Friday, September 29, 2006

Fun Little Yays

Busy day yesterday, but a bunch of fun little "yays" in the day.

* I installed a new stereo in my car yesterday. (finally spent the Christmas money my parents gave me!) As in, did all the wiring myself and everything. Took a couple of hours, but it was done before soccer practice. :D It looks good, and it sounds GREAT! I can now listen to CDs in my car, AND my iPod plugs in to it. Whoooooooohoooooo! Plus the incredible sense of accomplishment from doing it myself. [Dad was impressed. He didn't think I'd be able to do it, and was just waiting for a phone call from me so he could 'fix' it. hahaHA!!]

* After years of dial-up and no other options, I just found out yesterday that I might be able to get WIRELESS. ANDANDAND for less money than I am currently paying for the dial-up plus the separate phone line I have dedicated for my computer. (Actually, for less money than just the dial-up! So I could KEEP the separate phone line and still be spending less money!) I'm gonna call on it today. WIRELESS, PEOPLE!

* I will NOT be dying of lockjaw in the next ten years. Got a booster shot yesterday. I decided to make that into a 'yay' instead of a 'this sucks' even though the muscle in my upper arm is extremely sore. It's all about the attitude. ;)

* I now have the password information I need to log on to PowerSchool and check on Mark's grades. So I can know ahead of time what the report card will say. Right now he's got three A's and two B's. (learned about it at the laptop meeting at school last night, which we had to go to before the kids could bring their laptops home, although the sixth grade still won't be bringing theirs home until probably mid-year.)

* I have somehow, without dieting, managed to lose 10 pounds in the last two or three weeks. This is amazing. I am not thinking about the 50 pounds I still have to lose.

* refunded the shipping. Not a big yay, but it happened.

So, overall a good day yesterday. Today the only thing I am *required* to do is go get Mark after STAR at 5:30. (I was supposed to get blood work done, but it requires fasting and I forgot and ate something this monring. Oh well. Monday's good.) It's rainy, I'm exhausted, I might nap. Apple picking tomorrow morning with the Brownie troop and then Mark has a soccer game. Yes, a nap might be a good thing. mk

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Long Frustrated Ramble

Well, yesterday pretty much sucked. I finally got an "answer" from, which was basically that they can't personalize my ring the way I want to (and why didn't I figure that out already). Nice of them to finally get around to that FOUR MONTHS LATER. So they're sorry, but pretty much all they can do is refund the order. Which they did. Less shipping. And I immediately sent back a pretty pissed-off reply along the lines of "you morons, after you frigged up the least you can do is give me back the whole thing." Only of course phrased much, much more nicely (catch more flies with honey than vinegar, right?). Am waiting for response on that one. Not very hopefully, really. So this whole little fiasco is going to end up costing me, not just four months of aggravation, but actual cash. Which was supposed to be a Mother's Day present. (did I mention FOUR MONTHS???)

So anyway, like that wasn't enough to sour my day, I get a call in the afternoon from X. (yesterday was kids' day with him.) Not even a 'hello,' he starts right off with:


Now, as soon as he starts acknowledging that I'm actually one of the parents (and in this case, apparently she was also immaculately conceived), it is not a good thing.

X was beyond frustrated. Apparently Kira had one of her spectacular meltdowns with him when he picked her up from school. (Mark had a field trip, wasn't getting back till later.) There was screaming. Crying. Resisting getting in the car. Refusal to buckle in. Hitting him in the head from the backseat most of the ride home. I've experienced one of these meltdowns. They are severe. (I've actually experienced more than one, but only one in the car. It *is* its own hell.) X was in tears. TEARS! Letting me see that told me a LOT about how bad it was.

So this is the point where it gets weird. See, I knew for awhile that he was having this kind of problem with Kira pretty much every visit. She would have these massive meltdowns, do much hitting, screaming, out-of-control behaviour, etc. There was threatening from X that he wouldn't take her anymore. And then, after awhile, it stopped.

Or so *I* thought.

Apparently not. They just stopped TELLING me about it. APPARENTLY, for the last several months, it has continued to go on, and just nobody mentioned it to me. Not X. Not D. Not Mark or Kira! Everything was "fine" at Daddy's. Oh, except that, as X put it to me on the phone yesterday:



So yesterday it all comes out, how this has been ongoing, and in fact it had gotten SO BAD that X and D had an appointment scheduled yesterday with a counselor to talk about it, but they had to cancel cause they didn't have anyone to watch A (hello? what happened to the daycare she was going to?). And X didn't want Kira in his house anymore. And could I come get her RIGHT NOW.

Might I mention that she doesn't do this with me? And X knows it.

So I went over, for my very first visit to X's new house (very nice, very uncluttered, and I suddenly have this major desire to get my house the hell in order, but that's another blog). And I get there (probably 15-20 minutes later) and Kira is still crying. Uncomforted. So the very first thing I do is get her calmed down. Help her get her breathing under control. Ask her if she wants a glass of water. (You know, the stuff that he should have already done before I got there.)

Then comes the part where I get a tour of the house and everyone carefully avoids talking about the issue while I figure out that D's mom is on the way to pick up A so that A won't be "exposed" to this. And I'm trying to be polite as Jane comes and "rescues" her granddaughter. (Jane was very nice to Kira, by the way, asked for and got a hug and everything.)

So Jane leaves and the gloves come off. X very coldly tells Kira to have a seat. Which is when I figure out that X is planning some kind of confrontation with Kira or something. Well, that wasn't a particularly good idea. So I tried to guide it a little, talking calmly to Kira and stuff. Then X starts "talking" to her. Which meant lecturing her. And putting her on the defensive. And using words and terms that she doesn't understand ("On average, how many of these do you have a day, Kira?", she's SIX. She doesn't know what the hell "on average" means. Although she probably has more of a clue of that than when D tells her that last week was the "pinnacle"). That's about when I brought it to an end. Or started to. I explained that for tonight, Kira was coming home with me so everyone would have a chance to calm down. At which point Kira starts freaking out, and I am THEN told that X had told Kira in the car that if I came to get her she was never coming back.

OHBOY. These people are completely clueless. They have NO IDEA how to talk with a six year old, much less reason with one. And Kira is ANGRY. She doesn't even know why herself, not to mention not knowing how to tell anyone. But there are points:

* THE BABY. Kira is experiencing classic middle-child syndrome, mixed in with the whole "A lives there all the time and I'm just a visitor" thing. A receives priority attention.

* Mark has a friend who lives close by to X, and spends most of his time with Taylor. Which leaves Kira with nobody to play with. And a whole bunch of rules about having to be quiet while A naps, or D sleeps (she does night shift as a nurse).

* X and D have NO IDEA how to communicate at a six-year-old level. They're just about right to handle Mark's age. They can handle A (who is about 1.5). They think Kira is able to handle more than she can, and communicate at a higher level than she can. She's bright, but she IS only six.

* She misses her mom. Kira's very "mommy-mommy" right now, and there is no doubt that she feels the suppressed hostility that X displays towards me. Which confuses Kira, and gets into a whole other range of psychological levels.

Have no doubt. Kira loves her dad. I know X loves Kira. But he doesn't know how to handle her. He doesn't GET it. He just flat out won't see most of these problems. To him, this is HER problem and SHE should just shape up. He doesn't know any other way to deal with this besides yelling, threatening, and punishing (she's grounded all the time over there, for like a month at a time).

I can see a lot of things that could help, but he won't accept advice or direction from me. So I'm stuck.

Anyway, I straightened out the whole "if you go home with Mom you're never coming back" thing, and Kira and I left. (after hugs and I-love-you's....he does try. He's just clueless.) And she had a peaceful night. Went to bed a little early, in my room (which is not unusual when Mark's not here, she gets nervous being upstairs all alone). And there she is.

So I've gone on and on, and of course nothing is resolved, nothing is better, except now I'm feeling sleepy again (it's now 4am, I've been tossing and turning until I finally got up at 3). I'm gonna go see if I can get a little more rest before the alarm goes off at 6:30. Busy day today. Doctor's appointment (first physical I've had in several years, oh joy), Mark's got soccer practice, there's a parent meeting tonight to learn about the laptops the sixth graders are using and get trained so the kids can start bringing them home in October (oh, and pay insurance for it. yay.)

Later. mk

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Taking One for the Team

Mark had a soccer game last night. He played goalie. His previous experience as goalie consisted of half of one practice, in which he saw absolutely no action. So I was surprised that he was pretty good. He's got an incredible punt (not just mompride, either...verified by several independent sources, including the busline soccer coach who was there scouting next year's talent--which entirely consists of Mark, since he's the only sixth grader on the team).

In the last few minutes of the game, the other team scored a goal off Mark. I mean literally off Mark. Player nailed him in the crotch with the ball, which then bounced back and was kicked in for a goal (Mark was understandably distracted at that moment).

Your son's first testicular sports injury is a little disconcerting. First there's the knowledge that your child just got hurt. Then there's the knowledge of WHERE your child just got hurt. And that there is no way in hell he's gonna let you help him with this injury. Nor do you particularly WANT to help him with this injury. Then there's the bizarre flashing thought of "my grandchildren!" which is particularly disturbing since he's ELEVEN. And the equally disturbing thought that *everyone* at that game is currently thinking about your son's crotch. And even worse that YOU are thinking about your son's crotch.

He shook it off amazingly well (*there's* another image I'd rather not have), but he very forcefully (the first word that came to mind here was 'firmly', which just gave me shudders. Forcefully. Forcefully works well here.) requested that I get him a cup before his next game on Saturday.

Oh joy. I get to go buy my son a cup. That's a shopping trip to look forward to. Where I get to consider style and comfort and SIZE. And of course, there is no way I can schlepp this off on X, either, not between now and Saturday. GAH.

I'm gonna go avoid thinking about this for awhile. mk

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tell Us What Prizes We Have For Our Winners, Bob!

So Kira's in the shower tonight, and I'm listening to her from down here at my desk. At first it was just regular ol' shower-singing, no biggie (but still fun to listen to). Then at some point I become aware that Kira is hosting a game show up in the bathroom. The following *must* be read with a deep booming game-show-host voice (which is how Kira was saying it all):

Host Kira: aaaaaaand THOMAS! What have YOU drawn for us!
Kira as Thomas: popcorn.
Host Kira: YES! Popcorn is a HEALTHY SNACK! Everyone clap for THOMAS!!!! (much applause from Audience Kira.)
Host Kira: aaaaaaand NICOLE! What have YOU drawn for us today!
Kira as Nicole: I drew a carrot.
Host Kira: YES!!! A healthy snack AND it can be used in a SALAD!!! Everyone clap for NICOLE!!! (Audience Kira applauds)
Host Kira: aaaaaaaand KIRA!! What have YOU drawn!
Kira as Kira: A chocolate chip cookie.
Host Kira: OH!!! NO GOOD!!!!!!! Nobody clap for KIRA!!!!!!
Host Kira, moving on: INDIA!!! What did YOU draw!
Kira as India: A banana.
Host Kira: YES!!!! VERY GOOD, INDIA!!! A banana is a HEALTHY SNACK!!!!
Host Kira: Did anyone draw a TOMATO!!!!!! YES!!!!!! You think you drew a vegetable but you really drew a FRUIT!!!!!! (Applause from Audience Kira)

It was at this point that I was laughing too hard to hear any of the rest. mk

Happy Divorciversary to Me!

BTW, on this date four years ago (at just about this time, as a matter of fact), my divorce became final!

Interestingly, we celebrated (well, didn't 'celebrate', actually...'observed?' no, we ignored it....I guess 'reached' will cover it) our eighth anniversary while we were in the middle of our divorce proceedings. I was SERIOUSLY tempted to create a card for this occasion. You know those sappy cards which read "It's Our First Anniversary?" This one would have read "It's our Last Anniversary." I wonder if Hallmark would be interested in that as a product line....

Anyway, happy divorciversary to me!!! mk

I. Am. Pathetic. (please be my friend)

I want validation! I want commiseration! I want chuckles! I want bonding! (not to be confused with bondage, although since it has been three years and 223 days since I've had sex, that could be interesting as, no, focus mk, focus) I want, I want.....


Although I should probably start with the more important *basis* for comments.


I've had this blog for all of what, five days. I don't have a wide circle of online friends as it is (or offline, for that matter), so it's not like I have this huge pool of people to choose from who would immediately notice that I've started a new blog and race over, fighting to be the first to comment. Still, as the clock ticks on and my pathetic little sitemeter number remains itsy-bitsy, I'm feeling more and more pathetic. And thus, I am violating one of the CARDINAL RULES OF "COOL" BLOGS. I am admitting that I want people to come here. To read. To like it. And to tell me.

I feel like the new kid at school. The one who walks into the lunchroom and notices that there's NO PLACE TO SIT. So she just stands there pathetically holding her lunch tray. Until eventually she sees one empty spot, where she self-consciously sits and tries to feel like all around her she's NOT surrounded by tons of people who are all laughing and in-joking and enjoying themselves.

So of course, writing this blog and whining about how nobody LIKES me is just going to make everything ALL BETTER. Now people will FLOCK to my blog, read this and RUN THE HELL AWAY AS FAST AS THEY CAN.

sigh. loooooooooo-zer. mk

How Readable is YOUR Blog?

Oh, the fun fun fun toys I discover reading other people's blogs instead of doing housework! This morning I discovered, at Mom-101, a link to a Readability test. Plugging in Reflections of Nothing, I got the following results:

Total sentences 276
Total words 3297
Average words per Sentence 11.95
Words with 1 Syllable 2324
Words with 2 Syllables 615
Words with 3 Syllables 252
Words with 4 or more Syllables 106
Percentage of word with three or more syllables 10.86%
Average Syllables per Word 1.44
Gunning Fog Index 9.12
Flesch Reading Ease 73.24 [peak readability is between 60-70]
Flesch-Kincaid Grade 6.01

The Fog index says I'm right in the middle of the readability of most popular novels. And I write at about a sixth-grade level (which is hilarious, because I *have* a sixth-grader, and there is NO WAY he writes anywhere as well as I do, even though he is enormously talented and has actually WRITTEN A BOOK--albeit unpublished--and is currently working on the sequel). My Fog index is also higher than THE BIBLE. I'm wondering what version they're rating. The King James? There is no way that my stuff is written on a higher level than that. Maybe they mean The Message version. I'm just waiting, a rapper version has got to be in the works somewhere (yo, dawg, so Moses tol his peeps)....

but I digress. (does this surprise anyone? it should not.)

Try this yourself, and post your results in the comments. (yes, a blatant beg for comments.) mk

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Skewing the Data

Wow, as I am learning more and more about blogging and the different toys you can play with, I am discovering more ways I can mess up! How about that!

Sometimes in my Internet travels I'll suddenly discover a whole bunch of sites that I really want to explore. Now, I may or may not have unlimited time available right that second to explore the site as fully as I would like. And, because my slippery little brain doesn't always like to hold on to things as it should (being far more occupied with remembering embarassing incidents from high school, say), I don't trust it to remember that there was this really cool site I wanted to check out. And I don't always remember that there's this little thing called *bookmarking* so I could conceivably go back to the site later. Or sometimes I remember, but I'm not really sure yet that I want to bestow the honor of a bookmark on this site yet. ;)

Regardless, what ends up happening is that I'll stay on this one site for awhile. Sometimes I'll read a page, take a little break, go back, read another page, go clean the entire house, come back, read another page, open another window, work on something else for awhile, etc etc. As a result, I've been known to have the same page up on my computer for DAYS.

So now that I have this blog and I'm looking around at the neat little add-ons, I'm discovering that there are ways to track not only how many people come to your site, but how long they stay there.


There are reports out there that I have messed up. An innocent blogger will be checking their data, see oh, say, nine new visitors....average stay......97hours. Because ONE of those visitors (*coughcough*) stayed on the page for a week.

Now, this is not to be mistaken with the times that I have KNOWN I was skewing data. Like the time I had a medical case review and the idiots screwed up and sent me to an office two hours away for an 8 am meeting which I arrived at early and waited patiently for 45 minutes only to be told that the interviewer was waiting for me at the building IN THE TOWN I CAME FROM. (The papers clearly said the town two hours away. Not only the initial paper, but the CONFIRMATION paper.) So they apologized (rather unapologetically, actually) and rescheduled me for that afternoon BACK in the town I came from, and then (evil laugh here) after it was over gave me a FEEDBACK FORM. Which included a question : How long did you have to wait for your appointment? This, I'm sure, usually gets an answer like 'five minutes' or something. Mine said SIX HOURS AND FORTY FIVE MINUTES. *There's* a report that'll catch an eye.

At any rate, if I've frigged up a page-view report for you, I'm sorry. (although now that I think of it, I'm sure there are other idiots out there like me, so really, one should only take these reports with a grain of salt anyway....but I am still sorry to be one of the idiots who has messed up YOURS.) mk

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Template Idiot

Well, just after I was all proud of myself yesterday for correctly inserting a new sidebar (my blogroll--look, look at how beautifully it blends right in :P ), I have to absolutely kick myself for the brainblock I was having on my sitemeter. I was all bent out of shape because I couldn't see it. Checked, double-checked, triple-quadruple checked, went to all kinds of help sites to see why it wasn't showing up, checked the code in the template (it was fine), reinserted additional code, etc. etc. Finally, I started experimenting with different styles at sitemeter, and figured out what my major malfunction was.

I had the sitemeter installed at the bottom of the page, which is right where I want it. And the reason I couldn't see it was because idiot me had black letters on a transparent background. Which, if you look, the background of the BORDER is....yes....brown and BLACK. And I had been looking for it at the bottom of the parchment page part. Duh. As soon as I changed the font color to white, ta-DAH!!! There it is.

Holy COW that's a lot of wasted time. Well, I AM a total beginner. sigh. mk

Friday, September 22, 2006

My Daughter the Social Secretary

My six-year-old was on the phone this afternoon with her Gram (my mom), and brought the discussion around to dinner engagements.

"Gram, I was telling Mumma the other day that you and Gramp hadn't been over for dinner in a really long time. So I was wondering when you're available, so we could maybe have you over, if we clean the house. It's a mess right now."

It's grown-up comments like this ('wondering when you're available') coming out of my little girl that just cracks me right up. (not to mention her astute observations about the presentability of my house for company.) mk

The Saga of the Name Ring

Once upon a time, markira's little darlings, Mark and Kira, gave their mom a $25 gift card at WalMart. After carefully pondering for nearly a year, mk decided to purchase, through, a sterling silver ring personalized with 'markira.' So, in late May, she ordered this ring, which of course required some extra time to process because it was personalized.

In June, the ring arrived. Wrong. Despite having checked a box which confirmed her specific personalization of 'markira' (no capitals), the ring was capitalized "Markira" which changes the entire meaning of the name.

So markira took the ring back to her local WalMart, and asked them to return it and have it re-done. The jewelry associate, after some initial difficulty, claimed the ring had been returned as per's instructions. So markira waited. And waited. And waited some more. Directions on the web site explained that it could take up to 3 weeks for a return to be processed.

After four weeks, mk emailed to find out what was going on. Eventually she was put in touch with a local assistant manager, who managed to track down the order, discover that it had been lost in transit and eventually appeared in the wrong department. Because the order had not been kept on file (WTF), the best that could do was to credit mk back and pretend as if the order had never happened in the first place.

So in JULY, markira had to start all over again. Again, she placed the order. Again, she checked the little box that certified that the personalization ('markira') was correct. This time, she followed up with an email to, with the order number, asking that someone please make a note that there were to be NO CAPITALS.

In August, the ring arrived. WRONG AGAIN. This time, mk wrote in HUGE letters on the return invoice "NO CAPITALS PLEASE" and sent the ring back directly to using the enclosed return address label. And waited. And waited. And waited.

September 14, markira called the Customer Service line. William, who was very sympathetic, confirmed that the 'no capitals' note HAD been on the order. He also determined that the ring had been lost in return. Again. After much work, he told mk that someone from the resolutions department would be calling her back within three business days.

So this morning, (more than three business days later), mk called back AGAIN. Spoke to Aeisha, who connected her with Angela from resolutions, who tried to call the company that actually makes the rings, who had NOT responded to the email that was sent on the 14th. And the company was not answering the phone.

So right now Angela has mk's phone number and is supposedly going to try repeatedly today to get in touch with the company and find out WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WITH THIS STUPID RING.

I am VERY VERY VERY FRUSTRATED. My parents don't see what the big deal is, and why she couldn't have just kept the ring with the capitalization, completely unable to comprehend that a) markira is not a proper name, it is a coinage blending Mark and Kira, and with the shared 'k' cannot be capitalized without losing meaning ('cause if you capitalize one part, you have to capitalize the other part, and then Mark becomes Mar); b) it's the damn principle of the thing. I ordered it a specific way, get it right. If I had kept the ring when it wasn't how I wanted it, every time I wore it or looked at it or even thought about it, I would get irritated. Of course, it remains to be seen whether I can wear the ring at all at this point (assuming that I ever even GET the correct version) without stressfully remembering the (so-far) FOUR MONTHS of crap I have gone through to get the thing.

Anyway. To be continued. mk

The Conflict

Kira and India are "bestest" friends. Have been since day one of kindergarten. Journal entries that Kira writes at school often say nothing but "I love India." Melissa (who is in charge of lunches at school) told me yesterday that they stand in the lunch line saying things like: "I love YOU more" "no, *I* love YOU."

So of course yesterday when we arrived at soccer practice and India was there, the girls were ecstatic. Squeals of joy. Big hugs. Like they hadn't *just* seen each other in class all day.

And then it happened. Their first fight.

India started heading off around the corner of the school. India's mom called her back. India decided to keep going. My daughter started lecturing India about not going where her mom said not to. (apparently my daughter has a streak of kiss-ass.) India, deprived of her partner in crime, retaliated.

"Well, YOU'RE not my friend anymore."

Kira didn't seem particularly crushed by this, just grabbed the next nearest kid and ran off to play. A bit later, when she came over to the bleachers to check in, I asked (knowing full well what had already happened) where India was.

"She says I'm not her friend anymore, so I'm playing with Maddie." (who was nowhere to be seen at that moment.)

So I asked her if she wanted me to help her go talk to India, or if she could handle it herself.

Big sigh: "I guess I'll try it alone."

When the girls faced off (India needed her mom to get her there), each of them looked at the other, then turned their faces away with little noses tilted up in the air in disdain. Then they looked back at each other, burst into giggles, and ran off together.

Would that all her conflict in life be solved so quickly and easily. mk

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Bills, Bills, Bills (aka I Love Being Poor)

Gotta say, the bill-paying time of the month is even suckier than "that" time of the month (which I am just getting over, oh joy). As I'm scribbling out my bills this morning, I am being mentally serendaded by Fiddler on the Roof ("If I Were a Rich Man") which continually is getting glammed-up by Gwen Stefani ("Rich Girl"). When there is a slight lull in the music, Destiny's Child pipes up with "Bills, Bills, Bills."

Bill-paying day (including mortgage) directly following a day in which I shell out $214 at the dentist for a cleaning and X-rays (not even any cavities! I can't AFFORD cavities) AND also apply at the local Community Action Program for heating assistance for the second year in a row is nearly enough to drive me directly to bed for the remainder of the day. I am so far resisting this overwhelming urge. Then again, it's 7:41 a.m. Wish me luck on the rest of the day.

The GOOD thing about today is that tonight is the season premiere of CSI. The GOOD CSI.

Well, okay. I'm gonna go stick these bills out in the mail. Then I am going to hide my head in a book for a little while until hopefully I get a surge of energy.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

postscript to Poor Sportsmanship Vent

So, heard back this morning from the person I sent my complaint to. Here's what I got back (along with a copy of the email I sent him) [names have been edited]:

Good Morning, I would say that I am not the appropriate person for this e-mail but I have forwarded it to [Woman] at the Y who is in charge of the league. I merely was an organizer for this area, but will discuss with [Man] the other organizer your concerns. I am sure that [Woman] will e-mail you with her thoughts. I was certainly not impressed by what I heard, and I am sure that this is not the behavior or sportsmanship that the league is trying to promote. Feel free to e-mail me again if you don't hear from anyone. [organizer person]

----- Original Message -----
From: [markira]
To: [organizer person]
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 8:26 PM
Subject: C---- Green

Hi [organizer person]...I'm not sure if you're the appropriate person to go to on this(I'm sure you've already heard from other people who were at the game, who also didn't know who to speak with). I was absolutely appalled at the poor sportsmanship displayed by C---- Green at the soccer game tonight. I was particularly upset by a) the C---- Green coach who did CARTWHEELS whenever his team scored and b) the CG goalie and two fullbacks who SAT DOWN on the field during the game, as if they couldn't even be bothered to pretend that H---- could get the ball down to their end. They remained seated for many minutes, it was very obvious, and their coach said and did nothing. This behavior, by both coach and players, was inappropriate and extremely insulting to our team.

If you are not the proper person to handle this complaint, could you please let me know to whom I should direct it? I strongly feel that this coach and the behavior he is modelling and allowing on his team is an extremely poor reflection on the league.

Thanks for your help!


So of course, people, the [Man] that [organizer person] is referring to is.....ta-DAH!!!.....the coach of C---- Green. Did we see this coming?

I will keep y'all posted. mk
Whew. My bad. Organizer and coach are NOT the same person. Received copy of email from another parent (this one's a power-parent, so we should see some results), including the name of the coach. Am greatly relieved. Will continue to update. mk



Mark had a soccer game tonight, a home game against C---- Green. We lost. Didn't score even one goal. This is not what is angering me. What is angering me is this:

* The way the coach of C---- Green did CARTWHEELS on the sidelines whenever his team scored. At least one each goal, and sometimes two. Actual CARTWHEELS. This is a grown man with a ten-year-old son.

* When during the second half the C---- Green goalie, and the two fullbacks, SAT DOWN on the field for several minutes DURING PLAY, as if they couldn't even be bothered standing there because obviously H---- wasn't going to get the ball down there. After awhile the fullbacks stood up, but the goalie continued to sit. Their coach said and did nothing.

One brave H---- parent (after psyching herself up by telling each of us on the sidelines that she was going to do it, and getting LOTS of encouragement), actually went up to the coach and told him that it was inappropriate to be doing cartwheels after goals. He completely brushed her off, told her that it was "tradition" and that he was sorry she felt that way.

I'm just STEAMING MAD about the poor sportsmanship that this coach not only allowed on his team (those kids should've at the LEAST been told to stand up immediately, and really should have been benched), but he was a horrible horrible sport himself (and really should not be representing the league by coaching).

The H---- parents (who are always as good about modelling good sportsmanship as we can be, clapping when the other team scores, often shouting out praise for a particularly good play by the opposing know, the way it should be), went above and beyond on cheering our kids after the game was over, applauding them (and truly, applauding the way they maintained their dignity in the game, even in the face of such incredible insult as was shown by C---- Green).

I did make sure to talk to Mark on the way home, so that he knew that CG's behaviour was unacceptable. I also let him know that I, and many of the other H---- parents, were lodging complaints.

And I have. I emailed the person who initially arranges for H---- to be involved in that soccer league each season. I know many of the parents went directly home and called him (I don't call, I email). If he's not the person to field the complaint, I asked him to tell me where to send it.

Lemme tell you....if my kid EVER showed that kind of disrespect to another team, I'd have his (or her) butt off the team so fast all you'd see is a blur.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I Don't Know How I Find These Things/Little Rock

So, I'm totally avoiding housework again (yes, this is a repeat offense of mine), and I do one of these "check out someone's blog" and "link to another person's blog" and etc and etc and now I am reading someone named Miss Doxie and I just hit an entry that literally made me laugh until I wheezed and tears were squeezing out of my eyes. It's here.

Now, I've hit a bunch of entries at various blogs that have made me laugh. I'm sure some of them were funnier than this one. But for some reason my funnybone was absolutely clobbered by the vision of this drunk college kid leaning from the passenger side out the driver's side window and trying to Force the cop.

I think discovering blogging may be one of the serious mistakes I have made in my life. 'Cause I can spend literally all day reading these things. And have. And there has got to be a more productive way to spend my time. Like learning state capitals. But damn, this is a lot more fun.


Under the "While I remember it" heading of blog entries, apparently the sixth grade teacher is less than impressed with her class's lack of capital knowledge. They were playing this game where she would ask one kid a state capital, and if he didn't know, she would move on to the next kid. If that kid answered correctly, they got a new capital, and then it would move on to the next kid (one kid did not get to keep answering capitals until they messed up). Anyway, she got to Arkansas, and hit a roadblock. It went from kid to kid. Teacher abruptly stops and leaves room. Kids are looking at each other like "huh?" Teacher comes back into room, stalks over to kid's desk, slams something down on it and says "What is this?" Kid looks, ventures a guess "a little rock?"

Hey, there's some word-association for you. Bet those kids remember THAT one.


Which leads me to my next "oh, hey, I just remembered THIS one"....My parents and I were talking about (can't remember what now), but Dad and I were going on about how much we like rocks (yes, we like rocks. we don't STUDY them or anything, we just like them. moving on). Anyway, my mom started getting really really frustrated with us and burst out: "THOSE ARE NOT ROCKS!!! THEY ARE STONES!!!!!!"

'cause there's a difference?


From dictionary:

rock (rŏk)
1. Relatively hard, naturally formed mineral or petrified matter; stone.

stone (stōn)
1. Concreted earthy or mineral matter; rock.


Oh dang, I could get started on another whole tangent of "silly Mom stories" like the "OAT" story (which is hilarious. Must remember to blog it sometime), but now the dryer has stopped and I really *do* intend to get at least the laundry caught up today.

Social Studies Loser

I am pathetic.

Now, I'm pathetic in a lot of things, but this one is a little embarassing. My son (sixth grade) knows more state capitals than I do.

Considering he got a 70 on his last capitals quiz, this is not saying much.

Apparently the entire class is doing poorly on this. The first quiz they took, Mark got two right. Fortunately, one of the two was Maine. (whew! if he had not known his own state capital, I would have been a bit embarrassed. Weirdly, the other one he knew was Hawaii.) Now he's up to knowing 35.

I, on the other hand, *don't* know 35. Mark was quizzing me on them this morning (I flat-out told him I don't know these), and it was just plain PATHETIC how badly I'm doing. I think I came up with something like 14. Now, if I see a list of capitals, I can do better about coming up with the states. (still not ALL of them, but better.) It's just coming up with the capitals when I see the states that my mind goes blank on.

I have made myself flash cards. I *will* learn this.

Then I'm going to learn where all the states are on the map.

Where the hell did all this information go? I know I learned it all in school. We did geography and social studies. I was a straight-A+ student. I knew all this at one point. But somewhere, it has gotten crowded right out of my brain.

I'm gonna go study my flash cards.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

September 14, 2006

First Brownie meeting today. The meeting itself went great, we have 10 girls right now (9 were there, one is recovering from having her tonsils out), maybe another one coming. The girls had a good time, which is always good, and we got all the stuff on our outline done, which is *very* good.

The only sour spot on the whole thing was that one of the new girls' parent was very, VERY late picking her up. AN HOUR late. Patti and I were pretty much livid. It totally threw me all off my schedule, because I only *had* an hour between the time Brownies was scheduled to get over and the time Mark had to be at soccer practice. He had thrown me off already because he got on the bus and went home after school instead of staying at the school with me (somehow he got past Patti, she was looking for him in the hall). So I called him, and told him to get a snack, do his homework, and then just read. I've left him at home alone before, and I was two minutes away, so that part was all right. This time. Or it would have been, if I had gotten out of Brownies on time. However, in an attempt to not have to haul fifty pounds of gear to the school, I had left my pocketbook and my cell phone at home (figured, what do I need the phone for? both kids will be at the school with me, the rest of the world can live without me for 1.5 hours). Of course, then Mark, who was home, couldn't reach me, because nobody was in the office at the school. BLAH. Future reference: bring the stupid phone.

Anyway, I did call to tell him I would be a little late 'cause the parent wasn't there yet, and to get his soccer gear on. Then it was later, and later, and finally the parent showed up and I went zooming home and grabbed Mark and flew back to the school and he was only a minute or two late.

I am SO GLAD I had a chicken in the crockpot, 'cause by the time we got home it was almost 7pm and I was so exhausted and grumpy that there was no way I was doing any "real" cooking. We just sat down to eat and another mom showed up to drop off her daughter's booster seat 'cause she's coming home with Kira tomorrow and I need it to drive the daughter home before I pick Mark up from tomorrow's activity. Amy was impressed that I had a whole chicken dinner on the table ready to go, considering all I'd been doing....I said I couldn't take credit, the crockpot is a wonder tool. :)

So now both kids are in bed, the dishwasher is running, I've roughed out a bit of the outline for the next meeting in two weeks, and now I am getting ready to go to bed.

The only running around tomorrow is Kira's friend after school and picking Mark up from STAR at 5:30. I'll be able to get the laundry done and some more cleaning up. Maybe I'll even be able to make a lemon coffee cake, I've been wanting to do one.

OK, I am just staring at the screen at this point, so I'm off.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

September 13, 2006

Teachers are some of the most underappreciated people on the planet. I say this in particular gratitude for the extra effort put forth yesterday on my behalf by two separate teachers.

Mark had a soccer game yesterday that started at 5:30. It finished at approximately 6:45. There was an open house at school from 6-7. The soccer game was "away" (next town over, but still away). By the time we finished the game and got headed home, we had about five minutes to get to the open house before it closed. I was of a mind to skip it, since I already know both teachers and on Thursday I'm going to Kira's classroom for our Brownie meeting. But Kira put on the waterworks that she wanted to go *tonight* because they put out all this extra work and she was afraid (despite my repeated assurances) that she wouldn't be allowed to show it to me on Thursday, etc etc. So I decided to make a Herculean effort to go.

We got there at a couple minutes after 7. There were still some parents there, but they were heading out. I ran into Mark's teacher (who also had a son at the soccer game) and asked if she would be around for a couple more minutes. She was completely calm and told me to take my time, she'd wait. So we hurried down to Kira's class, where Kira proceeded to show me every letter she has practiced in the last two weeks.....s-l-o-w-l-y. I rather rushed her, but it was still almost quarter past by the time we got out of her class. Her teacher was incredibly patient, and also told Kira that she could show me her journal on Thursday (which Kira remembered just as we were leaving, and was getting ready to go back in the room).

So then we zipped over to the sixth grade classroom (which, by the way, is literally at the other end of the building. The first and sixth grade classes are the absolute farthest away from each other of any two rooms in the school. Of course.). Bless her heart, the teacher was still there. (we were, by the way, at that point the last family in the building. And all the other classrooms were dark, the teachers had escaped.) She was very, VERY patient while Mark geeked out and started showing me a billion things that I was very capable of observing on my own ("These are our books" as he points at *gasp* a bookcase full of textbooks, followed by "this is the 'Boredom Not Allowed' sign" as he points to a sign that reads exactly that.) I did actually get to talk to the teacher for a couple of minutes, clear up a question I had from the class website. Then I herded the kids out the door, after making sure that Mark thanked his teacher for staying late for us.

We got back to the car, it was 7:30, the school was dark, the parking lot was empty except for our car, the custodian's car, and the teacher's truck. I explained to the kids exactly what kind of extra effort that required from the teachers. That the teachers had already spent all day here. Had possibly not gone home after school to make sure their classrooms were ready for the open house. That in the sixth grade teacher's case, she also had a kid who had just played a soccer game, and was waiting for his mom to get home so he could tell her about it. That she probably hadn't had dinner, and likely sat in her room for an hour so that two or three parents could show up. (open house is really not a big deal for kids when they get to that level) And along come mk, Mark & Kira, and ask them to stay even longer.

Teachers spend a lot of hours at the school, more hours at home doing prep work for lessons, correcting papers, compiling grades (I remember my dad having to do quarterly grades when I was little and he was still teaching, before he became a principal. He *hated* doing grades.). A lot of their classroom extras come out of their own pockets. Yes, they do get an incredible amount of vacation time. But when they're working, they are WORKING. They have to deal with cranky parents, often recalcitrant kids, sometimes restricting state-directed curriculum (sometimes STUPID state-directed curriculum), etc etc. And yet they do it. With enthusiasm, smiles, and encouragement for their students.

I know that *I* would not make a good teacher. I haven't the patience for it. I feel very blessed that my children are in a school filled with GREAT teachers.

Yay teachers. I think you people are incredible.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Sept 12 2006

Herding cats. Nailing Jello to a tree. These are two of my favorite similes regarding getting children to be doing what one wants them to be doing. Near impossible, and expends a thousand times more energy to accomplish than one usually has.

My son is in sixth grade. That means, including kindergarten, that this is the SEVENTH YEAR of this same morning routine. It's not a difficult routine. Get up. (this is a hard part for him...he needs a lot of sleep. He goes to bed at 8:30ish, and still has trouble waking up at 6:30) Get dressed. Make bed (which is a matter of pulling up a comforter. No top sheet even). Eat breakfast. Brush teeth. Brush hair (if I can ever get him to actually DO that). Pack snack. Go out to wait for bus. If pressed, he could conceivably do this entire routine in less than fifteen minutes. Yet I wake him up at 6:30, and at 7:45 when he goes out to wait for the bus, there is usually at least one of these things not done. (it's never 'get dressed.' I have yet to see my boy go out to the bus naked. Although he *has* managed to sneak by me once or twice wearing the same clothes as the day before.)

I have tried a lot of different techniques to make this easier for him. I've created checklists. Yet I still find myself having to ask multiple times: "Have you brushed your teeth?" "Do you have a snack?" I may have to face the facts.


Poky people bug me. I can't stand the idea of being completely oblivious to inconveniencing others by making them wait for you, and then not even *hurrying*. While I am perfectly capable of being lazy, I can't comprehend being inconsiderate.

I'm hyper-aware of deadlines, and can't relax until that task is completed. That's one of the things that contributed to my big nervous breakdown a few years back, which was constant, never-ending internal pressure due to deadlines. Everything was a deadline. Getting ready for work in the morning was a deadline. GETTING to work at the self-imposed fifteen minutes early was a deadline. There were a billion deadlines during the work day. Deadlines about *leaving* work (and forbid if everything wasn't finished, which it NEVER was, because I was doing the work of three people), picking up kids, getting dinner ready, getting kids ready for bed, waiting for husband to get home, little timer ticking in my head that if I didn't get to bed by x time, I wouldn't get enough sleep (I mean, seriously, pressure to fall asleep? THAT'S a recipe for disaster right there).

That little timer was ticking in my head ALL THE TIME. It never shut up. Then I started having panic attacks. Which kept getting worse. Then it got to the point where I was having panic attacks EVERY DAY, usually while I was on my way to work. Then off and on during the day while I was AT work. Any time I was shopping. Whenever I was going somewhere social. It was awful.

And how on earth did a blog about Mark being a slowpoke in the morning turn into a rant about my breakdown? I'm not even going to finish this.

Besides, it's time for the kids to go wait for the bus.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Sept 11, 2006

Well, I've joined the School Volunteers group. Somehow I have found myself in charge of a project already, although it's a pretty easy one. I am arranging a Playground Date for the lower school kids, as a sort of way for new parents to get to know each other while their kids bond a bit, too. Sort of an extended recess. I think I'm also going to design a flyer/handout that explains what the SV's are, in hopes of getting a few more parents involved. There were five people at the meeting, including me. I was really kinda surprised, I thought there were a lot more people in the group. Some people *were* absent, but only like three. When Jodi said they needed new people, she was not kidding.

Anyway. We'll see how this goes. I was afraid it was going to be really clique-y or high-pressure, but it really wasn't too bad. Nobody stared at me and said "What are YOU going to do, MARKIRA?" or made me feel like I HAD to sign up to help with EVERYthing (which is good, 'cause there's no way I can do all that. I can do a little, though, and I figure every little bit helps).

I also did all the prep work today for our first Brownie meeting on Thursday. Got the paper doll stuff all printed out (we're making paper dolls to put on our Kaper Chart), forms, meeting notes, dues records, attendance sheets, little voting slips for the girls to pick what Try-Its we're going to work on together. I'm glad to have it all done.

So, now kids are in bed (Mark has a little bit more reading time before lights-out), I've done a bazillion loads of laundry today, and I still have to put sheets on my bed before I can go to sleep. Sigh. Well, off to do that.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Sept 9 2006

Kira is incredibly bossy. She just cannot rest while there is control to be had.

What prompted this comment was that Mark was sitting on the couch drinking a Fruit2O. I know, I know, he was just INVITING it. I mean, that's agitating behaviour, isn't it. :P

Now, I want the kids to drink plenty of water. They *do* drink plenty of water. Most of this is regular, plain ol' water. But sometimes you need a treat. (or *I* do) So I started getting Fruit2O, and using that as an incentive to drink regular water. Because the kids would drink an entire case in one day if I let them, I have restricted their Fruit2O consumption to one a day. (as much regular water as they want, though) (I know, this is more than a little controlling on my part as well. But I'm the mom, and I pay the bills.)

So anyway, the kids were out playing this morning, and came inside and each grabbed a Fruit2O. Mark proceeded to drink his.

At which point Kira begins to screech at him. "MARK! YOU'RE DRINKING YOUR WHOLE WATER!!! YOU ONLY GET ONE!!! DON'T DRINK IT ALL!!!!" in an extremely bossy manner.

Now, what I don't understand is why she CARES when he drinks his. It in no way affects her.

But kids are like this, I have discovered. Kira, being 6, and Mark, at 11, have different bedtimes. This drives Kira insane. She can't stand the idea that Mark is up while she has to go to bed. If I ask her to make her bed, she *immediately* needs to know why Mark doesn't have to make *his* bed. "WHAT ABOUT MARK?" is a cry I hear constantly.

She bosses him while waiting for the bus (see picture from 1st day of school). She bosses him while they're cleaning up their toys. She even bosses him when they're at church going from the Children's Sermon to Children's Church upstairs. "WALK, Mark!" she'll tell him (loudly), if he's going faster down the aisle than she deems necessary.

She is constantly telling him what to do, how to do it, what to STOP doing. Bug, bug, BUG. Mark is amazingly tolerant of it (meaning he doesn't pound her into the ground), although he does frequently annoy her on purpose (which, again, is a kid thing. I think it's in the Kid Commandments: THOU SHALT ANNOY THY SIBLING WHENEVER POSSIBLE. This is now inspiring an idea for another blog. hmmmm).

Anyway. Whenever both kids are together, there is little peace. Kira is constantly haranguing him, about everything she possibly can. And he's bickering back. And I find myself almost chanting "Don't worry about your brother/sister. Worry about you." and "Leave your brother/sister alone."

So now my bossy little babe is sitting on the floor behind me coloring butterflies that I cut out for her (she was impressed, particularly when I cut bodies out and they had antennae). Mark has fled to his room. And I sit here blogging, having completely forgotten what I was originally going to say. Huh.

Off to do *something* with my hair before I have to take Mark to his soccer game.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sept 8 2006

Well, so much for not having to get cleats this season. Mark had a pair of cleats that were passed on to me from another mom after her kid outgrew them. I was pleased, 'cause that saved me a bit of cash. Well, yesterday at practice, the entire sole of one of them cracked to pieces. Mark's got a game tomorrow. So I had to run to the store today to see if by chance there happened to be a pair of soccer cleats in his size. Amazingly enough, I found a pair (whew), and they were actually pretty cheap ($18)--I was expecting to have to pay way more than that, IF I was fortunate enough to find the right size. So I am saved. (provided that when Mark actually tries them on tonight, they fit....if not, we'll be running back to the store tonight (sigh).

Each kid is bringing home a friend from school tonight. I have discovered that this is the ideal way to avoid major snarking and interference from the kid who *doesn't* have a friend over. So four kids is easier than three.

Now I really have to stop avoiding this laundry and "get 'r dun." I'd also like to get a good vacuum and maybe floor-mop in before kids get home. (about TIME I clean the floors, they're gross)

I read some poll somewhere which asked if you had an extra $100 a month to spend on either spa services or a cleaning lady, which would lady won hands-down. I have to agree. :D

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sept 7 2006

I have only moments left before I need to leave to meet my pastor for breakfast. Decided to spend that time on the blog.

I'm irritated as all hell because while I was blowdrying my hair, my neck decided to do one of its spasms. Much pain. It's slightly better now, so I don't have to clutch my neck constantly, but I still can't turn my head very far to either side. Took some Aleve, maybe that will help. But in the meantime, there was no way I could do my hair (it's ponytailed. again. sigh.), and makeup was a serious challenge. Thank goodness I was already dressed. At the time it happened, and for several minutes after, I was worried that I would have to cancel on the pastor. But I'm gonna give it a go.

Got an office visit review form from my doctor yesterday, in preparation for my checkup/exam. One of the things is to list all the medications you take, including over the counter. Then it says (in bold, all-capital letters) to bring your meds with you to the visit. WHY? I just LISTED them all, including dosage and frequency. Does the doctor seriously want me to bring everything I take with me? What about the stuff I only take when I'm I supposed to bring that, too? I decided that it was a stupid request and I'm not gonna do it. It's stupid enough that I have to list medications that HE PRESCRIBED and should already have on record. I like the rest of the form, though, 'cause it is designed to make sure that you get all of your concerns addressed, and it will help with that wonderful phenomenon whereby as soon as you walk into the doctor's office, you immediately forget any medical questions you've had since your last visit. (similar to the one where you take your seriously ill child to the doctor and by the time you get to the waiting room they are no longer exhibiting any symptoms at all.) (no, seriously, doctor, she was spitting up pea soup and her head was spinning on her shoulders....really....she was doing it IN THE CAR ON THE WAY HERE)

OK, I'd better get ready to leave for this thing. I hate meeting people places. Am I supposed to wait outside? What if I go inside to wait and then *he* waits outside for me? Or what if I'm waiting outside for him and he's already inside? I hate the idea of popping in and out of the Brown Bag until I find him. BLAH.

Wish me luck.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Which Celebrity Do You Resemble?

In my Internet travels yesterday, I found a fun little thing at They'll take a picture of yourself that you upload, compare it to the celebrity pictures they have on file, and tell you which celebrities you resemble according to their new "face recognition" technology.

So I tried it, and it turns out the celebrity I look most like is Kate Winslet, with a 70% match. I like Kate, I can handle looking like her. :D

My other candidates were Christina Ricci (68%), Penelope Cruz (68%), Kristin Davis (68%), Katherine Hepburn (67%) and Molly Ringwald (67%, and might I add, blah. I don't like her.) Oh, and Madonna (64%), Scarlett Johansson (64%), Emmanuelle Beart (63%), Michelle Williams (62%). I don't know Emmanuelle and Michelle are. Hmm.

Anyway, give it a try. It's pretty fun.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

While I think of it...

Still avoiding doing anything "real" until the kids come home, so I was re-reading some old blog entries of Beast Mom's and was reading where BM had put her shirt on backwards and had to wait outside the full waiting rooms for a loooooong time with her shirt on backwards because she was too chicken ;) to go in a corner and pull her arms in and turn the shirt around.

For some reason this time reading it made me think of my mom, and how she went shopping at Sears in Orlando with her friend a few years back. Mom went in a changing room to try something on, got halfway undressed and was looking at some clothes that were hanging there, thinking "Huh. I just saw a rack of these same things outside the changing rooms." Then she realized that it was the SAME RACK....they were doing work on the changing rooms and that particular one was missing a WALL. So in effect, Mom was half-undressed in the middle of the showroom.

That make you feel better, BM?? It should!!!!!

Sept 5 2006

A short list of songs you don't want to be listening to (and singing along to, rather loudly) when your ex-husband, who has "issues" with people who have mental illness and thinks because you are on medication that you are psychotic, shows up at the door:
  • They're Coming To Take Me Away, Ha-Ha
  • Bitch by Meredith Brooks
  • Unwell by Matchbox 20
  • Extraordinary by Liz Phair (particularly the chorus: I am extraordinary, I am just your ordinary/ Average everyday sane psycho/Supergoddess/Average everyday sane psycho)
This list inspired because I WAS just singing along loudly to "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha-Ha" (well, chanting, don't really sing that song) when X showed up unexpectedly. With a co-worker, no less. And those other songs are in the playlist I was listening to. Actually, letting him see the *name* of that playlist (All About ME) probably wouldn't be wise, either. ;)

Sept 5 2006

I am currently in the middle of a mild freak-out. I haven't been taking my meds recently (there is a "reason" for it, but the reason is long, convoluted, and does not make sense by regular non-markira-people standards) and the effects are showing in a major sense. I took the meds this morning, but it takes some time (in days or perhaps weeks) for it to really kick in, so in the meantime I'm in a mild psychostage.

So anyway, I'm trying to get a bunch of things taken care of that have been bothering me for some time. One is getting a refill of my meds. One of the reasons I *haven't* been taking them is a fear/hatred of going to the doctor, and calling to get a refill chances that they might refuse unless I go in for a checkup, which I haven't had for entirely too long. So I finally decided to bite the bullet, so to speak, and schedule the damn appointment. So I did that this morning. I've got an appointment for the 19th. So now I'm going to stress and panic about the appointment every day until then. (Oh, and the nurse practioner that I'm comfortable with doesn't work there anymore, so it's a new person, which is causing more stress.)

Naturally, I've now also scheduled other appointments that would stress and panic me all by themselves, including an appointment to fill out the paperwork for heating assistance (which is the day after I have my physical). And my friend C. has bullied me into going to check out whether I qualify for MaineCare, so at least the cost of doctors' appointments and medications won't be on the list of reasons I don't go.

Plus the day I go for the heating assistance application I also have a dentist's appointment, which is going to be $150 I really don't have right now.

And next week is the school open house, except I think Mark's got a soccer game at the same time (I don't have the game schedule yet, but I know it's Tuesdays and Saturday mornings, and the open house is Tuesday). Open houses panic me, AND going to the games freaks me, so that's a double-freak day, particularly if I have to somehow be at both at the same time.

Our first Brownie meeting is next Thursday. I'm *supposed* to go to a leader's meeting tonight at 6:45, except Mark also has soccer tonight from 5:30-6:30 (and the leader's meeting is about a 20-25 minute drive from soccer) and my parents are not being cooperative about watching the kids because they think I shouldn't go to the leader's meeting because I'm in a freakout and overstressing as it is. Except Patti and I haven't gone to a single meeting yet, and we really need to, and she won't go if *I* don't go.

Oh, not to mention that I can't have my physical if I'm having my period, and it's due next week, but I've been a bit irregular lately, especially if I'm stressed, and so it's possible that I might have to reschedule the appointment if I'm still having my period.

AND I get done making all these appointments, and the phone rings and it's my PASTOR (and I haven't gone to church in probably a month, more guilt) and it's my turn to have the congregation praying for me, so he wanted to meet with me for breakfast or lunch this week to see what's going on and what areas of my life need particular prayer. So I'm meeting him at the Brown Bag on Thursday morning (more PUBLIC stuff).

And I really don't know how much I want to talk to him about where I need specific prayer, because I don't want to become a PROJECT. I don't do well at ALL with asking for help, and I do NOT want to think that there are people who are out there saying "what can we do to help markira?" But I do *need* all the prayer I can get, so I'm thankful the congregation will pray for me on Sunday, but if I tell Pastor Paul what I need prayer FOR, I'm gonna become a project, I know it.

AND my house is a disaster, but I can't seem to focus on any one thing to get it done. It seems like every time I do one thing, I find sixteen more things that need doing, and I'm not handling things well right now. I haven't taken a shower since Saturday because it's been too much for me. I *have* to take one today, because I'm taking Mark to soccer practice tonight (more stress, more stress) and I can't go all gross.

AAANNNNDDD last night, 'cause you know I don't have ENOUGH stuff bugging me, I couldn't sleep last night because every single flaw I have or every mistake I've make or every rejection I've ever had since I swear to goodness JUNIOR HIGH was swamping my head (right down to my first dance, when this guy I liked who didn't like me wanted to dance with my friend who didn't like *him*, so they struck a deal that she'd dance with him if he'd dance with me, and then after he danced with her he refused to dance with me, and I swear if my boy ever does anything like that to a girl I will skin him alive) and is still spinning around in there.

And it goes on and on and on.

I *know* I need to calm down, and breathe, and just get through one thing at a time. But like I said, I'm in a freakout, and that just doesn't seem a possibility right now.

Oh, and Mark THIS MORNING asked me if I had stuff to cover his books with, 'cause he had to have them covered by today, and of course I didn't have anything. (Mom later asked me if I had a roll of kraft paper, which I did at one point but can't find, but then I figured I could use heavy wrapping paper reversed to the brown backing...but of course we didn't come up with that until after Mark was at school.)

OK. I've GOT to settle down. Oh damn. I've got to call Patti and tell her I'm not going to the leader meeting tonight.

NO. Right now I am going to play freecell. (ostrich impersonation commencing.)

Monday, September 04, 2006

Do I really WANT to know what this means?

Kira talks in her sleep sometimes. My favorite thing is when she laughs. A rich, full, chuckly belly giggle. I love that.

When she talks, most of the time she doesn't make any sense, usually because she's not talking loud enough for me to hear her.

Last night, she was in my room (she was running a fever and had a headache, so in the middle of the night she came in. I got her some Jr. Tylenol and we were good). So she's sound asleep and suddenly she says, very clearly and matter-of-factly:

"Cut it in two with your dagger, then."

Oh. My. Chicken.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Sept 2 2006

Well, to celebrate the first few days of school, and also the end of summer, the kids and I spent the night at camp last night. This is the first time we've done it this summer...we originally planned to stay a full week up there, but it never happened, and we never even got around to an overnight until last night. The kids were really excited that we were doing it (I hadn't asked them, just announced after they got home that they needed to pack up, we were going).

Mark parked himself on the futon downstairs in the "big camp" (the main building) and pretty much didn't move from there the entire time. He read a couple of books (he reads fast, just like his momma), and that's where he slept, too. Kira and I slept upstairs in the big bed.

Unexpectedly, last night someone a few houses down from camp did fireworks. That was kinda cool, although I didn't actually get to *see* any of them. By the time we worked our way in the dark (with flashlights) down to the dock to look, there would be a long enough lull that we figured they were all done, so we'd walk back up to the camp....then they'd start again. So we'd work our way down to the dock and they'd stop. We did that several times before I finally gave up. But it was fun to hear them.

We also heard lots of woods noises that I missed this summer. An owl spent about a half-hour hooting repeatedly. Several loons were calling back and forth to each other in the dark. Crickets, of course, thousands of crickets, but we hear those at home, too. And some screeching noise that I have *no* idea what it was, but I'm kinda glad we were inside when it was going by. It sounded almost like fingernails on a chalkboard, but an alive sound to it. It sounded three or four times over the course of several minutes, progressing past the building and eventually fading away. I need to remember to ask my dad what that could have been.

Kira only needed one escorted trip out to the outhouse, which was good. She slept like a little rock through the whole night. Mark read a little late, but then he dropped off, too. I stayed awake most of the night, probably because I'd had two Mountain Dews and I'm very sensitive to caffeine. (you'd think I'd learn by now, wouldn't you?)

This morning was cold, in the 50s. I eventually made a speed run back to the house for jeans, socks and sneakers. (it was warmer at my house, only three miles away. weird) Kira actually went swimming....TWICE. And biking up and down the camp road. And for a couple of walks. She was definitely the lively one of the three of us.

So now I'm sipping on a Smirnoff Ice and getting ready to go to bed. I'm all showered and in some comfy pj's, the kids are off with their dad. I'm in the middle of a book about King Arthur (love books about King Arthur....and Robin Hood), and I'll probably read some more before I go to sleep. It was slow going to get into this particular book, but now I'm hooked.

OK, off to cuddle up under the covers and see what happens next. Derfel is currently barricaded in the fortress at Mynydd Baddon with less than 300 men against the entire Saxon army (some 2500+ men), who have been tricked somehow into believing Arthur is there (to Derfel's dismay). This should be interesting.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Sept 1 2006

Wednesday was the first day of school. My alarm went off at 6:30, and both kids were already up, dressed, had eaten breakfast, and were getting ready to brush their teeth. I took 25 pictures of them for the first day. :D They went with X after school, so I only got to see them get on the bus, and then talk to them on the phone after they got to his house after school. They had a great first day, both were really happy with their teachers. Mark's class lost two kids, so he has 11 kids in his class. Kira's class gained three, with another one maybe coming later, so she has 24 right now.

Yesterday Mark started soccer. I had to wait until I got his soccer schedule (games Tuesdays and Saturdays, practice on Thursdays) before I could figure out if he was going to be able to do STAR (an after-school program offered jointly through the YMCA and the local Communities That Care group), which will be Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. His first choice for STAR was Korfball, with his second choice rockclimbing and third choice martial arts. Fourth choice was progressive swimming. In the other STAR sessions he has always gotten either his first or second choice, so he'll most likely be doing korfball or rockclimbing.

So anyway, that's Mark's schedule. Plus Kira will be doing Brownies (for which I am a co-leader), and that's two or three Tuesdays a month. So we'll be busy.

Yesterday the neighbor next door put up a privacy fence. At the same time, the town road crew was replacing the culvert that goes from my yard across the road. The guy who's doing the town road work is also going to install a new drainpipe to my basement, so he was doing some extra digging to get that started. He got the culvert all finished, but has to come back to do the drainpipe. That won't be until next week sometime. In the meantime, I have a HUGE pile of dirt and rocks in my yard. :D That's fine, I'm just excited that possibly I'll have some good drainage in my basement finally, and I won't have to have eight sump pumps going whenever it rains really hard, staying up all night to check on pumps, having extension cords snaked all over my downstairs since I can't have two pumps plugged in to one outlet because it blows fuses.

Anyway, lots of activity going on outside around my house yesterday.

Well, the kids have gone out to wait for the bus. I need to figure out what my day is going to look like. (besides laundry, laundry, and more laundry, that is.) My uncle and his wife (love her dearly, but she's just a little older than I am and they didn't get married until I was around college age, so I can't seem to think of her as my aunt) are up from North Carolina, and they go home tomorrow, and I haven't seen them yet, so I think I might try to see them today at some point.