Heya, Monster.

A SoberBlog by a TallWoman.

In With the New.

Hello, friends.*

It’s been a while …. Since I’ve stopped in. …. Since I’ve read some awesome SoberBlogs. ….. Since I’ve counted my days. …..

It’s been a fun swell of activity at school the past few weeks. My partner and I opened our first official show as the New Theatre Department. It was a middle school show, which was lots of fun. Very playful. I was glad to get one under our belt. I was also glad it was not my show officially, because it let me watch her journey at this new school, while supporting her with lots of tech help. I was engaged (highly), but not in charge. It seemed like just the right combination for learning while doing – my favorite way to do things. *smile* (Note: My husband often notes I am a bull in a china shop, which is true literally in the physical world, but also true on a figurative level as well. Let me at ’em! (“’em” being anything and anyone.))

Once the middle school show closed, I jumped into running my two shows simultaneously. Out of the frying pan and into the fire, I suppose. One show opens in January, so we are getting a handle on deadlines, design, and overall responsibilities for everyone involved (me, our awesome Technical Director, and 23 kick-ass high schoolers), while the second show (Big. Musical.) just auditioned this week, and will get underway in February. I feel like the auditions this week have really cemented my feeling like this place is really and truly my new home. There was something about the way the kids’ energy built and built over the week. And yes, they were much more responsive to me during the week – smiling at me in the hallways, laughing at my stupid jokes, and just perking up when I would walk by them – which I realize is all because I was holding their sweet thespian fates in my hands…. But in all of that energy to please me, I don’t know. It made the transition from last year’s teachers to me and my partner more Real for everyone involved, I think. It felt like there was a shift in the kids’ attitudes and understanding of the huge changes that have taken place in their theatre department (3 faculty left last Spring and 3 new faculty arrived this Fall (Talk about Drama!)). They seemed to accept me more completely than before, which feels so good. I think they’re starting to trust me, because we’ve been through things together now. And yes, of course there will be bumps in the road for all of us – we all hold onto our want for ‘What Was,’ but it feels like we’re moving forward and creating the New Normal together, and that feels So Good.

In other, more superficial news, I have a hair appointment today. Wah-Friggin’-Hoo! I am so looking forward to a change. Well, perhaps a minor change (a little more platinum?), OR a major change (bluuuuuuuue, anyone?!). I cannot wait.

On the house front, we are in a Waiting Mode. Projects are getting done by a really good contractor, which makes me soso happy. And then, perhaps in February, we will be at the front of the selling season, and have a little bit more luck in finding a great fit, as well as selling our little bungalow. ….. Of course, in the meantime, we are going to meet with a financial planner to talk about possibly figuring out how to push-out the house we have so that it becomes the house we want – through and through. I’m okay with considering both options at the moment, because the more we do, the more I like what we have. The issues are space and practicality, which could each be solved with a move OR major renovations. All exciting. All possible.

In sober news, I find a lot of strength this holiday season from just knowing how much better my life is without the Drink. At night, I still marvel that I have 1. So much time; 2. An awake brain; 3. Real connections with my babes and the hubs; 4. Energy; 5. No need to soften or blur my Reality. I like what I have. I like what I think and what I feel. Life doesn’t hurt as much as it did when I was drinking. There are tears and challenges, anger and fears, but it is all exactly what it is. Life’s negatives are not heightened or multiplied by feeling ashamed of myself, nor exacerbated by the time drinking took away from me. I have broken down the million-foot-high hurdles I built up for myself. I enjoy my Life for what it is. I no longer wish it was Something Else, nor that it looked like Someone Else’s. I like my Life, thank you (sincerely and whole-heartedly).

Day 543, Awake, Alive, & Grateful.

Last Night…

I did a huge sink-full of dishes after my babes went to bed.

And then I corrected work and reported final grades for my students.

Played a little of a silly video game just because I wanted to.

And then I read a bunch of political articles on Clinton and Trump.

Watched several hilarious video shorts on the same subject.

Coordinated my new book club’s next meeting invite.

Took my vitamins and meds in a long-series of nights taking vitamins and meds (the longest consecutive stretch of nights in my life).

Read a book.

Visited with the hubs.

Fell asleep.

All sober.

Day 515, and still surprised by the little things sobriety gives back to me.large_happy-birthday-present

501 Blues.

Not actually Blue at all. *smile* A nice shift from my last post.

Some time off on the weekend. Time with babes, the hubs, friends, my books.

For your viewing pleasure…. A blast from my past. This commercial makes me giggle.

Day 501, Take it away, Neil….

October Road.

It’s early morning. I can her our grandmother clock ticking. My family is tucked in their beds – mostly. My daughter stole her way into ours, which was the impetus for me getting out of bed, and thus, finding myself here in my chair with a hot cup of coffee. I’m quite happy she did. I love starting my days off a little earlier than everyone else, reading, and just waking up on my own. It’s nice to be awake and to have some time and space just for me.

I’ve been feeling this way – this relaxed, contemplative way most of this past week. On the one  hand it’s very nice because my brain has stopped going a thousand miles a minute every second of the day. With the new job, I didn’t realize until I had stopped spinning, that I was in a constant state of stress and anxiety. I was trying to race as fast as I could to write curriculum, clean, grade, plan, collaborate, learn the community, organize, and take stock, that I didn’t even notice how hard I was working to stay caught up with even the most basic responsibilities of getting through each day and doing what I was hired to do – teach.

This is my sixteenth year as a teacher, but this new job is really Brand. Spankin’. New. I am writing it from the ground up, which is exciting to do, because I and my partner are designing a theatre program to follow students through each of their elementary and secondary years a child’s entire elementary and secondary school years. The structure before was a bit too nebulous and focused on Fun. I am definitely not opposed to fun, however I want kids to be challenged and to grow as artists. It’s exciting, and I know in the coming years, this planning will do the program a lot of good, and help us to create a lot of depth. However, I am a little frustrated because I am covering basics with most of my students at every grade level, so that next year, I will have to write even more curriculum once we have students on the same page and with the same skill sets.

Then, I look around my space and in my rooms, and I just see a Mess. Granted, it is entirely my own fault because it was my idea to flip the costume and prop room inside-out, as well as the library….. Yeah, it’s a mess. Ha. And I know, from growing up with my father, whenever I was feeling stressed, he would tell me to clean my room so that my mind would feel better. A good rule of thumb, as long as one has the time and the energy to do so. *smile* I have kept my office quite clean so that I have a space I can escape to, but…. Yeah. Maybe I will work on prioritizing the other rooms again so that I don’t feel trapped underneath a mountain of Theatre Things.

This post is sounding quite negative, but overall, I am feeling better than I was. I should have written more last week, but I was feeling tired and sad and …. Oh, wanting to isolate. Dagnabbit. Stupid human tricks that keep repeating themselves. Argh.

Anyway, the other feeling I’ve been really having trouble with is melancholy. The longer I am at my new job (which, even though is overwhelming, I am really loving – and I’m not just saying that as a perfectionist in order to appear perfect to the outside world – I truly love it and the students and the people), the more and more Real it feels that I have lost my old job and my old community. With the fall weather exacerbating everything, I just feel Sad. And lonely. The communication from my old people has been little to none, which further breaks my heart. And I know everyone is as busy as I am, or more so, but it just makes me sad. I definitely feel like I am grieving again in many ways. The two months of grief and franticness and loneliness surrounding the initial news of my job loss in April seems to almost be repeating itself from August to September to now.

However, like I said above, I feel like I am stepping out on the other side of those feelings of sadness and spinning my wheels. I am still definitely in there. It’s not a quick fix by any stretch of the imagination, but at least I can now see where I was and what I am moving away from. Why can’t we see our full situation when we are in the thick of things? Is it because we don’t have perspective? Because we are too close to it all?

Day 496, a little James to walk with me today and to make the day brighter….

 

Love Is Love Is Love Is Love…

“There is no originality in tyrants, and they learn nothing from the demise of their precursors. They will be brutal and stifling and engender hatred and destroy what men love and that will defeat them. All important battles are, in the end, conflicts between hatred and love, and we must hold to the idea that love is stronger than hate.”

– Salman Rushdie, Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights

Day 490, People of the US, please Vote.

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Sick of the Sick.

My, oh, My. Our household cannot catch a break! Since our babygirl is now a kindergartner, she is in a (cess)pool of new people and new germs. While I, at the same time, am a new teacher, and am similarly surrounded by said (cess)pool of new people and new germs. We have been in-session for the past 6 weeks, and we have lost 3 of our weekends and several weekdays due to calling in ‘sick.’

Argh.

This is round 4 for my girl and myself. Our boy (3-years old) keeps catching it from one or the other of us. It is like a merry-go-round…. Ridiculous.

This weekend, my daughter and I were basically quarantined from Friday night until this morning around 11 am. Being sick and taking care of someone who is sick is not the easiest thing in the world. However, I found my adrenaline would kick in when my girl needed me (needs me), so in some ways, it makes my illness less pressing. It’s interesting how our bodies are biologically programmed to be able to prioritize someone else’s needs over our own, isn’t it? I’m just thankful it happens at all. Yesterday, I had practically rolled myself into a ball of shivers, chills, and aches. But anytime she needed me (for strep test, x-rays, blood-draw which went horribly bad, followed by a massaged finger-prick (any 5 year old’s worst nightmare)), it all dissipated to some extent so that I could care for her. Of course, my symptoms came back eventually, but for those important moments, I was mostly okay and could help her.

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In other news, the no drinking is still going okay, but I have had the craziest, strongest urges for a cigarette these past 2 weeks. I haven’t acted on the impulse, but it is so weird to suddenly be craving something I haven’t for 8 years. Maybe it’s the stress. My stress is through the roof with school, classes, making over spaces, parent-teacher conferences, etc. I am just maxed out. A lot of bubble water is being consumed, and swear words are being used.

Day 481, Still here. Still kickin’.

p.s. The book below is one of my favorites. So sweet. So comforting.images-1

 

A Whole Lot of Nothin’.

Yep. That’s about sums up my motivation and drive today. I’m home with my sick babe and rather than cruise through the house and make it look awesome, spotless, and wonderful, I have been mindlessly surfing the internets, listening to music, and thinking, “I should be reading my book right now.” Oh, about a hundred times.

Nothing feels kind of nice.

Especially when I stop with the guilt and the should-dos.

Nothing doesn’t happen very often – for me, or anyone, I would guess. So, here I am savoring nothing. I’m going to turn my tuneages up and shut down the naggy voice in my head.

Be well, friends.

Day 465, Live long & prosper (immediately or later – it’s up to you).

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Oh, Leonard Nimoy. You are so wonderful.

Some Sea-Faring Metaphors….

Well, school has started. Not only for me, but for my very own little Kindergartner as well. One of the gifts of being at this new school is that it’s a Pre-K – 12, so she has the opportunity to be there as well. It’s a phenomenal school with phenomenal teachers. We are so lucky to be able to spend our mornings and afternoons traveling to the same place. I love walking her up to her classroom from my office. I love picking her up, happy and excited for what her day has been. And I love, most especially, getting to see her in the hallways every once in awhile, which of course if when I get lots of extra kisses and hugs. It is so special to have her there. To be at the school together.

As for me, in-service/workshop days were already three weeks ago. Yow! And the week leading up to the start of school was FULL of information. I felt like I was drowning. Each day more and more information, people, expectations, lists of procedures would be piled on top of the day before…. The water just kept creeping up and up over my head. Add to that I was having tech issues with my computer and everything internet, so I was behind on a practical level as well.

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However, even in the midst of the massive overload, I was so Welcomed and Cared For. Seriously. If you ever want to work at the Nicest Place on Earth, send me a personal message, because I have found it. These people are generous, empathic, sensitive, thoughtful. They have good senses of humor and will do just about anything to help. They are passionate about their students and their families, and especially about learning and creating thoughtful, compassionate, justice-seeking young people who will go out into the world to make it a better place. So, even in the midst of my own personal worries, I felt and saw some awesome and inspiring humanity all around me every minute of the day. Their presence and kindness really buoyed me up (to push the metaphor further).

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Top ALL that off with being a new parent of a new student? Well, jeez, Louise. I left every day inspired and hopeful all the way up to my tippity-top, in spite of all that was looming over my head and whatnot that I had left to do.

Fast-forward and I worked my butt off over the weekend and the few days we had for prep that first week (we started on a Wednesday), and then, tuh-dah! School started.

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Get it? It’s a School…. Of Fish. (I’m a dork.)

And all was good and right with the World. I found my rhythm. I got my shit together (for the most part). And the days have just been sailing by …

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Fun. Good energy. Promise.

Teaching is what I love. What I feel I was born to do. And even though I am in a new, unknown place, as one of my dearest friends said to me, ‘There are kids everywhere.’ And it’s true. How wonderful that it is true. And to be in a place where the adults Love kids and Love teaching, it feels like it might be just the right place for me.

Day 453, Love the Pisces Queen.* Found at: http://www.zazzle.com/pisces+puzzles

 

Hello, Out There.

Hello, friends. It’s been a little while. Yow. Time passes when you’re busy doing stuff, doesn’t it? I’ve been thinking about you a lot, and checking in pretty regularly on WP to read your words and journeys. I just haven’t had the chance to sit down and write you my own epistle until now. Sitting feels good. *smile* As does writing you. *clickityclack*

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So, the End of Shows went beautifully. Both were well-received and well-attended. The Shakespeare show (Midsummer) was love-ily to have because it kept me grounded and connected to both my past, present, and future (an 18-year history with the company, as well as looking forward to directing and being with my favorite people again next season/summer). While on the other hand, the mega-musical marked a significant Ending because it was the last show I will direct at my now-former school. The show itself was strong, vibrant, funny, and a little naughty. I definitely felt I went out with a Bang!

Of course, the Universe is always there to remind in so many different ways that I am not in control, nor can I, nor should I try to control the world around me. With all the anxiety surfacing inside me this past month around the closing of my shows, the Job being well-and-truly final, readying our house for the market, looking towards starting the new-*sparkly* Job, trying to spend time with my sister-who-was-in-town-from-Australia-during-my-busiest-two-weeks-of-the-summer, leaving for vacation, and now about to hit the ground running with the new job and the house….. Well? My anxiety has just climbed and climbed and climbed. And in each of those pockets of Life, the Universe has aptly put me in my place again and again.

First. My beautiful, amazing, phenomenal sister left 3 Thursdays ago. We have a tradition in our family, that whenever someone is driving away (the Leaver), the people staying behind (the Leavees) wave until they can’t see the car any longer. And, weather be damned, the Leaver/s in the car roll their windows down and wave back until they can’t see the Leavees any longer, too. So, with this tradition well-established, my sister hopped into her rental car, rolled down her window, got the last teary hugs and kisses from me and the babes, and then turned to go down the driveway. When what should appear? You guessed it! The Universe. In the form of a school bus (in July). It came around the corner and then pulled to the side of the road with its red stop sign shining, and its red lights flashing…. We just laughed. Because what else could we do? It was perfect. And funny. And gave us the chance for a few more hugs and kisses.

Second. The last show of the mega-musical…. All day, I just had nerves. It felt Epic. Important. One of those I-am-going-to-remember-this-event-for-the-rest-of-my-life-type things. So here we are chugging along, I’m watching the show and just enjoying it and laughing at all sorts of new moments in the show, and then. Crash. At the end of intermission as I’m about to start the show again, the hubs (who was in the show) comes up to me and says another actor and the pit say the music director is either drunk or high. Oh, what?! Gah. So I race back to speak with the person and to see if they’re right. …. Yep. Sure as shit. …. He is so far gone, I don’t know that even speaking with him would do any good. I pulled a musician aside and asked him to push the show, the cues forward if the MD dropped the ball on anything. So the whole second half, I’m just holding on and hoping we make it through the show without any mishaps (we did), and also trying to figure out what to do about this man. It was just odd. In all my years, I have not had this happen to me in any way, shape, or form. And then for it to be my last. I don’t know, it felt odd, though not unexpected (I wrote about my misgivings in an earlier post). With all the adrenaline now wrapped around this problem, the significance of it being my Last Show dropped. And a bit of regret, following the show, I didn’t handle the situation very well. I skirted around it, made sure he had a ride, etc. However, I followed up the next day and feel much better about that. I know if we had had a Sunday closing, I would have fired him and told him not to come back. But since we closed on a Saturday, I just wanted to get through the show, and we did. On the phone the next day, I was angry and sad, particularly because this is a show at a high school with teenagers in the production. The choice to get drunk before a (professional) gig felt incredibly selfish. He could have compromised the entire production. …. I asked him if he thought this was a problem, and he said that he did think so, that his mother was very sick, and not for the first time. Then, I offered to send him some resources via email, and promised that I would follow-up with him in a few weeks to see how he was doing. I penalized his pay, and then later, apologized to the teenagers for not being more assertive the night before. I apologized for the MD’s behavior, and told them what he did was not okay. It was messy, but at least I followed up on all of the loose ends.

Following all of this, my mother came down for a week and helped me get a ton of stuff done with the house. The hubs and I have one more week to work, and then, I am hoping we are set to show our house starting next week. Keep your fingers crossed.

Third. This past week, we went out of town to the shores of Lake Superior. Beautiful. Majestic. Mighty. …. But my anxiety was really high. Incredibly high. About death. About losing my babes – especially in the midst of the water, which just seemed incredibly powerful. I know I was driving the hubs nuts on one particular day, because he had them in the water amidst these big waves. I just saw the immensity of the water stretching out behind them, and the strength of each wave as it rolled in and hit them, and I was just So. Scared. That they would be knocked over. Pulled out before we could reach them. Before I could save them. … So all this, and then? Oh, there’s the Universe again. This time it showed up in the form of sister-brother battles. Our 3-year old kicked his sister’s head, which banged the edge of a coffee table. Stitches at a small-town ER. Ah, vacation memories…. But really. It acted as a good reminder that I really can’t control anything. And I know that deep down, but it doesn’t always stop me from wanting to try. Letting go is a lesson I need to learn again and again and again it seems. … Also? The accident freed me up and helped me to embrace the waves and the water with my family later that day. We got splashed and soaked, and we laughed and held onto one another.

Day 432, Thanks, Universe. I needed that.

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A Monster Mini-Update.

Hello, friends. Monster here and doing well. It’s been awhile since I last checked in because I have been mega-busy. Here are the haps in a nutshell:

  • Opened ‘Midsummer.’ Yay! So cute, so funny, so silly, so good. It is still running through next week.
  • Opened another show this week – a mega-musical – to mark my last production at my current school. It’s taken a lot of late nights staying up, painting, working, etc. Lots of little pieces needed doing, but? They got done. Huh. Zah. Also, my favorite part are all of the grads and families who have already come back to see the show and give me  hug. So beautiful and incredible to be surrounded by so much love.
  • In the meantime, I joined the committee hiring my counterpart at my new school.
  • Started digging into my new office/area and reorganizing and making it my own … Very, very slowly.
  • Welcomed my little sister home for a visit. She arrived last week with her fiance from Australia (whee!), and is in the state until the 28th. With all that’s been going on, I haven’t had a lot of time to see her, but am looking forward to one or two days devoted to her and the fam.
  • And lastly, I decided (two Sundays ago) that it would be a great idea to get our house on the market in the coming month, and then find a house, and move. Crazy? Probably! *smile* So many things to do! A lot of small upgrades that will help with the price point, I hope.

In Soberland, since sharing my year-long sobriety with my friends and family on Facebook, I have had so many kind, amazing connections with people. Even two weeks later, I have people telling me how proud they are, or congratulating me. The Love is palpable. … And it feels a lot freer, too. Not that I was hiding or ashamed of my sobriety, but there is another level of ease because more people know and I don’t have to navigate as many social moments now. Liberating.

Alright, off for more house porn ….. It is so addicting! (But not in a I-need-help kind of way. I swear. *smile*)

Day 410, I’ve missed all you cool-cats.*

 

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