Monday, December 8, 2014


I ran a marathon yesterday.  26.2 miles.  It was amazing and horrible at the same time.  It's sort of like having a baby, I guess, in that it's painful and messes up your body and afterwards you feel like you've done a major accomplishment and battled adversity and dug deep down and really proved yourself.

Anyway.  It was not 26.2 miles of pure hell, because the first half felt ok, but the second half was pretty miserable.  I couldn't have asked for better weather, so I should feel pretty lucky from that point of view.  I started the day by waking up at 4am to get out of the house by 4:20 to catch the shuttles from Sacramento to Folsom, which left at 5am.  The shuttles brought us to Folsom about 6am, and I hung out on the bus until 6:20 or so, waited in line for the bathroom for 25 minutes (!!!!) and barely had time to strip and drop off my bag of sweats before making it to the start line.

It was an amazing start, a beautiful sunrise, the national anthem (first time I've ever heard it at a road race), and a nice downhill run for the first half mile.  I was actually stiff and felt like I had shin splints for the first two miles, so I was really starting to worry, but then I loosened up and the first half felt pretty good.  As per my last few half marathons, I started feeling the strain around mile 10, and after mile 13, things started aching.  By mile 16, I was slowing down, and by mile 20, I was feeling pretty beaten up.

The last 6 miles rival many of the hardest things I've done in my life, not least giving birth.  My hips were aching, my muscles felt like they were about to give out, my feet were killing me from pounding the pavement.  I was walking on and off, more than I had expected, and my pace slowed considerably.  People were falling apart around me.  One person was on her cell phone, crying.  The buses that shuttled us to the start came by slowly once in a while, I assume to pick up anyone who was giving up, and I can't tell you how tempting it was to stop running and climb on one.  What kept me going was the thought of my family and friends at the finish line, who had come out to cheer for me.  I couldn't let them down.

I thought the last couple miles, running through downtown Sacramento, I would feel the adrenaline and pick up the pace, but it didn't really happen until the last half mile.  Seeing my husband and kids, my sister and brother-in-law, and my friends waiting a few blocks before the finish line was the best feeling in the world, and gave me so much energy to push that last stretch!  The official race photographers at the finish line helped, too =)

So!  I did it!  One of my major goals, done!  And quite possibly I will never do it again, but I learned a lot about myself, and I'm proud of myself, and I'm so happy to be done with demanding training schedule and get those hours of my life back again.  I'm already thinking of next steps in terms of staying in shape and active, but for now, I'm going to relax and enjoy the holidays.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I am not, by nature, very zen

So.  Here I am.  Trying to be zen.  Ha!  That's funny.

I got my IUD out on October 30th.  The doctor wasn't very nice.  I don't like her.  But it went just fine, it wasn't painful at all, and it was done!  Yay!  I asked if I might have spotting, and she said I might experience some withdrawal bleeding.  THAT was an understatement.  I essentially had a period.  A pretty heavy period, for five full days.  And that was what would have been day 18 of my cycle.  Since I'm now on day 29, with no AF in sight, I'm not really sure where I am in my cycle, when to expect AF, or how that withdrawal bleeding affected my cycle.  Weird.  Maybe I should try some OPKs?  I don't really want to get into all that again ... not sure what to do.

Things are crappy with my mom.  Surprise!  As usual, I'm not sure what to do about THAT, either.

My kids got their 4-year immunizations a couple weeks ago, and haven't wanted to take off the band-aids, so I let them keep them.  I didn't think there was really any harm, but I was surprised by how long they lasted.  One of Turtle's detached on one side, and I noticed that the skin was really red where the adhesive had been.  I had to bribe them to get them to let me pull them off, and poor little boy, he clearly has sensitive skin.  He has bright red irritated spots on both arms where the band-aids were.  I feel so bad, but he says it doesn't hurt.

And that's it, really.  I like the holidays (except for dealing with my mom), and it's getting cold and even raining.  I'm looking forward to cooking Thanksgiving dinner, several Christmas parties, and skiing for New Years.  Life is really looking very good.

But if you happen to have any advice for the mirena, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Ah, frustrations

Today is turning out to be an interesting day.  I was supposed to get my IUD out this morning, but the doctor's office called less than an hour before my appointment to tell me they had to cancel it because there was a scheduling problem and the doctor was actually not working today.  Grrrrrrr.  I was so angry and disappointed, although I got over it.  It's rescheduled for later this week.

Then.  I had asked my husband to drop the kids off at school, and like a sweetie he did, even though at that point I could have done it since my appointment was cancelled.  He called me a little while later to say he had the kids' naptime sheets because the head teacher had given them to him and asked him to take them home to be washed.  Which makes me really angry.  For a few reasons.  First, they NEVER remember that my kids aren't there on Fridays and therefore we need the sheets on Thursdays.  I'm tired of having to ask, then wait around while the right person is found and then they find the sheets.  Second, I feel like it's ok that they don't get washed every week or even every other week, since they only go three days per week and they don't even nap anymore, they just have 30 minutes of quiet time.  Third, I guess they expected one of us to run right back in with clean sheets, so lucky for us that I don't work, I guess, except I don't HAVE extra sheets for Turtle because the school LOST them a couple weeks ago.  And didn't tell me until several days later, when they told me about how upset he'd been when he had to use borrowed sheets.  I'm getting so annoyed with this preschool.  Grrrrr!!!!  So I got Tadpole's extra sheet, ran to my husband's office to get the dirty sheets, and dropped off a dirty sheet for Turtle and clean one for Tadpole.  I STILL don't understand why they couldn't call or email about this on Friday instead of waiting until the last minute on Monday morning.  I feel partly at fault because I don't ask for the sheets every single Thursday, but sheesh.  Get it together already.  They've been going there part time for a year and a half, they should know my kids' schedule by now.  And communicate better!

While out running these errands, I decided to make a stop at a nearby assisted living place to check it out for my mom.  That went ok, actually it went pretty well from my point of view.  The place is insanely expensive, but really amazingly nice.  I'm not sure how my mom will feel about it.  I'm going to check out a few more, possibly today.  I don't really know what the next step is.  I don't know if my mom's insurance will cover any of this, and I haven't been able to get her to find out what it DOES cover.  I don't know if moving her closer to me is a good or bad idea.  It would be nice not to have to spend most of the day every time we visit, because it's a 45-minute drive each way.  On the other hand, I don't really want to start seeing her a lot more often.  It would be easier for the kids and me to just visit her a couple times a week for 20-30 minutes, not to mention the kids start kindergarten next year and we won't be able to visit on weekdays anymore, and I'm not willing to go there every single weekend.  We camp and ski and hike and all sorts of other things.  I'm not stopping any of that.  But her friends aren't here, she probably wouldn't see much of them anymore, and that would be hard, I'm willing to admit it.  Also, we go to Italy on average once per year, and we're gone for anywhere from 2 weeks to 2.5 months.  My sister lives nearby, so that would help.  My brother and his kids live in another state, though.  I'm tempted to have my mom move up there with them.  They don't really travel, and they really owe my mom in a lot of ways, she's given them so much money and so many things.  I don't know if she'd want to go, though.  But then again, we might not live here forever.  Short term, yes, but mid to long term, we don't really know.  My husband's work might take him away, and we might move to Italy at some point.  Not tomorrow, not next year, probably not for at least 5 years, but eventually it's a possibility.

So.  Anyway.  These things are hard.  On everyone.  I don't even know what else to say.  =(

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

More trouble

And then there was more trouble. This is the only place I feel really safe to talk about it.  I've written about my mom many many many many many times.  I believe she has Borderline Personality Disorder.  She's difficult.  She's toxic.  She's stubborn beyond belief, negative, arrogant, thoughtless, manipulative and just an all-around unpleasant person to be with.  She's fought to control my life and my brother's and sister's lives with guilt and outright manipulation.  To a large degree, it's worked.

She's also obese, addicted to diet soda, and has diabetes which is basically out of control.  I don't think I blogged about her falling out of bed in the middle of the night back at the end of May, right before my sister's wedding.  She couldn't get up and spent the night on the floor, where her housekeeper found her the following morning.  For some reason, it never occurred to her to call anyone (she could reach her phone, I believe).  I had to miss a big chunk of the bachelorette party I planned for my sister in order to spend the entire day with her at the hospital and then accompany her home, but that was ok - she's my mother, after all, and she didn't plan the timing.  But in the hospital she was told by everyone that her diabetes was out of control, that her diet was the single most important thing she needed to change in her life, and that her weight was of course making things much worse.  She acted completely surprised, which seems impossible.  And since then, she has not changed one single thing, except to possibly make things worse.

Her inactivity has gotten so bad that she can barely even walk around her house.  She is extremely obese, I found out today that her BMI is at least 36.  Her feet are swollen beyond belief.  She claims to have no clue why she is doing so badly physically.  Every time I go to her house, there are empty ice cream cartons and diet soda cans everywhere.  I have nagged her about exercise and diet for years.  I've tried to motivate her, I've offered to accompany her, to walk with her, gotten her to sign up for a very senior-friendly gym.  None of it ever works.  I have basically given up.  I accept that you cannot force someone to change who has no desire to actually make any changes.

Today, while visiting her with the kids, she fell and couldn't get up.  I tried to lift her, but she couldn't provide any assistance, she couldn't even get her feet under her.  I can't dead lift 230 pounds.  I called the fire department.  They came and told her she should get one of those devices that calls for help if you fall and can't get up, but she said she didn't need it because she's starting physical therapy next week.  She still magically believes that she will get better without making any effort at all.  Ten minutes after I left for home later this afternoon, she called to say she fell again, and asked me to come back, so I did.  She refused to call the fire department again, so I called her neighbor, who wasn't home but told me which other neighbor could help.  My mom's first time meeting her neighbor was to have him haul her off the floor.  He was a big guy, but could still barely do it.  I was embarrassed for her. 

And I'm at a loss.  I have no idea what to do.  The last time I suggested assisted living, she practically spit in my face.  My brother lives a several hour flight away, and has his own family.  My sister lives nearby but works full time.  Everyone acts like my mom is my responsibility, even though I have small children and a life of my own, and it's a 45-minute drive to her house.  I hate to see her suffer, and I feel bad for her, but I have been struggling to create boundaries and protect myself from her toxicity.  And I don't know what to do in any case.  I would love to move her into a retirement facility, but she would be miserable.  The most precious things in her life really are THINGS ... her furniture, expensive statues, house decorations and knick-knacks, giant closet of clothes, etc.  She has no hobbies, she just likes her stuff.  She's too old to realize that it just weighs her down.

So that is my venting.  And my desperation.  I feel trapped yet again.  I feel like it has reached a point where there is no hope for improvement, either mentally or physically, and I just don't want to deal with it anymore.  How to you distance yourself from your mother, when she is old and alone and very sick?  But how do you deal with your old, lonely, sick mother when she is such a toxic presence in your life?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Here we go again?

So.  I made an appointment to get my IUD removed.  The first available appointment is not for two weeks and it's with the OB that I like the absolute least, but it's the best I can do.  It's a bit weird to wait for years to make this decision, finally screw up the courage to call for an appointment, and have to wait so long, but hey.  I'll take it.  Keeping my fingers crossed that this will be an easier journey than the last one, that I will be able to accept whatever happens, and that I will be content in my family no matter if it grows or stays the same beautiful size it is now.  I'm not thinking of this as TTC.  It just is what it is.

I imagine I'll probably be writing here again, since this is my most anonymous place and this is not news I feel like sharing with people I know IRL.  I have multiple friends and even my sister who are going through infertility and who actively want to get pregnant.  I don't feel I am in that same place.  And if we don't get pregnant, I don't want it to be a big deal.  So.  Here I am again.  Hopefully blogging will bring me some clarity and peace.

Cheers.  =)

P.S. The OB I will see is the one who delivered my kids, who showed up to work after I had already stopped pushing and stepped in just for the c-section.  So maybe there is some sort of meaning there ... maybe he just shows up for the extremely important moments?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Life keeps going

Well.  I have been away from blogging for a while.  It wasn't a conscious decision, it was just one of those things.  I have a love-hate relationship with blogging, and I needed a break.  I'm still not sure if I'm coming back.  But sometimes I feel like I need a place to share, to unburden my mind, and air my thoughts, and wander through my own brain.  Sometimes I feel like I'm just complaining too much, that my posts are all negative, or that if they're positive, they sound annoying and boastful or preachy.  So I don't know.

Don't get too excited with this next paragraph.  There's no "real" big news.  The somewhat big news is that my husband has told me that he realizes it's not fair for him to unilaterally decide we won't have more kids.  After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I've had some time to ponder it.  Like, ponder it for real, as if it were an actual possibility instead of a pipe dream that I knew would never happen.  I've been going over the pros and cons in my mind, as I have basically been doing for the last four years since my twins were born (Turtle and Tadpole are 4 now, can you believe it?!?!).  I've written about it many times before, and I don't think I want to review it now, but the main things I want to reiterate is that I have no plans to go back to infertility treatment, and I'm a little terrified of deciding I want another child and failing.  I know my husband is worried about that, too, worried that my resolve to avoid further treatment will weaken and we will be right back in that mess we were in before.

Interestingly, my identical twin sister is now pursuing fertility treatment.  Although her doctors say there is no link between both of us having infertility, especially since mine was unexplained.  So there's that.

So.  I'm working my way towards an answer, and I hope to reach it soon.  Time is ticking.

In the meantime, here are a few points of what's happened this summer:

- We went to Europe (mostly Italy) for 6 weeks, including a week-long vacation in Elba, and a 6-day trip to London to visit friends.  We also stopped in Pisa to see the leaning tower.

- We went camping to Mammoth.  So much fun.

- The kids are back in preschool, and I'm getting mentally ready for them to go to kindergarten next year!

- I'm still looking into career options.  Life is really busy and I'm doing so much work for my husband's company that I don't have a lot of time for my own career at the moment, but I'll get there. 

-. I'm getting back in pretty good shape.  I ran a half-marathon yesterday, my fourth in the last two years.  Half-marathons are really hard.

That's it for now.  I haven't been reading blogs much either, but I may start again.  Although, in general, I'm looking to get away from the computer more.  I need some screen-free time myself.

Friday, May 9, 2014


I'm feeling really proud of myself today.

Yesterday, I cleaned out a huge chunk of our 3-car garage and reorganized a ton of it, which included dragging a heavy workbench and really tall set of shelves around by myself.  Not to mention unloading and reloading a lot of heavy stuff from the bench and shelves so that I was able to move them.

Today, I took the kids and we:

1. Went to the household hazardous waste drop-off at the dump, where we unloaded lots of cans of old paint, stain, and other chemicals that the last owners of our house left in the garage, plus some sharps for my mom and e-waste.  The kids were fascinated by the hazmat suits the guys were wearing.  I mean, they weren't full-fledged hazmat suits, but they were still impressive, along with the gloves, goggles,etc.

2. Had lunch and pretty authentic gelato with my sister.  It was fun.  And yummy.

3. Dropped off my old unused needles from my infertility treatments at a needle exchange location.  They were really grateful, and it felt so good not only to get them out of the house, but to see them go to good use.

4. Dropped off a box of hotel soap my mom had been hoarding for years at the local Loaves and Fishes.  They were also really grateful, and I felt sorry that I hadn't brought more stuff.  But I will keep it in mind for the future.

5. Dropped off another 4 or 5 bags of stuff at the thrift store.  I still have a LOOOOOONG way to go getting rid of extraneous stuff around here, but that still felt good.

6. Bought sweet peppers to plant in the garden, plus one more eggplant.

7. Went to the post office to snail mail some gift cards to my nephew for his birthday (which is today, I'm SO not on the ball).

8. Made it home and the kids were not interested in going out again, even though I had also planned to drop off baby clothes at an acquaintance's house and go grocery shopping.  Fine by me.  I'm tired.

Then my husband and kids surprised me with Mother's Day flowers, the perfect start to the weekend.  And tonight we're off for rock climbing and a nice dinner out while my sis watches the kids.  AND it's my favorite festival in town this weekend.  So I'm in a pretty good spot right now.

Hope you all have a good weekend, too.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Spring update

It has once again been a while since I've written, and for that I am sorry.  I'm doing a lot better since the last time I wrote, although I haven't resolved much.  I have taken on some big projects, some of which may or may not come to fruition, but at least I have something to focus my time and energy.  They are, in no particular order:

1. I'm making a quilt (together with my sister) for my good friend who is about to have her first baby.  It's my first real quilting effort, but it is a strip quilt and is turning out, so far, to be pretty easy.

2. I'm working on vacation plans for the summer.  Our good friends are traveling with us to Italy for 3 weeks, then returning home with my husband while I stay another 3 weeks with my husband's family.  While our friends are visiting, we plan to take a week-long trip somewhere in Europe - top contenders right now are Provence, Corsica, or Greece (Kalymnos, I think).  After the others leave, the kids and I will likely go to London to visit some friends.  I'm a bit nervous traveling on my own, but my husband's Aunt is going to London around that time, so we will probably be able accompany them at least one way.  I will be traveling back to the US by myself with the kids.  I'm very nervous about that.

3. I'm still working on all my racing plans, and enjoying it.  I'm taking 4 days off from running right now to rest my aching joints, but training has been going very well so far.  I have my half-marathon on June 8, and I'm tentatively planning a sprint triathlon the last weekend of May.  I haven't really been able to bike much, so that's been a bit harder to train for, but I've been swimming and running a lot.  Depending on how things go this summer, I will consider training for a marathon in December (the same one I was training for when I broke my finger.)  I'm still up 5-10 pounds over my previous weight (and more like 10-15 from my ideal weight), but I am feeling a lot better for all this exercise.

4. Climbing!  We've been climbing again (conveniently right after we cancelled our membership at the climbing gym).  We brought the kids to the gym and they generally had a good time.  The height of the walls there is a bit intimidating for them, and when the gym is crowded it's just about impossible for the kids to climb (and less pleasant for the adults, too).  So ... I'm dreaming of building a climbing wall in our garage!  My husband is trying to be very realistic about how much work it will be and how long it will take, but it makes me happy just to have a dream.  If all goes well, it will be awesome.

5. My husband is leaving tomorrow on a week-long ski trip to Norway.  I'm pretty jealous of it.  It won't change my day-to-day life all that much, since I do the vast majority of the housework and child care, but he has been on many, many, many more outings than I have since the kids have been born.  In fact, I've been on only one overnight trip without my husband since the kids were born, and that was a pretty sad 3-day backpacking trip two years ago with friends who were not all that into it.  SO!  I'm hoping to do a longer, more challenging trip later this summer with my sister.  We're thinking of doing a 3-4 day trip along the Tahoe Rim Trail.  The timing is not so great, because it will be hot and there wasn't much snow this year, so I'm a bit worried about water availability on the trail, but it is nice just to have a general plan.

So that's where I am.  I also had great news for some of the work I'm doing for my husband's company, which was a huge relief, considering how much time I've spent on it this spring.

Anyway, I just spent way too much of my available time writing this email so ... I have to go work on a quilt!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

I have had such a rough day.  I don't know if writing about it will make things better or not, but here goes.

I planned a visit to a friend from my old job who has moved several hours away to a really isolated agricultural town in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley.  She just had her second child a couple months ago, and I've never even met the first one, who is 2.5 years old.  As it happened, I didn't meet him today either, since he was at daycare, but that's ok.  It was a miserable, boring, hot drive, but I has the chance to stopp at the cemetery where my father is buried, which is only about 15 minutes from their town so it was a nice opportunity.  I haven't been there since I was pregnant, I'm pretty sure.  Being there made me sadder than I expected.  I really miss my dad sometimes.

I stopped in to ask about having my dad's remains moved to a cemetery that's closer to us, as my mom regrets that he is so far away, but the information I got made it seem like it won't be possible.  The move would be at our cost (the original burial was either free or low cost because my dad was a veteran of WWII), and it requires notarized signatures of all living children.  My dad was not close to a few of his kids from his first marriage, especially his adopted son who stayed with his mother after my dad got divorced shortly after the adoption.  I think I've met my adopted half-brother only once, when I was a child.  While I doubt any of my half-siblings would be petty enough to refuse a signature, I can't imagine they would be bending over backwards to get it taken care of, either, especially since it requires a notary.  That plus the cost pretty much means it won't be happening.

Off to my friend's house, and she looks great.  She's the type of person who sees the silver lining in everything.  But I can tell pretty quickly she's unhappy with her current situation.  She's terribly isolated in the town where she lives, I don't think she has any friends.  She has been working until the birth of her second son, but she reviews school meal programs, so she mostly works from home or travels to school sites alone, and has no coworkers that are geographically close by (when I worked with her, we both worked at the main state office in Sacramento, but when her husband got a job as a veterinarian in that town, she was lucky enough to find that job opening within our same department that allowed her to continue working).  The main blow was when she told me about her niece - I've never met her sister-in-law, but I've heard a lot about their family.  They had identical twin girls who survived twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, and then got pregnant again immediately after their birth and had another little girl within a year.  I always enjoyed hearing stories about the three girls, but I discovered that since I last spoke to my friend last summer, one of the twins was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, and passed away just a few months ago at the age of 5.  I was completely shocked and saddened by the news, as I had thought often of my friend's extended family.  I never met her, but I still can't believe she is gone.

And then a lot of petty little things are just getting me down.  A friend from my book club has decided to reschedule several of our activities to days that work better for her, even though I can't make it and I'm the one who organized the outings in the first place.  When I asked her nicely if she would consider proposing a wider range of dates, she said she was only proposing dates that were convenient for her, and I don't see how I can do anything about it without sounding totally passive aggressive or controlling.

And my mother ... oh dear, my mother.  I'm at a loss for words.  I'm really tired of dealing with a mentally ill person who ... sigh, I don't even know where to start.  She is exhausting.  She called me at least 12 times today and left a series of messages, each more desperate than the one before, all about how she needs me and needs help and needs this and needs that.  I am reaching the end of my rope with her.  I couldn't find the strength to call her back today.

On my way home from my friend's house (another long, boring, hot 2-hour drive), I stopped at the post office to mail the second batch of cards for my sister's bridal shower, which I've spent many many hours working on this week.  A postal worker was gathering the mail, and I handed them to her.  She handed them back and informed me that since they're not completely flat (I glued a small fabric flower to each card) they require an extra 21 cents.  I had dropped a whole bunch in the mailbox yesterday without knowing that.  And they don't have return addresses.  So I don't know what is going to happen to those cards that I spent so much time and money on.  And I have no idea of knowing who will get invitations now and who won't.  It's such a huge mess that I don't even want to think about it.  I think that was the point  when I really lost it.  I'm a mess.  I've spent the rest of the day crying.

My husband is leaving for a week-long ski vacation in Europe in a couple weeks.  I don't really know what to say about that either.

We just bought tickets to Italy for the summer, and I am already regretting the dates I picked.  I'll be staying three weeks longer than my husband and flying back with the kids alone.  I'm not really sure why I decided to do that.  I like my house.  I like being home.  I like my summer garden and my friends (except for a few from my book club at the moment).  I like my kids being in preschool and having time to run and swim.  I like my kids having their bikes and their toys and their swim lessons.  I like having a car and being able to go where I want.  I'm just ... it's too much to even think about right now.

So.  I'm trying to regain my perspective, but things look awfully shitty right now.

Monday, March 17, 2014

St. Pat's

We had a crazy weekend, and I am barely recovering today.  I am happy the kids are in preschool on Mondays now, I need it to recover from the weekends!  Today, being St. Patrick's Day, went easier for drop-off, which is making me wonder if I can incorporate some of these lessons every morning.  When I told them it was a day to wear all green, they were very excited to pick out their clothes and get dressed, and then they were excited when the other kids at school were all wearing green, too.  So, that was nice to not start the day with crying about preschool.

So this weekend we had something like 15 people for dinner on Saturday, which we cooked a fancy 3-course-meal for, and then about the same number of people plus 7 or 8 kids on Sunday for a pool party, which the pool didn't get quite warm enough for.  Not that that stopped most of the kids from going in anyway.  It was 80 degrees out, so it was nice.  At least Sunday was a semi-potluck, and everyone had a great time. And since we started in the afternoon, people left early after dinner and that gave us a chance to get the kids to bed at a reasonable time, too.  I was exhausted, and still feel that way today.

I'm beat, and the house is a mess.  And I have a ton of work in the next couple weeks, plus a bunch of crafty things that need to start getting done for my sister's wedding in June, my friend's baby (also in June), a birthday party (this weekend!), and just my own stuff.  I'm feeling overwhelmed, which is the usual anyway.

In other news, exercise is going well.  I'm swimming twice a week, running twice a week, and biking when I can.  It's been really windy here lately, which makes biking sort of miserable.  I've been working on bringing up my speed at running, to at least get back to where I was pre-kids (which is still jogging, not really running, but feels like sprinting to me).  I picked a half-marathon to train for in June, and possibly a triathlon at the end of May.  And then we'll probably be in Italy, so I'm hoping I'll be able to keep running at least while I'm there, plus some hiking, too.

Speaking of which - I'm off to the gym now for a 2-mile run and then master's swimming.  And spring is right around the corner!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Turtle v. Tadpole

Oof.  Raising 3-year-olds is making me rather schizophrenic.*  I LOVE it one moment and HATE it the next.  When it's awesome, it is SO awesome, and I am dying to have another one to make it all the better and keep the awesomeness coming.  When it sucks, I want to cry and tear out my hair and walk out of the house without looking back.  The cycles can last for hours, minutes, or really even seconds.  I am definitely starting to feel the strain, though.  I need a break.

One thing that's really awesome about this age is that their personalities are really starting to shine, and they are SOOOOOO different.  Here are a few examples.

This morning, the kids found a bag of colored star-shaped beads, so I got out the muffin tins and explained that they could group the beads by color, with each color getting its own spot.  Turtle loved that game.  He sat there and worked diligently and was so proud of himself when he was done.  Tadpole ... well, sigh.  I started them working together on the same muffin tin, but that didn't last longer than 5 seconds. I think she was purposely putting the wrong colors together just to make Turtle mad.  So I got her a tin of her own, where she gleefully combined all the colors together in each spot and then, after two minutes, called it a day.

My husband made up a bedtime game whereby the adult gives clues and the kid has to guess which animal we are thinking of, then we switch roles.  I have actually never played with Turtle, but my husband says it goes something like this:

Husband: The animal I'm thinking of swims in the ocean and is really huge!
Turtle: A whale!  My turn.  The animal I'm thinking of does NOT swim in the ocean, and is NOT really huge!

Here's how my games with Tadpole go:

Tadpole: This animal talks and has wings!
Me: A parrot!
Tadpole: No!
Me: Ummmmm ... really?  Are you sure it's not a parrot?
Tadpole: I'm sure, it's NOT a parrot.  It talks and has wings!
Me: (After trying a few other random guesses) Tadpole, I really don't know, can you tell me what it is?
Tadpole: A giraffe that talks and has wings!

OK, I guess you got me there.  More stories to come.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ah, domesticity

Well, as my luck would have it, as soon as I wrote my last post about getting back on track, our house has been struck down by plague.  Not the actual Plague, but some sort of sickness that gives the kids a fever, runny nose, and cough, but doesn't seem to slow them down or prevent them from making enormous messes.  They've been sick since Monday (but I didn't realize it was a real thing until they got their fevers on Tuesday).  Ah, it's been lovely.  Also, it rained!  Which is awesome!  But between the sickness and the rain, I have barely been able to exercise.  Luckily, thanks to my husband working from home a couple days this week, I was able to get out a few times anyway.

So.  It has been a rough week. To say the least.  Yesterday, knowing it was going to rain and I'd be stuck inside with the kids all day, I decided to defrost our leftover Thanksgiving turkey to make turkey soup (good for the sick kids!), I baked 12 loaves of French bread (probably will not do again for a while, at least not with the kids underfoot), and made a bunch of pumpkin chocolate-chip muffins.  Which my sweet-tooth son will not eat because he's worried that eating unhealthy food will give him a stomach ache.  Sigh.  I feel like a domestic goddess.  But four days of having sick whiny kids is taking its toll, and the TV is getting turned on more than I'd normally like, but right now I don't mind at all.

I've been thinking about my health issues again, lately.  I mentioned that I wanted to try gluten free, then I chickened out, but it's on my radar again.  On one had, I have no hard evidence to support that I have a gluten intolerance.  On the other hand, what can it hurt?  Besides completely changing the way I eat and cook for a while.  Still, I'm seriously considering it, and considering bringing it up with the doctor.

I talked to my sister about my hip pain and she mentioned trying yoga.  I have not had time to try an actual class, nor am I sure I want to just yet since at the moment I'm only looking at specific yoga poses that will help with the hip pain and I don't want to spend an hour in a class that may or may not cover those poses, but I am dabbling.  Here is the specific article that inspired me, since this is EXACTLY my ailment (a painful, stiff left hip after running).  So far I'm only really doing the pigeon pose, since out of the other two, one is too hard for me at the moment, and the other doesn't seem to do anything for me, but man, just that one is really helping.  I try to do it twice a day and hold the stretch for several minutes at a time, although sometimes I only manage it once per day.  This morning I ran 2.5 miles, then did the stretch almost immediately after (instead of waiting until later), and I have been more or less pain-free all day, which has almost never happened in the last 6 months.

So I am hopeful.  I would like to work some yoga and meditation into my daily routine, but I'm not sure how.  For one thing, I need both a time and a place to do it, and with two 3-year-olds in the house, finding both of those things is tough.

So - for my chronic hip pain, I've discovered yoga and I'm considering a potential gluten-free experiment.  I feel happy to have some options.  And I'm hoping the gluten-free experiment might help with a few other things, like the digestive issues, achy joints, and fatigue.  Although it seems like a lot of those things could be chalked up to having small children.  Ha.

Anyway, the cleaners are coming tomorrow, and it's late, and the house is a mess because of the aforementioned sick whiny kids not going to preschool all week, so I better get hopping.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Back on track!

The kids are home from preschool today.  Turtle woke up with a croupy cough and sounded like he was having a mild asthma attack.  He seemed much better by about 10-10:30, but they really didn't want to go to school.  I am still struggling with the school problem.  It seems like it will never end.  I'll write more about that in another post, probably.  So I have more or less scrapped my plans for today.  But my wonderful husband came home to work for the afternoon so I could go for a bike ride while the kids napped, which is great because it's such a beautiful day.

I'm trying to stay on track for exercise, and I'm pretty proud of myself.  I've been managing to get one workout per day, five days per week, pretty consistently.  Since there's a master's swim team at my gym, I no longer have to pay for the city master's swim team, plus I get to use the gym and all the other classes they offer.  I think I may try to work out even more as I get in better shape.  Ironically, I am at my highest weight ever (except for when pregnant), and I'm wondering if there is some other factor, like the Mir.en.a IUD that could be causing it.

To stay on track, I have a lot of goals for this year.  I would like to do at least one sprint triathlon this summer, and if I can, I'd like to try to be competitive (i.e. place at least 5th), but that would be icing on the cake.  If training in the next couple months goes well, I might like to try an international triathlon as well, but I'm less excited about it.  I'm aiming tentatively for a half marathon in April, but I recognize I may not have enough time to train that quickly, which is ok.  If I don't make that, I will see if there is a half marathon in May or June in this area.  So that's the plan for the summer.  We're planning to go to Italy, and I'd like to be in good shape, so that I can be in good shape for outdoor sports while I'm there, and so I can look good and feel healthy while I'm there.  And then I am considering running a marathon in December, the same one I was training for a year and a half ago when I fell and broke my finger and ended up having two surgeries.  That will depend entirely on how the spring and summer go, but I'm feeling hopeful and happy about it.

In addition to all this training, I'm also going to give up desserts and coffee for Lent.  I may try to start sooner than that.  I'm not sure if I'm going to count making coffee at home yet, but definitely no Sta.rbu.cks or (or the super cheap coffee frappe's they have at costco either, sigh).  It's going to be really hard, but I hope I'll feel so much better for it.

And then in the meantime, I'm still working on a ton of other things, including crafts (a baby quilt for my friend who's having her first!  a dress for Tadpole!  stuff for my sister's wedding!), work for my husband, and work on my potential substitute teaching gig that I hope will eventually work out.  And I need to start planning our trip to Italy, since it will need to coincide with several other people visiting us and possibly us visiting some friends who are moving to London next week.  Big plans ahead!  OK, time to get the kids up and ready for soccer!

Monday, February 10, 2014

The sound of raindrops

Hi friends.  Did you hear?  It rained.  It was beautiful, healing rain.  I can't tell you how thoroughly I enjoyed it how much I missed it.  It has been more than a year since I have seen a real rainstorm, and it made me want to dance with joy.  We still need a lot more to help with the drought conditions, but it was good.  For the next big rainstorm, I want to have a warm soup dinner and a cozy cuddle on the couch with a fire in the fireplace.  I can't wait!

Life is not bad right now.  I'm very busy.  I'm working a lot on stuff for my husband's company, I'm trying to keep up with all the housework, and more importantly, I'm trying to make exercise a priority.  I'll talk about that in a minute.

I also started seeing a therapist.  I'm not sure she's really what I need.  Within the first two sessions, she suggested that my mother is mentally ill and confirmed the tentative diagnosis my sister and I had made through our research (mostly dr., but also reading some self-help and lay-person-friendly books).  She would not presume to actually diagnose my mother without ever having met her, but she confirmed that my description of her behavior is consistent with someone with a personality disorder.  She also gave me a book and it seems most likely that she has Bord.erl.ine Personality Disorder, possibly with some Nar.cissistic Personality Disorder mixed in (for fun!), on top of depression and anxiety.  Sigh.

The last few weeks with my mom have been as exhausting as usual.  It's very emotionally and mentally draining dealing with someone like that.  It's not so bad when I don't talk to her regularly, but one of her more annoying traits, which is consistent with someone with BPD, is the need to cling more tightly when she feels abandoned, which often means multiple phone calls per day.  Sometimes when I don't answer, she just keeps hanging up and calling again, over and over, and I can't turn off my phone in case my husband or the preschool needs to call.

Anyway.  Things are actually not bad, as I said.  We had a nice weekend.  I'm trying to exercise at least 3-5 times per week.  I'm swimming twice per week as part of that, and it's great.  I love swimming.  I'm trying to run 1-2 times per week and cycle 1-2 times per week, too.  I'm hoping to do a triathlon this summer, if not 2 or 3, but we'll see.  I still have hip pain, unfortunately.  I will probably try to make a doctor's appointment soon.  I keep saying that, then the pain gets better, but it always comes back, so it's probably time.  I'm tired of feeling like a creaky, achy old woman after I work out.  I also read that gluten intolerance can cause joint pain, in addition to other problems I have had over the years including digestive issues, fatigue/insomnia, and (drum roll please) ..... infertility!  Ah ha ha ha.  Yay.

So I am considering going gluten-free for 2-4 weeks.  It will be REALLY hard.  Insanely hard.  I'm married to an Italian, yo.  We eat lots of bread and pasta.  But I think it will be worth it, if I can either rule that out as the problem or figure out that it actually IS the problem.

I haven't had any time for my substitute teaching application, which is fine since I wouldn't have been able to actually sub anyway, I've been so busy.  I have a lot more work coming up for my husband's company, too, it should quiet down in April, I hope.  Since I am essentially working for free, the company is considering doing something nice for me, such as paying for cleaning, a weekend at a spa, or regular massages.  I'm trying to decide what I'd want.  It all sounds nice!  On the other hand, a series of personal training sessions sounds nice, too.  My sister's trying to talk me into taking guitar lessons, and I've contacted a teacher, but I am really feeling like it might be too much right now.  I'm overwhelmed.

And it's late.  And I should go to bed.  I hope all is well, you may not hear from me for a while with all this craziness, but I'll be back!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Still no rain

No rain in the forecast.  The situation is becoming dire here in California.

I had a Mi.r.ena IUD placed today.  I am feeling incredibly ambivalent about it, which would probably be obvious based on my feelings and posts from recent times.  I spend a lot of time thinking about whether or not I would want another child.  I wish I knew if it were even possible ... if infertility prevented us from ever having a child spontaneously, that would probably end my dilemma right there, since I am not interested in using fertility treatments again.  But knowing that it's completely out of my hands now, that I would have to make affirmative steps to get pregnant (by having the IUD removed instead of just stopping taking regular BC) makes me feel powerless and helpless.  I think for my daily life, it's a great thing, but I am having a hard time coming to terms with it.

In other news, Turtle is STILL struggling with preschool.  He cried when I dropped him off yesterday, and today he looked like he was struggling to hold it together.  I wish I knew what was causing this.  I wish I knew if it was something that I could help with, or if he's just going through a phase and we have to wait it out.  I wish I knew if changing schools would help, or if it would just make matters worse by bringing more upheaval and uncertainty.

Speaking of changing schools, I did think about looking into other schools for the fall, just in case things don't improve where we are, and then realized that my babies have only one year of preschool left before they start kindergarten.  My babies.  What happened?!  When did they grow up?!  Of course, this is contributing to my general feelings of unhappiness about the whole unsettled question of if/when we would try for another.  One of the sad things about having twins, I think, is that it's over so fast, and when it's over, it's over.  I'm sorry, obviously I'm feeling melancholy today.

This afternoon, in just a few hours, I go see the psychologist for the first time.  I'm nervous, for a few reasons.  The primary one is that I've been hoping that this will lift a burden in my life, and help me to be happier and more content.  The reality is that I know there will be a lot of difficult things to face, and that bringing true peace, contentment, and happiness to my life will come only as a result of changing or ending the relationship with my mother, and I dread that.  This is one of those problems you wish you could ignore and it would go away.  Still, I am hopeful that this is the first step towards change.

On another note, I'm sporadically trying to improve my physical health, going to the gym, and setting goals for fitness.  I'm working my way up to cycling and swimming regularly again, and I hope to start running, but I am nervous that the pain in my hip will come back much worse than it is when I am not running.  I realize I probably need to make a doctor's appointment for that soon.  One of the benefits of this terrible drought we are embarking on here in California is that I have been able to cycle more, and I am making a pledge to get back to it (although I have pledged that many times here over the last 2 years with mixed results).  I picked up the kids from school yesterday with the bike, and hope to do it again today.

One last thing - I'm working on applying for substitute teachings jobs.  My work life is really busy right now because we are about to start immigration visa season for my husband's company, and that will mean a lot of work in the next two months, but I hope to at least get my applications on file so I am ready if I get any opportunities to teach soon.

Well, I am feeling better, once again, for writing this out, and will try to keep updates coming about the kids, and the therapy, and working out and life in general.  Please send rainy thoughts our way - we are still dry as a bone here and I'm very worried about what the spring and summer hold for us.  Hope all is well with you.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Monday blues

I'm having a rough time and feeling a little sorry for myself.  Boo.

I'm busy, so so busy.  My house is a mess.  I have so much to do, and a lot of it is boring mindless chores.  And the rest of it is important work that is stressful.  I don't have enough time.  I want the kids to spend both more and less time at school, because I need more time and I'm so exhausted, but I also miss them when they're not here.

Speaking of the kids, they are difficult.  Sometimes.  They're wonderful sometimes, too.  I think that just about sums up 3-year-olds.  They're very much into their toys and games, but they're not very good at playing independently.

I have a cold, and I am continuing to have issues with my digestion that are making me really unhappy.  Also, with all the work I have, I have not had time to go to the gym.  So physically, I am not feeling great.  My hip also continues to hurt after any type of physical activity, so I'm thinking it might be time to go back to the doctor.

Speaking of doctors I am STILL trying to find a therapist.  I have one who I've been playing phone-tag with, I hope to catch up with her tomorrow.  If that doesn't work out, I don't know.

Speaking of therapists, my relationship my mom continue to be problematic (I mean, I realize that probably won't ever change), and new problems have developed that are causing me a lot of anxiety.  She is now having legal issues with the buyers of her old house, and needs help (like I've said before, if I had a dollar for every time she said she needed help, I'd be rich).  When I think of my mom, I feel weary and old and worn out and beat down by life.  I hope my kids don't ever feel the same when they think of me.  I hope they think of me as someone who loves them, wants them to be happy, supports their choices in life, is their biggest cheerleader, and appreciates them 100% of the time.

Did I mention what my mom said about the Christmas gift I got her?  I spent some time going through photos and organizing a "family photo book" from the point of view of the kids.  Since it's from their point of view, it includes both my side of the family and my husband's side, of which my mom is very jealous.  There are probably more pictures of my husband's side of the family for two main reasons: 1. We don't see them nearly as often, so when we DO see them, it tends to be considered a "special occasion" and therefore we take more pictures; and 2. There are just a lot more people, when you count all the grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc.  My family is very small in comparison.  So in order to get everyone in the book, there just had to be more space dedicated to my husband's family.

Anyway, I designed a photo book online and had it printed for my mom and my in-laws.  A little while after Christmas, my mom asked me if she ever thanked me, and I said no, and asked if she liked the book.  And she said "Well .... mostly."  Sigh.  The woman is NEVER HAPPY.  I realize that it doesn't sound that bad now that I've written it down, maybe I'm overreacting.

Just writing this has been a bit cathartic.  And now it's getting late, and my cold is making me soooooo tired, so I'm off to bed.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Grey Saturday

It's a cold gray Saturday, and there's a 40% chance of rain.  I think we are all praying for it - we are having a terrible drought here in Northern California.  I have seem almost no rain at all since I got back from Italy just under 11 months ago.  It's unfortunate that we thought of taking the kids to the warm water pool at my gym today for some swim practice, but we can skip that, no problem, if we get some rain.  Oh, please rain!  Maybe we should do a rain dance.

I love these gray rainy days, especially when you can stay home and play.  More or less in pajamas.  Although Tadpole woke up wet, so she had to change right away, and I'm in the middle of washing her sheets.  I feel like in the last year, there has been a major increase in laundry, sigh.  Today my husband is in San Francisco at some networking event, so we are just hanging out at home, praying for rain, playing with legos, and catching up on chores.

The other day the wild turkeys in the greenbelt jumped the fence and destroyed my vegetable garden.  I'm really upset about that.

Life is good.  I'm working hard these days, on work for my husband's company and on the house.  The housework is unbelievable and never-ending.  I am not really an organized person.  That is to say, I like an organized space, but I am often too lazy/tired to keep it that way, and just one slip usually leads to chaos around here, which requires an inordinate amount of work to reverse.  In the meantime, I haven't managed to apply for substitute teaching jobs because I need a letter of reference, and I haven't decided who to ask.  Not to mention that I will probably have to write the letter myself, and I'm not sure what to say, nor when I'll find time.  But I'm feeling hopeful.

In other news, my sister is getting married!  I'm so excited.  It's the first (and probably only) time I'll get to be in a wedding party.  Plus all the planning is so much fun.  It's going to be a lot of DIY since they have a very small budget and a very large number of people to invite, but I think it'll be a lot of fun.

In even more news, I can't seem to find a therapist.  Everyone is full or won't take my insurance, and it's so expensive without insurance.  I don't know what to do.  And I spend SO much time researching therapists, calling them and leaving messages, then waiting for a return call only to hear that they won't take me.  I am feeling really frustrated and helpless, which is sort of the opposite of what I hoped to get out of the whole therapy situation.  It's really insane, and I'm really unhappy about it.

With that being said, I still have mounds of chores to do, and the kids are making messes faster than I can clean them up.  I wish you good weather, whatever that means to you!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


We are in such dire straights, friends, there is no rain.  It has almost not rained this winter, and barely rained last year.  I just looked at the 10-day forecast, and there is no end in sight.  It's so bad.  We were up at Lake Tahoe for New Year's in the Sierra Nevadas, and there is basically no snow on any south-facing mountainsides.  It looks like the end of spring.  It's a disaster.

Ironically, I got new skis for Christmas.  I wonder if I'll get to use them this year.  I'm starting to be doubtful.

Anyway.  I wanted to catch up on the last month.  We had a wonderful holiday, although I am thrilled the kids are back in school now.  I need a chance to get back on track with housework, real work, and exercise.  We were home for Christmas - well we spent Christmas Eve at my mom's, then came back to my place for the night and Christmas Day, along with my mother, brother and sister-in-law, and my nephews and niece who are all visiting from Washington.  It was awesome to have them here for two weeks.  My kids fell in love with their cousins.  I just wish they were closer so they could have a bigger extended family.

For Christmas this year, they didn't get a ton of toys, although there are still plenty.  The big gift, which they don't seem as excited about as I hoped, was a really cool, big, wooden dollhouse.  They also got legos and some other small toys, and my mom went overboard as usual.  I shudder to think how much she spent on gifts for her 5 grandchildren.

Speaking of my mother, things are really not good.  I'm trying to find a therapist, but it's so hard!  I can't believe it.  I research and find one that sounds like he or she might be a good fit, leave a message, wait for a call back, and then they tell me they're not accepting new patients or they want private pay only, no insurance.  I think I've done this at least 4 or 5 times now.  And then I have to find time to sit at the computer again and do more research and I go through the whole thing again.  After my mom hung up on me today, I have called three therapists - the first called me back quickly to say she's full, the second thankfully said she was full in her outgoing message so I didn't have to wait for her to call and tell me that, and I'm waiting to hear back from the third.  But I'm so frustrated.  Please send good thoughts that I'll find a compatible therapist soon so I can get back on the road to sanity and hopefully help my anxiety, too.

Anyway, I'm about to go pick up the munchkins, but I will try to write more regularly now that the holidays are over.  Cheers.