Fighting temptation


Mama Mary will knock you out

The devil is busy.  Ash Wednesday was unbelievably tough.  After a challenging day, I was pushed to my limit at the very end of the night.

I am involved in an ongoing and tense correspondence which is a direct result of someone else’s actions.  The person responsible for the mess is someone who has created lots of problems for me in recent years.(An epilogue) While this person is no longer physically around me, I’m resentful I have to resolve the aftermath. In the latest exchange, the person affected by the poor decisions told me (and two colleagues!) how we should handle the situation. Though I was livid, I responded in my usual way. I was polite, clear, and firm as I clarified my understanding of the problem and how I would be handling the situation. I didn’t reveal that this was that other person’s fault. Why shift responsibility when I’m being held accountable? The good news is that my message seems to have been received both literally and figuratively.


I’m often tempted to take the low road. There’s a part of me that fantasizes about telling people off and putting people in their place in the most explicit, vehement, and aggressive way possible to really mandarlos a volar. Yet that type of behavior goes against my nature, my upbringing, and the values I hold dearest:  integrity, compassion, community, altruism, and mercy.   I try not to be petty and passive-aggressive; this is one of my greatest sins. It’s very hard for me to express my anger with someone. I struggle to come up with a way that’s going to be in line with the rest of the way I live my life. So it’s kept under wraps.  My true feelings get expressed in my writing or my body language, the side eye, the tone in the email or in my voice.  I vent with others who may be removed from the situation but that type of venting (aka gossip, another of my sins) goes against the values of community, compassion, and mercy. I have to stay true to myself.  I can’t give in to my worst self. My evil Kermit may seem hilarious but in real life, that side of me will wreak havoc. Though I have struggled through years of emotional and spiritual work, I wrestle with this temptation every day.


Lent reminds me of my mortality, my weakness, and my need for a clean heart. It’s my will power and my willingness to be part of the solution. I am here to do right.  There’s a whole lot of wrong in the world. Each day, I experience misplaced, misdirected, misunderstood, and misguided pain and anger that those around me do not know how to manage. Sometimes I don’t know how to handle their emotions or my own. Yet every day, I see love and compassion. I stay strong. I remember that my focus is to be a better version of myself for my own well-being but more importantly for the growth of my child. She has so much potential to be an amazing woman someday. I need to do what I can to help get her there. The Lord is testing me this Lent as He should. I am challenged to be strong and brave, and to take comfort in the Lord.  Miracles don’t happen without faith and discipline. That’s the truth about many tests that I have faced. They result in growth, peace, and happiness. At the end of this season of struggle, there will be resurrection.

A.D. The Bible Continues

Mindful eating, the first chapter

When I decided I would have my gallbladder removed this summer, I asked about diet changes.  I know four friends/colleagues who had their gallbladder removed and know of countless others. Some folks are back to eating as they did before their surgery; others decided to forever modify their diet. I am part of the second group.  In the month that has passed since my surgery, I am much more mindful of what I eat.
I am an emotional eater. Food has been a painkiller over the years. Recent example: June is a crazy time for educators.  End of year and graduation keeps you busy and stressed. Mix in characters that probably shouldn’t work with other people(especially not children!) and you have a volatile environment. 
One afternoon, after a long day that ended with an unpleasant meeting, I walked into the house, grabbed the can of Pringles my daughter and her older sister had saved after their sleepover, and sat on the couch for a solid ten minutes. No praying, no meditating, no strategies learned in CBT or DBT. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

 As if every chomp could eliminate the foolishness of others. As if my tendency to internalize others’ nonsense could be swallowed like so much salt and grease. I won’t be seeking comfort from binging on chips anymore. 
 My lifestyle change isn’t about solely about giving up processed snacks or fried food or avoiding emotional eating; it’s about an overall change to my cooking and eating habits.  At home, I am making more stews and soups with less chicken. When going out to eat with friends and family, I now choose different meals. Vegetable-based soups like tomato basil paired with salads with honey mustard dressing or vinaigrette make for a satisfying meal. Most Asian restaurants offer plenty of vegetarian options. The Bay Area boasts great vegan restaurants including one of my faves, Souley Vegan, and a new discovery, Gracias Madre.  Even a trip to the ice cream shop with the kiddo hasn’t been torture: fruit sorbets are tasty.

At the moment, my body is letting me know what is best. I still feel queasy if I ate too much animal protein in a meal.  Trying a piece of birthday cake at a party is probably not wise. Dairy is off-limits for now.  For the most part, I am back to my normal routine. I have resumed daily exercise, light morning cardio for now, and have begun taking a Zumba class with my dance mom friends. I look forward to running and dancing with SambaFunk in the next few weeks.  Yes, I am at my lightest weight in twenty years, 125, (lighter than the weight discussed during my last weight loss journey: )  I am committed to sustaining my health; that is the ultimate goal. 

Recoil therapy

This morning, I came very close to buying myself a designer handbag.  Thankfully I didn’t give in to this craving; I am minding my budget and cannot afford big ticket treats. So I turned to a tried and true outlet: scary movies. Two horror movie trailers later, I feel recharged.
Horror movies have fascinated me for most of my life. As a child, like many Bay Area natives, I stayed up late to watch Creature Features, Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Night Gallery. An avid reader of many different genres of books, I became a fan of Stephen King and H.P. Lovecraft. Having watched The Exorcist at the age of 6 may have inspired me to sleep with a nightlight until my teens but it did not cause me to forever avoid horror films.If anything, it made me seek out more scares. 
Horror movies are like roller coaster rides. They can be funny, exhilarating, intimidating, shocking, and stomach churning all at once. Some are the kiddie versions, predictable and tame.  Others are for the daring and require you to woman up and face your fears. While I can be a horror movie snob and boycott the Hollywood blockbuster versions in local theaters (I still have never seen any of the Saw movies), I also enjoy camp and cult classics as seen on local favorite Creepy KOFY Movie Time.
The bag would have been cute. But it couldn’t have raised my heart rate in quite the same way. 

Note: Shelley Duvall and I are the same sign!  

A "good" morning

To be sleep-deprived is part and parcel of being a parent. I know a few parents who have been blessed with infants who sleep nine, ten, eleven hours at night, therefore deemed “good” by their well-rested parents and the world at large. But I let my envy dissipate quickly. I have little time for woe-is-me thinking, what with two standardized exams, two awards nights, and one graduation to plan before mid-June, along with mothering my troubled little sleeper and myself. One night, like this Saturday, I might be treated to a five-hour stretch of blissful sleep for both of us. Then, I introduce a new organic baby food, and suddenly her little system readjusts, but with discomfort, and we wake every hour or so. Before, I might have been cranky, weepy, resentful. Now I accept it, this feeling of grogginess, this sense that the day won’t be great.

Today, I allow myself an additional thirty minutes of snooze. The house is even more cluttered as Papa Bear moves forward with another ceiling fan addition. Attic door ajar, ladder against the living room wall, baby’s play area now stacked and folded in her room next to the cot we slept in after a 4am bout of tears. Those thirty minutes mean I have no breakfast, no lunch, and that I make a harried call to my admin assistant. My baby sings along with R&B classics on the drive to grandma’s.
My mother, like my daughter, is in a state of adjustment. Meds for high blood pressure and osteoporosis and her stomach is not accepting the changes. “You have to take her today, ” she says. Her voice is desperate, her face pale.

At work, the office is a beehive of activity. Teachers with copy paper boxes. Students lined up and asking aloud, “where do I go?” My boss, usually cool and reserved, speaking and looking as distraught as my mother did. “You can’t go home. Bring the baby here.” Another mad rush to the car.

Across the street, four boys, two girls. A look I know too well. Punches thrown. I shout, “Stop it!” A fat man in a baseball cap pulls his gray van into the parking lot near the fighting boys. He gets between them. My heart pounds and I think of my daughter, my mother, my day.

Later, as I stand in my mother’s kitchen and gobble a toasted sandwich of cream cheese and strawberry preserves, I watch my little girl fall asleep in my mother’s arms. How can anyone say she is not a “good” baby?

Shoot me now, the Big Game edition

Oh I know it’s halftime. But after spending 7 hours at Oakland International and not getting to my hotel till 1:30 in the morning, I’m not sure I could handle a Bear loss. Nate’s passes are actually being caught but the boys continue to struggle. How could we got from No.2 to a 6 and 5 record?
Gotta keep hoping.

Dream Recollection 25: The Race

I’m supposed to be running a race but I am taking care of Watts’ baby boy. Finally race day arrives and it is both foggy and drizzly. Part of the race is on a gently sloping overpass. Part of the course is indoors, the final leg in a ballroom with hardwood floors. I pass an open bar, district employees including a higher up who radios for my running coach. At one point, four of my work friends, including Work Mommy, throw a heavy canvas tarp over me. I growl that its not funny and that I need to keep running. I crawl through the final carrel.

Shoot me now, Vol. 3

Just a week ago, I was chilling in a beautiful hotel room, relaxed from a lukewarm bath, waiting with baited breath for a phone call. That phone call would then prompt me to get in my rental car and drive for an hour to get Soldier. Just a week later, I’m in “shoot me now” mode.

10 suspensions, 9 five minutes from the final bell. A gazillion references to 420. 3 boys sent out for spraying cologne in a teacher’s classroom(she has allergies.) 2 rallies. 1 crazy parent and her equally insane daughter. And a partridge in a pear tree.

Thank goodness I’m chilling with a movie and the girls tonight. The predicted rainstorm seems to have abated for now. Despite all of today’s nonsense, my mood scale numbers have been consistently high.