Fighting On

Just received news that my ex is trying a maneuver in court to take away custody of the kids. He is trying to say that I am an unfit parent, and that therefore he should have the kids full time and that I should only be allowed supervised visitation with them. This is frustrating and scary for me, since the hearing date is on the 16th (in 10 days), and is a paperwork only hearing (not entirely sure of the mechanics, but the only thing the judge will see is the motion that is set before him). Especially scary is that it sets forth all sorts of ‘proof’ that I’m a bad parent, and if the judge can’t see through the thicket of lies, I may well lose my daughters.

Unfortunately, with nothing I can do about that, all I can do is soldier on with what I’m doing: school, a little fun time for Mommy, and taking care of my children as I always do. Right now the girls are fresh out of the bath, and enjoying a little fun time before bed. Occasionally they pop their heads into my room (which is right across the way from their room) and tell me what it is that they happen to be doing.

Myself, I’m taking a short break from homework (reading a collection of Robert Frost poems) to write this blog post. Sometimes just sharing a worry takes the load off your shoulders, which is why I blog and write stories and poetry. It’s all my form of catharsis.

Personal opinion: if you watch a movie, you walk out re-surrounded by your problems, all that a movie does is allow you a temporary respite for as long as it lasts. (Same goes for TV.) However, if you write it out, share it, get it out there in the world, work it out on paper, it is a much more lasting relief. It doesn’t mean the worry isn’t still there, or the pain is completely gone; all it means is that you’ve put a part of it on paper, and the burden is a little less that you have to carry.
(Don’t get me wrong, I watch movies, and enjoy them. It just doesn’t have that same relieving sensation you get from writing.)

Randomness done, enjoy your evening!

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Still in School, Still a Mom, and Still Having Fun!

So, been a long time, but not that much has changed. Just went through a major depression when my ex took off with my kids, was gone for three weeks (with the stated intention of never letting me see them again), and finally brought them back under court orders. They are doing well, and happy to be back with Mommy again!

School was especially tough while they were gone, and I fell way behind on my homework. It wasn’t because I was especially busy (not having the kids around I wasn’t), but I was deeply depressed and missed them. I used the American Panacea of TV and sleep to try and ignore it. Didn’t really work. Did manage to drag myself to class every day, but that was about my level of commitment to class: if it didn’t absolutely have to be done, it wasn’t (i.e. my reading for my American Lit class… way behind).

After one week of the kids being home, I’m almost caught up on everything, and a whole lot more at ease (the depression is gone too!). Still battling things out with the ex in court, and not sure how that will go (and reluctant to say more on here, since I know he could read it). More updates on that as time goes along, paperwork is filed, and decisions are reached.

Back in School!

School is finally back in session, and life is interesting. Having been starved all summer for a sitter, I managed to find one and get started the day before school started… Talk about heart attack city.

This quarter should prove easy, yet challenging. I’m taking two film classes, both of which have fairly light homework loads, but my geology class will make up for that… Minerals, rocks, elements, and having to figure out which is which. Have to say, I’m so glad for my lab partner, since not only is he a science major, but he’s already taken two geology classes in the past. I know we work well together, since we were in a biology class in winter quarter. Phew…

Been dealing with a crazy ex, wacky schedules, and cranky kids (in the mornings), and still managing to stay sane. Looking forward to the weekend though, since I’ll be off mom duty, and won’t have any homework. Time to relax, catch up on my sleep, and just enjoy my life.

I’m also taking a fun class this quarter, Stage Combat. The only test for the class will be a choreographed broadsword fight with another student in the class. It’s a one credit class that meets once a week, and I get a good workout, and get to play with swords and knives (not sharp). What more could one want? So many people who’ve found out about that class have asked me how they can get into it. Don’t blame them, it certainly is a fun way to spend 2 hours a week, and get credit for it!

Internet Scams and Other Nonsense

This past week I got taken in (somewhat…) by an internet scam. CashDazzle.com will do exactly that, dazzle you with the promise of easy money by spinning their little wheel. It has a jackpot of around $4,000, and various amounts around the wheel ranging from 10 cents to $250. There is one Sorry on the wheel, and one of each of the various amounts. The problem is, when you spin the wheel, nine times out of ten, you hit the sorry, and when you are getting money it is usually the 10 cent or 50 cent mark, with a couple hits on $1 and precisely one hit on $2. And yes, I spun that wheel a good 40 times, and have so far gotten precisely $15. The payout range is when you hit $20, and they give you 5 free spins. After that, you have to do surveys or participate in various online things to earn the extra spins. I earned 33 spins by joining a Disney movie club, and out of those 33 spins, I got around $3-4 in payout, which kind of sucked since I hit the Sorry slot about 20 times out of 33 spins.

Also new this week is me being, yet again, out of a babysitter. I had one lady last week, but after sitting for the kids twice, she said she wouldn’t be doing it anymore. So once again I’m on the hunt for a sitter, and quickly running out of affordable leads. Still more than a month until school starts, but I’m beginning to panic. Firstly, I for sure need someone by the time school starts, secondly, I need someone NOW so that I can maintain my sanity. What gives with it being so hard to find affordable child care? Any day care costs at least $550 a month for one child, and I have two. And I can only afford about $450 to $500 a month for childcare total. Furthermore, the state won’t help pay for my childcare since I’m attending a 4 year college instead of a two year technical or just flat out working at minimum wage. True, I’m not taking the ‘fast track’ to having a job, but what I’m trying to do is ensure that later on I’ll be able to earn enough to take care of my children well, instead of just constantly scraping by on a minimum wage pay for a three person family. Is that so wrong?

Anyway, you’ve heard my couple of rants for the day (and that’s not all of them, believe me). So I’ll sign off and let you all get on with your lives. Thanks for dropping by!

The Slippery Slope of Bloggerhood

Confession time: This is not my first blog. I’ve actually started about 10 blogs in the past, and all of them have fizzled out after about a month or so. My biggest problem is continuity, since I’ll make a bunch of posts in the first couple weeks, then start forgetting or not being able to come up with stuff to say. When I started this blog I promised myself I wasn’t going to let that happen to this one, yet looking at the last couple weeks, I’m not convinced. If I have to get on here and post complete randomness that means nothing, I’d rather not. However, I also want to keep this thing going. Once school starts, there will be more to write about, and if I were convinced there were people reading this who like Magic: the Gathering, I’d post more about my experience in that.

So in an appeal to my audience (because that’s why I end up starting to slide), please comment on what areas of my blogging you like best. Is it the movie/book reviews (definitely more of the former than the latter), tips on writing (which I haven’t really done much of), blurbs on kids, Magic: the Gathering, my life in general, or bits about college (which won’t really be starting up until late September). The other option to vote for is just general randomness, keeping up my current pattern of jumping all over my brain, whatever pops into my mind when I sit in front of the computer.

I’m going to try to get into the habit of posting thrice a week, but it’s going to be difficult given the lack of interest people are showing. True, my blog isn’t touting a massive revolution in someone’s life, or giving the secrets of the universe (or even just the secrets of celebrities’ lives…), but I’d like to think it is useful to someone, or at least entertaining. Thanks for reading my randomness, and please let me know what other categories of randomness you’d like to see more.

Random Ramblings for Friday

Well, to all those who enjoy my postings, I apologize for being lazy this week. I realized late last night that I hadn’t made a post since Monday, and determined to write something. Unfortunately, I really don’t have anything big to write. So I will just do randomness about what’ been going on this week.

To start off, this week I watched the newly released Man on a Ledge, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Definitely the best movie I’ve seen all week, and frankly, in a while. The only movie I’d say that beats it is The Avengers, but hey, that beats everything! The movie starts off quickly, setting up the escape (not really giving anything away, since the whole point of the movie is that he’s now out of prison, and not by release), and leading straight into his being on the ledge. Only then does it go back and explain what happened in the past. Personally, I like this style of flashbacks, rather than a long, drawn out build up. Action, plot development, action, plot development, and so on. The movie is a combination of thriller, action, and mystery, and works very well. The story is well laid out, every part of the movie is essential. There’s also some nice comic relief in the form of Cassidy’s brother and his girlfriend.

For me, the action is structured in waves, with each wave being larger than the previous one. So expect a small start to the action, with the final scene being extremely intense. Definite kudos to the dude who did the stunts, he must have balls of steel. While I’m not phobic level afraid of heights (read: I can operate), I could definitely not do what was done in that movie. Extremely intense, especially if you happen to be acrophobic. Absolutely loved the ending! I won’t give anything away, but the ending makes you cheer, and not for the reasons you may be thinking. The final scene is just perfect.

I love happy endings, but even more I love the endings that go beyond just wrapping up the main plot points. They wrap up so many subplots also, and they just make you smile. For me, the ending of Safe House was, for a long time, classified as the best ending I’d seen to a movie in a long time. And much as I like The Avengers, it doesn’t qualify as a super great ending for me. Yes, the good guys win, but it’s not a wrap-up-all-loose-ends type ending.

So have a good weekend, everyone, and if you can, rent Man on a Ledge. Enjoy!

Life to Become Sane Again (Finally!)

After a good month or more of having my two toddlers in my apartment nearly 24/7, I’m finally going to get a break again. My ex has decided to return from his extended vacation, and take the girls on weekends again. This will allow me two days of rest, and I have finally found a new babysitter willing to work within the limitations of my budget. This means I will be able to start being more productive on my projects, and begin growing fingernails again.

For anyone who doesn’t have kids, you should know a few things. Firstly, parenting doesn’t come with a manual, and isn’t really all that intuitive. You learn things the hard way, through trial and error. Parenting is the toughest ‘school of hard knocks’ you can attend, because once you enter, there really is no way to get out. Secondly, any faults you may have, will come out full bore in your children, and you may not like facing them. If you have a temper, prepare to have that multiplied 5 times in your children. If you say a million good words and one bad word, expect to hear that one you don’t want repeated said more than any other word for a while. (Quick tip, don’t react at all when they say it. If you do, it will be repeated more.)

On the whole swearing thing, I said the infamous F word when I didn’t realize my 3 year old was behind me. So for a couple days she was saying the F word about everything. When I made absolutely no reaction, it disappeared, and she hasn’t said it since. Also helps that I’ve kept a little tighter rein on my tongue since then, too.

On the whole, parenting can bring out the best and the worst of you. Expect to be faced with an emotional rollercoaster every minute you are with them. One minute they are happy, and so are you. The next, they are still happy, but you are going insane from the fact that they aren’t listening to you, and are making a wreck of something you care about. In the end, when they are asleep, and you look at them, your heart will overflow with love and tenderness for the little form that you created which is lying there all innocence.

Then they wake up…

Fall Classes Aren’t Starting Soon… :(

Where most people would be so happy to still have it being summer, I’m starting to get bored and anxious for school to start again. College is something I’ve looked forward to my whole life, and only recently started. I’m also slightly strange in that the two years I attended school, I was up on time for school every day, and was upset if I had to skip because I was sick or for other reasons. For me, school has always been one of the most important things in my life. All of this is to lay the framework for why I’m a bit anxious for the next 2 months to go by quickly. Yep, that’s right. A whole 2 months before school starts again. Sigh…

My schedule for fall quarter is also pretty exciting, since I’ll be taking Film and the Humanities (a whole class of watching and discussing films), Narrative Writing for Film (I’m getting a minor in screenwriting), Stage Combat (yup, how to fight with swords and such on stage), and a geology class (not quite as exciting, but necessary). So, for me, school is more exciting than spending the summer at home with two toddlers… Frankly, anything would be more exciting than spending 24/7 at home with two toddlers. Maybe ‘exciting’ isn’t the word. Aw, yes, that’s it. Anything would be less stressful than spending 24/7 with two toddlers. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but in small doses.

So here’s to small doses of toddlers, large doses of school and homework (yes, I’m insane), and medium doses of everything else. Truth be told, I’d rather be doing school and homework than playing video games all the time. I haven’t touched a computer game in a couple days, trying to focus on my writing and reading instead. Hence, why I’m an English major.

Heart Attacks are Part of the Package

Before you have children, ask yourself if you are ready to have your heart stopping, temper raging, and patience running thin almost continuously? If you aren’t, then you shouldn’t have children. Sure, it probably gets better when they get a little older (I wouldn’t know, mine are still toddlers), but it’s still a long haul while they’re young. Today was one of those Heart Attack days. Ran to the laundry room for five minutes to put laundry in the dryer, and returned home to find my front door open and both children gone. First assumption was they were out playing somewhere, so I searched the apartment complex. No luck. Next try was the apartment itself, again, no luck. Searched the complex again, still couldn’t find them.

About this time, full scale panic attack is setting in, so I went to the police station (which is about 1 minute away from my apartment). They called in three officers to begin searching the apartment complex. Within about 5 minutes, both girls had been found (in places I had already looked…). Good thing for the girls that I was too relieved to be angry about feeling embarrassed. As it is, I’m not going to be leaving them alone again for a very long time, if I can help it.

Are there any parents out there who can give me an idea of when I can expect a break from the constant messes, non-listening, and general scaring me half to death?

Plots of Body and Mind

Right now I’m reading a book called 20 Master Plots (And How to Build Them) written by Ronald B Tobias. It’s an excellent book on writing, and goes deeply into analyzing the various basic plots. For me, as a writer, it is proving fascinating. However, most people would just pass right by it. The only problem I can see in it: now I’m going to be analyzing every book I read and movie I watch in accordance with the principles he lays out, trying to determine where they fall, and how well the plot has been executed. This weekend, for example, I watched a few movies, and I will only briefly analyze them here, in context of plot.

Frozen is billed as a psychological thriller. As such, it should focus on plot of the mind. My only problem with the movie was how slowly it moved, the extraneous details included about the pasts of the characters. These did nothing to propel the plot forward. For the most part, you just had a couple teenage college students sitting in a chair lift, talking about what cereals they liked, and how they were worried about their pets at home. Most action was of the eww kind, and not really suspenseful. Overall, I didn’t like the movie, mainly because there was almost nothing pushing the story development forward.

Straw Dogs was another movie this weekend, which was slightly disappointing for one main reason: the previews billed it as a plot of body, when in reality it is a plot of the mind. The build up is long and slow, developing the characters, showing you who they are, and slight ways in which they are changing. Setting the stage for the last 25 minutes or so, when those concepts of character are brought to the fore in an extreme situation. While I was bored with the build up, since I’d expected a horror film, ripe with action and gruesomeness from the beginning, when the movie was over, it was apparent why they’d had the build up. All of the action was based upon the character build up. There was nothing unnecessary in the movie after all. Just don’t watch it with the expectation of a plot of the body.

Sucker Punch is a little harder to place, but in spite of all the action, I’d say it is a plot of the mind. Everything that happens is because of who the character is. You learn these things, how strong she is, through the action. The film had a surreal feel to it, and you spend very little time in the real world, most of it is in her head. There was much character development in between the action sequences, and these were connected more to the mental aspect than as a cause/effect relationship to the previous action. This sets it in my mind as a highly action filled plot of the mind. And I thoroughly enjoyed it.

All of these movies were plots of the mind, but focused in varying degrees on action also. Frozen did not include enough action, and the character development was not well thought through. Straw Dogs was also heavily character oriented, but all of this build up led to the final action, the denouement, in the end. Without the buildup, the ending would not have made sense. Sucker Punch has a higher degree of action than either of the other two, but is still a plot of the mind.

Action movies are no less interesting, as long as the plot has been properly developed, and the story sticks to itself. One thing must lead to another, and everything must have its purpose in the story. Life is never like this, but fiction must be, or it leaves the audience feeling like something is lacking. Hence why truth is so much stranger than fiction.

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