Sunday, July 3, 2011

It's all about goals, right?

This week went flying by, how about your week? I am glad so many of you came back for a visit in my world. I got the word Monday that my MRA was aneurysm waiting to surprise us all, which means it was a side effect of the Midodrine. My goal this week was to figure out how to manage the energy constraints of this disease without medication. There are several tangents for this, so let's get started:

My daughter.
She is 12. Think back, ladies. That was middle school age. The time of peers, pimples, puberty, bullies, boys, fashion, makeup, shaving legs, sneaking things you knew were remember, right? It was confusing and purgatory-like, and it is about the same hell from the parent end. Now, complicating all of that is the internet. I find that I am over my head with figuring out how to limit her exposure, allow her independence, respect her privacy, and help her navigate peers over whom I have no control.

This was the age when I smoked my first cigarette, found out what sex really meant, and was torn between the cool kids and the smart kids. I remember my first kiss, my first mascara, my first attempt at shaving that ended in blood and tears, awkward periods, bad haircuts, braces, and never feeling like I fit in anywhere. Gah! Remember those awful drawings of the "Stages of Puberty" with the naked child growing into the naked adult? I will spare you the reminder picture, but they are there on Google.

I came from a poor family with divorce, alcoholism, and a tendency to say the wrong things. I attended a middle school that had class divisions so stark, that for all I know, we were a sociology experiment. Thirty years later, I still can't see a horse without thinking of Joann with her penny loafers, upturned preppy collar, and riding lessons. Homeschooling was supposed to help with much of this, but the internet has thrown a wrench into those plans. Actually, the more I remember how bad it was for me, the more I realize how good it has been so far for my daughter!

Here is what isn't working -
I talked to her about some of her "friends" online, but that isn't the same as having them over for dinner or meeting their parents.
I discussed the rules of online safety (again), but that isn't the same as a curfew or a chaperone.
I "spied" on one of her conversations, and that just left me more constrained and confused about how to parent in this nebulous world of chat rooms, IM, virtual worlds, and Skype.
I set time limits and passwords, but I think it just makes me feel more in control than I really am. It only takes minutes to have an inappropriate chat or see this. (Really? See, you just had to peek, didn't you? Be glad I love you. You are welcome. It was still pretty awful, though, wasn't it?)
I also talked to my peers about how they are handling it all. We were all in the same boat. The support felt good, but solutions are the goal.
I went through this, poorly, with my son who is now 18. I want to do a better job this time around.

The real key here is finding time for her to do real-world activities and play with real-life friends. This is a challenge due to my health. I think she turns to the internet the same way the rest of us do...when she is bored or procrastinating. I need to do everything in my power to engage, entertain, and facilitate off-screen encounters. This needs to be the priority of my life for the next three years, so that the following four years have a better chance of success.

Reclaiming my kitchen.
Since I have been ill, I don't have the energy or the desire to clean and cook. We have an "alternative" lifestyle in the kitchen, so that makes it more of an energy drain and time suck. We eat as much from scratch as possible, we eat all organic, we try to eat local, and we are gluten-free by necessity. This is a full-time job in itself. I help organize and run a local food-buying club of friends, and by the time I am done the accounting and managing of this, I rarely have energy to make dinner.
We have my son's girlfriend living with us. He doesn't live here, but she does. It is a long story, but it works. I will call her Panda for the sake of this blog. Originally, we had the vision that Panda would help in the kitchen, but she came from a food desert in Michigan. (That is potentially the strangest sentence I have ever typed.)

That means that she doesn't even know what an avocado is, much less how to use it. I would LOVE to teach her, but again, that requires energy.
My daughter is pretty good about feeding herself throughout the day, but dinnertime has become a flagging, failing endeavor. We went from me starting meals at 4 pm to my DH attempting to throw something together after he gets home from a long day at 6pm. This is not sustainable. We have lately been eating a lot of things with cheese. That is a bad sign.

Yes, that is exactly what you think. It takes a ridiculous amount of energy for me to shower. On a good day, I am starting with a BP of 95. Once I stand in warm water, I am lucky if I can get a reading on the monitor. I would like to shave, use conditioner, and maybe put on lotion, but those things get set aside for the treasure of not smelling like sheep. I managed two showers this week. Yes, June. Sexy, I know...contain yourselves.

Having said that, I had three out of five good days. I taught Panda about flours, helped her grind a gf mix, and baked a pie.

We had a friend of my daughter's over for a sleepover after a night of fireworks, and they played Kinect and swam. She complained tonight that she hasn't been on the computer in two days. Music to my ears!

I managed two showers, shaving, and sat down to blow-dry my hair. A clean sheep...

That leaves knitting, doesn't it? I am still working on the Field Of Green socks, toe up, free pattern. Here is what wasn't working.

I frogged that Monday while sitting on the front porch listening to my daughter tell me how bored she was without the internet. We then proceeded to play Trivial Pursuit and Disney Trivia. I hate Disney Trivia, so I must love her. (Have you played it? There is no middle ground, you are either an obsessed fan who knows everything or a child with parents who put you in front of the VCR repeatedly. Yes, I said VCR. I am old.)

I will spend today taking elements from the failed designs into the latest version.

It isn't what I had envisioned, the sketch I had made was very different from this outcome, but I am still hopeful that when I reach the end, I will be pleased. If not, then I will hold my breath and frog it again. I don't want to put out a pattern that I am not proud of, even if it is free. The goal is fun to knit and pretty on the leg.


  1. Going to support your goal to get daughter out in real life activties on Thursday with you. If you are flagging in energy, I will haul you down the mountain myself. Ok, really I'll make Jess help, but it will all be good. Afterwards, I demand that you go shower so you don't smell like a sheep. I love you too much to let you smell like livestock. Can't help you with knitting. It stymies me like nothing else. And together, we can ignore cleaning and making dinner. I will embrace the lazy.

  2. I know you smell like sheep sometimes, but I really don't mind... I like sheep and fiber ;-)


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