parenting


Plane taking off

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Rob’s been in Texas since Sunday. I didn’t blog or Facebook about it because that’s like inviting serial killers to your house for tea.

“My husband’s out-of-town on business. Why don’t you stop by in the middle of the night and murder us in our sleep?”

When I spoke with him last night, he mentioned that trips to Texas might become a habit, which reminded me – again – that our house is not up to “Dad’s away on business” standards. There are no blinds or window coverings of any kind in areas that make it too easy for even the most casual observer to notice that it’s just Dee and I. With the absence of daylight becoming more pronounced, I feel quite exposed in the evening with all the lights on. That needs some immediate action.*

I am actually able to sleep now when Rob is away. Without leaving lights on even. But it’s not restful. I sleep lightly most of the time anyway, and his absence just attunes me that much more to the creaks and groans of the house, sounds outside that penetrate the windowpanes and to Dee’s restlessness across the hall.

Dee hates her dad being away. She almost takes it personally.

“It will be better when Dad is back,” she remarked.

“Aren’t I doing a good job?” I asked.

“It’s just better when Dad is here,” she is tactful with her dismissal of my ability to manage.

I reminded her that once upon a time it was just she and I, and I managed everything without any major mishaps.

“Yes,” she agreed, “but with Dad, it’s better.”

And there you have it. Dads are better, and I kind of have to agree. Single parenting is not a choice I would ever purposely make.

The threat of a traveling for business husband has got me thinking that the house needs to become a bit more ship-shape, and in a hurry. The kitchen is all but done. Just a few things left and the living room is nearly painted which paves the way for fireplace, flooring and light fixtures that aren’t hanging  loosely from the ceiling. The old kitchen, however, is nowhere close to its future as a dining room, and it needs to be because Christmas is now 25 days off.

With his mother’s impending divorce, we will have at least her for the holidays. Edie, Mick and the future sons-in-law haven’t nailed down their holiday itinerary, as far as I know, but Rob’s youngest sister is making noises about a visit. CB even threatened to drop by if he could sneak across the border, but I have doubts about that. So Rob’s traveling couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time. Between the days away and the days he will need to catch up on his rest, this week is a wash, and the weekend is given over to the company’s children’s Christmas party and children sleeping over. The next weekend is my birthday, and I had designs on it that will probably need to be sacrificed for the greater good. It’s a good thing I will be 48 and not 8 or this might sit poorly with me.

The Texas thing has a stinky disruptive feel to it. We had thought that travel, and the specter of relocation was off the table, but its shadow is casting a pall again, and at a time when we were settling in and rooting deep too with the house on the cusp of being livable and practically perfect in all ways that matter. Isn’t that always the way of it?

Relocation would be better than Rob traveling or Rob having to be on some insane schedule like those husbands who work up in Fort Mac on or around the tar sands. I have a yoga teacher friend whose husband works three weeks, comes home for a four-day weekend and then heads back to work again. One of Dee’s little soccer mates has a father who is away for as long as a month at a time.  If we were young, the awesome of good money might off-set the sucky of separation for a  few years, but we are not young.

Rob and I worked the heck out of the LDR thing before we married. I daresay we were as good at it as a couple could hope to be, utilizing email, IM, and the phone to maximum advantage, but even with the addition of smartphones and Skype, maintaining an intimate relationships via technological aids is difficult. It’s like having another full-time job (if I had a job that is) and not really as good as being in physical proximity. But what is?

Dee is correct in her appraisal of the situation. It’s better when Daddy is home. Home is missing a vital component when he is not around. In a lot of ways, he is home itself.

Life is good regardless but it’s practically perfect in every way when my husband is here, and selfishly, I prefer the latter.

*And I also need to locate my big baseball bat like stick and find the hatchet that we keep in the bedroom of the holiday trailer for when we are camping in remote areas. Seriously, a nice sturdy axe does wonders for a person’s peace of mind.


"It's YOUR time to SHINE in 2009!"

Image by eyewash via Flickr

And at the risk of sounding shrill as I repeat myself, “unless someone is dead or nearly so, don’t call me!” Really. I mean it.

The latest non-life threatening emergency that presented itself for my immediate attention is the ongoing drama surrounding my older nephew’s premature entry into the adult world.

I am standing in the check out at Safeway yesterday and the phone ringles. It’s the oddest ring tone but the least annoying of the generic options available to me as I don’t (yet) possess a smart phone with all its sci-fi tone upgrading capabilities.

Snatching it up as quickly as the confounding zip locks on my purse will allow, I am expecting a request from Rob. I’d spoken to him a bit earlier, so he knew I was shopping and I thought perhaps he remembered something he wanted me to pick up while I was still in town.

It was Mom.

Since day one of cell phone ownership, Mom’s treated my cell as a homing device. I knew she would. In fact my chief objection to getting a phone was Mom.

“She will see this as permission to track me like an endangered animal on the plains of the Serengeti,” I told my late husband, Will.

He wanted me to have one so that I would “be safe”, but the truth was that he just liked having the same type of instant access to me that I didn’t want to hand over to Mom.

“You can screen her calls with the caller ID,” he said.

“Because having her call me over and over until I picked up would be better than just picking up,” I replied.

I still lost on the issue of carrying a cell phone and Mom went from her habit of leaving me multiple messages on the answering machine to simply stalking me by cell phone if I didn’t answer the home line. The cell phone thing has worked out nicely for everyone but me no matter how one looks at it.

Because it’s the middle of the day on a Tuesday, I know right away that Mom isn’t calling to ask me how my day is going. Like DNOS, weekday calls mean that something is wrong.

“I need to talk to you,” she began.

“I’m standing in the check out at the grocery. Can I call you when I get out to the truck?”

“Okay,” and she hangs up on me before I can even say “good-bye”.

Naturally, I am in the lane of the cashier who least loves her job. She is a dour woman, who moves at the speed of drying paint, so by the time I get to the truck, I have run through a dozen desperate scenarios – which all involve dead or near so relations.

“I’m so worried about N1,” she tells me. “He was up here yesterday for a visit. I made him his favorite lasagna and he couldn’t even eat.”

Mentally, I note that the drama queen gene is overly represented in my nephew, but say,

“Why is he upset this time?”

I’m expecting that he’s made another pitch for a car or asked her to co-sign a lease on an apartment for him because he and his dad are continually at odds, but she tells me that she thinks it’s about his wanting to go to community college and study mechanics.

It’s about no such thing, of course. N1 launched a campaign over the summer to be allowed to move back to D-port, where he went to high school. His dad moved them there a couple of years ago. N1 fell in with a group of older kids – drop-outs to varying degrees – lost interest in school and then quit himself when his dad moved them back to DBQ last winter. He’s moped about ever since, plotting to move back and get a place with some of them and work at a fast food place that someone’s grandmother owns.

It’s a seventeen year old plan and that about sums up the long, short and every which way of it. There is no merit to it. It won’t further his life in any meaningful way because at the end of the experiment (which is where he loses the job, can’t pay his share of the rent or make up the difference his friends won’t be paying either and Mom is stuck with the bill), nothing is gained by way of N1 being even marginally closer to the “contributing adult” status that is fervently wished for by all.

“I think he might be severely depressed,” Mom went on. “Who knows what he might do?”

And I’m thinking now? What the fuck? And why couldn’t she have burdened DNOS with this nonsense after she got off work?

But my wiser younger sis, DNOS, refuses to have anything to do with the half-assed attempts to first aid our nephew’s life. As far as she is concerned, when N1 gets tired of lying in the lumpy mess of a bed he’s made for himself, he will do something related to “constructive” and until he makes a move in a positive direction without help or coercion, he is best left to flounder.

Good point on the “he needs to do this himself” front but it overlooks the fact that N1 is a kid who has mostly been raising himself, and badly, since he was 13. Even before that, parenting isn’t something he’s had too much of.

After fifteen minutes and much reassurance, I talked Mom back off the ledge she tearfully teetered on and promised to talk to N1.

Who wouldn’t give me his damn phone number when I messaged him on Facebook for it.

I’d had it, couldn’t find it and asked him to send it to me. Little monster would only talk to me via “chat”.

Grrrrr.

And no, I didn’t tell him how much like his mother he was behaving though I was sorely tempted. Baby won’t talk to me in real time either.

Back and forth over the course of the afternoon and evening led me to the conclusion that N1 was playing the drama card for a bit of sympathy from Grandma. In fairness, she is as close to a mother figure as he’s got. It didn’t have to be that way, but I failed time and time again to get custody of N1 while he was growing up. My last attempt came just before he entered middle school and I warned my parents then that it was unlikely that I would be able to take him once he hit his teens for real and they would rue the day they turned me down.*

As per her request, I called Mom back that evening to let her know how N1 was. We discussed again my brother CB’s offer to have N1 come out and live with him in Cali.

DNOS is adamant that N1 not go, but she is hopelessly biased. Baby really hasn’t said how she feels about it except to reiterate her inability to foot his room/board in any way. I don’t know how his dad feels. At the moment, his father seems to be wallowing in regret over his own wasted life**, so he isn’t much use.

For all his faults, CB has been a pretty good father and N1 needs a father. CB was also once a 17-year-old high school drop-out with nothing but more ideas than capital and a GED. He certainly has the right credentials for understanding just what N1 is up against in the real world that the kid hasn’t clue one about navigating.

N1 admitted to “thinking about calling Uncle”. We went back and forth and then he stopped responding.

What he will do now, I haven’t the slightest idea. He’s a lot like his mother. He hates the unknown and invents all sorts of worst case scenarios to justify avoiding change, and while he makes friends easily in new situations, he loses them just as quickly. Partly because he trusts where he shouldn’t and distrusts where he should be more open. It’s a gift he inherited from Baby, who has only rarely lucked into good friends and never into a good relationship.

The last meddling I did was at Mom’s behest. I contacted CB and asked him to talk to N1.

And now, let’s all remember – dead or nearly so – anything else really needs to be referred to someone who actually lives south of the Canadian border.

*And I get no pleasure out of this particular “I told you so” because N1 needed a parent. I can only guess where he’d be today if Baby would have given in and let me raise him the first time I asked when he was two, and there is no sense crying over the spilled milk, but few things make me as angry as adults who waste the little lives that life puts in their care. A wasted child is one of the saddest sights. I encountered so many children as a teacher who were ruined by crappy and/or indifferent parenting.

**He was a 19 year old high school drop-out when Baby got pregnant. She was 25 or 26. N1’s dad was a foil. She used him to try and make the real objective of her attention – a mutual friend of theirs – jealous. This guy, though a royal sleeze, was wise enough to realize that Baby was looking for a baby-daddy. She missed being on welfare.


The only "protective custody" availa...

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At least for a few more weeks according to my older nephew N1, who at my behest called his mother, Baby, last night to tell her  – from me – that ignoring my calls would not make the situation go away. Fortunately, DNOS had already managed to get my rock star sister to take a call and proceeded to royally ream her backward ass, setting her straight on the new world order.

Baby cried persecuted to her son though he informed me that he didn’t believe a word of it, and when I spoke to Mom late Sunday afternoon, the harassing phone calls had stopped.

This was not before she received at least two more after her trip to the police station and was a nervous wreck.

As I chatted with Mom, I called her the traces of anxiety and exhaustion in her voice. This latest incident with Baby being a baby strained her, but unlike times past, she didn’t cave. She’s determined that the Bank of Mom is closed, and she hinted at “other changes”, which can’t be good for Baby. Whereas my dad didn’t believe in punishing us from the grave, Mom is perfectly capable of playing behavior accountant from beyond. Dad was a hammer in the moment, but Mom had the longer memory and could wait patiently for the right opportunity to throw youthful indiscretion squarely back at you when the moment presented itself.

LawnMower Man is on work release, so apparently he was tormenting Mom before or after milking and field work at the farm where he is one of several hired men. My late husband, Will, used to refer to such a set up as “baby jail”. An old high school friend of his wound up in a similar program early in our marriage, and he was mercilessly teased about it.

Between Baby’s broken back and LawnMower Man’s incarceration, they are a hurting financial unit. In days of yore, he would simply phone Mom and inform her that if she didn’t help them out, he would pack Baby up and dump her on Mom’s doorstep. Since the beginning of the year, however, DNOS and I have made it clear that there is no way on any level of hell that we’d allow her to take Baby back. Normally, Mom listens to us not even the littlest bit, but we’ve made surprising headway in the influence department and Baby’s going to have a difficult time getting out of the corner DNOS and I have left her to manuver this time.

“She has the numbers of all the women’s shelters,” Mom told me. “It’s time she got herself out of her own messes.”

Forty-three at the end of the month, she looks a decade older and telegraphs “poor white trash” with her every word and action. No one in the family has an ounce of patience left. If she had  real emergency right now, she had to rely on the kindness of strangers quite literally because anyone who knows her is done with her. She’s played too many people and the chickens are roosting for real in the yard of the possibly condemned trailer she lives in.


Hear No Evil Monkey

Image by Enokson via Flickr

Not long ago, I told my mother and my sister, DNOS, that I preferred to be kept in the dark about the various implosions that occur in the family – especially if I haven’t the power to do anything about them. After all, I live in another country. It’s a 24 hour drive if I push it and can take nearly as long if I fly given the absolutely appalling state of current day air travel. My knowing, therefore, is essentially the same as my not knowing because there is precisely jack-squat I can do for them.

When we were in the Okanagan last week, my dad’s older sister – who is 88 years old – suffered a mild heart attack.  DNOS called and I always know something is up when she calls me at any time other than evening or god awful early on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Week day mid-morning? Something has happened.

Of course, there was nothing I could do. Auntie is old. Her health has been precarious this last year.  She is 88. Even in my dad’s family, where relatives can easily live to see 100, 88 is still pretty fucking old.  So, while I attempted to impose order onto my MIL’s decamping from her condo, I worried about Auntie; about Mom, who doesn’t do stress well at all anymore; and about DNOS, who doesn’t do stress all that well herself of late.

And it was fine. Auntie is home and hooked up to Lifeline and recovering nicely.

After the whole near death experience with Baby earlier in the summer, I had an opportunity to be home and let interested parties know that unless someone was dead or near enough that it’s a certainty – don’t call me.  I don’t need the stress for one thing, but mostly, nobody listens to a word I say when the shite is flying off the fan anyway. Even though, a lot of the time, my advice is spot on.

Oh, I am sure they listen, you think.

No.  If the Auntie incident wasn’t proof – and I let that go because Auntie is DNOS’s godmother and they are close – today would convince you, my skeptical reader.

We went into the city to see Mick and run a few errands. A trip like this is a half day-ish affair. Driving is just a side-effect of living in the part of Canada that we do, so when DNOS didn’t find me at home, she immediately falls back on my cell. Nevermind that it’s a piece of crap that is off due to battery life issues more than it’s on or that I just as often don’t have it on me. So when it went off as we drove home, I already knew that something was likely amiss.

“What’s up?” I ask after being greeted by DNOS on the other end of the transmission.

She always greets me cordially before launching into the true nature of her call. Something that I almost find worthy of a chuckle.

“Lawnmower Man is harassing Mom for money. He’s just out of jail and has been calling her since last night, telling her if she doesn’t help them out he will be forced to pack Baby up and dump her on Mom’s doorstep.”

Jail? Again.

Apparently for OWI number four. He’s a hopeless alcoholic*, which makes it ironic that Baby, given the hysteria she had over our father’s drinking problem, would tangle herself up with a guy who makes Dad look like a teetotaler by comparison.

“I want Mom to call the police, but she won’t.”

DNOS’s voice was a bit quavering and as she goes on to tell me she even called Baby to try to put a stop to the harassment, I know it’s serious. Both of our younger siblings are effectively “dead” to her. She wouldn’t call either one to warn them of the coming Apocalypse.

“So you want me to talk to her?” I asked.

“Yes, I called Baby and now LawnMower Man has my number!”

I hear a voice in the background and she continues,

“BIL says it’s not a big deal because we have guns.”

I relayed that bit to Rob after and he laughed. Rob would love to be similarly equipped but we’re Canadians.

Promising her I would call mother as soon as I got home, she hung up only to call me back and let me know that Mom had decided to go to the police station. She wanted to go there rather than have a patrol car come to the house. She didn’t want the neighbors to know. I don’t know why. The neighbors have long thought we were mere millimeters from white trash anyway.

A trip to the cop shop and a few more back and forth long distance convo’s later and all is fine.

LawnMower Man is on work release, so he is technically still in custody. Mom has reluctantly agreed to change the locks on her doors though not until after the holiday weekend because it will cost too much to have the locksmith up today. This after I went on at her last spring for installing new doors and locks and giving that idiot baby sister of mine another key in the first place. See what I mean about “no one listens to me”?

Since the drunk in question is incarcerated when not milking cows, Mom feels secure enough to sleep in her own home for the time being. DNOS was content with this as well. Problem probably solved.

But not really because I had to know about it in the first place! However, I got to be worked up into a frenzy about it and they will ignore the other things I suggested should be done to keep this from happening again – until the next time it happens. And it will. Baby has a lifetime history of trusting anyone but her own family. She won’t walk about this relationship.

“Next life time,” I told Rob, “It’s orphaned and childless for us.”

“Next marriage, ” he replied, “I’m going to do a better job of screening applicants.”

“I did warn you,” I reminded him.

He nodded, “Indeed, and there will be no more marriages. Two wives with colorful family is enough for me.”

*Just to make it a completely interesting weekend, Rob’s homeless niece and her drunkard/drug abusing other of some significance are house/animal sitting for Edie and Silver. I shudder at the possibility for ugly fallout that might cause, but Edie and Mick are determined to give their cousin every chance even at risk to themselves.


Cross-country skiing on Schwedentritt loppet, ...

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Our town is a wonderland of winter pleasures. Skating for both pleasure and competition rule, as one would imagine, but cross-country skiing as well as downhill make strong showings. There are three or four sledding hills, and even though just about everyone with means escapes to Mexico or Cuba at some point, I don’t think many would really give up our winter if the opportunity presented.

Except my husband, who would throw winter under a snow plow without losing a moment of good sound sleep.

Last February, Rob got it into his head that we should take up cross-country skiing.  He and Shelley had pursued it a bit here and there when the older girls were small, and he thought it would be a good winter activity to pick up again.

We outfitted late season, so it was tricky to track down the right sizes of boot, ski and pole for the three of us – but we managed. There were a few trial runs in the baseball field nearby and one rather treacherous trek on a trail much too hard for Dee out at Elk Island Park one Sunday before Rob decided perhaps we should wait until next year. Join the Nordic Ski Club. Take lessons.

Today we joined the local club, signed up for lessons and embarked on our initiation in the cult of the wintry trail.

The cult thing seems to be requisite, I’ve decided. It really doesn’t matter the interest or pursuit. The non-joiner in me can’t help but observe and take notes while making note of the exits, but I’ve come to the realization that there is no real remedy for involvement with those who crave tribe. There is some primitive need that compels most everyone to join – and sometimes over and over – with others in totally fabricated configurations.

Today were the Jackrabbit classes and general information for parents meeting. There are a lot of young families and it always makes a me a bit regretful that Dee didn’t have the chance to start some of these activities at a younger age even with my misgivings about becoming too enmeshed in groupthink. Watching a barely toddling little one happily learning to ski is to bear witness to base level values being instilled and nurtured. Powerful stuff.

Dee was dubious. Her last time on skis was Elk Island and on a trail that far exceeded her skill level. If she were a daring child that wouldn’t have mattered, but she is cautious to the point of fear, depending, but that trail scared me too given our slight skill base.

She envisioned more of the same in Jackrabbit class, but nothing could be further from the reality. The year’s growth showed. Between maturity and yoga, her balance has improved measurably. She is still slight but taller than she’s ever been in comparison to her peers.

Her listening skills – and these seldom transfer to Rob and I – exceed most children her age. She is a serious student, regardless of topic.

“I went down a hill and it was fun,” she beamed as she told me after class.

Dee loathes few things more than moving quickly downhill. It’s why she still can’t ride a bike, doesn’t roller skate or skate board and pokes along like a turtle on her Razor until she comes to a downward incline and then she carries it. Where this excessive caution comes from, I have no idea. Deeply recessive genes? Certainly not from me.

Next Sunday, Rob and I take our first lesson. Given that my knees are much improved thanks to yoga, I am hopeful to pick up a few pointers that will enhance the cross-country experience for me. Rob is just brushing up little used skills.

On the drive home, I asked Dee if she knew anyone in her classes. She didn’t. There were a couple of kids from summer activities – outdoor soccer and swimming – but no one from school.

The vast majority of her classmates lack the discretionary income for the types of activities we do as a family or the sports we encourage Dee to play. Most of the kids she meets go the separate school – John the XXIII. I asked Dee if she would be interested in switching schools.

Lately, she’s been complaining that she has no one to play with at recess. And while I am not surprised, she will not play the follower but isn’t confident or charismatic enough to be a queen bee, and her natural inclination to thoroughly check people out before trying to make friends inhibits the spontaneous formation of friendship that is more typical for children her age.

Rob and I have discussed moving her to another school, but we doubt it will solve the friend problem. The other children, for the most part, have years long advantage of association on her that even having started kindergarten with some of them hasn’t erased. It’s also pretty clear to me that many of the girls she meets have the added advantage of the parents – mothers in particular – being friends, and I am not much help to Dee in this area.

And there is the religion thing. If she moved to the separate school, the other children will have gone through two sacraments already without her. She would be excluded from much of the mass that her peers wouldn’t and as she already views church with a jaundiced eye (“I only go if I am staying with Grandma and have no choice.”), I can see disaster written all over this.

Perhaps the activity only route will work in the long run and she will meet children more like her.

“There really aren’t that many kids like her,” Rob reminds me. “But Edie and Mick were the same way. They didn’t make many friends here and never ran in huge circles of kids.”

Neither did I. Neither did he. For that matter, neither did her father, Will. He tried though but succeeded only in getting his feelings hurt by those with whom he associated. She is like him in that moth to a flame thing, though I can’t do anything about it. She will be who she is. I wish I could spare her the loneliness of being just on the edge and never really invited in.

Ski club? Hmmm. Maybe. If nothing else, it’s good exercise.


Solstice came and went earlier this week and already I notice daylight beginning its steady retreat toward the long winter.

But for the near daily late afternoon or evening rain showers, the weather sings. Temperate, mostly sunny and gloriously Albertan, the gamut of the blues competing for dominance behind clouds that seem smashed flat against an invisible ceiling.

School is out today. Normally I would lament ten weeks with child underfoot, but this year I am looking forward to having Dee about 24/7. Eight – nearly – is a wonderful age. Probably the best era of her childhood so far if I factor out the social intrigues.

She danced at the school assembly after all. Went off without a hitch. The mother of her little friend was prevailed upon to allow the girl to perform with Dee though that was not my doing or intention really when I clued the classroom and music teacher to the issue.

I’d sent quick notes just letting them know why Dee wouldn’t be dancing. No blame or hysteria or pleas to intervene. I really was okay with Dee not dancing and she seemed okay too – mostly because she didn’t know the real reasons behind it.

But the music teacher took it upon herself to call the friend’s mother and pointed out that Dee and her daughter were friends and that should supersede everything else. And the mother agreed.

Which also doesn’t surprise me. She’s a decent and reasonable person. She and I just approach life and motherhood differently.

I went to school and helped Dee into her costume and did up her hair before the assembly. I saw the mother whose non-reaction – no smile or wave – pretty much summed it all up.

Awkward, as Dee would say.

I suppose so. Less and less do I care about other people’s take on me as a person. As my mother constantly pointed out to me while I was growing up,

“What other people think of me is none of my business.”

Dee performed in front of the whole school and didn’t miss a beat. The audience was enthralled.

But they are also quite well-trained. As I have mentioned before, the staff and administration at Dee’s school are stellar. I still don’t understand the hesitation on the part of some  parents I have met here about sending their kids there.

Yes, some of the population is working class and some more are quite needy, but none of that really matters at the elementary level. When kids begin to be more influenced by peers than family in the pre-teens is when environment and peers need to be monitored closely, but even then I would argue that a strong teaching staff and an administrative office who lay down the law in a clear and even-handed way is more important than anything else in selecting a school.

But I digress.

Family picnic was yesterday and Rob cleared a bit of his day to attend.

On Wednesday I taught my second yoga class. Everyone in attendance was nursing injury.  A lesson for me in thinking on my firmly pressed into the mat feet.

Teaching yoga continues to be totally awesome.

I had a scare, however, the other night where my future as a yoga instructor is concerned.

Kat sent me an email asking me to redo a question. I’d completely blown it. Didn’t get a single point. And it was a major question.

When I reread what I’d written, I could see right away what I hadn’t done but I also know why I missed it. It was on actions: simple, complementary and counter. A concept that only really started to be clear after the in-class review for the in class test on the Friday of our last session.

That’s the problem with learning – and teaching for that matter. With things needing to be tested and verified for grading and granting of this or that certificate and degree, the real time needed for each student to digest and integrate information doesn’t neatly fit into arbitrary time frames.

You can parrot back facts and theories without really making sense of them.

I know what a simple, counter and complementary action is. Definitions are easy to remember. But actually coming up with examples by pose? That’s just starting to make sense within the last week and a half.

Teaching that first class was a major eye-opener for me. It’s too bad that YogaWorks doesn’t have a component that requires teaching classes outside of the training. Teaching each other within the workshops was never quite the same thing.

But, I wrote the take home a month ago and then moved on to studying for the in-class test and preparing for my sutra presentation and the teaching of my pose.

I passed the last three, by the way.

Kat told us that most people who fail, failed the take home. And I think I know why now. We had a study session for the in-class, but there was nothing comparable for the take home. The reasoning being, I’m sure, that a take home let’s you use books and notes. What it doesn’t allow for is the give and take of the study session. We weren’t supposed to help each other.

There are valid reasons for not allowing people to read each other’s take homes and offer suggestions and ask questions. My personal opinion though is that they don’t apply to yoga – which is collaborative in the training process to a large extent and fosters the idea that we learn from each other through discussion, practice and collaboration.

Awk, the teacher in me is coming out. I see and I critique.

I haven’t heard back since I sent in my reworked question and rather than continuing to hyper-ventilate, I chose to believe that all is well.

As Rob says, the worst thing that could happen is I have to rewrite the test.

So true.

I managed to write for Care2. My posts are both in the hot topics this morning. I’d be pleased but they were written to incite mindless raging commentary and I am certain my poor karma is wilting as a result.

Nothing more for 50 Something Moms though. The blog is closing. The SVM partnership hit an iceberg and as they are unable to resolve it, they are closing. I am torn as to my feelings, but I think it was time for me to move on from it anyway. So, it’s all good.

Stepping away from the keyboard now. Sunshine beckons.


I was hoping that when Alicia spelled out the rules to her recent game of blog topic tag – being that there were to be no general tagging of all readers and that you needed to tag people by name – that I would easily avoid this topic. I never get tagged by name. I am not a inner circle person. I just read blogs and comment as the spirit moves me and blissfully avoid much in the process. But, Marsha – you rebel child you – tagged all her readers and thus I was caught.

The topic came from The Daily MEME which is a blog for bloggers who need ideas or topics or just about anything blog. I checked the site out and though I haven’t used anything there myself, I am going to recommend it to at my next writer’s group meeting because there are a few people who have expressed interest in blogging and several others who are old-school journal keepers and might find it useful.

Since Marsha broke the rules to begin with I am going to venture further out onto the limb and change the structure of the topic a bit. There were all sorts of lists to be considered and filled in. What do you want your children to know before they grown up? What do you want them to know about you? Etc. Etc. as the King would say to Anna. It was too daunting and seemed a bit redundant. So here is my version.

Things I want my Daughter and Step-daughters to know
before they are middle-aged women Like Me.

1) You are beautiful. Believe it. Live it. Ignore styles and trends and beauty advice of all kinds unless it concerns skin care (because you are all fair and need to take care in that respect). Too tall, too thin, too short, too fat? Only if you think so and thinking so and agonizing over anything that you have no control over is a waste of time and will cause wrinkles. Happy people accept themselves physically and only seek to change aspects of themselves for themselves alone.
2) Establish good credit early and never be without a credit card in your own name alone. Women are sadly screwed when they marry and join their finances with their mates. Be wary to not let your credit history as a single person in your own right disappear because you will have a devil of a time re-establishing it.
3) A good education is one of the most important things you will ever give yourselves. Don’t throw away educational opportunities and never let financing be the reason you don’t pursue advanced schooling (college, university, graduate school). Your dad and I may not be keen on funding a backpacking trips across Europe, but we would not say “no” out of hand to the idea of you furthering your education.
4) Be inflexible when it comes to your value system. Don’t compromise it to be liked or loved.
5) Don’t expect love to fix you but don’t walk away from the opportunity just because the package it arrives in doesn’t match your imagination.
6) Be honest, but not in a mean way if you can help it (and on occasion you can’t.)
7) Know that I love you even when you are making me crazy, or I disagree with your choices.
8) See as much of the world as you have an opportunity to when you are young.
9) Don’t marry before you are thirty. Give yourself a chance to get over all the Disney princess notions (Katy) of love. Love is wonderful but it isn’t a fairy tale.
10) Remember that the glass is really half-full (or just poorly designed as your dad would say).
11) Be fair.
12) Don’t prejudge but remember that leopards can’t/don’t change their spots.
13) Be a good friend but not a doormat.
14) Finally, when I am very old and can’t see well enough to notice, please pluck the stray hairs that are growing on my chin. (I had to add this because my mother made me promise the same thing.)

Probably not the greatest or most comprehension list ever. It’s not even profound in any sense, but I have come to realize in all the years I have taught, and in the few I have parented, that kids by and large grow up to be who you raised them to be even when you take into account their own particular personalities.