Wednesday, June 2, 2021

June 2021

Dear World,

I have been utterly overwhelmed some days and unbelievably thankful and grateful on others.  The emotional swings from debilitating anxiety and depression to scraping by to achieve in my professional life and provide for my family is a seesaw of craziness.  I cannot believe some days that I "made it" through the day, hour, week.  But here I am, summer 2021.  I crack up and want to cry at the same time.  

So far:

  • No one has caught COVID-19
  • Everyone is vaccinated except for littlest sister who is too young still yet.
  • Hubby is back to work full time, after being out for nearly a year.
  • I am teleworking, but as the emergency orders start winding down, I am praying I make it through until little sister goes back to school full time (they say schools fully re-opening in the fall).
  • Ex husband has been usual pain in the ass about everything; chalking it up to pandemic anxiety and separation from his long distance girlfriend?  He argued vehemently against big sister getting her vaccine, accusing me of falsifying health records to get the appointment, only to turn around two days later to sign her up at the all-school vaccine clinic (can't look back in front of the parents/student body...?)...but the end goal is that she got her vaccination protection and that's what matters.  <3
I am wishing love and health and safety to the world.  
Love,
Jane Thrive

p.s. While in "survive" mode at the moment, still grateful for the resources that I have to be able to support my family.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Happy New Year 2021


So thankful to be healthy and alive and well—kids are okay, hubby is working part time, pending return to full-time; I’m employed.  Kids father is still acting like a prick, but manageable for now.  

We’re just all tuckered down, waiting for our new administration to get sworn in tomorrow and to keep on working as hard as we can on healing and being the love I want to see in the world.  Come on COVID-19 vaccines and a return to safety and health for the world.

Wishing you all love and peace and health for 2021.  (It’s going to be better than 2020 dammit.)   

Love,

Jane Thrive

Friday, October 2, 2020

October - COVID, Halloween, and School

 

First, the best overview of a presidential debate ever in history comes from Weird Al Yankovic.  Please watch and weep with laughter. 

Secondly, 45 has COVID and FLOTUS does as well, and the internet is exploding with memes.  I think many are struggling with the satisfaction that the karma train has rolled into the station, and the terribleness of feeling that satisfaction for when someone has contracted a deadly disease.

Thirdly, I’ve started a 50 mile walk/run challenge for October—that means if I walk/run 50 miles by 10/31/2020, then I’ll get a medal and also a tank top, lol. This is for my health and anxiety, I honestly think that getting meaningful exercise is helping me stay sane, but the medal will be a nice bonus. Ha ha ha! 

Fourthly, because trick-or-treating will be out of the question this year, I’m going to take the girls on a horseback ride and we’re going to plant a tree—it’s a combo horseback riding, plant a tree private tour situation and what a great way to help the environment, support a local farm/business, and do something fun with the family.  (insert heart emoji)

Fifthly, the kids are all right with this back to school situation.  Little sis is virtual throughout the fall, big sis is back on campus, but with PPE out the wazoo, a health monitoring app every morning, and social distancing to the nth degree, so I’m not actually concerned.  Will see how it all pans out with the regular flu season upon us, but we're pretty happy.  Also big sis got an award for her high gpa from 2019-2020, and we are so proud of her!  In teenage fashion, her reaction was:  meh.

LOL. 

Stay safe and healthy!

 

Love,

Jane Thrive

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

When There Are Nine: RBG, my mom, and then me

 


Current Vibe:  Devastated by the loss of RBG, this amazing woman who impacted our lives so much.  Listening to this wonderful podcast about her life from NYT’s _The Daily_.  

RBG’s life was a slow and steady path towards progress and institutional change, especially with regard to gender equality. She paved the way for a more just world, where my mom’s career in science and engineering could exist and for my own as a financially able, working mom of two.  When RBG was a young woman, teachers were fired if they were just beginning to show they were pregnant.  If someone tried to do that ridiculousness now, they would be sued. 

I played that NYT’s podcast in the car when picking up my daughter and her BFF from their first day of blended pandemic back to school.  When I explained that fact about teachers, they couldn’t believe their ears, literally their mouths were hung open in shock.  I was like, yes girls, can you imagine if your teacher was fired because she was pregnant?  It’s insane! And…it’s not that far away from us. 

I’m grieving for the loss of such a light in the world.  I’m raging at the white men in power who are doing everything they can to scrap and scrabble for their rights over other human beings, throwing their hypocritical remarks into the wind for millions of campaign dollars.  I’m so freaking depressed about minority rule in this country.  How dare they attempt to walk back decades of progress.

I’ll admit it—I’m scared, terrified, that now I have to be the one to stand up.  Or maybe I’m tired.  But I don’t get to be tired, I have to be strong.  I better stand up, because without Ruth on the highest court of the land writing for today and tomorrow, then we have to do the writing and the standing. 

This is going to sound really strange and weird, but I feel like I’m grieving my own mom all over again.  Maybe because I saw her as a beacon of strength, no matter how hurt I was as a young girl (I have a high E.Q., my mom has a high science I.Q., and maybe they just don’t match so well…), I knew she always did what she could, her very best, to provide for her family.  She was a single working mom, married to not the best of men until her third marriage. 

When a teacher yelled at me as a second grader, I can’t even remember for what—maybe something about dropping an eraser at the chalkboard?  My mom marched in and called her out on it.  I didn’t witness that, but one of the things my mom shared with me was this:  my mom never stood up for me if any teacher treated me unfairly, saying that’s just how it was.  So I vowed that when I grew up, I would always go in and do something if that happened to one of MY kids… 

My mom’s sense of fairness—was pretty black and white in her thinking, not many shades of gray for her, which with my fragile and passionate heart, had trouble navigating until I was an adult.  Mom broke her own barriers in education and workplace, an undergraduate biology major, then as a single mom of two, earning her master’s degree in industrial hygiene, and then embarking on a career in employee safety and later migrating to engineering—all male dominated fields, but she carved a successful career, traveling the country and sometimes bringing us with her when we were young, otherwise always home with dinner on the table by 6pm, and then later traveling the world for her job.  At the same time, I’m pretty sure she voted republican and deferred in her later life to my brother about legal decisions (glossing over any opinions I may have shared).  I was her emotional comfort, I guess, and my brother, being “the man” while at the same time emotionally distant with her, simply was more respected for all things real world.  Perhaps internalized patriarchy, but all the same, Mom broke barriers just by breathing and living. 

When she passed, I was broken for a month, and then I picked myself up and started running, out of the blue.  (I’ve now completed two half marathons, and would have done a third if not for the pandemic.) Because somewhere in the back of my foggy drink-addled head after her passing, I could almost hear her pragmatic voice: well, get on with it already.  You’ve got two kids to take care of and a job to do. 

So I guess I kept on keeping on.  Somehow RBG’s spirit and my mom’s spirit resonate similarly with me—the former bucking tradition and taking mini steps to change the world at large, the latter bucking tradition and taking mini steps that changed my very personal world.  And now they’re both gone, and it’s left my heart breaking at the edges, the middle, and inside. 

I vacillate between overwhelmed with depression and at the same time, rage against the world that would leave me (and women) behind and out of the rooms where decisions are being made.  I can’t stand the unfairness—something my mom instilled in me and one that RBG challenged and defeated time and again—unfairness on the basis of sex, gender, race.  

I comfort at the RBG tributes here,  here, and here. 

And I remember that we are not alone, even if we feel like it.  My daughters can’t imagine a world where a teacher would be fired for being pregnant.  Yet that was “the norm” when RBG was a young lady, and would also have been just passing by when my mom embarked on her college career.  I will not forget and I will keep fighting as long as there is air in my lungs to breathe.  Even when I feel beyond tired and want to cry.  We can do this, if only in our hearts, then our minds, then our words, then our actions: 


p.s. Rage donating to campaigns to support flipping seats Blue via Actblue.  Specifically donating to: 

Amy McGrath, KY (polls are all over the place, but would dream a dream if she could win)

Mark Kelly, AZ (he can sit right away if he’s elected, because it’s a special election)

Sara Gideon, ME

Jaime Harrison, SC

Pat Timmons-Goodson, NC (Obama judge appointee that the Senate blocked, now carries a lead for US Congressional Rep) 

Apparently, I’m not alone in doing this—record breaking donations poured in last Friday night.  Thank goodness.  


p.p.s. women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights

Friday, September 18, 2020

RBG - no no no please I can't say goodbye to you

The incredible RBG passed away today, and my heart dropped down to my toes.  She worked tirelessly to secure fundamental rights for women and reached into the hearts of so many, including men and children, including my DD1, to teach us about what can be done if we put our minds and strength behind our words and action.

2020:  I can't even with you anymore.

Friday, September 11, 2020

Remembering 9/11, the path I’ve been walking, and some COVID coping…

I can't believe it's been 19 years since 9/11.  Last year, I was fortunate to take my family to see One World Trade Center and the 9/11 memorial fountains, which are immense in their beauty and expression of the collective grief of what happened that day.  I'm including the link to the 'top 10 secrets' about the memorial that are moving (I especially connected with the story of the "Survivor Tree").

I can't help but think of all the challenges that we're facing of late and circumstances that we've encountered as we navigate this COVID-19 pandemic.  

This is part of why it’s been so difficult to keep up and record life on the blog—concerns about health, safety for my family, then my staff at work, my friends scattered like seeds on a breeze throughout the country.  Parenting kids who were suddenly in virtual school, navigating telework schedules because of no childcare and then spring turned into summer (and summer break).  Disclosures of the girls’ father’s temper tantrums that escalated earlier this year and supporting my youngest through it all...

Navigating coparenting with said ex-husband whose emails get bitchier and more accusatory as time goes on (how is that possible, lol??), and managing the PTSD that comes up with dealing with his negativity and nastiness.  My shields were just getting thinner and thinner.

And hubby having his own breakthrough in therapy and realizing his issues about his parent’s infidelity have everything to do with his (unfounded) insecurities with me and my (healthy) friendships and (very limited, due to COVID) time away from him.  Being on top of each other 100% is insane, like some days I want to run back to my office, lol!

Protesting in support of Black Lives Matter, and swimming upstream in my professional organization, attempting to make meaningful change to systemic racism in the workplace.  (Very fortunate that there are allies and supportive folks in place, but how do you actually dismantle racism? There’s no quick fix, so have my learning hat on and doing my best not to f!# it up—listening and empathy is a key first step). 

Being thankful also to have a job and be employed when so many have lost their jobs…how lucky we are to have financial support in terms of 401(k) plans and savings and income… 

Both girls have now entered a new school year and how is it possible that I have a high schooler in the house?  Omg!!  Doing my best to give them space and also always be there for them, so they know they’re loved, at the same time, putting boundaries on sh*++y behavior, because who isn’t acting a little sh*++y given the circumstances? 

Some days I wake up ready to face the world and this pandemic and the political craziness of my country.  Other days, I want to roll over and go back to bed.

Putting one foot in front of the other has to be enough.  It may not make up for the losses of 9/11 or the suffering on this planet, but being alive is our gift of the present, even it's sheer luck we're here together.

COVID-19 Coping strategies that have helped:

Exercise—so key for me:  Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who work out almost every day.  It improves my brain so much—I see it as driving the clouds of depression away by the wave of my arm, or weights, or running stride.  (Surfing, when I can dawn patrol before work, is just the best for combatting negativity and reminding me that the world can still be beautiful). 

COVID-Cocktail time:  After work and before dinner.  I tried to restrict this to just the week end…lasted about two weeks of the last five months, lol.  Honestly one cocktail will do it, usually with the hubby and facetiming with a friend before dinner—has been so much fun!  (Sometimes, having a zoom cocktail hour, too.) 

Staycation time (kind of a miracle we were able to do this):  we were able to take the girls on a covid-19 staycation at a friend’s COVID-19 cleaned condo by the sea for a few days, we even brought a BFF for each of them for an overnight, so they could have friend time.  

Also, hubby and I got a sweet sweet deal at a fancy resort hotel for a few nights, right by the ocean.  Everything but the room and housekeeping was closed, so it was like “glam camping,” we brought a cooler full of snacks and drinks (they did refill the cooler for us every day), and with the microwave, we basically hid away from COVID and relaxed and swam and read books and had lots of quality time together.  That will be the only time we do this until he goes back to work full-time, but the deal was just so amazing and too good to be true (half of what we’d pay under normal circumstances). 

Reading:  Been escaping by reading both light (Reapers, Inc series, urban fantasy young adult) and heavy books (White Fragility, hands down a great explanation of structural racism—how it came to be, how it’s perpetuated…and I hope on what we can do about it, but I’m only 50% through).

Netflixing/Priming/Disney+:  A couple recent fun movies, Booksmart, Overboard (remake, which apparently got terrible reviews, and while the beginning was shaky, I was charmed), The Hustle (also a remake--Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), and binging on Umbrella Academy.  The second season of _The Boys_ is out, but Homelander is so awful, I don’t think I’ll make it.  And…if you want something to truly escape and walk you down nostalgia lane, Cobra Kai!  Cobra Kai started out on Youtube, then Netflix picked it up—it basically picks up 20 years after the Karate Kid, and if you make it through the first few (super short) episodes, you will be hooked!! (Again, if you’re nostalgic for the 80s, lol, this is not fine art!) 

Meditation:  I’ve been using Insight Timer, an app that has free guided meditations from everything to sleep to relax to connecting with your intuition.  You can choose your time frame (5, 10, 15, etc  minutes) and filter by voice, background music, and more. 

Friday, August 14, 2020

Survive, Live, Thrive Update

What I’ve been doing since March:

  • Little sister disclosed that her father’s temper scares her.
  • Little sister disclosed how her father hurt her “this one time” when he threw a book at her and left a ‘red mark.’
  • Little sister drew pictures of dad yelling at her because she spilled water.  He has wings and a tail and she is crying.
  • Play therapist says this does not rise to the level of reporting abuse.
  • Play therapist says I do not want to have an overworked, underpaid social worker making decisions about my family.
  • We’ve created code words for little sister to use.  Let’s say it’s watermelon
  • One watermelon is dad hurts my feelings, two watermelons is that it’s really bad, three watermelons is that I really need you to do something about it, mom. L
  • Little sister says she feels relieved that it’s “not a secret anymore” and also makes us promise not to tell him. 
  • Play therapist and I reinforce with little sister that dad’s decisions are about dad and they are not her fault.
  • Over the summer we meet regularly with the play therapist and little sister says she wants to handle the watermelons by herself.
  • I still check in from time to time about watermelons though, she shares a few more stories and another picture at play therapy.  It’s a picture of dad yelling at her and she’s standing there with a sad face, but in her mind ‘bubble’ she’s thinking about playing with her friends.  
  • This has brought up a ton of PTSD for me and have been seeking therapy support to process it all and cope with the disclosures.
  • I discover from big sisters texting that dad called big sister a fucking asshole because she is beating him at super smash bros.  Great, really great.  She’s venting to her friend but after all caps venting, she finishes with: okay, bye.
  • I’m kind of awed and impressed by all of the colorful language big sister used, at first she used asterisks, like F*ck, but by the end, all words were in all cap and spelled out.
  • Before extended dad vacation, both sisters forgot prescription toothpaste that they need to use per dentist’s orders and were scheduled to see the dentist the day after they returned.  Ex refused to meet me for three days, so I finally dropped it off at his house, per my attorney’s advice.
  • Ex yelled at in the street:  “You’re trespassing!”  To which I responded, “The kids need to use their toothpaste once a day, Bye!” And then got into my car, cried and drove away.
  • Attorney told me I could change the parenting time.  I decide to pursue, at least to see what the options are, but do not want to re-litigate and will only move forward if there's a guarantee I can improve parenting time.
  • After analyzing details of the case, attorney realized it’s not a slam dunk.
  • Sort this out in therapy, but really, decided to be peace with not seeking further litigation.  Just glad I have a badA$$ attorney who will defend me if the ex and his girlfriend with deep pockets ever tries any litigation. (Best offense is a good defense).
  • Hanging in there as best as I can.

  

Good things I’ve done during the pandemic

  • Learning about big sister’s love for anime and marathon watching it with the girls.
  • Taking both of the girls surfing for the first time—each on their own time, and seeing them love it!
  • Staycation because no tourists in town and enjoying the peace and quiet and fun of family time away from the house.
  • Walking our doggie G every day for a mile.
  • Cooking little sister breakfast every morning and sitting and eating breakie and lunch together, because teleworking.
  • Linking volunteer attorneys giving free legal advice to folks who are trying to access the family court system and don’t have an attorney.
  • Surfing myself and having an Instagram photographer capture a photo!
  • Watching:  The Last Kingdom and The Umbrella Academy on Netflix for escape.  (I didn’t realize that I’d be so bloodthirsty in Last Kingdom, LOL!)