Friday, June 12, 2015

Speaking of blogging...

So I’m a little upset with myself because I did not fulfill my extremely achievable writing goal of blogging at least once a month when I missed a post last month. Suffice to say, it has been a busy month.

Speaking of busy… I’ve been busy psyching myself into working out, and then not quite finding my way from Pinterest fitsperation to actual fitness perspiration. I am now trying alternative methods. So, I bought a waist trainer. Basically a glorified girdle. Hey, if it’s good enough for Kim Kardashian… So apparently you’re supposed to break the damn things in. The first day I wore it, I had a blinder of a day at work, during which I didn’t eat (I could barely breathe!) followed by work drinks which meant I wore the thing from 8am until midnight! So I lost 2 inches off my waist on the first day, and I have the bruises & headaches to show for it!

Speaking of headaches… My four year old gives me headaches and warm fuzzies at the same time.  She makes me laugh, and then she makes me want to pull my hair out. It’s the most confusingly great feeling ever.  I watch her and I smile at the innocent, open way she sees the world, and how fragile it is, yet to be corrupted by life’s ugliness.  And then, she'll hurl my iPhone across the room and she'll bring me back to reality.

Speaking of reality…  I’m back at work now. I’ve taken up new challenges at work. It has been only about 5 minutes, but it’s been interesting. Eye opening, uncomfortable, humbling, fulfilling are all words I would use to describe my first 5 minutes. If there’s one thing I’m learning quickly, it’s that there is no growth without discomfort, so as much as I can stomach it, I am snuggling up close to my discomfort.

Speaking of discomfort… Today, I found out a dear friend of my mom’s passed away. They were close back in school and were randomly in touch over the years, she was a lovely lady who I’ll remember not only as my mom’s dear friend but as an eloquent and elegant tama’ita’i Samoa. Manuia lau malaga Breda. It’s a sad reminder of how painfully temporary life is, and how agonizing it is that our parents aren’t with us forever.


Speaking of forever… Leai ua lava loa lea.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Heartbreak in Tokyo

It's been another roller coaster of a rugby weekend, with a hopeful performance in Hong Kong by our 7s Team last week, followed by a gut wrenching loss against Japan just now in Tokyo. Japan! Of all teams... Worst of all, Japan deserved the win! ��

I sometimes compare being a supporter of our 7s team to being in a highly volatile & addictive bad relationship. They've done wrong by you time after time, yet you just can't quite cut your losses and walk away. So you stay, and both the bliss and the pain of it are epic.

The rough times make you want to cut a bitch, and by bitch, I mean them. And when it's good, it's so good it's like Ryan Gosling telling you how beautiful you are while he feeds you cake that makes you skinny. Your head tells you they're gonna do the dirty on you again, and then they'll keep you hanging with that performance that somewhat resembles that one glory day you had way back when, only to get cut again so deep when they inevitably disappoint you, yet again.

Why? Why is love so hard? 

Like any relationship worth saving, you dust yourself off, and you work through it, but at this moment Manu, please don't talk to me. I love you but I really, really don't like you right now. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Maternity leave revelations

So, I'm sorry for all the gory, mommy posts. A guy friend of mine messaged me and told me he knew way too much about my boobs. Sorrraaaayyy for the overshare, who knew people actually read this thing. Anyways, it's taken me this long to string together a coherent thought that doesn't involve cracked nipples and milk stains (lol sorry couldn't resist).

I list these thought below for your reading displeasure:

1. Weddings. What is it about weddings that bring out the worst in people? At least in my family. The planning of my wedding (3 years ago) was stressful balancing my budget with my bridezilla mother's tastes. My sister is planning her wedding for August this year and let me tell you, between the two of them (bridezilla squared) I am praying we all make it out of this alive. My primary focus of course is to ensure that I am NOT the fat bitch in the line (Note to self: Google starvation diets).

2. Work. One thing taking 6 weeks off has afforded me (other than losing sleep & sanity over these damn kids) has been a chance to reflect on what I want in my career. I have more clarity than I have had in a long time in this area. It's time for a change. I've realized that I have kept the status quo for too long because it has been the convenient option for me and it is time to face the fears and man up for some new challenges, either in my current employer or not. Either way, it's just time for a change.

3. Dirty Thirties. A couple of my friends are going through some serious, serious life shit. Cheating husbands, cheating wives, new babies, miscarriages, life threatening illnesses, beating boyfriends, beating girlfriends.  Such a far, far cry from all of us being in our twenties, hungover and obsessing over the latest asshole who is ignoring us. Ain't life colorful in the thirties? If you're still a Uni student worrying about how to make your student allowance last til next week, savour it child. Life gets messy.

4. Thirties > Twenties. In spite of the mortgages and fuckery that comes with being in your thirties, if you're lucky, you also better quality friends (quality over quantity), you don't give a shit if a guy buys you a drink because you can afford to buy your own drinks, and generally you just give way less fucks than you did in your twenties which is pretty damn liberating. How did this post turn into life advice for 20s? Lol

5. Healthy living. So my Dad has transformed his health by becoming a part time Vegan. I call him part time because when he comes to my house, he still eats meat and dairy (and alaisa faapopo and pisupo and faalifu...) He made me watch "Knives over Forks" which is a documentary about how the standard American diet (high meat & dairy & processed food) is the cause for most major diseases. Pretty damning stuff.  My husband has started eating turkey bacon and says he thinks it tastes as good as the real thing. Really, boy, because that makes me question everything I know about you!?  I have been THINKING about giving up meat some days. That mere thought right there is blasphemy and feel like I need to go out and eat cake just to feel better.  I obviously, still suck at this one. Lol.

6.  Empire. A great drama series on Fox in it's first season. It has great characters (enter Cookie Lyon), a super engaging plot and an awesome soundtrack. It allows viewers a delicious view into the cutthroat and opulent US music industry while also hitting home on some very "real" issues that we can all relate to such as sibling rivalry, parenting struggles, race, sex & gender roles in today's society, sacrifice in pursuit of your dreams, and the resilience and frailty of love. All this is punctuated with the show's funny one liners, endless cameo appearances (Rita Ora, Mary J Blige, Jennifer Hudson, Snoop) and great music.  Anwyays, yea, watch it. Lol

7.  Sleep is not equal to Rest. In spite of sleeping no more than 3 hours at a time over the last 6 weeks, I feel more rested now than I've felt in a long, long time. That tells you something doesn't it. That Sleep and Rest are not the same thing. Even when I was sleeping 6 - 8 hours a night, I was so "busy" and "stressed" that I was actually a lot more tired, less effective and ultimately a less happy version of myself. And when that happens there is less quality time with the family, more strain on the marriage, less clarity and more poor decisions at work.  More negative energy and not enough praying. Family suffers, work suffers. Everybody loses. Time to focus on regularly obtaining this feeling of "Rested".

That's all for today, folks. Visit us again for another episode of Dr. Phil. Lol

xo

Friday, March 06, 2015

Mom of 2.

It's been 3 weeks and I'm still getting used to saying the word "kids" or "girls" in plural form. Having a second baby has been fun, challenging, exciting, and really tiring.  And I am lucky enough to have lots of help! I have absolutely no idea how people with more kids do it. Seriously, motherhood is a no joke, full time no breaks, hardest work you've ever done type of gig and society gives way too little credit to moms (okay and dad's too) for their role in, you know, raising little human beings.

Below I dispense some mom-of-2 observations that I've had so far on my first 3 weeks on the job.

1. This time around for me, the post partum recovery was so much worse than the labour itself. I don't know why but I didn't remember having to deal with this much lochia, constipation, stiches soreness, boob engorgement, nipple abuse, and overall post partum misery with my first baby. I don't know if I blocked it out, or - yea I probably did, but damn, there has been some really ugly days, and it has been the toughest part of my foray into being a mom of two. Three weeks in, aside from getting little sleep, I feel fine mostly but there were definitely times in week 1 that I thought, Lord just take me now.

2. Baby has made Big kid grow up super fast! My 3 year old daughter has started calling me "Mom" (instead of mommy) and she very officially exclaimed to me the other day, "Babies have mommies, big kids have moms." She and I were in the car the other day and I was singing along (badly) to a song on the radio, she said, "Mom you like this song?" I said, "Yes, why?". She hesitated and listened and then said, "It's cool." Ha. There you have it, my 3 year old knows what it is to be cool already. I'm pretty sure I wasn't cool until I was 13, and even then, I failed miserably at it.  Don't grow up too fast baby! You're still my baby!

3.  Big kid is a great little helper, she clearly loves her kid sister and mimics all the oohing and awwing sounds grown ups make when they see the baby. She will say, "Awwww lookadyooou you liddle cutie." or "Vaai vaai vaai" (Look, look, look) which is what my Savaiian babysitter says every time the baby so much as bats an eyelash. I love seeing the sisterly bond blossom before my eyes and I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they are pulling each other's hair out and reading each other's diaries.

3.  Breastfeeding is just, torture. Baby is on both formula and the boob, because I will be returning to work soon, but (again) I found myself ill prepared for how swollen and sore my boobs would get in the first week.  Let me tell you, I have a newfound respect for girls with Double D's, and I don't envy them! I of course, (unknowingly) exacerbated the swelling with a hot shower and then spent days trying to get my kid to "latch" on correctly.  #MomStruggles. Very frustrating and painful for both the baby and I. We have stumbled along and we are doing the dance better now than two weeks ago, but we're still pretty awkward, or rather, I just grin and bear it. I pump when it gets too painful, which has helped but I literally feel like I am getting the life force sucked out of my by a 10lb leech every time I feed her.  And if anyone says to me one more time that it's nature's best food and it's the best thing I can do for my child, I could punch them. I already know, chile. That's real, but so is mastitis. Don't get me started on people (especially moms) judging other moms who can't/ don't breastfeed (for whatever reasons), just-, yea-, girl bye!

4. Sleep, what's that again?

5. Showers. They are bliss, because they are quiet alone time! I have been indulging and taking 2 a day!


6. This meme is my life, no joke. I spend my entire day & night in pajamas & yoga pants (that I use as pajamas, since they have a stretchy waist and I don't actually do yoga).

7. Work is on Mute. Come back in 3 weeks. I have real work to do right now.

8. Grandparents, they came to visit. It was bliss to have someone else take the baby while I indulged in a 3 hour sleep. During the day! (Winning!) That was the highlight of the visit for me.  And my Dad's cooking!

9. The cooing and giggling of a newborn in their sleep, is still just the most disgustingly perfect noise there ever was, except of course for perfect silence. And the sound of my own snoring. A sound I haven't heard in a while, and don't expect to hear for some time.

10. Speaking of snoring, it's time to get some sleep!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

50 shades of - sorry not in this country.

So they won't be screening 50 Shades of Grey in the movie theater here in American Samoa, not that that's entirely surprising - I suppose whoever censored it is afraid some village fuam may fancy himself a Kulisi Efufu and suggestively hang naked from his neighbors wife's pa auke or something. Is that not how the scenes in the book play out?



I never read it. I never quite caught on to the hype, my sister left her copy at my house yonks ago and it's gathered dust in my bedroom untouched except for my husband having the occasional peak (skip to the naughty bits, damn perv.) Yes I hear you giggling like a damn school girl, bro.

Now I'm neither here nor there about it. People love it, good for them. I don't, it's whatever. That's what fiction & stories are for - entertainment & escape. I can dig that.

Last night (or in the wee hours of this morning) as I was mindlessly blog surfing after putting down the baby, I stumbled across a blog post by my younger brother he wrote 3 years ago about 50 shades of Grey. I thought it was hilarious then, and still hilarious now.  Here he speaks, 50 Shades of Truth.

And for those of you disappointed about not being able to watch it on big screen here, you will probably prefer to get a bootleg copy and watch it in privacy anyway. No? Don't lie. ;-)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

My gory birth story

Disclaimer - I know I said it in the post title, but really, this is gory. Read at your own risk.

-----

So on Thursday the week before last, I woke up with what I felt were mild contractions. It felt like an intense kegel, or something like it.

I started my day as I did every day for the last few weeks, reading birth stories on the various pregnancy apps I was registered on. I'd joined a community of pregnant women all over the world, all of us due in February, and we had had shared the journey of being pregnant over the last 9 months together. Over the last few weeks, one by one, someone gave birth and posted their gory birth details. I've cried lots of tears of joy for these women I didn't know.

That day, I read all 57 new birth stories and went about my day. I decided to cook some curry. I'd had cravings that had me googling "Fijian beef curry recipe" and spice shopping for the last 3 weeks.

I felt the "pains" (though they weren't painful yet) progress so I downloaded a contraction timer (called Full Term on the app store - worked great for me) and started timing them. I got called into a work meeting so I went in for an hour during lunch, came home and decided to go walking with my dad a couple of hours later. As I walked around the track I had to physically slow down as I could feel the contractions getting longer and stronger. Came home, more timing and walking around the house. I had a "bloody show" which I took as the sign that this was probably the real deal! Showered, and sipped on ti laumoli (tea from lime leaves) while I continued timing and watching TV.  When contractions finally reached a minute long, 5 minutes apart for an hour, I was ready to go to the hospital. The 5 (mins apart) 1 (min long contractions for at least) 1 (hour long) rule was one I learned on the preggo forums.

After my blinder 27 hour labour with my first, I was fully prepared for the long haul. I told my family, I'm in labour but the baby may not come until the weekend! I had a caesarian with my first also and the doctor had told me, that there was a 40% chance I would have a repeat one. So I was ready that it may come to that, even though, I didn't want that.

We checked in to the hospital at about 10pm, I got checked, and the nurse told me I was 8cm dilated! Which for non-moms is pretty close to the end, you dilate from 0 to 10cm, at 10cm you're ready to push. I don't know if it was knowing I was close to pushing, but my pains immediately intensified and before long I was squealing like a wounded seal. My water broke at about 11.30pm, and the nurse checked me again and said my cervix was swelling from premature pushing. "Relax," she said.

Oh just relax you say? If I weren't so hell bent on staying calm, I might have punched her in the face at that moment. Sure, I'll show you how to relax.

My husband took the brunt of my labour pains, as I went from "wounded seal" to "severely injured seal protecting young seal cubs from vicious predator attack" in the final stretch. Lucky for him I cut my nails a few days prior otherwise I'm certain he'd have a few stitches of his own. He reminded me that during one particularly intense contraction, I let out a long loud, "F****CK!" What would you say if you were severely injured and the predators were about to take your seal cubs?

My husband, bless him was trying his best but was a horrible coach saying things to me that just made me want to punch him in the face!  Poor guy couldn't catch a break as he was either saying too much or too little. I may have told him to "Shut the f*ck up once or fifty times." Luckily for all of us, the nurse was an awesome coach, who managed to get me to resist from pushing and breathe through the damn contractions while I dilated the last centimeter.

At 1.00am, they could see the baby's head after I did some practise pushing, and nurse said to me, "you're ready, now get up and walk to the delivery room." Longest 10 meters I ever walked. At 1.27am, she was born, in all her bloody, crying glory.

9lbs, 52cm, and just perfect.

I will spare the most gruesome delivery room details other than to say the words - unmedicated, episiotomy, second tear, and bloody blood blood. We spent an hour on the delivery table doing skin to skin time where she lay quietly on my chest, just being warm and new and beautiful there.

After leaving the delivery room while the doctors checked the baby, my husband lay in the bed next to me, completely spent, because you know he just pushed a baby through his pelvis? He uttered some nonsense about how harrowing it was for him, to which I said, "Honey,  you'd better stop right there and don't say another word." Lucky for him, he listened.

The doctors gave baby a perfect bill of health before she came to hang out with me in the wee hours of the luckiest Friday, 13th ever.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Writing randomness

Well, I'm now overdue, and over it but I will spare you another of my preggo rants (!) other than to say that this baby may be more like me than I think, after all - stubborn and don't give a rats ass about doing something other than when she's well and ready. Touche baby, touche. Can't rush perfection as they say. Ia lelei, kope loa. Some good news on the preggo front, in the last 2 weeks, the company I work for instated Maternity Leave as a policy (Hallelujah) we are far from becoming Denmark (1 year off) but today, will I complain? No, I will gladly take those 4 weeks as a great start.  The real question is, did someone from HR read my blog? Lol.

I've been having a laugh at the posts on FB where people are sharing how they met the love of their life, some are downright comedy, others make me smile, or gag, since when did Samoans in general become so open in sharing our "love stories", other than mouthy bloggers, or talking about each other's love stories behind each other's backs or after loads of alcoholic lubricants?  We must truly be in the age of social media. I find myself turning away from oversharing on social media anymore mostly because the space feels too crowded now, and while I enjoy it for the mindless entertainment, I find I'd rather not subject myself to the scrutiny of judging eyes, particularly whose opinions I don't care for. Who needs it?

Anyways, I have been following a Facebook Writers group online with interest.  I don't consider myself a serious writer in any sense since I am not currently pursuing any real writing goals other than to blog at least once a month (ambitious yea? ok, it's really more like a lazy person's goal), although at some point in the future I may. In fact, I feel as though I've forgotten how to form a coherent blog, much of my writing nowadays is ranty or a hodgepodge of randomness, which isn't something that keeps me up at night (lol) but something I notice (and then forget about while I eat a bar of chocolate). My own personal apathy aside, it's pretty cool to see a community of local (mostly women) writers keep each other inspired in pursuit of their passion for writing.

The writer I most admire is probably my late uncle Lemalu Tate Simi, other than obvious bias of being family, his writing always felt authentic, clever, unassuming, and like it was the truth. Much like the man himself. RIP.

I've not written a poem in forever, so here goes nothing.

Activist

People these days,
Wage wars behind digital masks
Pound furiously on keyboards,
to put their grievances on blast

Spit electronic fire
and push buttons to push buttons
Facebook activists
They all are, all of a sudden.

Since when did,
weighing in on the conversation
Equal doing something
Other than laying on your condemnation

Your ill advised, unsolicited
Opinions of what you see fit
In the words of Usher
Don't talk about it, be about it

--

Ok so it sounded ranty but hey, this is a work in progress, lol

Peace be the journey bloggers xo

Friday, January 30, 2015

Star Sign Speculations

So I have a confession to make, I'm a little upset because it's past January 25th and I have not given birth yet. Although I'm not due for another week or so, I was secretly hoping I might because then the baby and I would share our star signs and she would officially be a Capricorn, like me. Being that we have now crossed over into the next Sun sign, my daughter will (most likely) be an Aquarius, a sign I have far less in common with.

I know, it sounds terrible doesn't it? Me being upset because we won't share our star sign. Bad mother award before the baby is even born. Hahaha. Eh, I'm joking. Well, sort of.

Now, I've never really considered myself, particularly "spiritual" or "deep" (that's my husband, damn tree hugger) in fact, I'm fairly type A, practical, facts & face value kind of gal.  BUT, I have a guilty pleasure of judging people solely on their star sign (or at least my interpretation of your star sign). I probably assign way too much weight to it but I feel like I know you (when in fact I don't) based on how the stars were aligned when you were born. My husband and I are polar opposites personality wise, and the zodiac gives me a handy framework to make sense of why he drives me so crazy (in every sense of the word). It also helps me to rationalize and understand my relationships with my mother, my friends, anybody close to me, really.

My mother and I are both Capricorns, so is my boss, Michelle Obama, Elvis Presley and a few other people I admire.  Capricorn is the father sign of the zodiac, driven, hard working, often unreasonable people. We are earth signs (cut and dry, practical people). My husband is a Cancer, the mother sign of zodiac. He is typical of his sign, nurturing, patient, emo!, Cancers are water signs, so they generally go with the flow, and are more relaxed (lazy) in their outlook on life.  My daughter, Lili is an Aries, a fire sign, stubborn, strong, argumentative and ambitious. She fights hard (whether she is right or wrong). We extroverts get along swimmingly. The new baby daughter will be an Aquarius, an Air sign, eccentric, humanitarian and freedom loving (oh boy). In sharing this with my husband he is beyond excited since he thinks she will be more like him (!). My youngest brother is on the cusp of Aquarius & Pisces - he is effortlessly smart (unlike people like me who need to study and prepare really hard for everything), he doesn't like to rock the boat (unlike Lili & I), he is very relaxed about most things (frustrating!), very shy, and generally someone who I am never mad at.

I wonder, will she be like him?

Now all of this is my own speculation, and really a bunch of hogwash that I am indulging in to deal with my control freak tendencies. But it's fun to wonder isn't it? Now, let's let the girl exit the womb first shall we? :)

All that aside, I just pray it's written in the stars that she comes out healthy and happy, and SOON!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Things my husband says

After ordering $17 worth of parts online, and spending hours tinkering and cussing while trying to fix a spare phone and then not getting it to work, he finally gets up and says:

"I'm such a failure, I'm going to go and eat now and stuff my face like an emotional female."

Geez, let it go, Elsa.

Working mommy musings & the Countdown to D day

My daughter is sick with a cough, and she is finally sleeping after a day full of her coughing, and me googling children's cough remedies. I'm flanked by about ten pillows as I write this. Comfort escapes me, I can't sit, I can't lie down, I can't wait to feel normal again. I am trying my darndest to be patient, but being that I suffered a major deficiency of patience even before pregnancy, that plan is doomed.

So we are T minus 3 weeks from being due for this baby. I'm over being pregnant and trying not to freak out over my upcoming labour after the horrific experience I had with my first. I am trying to be "zen" about it, trust my body and go in with a fresh perspective, but we shall see how my resolve holds up. Last time I endured a 27 hour labor, being told to get off the delivery table to go walk a few more rounds, come back push again (which I did without complaint), and then eventually, got wheeled in for a C-section (they found the baby's umbilical cord wrapped around her thigh.  To put it in perspective, my in laws spent more time fussing over my mother who was breaking down at the trauma I was going through, than they spent worrying about me. Heck even I was worried about her. She was in the delivery room and had to leave, my husband had to change shifts with her because she couldn't deal with seeing me go through what I went through.  She maintains that my labor was much more difficult than any of her 4 labors. In spite of all that... I was in some kind of trance the majority of the time that kept me relatively calm.  It was kind of like an out of body experience (don't get me wrong, it was a bloody mess) but I was not the hysterical, panicking version of myself, that I am on a day to day basis.  I didn't cry, I was focused on keeping calm because I didn't want to stress the baby out. All that said, I'm sure my efforts to stay calm will all go to hell this time. Ha!

Keep me in prayers and happy thoughts, will you ladies? Ta.

It being the beginning of the year, and husband and I have been trying to sort out all sorts of grown up decisions like, how much we want to save this year, whether we should consider moving this year, how to file our taxes & how to manage our retirement funds this year (navigating the US tax & retirement schemes feels like venturing into the Labyrinth) , whether we want to buy a house this year and in which country, etc. etc. etc. When did we get so grown up? I'm not sure how I feel about it all, except to say, if I get through the year without squandering the nest egg, with my kids & marriage in one piece, I will call it a success.

Thanks to my week long date with Chikungunya, I was late to start the working year, and after a week in the office, I am still trying to find my bearings, all while the countdown of pending absence looms. It is making me mildly stressed, but it will have to sort itself out, because there is no other choice. I've no doubt the world at work will potter along without me, and it will all be waiting for me when I get back. I have a planning workshop with my staff scheduled in a few days. I'm still planning for the planning workshop, but it's just what it is. It will get done.

I am curious to see how a second child is going to impact my already hectic life. I wonder how I will juggle the demands of a second child with the demands of the job, the husband, not to mention the attention thirsty first child. I've been at my job for 5 years, learnt a lot, and there continue to be learning opportunities but I find myself wondering if I need a change of pace & scenery, not to mention more time at home.  Trying to balance that itch for change with the income needs of a growing family and then lets face it, my insatiable need to conquer the world, which is the real reason I work as hard as I do. Hmmm. Oh well, Rome wasn't built in a day. I guess we'll see how the year unfolds.

Yes, I guess we'll see.