It's 8:35 a.m., Sunday morning, and I've just sit down in a cafe on a plush purple armchair with my laptop on a small marble table -- free wi-fi, an electrical outlet and hot lavender tea by my side, surrounded by the character of an old building, the cheerfulness of the barista, and Beethoven. For years, since Maylin was a baby, I had imagined this type of scenario. A complete hour or more of peace. My private time. A mind open to creativity. And I also have a dance class to look forward to across the street. Not my usual hip hop, but I'm venturing out to a different world of dance. We'll see what happens, but I'm definitely in a phase right now where I feel like I'm being reborn.
My focus lately has been on getting Maylin's third grade curriculum in order. It's been fun, but frustrating at the same time. It was fun finding a social studies curriculum ("Story of the World" by Susan Wise Bauer -- Maylin LOVES it!), fun finding a language arts program (by Susan Wise Bauer and her mom, Jessie Wise), fun discovering a Chinese program that I can use for Stefan, too (betterchinese.com), and frustrating locating the ideal math curriculum. After scouring reviews of many math programs, borrowing and buying various books, I've decided upon a mix of two programs, Singapore Math (for mental work) and Developmental Mathematics (for mastery). Last year, there weren't enough drills of basic arithmetic and now we're paying for it. At least she understood the concepts of multiplication and division -- my only math victory. The handheld electronic Flashmaster that we discovered the other day is providing a fun way of drills of addition and subtraction facts.
I've been slowly making my way back into music -- I've been singing in an a cappella group and, in September, I'll be singing with a classical chamber choir. But I think I'm itching to get back into solo singing. I'll probably go back doing the classical thing. For a little while I was thinking of learning vocal jazz or composing my own songs to sing at open mics. Still on the fence, but I definitely feel the best about my singing when I'm singing classical music. I can use the full range of my instrument -- extreme louds and softs, very high notes -- things you don't find often in jazz or pop. I miss acting, too, but not sure if opera is where I want to be for that. Maybe join one of my friends in doing improv?
It's all pretty exciting. But I'm trying to think where all this excitement and all this motivation to reinvent and rediscover myself has come from. And actually, it was from a pretty dark place. One evening, the day before my thirty-sixth birthday, I was experiencing one of my semi-annual nervous breakdowns which resulted from weeks of sleep deprivation, little help around the house (John was working long hours), and no break from Mommy duties (it was Camp Mommy this summer for the kids). I was just about to run out of the house screaming, but decided instead just to take a quiet walk. Ended up on Telegraph Avenue in one of my old college haunts, Moe's Bookstore. Looked through volumes on book design, illustration, and freelance writing. It made me feel a little better, but I was in a slump for a few days. As a newcomer to the large club of Project Runway admirers, I've found myself both inspired and depressed. I'm inspired by seeing designers take on projects with all their differing creative processes and depressed feeling that I should be doing creative projects as well. If I would do my youth all over again, I would have taken drawing classes in high school and put together a portfolio to go to art school. I don't know what I would specialize in, but some sort of design, I think. Well, it's never too late, right? Maybe I should take some drawing classes. I'm really quite a hack and have no technical background.
I'm a little girl full of big dreams (or just too many dreams). Let's see what happens next...