Friday, January 27, 2012

Chopstick Action

Today Chewy worked 1/2 day and we went out for lunch at a favorite sushi restaurant.

Willow tagged along and she was exceptional.  She had some noodles and it was with pretty great skill that she ate them with chopsticks.  She worked and concentrated so hard.  We even offered her a fork.  She refused and went to work.

With wonder I watched how maturely she worked at this.  It struck me at how all these things I take for granted--she has had to learn them.  And is still learning them.  How much determination and how many times children fail.  But yet keep trying.  And succeed.

I think I needed to see that.  To be reminded.


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Mood Lifter

Driving Chewy into Boston this morning.  He likes it when I can...we have some extra time to just be together.  Today we talked about the newest Buffy comics.  They are considered canonical to the series as Joss Whedon has written them.  So "officially" they are Seasons 8 and 9.  We talk about the good, bad and not so bad...Season 8 seemed to derail towards the end. Then we talk about other things.

And then he has to take a conference call from work.  He tells them he is almost there (a lie--we are stuck in traffic!)

Then, after his call, Willow wants music.  And we all listen contentedly to the Beatles as the traffic clears.  Looking back I see her grooving to the songs...and I smile.


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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Little Bit Nervous - UPDATED

About a month ago, a friend and I were talking about the problem of finding friends for Michael.  He is introverted, quirky and his social issues cause him to often be by himself.  Or he finds just "one" friend that he likes--and it seems our luck is that then they move away.

She suggested that maybe there was a MeetUp group that we could join.  Something for geeky kids to play and do things that he likes to do (like video games, D&D, board games).  And it struck me as a "duh!" moment--like, why did I not think of that sooner.  That night I went on-line. There was Nada, zip.  Nothing for a quirky kid like mine (or even a quirky family like mine).

So I went out of my comfort zone and MADE a group. I called it Quirky Kids MeetUp, put the description out there (essentially, playgroup for ADHD/socially impaired kids).  And I figured I would be throwing away $20 for the posting.

I still may be.  But tonight at 7 p.m. I scheduled the first Meet Up at Panera Bread.  My son and I will be there with his Heroica set and pastries.  There are actually a few people who have signed up to meet us there.

I am nervous (I hate small talk, I am introverted, this is totally not something I want to do, I would rather have my more extroverted husband do the talking--but he is going to be home with the distraction, um, preschooler).  But I want my son to not only see how to make connections with people, but also maybe actually make a connection or two himself.

I hope this turns out to be the first of many meetings/outings.  But even if it is the only one--I feel happy that I   went out of my comfort zone and tried to make this happen.

UPDATED:

The meeting went better than I could have expected!  People came out despite some snowy roads.  The children were very good; and I hope that we can do another MeetUp soon.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SOPA Protest - Free Advice (Random)

Mel had the idea that instead of shutting down in order to protest SOPA, we should share our best advice instead, to really focus on the wonderful things about the internet that we would have the potential to lose if SOPA passed.



  • Don't hide behind the camera.  This is one that took me a long time to realize.  While it is important to get those wonderful milestones/memories...don't let them pass you by while you are recording them.  There have been times that I have enjoyed the event/celebration so much more because I choose to participate rather than record.  
  • Children thrive when you give them enriching adventures in diversity.  Yes, take them to the museum and the zoo.  But also take them to a theatrical show, plays, dances, go to celebrations of the Chinese New Year.  Find things that are adventures not just for them, but for you. (My children have seen Chinese Acrobats, Drummers from Africa, Silent Movies with musicians playing, etc.)
  • Crockpots are awesome! Anything that can make your time more free for your family and yourself--it is worth it.
  • Reading is the single most important thing you can do.  It is the most important thing to teach your children--to enjoy Reading.





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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chores

I ask him to come in the kitchen and help me with dinner.  Because the next time we make this dish--I want him to do it on his own.  He peels the potatoes and we talk about the chemistry of onions.  I show him how to cut the potatoes and then I tell him to put some black pepper on it.  And he opens the wrong side of the pepper--and a WHOLE bunch of pepper spills out on a portion of the casserole.  I am not upset, in fact, I stifle a laugh. I clean it up best I can.  He covers it and puts it into the oven.  The satisfied grin on his face is the only indication I receive, but it is enough.  I cannot wait to have him make this meal on his own.
(Dad takes the slightly over peppered chicken breast.) 

She likes to help too.  Today I am putting the dishes into the dishwasher.  She comes up to me and asks to help.  Gently, I show her how to put the dishes into the machine.  She helps with the utensils and puts the 
liquid in, shuts the dishwasher.  Pushes the buttons.

Both these chores are things that I could do easier without them.  But it is great to share with them these activities.  Yes, they are taught these chores...but I am also taught patience and care.

Sometimes it is good that I remember that, as there are too many times I think that I am in such a rush to get these things done...that I forget these lessons.




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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Had an interview...

on a cold rainy day. The first job (non-staffing agency) interview since the day before Thanksgiving.

Half way through the interview she told me that it was all about timing. It was a good interview. She saw that I was qualified on so many levels. I did well and she "got" me. So well that she knew this was not the position for me. Halfway through, she told me so.

But we continued our pleasant conversation about the job market, job expectations and reality television (we both hate them). I left...well, a little dissapointed that I did not get the job...but, I felt that I am working toward my goal.

Its all in the timing.


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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pressing Reset...

I think that right now I have pressed a "Reset" button to get 2012 started in the right frame of mind.

While my job hunt hasn't been at all bad (I have had interviews and callbacks, etc.) by December I was feeling kinda frustrated and annoyed. I have already redrafted my resume and made call backs to staffing agencies.

Other stresses were starting to wear me down. Certain things that I had resolved to do while I was gainfully unemployed--well, they kinda got forgotten or set aside, or downright abandoned.

So, this week I have taken the time to revitalize and regenerate. Time to get back to trying to paint the upstairs bathroom (well, so far this has been a resolution that I haven't totally embraced--I find this task more daunting, and time consuming, than I thought).   I have taken the time to read some books from the library, get moving on my Wii and learn some programming.

I think that while I started off my unemployment with the noble goals above, as well as goals to spend meaningful time with the children...by the time school started, and Chewy went off to Romania, I think I/we got off track.

I think that this New Year thing may actually have something to it.  I feel the need to renew finally.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Again to the Mall?

Something that helps me deal with the Blahs--going out and doing something invigorating! Going to a museum, walking a nature trail...going to the mall (?) Well, this weekend was a mixture of that.

Saturday was really quite fun. We met with a friend and had some wonderful Dim Sum. And then she suggested a nice nature walk. It was a surprise walk, because the place she suggested, we had never been to. And she did not realize that it had just been opened up to people with dogs. So, we entered a WORLD of dogs while we were out on a 50 degree day in January. Muddy shoes and lots of licks by dogs of all shapes and sizes. FUN!

And then there was Sunday. Chewy had plans with some gamers. And I was desperate to do SOMETHING to get out of the house with the kids. But I had run out of ideas and energy to deal with anything too high end. Michael had an idea. An obsessive idea. Santa had gotten Michael a Heroica Lego game set. And it has expansion packs. And he needed ONE MORE set and he would not stop talking about how he was itching to spend some of his money for a set and could we go to the Lego Store? Which could only mean--going to the MALL. 

So, I found myself in one of my least favorite places with the kids. Being the mom--I figured out a way to make this work towards a fun day. We got Legos.

We went to the play area near the food court. Where Michael speculated that why Willow sometimes says she does not like certain kids at preschool...is that she is BOSSY (Gasp!!). There were a lot of kids in the little play area. Sometimes it is good to have a big brother to help you get to sit in the front seat of the plastic car.

After that, we exchanged too small of slippers for bigger sized ones and Willow got Lip Gloss(!) with our gift card from Uncle John.  Finally, we ate at a fun restaurant and had shakes and burgers.

Later, as we talked over our days in bed, just as my eyes were ready to close...my husband told me that my son said "We spent too much time at the mall today."

Yep.


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Friday, January 06, 2012

Blahs

Talkin' to myself and feeling old. Sometimes I'd like to quit; Nothing ever seems to fit; Hangin' around, nothing to do but frown; Rainy days and Mondays always get me down 


What I've got they used to call the blues: Nothin' is really wrong; Feelin' like I don't belong; Walkin' around, some kind of lonely clown; Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.
 -- Rainy Days and Mondays by Songwriters: Roger Nichols, Paul Williams

The end of summer started to bring it on.  The fall usually would cheer me up but this year all I could think about was the coming winter and the ending summer.  The holidays...well, they brought their own baggage, good and bad in its own nostalgic glory.

So here I am.  Talking to myself and feeling old.

Feeling a bit isolated and timid about the new year.  And sometimes I would like to quit.

I think I have the winter "blahs".  Which is funny because we haven't had any snow yet.  Or maybe that is the problem.  The anticipation of the snow.

Like the anticipation of the job interview.  Or the anticipation of changes, big and small in our world.

Just before Christmas I found out our longtime neighbors (they were here before we were) are finally moving (they have been talking about moving for years now).  These are the neighbors who have boys around Michael's age.  The kid who walks into our house unannounced...will not be anymore.  The good news...well, they are not moving far away, just across town--so, one of my big concerns about Michael having this friend, is not so bad--just requires a bit more planning.

But, this comes at a time where we have been debating about our own move.  Like them, we did not think we would be in this house as long as we have been.  And now...well, now we feel like our hands have been forced to start the long process of evaluating our house, getting it ready to be sold, etc.  (Doesn't help that they haven't actually sold their house yet...)

"This couldn't come at a worse time" is a phrase that pops into my head a lot these days.

So many changes and non-changes.  So many things are up in the air right now.  And I feel, well sometimes I feel...alone.

I guess that is why they call them the Blues.


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Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Haircut

Last week I took the kids to get their hair cut.

Normally, Willow has been unwilling to sit for haircuts.  Sometimes she has sat on my lap or her dad's lap.  Most times she has been squirmy.

After the GLUE incident...she got it in her mind that haircuts HURT.  So, this last time was a surprise to see how calmly she sat (on her own) for the cut.   Not only did she sit by herself without fuss--but she actually let the hairdresser STYLE it. She was such a big girl!

And I had a view of both kids getting their hair trimmed--I could not resist the chance to capture it...



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Monday, January 02, 2012

Back in the Saddle

Tomorrow starts the "back to normal". Which is funny because the "back to normal" usually meant me going back to work. And right now...it means I have plans to take Willow to Ch.uck E. Chee.se tomorrow.

And there are other routines that are going to be added/changed. After school tomorrow I am taking Michael to a Social Skills Group. Four other boys in his age group with two counselors to help them learn how to pick up social cues and interact socially. This will be instead of behavioral therapy, once a week. 

Also, Chewy has agreed to have a written schedule to try and control his out-of-control work schedule. Because he is driving us all insane with his working-all-the-time gig. (On that note, it was nice that Chewy took this past week off for the holidays! We (meaning me and Michael) finally enjoyed watching the Walking Dead and we got some solid quality time with him.)

And me--well, I am back on the trail for a job. I have a staffing agency interview in Boston on Wednesday. A job interview next Thursday. I have revised my resume once again and put it online.

Did this vacation/holiday break refresh me? Hardly. I was (and still am a little) sick most of December (mostly head/sinus/throat issues). There has been some harsh reality checks and discussions and there has been some sleepless nights.

But I am hopeful that we can start this new year off with better footing and a better grasp at what needs to be done this year. I am hopeful that I will have a job soon.

And while I wouldn't mind a little more sleep--I am ready for the tasks ahead. So, 2012...Bring It!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Talking Tina, Buffy and Botana

New Years Traditions old and new.

Last night Chewy had his annual New Year's Gaming night. To go along with our latest Buffy obsessions, a Buffy RPG (Role Playing Game) was played. Michael got to play as Spike. I was to play Cordelia, but the game ended early due to various interruptions. It was still a fun night with friends.

I made sure to make our annual Botana for New Years. I am actually making another one tomorrow.

And then there is the Twil.ight Z.one Marathon. Such a tradition in our house. Even though Chewy and I know almost every episode. Even though Michael knows a lot of them. Even though we have a lot of the seasons on DVD. We watch. Not all of the marathon. But we check in and we say "Oh, it's the Talking Tina one! Or the Obsolete Man!" And there we are watching it. It has been so fun to have this tradition with Michael.

And then today...a tradition I hope can continue. Going over to a friend's house and hanging out with them, enjoying their company as they declared "Open House" for their friends with children. It was so fun to know that our kids were going to be occupied while we got to hang out with the adults. (Well, most of them...we do have an in-between-ager--so he was not always so amused).

Now, back to some black and white television...

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Ripple Effects 2

"Do you ever feel dead inside?"  -- this is what she said to a teacher in the hallway.  Promptly got a call from a counselor.  For...