Thursday, February 26, 2009

Just Another Pop Culture Post

Okay, so I've calmed down a lot, thanks mostly to all the support I've received from all of you - thank you! I'm ready to have a new post up, yet I can't think of much to say.

Except that I neglected to mention that I saw Minsky's last week at the Ahmanson, and had a great time. It's sheer musical comedy, and it doesn't try to be anything more than what it is, and yet still manages to comment on our times (given the play's time period of the Depression). There's a love song to the theatre, which you know I completely bawled through! The plot is fairly predictable, but I didn't care. It was a fun ride. I have a feeling we'll be seeing Minsky's up for some Tony Awards.

Also, the Oscars. I actually loved the Oscars this year. Hugh Jackman is so incredibly talented! And I loved the way that each acting nominee was truly acknowledged this year by the past winners. There were some moments in those presentations where I was teary-eyed.

It was also fun because Sylvia got into it this year with me. Even though the only nominated film she's seen is Wall-E, she still had fun watching the show (especially the musical numbers). I'd seen just one more movie (Vicky Christina Barcelona) so I didn't have my heart set on anyone or any movie winning, either. I was surprised Sean Penn won over Mickey Rourke, but very pleased that both Penn and the screenwriter of Milk had an opportunity to speak to the global community about the importance of equality for all.

I'm also enjoying Big Love being back; I LOVE this show. The female actors on Big Love are phenomenal powerhouses.

My friends, L & J (the ones I went on the cruise ship with), and I just got our tickets for Dirty Dancing. I hope it's fun. We're already quoting it to each other. Of course, we all remember that nobody puts Baby in a corner. I'll let you know how it is after I see it in May.

I'm half-heartedly watching American Idol, but I've been very disappointed so far. Adam Lambert is definitely the best singer we've seen yet, but he needs to fix some performance quirks before he can be called amazing. I'm nervous about the Wild Card night. Must we see all those tedious singers once more?!? How's that going to work?

I've found some long-lost relatives on Facebook, which is pretty cool. Well, they weren't so much "lost," but I still have not seen a lot of them since I was in high school, maybe?

Oh, and speaking of Lost, I'm not so much liking this watching it on real TV thing. Not that I want to miss it, but I preferred being able to see multiple episodes in one or two viewings via Netflix. This one-episode-at-a-time thing is just frustrating.

So I'm watching another show via Netflix. Weeds. Because I don't get Showtime, I've never watched this show, even though I love Mary Louise Parker. It's great to see her in this! And Elizabeth Perkins - how great is she? I just finished the first season. This show cracks me up. I'm glad I've got a ways to go before I'm all caught up. I just hope it doesn't make me want to subscribe to Showtime.

So that's my pop culture post for ya!

Monday, February 23, 2009


It started off very, very bad. There was an ongoing discussion (to put it mildly) in the comments section of my latest LA Moms post. I'm not going to link to it, but if you're that curious it's linked in my previous post. It started to get pretty heated, and I was feeling pretty isolated. Then some things occurred off the web and in my email that had me crying while making dinner - which is always fun. I calmed down, and the girls and I still managed to have an okay night watching High School Musical 3, but it was the first thing I thought of when I woke up the next morning. The comments section has died down for which I'm relieved, but not only did I start questioning myself, I wondered if it mattered to anyone but me.

So I let it go. Mostly. I stayed away from the computer most of the weekend to keep it buried. Sylvia and I watched the Oscars, and went on.

Now I want to see if there's any type of perspective I can put on everything.

I don't think I try to deny anyone else's experiences. I think I'm only angry and bitter with cause. For the most part, I live my life, laugh about some things, get passionately upset about others, but mostly, my life is a mundane albeit hectic routine. Get up, get the girls up and off to school, work, laugh and talk with my co-workers, email Kori, try to keep up on the blogosphere, pick up the kids, make dinner, sign homework papers, watch a little tv and go to bed.

I write here and at LA Moms because I hope that there's someone out there who gets it. I write because I hope that there's someone out there who re-thinks preconceived notions about "someone like me." I write because it helps me process certain events, certain trials and tribulations, and when I'm really not sure, I have some amazing readers out there who take the time to write insightful comments. I write because even when I'm passionate about something, I still appreciate hearing another point of view, which again, my amazing readers take the time to tell me.

I don't expect to make a living off of this, I don't think of myself as a professional, nor do I believe that I can change the world. But somehow, it gives me validity. And the opportunity to meet people like Natalie and Wendy, and countless others.

This weekend, I questioned whether it was still good for me or not. I mean, it felt pretty stupid to be crying over some words in an email! But just as much as the blogosphere gives me validity, it can also make me feel belittled and de-valued. And at the same time, is it complete weakness that I can get such validity from a few comments?

I've been accused many times of being too sensitive. (Also, bitter and angry, but whatever.) I don't know how to be any other way. I don't know how to not take attacks on my personal life personally. Yes, I wear my heart on my sleeve. I didn't come with the mechanisms to do it any other way.

But there are too many connections that I have found here to just stop. I long ago accepted that I would never be one of the popular girls, but I do cherish the people I've met here, and the bonds just grow stronger. I still believe that life on Earth is about connecting with humanity, so those are going to make me feel better when I do connect, and yes, make me cry when I don't. Whether or not that makes me weak or pathetic, it's still who I am and I can't deny that.

So maybe sometimes I just need to re-group. Maybe sometimes I do need to let certain things go. But I won't let the setbacks stop me completely.

For those of you still with me, I appreciate it. More than you know.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Stupid General Fallacies

1. Two parents are always better than one. If you've been reading this blog long enough, you know that's not always the case. Actually, it could be if "parent" actually meant "parent." But the term is so loosely thrown around, and usually doesn't refer to the verb.

2. Married people are happier than single. I know I have a lot of happily married readers, so don't take this personally! I also have two parents very much in love and I can't imagine them getting through a day without each other. But it isn't for everyone. It isn't always the way to go. There are many unhappy marriages, and there are many happy single people. For my sake, I am much happier single now than I ever was married. In fact, what may cause me to be angry is the insistence from politicians and others who insist I'm not happy. Walk a mile in my shoes - then you can judge.

3. Working mothers always feel guilty. Again, no offense to my readers that are stay-at-home moms, but I sucked at it. And I felt guilty for sucking at it. I am a much better mother now than I was during the times that I was a stay-at-home mom.

4. Boys are easier to raise than girls. Or vice versa. Each child has its own unique challenges. Just because the boys can't get pregnant doesn't mean that they can't get themselves into their own kinds of trouble. Like juvenile hall, gangs, and drugs, to name a few. And girls may have their own issues, but I like the fact that I never have to worry about the toilet seat. Nor do I believe that my relationship with my daughters has to be ruined in their teenage years. I can't go into it believing that. I may sing a different tune in a few years, but if I go into these next few years believing that, then I've already failed.

5. Children need a male role model. Sadly, I lost a friend over this one, a female one, ironically enough. I'm lucky that my daughters have my own father in their lives (and I pay for it by living in SoCal, btw), but I know that a positive male role model is not easily accessible (or for that matter, widely available). My *two* male readers, and my 2 best male friends will tell you, I don't hate men. I just hate guys with sperm that are either unwilling or incapable of actually BEING men. My latest post at LA Moms blog is a response to a father that is clueless, at least in regards to my family.

And while I'm in a ranting mode, I'd like to go ahead and get the word out that every.single.state official in California needs to get out of office. They have accomplished NOTHING but making ALL residents worse off than before. We are now going to be #50 in state spending for educating our children, and yet I will be paying MORE in taxes. First up, in my ideal world, no. more. Governator.

I also would like to get just one last proposition on the ballot. To end all propositions.

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Unlikely PTA Mom

Just two short years ago, if you'd asked me about the PTA, you would've gotten an infamous (at least, in my own mind) rant from me. Next month, it's highly likely (particularly since I'm the only one running) that I will be serving on the board of one. And yet, I've managed to keep my self-respect.

For reasons not necessary in this post, my youngest has gone to a different school for every year of her academic career (she's in third grade). My oldest's longest record was the second half of first grade through third. Every prior school has given me reason to not be a fan of the PTA.

I'm not the kind of mom who bakes brownies for the bake sale, I don't host playdates or sleepovers, and I don't even drive an SUV or own a pair of crocs. I'm a single, working mom that has spent most of my daughters' educational careers getting my own degree. I also have very specific issues I would like addressed in education, and have been frequently frustrated that the schools seem mostly concerned with test scores.

My daughters usually get a litany of forms to be filled out on their first day of school. In fact, I usually have more homework on the first day of school than my children do! At least three of them are PTA-related, and have more to do with what can I do to help the PTA than what the PTA can do to help me. They ask when I can help at school, and I usually respond that most working parents (which make up about 70% of parents) aren't available during school hours which were created to accommodate an agricultural lifestyle. Most PTAs at the schools that my daughters have attended chose to have their meetings after I have to be at work in the morning, or after school (when I am, again, at work). I learned fairly early in my daughters' academic lives that I was not cut out for the PTA, and thereafter, usually ignored their paperwork.

Last year, however, my oldest attended a charter school that did not have a PTA. Instead, the principal organized monthly potluck Saturday breakfasts, open to everyone, completely lacking in Robert's Rules of Order, and a loose agenda that left plenty of time for any and all of the parents to speak their own concerns or ideas. I knew more parents that year than in any other year and was more involved at that school than any other.

Unfortunately, and again for reasons unnecessary here, we had to leave that school this year. And I decided I'd spent so much time at that school that this year, it was time for my younger daughter's school to get some attention from me. So I attended the first PTA meeting of the year. Which was held after working hours and provided child care. Already, I was impressed.

At the end of that meeting, I spoke up and talked about what was important to me. I almost cried when the Principal and the President of the PTA seemed to hold the same priorities. We all agreed that fundraisers that got private companies richer and didn't somehow challenge or embrace the student body were wasteful. Instead, today, my daughter is participating in a Jog a Thon that raises money for the buses for field trips. At the beginning of the year, many students performed in a "rock" concert that raised money for the arts programs. I'm offered ways to volunteer my time and energy according to my schedule, and not made to feel guilty for not being available.

And so, when the desperate cries for new Board members was called out in the previous PTA meeting, I thought maybe this time, I can answer. If they're willing to accept me as I am, crocless and all, this may be a perfect fit after all.

Originally posted on LA Moms Blog.
Hope everyone was able to enjoy a long 3-day weekend. Ours has been nice and quiet for the most part.

Sylvia went to her second-ever dance on Valentine's Night with a friend and seemed to have a good time. I was especially touched that she brought back Riley some Oreos, Riley's version of crack that hasn't been around the house in quite some time.

Otherwise, we kept forgetting it was Valentine's Day, or maybe, we were just done celebrating. Riley's class had their party on Friday and I'd written my own thoughts on the subject already. Other than exchanging hugs and kisses, that was pretty much it for us.

Speaking of Riley, I got a call from her teacher the other day to say that Riley is doing much better lately, and to keep it up. Good news indeed on the school front! And Sylvia got to go to a special As breakfast - the kids who got As on their report card are invited early, and the teachers cook. Sylvia's favorite was the chocolate chip pancakes.

I'm finding it hard to write again. A surprising thing for me, but I'm actually trying to avoid confrontation. I've read some things lately on blogs that have made me cringe, some very harsh judgments without concern of others that has made me wonder about the feeling of community I usually cherish here in the blogosphere.

Now we all know that I have no problem spouting my own opinion, nor do I have a problem reading other people's opinions, even when they differ from my own. But this is different. This is name-calling cruelty, with a sort of perverse pleasure in hurting others. And it's especially disturbing that it's usually in the form of women attacking other women.

I don't want to get too specific because I do want to avoid confrontation. And that's more of what I want to talk about. I used to thrive in calling people on stuff. Not necessarily in a mean, attacking manner, but saying, hey - I disagree and this is why. Now, I just get tired at the thought. I haven't figured out yet if it's wisdom that comes with age, or sheer timidity and being beaten down. Part of it comes from fear - at the attack turning personal against me, and that's not too comforting to me, either. I don't like making decisions based on fear. Then again, maybe it's wise not to engage.

I don't know yet. Still pondering...

But not to get too down and maudlin. I have been neglecting some awards that have been given to me lately.

Thank you, Florinda, for this lovely award:

What's this prize all about?

The Prémio Dardos is given for recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing. These stamps were created with the intention of promoting fraternization between bloggers, a way of showing affection and gratitude for work that adds value to the Web.

I'd like to pass this on to:

Kori - of course! Kori is just always there for me, day in, day out. She's the one to whom I can say anything. She doesn't always agree with me, but it's never diminished - in fact it's probably strengthened - our bond.

Natalie at From Here to There: Natalie's also been there for me. Sadly for her readers, she's decided to hang up her blogging spurs for now, ergo no link to her site anymore. But she's gone from a bloggy friend to an IRL friend, and I know we'll still be corresponding and I hope we get to hang out again.

O Solo Mama: we're still very new to each other, but I'm so glad Kori introduced me to her blog. I look forward to getting to know her better.

Thanks to Kasey at Simply Crazy Life for this award:

This one goes to:

won at Single, Bereaved, Broken and Tenacious: her story will break your heart, but her warmth and strength will get it pumping again.

Dingo at As I Was Saying: Dingo is funny, brilliant, and opinionated without being a bitch. Gotta love it.

Laura at Rebellious Thoughts of A Woman: I couldn't live her life for a week, and as hard as it can be, she's still funny and strong.

I admire all of these women for their honesty and spirit.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Self-Love Day

6 years ago on Valentine's Day, I practiced the most self love I'd ever conjured. I told my husband it was over.

bell hooks wrote in all about love that love is an action verb. I didn't actually read that until years later, but when I did, it verbalized what I did that V-day 6 years ago.

I'd tried to leave X a few times before, but frankly, I didn't love myself enough to go through with it. I didn't trust myself to survive single motherhood. I was afraid of being alone forever. I didn't think anyone else would ever love me or know me like X did. I believed in that fallacy that two parents are always better than one.

But years of lies, and actions on his part that proved he didn't love me or the girls in the way that we deserved finally caught up with us. And that year, I just couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't celebrate this day with this man.

A few months prior, I remember telling him, there's a breaking point. There's a point where I will no longer love you. I could feel it coming.

And finally, it did.

It didn't happen just out of years of frustration, though. It happened because of other things going on in my life. It happened because I was having something that I could even call my life again. I was reminded that I was a capable human being. I was reminded that I could have fun, even. That I could laugh. That there was joy in the world.

And then there were my kids. It wasn't until after we left and were starting our lives over again that I truly realized how much I had given up of their childhood in trying to make my marriage work. By not having the best of me, they were missing out. Oh sure, I did the necessary stuff, and we had fun and all that. But there's no question that my unhappiness affected them, too.

That's the beauty of self-love. When we find it, we ARE better mothers, better partners, better friends, and better humans for it. When we're not beating ourselves up for our inadequacies, we have room to listen and hear others. When we're not crying, we can laugh, smile, hug. When we're not feeling sorry for ourselves, we can reach out and give to others in need.

Self-love is not narcissism because true love is not an ugly thing. Self-love can't be vanity or blind because true love allows for humanity's imperfections.

7 years ago, there is no way I could have seen myself or my kids where we are now. 7 years ago, I had given up and accepted that life was going to suck. 7 years ago, I felt completely alone and isolated from the man in bed next to me. 6 years ago, I opened the door for all of the possibilities to come.

I laugh everyday, and usually at least once at myself. I am loved everyday by my children, my family and friends. I may be single, but I am not alone. Finding our ways to this are various and unpredictable, but I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day, full of love for YOU.

For more Self Love Day posts, please visit Hilly.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Darwin Day

Regardless of your beliefs about whether or not there is a God or whom that God might be, I think we all have reason to celebrate the concept of evolution. Particularly for those of us that are raising children.

I think (I would hope, anyway) that all of us parent with the idea that we want our children to have the best lives possible, and if their lives surpass our own, then all the better. If they seem to be smarter, if they seem better able to handle their emotions, their relationships, I would think that would be something that would make a parent proud. That, I think, is evolution. The idea that each generation gets a little smarter, a little more compassionate towards fellow human beings, a little more self-sufficient, and a little more capable.

I used to worry to the point of obsession about how the girls' father would affect their development, their emotional maturity. It took quite a few years (and many hours of therapy) for me to realize that they have already surpassed my own emotional maturity when it comes to him.

While they still may wish for a dad that was in their lives on a daily basis, they have accepted the reality that he's not, nor will he ever be. They love him, but they see his faults. They understand that they can have fun with him, they can laugh with him, but they cannot trust him. They have their occasional bouts of anger about it, but they have learned how to acknowledge that anger without wallowing in it.

When he calls, Sylvia is always anxious to talk to him, but their conversations remain on a surface level. Riley usually states that she has no interest in talking to him, but by the time it's her turn, she'll get on the phone and laugh and be silly with him.

In other words, they know how to handle him. In less than 5 years, they've come further in maintaining a healthy relationship with him than I ever have or will.

I also admire their various interests. I was focused on theatre and performing for most of my childhood. Sylvia has acted, sung, and danced as well, but she's also played basketball, draws and paints, does cheerleading, and runs 5ks. She has a desire to experience everything, which I wholeheartedly encourage. And while Riley has not yet "joined" anything, the girl is always thinking. She is always listening, and she is trying things in her way. She doesn't seem to want to compete for center stage, nor does she suffer from shyness. She can also talk your ear off if you let her! I find her to be the most balanced person I know - and as much as I talk about balance, the brutal truth is I will never get there myself.

Now, just so it's said, there's a line between wanting better for your children and pushing your own dreams onto your children. The latter is something I try not to do, nor do I consider it evolution. Rather, I consider it a huge step backwards. And I can want and wish and hope anything I want for my children so long as I allow them their own paths to pursue.

Evolution IS something to celebrate. As is Darwin's 200th birthday for introducing us to this concept. I hope you'll all take a moment to think about how you've evolved and celebrate the journey.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

We're number 47...or 49...making our way to 50

I went to the PTA meeting last night, and found out that if the Governator's cuts pass, California will come in dead last in the amount of money we spend on education. As it is, the PTA says we're number 47, but someone else told me they heard we're 49. In California. That's just sick.

I know most of my readers don't live in the state, but here's some info from the California PTA website that I wanted to pass on anyway.

Governor’s State of the State and Budget Proposal
January 15, 2009

Total new education cuts proposed by the Governor
for the next 18 months:

$10.8 billion

California is now 47th in the nation in terms of how much we invest in the education of each student.

Budget decisions will determine whether we abandon quality schools and health and social services for our children.
Budget decision will determine if tomorrow’s workers have the skills they need.
That’s how much is at stake.
Please call or email your state Assembly member, state Senator and the Governor right away and deliver the following messages:

We must find a balanced approach to the budget crisis that includes sufficient new revenues to protect children and the future of California.
Support continued funding for programs and services that help ensure that all children can succeed, such as smaller class sizes, arts and physical education, science, counselors, nurses, librarians, and health and social services for children.
We cannot build a world-class public education system by going backward in funding for education and other children's services.
Find Your Legislators

Contact the Governor

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Girls' Fallen Hero

You may recall that Riley got a chance to meet Michael Phelps. At the time, Sylvia was bummed that she didn't get there in time to meet him, as they'd cheered him on during his victories.

We hadn't really spoken about the news about Phelps and honestly, it hadn't even occurred to me they'd have an opinion about it. But the other morning, we were watching the news and someone said something about Phelps being a disappointment to the youngsters. All of a sudden, Sylvia (who was half-asleep) shoots up in bed, pointing at the TV and saying (in a voice that sounded much like my own), "Yes! Yes!"

At first, I didn't even know what she was talking about. So I probed, and it turns out that both of my daughters are incredibly disappointed in Phelps, who had been a hero to both of them.

I'm sure this relates to their father, and their disappointment with him, too. I'm sure that, for Sylvia, it's easier to take out all of her anger onto Michael Phelps than her father.

But I'm kinda glad that the anger's there, at least.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

I love doing these because it gives me a chance to write a bunch of random non sequiturs that aren't quite enough for a full post.

Within days of each other, both Riley's and Sylvia's glasses broke. They went a good year so I can't complain. Riley's glasses were broken during a ball game. Sylvia's died in a cheerleading accident. Is it any wonder that sports aren't my favorite thing? But alas, the incidents were timely, as they have their eye doctor's appts next week, and I do have high vision coverage so they'll both be able to get a new pair.

I wanted to respond to two of Dingo's comments from last week's entries. She's totally right, I change my response to the Interview question to the Internet. Also, I would be less appreciative of my job if my work environment wasn't so great, so I get that. I totally agree that bosses should not use the current economic environment to bully people. But that's just not the case where I work, nor is it the case for the people that were bitching about their job duties. I read on someone else's blog (sorry, can't remember whose) that some state employees are being bullied by their bosses to work on furlough days. That's completely wrong, and I wish those workers the best. In fact, hey, can we get a friggin' budget already so I can get my state tax refund?!? Oh, and Dingo is awesome.

We had a bit of a crisis last week. One morning, Riley turned on the tv and *gasp* there was no color!! It was Wed., the day of a new Lost...this just couldn't happen. After work, we went to Best Buy only to discover that any tvs that I could afford, I couldn't actually carry. Same at Target. I was feeling depressed and frustrated, so I threw money at the problem by ordering fast food for dinner. I was moaning through dinner about trying to move the tv from my bedroom to the living room (since we use that one more), when Sylvia had the bright idea to turn on the tv and just see...lo and behold, color!! I know the problem will probably reappear again, but I hope that it waits long enough for me to have the funds to deal with it. (See above concerning tax refund.)

Speaking of pop culture, I haven't yet spoken about the infamous octuplets. My feeling on the subject seems to be in the minority and in some ways, I haven't really wanted to get into it, but what the heck: I'll just say it.

You all know (or should know) that I'm pro-choice. To me, that means giving every woman the right to choose. This woman made her choice, plain and simple. I'm not ready to give that right to choose away to the government or the medical profession. Of course, it means that women will make mistakes. But I have to give them the same rights as I want for myself. As for my tax dollars, well, I pay for stuff I don't want to pay for all the time. The war in Iraq, W and Cheney's salary while they were in office, California's legislators and the Governator's salary, to name just a few...if paying for the social welfare of this mother and her babies is the price to pay for me and my daughters being able to make our own choices, that's worth something to me. All I can do at this point is to wish her and her children well.

Speaking of choices, I had to laugh at Sylvia's choice to pluck her eyebrows. OMG. She plucked from the top instead of the bottom. It hadn't occurred to me (and Sylvia hadn't said anything to me) that she was even considering such a thing until the deed was done. I was practically hysterical in my laughter. At first she was upset, but then she laughed with me and her sister.

And Riley was SO cute at the grocery store this weekend. We were picking up supplies for the class V-day party this week, and she kills me when she's excited about something. She doesn't jump up and down and go berserk, she just keeps talking and talking about it - a kind of Rainman effect. We'd picked up the candy, and had decided on red goody bags (original, I know). But the bags would be on the other side of the store. I'm not kidding, every. single. aisle. she talked about those bags! "We need red bags. Red bags. We're getting red bags." She wasn't whining or anything - just kept saying it.

As for me, I'm proud that I stuck to my decision to go work out on Friday - even though it was raining buckets at the time. But I did it. And I put together a schedule for myself for the month to continue doing it. Maybe, by the time the color does go out on the tv, I WILL be strong enough to carry it!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Lesson of the Day: Appreciation

A theme seems to be arising for today. One has been going on a little longer than just today.

My company has recently offered severance packages to something like 1,000 of our employees. I think that's at a rate of close to 10% of our workforce. Naturally, I've been worrying. I've been trying not to, and realizing that there's not much I can do about it. What will happen will happen - but we all know how well I do with things that are beyond my control. I try to make jokes about it. A friend called the other day to see how I was, and my response was, "hey, I still have a job!" I'm grateful for the fact that my id has continued to work every time I pull in the parking lot. I've been nervous to even write about it, for fear it will jinx me. But I know I'm not alone in these worries. I hope that it doesn't come down to a jinx.

Anyway, all that to say that it's been making me crazy anytime anyone complains about their job that's left around here. Now that's not to say that I don't have my moments of bitching about certain people at work or anything, but about the actual job and the duties that come along with it? Bring 'em on! And thank you. So I don't have a lot of patience for people that don't have that attitude.

In the midst of a situation that dealt with that, I got a phone call from my mother. My father, who has been running marathons and upgraded to triathlons a few years ago, has been medically advised to stop due to knee trouble.

I hate working out. But a few weeks ago, I started weight training on the recommendation of a chiropractor to help with my back pain. I have always known that I lack upper body strength. I mean, I have none. I recently joined our fitness center at work, with the hopes of taking classes, but the schedule hasn't worked out. So the chiropractor gave me a great opportunity to start using my membership. The weight training hasn't been nearly as mind-numbing as I find treadmills or free weights or any other form of exercise outside of dance that I've tried. I'm starting off nice and easy.

I was going to go this morning. But I talked myself out of it. Too tired, still a little sore from Tuesday. I'll go tomorrow.

Now, after receiving the call that my dad can't do something that he LOVES to do, I'm feeling really guilty about not going this morning. Here I am, able-bodied, still young enough to do these things...(and narcissistic enough to make my dad's injury all about me, apparently)

But it did make me stop and put two and two together: the job fears and my dad's injury. Working out and working may not make my top 5 list of things I love to do. But man, I sure am grateful at this moment that I can do both!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Since I didn't really do the interview meme correctly last time, Florinda sent me some questions:

  1. What hobby or pastime that you don't seem to have time for anymore would you like to start up again? Singing, most definitely. Sure, I still sing in the car and in the house, but I miss singing in front of an audience.
  2. If you could only have ONE of the following: music, TV, books, or internet - which would it be, and why? Oh, this one is SO difficult. You all know how much I love these vices. If I had to choose, I would choose music because it's the one that can lift me out of a bad mood, and since Sondheim has all of life's answers, I think I could cope pretty well.
  3. What's on the menu for your last meal? (The foods can come from anywhere - six different restaurants, your late grandma's kitchen, a taco truck, etc.) A margarita from Caramba's in Alhambra, two tacos from that place on 19th street near downtown, a burger from Tommy's, a salad from Lucy's in Hollywood, my grandma's homemade tortillas, along with a popover or two made by my dad, and oh heck, throw in a pastry from Porto's!
  4. What does the title of your blog mean? It's a reminder to myself that it doesn't have to be all or nothing, in pretty much any aspect of life. For example, as a parent, I don't have to be all authoritarian or all permissive; I need to strike a balance. I need to balance the priorities of each of my girls as individuals, as well as my own. Life should be balanced/equal parts laughter and learning. Obsession is very rarely a good thing. I used to talk more about balance than I have lately. I should probably get back to that.
  5. If you could go back and give your eighteen-year-old self a few pieces of advice, what would you tell her? I had a chance to think about my 18-year-old self when I went on my cruise, since I turned 19 while working on a cruise ship all those moons ago. I certainly thought I knew a whole lot more than I actually did back then! But hey, that's youth, right? But back then, I didn't believe in balance at all. I believed in throwing myself fully and completely into everything. I've learned since then to back off a little bit. But I know my 18-yr-old self wouldn't have listened to such reason (and didn't). But I'm done beating myself up over the past. I lived life fully, and with that, came many mistakes, of course. But if I hadn't made all those mistakes, then there's no guarantee that I would have these daughters today. We don't ever really know what kind of consequences will come with certain decisions. I know now without a doubt that the decisions I made then led directly to my present, but there's no way my 18-year-old self would've seen that coming. And I would hate to say anything to her that might have stopped that chain of events, however painful some of them may have been.

Having said all that, however, I would probably tell her to avoid trying the cream and sugar with her coffee. Drinking it black was so much easier!

I don't think there's anyone left that hasn't answered interview questions, but if so, I'll provide some for you.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights

I thought this was info worth passing on. I don't think it's controversial, but I'm sure someone will tell me if they disagree!

The Federal Reserve passed new rules in December designed to keep credit card companies from raising interest rates and fees on consumers who are paying their bills on time. Unfortunately, they gave the credit card companies 18 months to start following the new rules. Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York has introduced a bill in the House that will require the new rules to take effect within 90 days of the passing of the bill. I sent the following to my Senators and Representative:

I would like to urge you to act quickly to move up the effective date for
the Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights. I believe this would be a quick and
inexpensive way to stimulate our economy. Credit card companies are
increasing rates and closing cards for consumers regardless of credit history at
record rates. This results in less spending by Americans and a worsening
of the already failing economy. Please work to pass the Credit Cardholders
Bill of Rights reintroduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York as soon as
possible to bring much needed relief to the voters.

Here is the press release on the reintroduction of the bill by Rep. Carloyn Maloney.

Go here to find your representative. Your senator's website is their

Monday, February 2, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up

I think it's taken having a weekend in order to fully get back in the swing of things. Some things, of course, were necessary to jump in again with both feet (like, um, mothering), but on things like catching up on my Reader, writing...well, they've taken a bit longer.

There are also some things I'm reading where I'm not commenting, either because I have too much or nothing at all to say on the subject. I'll probably find my commenting mojo sooner. Or later. We'll see.

I have a new blog in my Reader where I most likely will not be commenting: The White House. I love that!

My latest post is up at LA Moms.

I think I'm experiencing some post-vacation depression. Depression is too strong a word, but you know what I mean.

I'm pissed about the state of CA's budget affairs. I understand the blame to the legislature, but at the same time, they came to a budget compromise a while back, and the Governator vetoed it so it doesn't seem right that he's not getting more of the blame. I also think I have to place a call or email to tell the Governator how stupid I think it is that they're planning on shutting down government offices every other Friday rather than another day of the week. People who work part-time or 4-day work-weeks are more likely to use Friday as a personal business day, or, in the case of Parks and Rec, a day to visit state parks. This will interfere with more people's lives than it should if it's kept to Friday. Also, I'm going to be getting an IOU rather than my state tax refund. Lovely.

That's it. That's all I've got.