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.