Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I just saw this on FB and laughed so hard I hurt myself (and I'm not drunk or anything):

This Epic Note-Passing War On A Delayed Flight Wins Thanksgiving


edited on 12/3/13 to add: Turns out he made it all up. I don't know whether to be relieved or disappointed. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

New Rules

I've decided I need a list of rules for the children.

Things like "flush the toilet" and "wipe up splatters of toothpaste or pee" and such. Things that seem like common sense but apparently are not easily learned habits.

A normal person would probably just grab a sharpie and some note book paper, but I have drafted a copy in word, carefully scrutinized font sizes and types, checked pinterest for some layout ideas, checked the local print shop to see how oversized I could print it, opened up photoshop, and created a blog post about the process.


But honestly, all of those beautiful fonts are even more thrilling than the thought of that bathroom not smelling like pee.

(And really, it's pretty unlikely that posting the rules is going to be more effective than bitching at them about it 400 times a day.)

This is way more important than mopping, right?


Friday, November 22, 2013

Quote of the Week

"Now kids, don't tell daddy about all of the cat hats we bought. He's not going to be as excited as we are so let's introduce the idea slowly."

As you can tell, Calvin is super excited about the Petco costume clearance.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Young Love

On Big Kid's first day of school, he met a girl who was also brand new that day. He got in the car and told me he had made a new friend, that they ate lunch together, and that she liked video games. He had some money for the vending machine and he bought her a drink.

Hmmm. I wondered if he had a crush on her. But his best friend is a girl and he really likes girls, and with her being into video games and also brand new to the school, I decided they just had a lot in common.

She invited him over to her house for an after-school play date and they had a nice time.

He once mentioned offhandedly that he was irritated with a kid in his class for starting a rumor that he and she were girlfriend and boyfriend when they were NOT, they were just friends.

"Eh. She's a nice girl. There are worse rumors that could be started," I pointed out.

"True. She's very cool and she's a gamer chick, that can be hard to find," he was quick to say.


Eventually, I began hearing less about her. I'd ask and he'd casually brush my question off with a quick, "Yes, we still talk, we're in the same class!" and he would change the subject. I figured the social stigma blew up on them and they were distancing themselves. I was relieved to hear about him hanging out with boys in his class.

But the other day he showed me a 3-page comic he drew, where the two of them fought wordlessly for a cookie, and in the last panel it broke in half, allowing them each to have a piece, and they looked at each other and smiled.

It was a really good comic, but hmmm.

Then I was cleaning out his desk and found a hanger mobile with animal pictures and their Native American translations on them.

"What is this? It's a mess. Can I throw it away?" I asked.

"Uh, well, do you remember the dream catcher I had for my project?"


"I gave it to J. and she hung it by her bed! So this was a part of her project and she gave it to me. I was thinking I could hang it by my bed? I probably should, since she did..."

Dammit. Big Kid has a girlfriend. I know that was obvious to everyone else in the first paragraph but I'm slow.

And now he has a picture of a squirrel on a ribbon tied next to his bed. It doesn't quite fit the decor.

He wants to buy her a custom-made Minecraft plush toy that looks like her Minecraft character. He is elated about this idea. The mom half of me thinks it is absolutely absurd and possibly inappropriate for him to buy a $45 gift for her...but the girl half of me thinks, "Damn, that's a sweet and thoughtful gift idea."

But I'm not sure I'm ready for all of this.

I mean him...he's not ready. He's too young.

Also, squirrels just don't fit in with a nautical room theme.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Working Hard

I've been doing important stuff like this all week:

This is not easy work, people.

Worth it and important, but not easy.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Big Cheese

What a weekend. Ready for more cheesy goodness? I think the brainwashing is working.

As of Friday night, it wasn't, though. I came home late and typed out a draft to you all that said, "I no longer trust 'the process'!" but didn't post it because I was too tired to elaborate and too beaten down to be sure you would care. I disagreed with almost everything that day and was only able to calm down enough to go to sleep by reminding myself that they couldn't make me do anything, and that I could continue being the old me if I wanted to. And I wanted to.

We've moved on to discussing our relations with the outside world and resolving conflicts and having important conversations. I was interpreting the lesson as having to let jerks be jerks to you over and over again, and that they were asking us to apologize to the jerks for being jerks to us. I wasn't having it. No way was I having it. I told them that I didn't agree with it and wouldn't do it. I told them I thought it was rather insincere, a dumb idea, and a great way to get hurt over and over again and that I wouldn't. I decided I wasn't doing the therapy crap anymore and that I would do my yoga and my teaching and blahblahblah through the rest of it because the feel good bullshit was ridiculous and unnecessary.

We've also moved on to practice teaching in small groups, without the benefit of an outline or a script, just winging it with the sequence all of the time, sometimes under bootcamp-like conditions with noise and chaos because they're trying to make us "unmessable". We all hate it.

They make us do weird shit, like lay our heads on each other's stomachs while we read or lie in a circle head to head (like a flower! they say) and hold hands or, even worse, open our legs wide and hold legs. NO, I AM NOT KIDDING AT ALL, PEOPLE. There is no hesitation in any of this either, we are so tired that if told to put our head on someone's stomach, we scoot to whoever is closest and do so without any panic or upset. At this point we "assist" in poses, which often involves cradling the sweaty body of our partner tightly against our own. My hands are in everybody's hip creases which is not a place my hands want to be. As a treat, at the end of hours of sweaty practice, we were taught to give our partners a full body massage and received one in return. Including the glutes. The glutes is your butt, people. It was fine. I was too tired to care and I really wanted a massage, too.

I smell like other people's sweat by the end, and we all shower in a hose we have tied to a tree. It is often the highlight of our day, after a 95 degree, 90 minute practice, to stand on the hot asphalt and wait for the cold water to come from the hose, sharing soap and splashing and standing there together in the spray until we shiver. Despite everyone's former resistance to touching one another, on the breaks everyone lies around the courtyard braiding hair and giving back and neck massages.

Friends of mine outside of the group have likened it to a sweaty sex cult, and I don't disagree except there's no sex or attraction.

We did more conflict crap that night and I blahblahblahed in my head the whole time and felt triumphant that I was right and was still going to be me and they couldn't make me do anything outside of that room. I was fine. They continued to try to convince us that it wasn't about being right, it was about letting it go and moving forward and that one way or another, whether we could see it or not, we were jerks too. We said whatever they wanted to hear so that we could go home.

We were not jerks. They were wrong.

During morning meditation our teacher said (prepare your eyes for rolling, I totally get that this does not have the emotional impact if you weren't there), "You are all lovable. I know this for a fact because I love you. I love each and every one of you," and without any accompanying emotions that I felt rising up, I realized I had tears trying to sneak out from beneath my closed eyes.

Then it was off to 90 minutes of hot power yoga and I didn't have time to try to analyze why that got me so much. It was a crowded class (they throw us in with regular students once a day) and it was stifling in the room. I was so sore. I was shaking and light headed and thought I might throw up because someone smelled terrible. We're supposed to set an intention for life and practice at the beginning of class and mine is always strength. As I lay curled in a ball on my mat trying to breathe, I did not feel strong. I considered my conflicts and the fact that I refused to resolve them; that was not strong. They cracked the back door for some air at that point, and I used my foot to push it open more every time the teachers turned their backs. I realized that I am kind of a jerk, too, sometimes. I breathed. A friend asked if I needed Pedialyte from the staff fridge and when I insisted that I didn't, he said that I needed to get back up then. I got back on my mat. I did the rest of the class the best I could.

She played "Let it Be" for savasana and I found myself quietly crying again.

By lunch the early adopters and overachievers were having their difficult conversations with people in their lives and were feeling pleased with themselves. As a group we congratulated them heartily and listened eagerly to the results but privately a few of us agreed it was best to let sleeping dogs lie and to just move forward by acting like everything was okay. I knew I was wrong as I was saying it but it felt right.

By the time we got back in for anatomy class, I was radiating wrongness. I knew I was wrong. I knew I was sad. I knew I was missing out. I now dreaded the conversation AND the call about the conversation.The teacher asked a few times if I was listening, so I made a point to look in her direction and nod while she talked about bones and muscles. I was not listening. I eventually crept out of the room, grabbed my phone, and snuck across the parking lot barefoot, hoping no one saw me through the windows.

I made my call. I was awkward in my approach. I cried. I followed the script for the first few minutes. Despite all of that, it went great and cleared up some personal conflict.

I floated back into class, feeling lighter than I have for years despite the conflict not lasting that long. I glowed through mumbo jumbo about lactic acid. I felt strong. I again felt like I can do things that scare me. It felt good to not have to be right. We went from anatomy to circle time without a break and they asked again who had already had their conversations. I flung my hand in the air and the teacher's eyes stopped when they reached me.

"Ashley? Now you're saying you had your conversation? How have you had your conversation, when you've been here?" she looked exasperated. "People--"

"I snuck out during anatomy."

Both teachers looked at me, the therapist with delight, the anatomy buff with maybe a flicker of irritation but also interest.

I apologized for doing it that way. I told them that I knew I wouldn't do it if I waited, but knew I truly wanted and needed to do it. I told them that I had an epiphany that I fear awkwardness so much that I create it. I told them that I thought they were full of crap all weekend and how I could only sleep at night by assuring myself that I didn't have to listen to them. They laughed and assured me that they were full of crap a lot of the time, and that I didn't have to listen to them, that this was for me and not them. I thanked them with sincerity for putting this particular crap on the table, and I thanked a classmate who had quietly encouraged me, and I thanked everyone who had their conversations before me.

Don't worry. The worst of the ooey-gooeyness is about to end.

Once our weekend was over, we all loitered in the parking lot. We have to take turns cleaning the studio and everybody stayed to help. The first weekend we all rushed back to our families, the second weekend we were all hesitant to part. By 8am the next morning, everyone was on the group texting app missing everyone else. Everyone, even the most resistant, had their difficult conversations, it was like a domino-effect, and even if the talk didn't go well, the group lavished that person with compliments and understanding and sincere declarations of what they love about them.

 After being forced on each other for 3 solid days, I think it's funny that we all talk through text all day long--I'm talking 60 messages a day. We make plans to practice teach, to go to class, to go to lunch, to go to Miami, to go out on a boat, to go to a concert, to go to each other's houses all as a pack. We celebrate any success and rally around any concern.

When anyone mentions that at the end of our next weekend, we'll be more than halfway through, the fact is met with a kind of quiet uncertainty instead of the wild celebration it inspired in us after the first weekend.

We like each other. We like this crazy shit. We like to touch and be touched and we like to love and be loved. It's like we are the only ones who understand how weird we all are and the thought of not having the group is hard to think about.

All that being said, I'm still a jerk. I'm not ready to resolve all of my conflicts and there are some people that I really don't feel very interested in having back in my life, but I'm open to the idea that maybe one day I'll be more open to additional resolution. (My teacher the therapist might sigh in a defeated way to hear this, but I think baby steps are still big for me. I don't think people go from kind of being a jerk to not being a jerk at all within one weekend.)

Sorry if I made you dry heave with any of this. I understand. It makes me roll my eyes too, and I'm the one who likes it.

I can't believe I like it.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Take Two

Tomorrow is the next session of teacher training.

I need to clean the house up and pack and I should probably, you know, do that homework they asked me to do and read those two books I didn't really read because I'm pretty sure I know that stuff already even though I totally don't. I have a rented Rug Doctor sitting here and a rug that smells faintly of pee. I have out of town company in town this weekend. I have no clean yoga pants.

But I did get my eyebrows done and my roots touched up (in anticipation of more staring at strangers.)

Someone (from here, actually, super nice!) bought me a book called Yoga Bitch and it's cracking me up. I'm going to go all creepy stalker on the author and force her to be my best friend because we're the same person but she got to go to Bali for her teacher training. She was also with people who drink their own pee, so I don't know, Bali probably wouldn't have been the right choice for me. But I've sat here for the last 15 minutes staring at the internet and trying to justify just taking a little rest time to read more of it. The fact that it is yoga related is part of my justification.

I will most certainly regret this decision when my teacher is shouting at me to call out the True North Points of Alignment (if it's even called that, I don't know anymore) but I've got a few reasons why it's a good idea right now.

I think I'll have a coffee and read while I drink it and then I'll have tons of energy and motivation for house cleaning and laundry and Rug Doctoring and packing and studying. Right?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Trick and No Treat

I hesitate to write about this because it was not good behavior and I don't want to seem as if I'm excusing it, but I also don't want to forget about it (and that's my primary blogging inspiration--not forgetting shit.)

In the car rider line on Halloween day, Big Kid's teacher knocked on my window.

I rolled it down and said hello and she said, "I just have to let you know that Big Kid and I aren't friends now."

"No?" I asked, with a smile because that was a weird thing to say and I was sure a joke was to follow.

"He's very mad at me."

"He's mad at you? Why?"

"Today some of the kids ran out of line when it was time for the Halloween parade so I told them that our class wouldn't be participating and he wrote me a VERY rude note. Very, very, very rude." Her voice shook a bit when she said the last part.

"Are you freaking kidding me?" (I regret saying freaking in that instance but I was really shocked--this is Big Kid we're talking about.)

She handed the note through the window. It said, "Dear (teacher's name), you canceled the Halloween parade. Now Helena is crying. I hope you're proud of yourself."

I was flabbergasted. He was climbing into the car right then and she snatched the note back from me and walked away.

"What in the world were you thinking? What was that about?!?" I asked him.

"Mom, I was enraged. I wasn't thinking. Helena was crying and crying and I just couldn't handle it."

"You don't disrespect adults! You know what? I don't even know that I agree with canceling the Halloween parade--had you waited ONE HOUR I would have helped you address this situation appropriately. If she was wrong, you outwronged her! You never do that in a disagreement, don't react in a way that makes you the jerk! I can't even believe you did this over a Halloween parade!"

He was crying. "I didn't even care about the parade, mom. It was just walking around the school in our costumes. But Helena has never had Halloween because her mom won't buy her a costume. I don't really understand that part but it makes me sad. Today was her only chance. It was her first time trick or treating and her only chance and she lost it. She was crying so hard, I couldn't stand it. It was wrong to cancel the parade."

Ugh. Leave it up to Big Kid.

"Look, I respect that you wanted to stand up for someone who you thought was being wronged but it comes down to the fact that your teacher is in charge of the class, she issued a punishment, whether that punishment was the most appropriate or not, it was not your place to address it and especially not in that snarky, disrespectful way. You really could've skipped that whole 'hope you're proud' thing, that did you in. I'm not even saying you can't voice your opinion to an adult but you have to know when and how--this was not it. It wasn't going to change anything, there was no immediate danger, and I could have helped you in one hour. I would have said something to both her and the principal about this, by the way and now I really can't."

Mr. Ashley was really upset and disappointed with him. It was decided that his big Halloween night out with friends was canceled (he did get to trick or treat in our neighborhood, because he doesn't have many trick or treat years left) and he's banned from technology for two weeks. He also had to write her an apology letter, which hilariously included the line, "I don't know what I was thinking. I was a mess."

But, secretly?

I'm not mad.

I wish he hadn't done it, and he should not have done it, but I am kind of impressed that he did.