Friday, September 28, 2007

I can't believe what I just did.

I wrote an e-mail to my Russian prof and asked her for some poetry of the Russian masters. I asked for something simple so that I can learn to speak it better. I did not tell her this, but the dialogs that we recite in class mean nothing to me. She gives us poetry that children recite which is just little rhymes. They mean nothing to me. Chances are, I will not go to Russia in this lifetime. I am a mother with nine children and it's just amazing that I am even competing my degree. I used to want to travel, but now it seems as likely as me traveling to Mars. I don't give a rat's ass about the dialogs. I care about the poetry.

When I was younger, I had a bad stutter. I joined the debate team in high school because I wanted to get over it. My coach, for whom I named my first child, would later tell me that she went home and cried. I was so excited to be on the team, but my stutter was a huge hump in public speaking. It was painful to listen to me, but I so badly wanted to join the team. Debate teams over here do more than debate. They have drama events and she got me into mime so I could compete while she gave me poetry to practice for dramatic and humorous interpretation events. I read Shakespeare and Wordsworth and modern humorists and everything that she gave me. I overcame my stutter by learning the rhythm. I would stand in the hall after school and practice my works while kids ran indoors for the running team. I know I seemed weird but the same athletes who I was in class with noticed that when I read even when they good naturedly teased me and ran circles around me or tried to mess me up, I wasn't stuttering!

Once in a class another teacher called on me and asked me a question and I tried several times to answer him, but my stutter was bad that day and I stopped and asked to go see the school nurse because I had started to cry. One of the runners said, "Tea, you don't stutter when you read. Pretend you are reciting Shakespeare in the hall after school!" After that, I started getting better. Three years later, I was impossible to beat when I did my speaking events-- and I lost my stutter.

I hope the professor doesn't tell me that I have to memorize only the children's rhymes and dialogs and then get the poetry later.

In my German classes in high school, we only learned dialogs and I think that if she had taught us some poetry from the great German writers, I'd still speak it. Poetry is Art. Dialogs are lame and only useful if you get to travel and if the speaker deviates, you get confused. I read poetry for fun in English. I think that I would still speak German had I been introduced to it. Poetry has rhythm and there is a cadence to it. Poetry can be historical. You don't do poetry for a grade-- you do it for the sake of doing it.

Poetry teaches the structure of the language; it is like practicing katas in martial arts or doing compulsory figures in ice skating. Children's rhymes don't do it for me and dialogs depress me as I will most likely not travel to Russia.

I am not making any sense. She is going to laugh at me for even asking for something simple from the great writers, but that is what is relevant to me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I love my Russian professor

My Russian professor is the most stylin' lady that I've ever seen. She is sleek, always dresses to the nines and we have to call her doctor. It took me a while to get used to because I know her out of class from years ago. She taught my daughters Russian.

The other day we were talking and I told her how beautiful she always looks and how I love to see what she will wear next. She has inspired me to shed my jeans and t-shirts for dresses and make-up again. (She said that she has that effect of people.) I told her how I enjoyed the formality, that I like the European feel of her classes and she knows that I want to teach to adults and said, "I do not have you call me doctor because I am European or even because I like myself. Americans do not understand. In Europe, teaching will not make you rich, but you are teaching the next generation of doctors, philosophers, thinkers and writers and dads and moms like yourself. European teachers dress like they do out of respect for their profession. This is the highest calling. There are doctors out there and there are fine people, but if they don't have a good teacher, they won't get any place. My students are all over the world doing everything. my classes are hard, but I know how important my job is and you will be better in your life and in everything because I respect my purpose and throw logs on your fire to learn!"

I had tears in my eyes.

I want to be just like her. I kicked butt on my translation assignment after that. I dress up to study now. It made me feel good to be in college and even just be alive.

What I admire more about her is that she is professional without loosing her touch with us and she makes us laugh. On Tuesday, someone complained about conjugating and asked why (she was teasing) that Russians just can't get it right and be like the English with easier conjugations.

She replied, "You want to know about difficult? Why do the English have to have seven tenses of the word /be/? Every time I turn around I have to ask myself, 'I need to put /be/ here?' You have seven tenses of it and then ugh-- you have definite articles and they haunt my sleep!" She was pretending to put her hand on her head like she wanted to pass out from the effort!

She asked me to come up and demonstrate the tenses of be and I imitated her walk and her voice (I am a failed actress!) and the whole class was laughing.

I hope that I can be like her whether I teach or be a doctor. I love her personality!

Monday, September 24, 2007


I am homeschooling my eleven year old daughter. She has developed an attitude that I have no intention of tolerating. It's probably a typical young teenager attitude, and it's not from homeschooling. She has friends and I think she is within the bounds of normal in how she is acting, however I am having to turn into a disciplinarian. I think it's a combination of hormones and boundary pushing. I have told her that I will be giving her a uniform and not letting her have the freedom that she has enjoyed and she rolled her eyes at me and stalked out of the room! THE LOOK can be intimidating and I discovered that I was afraid to ask her to do something thinking of getting it! (I am a lot like Mrs. Weasley in Harry Potter and I have a large family to go with the character.)

This wouldn't have worked with my older two daughters. They have different personalities and when they were snippy with me I was like, "Screw this! Who do you think you are talking to? This is your MOM! Do not cause me to sin on your little heads!" This caused ripples of laughter and they knew it was time to shift gears which they did. Miss Sunshine however, glowers at me when I say that, then she goes off at me, "Well, YOU are ruining MY day!" Hmph!

I am thinking of getting her a uniform of a plaid or navy jumper and getting several and removing her other choices and being strict with her-- this will be worn every day including to church and she will earn the right to choose how she will dress and what options she has. Unlike my older two daughters, she looks a few years older than she is, likes make-up and I think is more predispositioned to making bad choices. (Of the elder two, one is a science major in college and the next older is going to get a scholarship to study Asian languages. Sunshine is more likely to do be a free spirit. I am a free spirit, but she spits venom at times. This is terribly not acceptable.)

She used to act snippy and I'd warn her and she'd get huffy, so I'd grab her hands and dance with her. This does not get me anywhere anymore.

She is a sweet girl-- I just see this attitude popping out from time to time and it is so not right and only serves to make things worse if she keeps on with it, not to mention how she will react as she gets older and teach the younger siblings.

It may not be too bad-- I showed her the jumpers and she liked them and my almost 5 yo came over and declared her love for them. Maybe I will have them dress like that. They all match. The boy's clothes look decent-- I need to see how they wear and think about it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sweet Life

Sweet Life oh What a Delight Sharin' My Love with You

On Friday we took what is one of the last walks of the season. It won't be long before winter sets in and the leaves are mostly golden and brown now with a few leaves that are still fading with red in the centers. We went up to the school with the younger kids and we played football on the walk there. I was pushing TeaCup in her stroller. She is at the stage where she will walk, but then wants (insists) to be carried so the stroller is easier. She leans forward and picks up leaves as we go along. I left the group early to pick berries as I saw a patch on the way into the school and enjoyed watching them throwing the football around to each other, my 11 and 9-8-7 year olds running backward and chasing one another. Boom-Boom and Roo were trying to keep up and dh gave them a smaller Nerf ball to throw around as they walked.

They played on the playground and there was music in them yelling from the swing sets to one another, "Daddy! Push me! Daddy, watch!" The older ones picked berries with me for a bit before we went home. The creep crawlies weren't all in the ground-- we still had a few the surprised me on twigs! We went to the creek on the way and my son Dash asked to carry the berries. When we eventually got home, the eight year old had red around his mouth and I looked at him and raised my eyebrows and he said, "Whaaat?" I just laughed and said, "You need to be more discreet when you snag berries from me. Don't miss your mouth!" His eyes got huge, "I don't know whatchertalkin'bout, Woman!" He knew I knew but I said he owed me a half hour of berry picking with is way less than he ate, but he didn't mind and since he enjoys it I will join him!

We got home and I made spaghetti and we ate, then after dinner. . . Mr. Coffee got obsessed by an online poker tournament. That was a turn off as we were going to play a game. We wound up watching a DVD of Johny Cash singing and Boom-Boom and I got up and danced to him and June singing, "Jackson" and "Ring of Fire." It was a lot of fun. Dh did really well in his poker game though-- out of 2,700 people he was in the top 150 when he folded. He's playing a late night game of something with the kids as I speak. They are eating a bread that I baked, a yeast bread to which I added a can of expired pumpkin to the dough. I had no idea what i was doing, but it tastes good and the hot oven is warming up the house.

On nights like this, I feel so happy. I like to imagine us in five years when the kids will be older-- TeaCup will be 7, then Roo will be 9, Boom-Boom 10, then the boys will be 13-14-15 and Sunshine will be 17. Of course my older laugher's Tiger and Peaches will be with their own families maybe or in school, and it's a happy thought of the kids still running along with us all a family, joking and playing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Other times it is not a sentence,

Yesterday we took Sunshine, Dash, Boom-Boom, Roo and Teacup to town. Dash had an eye appointment and it's one of those things that they are watching right now to see if he has an issue with his ocular tissue.

Of course I went to change my major and the English department secretary just started her vacation and is out of town and profs who I've known for years were dumbfounded on what to do. My timing is impeccable. My fave lit prof was still there. After 15 years, re recognized me and stopped in his tracks, "Why, it's Miss [my maiden name]!" I screamed my joy at seeing him, but while he is still dressing like a cross between a Mafia don and an English gentleman (complimentary on either account!) and hasn't changed, he was laughing because my daughters who used to go to the child care on campus and who used to go to lunch time department meetings because I wanted them to love school like I did, were the same ages as the children who were with me when I went in! He said, "You haven't changed and your children haven't grown up!" My eldest now has a class with him. Has it been that long? He kissed my cheek and welcomed me back. I will never wash that cheek again!

Dh and the kids and I went to the museum and out to lunch. I had a conversation with Sunshine and Dash-- she and Dash decided to start requesting things of the food servers, calling them "Ma'am" and smiling and being proud of themselves and causing me to remember why when I have money that I don't like to take them out. They want to run the show.

I saw friend from a private school that I went to years ago. The man deals in hundreds of thousands of dollars. Just got out of federal prison and is working a silly job to keep his probation officers happy. Everything was about, "So I spent $75,000 on a new BMW. . ." or whatever. I asked my husband if he thought this guy was rubbing my nose in the fact that we never got together and he said not at all. It had run through his mind but he has another friend who is like that and he said that it's his life. He has been through hell in the past couple of years and I never cared one way or the other about money. I liked it and was raised in it, but my parents used it to control their environment and while I do not advocate being broke and in debt by any means, I am terrified of it. So my husband said that when he speaks of it, he knows I can relate and he is also establishing himself as the alpha male, on top of his game. I am a good listener and he said, "B. needs that in his life. You don't know his friends. He may keep you separate from them. You appreciate what he does because you understand it, but you are not scheming to join him." He is right. I would love to have the money, but it would mean having more money to spend on things that take us away from the kids. With my kids, if they get bored, they don't have Ipods-- they build forts. We don't watch TV all the time-- I read classic books to them. It's not better but for now it's a way of life that I am happy that we have and I would change somethings if I could but don't know if I could keep from changing other things. His kids are in a boarding school in Europe. That would kill me.

My husband said that he thinks he will call me again as we talked for a long time and he was happy to see me as I was happy to see him. The funny thing is, he appreciates my children and family. He wouldn't want to be in my position financially, but he said that I am a wonderful mother. He knew my parents and didn't like them and told me in junior high that they had mental blinders on me. I didn't understand it then but I do now.

It was fun to get out with my husband and a few of the kids. We needed a day like that.
It was fun to have no schedule and bum around the museum, looking at huge works of art and explaining to the kids what they represented, and after a few, Sunshine and Dash were figuring it out and telling us what they understood.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

New Glasses!

I got some new glasses today!

They look like they are from the 1960s-- cat eyes with sparklies! They are freaking wild! They unfortunately bring all the attention to the glasses, not my face, but so far people say that they bring out my red hair. I may get sick of them soon, but everyone says they look good. Does the Empress have no clothes? I have a feeling that I will look at the pics that my daughters took of me and be like, "I can't believe that I got those." I think that I look like a dork. A fun, cool dork, but still a dork.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Noot-elles and Other Stuff

My son, CutieBug, is seven years old. Tonight I went shopping for groceries and came home with a car full of food. He and his brothers were supposed to be in bed but heard me come in and called me back and they asked if they could help me bring in the food which was awesome of them to do. I bought some instant soup that he and his brothers love and he said, "Thank you for buying the noot-elles. I love the Japanese noot-elles!" I don't correct him. The time will come too soon when he is clipping off the ends of his words and sloshing everything.

I talked to my lawyer about some stuff. He asked me about my college courses. He found out that I am taking a math class that doesn't count and yelled at me. I love him. He yelled at me and called it bonehead math. I told him that I needed accountability for my class work or I won't do it and he boomed, "I'll give you accountability: you are stupid to be paying for a class that won't count as credit. You can learn that sh-- on your own and work up to college level algebra." He started questioning whether or not the college had a right to make me even take math or statistics. I kept wanting to talk about my English classes and he said, "I don't want to hear about it! You show me a diploma and then we'll talk!"

I spoke to someone at the U about a writers' internship and I may be able to get in on it. I will talk to her next week.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ahrg! I am so blessed. Argh!

Did you all hear my anguished scream from your sleep?

I just sat down to the painful task of matching up my classes to what is required of me. I am ONE semester away from a lit degree, and after this semester, one semester one and a half semesters (assuming that I am not taking math) from a degree in rhetoric. If I had come back to school for JUST English last spring, I would have my degree minus the math classes and stats course! I can't even spyell right tonight!

I am so fortunate to have my problems.

This means that I have time to do an art minor.

Oh my life is so hard.


My husband whom I am wont to loathe at times is very supportive of me in this. He has been saying to me, "Tea, when your time is come, nothing will be able to stop you. Your path will open to you and it will seem so clear, you won't know how you missed it!" Now-- oh dear God, let me pass my classes.

My eldest got my email on it and reminded me of when I told her to get a teaching degree because she'd always have a job. She is right. Then I can be a grandmother, too-- at least devote time to my dear children during the summer if they'll have me! I am very fortunate.

I know where I want to go for grad school to get my teaching certificate.

I have bounced a bit from wanting to become a doctor ten months ago, but would I have returned to college "just" wanting to be an English professor? No. I had a few chances before. Even social work sounds more glamorous than teaching. I met a woman last year around this time at a boutique who was a visual delight and I stopped in my tracks and said to her, "I love your outfit! I adore your ensemble and I love how you speak! Pray tell, from what planet did you beam to us from?!!" She laughed and said she taught at a nearby high school. I told her that she had more culture than a container of Yoplait and the store owner laughed as did she. We introduced ourselves and she taught at one of my daughter's high schools. I went to the parent night dressed up hoping to see her and lo, she was there and we appraised each other. She said that she'd give me an A on my fashion sense and I told her that I would wear that as a scarlet letter in my heart for always and I do! She is an English teacher as is her husband. They are just like my fave profs, addressing the students as Mr. and Miss. They have Ph.D.'s and they are addressed as Dr. and Dr. I want a Ph.D. I want to be just like them!

Seeing people like that just makes me smile and feel great. They are a visual breeze. They said that while my reaction was over the top that they are as I am when they meet their kind. I am their kind! Why didn't they inspire me last year to join them? I wasn't ready. Your plate has to be empty and you must be feeling ready for the next course to resume.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The First Step is 90% of the Way Done

For years I postponed taking math. Math was not hard for me, but it was tedious. When I started college back in the early 90's, I tried it, but I had a sick child. You know, you can make up a history class and even a clinical psych class if you miss three weeks, but you cannot make up math! I failed stats three times because I just couldn't keep up.

I had thought that I was not good at it and even fell into "math anxiety" excuses with fellow social work students. The funny thing was, my dad, before he went into horses, built houses. I could talk to a client on the phone and figure out square footage, costs and reductions and come extremely close to the correct figures. I did not have an issue with applied math. I did it if I needed to. I was 15! In high school it was another issue-- my dad could not explain algebra for me. We fought over dinner about my grades when I just wasn't getting it. We had housekeepers and five cars (they'd not let me drive-- it's explained in another post) and they'd not spring for a tutor for me. (My own kids get mandatory tutors when their grades dip below a mid C.)

Fast forward 23 years, and I took the mandatory math test to determine my placement. I tested into the lowest math class and decided to take it through correspondence because it was while sitting in the room taking the test that I was like, "Peaches got mono when this was being discussed and I'd had to drop the class--" I suddenly didn't feel like an ignoramus. It wasn't anxiety, I just wasn't able to keep up when I had to miss classes. Just how on Earth did I get through that period of my life? I am not feeling sorry for myself-- I am amazed because little memories come back to me from time to time and I don't know how I kept going. I have insisted that my own children take math and science classes in high school, "Either do it now when it's mandated and paid for in the school budget or pay for it yourself in college." My eldest tested out of college algebra and is in some calc class. VICTORY for me! My husband says that if I want to, he thinks that I will be able to do applied calculus if I set my mind to it, but I just want to get through this semester first.

I just did my first two lessons. This is embarrassingly easy stuff, but I can do one or two lessons each week and get through this. I know I can do it and I will pass this class, and I will pass the class after this and the class after than and finally. . . college algebra. Then I will go back to the crazy prof who I loved but failed stats with the first three times and get it right and that will be the semester that I graduate-- God willing. I will get A's, too.

I am also taking Linguistics and magazine article writing. I love them both. I debated in high school and I was taught to look at both sides of an argument and be able to argue both sides convincingly, so writing is easy. Linguistics is also fun because it is part of what makes us human. We are learning about universals in languages right now and of course this clicks in with my Russian. My only wish about this is that they related to more to the languages that college students seem more likely to study like Russian, French, German, Japanese, etc, in addition to Zulu and Twi.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

My Eldest is Back for an Evening

I so much enjoy my children. I am often overwhelmed but they are a joy to behold. Today I went to town and picked up my eldest and brought her home for the evening. She is a trip and a half. She is having fun in college and still makes time to come home to see her brothers and sisters. Of course this evening she is spending time with her Mormon friends. They are having a young people's dance. She left in my April Cornell Nothing Matches Skirt and a top and jacket that match. On her feet-- she wore sandals with foot socks. I would have never ever dressed like she does, but from the ankles up, she looked great. I asked after her outfit and she said, "I'm not there to be looked at-- I am going to see my friends." I love her nonchalance. Every minute she spends fussing over herself, she is loosing time with her friends, several who are going on Missions soon.

I'm envious of people with good marriages. I so much loath my husband. He must dislike me as much. I know why people have leave their spouses and children for others-- to find happiness any way they can get it. Tonight he started mocking me in a high pitched voice, "Will you do this? You forgot to do this! I need this! Ooooh! I'm so helpless!" Who else can fix the phone jack? Why must I beg him to fix the bathroom wall or do things that I just need him to do? Why do I have to ask him ten times to do something, yet when he sees me do it he sluggishly gets up and does it and degrades me for how I've done it? I can give him basic instructions on doing something and then ten minutes later he comes in and says, "How do I do this?" I feel like he is sabotaging my attempts to do school. Why can't he find someone who he respects and fall in love. He was so nice and fun to be with when he was in love with me! I felt high energy being with him. Now if we are getting along and I think we get along, later he finds something wrong with it.

The weekends are too long.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Today I read the rest of The Chosen. It was very powerful and I took Sunshine to class and bought ice cream for the babies and sat and read. It was so nice-- where I was sitting, the sun was beating down on me in the car but it wasn't overly bright. I felt like I was sitting under a sunlamp.

I cleaned up the babies and after Sunshine got done with class, I dropped her off with Boom-Boom and took the younger two to a pre-school for an interview. The assistant's name was Chuckie. She seemed nice but spoke down to the kids. I know that some have special needs, but she is 35 and trying to talk like a four year old. That creeped me out when I was little and I didn't trust adults who did that and I don't trust it now. The name Chuckie really got in my nerves as well. I got home and told them that we couldn't do it at this time. Note to teachers everywhere: do not make your name be the name of a horror flick character.

Time flies fast in Russian. I love my teacher. She is so cute. We have Russian names and American names and then we have diminutives of each. I felt like I was in War & Peace. Our teacher got tired. She felt so tired to she motioned for me to "get up and be the teacher." I had to explain that she had just explained, then each person in class took a turn being the teacher while she yawned and blinked her eyes. This is so nice-- in one of my social work classes, we played Let's Pretend (If I were a counselor or a client and I drew this out of a hat, here's how I'd act!.) In Russian we are actually doing something. I also like hearing my classmates speak because I can hear my own mistakes in their vocalizations. A language is not something that you can learn on your own. I wonder if us leaving certain phonemes off the ends of words is as jarring to her ears as it is to mine once I detect it even in another language. (It's forgivable because we are new speakers, but it can still be eye-bulging-ly annoying.) What gets to me is knowing that as an adult language learner, I will never quite get the language as well as I would have at the age of 12 when I wanted to learn but they just didn't have it in school.

We learned something interesting as well. She said that teachers in Russia cannot leave their grade books out because the students will help each other by adjusting the grades. She said that it's cultural-- Russians help each other. I wanted to ask some questions over that but she perhaps sensed a bunch of questions that might not end well and changed the subject. Are Americans too much individualists? To us it is cheating, to them it's cultural. No doubt their helping of each other has made them survivors through a hellish history-- but I do not understand it.

We were reading and something that is quite trivial-- a name-- kept being repeated and I didn't see how it could be read like that. I asked her how she got that name out of what we had read over and over and she said that I was correct. It was just a couple of letters, but I felt like I was getting it. I was quite happy with myself.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Today I went to meet my adviser. What a person! I love her. She was of course the mother of one of my friends in high school. As I sat in her office and we started talking children and families, so much came back to me about conversations that I had with her and her son. I told her how my own sisters have kids who have started having children at the age of 19 like I did, but that mine seem to be making good choices. Mine have other options besides marriage at a young age. She is partly why. She interacted so well with my friend-- I wanted to have that with my own children. My children and I are more intellectual than me the grown-up and them the little idiots who obey me.

I called the professor from the university parking lot in tears because I couldn't find a parking spot and asked her where I could park and she said, "You are driving?!! You are independent! I am so happy for you!" I was happy that I was driving around looking for a parking spot! Oh the joy of being upset with such a problem! The only parking spot available to me was ironically out by the elementary school that my daughters had gone to, next to the public bus stop.

She laughed at my transcript, "I remember when you struggled in that stats class. . . how did you make it through Shakespearean lit-- oh, you didn't." My transcript is an unwritten history of me having to choose between difficult choices, getting around a northern city on a bus with two and then three little kids-- what terrible years! I still have 250 usable credits.

English is choosier than human services-- the D's in history are not counting but she said they won't matter because they will be replaced with B's and A's and improve my GPA. The master's application will only look at grades from last spring on as far as how they will decide if I belong or not. I had thought about becoming a doctor. I spoke to biology and the adviser simply said, "Start taking science and math and get A's." I wonder if I could and still get into medical school. My adviser encouraged me to stay with literature because she knew that I loved it and she said that anything other than my passion will suck the life out of me, that my life is hectic and crazy and that I have to study and teach only what I love. Will this pay the bills? Everyone I spoke to on the phone on the way home seems to think that I am finding my place. I got home and Anne had said the same thing to me in the comments section below in the last post.

I took my eldest to late breakfast and slipped her some money and she thanked me for never making her ask for it. My CEO mother had a great job and money to spare and she made me petition her and show her my finances or at the very least explain them before she helped me out. We're talking about justifying why I needed help on an allotment of $923 a month and $300 in food stamps from which I paid $600 rent-- I did not make it past the wait list for heating assistance. I paid for utilities and bus passes on the rest. It's occurring to me how bad things were but how they are not bad for my children-- and my kids are aware of it. I don't tell them, but I've told them about it and they remember a lot of it as they saw it all happening.

Sunshine got rejected from one of her modern dance classes. It's a blessing in disguise. They are putting her in to a ballet technique class which is so much better. The studio is more in to The Recital! than they are in to substance. "Perform for all your friends!" Technique classes are really what every dancer should be doing for the first three years before being allowed in front of any one. I got there a half hour early to see her in Modern and she was in tears. The owner was there and telling me how she was behind. She brought up the technique class and I was like, "Sunny, these people finally have it right. They spend way too much time on the recital and never enough on technique! Technique is the way to go! Bella, you are fantastic for offering technique!" The owner was not happy with my acceptance speech of the situation and asked me to keep my voice down but I said, "What's to hush? This is the finest decision you could have made! Why don't you do more of these technique classes?" Three other parents turned around, "You are offering more technique, Bella?" They surrounded her and I winked at her. I called to affirm the decision and she didn't seem upset and she may offer more classes in pure technique next semester "being that you created a stir over it."

It was funny. The woman telling me this kept saying that Sunny was "a little behind." This woman has to weigh 250 or more pounds. She is big, OK? I don't have an issue with people who are overweight, but the monologue in my head as I listened to myself and hardly heard her was astoundingly funny. She kept saying, "a little behind" while I was thinking about her big behind-- her hulking huge posterior. She could get in my SUV and it would sink three inches. She has a degree in dance! WTF! She is maybe 30 years old and a posterchild for Weight Watchers and Cardiac Anonymous.

I was glad that I had shown up earlier to buffer the humiliation and when we got to the car, a chocolate cupcake from one of our church friends' bakeries greeted her in the passenger side.

As I sit here writing, I have three children standing around me with different agendas, each ignoring the others. How do they do it simultaneously? Dash is reciting the list of clouds that he learned today, Guy Smiley is reading his spelling words, and my five year old is playing the recorder over it. My almost two year old hopped up on my lap and grabbed my pearl necklace and Jack-Jack the almost four year old just ran out to announce that he went potty and everyone yelled hoorah because he will make a mess in his pants if we don't cheer him on! In the dining room I hear my husband dramatically reciting Sunshine's Spanish words and comparing them to her French that she has to learn for her technique class. He sounds like he is trying to be Pavarotti with how he reads them in his tenor voice and sounding more Italian. For some reason, he just threw in a Japanese saying and is breaking a word down. My seventeen year old is on the phone with a friend and her best guy friend just got engaged. He is her age.

Am I Doing the Right Thing?

I am killing myself over this major change. I think I am doing the right thing.

One of the situations that I observed years ago when I was volunteering at women's shelters was that so many of the women whom I served lacked a basic education. Women who were getting ready for interviews were told to come speak to me and listen to me talk. I'd read aloud to them and help them get ready for their interviews. I loved being a certified nurses' assistant many years ago because I was helping people's basic needs and serving them. Am I not doing the same by teaching them to read? I wanted to go to college to be a doctor but that is not meant to be. Social work annoys me but it's my colleagues who got on my nerves. I NEVER had an English prof that I didn't like and I loved my classmates. Why did I ever leave the major?

I have a repulsion to words that are slang. I have a physical reaction to hearing certain words. I went off at an OB for asking me how I was peeing and sent a letter that I am certain burst into flames to a hospital ER for asking me how my tummy was feeling. I love the English language and have serious issues with people who are educated who do not! I left OBs who asked me if I was peeing OK. I got annoyed with nurses over it. I am not only an English major but uptight as well! I don't like being thus; I wish I were less like me at times.

I know I did the right thing, yet I am terrified that I won't have a job when I graduate or be able to pay my student loan debt. I will meet with my adviser in the morning. I hope I will not be wearing my insecurities on my sleeve.

When I ask friends if they think I have made the right choice they hug me or kiss my cheek and say, "You can do anything you set your mind to!" What?!! My life often reminds me more of an I Love Lucy episode with the dizziness of Suddenly Susan thrown in, than of anything serious. (None of that bawling nonsense that Lucy did. That just made me mad!) The "you can do anything you set your mind to" seems to me like a canned response. Of course they don't sit around contemplating my future-- they have more than enough on their plates to even think about what I should be ordering for my next course! I (like everyone else) has to write my own life.

I know that my path will open up to me. Umm, right?

Good Thoughts on today's events that I need to focus on:

  • My tiniest baby has been making me laugh as of late. She is such a little pill. Very, very bizzy. My other kids were exhausting as I was pregnant with the next children. She is into everything as they were at this age but I feel like I am having more fun. I am tossing out baby clothes this time knowing that I won't be getting pregnant again and I feel relief. I am not happy to wind up this stage of her life, but I seem to be enjoying it while it lasts. I have not been pregnant for two years-- this is a record for me since the break between Sunshine (12) and Peaches (17.)
  • My husband and I were getting on by the time we sat down this evening. That was nice because I hate being so hurt. He fixed the damned shower.
  • Peaches did well on a Japanese test today, then actually understood her vocabulary words when I started miming them.
  • One of my sons with special needs was put full time in to a regular classroom with promised time to resource when he needs or we think he needs it.
  • Guy Smiley, my eldest son, got in on the miming and put his hand on my shoulder and in his funny way of speaking said, "See! Look at that! I'm a chip off the old block!" Just what the world needs: more mimes. More BAD mimes. :)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

I complain a lot. My life is not easy. Am I complaining or just telling it like it is? It's my journal so so what.

If another person interrupts me to ask me what I do with my children when I am happily talking about my schooling. . . I am going to do what I always do and assure them that they are will taken care of by my husband. I will not slap the living daylights out of them when they ask me if he is fucking unemployed. No one asks my husband what we do with the kids when he is working! I was at my favorite candy shop today and I was asked this by another regular there. Lord, have mercy I was so mad-- I had liked the woman, too!

Am I selfish because I love what I do and look forward to being in college and working and studying? It's life and I am living it! So irritating.
My husband has to be wondering how he married anyone as stupid as me. I know I am wondering how I married anyone like him. Are these phases normal in marriage? He tells me that I do nothing in our house. Complains that I don't get up to make breakfast on weekend mornings, "That has never been your strength." Damned right it's not. Shortly after we got married he told me that it was my "jab" to do it. I was like, "No it's not! I will not get up ever to make an early breakfast on the weekend." It's like one of those things-- we both stay up late on Friday and Saturday nights. I will buy breakfast and sometimes even make it ahead, but I don't like getting up early. So be it, it's not my strength. Play into my strengths.

He gets on me for delegating with my older daughters for making meals at times and changing diapers and said that Sunshine complains to him that I do nothing. How the hell can he say that I do nothing? I fold and clean all day long and the kids come home and throw everything off. I transport my children all over the area that we live in. My eldest started loudly complaining four years ago that she'd not left the house in "days" like it was a requirement and started telling me which kids to take with me shopping and I got irritated with her over that-- they play outside and go all over the place and play with few worries. Still, she put it in their heads that if I don't physically drive them here and there then they can't be happy. So frustrating. I told her to see how she feels when she has children of her own when her know it all teenager does the same thing. Children get bored shopping.

I asked him to do two things this weekend, one was to check the shower where the wall is falling apart and the other was to fix the vacuum. He played online, he played with the kids (then acted like it was something he should get a hero award for) and we went on some family outings and he went off last night to his night. . . but he never did the TWO things that I had asked. He was mad when I called him today asking if he'd done it and I yelled at him at work over not doing it. He ended it by saying, "Fine. I'll do it next time." He won't. Women have complained about this for thousands of years.

I hope my children never marry. These things just grate on you. If we weren't married, he'd still court me and I'd still be making gourmet meals to attract him. I wish he didn't take me for granted. As soon as I start getting on top of things I am bad for being anal retentive about the kids doing their housework and asking for help. I can't win.

Monday, September 03, 2007

My second eldest daughter (Peaches) just showed me an award that she got in Japanese for her use of Kanji.

Sunshine is doing well with her Spanish.

Dash has been listening to me practice Russian at night and greeted me this morning with what sounds like perfect intonation that is better than mine.

Tiger just called and loves her French class.

I have nine children-- will any of them learn the same language? My son with the speech impairments wants to learn Japanese. Oh this will be fun. . .

Yesterday my husband and I took the six smaller kids to the giant train model station where we can ride a model train around. It was great! I dropped off the older two (the eldest is at school now) at the state fair. They also had fun but the younger didn't know about it because there is no way I can afford to take them all.

Today we all went hiking in a popular pass and picked berries.

I am flat out exhausted but we had a terrific time.