Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I am going to come back to my post on money.  Its something that makes me feel like a loser, and frankly, I am not in the mood.

Autism.  I have a crazy fascination with trying to understand autism.  One of my summer school students, whom I don't know all that well, hit me the other day.  I mean like, smacked me.  Hard.  Across the face.  Why?  I think it was probably too loud in the classroom, too loud in his life, and me singing the clean-up song was the last straw.  Right afterwards, he looked at me with these beautiful, soulful eyes, like "I feel bad, but not that bad, because really teacher, couldnt you just have been quiet?"  And he got in trouble, of course, because the bottomline he has to learn is...we don't hit people.  Behavior like this in public could get him, well, arrested, so I emphasize these points very strongly.  But really, I should have seen the signs.  The pacing, biting his hand, and the fact that his dog had puppies early that morning, and there is a new baby in his home as well....I know these kids.  And they can't hide things that the rest of us shove away.

The number of children being born with autism, not only in this country, but in the world as a whole, is astounding.  I will not quote most recent statistics, because by the time I finish this post, they will have changed again.    But at the rate we are going, I suspect that those of us without autism, or at least somewhere on the spectrum, will be the minority.  I suspect that "special ed" will become "general ed" and the few kids that don't fit will get moved into a gifted classroom.  Computers will replace most jobs, and the Asperger adults that run them will work from home, where they don't have to deal with other people.

Hmmmm.  I am probably exaggerating.  But there are still astounding numbers of children, most of whom will become part of the staggering numbers of adults, with communcation and social disorders.  How can we begin to create a society, outside of the special education classroom, to accomodate these people?  And if we dont...what will happen to them?  I carry this thought around with me, like a huge backpack filled with too many hardback books that I never feel like I can take out.  Or maybe that's just me, showing a little of the Obssessive Compulsive Disorder I can't quite ever shake. 

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Money.  Damn that piece of paper that invokes such an emotional response in most of us!  I wrote an entire blog entry on my relationship with money this morning, and couldnt quite wrap it up.  Somehow I ended up deleting it, and I just can't seem to bring myself to try and re-write it.  So, I changed the font, added a photo and some gadgets to my blog, anything but trying to write the dreaded money entry...I think I will have to try again tomorrow....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I have had salads every night for dinner these past few weeks.  It struck me that probably if I had a man in my life, I wouldnt be able to do this.  Which makes me think of this:  I don't really slip into anything comfortably.  I struggle and fight my way through things.  What a hazard in relationships.  I want a relationship, I dont want a relationship, truly I can't seem to ever settle into things easily.

Yesterday I went to go see Alexis and Hugh and the new baby.  I expected to see the struggling new parents, trying to figure out how to live their lives, while everything has changed.  Instead, I saw two people who had slipped so graciously into parenthood that it was hard to believe.  Hugh, he has always taken everything in stride, so it wasnt SO surprising to see him embracing this huge new piece of his life easily and with the same mellow attitude that he does everything else.  Alexis, on the other hand, she's more like me.  She worries and stresses and controls and gets antsy...etc, etc,.....but here she is, relaxed and slowing down her life and being this amazing parent.  I can't say I know its been easy, because she has had the issues every new mom encounters with breastfeeding, and not sleeping enough, and un-solicited advice....but something in her has managed to enjoy the process and is very naturally taking to being a parent. 

Being a teacher of children with pretty severe disabilities has done this to me a little.  There is a level of patience that I have truly had to aquire, otherwise I would not have ever made it in this career.  But there is still a piece of me in my home life that really needs to come home to the exact same house I left, whether I left my dishes out or not.  I need what I put in the cupboard to stay in the cupboard until I remove it.  I need my eating habits to be top priority and I need to control when I go to bed.  I know that I am not the only woman out there like this, and I am sure there are plenty who have children who feel this way too.  But, how do you manage to be a great parent, and not be a martyr?  I have seen many women, and men, do it, but I feel like there HAS to be a cost....right??

I may not ever know this for myself.  But I can say this....I just saw yesterday, two brand new parents doing it, and doing it well.  For now, thats enough.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


My mom has purchased a croquet set and is hounding all of us to come play with her.  I do not want to, but it reminds me so much of the same situation I had with Bocce Ball ( I think we actually played once and then I sold it at a garage sale), that I am going to go over and play with her.  Which reminds me of the last time I played croquet.  My ex-husband Derek had just donated a kidney to his 15 year old cousin, and we were staying at his now deceased grandmothers house so the two boys could heal together.  His grandma had a croquet set.  I remember vividly her beautiful garden that she so painstakingly took over working on even with pretty severe arthiritis, after his grandfather passed away.  She maintained a compost pile, and mowed the huge lawn by herself on the riding mower.  She had a terrific sense of humor and loved games.  Especially croquet.

After his grandfather passed away, she began to spend more time with her friends, volunteered at the local hospital, and got a new puppy.  She used to dress up for Halloween, even though there were never any trick-or-treaters on her large piece of property, and take pictures of herself to email to the rest of the family.  I could never figure out how she got all the Xmas decorations, which included outside lights along the roof, up by herself.  She made us all something special every year for Xmas, and the last thing we got before Derek and I divorced was a lavishly made wooden board game.  It was probably one of the best gifts I have ever received.  She was an amazing woman.  Anyway, on to croquet.

So Derek was still healing from surgery and taking large amounts of pain pills, and today he had decided he wanted to have a real drink.  Vodka cranberry.  Ok, just one.  The combination scared me a bit, but he was an adult.  I could tell his grandmother was not exactly comfortable with it either.  But Derek always had a rebellious nature, and honestly, I think I liked that about him.  So we were playing croquet and we were laughing, and he was pretty goofy from the med/alcohol combo, and I think that may have been one of the last times we were happy.  Then Derek went in to make another drink, and this irritated me, and the moment, along with the croquet game, were over. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

A new revelation...and this is funny!

So, today is the first day of summer for me.  This means that even though I m teaching summer school, its in Chico, and its a short, mellow day.  Summer for teachers is like this crazy thing.  Most people would say that we are completely different people during summer than during the year.  Maybe this is true for parents also, because kiddos are home, but I wont pretend to know anything about that.  I think, for me in particular, since my job involves getting up at 5:30, and getting in my car while its still dark out to make my hour each way commute.  This means, when I have meetings after school, I often get home late too, and then run my butt over to yoga before having wine and dinner and crashing till 5:30 the following morning.

But this morning, I leisurely woke at 6:30 without my alarm, made some coffee, showered, threw on a sundress and some sandals and hopped on my bike to make it to school by 8:00.  When I got home I took a little nap, went to visit my friend and her new baby, then came home and have been puttering around, drinking a glass of wine, taking a shower, waiting for another friend to show up for dinner. 

I literally feel like a completely different person.  And now for the funny part.  You do not want to be my boyfriend in the summer.  Because baby I need space.  I will see you once, maybe twice a week if the mood hits me, but the last thing you want to do is try to pin me down.  I stop making lists, I stop requiring myself to do anything other than exactly what I want, and dont even try and stop me.  This year I planned several solo trips, invited girlfriends to show up at a few, wanted to keep the rest to myself and my relaxed mind.  I never get bored.  I luxuriously drink a glass of wine and read a book for hours.  I stay in one room and sew all day.  I volunteer at the local nursery, or this year, CSA, and then I bring home lots of awesome veggies and cook and can amazing things.  My dogs are part of my entourage, so unless I fly there, expect to see them.
I ride my bike everywhere possible, and dont be surprised to see me in the garden of Red Tavern with Danielle having a free slice of pizza with our wine, or at Bidwell Perk or the T Bar just killing time with my mom.  So, if you are a man to make it through summer with me, which has yet to happen outside my marriage, plan to have a life, way outside of our relationship.  Then plan to be lazy and sit in my beautiful yard, at the firepit, with a glass of wine till late...then plan to walk or ride to farmers market in the morning and maybe stop for coffee on the way home.  Then entertain yourself for an afternoon while I do my thing and you will probably get an amazing, fresh dinner, if thats your kind of thing.  But if you want to hang out all day, watching tv, and drinking beer, or hit the malls, or the bars, and if you want me to attend all your kids' sporting events and help with providing capri sun and cheez-its, I ain't your girl.  I do that shit during the year.