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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Better Days

I'm having them, for the most part.

Lizzy is not.

She complains of not feeling well, of various limbs hurting, and every tiny ding or scrape or boo-boo needs treatment. She's spending too much time in the nurse's office at school (one school nurse, no matter how good (and she is good), can only do so much), and she scared the playground teachers the other day by complaining of her "tongue feeling like it burns."

No, it was not an allergic reaction as they feared; it was simply too much kiwi fruit, which - like pineapple - can make one's tongue burn from the citric acid.

In any case, I'm sure it's all of a piece with the other symptoms of grief in a nine-year-old who - while very bright - can't really describe the feeling of general malaise involved in depression/grief/anxiety, not to mention probable fears that every little thing is, well, an indication of cancer. Like her daddy had.

So she complains of things that make sense to her, in the same way that she has reverted to baby talk and preschool TV a fair bit of the time.

She's already in therapy - pediatric grief counseling being actually a thing - and her teacher and other school peeps are being so proactive in helping her out, but we're taking her into the pediatrician this afternoon as well. If we find nothing physically wrong, it will give Lizzy (and me!) peace of mind. If we do find something (for some reason Lizzy has it in her head that she may have allergies like Abby does... and has always kind of wanted them; I guess they make you special in her mind), then we have a more concrete thing to deal with.

And... as I am feeling better overall (although today kind of sucks, I have had a good almost-week), I'm going to try to be more positive when I'm with Lizzy. I can fake it 'til I make it in her presence too if I have to. And in Abby's.

I can use my role playing skills with them, and let out the bad crap after they go to bed at night.

Friday, December 2, 2016

A Good Day

I had one today.

And my mom said it's the happiest she's seen me in months, maybe even in a year or so.

Even a couple weeks ago, the events of this morning would have thrown me for a total loop. But even with the scary brake noises, and not getting any of the stuff I wanted to done - this laundry won't fold itself - because I was stuck at Goodyear while Scary Brake Noises were repaired, and the cost of said repairs, blah blah, blah. Even with all that...

I had a good day.

Part of it was the Weight Watchers meeting this morning, which was excellent, even better than usual (and that's saying something; I usually enjoy them). Our topic was self-compassion, and it was the best discussion I've had in several years of on-and-off attendance.

I was inspired, and apparently inspiring, in my two stories - one about how Lizzy doesn't think I'm fat; she thinks I'm "soft" - and one about how there is more to me than fat.

That first is important, because it shows that soft - a much more positive adjective without all the baggage of fat - is how I am perceived by someone who loves me. I think that's a good jumping off point.

The second is important in a different way. I've been trying to explain to some of my online friends that just because someone is Muslim, or gay, or Christian, or transgender, or Mexican, or Black, or female, or whatever, that is never, ever all they are.

And the same goes for fat.

I am fat, it's true. But it's just one of a list of adjectives I - and others - use to describe me. I'm fat, but I'm also female, intelligent, motherly, unpunctual, basically honest, depressed, generally kind, anxious, and geeky.

There have been hours I have spent trying to make this point about others. But only today did I consciously say it about me and fat. I am more than my adipose, thank you very much.

This whole good day actually started yesterday, when the big boss of the call center where I work said, "Jenn is back," upon hearing about my November stats.

Not all the way, not yet. Today's adventures exhausted me, and I usually need a nap about lunchtime when at work.

But I'm getting there.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Theatre Kids

I've written about my love for our friends at Studio East before, as we've spent a large amount of time there for the past nearly two years. But I wanted to reserve a post just for them, not about my girls specifically and their roles there, but just about the Studio itself.

We love it there.

The kids are nice to the point that when Abby first started there and I asked if she felt like they made her welcome, she said she felt like she didn't even need to feel welcome; she was just part of it. Said children have their faults, of course; they're still human beings and children and all that. But they are good kids, and the Studio cracks down hard on any exclusionary or mean behavior.

I feel ridiculously comfy there, and I think the girls do too. It feels like an extension of home, rather like my mother's house or the "quiet room" at work.

Here's a little ode to their signature annual show, 'Twas the Night (go get tickets at the link!), set to a possibly recognizable tune (and yes, the children tell me there aren't exactly seven singers, and there are definitely more than 11 parent volunteers. And Lizzy tells me Sam does about sixty notes. But you get the idea).
2016

On the first day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Joy and Hilarity

On the second day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the third day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Three Shows a da-ay
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the fourth day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Four Little Mousies
Three Shows a da-ay
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the fifth day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Five Manic Toys...
Four Little Mousies
Three Shows a day
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the sixth day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
2015

Six kids with head colds
Five Manic Toys...
Four Little Mousies
Three Shows a day
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the seventh day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Seven Caroling Singers
Six kids with head colds
Five Manic Toys...
Four Little Mousies
Three Shows a day
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the eighth day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Eight Lovely Reindeer
Seven Caroling Singers
Six kids with head colds
Five Manic Toys...
Four Little Mousies
Three Shows a day
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the ninth day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Nine Notes from Sa-am
Eight Lovely Reindeer
Seven Caroling Singers
Six kids with head colds
Five Manic Toys...
Four Little Mousies
Three Shows a day
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the tenth day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Ten Packs of Tickets
Nine Notes from Sa-am
Eight Lovely Reindeer
Seven Caroling Singers
Six kids with head colds
Five Manic Toys...
Four Little Mousies
Three Shows a day
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the eleventh day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Eleven Parents Helping
Ten Packs of Tickets
Nine Notes from Sa-am
Eight Lovely Reindeer
Seven Caroling Singers
Six kids with head colds
Five Manic Toys...
Four Little Mousies
Three Shows a day
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

On the twelfth day of 'Twa-as, the Studio gave to me...
Twelve Happy Children
Eleven Parents Helping
Ten Packs of Tickets
Nine Notes from Sa-am

Eight Lovely Reindeer
Seven Caroling Singers
Six kids with head colds
Five Manic Toys...
Four Little Mousies
Three Shows a day
Two Aching Ankles
A-and Joy and Hilarity

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Auld Times They Are Not Forgot

We are having an at-home-family-day. Tomorrow rehearsals start again after a couple days off, all next week is dress rehearsals and then the performances start. It goes like this through the 18th of December, so we really need a do-nothing day.

I plan on laundry and dishes - those are constant - and getting ready for the work week. But other than that, we're spending most of the day with the girls watching Charmed (until dusk, when it's too close to bedtime for Lizzy), playing games, etc.

And me, going through old blog posts (been blogging here since January of 2011) and playing Nostalgic Fun Time, some of which I'm sharing with you again.

Like then-nearly-five-year-old Abby, wondering why she can't have two dads and a birth mom like her friend M, or asking me to either turn up the TV or put my breast back in the baby's mouth.

Or then-six-year-old Leanna, explaining apologetically that she can't come over the day I bring the baby home, or that she's not actually jumping on the (loft) bed, because her feet aren't leaving the surface.

This picture:  Lizzy looks appalled. Leanna looks so happy.

Leanna telling Abby's dad that he doesn't get as cold as she does because he has hairy arms.

This entire post.

Eight-year-old Abby's obsession with the Teen Titans cartoon. Which caused her teacher to remind me that Comic Books Really Are Okay If They Get Her To Read. And a reader is born.

How Lizzy has been functionally an almost-vegetarian since toddlerhood.

That we have had over the years several serious conversations regarding which Christmas special is the best (excluding feature-length things like Nightmare Before Christmas, which we all agree is awesome).

How music - pop, rock, country, classical, show tunes, you name it - can be used to describe almost everything in our family. The way other people use pop culture movies quotes, we use lines from music. And always have.

I have realized afresh that although I'm really having trouble switching gears during this depression/grief thing I have going, I've never been particularly good at it. I'm like my dad; I'm better at "planned spontaneity," the tendency to say we have to go to the next thing as soon as X task ends, or that we can do whatever we like between four and six PM.

That both Abby and Lizzy are really good at using literary references for day-to-day activities and have been for years. This may be hereditary.

Lizzy's loose grasp on the concept of cause-and-effect has improved with her knowledge of scientific practices; for a while there she thought - for example - that the sun moved in the sky so it would "hit all the flowahs to help them gwow."

Mondegreens and malapropisms have been around in our family forever. With their enormous spoken vocabularies, this is more often hilarious than not.

The utter charming hilarity of then-four-year-old Lizzy explaining earnestly that she has "salivawy duhmatitis."

My language has deteriorated, in my blog and in real life, since Laston first got ill. In early blog posts I was very circumspect about bad language, but now I know there are bigger issues than whether I drop an F-bomb where people can read or hear it. To the point where Lizzy - even though she finds bad language hilarious - asked me to "put the filter back on before the girl scout meeting. We don't know how all the scout moms in the new troop are about bad words." Abby's dad would likely tell her that I've sworn like a sailor the whole time, but there have been whole years where I have not.

Thor is still really hot.

My friend and (again) neighbor Carrie has been the best baker I know for years now.

No matter how long we've been taking the tests, Abby is still a Hufflepuff.

I'm a kickass student as an adult.

Introverted and shy are not the same.

Everyone has been, well, lovely. I only looked at the first few years of my blog posts, in fairly desultory fashion, and yet all your kindness shone through even before Laston's illness and death.

I love you, Dear Readers.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Write Stuff

In an effort to keep Miz Liz on task in Writing class - she has the imagination and the skills, but not the desire - we're letting her start a sub-blog off of mine. She is not yet old enough to have her own Google or Facebook accounts, so her blog will be curated by me. 

Be nice; the child is nine years old.

So visit her at The Amazing Adventures of Science Girl!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

You Are Safe With Me

I know that the safety pin thing has a lot of different opinions surrounding it, and among my friends - Facebook and otherwise, these seem to primarily be divided depending on whether you are a marginalized person based on race or due to some other factor.

To me, and for me, the safety pin I wear is to remind me to walk the walk.

I am not a member of one of these marginalized  groups for the most part. I am a woman, but a white one, and my disabilities are pretty invisible to the naked eye. I am also straight and pretty much non-religious.

Nor am I a child, as many of the people who support our racist, misogynist President-elect seem to write people who don't vote like them off as. You want my credentials? I'm 48, married, divorced, remarried, widowed, mother of two, stepmother of one, and have a degree in Intercultural Communications.

I have been through a lot of crap - especially this year - and I am tired of grinning and bearing it.

I know people and how their minds work and I like almost all of them.

But I know, love, work with so many people who are in danger, not because Trump took the electoral college, but because some people take that win as a license to abuse anyone who doesn't look like them.

You hear the horror stories of people being beat up, spit upon, shouted at, because they are gay or black or Latinx or Muslim or transgender or even potentially "look like" one of these.

Well, I know actual people to whom these things have happened. Not just shit I read on the Internet, but people who are the children, parents, friends and siblings of people I know in real life. Our superintendent of schools sent out a letter to every parent in our (pretty diverse) district, stating that our schools are no-bully zones. The fact that they feel the need to do this shows me that a lot of people I know and see every day and freaking shop next to at the supermarket are scared, and rightly so.

So yes, I will wear my safety pin, and please, please know that I am a safe space. I don't know if I can physically defend you against an attacker, but I will do my best.

And if nothing else, you will have someone who is a safe person to use as a sounding board.