Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Lost and Found, But Mostly Lost

I'm worried if I don't write about today I will forget about the little crazinesses that are part of parenting my children and living my life.

Let's start my day off with this morning... very early this morning. I was awoken at 2:30am by my oldest child because she had a bad dream. I let her into my bed, squishing my arm and keeping me awake for a little while longer than I would have liked, before convincing her that she would actually sleep better in her own bed.

Several hours later, the normal morning routine was easy and uneventful until it was time to walk out of the house and I noticed how underdressed that same child was for the Winter weather. We had a verbal battle of what jacket to wear (more on that in a moment) for frosty morning walks to school, and even though it was "uncomfortable" I managed to convince the kid to bundle up. We made it to school just before the bell. I had a few minutes left before I had to get to work, so I decided to investigate the Lost and Found. 

Two and a half weeks ago the kids had their last day of school before Winter Break. Oldest child was wearing her cozy, comfortable jacket (which is the inner layer of the "uncomfortable" one mentioned above) and fuzzy pajamas for a nice day of reading, snacking, and anticipating two entire weeks of no school. She remembers removing her jacket and setting it on the back of her chair, because those pajama pants were hot! When school ended for the day, excitement rushed her out of the classroom and the cozy jacket was left behind. We didn't realize it for several hours, and by that time I told her not to worry. No one would be attending class, no one would take her jacket, and her name and my phone number are written inside, so we'll just get it when school starts again.

Well... Foot, meet mouth. 

Yesterday, their first day back after break, the kid looked and the jacket was nowhere to be found. Not in the classrooms, not in the Lost and Found. Gone. Vanished. Like magic. 

I decided to take matters into my own hands, because I'm Super Mom and the jacket was kind of expensive, AND it is the comfortable inner part of a two-in-one winter freaking coat, and it's the middle of Winter. As I mentioned earlier, I checked Lost and Found. It was pretty much empty. Freakishly empty for a K-8 school full of children who lose items regularly. So I walked to the office, because the office people are nice and know everything. 

Office Lady #1 was super kind. She told me that the custodians were working a few days a week over break and they may have grabbed the coat from the classroom, so she checked another spot in the office where lost items are dropped off. She found zero items. She then told me that the custodians DONATE THE "LOST & FOUND" ITEMS AT THE END OF EACH MONTH. I made a face like I smelled a fart and then asked if they really would have done that DURING Winter Break when kids had no chances to look for their lost items!!!!!!  THEN I shook it off, swallowed my bitterness, remembered it was only a coat, thanked the nice lady and left.

A little bit later I had a genius idea. I called the office and spoke to Nice Office Lady #2 to gather more information. She called me back to let me know that yes, the custodian took a big donation recently. She also confirmed the name of the charity where the items were donated. SCORE! I planned to go there later in the day to find the jacket, buy it back, and save my kid's day!

Work was pleasantly busy and delightfully not understaffed for the first time in nine hundred years. I worked my shift, I went home and did laundry and swept the kitchen. Then I picked up a bunch of kids, dropped off the extras at their house, took my older child to her new art class, deposited some checks at the bank, then went with my younger child on a Quest to the thrift store. 

The jacket wasn't there.

Nice Thrift Store Lady #1 asked Thrift Store Lady #2 if she could help me, but Lady #2 was like, " I don't know anything about where donations come from or what we have back here." as she is sorting through items and tagging them for sale. I decided to butt into their conversation and see if I could peer at their clothing piles or something sensible like that, but I was denied. Apparently the donation center has been slammed with items over the holidays (Good job, residents of my town!!! Way to donate and not throw away!!!) so they really couldn't do much for me. Nice Thrift Store Lady #3 asked for a description of the jacket and encouraged me to come by every few days, or call the store, to see if it turns up. I thanked her and left. 

I felt deflated and irritated. It's only a coat, I can replace it - though not exactly - but what about all of the kids who's families can't afford to get them a new coat every time their well-meaning but thoughtless school custodian donates perfectly good outerwear over a long school holiday!!!???!?!

When I got home again with just enough time for the younger child to unpack his school stuff and change into his martial arts clothes he realized that he didn't have his lunchbox. WE WENT BACK TO SCHOOL TO CHECK THE LOST AND FOUND. AGAIN. Because my entire life revolves around that little rack in the school's multipurpose room like it has the gravitational pull of a black hole, because IT IS ONE. I am officially changing its name to "Lost and Not Found" because we never find anything there. 

By some rare stroke of luck, the lunch room staff or another student actually must have looked at the lunchbox, read the name and classroom number written on it (written there because I AM RESPONSIBLE) and returned it to my kid's class. In addition to being responsible, I am also sensible, so we checked the classroom and were able to retrieve the lunchbox. Huzzah! 

Next, we rushed to karate. Kid got out of the car, I drove away to the grocery store because why not?! I'm clearly some kind of human ping-pong ball/taxi service. I got a few items for dinner from the store, picked up the daughter from art class, picked up the son from karate, then went home.

I am exhausted.
I guess I'll follow up with the thrift store later this week. I'll probably also buy my daughter a replacement jacket, because I am nice and I doubt we'll find the one she lost.

Moral of the story: If you work at a school, don't donate lost items during a freaking holiday. 
Also, (If you aren't the custodian of my freaking nightmares) If you need someone to follow through and get stuff done, I'm clearly your girl. 

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Books of 2019!

Happy (almost) 2020!

Here is the complete list of the books I consumed in 2019. This year's total is more than the previous year, so I am happy! 77 Books in all! (55 were audiobooks.)

I will list them in the order I read them and note the audiobooks. I am able to "read" more audiobooks than actually sitting down and reading with my eyes because I am always on the move. I love listening to audiobooks to really get swept into a tale. I especially love hearing authors and poets read their own works, so I can hear their words in the same way that they hear them.

2019 continued on with my love of Brandon Sanderson novels. I also gobbled up anything I could find by Neil Gaiman, since discovering his writing last year and getting completely hooked. I would recommend any book by either of those authors. I will note with an asterisk all of my most loved, highest recommended books. Disclaimer - I like a lot of Young Adult books, and I'm a sucker for fantasy.

Here we go...
  1. The Catcher in the Rye -J.D. Salinger (This was a re-read)
  2. *Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2) -Brandon Sanderson (Audio)
  3. Mortal Engines -Philip Reeve (Audio)
  4. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine -Gail Honeyman (Audio)
  5. Artemis Fowl -Eoin Colfer (Audio)
  6. My Year of Rest and Relaxation -Ottessa Moshfegh (Audio)
  7. Daughter of Smoke and Bone (#1) -Laini Taylor (Audio)
  8. Looking For Alaska -John Green
  9. The Hazelwood -Melissa Albert (Audio)
  10. *The Graveyard Book -Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  11. The Dance of the Dissident Daughter -Sue Monk Kidd
  12. Days of Blood and Starlight (#2) -Laini Taylor
  13. *Oathbringer (Stormlight Archive #3) -Brandon Sanderson (Audio)
  14. *Circe -Madeline Miller (Audio)
  15. *Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances -Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  16. *The Rules of Magic -Alice Hoffman (Audio)
  17. Dreams of Gods and Monsters (#3) -Laini Taylor
  18. Practical Magic -Alice Hoffman (Audio)
  19. *Skyward (#1)-Brandon Sanderson (ebook/Audio)
  20. *Truthwitch (Witchland Novels #1) -Susan Dennard
  21. Archenemies (Renegades #2) -Marissa Meyer (Audio)
  22. *Children of Blood and Bone (Orisha #1) -Tomi Adeyemi (Audio)
  23. Tituba of Salem Village -Ann Petry
  24. The Underground Railroad -Colson Whitehead (Audio)
  25. *Windwitch (Witchland Novels #2) -Susan Dennard
  26. *Sightwitch (Witchland Novels #2.5) -Susan Dennard
  27. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry -Neil deGrasse Tyson (Audio)
  28. *Bloodwitch (Witchland Novels #3) -Susan Dennard
  29. *The Night Circus -Erin Morgenster (Audio)
  30. *Neverwhere -Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  31. *The Eyre Affair -Jasper Fforde (Audio) (This was a re-read)
  32. Crazy Rich Asians -Kevin Kwan (Audio)
  33. A Curse So Dark and Lonely (#1) -Brigid Kemmerer
  34. Early Riser -Jasper Fforde (Audio)
  35. Milk and Honey -Rupi Kaur (Audio)
  36. Brown: Poems -Kevin Young (Audio)
  37. *Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -J.K. Rowling (re-read with Harry Potter and the Sacred Text Podcast)
  38. *The Ocean at the End of the Lane -Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  39. China Dolls -Lisa See
  40. My Own Words -Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Audio)
  41. Coraline -Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  42. The Kingdom -Jess Rothenberg
  43. Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive -Stephanie Land (Audio)
  44. *Odd and the Frost Giants -Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  45. Dream a Little Dream (#1) -Kerstin Geir
  46. *Anansi Boys -Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  47. Dream On (#2) -Kerstin Geir
  48. *White Fragility: Why It's So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism -Robin DiAngelo (Audio)
  49. *The Song of Achilles -Madeline Miller (Audio)
  50. Vinegar Girl -Anne Tyler (Audio)
  51. *We Should All Be Feminists -Chimamanda Ngoz-Adiche (Audio)
  52. *Nine Perfect Strangers -Liane Moriarty (Audio)
  53. The Nightingale -Kristin Hannah (Audio)
  54. Just Dreaming (#3) -Kerstin Gier
  55. The Hate U Give -Angie Thomas (Audio)
  56. *Calypso -David Sedaris (Audio)
  57. The Chemis -Stephanie Meyer (Audio)
  58. *American Gods -Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  59. *Good Omens -Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  60. The Immortalists - Chloe Benjamin (Audio)
  61. Watership Down -Richard Adams (Audio)
  62. Ark -Veronica Roth (Audio)
  63. *Elantris -Brandon Sanderson
  64. *Arcanum Unbounded -Brandon Sanderson (Audio)
  65. Turtles All the Way Down -John Green (Audio)
  66. *Becoming -Michelle Obama (Audio)
  67. *The Scorpio Races -Maggie Stiefvater (Audio)
  68. Aurora Rising (#1) -Amy Kaufman (Audio)
  69. The Lady Rogue -Jen Bennet
  70. The Testaments -Margaret Atwood (Audio)
  71. *We Hunt the Flame (#1) -Hafsah Faizal (Audio)
  72. House of Salt and Sorrow -Erin A. Craig
  73. Big Little Lies -Liane Moriarty (Audio)
  74. The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage, and a Girl Saved by Bees -Meredith May (Audio)
  75. *Stardust -Neil Gaiman (Audio)
  76. Emergency Skin -N.K. Jemish (Audio)
  77. *Starless Sea -Erin Morgenstern (Audio)
You can find me on Goodreads if you want to follow along next year. 
Happy Reading!!!!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Cloudy Skies

We're having a Springtime rainstorm in the Bay Area. The skies are cloudy, the air is cold and misty, and the pollen all over the ground is mushy and wet. Overall, I'm enjoying the weather.

While driving to work earlier this week, I had a moment of self-awareness. I noticed that I'm feeling kind of blah with my life right now, maybe I could even call myself depressed. This observation didn't come with any emotion, it didn't make me sad or happy, it didn't spark a desire to change things for better or worse. It just was. Sarah is feeling blah. The skies are cloudy. A frog is an amphibian. 

My life is good. Nothing much is happening, but everything is always happening. My days are on a busy loop, an endlessly repeating cycle of rushing, rushing, rushing that gets tiresome. They go like this:

I get woken too early by the dog or my husband's alarm clock, or both. I drift back to sleep. My alarm wakes me, I push "snooze" and I doze, I drift in and out of wakefulness. I check my phone and get sucked into social media instead of starting my morning. Finally, I get out of bed and I feel rushed as I do my morning chores, get ready for my day, and light a fire under my children's hind ends to get themselves ready as well. I usually end up yelling at one or both of them before we get out the door. They go to school, I go to work. 

Work is a weird mix of wonderful and not wonderful. I love my job. For a long time, being a veterinary assistant felt "not good enough" to be my career. I felt like I needed to aim higher, be more, earn more. Then, at some point, I didn't feel that way anymore. I am happily comfortable as a veterinary assistant. I like what I do for a living. I like my coworkers and my schedule. I don't like being in an office that is consistently understaffed. I don't like the feeling of never being able to do all the things that need to be done, the feeling of more rushing. 

After work I cram in shopping, laundry, cleaning, kid homework time, kid reading time, kid extracurricular time, cooking, cleaning up after cooking, packing lunches, pet care, showering, and time with my husband. (Rush, rush, rush.) Sometimes I am efficient and feel very lucky to sit down and read a book, watch a movie, or write a blog post. Then I sleep. Then I do it all over again. 
And again, and again, and again. 

Also, I read the news about the progression of climate change and I feel sad for my beautiful Earth and I worry about the problems that my children will inherit. Then I read the news about the legislation in my country trying to regulate people's bodies and limit access to healthcare and I feel sad for my people and I worry about the problems that my children will inherit. 

I know that I am making a mostly positive impact within my little circle of life. I know that I am building and shaping two little humans, and that that makes a difference. I know that I am helping my coworkers and our clients, and that makes a difference. I know that I am doing what I can to help my Earth, and that makes a difference. I know that I am important, loved, lovable. 

Still, I feel gray. The skies are cloudy. Today I'll sit with these feelings. I'll let them be here for a little while. I'll welcome them into me as a part of my sometimes drab, repetitive, constantly evolving existence. I will listen to my favorite flavor of angsty girl music and allow myself to just be blah. 

I know my mood will lift, just as I know the storm will eventually blow past. 
It always does.