Sunday, 28 November 2010
This is an entry for Featured Grownups. If you'd like to participate, visit here.
There is so much negativity in the news these days. There is heartbreak and suffering around the world. But we hardly ever hear about the good. This week's topic is meant to highlight the good. What are you thankful for in your life right now? What is going well for you? What do you appreciate and enjoy about your life?
I have been on hiatus from Xanga for quite some time now because real life has been keeping me pretty busy, and the future doesn't promise to be any less busy. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.
For the past couple years, my husband and I have been trying to start a family. Because of my "advanced age", we had to seek the help of a reproductive endocrinologist. It has been a year of ups and downs, but in the end, boy did she help! We are now expecting triplets! I am coming up on nine weeks now and am already on bedrest due to a subchorionic hematoma, aka blood clot. I have gone two weeks now without any bleeding, so it appears the bedrest, while torturous, is working. We have not made the big announcement yet to anyone but family and those who need to know, but I figure this is a safe place to share our news.
So, back to the topic ... I am thankful for so much this year.
- no more bleeding
- a patient, helpful husband
- my family for spoiling me
- an amazing doctor
- ultrasound technology that allows me to see little heartbeats each week
- a great longterm substitute
- bigger boobs
- and finally ... saltines, my new best friend
While I'm lounging around these next couple weeks, I will hopefully get back here again. I have to say that A LOT of my time is consumed trying to wrap my head around the idea of going from a family of two and a cat to a family of five and a cat. Maybe writing can help me process. Or, perhaps I could write about something completely unrelated, say washer/dryer maintenance, to distract myself. We shall see.
Quote of the Day:
My mom used to say it doesn't matter how many kids you have... because one kid'll take up 100% of your time so more kids can't possibly take up more than 100% of your time. ~Karen Brown
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Sunday, 21 February 2010
Tuesday, 19 January 2010
A Featured-Grownups writing prompt ... Are you a "country mouse," or a "city mouse?"
This is an entry I wrote a few months ago. I feel like it kind of fits the bill here, so yes, I'm recycling. Hey ... I'm being green!
Some days ... well, more like most days ... I really wish I lived anywhere but here. I know that hordes of people move to Los Angeles everyday like it is some sort of mecca, but honestly, I've never been an L.A. type of gal.
Sure, there are some things that I love about the City of Angels. For example:
- The weather is normally mild all year, except for a few excruciatingly hot weeks in summer.
- From where I live, I could be in the mountains, at the beach, or in the desert in about 30 minutes.
- We have all manner of authentic ethnic cuisine.
- I love the diversity of the population here.
- There is no shortage of things to do and see, not that we ever do or see any of them.
- People here are Grouchy ... yes, with a capital G.
- The traffic is horrendous enough to turn even the calmest, kindest individual into a raving lunatic. I know we're infamous for our freeway shootings, but if you drove our freeways, you would want to shoot someone too.
- Everything is EXPENSIVE! Case in point, we live in a modest but hugely expensive home, a home we could get for a song almost anywhere else in the nation.
- Lack of seasons.
- The only communication our neighbors seem interested in has to do with working out the details of building a fence between our two properties so we don't have to see each other.
- The road to happiness here cuts directly through the plastic surgeon's office. More silicone than you can shake a stick at and a mentality to match.
I think every town has its "thing". When I lived in San Diego, everyone was about health and fitness. People wore workout gear, not makeup. In Boston, what mattered most was one's intellect or, in some circles, breeding. As long as you didn't don the dreaded white after Labor Day, nobody cared what you were wearing. In Taiwan, all anyone cared about was money and the status it could bring. Los Angeles is all about facades. What's on the outside is what matters most. That is just so antithetical to who I am and what I believe that it's no wonder I feel like a fish out of water here.
I dream of one day moving to a place where I live in a cottage surrounded by a garden that I cultivate while wearing a long frizzy braid, sweats, a t-shirt, a goofy sunhat, no makeup, and maybe even socks with sandals. As I pull out weeds, I turn to wave at my neighbor, Norman, who is wearing a sweatshirt tucked into plaid golf shorts, those clip-on shades, a fanny pack, and black socks with athletic shoes. Norman then invites us to have dinner and play bridge with him and his wife that evening. They have also invited Juan and Steve, the couple from across the street, who have promised to bring carne asada for the barbecue. I gladly accept and say that I'll bring one of the pies I baked that morning with berries from our garden. Nobody thinks we're crazy or eccentric because our clothes don't match and we don't look like we just walked off the set of Melrose Place. Does such a place exist? If so, when can I move in?
As it stands, around here I feel like I have to do my hair to go get the mail from the mailbox. I change out of the shorts I wear around the house and into longer pants to go to the grocery store because my glaring white legs might terrify someone accustomed to the usual L.A. "healthy" glow. Sometimes I feel like I am forever trapped in high school. "Omg, do you like my hair like this? Do these pants make me look fat? Is my makeup cute enough?" For pity sakes, I graduated from high school twenty years ago, and I feel too old for this s#$^.
Sigh ... but (and this is a big but ... ha, big butt!), my family is here, and to me, my family is home. So for now, I try to be as cute as I can be without completely losing sight of the fact that cuteness is not what matters most. Integrity, no matter how it is packaged or how greatly it is undervalued, is still my measuring stick. And, there is always the backyard, newly fenced, where I am free to be as frumpy, flabby, and pasty as I want, where if I stand close enough to the eucalyptus, I almost can't smell the smog.
Quote of the day:
Beauty isn't worth thinking about; what's important is your mind. You don't want a fifty-dollar haircut on a fifty-cent head. ~Garrison Keillor
If I had been around when Rubens was painting, I would have been revered as a fabulous model. Kate Moss? Well, she would have been the paintbrush. ~Dawn French
Would that there were an award for people who come to understand the concept of enough. Good enough. Successful enough. Thin enough. Rich enough. Socially responsible enough. When you have self-respect, you have enough. ~Gail Sheehy
Monday, 19 October 2009
Saturday, 03 October 2009
Featured Grownups topic:
Things have been rough all over lately. The economic downturn is a global event, which has affected all of us to some degree. This month's topic is about the struggling economy, and how it relates to you and your life.
How has the economic downturn affected you personally? What changes have you made in your life to save money, pinch pennies, stretch your dollars? What thrifty tips can you share (places to shop, coupons to use, places to eat, etc.)?
I've always considered myself to be pretty thrifty ... not reuse-the-saran-wrap thrifty, but definitely not a wastrel. While this economic downturn hasn't impacted our bank accounts too severely, in preparation for one day adding members to our family, we have been making efforts to cut costs.
For example, I have decided that going to the library is the new shopping. Like the shopping mall, the library is air-conditioned and a great place for people watching, but I can spend all the time I like browsing the shelves without somebody who's working on commission hounding me. When I've made my selections, I get to line up and check out, just like shopping. Heck, there's even a little plastic card involved. But, the best part is that everything is free. You can't beat free!
We have limited ourselves to eating away from home only once a week ... and even then only at a place for which we have a coupon. The Entertainment Book is a great resource and well-worth the cost of the book if you like to eat out. While I'm still no Julia Child, I would say that my cooking has improved over these past few months. I have been making homemade soups and freezing them (yay for the slowcooker!), and I have learned how to stretch one $4.99 Costco rotisserie chicken into three meals for two with leftovers for lunches.
When it comes to groceries, I don't buy anything unless it's on sale, and I am a huge believer in coupons. I clip coupons and then scour the store ads for deals. We stockpile when there are great deals, and it's not unusual for us to get many items for free. We average a 45 - 50% savings on groceries each week. Yes, I am the annoying coupon lady in line in front of you in the grocery store, but I can't tell you how gratifying it is to get that receipt and see how much money I've saved.
We still go on short vacations, but our rooms are generally free because of the rewards we earn by charging everything we can to our credit cards. We then pay the balance in full each month. We NEVER carry a balance, and we don't spend beyond our means. We are the people the credit card companies hate.
We have also cut back our satellite to the most basic plan and are considering doing away with it altogether. Since starting this frugal kick, we have been spending much more time at home, but very little of it has been in front of the TV. Instead, we have been working in our yard, going for walks, and staycationing. We have made so many wonderful, quirky discoveries in our own backyard.
All in all, while we have not been directly impacted by the economic downturn, we have benefited by being open to its lessons. We have made valuable changes that are truly enriching our lives.
Quotes of the Day:
It's good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it's good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven't lost the things that money can't buy. ~George Horace Lorimer
Budget: a mathematical confirmation of your suspicions. ~A.A. Latimer
Return to Featured Grownups
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
Have you ever wanted to drive away from your life? Just get in the car with your suitcase and go? Or, heck, even without your suitcase ...
98% of the fibers of my being want that right now, but darn it, those last few fibers are so incredibly stubborn. You see, my middle name is, and always has been, Responsible. "Kelly, you have a job, twenty little people expecting you to be there in the morning, a mortgage, a family that counts on you to be the "normal" one, and, of course, a kitten. Up until now, even your nervous breakdowns have been thoughtfully timed so as not to conflict with your responsibilities. What are you thinking? I guess you could drive off for a night, but first you would have to book a room, call for a sub, and write and deliver substitute plans."
If changing my middle name to Happy-Go-Lucky requires such planning, that sort of defies logic, doesn't it? Planning is responsible ... it's my M.O. I don't throw caution to the wind; I might gently place it in a slightly breezy place, but that's about it.
Now entering TMI territory ... today is ovulation day, and my dear Toshi conveniently chose this day to point out that I am apparently a bitch (that's my translation, not his word). So, there goes another month ... following many months of half-assed attempts to conceive. And thanks to 20th reunion news, my biological clock is going haywire. Why is it that everyone in my high school class, first love included, seems to have two kids?
And now this month's chance is gone because I didn't express excitement over someday maybe owning a horse property even though we don't have plans for a horse and we can barely keep up with the regular-sized yard we have now. Honestly, that kind of seemed to come out of left field. All I said was, "Why are you interested in having a horse property?", but somehow what he heard was, "How lame are you? All of your ideas suck. You must be some kind of idiot." Apparently I need to take a class in conversational Martian.
But, for now, please excuse me while I haul my responsible self off to bed ... wouldn't want to be too sleepy to properly fulfill my duties tomorrow.
Thursday, 24 September 2009
Tuesday, 01 September 2009
Because I'm not having enough trouble keeping one blog current, I have decided to start a second blog to double the fun. Chronicling a year in my classroom is something I have been wanting to do for a few years, and since there's no time like the present, I give you"the true story of 20 students and one teacher picked to live in a classroom for 180 days, learn together, grow together, and have their school year recorded in this blog. Watch what happens when people stop being polite ... and start being 8-year-olds."You are cordially invited to join me
on a journey of 180 Days. <--- Click here!
Hope to see you there!
Monday, 24 August 2009
You might find this shocking coming from a teacher, but summer is not my favorite time of year. You see, summer and I have a rocky past. The first few days of summer freedom are always glorious, but gradually, I wake up later, wear my pajamas longer, accomplish less, and start to feel generally crummy. It happens slowly ... so that, like a mammoth in a tar pit, I almost don't notice it until it's too late and the depression swallows me whole.
In the first few years of my teaching career I had my credential classes to keep me occupied ... and dressed. After that, I usually managed to scrounge up some kind of summer work. Then one summer there wasn't work, and I was beyond ecstatic to have two and a half months of unadulterated freedom stretching out before me. I couldn't wait to just kick back, relax, and spend a little quality time with Maury. But by about three weeks in, I was a weepy, pajama-clad bundle of nerves, and even worse, I was afraid to leave the house. I spent hours playing solitaire and riding my stationary bike just to stave off the anxiety and avoid jumping out of my skin. That summer, I thought that I discovered something about myself ... that in order to maintain sanity, I needed to always have a schedule and a purpose, a life regimented by bells and deadlines. Thus began the annual summer project.
If there wasn't school and there wasn't work, I had to make my own work. I needed to take a class, acquire a new skill, learn a language, anything but be alone with my head. As long as I had a goal, a purpose, or an external focus, I would be fine. Long spans of free time became the enemy, and summers passed merrily along as I redecorated rooms, made a stab at learning Japanese, learned how to create mosaics, and wrote curriculum.
And last summer was great; I had no shortage of projects. We sold our condo, bought a house, and got married. It was a veritable whirlwind of activity, and I had projects coming out my ears. Fantastic ... and I felt saner than ever!
This summer, however, there was no work available because of budget cuts, and I already had a house and husband. The only projects available involved manual labor in extreme heat, a combination of two of my least favorite things. As I packed up my classroom and turned in my key in June, I felt the familiar surge of panic. And then it came to me ... my project for the summer would be to learn to actually relax and be with myself without a bell schedule and without going crazy.
So, here I am two days from the start of a new school year. I still haven't learned Japanese, I didn't create any mosaic masterpieces, the exercise plan never came to fruition, and the house is still unpainted. I accomplished absolutely nothing tangible, but get this, for a WHOLE month, with the exception of taking a shower and getting dressed immediately after rising each morning, I did nothing but what I felt like doing. I read books for fun, took evening walks, played with the kitty, resurrected my blog, sat in the backyard enjoying the scent of jasmine and the chirping of crickets, cooked dinner for my husband, and generally putzed around the house. I became well-acquainted with stillness; in fact, one could even say we're chummy. I learned to quiet the committee in my head that insists every minute be productive, the same committee that likes to remind me that I'm always one tiny step away from losing my mind. I can't say I retired them, but I at least got them to step out of the room for a coffee break.
So, on the first day back at work when it comes my turn to share what I did on my summer vacation, my answer might come out sounding like "Nothing!" but to me it means everything.
Quote of the Day:
See, the human mind is kind of like... a piñata. When it breaks open, there's a lot of surprises inside. Once you get the piñata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience. ~Jane Wagner
There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub. Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose, there are no mistakes, no coincidences, all events are blessings given to us to learn from. ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Welcome! I am a third grade teacher with a passion for kids, books, movies, and all things Chinese. Lately, I've been dealing with recurrent moments of wishing I lived anywhere but here, here being L.A. So, since I can't move somewhere else in the physical sense, I am hoping to satisfy my wanderlust by leaving my Xanga site of eight years behind in search of something new.