The Unretractable Observation

I turn forty two years old on Saturday. It’s not so bad really. I can’t move or eat like I used to but at 42, I’m able to get over it as soon as I realize it’s no big deal.

However the first year of high school is a big deal. In fact, it’s a fucking huge deal. Our son has been having trouble again for the second term in a row. I am atop a fence looking for the balance of trying to be supportive while not interfering with the fact that M needs to take the initiative to talk to his teachers.

M told me that a lot of kids had poor grades in his classes but after having dinner with a friend who’s son is in the same classes, I realize that her son has A’s in his classes. When I came home this evening, he was the only one left awake. R had to go to San Francisco again early the next morning and the girls have to stick to their 8:30 pm bedtime. Frustrated, I blurted, “This kid doesn’t have D’s right now. He has A’s.”

M looked crushed. He replied, “But I’m not him.”

And my heart broke twice. Once for breaking his and another for realizing that my kid has an asshole for a mom. 

I immediately regretted it and apologized and I can feel him push me away. I don’t blame him.

He already feels so inadequate, unathletic, unintelligent. I made it that much worse.

No need to remind me that parents make mistakes, that that was a pretty unsensitive thing to say, that I should think about what I say before I say it.

I already know. 

The Wake Up Call Conundrum

Today is Monday which means I got a wake up call at 3:45 am.

Well, I didn’t. I don’t have to wake up at 3:45 am to get to school in San Francisco by 8 am.

But I wake up.

R’s alarm sometimes wakes me up too but I’m more concerned when it doesn’t. 

I can’t believe some mornings I sleep through everything: the alarm, his shower, going downstairs, getting ready down there.

He’s not making a ruckus when he gets ready but all of a sudden, I wake up and he’s gone and for a split second I feel like he’s deployed again and emptiness takes over. 

This morning I slept through his getting ready but woke up to the emptiness. Too late to go back to sleep. Too early to get out of bed.

So I check my email and there’s a message from the boy’s math teacher. The second term has started and already the boy has straight D’s. I admit that this was not the best email to read at 4 in the morning but I am absolutely grateful and touched that his teacher cares so much to compose an email on Sunday at 9:38 pm.

I replied with thanks and shared our son’s difficulty with his first term of high school. I wrote about how we were very surprised that he did well his first term and would he mind highly encouraging him to go to after school tutoring? 

Our son M is a great kid and we are so very lucky with the way he’s growing up. I’m so grateful that he is surrounded by adults who are there for him, that he has teachers who care.

The Calistoga Mud Bath Matrix

So this happened last month…

On our second getaway without the kids, R and I drove out to Calistoga for our sixteenth anniversary. We are in a mud bath.

Trust me, we had no idea what to expect. We did a weekend getaway last year on our anniversary to Napa. It was our FIRST HONEYMOON and first night away from the kids. Now mind you, they’ve left us to go to sleepovers but we have never left them.

Until now.

They’re finally old enough that we can leave without worrying too much about both the babysitter (my mom) and them. My coworker asked me about how I could leave my kids, understandable since her son and daughter are three years old and three months, respectively. For us, it only took fifteen years.

I can appreciate living near family so we are able to do that. Even when the kids were little, we were stationed in the south, states away from our families with very few people we trusted. True, I made a lot of friends when I was working and can still keep up with them thanks to social media. But I never wanted to burden anyone.

For anything.


In hindsight I realize that I could have reached out more, done more with my new friends but I didn’t want to call more attention to myself. I was already different because I was new to the area and hey, my husband was always gone. I just wanted to fit in as soon as possible. 

We took a long route and drive around Lake Berryessa. What a gorgeous drive! It’s hard to believe that this beautiful scenery of winding roads, huge lake, and mountainous terrain is just an hour from the Bay Area.

We only stayed one night, enough time to check out the small town and the above mud bath and couple’s massages. I was a little wary about paying more for massages but I figured why not? I was afraid R would want to talk to me while I was enjoying my massage or worse, listen to me snore, but neither happened and we loved our experience. The room and treatments were pricey and definitely a special event only.

Also special were these chocolates from Kollar Chocolates in Napa. We ended up buying a small sampler for the kids. Once they realized how expensive the candy was, they savorex every bite.  

The Heroes and Villains Vector

As you know, my family and I love going to anime and comic conventions. The kids love making their own costumes from scratch, cutting their own fabric and old clothes (sometimes without permission!), and saving up for materials they need. They’ve come a long way from making simple paper masks with yarn and markers!

However, this past August I went to one AS A VOLUNTEER at the Heroes and Villains Fan Fest in San Jose, CA. Me and two of my friends pitched in to stay at a nearby hotel.

Now I can’t show you all of the pictures as I may have been inebriated but I can show you highlights.

Stephen Amell and Colin Donnell from Arrow

John Barrowman, who I adore on Doctor Who, and Rob Prior, hugely talented artist who does many conventions. 

If you don’t know who those two are, start by Google-ing Agents if SHIELD. Chloe Bennet is just as beautiful in person as she is onscreen and even though her sign  at her booth said no selfies, she still took a few with fans. I actually got to volunteer for Clark Gregg and as amazing as it was to be able to talk to him, it was his fans that made the most impression on me. I could feel the positive energy emanating from his fans as they laid their eyes on the one and only Coulson! The looks on their faces after each of them got to shake his hand and talk to him was so worth it… because I felt that way all day controlling the fan girl in me! 

It goes without saying that all of these actors I met over the weekend were kind and gracious. Even though I couldn’t afford a photo op and autograph with every actor (those add up if you’re not careful), all were friendly and still answered questions when they weren’t busy. I would definitely volunteer again! 

The First Day Abnormalcy

While most kids around the United States are sleeping in all summer, some are getting ready to go back to school!

I teach at a year round school and am fortunate to work at the same school my daughters attend. What’s even better is that I’m now full time! 

However it is way past midnight on the night before the first day of school and I’m still awake. 

You’d think that because this is my eighth “First Day of School”, I would be alright but no, I’m not.

Well, I am but it’s very exciting and terrifying and as you know, that combination results in too much thinking into the wee hours of the morning. 

Here are some pics of the classroom I’m sharing with a colleague and friend (who recently had a baby girl)…

We are doing a superhero theme and I so wish for the ability to fall asleep right now!

Good night! 

The Fireworks Fallacy

Independence Day, I’ve noticed, isn’t really studied in school. Yes, teachers have their curriculum and standards but we tend to stick to the next holidays on the calendar and even year round schools aren’t in session the first week of July. 

I just don’t think people are as patriotic and proud to be Americans as we used to be.

There. I’ve said it. 

You know, as a retired military spouse (I don’t even know how to word that phrase, if it even is one) and as an American, I’m not supposed to say shit like that. It’s like there are a whole bunch of quotes that we are supposed to say in this day and age and if you don’t follow the script, you’re on the other side. I didn’t even know I had chosen a side. 

Should we be more patriotic? Are we too patriotic? What does it mean to be patriotic anyway? Are we no longer allowed to be proud of who we are and the country we live in?

I thought I knew the answers when I was little but a lot has changed since I was a kid. We can’t say the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. Even if we did there are kids who don’t even have to stand for it and it’s not even a citizenship issue, some religions see that as idolotry. Ironic, isn’t it? 

It’s frustrating that we cannot have discourse without checking the Internet or quoting your coworker said or what everyone else is saying. We have lost our ability to think for ourselves, to express ourselves with evidence and without resorting to name calling. 

And don’t even get me started on fireworks. There are three fireworks stands within a half a mile distance from my house! 

Fireworks are a waste of time and money. My husband came home with the kids and a box of fireworks that set us back almost eighty dollars!

Eighty dollars? What the heck! It wasn’t even athe biggest box!

Still, we buy and light them up for the kids but does that make us patriotic? Spending too much money, setting stuff on fire, and making loud noises means we love our country and in turn, makes us good Americans? 

I don’t know who is messed up more from these loud, crazy ass fireworks going off tonight: the dog or the husband. Both cringe and shake when they hear the explosions. Both will probably have trouble sleeping fir the next couple of nights.

Now don’t get it twisted, I’m not saying to quit buying fireworks to prove something or that you’re unpatriotic if you don’t. We aren’t that house that has the “No Fireworks” sign that warns  others about a member of the household with PTSD. I think we should rethink our definitions of Independence Day, patriotism, and what it really means to be an American. I don’t have the answers but I’m pretty sure you won’t find them in a box of firecrackers. 

The Middle Age Mandate: Part 2

I’ve decided to cut out meat to feel better and hopefully shed some weight. Despite a couple of setbacks this week in the form of my mom’s delicious Filipino food and a graduation party for my nephews, I’ve been doing pretty well. 

Clothes that were too tight a month ago now fit and I don’t feel as self conscious in most of my clothes. I still have a way to go and I hope I can continue to have mostly vegetarian or vegan meals. I feel good. Healthier. Less deprived more often. 

Spinach blueberry and banana smoothie with soy milk. (I’m not trying to be fancy; I’m lactose intolerant!)

I’ve been trying to drink these dense smoothies every morning before milk and with a bit of local honey to fight allergies, they’re pretty delicious! I get hungry after a couple of hours so I have to make sure I have a snack on hand or I lose my mind. 

I recently took a frozen pad Thai meal from Trader Joe’s to work for lunch and while it was delicious, I realize I felt famished after eating. There wasn’t enough protein in my meal to feed my hunger and I probably ate too much for dinner to overcompensate. I felt terrible for a brief moment and realised I now know that I need to have enough protein at every meal. 

My husband R has also changed his diet in a very different way. While I have tried to adopt as close to a vegan lifestyle as possible (my silly rules help me avoid sugar), he has chosen to cut out processed food and white flour/sugar/rice. Hes been really supportive of me and I of him. Our meals even overlap when I make quinoa salad or beans and rice. He’s even cut out tobacco! Of course, he is losing weight faster than me! 

I’ll keep you updated!