Monday, March 24, 2014

5 miles to empty

Every body has a legal question, everyone has a medical question, everyone can use a little bit of advice on one thing or another.
Last week someone called me and I think they wanted something. Probably a free contract, as if i just keep them in my purse. When I didn't give the legal advice and contract, the person told me a story about people who do not help other people. She said some people want to be paid to give her a contract to use. I said gurlllll, I know, then I told the story about a freebie I asked for and did not get.
Sure it's a simple legal question. If I didn't get at least one per day perhaps I would not feel annoyed every day I get that simple question. Of course if I try to answer the simple legal question, it never ends there, because that simple answer leads to a follow up question, then a "well can you do this for me". If the question was really that simple, they would not need to ask. It is my responsibility to say 'no' and not get sucked in. I try to help but I am only one person and an hour spent on free work takes time from my family and that lost time yields no income for me
I have started charging for advice. If people value my advice, they should be willing to pay. If they do not think its valuable, they should not ask me questions. Most just want free info and would rather pay a white man and get freebies from me. It's amazing sometimes. People often get rude if I answer a question and if I do not give the answer they want. I wonder why they bother calling.
When people ask for a contract, do they really believe it doesn't require work or that if i give one they won't spend The next month asking me how to tailor it for their use? If I asked a doctor for a free mammogram, I would know she would have to peform the screen review the results, tell me the results and answer my follow up. Most tasks are part of a series of necessary steps. I am certain I sent the person who wanted a contract, a contract two years ago. I did not hear from her until this week when she wanted a new one. It bugs me how people act as if I am doing wrong by managing my personal resources. I am frustrated by takers. I am 5 miles to empty and people kep asking for rides and no one is offering to deposit fuel.
I plan to manage my time much better and schedule down time for myself. My down time will not include work!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Blood Sweat and Terror

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to never watch BLood Sweatand heels.
. What should have been a great show about professional black women, sank to showing thst black women are the same whether it's basketball wives, RHOA, etc.
Those womren were mean, cold and cruel. We can do better. It was hurtful to watch them jump in on Mica and never recognize that each of them could have and should have done better. Why must they refuse to see and learn from mistakes. Uggggggh.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Back to my Fighting Weight

It is so easy for me to get into patterns of behavior. It is only when I step out of that pattern that I realize I am more than what my patterns had led me to believe I was.
This week I had to work out of town for a couple of days. I struggle when I am away from my family for a full work day. Two+ days had me feeling like a horrid mother. My pattern is being at home and being available to my family. The day I left was really rough. As I dove into my work I remembered that I used to enjoy work travel. My dream was to build a business that allowed me to spend time in L.A. and in the bay. I am there now. I have that business. I also have kids. When TR was not in school we could pick up and go, we could take a family trip. Traveling was not a problem. Last time I travelled I was able to bring QT, so I was better able to stand being away. Traveling and leaving my kids is hard stuff!
The dreams of a single young girl, aren't so appealing to a (am I middle aged?) woman who is closer to 40 than to 30. It is good to have dreams fulfilled, but in the future I am going to dream a dream that is workable for an older self.
I digress, these couple of days of work made me feel like I was back to my fighting weight. I have been wondering what happened to the legal eagle part of me, the one who went to court and left victorious. I found her doing these couple of days. I've been in mommy, wife, homemaker mode and shut that litigator side off.
It feels good to know that I am still here, I just have more roles. I will say that I had my stuff packed up and ready to go, so I could catch the train back to my family! That judge probably thought I running from the law, I got out of there so fast.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

don't come for me.....

Unless I send for you!
The faux bougie ladies are always coming for me. I don't know how it happens but i am amazed by the sheer number of black women who meet me and do not know anything about me and drop info on the trappings of black success.
I figure these people are the faux bougie because if it were real they would not tell me various things, they would take it for granted, not notice it because it would be what they had been used to. its one thing for details to randonmly occur in a conversation but in the first 20 minutes of meeting a new person, how can you randomly provide your black cultural resume? I am not fancy, so i doubt folks are trying to one up me. i am not hood and if they thought I was hood, would they really waste breath sharing info I may not know or care about.
Last week I met a mom and we quickly realized we knew a person in common. the new woman is a jack and jill mom and a woman in her chapter is friend of mine. once we learned of that connection she name dropped and money dropped for the next 1/2 hour.
Her kids had gone to tr's school the year before, tr and her daughter were in gymnastics together and had similar activites, we are sorors but instead of talking about those things, i got to hear details about the trappings of wealth.
I find it interesting when i encounter such people. why are they lisiting credentials? am i supposed to do the same? my grandmother taught me that it is wrong to get caught up in and think people can be better than other people. organizational affiliations mean nothing! there is honor in work. income and wealth mean nothing
So people are people.
So the proud mom then told me about her daughter's gymnastics and ballet prowess. i relate to proud parents and i always listen and like to hear about how talented or gifted a person perceives their child to be. children are the joy to parents.
I rarely tell people how talented and/or gifted my kids are because people always tell me and ask a lot of questions. i used to think my kids were average and other kids just didn't get as much play time. i think i would be rude to tell a parent how fabulous my kid is, when our kids are in the same activity aand my kid is the one everybody comes by to observe.
The new mom was not really interested in gymnastics because it was her daughter's first day on preteam and she never went in the gym. When she got deep into her daughter's ballet ability, I told her TR got accepted into the 7-9 ballet class at *insert dance school*. her kid is 8 and was in the beginner ballet class.
I felt free to brag on her ballet ability because we were not in ballet class. I was not a skilled dancer so it makes me super happy to have a child who could make the advanced dance class that I was not accepted into.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Chow down

I love to watch my little kiddies eat!
When TR eats and is close to finishing her meal I can tell she is thinking about things. QT enjoys the time getting to talk to his family and share his adventures of the day.
Family dining makes me happy and satisfied. With school and work and the multiple activities our family has, dinner time is when we sit and focus on family.
Many of my childhood memories relate to time preparing food, cooking food or eating food. I am not fat or greedy but i enjoy the experience of food. Picnics or family outings when we stop to eat have meaning for me.
I love my little family. I love our home life. I love my kids who we get to love on and raise and watch grow and learn and develop.

my break through

I feel like me break through is near. it excites me. i know it is close enough to grab. let me tell you why.
For the last 6 months to maybe a year or so my work and business has gotten hard. my easy, low stress way to make money has gotten hard. i feel as if my name is on a list and everyone is determined to make me work hard to get two nickels.
Maybe its the economy and everyone is trying to keep their two nickels. It is a battle out here.
It is always darkest before the dawn and right now things feel pretty dark. i can not see the light but i know it is there. i feel so excited about getting to the light that even in this financial and business related darkness I am full of energy and motivation. i give thanks to GOD. I do not have thatb give up and let go spiriti. I have a hold on, look up and move forward spirit.
IT feels good to feel a breakthrough in the midst of a strom. usually in storms I will look back and realize i came through but there is something uplifting about having this level of expectation when it looks like I am on a losing, no win streak.
I am working harder, better, and stronger. i am learning from past errors. i am accepting responsibility and making changes to how I work. it is good to see my part in my work challenges, because I am the only person I can control.
It is a sunny day and its amazing how dark the day can seem, if your mind sees the shadow and not the sun. life has so many lessons. i am blessed i can grasp those lessons. i was hoping to settle two cases today and go home with my family. my cases did not settle so that means work. My days of making money whilst in my p.j.'s appear to be over with but i will look at the sunshine. i have the skills and ability to continue to work. i willl just haqve to exit my comfort location to earn.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rocketry

Mr A taught a rocket building class at the high school he coaches at. He is an athlete and an engineer!
Today he took the students and our family to NASA Ames to launch the rockets. It was such fun! The restrictive bay area limits locations that rockets can be launched. Living in a nanny state is a challenge, but people find ways to work within the government imposed crib, we live in.
My kiddies got to set their rockets onto launch pads and hit the button to send it up. I brought a blanket and observed the action. Entrance was free as was use of launch pads. Prior to marrying Mr. A, any trip I made across the Dumbarton Bridge was to shop at Stanford mall or maybe visit the Stanford library. Now I cross the bridge to be a scientist. I call that growth.
The rocket class was also nice because it allowed the kids to problem solve and figure out how to make better rockets. I learned from QT's engineering class that engineers are problem solves. The kids had to observe and make changes to their rockets to get the result they wanted.
It's amazing how much camps are. Last year I took a gander at some camps private school kids go to and they were 10k and up for a week. I realize now that people spend oodles of money on their kids activites 1) so their kids will have a network of kids with advantages and 2) so their kids will be shielded from building relationships with kids who are not wealthy.
I had heard rumors about such behavior by parents and in L.A. I realized how TR's playing at the park with a nanny put us in contact with people we would never have come across otherwise. Her playmates had parents who were ceo's presidents, coo, executives. I believe it makes sense to try to cherry pick the environment my kids are in. I have to consider what I want to be their norm.
It's amazing how differently people live. I would like my kids to have exposure with the variety of ways people live and hopefully that will ensure they don't just fall into situations. I want them to know actions have rewards or consequences and how to own their choices. Good or bad, our choices impact us.
I will have to make more trips to that side of the bay. It's very different from Oakland and San Fanciso.

Friday, March 14, 2014

So much

I have so much to write about! There are so many things going on that my thoughts cannot decide what to write about.
I told Mr A that we should give each kid a spending budget. Every activity they want should come from their budget. If the run out of funds then they have to wait until the next quarter. TR started girl scouts and I spent nearly $50 on the uniform vest, buttons and a book. I always thought girl scouts was free but, it has its own bill.
I feel like girl scouts is such a simple activity. I don't want to deny TR that opportunity. I always wanted to join but my mother only allowed me to do one activity. Girl scouts taught square dancing at our school and I got to participate after school.
My mother was determined to make one trip to pick us up. If I wanted an after school activity, I needed my siblings to agree to being picked up late. I probably go overboard in allowing my kids to do activities. As they get older they will be able to choose their preferred activities or none at all but they will have exposure.
QT is back in his science classes. Art ended and I have not found a new one. He loves art class! It appears art vanishes in the spring. Perhaps parents do more outdoor activities in spring/summer. We could do open art but he made so many great things and used various mediums in his fall art class and it's hard to go back to open art. We could go to San Francisco, but bridges or underwater Bart tunnels make me not want to go.
I just want our activities to be close. I was spoiled living in L.A. 10 miles was a far drive for us because we were so centrally located. I was also able to schedule our activites during non commute times so traffic was rarely a factor.
I could leave home and be at the Grove in 7 minutes. Mr 's school was blocks from the Grove. I could go to his school and be in the middle of the action. There was also valet parking everywhere, even at gymnastics. From our L.A. apartment we walked to the park and storytime, we walked to Larchmont Village or we could drive a Children's museum in 10 minutes.
Now we have a school aged child, so mornings are not flexible and we have to deal with morning commutes. We have to travel to our activities. I will have to accept that our lives require us to make 20 mile drives on a regular basis. Gymnastics is the activity that consumes most of our miles and talent. TR is talented and developing that talent means we have to drive to the locations with the people able to help her develop. That also means bridges and tolls and miles and time.
In my mind I had envisioned neat and orderly driving patterns, and activities in close proximity to each other but at this point my reality requires driving in opposite directions a few times a day. This is why I need a driver.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

networks

I am mostly a loner. I have been a loner since childhood. My relatives *get me, but I struggle with the niceties of group connections. By struggle i mean, it confuses me.
I notice how so many adult group friendships are built around a mutual dislike of a person or thing. i don't think bonds built around a mutually negative feeling, can end well or exist well.
I could be wrong but I like my relationships to be built on a mutual appreciation. Positive interactions even if the environment is negative, if two people can connect based on finding positivity I can get with it.
Being a loner has its drawbacks. Human nature seeks connections with other humans. On the bright side there ares many different types of people that it's possible to find the types that fit my type.
Parents at gymnastics are always asking me about TR. When she wears her leo her physique is like Angela Basset in What's Love Got to Do With It.". People ask me if she ever had any fat, they comment on her strength, her talent and ask how long she has been doing it. For the most part they look at her and assume she was born this way. Perhaps.
Mr. A was a college athlete and has a high number of 1st and 3rd cousins who are professional athletes. My extended family never had a professional athlete and he has 3 or 4, I consider that high. So I think genetics play a part. But more than that Mr. A is a human gymnastics facility. I would share his secrets but he might want to sell them one day. Our super babies take nurturing in addition to nature.
QT has amazing hand-eye coordination and has since at least 4 months old but we nurtured that as well. I don't think talent is enough. Motivated untalented people have greater success than a naturally talented person who does not put forth hard work. We try to teach hard work to our kids, because resting on talent or even thinking talent reauired less work, gets people nowhere.
I think labeling kids as gifted does them a disservice, especially if curriculum is not individualized. Gifted people also have to work hard to accomplish things. I look at many of my gifted and highly gifted classmates and recognize that they are still very gifted but were unprepared to meet the challenges of adult life. Kids who are labelled regular, know they have to work and don't get misled into believing things will be easy. When I look at all the gifted people sitting in cubicles next to regular people and making the same salaries and doing similar work, I wonder what was thevbenefit of a gifted label. I
I digress. I don't want my kids getting sucked in to labels. I want them to know my favorite quote:
Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. - Calvin Coolidge
When parents are telling me about how amazing TR is I tell them she was a preemie and was crawling in her incubator. When she was an infant and I would say that people thought I was crazy. I had to send videos. Now that they see her using her body in all sorts of ways, they believe me. She is a strong girl. She spent less than 2 days in the neo-natal intensive care. The rest of her time in the hospital was spent gaining weight. She was born a fighter.
The weight gain issue is another interesting thing about her. I was breast feeding/pumping and my supply was enormous. I could fill four bottles in 30 minutes. At the hospital the doctors recommend adding formula to the breast milk to increase the calories and speed weight gain. That also means bottle feeding instead of breast feeing. I has been doing it until I nurse whispered in my ear. She told me that she could look at me and tell I cared about my weight. She said preemies tend to be overweight as kids and no one has figured out why. She said after years in the NICU she has seen all of the mothers add those extra milk calories and once those fat cells were put on the baby, the baby would just have them. So no, she never really had any fat. Fortunately she was born during a summer heat wave and is just warm blooded. She stays hot!
I thought about the nurse comments and after that I used my breasts to feed. I had been more than disturbed by having to pump milk and still use a bottle and that was all the reason I needed to end the madness. I would lay TR on my chest to cuddle and her head would head to my nipple. The doctors had said she was born before the sucking reflex but she found a nipple and sucked. The nurses had to measure input and output so I think that is why they preferred the bottle.
They put some type of notes in our file. I know this because we were friends with her pediatrician and when she saw the record she started laughing and asked us what happened. But hey when you have a preemie, the nurses act as if it's their baby. She was our first so I was sorta letting them run things. I eventually got my backbone upright and took on my mamabear role. We had to battle them to gain control. But I appreciate them for all they did and their desire to keep TR healthy.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Life with kids

Having 2 active kids means the A family stays busy!
I think having a parent at home and whose primary job is supporting the family is vital. My goal is to quit and be full-time mommy. Between laundry, cooking, cleaning, loving and being attentive to my family, there is barely time for grocery shopping, banking, organizing and the never ending, ever growing tasks necessary to run a family.
I look forward to summer and a break for everyone.
It is interesting how public education focuses on the bottom percentage of kids. I understand the kids who struggle eed more help but that helps causes the middle and high ability kids get the short end. TR's school rejects a high number of applicants based on entrance assessments. The school accepts students who perform at a specific level. I told my mother that and her response was, had the school ever thought about educating the kids? I agree with my mom. I think most kids can learn with good supports. I also think a mix of abilities is good. Don't overwhelm the school with low ability kids but don't exclude them because they may benefit. I believe having too many low ability kids pulls everyone down but those kids might also be brought up in the proper setting.
I used to hear that China assessed students in kindergarten and based on those assessments, the kids would be placed in different tracks. Everyone is not given an academic education. When the U.S. compares its education system to China, it ignores that the U.S. allows every kid into public school. Other countries do not.
I can't compare the success of a private school that has entrance assessments and a public school that accepts everyone, because the private gets to select those it believes will be able to keep pace.
We signed QT up for martial arts. He loves it! I had no idea it would be so costly. I am willing to cancel cable to fund this new expense. We don't have much else to reduce. Mr A says if we do martial arts, we have to end his gymnastics. Gymnastics is for me. I spend 4 hours at gymnastics for TR and QT needs to do something besides entertain himself for those hours. The other dilemma is TR also wants to take the martial arts. That would be $500 per month for both kids. Kids are pricey.