Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween! Does Johnny Depp know he has a twin brother?

Johnny Depp's evil twin, Skippy             

For those who don't know, I am a HUGE Johnny Depp fan (since way back, not just since Jack Sparrow. I've even seen Dead Man and liked it). 
I wore this to a drag show and people loved it. "You look just like him!" several people said. It was eerie to see Johnny Depp looking back at me from the mirror. Kind of takes my Johnny adoration to a narcissistic level. 

Queen Teen, on the other hand, was pure girl.
Fairy Princess of the world!

Fairies and Princesses are her two favorite things, so we combined them this year. Thank goodness she didn't say Sponge Bob, her other favorite thing. I didn't have that costume stashed in the closet. 

She went trick-or-treating this evening... at the dark... in unfamiliar areas... all things that would typically send her into a complete melt-down. Even when we had to walk in the street because her wheelchair couldn't fit on the sidewalk, she didn't panic. We went door to door for over an hour, far longer than I thought she'd last, and she remembered to say thank you and even looked at the person when they offered her candy. It was great! I will remember this Halloween forever because this is the one year we went trick-or-treating like the other kids. Funny how you don't realize you want something until it happens.

And now for my all time favorite Halloween joke, which I learned it in the 2nd grade and never forgot:

Why do witches ride brooms?

Because vacuum cleaners are too heavy.        Bwahahahahahahahahahahaa

Happy Halloween.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

But it's Wednesday! Laura comes on Thursday!

Me - "I'm going to pick you up from school today and then we're going on a walk with Laura and your friend Eden."

Queen Teen - (scowl)

Me - "What?"

QT - "I don't think I like that."

Me - "Why?"

QT - "I just don't."

Me- "You don't want me to pick you up from school?"

QT - "I don't know."

Me - "You don't want to go on a walk with Laura and Eden?"

QT "No."

Me - "Why? It will be fun."

QT - "No it won't."

Me- "But why? You like going out with Laura and you haven't seen Eden in a long time."

QT - "Because I only go out with Laura on Thursday."

Me - "You can go out with her twice this week. Today and tomorrow, on Thursday."

QT - "No."

Me - "No?"

QT - "Today is Wednesday. I don't go out with Laura on Wednesday. I only go out with Laura on Thursday."

Me - "This is an extra special, fun trip with your friend."

QT - "I don't think I like that."

Me - "Well... I'm still going to pick you up from school today."

QT - (deeper scowl) - "Hmph!"

Me - (under my breath) "This is going to be fun."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How do Working Moms do it?

My butt is officially whipped. I started my internships in September and have come crashing into the middle of that work/life balancing act. How do working moms do this? How do you work full time while raising children, not to mention keep up with laundry, dishes, groceries, bills, housework and still maintain some kind of relationship with your husband? I'm not working yet, but I might as well be. My crazy life has been forced to conform into another person's schedule and I am losing my mind!

I've worked in the past while raising my daughter, but all of those jobs were flexible. Even when I was a program manager at a non-profit, I pretty much made my own hours and if I had to work from home due to a sick child, I could. But now that I'm working in the field of O and M, I'm dealing with a whole new set of expectations and deadlines. School districts and the Department of Rehabilitation have strict regulations and both are working on shoe-string budgets. Everyone needs it done NOW, and heaven forbid if I miss a day due to illness or child care problems. I feel stretched to my limits, physically and mentally. And when I go home after working all day, I have a needy, still dependent Queen Teen to feed, bathe, spend time with and then send to bed.

That's the heart of the problem. Queen Teen is 15 but is developmentally about 11. Physically she requires a lot of help and still relies on me to provide the majority of her security and emotional needs. I rarely have down time; when I'm not working, I'm caring for a severely disabled child who requires 24 hour care. Rick is fabulous and does his best, but I am the center of Queen Teen's world, and will probably be for many more years.

It's frustrating because I want to learn more and work more and expand my horizons and perhaps even get my PHD (someone can kick me now and remind me how stressed out I am and NO I do not need any more years of school!). I want a steady income, health insurance, a 401K and retirement, all things I have never had (I'm 43! I should have some kind of savings for when I'm 70!). To get those things I need to work full time.

I can not work full time. Not now, anyway. Instead of looking for full time jobs, I'm considering being an independent contractor so I can go back to making my own schedule and having more control over my time. I need the flexibility to give my daughter the care she still needs from me. I have to be full time mommy a little while longer.

But I'd still like to know, how the hell do you moms with full time jobs do it!?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Holy Cow! What happened to October?

Is it really the 20th already? Last time I looked, it was October 9th. Since then I've been focused on my internship and my Master's Exam, studying like a fiend when I wasn't teaching visually impaired people, driving too many hours, or keeping up with Queen Teen. Plus, there was a Book Expo for my press in the middle of all that, and a book reading with two of my authors (check out my press blog Medusa's Muse for more on those events). So much happening, so much busy-ness, so much learning and growing and exploring that I'm feeling breathless. Really. I need to sit down and rest for a few days.

But no. No rest for the wicked, or crazy in my case. Although I did find a glimmer of sanity in all that chaos. Since my internship is going to take longer than anticipated and I won't graduate this semester, I postponed my Master's exam until Spring. Suddenly a huge weight disappeared from my chest, plus I had time to tackle that gigantic mountain of laundry in the hall, half blocking my bedroom door.

Alas, there was one casualty this month.

My house plants may never be the same.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


After observing Queen Teen in class at the high school, I discovered one very important fact: Queen Teen is popular with the boys. They watch her walk by with curiosity and a little bit of longing in their eyes. They have stammering conversations with her that involve them asking questions and then staring at their feet while they wait for her to reply, which she usually doesn't do. They look for her in the cafeteria and then maneuver for the closest spot beside her, but not too close because they don't want to crowd her (she hates that). Primarily, I'm talking about the boys in her SDC program, but I also saw some of the boys in the general campus population secretly checking her out, and it wasn't just because she was in a wheelchair.

Queen Teen is beautiful. It's not just me saying that, either. She has dark hair and dark blue eyes, pale cream skin and naturally red lips, long limbs and a smile that can turn a teen-aged boy to jello. And although she is still a little shy and has a hard time hearing when the boys are talking to her, I've watched her slowly become aware of the power she has over the opposite sex. She smiles shyly and actually bats her eyes. I'm not sure she really understands what's going on, though. She simply seems to enjoy learning to flirt.

There is a boy at school who hunts for her in the cafeteria every day and then glows with pleasure when he gets to push her in her wheelchair. Sometimes she lets him, sometimes she doesn't. It's always her call, and I think he lives for the moments she turns to him and says with a smile, "You can push my chair." Another boy asks her every day if she'll come to the gym to watch him shoot hoops. She rarely does, but on those few occasions when she does appear, he practically does cart wheels, he's so excited.

And now I have the task of trying to decide how much I need to explain to her about what all this male attention means. She still seems a bit oblivious. To her, boys are "silly," and the ones who give her extra attention are even "sillier." How much does she understand about flirting and relationships? I've been waiting forever for her to ask me questions about boys and sex and where babies come from, but she never has. It looks like I need to start asking her the questions.

It's fun watching her blossom and begin to flex her flirting muscles. She's stunning. Gorgeous.

In fact, I'd better go get a shot gun and a chastity belt. Or I wonder if there's a nunnery I can send her to?

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Giants are in the Playoffs! And you can all thank me

(image from Gear up for Sports)

For the first time since 2003, the San Francisco Giants have made it to the playoffs. This is also the first year I attended a baseball game. Actually, I've been to a few games in my life, mostly high school and amateur softball teams. My dad was on a team when I was a kid called "The Fat Vikings." They were really called something else, but the winery's logo that sponsored the team was "FV," so that became their name (I wonder how the winery felt about that?)

I saw the Giants vs. the Brewers on Sept 19th at AT&T park with my two good friends, Jody and Patrick. We sat in the Club section where the seats have backs and it's a short walk to get a beer. And speaking of beer, they now serve Gluten Free beer at the ball park. Say what you want about "yuppie" ball parks, it made my day to drink a real beer at a real baseball game. Wearing the SF Giants cap and shirt my friends had brought me, I felt fully "Giantified." 

The ball park is gorgeous, with towering rows of seats to the West and South, and shorter bleacher seats to the East.  From our seats we could see the enormous Bay Bridge and boats gliding slowly across the the cool gray water of the San Francisco bay. The sky was gray, but the grass of the field was brilliant green.

image from
At first, I felt pretty odd sitting in the ball park with my beer and Giant's gear. I never watch games on TV and didn't know who any of the players were. Buster Posey looked like a 16 year old kid who should have been in Sunday school, not a baseball game. And when people started booing for Juan Uribe I thought he played for the other team and somehow I'd missed the change in the inning. Bottom of the 2nd? Second what? Why was it called bottom and top? I know this is San Francisco, but that's ridiculous.

Patrick and Jody were patient answering my questions (or at least they hid their laughter), and eventually, the game started to make sense. When the Brewer left-fielder made an incredible catch in the first inning I clapped with the rest of the fans, understanding that sometimes you have to cheer for the opposing team when they play that well. But when Sunday school boy Buster Posey hit a home run early in the game, I cheered even louder. This was my team, baby, and we were winning!

Patrick, Me and Jody, and the Giant Orange hand of beer goodness
The Giants did win that game, going on to battle Chicago and then San Diego and making it to the playoffs. Jody sent me a message after the Giants won yesterday. "You're good luck, Terena!"

Yep, all baseball virgins are good luck.

Now I understand why people go to ball games. It's like a giant party with a game to tie us all together. You forget your own problems and the problems of the world and just focus on the simple game of baseball. When the game is on in a grocery store or my car radio I pay attention, wanting to hear the score and find out who's hitting, who's pitching, who struck out. I doubt I'll ever spend time glued to the TV watching the game like my grandmother, but now that I've seen the Giants, they feel like my team, and I want to know how they're doing.

And now a word from my favorite ball player, Ebby Calvin LaLoosh. A good friend of mine used to say, "This is a very simple game. You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains." Think about that for a while.