The Ugg Challenge

Being active has never been difficult. 

Staying active? Well, that’s a whole different ballgame.

When I taught PE last month to elementary school kids, I had no choice but to clean up my diet to keep up with seven classes daily. I averaged 12,000 steps a day and was sore and exhausted by the time I got home. 

All of that was worth it because I lost a dress size! Coworkers were baffled at how much I lost. I don’t think I lost that much but it was certainly noticeable in a short amount of time. 

Our trip to Disneyland last week challenged me to keep up the physical activity and even now, I’m finding myself choosing more vegan and vegetarian meals as well as getting better at saying no to junk food (I’m talking to you, sweet tooth!). 

Yesterday the kids participated in a race as part of the last final miles of the California International Marathon. They felt like they did better than last year eventually. The middle was upset because she thought she was last (she wasn’t and even if she was, who cares?) and the baby said she was going to pass out (she didn’t). In fact, they seemed to get better when they started getting freebies from vendors. It was truly a miracle that they recovered in time to go to the mall for lunch!

I was proud of them but realized too late that I should have joined them! I hadn’t run in a couple of years (yep, three half marathons in a calendar year prob wasn’t a good move) but I was wearing boots and there was no way I’d be able to go too far without hurting myself. The middle was sad that I couldn’t finish with her but she did it and she did superb! 

The Couch Challenge

The girls and I are off track this month (that’s year-round talk for a third of our “summer vacation”; we’ll be off track again in April) but the whole family has been celebrating for a couple of weeks.


You’ll notice someone missing from these pics… my husband! 

He’s almost halfway done with university but couldn’t afford to miss any classes and time from homework. 

Quite honestly, I think he was relieved to not come with us to the Happiest Place in Earth. We (I) take advantage of military discounts, including a great rate at the Disneyland Hotel where we started staying after R’s accident so he didn’t have to trek too far if he needed a break from the parks. Anyone who stays at the Resort hotels can get into the parks AN HOUR BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE. 

And as you may or may not have noticed, I can be a little…

Intense.


I like to be in line before everyone else– we are in an line an but before the park opens.

I like to bring food from home– we bring pop tarts and fruit and drinks into the park.

I like to have a schedule.

I can’t help it.

But I can’t also help but notice that we were all quickly getting exhausted from early wake up calls and late nights so on the third day, we swam.


I would’ve had a drink too if I weren’t so hyped up about the next day. We surprised grandma with a special breakfast with some special people.


It was amazing and exhausting and was happy that R didn’t mind too much. 

Fast forward a week and here I am, updating my blog that I have neglected while everyone sleeps. R has to wake up at 4 am and the boy still has school. I was about to retreat to my favorite couch in the loft because I don’t want to wake up to R’s alarm when what to my wandering eyes should appear?

Three sleeping children without a sofa for me!

I thought about waking them and sending them to their beds because I surely didn’t want to wake up when R did.

But then I realized that if that is my biggest problem, I am pretty lucky.

The Pizookie Perfection

Today I taught PE which I absolutely love. I can never stay in one spot for too long which is probably why I get it when kids start to get antsy in their seats. I had a teacher training last week and had to sit down all day! I don’t know how regular people do it!

Like last year, I will teach a dance unit in December. Like last year, there are a certain list of things that I need to do each day to be able to function:

  1. Drink 96 ounces of water a day which results in me going to the bathroom at least 96 times– not the easiest thing to do when you’re a teacher!
  2. Eat breakfast and not some sugary Starbucks shit that I think I need.
  3. Eat a smart snack mid-morning. Again, not sugary shit from Starbucks even though at 11 o’clock at night, it sounds divine! Someone get me something from there! Quick!
  4. Eat a high protein lunch with as little animal product as possible. It’s weird but it works for me.
  5. Don’t drink soda. Even if it’s diet. Even if it’s just one.
  6. Eat a lot of fruit.
  7. Eat a small dinner.
  8. Get more than 12,000 steps a day. Easy peasy when you’re teaching dance.

It’s amazing what a difference one day makes. I feel good. Really good. 

R asked me if I was taking my pills and I said no. I wasn’t out but sometimes I forget to take them and he definitely notices.

It’s hard to hear but it’s the truth. I can’t function normally, I can’t be happy, I can’t be a good wife or mother without them and it’s sad that one tiny little pill taken each night, usually after an evening of Modern Family reruns, can totally destroy that.

It’s harder to control a lot of things now that I’m 42 but I feel like it’s much easier for me to accept it. R and I would joke about how our 30s was a time to undo all the damage we did to our bodies in our 20s. If that’s the case then I think the purpose of our 40s is finally accepting all of it.

I accept!

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.

Ever.

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!