Sunday, June 3, 2018

My view


Saturday, June 2, 2018

On being {smart}

On Being {smart}:

When I was a little girl I learned that being {smart} was a good thing.  Smart in this piece will pertain to intelligence, not to the overall organization of a person as in the British sense of the word (which I love to use, by the way).  I was smart.  My sister was smart.  People who did {well} in life were smart (they got where they were because they were smart.) Smart might get you a scholarship.  Smart got you into all the good classes at our rural public schools.  Smart got you respect.  Smart got you friends above your class (big middle class in the 1980s with lots of nuance).  Smart got you babysitting jobs.  It earned you trust that you might not even deserve.  
At some point I realized that I thought about things a whole lot more than other people.  The things I thought about worried me.  I was probably 8 years old or so.  When I watched the news and saw people suffering, being greedy, being hypocrites, etc.  I worried.  When I learned about loving the planet, all they while depending upon plastic for basically everything, I worried.  I was definitely 8 years old.  I don't remember a time when the world's problems did not worry me at night.  This, I have read, was a common side effect of being {smart}.  It was a drawback.  Smart people worry.  Smart people let their ability to soak in information completely overwhelm them.  
In high school where my smarts got me through all academic work with relative ease, including helping other people pass AP exams when I tutored them, I started to realize some things.  I was working.  I was planning.  I was worrying.  I watched my parents work, plan, worry.  Then, I noticed a whole other subset of the population who didn't appear to worry about sh*t.  They would come into the video store where I worked and check out 15 horror movies on Friday night, return them on Sunday.  They would ride around in their clunker cars, stinky, buy a case of beer and go fishing all day from a pier.  They would cook that fish, choke on a bone, and go to the emergency room to get it taken out.  Did they have insurance on their camper?  Did they have medical insurance to pay for the E room visit? No.  Did they worry about drinking too much beer?  No.  They were not worried about sh*t.  They worked at K-mart all week.  Made enough money to buy some beer.  Bought it.  Drank it.  Repeat.  Kids...they had however many they had.  Did they worry about kids getting hurt, going to college, going to school, being smart?  Nope.  Not one bit.  They {appeared} to live day-by-day.  Happy as hell, or at least satisfied, and not worried.  I observed this at the beach, and I told my mama one time--"you know, it's almost a curse, what we {have}, being {smart}.  I won't live a day in my life without worrying, planning, working.  Those people seem to be just fine, and they don't appear to do any of those things.
Now that I am approaching middle age I wonder what good being smart even does a person.
If I thought, as a child, that being {smart} would lead to riches.  I know now, that is not true.  Some of the dumbest people I know are raking in money selling {whatthehellevers}.  Some of the smartest people I have known are broke as hell, or crazy, or have died from drug over doses.  You might say, "well they weren't too smart, if they were doing drugs."  Well I will ask you to refer to the part above where I talked about the worrying.  
To recent high school graduates I would say: "sell things young darling.  think of the seven deadly sins and sell something that pertains to any of those."  You want to be in the {helping profession}?   nope!  Don't do it!  Working in a helping profession will only lead you down the path to worry.  Society will ABSOLUTELY not value what you do enough to even pay you back what you will pay for college.  Nope.  Don't do it.  
Here are some anecdotal stories from my recent everyday life to drive this point home. Just some snapshots:
a couple weeks ago i drove my husband's 2001 Camry to the bakery to get some scones b/c friends were coming that weekend and we were gonna watch the royal wedding.  I was tired as hell and greasy after a long Friday at the Elementary School where I work.  I paid 30.00 for a box of baked treats.  As I was getting into my car, via opening the driver's side door from the back door b/c the door does not work, I noticed the bakery owner (who is a lovely person and a friend of mine) leaving work in her Porsche.  Let's see:  I help Autistic kids learn to communicate and was educated six years to learn this and I don't make enough to have a working car-door handle, and she sells flaky, buttery bread to people.... 
Last week another friend commented to me  that she was super nervous about the running of their new business selling ice cream along the river front in my town b/c in one day they only made 800.00.  She was comparing that, in her head, to the money she makes consulting.  I was comparing it to the 1/3 of my yearly salary they will make in a month.  So, she is selling fatty, sugary dairy food to the people in my town and running a consulting business (not sure what goes on there) and makes what i just said... and I help deaf preschoolers find the resources they need among our modest means to be communicators...and when we got back into the car after I left her ice cream shop one of my kids had to let my husband into the driver's side.
Those two ladies happen to be very smart.
Another acquaintance of our family and actually, other good friends, sells nabs for a living.  He literally drives a van around and fills up vending machines all over the Eastern part of the state satisfying our snacking needs with wholesale snacks.  Their family does not worry about money.  Ever.  
It almost feels like a betrayal that I would mention these people in this context, but I must.  These are the examples I have of how fucked up it is that I am smart, I have a wonderful profession, I work hard--but I will never have they financial stability and ability to buy a car/house/vacation etc. that these people have who, really, are just selling stuff.
What {does} a consultant to that is vital?
When I have told parents how much I charge for therapy in the summer, they scoff at the idea that they would pay for speech therapy.  That should be {free}.  
All of this frustrates me daily.
I have no desire to keep up with the Jones, but I would like to take a really nice vacation and go {somewhere} each year.  We cannot even {really} afford to go to Busch Gardens as a family.  We might do it, but we will be paying it off over the course of a year or so--bc we put the whole adventure on the credit card.  So there is an adventure with a side of guilt and worry on top.
The one thing that being smart has gotten me is that I learned another language.  Some part of me needs to believe that the only reason I am able to speak Spanish like I do is because of my smarts.  It is the ONE ACADEMIC accomplishment that gives me pride.  Degrees don't.  Naming my Alma Mater does not.  
I might also tell recent grads to sell insurance.  I sure missed a memo on that one!  It is unbelievable to me how much money those fuckers make!  Every insurance salesman I know appears to not worry about one damned thing (oh the irony)!  Why didn't someone fill me in on the good gig these folks have--selling us {guarantees} that if our worst nightmares come true--they will use the money we have already paid in, and {help} us out?  
So, let's see.  So far being {smart} has 1. caused me worry since childhood, 2. not benefitted me financially, and 3.  quite obviously caused me a bitterness that wells up very strong from time-to-time.   How was being smart good again?
Sometimes I vent about this among friends and every now and then one will try to reassure me by saying, "but look, susie, being smart has brought you three wonderfully {smart} children."  And to that I say, "go back to the beginning of this essay, and read it again."  
Maybe my children will be able to afford therapy so that they can tell a professional about this on a couch one day. 
I cannot afford one, so I will write.
Ay que vida!

Friday, February 23, 2018

A second adolescence?

I am 39.  In June the big 40 is coming.  It seems that at close to 40 I am experiencing a second adolesence.  This mostly manifests itself in the rapidly changing relationship I have with my parents.  In order to understand the change, dear reader, you have to know how the relationship {was}.
All my life my parents have taken care of me.  There. Simple as that!  They listen to me.  We converse.  When I was little, they helped with homework when I needed it.  Over time a lot of that help has come in the form of {back up} money.  They have always given me emotional support.  It all goes back to the basics.  They take care of me.  When Andy and I first moved back to Washington they even took care of our children during the day while we worked, or at night if we went out.  
Over the past couple of years, however, this has been changing.  My children are all older.  They are at school all day (as of four years ago).  Andy and I are at work all day.  The  times when we see our parents are mostly snippets of time on the weekends.  We eat lunch at my parents' house almost every Sunday.  Sometimes my mama will cry to me about how fast my children have grown up.  She mourns the loss of babies and toddlers, while I (in my active mamahood) enjoy and relish in all their changes.
One time about two summers ago, I was at their house and my mama and I had a pretty rough argument.  She was doing her usual (sort of criticizing me or some choice I made), and in one instant I decided, "Damn it! I am not listening to this kind of talk ever again!"  my children and I left.  We were upset with eachother for a bit, and it passed.  
Do you see the struggle there?  How it closely resembles adolescence?  She was criticizing our dogs.  Well, she doesn't even like dogs, so what she thinks of mine is irrelevant to me.  Funny thing, before I would have taken the criticism to heart. It would have affected me.  All  of a sudden, that day, I just thought: "This is crazy as hell!  I don't care what you think about my dogs!!"
My dad is really aging.  It has become harder and harder to have conversations with him.  There is no medical diagnosis to explain this change, but I bet you can read between the lines.
I have always been a daddy's girl!! He is my favorite person, just about!! He is a very smart man who, not so long ago, built two rooms onto my house for {free}.  He loves us and will do just about anything for us.  
Adolescence take two has also interferred here.  All of a sudden he became the classic "grumpy old man"  We had several instances of him really blasting some decision I made.  At some point I thought, "hold on a minute, this is not even like your Dad, Susan, what in the hell is going on?"  
This change has been exrta tough on me.  
It is super hard to realize that:  most any daily conversation you would have with a friend, your parents don't want to hear it, or cannot understand it, if you need money you must earn it at your job or go to the {real} bank, if something is broken--Daddy can't fix it (even if he thinks he still can), if you have some controversial opinion or discussion to have--these two aren't your conversation partners.  My mama cannot hear so well anymore, so she does a lot of lip reading, thus phone conversations are a bitch, to say the least.  She is mostly a cut-to-the-chase phone partner b/c she cannot hear you.
When we visit ever-so-briefly on Sundays (my mama likes brief visits only) we mostly just remember stuff.  They like to reminisce.  My dad has about three conversations he is able to have.  I am a fan of none of them.  
Over the past couple of years I have struggled through this change.  It makes me cry!  Sometimes I wish my parents were the ones at every ball game, every school show, every band concert etc.  But then I realize--they have their own life.  They are older.  They didn't even enjoy those events when I was little, why would they want to go now?  Check ins are nice.  My mama still likes to help out.  When we are sick she will run things by the house, like chicken noodle soup, or goodie bags.  She and I can visit and chat about books we are reading, or PBS shows. {Thank God for Masterpiece theater!!}
I had no idea this would happen, but I wish I would have had a head's up.  My grandparents died when I was super young, or before I was born in the case of 3 of them.  My parents never experienced the second adolescence with their own parents.  I do have friend in whom I can confide.  We ask one another, "Are your parents doing this too?"  "have you stopped discussing anything financial with your parents too?  
Over the past six months I have decided to "lean in"  I just accept what is.  I just enjoy them when and how I can.  I am sure they are doing the same.  There is so much love!  My children love them so!  The hugs exchanged between my parents and my children on Sundays might make up for any kind of rich meaningful conversations I might be having with them.  
I will never know those again, however, b/c--well has anyone every heard of a reversal of any kind of adolescence?  Vamos para adelante!  Remembering is what we will do. 

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The mom tribe

over the course of being a mother, which is coming up on 13 years now, I have realized that the universe really does have my back.  One manifestation of this blessing is the mom tribe.  Over time I have realized that most of my fellow mothers have my back, and I have theirs.
The mom tribe could be defined as a very loose collection of {friends} who also happen to be moms of children who are around the same age as mine.
The use of the fancy parentheses is special, and deserves an explanation.  {Friends} means--we don't have to be besties.
we don't have to run in the same social circles
go to the same church, 
vote the same way,
buy the same stuff,
have the same amount of money in the bank,
be the same color....
We are moms.  We see eachother, we know what an 8 part day is like, and we are all rocking the title, "mom" the best way we know how.
I see members of my mom tribe at work, at all sporting events, at the dance school, at church, at any social event in our town (parades and such), --even the grocery store, or Wal-Mart when I really need some kind of calming treatment to even survive the trip!
Members of my mom tribe have helped me find social activities for my very shy middle schooler.  I will directly quote this member, as what she said was a gem, "We moms of shy girls have to look out for one another!"  That was when she let me invite my child in on a social gathering.  Even gave her rides to and fro.  
They have selflessly taught my children in bible school during the summer.  Selflessly= a lot of work crafting for the reward that can only be sufficient if it is a heavenly one.
Calmed me down during days when all seems to be unraveling around me and nothing lines up just right (like I thought it would when I left the house at 7:20).
They have been my back-ups at sporting events.  There is one member who my children know is the "go-to"  i.e.--"if I have to leave the pool, who do you find, kids?"  This person knows when my children are supposed to swim in events at swim meets and she will go get them...she has one child, and I have three.
These mothers have spend hours giving me advice that comes in fleeting moments, but just at the right time.    There are so many of them and just recently (as in this week), I have started to refer to us as a mom tribe.  
You see one of the members of my mom tribe passed away last Sunday.  She has one child the same age as my oldest, and one who is around the age of my youngest.  One summer she taught all three of my toddlers in Bible school.  I knew she had cancer.  We talked about her cancer.  I gave her a hug in December when our girls were dancing at a beautiful ballroom class formal dance.  All the grace and beauty of the night led me to know that I needed to hug her that night.  It was momentous for me to see all those beautiful children dancing together....the ones we have watched since pre-school.  I knew it was momentous for her too.  I could feel it.  Thank God I could, and thank God I hugged her.  Her cancer returned, and she told me all about it at the pool at the end of the summer at the pool one day. One of the members of my mom tribe has gone.  Her two girls have the other members of the mom tribe upon whom they can depend, but not their own mama.  When I was walking through the line at the funeral I realized that I really don't even know her husband.  I know his name.  I have seen him at the pool.  I was IN THE LINE!  You know what I said?  I told him, "your wife was a dear member of my mom tribe."  Then my voice cracked.  I also explained the mom tribe to her parents by complimenting their daughter and all her kindness, wisdom, and grace.  
Today, another treasured member of my mom tribe had to totally calm me down and fix a problem when my youngest forgot the delicate dance that is after school activities planning.  I guess she could hear the angst in my voice, and she just fixed it.  The sentence started something like this.."I tell ya what..." and ended with problem solved.  
I am going to start blogging again, b/c over the course of the last month blog posts have been writing themselves in my head and I realize that the only way to honor this is to post it, to write, to {blog}.  Enjoy firends!  I might share of facebook, and i might not.  This has not been determined yet.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My first ever!

I.  am trying to figure out how to get pictures from my phone to post here on my blog.  If I get this figured out my life will be easier Bc I have pictures from everyday on my phone.  So far I am not loving Blogger on my phone..

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas Eve 2016

Hello Bloggy friends, if you are still out there!
My blog has been calling to me recently.
There is something missing in my daily and weekly goings on, namely a creative outlet.
My need to write is great.
I write lists all the time, facebook posts to groups I am in, letters to {no one}, but I also need to post here.
When this blog first started I guess blogging was a {thing} to do.  It was  somewhat trendy, and I was going with a trend.
I am also realizing that some things that are trendy just stick with a certain few, and blogging and I might be stuck together.
It is free, it is harmless, it is a way to halfway journal and halfway write creatively...
So, here goes.

Get ready b/c when I have wild ideas, I am going to put them up here!
I am not sure where all of my wild ideas have been going for the past year or so, but they are officially going to be on this blog page as of right now.


Stay tuned friends and acquaintances, and hopefully some new people too!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Summer's here!!

**Update** This one is really old, so I will start from here, but I did not want to leave this little gem out! :)

Hey everyone!!

It is officially Summer time for me!!
My last day of the 2016-17  school year was yesterday, and today I begin the mega clean up/mega laundry wash/exercise regimen....the list goes on!


Here are some summer goodies..we have a big cabbage, we have a volunteer squash plant and some volunteer basil plants in the yard...
Victor planted the cabbage.
We are going to eat it this very week! :)

Now, for some fotos, which I have forgotten how to put up here..