Monday, November 23, 2015

Turning 40: Health

Yoga, mindfulness, meditation, vegan, vegetarian, essential oils, Buddhism, pot, organic anything, alcohol, spiritualism, teas, mammograms, zumba, hormonal imbalance, anti-aging creams...sound familiar. It's great to reach this decade.
God help me. If I could talk to that burger eating, pound cake/ice cream before sleep girl, I would tell her to start then. Why? That way I can have a splurge here and there and not risk some intestinal back up. For example, I had some lovely Rioja last night and I decided to try some Debowa vodka with cranberry juice. Just one. Got home at 5ish and passed out until 8:30pm. It's the Rohypnol of vodkas. I was out. I ended up smearing frankincense oils, swallowing a motrin, eating a grilled cheese sandwich to shake off the hang over effects. OMG.

As I type this, I'm drinking Sapporo Light beer because I'm trying  to avoid bloating but I love beer so....oh yes, bloating, weight gain, and ah, feeling perimenopausal. SO MUCH FUN.

Apparel is different too. I can't get away with low riders...I'm tired of pulling my jeans up! I want comfort but to look sexy. Not an easy combo. Your skin changes too. Makeup doesn't look the same any more so you have to switch to more flattering ahem colors (neutral) to look youthful.

Cardio, cardio, cardio. You can NEVER stop the cardio. It keeps you level headed and feeling good. Coffee alone doesn't do it for the energy, it's cardio and progesterone creams. That's right. I have to smear that stuff on me so I can stop passing out every now and then or to avoid night sweats.

The first sign of my body changing was when I sat cross legged with my son on the floor. Well, I attempted to get up. It felt like my knees decided to nap and was not waking up any time soon. That has never happened to me. NEVER. My entire life was about to change physically and I realized that everything I read but never practiced was about to play some karma.

Don't think twice, just enroll at your nearest gym, get medically violated, sniff therapeutic grade essential oils, partake in monthly facials, and attend as many paint/wine nights as often as you please. You should be fine.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Turning 40: Sensual Goddess

Apparently, Facebook has determined that my name defined is sensual goddess. I laugh. I know what my name stands for and it is NOT that; nor is my sexual behavior any way near that notion. Manipulative, maybe, but you will soon find out my attitude toward bedroom shenanigans.

First, and foremost, this is my personal experience and not everyone's is the same. Reaching 40, I realized that I am very comfortable with my sexuality. I may not be totally happy with how I look naked or in certain clothes, but when the lights are dim, those feelings go out the window. It's time to be selfish and feel great! I wish I were like this in my younger years, so confident and comfortable in my own skin but I guess it's part of trial and error.

Basically, college life is where you really party. I'm not sure how in the world I partied until 5am and maintained my part time job and school work. No clue. I have to say I had FUN. Lots and lots of FUN from this continent to Europe and back. I'm surprised I'm still able to function as I do. Occasionally, my neurons pop and I forget where I am at, or forget what I was going to say, and I attribute it to my 20s. During that time, Madonna was breaking rules and there were movies like Basic Instinct to tantalize our imagination.

Now there's 50 Shades of Gray and Magic Mike. Blah. I get it for those that never had a wild youth or limited experimentation into the "dark" side. Thinking about Shades exhausts me. I am in no mood to be submissive. Nope. Not going to happen.

I guess I have been pretty fortunate that I was never coaxed into doing something I didn't want to. Maybe it was my very verbal stance on certain areas of intimacy. I really didn't have a partner that pushed the subject on let's say, anal sex. I made it loud and clear, "You want to have anal sex? Sure! I will just whip out this dildo and you can bend over." Silence. Oh well.

Then, there's good ol' menage a trois. Me with Daniel Craig and Henry Cavill. Heaven. Or how about the male members of the Avengers or better yet that program the Vikings! Holy cow would that be fun!! Oh...did I disappoint you? You had another idea? Hmmm. Sorry dude, not interested in women. Never have been.

I have been approached by the same gender in the past with comments like, "once you try it with me, you will never go back." Ugh. Blah. I like tall, brawny men. Let's just leave it there.

Yeah, I'm a sensual goddess alright!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Turning 40: Marriage

It was early October when a tornado entered my life. 20 years in the same constant relationship and then poof, gone. I had no clue who he was or what was happening at that precise moment. Literally, my husband's head was spinning so fast it snapped from his neck and took off somewhere. I don't dare to look for it. It seems that the domestic life was not for him. He wanted to be alone. Midlife crisis? Male menopause? PTSD (USMC combat veteran)?
I had no clue; but it was BAD. All I could think of was our son and using all of my strength to wrap him up in a force field. I was going to use a hurricane as metaphor but there was no eye of the storm. Not one bit. It was chaos all over the place...strewn to pieces.
Thank God for friends, neighbors, and psychotropic drugs.
Being in my 40s, I realized you can't control what people choose to do but you can make choices. You want to be alone? Fine. Before he could blink, we were divorced. Snap.
Now what?
Out of curiosity, I signed up for Match.com. Ugh. In less than five minutes I had 27 hits! Notifications about winking and emails....OMG. STOP! I terminated the account. Maybe I need to be alone as well.
When I had to break the news to our son, well, I knew it wasn't going to be easy, but I didn't expect him to yell at me...he wouldn't let me finish what I was about to say. His face convulsed and he screamed "I don't want to hear words like change or new!!!" I can hear myself apologizing to him over and over again while he stormed upstairs into his room. I was a mess. I called my neighbor across the street and he came running to take our son over to his house. Needless to say, I enrolled him in therapy. I had "graduated" from mine and thought it would be great for him too. It was.
On my own, I learned to caulk my bathroom tub, install plumbing under my sink, patch ceilings and walls, redo stairs, and it felt GREAT! I was moving forward and I had this new book, no not a chapter, but a book with blank pages that needed to be filled.
One day, Vincent, who also graduated from therapy, said to me. "Mom, they are raising tuition at school again!" "Why are we giving the school that money when you can teach me. You're a teacher!"
He was right. Dead right. My brain raced with the opportunities that it would entail. Freedom from time constraints, social politics, homework, the list goes on and on. We can travel! Anywhere!!
I even started looking into traveling in a camper all over the US homeschooling (big movement if you didn't know).
My ex and I struggled a bit with the weekend child custody thing. There were times he would invite me to join them, but I stuck to my guns and said no. I have a new life now, go and enjoy yours.

Then, he had a lobotomy. He wanted me back. We attended couples counseling and I began to realize that I was part of the problem too. I was not treating him like a husband but as a child and in return I didn't feel like a woman but a mom to two kids. We had strayed...disconnected...lost our paths. We were fighting a lot and not listening. When we were begin genuine and nice, it was construed the wrong way because of so many years of bickering. The therapist guided us and we saw the potential of making this work. And for the first time, when he looked at me, he saw me. My worth. It caught my breath. Is this really happening? Sometimes things just need to crumble into so many pieces so that you can't fix it, but start over with a new set of eyes. That love you have when you first get married is so cliche. This is real. This is much deeper, much more mature.
Will we remarry? Not right now. I like the way things are in this chapter. It's kind of fun!

I can't believe it. He SEES me and I'm happy.




Monday, August 17, 2015

Turning 40: Relationships

This was a kicker for me. In the world of family dynamics, I'm the one that bends over backwards to help out. Mind you, I love helping others...whether its cooking a meal, cleaning up, helping to run errands, needing favors, it's a bit of a high for me to help someone in need. However, it took me a long time to realize that I was being sucked dry with no recourse. I mean, I would be told that I was a spoiled brat, selfish, overreacting....what?? I just cleaned up your kitchen and picked up your kids from school?? I was the only one with you at the hospital?
Sh*t.
A friend of mine introduced me to Narcissistic Personality Disorder and later another friend introduced me to Empaths and I was transported to reality. I was surrounded by it! Holy cow!! Enough is enough. I started cutting off ties with family members as their greediness came to light. I think their retaliatory behavior validated my decision to sever ties. When I had a miscarriage, I would get passive aggressive remarks about why that happened to me? Meaning because I had cut them off I was being punished by some higher forces. When my dad past, that was the hardest on me, my confidante, my advisor was gone and I had to take everything I learned from him and really put it into practice. I started caring less about what people thought of me, and I started to say "no". That was a big one. Just grow some balls and say NO. It's ok. People are adults and can figure out their own problems, you need to focus on yourself and your family!! That's what I started doing for the first time in my life and I was in my 40s. In the course of that time, I became stronger, much more self-confident, and much more relaxed.
I wasn't running around trying to figure out Thanksgiving, Christmas, and whatever other holidays but doing what I wanted to do. F*ck it. I felt great!!
I am much more careful now when I meet new people. I guess I am more reserved in a friendly and social matter. My efforts now have a limit and that's ok. My eyes are wide open and seeing and living the moment before me. I am mindful.
Regardless, I am grateful for my life because it has shaped me for who I am today and I love me.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Turning 40: the sh*t has hit the fan!

This is a subject I keep trying to figure out how to write about it but there are so many aspects to it, I didn't know where to begin. I may attempt different stages in different blogs because one would be WAY TOO LONG.
When a friend told me that turning 40 is no big deal, that we were like a bottle of wine, the older the year the better. Now I know about wine, and there are various kinds that the older they become, the more rancid the flavor. Ugh.
Generally, I am a positive person (half full) but this 40 crap took me on a tail spin. It's either an epiphany or drowning in the ninth circle of Dante's inferno.
First and foremost, you wake up. I mean really wake up. For me, I knew exactly what I wanted, who I was, and my self confidence was sound. There was no wishy washy anything. If you offer me grapefruit in the morning, I will tell you I can't eat it. That's it. Stop telling me how organic the fruit it and that it hails from the soils of central Florida. I'm NOT GOING TO EAT IT.
Clearly I know what I like and dislike. You also see others as being relatively ignorant aka stupid. However, you are more tolerant and realize that they haven't lived that many lives and need to continue to learn. On the contrary, I'm prehistoric when it comes to that so I'm not going to sit and hang with you. Maybe pre-40 I may have attempted to explain things to you OVER and OVER again thinking you would have insight but that's over now. NEXT.

Here you are, 40, you know who you are and guess what you find out about yourself? No, not that you are surrounding infinitesimally by ignorant people, but that you will not lose the weight you gained! That's right. You can't just go take your dog on a brisk walk or skip that pizza slice. OH NO. Whatever weight you gain it sticks.

If you want to look good in a bathing suit, well you have to change your diet and exercise routine. COMPLETELY. Diet has to change because you will become bloated like a puffer fish when you eat carbs and certain foods. Then certain foods like fried delicious chicken or bacon will give you a horrible upset stomach....like acid running down your intestinal tract. Dairy..ha! Forget about heavy creamed soups or dips, because you will have to buy stock on antacids. Everyone is a bit different but not by much. You are screwed. Best diet....honestly, a vegan one (lots of fruits, vegetables) and the occasional animal protein. Sorry. I'm not lying. [Sigh]

Workout! I'm at the point that I walk my dog briskly almost every day (maybe about 20 min). I swim 25 laps at the gym pool twice a week and I do yoga once a week. I thought that would be enough but it only maintains your weight, health and firmness. But weight loss? Enter Shawn T. Yep, I started the T25 workout. 25 minutes of uncontrollable sweat dripping down from unknown places. Sadly, its working. Cardio is a must after 40. You can't get away with not doing it, if you do, weight gain is ominous.

I'll stop now...there's more later-- relationships, family, sex, drugs, etc.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Homegrown- Oriental Institute

WTH? I can't believe we have this treasure near us and the admission is FREE (donations are recommended and please do support this treasure in our midst).
The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago hosts a collection of artifacts that date back to Mesopotamia....that's right, the first civilization. And I'm not talking about some small pot or arrow, I'm talking about walls from buildings!! Huge statues all preserved right here in Chicago.

 That's King Tut behind Vincent.
Big bull from Petra with Vincent's dad (he happens to be a Taurus, go figure).

The Oriental Institute offers youth and family programs that will educate and entertain children. Talk about hands on experience! When we attended, we learned how the alphabet started and looked for some clues in the collections. So fun!

During the week, we reviewed life in Mesopotamia with some online videos for kids on their history and we learned they created taxes, farming, and other firsts not just writing.

Finally, I brought Vincent up to date with what is happening with the ruins. Some were sent here to be preserved but the rest is being destroyed by the terrorists. http://thediplomat.com/2015/03/isis-is-destroying-priceless-artifacts-heres-how-to-stop-them/

That's why supporting these organizations are worth the investment.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Homegrown- Hoofprint

I've been trying to organize my thoughts with the help of a glass of Chardonnay (I should stick with Sauvignon Blanc but whatever) on how to include the lessons I do with Vincent so that it is easy not only to document but for someone to review (Florida requires that a FL certified teacher review his work annually).

I think I am going to incorporate it into this blog with a title that always begins with "Homegrown" as my moniker for homeschooling lessons.

Vincent visited Hoofprint with his dad where he learned everything about the screen printing process. From start to finish, he produced his own logo and used the machines to print his artwork on paper and finally on shirts. He did this alongside local Chicago artists that use the printing services for their own artwork. Vincent was so happy! If you want your kids to learn about screen printing, click on the Hoofprint link and call them to make an appointment. I believe its $25 for a session.




At the library, I borrowed books on the history of the printing process from Mesopotamia to today. Vincent learned How it started? What materials were used? Who was in charge of writing? What they used it for, etc. Vincent thoroughly enjoyed his lesson.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Mes Amies

Spoiler alert: This is an emotional post.
As an ex-spouse of a veteran, I have lived through some rough moments. I joined a private group on Facebook for spouses of veterans and I was shocked at the stories I read and the struggles these women were faced with each and every day. It's kind of hard to describe the emotional toll, it's almost, not exactly, like describing motherhood or depression. You kind of have to live it to understand it.
My therapist described me as someone who has an unusual amount of internal strength. I believe I inherited it from my mother who can bulldoze through adversity, but I also believe that my friends were the pillars that kept me steady. It's that nature vs nurture theory where we are essentially molded by both.
In life, we have many friends and for the most part they are only meant to be in your life temporarily. They were sent to you for a specific reason, to learn- good or bad, and then move on. When the relationship is strained or difficult, it is a sign to let go of that person. It's hard to accept but it will make sense later.
Then, there are those friends who become part of your sisterhood. It's unexpected, at first, but when the veil of caution is removed you find a spirit so in tune to yours that it brings genuine happiness to your life. To say that I am grateful for these friends seems so shallow compared to the deep feelings I have for them. They were my crutches when I felt like falling; they were my wings to help me in flight so that I can soar; they are my stitches from an open wound held tightly to heal and a mark to lovingly remember. I am who I am not just because of me being me, but because I have friends who helped me and believed in me that I was so much more.
Hence, it is impossible for me to forget each one of them, as I invest my efforts in maintaining my love and bond for them permanently attached to my life.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Release the Chains!

I realized something that I am looking forward to when I embark homeschooling my son: Goodbye to toxic mommies, goodbye to homework, goodbye to time constraints.

Ah, the toxic mommies...what can I say? I'm sure I'll still find them in the realm of homeschooling (I have met a few overly organic, Birkenstock moms or the please be my BFF now even though we just started talking for five minutes) but the ones I'm talking about are some mean narcissistic ladies. They remind me of the "mean girls" movie but as adults. You can easily categorize each one and what age they are stuck in or development. OMG they will over dramatize anything just to be heard! Or go psycho over the slightest thing....someone stole Mike's pencil! Unbelievable! I feel as though my brain is being crushed into nothing as I smile and endure some of the conversations. I know, I know, this is my soapbox and I feel like standing on it too. Go start your own blog weirdo.
As I was saying, it's not so much the Alpha moms boasting their credentials, or new designer necklace from some home selling event (God help me), but it's the ones that erode your soul so that you spend most of your time searching every self-help book wondering how long you have left in your mortality. No more!! I'm free!!!! All I have to endure is my family back home in Miami and I would have to dedicate an entire blog on that dysfunctional and warped non-conventional Cuban world.

I hate HATE homework. I think more than my son. I have tried to convince the principal in so many ways to relinquish it from the school. Personally, homework is more for practice and review on items the student doesn't understand, reading assignments, projects, or tests. Otherwise, some of these homework assignments are a waste of time. NO FUN. Teachers are so overwhelmed with trying to check off every item off the common core ouija board that they overlook the student's true skills and abilities. For example, for a book report, my son had to write the title and author of the book as well as a copy of the front cover of the book. Well, we got a really good printed copy of the actual book cover that of course included the items the teacher requested and well, he got points off. Why? Because he didn't write it down in his own handwriting. Sh*t. He knows what a title and author are just ask him! Forget about how he sat and wrote about how the book was similar to his experience as a product of divorced parents. Nope. That's not important. What's important that you print, print, print! Ugh.

Scary Mommy once wrote on her blog about how annoying it was to hear about moms who liked their kids with them during school closings or breaks. Let me tell you what's annoying. Waking up at the crack of dawn to get your kid ready for school while he has an absolute meltdown about his socks being too tight, now wanting to go to school, doesn't know what he wants for breakfast, has to do his hair, OMG kill me. EVERY SINGLE MORNING. No way. I'm done with that crap. I understand that there will be times we will have to get up early for a museum event but that's planned and way more fun than routine school mornings.

OK, stepping down my soap box; I can't avoid the direct stare and grunts coming out of my canine.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hiatus

Ok, so my computer was out of commission and I left Chitown for the 305. I'm a native there and my entire family lives in the same zipcode (33155 if you're curious). It was a good trip and had me thinking A LOT.

I read each and every homeschool related book that you see on my bed. There's a lot to learn from each one but for me, there's not one true model to follow. Like in therapy, you can't use only psychoanalysis to help someone; it's dipping into various approaches for each unique individual's needs. For example, I like Charlotte Mason's method of using narrative to assess a child's learning. However, I don't feel you need to block 15 min for math, 15 min history, etc. when you can use thematic instruction to do it all at once and as long as the child is interested in the subject. If you want to learn about Julius Caesar, you can use all of the pertinent academic subjects under that one title. Science- how they created the aquaducts; Social Studies- how they lived, dressed, ate, parliament, and warfare; math- what was the math used at the time? What are Roman numerals; and it goes on and on. Then you can attend a Shakespearean play on JC. If money allows, go visit Italy! (I wish) Or visit a museum that has it on as an exhibit.
One of the first books I borrowed from the library was Archimedes. I knew that he was the father of mathematics and that's about it. Oh, he invented the Pi. Well, I sat down in my bed with my son, and he suggested that I read two pages, and he reads the other two alternatively (love this). We learned how he figured out Pi, and other devices. It was so cool.
Then it hit me. I don't remember a darn thing I learned in grade school or school all together. I don't know how I passed my classes. No clue. Most of the subjects I relearned in college. For some reason, maybe maturity, it sunk in. Now, with Vincent, I get to learn with him! EVERYTHING. It's not only him learning, but I am participating too.
Now Vincent's dad beat me to the homeschool punch. He took him to Hoofprint in Chicago where he had a private lesson on the silk screen and printing process. Vincent designed his own logo and had it printed on shirts. He was among other local Chicago artists while he was designing his print. How cool is that? You have to make an appointment but I think it's $25 for a lesson. I love that Vincent had this experience.
Well, I will be back soon to share some of my experiences and growth. In the meantime, have you seen that video posted on FB about the Kangaroos fighting? God help me, but it reminds of me of some of the moms in my school. Another reason why to homeschool!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Brain Overload

The synapses going on in my brain must look like the Magic Kingdom's firework display. I have so many ideas that branch out to more ideas that extend to "Let's go already!!" Hence, like the Year of the Sheep, I must wait until the school year is over to exercise what I plan to do. [ding]
There are a variety of homeschooling methods (yeah, new to me too), but it seems my natural approach to education is Multiple Intelligences (I think I could have come up with a better name but this was coined by Harvard people and they usually trademark anything that is spoken or farted). [ding] In any case, I requested a copy of the book from the library (call me cheap, or frugal if you want to be nice, but I refuse to pay for anything if I can get it free. Oh, and I LOVE libraries!) so I can research the topic. [ding]
If you are interested in MI (no, not Michigan), it's where you kind of figure out the best way a person learns and extend from there. For example, V is primarily an auditory learner so that reading a book unless its non-fiction is like asking my cat to fetch. He'll read chapter books but there is a lot of coaxing or blackmailing involved. [ding] However, audio books he loves. And now the library has these playaways that are portable tiny audio book thingys and he goes through them like his underwear (yeah, he changes his underwear a lot). He's completed the entire Harry Potter and Infinity Ring series and God knows what else. When there is a debate with friends about a part of a story, he can remember it practically verbatim; and he discusses sections of the book to me. That's a brief example of MI. [ding]
Under this link, is the story of the Hungry Caterpillar https://sites.google.com/a/sunflowermommy.com/www/family/books. It's an example of Thematic Instruction. That's how I teach Spanish and you can use it with any topic. By the way, if you don't know Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, you really need to crawl out of under that boulder. Tsk tsk. More than likely I will use it with my homeschooling projects. In Spanish, the kids will learn, let's say, about food. I will have them practice it individually, partners, groups. I will do memory games, have them do a Spanish menu, recreate a restaurant scene, and then visit them during lunch time and ask them in Spanish what they are having for lunch (and yes they respond in Spanish). [ding]
It's great fun and the kids absorb so much info without knowing it.
Okay, the "ding" is that BFF I told you about. Her name is Jill and she is sending me links upon links regarding homeschooling. One of the links is about quotes from famous people expressing their opinion on schooling. To humor her, I will end this with one of the quotes:

"Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality."
Helen Beatrix Potter

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Prospective Homeschooling

Not exactly sure what the hell I am doing. Honestly. After 18 years of marriage, I am suddenly divorced and free to choose what I want to do. [blank stare]
I've applied for jobs that I am perfect for but no bites. I continue to substitute and teach Spanish at my son's school but I feel like there's more out there for me. Then I read the "Motivation Manifesto". Yep. Pretty much I need to branch out of my comfort zone and do what I am meant to do. [crickets chirping]
I was thinking of going to Medford, OR because the IRS lady (I'm missing my check) told me how the weather is perfect there, nothing like the tundra I live in good ol' Chicago. Then, I started thinking about all the great travel offers I would like to take up but its always on school days...
Hence, homeschooling.
My neighbor and one of my BFF (gratefully I have many that are conspiring to pry me out of my shell) unschools her kids. Well, that's not totally my thing, but she gave me a few books to read (approx 10) on the subject and so far the Thomas Jefferson method is pretty cool.
I was thinking of doing the whole RV homeschool thing but I need to slow down and just stay home for a year and try it out.
My son, V, is ecstatic. "Why should we give the school 4K when we can use it and you can teach me. You're a teacher! We can have an adventure!!". He's 10 going on 60 and he's been dying to own a VW camper since Disney Cars. Again, I just got divorced!! I need to figure all the $$ crap out!
Do you know how the world of homeschooling has excelled from its dreary beginnings of odd, sequestered children? Holy cow. And I am living in the most child friendly cultural city. Field Museum offers DNA experiments from trees as well free guided tours of each exhibit and a chance to chat with the scientists. WTF?? AWESOME. That's just ONE thing I can do with V.
As I am reading about Thomas Jefferson's curriculum, V walks by and chimes in "Did you know that Thomas Jefferson was homeschooled?" OK, dude, I got it. Chill out.
It will be interesting to bring this up to the ex. He loves history and is a veteran of the USMC so he may want to contribute. Keep your fingers crossed!