The Spring Break Salinity

Most teachers get a week or two off for spring break. I got three and a half weeks and counting! 

I’m at a year round school which sounds terrible but it just means our summer break just gets broken up during the school year. I find that it’s a lot easier for me physically and emotionally to have frequent breaks rather than one long summer but that’s just me.

Our family did a lot during the break. We visited more family down in Southern California, we went on a cruise for the first time, and got our first stamps in our passports! 


I even worked at Silicon Valley Comic Con! 


I have met a lot of celebrities but rarely am I tongue tied. I stopped in my tracks when I saw the cast of Sesame Street and David Newell of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood! I’ve known them all of my life and it was a pleasure to be able to share that they have helped shape who I am today. If you ever get a chance to meet one of them, they will tell you that they never get tired of hearing stories of their viewers. 

Of all the traveling we did and all of the people I’ve met, perhaps the biggest impact on my well being was the fact that I did not work a single day of my break… that has not happened in a couple of years. I went from being a stay at home mom, to working part time (but really full since I kept subbing when I was off), to working full time plus extra since I subbed when I was off! I love this direction that my career has taken and am happy to sub for my colleagues but damn, this feels good. I’ll savor every moment until I go back to work on Thursday.

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The Winter Soldier Effect

So this happened…


Yep, that’s Sebastian Stan, THE Winter Soldier from Captain America. 

We went to Wizard World Comic Convention in Sacramento last month and if you were there, you probably saw us.


So if you’re up to date on The Walking Dead, you’ll see that I’m dressed as Neegan. There were a ton of cosplayers dressed as Neegan but none of them made Abraham, played by the awesome and kind Michael Cudlitz, read a book! (That might be my thing now when I get these photo ops– making celebrities read, lol!)

My friends and I are heading to San Jose this weekend to go to the Heroes and Villains FanFest featuring actors from Arrow and The Flash. We are so excited to attend as volunteers! 

My hubby R tried to attend a comic convention but was quickly overwhelmed. Now that we know more about crowd trends at these conventions, I always ask him if he wants to go to the less crowded days and first thing in the morning. He’s talked about coming one day but I don’t push it. 

Can’t wait for next weekend! 

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 Leech Lesson

My first teaching job was terrifying. Back in the 90s you didn’t even need a teaching credential, an emergency credential sufficed. I was in the middle of my teacher ed program and didn’t even have student teaching under my belt. Still, that did not stop me from working as a teacher at the age of 23! 

Almost two decades later and I can’t believe how much time has passed. Even with eight years behind me, I still feel like a new teacher.

Nothing is set in stone yet but I’m mostly sure I’ve still got a teaching position in the fall. I am very excited to share some moments from a teacher workshop. See if you can figure out what we were studying…

   
   
My mom watched the kids since R was at school and the workshop was in the evening. They certainly got a kick out of these pics and wanted to know which ones were coming home with me!

Sadly I broke the news that the animals and plants belonged to the college lab. 

My mom was fully disgusted by this little leech since it reminded her of navigated rivers when she was a little girl in the Philippines! I can’t even imagine! I did pick up that little guy (okay, it was a dare from my esteemed colleagues) but it never latched on. Blecch.

 
P.S. I would never hold a tarantula. At least not that size anyway. That spider’s a fake!

  

The Happy Pill Hypothesis

The past couple of months have been pretty difficult for reasons I don’t quite understand. 

  

Wait. That was a lie.

I have, without the consent of my GP, gone off my antidepressants gradually and am now off them completely. I have been off and on meds to keep depression and anxiety at bay since baby #1 was born.

Baby #1 just turned fourteen years old.

Two months ago I was unhappy and couldn’t even verbalize this emptiness to myself, let alone my spouse. Nothing filled this void. Not food, not shopping, not talking about it, not sleeping.

Nothing.

I thought there was something wrong with me. 

But how could there be?

  

My husband was finally living at home. He retired from the Navy two years ago and has gone back to school to study art. My family was happy and healthy. I had a great job. My health was fine.

Or rather, my physical health was fine. My mental health is still sorting itself out.

I finally made the connection of this new and serious bout of depression when I realized that I hadn’t taken my meds in over a month. The slow taper off of them was deliberate with the understanding that I could go back on them if I wanted to. It was no one’s business whether or not I was on them. Fuck them, right? 

I’ve tried talking to others including family members about depression but I’ve given up. Sometimes they look at me as if I’ve announced I was a serial killer or a failed science experiment. Others have bombarded me with questions and comments and I feel like I have to defend why I feel the way I do, why I am the way I am. It’s frustrating and exhausting.

  

This post, like my mind, is all over the place but really, it’s a peek into my head. Do you know the feeling when you’re having a very important conversation with an equally important person and you can’t think of the right word to say? And not just any word, the exact word that is somewhere in your brain and the word that was probably invented for that moment… Only you forgot the word.

That’s been me. That’s in my head.

All day, every day. 

I even dread going to bed knowing that Mr. Sandman will skip over me as he has been for weeks. I wake up a couple of times a night and feel such a huge panic that I can’t or won’t be able to fall back asleep. Or if I eventually do fall asleep, I don’t get the amount or the quality of sleep I enjoyed when I took my happy pills. It too is frustrating and exhausting. 

But I’ve gotten really good at pretending. Hell, I should go back and get my doctorate in giving the impression that I’m alright. Maybe I can earn continuing education units while I’m at it. 

  

I’ve had dark moments that I don’t care to go into right now. Perhaps when these moments occur with less frequency I’ll shed some light but for now, it’s time to try to get some sleep. 

  

Happy New Year! 

Hope you had a wonderful holiday season! We have been fortunate to spend time with family and friends, near and far. 

Right before Christmas, we drove to Los Angeles for a much-needed vacation to the happiest place on earth… Disneyland! Because of the new movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there was so much excitement in the air. I tried to cosplay as a StormTrooper but was quickly shot down by security, no pun intended. Evidently their rules had changed in the last 48 hours to a ban on cosplay for adults. 

   
 
I was able to quickly get these pics before I got kicked out! No, I didn’t get kicked out though I wonder if the kids will say to each other, decades later, “Remember the time we went to Disneyland and Mom almost got removed from the park?” 

Noticeably absent from the pics is my husband R, partly to save money but mostly because he just can’t handle the crowds anymore. He expressed his dismay and believes that he is getting worse but really… Everyone hates crowds! Even I have to take a break from it all and return to our hotel room to take a breather. My happiness and adrenaline level probably outweigh my disdain for crowds. Maybe one day he’ll join us but it’s not something I push or make a big deal over.

While I love seeing my family on Christmas, I hate traveling so we opted to stay home. We went to church on Christmas Eve so I could assist with the CFF classes when they performed during mass. 

  
At the Grand Californian Resort in Anaheim, CA

The spirit of giving is very much alive in our home. L, at only 8 years old, gave all of us handmade Christmas cards. A, who’s 10, used her own money to buy all of us chocolate bars even though they still had plenty left over from Halloween. She even bought cat toys for our old tabby and a chew toy for our dogs to share. And while the boy didn’t give us anything to open, his kind manner sets the tone for his younger sisters. For that we are grateful. 

Our New Year’s celebrations have always been low key as we’ve found the older we get, the less alcohol we consume. We actually stayed up until midnight with family and friends, a first for the two younger kids.  

   
On Monday the girls go back to school. They’ve been off since Thanksgiving break so I can imagine how difficult it will be to wake up… Even more so for R and I though! We’re going to have to be more awake than them to wake them up!

The boy and I go back on Tuesday. I’ll make sure I have my coffee machine ready then.

In the meantime, happy new year from all of us, wherever you may be. Here’s to a prosperous and blessed 2016!

   
    
 

The Fall Vortex

It’s finally fall! Woo hoo!

  
It’s even raining outside; good news for California since we’ve been in such a terrible drought. No, I’m not getting out of bed to take a picture of the puddles outside. 

I recently splurged on Uggs for me and the girls at this awesome discount store. I think it’s called Off Fifth, the one that is dumping grounds (i.e. last season or discontinued) for Saks Fifth Avenue. I’ve never shopped at Saks as a previous experience left me dizzy at the price of a tank top– eighty bucks!– but heavily discounted and high quality I can do. Needless to say the girls cannot wear these to school or the rain. 

  
I found these cuties at Target. We have slowly amassed an owl collection, especially since they are considered seasonal and on clearance after Halloween. (Do you see a pattern here?) These owls are especially adorable since my cousin married a Brit who loves his bow ties because as any Whovian will tell you, bow ties are cool.