I was going to buy almond milk, but walked out with something else instead…

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I went to the store this week to get almond milk and left with an emotional crisis and with a jar of anti-wrinkle cream. Which sounds like a really weird niche country song for women with dairy allergies.

I guess I should explain a few more things. So, something has been going on in my life. Something big that’s affected quite a lot of my life, but it’s a Thing I Can’t Talk About. The people who are closest to me know about it, but there’s a really good reason I can’t blog openly about it. I will say, that the Kidlets are healthy and fine, it’s not related to my Crohns, and TheBoy and I are just as strong as ever – it’s just something that’s pulled up a lot of unresolved stuff from my past. So I’m going to therapy. And we haven’t really gotten into much yet (it’s only been two sessions), but it’s enough that when I leave I feel like I’ve cracked myself open and have to put myself back together before I can go back to regular life and the role of mom.

(I should take this moment to thank my in-laws, even though they don’t read this blog, who’ve both taken turns watching the kidlets so that I can go to my sessions . The Kidlets aren’t back in school yet, so I can’t make an appointment during the day.)

After the first appointment, I went to a coffee shop nearby and ordered a chai latte and a cookie. The chai was much too sweet, so this week, I thought I should run an errand instead.

This month of stress has affected me, quite a bit. I’m definitely depressed- though my therapist doesn’t see the need to put me on medication (and I’m glad about that). But it’s affected how I sleep, getting out to run, even sitting down here to write a blog or work on my novel. Sad isn’t it? The things I usually do to de-stress are the things depression doesn’t want me to tackle. (I do plan on getting out to run again – though there is zero chance of me finishing that 10k now. Because of The Thing I Can’t Talk About, I’ve lost a month of training) I’ve been drinking more caffeinated stuff to combat the fatigue, which in turn has led to my skin looking dull and those fine wrinkles you get in your 30s being more apparent. And the less said about the number of grey hairs I’m seeing in my roots, the better.

I’m not making any of this up – when I look at the selfies I posted to Instagram last month, and the very few I’ve posted this month… there’s a noticeable difference on pictures taken with the very same phone, when I’m wearing the exact same makeup, using the same skincare.

Then / Now

But back to the story. I went into Target looking for almond milk, but they were out of the unsweetened vanilla kind (and the other ones are too sweet). As I was heading to the door, I realized I was out of makeup remover wipes, and walked down the aisle and found myself staring at a bunch of anti-wrinkle creams. And after looking at myself in an overly lit mirror, I panicked at the tired and stressed face I saw and bought myself something.

In the car, I realized that this was me riding the emotional roller coaster that comes after a therapy session- and promised myself and TheBoy that I wasn’t allowed to do anything other than pick up dinner on the way home from then on.

It could have been worse. I had been eying some dresses at Target the week prior, and in the mood I was in, probably would have bought about 5. So a $20 jar of anti-wrinkle cream that I probably do need to help get my skin back to where I like it was definitely a better outcome than over $100 in dresses I don’t exactly need.

But there you have it. A sort of explanation of why this blog has been quiet. And a reassurance that I’m okay. We’re all fine here now, thank you. How are you?

Summer 2014: Getaway Weekend

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Well, summer has been going, and I’ve been suspiciously quiet. I’ve had a lot going on, some that I can’t really get into – but there have been a lot of amazing things.

Earlier this month, we decided to do a weekend trip near where TheBoy works- which is right off the beach. We’d bought a tent and a wagon (a tent for shade, and an all-terrain wagon to haul stuff) and packed up the kids.

And it was an amazing weekend. We didn’t go watch fireworks by the marina, like we’d thought we were going to do- the kids wanted to go back to our hotel and go to the pool. Which they did! And I got a little time to myself.

We went to the beach, trying out our tent (and our new wagon) for the first time. The Little Kidlet, emboldened by his swim lessons, actually played in the surf as close to TheBoy and Oldest Kidlet as he could get without actually swimming in the ocean. And TheBoy embraced his inner kidlet and swam around with the Oldest Kidlet for a few hours. Meanwhile, I read a book and took a nap in the shade of our tent. In other words, we all had a fantastic time.

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We also went to Sunny Blue, an omisubi place in Santa Monica, and I tried a couple types. I tried the Sunny Blue Curry (which is a Japanese curry with chicken) and the Miso Mushroom- both wrapped in nori. Both were good, but the curry was EXCELLENT. Now, the Little Kidlet has a lot of food allergies, but during preschool I used to make plan onigiri/omisubi for him. So we thought he might be adventurous and try a plain one.

Sunny Blue, Santa Monica

Both kids stuck their noses up at the mere thought of trying seaweed, so while we sat in traffic, TheBoy came up with THE FOOD CHALLENGE (challenge). The first kid to try seaweed – didn’t matter if it was that day or two years from now, would get a prize.

The next day the Little Kidlet announced that he wanted to try seaweed. So we went back to Sunny Blue (this time I had the curry and tried the Miso Beef), and he got a plain one with nori. And he started to eat it. No sooner than he started to try it, his very competative older brother decided that he wanted to try some, too. So he took a bite and agreed with what I’d said yesterday- that nori was basically like dry lettuce and sea water. And TheBoy agreed that they both passed the challenge since it was the same meal.

So we went to a local toy store and the Kidlets got their prizes- a couple of Minecraft figures. (Minecraft Steve and a Zombie. But that was the day we were headed home, so we drove back, vacuumed out my van, did the laundry and got back to our normal routine.

One of the perks of this trip was that on the Friday, I dropped TheBoy off at work and got to go for a run along the beach. It was a fantastic workout, and I wish it was an area I could run more often. Nothing like fresh air and a change of venue to get going.

Venice Beach

PS – Happy Birthday, Jerad. I miss you.

Misunderstood Kaiju.

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In all the years we’ve had Thomas the Tank Engine tracks in our house, there’s been a constant: TheBoy will kick over bridges as he walks over. I’m not sure what it is, but he just can’t seem to get his foot up those last couple inches to clear it.

We groan, fix the track. But after Pacific Rim came out, the Kidlets became well versed in Kaiju. The next time that TheBoy knocked over a bridge, one of them shouted, “Kaiju!” And it became the new thing.

kaiju in sodorLast night, TheBoy knocked over a bridge after he’d every so carefully picked up stray pieces left behind by kids too tired to clean. “Kaiju!” I stuck my tongue out at him, and laughed.

He sighed, looking at the mess. “Do you ever wonder if the Kaiju were misunderstood?”

“Like maybe they just had bad depth perception or were just klutzy?”

“Yeah.” He nodded, continuing to stare at the toppled bridge.

I started to laugh, the long deep kind that usually leads to snorting. It’s something I haven’t been able to do much this week, and it felt exhilarating to do. “We didn’t mean to destroy your city, we just tripped on our way to say hi?”

“Exactly.” He walked off into the kitchen. I’ve decided that Misunderstood Kaiju is my new band name.

The #Roadto10k, tripping and falling.

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Surprisingly, I’m not being literal. Last week, my normal running routine was disrupted, and so I ran on a treadmill (it’s why I didn’t post any pictures or runtimes).

I hate running on treadmills. There’s the slight incline, so your pace is always worse than usual. And then it’s boring. It doesn’t matter what you’re watching, the route’s just straight. No turns or curves. Just straight ahead, and constantly thinking about whether or not the speed is where you need it.

Sunday, I didn’t go on my big run. It was just the kids and I, and nobody to watch them in the morning when it wasn’t 80+ degrees. Monday, I meant to go on a run, but there were extenuating circumstances that I can only vague blog about. (Not all things that happen around me are my story to tell) Yesterday I was too tired to drag myself from bed.

So, today. I went for a shorter run than usual, and ached. Not the usual pull of muscles when you haven’t run for a bit – but my breasts. I know I’m delving into TMI territory here, but… PMS. My breasts were sore, and I wore the sports bra that’s comfortable and usually allows a little bounce. But that was too much bounce, and I had to walk. Which led to me breaking down in tears because I felt like I was failing… which while I might have felt that way – I blame PMS for the tears.

I’m being honest about my stumbles. And finding things to be proud of. I got up early, and I went out even though I had a migraine last night. Even though I was already achey. Sometimes just getting out is the win.

One thing’s for sure, tomorrow I’m wearing the sports bra that is so tight I have to be peeled out of it.

Anyone else training for something? I’d love to hear about how you handle the rough days.

Little Kidlet and the Case of Shyness

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The Oldest Kidlet is outgoing. Plunk him in a new situation and he’ll make the most of it, and probably come out of it with a friend for life. The Little Kidlet, on the other hand is shy.

He just takes a long time to warm up to people.

This summer, we’re doing our library’s reading club. The kids read books, report on them and get prizes. It’s Oldest Kidlet’s third year, so it’s old hat for him- but it’s the Little Kidlet’s first year doing the bigger kids’ reading group (the little kids have a reading log). And LK was unbearably shy when we went to sign up, though the very cool librarian (who wore Deathly Hallows earrings!) got him to relax.

We went Friday to report on books, and Oldest Kidlet went off with a librarian to talk about his two books on space shuttles. Little Kidlet got one of the teen volunteers, and started to immediately shut down. The girl asked his name, and came back with a smile. “You wanna tell me about the book?”

So he started to flip through, telling her everything with the painfully adorable lisp he has at the moment. And you could just see her melt, and then she started giggling at how earnestly he was in telling her exactly what the books were about- and taking lots of time to tell her how silly things were. He wasn’t flirting- he’s still very much in the “I don’t know what I think about girls” phase. He’s just apparently fond of telling stories if his brother isn’t around to tell them for him.

After he was finished, we found his brother (who, despite being taken first, took much longer to talk about his books- not a surprise) and picked out a couple new books for each of them. Little Kidlet picked a book about a train we hadn’t read before, and I grabbed a book that seemed like it had an entertaining title. The Oldest Kidlet, who has graduated out of the picture book section, wandered through until we found the section with books about the Titanic. He took one, picked out a non-fiction book about trains… and we called it a day.

For those of you who know shy kids, what’s the magic thing that brings them out of their shells? Books, games?

#Roadto10k, the beginning

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If you follow me on Instagram… or any social media account, now that I think about it, you probably have seen some pictures tracking my runs- all tagged with #roadto10k.

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This August, I’m running the Disneyland 10k, as part of RunDisney’s Disneyland Half-Marathon Weekend. It is by far the longest run I’ll ever have attempted (and will probably attempt), and I chose it in order to really get myself out the door.

So I set up a training regimen designed to get me running about 5.5 miles by the race (knowing what I know now- I can probably finish the rest of it on adrenaline alone). I started running a mile, with 3-4 runs a week depending on how hectic my schedule is. Each week, I’m increasing the distance by .25 miles. (Though once I start to feel comfortable with it again, I might up it by a half mile each week)

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What you don’t expect.

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Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet. The Kidlets’ school year ended shortly after Memorial Day, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to make summer vacation work with my work from home job.

It hasn’t exactly been easy. The first couple days were fantastic- the Kidlets made sure that I had a solid 4 hours of work in the morning and then we’d run errands and do stuff in the afternoon. But the Little Kidlet? Well, he’s decided to spend his days like this:

littlekidlet_onthenook

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Isla Vista: the discussion we should be having.

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By now you’ve probably heard of Elliot Rodger, the 22 year old man who killed six people (two of them were women) and injured seven others (one of those, confirmed as a woman) in Santa Barbara as part of his quest to get revenge on women who rejected him sexually.

I haven’t been able to read many of the stories. I haven’t wanted to see what the media is saying on television. It’s too much of a reminder of being stalked by boys/men who wouldn’t accept that I wasn’t interested in them. But in skimming headlines, it’s abundantly clear that the media is trying to frame this as an isolated incident, focusing on the fact that he was seeing a psychiatrist, that he legally owned the gun he used – instead of focusing on the very real dangers of misogyny. Because this is not an isolated incident.

In the past month, I can think of two other news stories that stood out to me like this. There was the death of Maren Sanchez, just 16 years old, who was murdered by a classmate because she turned him down for prom. The other was Mandy Boardman, who watched her ex-husband be sentenced to 8 years of home confinement for repeatedly drugging and raping her for three years of their marriage (she divorced him after learning of what he’d done). Prosecutors had asked for 40 years in jail, and he was sentenced to 20 – with 12 years of that sentence suspended. Worse than that, even, was that Judge Kurt Eisgruber during his remarks asked Boardman to forgive her attacker.

And there are similar stories from around the world, week after week. These stories seldom get the attention they deserve, and it isn’t until something like this spree happens that they get a fair amount of airtime. It’s one situation where as a society, we’re failing as a whole.

We live in a society where we’re told that “boys will be boys,” where dress codes are enforced in schools to keep girls from distracting boys with their appearance. Where we air shows about “pick up artists” who tell men that they can turn any no into a yes, we have numerous television shows that center on men who reassure their male friends that women who reject them are bitches and crazy. We allow men to sexualize a children’s show (a show geared to empower little girls, by the way) to the degree where googling artwork for the show generally yields adult material, while at the same time cartoon companies are canceling cartoon shows because too many girls and women watch it. And say very little about it.

We try to legislate breastfeeding in public because as a society we’ve done our best to rebrand breasts as being something sexual, instead of literally a way to nourish babies.

When teaching rape prevention, we teach girls to dress modestly and think about their surroundings instead of teaching boys and men not to rape them. We allow colleges and universities to investigate rapes that happen on campus.

Men are encouraged to be sexually adventurous, but women are called sluts for doing the same thing. We’ve created a mythical friendzone and continue to feed the lie that men and women can’t be platonic- a lie which shames friendship between a man and a woman. Shame that clearly played a large part in Rodger’s rage – in his mind, women could fill no other role than a sexual role. So any romantic/sexual rejection left nothing for him. A rage which is not singular to this case, it’s something that comes up time and time again. We’ve also created this belief that there’s some sort of a sexual transaction at play. Pay attention to a woman, buy her a drink- and she’s required to reward you with sex and affection. Women are not prizes to be won, this isn’t a video game where fulfilling certain actions in a quest/mission will get you into our beds.

We’ve allowed men to rewrite how we perceive feminism. Instead of it simply being the fight to make sure that women are treated equally and fairly, we’ve let our male-led society dictate that it’s women wanting to subjugate men – that it’s something done out of hatred for men. To the point that young actresses who talk about wanting to make the choice to stay home and be a mom someday, say that they aren’t feminists. Because somehow, as a society we don’t understand what it is- it’s about saying that we should ALL, male or female, have the choice to do as we please.

And this isn’t just how we’ve let misogyny rewrite how we perceive women. It’s rewritten how we perceive men, too. Men, you should be furious that we’ve decided that you’re so ruled by your penis that you can’t look at a pair of legs or a pair of tits without being ruled by lust. You should be furious that we’ve decided as a society that you can’t act like a decent human being without a secret agenda. That we’ve trained you to see women as prey. That you’ve been groomed through porn to misunderstand how to actually enjoy sex without unrealistic expectations.

Can we please use this horrible act as a stepping stone? Can we please have the difficult discussion about how internalized misogyny is in our society? And can we have it without men saying “Not all men are like that?” Because heaven forbid, a man be faced with the uncomfortable realization that in fact most men are like that, even to a small degree.

Because nothing will change without having these discussions or realizations. Nothing will get better. It will only get worse.

Midnight Escapades

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I realize that this title sounds far more glamorous and exciting than the truth. This is a post about kids getting sick in the middle of the night. So, proceed with caution.

My glasses were broken to begin with. I am blind as a bat without them, but have plenty of contacts – so I was coping alright when it came to life without glasses while I waited for my eye doctor appointment. I put the contacts in when I wake up, take them out at bedtime… and use a lot of rewetting drops since I have to wear them the entire day.

A couple week’s back, at 3:30 am, I was woken up by the Oldest Kidlet who calmly informed me that the Little Kidlet was puking everywhere. So I put in my contacts, put on some pants (when it’s hot, I sleep in a t-shirt) and went off to deal with the situation. Cleaned up the traumatized 6 year old, stripped his bed and changed the sheets, handed him a plastic container to puke into if he couldn’t make it to the bathroom and tried to go back to sleep. But I’d been so amped up trying to figure out if I’d have to take him to the ER, I couldn’t sleep. So I tossed and turned- and was a zombie the rest of the day.

One week later, at 1:30 am, I was woken up by the Oldest Kidlet wailing that he was sick. Apparently it was his turn to vomit. And he did. In his bed, on his arm… but unlike his brother, I didn’t think it was a stomach bug. He had a rash on his leg that required some ointment for it, and I had a feeling he’d managed to get some into his mouth. Strangely, possibly poisoning included, I didn’t go into panic mode. Maybe because the Oldest Kidlet was panicking while I was trying to shove contact lenses into my eyes, so I knew I had to be calm.

Stripped his bed, stayed up for a bit to make sure he was going to keep down the water he’d sipped, and handed him the same plastic container I’d given his brother. Same plastic container I use on bad Crohn’s flareup days. But I didn’t get that burst of adrenaline, so when he went to sleep, I was able to get some sleep. And he didn’t puke at all after that, so I figured I was right.

Unfortunately, my contacts didn’t fare so well. Putting them in the case, in the dark, one of them missed the case and dried up.

There is a bit of a happy ending. I now have glasses, so at least – if my kids want to wake me up dramatically in the dead of the night, they don’t have to wait for me to wake up enough to put in contact lenses.

What about the kidlets?

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I’ve been looking at my recent posts, and it’s all about me and very little about the kidlets. So I thought I’d share some updates.

They’re great. I do have a problem in that I post all of the funny stuff to Twitter as it happens and forget that I have a blog. So maybe I should just save a couple of those anecdotes to post here.

The Little Kidlet is ridiculously geeky (the kidlets both are, but in different ways) and since Captain America: the Winter Soldier has come out, I’ve been treated to a lot of rants from LK wondering why we don’t have a Black Widow movie. “She does everything,” he says.

No, he didn’t see CA:tWS. He probably won’t until it’s out on DVD. But he’s seen all the commercials, and he really loves Black Widow as a character. I bought a Pop! Vinyl Black Widow bobblehead and he touches her head, and talks about how she’s one of the strongest Avengers because she isn’t a super soldier or Asgardian. “She doesn’t need to be those.”

If he was as familiar with DC as he is with Marvel properties, I’m sure he’d be asking why there isn’t a Wonder Woman movie. That’s just who he is.

He’s currently obsessed with all things Pokemon, and I introduced him to the original series.

The Oldest Kidlet isn’t as interested in the Titanic as he once was. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still utterly fascinated by the unsinkable ship and will still tell anyone and everyone the timeline (with dates and times) of that fatal voyage. But most of the time he’s been reading about pirates, or asking me about skyscrapers.

It’s one of the things I love most about him, and that I understand. He has a thirst for knowledge that’s unlike most kids I know- I don’t know many kids who say, “I’ll go see if there’s a documentary about that on YouTube,” after checking it on Netflix first. Just this morning he demanded that I look up what year the Great Pyramid was built, and was astonished that since I love Ancient Egypt that I didn’t know the year. (Admittedly, dates are not my thing, but they are his. He can still tell you the month he was sick and had to miss school in kindergarten- and he’s in second grade now!)

So things are pretty good with these two. We have some ups and downs, but nothing too out of the ordinary.