Lifes Magical Moments

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Dipping Back In The Work Pool

Published June 20, 2018 by sarcasmica

I had a life before kids, like most folks. Through a series of frantic, chaotic, not always in my control events, I stopped work to be a stay at home mom and traveling wife. I loved working as much as a non-millionaire employee could love work. I loved my co-workers. I loved the challenge my job provided. I was on the verge of meeting new challenges and changing levels when we abruptly had to move to another state at the beginning of the second semester when my son was 2.

I was an educational interpreter in an elementary school. I had good days and bad days. I had people I had to work with professionally that I’d rather punch in the throat, like most jobs, but overall it was amazing. It was always different, but it was consistent. Anyone who works with school age kids can probably agree that it is controlled chaos on a daily schedule. Add to that the comedy of being in a very niche position, and there were all kinds of hijinks to keep me entertained.

After settling into our first move, I actually applied for an interpreting job and was offered a position. After paying for the background check and TB test, my husband got an offer in yet another state. We moved again. After that I vowed not to attempt work until we were for sure settled somewhere. Leaving the comfy work environment I had in Arizona was very hard and it took me a very long time to let go of the expectations of being a SAHM and just missing my life.

A bajillion moves and ten years later (holy shit, how has it been an entire decade?!!?) I have tossed my resume back into the ether.

I am terrified I will get called into a job.

This is more of an agency hiring scenario. I’d be an agency employee instead of a school district employee. At this point, I understand that far easier than understanding sign language.

EEK!!

I could say this whole time I’ve been keeping my skills razor sharp with workshops and videos, but that would make me a big fat liar pants. I’ve done zilch. I’ve watched videos here and there and have used the captions. … then go back and watch the signs and have a false sense of “oh, yea, totally got that. yup.”.

I have committed out loud to a workshop four hours away. I wouldn’t recommend immersion with professionals is the best way to brush up on a language, but oh well. I’m a non-conformist.

It’s getting down to the wire and I’m having to book my trip for this workshop and I just find myself looking for any and every distraction possible. I have filled an Amazon Fresh order, written a blog post and made chocolate chip cupcakes. Any and all distractions welcome just to not have to face this tremendous nerve-wracking trip. I keep telling myself I’m a bad ass because i’m going alone…. when in reality I am feeling like a big wuss. I don’t wanna go. Ironically, I want to go with an interpreter because I know i’m not going to catch everything. Hell, i’ll be lucky to understand 25% of the workshops i’m going to!

I have 22 days to pull my shit together. The kids on summer break are not a great asset at this point. Still, I have to do it or I am convinced my brain will turn to mush if I don’t get back to work and start using my grown up words and thoughts on a daily basis.

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Overspending Is In The Air

Published December 1, 2017 by sarcasmica

It’s that time of year again! Rejoice! For unto the earth a credit limit is reached. Mom guilt, peer expectations, and childhood emotional baggage all crammed into one joyous day month.

It seems it’s been 17 days since my last post. It’s taken nearly this long to recover from the loose tooth drama. We have a magnificent, fantastic angel of a dentist for my daughter. They managed to squeeze us in first thing in the morning on Thanksgiving eve eve. My daughter was LIVID that I had made the appointment. Nobody really cared how mad she was, though. We all just wanted to get to Thanksgiving intact, ears/hearing at 100%, and all actually liking each other.

The dentist numbed my kid’s face, cleaned the 1/4 of her mouth she had been neglecting to touch with her toothbrush, and barely breathed onto her mouth when POP! The offending dangler popped right out. Next she told my daughter, “Let me have your hand so you can feel how clean your tooth – WHOA! You pulled it right out! Look at that!” and hysteria-type giggles came from my child’s nitris masked face.

We all breathed a sigh of relief. The grand finale was the doc telling me she wont go through any more loose teeth until around 9 years old. WOOO HOO!!!!! SURELY she will be beyond the paranoid hysterics by then, right?!! We wont even fathom understanding the hormones that will be trickling into her body by that time.

Thanksgiving conquered, now we move toward Christmas. Oh holy night. My kids have been circling toy catalogs and amazon dreaming since November 24th. When my sis in-law asked what the kids put on their Christmas list, it occurred to me to actually dig the catalogs out of the trash and take a look. What a concept! The short answer of what they circled is just “everything”.

I cannot blame them. They are kids! Every Christmas we tend to go all out. I wont apologize for it, but it is a spectacle. It’s also setting everyone up for eventual disappointment. See, I grew up without much money. Christmas was humble in our house, to say the least. It was happy, it was fun, it was normal for me. This crap i’ve grown into is a bit alien. It’s fun because we know it wont last. Each Christmas for the past 2 or 3 i’ve reminded my husband it might be the last our son still believes in Santa.

Sure enough, we had the talk this summer after his on and off asking about the truth. (pretty sure there’s a blog post about it somewhere) So now this year it’s just my daughter drinking the kool aid eggnog. My son has managed not to spill the beans holly about Santa yet. I’m proud of him for that. The amount of winking he’s done lately is enough to drive me batty, though. “Mom, tell SAAAANTAAAAA *wink wink* I want this one.” Now that I think about it, if my daughter doesn’t pick up on this I might worry about her IQ.

Anyway, so we are in a new neighborhood this year. Halloween rocked, and it looks like twice as many people have decorated for Christmas. Who knows, I might start chugging the kool aid and bake something to give away!

Hahahahaaaaa. Yea right. I’ll hand out little travel bottles of liquor. I bet people would actually consume those.

Kneeling

Published September 25, 2017 by sarcasmica

I don’t watch the news much. I feel like it has changed since 9/11 so much. Social media has really become a crutch for network television news outlets. My husband and I comment all the time that stories are often incomplete. The whole story is rarely given. I feel like they rely on the viewers to go further research and get specifics that used to be given by the newscaster. I’m not talking in-depth background, I’m talking “major catastrophe occured! Suspects are in question. the end.” Where was this? What time? Who was hurt?

It’s just flashy headlines, and little content. The other awful side effect is trying to be first. I still remember the Boston Marathon bombing and how there was nothing but speculative reporting, but it was Breaking News so they were literally on the air just tossing around theories and tweeted information and drawing their own conclusions.

I do, however, enjoy the bits of Good Morning America that I can hear over my own shouting at the kids to get ready for school, and the kids shouting at each other to stop hogging toilets and sinks and toothpaste. Lately the popular topic is the whole kneeling during the anthem thing Colin Kaepernick has begun.

For President Trump (cough sputter spit) to weigh in on this is just one more in a long line of ridiculous time-wasters he seems to excel at. “White Privilege” is a popular phrase these days. As a white person, it’s uncomfortable, but that’s because it’s true. Yes. I totally agree that this exists. It’s not a pride-inducing phrase. Maybe some people allow themselves to be “offended” by this and then just shut down and become defensive to whatever the issue being challenged is and then cannot hear what the debate is about.

I just wanted to throw my two cents out there and say I think Mr. Kaepernick is a very brave man. He knelt for something big. Something decades of marching, and protesting, and “trending” hasn’t solved. It’s forcing conversation to an ugly truth… another ugly truth about this country. I haven’t had a firm stance on ‘agree or disagree?’ with this kneeling thing, but I watch a show called United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell. I find it fascinating. Recently he went to Chicago to interview residents and compare reality with what the media is broadcasting regarding the dire state of things there. I highly recommend the show, but especially this one if you find yourself undecided or against the NFL and the kneeling protests.

It is so easy to brush this off and say “It’s so un American! How dare they not stand for the flag and the anthem of this country!!”. If you do, you are in denial. You are the problem and that’s hard to take on. Naturally, you don’t want to be the problem, especially when you are not actively causing issue.

Have you considered why these protesters are kneeling? Are you willing to look at the reasons, and not just your own reaction to what you assume is unimportant?

How in touch are you with the way things are for inner city families? How much thought do you give to the lack of any funding for activities, music class, art, or even staffing at the schools millions of children get their start at? Not just educational start, but their introduction to a society. Elementary school is where children are handed over to grown ups who then become responsible for the welfare and well being of these children. Are these children treated with respect? Does the building have adequate space, heat, a/c, construction, plumbing? Do these kids see their value in the community in the programs offered for them?

These are pretty basic questions and expectations of government money doing it’s job.

If these families are not taken care of on a daily basis by their communities, how are they supposed to feel any pride in that community? How can they feel responsibility and ownership when the institutions that are supposed to take care of them fail? In this climate, do you think everyone in this country feels that law enforcement is on their side?

What if, Mr. Trump, instead of sending money to employ more police and tactical units to fund stop and frisk, you empower these communities by putting money into the schools and programs that set up an environment where kids can succeed and feel a sense of pride and community? Sports, arts, music, after school activities. Employ the community and staff the schools with qualified members of local society.

I wonder how a community who feels they are hated, feared, and unwanted is supposed to feel a sense of pride and appreciation for a flag and anthem that represent a nation that has left them behind? The professional human beings who are choosing to kneel at sporting events are not refusing the flag of our nation. They are banding together to announce to those with blinders on that the country we all love and take pride in does not see all men created equal and offer all opportunities to all peoples.

If “white privilege” is the most offensive phrase that has been thrown at you in your lifetime, it might be time to take a step back, put your own perspective aside, and consider looking at the reason for the protest.

Circus Berzerkus

Published July 17, 2017 by sarcasmica

(a nod to Skippyjon Jones)

When I was little, my mom took me to the circus. It was Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey. The big top. The BIG Top. Tigers, Elephants, Horses, acrobats, tightrope walkers, etc etc etc. It was huge, loud, amazing, and even then I felt bad for the animals. How could a traveling circus be a great place for those wild, intelligent, dangerous, amazing animals?

Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute. The vendors, the food, the action and excitement.

It was the only time I ever went. I’m thankful I had the experience since that company is no longer, but it’s a relief for future chained elephants.

This weekend a local town fair was in town. Included was a tiny little show called Venardo’s Circus. I looked at their FB Page – as any decent investigator would and followed that up with – say it with me now – Yelp reviews. It looked pretty promising. The prices were a little off putting, but I signed us up. They advertise it as an animal-free circus. My kids have never been to a circus, so I figured it would be a great starter-experience.

I am not willing to shell out Cirque du Soleil money for a six and eleven year old just yet … especially when I myself have only recently seen one show. (O in Vegas)

As I mentioned, this circus happens in tandem with the town fair. The last few fairs I have taken my kids to have been just the three of us. No hubby. He was conveniently out of town on business for them. He is not a fan of amusement. He is a fan of his own amusement, but not others’. He is allergic to crowds and lines. Piggy back that with spending money and we are talking anaphylactic shock.

To his credit, when I spring our weekend event on him he takes the news pretty well. We head out Sunday for some fun and excitement. My daughter has her wallet with her life savings in it ($16) because she is going to WIN. (a stuffy of any kind, but mostly the giant kind that don’t fit anywhere reasonable)

My son has already spent his life savings on game add ons and apps. I assure him we will hook him up with a couple of games, but his sister will have more opportunities. (We don’t do “even stevens” & fair in this house)

We arrive to the world’s tiniest fair. I mean small. Itty bitty. It’s perfect for my husband who is still working on physical therapy and full range of motion in his foot from his December surgery.  This gig is the perfect size for him. No reason to openly bitch and moan that walking is a worry. The crowd was non-existent.

First up on the agenda was “rides”. This is always a challenge because our son is not a fan of rides. He does not like anything fast, loud, high, or on a track. That left the fun houses. There were 2. One was a Halloween theme, so my daughter convinced herself it was too scary to walk in.

The happy Casper-esque ghosts and green smiling witch graffiti sprayed across the front of the structure was beyond her capacity. (eye roll)

I’m going to go all grouchy senior citizen here and just interject my disgust at how expensive a fair is these days. “Back in my day” tickets for rides were like $1. The good rides might cost 2 tickets. … maybe. Games were $1. Sure you had to spend around $5 before you won the rock hard lead-filled asbestos-covered stuffy filled with a million beads that would disintegrate a month later dumping beads all over the carpet, but that’s not the point!

Y’all. Do you know what this tiny town fair cost?

Every ride cost 1 ticket (Wow, only 1 ticket regardless of the ride?! That’s awesome!)

Every ticket cost $3.75

The games were between $3 and $5 per try. “But every kid is guaranteed a prize!”

What . the. f&%k ?!

Needless to say we experienced a bit of sticker shock. I am normally one for lots of fun and games and winning the cool stuffies for my kids. Not this day, readers. Not this day.

This was where things got dicey, though. I suffered through wedging my fat thighs and gut into a carnie ride with my daughter because no one else would go with her. Having no shame or pride, I decided to focus on the fun and not the stereotypical look of being the Michelin mom waddling from ride to ride. I endured a spinning gondola, and a ferris wheel death trap.

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Did I mention she was wedged in there?

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See that grip? We hadn’t even left the ground yet! She had that grip the entire ride.

Sidenote: When these rides do not post a weight limit, it makes me nervous. These puzzle-pieced-together rides that get built and torn down in less time than it takes me to rotate and put away a load of laundry, there is serious cause for alarm for this Amazonian Momma.

Spoiler: We lived. We lived despite the running film in my brain of footage airing on Good Morning America Monday morning: “Mom whale causes town fair Ferris wheel gondola to tip over, causing massive carnage in Washington state over the weekend.”

I was looking forward to shelling out money to stay on the ground and try winning some cheap and soon-to-be-forgotten prizes after all that.

We did the dart balloon thing. Each kid popped a balloon and got a prize. With the same bunch of darts I managed to pop 5 balloons – 2 of which I managed with only 1 dart! The kids each walked away with one small stuffy each.

Onto the water gun game. I kill at this game. I own it!

I lost.

I paid $6 for my son and I to play, and neither of us won. I did not want to go down without at least one win at this booth. … but alas, we brought daddy coin purse with us and not Daddy Warbucks.

It’s not that my husband is cheap, but when it comes to shelling out money at a fair, let’s just say white-knuckling the wallet might be a better description.

My daughter was willing to spend her entire fortune on winning something big and ugly. The toy didn’t matter as much as the size of it. She was not going to be satisfied until we had to tow a toy out of there for her.

… she left very unsatisfied.

We refused to let her spend her entire wallet on cheap knock-off prizes.

The whining and moaning on the way out did nothing to convince my husband to try another game. (Go figure!) He immediately caught on to how much we might spend on a fair when he is not with us.

This took us to the circus. It was time to be wowed and amazed! For a starter-circus, this was perfect. The ring leader informed us he was also the sound and lighting operator. This lead a lot of mishaps with mic packs and feedback.

There were acrobats, fire dancers, and a strange man running around filling in the space where a clown should have been. This guy had no make up or costuming really, and his tricks were pretty amateur. He was more confusing than amusing, but he served his purpose as a distraction while the performers readied themselves.

The kids enjoyed it and I was pleased at all the “Whaaaaa??” “WOW!” and jaw dropping both kids did.

All in all it was a great day and one I will remember for a long time… or at least as long as the beads stay in the stuffies.

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Tell me that’s not ominous.

 

Plans and Paint

Published April 5, 2017 by sarcasmica

Current project: Figure out a design for the new house.

Current status: Clueless

I have done the unimaginable and hired a designer. I need help. I, apparently, am easily overwhelmed. Funny how this happens more and more the older you get. I guess my cup o’ shit is running close to full a lot because the minute someone hovers above it with a handful of more, I start twitching.

Not that this process is anywhere near “shit” status. It’s not. I am just out of my depth. I blame HGTV, Chip and Joanna, Pinterest, and life. I am no longer satisfied with garage sale furniture forced to function and ADD walls with one color over there, another color in the bathroom, and a totally separate color in the hall. It’s time to live like the grown up I’m pretending to be, and the government insists that I am.

BLEND, bitches, BLEND!

The beautiful house we bought has some color scheme issues. The entry is green, the living area is sand, and the kitchen and TV room is burnt orange.

Really…

And the home office is green and the guest room is burn-your-eyes-out blue, one bedroom is regurgitated yellow, another is pleasant boy blue, and the master ceiling – just the ceiling – is ocean sky blue.

 

….

I mean, seriously. The painter we met at the house was just like, “Huh?”

So we are de-patching and wholly unifying. We are gonna bring that space together, but in order to do that, I need a professional. A low-cost, fairly noob-ish designer. You know, one that is still driving around the Escape and not yet into the Mercedes.

I met her at the house and she helped me narrow down a color. It’s beautiful, I love it, but now I’m wondering how big the project is going to get. Not because she’s pushing, but because I just want to do this once.

We are trying to upscale the furniture a bit so we have to not only pick wall colors that match mantles and carpet and hardwoods, but also that lend to some creative furniture ideas and colors.

DELFT by sherwin-williams

This gets overwhelming quickly.

Is it happy hour yet?

 

Parrot Life

Published March 21, 2017 by sarcasmica

Birds were never in my plan. Animals, yes, birds specifically, notsomuch.

My “life plan” (chuckle chuckle chuckle) was to flounder in community college for a little while before sticking with the sign language interpreter program. Once I mastered that, I would go to Moorpark College in Simi Valley, CA and work as an interpreter while simultaneously studying in their exotic animal training and management program. In order to study in the program, you also have to work at the college zoo. The only block I had was how to get through all the bug stuff. I hate bugs. HATE. I can appreciate their role in an ecosystem and yes I understand how important they are blah blah blah, but handling them?! No.

Blech. I can’t.

Anyway, I got as far as my interpreter program. I didn’t even complete that. See, my step mother was the interpreter coordinator for the campus in addition to a teacher in the department. (That is how she and my dad met and later married) My last semester I had a class that is only offered once/year at only one time. I was at the end of my last semester in the three year program when my dad died. Being as how I was the only offspring of either side to help my stepmother make arrangements, get through the awful tragedy, and deal with the hurricane of tedium you have to deal with when a loved one dies, school suffered a bit. I still made it to my final roughly a week after the funeral… the funeral my teacher for the same class attended along with most of the department and all my past and present instructors.

Guess who failed the class? Yup. Moi. I wasn’t expecting a free pass, I wasn’t expecting an A, but can you really not help someone out in that scenario? Really?! Can you honestly not offer some kind of counseling on the side or advice? Just F, done, buh bye, sorry for your loss.

Anyway, I was bitter after this happened, naturally. I also was connected through my step mother with my first signing job in Irvine at a high school. I moved to Irvine and could not manage the 2 hour rush hour commute for the one hour class back in Torrance, either. I just let it go.

Anyway, that job and that city led me to Arizona and another job and then got married and had a kid and life and yada yada yada. Long story short, I never made it to Moorpark College.

In my early 20’s while still in school, a friend of mine was a manager at Petco. She offered me a job as a Bird Specialist and I’d be in charge of the department – ordering, feeding the babies, caring for the cages and animals, stocking, etc etc. I took it knowing any knowledge needed I’d have to research myself since they do not have any sort of extensive training for this. I loved it. It was sad – seeing the state they were delivered in from breeders – but it was also gratifying – being able to educate people on a pet. I was absolutely astounded at how many grown people have a fear of birds. Kids would readily go into the bird room while their parents stood outside shaking their heads and twitching at the thought of wings coming at their face. (a common fear, apparently)

Anyway, I suppose that’s where the seed was planted. Ironically twenty years later I’m working the other side of the pet industry. It’s exactly opposite, actually, right down to me volunteering and not getting paid to care for the birds that people could not for a million and eighteen reasons commit a lifetime to. It’s so rewarding that there’s about 65 volunteers that the sanctuary heavily relies on for feeding/cleaning/food prep/grooming. I’m always impressed with the volunteers that balance this work with a paying full time gig. There are students, retirees, unemployed (moi) but we all, I think, look forward to our time there helping out.

Everyone has their niche. Some people like the cage work; cleaning and feeding. Some people like the massive open flight area. Some like the rooms and some don’t even interact with the birds. They handle food only. My happy place is the room. I have one room where I’ve learned about 70% of the birds names and know them fairly well. I don’t handle many because, quite frankly, I’ve seen enough bites to not be excited by that happening. I’ve had only one bad bite that’s left a scar, but like most stories of bites it was my own fault. I took a bird out and she didn’t want to return to the room when I needed her to. Instead of getting a perch, I kept insisting she step up on my arm and after repeatedly pushing back with her beak, she finally gave me a good clear chomp. … then I got the perch. Duh.

Funny enough two of my favorite birds reside in rooms completely different than my favorite. I don’t hold it against them, though 🙂

Anyway, I don’t know if I’ll ever get to fulfill my wish of actually working and interacting with wild exotic animals for a job, but truthfully my kids and these crazy parrots seem to be filling my heart. So while I figure it out, I’ll just keep taking pictures and hope people enjoy them.

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Merlot

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Coco

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Sugar

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Zephyr

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Junior (i think)

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Willy

 

Decisions Decisions

Published March 5, 2017 by sarcasmica

Being a grown up is hard. Throwing kids into the mix is even harder.  You cant just make a decision, you have to beat every possible outcome into the ground.

We have been looking at the possibility of moving. Currently we have a wonderful traditional house. There’s a massive blacktop driveway, there’s a huge grassy backyard. Summers are chalk race track creations and variations and neighborhood kids running from yard to yard or riding bikes back and forth. It’s awesome! The not so awesome part is that it’s almost 40 years old and has had minimal updating. There is a long monotonous laundry list of things that need to be fixed or done to it. 

We found a house and it happens to be in a subdivision. It’s a much newer house than ours but sadly, typical of most, there is no yard. There’s a patio and a patch of grass. Essentially we are trading our amazing outdoor life for a comfy indoor life. Being Washington, the weather makes the inside of the house more of a requirement than the outside.

I came here at 5am because I woke up freaking out about the cons. Aaaall the cons. I message bombed my friends with my panic and realized that wasnt cool, so i need to make a list of the why’s. Not to answer to or justify, but to remind myself why we are doing this. 

1. Upgraded house

2. Proximity to huge city park

3. Saving money

4. Much better layout

5. More community

6. Friends for the kids

7. Way less maintenance

8. New places to explore

At this moment, amid packing boxes and nearing the end of winter (i hope!!) it’s easy to panic about the cons. The changes. The unknowns. The thought of a decision you dont have to make, but are choosing to make negatively impacting your kids is hard. Maybe if I were a parent who believed in blindly leading for the sake of control and authority I’d have less stress. I’d have miserable kids, perhaps, but who cares? Do as I say and ask no questions!

That’s not how we roll. 

If I can keep our reasons in the fore front and remember all the whys I can maintain forward momentum. Silly things like sleep and quiet darkness creep in and make me question what we are doing. 

One down side to moving as often as we have is that it becomes easy to continue doing it. I need to learn with the next house not to say “never again.”.

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