Tag Archives: Life

Yo

13177225_10209876533258692_7768388631242626952_nOh, hi. I seem to blog here about once a year lately. And yes, I have a few things to say again — but it’s going to take me more than a few minutes to write them, and I can’t decide where to put them. You see, I literally have 15 blogs registered to me. Yes, I may have been a blog-a-holic at one point. A few of them are my kids’ old blogs. One is a shared book blog that my sisters and I did for a little while. This one is more or less my main blog, and it used to be focused on technology and sustainable living. I also have one for religious posts and one for political posts and one for posts about my neighborhood and a couple for Girl Scouts. And one is my OLD main blog before I registered this domain name. Oh, and I manage my school’s website which is also a WordPress site.

So now what? I’m thinking about getting rid of this domain…it’s never really made me any money; instead it costs me a monthly hosting fee and an annual domain registration fee. I can put it all back on WordPress.com for free

But meanwhile, I’ve got things to say. So I’ll probably just put them here, even though they are religious and political in nature, because I don’t really see the point in splitting it all up any more.

See you around!

Unplugging Slightly

I got a new bike basket and bag (more about that later), which I love, but even though I pre-measured, it turns out that the bag isn’t quite big enough for my work laptop.

I suppose I could have returned the bag and basket and gone with the rear rack and pannier, but I decided to try something different: leaving my laptop at work. After all, we have a perfectly good family laptop, plus I have my iPad mini, which can easily go back and forth.

So far, it hasn’t been any real hardship. I do have to share the family laptop with other people, which means occasionally I have to ask to use it, but that’s OK!

Am I really using my electronics less because of this decision? Maybe not. I’m still in the habit of using my phone and iPad to obsessively check social media and play solitaire. And I hadn’t been using the laptop that much at home anyway.  But it is something different for me!

 

Back to Work?!

Photo 9Well, the time has finally come — I have to go to work tomorrow! It’s just the one day this week, though, for a training. And then next week I go back to my school to set up the computer lab and train teachers on how to use the new student database system and maybe some other stuff. I don’t really know yet. Our school district has so many things changing this year that they are giving the students an extra four days off so the teachers can be trained and get comfortable with new curriculum. Plus we are moving back into our classrooms after having everything in storage for summer remodeling and construction.

So I do feel some anxiety about all of this. And maybe that’s part of why I’m not sleeping well. I’ve been having trouble GETTING to sleep at night, and then people and dogs and things keep waking me up either early in the morning or in the middle of the night. Or both.

Today we went to the middle school and registered our two older kids for the school bus (new this year, because we moved) and paid their school fees (fortunately not excessive). And we got our youngest daughter’s information packet in the mail, with her class assignment. So we are getting ready to start school for them, too! The eldest is at her same middle school, our sixth grader is just starting middle school, and the youngest is starting third grade at her same elementary school. So not too much has changed for them, although their schools have been under construction this summer, too.

Did we do everything we wanted to do this summer? Of course not. But we did the big ones: our family trip and the move to the apartment. We are not quite as settled as I’d like to be before school starts, but we’re getting there. One step at a time.

The Times, They Are a-Changin’

All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.  ~Anatole France

This is a summer of change for us. In early June, our landlord notified us that they would be changing our rental terms; if we stayed we would henceforth be paying them a larger amount of rent, which would include utilities.

Unfortunately, that amount was about 200 dollars per month more than what we had been paying for rent and utilities combined. So we had to decide whether to try to manage the new amount or move someplace more affordable.

I had the prospect of a higher-paying job, but no certainty, and I haven’t had even a cost-of-living raise in three years. Steven has been getting step raises, but that’s not enough to make up $200 per month.

So, we decided to look for a lower-cost rental, and found one. It’s a three-bedroom apartment, just about a mile from where we lived before, and within the same school district. Everyone goes to their same schools in the fall. And my two (TWO!) middle-schoolers will get to ride the bus now, because we moved further away from the middle school (this is good, because before they had to walk over a mile).

But we’ve moved from a decent-sized triplex unit (about 1700 square feet) to a smaller, second-floor apartment (about 1100 square feet). We sold or gave away quite a lot, including some furniture, a piano and…my Xtracycle. But we’re still struggling to make everything fit.

And it’s just hard on everyone to leave our home. We’d been there for eight years. We moved in just before our youngest was born, so she had never lived anywhere else until now. She cries about having left. She’s not the only one.

But, here we are. And it IS a good apartment, and the complex seems well-managed. There is a pool. We are all together. We have enough money set aside for next month’s rent. The girls are still going to their camps, thanks to cookie sales and scholarships.

And we still took our family road trip that we had planned for June. We had reserved a rental car on Priceline back in April, which is GREAT for getting a lower price, but also means you can’t cancel and get any kind of refund. So we decided to go ahead with the trip (which was important to us because we were visiting family, as well), but canceled a few things we had planned to do. And we’d already planned to camp and stay with family everywhere, so we didn’t have hotel expenses.

But still, change is hard! And I’m seeing a pattern here…I keep saying BUT and AND. Obviously I am conflicted. There are good things happening, and there are disappointing things happening.

For instance, I didn’t get the higher-paying job that I was hoping for. I’m disappointed, BUT I am going back to a decent job at a good school.

I’m sad about not having the Xtracycle any more, BUT, I am glad that I was able to get money for it, which is helping us get through the summer. AND I still have a bike to ride; a Schwinn Avenue that came from a family friend. It has no carrying capacity as yet (I need to get a rack and/or panniers), BUT it is lighter and faster and can be carried up and down stairs.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.  ~Victor Frankl

Where do we go from here? I’m still feeling some uncertainty. We are working on income for the rest of the summer, but I’m wondering about my long-term career options as well. Every time I’ve applied for a different job within my school district, I’ve been told that my application was good, that I interviewed well, but that someone else had more experience. I’ve been there for eight years, two as a special ed assistant, and six as the computer lab specialist. I’m most interested in either library or technology jobs. I’m not sure how I can get more experience, unless I try for a lower-paying library assistant job, which is not really a feasible option right now.

So I’m pondering options. Should I take some technology-related classes to increase my skills? Get a teaching credential? Get some volunteer experience? Look for jobs elsewhere? Be happy where I am?

I don’t know. I sort of have time to think about it. I don’t go back to my regular job until the end of August, and I can’t really afford to take classes as yet. So I can work on getting this apartment unpacked and organized and take time to ponder things.

The Kids, The Crazy

BABIES. They’re a thing right now. Oh, I suppose they’re always a thing. But it seems like a lot of people I know are having them lately.

We are done having babies, even though I often think MOAR BABIES would be awesome. I mean, BABIES! Cute and cuddly and always learning new stuff, right? Oh, and always wanting to eat, and not wanting to sleep, and teething, and screaming for no apparent reason.

And despite what some people say, you really can’t do everything you used to do or that you want to do, because you have a baby to feed and change and hold and you’re too darned tired to do anything properly.

And if you’re really lucky, you fall into depression! You might get anything from a bit of baby blues from being to tired to full-blown postpartum depression or even postpartum psychosis. And if you’ve already got a tendency to depression, this is all the more likely.

AND, it’s not just the women who get depressed; it happens to men, too. Especially the good ones who actually help with the baby care.

Hey, I think I just talked myself out of those baby longings again.

So yes, I was frequently depressed when we had babies. I still get depressed, but those were definitely some of the hardest times. I first started taking medication when my depression was intensified by postpartum depression. There were times when I cried because the baby wanted to nurse AGAIN, after 20 minutes, and I was sore. Or when I just felt like everything was happening in slow-motion, and I couldn’t manage to get anything done. There were times when I just wanted to chuck it all and just do whatever I wanted to do for a day.

How do you deal with this without TOTALLY losing it?

I guess it really comes down to acceptance. You accept that you have to lower your expectations. You won’t be able to get as much housework done. You may not be as effective at your money-earning job, or anything else you have going on.

I set priorites for certain things that HAD to be done. For instance, I decided that no matter what, every day I would pick up any dishes, dirty clothes, and garbage that were lying around. And sometimes these things did lie around all day. But they got picked up at least once a day.

I eventually accepted that I would be spending a great deal of time holding, nursing, or lying down with babies. At first, I thought I would pop the baby in a sling and go on with life. It didn’t work that way. Sometimes it did. One of our babies spent hours in a sling while I sang in a church praise band. Our youngest spent small amounts of time strapped to my back while I worked in the garden. But I definitely couldn’t do this as much as I expected to.

However, I did make an effort to do things that made me feel more like ME. This included the singing and gardening, as well as exercising, reading, and meeting other parents on the internet.

It took me a long time to accept that I would feel depressed sometimes, and that I would come out of it. But it’s true. Sometimes, no matter what you do, you still get depressed. But you will get through it.

And that’s the other thing about babies: it gets better. Or different, anyway. Those first years are HARD. Many wonderful things happen, but at times, it’s hell. My youngest is seven, and it’s only within the past couple of years that I’ve started getting more sleep, having more energy, and being more effective in general. But it does get better.

I don’t know if “it gets better” is a very helpful sentiment for new parents! But it’s true. I’m proof.

This post was inspired by John Metta, struggling new parent of twins.

 

 

Dear Family

Dear Family: Today I asked everyone to help pick up the house a bit. It’s not unusual. We ask for this most weekends. And many times, everyone works together and gets things done beautifully.

But today, there was arguing and complaining, and I think I’m still a little short on emotional resources from a stressful day yesterday, so I ended up wanting to cry myself.

And I’m not trying to guilt you into doing more. I just want to express how I feel.

When you argue with each other, and complain that you don’t want to do it, and that weekends are supposed to be a break, I feel like you don’t care about me. And I know you do care about me, and that it’s really not about me. But that’s how it feels. I want to get things done and then…well, I’m probably going to be getting a few MORE things done before I get to relax, but you get the idea. And when you’re not willing to help out, it feels like you don’t care.

I know all the parenting literature says I should just not take it personally. I should just tell you what I expect, and apply natural or logical consequences if it doesn’t happen. And sometimes I’m OK with that. But, like I said, emotional resources are low today, so it’s a little harder.

Thank you for getting things done in the end. I just wish it could have been a little easier.

Healthy Habits

So, I’ve been working healthy habits for a while now, and one of the tools I use is Health Month. Health Month is a website where you can track your progress on various goals every day. It’s set up sort of like a game; you earn points, and you can lose life points if you don’t meet your goals each week, and you can assign yourself rewards and consequences for the end of the month.

So, for instance, for September my goals were:

  1. Write for at least 10 minutes 2 times per week.
  2. Walk at least 5 miles per week.
  3. Ride my bike at least 30 miles per week.
  4. Do yoga at least 1 day per week.

And I made a contract with myself that if I survived the month with at least one life point left, I would buy myself a new top. And if I didn’t have at least one life point left, I would donate $5 to charity (it occurs to me that I ought to make the two things more equal).

I didn’t meet all my goals every single time. But the system is flexible, and if you start losing life points you can heal yourself with fruit, or ask other people to heal you with their fruit.

And next month I’m adjusting my goals — I added meditation and weight training, and I cut back my biking and walking goals a bit.

I also started a team, because I have not tried that part of the game yet. It’s a team for Portlanders — if you want to join, it’s at http://healthmonth.com/teams/show/923. You can try Health Month for free, as long as you do three or fewer rules. I did this for a couple of months before I decided to commit a little more — and it’s only $5 for the month to play more than three rules, AND you can easily request a sponsorship if you can’t afford that.

I like Health Month because it helps me with both fitness goals and mental health goals (by the way, I started my new medication, and have been feeling amazing for the most part). And it’s easy to track – just check a few boxes and/or fill in a few numbers every day. If I miss a day or several, it’s easy to go back and fill in the blanks.

And now I’ve got ten minutes of writing to check off for today!

Unplugging Details

About last night: no, I’m not unplugging completely and/or forever. I still plan on using the internet and even playing some games. So you’ll see me here and on Facebook and Twitter and wherever else I decide to be.

But I am going to limit my internet time. So, starting today I’m trying 30 minutes after work and 30 minutes in the evening (plus whatever time I scrounge in the morning and on breaks). I have the timer set RIGHT NOW. And I’m going to do this for a week and see how it goes. I suspect I’ll survive. And I’ll be ADDING all that good stuff like reading, exercise and meditation. I have plenty to read. I’m certain I won’t be bored.

 

Photo by Quinn Dombrowski from Flickr, used via CC BY-SA 2.0