Posted by: rocketbride | January 12, 2016

tiny sorrows

“He took it all too far, but boy, could he play guitar.”

I’ve been trying to avoid the Bowie coverage, because I heard the news when I was waiting in the Emergency Room, and many times thereafter. Oh, don’t worry, everyone is fine. Mason has a bad flu/cold and his asthma meds stopped working so we took him to the hospital in case he needed an x-ray or something. He wants to go back to work tomorrow due to extreme boredom. I, on the other hand, would love nothing more than a few sick days so that I could ship away at more of this marking that dogs my steps. I haven’t been very sick myself, but I’m doing more than my lazy self is used to, which means I spend less time caring for myself and more time staring at YouTube videos in a stupor in between bouts of laundry. I’m in a bit of a spiral. A mild one, though.

The other sounds-dramatic-but-isn’t-really thing is that my glasses broke just as I was putting them on my face this morning. It’s not like the morning lacks obstacles without my seeing machine disintegrating at the first possible moment.

I wore my backup glasses. They pinch my ears. The end.

Posted by: rocketbride | January 10, 2016

mothering a bit more than is my habit

I spent a long time mothering this weekend. It’s a funny thing; even when Mason is dreadfully sick, he’s still a more active parent than many of the dads in my generation. He still cooks dinner, gives Maggie baths and reads with them; he just can’t do anything for very long without needing to rest. In consequence, I’ve been herding the kids to the market, the grocery store, ice arenas and church. Fortunately, with three of them around it’s a lot easier than if I’m on my own with Maggie. The two boys do an ok job of helping me through things. And it makes me appreciate how very much energy Mason puts into parenting when he’s not sick as a dog.

I just wish my anxiety about the end of term would go away. I’ve only got 2 weeks before exams; you’d think I could give myself a break once in awhile. Then again, my increased anxiety may be a direct result of staying with the kids and thus not getting out to run. I’m starting to wonder how I dealt with the crazy before running, and how much better I could’ve done with it earlier. Oh well. Better late than never. At least I’m still climbing into my PB’s rather than seeing them fall away in the rear view.

Posted by: rocketbride | January 9, 2016

you just gotta reach your thresh hold and run past it!

I’m not the kind of runner who needs music to go, mostly because I’m the kind of person who forgets to charger her phone, and thus has to do without half the time anyway. For awhile I ran with a transistor radio, which was perfect: I had a pair of batteries to count on, and I listen to the radio a fair amount anyway because it gives me a break from my own taste. Also, sometimes there are longer pieces about juggalos.

My radio stopped working in the summer, and I have yet to find a suitable replacement. In my group runs there is often conversation, but it all depends on your pace, and when you’re out there for more than an hour, it’s easy to find yourself on your own. So I have to entertain myself.

In addition to working through lesson plans, I sometimes daydream about celebrity run partners. After seeing Star Trek: Into Darkness, I decided that it would be cool to run with Cumberbatch, but I slowly realized that we would have nothing to talk about. Well, he’s got a baby now, so we could talk about that.

After seeing Montage of Heck, I became obsessed with the idea of turning points. I feel that Kurt’s lifelong bad health didn’t make his mental health any better, so for a week I ran with the idea of teaching Cobain how to run. He would be aggressive and rude, because he knew how to manipulate people into leaving him alone, but Krist and I would tag team him until he started to get better. It might not have been enough to save him – Robin Williams was a cyclist – but it was kind of a nice little dream. I’m told that Strombo has said similar things, that he would just want to have dinner with Kurt and try to bring him back to himself.

Anyway, all of this is a very long way to get to yesterday, when I was binging on YouTube videos after a long & exhausting week. A couple of things have been pointing me toward HBO’s Girls (the cover girl of my Christmas stocking magazine is one of the four, my favourite new character from the Force Awakens is a boyfriend), so with no way to see the episodes themselves, I found some clips. Including this one, which is a more likely version of me changing someone’s life through running (except I wear more clothes and don’t barter for ice cream).

Posted by: rocketbride | January 8, 2016

the meeting of nature and nurture

I have been more than a little obsessed with The Force Awakens since we saw it on New year’s day, which is ok because everyone else seems to be as well. I don’t stick out as much as I might otherwise.

I found this video yesterday, and it seems to synthesize everything I need in one loud funny geeky package. Then I watched it so many times that Maggie has learned the opening theme.

She was already destined to be a nerd. This is just an early indicator.

Posted by: rocketbride | January 6, 2016

slouching toward the communal kettle

Against my better judgment I returned to work today, and it wasn’t that bad. Mason is helping me keep perspective; he’s dreadfully ill and spent most of the day shivering. I’m okay to teach but I’m finding it hard to keep focus when I’m supposed to be marking.

This whole marking thing is getting dire; I may have to lock myself into the shed this weekend, just so that I can whittle away at my big crate of marking without distractions like human interaction or meals. Either that or pull myself together at work. I know what I’d prefer.

It’s weird: last year I spent so much time avoiding everyone that I got tonnes done. This year they seek me out to share sensitive news, so I’m less inclined to hermit with my marking. A good thing?

Posted by: rocketbride | January 5, 2016

woozytown

Stayed home sick today, which always makes me grateful for the luxuries of paid days off, warm houses in which to recuperate, enough food to feed my family, and even the extra luxury of spare change for comfort chips. Usually I’m too busy living my life to appreciate it. Nothing like being too miserable to leave the house to make me understand the richness of my surroundings.

Posted by: rocketbride | January 4, 2016

palaeontologists suspect she stood three inches tall

Probably the most embarrassing thing that happened on NYE was that I seemed to trigger a slow-moving pity party that took out Ryan North as a casual observer. I shudder when I think of it.

This is the same conversation that sparked this project, by the way. Stacy was encouraging me to write more, and I brushed her off with the old, “I don’t have any confidence in my own writing.” Her rebuttal was, “no writer has confidence, ask Ryan.”

Ryan: “Of course I do, otherwise I wouldn’t send it out.” Oops.

I immediately began to feel guilty that we had manoeuvred the voice of T Rex into giving me a pep talk. I wasn’t even a needy drunk! There are only two things that make this ok: the fact that Stacy was willing to bring in a heavyweight to shake me out of my cowardice, and this piece of advice: “I recommend writing a comic about dinosaurs for 10 years.”

“And then you get name-checked in an XKCD answer about lightning safety,” I said.

Man, I don’t even have height on my side.

Posted by: rocketbride | January 3, 2016

which one do you want first?

Today I got your basic good news/bad news moment. I was sitting down to mark a second batch of poetry tests (I have two classes in the same course, hurray) when I realized that I was holding a folder of novel tests. The very same novel tests I had tried to find at the beginning of the break, the tests that should be returned tomorrow. My momentary elation at finding them was quickly surpassed by the realization that now I would have to mark the damn things…and find the second set of peotry tests. Oh boy.

Last month I realized that I was having a lot of headaches, and that they were often accompanied or perhaps triggered by intense tooth pain. I have surfed through my life without a cavity, but have often been told that there are a few spots between my teeth that are ready to corrode, though they seem to be maintaining the peace whenever we checked. I made a dentist appointment, convinced that my number had come up. My dread was made worse by the fact that I had stopped making regular appointments for myself & the family when Maggie went though her own tooth drama last spring. I was seeing a dentist every few months, but not in the right way. Not in a way that mattered to me and my constantly sore jaw.

My appointment was on the first Monday of the break, and despite a new set of x-rays and a horribly thorough scraping that left me aching until the next day, the final verdict was that nothing really was wrong. I was sent home with some toothpaste for sensitive poetic types like myself and told that my gums may be extra tender because I have never been studious about flossing.

Since then, I have only missed 2 days with the floss. I’m learning. The good news is that you don’t need a root canal. The bad news is that you have to floss, ya big baby.

Posted by: rocketbride | January 2, 2016

listomania

One of my biggest problems in Getting Some Writing Done is that I have a hard time keeping a schedule. I mean, I have a bedtime, eating times and so forth. My kids have some routines. But my evenings tend to be a mixed up improvisation, built around dinner and which kid has what activity. I am taking a 1/2 marathon class for the second time, which means that I should be exercising 5 times a week, which I don’t but I always feel guilty about, so I often try to schedule it at least. And I have to slot in Weight Watchers; once I got to my goal weight, I found out how quickly I lost focus without weekly meetings. That’s another night.

I always put writing on the back burner. Tonight I watched Jessica Jones instead of writing. I think I had legit reasons (I wanted to sit next to Mason for an hour, being the chief one). Anyway, that means you get a list instead of a complete thought.

Good things I have accomplished today

  1. Although I am very far behind the marking I had planned to complete this break, I now realize that 17 days of marking was a bit unrealistic. Today I finished a class set of tests, which means that I can probably grind out another set of marked tests tomorrow, and then draw up a marking plan for the work week.
  2. I made a list with Maggie of foods she would like to take as snacks. Granted, some were a bit fanciful, but this beats putting the question to her when we’re 5 minutes late and she’s full from breakfast.
  3. I took a bunch of Blake’s stuff out of a big cardboard box and put it in a plastic tote. Yesterday I took out the (too small) clothes in that box and got them ready for donation. Having one less cardboard box in Blake’s room, more than half a year after we switched his bedroom, is still a good thing.
  4. I took Maggie on a sled ride to the park, where we looked for animal tracks. We found traces of the elusive squirrel. I will starve after the zombie apocalypse.
  5. Mason, Maggie & I braved the crowds at the supermarket to buy a few groceries with only the cash in the house (i.e. not a lot). I was planning to be a super saver and put the 2.35 back in a jar, but we gave it to a guy at the highway exit instead.
  6. This is not an accomplishment, but I was happy to notice the snow smells this morning. I know I will be tired of the cold eventually but right now I am refreshed.
  7. I made muffins with Maggie, substituting beets for carrots. (We have a lot of beets right now.) The batter was pleasingly pink, and the muffins are not too beety. A success.

And now, to bed.

Posted by: rocketbride | January 1, 2016

year of the question mark

Last night I was at the Zubhaus NYE party, and my bestie Stacy told me that I should write more. This is a foundational engine in our relationship, which was born of simultanious online experimentations in the written word and cemented with a constellation of mutual friends, cookies and love. I always wish she would write more. And I suppose, ever since I stopped taking my writing seriously, she started wishing the same thing.

I’m trying not to think too much about it. I’m trying to see this as a blank page, rather than a guilty resumption of a story that veered from higher learning to dark clubs to hasty marriages to mothering. It’s too daunting. I need to start over.

So, let’s pretend that you don’t know me.

I’m a high school teacher with an abiding passion for the written word. I tend to underestimate myself intellectually, a habit that started in middle school and dropped down thick roots in university. Sometime in the last 6 or 7 years, I discovered a latent jockiness, and now I feel positively at sea if I don’t walk or run or move. I have tried a bunch of hobbies; the only one I dropped almost entirely is belly dancing. I like to make things.

I’ve been married twice. I have three kids, or two kids, or one kid, depending on how you count. No matter how you do the math, though, there are kids lurking behind my eyes and on the fronts of my legs when I don’t have a lap. I carry them in my pockets all day.

This year is the second in which I have very nearly suffered a mental breakdown, triggered by a huge uptick in professional demands. I had lashed myself to the mast, determined to ride out two more years of the same, when I was told last year that I wouldn’t be needed. Two years of sweating blood somehow bought me a reprieve, a parole.

This year I get to find out what it’s like not to be quite so brave every day.

Another new thing: every year since my daughter was born, I have taken a picture of her wearing a year banner. This year my good camera is dead and I can’t revive it. I suspect that it would be impossible anyway; she delights in foiling my attempts to take her picture.

This year I want to find the battery charger and bring my good camera back to life. I want to run with my sons. I want to sing with my daughter. I want to just be with my husband. And I want to write.

Last night I rang in the New Year with a room full of strangers, my love, and three good friends. I very nearly didn’t make it to midnight; at 11 I had a panic attack and hid myself in the basement until it passed. Today I am writing and I am not panicking.

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