am a god damned travel agent. My JOB is to make people tourists. A bit of a conundrum, let me tell you.

So with the outer struggle (work at the cafe) and the inner struggle (um, my entire life right now) I am really FEELING it - all torn and confused and bewildered and conflicted.

And the real blood and guts of it is something I touched on recently. I have too many jobs. I am totally torn between different (and conflicting) roles. Thus my feeing of inner conflict mentioned above. It's not just about mental anguish - I am physically beat. I have spent most of my adult life trying to rein in my commitments to work, to friends, to family (and you notice the order those appear in, it's not accidental). With the marriage to my adoring husband (who enables me to live my freakishly accelerated life) and the arrival of my two kids, and now the dog, I have been slowly trying to get a grip. And failing miserably.

So my big challenge in 2009 is to pare down. Minimize.
I am going to work at the cafe.
I am going to write my column.
I am going to work as an independent travel agent.
I am going to freelance.
I am going to develop the business I started a year ago, that has basically been on hold for 10 months.

Oh. Wait. See, dammit. Too much stuff. SHIT this is hard ! I think part of it is fear that I am gong to miss something. An opportunity or experience that is unknown right now, but will become clear later. And part of it (most of it ?) is my completely ADD personality. I am either running around like a crazy person, or asleep because I am so completely fatigued (like, bone deep exhaustion) that I HAVE to stop and rest. And neither of those options is good for me, my kids, or my marriage. The dog can roll with it, he's a terrier for christsakes.... Come to think of it, he and I have a lot of similarities in our personality.


moneymoneymoneyMOH-NEY (moh-ney)

New Years Day
A Full Bar
World Famous Loco Mocos and Pancakes

It's gonna be a busy day at the Moana. And me, I'm working All Day Long, bay-bee.

Gotta run, but feel free to continue singing along with me !