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Yellowstone and Environs

I thought about it and realized that I needed to post pictures here with my phone and then come back and annotate them. Easiest way I know to do this. They are not in any proper order, I'm just posting them.

We spent a night in Jackson, WY on our way from Salt Lake City and Yellowstone. The night before was the super rough one with Gray up in the night puking his guts up. Earlier he had enough energy to go down the Alpine Slide, but after that he didn't want to get out of the car. This was taken on our way to the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. We were driving to get to the highway and stopped when I saw this. That arch is made from shed elk antlers. What you can't see is that there's one on each corner of this park. Ut.

We took a ride down an Alpine Slide. It's something a ski resort carves into the hill side so that there's some way for them to make money during the winter. Runs right under the chair lift on the left. In the Winter it's completely covered in snow and you'd never know it was there. This is the first time I ever rode a chair lift. Fun! Gray wasn't feeling well but well enough for a ride.

Gray rode down the slide with me. So I only managed to snap a picture of Gwen as she went last.

You can tell they are so enthused to be at the Grand Tetons. I thought it was beautiful. They were "NO MOM! We don't want to have our picture taken!!" "Too bad, get out of the car"

I saw this as I was pulling out of that parking lot and thought it was hysterical.

On our way out of West Yellowstone, we found there is a Wolf and Grizzly refuge. This picture is not zoomed, the wolf came that close to the window. Beautiful!

A HUGE mushroom on a tree I spotted as we were leaving a rest stop somewhere in Montana.

The really, really, really cool Dragon on A Merry go round for Missoula.

As we left Missoula for Kalispell my van flipped 100000 miles. Woot

The trip thus far

I left home last Sunday with a fully packed van and four kids. And a dog. The dog got left with mom.

The ride to Reno was uneventful. We checked into Circus Circus with no problems. We were disappointed to find the buffet closed, so we ate at their in-house diner. The kids had hamburgers.

We got up early and started the drive to Salt Lake. I was warned by several people that there's not much to see between the two. I found them wrong. Gently rolling hills, little valleys, rivers, trains, livestock and gorgeous colors of vegetation! I was really impressed by the abrupt change in the landscape between Nevada and Utah. You knew immediately you were someplace different.

We spent two nights in Salt Lake visiting one of my friends. We went to This is the Place Heritage Park in the morning. The kids really enjoyed it. Its a living history park and the houses are either historic buildings moved to this area or are recreations. I liked how they showed both the homes of poor people and those who were better off. Ike was fascinated by the blacksmith. We also got to see the live version of "gotta piss like a horse" I've never seen that before and the kids were impressed. We spent the afternoon down in Temple Square. The history museum was interesting and the visitors center was fascinating. Then we walked around the temple. There are two sets of impressive doors that haven't been used in ages. If temple-goers want to go in, the entrance is a street away and you go underground. I shudder to think about how they would get everyone out case of fire. The other thing about the Temple that struck me is it's size. Or rather lack thereof. Now. It's tall. It's gloriously tall and impressive. However, the footprint is quite small. I think my Mom's parish church has a bigger footprint. I was expecting something like a Roman Catholic Cathedral size. It's not. I was told they spent 40 years building it. For some reason, I wasn't too impressed. They've been working on the Gaudi Cathedral for over 100 (131 so far with another estimated 13 to go (a couple of wars halted construction, go figure)). Gray decided that he was going to get sick that afternoon and spent the afternoon in my arms. Sleeping. He also decided to pop a pretty good fever that night. But he woke up the next morning bright and chipper.

We spent the 28th driving to Jackson, WY. I got to see wheat fields for the first time ever! Cool. I tried not to breathe too deeply. Pretty drive. I found a road allanh s husband Randy needs to drive. Not only did it have the joy of curves and ups and downs...you got to dodge livestock! It was an uneventful drive. Jackson is gorgeous! We definitely want to go back. We only spent this one night and there's so much to do! Gray decided to get really sick on this night and we were up from about 1:30-4:30 with him alternatively vomiting and extreme EBS. Poor thing. I left a huge tip for the housekeeping crew, he threw up all over the bed several times (after Ike woke us up at 6).

We got up and went to this alpine slide I read about. It was awesome!!! First time I've ever ridden a ski lift. Then we hit the road. Drove through the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone. Amazing thunder storm overhead as we entered Yellowstone park, and then we crested a hill, and the storm was gone. Blue skies and warm sunshine. Had to convince the children to stick around long enough to see Old Faithful. I had to bribe them with ice cream. Wow. Just wow. Drove out of the park to our next hotel. Gray was miserable by this point and needed to go to bed. Ended up seeing a bison just wandering down the road in the opposite lane before we got out of the park. Yes! Only wildlife we saw in the park. Got to the next hotel and put everyone to bed.

On the 30th we drove to Missoula, MT. There's all these little signs on the side of the road telling you interesting things to see. I stopped at one called the "Lake that Tilted". It kinda caught my attention. Serious earthquake in 1959 literally tilted the lake and created another billion gallons of storage area. It also dumped 80 million tons of rock on the north end and drowned a campground. The mountain damage is obvious and you drive ON TOP of the fallen rock. It was kinda eerie, but also fascinating. Got to the hotel in Missoula.

Everybody felt great the next day on the 31. Joe was flying in and we had time to kill. We had breakfast and then I started to feel awful. So did Ike. I finally got us out of the room and into the car and stopped at the Carousel for Missoula. There's a dragon for the kids to ride!!! Ike was sufficiently sick, he stayed in the car to sleep. The other three rode it twice. Then we hit the road for Kalispell and Joe. The drive was nice, but I was feeling too awful to really notice anything. I got to Joe an hour late. =( But we got to the next hotel and I went to bed while Joe took care of the 3 non sick kids.

This morning we got up and moving and checked out from the hotel with like 5 minutes to spare. We stopped at a local grocery store for food for a couple of days and made it to the house we are staying at. It's gorgeous. On a lake. The kids played. And passed out.

Flute/Recorder Case Level: Advanced

Say you have a child like mine, who picked up the knitting needles as if she were born with them in her hand. A level 1 or 2 case would neither hold her interest, nor challenge her in any way. This project will. I got the pattern from the Handwork Teacher at the Sacramento Waldorf School. All students make this case. It's gorgeous. It's a challenge. Have fun!!

Yarn used is Lamb's Pride by Brown Sheep in Worsted Weight. Names (if known) are given in () the idea is that you start with the purple on the bottom section and end up with red at the top.
CO 24 stitches. Each Section is 10 rows each

Section 1 (purple) garter stitch
Section 2 (periwinkle) reverse garter stitch
Section 3 (skyway) stockinette
Section 4 (2 greens) color work. 2 Rows color A, 2 Rows color B
Section 5 (lime, goldenrod) Checkerboard (stockinette/colorwork) 3 stitches yellow, 3 stitches green for 5 rows, then 3 stitches green 3 stitches yellow for final 5 rows
Section 6 (Goldenrod) 4 X 4 rib
Section 7 (Orange) Checkerboard stitch
Section 8 (red/pink) Fair Isle (create a SIMPLE Fair Isle pattern. Like a Cross or and X over 5 rows)
Section 9 (Red) eyelet stitch

Put right sides together and sew seam across bottom and side. Finger knit a cord, weave it through the eyelet stitch on top, tie off. You now have a completed patchwork Flute/Recorder Case

(Place holder post so I don't lose the pattern for Gwen. I'll post pictures when she's done. She's in the middle of Section 5 right now.)
 Self Assessment using the Waldorf Teacher Expectations


1.        Teacher’s use of art as meaning-making for the students

The only art I produced during this internship was some chalkboard drawings to support the stories the children heard. I drew Johnny Appleseed, John Henry, and Harriet Tubman. In the pictures I attempted to invoke a specific mood. I think I accomplished this, but it’s a task that I find difficult. There is great room for improvement in this, but I’ll keep on trying!


2.        The sense of aesthetics in the environment and in the carriage of the teacher


3.        Teacher’s diction and use of speech

I don’t shy away from utilizing complicated words in my speech. I could use some more practice in my descriptive language, it is something that has been trained out of me. I tend towards language that is short, succinct, and to the point. Descriptive language feels florid to me, and I’m still searching for that happy balance. If I’m paying attention to my speech, my diction is good…but it will get sloppy in my excitement. I also have a very “big” voice.  Sometimes it can be overpowering in its strength.  I know I forget how loud I can be, it is something I am consciously working on.

4.        The teachers memorization of verses, songs, activities

I need to work on this.  For as amazing as my memory for random minutiae can be, my memory is deplorable when trying to memorize verses! By the end of the four weeks I still hadn’t fully memorized the morning verse. Songs are easier for me, but I’ll still struggle with the longer songs, like all four verses of “America the Beautiful” or “What did Della Wear O?” That being said, I did memorize the song I taught and I learned that I have to learn it twice. Once as a whole piece, and a second time broken up for teaching. I got lost trying to teach the John Henry Song, but I had it cold when I sang it as a whole piece. That was a very disconcerting and embarrassing experience, which I shall strive to never repeat.


5.        Teacher-developed Main Lessons, individual student verses, art

I wrote a single dictation for this class.  I feel that it was at an appropriate level for this class. Writing something with an academic voice is easy for me. Asking me to write a poem? That would be much more difficult. My work in the drawing is developing. I am very new to drawing, I have to keep reminding myself that I am a beginner and that I am improving. I tried very hard to create good chalkboard drawings and did not hesitate to ask for help if I couldn’t figure out how to do what I pictured in my mind.


6.        The teacher’s use of inner work in relationship to his/her vocation

Yea, yea, inner work. What’s that? To be honest, this area is a struggle for me. Well, more specifically, finding the time to spend on my inner work is my struggle. This four week window was a very crushing physical experience.  The early morning and the long commute each way contributed to my physical exhaustion. Getting sick on top of it didn’t help either. I would go to bed, start the Ruckshau and pass out before I got to eating dinner.  I did, however, manage to picture the class in my mind before sleep. So at least there was that.


7.        The teachers authentic engagement with the students

I feel I did this quite well. It did help that one of the students in this class is a former student of mine from another school which helped. But I feel that by the end of my experience I was making good connections with the children.  I miss them. It actually hurt to not go back after the Easter Break.


8.        The teacher’s process for watching student acquisition of critical thinking skills.

I don’t have a process…yet. I will have to work on creating one!


9.        The teacher’s sense of gratitude, awe and positivity.

I hope I made this evident to not only Ms. R but the class. I am still incredibly grateful for the experience I was given, I learned so much from everyone and it strengthened my love of this work.


10.     The teachers engagement with other adults as partners in creating the community of learning

I tried to spend my time observing what was happening around me. Taking in what actually happens in a Waldorf School.  That being said, I did reach out to several members of the community besides Ms. R for help. Whether it was advice on drawing, or questions on reading materials,  or just instruction on how to do something, I tried not to shut myself off members of the community.


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So, many years ago (like 10.5) I was watching a rerun of E.R. This guy comes in saying he'd accidentally shoved a button up his nose. Dr. Green grabs a face mask attached to a, um...billow? It's a thingy for the breathing part of CPR, no one actually blows, they squeeze this balloon. Like I have any idea what this thing is called, whatever, you get the idea. Puts it on the patients mouth, tells him to close the other nostril with his finger. Squeezes. Button flies out of nose. Cool!

A couple of weeks back, Gray shoved something up his nose. When I first looked up his nose, I thought it was an extreme booger. I no longer keep the booger-sucker-outer thingy that every mom of an infant has...so I took a kleenex, closed the opposite nostril, and told Gray to blow hard. Two blows later, whatever it was flew out. (I don't remember anymore)

I told you that, so I could tell this.

I'm out grocery shopping tonight. I've been to both Costco and Target with all four kids by myself this week. I asked Joe if I could go grocery shopping alone, and wonderful man he is, said yes. Anyway, I'm in the checkout line and my phone rings.

"Hi Babe!"
"I need you home now"
"I'm in the checkout line, is that good enough?"
"Yes, but don't dawdle"
"Okay, what's going on?"
"Gray shoved a pill up his nose"
"Oh. Take a tissue, close the opposite nostril, have him blow hard a couple of times"

I hang up.

I read a silly article on Prince George wondering if the wee prince is going to be snipped.

Phone rings.

"It worked! No rush."

Hah! Silly things off of TV for a $1000 Alex!

I hope, however, he doesn't make a habit out of this...annoying and disgusting.

Lesson Plan 6: Washington DC

Element of Main Lesson:

Plans for Teaching:

Introduction of the Activity

After giving the children a chance to sum up and review the content of the block, Ms. R and I decided that the children needed a last story for the children needed to be one about the Nations Capitol.

Steps in the Activity
After the dictation, use a song to give them an out-breath. Have the children re-settle into their seats and introduce the story. After the story, time permitting, I'll pull out my scrapbook of my trip to Washington DC in 1989. It's stuffed with pictures and souvenirs

Maintaining class participation in the activity: (embedded in steps?)

The children know how to behave during a story.

Reflection on doing the activity:

This is the second "history" story I've told (as compared to a biography) and in some ways it was just as frustrating as the first. I'm seeing that I'm having a hard time bringing history to life beyond the knowledge of names, dates, and places. Maybe its not quite so important to know a timeline of the events. Maybe it's better to find the lively pictures. I did try, I tried to paint a picture of the conditions of the civil war, the plight of the Bonus Army, and MLK's "I have a dream" speech, and those moments did touch the children...but the physical descriptions and basic history of the city...not so much. This is something I need to work on.

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Lesson Plan 5: Dictation

Element of Main Lesson:
The Do or the Work

Introduction of the activity
We've spent the last few weeks studying the history, culture, and geography of the United States. The Review part of today's Morning lesson was a discussion of what could we remember of those things. After we have discussed these three things, the children will take a dictation. The aim of the dictation is to support the children with their spelling, vocabulary, and an opportunity to sum up the block.

Plans for Teaching:
The Review
Draft for Dictation written and approved by Ms. R ahead of time
Unknown spelling words to be written on the board, prompting the questioning child to spell word on own if possible.

Steps in the Activity
The Review
Hand out draft writing paper
Read entire dictation
Read dictation again, a sentence at a time
Turn in drafts for teacher approval

Maintaining class participation in the activity: (embedded in steps?)
I need to go slow enough to allow the slower workers to keep up, but also go fast enough to keep the faster workers from getting bored and making trouble. I'll have several copies of the Dictation to hand out for the children who need more time.

Reflection on doing the activity:
This actually went really well. I took several days to write my draft and figured out that some words would most likely cause problems for everyone. The actually dictation took me a bit to find the right flow of how fast to speak it. At first I went too fast, nobody could keep up. But by the end, I found a comfortable pace that seemed to keep everyone happy.

This entry was originally posted at http://aelfie.dreamwidth.org/8037.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Books I need to get back to.

I don't have time to read them, so i'm taking them back to the library

The killing moon NK Jemisin
The Throne of the Cresent Moon by Saladin Ahmed


Just in case you are wondering

Why am I being all posty mcpostal?

I had my teacher look unofficially at my student teacher blog and he pointed out I was missing a few things. I'm posting as many as I can tonight while I'm still at school and won't be bothered by anyone.


Lesson Plan 4: Biography of Harriet Tubman

Element of Main Lesson:


Plans for Teaching:

Introduction of the Activity

The students have been studying US Geography and History. Their teacher picked this biography to highlight the plight of the slaves in the south and how one choose something different.

Steps in the Activity
Quieting the children down
Introducing the topic
Building the background story
Describe the big 4 pictures of her life

Maintaining class participation in the activity: (embedded in steps?)
The children already know how to behave during story time. I will focus on descriptive language to draw them into the story and making eye contact to maintain interest.

Reflection on doing the activity:
This story went much better than the last one I told. I had a problem connecting to Tecumseh. I had no problems connecting to Harriet Tubman's story. She lived such a full life and it was easy to pick and choose the snapshots of her life to focus on. Bonus. I told this story on the day of or the day before the 100th anniversary of her life. I was able to keep the children's interest and it was obvious they were involved in the story. I feel a lot better about my story telling ability after this activity.

This entry was originally posted at http://aelfie.dreamwidth.org/7752.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

Lesson Plan 3: John Henry Song

Element of Main Lesson:


Plans for Teaching:

Introduction of the Activity

Have the children recall the story they heard yesterday. Have them picture the men working a railroad line. To think how singing could lighten the load of the work and help the workers feel like they were part of a community. That they spoke a common language. How songs could bring hope and comfort.

Steps in the Activity
Have the children stand and stretch.
Set up the song.
Set up expectations of singing. Giving a visual of granny in the back row straining to hear them. Sing to her!
Sing the 4 verses I choose.
Start a call and response 2 lines at a time.
Sing each verse after a call and response to learn it.
If time permits (singing is usually right before snack), sing more than once.

Maintaining class participation in the activity: (embedded in steps?)

With the song broken up into little pieces, there should not be any problem maintaining participation

Reflection on doing the activity:
This went really well.
Things I learned:
Don't just practice the verses whole, practice them broken up for the call and response
Practice the hand indications of the notes.
Practice keeping time consistent.

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Lesson Plan 2: The Story of Tecumseh

Element of Main Lesson:


Plans for Teaching:

Introduction of the Activity

The students have been studying US Geography and History. They are currently in the Midwest states. The story of Tecumseh gives the children a picture of Native American life at that time and some of the troubles that followed the Indian Nations at that time. I will give some background information regarding the time period and the American attitudes toward the Natives. Then launch into his personal history.

Steps in the Activity

Quieting the children down
Introducing the topic
Building the background story
Describe the big three moments of his life

Maintaining class participation in the activity: (embedded in steps?)
The children already know how to behave during story time. I will focus on descriptive language to draw them into the story and making eye contact to maintain interest.

Reflection on doing the activity:
Telling history is a challenge for me. Especially on a subject I knew absolutely nothing about. I am fearful of screwing something up, more so than telling a "story". It seemed to go well, the children were patient as I paused in a few places searching for the right descriptive word. In a way I think it fell flat. I found it very hard to maintain liveliness when moving from one treaty date to the next, and describing how each new treaty was bad for the Native Tribes. I managed to get across my own sympathy in Tecumseh's plight, how he kept trying to unite the Indian Nations, but never managed to do so.

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Emailing Camp

The three big kids (Ike, Elli, and Gwen) are going off to Camp tomorrow. They would love mail from family and friends (hint, hint allanh ). You can email them at: redwoods @ ymcasv.org

Ike is at camp until the 19th, Elli and Gwen come home on the 12th.
Put their name and cabin number in the subject heading, either Joe or I will post their cabin numbers to this message.
Thanks Everyone!!!

Boosting the signal (maybe)

The East Bay Stonewall Democratic Club is looking for volunteers to help out our fellow LBGTQ Family members get married. Anyone nearby and willing to help out? Also if anyone knows of any other groups in other Bay Area Counties...let me know!

And oh, by the way....I also got ordained to help out! Woot! Spread the love!

Details here


Yet another meal my children have rejected based on it's looks alone.

Really starting to piss me off. Now I know why my friend Jude quick cooking when her youngest turned 12. They wouldn't eat what she fixed.

I made Crockpot Cream Cheese Chicken. I wasn't too sure about it, but I figured what the hell, give it a try.
I added a half of an onion chopped up instead of onion powder (which I don't have) and at the end I tossed in about a 1/4 cup of white wine and a half a pound of peas (gotta sneak in those veggies somewhere dammit). It's actually pretty damned good. Next time I won't use 6 chicken thighs (as suggested in the dead tree version), it was too much meat. I'm thinking four would be plenty and I'd double the peas. But I threw in what I had. Oh, and next time a handful of chopped parsley I think would go really good.

Good stuff....kids acted like I was trying to poison them.

No food until breakfast! The kitchen is now closed.

Dear ICU Anesthesiologist

When a mother of a child with Autism comes in and says "Please fully sedate my child before you strap him down so he won't fight you due to a panic attack." Don't respond "Oh, he's old enough to handle it." And then look surprised when he fights you.


I liked the Pediatric Anesthesiologist we've had for the last two MRI's much better. He got it. Lay him down, put on the cuff and the oxygen. Put him out. Then strap his ass down on the table.



Quickie update (With Pictures!)

Bit the First: How I view some people and I knit for them to show them I love them.

Lets see:

Last weekend I went to a baby shower for the daughter of one of my oldest and dearest. The thing that truly amuses me is that this "child" is the same age as mollygm (i.e. near to 30). Molly I view as a peer. Jenner is my peer's daughter and I tend to think of her when I first met her 18 years ago, rather than the capable young woman she is. Regardless, I'm very happy she's having a wee one, and I knit a sweater for him. It came out so cute. I just learned how to do cables and it knit up very quickly.

Bit the Second: Scenes from Cultural Elitism

(hat tip to oxymoron67 for the subtitle)

The children are finally getting old enough that we can buy memberships to more interesting museums beyond ones specifically for children. Yesterday I took them to the California Academy of Sciences and bought a membership. There were two new exhibits since the last time I went. One was a place to worship the size of Larry Ellison's penis (it was something about speed in water, blah, blah, blah, but focused in the end on Larry's America's Cup team. See? I have a boat!)


The other one was on Earthquakes. It's San Francisco. Of course there's an exhibit on Earthquakes. It was a short video and then an Earthquake room. The room was made up to look Victorian and out the window was a scene of the Painted Sisters. First, we got to feel Loma Prieta (1989 quake for those not keeping score at home), which lasted 15 seconds. Pretty much what I remember. Then the lights went out, the picture of the Painted Sisters changed to 1906...the sample only lasted 30 seconds...which was only one third of the total time of the Earthquake. Damn. No wonder it did so much damage. (That and the lack of proper Earthquake prevention in the buildings/water supplies (fire did MORE damage than the quake itself. Lack of water was the main problem. The pipes broke in the quake.))

While in line there was a green screen and a nice helpful person took your picture. Elli and Gray went with me to this exhibit. So they got their picture taken. I love it. It's just perfect. I can't get over how awesome Elli's expression is.

It was a good day and we will go back. This is one of our favorite museums. We actually got up to the roof this time. Pretty cool looking close up.

Well fuck

We resurfaced our cabinets and redid the kitchen nearly 6 years ago...I was about to call the company that did the work to make a claim on the warranty....and they've gone out of business....shit.

Now I'm trying to figure out if someone bought them and are liable to uphold the warranty...Place had been in business for almost 25 years and Poof!


This sucks.

Brave Steps

I just took a very scary step for me.

I'm letting the kids ride bikes, scooters, and blades to the local school to go play on the playground. It's two blocks west and one block south.

I know they will be just fine. They will stick together. They will stop at each street to check for cars. They will come home.

But I'm scared that some busybody will call the cops because there are children playing outside without an adult.

I'd worry less if it were just the older three....but allowing Gray to go too....scares me.

And that annoys me. I shouldn't have to be afraid. I hate that our sick society has put that fear into not only me, but in the rest of our neighbors. Our children have so little freedom versus what we grew up with. In the long days of summer, they need to grow, explore, and test their wings without mom or dad. This is a truly important developmental step that is soooo important and soooooooooo few children nowadays in our country get to experience it. It's wrong.

So I take a deep breath, stuff my fear in a box, and allow them room to breathe, explore, and grow

But if they aren't back in 45 minutes, I'm going to go check on them. =)

EDIT: About 5 minutes after I posted this, they came back. Found out that the playground isn't available until 2:30. But they came back flushed with accomplishment! Woot!


I just got my summer schedule!!!


Oh I get three whole  weeks to go over Study of Man with Astrid! Yea! I love Astrid dearly. Which also means I don't have to try and kill myself to finish the last two lectures before school. I've got time! And this year I get two weeks of painting and two weeks of clay (Those might make me cry again. The art is so hard for me.) There's some weird things going on with the late afternoon session...it seems we are double booked for the second and third weeks. It will be interesting to see how that one turns out. No Eurythmy or movement this year...This year is about art!

Ooo!!! I can't wait! I leave four weeks from tomorrow!!! I am going to have so much fun!!!

Okay, so maybe that's it

There's a cold going around this house. Gray has it pretty bad....he took a 3 hour nap this afternoon and he's feverish and hacking and waking up every 4 hours asking for his inhaler. I spent the day in the Big Red Chair reading books to the three at home. I called a mother of one of Ike's classmates and asked her to bring Ike home for me. Which made it easier for me.

I'm not sleeping well. And when I don't sleep well...the world is bleak.

When I look back over the last few months, whenever I've been at my lowest...I've been coming down with something. I feel like I'm fighting a bug. Bleh.

I let the kids watch TV this afternoon after Ike got home. I went to bed and read a book. I cooked an easy dinner (breakfast) and went back to my book. Until Joe got home at least. Then he took over and eventually we put everyone to bed.

Now I'm ready for my own.
I can't sleep. My stomach is upset. And because of the two I'm having a slight anxiety attack.

I'm not....where I want to be. Either with my education. My children's education. My physical situation. My social situation.

Last one first.

I'm feeling...socially isolated. I'm not getting that social time that I need. I'm not getting my extroverted needs satisfied. I'm spending all my time around my children, and the house, and a few hours each day with Joe. And by the time Joe is home and the kids are in bed...I'm done. All my energy is gone, depleted, spent. All I want to do is sit and zone out. I don't even want to knit and for the most part don't even want to read. The fact that Joe and I are now on completely different sleep schedules isn't helping one stinkin' bit. I tend to go to bed hours before he does and I also tend to get up hours before he does. So getting any couple time in on a daily basis isn't happening. I haven't seen any of my friends in weeks and it sucks.

I'm not getting my homework done. And it sucks. I've got tons of reading to do, and its Steiner...so I can't do it while the children are present. I have to have uninterrupted time to get that done. Otherwise I just can't figure out what in the hell the man was trying to say. I'm not getting either my drawing practice in, nor my music practice in. There's always something...that has to be done. I'm home with the kids most of the day, and I just seem to spend most of it chasing them around, trying to get them to clean up after themselves in one room while another one is in another room trashing it. Wash, rinse, repeat. Schooling does get done (and oh boy, you can tell the end is near), but it usually entails Gray trashing...something while it's going on.

Sometimes I wish I could be normal. Put the kids in public school, and focus on myself for awhile. I could go to the gym every day, I could clean and organize the house. I could craft again. I could see friends. And then I berate myself for being a selfish bitch. How could I put myself in front of what's best for the kids? My mom sacrificed damned near everything to make sure I got the best education she could get for me...how can I do anything less for my own?

A job has been posted in the City of Santa Cruz. It's at a homebased preschool. 10 minutes I swear from Santa Cruz Waldorf. I'm actually qualified for it. And I'm actually debating on trying for it. It's an immediate opening...and I'm pretty damn sure that it won't pay me the $4000.00 I'd need a month just to put the big three into a care situation. It just MIGHT pay me enough to cover the tuition for them...but I'm pretty sure it won't cut after care costs, or summer care. Ut. So I'm still pondering it. 'cause you know...it'd be experience. And the kids could go to school. Then I just wonder if I should just say fuck it. Go get a librarian job and pay for tuition for all four at WSP. I'm pretty sure I could earn something close to cover it.

I'm wondering if I should go back onto the tryptophan. I use it for it's anti-depressant qualities for my SAD, rather than for its sleep enhancements. I stopped a couple of weeks back and haven't really felt right sense. It's either that or the things I'm eating are adversely affecting me. I'm more than willing to put my money on the food. But the not really wanting to even read is a pretty strong clue something isn't right. That's damn near a I'm on my death bed syndrome.

I feel so physically lethargic. It's annoying. I'm tired of lower extremity injuries...I've been in pain in my right foot for various reasons for over 2 years now. I want to MOVE, but it hurts so much I can't.

Now there's a frustration...so many things I want to do, but I just feel like my body won't let me. In my entire life, I've only had one, very short period of time when I felt physically...wonderful. Full of energy and life and joy. But I'm not sure I want to give birth to twins again in order to feel like that once more. The crash is...horrible. Actually feeling good in one's body is an experience that should last a whole lot longer than 6 weeks in over 40 years of living.

Okay, maybe I can sleep now. Not sure. But at least, I'm going to go try. And Gray is coughing again...his lungs are acting up...again. There seems to be another cold starting to go around here...

This just sucks

I am sick of days that go well and end badly.

The afternoon with Ike went well, we had fun, everyone got along...it was great!

And then after dinner, Ike melted down. Full blown, destructive, temper tantrum. I'm tired of this. This last year has been so rough for him and its tiring for all of us when he loses it. The good thing? He cleaned up his sisters room after trashing it. Gwen even came in and helped us tidy up without being asked.

Afterwards the four of us sat down at the kitchen table and I facilitated the, um. hrm. I don't know the name of the technique...whatever. I prompted them using "I" statements. I asked Ike what bothered you and he began to spew "You guys...yadda, yadda" and I went "okay Ike. Try this "I felt frustrated....yadda yadda" and prompted the girls in saying "I heard that you feel...blah, blah when I blah blah...is that right?" Eventually they kinda got the idea. I realized that they are now old enough to teach the proper way to fight....and I guess I'm going to be working on that a LOT this summer.


I'm dreading school stopping next week. I'm also looking forward to it. I'm dreading next fall...and can't help but wonder if it's for the best. I want my kids to grow up less broken than me...they may be broken differently, but hopefully less broken.

One thing to look forward to is a big road trip late summer. On Saturday Joe and I went to our Church's Auction and got a week at a cabin on Bitterroot Lake in Montana. We were looking at the fact that if we are homeschooling this fall, we should take advantage of it and travel. I've lived in the SF Bay Area my entire life except for a short stint at Davis. I've also never really traveled. There's a lot of things/places in the Western US I've never seen. So, when the cabin went up for $300 and no one bidding on it...we decided it was a good idea to jump on it. We are going to drive it...possibily (hopefully) coming back through Seattle (Go and see friends we haven't seen in a few years) and Portland (Powells!!!!) So we are looking at a minimum 2 week trip. 3-4 days up and back and a week in Montana. I'm looking forward to it...longest road trip I've ever taken is Disneyland. This trip is 4 times the distance.

Also pondering a trip to the Grand Canyon...that's less than 800 miles from here.

Plant update!

 My family and I attended the school's "Spring Faire". Since I was there I took another picture of the plant outside of Fifth Grade. Check out what this thing looks like six weeks after I last saw it.

It's totally over the roofline and look at all those flowers! Most of the blossoms were dead and crispy by this point and the plant is starting to die, but it must have been GLORIOUS when it first bloomed! I'm so sad I missed it. But still! It's completely different than I would have expected. And it's so awesome!
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My Boys

First for the fun part. Gray. This child has consistently done developmental items WAY before he was supposed to. He started walking at 7.5 months (I kid you not. Not fair I tell you.) This youngest child of mine turned 4 not even three weeks ago. We decided to give him a bicycle for his birthday. Cute little thing with training wheels. Last night, he went to Ike and said "Take 'em off!", so Ike being a considerate older brother (wow) removed the training wheels. And let him loose. A few minutes later, I got to watch this.


Second. Ike. This one comes home last week after a week in Yosemite unable to breathe. A quick trip to the ER resulted in a breathing treatment and a diagnosis of Reactive Airway Disease. And a suggestion for another OTC adult strength anti-histamine. After a weekend of suffering, I got a phone appointment with a pediatrician who not only gave us a referral to Allergy, but got us an appointment this morning. We just got back. It's official, he's got asthma. We got sent home with a Rx for flonase and a new inhaler. Joy. And he got a demonstration shot of what the allergy shots he'll be getting later this fall...and he agreed that the shot wasn't a big deal and he made a huge deal out of nothing. Go Ike. So now that he's agreed to shots, I can get shots.


I got Ike from school. Not in a good mood...but perked up a bit after the Tuesday Afternoon Donut (I go grocery shopping tuesday afternoon, kids get a donut to celebrate. Cheaper than a candy bar! M&M's cost 1.29. Donut? $0.50) But for the most part, almost all of the afternoon interactions just sucked. He's moody and touchy, throwing temper tantrums, throwing and breaking things, etc, etc. He refused to eat dinner because it didn't look good. (A quinoa salad. It was fine, not great, but fine.) And then after kicking the Legos all across his room, bemoaning that he's stupid because he can't put it together, doesn't deserve good toys, AND demanding his own room all at the same time...it comes out. He didn't bother to eat lunch.


If this child would just SHUT UP! and eat...he'd have plenty of time to eat his lunch. But he keeps complaining that 10-15 minutes isn't enough (Lunch break is 45 minutes, but the teacher kicks them out of the classroom to play after 15 minutes. It's an active bunch, they need to move.) And he's suffering from severe allergies. And reactive airway disease (got that diagnosis after a trip to the ER last friday night. Now he's got 2 inhalers to take during the day.). He's just plain miserable and doesn't feel well. And it's hard to be reasonable when one is feeling physically miserable. And I ought to know...my childhood SUCKED due to allergies.

So, I've got an appointment with the doctor for next week and see if she doesn't have some magic that will help the alleriges...'cause nothing OTC is working. (I've tried him on Claritin, Zyrtec (kids dose), Allegra (adult dose), and Benadryl (kids dose, hrmmm...may have to try adult dose on that one and see if it helps). I may try hunting down some old school ones to see if they help (I'm thinking Actifed,  chlor-trimeton and naldecon.) If not, time to suck it up and go for the shots. Gotta see if the allergist has anything else.


So I'm slow...

I just recently realized that buying and eating organic isn't just good for me and the planet....but it's also a social justice issue. For two reasons.
1. At most Organic Farms that I know of, the workers are paid a fair, living wage.
2. They aren't exposed to a VERY toxic environment.

See http://www.panna.org/issues/frontline-communities/farmworkers as an example of some of the problems associated with working around pesticides.

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