Friday, February 27, 2009
It's a really freeing feeling. But also a scary feeling since we now don't have a home base. Something tangible to hold onto back in the states. What we got for the home in the end was even scarier.
But I know we are luckier than most since we actually sold our house. Made more than what we owed and didn't have to wait for more than seven months. Everything we read and hear tells us that the market is going to keep plummeting and we didn't sell at the bottom. I sure hope that is the case. Those are the things we just need to keep repeating to ourselves everytime we wonder if we did the right thing.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I am sure if you close your eyes and listen very closely you may even hear a note or two 'floating' your way. Try really really hard. You know you can!
Well, for one thing, I am sweating like a pig. After the 10 days of rain and coolish weather we had the last couple of weeks, we have had humid, sticky weather yesterday and today. I mean close to 100% humidity. I can feel it in my joints. You can cut the air with a knife - almost literally... it is grey and ozoney. All last evening it thundered and blew a gale and rained a bit, but by sun up, the heat and humidity was on again.
Now, stye. Hmmmm... goes well with pig. And the kids rooms. And my bedroom growing up (yes mom, I know). But no, sadly that is not the case. Andrew now has a lovely stye on his left eye. I swear he has a pre-disposition to getting infections. This one is getting redder and sorer by the hour. He is not very happy. And definitely not happy with the optical antibiotic ointment that has to be put into his eye four times a day. Fun fun fun.
Monday, February 23, 2009
So, laid down, he took my pulse again, assessed by stress level (still too high -- duh!) and poked needles into my feet and shoulders.
Felt a slight throbbing pain behind my left eye -- the trigger point for my migraines. Stayed in place for the whole time and waited till he came back and let him know what I was feeling. He said that sometimes when he tries to open up the blood flow via the shoulder point, it can also trigger the thing its supposed to help out.
So, I am just going to have to wait it out and see.
Deb had to give her mom a certificate, so her mom popped in for a couple of minutes before she went to get a manicure. Her mom brought a couple of shirts for Deb's husband and they discussed shopping. Then when she left, she gave her a hug and a kiss just like my mom does.
It's moments like that that really hit me hard. When I am not even thinking about it -- I see something like that, I get a moment of deja vu and it was really all I could do to keep from crying... Knowing I can't just call my mom up and meet her for lunch or a coffee. Most of the time, I can't even pick up the phone and call her. I can text her but its just not the same.
Definitely a reason why it would be a very difficult choice to live here forever.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
It went really well, except for the fact that as they knocked at the door Emmalee was throwing one of her classic tantrums. A real peach of one. I was lucky to even hear them knocking.
But on Sunday, we met Deb and Greg for Yum Cha, or as I knew it, Dim Sum. We went from two kids on Friday to four on Saturday to SEVEN on Sunday morning for Yum Cha. At least when we went into the restaurant, there were four adult looking individuals walking in with the 7 under 9 -- or I think they might have just escorted us right back out.
Yum Cha was what I expected, little plates of chinese foods served on carts to our table, over and over again. Problem was I needed Debbie to translate the foods to me even tho the hostesses were speaking 'English' (with the Chinese accent -- no Aussie accents used here) Had no clue other than looking at the exteriors and then still couldn't always tell.
In the end, the jello/jelly was the big hit with the kids. The prawn dumplings and prawn in rice noodles were my favorites. Can't say I am a big fan of the red bean buns. The kids scarfed down the battered whiting fish (eyeballs and all). And no major spillages or meltdowns. All in all, a good meal with that many!
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Every day I sit down to write in this blog and every day I come up empty. Life has its its ups and downs. Its funny bits and its tough bits. They are happening every day, but I am not seeing the excitement that everyone else does. Maybe I am going thru a slump, maybe not.
I got thru the motions. The kids aren't neglected. We get to school on time. Everyone is fed. We get to our activities. All of them. Things are really busy. That could be what it is.
I'll try to write, but can't guarantee
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Sunday morning I woke up with the same headache, skipped church to get a bit more silence but felt like I owed it to the kids to feel better enough to celebrate valentines day again.
Kids got their gifts -- were waiting and waiting and waiting. They sure were excited and happy. Didn't even notice that they didn't get any chocolates or candy. I think I like Australian way of life that way.
I have to say that she is spending time with Marcia like a surrogate Gramma and since Marcia doesn't have any grandkids of her own, I would like to think that our kids are like the ones she would have, too. In fact, if Emmalee had her choice, she would be over at their house multiple times a day...
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Arrived at the US Consulate at 7.45am for our 8am appointment. To our surprise, it was like walking into the DMV with security. UNBELIEVABLE!!! Roped off line to go thru security check and then when we got to the desk to show our passports and appointment paper, which only had Jim's name (you could only put one name in online) the security guy wasn't going to let me in because my name wasn't listed -- broke with what he was trained to do. Had to ask his supervisor for permission.
Got thru that hurdle, passed the metal detector and then got ALL of our electronic devices taken away. That's right, no phones, no ipods, no nothing. Even took my purse and gave me a lousy claim number for when we were done. Sent us to sit in a row of chairs and told us to wait. And wait. Just like the DMV.
Eventually, row by row we were allowed into an elevator to go to the 59th floor where we were checked again, then buzzed in and FINALLY on "American soil". Took another number and proceeded to spend the next hour dealing with the paperwork to get our documents notarized.
Have to say thanks to mom and dad for spelling my name with that extra 'h' -- Nichole sure throws people off. They had to reprint all 11 notary pages because it had 'Nicole' on it instead of 'Nichole' along with 'passpot' instead of 'passport'. You would think the American Consulate could actually spellcheck their legal documents if they are going to charge $45 per notarized page!!!
But we did it and I made it back to Northbridge all before 11am.
Monday, February 9, 2009
So, got the kids booked into afterschool care so I could make my 4.30 appt.
I went in prepared to give it a try but not knowing anyting that would happen other than probably needles...
So, anyway, Ross comes into the room. Asks me to explain what issues I have been having and then has me lie down. He then has me set my hands on my chest and holds my wrist to check my pulse. He then tells me that my pulse is quite slow at resting rate (which I have always known and been proud of). Then he proceeds to explain that its because I am very tense inside my body. A 4 on a scale of 1 to 10 AT REST! So if I experience any stress I automatically shoot up to a 7 or higher. The fight or flight mechanism takes hold and the blood rushes to my head to supply my eyes to they can 'focus on what to do' and by having the blood in my head supply such a vascular area, that is why my head hurts so bad and then stress makes it worse and worse and it becomes are vicious cycle.
I then get to lie down and he placed a needle in each of my hands on each foot and left me to rest quietly for 40 minutes.
The needles just pin-pricked when then went in, but otherwise they weren't noticeable at all. Now I just get to go back once a week and see how long it takes to help me relax and lower my stress levels and reduce my headaches.
Sure hope it works!
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
They play games every Wednesday afternoon until Easter and if it all goes well, we'll keep going!
She said she was able to play a note with the first finger of her left hand and her right hand pinky.
The next two weeks the director has decided to divide the 30+ members in half so that she will be working with the other woodwinds on Tuesday mornings.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Since she is a chip of the old block, Emmalee has decided to take up the flute. Following in her mommy's footsteps. I bought a used flute on ebay to get her started. Tried to get it tuned up at the flute store, but that is a whole story on its own.
The director got the children to sit in a circle in the hall (mind you it was already low 80's with humidity to melt with at 8am) and then one by one he had them try to make a sound/noise out of their instruments. I would say all of them were able to actually make some sort of noise. Emmalee had difficulty when the flute was whole, so he suggested (as I have already) that she just try with the head piece/mouth piece and then she got a nice note out. You could see the smile go from ear to ear.
She will now have band practice both Tuesday mornings and Wednesday after school for an hour each day. I guess now I need to get the flute instructor going since she didn't run from the hall crying. (Not that I expected her to, but wishful thinking to keep costs down and have a couple of free days afterall!)
As she practices, photos and live videos will be posted to keep up with her progress.
Monday, February 2, 2009
Anyway, the topic inevitably drifts to someone's other (or partner as they are called here) and what might have been said to hurt feelings, how late they might be working, who does the majority of the shuttling around to activities. Who does the bulk of the family (including extended) remembering for everyone. Not really a bitch session, but a getting it off your chest session. Funny thing, we all have the same problems, just different days. So it is good to have a different view from other people and even have a chance to chuckle about it!
I am glad I have found the friends I have here. I have found a group of girlfriends who seem to go thru the same things day in and day out that I thought I was the only one -- AND THEY TALK ABOUT IT. So I have someone to commiserate with. And after these coffees, I would say for me, more often than not, I feel better about the man I have at home.
So anyway, when I ran across this article on the internet today, I left like there was a little reporter bugging our little coffee sessions...
Are All Moms Mad at Dad?By Lisa Belkin
The most read story on parenting.com today is “Mad at Dad,” a 4,000-word look at how very angry mothers of young children are at their husbands.
Based on a what author Martha Brockenbrough describes as a survey of 1,000 “nationally representative” mothers from MomConnection, an online opinion panel, the article is a disturbing portrait of motherhood.
“We love our husbands,” she writes, “but we’re mad that we spend more mental energy on the details of parenting. We’re mad that having children has turned our lives upside down much more than theirs. We’re mad that these guys, who can manage businesses or keep track of thousands of pieces of sports trivia, can be clueless when it comes to what our kids are eating and what supplies they need for school. And more than anything else, we’re mad that they get more time to themselves than we do.”
She continues: “We carry so much of this life-altering responsibility in our heads: the doctors’ appointments, the shoe sizes, the details about the kids’ friends. Many dads wouldn’t even think to buy valentines for the class, for example, or know when it’s time to sign kids up for the pre–camp physical, or that curriculum night is next Thursday at 7:30 and you need to hire a sitter and bring a nut-free vegetarian appetizer that can be eaten without a fork. Even moms who work full-time take it upon themselves to store all this data in our already overstuffed heads. We’re the walking, talking encyclopedias of family life, while dads tend to be more like brochures.”
The story is chock full of survey results. Among the nuggets of data are these:
- 46 percent of respondents “get irate with their husbands once a week or more,” Brockenbrough writes. “Those with kids younger than 1 are even more likely to be mad that often (54 percent). About half of the moms describe their anger as intense but passing; 1 in 10 say it’s ‘deep and long-lasting.’ “
- 44 percent are “peeved” that their partners “often don’t notice what needs to be done around the house or with the kids,” a percentage that rises to 54 percent among mothers with three or more children.
- 40 percent say they “are also angry that their husbands seem clueless about the best way to take care of kids.”
- 40 percent “are mad that Dad can’t multitask.” Among those with three or more children, the anger rises here as well, to 46 percent.
- 31 percent say the get little or no “help” from their husbands with chores. “In fact,” Brockenbrough says, the women think the men “generate more” work for the wives to do.
- 33 percent say their husbands “aren’t shouldering equal responsibility and are less concerned than they are about their children’s basic needs, like nutrition and clothing.” For mothers of three or more children that number rises to 41 percent.
- Nearly one-third “complain that parenthood has changed their lives more than their husbands’.”
- One-quarter feel that they spends “more mental energy on parenting than dads do.”
- 50 percent of respondents say “their husbands get more time for themselves. The lack of time off is a huge issue for the moms carrying the most anger. More than 60 percent of the moms who get mad weekly — and almost three-quarters of those who are angry every day — feel this way.”
There are also a stream of anecdotes. Here are some of Brockenbroughs capsule portraits of women (and these are just the ones willing to share their names and hometowns):
And there are worried warning from experts:
“Anger is corrosive,” says Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., the mother of two grown children and a University of Washington sociologist who’s studied couples’ dynamics for decades. “It’s like a termite that starts to reproduce more termites. If you never get rid of the termites, one day you’re going to lean on a wall and it’s going to crumble underneath your weight.”
Redford Williams, M.D., director of the Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University, is blunt about it. “Anger kills,” he says. “It’s not just that it can damage your heart — which it does — but it’s also been found in epidemiological studies to identify people who are more likely to have a heart attack or drop dead from any cause.”
What the story is missing, though, are thoughts from fathers. Do they look in the mirror and see the same clueless, clumsy, self-centered oafs that their wives describe?
Or so we thought...
the description we briefly read when choosing the night that worked for the majority of us:
"Rachel Getting Married" is a contemporary "drama with an aggressive sense of humor" about the return of an estranged daughter to the family home for her sister's wedding. Kym's reemergence throws a wrench into the family dynamics, forcing long-simmering tensions to surface in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking. "Rachel Getting Married" paints a colorful, nuanced family portrait.
We all agreed that aggressive sense of humor was an understatement. And heartbreaking rather overshadowed hilarious and bordered on gutwrenching.
Oh well, it was a night out. We all had a great time together. The weather was beautiful ( a bit on the stuffy side) and the only questionable time was when Nicole and I saw flickers of lightning across the city. And crossed our fingers that it wouldn't actually storm while we were watching since last years girls night at the movies was cancelled.
Made it home by 11.30 and then stayed up watching the end of the Australian Open with Jim. A way too late night, but fun nonetheless.
Emme and Andrew started back to school on Wednesday. Both seem to love their teachers. Emmalee got the teacher she wanted, the one who taught music theory to her last year. Andrew got one of the new teachers, who seems quite taken by his 'cute American accent'. Thank goodness he hasn't lost it yet!!!
Today starts week 2. That means five days of school in a row, rather than the three from last week. That also means all the activities start up in full force:
Monday: free day
Tuesday: 8am Band - E; 6.30-8 Girl Guides - E
Wednesday: 3.30- 4.30 Band - E; 4.30-5.15 Basketball - A
Thursday: 3.30-4 Swimming lessons - E & A
Friday: 4-6 Art Class - E & A
WHOA!!!! That isn't even counting the private flute lessons Emmalee needs as well as some other sessions we need to get her into. And something else if Andrew wants to do it. UGH!
Luckily all the other 'Northbridge Mums' are in similar sinking boats, so we have been sitting down to coffee the last couple of mornings to commiserate. Misery loves company.