Sunday, September 4, 2016

MOVED ON

Much of what I've written in this blog is about the struggle.  I have decided to take on the struggle, consciously, studying and blogging on the things that keep us back and how we might get ahead.  My new blog is called From Here to Where  (http://socialmobilityintheus.blogspot.com/).  If you comment and have a position please recommend a book I might read that supports your position.  If you haven't a book an anecdote would be nice.  After all, we do most of our learning from experience.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

I listen to the band Camila in the car, sang as loudly as I could… I feel better.


sigh

Sleep helps

Friday, September 2, 2016

To Heal

Today I need a miracle.  I pray that I come out of this with my health.  I am again full of anxiety as my money is short and I have to move.  I look at the things that I own; they once had value - to me.  Now it is all trash.  I can't sleep.  I am waking up thinking of every little thing that needs to be done to get us out of here.

Are we all broken?  Are there whole kids who don't break things?  .. who don't play soccer in the house despite numerous warnings....  I just feel like a shit parent.  They need consequences... what would those be?  I take their phones... they like to remind me that I didn't pay for their phones - true... but they  THEY are mine and I take their phones and they wine and moan and decrease the value of my life for as long as I have them.  It doesn't matter.  I am not in a good place right now as the stress is physical... what I went through with regard to housing a couple years ago really scarred me... or may it is still a gaping wound.   It's not just ugly, it hurts.

The kids apologized and made promises and prayed for a new home.

I need to get it together.  Tomorrow I have to think about career but how will I get rid of my sofa, bed frame, old TV...  How will I get my elliptical to the new place.  It weighs a ton... maybe literally.  How am I going to rent a U-Haul... pay the electric bill before it's late...make a car payment...feed the kids... make my student loan payment... I'm tired.  When life sucked as a child I would ask my mother what was wrong she would tell me that she was tired.  Yeah, I get it now.  She recently told me that she received many eviction notices.... for me it's not that.  I pay the rent religiously.  We might be hungry but I'll pay the rent. When things would fall apart I wouldn't do anything, if I couldn't fix it I just left it because I was afraid that if the owner saw it we would lose our home.  I have hated these closet doors since I moved in.  That little panel on the side of the tub drives me crazy.  I don't use the jacuzzi because I think it's gross as it has parts that I can see to clean.  I don't even use that bathtub as a bathtub for the same reason.  I have avoided that which I feared paying to fix but still I have kids and they live as kids do, acting first and apologizing later.

I have been reminded so many times in my life that I am not home.  I'm working on my mindset because everyday I'm closer to my goal of buying a home is a day I'm not going to get back so I have to appreciate the journey, the one moment I actually have.

I'm sad and I'm not sure how to get out of it.  I started to write that I wanted to be carried for once but then pictured a coffin and decided maybe not.  Maybe this is what I get again I kneel and put the weight of my world on my shoulders ... in a moment I'll stand ... and do.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Here and Now - A place of my own

The here and now is a place of uncertainty and life threatens only more.  Right now I am optimistic ... still life happens and I focus on today.  Let me carry and solve today's worries today.  I see more coming but they are not yet here and my hands are full.

We've lost our home again.  I've rented a town home from a private owner  and he doesn't like the condition of the property.  My son chased my daughter and kicked a hole in the door when she locked him out.  I don't know who started it.  A fist went through a wall  when the same child was angry. I already went through and fixed the nicks in the walls from moving furniture or whatever else.  Time, children and a survival mentality... The closet doors have been a nightmare and won't stay up ... Is that my fault?  I have them leaning because I'm not going to put them in to fall on one of my children.  I've kept a list of the things I'll need to get fixed... my sense of panic grows with every injury to the property, even the normal wear and tear gives me anxiety because I know that the owners and property managers translate the law in their own interest.  I just wanted a patch of earth, a place to grow things.  In the next month I will leave behind my tomato's, cantaloupes, watermelons and cucumbers.

Still, as inconvenient and yes, frightening,  as it is, I see the possibility for a good turn of all of this, another purge of old mistakes and bad decisions, a second chance, new beginning and the ability to see beyond the moment, a new resolve to be ... successful?... I've still to get there.

I want a home.  I want to be abel to invest my energies into a place for me and mine.  I don't ever want to have to tell my children that they can't stay with me when they've fallen on hard times.  I want a place for us.  I am at a complete loss as to how to make that happen.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Poverty

This year I'm taking a vow of poverty.  I usually fight it and rob Peter to pay Paul to eek out some kind of reward for my work as I go along.  This year I won't try to do that.  This year I will work completely within my means with the focus of getting out of debt.  I will work on the food problem.  This is not going to be easy.  My phone is not doing well and seems to be out of memory no matter how much I delete. In order to help me I am unsubscribing from all of the bargain emails that I get.  I didn't read most of them but I also didn't realize how many I was subscribed to.  I will also need to stock up on our necessities because hard times are to come.

Between September and January things get more and more difficult.  The seasons change and the kids need clothes for the colder weather.  I start to feel a bit run down and it is difficult for me to keep my spirits up.  For the remainder of the school year it's up and down but we survive.  I usually set some goal for the end of the year so that I can keep my head up and trudge through. I have already decided on 3 possible goals for the end of this school year in addition to the professional goal of completing my next certification.


Morning

The kids are asleep and I am up reading Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers it is an amazing look at circumstance, timing, culture ... well, all of the things that play into one's success.  At moments empowering and at others discouraging as it makes one feel victim of all of the circumstances that surround you.  I am redirected to motherhood and the importance of that gargantuan responsibility.

Mentally, I'm getting ready to begin the school year when I haven't even completed my summer work list.  I have to focus on food this year.  There were hungry times last year.  Two of my children are away right now and I am seeing what my little ones can eat when there is plenty.  I don't know how I am going to do this. I have to rework the shopping list and keep cooked food in the house.  Rice was a lifesaver for us before I learned about it containing toxins from the soil.  We were just consuming too much of it to be safe so I cut back the problem is that there is then nothing to fill them up on, not for the price.

For the little ones they are going to take leftovers for lunch this year.  The challenge there is going to be to have anything left.  I need to start cooking for an army.  My kids tend to finish off the food and still claim to be hungry.  In an attempt to streamline the budget I am consciously committing myself to avoiding small purchases.  I will keep my lunch schedule the same.  I have something to eat for breakfast, a handful of nuts for lunch and a protein drink and then I cook dinner as soon as I get into the house.  There is a shortage of both time and money.  Cooking dinner, preparing lunches, cleaning, doing laundry, preparing lesson plans, grading and overall just keeping life organized and balanced is tough to say the least.

The kids are waking up... I need to make my todo list.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

I think I can...

I have just realized that my sudden attention to all things not grad school paper writing has deep roots.  This is the 3rd time that I have frozen at the prospect of writing a major paper in Spanish.  The first time was for my double major.  I had taken all of the classes and the only thing I lacked was that last paper.  I have a minor in Spanish.  The second time I was in grad school in Cuba - OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME!! and I sat and wrote something but I couldn't get into it.  I wasn't firing on all cylinders, the muses weren't offering me poetry.  My heart was broken and I was trying to be okay. I submitted - well, I don't even remember and soon I was back in the states struggling to survive, living check to check, hand to mouth with my children; I couldn't even dream.  The muses had totally forsaken me. That one was kind of understandable.  It took me a long time to heal from that experience.  But NOW, now I have no excuse but to lock in and learn.  I cannot fail at this a third time and I do know how big the task is... I need to read some graduate works in Spanish just to get a feel for the tone.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Overwhelm Paralysis

I have procrastinated and now I must put on blinders and really focus on the work that I have to do.  It is difficult because I am a worrier.  I need to begin at the first thought that presents itself and dig in.  I have a paper to write on bilingualism.  I want it to be something that I can be proud of.  It is for a graduate degree and the time that I spend working on it will also improve, greatly improve my Spanish. I need to BEGIN already.  ... I'll ponder here... what is bilingualism?  Does there exist some accepted continuum of 2nd+ language acquisition?   To what degree do the different domains play into the definition of that term.  It has been my experience that people just tend to define themselves.  I'm hesitant to claim a second language but have noted how learning one has affected my thinking and even word choices that I feel are more precise but not particularily more "native."  Long term one's "ear" is even affected.  How do I organize my thoughts and questions into a 40 page statement that is engaging and informative?  Oh, in a second language...

Thursday, July 14, 2016

The Problem with Summer

It is 11:31am and I am the only one awake in the house.  I have collected dishes to put in the sink, had coffee and created a list of 18 things that must be done today.  I am actively trying to anticipate the struggles of the coming year and make plans to ease them.  The leftovers were left out last night I wonder if I can heat and eat them...

My goals for the summer include making this place in which we live feel like home.  It has been almost two years since "the nightmare" and I find that I am still unable to be at home.  I hung pictures for the first time two weeks ago.  It was the second time that I had been told that the place that I was renting was not mine.  In the first case I allowed an elderly couple who had lost their home stay with me and in the second I was in a moment in which I was giving my all for just a little hope and my very humanity was judged and deemed unworthy.  My daughter recalled yesterday the time the old stove shocked her and she momentarily lost feeling in her hand or hands.

The problem with summer is that I am looking at problems.  During the school year the problems are there but I must be breadwinner first and that comes with it's own regrets but it is non-negotiable so I keep blinders with me always.

The problem with summer is I sit and think about what a shit job I do all the time.  It's terrible to say but I don't often want to hear my children speak.  I live at a place... on an edge.  I can't pull back or we won't make it but just a word I fear will push me over and when they open their mouths to speak sometimes I find myself raising my shoulders, squeezing my eyes shut and putting my finger over my mouth begging them to stop and allow me to first solve whatever problem is currently on my heart.  "Mom, I need shoes."  "Mom, I have no pants that fit." "Mom, I'm hungry."  "Mom, I'm bored." (There is NEVER a reason to be bored in this house because we don't have everything but we do have books.)  "Mom, I am having anxiety."  "Mom, get him I'm going to hurt him."  "Mom, did you hear what she just said?  ... and you're not going to do anything?"  In that moment, in those moments, I am frozen.  I am breathing.  I am not meeting their expectations.  I have often wondered what a brain scan would show at that moment.  

Over this summer I have to figure out how I am going to pay for school for one child, buy them school clothes, feed them over the next school year, attend their conferences, get to allergy shots, soccer, gymnastics and my own professional development responsibilities.  Right now I need to get my car fixed.  Money runs out about 2-3 days after each check and I am paid bi-weekly.  I pay bills and buy food and there is no more.

If, however, I can use this time wisely, I will have less stress during the school year so I start my days with a to do list, also called a "todo" list.

Above all of that I have to make time to exercise.  Oh, 19.  Add songs to workout playlist.  I only have 2 that really do the job.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

What is Mine?

Some time ago my brother asked me how it is that I can so easily let go of things.  It seems to him that personal property has no value to me.  He would have been shocked to see the absolute meltdown I had yesterday over, yet another, missing shoelace.  I screamed.  I called a family meeting.  I exhausted the cursing section of my lexicon time and again until it seemed I would be sick.  Some time later I shook my head sadly and quietly let go.  I let go of the idea that I will ever own anything nice for any longer than it will take my children to destroy it.

Over the course of this year my shoelaces have been disappearing one by one.  I don't know where they are going but one of the children is the culprit and NO ONE will admit to it!  That is only one minuscule example of the children's effect on my belongings.  I pay almost 1/2 of my take home pay in rent. Fighting twins put a hole in my bedroom door.  I looked; those are expensive.  I have started saving for the new door - never mind that I am never sure how I am going to keep these ever hungry bellies full.  Another fit of rage put a fist sized hole in the wall next to the boys' bedroom door.  The decision to move furniture resulted in yet more wall damage.   My other twins who decided to cook themselves eggs on the griddle had a fight over the spatula, brought the fight into the living room and smeared 1/2 cooked eggs onto my sofa.  I cannot even begin to enumerate the number of things that just mysteriously "break".  I feel that I know my children well enough to always know who the culprit is but their truth-telling skills are wanting and their acting skills are amazing.  They somehow manage to flip it right back on me.  I mean how could, I, their mother even think that they would do something so terrible.  I mean, what kind of mother would do that?  The furniture and the home itself isn't even the half of it.

I go to brush my teeth and my, MY toothpaste is gone.  I go to wash my hair and I have no shampoo.  Someone keeps removing the TP from MY bathroom.  I find my make-up throughout the house.  It doesn't matter that I don't wear it, maybe I would if I weren't always mourning the loss of my sanity. I find my shirts and shoes on my daughter.  I explain to her that she can't wear my things because there is no more where those came from.  She shrugs and claims that I put them in her clothes pile after doing laundry. I doubt myself.

My little bit of peace is my garden. My son cuts the grass and cuts down my tomato plant.  My other son decides to play soccer in the back yard and I come home to 8 tomatoes on the ground and the plant tipped over.

So you see,  I am learning to accept that I have nothing.  Well, other than 5 little mouths to feed and minds to educate and bodies to exercise.  But I do dream... all of my precious things exist only on Pinterest.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Finding a way

I'm looking for an alternative to the public school system for my son.  I don't have money to give him the best education so I am hoping that in this internet age I can help him to turn into a learner by putting learning at his fingertips.  There is a good program called k12.com http://start.k12.com/private.html?st=nn&leadsource=sem&product=private_schools_generic&vendor=ef&ef_id=Vv66LQAAANlpRBDh:20160701181547:s
It is not, however, available in my state.

There are the christian curricula that I am familiar with because it is how I was educated.  There is Accelerated Christian Education and Alpha and Omega Publications which are kind of simple and straightforward as I remember them but I don't think they are the key to educational enlightenment.  I will, however, look further because I'm sure they've changed in 30 years.

I want the best for him.  I want him to understand what is within his control and to harness his individual power.   I want to empower him to heal from all of injury done by bullies, emotional yes but crippling.  This is the single most important task ahead of me in the coming year.

I even toy with the idea of creating curriculum for him but though I haven't heard anything I am still hoping to get my National Board Certification this year and that too will take up much of my time an energy.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

I Want A Home

It is my guilty pleasure.  I sit and look at houses and design houses for myself and my children.  I want a home of our own and I am willing to work for it.  I just have to get us past this survival mode so that we can invest in tomorrow.  Hope is alive. A room for everyone... a dog...a big yard...

Back to Writing

So I've been on summer break since Tuesday afternoon and I'v e been hungry since Tuesday.  It's an odd kind of hunger; the kind you feel when you don't have money to go anywhere.  The problem is that I don't yet have food options  in the house.  Getting from here to Friday and feeding the children is going to take a small miracle.  I have $4 on one card and a $3 and some change on another.  I will take a morning exercise walk to go buy beans for the next two days.  I am vowing I won't do this to myself ever again and while I am not vowing I am picking out things for my garden, looking at the fact that the kids need clothes and preparing for going on a SUPER healthy diet or rather changing to a super healthy diet in the coming weeks... really, I've already put myself back into this position.  Must... be.... strong.... there is just always some offer of something to make me better and I want to be better....and it's discounted right now and who knows what the price will be...

I now know why I write.  Writing is, for me, like swimming. It propels me through life.  When I am not writing I am, sinking, floundering, sometimes I manage a bloated float for a moment.   I guess I stopped writing for a bit because I felt like I was swimming in circles... it was a bit pointless.  It wasn't  open water freedom.... I now realize that I am training for that swim; one must be ready.

I've started my summer with lofty goals, and spoiled, bored children.  They are not spoiled in the sense that they get everything they want but they are spoiled in the way that first world children tend to be.  They walk in and say, "I'm bored," and I'm never sure what I should do about that, I mean, do they really need to be reminded that the grass needs to be cut, the trash needs to go out, the dishes won't wash themselves. I suspect their rooms need some cleaning also.

... so this summer I will write to center.  I will write to tell myself all of those things that I need hear but cannot in the midst of my anger and frustration.

I will plan for next school year and read some books some for personal improvement and some for entertainment.  I will work out daily - starting tomorrow, no, for real, I mean it.  I will get rid of stuff and make the back yard a space for family.  .... children present... gotta be a mom.

It sounds pathetic but I know we'll be fine.  I just need to cling to that optimism.  What happens to me is that I lose hope and then the problem is not that we won't make it through this moment it is the fear that life is an endless series of these moments.  It is the fatigue that comes with one's hopes being dashed time and again.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Debt

In an effort to build something at the top of my hill and not simply keep rolling the stone up the hill supplying energy to fuel someone else's machine I decided to look at car loans.  I would LOVE to be out from under mine.  I spend most of my life without money because my checks are direct deposited and I have automated the payment of my bills so the money flows out moments after it has come in and I am as I was before - broke.

One of the things that I see is that it is perfectly legal to take advantage of the ignorance or poverty of a buyer who needs financing and I have been on the wrong side of that transaction too many times.  I am giving myself limits.  My semi-smart phone will have to be enough for an additional 5 years.  My car needs to be paid off!!  I refinanced it and WISH I had been able to keep up the other payments.  I was paying $445 on an $11,000 car.  I had to refinance as it was bit difficult keeping food in the house.  I'm really trying to get to a better place financially but it's not looking good.  I am a cog in the wheel of a system that is built to benefit someone else at my expense refusing to play would mean not being able to get to work or own a semi-reliable vehicle.

Earlier I just do a search to see what I can find about principal payments and I pull up this site: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/auto/make-principal-only-car-payments.aspx

What I see is that I am not alone.  Few really know how to get the best of auto loan agreement.  I am paying to much more than my car is worth and money has special value to me because I have none.  I tell sales people that what they are asking of me is like knocking on my door and asking me for a million dollars - because I might have $20 in the bank at any given time.

I wish there were a platform that customers could use to hold businesses accountable.  A platform that would expose the faux customer service that we are all getting these days and the shameless exploitation of need in the market. Until then, I'll vent here and just try to make it to the next check and to the next.  I show up for work to pay rent and survive with little room for hopes and dreams and plans... but I'm thinking.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Home for Us

I had never wanted to be a homeowner, never wanted to be stuck to a huge mortgage, never wanted to grow roots.  I love to travel and though that has been largely out of my reach since having my two sets of twins I always felt like I'd be able to make the miracle happen that would allow me to travel again, this time with my children. 

A few years ago  I lived a housing nightmare and I realized that renters have no rights.  What we went though then still affects me.  Since that time I have wanted a home of my own.  I discovered, however, that because of my student loan debt I am not likely to be able to buy a home any time soon.  I haven't felt at home in years.  I don't hang pictures on the walls.  I am responsible for making it look like I have not lived in the places that I rent while paying $1,550/mo, water, electricity... There are no tax breaks for me.  

I am resigning myself to the fact that home ownership is not going to be in my immediate future.  I hate apartment complexes.  People are too close and there is no room for a garden but I am contemplating returning to one for a year or so when my lease is up to pay off my car, reduce my expenses and create memories with my children.

For the next decade my home will be in Minecraft.    My 6 year old comes and takes my order and goes and builds me a home.  Our Minecraft homes have lots of windows and always a big garden.  The other day he told me that he made me a "world" (I think that's what he called it.)  He said that I would like it because it had lots of vegetables.  At that moment I realized that for now that would have to be enough and that he, the youngest, will probably be the first of my children to enjoy a room of his own.

    

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

thoughts & ramblings



This will be one of those days I write so that I can say I did.  I have been procrastinating and enjoying the snow left by snowstorm Jonas so very much.  I imagine that tomorrow I will have to return to work and so today I must get prepared.

FOCUS

I have to put on earphones to stay focused.  The funny thing is that the earphones don't usually have any sound they just help me to block out the children and push though. For years I have wanted a pair of Bose noise cancelling earphones.  When I really want them I go on Amazon and read all about them and read the reviews on all of the noise cancelling earphones.  I then return to my life still wondering if I will hold out and one day buy the Bose or I will try a less expensive one...  I have found some more attractive ones but I doubt their quality.

I have been wanting to learn focus and mindfulness. For some time as my preoccupation with some kind of journey to contentment keeps my mind away from the here and now. I've tired of the struggle. What is it even for?  I need to start to accentuate the positive so I don't look back and feel that so much is a loss.  I laugh every day even the bad ones.  I need to change my perspective.

PURPOSE

As I sit here and write I have a sense of clarity.  I know what it is that I want to do, that I am meant to do. I have my purpose.  I sometimes lose focus and I  think that what I want to do is to make money because I don't want to wonder anymore about how the bills get paid and how the kids get fed.

I know that my purpose is take that on for more than just me though and then it becomes a cause.  It is also something that consumes me.  I think constantly about where I am in life financially, how to move forward and the impediments that I face.  Sadly, just now I must tear myself away from this most ambitious of dream/plans to do today's work.  The work that keeps me on life support.

NEED... an illusion??
..a byproduct of capitalism??

It would have been nice if the children had boots and proper winter attire.  They didn't, they layered and went out and enjoyed the snow.  I am drying their shoes before school today.  They didn't complain or ask for anything.  I on the other hand was thinking about the electric bill going up and the water bill going up.  'sigh' Everyday home I was saving money on gas though... as the children cleaned the cupboards.

What do I really need?  a pen, paper, a garden and a place of my own...the ability to meet the needs of my children. I'm working on it.  God knows, I'm working on it.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Questions...

Why do I always feel so possible after a cup of McDonald's coffee?  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Dear Jonas,


Dear Snowstorm Jonas,

Thank you for your visit, we have enjoyed it immensely.  The kids went out and played for hours "cleaning" off my car and playing with the neighbor's children, happy that their feet were the first to touch the snow in the backyard.

I am grateful also.  The visit has given me time to sit and simply be.  I have sat and stood in the window drinking tea, coffee and hot chocolate just being.  I am also grateful for some practical consequences.

I haven't taken the car out since Friday morning, THAT translates to savings on gas.  I wasn't sure if I still had money for both gas and lunches for the kids.  It will be more of a blessing if they (we) can get the next few days off.  I can see an argument for it in the weather report.

Watching it snow makes me feel so at peace.  Today I will attempt to get back to work doing the many things I've been needing to do for work.  I will have to reschedule my student's testing and grade some things.  I will also need to put in grades and do an online training that I have not really been looking forward to.  I don't feel rushed or overwhelmed and that's truly special.

I haven't read to the children in a few days and it will be nice to read to them again today.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016