Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Weird Thing about Sleepy

Being sleepy used to be like torture for me.  It primarily happened around 3 or 4pm (duh, when it happens to most everyone) and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  The worst was being sleepy and needing to pick up the kids from school.  All I wanted was a few minutes to close my eyes and lay down and recover from the fucking day and instead I had to deal with cranky kids who also probably needed a nap but instead we'd be barreling down the freeway sniping at each other and hating all of it.

This led to a pretty decent caffeine and sugar addiction on my part.  I mean, I've always had a nice sugar addiction going (Davies motto:  dessert after every meal!) but the caffeine addiction just got progressively worse over the years.

Worse for me, anyway.  I wasn't ever hooked onto the triple espressos every afternoon or anything.  But I was pretty well convinced I couldn't get out of bed in the morning without coffee, felt bitchy if I didn't have my afternoon cup, and got nasty headaches if I missed either one.

I was reading the book Skinny Bitch last month, though, and it made some pretty interesting suggestions about caffeine and its affects on the body.  You know me and the summer diet books.  I have to read one every year or I shrivel up and die.  Their message wasn't anything new, really:  I've read plenty of books that suggest there are negative affects to caffeine addiction, but I never really entertained giving it up.   Here's what I reasoned:

1)  I could never, ever give up caffeine and don't you even try to make me or I'll kill you.
2)  "Some studies show" a little caffeine everyday is actually good for you.  I probably read this in one of those magazines my mom sent down.
3)  I don't drink that much, compared to some people.
4)  I keep my addiction affordable by reheating our drip coffee (I know, gross).
5)  I don't have very many drugs and caffeine is my favorite and if you take it away I'll kill you.

But then, without a lot of fanfare or will power, I just sort of gave it up.  I drink--sigh, I know, granola--decaf green tea instead.  Here is what I've noticed:

1)  I still get some afternoon sleepies now and then.  I'm having one right now.  But they are much less debilitating than they used to be.  And the coffee never made them go away anyway.
2)  I can really enjoy a strong cup of coffee now and then (I've had one in the last six weeks).  In fact, the enjoyment is way greater now that I don't need it and don't have it every day.
3)  My sugar cravings have decreased some.  Somehow, it always just made sense to pair coffee with a baked good or chocolate.  Imagine that.
4)  Still, I haven't lost any weight from quitting.  So that part might be hooey.
5)  I pee my pants less.  Like,  a lot less.  Like, I can run some miles without having to stop and pee.  That's awesome.

But here's the biggest thing:  I've had to come to terms with my sleepiness.  And by that, I mean that, alongside the giving up of the coffee is an accompanying commitment to chilling out more.  That has happened veeeeeerrrrry slowly and organically and over time, but working with less, shall we say, intensity, has made it so that if I'm a little sleepy in the afternoon, I lay down for a few minutes.  I don't sleep often--I'm not a huge fan of naps because they make me groggy.  But I definitely sit my ass down and do nothing for a bit.  And, pretty quick, the sleepiness goes away and I go on about my day until my next little rest period.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm still a little bit of a bouncing ball.  But this rest thing is good stuff.  It feels an awful lot like freedom.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Morning Redone

So I get this text from E. some time last week, saying something along the lines of, "Drop-off was actually fine.  I'm sorry I got so upset this morning, but can you help me with mornings, because they are driving me crazy?"

There's nothing Mama J likes more than being asked for help, if it involves redesigning a domestic system, right?


So, here we go.

Our mornings, which I found incredibly pleasant (for reasons that are soon to become obvious) were clearly no longer working for E., who is typically (though not always) responsible for getting the kids off to school and/or camp.  They looked something like this:

  • E. wakes at some ungodly hour, and instantly begins to ruminate about work.  And is itching to get off to work as a result.  But the three ladies in the house are still sawing logs.
  • E. pees, heads downstairs to feed the dog, who has already stuck his wet nose in our faces about sixteen times, and is followed by both the 90-pound dog and the annoying cat with her annoying meow.  Frequently, E. trips over one of these obscene creatures and breaks his ass on the stairs.
  • E. brings me my coffee.  I try to open one eye.  Often unsuccessfully.
  • E. brings in one sleepy, grump-ass kid at a time to cuddle in bed while he harrumphs and/or goes off to shower.  
  • Kids immediately fight over who is taking over the bed and who has had "mama cuddle time" vs. "dada cuddle time" and whether one is singing the lyrics to the Justin Bieber song "Never Say Never" correctly and who got more cookies yesterday.
  • E. drags the fighting children down the stairs (tantrums ensue) for a leisurely breakfast.  And I do mean leisurely.  We're talking Paris Hilton leisurely.  The kids fight some more, this time over who got more Gorilla Crunch in her bowl and why we really have to eat lactose-free yogurt (protest punctuated by a loud FART) and who was mean to who.
  • E. drags the fighting children back up the stairs to get dressed/have potty time/brush their teeth/brush their hair/fight over who gets to have water fun day at camp vs. who has the lyrics to the Justin Bieber song "Baby" correct.  One child typically shoves another child off a stool in the bathroom and someone ends up mildly concussed.  At this point, I get my lazy butt out of bed and try to help somebody get dressed or put their hair in a ponytail because otherwise E. is going to engage in infanticide/wife-icide.
  • E. drags the fighting children back downstairs, wrestles shoes on to their feet, crams backpacks into the car, and buckles them into the car before silently weeping in despair.  And that's all before the long trips it takes to get the kids dropped off, AND before a long day of work.
  • Meanwhile, I enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, journal, and read, because, people, my day has BEGUN.
Anyway, E. has had it.  So here's our new system, implemented this morning:

1.  The girls are awakened by alarm clocks at 7am.  Nolie gets Disney music and Addie requested NPR (?).  They can have a few minutes to wake up in bed.  E. and I also get ourselves out of bed, and make our bed, so that there is no cuddle temptation (alas, cuddling is now for evenings and weekends only).  Luckily, I have given up coffee, and my other eye is slowly beginning to open, so this is easier than it would have been two months ago.  Also, it's summer, and I'm not working like an ass.

2.  The girls have laid out their clothes the night before.  Before they leave their rooms, they get dressed, and then go do their hair.  Then they get their own sorry asses downstairs for breakfast.

3.  They eat.  They fight.  They laugh.  They sob.  Whatever.  It's fifteen minutes.

4.  They brush their teeth, go potty, get their shoes on, and go out to the car.  Backpacks were also packed the night before.

Anyway, that's it.  This morning's text from E. said "Best morning ever!" so I think we're on to something.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

I just have my decaf green tea and do my journalling after everyone leaves, guilt-free, and in peace and quiet.  Much better anyway.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Addie, Summer

School is OUT.

Rolling your eyes is IN.

Fishing and camping up in Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

Dog.  Belly.

With Inspector Mama at the beach.

Learning to golf from Grand-Dad.

Hiking Torrey Pines, with Gwen.  For whom there is no equal.



Being ironic.

As Cyrano de Bergerac.

As America's Next Top Model.

Again, with the beloved (ahem.  Could someone puh-lease move this child OUT here?).

Thoughts on Mama's advice.  No irony this time.

In Laramie.

In Pinedale.

In Jackson, with cousin Kiara, Nolie, and Aunt Heather.

Hi Nana Gloria and Kamille!

At Old Faithful.

I love you, little bird.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Nolie, Summer

Saying goodbye to our beloved preschool teachers Bill,

and Thea (Gaby already left for Peru).

One of her favorite things to do (she's always loved to be rocked, and spun, and swung, and now she can do it herself!).




Chilling in the swing, with popsicle, boning up on some knock-knock jokes.  Nothing better.

Running past Grand-dad's orange tree

and smelling Ubi's roses.

At the beach.

After swimming.

With Aunt Nanny and Addie.

With cousin Raiff.

In Laramie.

In Pinedale.

In Jackson, with cousin Ben, Addie, cousin Kiara, and cousin Kamille.

At Old Faithful.

I love you, little bug.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mom in Green

I flew home a few weeks back, just for one day, so I could surprise my mom for her birthday (or, at least, a few days before her birthday).  I snapped a few Droid shots of her one morning--she came down from her bedroom wearing all green--a green top, slacks, and cute little loafers.  Plus some green jewelry:

I don't have very many recent pictures of her, and certainly haven't posted much on this blog.  Probably because I thought I lost her there for a while, and consciously or otherwise have kind of held her at the margins, maybe protecting myself, maybe trying to see where things were at.

Because, from one vantage point, things could seem pretty precarious.  She's still in a persistent state of pain, because that one knee has never healed, not even after a second surgery was supposed to make it right, and she's understandably quite freaked out about going in for a third surgery, which means more meds, more recovery, more pain, and all for a not-very-certain outcome.  I don't think she ever will go in to get things "fixed."  So my mom is 61 and is looking at being in chronic pain for the rest of her life, and really has to just take each day as it comes.  And my dad, though cancer free, is also in precarious health for other reasons, and is 13 years older than mom, so I think my brother and I just watch and observe and hope this period of maintenance, of maintaining whatever fragile equilibrium we have, lasts as long as it can.

Or, from another vantage point, I could appreciate how solid things are, given everything that's happened, and appreciate my mom's strength (which is something that was very important to her during her breakdown--that I see her strength).  Mom sends me boxes of her old magazines every now and then--stuff I wouldn't normally buy but like to read (More, O, Better Homes and Gardens--bathtub reading).  And as I read them I will see excerpts of articles she has underlined, and I enjoy seeing the underlines, and wondering what she has thought.  It occurs to me now I should ask her.

She has underlined bits about finances and retirement; staying married for long periods of time; and especially lots of underlining about how to survive pain, and how to appreciate each day.  When I see these I'm reminded of what my mom's everyday life must be like, which I don't see much of, and how brave and strong she is to make it through each day given everything she has been through.

Mom can be difficult sometimes--she gets pretty easily caught up in the drama of little things that happen, and she can be short-tempered.  Maybe a little disconnected from what I feel is "reality"--she's a little isolated.  Moreso now that she is in pain a lot.  But, these words could also be used to describe me, or any of us at certain times.  So this morning I am just appreciating everything my mom did to bring herself back from the brink, and to be a part of our lives as best she can, and to get up everyday, despite the pain, and get so conscientiously dressed, to be active, to live a good life anyways, and to love.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Gratitude for Grambie

The girls really love visiting their Grambie (E's mom) because she always has cool stuff for them to do, and they just end up having a big mutual love-and-appreciation-fest.  Once, she taught them how to make paper dolls from cardboard and old magazines (right up Addie's alley).  Or she'll bring new paints for them to work with.  Or kites.

On this visit, she brought one of those big bubble-makers.  See?

Feeling lots of gratitude this morning for bubbles, and for Grambie.

Friday, June 10, 2011

A Day at the Beach

I had to spend a few days in a meeting for work this week, and every few minutes my laptop would sleep, and the screensaver would revert to all the pictures on my hard drive.  There were pictures of babies playing:

And babies sleeping:

And being gorgeous:

And cheeks:

And Lord, I just wanted to hold some baby for awhile, and smell that little head, and nuzzle those fat cheeks.

I don't want another baby.  I want my babies.  Just for a little while.  Just for an hour, maybe while they're sleeping.

But then I left work and took the train down to San Diego to meet my family, which no longer has any babies.  And, you know, our day at the beach would have been very different if things weren't exactly as they are now, exactly as they're supposed to be.