Sunday, November 24, 2019

Better, Much Better

Given the title and topic of the previous post, this is the only title I can think of as fitting for this post.

Sigh... I miss blogging. And I miss my former blogger friend (who still does it once in a while like me and who also still comments here!! Love you J!) who we FINALLY got to see again yesterday after she and her hubby moved a year and a half ago.

Just looking at the possible labels I can put on this post makes me painfully aware of the many (countless really) things I could be writing about. Nowadays it's all about the visual on Instagram and elsewhere, and the words get reduced to what's sometimes called "micro-blogging." :-(

I love visual, and I'm on Instagram (under my actual name), but I also love(d) to post photos here. Words, and images, have been integral to old style, hard core blogging. Some of my labels reflect that, and my own personality and style: Colorful! (me!), Rainbow! (one of my favorite things), Children's Party Decorations, Home Decor, Home/ Home Improvement. And I still, routinely, take photos that are meant to be shared in a blog or even Instagram, but I don't ever post here anymore.

In spite of that, going back to the negative feelings in the previous post, I am doing much, much better! And I don't want this year to be characterized by the losses and misplacement of things caused by my Neuro Divergence ;-) AKA my ADHD. Instead, I want to remember it as the year in which we celebrated our 25th anniversary over the course of six months, starting in Brazil with my maternal family, then with friends, with K's family in Florida, and, finally, with a lovely trip that is upcoming in December (Riviera Maya).

I may even buy a cake and have a cake table photo-op with our friends the night before we leave on our trip. I don't know how that can/could work because there boys have music concerts on that night, but it would be cool to do that. Maybe I can pull it off. Because I am crazy like that. We'll miss you, J, but you DEFINITELY need to be at my 50th birthday par-tay!!! Rainbow themed, OF COURSE!!!

OK, I've satisfied my craving for posting in the blog, and I think I've satisfactorily demonstrated that I am in much better spirits. Next time I'll have to come and share what crazy things are in store for next year!!!

Drum roll! ;-)

Sunday, October 27, 2019

The Year of Losing, Forgetting, and Breaking Things


All I do is sigh... it must be aggravating to people around me. Good thing I haven't been blogging then, maybe. About that, I was mystified to still be able to use the old, never updated, Blogger app on my old iPhone 5 an actually post a few words. The major downfall for blogging for me (and probably everyone else who no longer does it) was finally getting a smart phone in 2012. The Blogger app helped a bit, but when it wasn't updated anymore, it was another huge blow.

Occasionally, I still "write blog posts in my head," but since I spend way less time on computers (mostly because I hate laptops and I have one for work) and too much time on the stupid phone, I have all but abandoned this cherished space. I feel very sad about it... and yet, I don't do much to fix it.

One thing I will have to write about is the impending beginning of being an empty-nester about 9 or 10 months from now when my oldest leaves for college. I may, or may not blog about how I am sad that he and his girlfriend broke up (precisely because of HER moving away and going to college).

Today, however, I just want to write about how this year my ADHD is just "killing me" with all the stuff I've lost (and mostly found), and forgotten, and broken. It's becoming extremely upsetting, not to mention also costly!!

I admit it's an annoying topic, but it's what's defined 2019 (I was going to write 1999!!!) so far. And I don't know WHAT to do about it!! I really don't. Taking medication (much like consuming any caffeine) is problematic for me. I can't sleep well, I don't feel hungry and just don't eat, so it's not a good option. Other things (such as Bullet Journaling) don't help much either. In any case, not to bore you with the details, the most aggravating things that happened were:
  • I "lost" (in truth misplaced) my pretty journal (Katie Daisy's 2018-19 planner) inside my house for about three months. I even bought a new one (a good thing because I can now use the pictures for framing or decorating other things). It was with some books under the piano in my living room.(spent like $9)
  • I brought this brand new book (if you don't want to click, Ruth Chou Simon's Beholding & Becoming) and took it to our church camp out to show to a friend. Then I forgot it on the blanket where my friend was sitting, got busy with other things and only remembered it at the end of the day -- but there had been a sudden rain and the owner of the blanket (not my friend, someone else) had tossed the book into a random camping chair. Not only was the book gone for two weeks, but it had gotten wet and dried all bent. I had already bought another book when it was found as well... (spent $15)
  • Two days after also misplacing the book, I was driving to work while wearing my beloved amazonite gem necklace (made with locally mined and polished stone), but it was on wrong, so at a red light, I removed it, intending to put it back on the right way at another traffic light, but there wasn't enough time. So when I parked the car, I was in a hurry to go get the bus, I just got off the car, forgetting the necklace was on my lap. In between classes, when I went to the bathroom, I noticed I didn't have the necklace and remembered with alarm I probably had let it fall on the ground next to the car. Of course, when I walked back to my car in a hurry again (I was driving to Washington D.C. to meet up with a friend from Brazil!) I completely forgot to look for the necklace. So... two days later, when I parked in the morning, there it was, broken down by the cars which drove over it. :-( It took me two weeks to buy another one and I'm happy with the new one, but I'm $25.00 poorer. 
[maybe insert depressing photo of the broken necklace on the road]
  • Just last week on Tuesday I forgot a pencil case at church, but thankfully my husband found it for me yesterday.
I wonder what I'll lose next. I have also misplaced and found a bunch of pens, but I'm getting mad at how I keep misplacing or forgetting things. I'm sure it is also related to my age. In two years I'll be fifty. Sigh...

Yeah, so, at least I finished a whole blog post, even though it's mostly negative, like some of the previous posts I wrote this year. Only 11 posts so far, I'm sure it's a new kind of depressing record for this little blog of mine.

OK, hopefully I'll blog again soon. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Things I Did NOT Do This Semester

I've been writing this post in my head for weeks now. I already wrote that this semester was hard, but now I'd just like to register some concrete markers of how it was hard. Some of these things are kind of silly, but they still demonstrate how challenging it was.

This semester I did not...

... go to yoga or any exercise class. Not even once. :-( And I didn't exercise on my own at all either, although I intended to.

... get an ID that gives me access to my husband's university's (U#1) exercise facilities -- including free exercise classes. I didn't do that even though we found out pretty early on in the semester that I was eligible for one -- something we both wish we'd known for the past THREE YEARS since I quit working at U#1.  Better late than never, though, right?

... wax my legs even after the weather got warm (this means I had to wear either maxi skirts, leggings or fancy patterned pantyhose after it was too warm for pants and sweaters -- it really severely limited my wardrobe options).   (I only did it last Sunday when K and I went with our younger son to U#1's pool and exercise facilities).

... apply nail polish to my fingernails at all! I really, really wanted to, because it's fun and makes me happy, but I was always stressed out or in a hurry in the mornings before going to work (my preferred time to do it). I did do my toenails quickly on the Saturday previous to the last day of classes. That means I also avoided wearing open toe sandals in warm days as well.

The I taught my last class, though, I treated myself to an IMAX movie (Endgame!), first film I ever saw by myself in the theater. I even ordered popcorn (it's crazy to pay the price of an entree for popcorn!). And I posted to Instagram & Facebook that I did it! ;-P

If I remember any other things that I did not do, I'll edit the post. Of course I did countless other things, many of which were quite intense (such as driving for over six hours to take my students to and from shows, twice), cooking for my students and hosting guest speakers (three times each), organizing and hosting a music concert (once!). And some of which were fun (taking students to eat out! Enjoying the music concert immensely!). It was quite crazy and stressful, but also fun. I hope my "haven't done" list is shorter next semester!

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Back in the Home Renovation Bandwagon

WOW, I'm writing a new post only a day later! ;-) This feels so 2006 or 07 or 08!  ;-D

I think it's a healthy habit and now that I've been journaling on paper almost daily for a month or two, I feel like blogging again.

10 and 11 years ago we were deep in the throes of endless home renovations because in 2007 we bought our "Old New House" (the link displays all posts with that tag) which needed countless renovation projects. My favorite post is this "before and after" (lots of photos!) from April 2, 2009, ten years, a month and 6 days ago.

In our past 8 years in this house (we bought it in April 2011!) we have done some small renovations, such as painting several walls (dining room, bathroom), putting new knobs in the kitchen cabinets, getting all new appliances for the kitchen (last year), and changing broken living room and bedroom blinds. I didn't blog about any of this because I was having a hard time posting photos to the blog and then I pretty much stopped blogging.

Last December, when the water softener burst and we had water damage in the first floor of our split foyer house (garage under half the house, most living spaces upstairs), we knew we would be doing some serious renovations downstairs and we started them a couple months ago!

First we painted the family room and yesterday and today we started putting in new vinyl plank floors! I'll post some photos tomorrow so I can post this before midnight!

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

A New Kind of (Awareness of) "In-Between-ness"

Five days ago, Laura (at 11D) wrote a post with a great title, "White Collar Blues," that compared adjuncts to freelance writers and lots of people joined in the discussion about these "white collar jobs" that lead to a life of poverty.

I wrote a long comment last Friday, but WordPress "ate" it, so I wrote a shorter one yesterday. What I wanted to add to the discussion was that my current job is a third, in-between position between tenure-track faculty and mere adjuncts (the "desperate adjuncts" about whom Laura said there's a story in the news every week). My position is pretty much permanent, but it doesn't have most "perks" of a tenure-track position.

I agree that it's not a really "bad" situation to be in, but it's still demoralizing, especially for those of us whose primary work is to teach, I imagine that for researchers it's may not feel that bad. They have a permanent research job, still have funding (I guess grant money) to go to conferences, they publish, present, etc. They just don't have to teach and don't have to go up for tenure. We, on the other hand, in spite of our training, are only expected to teach, and do a little bit of service (10% in my case). I personally feel demoralized because I was trained to do research and I would really love to do it, but I have no support whatsoever -- and, of course, with ADHD, I can't muster all it takes to get it done on my own, without being required/expected to do it. (in addition to the lack of support).

Then I looked at my blog's mast description and, to my horror, what 15 years ago when I started blogging was the "in-betweeness" of being an immigrant and of having an academic and a home life, has now transformed itself into my work situation!! I'm stuck in this "in-between" space for life! (unless I quit, which is very unlikely)

I often feel despondent about this, almost daily, but I'm STUCK!! I need to help support my family and if I can have a stable, if partially unfulfilling, job that pays a reasonable amount (more than 50k), that helps. You may or may not remember, but this is the very first full time I've had in my life, and I got it when I was 41. Sigh...

Look at the (very unfiltered) note I wrote on my phone one of these days (1/18/19):
There is hardly a day in which I don't leave work at [the university] despondent. I love my colleagues, but they teach a different language. They also have meetings and other activities which I don't have, so I feel that I don't belong, and feel horribly isolated most of the time. The person who is supposed to be my colleague [the tenure track in charge of the program -- just awarded tenure, BTW] never meets with me, only if s/he absolutely has to. My mega-commute is almost unbearable and makes for grumpy mornings and evenings. I don't feel valued and well regarded by the super-hierarchical department that treats tenured and tenure track faculty as the only deserving members.
Sigh... I feel stuck for life in this in-between space! There is no way out!

And... just like that, it feels easy to blog again. This is what most of the writing in this space has been for the past 15 years, the fruit of despair or stress or a profound need to work through stuff... it's very therapeutic, really! And, in spite of the utter lack of readers, even if just for myself (because it helps me process things), I will probably blog more often for a while.

I guess I've reached "the end of my rope" right now and my last resort is blogging. I hope it helps somehow!

Sunday, May 05, 2019

A Hard Semester (Yet Incredibly Exciting)

I began this post before April was over (I wanted to write at least once in April), :-( but of course I didn't write anything but the title.

I am still grading, and we REALLY needed to use this coming week to put new floors on our downstairs that suffered flooding from a burst water-softener, but I don't know how that's going to go.

I think it's partly hormonal, but I've never finished a semester with so little energy. I sleep and I don't wake up refreshed, I'm just tired.

I had three preps this semester, two of which were brand new classes. It was exciting, but exhausting. I wish I had the energy to write more about this. One of the classes was about music and that was really cool! It's a class I had wanted to teach for over 10 years, actually, make it 20. I hope I'll get to do it again.

Enrollment in my classes is down, though, and that makes me upset and depressed. It's hard to carry the whole program pretty much in my back -- only students who actually like me keep going, since I'm the only person to teach this subject. Sigh...

And I'm tired of doing it over and over and over again. Of course students can tell that. And it reflects on enrollment. I need a minimum of 8 students on the upper level class next semester and I have only 3 so far. :-(

OK, I have to go back to grading. I'm sorry this is such a depressing post. Not that anyone is reading, but still, I wish I could be more upbeat. It feels very unlike me to be like this. Hoping that soon I'll feel better.

P.S. three weeks ago I went and lost my pretty Katie Daisy Planner which I used as a diary. I suspect it may be inside the house somewhere because I have a vague memory of taking it from the living room to my bedroom when we had guests coming over, but I can't find it anywhere. So sad!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

It's Official (and an Independent Driver)

The two things I mentioned in the last bullet point in my last post (about 2019) already happened. Our son got his driver's license and now the boys go to school by themselves in the morning (but my husband still gets up to feed them breakfast) and, two days ago, he and his "prospective" girlfriend talked to her dad (after talking for several hours about their relationship) and made their relationship "official."

They are very young, just 17, but they are pretty mature and have been talking to each other a lot for over a year. She is 8 months older and will turn 18 in July. She is also a senior who is going to college across the country (Washington State) in the Fall, so I don't know what the future holds for them, but having cell phone and more affordable air travel makes things easier for the new generation of kids.

My boys and I flew to Seattle last week to visit their family (they lived here until last July and we've known them since 2012) and we all had a great time. Her two younger brothers are 2 months older and 15 months younger than my younger son and they played soccer together for years.We all get along well. Her mom is also an immigrant (from Bulgaria) and her dad's parents are from Puerto Rico. I like that.

OK, I have to do some work before teaching tomorrow, but I wanted to put this out there. ;-)

Thursday, January 24, 2019

In 2019...

... we went (already!) on our very first cruise and I realized my lifelong dream of going to the Caribbean (I never wanted to do is in a cruise, though, and it was ok. I need to go back for sure.).

... we finally go back to visit Brasil after 2.5 years.

... we spend another week in Destin, FL with my husband's family

Sigh... I really wish we could afford to go every year. In any case, sometimes it's not an affordability problem as much as it is one of situational factors -- such as my parents coming for the graduation of one of the boys which makes it unnecessary to travel to go see them. They did come in 2016 for Kelvin's 8th grade graduation and we went there, but that was because of my husband's grandma's 90th birthday party/family reunion.

... I get to teach the class I've dreamed about for many years. I'm doing it now and it's been great so far (only two weeks)! 3 preps, two brand new classes, but hopefully more fun than work/stress.

... our oldest son will (finally) get his driver's license  at 17 years old (he could have had it as early as last July) and I think this will make our lives easier. When he leaves for college in 2020 his brother may still not have it, though, and this could be problematic. :-( I have enjoyed having a driver since September 2017. It's also great to be able to talk to him for a change. I won't make this a separate item, but in a month and a half the same son will have an "official" and pretty serious girlfriend. We are visiting her family in March and I think he will talk to her (Latino, old-school) dad in order to make it an official relationship. For now, they're just special "friends." ;-)

I don't know that else will happen, but I hope I will feel better about my work and about myself professionally. It's not easy. It's a constant struggle and a "low grade pain" all the time. It shouldn't be, I just need to let go and stop feeling so despondent. I need  to get a good therapist.

I also need to work more to get my ADHD under better control, so I can be more productive. Sigh... yeah, lots of complicated feelings and things, always. Sigh...

I hope it'll be a good year.

Monday, January 21, 2019

In 2018...

... so many things happened! It was a wonderful year with a few dreadful things thrown in for good measure. Maybe I'll get those out of the way first.

... two literal nightmares of mine came true: 1) being horribly bitten by bedbugs in our Florida vacation with my husband's family (I took tons of photos to document the numerous bites to legs, arms, and, most of all, back of neck, our rental house was free in the end, 6K back to my MIL. My husband thinks my suffering was worth it, oh well...). 2) having a small flood in our house with water pouring and going everywhere right before more guests arrived (we already had my parents, niece and nephew here).

Other than these two unfortunate things (and the fact that my BIL had to lose his leg to cancer, which is not my story to tell, but I wanted to mention here), it was a great, VERY eventful year.

... I went on two trips with my youngest son in the Spring semester, to Florida for his robotics tournament, and to the Outer Banks for his class trip.

... our youngest graduated from 8th grade and my parents were here to celebrate with us (soon after they flew to Indonesia to visit my brother and his family!).

... we went on a splendid cross-country trip to the Canadian Rockies to celebrate my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. (This was a bucket list destination for me. It was AMAZING! I have photos on Facebook if you want to be FB friends. Hi Karen!

... our youngest son started high school and the oldest is in the sweet stages of beginning his first significant relationship. ;-) 

... my brother and his family came to visit for the very first time! He and his wife had visited us back in June 2006 before moving to China and he had visited quickly back in 2010, but he had promised he'd finally visit me after he had children, and he fulfilled the promise. His kids are 7 and 5.

... we had Christmas at our house with my whole family, plus my sister-in-law's parents and her brother and family. We had a wonderful time, in spite of the house having been messed up by the flood.

2018 was a great year! My 3 year contract was renewed until 2022 and I was awarded a 5K grant to teach my dream class this semester (about music). I don't think 2019 can top any of that, but I'm sure it'll be good too. More about it in another post.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

The Cruise was (Surprisingly) Nice!

Several people had told me that I'd love the cruise, but I had a hard time believing them.

I really liked it! I mean, it is "hazardous" in the sense that you can eat way too much and way too much junk, but it is a nice vacation. It does cost extra do do sightseeing and to go to the beach, but it's not too much.

The Caribbean is lovely and I want to go back to various places with more time (such as the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico and it's surrounding areas) and the Bahamas. I also want to go to Jamaica, Belize, Cuba, and other islands. And, if my MIL takes us again, I'll go on another Caribbean cruise (Easten  this time, since we had a Western Caribeean tour).

One problem in a cruise is that there is so much to do that you hardly see the people you're there with. You need to plan to do things with them in order to keep track of them. Another problem is that if you want to make the most of your cruise experience and go on multiple shows (they had Broadway's Mamma Mia!, a Beatles revival, a diving show, and smaller events such as stand-up comedy, jazz concerts, etc.) plus go on shore excursions, you won't really relax and rest too much. I mean, it is relaxing to go to dinner and go to a show, but then you need to wake up early to enjoy the place where you're stopping the next day. Not to mention that shore excursions are VERY rushed due to the fact that you need to get back to the ship by 4 or 5:30 pm.

Yeah... a bunch of negative sides, but some positive ones too. I think and overanalyze things too much, so it's hard not to have complicated mixed feelings about everything. Sigh...

Before it's too late, I'd love to write a couple of posts about last year and this year that is starting as I generally do every year. I hope I can pull that off in the next few days.

If only I didn't have to prepare and teach my classes! The first week ends tomorrow and I'm glad we have a holiday on Monday!

Friday, January 04, 2019

Leaving on a Jet Plane to Catch a Huge Boat

Quick note to say that that in spite of the fact that next week is the first full week back at school for our sons and the first week at U#1 for my husband we're leaving for Florida to go on a Caribbean Cruise! I never wanted to go on one, but my mother-in-law insisted that we go, so we're going. My brother & family and my parents are also going, so it'll be a full family reunion for us -- I mean, we'll continue together for another week.

Two of my husband's three brothers are also going with their family, and that will be nice. My mother-in-law is also taking a group of 48 other people from Brazil. I have to finish packing or I'd write more. I'll let you know how it went!

Nothing else has been done regarding the water damage, we'll see about that when we get back.