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Some random pics of the past few months

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I never thought I’d be a boy mom. I took the afternoon off yesterday and was able to take my boys to baseball practice for the first time in a long time. No other parents were there and while I initially felt a bit out of place (all the dads were helping coach), I tried not to let that stop me from enjoying it. They were playing a scrimmage game with each other and boy, was I able to see the personalities of the different boys come into focus, much more than when they play the “real” games. This league is a bit rag tag (fall ball, not our regular league) and there is no equity. Basically, if you get to first base first, you are first baseman. It’s every man for himself, basically. No fairness, no equity, just survival of the fittest. Have to admit, it’s kind of refreshing!!

Our little team was a mish mash of out of the area kids (including us) that no other coaches had picked (again, not our regular league) and we ended up crushing the season. In any case, I sat there on the most glorious fall day of the year so far and watched the interpersonal dynamics, like a fly on the wall. The Coaches are young. Really young. And they’re not into the PC, everyone gets a turn, everyone is equal stuff. For being so young, they are extremely old school in that way.

I never imagined myself as a boy mom. Not in a million years. I’m not into lizards or dirt or Legos and while I’ve had many a baseball loving boyfriend and pretended to be interested, I’ve never been too jazzed about baseball either (unless the Giants are in the series, which happens a lot).

 But when your boy gets up to hit and the opposing team’s coach tells his player to spread out and get back…well, there are no words. And when the coaches and kids play a game of pickup football on Sunday afternoon at a birthday party and the coaches call your son the “star Quarterback” and comment on “what an athlete” he is? Heart.Bursting.with.Pride.  Huge boy mom moment there. Almost as good as the AM/PM Gas Station clerk  tells you that your kids are so awesome and well behaved. (What, my kids?)  

I decided while sitting there that I need to start writing more. Starting today.

Writing

I cant believe that my last post was in October 2012. That does not seem possible! Much has changed in my life since then, which I probably need to share.

I needed a break as I was just feeling really *over* the whole mom-blog thing. The blog world became so over saturated with it, it jumped the shark, IMO. I never blogged to create a brand or strategic marketing plan. I blogged because I’m a writer and I need to write. Period.

Who knows if I have any followers left?0 I really miss having this writing outlet and want to bring back the simplicity of just good, simple blogging.

Back soon with some updates.

Warning to my regular readers: I’m about to get political. If that’s not your thing or you lean to the right, you might want to skip this blog post.

I don’t typically write letters to the editor, leave comments on political blogs or that sort of thing, but after watching the presidential debate of October 16th and watching this Thursday’s Morning Joe, I felt compelled to write. I am a working mother of 3 small children – for all intents and purposes, I am that suburban working mother that both campaigns are trying to reach out to.

I was profoundly disturbed at the dismissive tone by the majority of male members of the panel on this morning’s program. Mika repeatedly tried to discuss the topic of Romney’s disconnect from women voters via the “Binder Gate” while the men just sat around, smirked and continually tried to dismiss the topic as not important, not relevant, etc. Mika looked incredulous at this reaction. I was floored at the tone of men on the panel. Floored.

Joe Scarborough repeatedly beat Mika down, then went so far as to wax on (as he does) and try to identify the plight of the single, working waitress who doesn’t care about these women’s issues at all (as if Joe Scarborough would have a clue what a working class single mom cares about).

I typically agree with Mark Halperin and look forward to his insight, feedback, informative tweets, etc. but when he sat there, stone faced and refused to acknowledge the importance of the topic – in fact – basically said “Can’t we talk about things that are important?”– well, I lost a great deal of respect for Mr. Halperin and most of the male panel who seemed to agree with him.

Bottom line? The “Binders of Women” comment does have legs and is incredibly relevant to working women. How do I know? I am a working mother myself. You want the feedback of the person both Romney and Obama are trying desperately to reach? The suburban working mom? Well, here I am. I work full time outside the home and care for 3 small children, financially supporting my family of five while my unemployed husband stays home and cares for the children.

During the debate, Mitt Romney’s overall tone with regards to women made crystal clear how out of touch he really is with women, especially working women and middle class women. I realize he was trying to show what a enlightened male he is by referencing how he let his employee have a flexible schedule to go home and make dinner, but for him (and the morning Joe pundits) not to realize how infuriating a comment that was makes it clear that you’re all missing the boat on this one. Do only women make dinner? My husband makes dinner regularly as I don’t often make it home in time to do so. I believe he also used the phrase “*If* women are going to be in the workplace…” *IF* women are going to be in the workplace? Is he serious? Women have been in the workplace for decades. I felt like I’d stepped into a time warp.

Mr. Romney did anything but convince me he has my best interest at heart. He showed himself for what he really is – an out of touch plutocrat who will say anything to anyone to get elected. His record speaks for itself – at no time has he shown concern for women’s issues through his policies. For him to try and propagate this narrative that he is the savior of the suburban working mother is absurd and insulting to my intelligence. “Show it, don’t say it,” Mr. Romney. Show me the POLICY. And not one that you blatantly distorted in an ill conceived attempt to try and make yourself look appealing to women voters. SHOW ME A POLICY.

On news shows such as yours, I hear of pundits and politicians speak of the income inequality and the disappearing working class. While I’m glad people are talking about this, I know that we are but mere statistics to these people, while I actually live this every hour of every day.

My husband would be considered one of the “long term unemployed” – someone who has dropped off unemployment statistical charts. I work in the public sector and enough for our family to get by. The health benefits my family receives by working in the public sector are what keep me here, but due to the state’s economic crisis, my position has been slated for elimination for the last 2 years.

The conservative right wants to talk about how ARRA didn’t work? Well, let me tell you how the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act did help our family and probably countless others. I happen to work for a public entity. Thanks to ARRA, I was not laid off in 2010, 2011 or 2012. Without those ARRA funds, I would have been gone in 2010. With my husband also unemployed, I shudder to think where we would be right now. When my husband became unemployed in 2009, he was a recipient of extended unemployment benefits – the full 99 weeks – something he would not have received had ARRA not been available. The ARRA funds kept us afloat. They did work. They prevented this middle class family from heading into financial collapse. While the past 3 years have been incredibly difficult, I can’t even imagine what our lives would be like had ARRA not been in place.

I am a long time viewer of Morning Joe and will continue to watch. But please do me a favor? Give Mika the respect she deserves. And you might think of adding a few regular female pundits to the panel to give a better cross section of ideas and opinions.

Maybe Mitt Romney has a binder he can let you borrow.

Sincerely,

Momlissa

Summer in photos

Visiting cousins

Bumper cars!!

Strike a pose

Good times!

My little handsome

Summer stroll

Sofia volunteering with “The Great Zandini”

Sofia being Sofia

They thought this was a real character, didn’t have the hear to explain it was the insurance bear

Boys doing what boys do

Spider Boy

David being the Court Jester

My little goofballs

3 months later….

First day of Kindergarten for the boys, First day of 2nd grade for Sofia

I know that it’s been a very long time since I posted. I don’t have a very good reason for not posting, other than not feeling particularly inspired.

The summer flew by, but lots going on….

Money – The husband and I decided to file for bankruptcy. Not an easy decision, but the one that makes the most sense for us at this point. Obviously things are not great. Clearly. But they could be worse. We’re taking it one day at a time.

Marriage – Status quo. We get along most of the time, but things will never be the same after last year. At least for me.

Job for husband – Currently trying to find work, pretty much anything at this point. So discouraged here. Because we don’t want to pay child care, we’re trying to find something at night or swing shift. One day at a time.

Work – As many of you know, I came to my current place of employment after losing out to the BIG job I originally tried out for in fall of 2009

That BIG job recently opened up again. The person who held the position became very ill and over the course of about a year, it became clear she wasn’t able to come back. I was consistently encouraged by every person in management (my boss included) to apply again for that position. As the BIG BOSS had no Secretary for the better part of a year, he relied on me to help him with a variety of things. I was happy to do so as it gave me an opportunity to show him what I was capable of. Many people did not like him, but he was always very good to me. When he announced his impending retirement, I was disappointed. He had been a cheerleader for me and now, he would be gone. The decision was made that his replacement, THE NEW BIG BOSS, would select a secretary and make the final decision on this job I so desperately wanted.

So old BIG BOSS left, new BIG BOSS came and the process began. I went through the series of interviews and felt really good about everything. I had a letter of recommendation from my current boss (CBO) and the BIG BOSS. I made it to the final two, beating out someone who I considered my main competition. 

I didn’t have much time to revel in that fact as ultimately, I lost out to someone who is in a lower administrative classification than myself. New BIG BOSS chose to go in a different direction, I guess you could say, as my competitor was bilingual.  As I’d been working towards this job since 2010, to say it was a crushing disappointment doesn’t even begin to cover it. I get the bilingual thing, but it hadn’t been a requirement for the job. A Bachelor’s Degree had been, something I did have and my competitor did not.

I simmered through weeks of bitter and angry feelings toward my employer, feeling burned and defeated. It knocked me off my feet for a good 6 weeks and only recently have I begun to see clearly. I’m not perfect, but I’ve consistently performed my job well and risen through the ranks accordingly. This was my first taste of having the door slammed in my face due to politics and ya know what? Not so fun

I definitely feel differently about my job and workplace at this point. While my goal is to eventually find something better (made difficult due to generous total compensation here), at the moment I am focused on the kids. I’ve decided to embrace the fact that I don’t have a high pressure job, count my blessings and be happy that I have a job that is flexible, pays decently, provides wonderful medical coverage for my family and contributes generously to my pension. It’s hard to wrap my head around thinking about my pension, but I guess I’m at that age (20 years out) that I have to start thinking in those terms.

School – We made the very difficult decision to remove Sofia from private school so that all 3 children will attend school together. The boys were starting kindergarten and let’s be honest, we are in no position to be paying tuition. Sofia handled it better than I did. Her main concern? When can we go clothes shopping? They’re all settled in and we’re very happy with the decision. They boys love school and Sofia has a great teacher. I did decide to separate the twins, which I think is best for them but obviously harder on me. It’s a new world for me having to make sure all 3 kids have clothes to wear, 3 lunches to prepare, 3 sets of homework to oversee, etc. I am going to need a separate calendar to keep track of who’s class I am volunteering in and when. The school is moving towards a more minimal homework philosophy (emphasis on reading, reading, reading), so that works in my favor.

Weight – Not good. Not good at all. Not sure what to do about it as my plate is so full. No pun intended. I’m considering joining a gym near my house ($9 per month to go 4 days per week). Need to check it out. Need to get moving. My doctor put me on meds for high BP and I’m not sure they are working. Still having a lot of back pain due to degenerative disc and arthritis, exacerbated by weight, of course. I guess you could say I’m a hot mess.  

Sofia – Seems to be a little better, but still has an explosive temper, anxiety and several phobias. I discussed it with her primary pediatrician over the summer and he spoke to a child psychologist colleague who felt that between the family history (schizophrenia, general mental illness and anxiety disorders) and her behavior, there was more than enough there for an assessment. He gave me some names, but I’ve yet to look into it. I am hesitant to open the can of worms. For the most part, she is a happy, bright and engaged little girl. But she does display a lot of anxiety and an explosive temper. I’m sort of on the fence on what to do about it.

David – He’s a living, breathing cartoon character. Always smiling and trying to make people laugh. He’s like a 5 year old Jim Carrey with all his facial gestures and body movements. I can’t even begin to describe how animated he can be. I call him the “song and dance” man. He still can exhibit a little temper once in a while, but for the most part, is a sweet, extremely affectionate little boy.

William – A dream child. Innately good, he just wants to follow the rules and have things in order. For the most part, he doesn’t complain, picks up when he is supposed to, eats when he’s supposed to, follows directions. He makes things easier for me and thank god one of them does. Quiet and reserved and not overly touchy feely, he’s always thinking. It’s pretty evident he’s going to be a little heartthrob, with his enormous brown eyes, thick shock of hair and beautiful olive skin, but don’t let him hear you say that. If you even whisper that he is cute or handsome, he flips out. One thing William does not like is attention. Negative, positive, doesn’t matter, he doesn’t want it. I guess you could say he is humble. Steve says he will probably be a priest. He’s joking, sort of.

All the kids are now going to catechism. I know that’s not what it’s called anymore, but that is what I call it. They go every other Sunday after mass, so that means I have 3 hours to myself. Talk about a dream come true. It doesn’t get much better.

I think that’s about it for the last 6 months. I’ll probably try to upload some photos and for god sakes, try to post regularly – if there are any readers left!! If you are still out there, please post and let me know.

 

 

 

Mini vacay

So, it was overall a great summer weekend.

Saturday was unexpectedly blazing hot. Wasn’t expecting that! Since we were headed to the godmother’s house (she was taking Sofia and away to a casino/resort), I figured it would be fun to visit a Lake by her house. We spent a few hours there and the kids *loved* it. Will immediately asked when we would return and if we could “live there.”

Imagine my surprise (as I sat on my chair on the beach in a bathing suit – an occurrence limited to pools and lakes where I can be assured that no one will recognize me) when I realized there was a local news reporter with camera right next to me!! I was like “Oh, *helltotheno*, please point that camera away from me!!!!” Sheesh!!

As this was the godmother’s actual birthday, after our day in the sun, we headed over and food, cake, etc. The boys and Steve stayed until about 7 and then we continued to visit with her cousin, a Creative Writing professor at a local San Francisco University. It was quite nice as her and I always have lots to talk about. The boys were acting great and everyone commented on how good they were being.

So the godmother and her cousin slept in godmother’s room while Sofia and I slept on couches in the living room (as we always do). Apparently, her puppy (in its crate in the hall) was kept awake by our presence which resulted in godmother getting zero sleep. She tends towards drama and neuroses to begin with, so this lack of sleep exacerbated things. She was cranky and nitpicky most of the morning, but I tried to just go with the flow and help as much as possible.

Godmother continually fretted about what Sofia as the resort is a casino and how would she access the restaurants if she’s not allowed on the floor, etc. I repeatedly assured her it wouldn’t be a problem, that I’ve been to Vegas and kids are everywhere – as long as they’re not actually gambling, it’s fine. This did zero to calm her, so I finally called the casino and confirmed what I had said – that of course kids can walk through the casino to restaurants, just can’t be on the floor, next to someone gambling. Duh. No brainer. Done.

When I packed the car, Godmother went out of her way to tell me “Please don’t pack it high or I won’t be able to see…” I was biting my tongue left and right. I wanted to say “Oh, but I was hoping to pack the bags up so high to obstruct your view and compromise the safety of my child and myself, of course! You’re such a buzzkill!”

The day before we left, godmother had called and instructed me not to “pack a bunch of stuff” as we may have to leave the bags in the lobby as our room wouldn’t be ready, yada yada yada…I assured her the bags could be checked by the bellhop and quite frankly, when someone tells me not to pack a bunch of stuff, it only makes me want bring the biggest suitcase I have. I’m kind of evil that way. Can’t imagine where Sofia gets her oppositional behavior from????

She fretted more about the bags and I assured her the bell hop will take them and most likely we’d get a room sooner than 4 p.m. She was adamant we would not. And of course, we got a room right away.

Once we were checked in and unpacked, Sofia and I immediately escaped to the serenity of the pool and spent the bulk of our time there. Sofia worked that pool like nobody’s business. She made friends with everyone, had everyone’s life stories (and they ours) and had the bartender mixing her special lemonade drinks, giving her cookies. cutting up fruit for her, etc. It was such a sight to see. That girl is FEARLESS.

This being an Indian reservation casino/resort, I didn’t have huge expectations. This hotel was really nice, really nice!!!! Huge, gorgeous room. I was a little nervous about 4 of us sharing a room, but it was fine. Flat screen tv, huge walk in shower, Jacuzzi tub. Pleasantly surprised!

We ate lots of buffet food (which at first is fun but gets old pretty quick) and I had a few poolside margaritas – probably my favorite thing in the world. I got a nice tan, was able to relax a bit and got a nice dose of Vitamin D.

Sofia didn’t understand why she was not able to partake in what appeared to be the largest Arcade she had ever seen…Godmother insisted on dragging me to a machine to gamble (I insisted I had zero interest,). It was a slot and I explained to her that I prefer the poker machines. She gave me a little money to gamble for about 45 minutes and I went straight to the poker machines. I won $28 two times, but put all but $7 back. That was the extent of my gambling…Godmother won $800 and Godmother’s sister won $1000. Not bad.

It was actually quite nice and I’d love to go again – but Godmother needs to relax and let people just do their thing. She is constantly ragging on her sister or Sofia, I actually felt sorry for her sister a few times. I’ve known Godmother for over 30 years but never seen her so controlling and neurotic as the past year and a half. I am told this often comes with age and general lack of patience or tolerance. I think in her case that is all true, but the bulk of it comes from having never married and being independent for so many years. I have similar challenges with this, having married late in life. Never getting married, never living long term with someone else, never having kids – her very existence is self centered, as it should be. It’s just who she is. Hard to take over an extended period of time, that’s all.

I love her to death but even as a young girl, I remember her having skewed expectations of people. She could never understand my acceptance of my father’s behavior and lack of expectation of him to ever change. People are who they are, ya know? I feel the same way now as I did then – I’m not going to waste my time and energy trying to bend people to my will or freaking out about it. I have plenty of more tangible stuff to freak out about as it is.

Anyway – I have a nice tan. I had some cocktails. I had a little mini-escape, so that’s all good in my book.

Here’s some photos –

Will at the lake

Hotel Room

Are We at the Pool Yet

Chillaxin in the hot tub

It’s 3:00 somewhere!

BFF with the bartender

Hot tub and pool, all to ourselves!!! Sweet

Back to the Godmother’s

Kisses from Bella