Saturday, June 28, 2008

Quick Update

Hi everyone. Blogging will continue to be a bit slow for the next few days. My poor little pumpkin is sick. If you would, please just say a quick prayer that she makes a speedy recovery. My husband and I just got home from the ER with her--she had a terribly violent reaction to something she ate (not sure what yet, possibly the hotdog or two bites of cotton candy at the charity event today?), and she was a puking, miserable, dehydrated mess. The doctor didn't want to admit her unnecessarily, so we got to take her home. We'll be watching her closely and following up with her pediatrician on Monday.

Also, my vacation is not starting as planned--my boss is really, really sick and on continued medical leave, so I'm stepping up to the plate to help out. I'll be working on Monday, but I'll get my vacation time back, which is good. The rest of the week will touch and go, depending on the issues that arise. On the upside, it'll be a short week anyway with the holiday.

I have to run now--gotta go buy some liquid nutrition for the little one. NO solid foods for 24 hours. Right now, she can't even keep down ice chips. Her daddy, her hero, will stay with her while I do a frantic shopping trip--I truly have the "haggard mom" appearance. I'm wearing it like a badge of courage.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Long Days

It's not a good thing when I work three days and have already put in my 40 hours. I am so exhausted, I can hardly see straight. And it's only Wednesday. Pray that I make it to Friday. Please.

It's nobody's fault that the week has been so hectic. Several of our senior staff members have been away from the office--one at a conference, one dealing with a family crisis, one on vacation, and three on medical leave. There's a lot that the two surviving senior staff have to deal with--and she and I are reaching the ends of our collective ropes. The good news is that everyone will be back just in time for me to go on vacation.

But that doesn't change the fact that I've barely been home in the past 72 hours. My daughter is missing me, I'm missing her, my husband is's all part of a vicious cycle. The good news is that it's temporary, right?

Ah well. I brought work home tonight and I need to get it done before I can go to sleep. More nonsense later. Or tomorrow. Or maybe not until the weekend.

Good night, Blog Land.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

This cold is kicking my behind. I'm sustaining myself with Advil, diluted apple-cider vinegar (for gargling), popsicles, frozen grapes and glasses of hot water with honey and lemon. But alas, my family still needs to eat. Food. Here's what I'm thinking...

Monday (today)~ Ravioli. From a can. With ice-cream for dessert. (Cut me some slack, I'm really sick.)

Tuesday~ Kid's choice = Macaroni and cheese, green beans

Wednesday~ Oven "fried" chicken, mixed veggies, stuffing

Thursday~ Spaghetti and meatballs in a mushroom/sweet pepper sauce

Friday~ If today is any indication of what the rest of the week is going to be like, the only thing I'll be making on Friday is a reservation...let someone else cook and clean.

Hope everyone's week is getting off to a good start. I'm counting down the days until my vacation, and believe me, Friday can't get here fast enough!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer Cold

I know that nobody enjoys being sick, but I do believe that having a cold in the summer ranks second only to having the flu. It started with my daughter, and while she seems to be doing better today, the nasty bug has made its way to me.

No fun.

I actually got some decent sleep last night, which is good, but it wasn't quite enough to kick this virus. So, I'll be spending the day today chugging fluids and sucking on lozenges to soothe my poor sore throat. In between, I'll be keeping up with steady doses of Advil to manage the pain in my ears. Bah. If I'm lucky, it'll all pass in a few days.

On a more positive note, even though there's never really a good time to be sick, this is working out pretty well. I'm on vacation in early July and with any luck, I WON'T be sick. It'll be my first vacation in a while where I'm not either taking care of myself or someone else. I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nine O'Clock Sky and Running on Empty

It has been a beautiful, peaceful evening. This is what the sky over my house looked like at nine o'clock:

I have no idea why it was so bright--evening had arrived, the moon was out, and yet there was this bright flash of blue. Gave me something to think know, how the heavens and earth collide somewhere between day and night, where magic and reality meet in a moment of breathless anticipation. It's my favorite time of day.

Sitting on my front porch, breathing in the cool night air, looking at the world bathed in pale, ethereal blue moonlight, the words of a Jackson Browne song started running through my head and I realize that it's exactly how I've been feeling (pause the music down in the right column if you want to listen)...

Running on empty. That's me these days. I believe in working hard, but I've honestly pushed myself past my maximum and I'm falling apart on the inside. I had a moment earlier today, sitting at my desk, when I was completely alone with hum of a thousand thoughts, staring at the work piled in front of me and I heard myself ask out loud, "Is this all there is?" I experienced a feeling that was blessedly brief, but painfully intense. It took me a while to recognize it, because it's not familiar to me.

I had a brief moment of complete and utter despair.

It's not that I don't value the work I do. I know I'm serving a greater good by working in human services, but the despair came on the tail of a different thought that I hurriedly squelched, shoving into the recesses of my poor, overworked brain. That thought is, "I really don't want to do this anymore." I've spent a decade of my life working in mental health, but as the years tick by, I'm seeing more and more that my passion really lies in a realm of creativity--writing, baking, music, poetry, dancing, photography--things that represent expression of self.

If I'm going to be honest with myself--and let's face it, if I'm not going to be honest with myself, I can't really expect anyone else to--I have to admit that I've been neglectful of my internal compass. All my life, as far back as I can remember, I felt a pull in a direction that was different from where I was making myself head. I decided not to be a cardiac surgeon and go into psychology and counseling instead. But even during my pre-med days and all the classes (and graduate classes) in counseling, I was just longing for something more. That's not to say I wasn't interested and curious and fascinated by all that I was learning. I certainly was. It's just that there was something lacking. It was lacking passion.

Now that I've actually admitted that out loud, I realize I need to do something with it. I have no idea what yet, but I'm sure it'll come to me. All I know is that I can't keep running on empty--giving and giving until I'm exhausted and being unable to see a way out. The line of the song that sticks with me the most alludes to not knowing when this road became the road I'm on.

Now don't get me wrong--this road has included so many blessings, I can't even count them. I've got my family, my husband, my sweet little girl, a stable job, a nice home, a reliable vehicle, people who love and support me. Each one is a blessing. But there's a part of me that still feels lost, like I'm looking for something that's just up ahead and around the corner. First I worried that it was pure selfishness--I mean, I have so much in my life, why would I want anything else? But it's not just about desire. It's not just about passion, either. For me, it's about meaning. The work I do is meaningful for so many people and I know it, but I feel like the meaning for me is lacking.

I realize I'm rambling now, which is probably a sign that I need to go to sleep. Ah sleep. What is that elusive five-letter word I speak of? The sleep I've been getting lately is broken and short, not at all restorative. Tonight, I think I'll try to "Let go and let God". I'm off to dreamland, everyone. Maybe I'll find the answers to my questions in that hazy spot being asleep and being awake, where angels sing and fairies dance, where my soul is cradled in weightless least until the alarm sends out its shrill cry that it's time for me to get up and start another day.

Menu Plan Monday

I really need to keep up with my menu plans. It seems like the week goes much more smoothly when I have dinners planned ahead of time. Here's what's cooking this week:

Monday~ Ranch steaks, crispy smashed potatoes, green beans

Tuesday~ Hmmm. I need a quick, one-dish dinner. I'm thinking diced ham with hash browns and yellow squash.

Wednesday~ Italian chicken breasts, vegetable radiatore, zucchini, blueberry cobbler

Thursday~ Kid's choice = Grilled cheese and sweet peppers

Friday~ Pork tenderloin, spinach and brown rice

I think over the weekend, I'm going to make some giant meals that I can portion off and freeze. I love to cook, but it gets tedious during the week, especially when it's hot outside. Ah well. Happy Monday, everyone!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Dad's Day

Just want to wish a Happy Father's Day to all the fathers of the world--no matter what kind of father you are. Maybe you're a father, maybe a, step-dad, grandfather, godfather, substitute father...a great dad, a regular dad, a dad who maybe has slacked off a little (or even a lot) in the dad department...the dads who work for a living, the dads who stay home...dads who are hyper-involved with their kids, dads who haven't been there as often as their kids would have liked...old dads, young dads, new dads, dads who have been dads for more years than I've been alive and the dads who will never have the opportunity to be the dads they wanted to be.

Happy Father's Day to all of you.

And Happy Father's Day to my husband, who takes being a dad to a whole new level with our little girl. Here's to baseball games, hot dogs, banana cake with chocolate frosting, baseball, trying to be the tough guy with the little one (but never quite being able to), the number seven, video games, baseball, not being as handy as he'd like (but still pretty handy, all things considered), snoring, long road trips and baseball. Here's to you, Mr. Dad. You're loved bunches.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sad and Silly Stuff

It's been slow posting for the past week. Things have been busier than usual--summer school just started, so I'm teaching two nights a week, plus there were some problems at work that were starting to get me down. Add to that a nasty bout of insomnia, and it makes for one crabby woman.

That being said, I'm telling myself that I'm just a little more emotional than usual, which is why I'm so bothered by the following:

I got a bad evaluation from one of my students.

I've probably gotten over two hundred evaluations that have been stellar and very complimentary, but this one bad one is really sticking out for me. It's not that I can't handle constructive criticism. I'm totally fine with that. It's that this evaluation was such a terrible personal attack--it actually hurt my feelings. And it hurt my feelings because whoever it was that spent an entire semester in my class never said a single word to me about any concerns. Nothing. Not once did anyone say there was a major problem with an assignment or there was trouble in keeping up with the lectures. I go out of way to make things more convenient for my students and it pays off in the long run. In fact, during the semester, all the students were very nice and told me that they appreciated my humor and honesty while teaching, that they liked the class format and appreciated that I could show them I was a human being--not an elite professor with all the answers. I won't go into what exactly was in the evaluation--it's enough to say that it was unkind and intentionally cruel and it's still bugging me a day after I read it.

I really don't understand people who get pleasure out of hurting others and that's what this felt like. So, today I'm going to mope about it, then be back to my old self by tomorrow.

Oh, my daughter told me a joke yesterday...

Her: Knock knock.

Me: Who's there?

Her: Ummmmm. Me.

Me: Me who?

Her: Me. It's me. Your little girl.

Me: Oh! That's cute!

Her: Mommy, what is that under there?

Me: Under where?

Her: You just said "underwear!"

And then she dissolved in a fit of giggles.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

And the Crazy Award Goes to...

...ME! I do believe that of the Four Crazy Sisters, I just might be the craziest of all. Well, I'm not really that crazy. I just enjoy checking out things that are out of the ordinary.

I was standing in my kitchen when it started to rain a little. The sky looked a bit whacked out, kind of a weird brownish tint, so I took a picture. It didn't pick up the brown, just that the the clouds were dark and kind of wispy.

I watached for another minute or two. The wind kicked up very suddenly, and then the cloud took on a little more definition and almost looked like it was boiling. It looked like this:

I kept watching, getting a little creeped out that things just suddenly got very silent. The wind, which had been howling only seconds before just stopped. I walked to the front of the house, and by the time I got there, the wind started up again. I went back to the kitchen and took a look out the door again. The cloud looked like this:

I couldn't make out any distinct rotation, but it was still pretty cool. I came in the house and checked The Weather Channel website. It said it was eighty-eight degrees and sunny, calm winds. Darn meterologists.

FYI: It appears I will NOT be working out in the garden today.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Witching Hour

There is a period of time during my day that I hate. It's that time between when I leave work and the time to sit down for dinner. It's the time of day when I feel most out of control, most likely to lose my temper, most likely to have a meltdown or tantrum that would make my three-year-old proud.

I don't know how to really balance out being a full-time mom, a full-time wife, and a full-time employee outside of the house. I mean, I do a good job managing my schedule, but finding actual balance is terribly difficult. It's so hard to get out of work mode in the 15-20 minutes it takes to drive from my office to the daycare to get my daughter. I've usually got a lot on my mind, mentally sorting through what I need to accomplish the next day, while doing my best to be attentive to my daughter. I always ask her about her day, what happened, what she learned, etc. I love listening to her talk about things that are probably mundane to someone else, but a really big deal to her. Once we get home, I set her up with a light snack while I make dinner. So then I'm focusing on her and dinner, and then when my husband gets home, I'm trying to attend to his needs, too. After the munchkin's bedtime and all the regular evening chores, I squeeze in a workout and then that's it.

And I'm exhausted.

There are women all over the world who do this (and plenty more, I'm sure!) and always seem so put-together and organized. I wonder how they do it?

Ah well. I need to scoot and get my sorry behind in gear. Summer school started and I've got to organize my lecture notes for tomorrow. Ah well.

It'll probably be slow-posting this week, but hopefully by the weekend, I'll have something jazzy to write about. I'm going to head off to blog-land and catch up before I get busy with school work...