Something is in the Air…

School has started for the semester.  This means a few things.  The first is that I have more time to be me instead of being mom.  It also means that all that time will be spent pouring over books, preparing for quizzes, and generally trying to fill my brain until it either A) explodes outwardly with great force or B) implodes and I wind up rocking in the fetal position in a corner somewhere.  I’m hoping for option B.  It’s a lot less messy.

Good news is, I’m still in beginning of the semester bliss mode.  I feel on top of the world and like nothing can stop me.  It’s nice to feel this way, but the realistic side of me knows it’s not going to last.  That’s for future Amanda to worry about.  For now, I’m hoping to ride this bliss wave until at least mid semester.

The kids are all back in school now, too.  I can’t believe that we have a high schooler, two middle schoolers, and only two left in elementary school.  I feel older this semester than I ever have.  Maybe it’s because of the kids.  Maybe the fact that I’m 30 is finally setting in.  Or maybe I’m just a crotchety old lady who refuses to resign herself to the fact that her eldest child will be in college in a couple years.  I swear though, some of these incoming freshman look younger than her.  I’m not even old enough to feel this old.  Or maybe I’m just in denial. 

The BF’s even looking to go back to school.  He’s been getting info on a local online school that’s very well known.  It seems academia is in the air.

Oh and love.  Love is in the air too.  I just had a cousin get married and another one get engaged all on the same day.  It was so sweet.  When I was telling my friend about it, she asked me if I elbowed the BF and asked where my ring was.  It would be nice to get a ring eventually, but I’m in no big rush.  We have a lot of things to accomplish before we can walk down an aisle together and I really want to do things right this time. 

Speaking of my first marriage, it would have been 13 years yesterday.  Now don’t get all sad and apologetic.  I spent yesterday wishing I felt better (I just got over a nasty flu) so I could celebrate the fact that I’m not with him.  I will say one thing about that relationship (aside from the fact that I’m glad he’s gone) it taught me a lot.  I’ve learned so much about myself as a person.  I know how strong I am.  I know where my weaknesses lie.  I learned what I want out of life.  Because of that failed marriage, I know what I want out of my next one.  I know what I will and won’t deal with.  Most of all, I learned never say never because sometimes, walking away is the best thing you can do.

There’s No Place Like “Home”

So I’ve been back from Oregon for a month now almost to the day. That means two things. 1. I’m a serious slacker who leaves her followers hanging big time after a major vacation and B. It’s time for another vacation. ;-)

Hmm, where to start. I guess I’ll start at the beginning. One day, long ago, my mom meet my dad and they fell in love. Oh. That’s too far back you say? Okay, guess I’ll start with the vacation then.

The train ride out there was quite the experience. There was some stress in getting to the train station and then some uncertainty as to which car we should be on, but once we were on the train, things began to calm down. I’m happy to report that the kids were all fairly well behaved despite the four hour delay coming into Portland. I’m not so pleased to admit that they didn’t really play with the felt potato heads I made. Ah well. Live and learn I suppose.

The scenery as we came into the Washington/Oregon area was gorgeous. I nearly cried as I saw my first mountains and spotted pelicans for the first time. I was very surprised by the emotional response I was having.

It didn’t end there. Every aspect of our trip triggered something deep in me that I couldn’t quite put my finger on at first. Seeing the “Keep Portland Weird” billboard across from Voodoo Doughnuts, swimming at Foster Dam, puting my feet in the Pacific for the very first time, meeting the boyfriend’s amazing family and friends, and eating seafood so fresh that it was probably still swimming around the day before all elated me beyond reason. So I did what I always do. I self analyzed the heck out of it.

I realized that these extreme emotional responses stemmed from something that I never really had in Wisconsin. A feeling of belonging. Not as much in the communal sense, as I have had that in certain aspects here (even though it’s lacking quite a bit in my opinion) but in the sense of feeling like I fit in with my surroundings.

I was born and raised right here. Every place I’ve ever lived is within 25 minutes of anywhere else I’ve ever lived. It’s only been in the last couple years that I’ve even started to branch out and frequent other local cities. So, for a long while, this city was all I’ve known. And I’ve always hated it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve developed a new found appreciation for my city. I no longer totally despise it. Even with that new found appreciation, I still don’t feel like I fit here. I feel like a puzzle piece that someone crammed into a spot it doesn’t belong. It fits, sorta, but it’s not supposed to.

I never knew what to do about that feeling. I’ve known for a long time that I wanted to move away. The question was always where to though. I thought I had the answer once and my ex and I attempted to move to Kentucky. That didn’t work out so well (thankfully). My reasons for trying to move there were because he had family there and I liked it better than where we were living. I thought Kentucky was adorable, but I was never head-over-heels in love with it.

Enter Oregon, with its sexy waterfalls, luscious forests and majestic mountains. I never stood a chance. It was love at first sight for sure. The 8 days we had together were some of the best I’ve ever had. Alas, like all good things, it had to come to an end.

Today was a particularly rough day. I never knew someone could be so homesick for somewhere they’ve never actually lived. I often find myself daydreaming about moving out there, but today was horrible, so I was ready to pack up my hanky, tie it to a stick, and run away from here. I managed to resist the urge, but only just barely. I just have to keep telling myself only 13 more years….

I’m baaaccck!

Just a quick note to let you all know I haven’t forgotten about you. I’m hoping to post about our vacation in the next couple days. Things have been a bit hectic since our return, so it’s taking a while. Sorry!

These are the People in Your Neighborhood

Take race out of the equation. Would he have pursued him? Called the police? Tailed him even after a 911 operator told him to stop following the boy? Gotten out of the car to confront him, knowing that police were on their way?

Now flip the script. If Martin had been white and Zimmern black, would that verdict have been different?

Sad thing is, racism was, and still is, an issue in our country. The thing is, until I was almost in middle school, I didn’t know racism existed.

I live in a city that’s a nice mixture of many races. I grew up having block parties with people of many different backgrounds. I was exposed to other cultures at a young age. I remember having cow tongue tacos (tacos lenguas) with our next door neighbors. Skipping double dutch or doing drills with the girls down the street. Watching tv with my friend while her mother put cornrows in her hair. Learning to speak Spanish from the kids in the neighborhood. Playing marbles for “keepsies” with every kid on the block gathered around to watch like it was the World Cup. This was my childhood and it was great.

Fast forward to Fourth Grade. I was a smart kid who was pretty socially awkward. I got bullied a lot. One of my bullies was a girl who I had been friends with at one point. While we were on our way to the library, she balled up her fist and made a motion like she was going to hit me. When I flinched, she asked me if I was prejudiced. I had no idea what that meant. As I stared blankly at her, my friend Travis spoke up for me. “If she was prejudiced, she wouldn’t be friends with me.” As we continued to the library, Travis explained to me what prejudiced meant. By the time he was done, I wanted to cry. How could someone think that my opinion of them could be based on their skin color?

I guess that’s part of the reason I don’t understand the hate and anger that people are throwing around about this case. As a parent, I feel anger over the not guilty verdict. As a human, I feel sadness over this senseless loss. I don’t understand the anger and hate though.

Over the past couple days, the comments I have read on social media have been outright horrible. Some have even made me cry. My news feed is blowing up with views from both sides of the fence. Many people are posting other crimes that may have been racially motivated, saying why didn’t this have national coverage? Why didn’t Obama make a statement about this? Plain and simple, it’s the media. The media chose to take this case and blow it up. That had nothing to do with the government, the president, anyone else other than the media.

On the flip side, I have heard people call for the death of Zimmerman. Some have even commented that they would like to find him and do it themselves. What is that going to solve? Nothing.

I’m happy to say that these extreme comments are only from a few on my contacts list. It still saddens me to see people I care for so full of anger and hate.

A gentleman on Facebook named Alex Fraser penned this response. I found it to be both insightful and true.

Hopefully, one day race will be a non-issue in America. I often think back to my childhood neighborhood and wish that the whole country could come together as we did. I know one thing for sure. So long as people allow hatred and anger to well up in them at moments like this instead of concern and compassion, things like this will continue to divide us instead of unite us.

We’re Going West, My Friends

Family trips can be a huge source of stress for me. The planning, packing for 7 people, securing hotels, car, transportation and everything else that goes with it is just exhausting. Not to mention that the change in sleep cycles and routines can really do a number on my mental health.

All that being said, guess what I’m in the midst of doing. Planning a vacation. I’ve actually reached the point where I’m beginning to pack. I have a mere 4 days until we depart. Even though I’ve been planning this for months, I feel like I’m drowning in to-do lists.

Part of this is self imposed. I want the house spotless before we leave. There’s nothing worse than coming home to a messy house after vacation. So I’ve got everyone on cleaning detail. This is creating more headaches than its helping at the moment though. The kids are rebelling. They’ve put together a list of demands that they insist must be met before they will continue in their work. I don’t negotiate with terrorists, no matter how cute they may be, so it seems we’re at a standoff.

I wanted to buy small travel pillows. We’re taking the train there and flying back, so I need something small we can cram into a bag on the way home. After looking at my options, I decided it would be cheaper to make my own. It was cheaper to buy the materials. Now, being that I have no time to make these things, I just need to find a bunch of little mice to sew them up for me. I wonder if Cinderella’s little friends would be up for it…

I also got the great idea to make these felt Mr. Potato Heads to keep the kids busy on the 2 day train ride. They’re so cute and compact, and even a couple the older girls wanted to have one. I started those two weeks ago. Guess who’s still not done. Oh well. At least I only need to cut out the accessories.

I have 3 1/2 people packed, clothes-wise. That’s half way done! Woo hoo! It also means I have 3 1/2 more people to pack. Okay, fine, it’s more like after the half is done I only need to pack for myself. Knowing the eldest and the boyfriend, I’ll have to double check bags though.

The eldest will pack too much, as teenage girls often do. She recently went on a week long trip and took two bags for herself. I’ve been packing everyone else’s clothes two people to one duffle bag. I don’t mess around when it comes to packing.

The boyfriend will do the opposite. He tried to argue that one pair of shorts would be enough for a 10 day trip. Yeah… um no. I’m sure he’ll forget something important too, like his underwear. I’m not sure I ever met a man who was good at packing.

Despite all this chaos (or maybe because of it) I’m really looking forward to this vacation. We’ll be spending time with the boyfriend’s friends and family, we’ll see some beautiful scenery, including waterfalls, which I’m psyched about. I know that it will be a great time. It’s just the preparing stage that makes me bonkers. Then it should be all good… until it’s time to come home and unpack it all, that is.

It’s 3 am, I Must be Lonely

Today (well yesterday actually) was a busy day. I spent last night in the ER with my boyfriend and didn’t get to sleep until 5 am yet I still managed to help the middle girls clean their pigsty of a room, run errands, start packing for vacation, take a nap and go to game night with some friends. I should be out like a light right now. Only I’m not.

Even after developing a killer headache that turned into a migraine, I still haven’t found sleep. I got home, took some meds for the headache, covered my eyes, put ear plugs in, and prepared myself for dream land. I’m pretty sure it’s further away now than it was when I got home.

It’s so frustrating to be exhausted and unable to sleep. I was over emotional today. I cried 4 times for no reason whatsoever. Everything is starting to run together, my fuse is getting shorter and reality seems… a bit unreal.

It’s been more than a week now of averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night. I haven’t used my melatonin lately because I usually don’t think of it until it’s too late. I’d give one of my toes right now for a good night’s rest. Tomorrow, I’m going to drug myself before I even lay in bed. Maybe then I can get some good sleep.

As always, I’ve been trying to analyze why I might be having this issue. I know part of it is the upcoming vacation. There’s a lot to do in the next week, so there’s no doubt that the stress from that is affecting me.

There are other things stressing me out. My boyfriend’s been having health concerns and is going to require surgery. It’s a “fairly routine procedure” but it’s still surgery and it still freaks me out.

I might need surgery on my ankle, which means I have to change my education plans yet again. Ankle surgery would make it too hard to go to school 45 min away. Honestly, my bigger issue here is the changing education plans again. The idea of surgery does worry me a bit but I’m more concerned with how is going to affect my ability to function on a daily basis that anything else.

The kids have been pretty good lately. There’s been some petty stuff, but they’re kids, so it’s to be expected. I’m just glad they’re all happy and healthy. Sure, I wish I didn’t have to repeat myself 20 times, but I guess that’s just post of being a parent.

Man, I got off on a tangent there. It’s 3:30 am. The brain is showing no sign of stopping. I really wish I didn’t have things to do on the morning. I’d dug myself with some melatonin and finally pass out. I think I might go get some warm milk… (does that crap even work?)

Woo hoo!

I want to say thanks to my minions… I mean followers. I’ve got over 500 views now! I feel so loved!