Sunday, December 12, 2010

Life Lessons

When our family first arrived here, I was reading Julia Child's journals/memoir of her life spent in France. If you haven't read it, pick it up, especially is you're at all interested in cooking or have no idea what you'd like to do with your life and find yourself in a foreign country (or foreign territory of your home state). I recommend it over Julie and Julia because, unlike the hit novel made into a movie, Julia Child did not cheat on her husband and did not whine-- ever. She did wine, which puts her number one on my list. :) But, I digress. 
As I read this memoir, I was in awe at how Child adapted to the French lifestyle and became Julia out of those changes. How would the world know Julia Child without cooking and how would she have ever learned to cook without having enrolled in cooking classes in France? I wanted to be like that. Not a french cook, but I wanted to adapt to my surroundings and make the best of where we were when we were there. This summer was tough with a capital T. I was at my wits end with my son and his behaviors and it seemed there was not much help here. Now that school has started and there is a routine, things have gotten so much better. Circumstances are far from perfect, but as I explained to Joe how to meet me for coffee the other day (the back way), I realized-- I've adapted. As I made 4,376 Christmas cookies yesterday (and realized why my mother always made quick bread instead) for teachers and therapists, I realized-- I've made friends.  As I wrote out Christmas cards to people I'm heart-sick for, I realized-- our nuclear family has been driven closer by this experience and we've started to realize our own little identity. I don't ever plan to adapt quite as well to North Florida as Child did to Paris. Tally just isn't my style. But it's nice to know that without realizing it, we are making the best of it, growing into better people.

Friday, December 10, 2010

How do you spell relief?

I've had a LOT of latte's today and many random thoughts, but I'm just glad it's done. Now I have three weeks to think about nothing but what I wanna read. Well, I say that but in fact, looking at next semester's reading list tells me otherwise. Three of my classes are literature courses (seems literature courses cannot be taken online so they've been saved for the end of my academic career...eeehee!) and the other is Spanish 1 & 2 combined. So, there will be much reading. But damnit, I have a bookcase filled with books loaned to me and books I want to  read. Screw responsibility. I've earned it. I'm reading Anna Karenina.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It all comes down to this...

Through the totality of academia I have been subject to, I have come to one conclusion:
Lady MacBeth is one crazy bitch.

That is all.

Raising the (Monkey) Bar

In my book, the job of a parent is to inspire my children to a higher path by example. But, many times, I find myself being inspired by them instead. Yesterday was just such an occasion. We took our kids to the park to celebrate their birthdays (a weekend-long celebration since we have two birthdays all at once) and while I pushed my son in his swing, I looked over to see my daughter being lifted by the waist onto the monkey bars by a dashing young gentleman maybe two years her senior. My first thought was, "Hey boy! Touch my daughter again and I'll bury you where no one can find you." But, as I watched, I realized A. She had asked him for help B. There was not a hint of malice in his helpfulness C. She was making her way across the monkey bars. This last part astonishes me the most. The monkey bars have been a huge obstacle for her. Every day when I pick her up from school I get the play-by-play, "I didn't finish the monkey bars today," "I'm so FUSTRATED that I can't do the big monkey bars," "MOM! I did the monkey bars by myself today!" Kids talk (like, a lot) so I thought she was just making conversation. Apparently, this was a really big deal to her and she worked at it and employed the help and advice of others to meet her goal. In seeing that swatch of blonde amble its way through the air, I flashed back to my own childhood: one in which, if I didn't get something first try, I gave up (and I certainly didn't ask for help-- that left you vulnerable). And it hit me-- things we start to practice in childhood we usually carry over into adulthood, and I give up on things way too easy because of fear (Melissa USED to hang on the monkey bars stiff with fear and now she's conquered them) and because it isn't easy. So, I want to be more like my amazing daughter, who 6 years ago changed my life. It is her bravery that inspires me. :)

Saturday, December 4, 2010

No way!

So, I just had my husband calculate what I would need to get on my final exams to get all A's (as you can tell, my math days are behind me). Turns out, even if I got a 100 on my finals, I probably would end up with a B in all three of my classes. My former self would have found this insulting, would have deliberated over where I went wrong or even where the teacher went wrong. The "now" me breaths a sigh of relief, "So, how low of a grade can I make on the final and still get a B?" "A 65." "No kidding...so I can essentially fail the final and still get a B?! Bonus." This isn't about lowering standards, though it looks like it from the outset. It's about being real. Most of the semester I have been out of class simply because I have two children and children get sick and one of my children in particular requires many visits to different doctors. I have made the decision that taking care of my family is my primary job and school is my secondary. So, B's it is and I'm pleased with that. B's get degrees. :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

All I want for Christmas is you...

When we moved for the hubs to start medical school, we all made sacrifices (well worth it, I'm afraid) but none so extreme as giving up our puppy. Though she was given to an excellent family who loved her in all her nuttiness, our daughter was crushed.  The dog was admittedly insane...and huge, but I can say I missed the crazy bitch, too. Well, fate would have it that the family that took her in is expecting a less furry baby and we have the opportunity to have her back. We gave her up because everywhere in Tallahassee we tried to rent was suddenly off the market when the landlord found out we had a boxer, though they said pets were welcome. Apparently not that kind of pet. Even the place we're in now said nothing bigger than a cat. But alas, we've decided that sometimes it's better to apologize later than to ask permission and since I see people walking a German SHEPHERD and the like, we're bringing the dog. Merry Christmas to us. :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Holy Snickerdoodles!

We've been mixing decaf and regular coffee at home in the hopes of lowering my husband's blood pressure without meds. It was time to take action today, though, when I found myself drooping in the library. It could have been that I was reading Shakespeare, or it could have been that I was just in a fog. At any rate, coffee cures what ails ya. It's no wonder the Starbucks symbol is a siren. That smell calls to me. And, unlike Odysseus, I gave in and untied myself from the mast today-- to my detriment. Or, rather, my financial ruin. $7 for a cup of coffee?!? When the great American depression recession of the early 2000's became apparent, didn't we all believe luxury brands like Starbucks would go out of business? (And, it would be their own fault, charging inordinate amounts of money for coffee.) Surely they would lose business because McDonalds and Burger King now had "fancy" coffees. Let me put your mind at ease. The brands that are supposedly taking over the coffee market are a far cry from Starbucks. We fell victim to this when we entered multiple McDonald's on the way to and from Central Florida for Thanksgiving. "Can I have a large decaf iced coffee?" "Uuuuuhhhhhhh....." "Just use your decaf with the milk and syrup." "We don't do that here." (Apparently, special orders upset them.) These experiences stand in stark contrast to my experience this morning. "Can I have a venti decaf soy caramel brulee latte with extra whip?" "Sure." "Can I have a venti iced coffee chai with an extra shot of espresso?" "Sure." I didn't know some of these things existed! But, as I sat waiting for my name to be called, "venti triple soy for Kati?" I saw that the line I just exited from was not any more diminished: not to mention, in the library (just one of the many Starbucks on campus) there is a line snaking outside the library and one trailing through the library. The call of the Starbucks Siren is alive and well and I am enjoying every sip of my gold-plated coffee.