Friday, September 24, 2010

And so it begins again


I stumbled upon an audition this evening, that (if it were granted) I could still make. So I am submitting for it on Monday. And so it begins again--suddenly I find myself searching through records, as it occurs to me that summer is ending and so auditions may be beginning. I am mulling over paying the moola to re-subscribe to some audition listings, which I let lag during my pregnancy and recovery...but now she's one, and I've done a few auditions since her birth, and well--I feel I'm meant to do more.

You know the Indigo Girl lyric "I could go crazy on a night like tonight, summer's beginning to give up her fight. Every thought's a possibility, voices are heard, and nothing is seen...." I love the way that captures my feeling of fall. The wind is blowing leaves around, the yard is green but the air is cool, and things are growing and dying at the same time. This little transition is my very favorite. From summer to fall.

And so it begins again.

I am wanting to sing everything. I am dancing in my head and imagining a thinner me--finally wearing the dress my husband bought me that's never fit. I am the mother of a toddler, talking to her and having fun enjoying my time in a store, not wiping up after a mewling baby. I am back in an active spiritual life. I definitely prefer the timing of the Jewish New Year. After all, does anything feel new in January? But the harvest--that is the time of renewal, I think.

And so it begins again!

I read the first two chapters. I wrote down what I ate today BEFORE I ate it (though I'd probably get a B for accuracy, at least I had a new plan). I feel thinner. I am yelling at my husband due to the lack of sugar's placating effect on me. I am fully me, and fully waiting for a new year. I want a couple of singing jobs. I don't want to be asked what I've been doing for the gap in my resume. I want to inspire some students to really do something artistically valuable.

And so it begins again.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Exhaustion & Depression


As you can see by the title of this blog, this is going to be a real hoot.

Actually, I've learned over the last few years of my life that exhaustion leads to a physical and then emotional depression in me. These are short lived. In fact, one great night of sleep and it's pretty much gone....just....God help me for the night before.

I think the only reason this has stood out to me recently is that my schedule is much more normal than it's ever been, and generally, I'm much more tired.

Baby S is not really sleeping for the past few nights. Actually, I should say that last night, she got a fair amount of sleep (maybe 10:45 pm-7:15am, I think). But the preceding nights, I was up several times, finally to give in and put her in my bed, assuring both hubby and I a terrible night's sleep filled with being kicked in the ribs and a little space heater (the baby) shoved up into your back. My wrists, curled around her, the pillow and God knows what else, are still swollen. My back is moaning as I type. Couple all of those nights with three days of teaching and today, my Super Long day, I feel like crying.

So here's what I've realized....that "feeling like crying" also means I'm depressed. I feel miserable. I'm angry, I'm depressed, I'm hungry (dammit) and I feel nothing has ever or will ever go right in my life.

And so here's the epiphany...THAT'S THE EXHAUSTION TALKING! This doesn't mean it feels any better, but at least I know it's not true.

What's running through my head is a whole lifetime of this....how many of my college depressions were brought on by whole nights of being out with friends or studying until the wee hours? And that opera apprentice program where I wanted to kill myself and maybe take a few others out with me? I was pretty freaking tired there too.

I am in bed. Because I'm exhausted tonight, I can't sleep. After all--it isn't a matter of being sleepy. It's that full body, can't get off the chair, everything hurts (even blinking) tired.

I can't wait for Friday.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Free From the Land of Cable

Posts like this make me feel a little trite, but I have to write them.

Iowa has had some challenges, some things I struggle with, and most of them have been surprising. It has also brought me some really fantastic things that I've waited my whole life to do. One of the worst things about Iowa has been the cable.

Yeah, you heard me right, the cable.

The local cable company (it's really a monopoly--there's another company but they're very small) has been ridiculous to work with. Supplying our phone, internet and tv, they've really had us by the throat every time they ....hmmmm....accidentally disconnected us and couldn't come out to fix this problem for a week, or charged us 40 bucks because we bought a new tv and they had to do about five minutes of reconnecting us, or had the phone work (occasionally), raised our bill by about 70 per cent without any notice, etc etc....

So we finally took the plunge and went satellite. I called to disconnect with the cable company and ended up talking to EIGHT people in one night. It was only fitting that our end with this company involved me screaming (in my most frightening non-operatic I'm going to kill you voice) MANAGER! MANAGER! MANAGER! Before hanging up on the first idiot. He really was an idiot. I actually didn't get the problems all solved until someone transferred me to the WRONG department and I ended up in the United States. Ahhhh, sweet mistakes. For the first time in 6 people, someone actually laughed when I said something funny. A sign that we were off script and speaking the same language. *sigh*

So the dish tv has been good so far, and the old-school phone that plugs into the phone jack is a dream! But we have a non-working remote for the small tv in the bedroom, where I abscond for "football night". (this is monday for anyone in my family who has no idea).

On football night, hubby gets pizza and watches whatever team is playing, and I bake a squash and watch the girliest crap I can in the bedroom. It's really surprising how much I enjoy football night--and honestly, if i could get someone to give me a facial, it would be perfect.

So on this particular night, we could only get the remote to work if we used it from the living room. This means I would yell out a channel preference and hubby would change the tv channel. It was pretty strange. I'd just yell "Is Family Guy on somewhere?" (not that this is girly tv, it's just not football) and he'd change the channel. There was a period of two minutes where i was staring at a picture of the moon with the time in hours, minutes and seconds. I don't know what happened there, but eventually he found Law & Order. Both of those shows seem to be in constant syndication (along with Everybody Loves Raymond) so it's better to just learn to enjoy them. Especially when your remote control is watching a football game.

Baby S is in the "putting stuff in stuff" stage. It's her favorite activity. This week I have pulled the hairbrush out of the toilet, her sippy cup out of the garbage (twice) dog food out of the dog water bowl, a cottage cheese container out of the bathtub (she got it from the recycling) and her out of a small hole in the ground.

As you can tell it was a slow night. We have 18 dollars in the bank until I get payment from a few voice students. (thank God for voice students!) but all in all, not bad. Oh, and the squash was excellent.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Letter to My Friend on the Day Her Son Was Born



It's been a pretty long journey for the two of us, huh?

I have written you a few of these letters over the last 30 years or so, in awe of time going by, but today I am as excited as if I'd had a child myself. I am wishing so much that I could be with you, thousands of miles away, lying in a hospital bed, wishing I could wash my hair and sit up for a meal.

I do remember imagining that someday we would live next door to each other with our husbands and babies, except I always had that caveat of how I would be a famous singer. We never did parallel in the way we expected. Instead most of our journey has been times far apart followed by times close together. We are like the pattern of a double helix--crossing each other at different moments, only to leave, knowing somehow, as always happens, our spiritual paths will cross again. We have struggled to understand each other's beliefs, we have lived on opposite ends of the country mostly. We have played in other parts of the world together. We have fought like cats and dogs, and sent loving cards to each other. We have battled our individual addictions in our own ways, and longed for things that were probably bad for us during times we never talked. We have long outlasted all other relationships.

You found someone to love you before I even knew I wanted that for myself. By the time I was feeling pretty for the first time in my life you were getting married. I sang at your wedding, and flew in like a celebrity to make sure I was the one helping you on with your beautiful dress. And years later, when I got married on the first anniversary of our friend's death, which changed you forever, you quietly flew the other direction and fixed every wrinkle in my dress, holding in your sorrow.

I am so excited at this new crossing of our paths, having babies at the ripe old age of 36 and 37 (because it was never really our goal). It's a new beginning and an expected part of this cycle! I hope to watch our children grow and hopefully, for them to share any part of the love we've had for each other would be so incredible.

But most of all tonight I think I feel lucky, and I feel sad for those who never know this kind of lifelong friendship. All the ups and downs, and at the end of the day I feel like that kid is mine as much as yours. I am so excited for you to know the joys and expectations of the word "mom". I am excited for you to have a baby with a cold lie on your chest and cry because you moved a millimeter away from them (to get your cup of water) because they can't possibly feel better unless they are surrounded by you.

I love you--I love your little son who has no name yet, and I pray God's blessings on him, all over him, making him the most wonderfully gentle man we've ever known.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Annnnd it's Thursday

So, the new schedule has arrived. It goes like this:

Monday: Hubby is off work. We sleep in (ish), I don't teach much(ish--I do teach in the evening) and we try to do things that feel like "a day off" (eating lunch out, random projects, 2 hours in Target wondering why I'm spending two hours in Target, and probably a drive somewhere (even if it's 10 minutes away) that we've never been.

Tuesday: Hubby is still off, but we know I'm working a lot. We do a few things in the first part of the day, and then in the evening I teach about 5 students. We still do things that feel like "a day off" but I'm exhausted, and the house is cleaner.

Wednesday: I am up first, I make lunch for everyone, kiss hubby goodbye, drive myself and the baby (probably late) to my Weds morning Bible study, have a picnic in the park with the baby, drop her off at daycare, and teach 7 students (one after another) in the afternoon. I feel like collapsing when I pick her up at 4:30. Hubby and I both sit in a semi-coma in the living room at the end of the day.

Thursday: I am tired, but I can get up later. I make sure a workout happens, even though it hurts. Drop baby off at daycare midday, teach again all afternoon, come home feeling F-R-I-E-D and sometimes teach an evening student. I make dinner and hide away in the bedroom to watch Project Runway. I consider all the things I really should do, like go to the 12-step meeting I've wanted to try, or rehearse with the band for church, but I'm trying so hard to put an exhausted baby to sleep, I don't get to.

Friday: For the most part, this is my day off. I get up late, do a thousand loads of laundry, do TWO workouts, eat less, and teach one or two students (whose mothers watch the baby during the lessons) in the afternoon. It's nice. Hardly hurts at all. Hubby comes home at a normal time and we might even have a dinner out. Might.

Saturday: Morning free, hubby works at 1:30, usually I teach a student around noon. We try to do a bunch of my favorite things on this day (like farmer's market, or a nice walk) but I usually end the day a little bored and alone.

Sunday: Church, lunch, no students, sending hubby off to work with a nice packed lunch, maybe even visiting him. Finishing up the night alone, and probably falling to sleep before he gets home.

I lost two pounds this week. And tomorrow is Friday

Monday, September 13, 2010

Too Much to Think About, Really

I just entered my calories for today and it's about 1550. I really should be pleased with that number, since I know I can lose weight at that number, but since I was aiming for 12, I'm somewhat disappointed.

I also took today off of working out. I am so sore from exercising that I just wanted one day to rest on my muscles. However, I believe that muscles need to continuously be pushed, so tomorrow I am exercising first thing!!!

Baby S fell down a step today, then off a bed, then over a gate. *sigh* She's got a little red mark on her cheekbone. Amazingly resilient, and tired, I think. She slept a short night last night, is sniffly, and only a one hour nap today (slightly less, I think).

I taught two students today...two very talented students whose problems are easily identifiable. Those are the easiest students to teach--you can build them up with real and authentic compliments, and yet also repair the things that are not going well. Tomorrow I have 6 students between 3:30 and 7:00. I am tired thinking about it.

Then early the next morning I get up and start Wednesday--my longest day. When you're freelance, each day has its own personality. Monday's kind of a big dog....fun, friendly, but there's always a little work involved.

I haven't begun to read the diet solution book. I can only assume I'm nervous to read it, as when I want to dive into something, I just dive in.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

A time in September

Good weekend. I did a rehearsal tonight for my "little singing gig" in Iowa City. This is a paid gig singing a composer's recital in a chorus of about 10 people. The music is jazzy, difficult, and pretty. So I am excited. I am fighting the feelings of this being "lower" somehow than what I've done before. For an hour, I was doing what I feel I do best. On the way home, I sang so much and so loudly in the car that I was hoarse. I sang everything I could think of. So let me just take this as a sign of being happy. I played piano in church, which I always enjoy, had lunch with the hubby and baby, worked out twice, and sang in a rehearsal. THAT is a good day.

The weather is beautiful. Do you remember a time in September when grass was green and grain was yellow? I do.

This week has a lot of teaching voice, (a lot), more lead inspection, my first week of BSF (a bible study where I get to hang out with some young mothers that I really enjoy) my first week of attending our small group in a while, and hopefully the beginning of a nice routine. I teach 24 students this week. Whew. Let's see what that feels like--Starbucks, here I come (I'll have to start putting that into my food plan).

I wrote down what I ate today, but have decided not to list it here. I'm feeling very "clean". Very honest about what I'm eating, exercising a lot, and I got a book from the library called the Beck Diet Solution, about using cognitive therapy in dieting. I'm really eager to see how that goes.

Maybe I will spend the first few hours tomorrow morning reading that :) What a nice thought. Generally, my students are mostly on Tues, Weds and Thurs, so Monday and Friday are easy. Generally.

Nothing too profound in this blog entry, huh?

Baby S has learned to brush her hair. You say..."Where's your brush?" and she goes and finds it and pushes it to her head. It's amazing.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The year of the Ox


Today was a good day. We had a lot of routine: Walk in the morning, lunch together, nap. We had a few "second times": drop off at daycare, teaching at the high school. We also had a fair amount of miraculous events: Baby stayed during a voice lesson at home, house was actually presentable, got through the day and felt pretty darn good.

I am avoiding thinking about the fact that my baby has lead poisoning and it is likely that I do too. I am treating her in every way they're telling me. I am planning out every meal for her so that she eats iron and vitamin c together. I am praying for her. But I know that I, with my anemia and headaches, need to get tested too. I just don't want to hear of anything else about me that isn't healthy. I am strong as an ox, I tell you!! I am.

I am meeting tomorrow night with a composer who is doing a master's recital at UNI. I am going to be singing in a "small schola". I do not actually know how many people that is. Isn't that awesome? It's been so long since I heard a term i didn't know, *sigh*. I am singing in this schola (in a recital) because the director of the local opera company recommended me. And it's paid! So that means that someone (who hasn't hired me) does think of me as good...it means getting involved with some local music. It means spending my Sunday nights singing and learning and growing. Ahhhh....little things mean a lot.

Today is Day 4, I believe. Day 4 of writing it, of owning up to it. That kind of thing. My abs hurt, which is weird because my c section keeps me from feeling certain sections of my stomach.

FOOD
Breakfast
1 1/2 cups multigrain cheerios (measured in a measuring cup!)
milk

Lunch
egg salad w/ lowfat mayo
lettuce, whole wheat bun
1 serving baked chips
1 apple

snack
iced coffee, soymilk, no sugar
piece of the coolwhip/jello pie from last night

super long time between lunch and dinner so...
snack
1 apple
1 cookie (rrgh)

Dinner
4 oz (weighed) lean pork
1 1/2 cups brown rice
a bunch! of grilled veggies (brussel sprouts, mushrooms, onions...)
salsa
1 corn on the cobb (after dinner)

evening
1/2 cup measured lowfat ice cream (totally unsatisfying as far as portions go)

then, I made myself not eat a piece of chocolate!

WORKOUT
40 minute "hillwalk" up all of the big hills in the area.
7 minutes of biggest loser for wii before baby threw herself on the board and started crying.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Day at the New Job

Baby S went down a little early for her midday nap, and so I had plenty of time to write down names of students, plan for my first day, clean a bit and pack up her bag. I put off showering a bit, but finally found myself dressed a few minutes early. I went out to move the car closer to the house to load everything up. And it didn't start.

There is always that brief moment where you just close your eyes and wince.

I went next door and no one was home. I knew the battery was dead and I probably just needed a jump. I had no idea how I had let the battery die, but there you go. I ran across the street to the church where there were quite a few cars. A receptionist told me that everyone was in the mirror. There was a moment where I stared at her, trying to silently say: Christians? Here's your chance to serve... and it must have worked. Moments later a man came out of the church (oddly, this is a man I'd never met whom I've been emailing about teaching voice to his choir students. Go figure)

He came over, I found the jumper cables. We started my car. He told me to say hi to the choral director at the high school. I tried to be polite but I was dying to get out of there. I packed the sleeping baby in the car. I took off for daycare. I dropped the baby off in a crazy hurry...would have been nice to chat with daycare.

I drove to the school, late. I called the director and left a (far too frantic) message about my lateness. I arrived at the school about 8 minutes late (amazing) and taught five students back to back. It was enjoyable. I do love teaching. Of five students only one remembered to give me a check, however.

Upon arriving home I was way too tired and way too hungry. But satisfied by the day.

I also haven't mentioned that the local opera director apparently recommended me for a composer to sing in his recital. So I am performing next month! Not exactly a dream job...but paid. And I didn't even have to try out :)

Here's my food for the day.
breakfast:
2 eggs
1/2 piece of toast (Shared w/ baby)

yogurt snack

lunch/afternoon
1 apple
2 slices toast with 1 oz cheese & mustard
1 little debbie cake (ugh)
1/2 cup baked chips
very small glass orange juice

dinner
meatloaf--probably 5-6 oz
1 very large baked potato w/ salsa
green beans
(I then ate hubby's potato skin)

after dinner
1 large slice sugar free jello/cool whip pie with strawberries
another small baked potato with salsa. (then forced myself to stop before it got ugly)

WORKOUT: 45 minute brisk walk with baby & dogs

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Day 2: More Calories, More Exercise, and More Exhaustion

I am so tired.

This morning was the lead inspection. At 11 we rushed an hour north for hubby to do a Toys for Tots meeting. I shopped at Goodwill. We ate lunch out. We rushed back for my lesson, and my student (FOR THE THIRD TIME) cancelled an hour before her lesson. We met up with our new daycare provider where Baby S had the time of her life, so I have a good feeling. I am also praying I have wisdom on this.

I came home and hubby and I had a short argument. Then I worked out so hard I thought my eyeballs would explode. I still kind of have a feeling like I could throw up--3 and a half hours later. And tomorrow I start a new job.

Side note: Baby S was so adorable today. I don't know how to describe it adequately. She walked through the restaurant yelling funny things at people and smiled all day.

I am falling asleep as I type this. So here's food.

morning:
1 cup of cereal
1 per cent milk
(1/4 of Baby S's dry pancake)

midday snack:
1 cup baked spicy chips
1 Liter of water

lunch (and I wissssh there were some better choices here):
6 buffalo wings
celery stalks
carrot sticks
about 1/4 cup cole slaw
small shared portion of onion rings

dinner:
grilled turkey sandwich
green beans
child's portion of black forest ice cream.

Workout: 45 minutes of intense "biggest loser for wii"

Monday, September 6, 2010

Day 1

I felt a certain conviction this morning. I know, this is something I've felt so many times before, but I believe that something can happen the 100th time. It can. So I am calling this day 1 of the time I finally got my weight to where I believe it should be.

In order to make this time different, I'm going to do something I've never done. I'm going to "say" my weight (type it) out loud...to a bunch of people. I'm going to own it, albeit horrifyingly embarrassing, and I'm going to declare that I'll never hit this high weight again. It's the most I've ever weighed.

So today is September 6, 2010 and my weight is 264.4

At the start of the summer it was 7 pounds less. So this has not been a good summer. I see that weight and I cringe. I want to tell myself a bunch of ugly things. But at the request of my husband, I'm going to remember that I was loved at this weight. Today I am going to write below what I ate (I know, not exactly a gripping blog report) and I'm going to reward myself (internally) for each and every day I came back to do it.

Today was a nice day. It was relaxed, beautiful and full of smiles. I taught a lesson, i got more students, I went on a trip to a small town with hubby and baby in tow. I went to bed early.

morning:
1 cup low sugar cereal
1% milk

lunch:
big grilled chicken salad (at a diner)
coffee with 2% milk, water
1 TBS ranch dressing

snack:
frozen strawberries blended with 1 tbs sugar free jam and 1% milk (about 1/2 mug)
1 cup baked bbq chips

dinner:
1 ear corn (no butter)
cucumber salad (cucumbers, red onions, homemade salsa, 1 tbs lowfat sour cream)
1 cup white rice w/ hot salsa
5 oz (weighed) bbq skinless chicken breast

after dinner:
1 fat free yoplait yogurt
2 tbs diced pineapple

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How Can I Keep from Singing?


My husband has had so many Sundays off this month, I fear I might get used to it. First a vacation, then a make-up day for working a holiday, and then another one??!!! We had a nice day today, pretty much a normal Sunday for most people I guess, but ours is special because weekends are usually me alone with the baby.

I just got a job teaching at a local high school two days a week in the afternoons. I will now have 9 students on Weds & Thurs, and will independently contract (meaning the school will not set rates, collect money or help me collect) and that is fine with me! It's just like what I do now but I didn't have to go find these students and I have a better chance of no last-minute cancellations or crazy rescheduling.

Also *dum dum dummmmm* I have to find daycare for those two days, something which has proved to be just about impossible here. The three reasons are: 1. most people want to do full-time daycare 2. everyone I ask has a friend or family who watches/watched their children and 3. I am made aware again of how few people I know well here. As of tomorrow, I think I will start calling people who are advertising, rather than try to ask for recommendations. So far that has been a dry well.

I watched a bit of a musical on tv tonight, and found myself smiling like an idiot, then doing a search on youtube, trying to figure out if I can sing musical theater. I always want to sing. It's funny, like a constant undercurrent...something undetected in my blood. It's always there. And wanting to sing involves a myriad of other things. I want to sing in front of people, with an orchestra, with a challenge, with partners, with rehearsals, the risk of failure, the promise of success. It's all there. Wanting to sing is not really ever just wanting to sing in the shower, unfortunately. It's always there.

I want to write about another thing...which is the discovery of lead in my daughter's blood. Ugh. Thank God the tests were done. Thank God the nurse is coming again on Tuesday, thank God she's positive about the whole thing and says we can nip this in the bud. Because I feel guilty and dumb. I am so mad that we couldn't keep our work away from her. I am mad that I was so impatient to finish the work on the porch that I risked having her too close to the whole thing, or not showering before I touched her. I am eager to see what our Tuesday inspection reveals. I am also scared, and sad. I am hoping with my whole heart that by next month it is more than half gone. I am praying that nothing comes of it. That we get rid of it and Baby S is perfect again. Praying.