Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back to the Grind

Well, I took a little time off from... well, everything! From this blog, as well. I took a trip home to visit my family (where I sadly had to work and continue my school work, but spent most of the week relaxing in the company of my family), then came home to immediately hop in the car for an unexpected weekend in San Francisco with Hubby.

Now, I'm back! I spent most of yesterday just trying to adjust back to the correct time zone (read: napping), but I have so much going on this week with school and work, I just couldn't take any time off today. The month is coming to a close, so I have to get in my final hours for February, and I have several projects that need some serious work for school. I feel a little bit like I'm treading water in a wave pool, but I know myself, and I always manage to pull it off in the end. It just takes a little bit of focus, a little bit of caffeine, and a few reminders about what my ultimate goals are and just how much they mean to me.

I'd like to post something deep and meaningful, but I just haven't the time. Aside from that, there's not that much to say! The vacation(s) was(were) amazing, I'm still riding the high that is having my protective order extended to a year, and, for the time being, my PTSD symptoms are a distant thunderstorm--close enough to make out the rumblings of thunder, but not close enough to see any lightning or roll up the car doors.

C is amazing, as usual. She taught herself how to wheel her wheelchair around the airport this past week, and she wheeled herself around San Francisco a little bit this weekend, too. Now the hard part is keeping her hands off the wheels while she's being pushed! ;) She is happy and healthy, and has been eating like a starved dog these past two weeks, so I'm hoping to see a little bit of a growth spurt soon.

Things with Hubby couldn't be better. I am grateful every day to have him, and I couldn't have been happier to spend the weekend running around SF with him. He is truly a wonderful man, and he's lifted me up through so much lately, I can't imagine my life without him. I'm a little bit in love. ;)

Well, that's about all the time I can afford to spend on things not-work. Back to the grind!

Monday, February 20, 2012


I may not have the ideal body type that I see on television or in magazines, but sometimes I've got to just remind myself that I'm a size 6. That really should be enough.

Especially when I start to wish I looked like I did in high school... when I was a size 8. Just sayin'.

Also, I felt sexy and confident when I was a size 18. There is absolutely no reason not to feel that way now.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Morning Bustle

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I woke up at 6am today. I tried going back to sleep, but my body was too ready to start the day. So here I find myself, two hours later, sipping a peppermint mocha and people watching at Starbucks. I have to say, as much as I adore my little C, it's nice to have a few hours to be out in the real world without having to keep one eye on her at all times (she and Mom are both asleep at home).

There's a study group meeting at a table across from my seat. I can't decide if I miss study groups or not. In undergrad, my study groups always met at the bar and ended with drinks. In grad school, group collaborations are done in online discussion forums, and studying is a solo endeavor. I could probably find a willing study group, but that would require finding a babysitter and driving an hour, and I seem to absorb the material better on my own these days, so there's not much point.

I'm enjoying grad school. The course plan is set for me to finish next year, but I'm considering a second Master's (in Autism), and I've got my heart set on a doctorate, so school won't be behind me for a while yet. That's exactly the way I want it. :)

I miss my husband, and I ache to be spending some bonding time with Her Grace, Lady Gretchen, but it's good to be home. I have mixed feelings about leaving in 3 days. If only Hubby could join me on every trip! Note to self: convince him to go into teaching so we can have summers off together after I finish school. ;)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Hubby Outdid Himself

All my life, I've hated Valentine's Day.

I'm not a cynic. I believe in love--true love, even. Love that conquers all. I love romance. So I didn't hate Valentine's Day because it was too mushy, or even because it was too commercial. I hated it because it never failed to disappoint me.

For as long as I can remember, all I have wanted out of Valentine's Day was to receive a fluffy white kitten with a red bow around its neck. For a few years, I wanted a tabby, for a while a calico... But that kitten with the red bow around its neck, that was my constant dream. I ACHED for it. Since I was 6... Perhaps even younger, although that's as far back as I can remember. And I never got it.

I got flowers. I got chocolates. I even got a spa gift certificate one year... But never that kitten.

This year, we adopted Duchess Poofyhuntershire, and she was to come home on Valentine's Day. I had already written off the day as gifted.

So this afternoon, while I went to the vet to pick up the newest member of our family, Hubby drove around town and picked up a dozen yellow roses (he always gives me yellow because of my Texan heritage), a heart-shaped box of chocolates...

...and a stuffed kitten with a Hubby-curled red ribbon tied around its neck.

He really is the best husband ever. <3

Good Things

C got her brand new wheelchair yesterday afternoon, and today she took it for a test spin around the kitchen: She figured out how to do this all on her own.

I'm just about to go pick up the new kitty from the vet. I can't wait!

In fact, I don't have to wait any longer, so I WON'T wait! :D

Friday, February 10, 2012

What A Great Day!

Today was one of those rare days when I truly get to sleep in as late as I want. Of course, it didn't quite work out that way, because my phone rang at the much-too-early 10:30 and woke me up. How rude! ;)

I had some work to get done today (in fact, at 9pm, I still have a few minutes' worth left to finish), but that's no big deal. It's mindless work, done at my home computer, while sipping Starbucks and listening to music if I feel like it. I don't mind working a few hours a day, especially when I think about the paycheck I'll be getting at the end of the month! ;)

I left the house three times today. The first trip out was to go sell an amp that I haven't been using, so I started the day out by clearing a large item out of my house and getting a handful of cash in exchange. Nice!

The second outing was a total surprise, out-of-the-blue, last-minute trip for something WONDERFUL: We adopted a kitty! I was trying to look up whether it's legal to own potbelly pigs within city limits here (in furtherance of a drawn-out IM joke with a friend about what to give Hubby for Valentine's Day), and I stumbled across the local animal shelter's website with a listing of adoptable pets. I only checked the cats to see if our missing cats happened to be on there, but instead, I found this beautiful little guy, only a few months older than the kitten. I linked his profile to Hubby, who responded by saying he preferred this other (female) cat. I agreed that she was quite lovely, and he pointed out that there were only 30 minutes until the shelter closed for the day, so I'd better get going! Hubby's not the impulsive type, but I guess he sensed that the house has felt a little bit empty since our two adult cats disappeared... In any event, once I had the go-ahead from him, I immediately packed up C, jumped in the car, and drove to the shelter to meet this lovely cat face-to-face! She was just THE sweetest cat I have ever met, she took to C right away, and she seemed like she'd be a perfect fit for our home.... So I signed the papers!

The only downside to the adoption is that she hasn't been spayed yet, and the shelter won't release an animal until it's been altered, so I called up our vet and made a surgery appointment. They're going to spay her on Tuesday, so the shelter will drop her off to be boarded overnight at the vet Monday night, and, once she's recovered from surgery Tuesday afternoon, I get to bring her home!

Because Hubby picked her out, and because my rule has always been female dogs and male cats only, I let him name her. Lady Gretchen Jameson McFluffington, 3rd Duchess Poofyhuntershire. Yeah, I married a strange one. ;) He actually chose Florence, but I vetoed that in favor of Gretchen. The vet said her name was too long for the file, so they're simply calling her Lady Gretchen and ignoring her title of nobility. That's okay, I think we can forgive them for that!

Lady Gretchen Jameson McFluffington, 3rd Duchess Poofyhuntershire.

The third venture out of the house today was to have a rare, delightful dinner out with Hubby and C. We rarely go out because C tends to get overly vocal at the dinner table, and we don't have a sitter, so when Hubby offers it up, I grab at it with both hands!

The highlight of the day was absolutely adopting Duchess Poofyhuntershire, but that wasn't the only bright moment in my day. I also received the copy of the Extended Protective Order in the mail--documentation that my abuser cannot come near me or C for an entire year (after which point, I suspect he'll be in prison for his pending felony charges). Although it's been official for two days, it was really reassuring to get the paperwork in the mail. I feel like framing it and putting it up on the wall!

Yet ANOTHER positive thing happened today (I know, it seems impossible for this much good to occur in a single day!) when I contacted the Disabiliy Resource Center at my university. As it turns out, my mental health diagnoses qualify me for disability services and accommodations. Things like untimed tests, or taking tests in a room without classmates, things to help ease stress about assignments and exams... All of these are good things that I have struggled all my life without, but am finally self-aware enough to ask for assistance with. Maybe the next time I'm too depressed to go to class for three weeks, I'll get some leeway instead of a D in my dance class! ;) It will be nice to have my disabilities documented and respected for what they are.

OH, and I got the call today that C's custom wheelchair is ready and can be picked up Monday! WOOHOO!!

On that note, I'm going to finish up my work for the night and wrap up this wonderful day with some television in bed. I get to sleep in again tomorrow... Here's hoping the rest of the day is as great as today was!

Thursday, February 9, 2012


This morning, I had a very productive meeting with my academic advisor. She also happens to be the Early Childhood Special Education head at my university, so she teaches all of my core classes. I've come to love her very much. :)

I had emailed her during our class break two Saturdays ago, asking to meet with her to review which requirements remained in my Master's Degree Program and what would need to be completed before I could begin my teaching practicum requirements (student teaching at a local school and working with Nevada Early Intervention Services, providing services from kiddos 0-3 years old). When I walked into her office this morning, she had made up a chart for me that showed all of the courses I had completed with grades and terms in which they were completed, along with all of the courses I have remaining and when I would need to take those in order to graduate as soon as possible. As it turns out, I will be finishing my Master's Program next summer!

I actually have fewer required courses each semester than I would opt to take in order to graduate next summer, but, because of when certain courses are offered, I can't speed up the clock any on my completion date. So, in the mean time, I'm going to be taking coursework toward a SECOND specialized teaching license! In addition to my license in Early Childhood Special Education, I'm going to earn a license in Autism. This will not only better prepare me for the children I'm likely to encounter in my classroom over the course of my career, but it also means more direct education in an area where I am truly passionate, greater "hireability" because I'll have more expertise and training to bring to the table, and it opens the door for me to earn my doctorate degree in either Early Childhood Special Education -OR- in Autism, both of which strongly appeal to me at this stage of the game.

I'm completely psyched to have a set date on when I'll complete my Master's, a scheduled plan to follow in order to meet the requirements as soon as possible, and that my advisor was so helpful and prepared when I came in this morning, that all I had to do to complete my academic plan was give her a few preferences on which courses I'd like to take as my electives and select the faculty members who will sit on my Master's Committee to review my final works and sign off on my degree.

I'm in an incredibly happy place right now. My academic future is all planned out, my marriage is better than it's ever been, my child is happy and healthy, I've been clocking more hours than usual this month so my paycheck will be bigger, and I got a free copy of the Portal video game this afternoon. Life is GOOD.

Seamus, our ever-growing kitten. I like this picture because his eyes are fully open and you can clearly see his well-camouflaged stripes. :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

At Last, Peace

I have suffered in silence for a month now, biting my tongue, afraid that anything I said might be somehow twisted and used against me. At last, I can speak freely.

This morning, I had a court date. A month ago, I had to take out my second Temporary Protective Order against a man I used to trust who became emotionally and sexually abusive. The first TPO was for stalking and the abuse, and the second was for harassment when he posted a brazenly defamatory profile about me on a website. As many of you read, I started carrying pepper spray with me to feel more protected. I was afraid every time someone knocked at my door.

For a month, I have dreaded the court date. I was terrified of what lies he might tell about me, how seeing him might affect my emotional strength and fortitude, and whether or not I had the guts to stand up to him in front of a judge and insist that yes, I needed the Protective Order extended a year so that I could feel safe again.

This morning, when I got to the court house, I scanned the parking lot, terrified of seeing his car. I didn't spot it anywhere. I walked inside and checked in with the court clerk, and there was no sign of him in the hallway. They sent me upstairs to wait with the Domestic Abuse Advocates, who would be representing me in court, and he wasn't up there, either. My spirits began to lift.

When they called me into the court room, I was overjoyed. He wasn't there! As I waited for the case before mine to conclude, I couldn't quite breathe easily, afraid he might saunter in at any moment, but he never did. When I was called up to speak to the judge, he wasn't there to defend himself against an extension.

The judge called it a "no-brainer," and said that he would gladly extend the protective order. He encouraged me emphatically to call the police if my abuser did anything at all to violate the order. He also told me that this person had been in jail for a felony criminal charge most of the duration of the TPO and was out on bail now, but that he's wearing a GPS tracker, so any violation of the restraining order will be well documented and supported by GPS data. This was very reassuring for me, knowing that they'd have evidence of it if he came by my house or by my daughter's school, and knowing that he can't skip out on bail, which he told me before his arrest he intended to do.

Because of the gravity of my sworn claims against him, and because he wasn't there to argue the motion, the TPO was extended for a full year. For the first time in months, I can breathe easily. I can't even begin to describe how much SAFER I feel, how much more comfortable in my own home. I celebrated the victory by taking a drive out to Lake Tahoe to snap some photographs and breathe in the fresh air. I feel like a new woman.

Cave Rock State Park, Lake Tahoe, Nevada. February 8, 2012

In much lighter news, I got some blue-tinted cosmetic contact lenses, so I currently have blonde hair and blue eyes. For a brown/hazel gal, it's quite the novel change! I got some green lenses, too, but right now, I'm having too much fun with the blonde/blue combination. It feels like I'm wearing someone else's skin! Talk about feeling like a new woman... ;)

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pent Up

My therapist asked me why I don't use my blog to unload some of my emotions. You see, they've been tumultuous and overwhelming for weeks, but I've held them in so long that I can't cry and release them. They've manifested as a large ball of tension in my chest that makes breathing difficult and painful. The good news is that nothing's boiling over; I'm not having erratic outbursts or inappropriate emotional displays... I'm simply... not emoting. When I damn well should be. So he suggested that I use my blog to talk about what I'm feeling... And he's right, I should. I never intended to censor myself on here (well, that's not entirely true; it is my aim to have this be a blog that parents don't have to worry about their kids stumbling across, so I try not to get too graphic or vulgar). I wanted this to be a place where other people who are experiencing some of what I'm experiencing can go to find solace and comfort in the knowledge that they're not alone in their emotions. By necessity, that means writing about all of these emotions... But I can't. Not just yet. I have to hold them in just a little bit longer, until the time is right. Soon, I will be able to open up again and let loose with the floodgates. I feel fairly certain I will be able to cry again soon. So soon I can almost reach out and touch it... ...Just not quite yet.