Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Domestic Bliss?

Xing Fu remarked to me the other day that we were being quite domestic these days.  I asked him what he meant by that.  He said that recently we've spent more time around the house & hanging out.  He also added that perhaps it was a new phase of our relationship--a level of comfort with one another.  Certainly correct--I think I said that in an earlier post.  In terms of hanging around the house--we did chill Friday night & watched Robot Chicken.  Particularly the episode that took the "Laff-A-Lympics"  & turned them into "Laff-A-Munich"--gotta love the twisted take on those Hanna Barbera cartoons.  That happens to be a favorite of mine--very oddball humor--makes sense in my case.  Actually, we watched that & an episode of Aquateen Hunger Force.  Since we rarely watch TV at all, it was rather domestic, I suppose.  But there's more evidence....

There were a lot of activities that we needed to attend to over the weekend--kids' games (my kid is playing soccer, e.g.), grocery shopping....I had a paper to work on & I had a visit from a friend to go over some educational stuff for her kid--so we were in & out quite a lot.  Although Saturday evening was rather activity-laden.  We went to a Sukkah hop that friends of mine had & then to an Oktoberfest party that one of Xing Fu's former co-workers hosted--so quite busy--certainly like most of our weekends together.

But I gotta say that yes, I agree with him--there was a "domestic bliss" about our time together this weekend.  It was nice--a change of pace--a deep breath after a very fast-paced summer...I liked it.  

Monday, September 20, 2010


As we move back into "school mode" a comfortable pattern is emerging.  On the evenings & subsequent mornings that we are together we both have said that our morning routine is rather refreshing.  Instead of getting up & going about the morning alone, it is a time to talk about plans for the upcoming day at our respective places of employment & share a quick breakfast.  It sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.  Equally I've seen our weekends together emerge in a similar way--and I'm not saying that there's a habitual or boring pattern, not at all.  It is as I have written: easy-going & fun.  An ease, a comfort that does not distract from the excitement of all that we enjoy together because there is quite a lot--even from forty-somethings with kids....the continued exploration of each other's psyches & seeing the fit.  Friday spent at Belvedere Square listening to music from the last summer concert series & drinking wine at Grand Cru.  Odd little aside:  We were standing with our arms around each other just listening to the band when a woman stops & says, "Get a room!"  She was carrying a container of french fries & ketchup & Xing Fu replies, "Can I have a fry?"  She says, "Sure, & have some ketchup too."   Fun exchange & quite amusing.

Music definitely figures prominently for us, which is a very good thing--major shared interest.  On Wednesday we listened to CSN sitting at Pier 7 with my kid in tow.  We brought dinner & a nice Sauvignon Blanc (Pomelo) to share & David Crosby even acknowledged all of the freeloaders.  Easy.

Yes, we've had some rough patches but we always seem to come back to center.  And even those patches are not long--we talk--communication is key--it is a theme that I hope not to forget.

The adventure continues....

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Short and Sweet

You ask what is the quality of life?
Seeking to justify the part you play
And hide, fearing it incomplete, to try
To make it any more or less than short and sweet

But short, short is from you to me, as close
As we are wont to try to make it be
We're caught watching the dark in the sky, who knows?
Helpless as time itself to hold the time of day

And you, you are a fantasy, a view
From where you'd like to think the world should see
Be true and you will likely find a few
Building a vision new and justice to our time

And we, we, the immoral men, we dare
Naked and fearless in the elements
And free, carefree of tempting fate, aware
And holding off the moral nightmare at the gates

And sweet, sweet as a mountain stream, we'll look
Toward a new day breaking in the east
We'll meet as every future dream unfolds
And surely quality that is the very least 

--David Gilmour 

Funny how Radio Paradise seems to always capture the mood--last night I put it on & this was the first song we heard & the rest of the playlist just sorta fell into place.  It was a great night.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Additional Proof

I like to think that we've got it right & when I come across these little "love advice" excerpts, it reiterates those feelings of rightness.  So here's another one:

From Yahoo & Match:
“Ironically, it was our first argument that made me realize we clicked as a couple. One night when my boyfriend and I were newly dating, we had a dilly of a disagreement on the phone. But instead of hanging up, my boyfriend made me stay on the line for four hours until we’d worked through it and communicated our sides fairly. His rule was ‘never go to sleep angry’ and by sticking to that we were able to move forward rather than break up. Now we’re engaged.”
— Regina Petruzzi, Reston, VA

Love lesson: How you deal during your low points means a lot. “The key to dealing with the lows is riding them out with your partner, as Regina’s boyfriend insisted on doing, rather than running away from them,” says Hamburg. “The main reason couples’ fights don’t get resolved is because they can’t stand the anxiety that comes from finding themselves in conflict with the person they love.” That’s why couples who can deal with tiffs without losing their heads have it made.   

I have always said that communication is key--I truly believe that it is--makes for no confusion about where things stand, no trying to guess what the other person is thinking, & even better, getting to a resolution, & moving on--no running away.  

I also appreciate that we tell one another exactly what we do appreciate about one another--those affirmations are important & make us closer.  We remind ourselves also that we don't want to get to a point where we take those things for granted--like morning emails, or bringing dessert--even the smallest gestures that some would think are quite mundane are expressions that show love.

"Am I glowing?"  Of course!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Continued Fall-Out 6 Years Later

Even 6 years later my divorce continues to impact me & my son.  It is unfortunate that relationships still seem to be driven by old ghosts of the past.  So much so that an innocent misunderstanding becomes an ugly argument.  My son was picked up by his grandfather & his father to go to some kind of show with his aunt.  That was great since he hasn't seen any of them since his Bar Mitzvah in early June.  Even more pressing is the fact that his grandfather is in the process of moving away so that the only link to that side of the family that lives near-by is his aunt.  Incidentally, his father has been in town for most, if not all of the summer & has made very little effort to see his son.  So I have been most anxious for him to have any time with any of them.  

It seemed like a good plan.  They would go do their thing & then have him home by 10 PM.  (Usually it wouldn't be an issue for my son to stay out later on the weekends but he had made plans with a school friend to go to Kings Dominion very early & needed to get some sleep).  Around 9:45 I get a text from my child stating that he'd be home around 11.  I respond telling him that wasn't very good planning as he has a very early morning.  About an hour later he texts that it will be after midnight, at which point I become very concerned as no adult has yet to communicate with me about the fact that I was expecting him home by 10 & that he really needs to get sleep.  Since I have no idea what he's doing or where he is, I call his cell.  His aunt picks up & proceeds to tear me a new one about how I was constantly texting (um, twice???) & interrupting & how that's just like me to be upset that he's with them.  Now wait a HUGE minute!!  I could care less if he's with them--in fact I want him to be with them.  What I'm upset about is that no one bothered to call to say that the show (I found out what it was at that point) was way longer than what I was told.  If I knew ahead of time that he'd be later I would not have allowed him to accept the invitation to go to Kings Dominion.  This is as a parent concerned for their child not because of who he's with.  All this is lost on his aunt of course who is ranting about how typical this is of me, etc., etc.  I interrupt her & say that I was happy that he was with them & that frankly I didn't believe that there'd be a next time (because she is conspicuously absent from his life, as is his father, & now seemingly his grandfather) so I doubted that an event like this would happen again.  That was the absolute wrong thing to say as she quickly misinterpreted my meaning as a threat. She said, "Are you threatening to block access to my nephew?  How dare you!!"  At this point I'm blown away that she even had the nerve to say "How dare you!", as she rarely, if ever, tries to make arrangements to do anything with her nephew.  So I explain what I meant by the statement that I didn't think there'd be a next time.  I said that I was quite surprised that anyone was doing anything with my son since she, or anyone else for that matter, doesn't bother to try to see him (she wasn't even at his Bar Mitzvah), call him, or attempt to have a meaningful relationship with him.  (Obviously I am quite upset at this point as she has been acting as quite the affronted one & my intent was purely concern for my son getting home at a decent hour) So I let her know how very disappointed I am in the entire lot of them & in particular her, as I have encouraged her to visit, make arrangements, call, etc., to ensure that he has ongoing connections with that side of the family.  Her mother & I worked hard to do that & she knew how generous I was with them when she was still alive.  She admits that she's dropped the ball & said that her mother was the one who made all the plans.  OK, that's all well & good, but her mother is gone & someone needs to step up or my son will not have a relationship with any of them.  And talking to me is the first way to continue that (even if they hate me & think I'm a witch--this of course based on my ex's views only & certainly not on the fact that I've made sure that my son has visited them as much as possible when his father was all but absent from his life--go figure!) That has all been pretty much lost & since no one from his grandfather to his father feels that they need to communicate plans with me, & instead make all their plans with my 13 yo son--hence where the problem lies.  If they'd called me to tell me specifically when the show would probably end, I'd not allowed my son to go to the amusement park the next day.  But since I heard the details from a child, well, need I say more?  So of course the one who suffers the most here is my son--who would love to see his granddad & aunt but does not because no one wants to take responsibility as adults to make the time.  I hope that this little incident lights a fire under his aunt--but I'm not holding my breath.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

No Harm, No Foul

Last week was one of the most emotionally difficult ones I've had in a VERY long time.  You see, I was terminated from my job.  Yup, fired, let go, separated, axed....and it really wasn't my fault (for once.) And actually I am very good at keeping jobs.  It all stemmed from a certification mix-up in which paperwork I thought was sent in 2007 when my Advanced Professional Certificate (Teaching) was due to expire, did not in fact go to MSDE. (I am not in the classroom anymore, but as an employee in a school, I need to have a current certificate to do my job.) As a result, when BCPS(S) reviewed my file, I did not have a current teaching certificate.  So, and rightfully so (in retrospect), I was separated from my current job.  

The tragedy is multi-layered here.  One, I LOVE my job (for the most part) and I really do feel that BCPS(S) has been a very good employer for me--they have treated me very well over the nearly 5 years that I've worked for the system and I tell people that a lot.  Two, I love the school I work in & all of the staff I work with--very unusual.  Three, my principal is absolutely wonderful & very talented--she allows me to do my job without micromanagement, etc., unless I give her a reason to closely review my work (and thus far there has been no reason).  And those are just the few reasons from the actual on-the-job side of this.

On the emotional side of this--losing a job is a blow to the visceral person.  It is part of my identity--how I describe who I am.  It is shameful (even if it wasn't my fault) to lose my job.  No matter how happy I am with my life as it is, losing a job will essentially cut me off at my knees. 

The third tragedy is of course the economic side.  I am sole support for my child & without a steady job, well, I don't think I need to expand or expound upon that.

So, after the initial shock & subsequent losing of my lunch, I went to HR to try to figure this all out.  And heard that I had a replacement at my school already.  I kept insisting that I had the coursework & couldn't figure out what was going on.  The answer was that my old coursework no longer counted & that I needed 3 credits to renew the certificate.  I was stuck.  My principal, very much stepped up to help.  She contacted HR & my transcripts went down to the state.  This, at the end of day two of my exile from work.  On day three, I received a phone call from HR.  The state had issued my certificate--I was back.  Or was I?  The problem then was how to get reassigned to my school.  Tragedy averted.  I must say that I am grateful for my principal's intervention.  I returned to work on Friday--after 3 days in hell.

It is a week later, & it appears that nothing has been affected with regard to my tenure, state pension, health insurance, etc., etc.  So as I have said to many people who have asked, "No harm, no foul."  It is a blip. Albeit a very difficult one, and just helps me to appreciate all that I have.  Sometimes you need them.  (These feelings may have been brought on by Rosh Hashanah--just a thought), but I am grateful.

One last thing:  Thank you to everyone who called, texted, & sent all the positive juju in my direction--I have to believe that you contributed to the happy ending.


40 Dogs (Like Romeo and Juliet)

Well if I spell it out, if I get it out,
will you hear me when I tell you about
what I have to say before it gets too late.
It's not as easy as they said it'd be,
but there’s something right about you and me,
something right about you and me.

Well you’re the color of a burning brook,
you’re the color of a sideways look
from an undercover cop in a comic book;
you're the color of a storm in June
you're the color of the moon.
You're the color of the night that’s right.
The color of a fight you move me.
You’re the color of the colored part of the Wizard of Oz movie.

We're like Romeo and Juliet,
we're like 40 dogs cigarettes.
We're like good times that haven’t happened yet but will.
I can tell you where we're gonna be
when the whole world falls in-to the sea,
we’ll be livin’ ever after, happily.

All the boys taking you for granted,
tell you what they want with their eyes all slanted.
I don’t like the way they look at you.
I don’t like the way they talk, too.
I don’t like the way they talk to you.
I wouldn’t let 'em talk to you like that.

Put 'em up high reach for the ceiling
tell 'em that I don't walk damnit
I'm reelin'
it ain't no crime it's just dreams
we’re stealing.
Anything to get more of this feeling.
you take the high and I'll take the low,
we'll get there before you know.
We ain't got no time to waste,
we got too much life to taste.

We're like Romeo and Juliet
and 40 dogs cigarettes,
we're like good times that haven’t happened yet but will.
I can tell you where we're gonna be
when the whole world falls in-to the sea,
we'll be livin’ ever after happily.

Sometimes you remind me of a moonbeam
on the ghost of a moonbeam
out on the beach down by the coast.
Slip into the nil like the most..
beautiful thing...
I've ever seen.

Come out tonight come out with me baby,
we'll throw the careful into the crazy.
Turn the sky black into a sky blue.
Turn a close shave into a hoo hoo!
What I say is true.
Make a fire ought to burn a few.
Make a fire ought to burn a few
we can do what we want to do.

We're like Romeo and Juliet
40 dogs cigarettes
we're like good times that haven’t happened yet but will.
I can tell you where we're gonna be
when the whole world falls in-to the sea,
we'll be livin’ ever after happily.

--Bob Schneider

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Annapolis Race Week

Looking behind us between races
Wow, what a ride!  We had amazing conditions for this series of races & all I can say is, "whew!"  I am tired  & bruised, but very glad I participated this year.  I wasn't able to race on Saturday because my BFF(J)'s son was a Bar Mitzvah & of course I was there.  He did an amazing job & the service & luncheon were very nice--my BFF(J) should be so proud!  I know she is.  I was happy to be there to share in the special occasion as her family was there for my son's as well.  My son told me that the evening kid's party was a lot of fun too (I had skipped town by then & down in Annapolis to join my crew). 

Day Two of ARW looked & had great wind--we seemed to gel well as a crew & we sailed well--after the races, Barry dropped by to speak to us about how we felt we did & what we learned, etc.  I am excited to begin to look at improving our game--I just want to learn to race better--trim the kite, jib, etc & develop a real understanding to make the boat go faster.  Sunday was an example of a team that executed well & although we didn't win or for that matter even place, I think we all finished that day feeling like we accomplished something--no drama & excellent teamwork.  One of my off-season tasks is to learn the rules--the book is a thick one & I think getting a better understanding of the rules will also approve my racing.    Also great was having the opportunity to sail a regatta with Xing Fu--he has so much more knowledge then I do & I certainly want to learn from him as well--he's been at this racing gig far, far longer than I have & I can certainly benefit from his input.

After the races, we all took the water taxi over to City Dock for the party.  Of course the Dark n' Stormies flowed as Gosling's was one of the sponsors--many quite jovial sailors.... We met up with friends of ours who will be getting married this week--I am very excited for them & look forward to seeing pictures & hearing all about it when they get back.  We went to dinner & had a great time together--they were a lot of fun & it was good to spend some time with them. 

Monday had great wind & we were looking forward to another day.  For me it was a bit more difficult--I woke up feeling a little ill--nope, not hungover, just what appeared to be some stomach bugaboo (definitely NOT what you want to have while racing) so I was having difficulties from the jump getting my head in the game--we figured we'd have one or two races so we wanted to make them count.  The second race was quite exciting--we pulled ahead of another boat & then he fouled us by making us alter our course to avoid collision (an example of knowing the rules).  I couldn't watch too much of this as I was busily flying the kite on the leeward leg.  We couldn't find the yellow protest flag & managed to rig a yellow bag of cookies off the backstay--turns out that they did get a penalty so we ranked over them for this race.  As we finished the race, we thought we were done for the day.  But--5 minutes later we were in sequence for a third race.  Off we go, but I think we were all pretty tired by this point & perhaps collectively not prepared for another race thinking we were going home after the second one.  It was a very difficult race for me--I ripped a rather deep gash in my finger crossing the cockpit to fly the kite on the first downwind leg.  I had blood dripping down my fingers & obviously could no longer execute effectively.  I think at that point I hit an emotional & physical wall.  I went down below to try to stop the bleeding & I began to shake all over--the tears were not far behind--I was just so drained.  After a bit, I collected myself & tried to resume my place--just couldn't do it--I managed to reopen the gash & just had to quit--there is nothing more frustrating & helpless when all you can do is sit on the mast & watch everyone else work around you--I felt incredibly defeated--still--a learning experience because I'd never had that happen before--it was a tough time but I still feel positive about what I've learned--certainly made my share of mistakes but I continue to grow & I'll get better.

But the best part of all was time on the water with Xing Fu & my crew--people I've come to really enjoy spending time with & consider my friends--thanks all for a great race!