I'm Reading A Book That I've Actually Started To Highlight.

I have never been a highlighter.
For a couple of reasons, one of them being that I am a private person (insert laugh here) and highlighting a book that someone may potentially borrow would make me feel exposed.
Another reason is, I find it distracting to read a book that's been marked.
Thanks to Carole (CK), I am reading a book called The Conscious Parent by Shafali Tsabary.
By the time I am done, I am positive that my children will thank her too.
It is not your typical parenting book, as it does not really tell you "How To."
It is a book that first attempts to make a parent a better person before one can expect to be a better parent.
I can't stop reading it, but yet at the same time it periodically makes me want to lie down.
It is giving me some insight and understanding about people, myself included.
It is making me look deep into myself in a raw and honest way.
Now I get why psychotherapy sessions are generally done just once a week.
One needs time to recover after unearthing long forgotten (but unhealed) wounds and experiences.
But uncovering why we react or parent the way we parent is very cathartic.
And the quicker we understand, the quicker we stop parenting reactively.
To parent reactively or as the writer calls it parenting unconsciously--is not good for our children.
Children that are parented unconsciously can end up pretty effed up (pardon the french) if not while they are young, then at some point in their life.
That's a pretty strong statement.
I know.
But trust me on this one. I know.

Tsabary writes that a conscious parent does not emerge overnight--while that may be true, I will tell you this:
Once you start being conscious, your relationship with your children shifts for the better.

I am far from being done with this book, but in the interest of helping anyone out there that may be struggling with a teenager or just looking for parenting answers, I highly recommend that you read this book.
It is a book that I believe if followed, together with prayer and faith can actually crack the personal code on parenting.

To Be Continued.


Commercial Break: I Forgot All About This Picture That Was Emailed To Me Last May.

The first picture was sent to me by my niece Aneka.
She is still in contact with the Daniel Hoffman and Mikaela Ingals.
They met for coffee somewhere in Europe, he lives in Israel and she lives in London.
They wanted to send me a message. But since I have been off Facebook for over a year now, they decided to send it to Aneka, who lives in Manila.

The second picture was taken on my 25th birthday.
These were my preschool students 23 years ago. All their parents worked at the Refugee camp.
Aneka is on my right.
Daniel is the little boy third from left (only his eyes are seen)
Mikaela is the little girl third from right holding a red cup.

When I got this picture, I was
"not feeling very well."
But I remember feeling lifted by the
'Hello Teacher Chesca' message.
The point of this post is this,  when you feel compelled to pick up the phone or send a message to someone--Do it.
You never know how much the person receiving the note may be needing it.
(Within reason of course. Do not message your former dealer or anyone that is not healthy for you)


Game On: Now looking for 0003

I always notice license plates.
DZ told me about a game her GZ used to play.
Ever since she told me about it, I had been watching out for a plate number 0001, and I had been telling my daughters to help me so that I could start my own game.
Last friday I finally found one on my way to pick up the birthday cake.
And then yesterday on our way home from the property, about a quarter mile from our house I saw a parked car with this:

Despite the fact that we were tired, it was cold and drizzling, G had to pee badly and K still had to get to (recreational league) basketball practice--K excitedly told me that she would go with me to take its picture.
When we told Steve to stop the car,
Steve asked: "really??"
So he pulled over and let us off.
We had to jog a short distance to get back to where I saw it--and then we trekked home after taking the picture.

While this may seem like a nothing to anyone reading this--it is not nothing to me.
It is important because, the enthusiasm and interest K has in something that is "my thing" is a clear indicator that we are connecting once more.

Coming Soon: A post on How I started re-connecting with her.

Random Thoughts Regarding Our Overnight

"Hey keep an eye on Steve. Something may be wrong with him." Steve's-bro-Tim said this to me gravely.
"What do you mean??!"
I sat up from my sunday afternoon reading.  We were at the hunting property.
He had my full attention.
My mind started racing.
Chest pains? Did he hit his head? Is he concussed? Lupus? Is it Lupus??

"I don't know, but it looks like he is actually going to wash your car."
I felt my ears warm up and the blood return to my face.
Very funny.
Tim successfully dead panned scared me.

Earlier in the day I heard G call out, "hey guys, wanna ride the tractor bucket?"
Uncle Tim was giving rides. After the bucket ride she forgave "Acquaintance Tim"  for dismantling the eyesore homemade fort they built a few weeks ago.
And then Steve taught K how to drive a quad.
"He just taught me how to drive it, but I am not allowed to use it." she clarified.
(A quad is death on wheels. it  has no roof, no roll bar, and no seat belt.)
Before the tractor and quad rides,  the girls stuffed Pax into a sleeping bag and carried him up a steep ladder leading to a loft.
Getting him down was about as dangerous as the rides.

We were supposed to take two cars but after K's friends left last saturday, I did not feel like driving 90 miles.
I wanted to sleep.
Plus I knew that Steve was going bow hunting--so it was not like it was--in my opinion, going to be a family oriented overnight trip.
But in the interest of keeping us all together, Steve waited and urged me to come along in one car.

While he was hunting last saturday, I experienced riding with K for the first time since she got her permit a few days ago.
While she is actually a pretty good beginner driver, I found myself praying the entire time she was driving.

It is becoming very clear to me that giving up control is a very spiritual experience.
There is no difference between allowing other people to define safety or sitting beside my 16 year old learning how to drive.
The ability to give up control is directly proportional to the amount of faith one develops.

At some point on Sunday Steve asked me, "are you able to rest here?"
I paused for a brief second before saying, "yes."

Our  quick weekend.


Live Blogging

10:40 AM: About to get a mammo
...better than a pap, as that is not due until 2016.

updated: DONE! Despite the super cold temp, walked  to and from the place (half a mile away)  but was able to stay warm for most of it since I was able to enter through the nearby hospital's ER department a stone's throw away--and cut through to get to the imaging center.
Now just made a smart choice to have a some greek yogurt instead of my large vat of cheese balls.

11:15 AM: About to jump into my car to go to a DZ recommended french bakery to pick up a belated  birthday cake for a sleepover party we are hosting tonight for about a dozen 16 year old girls.
...better than a pap, as that is not due until 2016.

updated: SL's husband says, when you want something done, ask a busy person.
DONE! I have successfully picked up a birthday cake.
I also JUST remembered to sign not one but two 13 yr olds up for a make up gymnastics class for this evening. That almost slipped my mind, which would have been a problem.

12:25 PM: Now thinking of venturing out to tackle grocery shopping.
---I would rather get a pap.

12:26 PM: Changed my mind. Decided to eat some cheese balls and drink a glass of water.
Then did the 20 minute meditation that I started but stopped earlier this morning.

12:50 PM: Decided to brush my teeth as I realized when I was "focusing on the breath" that I had neglected to brush my teeth this morning. Applied eye make-up.

1:04 PM: Chatted with Elaine's sister who lives in Manila. Then chatted with JB.

1:40 PM: Did a 20 minute work out.

2:00 PM: Left to go to two grocery stores. Froze in the meat section. Figuratively.
Wanted to make something in my new crock pot but realized that I am clueless.
I have zero clue as to how to cook a meal in a slow cooker.
Bought snacks, fruits and ready-made (frozen) food instead.

3:00 PM: Picked up G and her friend from school.
Fed them each a frozen chicken burrito from Trader Joe's.

3:30 PM: Cancelled the open gym reservations I made for gymnastics, because both 13 yr olds decided it was not going to be fun. I did not force them. Secretly happy I don't have to shuttle them back and forth to it this evening.
Chatted with DZ.

4:53 PM: Torn between trying to straighten up the house, unclog the basement toilet or take a nap.
---I would rather get a pap.

5:00 PM Got a text from my friend (Let's call her "K") asking for dinner recommendations in Key West Florida.
She said she was about to watch the sunset and had no time to research nor make reservations.
So I called my favorite Key West restaurant and made reservations for her.
She will have dinner at Seven Fish at 6 PM. If they don't make it in time I also highly recommended Blue Heaven. I am positive that they will enjoy their meal at either place.

5:40 PM: Now about to unclog a toilet.

Toilet unclogging successful, but some toilet water splashed onto my face.
Steve, snuck up on me, waited for me outside of the basement bathroom just to startle (scare the poop out of) me--one of his favorite things to do--which I hate.
Then he kissed me hello.
He unknowingly kissed my toilet water splashed face.
I felt bad.
I just had to tell him.

updated: Late Late Late Into The Night....


Stayed up late into the night, in order to:
a) safeguard against any teenage galivanting.
b) finish up watching the entire Breaking Bad series. The final season.
Finally Walt is out of our lives. He was crowding me.


Full Circle

 (First Row, 8th from the left)

I was extremely disorganized when I was in 1st grade.
One morning, I could not find my little green school tie that went with my school uniform, and my harried mother, in an effort to stay within regulation--ripped two tiny strips of green cloth and pinned it to my school blouse.
May I repeat: ripped two strips of green cloth.
Just typing that, btw is sending me to Kamias road, to a time when my mom was trying to get NINE children off to school. Can you even imagine? (Make the voices stop!!!!)
You know what happens to children when they walk into a classroom wearing something peculiar?
They get laughed at.

This morning, I drove both girls to school. (pats self on back)
En route to G's school, she told me that she was going to wear tights today.
She had it balled in her hand and was preparing to put them on as she sat beside me during the short drive to school.
As she wriggled into them, they would not go all the way up to her waist, instead they stopped at the top of her thighs.
As we  approached the school, she was without a pair of socks and was in tights that fit her last winter.
But the tights did not fit her today.
I started to berate her for not preparing her uniform the night before (something I've always told my girls to do out of my own personal trauma with uniform malfunctions)
But I stopped myself mid-berate, as I watched her take a pair of scissors and deftly snip the tights around her thighs, lifting her legs to gain access to the material behind her thighs.
By the time she was done, it looked as if a blind person had tailored her now above-the-knee socks.
It looked awful.
I started laughing so hard. Hysterically actually.
She started laughing too.
I said: "G, you remind me of me."
She said: "Your school tie?" (she knew the story)

I offered to drive back home to get her a new pair of socks.
She told me not to bother--and that it was going to be okay.
As I watched her walking confidently into school,  I was filled with a sense of awe.
I  thought to myself that perhaps the amount of harassment I endured in first grade about my ratty tie, helped develop my crazy resilience today.
I am hoping that G's ability to face her day in middle school with her raggedly snipped socks-formerly-known-as-tights, is a strong indicator that she is already resilient. (and that maybe she won't ever yell: make the voices stop!!)

(I took her picture when she got home from school.)


Last Thursday, I Ran "So Fast" And Ended Up Making The Treadmill Emit A Noxious Odor

So a technician came to check it out.
Apparently, I blew out the motor. (congratulates self).
Now I have to wait until the week before Thanksgiving for a replacement motor.
There goes my proactive plan to balance out what I intend to eat.

 Today Is The Day I Succumbed. I Couldn't Even Wait Until I Got Home.