Maeve has been selected as a People to People Student Ambassador delegate. She will be traveling this summer, to France, England, Wales and Ireland. I am so excited for her, although I spend at least a half-hour lying in bed doing math to figure out how we're going to pay for the trip. Our first significant payment is made already, but there are three more looming.

This will not be her first travel experience. When she was 4, we vacationed in New Brunswick, Canada for a week. We stayed in a little town called Bouctouche, right on Le Baie de Bouctouche. It was a wonderful trip - we visited Prince Edward Island, with its gorgeous red clay beaches; Nova Scotia, where we spent most of a day at Peggy's Cove and where she discovered her love of pickled beets; and where we also visited an animal preserve, where a young otter decided he loved Maeve, and he followed her everywhere she went.

When she was 5, we went to England. We stayed in London for a few days, at a  hotel that was just around the corner from the London Eye and just on the back side of Town Hall, which faces the Thames. Then we traveled around. We went to Glastonbury, where we found a little B&B that had the Tor in its backyard. We went to Bath and Stonehenge, where Maeve absorbed the autoguided tour, telling us that "this is hundreds of thousands of years old!" Then we went back to London and stayed with family for a few days, which was fantastic. We also had a get together with some of the May Moms and their kids, all the same age as Maeve. We visited Leeds Castle and heard the sad story of the albino peacock, whose albino peahen mate was eaten by foxes and who was rejected by the colorful peahens. My cousin-in-law Mick took us on his whistle stop tour of London, which included some seedy bars where he got to see some of the giants of classic rock before they were huge.

When she was 8, we went to Paris and Ireland. Our first day in Paris, we stayed in Montmartre. It was a drizzly evening, and I was wearing a blue plastic poncho, and an old man came up to me, reaching for my face and speaking to me in French. Siobhan translated for me - he was telling me that my red hair looked beautiful against the blue poncho. We went to Ireland for a week, where we met people in Dublin who varied between angry and crazy; we found a much nicer Ireland in the countryside, and we stayed with my family in Galway for a week. Then we went back to France, stayed in a small apartment off of Rue Mouffetard, and did all kinds of touristy stuff like the Tour d'Eiffel and the Louvre, D'Orsay, etc. And we ate like kings!

I feel so lucky that we've been able to see some small part of the world outside of where we have settled down.


Back to school, again

Today is the first day of my first semester at Charter Oak State College. I am pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Public Administration. The semester is divided into two 8 week terms, so it promises to be intensive, although it also means I only have 2 classes a term. I'm already enjoying the online classes, I'm having a discussion about Orwell and creative writing with one professor, talking about the role democracy plays in public administration with another.


Something has changed within me

My sweetheart and I were at a Verizon store last week as he was upgrading his phone. While he was going through that process, I started playing with the iPads, and I opened an app called Mathboard, which was a game that looked like an old-fashioned chalk board, and you did math problems. And I played this game, willingly, and had fun playing it, for about 15 minutes, at which point I got out of the way for a woman who was planning to buy an iPad that day and wanted to try it out.


My younger one has a big opportunity - a big, expensive opportunity, but an opportunity nonetheless - to spend 3 weeks of her summer traveling in Europe. I have put a deposit on the trip, and she has an interview on Tuesday. During daylight hours, I'm just excited about the trip, but last night, I just kept thinking about the money. It's going to be a tough year for me, between this and my older daughter getting married. I basically can only pay my bills and buy essential items in 2013, so my budgeting is going to be super strict. I know it will all work out, but it is going to be tight.

Also on Tuesday, I will be starting back at school, pursuing a BA in Public Administration. My boss is thrilled - he teaches public administration at the grad level, although he did say that he wishes he'd gone to medical school instead, since all his doctor friends are already retired and living in beautiful places on boats and he's spending 12 hours a day going to meetings and seeing his plans sometimes get dashed because a new person is in charge of a committee. I don't think I would survive medical school, so that's not an option. Music education is what I wanted to pursue, but it's not in the cards. Still, I'm playing my guitar most days, and actually seeing improvement. I sing whenever possible, usually for pay, so that's good. I believe in the possibility of personal renaissance.


Magical Thinking

When I was married, we had a lot of crisis, or were always near a crisis. I have to claim some credit for this, in classic adult child of alcoholic style, I craved a certain amount of chaos and subconsciously worked to make sure it would happen. I engaged in some magical thinking as we moved through our various crises, and my magical thinking worked like this: I am stressed out and managing a lot of stuff, but because of all this crisis and suffering, nothing truly bad can happen to me personally.

The other night, I was lying in bed next to my sweetheart, who was already fast asleep, and I was thinking about how peaceful and serene my life is now, and all of a sudden, I thought - now I've opened myself up for something terrible to happen. Now I'm going to get breast cancer, or something.

Who needs enemies when this is how your brain works?


2013 Resolutions

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. If again you fail, fail better."

Once again, I'm making resolutions for the year.

1. 30 minutes of deliberate movement (added on to my regular activities) at least 6 days a week.
2. 15-20 minutes of guitar practice at least 6 days a week.
3. Write something every day.

That last one is part of a general shift from consuming to producing. I want to spend less time in front of a screen and more time creating.