Monday, November 29, 2010

In Her Grace

Erik's wife passed away one year ago today.  We began dating twelve days later.  I never really looked at it like hours until today. Maybe I deserve the harsh criticism and judgement that I have endured. Maybe it was "too soon".  Maybe the heart has no rules for mourning.

It's not as if I was waiting in the wings.  Nothing of the sort.  Twenty four years ago I was Erik's first date.  We went out once and saw each other perhaps a dozen times over the years.  September of last year he friended me on facebook and I accepted.  I admit to stalking his profile and pictures, remembering the sweet boy who barely had the courage to hold my hand at the movies.  I noted that he was married and that some of the messages on his wall spoke of tragedy.  We occasionally commented on each other's status updates.  Life went on.

One night, in early December I messaged him on facebook and we struck up a quick and easy conversation.  He told me of his wifes death.  Perhaps he mentioned when.  I don't know.  All I can recall is thinking "recent".

We began texting and chatting everyday.  All day and night. We made a date for December 11.  I knew that I should cancel.  I knew that if I went there would be no turning back.  My soul wanted him.  My heart needed him.  The red string of fate pulling us closely together, regardless of place, time or circumstance.  My true soul-mate.

In a few days it will be our one year anniversary.    And every year I will be extremely grateful to a much loved woman for having the grace to send him to me. For knowing that he would be destructive alone.  For wanting him to be loved. For giving him a free heart.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Felicia's Not Your DAAAAAD!!!"

Being new to the area and far from family it has been important to us to create holiday traditions for the kids.  Under the advice of locals we decided to take the little kids to Seattle to do all the festivities at the Seattle Center and the Christmas Tree Lighting in Westlake Center

Maybe a little overly excited we left the house around eleven.  With surprisingly little traffic we were in Seattle by noon.  We started at the Seattle Center which was being heralded as a "winter Wonderland".  Ummmm...not so much.  The kids rode some carnival rides.  We watched a giant toy train.  That was it for the Seattle Center.  So we hopped the monorail (Seattles "nontransportation") and headed to Westlake.  Which we were horrified to find out was a MALL.  ON BLACK FRIDAY.  Luckily the lighting was outside but we had HOURS to kill.

So the kids rode the giant carousel. And we headed of in search of reasonably priced food suitable for children. Luckily just as we were about to get sucked into the hour plus wait at the Cheesecake Factory a kind homeless gent pointed us in a better direction for a small tip.  And let me tell you he was not wrong.  The Taphouse with 160 beers on tap, Wikki Stix's instead of crayons and food for every taste and appetite.  The true pleasure though was not the delicious salmon burger or cold ale....but the fact that my children were pure angels.  *sigh*

When we could no longer amuse the kids with Wikki Stix's and wit we headed out into the rain.  With my mad shopping skills we managed to purchase Peyton and Cade winter coats that met all of their criteria in record time and at cheapie prices.  Feeling successful we headed over to the lighting to get a seat, a wet seat. Erik and Peyton suffered the nearly 40 minute Starbucks line for warm drinks.  The rest of us watched homeless people get escorted off.

The tree lighting was slated for 5:00.  After an hour of waiting in the cold and rain we were ready.  Ahhhh. Trickery.  The TALK started at 5:00.  The Mayor was there, he got booed.  Music was played.  Carols were sung.  There was some dancing in the streets.  5:45 tree lighting.  Followed by giant Macy's star lighting.  And then fireworks!!!!  (Actually 2 minutes of flares being shot into the foggy night.)

We swam through the huge crowd to the bulk candy store where everyone got a scoop of their choice.  Back on the monorail-standing this time which was highly impressive. And home to bed.  All pleased.  And warm.

Maybe the Terrorists did act up.  Maybe they did whine.  Or name call.  Or complain.  But to me the memory of today is something out of The Sound of Music.  Where my children can pronounce and sing Feliz Navidad in harmony.  It's my memory.  I can make it what I want.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tough Turkey Day

This was my first holiday away from home.  Ever. This was also the first holiday ever that I had to cook.  I'd like to say that all went well.....

Andrea and I decided to join our families together for one giant holiday festivity.  This had been of great debate as there is NO love loss between Andrea's daughter, her boyfriend and I.  I was assigned desserts and bread.  No problem right? Except I have a baking complex.  My mom is THE BEST baker and I was pretty certain nothing I could make would compare.  So I agonized over my menu and came up with a spread that I felt could please everyone.

Thanksgiving day I woke up extremely homesick and incredibly unsure of myself.  I began baking.  In my usual way....making a huge mess, misreading recipes, tossing stuff out, starting over, fighting back tears.  But I managed to keep it some what together and success seemed possible.

Then my "friends arrived".  I remained completely silent.  But the general unpleasantness sent me to the basement in tears.  I spent the remainder of the afternoon watching discovery and moving things in and out of the oven.  By dinner they had left...but so had my appetite.

I tried to make my mom's sweet potatoes and they were an epic fail.  Nothing tasted or looked the same.  My family wasn't there. Apparently my food was adequate though and nobody died from accidental poisoning.

We ended our evening by taking the kids to see Harry Potter.  For the first time that day I didn't feel alone.  There in a huge theater surrounded by my bickering, seat kicking, complaining kids....I felt loved.  And I think that maybe next year...if I have to.....I can do it again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rollin on the Metro

Parking in Seattle is a bitch.  This is especially true since 1) I can't parallel park 2) I'm not independently wealthy and 3) I don't have a car.  Luckily my job pays for a fair majority of a bus pass. 

Since my arrival here I have shunned the bus, largely from fear. Not of the people or of getting stabbed, but of getting totally lost. Not having any sense of directionality makes public transit extremely difficult when every street name is followed by a NW, SW, NE ect.  I literally need a compass. But it's the bus or poverty.

So I set my fear aside and braved it.  I didn’t die.  I didn’t get stabbed or rolled for my beat up blackberry.  I got lots of free entertainment and only got on one wrong bus.  Pretty sweet for my first time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Working Girl

Today was the first day of my new job.  To call it painful would be an understatement at the very least.
Luckily, Erik drove me so at least I didn't have to figure out the bus route and cry in front of strangers on the way home.

Blazing the maze to my cubicle I was panicked that I would be late.But even after wandering around the bowels of the building for 20 minutes I arrived before everyone else.  So I stood.  And waited.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect.  But it certainly wasn't what I received.  As people began to arrive no one acknowledged my existence.  Not a hello, a nod, not even eye contact. Coffee plans being made all around me.  And I stood.  Finally our administrative assistant arrived and showed me to my cubby.
Eventually someone returned from their Starbucks mission and introduced them self as my supervisor.  At this point I assumed I would be sent off to some sort of orientation period.  Nope.  There was no outline.  No training. No handbook. 

I spent the remainder of the day following someone around.  No introductions.  No pleasantries.  Just trailing like some pathetic lost dog.

I left 10 hours later with more questions about the secret dress code than anything else.  And a firm understanding of how Seattle won the 5th most unfriendly city award.

Monday, October 18, 2010

School of Hard Knocks

I have to admit when we moved from Michigan I gave very little thought to the children's school.  I knew that my friend had chosen an area known to have an excellent education system.  I knew we were moving from one that was marginal.  I was happy that they would be getting a better education.  I was sadly unprepared for the fallout.  And things aren't as I had hoped or expected.

Ava stared preschool less than a 1/4 mile from our home.  Yeah, for convenience.  Boo, for paying double what I did in Michigan.  The preschool is not associated with a school district.  Apparently thats not how it works here. In a 3 hour period she has snack AND lunch.  She paints.  She colors.  She sings songs.  No letters.  No writing.  No journal.  Its like a pricey day care.  The teacher is condescending and her daughter who also attends  is one of the "mean girls".  Ava is not making friends (which was not a problem last year) and spends all of her "free time" in the pretend area.  I would love to switch her to a Montessori school but the cheapest I can find is $400...and that is with a scholarship :(

Cade has been lucky.  He did two years in preschool and  then young fives.  He was more than well prepared for 1st grade.  He is in the highest math/reading group and aces his spelling tests.  He has a teacher who is very interactive and does lots of cool projects with them.  He is making friends slowly...but as usual has all of the girls chasing him around the playground.

Peyton is having the opposite experience.  His teacher MS. K (not MRS. "I am NOT married to my father"). Is an older teacher (mid 50's) who is extremely attractive (no doubt in part to an excellent face lift).  Peyton's first complaint was that they got "demerits" for having to go to the bathroom during class.  Then the homework started coming home.  Hours of homework that it was obvious Peyton did not get.  Open house night I stood waiting patiently to schedule an appointment with her for nearly 30 minutes while she bitched to another parent about how much she missed the Arizona weather and hated Washington.  When I finally got a chance to speak with her she say's in front of Peyton "I'm so glad you came.  Peyton isn't doing well at all".  Nice. I refrained from slapping her and politely requested and scheduled a meeting for the next week.

On the morning of our meeting she spent the first 15 minutes complaining once again about the Washington weather, the lack of school budget and how she really didn't have time to spend on kids in her class who require extra attention.  She also bitched that they were rolling out a new reading program and she just didn't know how she was going to manage it.  While reading over some of Peyton's math word problems she stated " I don't even care if the kids can pronounce the names.  I mean this is America.  Why don't they use names like Amy or Cindy".  Mind you she has 2 non English speaking children in her, several who English is a second language and many whose parents speak no English at all.

She then went on to tell me how thankful she was that she didn't have children.  That she loved being able to get up at 4 am.  Enjoy her tea and paper.  Take a long hot shower.  Slather herself in lotion and "put her face on".  By now totally disgusted and at the END of my patience I asked for the third time...but loudly "HOW CAN I HELP MY SON????".  To which she replied "Peyton is a pretty boy.  And everyone loves pretty boys.  He will get by fine".  ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?????  Luckily for her the school counselor came in at the moment to let her know that the missing mom of a fellow classmate had been found...dead.  I left feeling frustrated and overwhelmed and deeply sad for Peyton's classmate.
I called the school later that week and requested to speak to the school counselor.  I tried to be cautious in my description of our meeting...but requested that Peyton be evaluated for assessment of his needs.  While she was very polite and helpful I have yet to hear back from her.

*** Note NO pics here.  High School boys are too cool for first day pics***

The high school for Amonte and Eli has not been any more impressive.  It took me # days to get them registered.  I had to go to the school twice and left numerous messages with the registrar before I finally told them to just got to school and see what would happen.  2 unanswered emails and phone calls to Eli's band teacher.  3 unanswered emails and phone calls to the year book manager to find out what format Amonte's senior picture needs to be submitted in.  The pic is taken.  Due next week and I have no clue if its right.
The school counselor did manage to call and let me know that Eli was failing Algebra and suggested him dropping a class and taking an extensive Algebra assistance class.  I agreed.  But during their meeting she suddenly recalled that she had a school board meeting and had to rush out.  No resolution.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Singing in the Rain

You'll notice there are NO pictures in this post.  Peyton dreamed of going to the skate/bike park.  He borrowed what was in essence a girls bike with no hesitation what so ever.  In the drizzling rain and cold we walked 2 miles to the park.  We talked about everything.  The most open conversation we have ever had. He let me pull him close. Nearly tall enough for me to rest my chin on his sweaty boy head.

When we reached the park there were several older kids and Peyton was obviously uncomfortable.  He quietly begged me to put the camera away and to not "embarrass" him. I agreed , but it hurt inside acknowledging that we were already reaching the age where mom hugs were shameful.

He spent nearly a half hour hanging out around the edge of the bowl...watching...hesitating.  Taking it all in. He finally warmed up and begin to ride the hills. Do the jumps.  Even impressing some of the big boys.  I was so proud of his mad skills.  And even more appreciative that he did it without concern of his "uncool bike”.

Peyton who has always been a follower, stepped out of his comfort zone and shined brightly in the grey day.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Rock Ferry

Today was time for Ava’s mommy date. We had the perfect day planned.  Beach. Play ground.  Lunch and watching the ferries come in. Only ava had a different version of ferries.  Faeries with wings and wands.  Not boats with bellowing horns.  After her initial disappointment (which included falling in to a sobbing mess in the gravel) we had an enjoyable time. Hunting for perfect shells. Walking on huge chunks of drift wood. Tossing wishing stones and praying for our dreams to come true.  Finding lone flowers in barren sand.
Gold fish and juice boxes.  Discarded PB&J.  Melting cheese sticks.  Sharing disgust and fascination of a lone Santa Clause of a man in daisy duke cut offs entering the icy water without hesitation.  Ava had the most fun chasing me with rotting bug infested seaweed down the beach while I shreaked like a wild woman.  I wished this day, our closeness, her happiness to end would never end.  And I hope it stays etched in her memory as it has in mind.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cade's First Date

One of the downsides about having a large family is that it's hard to have alone time  with each individual child.  Sometimes I feel like I don't really "know" them the way that I would like to.  So decided to give each child a day of their own on the weekend.  I rotated and assigned their days on the family calender (our bible) as "Date with Mom".

My first date was with Cade.  I chose him to start with because he has total middle child syndrome.  He tends to need the most attention and is having the most difficulty with the move.  We chose to go to the beach that is about 2 miles from our home.

The walk to the beach is mostly all down hill and absolutely gorgeous.  To enter the beach you have to walk under the railroad tracks through a very low spider infested tunnel.  And these aren't dainty spiders.  They are huge ones with a giant network of webs.  Full of succulent little spider feasts.  Cade of course was fascinated and we spent quiet a bit of time in the tunnel examining spider culture.

 Once through the tunnel you are faced with an AMAZING view of Puget Sound and the mountains.

So we set out to explore.  We wandered the beach collecting shells.  Finding "wishing rocks" and making wishes out loud while we tossed them over our shoulder into the water.  Cade wished "for Erik to be here soon so we can have a happy family", "for a new bike", "for my mom not to be sad", "for Peyton to eat worms" and "to see a whale".

We found huge pieces of drift wood and made a teeter totter.  Of course he could only go up and I could only stay down.
We talked a lot about his love for animals and his worries about the Gulf oil spill.  He told me "Diving is creepy in those rubber suits. *shudder*  But if I had to do it to help animals I'd be cool with that".  We texted Erik to Google information on barnacles for us.  We laughed.  We held hands.  We snuggled.
We were having a fabulous time.  And then we saw a seagull setting in the sand.  Cade wanted a picture so we walked closer.  He didn't move.  Suddenly the sky turned black and giant birds of all kinds swarmed the sky.  The seagull tried to run and we saw that it had a bloody severed wing.  Cade screamed.  I pulled him back and the other birds began to attack the wounded gull.  We stood stunned. We threw rocks at the other birds and tried to chase them but they were relentless.  Feeling helpless I picked Cade up and carried him away from the scene.  We walked as far as we could the opposite way.  I held him in my lap.  We talked about natures plan.  We cried.  And we snuggled some more.  I let him eat all the kettle corn he wanted.  We threw wishing stones for the wounded gull.  And my heart broke for my sensitive, gentle son.
We started our long walk home.  Uphill.  Uggggg.  And I mean REALLY UP HILL.

We collected giant leaves as big as Cade's head.
He taught me about SLUGS.  Ewwwwwww.
We found the place where we are 100% positive that Edward Cullen sparkles.
Despite natures horror show we had a wonderful day.  I got to enjoy time with the Cade I love (funny, sensitive, gentle, smart and open) and have been missing.  No blow ups.  No screaming. And it lasted all day. I can't wait for my next date with him.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fresh Air

After a long blogging hiatus I planned a new blog:   But it just didn't feel right.  No more running from my past.  My failures. My life.  I've come Undone is who I am and where I will stay.  Love and Scissors will continue but in another format...the dreaded food, craft and design blog. The blog I swore I would never write cause "yawn".  But yet I stalk those blogs *hangs head in shame* looking for cheap meals and cool DIY.  I can't be the only one.  So join me in my new home "the Wonderland".  In honor of it's very Alice in Wonderland secret doors, twists and turns. And like my life, I'm sure nothing on here will turn out as planned.Wonderland). Now on to new beginnings.

A little over a year ago my marriage which had long been hanging by a thread unraveled.  I planned to relocate my family to Washington but through a series of twists and turns we remained in Michigan.  Bought a house.  Adjusted.  Found love with an amazing man (Erik).  But the weight of my failures weighed heavy in the air.  Anxious for a fresh start I once again planned our great escape.  This time I successfully landed in Edmonds, Washington where wonderful friends welcomed us with open arms.

But the move has not been all rainbows and butterflies. I'm living in a house with 12 other people.  I'm raising 5 children alone: Amonte (18), Eli (14...Erik's son), Peyton (8), Cade (7) and Ava AKA Her Majesty (4).  I'm jobless, broke, without a car, lonely and totally unfamiliar with the area. I desperately miss my soul mate who was temporarily left behind. I'm counting the days till he arrives.  Reminding myself to breathe.  Finding my way.  And always on the verge of my next breakdown.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Change is Coming

In two days I will be boarding a plane and saying goodbye to life as I have known it.  I have to admit to heavy second thoughts. I'm not sleeping at all.  My anxiety is over the top. Is my life that bad here?  I have a family.  I have great friends.  I have a job and a home.  It's never too late to change my mind, but my mind is set.  It's my heart that waivers.

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