Thursday, December 1, 2011


It happens sometimes. I’m fine, and then I’m not. I’m okay, and then I’m freaking out. Thoughts of how NOT okay I am start careening around in my head, like manic pinballs. My heart starts racing and my body breaks out in chills, all at once. I’m convinced I can’t breathe. I think, I’m going to die. I’m going to pass out and die right. here. Terror, big and dark and all-consuming, blankets me. I can’t focus on what’s real and what isn’t because in my mind, the physical symptoms mean that death is imminent. Because something is Seriously Wrong and I. am. going. to. die.

It’s called a panic attack. A very apt name since it really is an attack of panic. Unexpected, it hits you from out of nowhere. Hard and fast and painful, it takes your nerve and your breath and your composure and consumes you.

I’ve had them for years and years. When I was a teenager, sometimes I would have them multiple times a day. Over and over. I would wake up and almost as soon as my eyes opened, one would start. Or maybe I’d already be in the throes of one. They were terrible. They were horrible. They used me up and wrung me out and left me a mess in its wake. I made a fool of myself in front of my friends, at sleepovers, at school. I cried and cowered in absolute misery because of them. I had no handle on them. I had no control. They were eating me alive.

I had to find a way to not live with them but to deal with them, and a woman whose name I can’t remember gave me the key to handling them on my own. She said to me that she used to have them, too, and that she had to focus hard on something, something solid and real and right in front of her. Something she could look at and touch and hold. And focus on that, and only that, and breathe. Breathe, breathe, breathe, and make the world smaller and smaller until only that thing you’re focused on exists. Until it is the sum total of your world.

It was like being thrown a lifeline when you’re drowning. I grasped onto that concept and made it my mantra. It was what helped me get a handle on the panic attacks,

They’ve declined steadily over the years, and now I can usually head them off before they even get going. There’s not always an obvious trigger; sometimes they just come on, for no apparent reason. I’ve come to recognize the tale-tell signs, and for the most part, I can get a grip before it grips me.

And then there are the times that I can’t, like tonight. It took awhile to come back down. It took a lot to manage to step back from the brink. And now I’m afraid to go lay down in the dark and try and sleep. I’m afraid to let down my guard. I’m afraid to relax.

So here I am, tapping away on my computer. Hopefully soon I can find my way to peace before the night drags on too much longer. I’m tired.

Friday, November 25, 2011

last night I wanted to punch sleep in the face

I’m not normally a violent person, but sometimes, I want to punch things and people.

I never do, though. Goes back to being “not violent”. I mean, if I had to, like, fight for my life, I could punch things or people. Or if my kids or dog were being threatened, I could see myself taking a swing or three. I’m not really a real life badass, but in my head…? I so totally AM.

That being said, last night, as I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, I wanted to punch things. The longer I lay there awake, the angrier I got. Sleep, that elusive bastard, was nowhere in sight.

I did all the usual tricks that normally take me away to the Land of Nod, but all that happened was… me not sleeping. I tried doing the most boring and lame thing ever, my no-fail thing, counting backwards from 100. I’ve never made it to zero. Last night I did. Twice.

I gave up at one point and wandered down to the living room where I was going to read The Strain (I’m close to the end) and then I remembered that it was the middle of the night, everyone was asleep, and this book scares me in broad daylight so maybe I SHOULDN’T read it. I decided to watch TV instead. Oh, good! I have some episodes of Dexter to catch up on… erm. Hmmm.  Maybe not…? Dexter doesn’t scare me, per se, but the premise of the show is suitably creepy, and that might work against the whole sleeping thing. Skip that. So I channel surf, and find a show on ID, only maybe I shouldn’t watch that either because it’s all true crime stuff, and it’s in the middle of the night… and I’m alone out here… and… and… what was that noise?

See, no one was winning. Not even Charlie Sheen was winning. It was an epic no-win kinda night.

I decided that I was definitely tired enough to go to bed and fall asleep. I told myself that it was late, I should be asleep, and I was ready for it. Part of me was rolling my eyes at myself and saying in my head that it wasn’t so because I knew I was lying. I told myself to shut my whore mouth, to leave me alone and stop being so negative.

Shut it. It made total sense last night.

So I headed back to my large, comfy bed where my man was sleeping all unawares that I had even left. I crawled in next to him, slid my sleep mask over my eyes, snuggled into my fluffy pillow and my blankets, got in the perfect sleep position, settled in and…

didn’t. fall. asleep.

Didn’t even DOZE. OFF.

What the fluffer, nutter?

Instead I lay there, totally comfortable and totally willing myself to sleep while my brain was laughing at me and doing cartwheels and going “neener neener neener”, and every time I tried to stop thinking, it would just take off in a new direction. It was a veritable whirlwind of activity. Where was sleep to put a curtail on this maniac?

And then, do you know what happened? I had to move. A perfectly perfect sleep position RUINED because my arm fell asleep before I did and I HAD TO MOVE. That just sucks, man. That just totally sucks.

I tossed and turned, unable to find another perfect position because, you know, that’s how it goes. And meanwhile my brain, having run out of meaningful matter to think about, starts in on the most inane and random things EVER. Things that I don’t even care about! Things I don’t even know why I know them!

I thought about getting up again and maybe reading something else or maybe finding a night-time appropriate show but by this time I was determined to GO TO SLEEP. I was going to lay there ALL NIGHT IF I HAD TO, but I was going to get some bloody sleep if. it. was. the. last. thing. I. did.

Screwing my eyes shut, curled in a tight ball, grimly determined to grab sleep and throttle the ever loving hell out of it when I finally caught it, convinced that I was going to see the light of day behind my closed lids before I saw true slumber, mad as hell…

I woke up five hours later, convinced that I was awake all night although I couldn’t quite explain how five hours had gone by with me all unawares…

It seems that sleep, that conniving ass, snuck up on me when I wasn’t looking and did it’s job anyway.

Next time, sleep. Next time you won’t be so lucky.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

it’s not that i don’t want to…

I just don’t. I keep thinking I should get on here and write something, anything… and then I let myself get distracted. I started working on a blog a few days ago but it turned out to be way longer than I thought it was going to be, so I saved it to drafts, meant to get back to it, and still haven’t.

On the plus side, I’ve been reading a lot. I finished three books this past week, and that’s never a bad thing. And the house…? isn’t even trashed because I have KIDS who CLEAN!

So today is Thanksgiving. I feel like this is, like Valentine’s Day, a fake holiday. One that, if you think about it, shouldn’t exist. But it does, and it has for a long time, and me boycotting it isn’t going to change it. Instead, I changed the reasons we celebrate it. It’s really all about the food and having A LOT of it today. Don’t get me wrong; there have been other Tdays where we had turkey sandwiches, and even turkey TV dinners, because we couldn’t do the whole turkey dinner feast. Kinda sucked. But it was what it was, and I don’t think that anyone has ever died because they had to eat TV dinners instead of the real deal on Tday.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Food. Lots of it. That, my friends, we had indeed. A huge bird that That Guy I Married got in the oven early this morning. We had pies and potatoes and gravy and corn and biscuits and stuffing and cranberry sauce and I think that’s it. We eat early and then just pick at it for the rest of the day and again for dinner. And then put it all away, and tomorrow, we’ll have leftovers!

Yay! for leftovers.

They call tomorrow Black Friday, and if I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t be venturing forth in it. But, I have to. I have to get some lady products of the feminine hygiene sort because I suck at planning ahead. If that was too TMI for you, well, then forget you just read that last paragraph.

Anyway, while I’m venturing forth, I hope I don’t die. I don’t plan on going anywhere NEAR the toy section or the electronic section or even the clothes section; I seriously doubt (hope) that there is going to be a run on the lady products. I checked the ads, and it looks like that aisle, at least, is clear of deals and steals. So I might make it out in one piece. If not… well. It was nice knowing you.

And yeah. It’s later than I thought it was. I took a nap today, and it’s kinda messed up my whole inner clock.

Catch ya later…

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

tonight i am a badass because i made dinner

Now, before you get all “psssh, I do that all the time”, let me explain.

See, I’m a mom and a wife and the owner of a pretty cute dog. My kids are homeschooled, and I’m of the stay-at-home-variety. My kids aren’t little anymore (almost 15 down to 10), so they don’t need that same intensity of constant monitoring that they did when they were younger. Still, my attention is rarely on just ME, if you get what I mean. I’ve got a lot going on all the time. It’s the life I signed up for, and I like it.

That being what it is, some nights I just don’t FEEL like making dinner. I’m, like, “dinner, make yourself!”. It has yet to actually happen. And since I don’t have a personal chef, I have to make it myself. My kids are JUST getting to that age where they can (and do) help, but they have yet to do it solo. I don’t think they’re ready; I’M not ready, either.

So anyway, some nights I just really don’t want to. And if we can swing it, those nights we get pizza or maybe Chinese. Tonight was one of those nights. I just really didn’t want to. And there weren’t enough leftovers to feed all six of us, either. However, neither was I feeling like takeout. So it was, like, a stand-off. Between myself and… well, myself.

So what was I to do?

Yeah, I got in there and I made the freaking dinner. It was easy, homemade chicken nuggets and French fries, but I still had to do it. And after it was done and baked and served, and as I sat there eating, I felt like SUCH a badass. Like, yeah, dinner… you don’t want to make yourself? I’LL SHOW YOU!

The kids were happy, that guy I married was happy, I was happy (because thinking of myself as a badass always makes me happy)… the only one who WASN’T happy was the dog. She didn’t get any of our food, and she pouted and stared at me mournfully the entire time I was eating. Sucks to be her, cause it was good!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

trying to figure some stuff out

When life gets weird for me, I retreat. And I don’t mean weird in that things around me are weird, but weird inside my head. Weirder than usual, I mean.

Sometimes it’s just random, no trigger, nothing out of the ordinary; my brain just decides to regurgitate things from the deep and I’m forced to deal with it. Other times I can feel that something is coming, some THING, and I have to anticipate it. And then sometimes life around me gets harder, and my brain wants to go into lock down and I want to retreat behind the pages of my books, in the world of my Sims, kill some zombies… anything except interact with actual real humans. Except I have four kids and a husband and needy little doggie and retreating is not always an option. Mostly not an option, anyway.

Luckily my family is pretty understanding and they let me be when I get weird. Well, the girls do. The boy child, who is eleven, not so much; not because he isn’t a sweetheart (he so is) but because he’s… an eleven year old boy. He doesn’t, you know, GET IT. The husband is pretty great at running interception for me, and thank the gods for that man, because he understands me so well. He can even sense when things are about to get weird, like some kind of emotional weather-man. Sometimes he’ll bring it to my attention before I’m even aware of it, pointing out in his gentle (but only with me) way, and in some rare instances, I can head it off before it even starts.

The last thing I want to do is go and be social. I want to hide, and pretend that the outside world doesn’t exist, that this right here is the beginning and the end of the known universe. I could happily stay inside all week, all weekend, and only venture out so far to get the mail.

Alas, it’s really the last thing I need to be doing. Before this weird set in, I made plans for the weekend. Hanging out with my friend, having an old fashioned sleepover, having guests over for dinner, interacting with other adult shaped humans I’m not related to for the entire weekend. I can’t let the weird settle in too deep or cling too hard because I have things to DO.

I guess I’ll just have to get over it. I hope it’s as easy as it sounds.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

it’s bloody hot out there

I’ll be the first to admit that we here in San Diego, CA are big wimps and giant man-babies when it comes to the weather. When other parts of the country are buried in snow, we’re whining about the lack of sunshine on a 63* day, and that we *have* to “wear a jacket” outside. My friends in the South will be literally deluged with water from three week long rainstorms, and we’re up in arms about how “unseasonably” humid it is out here. We probably have the most cheerful weather reporters in the world, and yet we’re ready to string them up if they predict a less than perfect day in the forecast.

I’ve heard it said that those who have rarely, if ever, been here think that it’s always sunny, beautiful, and a balmy 75*. Mostly they’re right; I like to call this the land of two seasons, summer, and not-summer. We ARE lucky when it comes to the weather, and it’s probably the main reason we pay the big bucks to live here.

That being said, and considering that I AM a self-proclaimed weather wuss… today it got hot. Yesterday it was, too, but today was hotter. Hot enough to be hot anywhere, I think, at 102*. Hot like you go outside and the air sucks all the moisture from you, and you’re hurrying to get from one air-conditioned place to the next. Water in bottles, in glasses, from the faucet, even straight from the hose, if you have to, tastes like the manna of life. Hot like you cross the pavement and you can feel your shoes almost melting, and the radiant heat crawling through your soles and up your calves. Hot that even that breeze that just sprang up feels more like a blast from the furnace, and the only redeeming thing about being in the shade is that the glare of the sun isn’t in your eyes anymore. Hot like that.

That was what today was.

I took my kids to the library and as we stepped from the back porch into the heat of the driveway, we almost decided to go back inside. Still, we went, and I was glad that we have a carport and that our van hadn’t been baking in the sun all day; no way would we have gone then, no matter that my requested book was there and waiting for me.

Walking from the car and into the library made me wish I had brought some water from home, for all that it’s fifty feet from the lot to the door. Stepping into that library was like jumping into a pool of cool water; all silent, cold air washing over you and cooling you from head to foot in one moment from the next. It almost shocks you, making you want to stand completely still and absorb that cold air into your body, storing it up because you know that sooner or later, you have to go back outside.

Hot like that, today was.

Later, we’ll take the dog for a walk because right now, she’d probably fall over from the heat and that wouldn’t be good. She’s small and low to the ground and the heat hits her harder and faster than it does us. After her walks on days like this, even if we wait til evening, she comes in and lays on her side and pants, her little body radiating heat until she finally regulates, and then she just sleeps and sleeps.

Hot that I don’t really care how high the bill gets for our using the air conditioning today; I don’t know what we’d do if were still in our old house, without it. Sweating into puddles, if we’d had any moisture left, probably. I’m really glad we live in this house now.

Hopefully tomorrow will bring cooler weather. Until then, stay frosty.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

my kids are insane.

Day Two of Project Homeschool started out much more smoothly than I expected. We got right to it; discussion, then journals, then moved onto math.

And this is where things get weird…

After a certain amount of time passed, I said it was time to move onto the next thing. Instead of the glee *I* would have expressed at being able to shove math to the side (so not a math fan, despite that it CAN BE useful… from time to time…) I was greeted with groans and moans. “Do we HAVE to?” and “This was just getting good!”

No, really.

I had to check and double check and then one more time to make sure that these were MY kids and that they WEREN’T kidding and that none of them had been struck on the head or body snatched by aliens. Because… math? REALLY?

It gets worse. The eldest girl says “I love this. I’m having so much fun.” And my second daughter, Alexandra, upon hearing that we could do math for thirty more minutes, punches the air hisses “YESSSSSS!”

What, what, what are they THINKING?

At least the youngest amongst them has not gone insane, or so I thought. When she heard that we going to continue with math, she groaned, moaned, and whined. However, when it came time to REALLY move on this time, she whines that she wants to finish “these last few problems, please, Mom?”

Which proved to me that whatever dread disease they’ve contracted IS catching. I am going to have be very careful and check myself for signs of contagion. If I start exhibiting signs of this malady, please get me some help, posthaste. You have my permission to do what needs be done!

Monday, September 5, 2011

like a big puzzle

… and I only have a few pieces, so far. That was what day one of homeschooling was like.

Day one went pretty well. The kids were eager to get started, and they were ready and willing well before it was time to start. I was excited, and wanted to start early, too, but the husband said that it was probably a better idea if we start when we’re supposed to (9 am), and after I thought about it, yeah. He’s right.

I was kinda nervous. More because I just wasn’t sure, really, how this was going to play out. We started with the general outline of how our days were going to go. I had them write in journals they’re going to keep during the school year, and then we discussed what they wrote. They seemed eager to start doing some work, and even though I hadn’t really PLANNED on doing work today… well, why not?

The room isn’t totally set up yet, I don’t have all the stuff I need for their schooling, I kinda feel clueless about the whole thing… but…

that’s alright. We’ll figure it out; of that, I have no doubt.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow

*deep breath*

Tomorrow I start something I’ve been talking about for months. Tomorrow starts a whole new chapter in my and my family’s life. Tomorrow is the first day of…


Am I nervous? Yeah. More because I’m not totally prepared, but me not being totally prepared is part of the grand plan. At first I had this idea that I had to have all things ready, everything in place, this whole schedule made and a course set. And things just didn’t fall out that way, but instead of freaking out…

Okay, I kinda sorta freaked out.

…instead of freaking out overmuch, I looked at how I could make this work. And what I figured out is that it’s better that I don’t have a plan.

No, really, Shanna, stop choking on your coffee and listen, I KNOW what I’m talking about. Really.

It turns out that it’s BETTER that I don’t have a plan because this way, I can do what I said I wanted to do all along- go in the direction that my kids take me. Now, don’t get me wrong; I plan to educate them. They WILL be doing things like math and English and geography and history and all that good stuff… but not quite so rigidly. Instead of having everything in place, we can explore different ways of learning. We can tailor each lesson according to each child’s needs, which was the point originally.

This started because of the budget cuts to our schools and how unhappy with that The Man and I were with it. And then, looking deeper, and seeing how this was really affecting our children’s learning process in the classroom, the idea to homeschool began to take form. At first, it was just an idea thrown out there. As time went on, and I really looked into it, it not only seemed plausible, but like the right thing TO do. Almost like, why weren’t we doing this ALL ALONG?

I mean, it might suck, I’m not saying that it won’t. We might all be unhappy with it in the long run. I don’t think that’ll be the case… but I have to consider it.

That’s a risk I’m willing to take.

I really look forward to tomorrow. I think it’s going to be the start of a really great time in our lives!

In other news, right now, at this moment, my eldest daughter Noel is wearing my hat and has wrapped a quilt around her shoulders and is spinning and swaying around my room in time to Canon in D. She is a strange child, that one.

I wouldn’t have her any other way, I really wouldn’t…

Saturday, September 3, 2011

what to write, what to write…

I used to love writing. I wrote something, somewhere, everyday, practically. In my journal, in notebooks, someplace online… just whatever, whenever.

Then I stopped. I don’t really know what happened. It’s like I lost interest. I haven’t written in my journal for months. I feel like things are passing me by, and by not recording them, I’ve been letting them slip away between my fingers.

Everything just happens so fast now. The kids are growing at alarming rates, the new school year is upon us, The Man and I are about to celebrate our eighth anniversary… I know that isn’t a really long time to be married in the grand scheme of things, but that’s not really my point. My point is that eight years of marriage just went by, and it feels like it was just a few months ago that I was standing next to that man, repeating my vows and saying I will, I do, forever.

I feel like I blink, and time passes.

My two older daughters, Noel and Alex, are both as tall as I am (that isn’t saying a lot, since I’m, like, 5’3”) but still… I remember being able to hoist them onto my hip! It wasn’t that long ago that they were looking up at me! And the younger two, Douglas and Therese, are right there, hot on their heels, growing faster than I think they should be. Douglas is eleven, and I had to buy him new pants recently; just the other day, I was looking through my closet, and found the sleeper I put him in the day we came home from the hospital.

It’s hard to believe, looking at him now, that he was ever that small.

I need to get better at recording things. I want to more than remember, I want to know for sure that my recollection of events are accurate. I want the evidence of my own words that things happened. Even if it’s only me that ever reads any of it. Even if it’s only me that wants to look back and “remember when…”

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

my little big girl

Something happened this past weekend, something seemingly small in the grand scheme of things, but huge in reality. Something monumental. A milestone. A landmark moment.

I dropped my daughter off at the mall.

Her name is Noel, and she is 14. She’s tall and lovely and sweet and smart and funny. I adore her, and I think the feeling is mutual. She has a very best friend, a girl named Isabella, and they share similar personalities and views and even look alike. Isabella has spent as much time over here as Noel has over there.

This past weekend, Noel asked if I would take them to the mall. The crux; she wanted me to simply drop them off and leave. The reason this is such a huge deal is because this has never happened before. I’ve ALWAYS gone to the mall with her; even when we go to the movies, and she sits in a different part of the theater with her friend, I’m still there. Right there with her, guarding her and protecting her and making sure that she’s safe.

I’m not a helicopter mom- I don’t really hover. I know you might be wondering how that can be true when I just said I’m always around whenever we go out. The thing is, she’s never made this request before, asking me to drop them off and leave; I knew it would happen, but that was always “some day”. In the future. When she was “old enough”.

Well, she’s old enough.

So I took her and her friend to the mall and dropped them off. I DID have some things I wanted/needed to do while I was there, like go to Cost Plus World Market and get this soap-

(it’s completely awesome, by the way- click the pic for a link to check it out)

and to Barnes & Noble to get this book-

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. So it wasn’t like I was just leaving, although I wasn’t planning on staying, either. My friend Neya was with me and we went where we needed to go. At first, it seemed that Noel and Isabella were following us; I don’t think that she quite knew what to do with this new found freedom, and she was accustomed to just being with me whenever we go anywhere. However, after I was done with my errands, I waved goodbye to her, and left.

It was SO WEIRD driving away without her in the car. I felt like I had forgotten something. It was just… strange.

And, in a way, it was like I was passing the torch. I remember going to the mall when I was a teenager, hanging out with my friends. We either walked or took the bus or, if we were lucky, catch a ride with someone’s parent before any of us could drive. We could, and did, spend hours at the mall, just wandering around, looking at things, and just generally being teenagers. It was a lot of fun. Kinda the highlight of the week, right?

A few hours later she called for an extraction, and I headed over there to collect her. She and Isabella were full of laughter and giggles, and when I asked what it was that they did, they both just burst out laughing. I couldn’t help but smile; they were so happy. Just, young and happy and carefree. It was cool seeing her like that.

A little sad for me, the mom, because it’s just another step in the direction of her growing up… and out. I feel like things are starting to happen very quickly now…






Saturday, August 13, 2011

my life in fast forward

All too often, things don’t go as planned. My plans to register in school this semester have been somewhat debunked, due to lack of financial funds. I find it highly, somewhat bitterly, ironic that I can’t afford school, and my husband makes too much on paper for me to qualify for financial aid. My taxes, and people like me, pay for those who are unable to pay for themselves… and yet if I want to go to school, I have to either pay out of pocket or take out a loan. I’m not upset at those who need financial aid; far from it. If I could utilize it, I would. That’s what it’s for, to help those you NEED it. I’m mad at the system. The stupid, broken system.

I’m not complaining that I don’t have enough. I’m not mad because we only make just enough. Having been on the receiving end of never having enough to make ends meet, of having to rob Peter to pay Paul month after month, of being perpetually behind all the time, of having horrid credit… I am so freaking grateful that we have enough now to make ends meet. I’m so grateful for the job security, the steady paycheck, the fact that every other week I can fill my fridge and cupboards, fill my gas tanks, even go out to dinner every once in awhile, and I’ve managed to cobble enough together the past two years to take trips to visit friends. I have reliable vehicles, my kids and husband are healthy, and I even have a pet that I can provide the good dog food for and not have to go cheap because I can’t afford not to. So don’t read me wrong; I have a good life, and I know it. I just wish… I really, really wish that I could afford school.

I wish that so hard.

I guess it’s human nature, maybe selfishly, to want more. I have friends who would trade places with my situation in a hot second, and I’m ever mindful of that. I try really hard to not be bitter about things I can’t change, and I try really hard to focus on the things I have instead of the things I want.

This school thing, though…. this is hard for me to accept as is. I keep crunching the numbers and because of other obligations, it just isn’t going to work out right now. It’s frustrating and I’m having a hard time working through and getting over it. That being said, I keep telling myself, maybe next semester… maybe…. maybe….

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

excuses, excuses

I feel like I’ve been on the dark side of the moon. Not really lost, exactly, just not in the mood to do anything beyond what needs to be done. I’ve been busy enjoying my kids and husband and my cute little dog, reading some really awesome books, and playing Plants vs. Zombies on the XBox and Spore on the computer.

Things that have changed since last I wrote:

1. Stephen, Bonus Son One, has gone, this time for good, probably. He couch crashed with us for over a year before finally being able to get his military issues worked out, and now instead of being a reservist Marine Corp. he is active duty in the Army. After three false starts, six months ago he really did leave. First he went to Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Although he made it through training for airborne, he chose to opt out on special forces and be reassigned to a different unit. He came home for a week earlier this month, and now he’s in Italy for two years. I know that I ‘m only supposed to feel proud, but I also feel worried for him, because regardless of who gave birth to him, he’s a son to me in my heart, and a mother worries when her kids aren’t around. And he is so very far away… but I am really proud of him. He’s a neat guy. And I really, really like him.

2. We moved. Don’t even get me started on the level of crazy my former landlords got to; suffice to say, they have issues. After the stove broke in that place, and the huge fallout behind it, Joe and I decided that it would be best for everyone if we moved. So come tax return time, that’s what we did. We moved from that house to one just down the street, one that’s about 30 years newer and a whole lot nicer, with an actual company for a landlord instead of Crazy T and her husband. We have AC, guys. It’s been five years since I lived in a place with AC; I almost didn’t know how to act. The rooms are smaller but the kitchen is awesome and the tradeoff is SO worth it. Especially considering what they did to the next tenant; they took his deposit and his rent for five months and didn’t pay the mortgage, and didn’t say anything, and when the mortgage company foreclosed, didn’t answer or return their tenant’s calls or emails. Joe and I feel like we totally, totally dodged a bullet there.

3. In big, huge, giant news… I’m going to homeschool the wee beasties this next year. The short explanation for that is because the state of California has cut billions from our education budget and the result of that has been drastic cuts in our schools. Larger class sizes, fewer teachers and staff, different programs being cut… you name it, it’s been affected. After much deliberating, discussion, and research, I made the decision to take them out and homeschool. It’s going to be very interesting, but I’m excited. And nervous.

4. And, back to school I go, as well. In short, I want to buy a house. I’m sick of paycheck to paycheck living. Tired of barely pulling through, one month after the next. Some weeks we have less money than we have people in the family in the bank account, and that bites. So that means me getting a job. The problem is that I have a very limited skill set, so any job I get is going to be minimum wage, weird hours, and not enough overall. So I’ve looked into different options and decided to go with the dental hygienist program. I have to have several pre-requisite classes first, so I’ll start there. Realistically, we’re talking about three, three and a half years before I get my degree and can go to work. However, it is what it is and we all think this is the best route. If we’re ever going to be able to buy a house, this is the best way.

5. I’m taking a trip in Virginia to visit some friends I met via a social network called Cafemom. I’ve “known” these women for the better part of two, three years and some of them I’ve been lucky enough to meet in real life (I went to visit my best friend in Texas a year ago and several of my Cafemom friends lived close enough to get together). I’m so, so, so excited to meet my friends. This is going to be such a good time! I’m really looking forward to it.

And that’s that, as they say. More later.