Sunday, January 31, 2010

Out of the Blue

It is amazing how latent insecurities can be triggered by seemingly insignificant situations.

I am a really tall woman (6'2" currently, used to be 6'3" but there has been some settling of contents during shipment). I have been comfortable being tall since I was in my mid-twenties. Before that I was really insecure, and felt very gangly and ugly. This morning before church, a woman walked by me and said to her husband (loud enough for me to hear), "Gee, maybe I should join a church of midgets!" She was probably about 5 feet tall. Now I know she meant it to be funny, but for some reason today, it totally hit me wrong. And I spent the better part of today feeling really insecure about my height. I know it's trivial, I know I am taking things way too personally, and I am having a difficult time letting this go today. UGH.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Snow Day

We went to the Snow Day at the Irvine Great Park today. The lines for everything were really long, but later in the afternoon, the patches of snow were a lot of fun to play in. K built a mini snowman with R, P, and L. Other than being insanely crowded, it really was a good time.

We had a nice picnic with one of the families from church. And we ran into another family from our neighborhood and so all of us hung out for the afternoon, with the kids playing and we adults having very nice conversation. And I got my snow fix, yet again!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Snow - Real Snow Below 1000 Feet Altitude Even!

Back in March of 2009, our family started attending church at Irvine United Congregational Church. Everyone there has been so warm and welcoming, and we actually became full members in May. Amongst the recurring events in this church's life are the monthly "Bon Vivant" dinners. On the last Saturday of every month, there are sign ups for hosting and participating in these small intimate dinners. It is a great way to get to know people from church. There has been a big push to start up a family friendly "Bon Vivant", and tomorrow will be the first one.

The family who signed up to host it has decided to host it at the Irvine Great Park. Tomorrow, at the park, they are having a "Snow Day", complete with sledding, ice rink, skate rentals, and opportunities to ride the "Orange Balloon". I need to call the host to find out the particulars (what food to bring, etc.); I am excited about this because I get to satisfy my craving for snow! SQUEEEEEEE!!!

Here is a link to the event! Looks to be a lot of fun for all of us.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Bit of a Reprieve

Today I am having a better day with regards to the depression. I know it is still there, lurking under the surface. I know it will be back, and sooner rather than later. But today, I am feeling relatively good. The seemingly endless stream of tears is not at all close to the surface today. I am enjoying it.

The sun is out. K seems to be really cooperative regarding her homework today, and there is a little glimmer of hope. Not that that glimmer of hope ever really disappears... if it did, I probably would not still be here. But the glimmer seems a little stronger today. Not coincedentally, my pain level is at the lowest it has been in about a month. I am very grateful for this. I chalk my better mood up to the reduced pain level and the sunshine. I feel like the foul mood from last week's storms has now been washed away.

We are right in the middle of the annual Girl Scout Cookie Sale. K has been through two troop splits, so essentially she is in a third different troop for the sales season. K's troop is really small (7 girls) and our troop goal for the cookie sale is 1000 boxes. K sold 250 boxes last year, and she has upped her personal goal to 300. So far, K is doing rather well, close to 200 boxes, and we have not done booth sales yet. I am hoping, for K's and her troop's sake, that K blows the doors off her goal of 300 boxes. Her troop is planning on doing a "Roar and Snore" campout at the San Diego Wild Animal Park with the proceeds from the cookie sale.

I recently (right before Christmas) joined the choir at church. I am a second alto (which is the lower part of the alto range). Apparently, when I joined, the choir was seriously hurting for altos and I was welcomed in really enthusiastically. My sight reading ability for singing is not a strong point, but once I have heard and sung a piece several times, I am fine. All of the members of the choir are really super nice, and it is a pleasure to hang out and perform with them. I was really nervous, actually I still am, about being in the choir, but my enjoyment way outshadows any anxiety I feel about choir. I am still on my quest to be more fearless in my life, and choir is just another one of those things that helps me pretend that I AM fearless.

I will be able to ride February out, I will.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

February Funk

For whatever reason, the rhythms of my life have determined that I get really depressed during the month of February. If I could completely abolish the 28-29 days of February completely from the calendar I would. No offense to those born in this dark month, I just have never "felt" February.

Perhaps part of the reason for my negativity about it is the fact that the beginning of February, 1987 started with a real bang for me. I had the original biopsy on 2/3/1987, and got the cancer diagnosis on 2/5/1987. So I have an upcoming anniversary of sorts. I am grateful I survived, and on some days, I am even grateful I had cancer (I know that sounds strange). I am not yet grateful for the scars, or the long-term affects of having been treated for cancer. That stuff just plain stinks. But in some really tangible ways, cancer gave me many gifts. One of these gifts is the strength to face down my depressive episodes.

I have started to feel myself sinking into the February depression. It started yesterday. I know the feeling well, I know it is only temporary, and I know I will be OK at the other end. I just hate feeling like this. I hate that I cry for no reason, and that my already short temper is even shorter right now. I hate that when K had a real setback with the homework that I lost my patience with her yesterday. I hate that I have to pretend everything is okay when I am out and about in the world. I know the sun will shine on my psyche again, but right now I curse the darkness.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Sometimes it feels to me like I am in way over my head in life. I am having one of those days today. I definitely feel today like I am not good enough, I don't feel like I fit in, and that all I am is a big pretender.

Aren't I a little bit advanced in years to be feeling this? Don't most people grow out of these floating feelings of inadequacy by the time they are in their thirties? I am almost 46 years old and my insides feel like I am 14. Not fun.

Most of the time I can maintain with all this crap below the surface, but sometimes it bubbles over, like today, for example. I suppose it could be female hormonal stuff, intensifying it, but I have no idea if that is it, because I had the hysterectomy about a year ago, and so I no longer know what my hormonal cycle is.

My children deserve a better and more confident mother.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Storms of the Century

Being from the Midwest, where there are many rainstorms, I often have to laugh at the weather casts of "storms" here. In the 3 1/2 years I have lived here, the most rain we have gotten in a single storm has been about 1/2 inch. And when the storms are forecasted, the media here totally over hypes them. The storms of this past week actually lived up to the hype.

It is no secret that our climate is basically a coastal desert. Irvine averages just shy of 13 inches of rain per year. Contrast that with the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, where they average about 25-30 inches of precipitation (both rain and snow - 10 inches of snow is ~ 1 inch of rain).

Well, this past week we had several storms hit us in rapid succession, starting on Sunday and ending in the wee hours of today (Saturday). According to NOAA, John Wayne Airport (closest point of reference) got 6.03 inches. The amount of rain increased as the distance from the coast increased. If I had to guess (we don't have a rain gauge), I would estimate that we got between 6.5 and 7 inches of rain this week. We also had tornadoes in Orange County on Tuesday (the closest one hit in extreme south Irvine (about 5-6 miles from here). And for those that may not be aware, houses here are not built with basements. So one needs to go to a windowless interior room on the lowest floor to take cover. Or, in my case, be out to coffee with the leader of the Brownie troop, and be totally oblivious to such trifles as Tornado Warnings. Some of the people I know reacted to the Tornado Warning exactly the way I react to earthquakes. I guess it just comes down to what one is used to. Add to this, the fact that because it so rarely rains here, people here do not really know how to drive in it, especially when it REALLY rains. Yes, that big puddle of water pooling in the right hand lane of the freeway IS going to affect the motion of your car. We saw people on the 405 hit those pools going 65 mph, and totally lose control of their cars. It was scary. One eighth of an inch of rain and many people get confused. Much like in Minnesota during the first snowfall of the season.

I don't know about anyone else, but I was so ready to be done with these storms on Wednesday. All this damp and chilly air really affected my arthritis in a very bad way. The sun is out today and I am still hurting. I imagine those people up in the slide areas are also so done with this. They have lifted most of the mandatory evacuations. There were slides, but apparently, the measures they took to protect buildings worked and the damage from the mudslides appears to be minimal.

Thankfully the sun did come back out today, as it is the beginning of the annual Girl Scout Cookie Sale. K and her dad are out canvassing the neighborhood right now for potential customers. Last year K sold 250 boxes of cookies (her goal was 200). This year her goal is 300 boxes. Our troop this year will be participating in booth sales, so K's numbers should go up. The troop plans on using the funds to go to an overnight program at the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

In other news, today is S's 19th birthday. Where did all the time go?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

APAAS, GATE or Status Quo - What to do?

Our daughter is a very intelligent girl. And yes there is considerable bias on my part in making that statement. However, I do have some empirical evidence of her intellectual capacity. Last year (second grade) was the first year that K took the STAR tests (California's standardized tests). She scored a 440 in English/Language Arts (402-600 is advanced) and a 491 in Mathematics (414-600 is advanced). In addition to the high test scores, she has some ADHD issues. I am convinced that a significant percentage of the ADHD issue is boredom.

APAAS would require that K switch to a different school because APAAS is a stand-alone program, and K's school is not an APAAS center. I actually think APAAS would be preferable, since it is stand-alone, in comparison to GATE which is an "addition to" program. Plus, from everything I have heard, both fourth grade teachers at K's current school would not be a good fit for K and her attention deficit/processing issues. Minimum criteria for K to get into APAAS is advanced on the STAR testing in both English/Language Arts and Mathematics, Bs or better on her second trimester report card, and the ability to handle higher expectations academically. I am pretty confident on two of the three criteria.

GATE would happen at K's current school, and K would be put at a table in her class with the other GATE kids, and would be taught with the regular class but have higher expectations than most of the rest of the kids in her class. I do not like this at all, since I think if she is going to be put into a program with high academic expectations, that she needs to be in a group with the same expectations, or else it will probably not work well for her. Oh the joys of dealing with ADHD and a particularly willful child. Yes, Mom, K is part of my penance for putting you and Dad through Hell.

I am going to get in touch with Mrs. A. (the special ed teacher at K's school) and try and set up an appointment with her to get her ideas about this whole dilemma. She has really been such a good resource for me, in navigating the ADHD issues and has given me some really great advice with regard to motivating K to do her best. I am grateful for her input.