Friday, December 31, 2010

And So Ends Another Year

I've said it before, but a full year later it bears repeating - January 1st is a lousy time to start a new year.

It's cold, it's grey, the holidays tap our wallets and our energy, and it's another reminder of all the things we didn't accomplish in the year past. Ugh! It's damned depressing. Who can be motivated for anything quite so profound as new year when all you really want to do is sleep until the Spring thaw.

With that said, I'm going to attempt to muster enough energy to write down some tried and true (tried because I try them every year; true because I truly don't know why I bother) resolutions. And one cannot speak of the new without recounting the old so why not a quick recap of the past year just for fun. OK. Here goes. The goals were to:

Exercise More/Eat Less - I must have read that wrong as soon as I wrote it down because it seems I did the complete opposite. I have gained weight that I couldn't afford to gain especially in light of my mid-year bloodwork and I have since taken to driving my daughter to school on days I deem too cold even though we live across the street from the building. It's safe to say that that resolution does not have a checkmark next to it. Back on the list it goes.

Save More/Spend Less - This I have accomplished. Check. While I wasn't able to squirrel away enough to buy a beach house (my imaginary goal) I do have a growing slush fund and my spending it completely under control (trip to Costco today aside). Truth be told, spending has become far less appealing to me; that's counter-intuitive to the Jersey girl consumer I was breed to be and some of my friends and family have yet to come over to my way of thinking, but saving is additive if you have a clear goal in mind... I really want a beach house.

Have More Patience/Be Less Reactionary - Surprising enough, this one gets a checkmark too. In fact, just last week, the principal at my daughter's school offered me a fulltime position as a paraeducator working with children with special needs one on one. When she offered it to me I said that I didn't think I had the skill set needed since I didn't study education in college. She said all I needed was patience to which I replied, "then I know I'm not qualified". She laughed and said I had more than I thought. She's taken note of how I am with the kids and how they are with me and she's impressed. I start my new job on Monday and boy am I going to need some of that new found patience.

OK. Two out of three. Not bad. In hindsight, I accomplished more than I thought.

But the big one still eludes me. At the end of 2009, looking ahead to 2010, all I saw were big milestones and family events each with photo ops and I was cringing for having let myself go. Apparently, not enough so to do something about it, but certainly enough to complain as usual. All those occasions came and went and there are countless photos to prove it. And while I didn't like the way I looked in 90% (that's probably a low estimate) of them, I was present, in the moment, enjoying the blessing of each celebration. I looked like Hell but it didn't bother me as much as I thought it would. I think that's called growth.

Now, sitting at the end of 2010, looking ahead to 2011, there is much to consider and reassess. I have a new job that will give me less "me" time and will no doubt be frustrating on most days, but could also prove very rewarding. I started a little online shop a couple months ago that highlights everything I feel strongly about - classic children's clothes, recycling and repurposing, and children's charities - that I hope turns a profit soon (heck, I'd be happy with selling something). And I've recently reconnected with an amazing group of old friends that are excelling in their fields and it's lit a fire under me to get back to what I've always loved, writing.

Remember that? That was the reason for this blog.

"In the back of my mind, I guess I've always wanted to be a writer - poems, short stories, screenplays, novels, children's picture books; you name it, I started it. And therein lies the problem. I'm all good starts that go nowhere.

Will blogging solve this problem? In theory, yes, because there is no real end to the daily musings of life, now is there? Everyday presents us with something new, if only the opportunity to see the old in a new way.

Today is my first day entering the blogosphere. Where will the journey take me? Who's to say, but at the very least, I hope that it makes me a better writer so that I can finally finish one of the aforementioned projects."

Not for money. Not for glory. Just for me. (OK, the money and glory would be a nice perk but if they don't come with the package I'll be happy just the same.)

There is something exhilarating in starting a project that will give you a sense of satisfaction as well as an opportunity for self expression. And the possibility for fame and fortune is nice too ;-) Skip the accolades - I'll take a Beach House!!

Damn, how could I forgot about wearing a bathing suit at the beach house?

Looks like I'm back to Resolution #1.

Happy New Year My Blogosphere Family of Friends! May the year ahead bring you less trials and more triumphs. And may everyday bring you closer to your dreams.
All My Best Always,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Vacationing Without Baggage

I'm feeling out of sorts. I'm feeling unsettled. I'm off my game. Blah, blah, blah. Jesus Christ, even I'm sick of me always bitching about the same sh!t.

Who's pissing me off? Who's putting me down? Who's making me defend my kid, my life, myself? More of the same. I'm a broken record. It used to be fun. A bit entertaining. Now it's a bore. Who cares? is more like it.

I'm fat. I'm short. I thought I was going to amount to more. I'm tired. I'm busy. I can't stand being in the company of most people for more than an hour. I have no answers, no solutions. Only whining and complaining.

I just want to be left alone. By myself included... Wait! Can that be done?

Time away from me. Hmm... let's think about that for a moment. A vacation from myself. Who would I be? The vacationing me or the one left at home? The one on vacation of course. The one without baggage. This just might work. But how?

Just the thought of lying alone on a sandy beach without a single care in the world is bringing my blood pressure down. Deep breathe. Lovely.

But I see out of the corner of my eye... to-do lists and ungrateful relatives and comments about my eating habits and slow moving traffic and burnt out light bulbs and missing gloves and superior attitudes from obnoxious people and... I'm back!

Well, it was nice while it lasted. Just like real vacations. Always too short.

OK. I've got some changes to ponder. I'll get back to you once I figure out how to vent without complaining... Wait! Can that be done?

Here we go again.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Cousin

I received a phone call early this morning.

My 44 year old cousin (and father of five) had passed away. An autopsy is scheduled for today. It seems there may have been complications with mixing medications and he died of kidney failure.

It's just two weeks until Christmas.

I'm not processing this well. Since I received the phone call, I've been shocked, sad, mad, and scared. The latest of which has me coming to my blog. If a man just one year older, with a family the youngest of which is not three, can just die, then so can I. He was overweight. I'm overweight. He had weight related health issues. So could I. So may I. So do I.

As a result of this information stuck in my brain, I have not eaten today. I am scared to eat. Is that weird? I think it is.

I'm not handling this well. I'm really thrown. And I'm scared.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

No One Gives My Kid A "Dressing Down"

My daughter takes ballet. She's been taking ballet at the same studio since our Mommy & Me days when she was just 2 1/2. Now at nearly 9, she loves it. Not enough to want to be a ballerina when she grows up, but enough to want to keep taking it for another year.

This year started with her being placed with the one instructor at the studio that I do not like. One, she has no formal training; she is a longtime student who stayed past the time that you can receive instruction so instead, the director of the studio hired her to teach. Two, she has an 18 month old boy that she is allowed to bring with her to work and whom is babysat by anyone who happens to be waiting for their child's class to be through. (I have successfully avoided the situation by always leaving for a coffee or burying my face in an old issue of People). Three, she is snotty to my daughter.

It began the first day of class. My daughter came bounding out of the room and when I asked "How'd you do?" "I did great. I loved it." Ms. K was quick to correct her. "Well, I don't think this is the class for her. She not quite at this level." Now, while I had to agree with her that she had been misplaced into a class with students at a more advanced level, I was appaled that after she heard the excitement in my daughter's voice that she would shoot her down to me, right in front of her. When we got in the car, she said, "Well, I tried my best." Not quite deflated, because that's not how she is, but not nearly as elated as she was earlier.

We started the new class which did turn out being better because there were girls she knew in the class. But two other mothers and myself quickly discovered that our monthly tuition was paying for "skipping and flitting" lessons and not ballet. There was no instruction taking place. They were learning routines which has little if any actual ballet technique in them. At this point in a young dancers life, with pointe only two years away, learning the proper technique as well as the French words for each should be mandatory. One mother spoke up for the group to the director and now the class begins with 10 minutes of barre work right off. And the class which had been starting anytime after she had played with her son, now starts at exactly 4pm.

Then came Halloween. They had prepared a dance for the parents. We were going to be a little late because my daughter had a dentist appointment. They were told to wear their costumes. My daughter wanted to be Darth Vader which everyone thought was very cool. That was except for Ms. K who said "Oh, um, Darth Vader. You're late." "Yes, my mom told Ms. A (director) I had a dentist appointment." "A-ha." And that was it, she didn't say "OK girls make some room at the barre." She let my daughter stand there in the middle of the room after mocking her (her tone was so snotty) for being late and coming dressed as Darth Vader (instead of a traditional 'girl' costume). Well, it took mere moments for my daughter to come back out of the class room and ask to put on her ballet uniform.

So here we are. The Christmas performance is this Sunday. They have prepared another dance for the parents. My daughter, in front of the entire class, was asked if she has a lavender skirt to wear to the recital. "This is a lavender skirt. It's just that it's reversible so it's not as dark as the others." "Well, can you get another one." "I don't know. But if I can't, can I still wear this." "I guess, but it's not as good." This whole conversation was replayed for me in the car on the way home. My daughter was embarrassed and she should not have been made to feel that way, certainly not in front of the class (and certainly not from a "ballet teacher" wearing sweatpants). In fact, if Ms. K really wanted to address my daughter's dress code she should have come to me, but the fact of the matter is, she was looking for another opportunity to mock my kid. I really believe that.

Why? My daughter is polite and helpful and tries her hardest. Plus she loves it. Why would you act like the mean girl/head cheerleader dressing down the nerd? Why would a person, seemingly an adult, do that to a child? Once, OK. Now it's three times. And that's just the ones I know of.

And can you guess who her favorites in the class are. The class cut-ups, acting like monkeys, screaming and running through the halls, and graceless to boot.

Needless to say, I shot an email to the director of the studio as soon as we got home. It read:

Would you happen to have a spare lavender skirt that my daughter can borrow for Sunday's performance. Apparently the one she has is not sufficient. Having said that, Ms. K should consider coming to me with questions of this nature instead of discussing it with my 8 year old in front of the whole class.

I'm sorry to be so short with you in this email. I've had my concerns about this class but Mother 1 and Mother 2 have already spoken with you of our mutual concerns and many positive changes have been made. I'm just a bit upset that my child, one that works hard, is helpful and polite (whereas others in her class are not) was embarrassed in front of her peers.

She called me immediately. Assured me that she would discuss the matter with Ms. K and that she had a skirt my daughter could borrow. Problem remedied. But situation not resolved.

Check the national news for "Ballistic Ballet Mom Slams Snotty Instructor".

Sunday, December 5, 2010

No, I Haven't Died...

... I've just been busy. And I've neglected my blog and all my wonderful blogosphere friends. For that I apologize.

Everyday there is a list of things to do as long as my arm and I somehow only get my fingertips to my wrist - if I'm lucky. Then the things that were supposed to be done today get moved to tomorrow and so on, until the end of the week has a week's worth of "stuff" to accomplish. Ugh!

I've been trying to put all things Christmas (shopping, decorating, partying, and dare I say, enjoying) into a neat box but to no avail. This year is a bit different between work, school, activities, obligations, saving money, feeling the spirit... well, it can all become a bit much.

In the spirit of saving money, we have decided as a family to forgo the real tree this year. I couldn't see spending $50+ on a dead tree. Of course, I will miss it and this time next year I may demand it, but for now, we will decorate to holiday glory our artificial tree (and burn the pine scented candle I bought instead). Yes, I know, why would we buy a tree every year if we already have one... well the answer is quite simple. I have too many ornaments for just one tree and I like to have two.

Spoiled? Yes. Changing my ways? Trying.

While we're on the subject of money, I have purchased all my gifts (and not to brag, but I have a nose for retail so I never pay full price) and now begins to process of putting them altogether with flare. That flare is the money saving but all too time consuming, baking and crafting to make meager items into gift showpieces. Ones that ultimately earn the response, "Bonnie, you have outdone yourself this year." Yes, thank you, thank you, I'm a bit of a praise hog. But when I pour myself into a project, I think a deserve it.

Conceited? Yes. Changing my ways? I'll take it down a notch but that's all I'm promising.

As for being on task with my rigid calendar, the answer this year, unfortunately, is No. The Christmas cards were out on time - and I must really be ahead of the game because I haven't gotten a single card back. But the decorations are coming out of storage at a snails pace, the outside is still dressed likes it's Thanksgiving, and you'd think that now that we've decided to put up the artificial tree, we'd have no excuse for it not to be lit up with a hundreds of twinkling lights. It is my goal today to get it all out and up.

Determined? Yes, but I'm already feeling the need for caffeine. Changing my ways? I'm feeling old and my energy is lagging so, yes, I certainly need to change.

Without much thought, you can all guess what has gone to the wayside while I'm mired in holiday hoopla. You guessed right, my diet and exercise routine. My what? That would suggest I had a routine. Toast for breakfast, pasta leftovers for lunch, Chinese take-out for dinner, pots of coffee, and I've taken to buying and keeping in my bag, chocolate. What the Hell is that? I need carbs and sugar, well, like I need carbs and sugar. Last time I was at the doctor (a few weeks back when I had bronchitis) the nurse noted that my blood pressure was up. That was after my dentist appointment the day before where they have made a new practice of taking blood pressure and it was up there too.

Have I done anything? No. Have I done less than anything? Yes. I'm a mess!!

OK. My little one is up and ready to decorate. I've got to use her energy to get me going too. Much to do.

I will try not to ignore my blog and get back to posting at least once a week, if only to put to rest any fears that I may have died... I'm alive, just buried.