Monday, December 31, 2007

Panic

For those who have never experienced a panic attack, it might be helpful to know that even when you are at the point where you feel that literally ripping and tearing your throat open with your bare hands might be helpful against the feeling that you can’t possibly get enough air, this feeling will pass.

Eventually.

The average panic attack only lasts 5-30 minutes.

30 minutes is a DAMN long time to feel like a self-performed tracheotomy might be a good thing. mk

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dang, Disney just pissed me off

So, it's 6pm on a Saturday. We're watching a bit of TV after dinner and before the kids go with X for the weekend. Right now it's Hannah Montana, but just before that (at 5:30, which makes this even worse, really), it was The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Z&C were competing for class president. Zack had made all these great promises of ice cream and skate parks, and one of the kids yelled out to remind him of this promise after he withdrew from the race (because Cody was actually a better candidate, surprise surprise). To this, Zach yells out, "Like that was ever going to happen. You probably believe in the tooth fairy, too."

Suddenly, the world stood very still for me. I mean, WTF?!?!?!

Kira had been watching this show raptly. Kira, who at 8 is just on the verge of learning all the truths. But has not. At least, not to my knowledge.

Thanks SO much, Disney.

Three f'ing days before Christmas. mk

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Meds

[For those who don't take any form of prescription, "med" is short for "medications," and is the term used to refer to any regular taking of such.]

I am horrible about taking my meds.

I'm on a daily antidepressant, along with meds for my hypothyroidism, and an anti-anxiety to be taken up to three times daily as needed. This along with a multivitamin, calcium, and Super-B complex.

In the last week, I have taken my meds two days.

It's not that I am trying to deliberately sabotage my health. It's not that I *like* being off my meds (because believe me, that is hell). Although when I was still on Prozac, often it was a choice not to take them, because being on my full dosage made me into a bit of a zombie whose entire existence was to just get through the day and go back to sleep. So I would choose not to take them, and then I would turn into a hypersensitive psycho bitch. Couldn't win.

I have two pill-monitor boxes with little compartments for days of the week. In theory, I would always have at least one of them completely full, and the other one emptying along as the week went by. I used to have my pill boxes on the top shelf in my bathroom, with the plan to take my meds right after I brushed my teeth. Brush my teeth, take my meds; brush my teeth, take my meds. But when I was having a particularly hard time, I wouldn't necessarily brush my teeth (I know, ew, but hey, it happens). So then I wouldn't take my meds.

So I figured I'd bring them down my my computer, because, with my computer addiction, I *never* forget to check my email. (I might not *write back*, but I'll at least check it). And that works out a bit better so far. Except. When the pill boxes are empty, I don't remember to take them back upstairs to refill. I'll look at the empty boxes and think to myself that I need to do that, and then somehow as soon as I finish up on the computer I'll completely forget, until the next time that I sit down to the computer. In fact, I'm looking at the two empty boxes right now. I need to take them upstairs. I am planning to do this. I am picturing it. I don't want to stop what I'm doing to do it, but I have full intentions of refilling them. Whether I actually *do* remains to be seen.

Another problem I have is in the actual refilling of the prescriptions. I am horrible about this as well. One of the best things that I've discovered is that I can refill multiple months at once at the pharmacy. So if I've got three available refills, I'll fill them all at once. Then I don't have to remember to go back to the pharmacy for three months. Because I also forget this. Or I put it off because I either don't want to make the phone call or I don't want to go alllllll the way into town, or I don't want to talk to people, or any number of other excuses.

And yet another issue is that when the meds are working properly, I have a tendency to think that maybe I don't really need them. I start feeling more "normal." I don't like the idea that I will probably be on some form of medication for the rest of my life. And so I want to get off them. So I'll stop taking them, just to see if I'll be okay. And then I get caught up in the hypersensitive psychobitch thing. My parents can tell when I've stopped taking my meds. Over the phone they can tell that.

It frustrates people who don't have a mental illness regarding an MI person's attitude towards taking their meds. It frustrates *me* about my sister's past failure to take her meds (she's in a group home now, it's regulated for her...they make sure she takes them). It's very difficult to put yourself in someone's place and know exactly how horrible it feels to have to take a daily med. It's bad enough to know that something is wrong with you to necessitate taking one in the first place. Then when you *do* take it, it often makes you feel different, not yourself. Maybe it blunts a creative streak you have when you're med-free. Maybe your energy level is not what it used to be. Sometimes it's just a feeling you can't put your finger on, but you don't feel like you anymore. And there's the self-hatred that goes along with knowing that you're broken. Sometimes not taking your meds is a way of punishing yourself for that. Sometimes it's fear...either fear that the med won't fix you and that you're unfixable....or fear that it will fix you and you'll have to face life head on.

For me, it's never as simple as just popping a stupid little pill already. Nothing in my life is simple, absolutely nothing. My med issue is part and parcel of all the other problems I have. It's more complicated, and I don't even know all the convoluted paths this one issue takes, so I can't untangle it enough to fix it.

But in the meantime, I still try. When I can. When I'm rational enough to know that this is an important part of my recovery at this point. When I remember. When, when, when. mk

Monday, December 17, 2007

Testing Even a Mainer's Tolerance

I am a "real" Mainer. By this, I mean that I was born and raised in Maine, from parents who were born and raised in Maine. It's a long-standing "joke" in Maine that even if you came to Maine when you were one minute old, you're "from away." (I say "joke," but we really mean it. You can live here fifty years and if you weren't BORN here, you're not a real Mainer.)

Anyway. It's winter. In Maine, this means lots of snow, ice, cold, frequent power outages, more cold, more snow, more ice, lots of shoveling, and a little more cold. Winter in Maine usually starts in November (sometimes October) and lasts until March or April, when mud season arrives. (This is what Maine has instead of spring. Mud season. Pretty self-explanatory, really.) Maine's pretty well known for its tough winters. Maybe not as tough as Alaska, but it's still up there. You've really got to be able to roll with the punches that Mother Nature gives you.

So yesterday we had a blizzard. Not too bad, really; I never lost power, even though the winds got pretty fierce. I was up in my bed watching some TV and I could feel that entire ell of the house literally swaying. It was almost fun, when I wasn't visualizing the whole house falling in on top of me. The great thing about the wind is that it blew most of the snow off the deck and driveway, so there wasn't as much to shovel. Although that was counteracted by the freezing rain that left a skim of ice on everything and made it impossible for me to open my car doors first thing this morning.

But I'm taking it out of order. Here was my morning:

* Kira slept in my room last night because of the strong likelihood of power outages. It was just easier to have her in my room to start with than to deal with a middle-of-the-night freakout. So she ripped most of my covers off the bed. Woke up cold.

* Listened to the radio until the weather came on. Nothing special predicted for the day. No indication of cancellations. I got up.

* Couldn't get my internet going. This is particularly frustrating for me since I have an internet addiction. A STRONG internet addiction.

* Got the kids ready for school, reminding them constantly that the bus driver has asked everyone to be at their bus stop an extra ten minutes early because they've been late to school every day due to slow traveling on the bus route.

* Kids are out at bus stop, Mark decided not to bother with a hat or gloves. He's shivering. Fool. (At 12, I have decided that he is old enough to dress himself appropriately or not for weather, and deal with the consequences. If it's 10 degrees outside and windy, most people would take the extra two seconds and grab some warm gear.) Kira is ecstatic and sliding around on the icy ground, ripping the knees even more on her snow pants. The lining is hanging out of them at this point. I have picked up patch material, but still need to actually attach them.

* After pretty much having to chisel my way into my car because they were iced shut, I have started the car and left it running to warm it up. The game plan is to take off as soon as the kids get on the bus.

* I *still* can't get on the internet, where I had wanted to just double-check to make sure there wasn't a school delay. I decide to call my mom and have her check.

* Sure enough, a two-hour delay. I call the kids back inside (asking Mark to shut the car off on his way in). Then I begin to panic, because a two-hour delay means they'll be waiting for the bus at the time that I am supposed to be starting my weekly therapy session, that I have had to cancel for the last several weeks either due to weather or illness. I really, REALLY need to go to therapy today. I can't leave Kira home without a grownup. I don't really trust Mark to remember to get out to the bus on time, either.

* I call up the street to see if I could leave the kids there to get on the bus with a classmate. The mom has to work, though, so she won't be home. That won't work (see: can't leave Kira, don't trust Mark). I call Ro to see how early I can take the kids to the school. Turns out it'll be okay if I bring them at 9:30. Then I'll just book it into town (a 15-20 minute drive on a good day) to get to therapy by 10.

* So. New game plan. Drop kids off at school and then head to town. At a little before 9 I head back out to warm the car up again, and also to just check to be sure I can get the car through the snow.

* Car is stuck. Tires spinning aimlessly.

* Get out the rock salt. Through much internal cursing and manipulation of car that includes having Mark try to push it while I rock it in reverse, and having MARK rock it in reverse while *I* push, after about 20 minutes we are able to move the car back about 10 feet. Where it gets stuck again.

* Even more manipulation, rock salt and internal cursing has failed to move the car after 20 more minutes. Then the car dies and refuses to start again. It is stuck in the middle of the driveway.

* It is now 9:40, I am 10 minutes past the time I had hoped to drop the kids off at school, see no possibility to get the car moving, and the bus is supposed to come by in about five minutes, so I set the kids up at the bus stop. I go inside and cancel my therapy AGAIN, but mention on the machine that I'd like to reschedule for another time this week.

* I start this blog entry. Then I hear a plow outside. I hurry to the door to see my neighbor plowing out the other side of my driveway. I throw my boots and coat back on and get outside and tell him that I'm stuck. He's wondering if I've got a hook under my back bumper so he can haul it out. I don't think so, but he checks and sees something he can latch on to, so he gets out the chain and hooks on. My car refuses to start for a few more minutes, but just before I hit it (and after I threaten to have him just push it off a cliff for me) it deigns to start, and he is able to haul me out of the driveway. I move the car out of the way and he plows the rest of the driveway out. There's a huge mountain of snow I need to adjust to be able to get onto my deck properly and in the house, but I'll deal with that later, when Mark comes home from school. I call my neighbor an angel, grab my pocketbook and head out to town. It's a little past 10, but I might be able to salvage at least some of my therapy session.

* On the way to town, I call my parents so they can look up a phone number for me (mental note: program it later!) so I can see if we can still hold the session. While I am waiting for them to look it up, my car dies while I am driving down a hill. I hang up the phone, coast to the side of the road and curse some more.

* The car restarts immediately, amazingly enough. I get back on the road, back on the phone, get the number, call, get voicemail, leave a message.

* At 10:20 I get to therapy, sit in the waiting room for a few minutes, and actually get in to see my therapist. We are also able to schedule another appointment for tomorrow, which is especially good because the next two weeks need to be canceled because she will be away on vacation.

* After no further trouble with the car, I visit with my parents for a short time, get some groceries (including a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice, and if you think THAT won't be opened about 5 seconds after Mark goes to bed tonight, you don't know me very well), and get home.

* I see a message on the machine, where Kira has called and asked me to bring her sneakers to school because she forgot them. That message was at 10:20. She's been without sneakers for over three hours by the time I get the message, and school only goes for another hour. I decide not to bring them at all. Bad mom.

* Still left to do: dig out the deck, shovel a path for the fuel guy to get to the pipe, make a path to the side shed to be able to take trash out, clear snow from in front of van. Possibly even eat something, as food has not yet entered my stomach today. It's 2:00. At this point, it's foolish to make anything approximating a meal, because then I won't be hungry for dinner. I have discovered that when I am not hungry for dinner, I have a tendency to not cook properly for the kids. Planned dinner tonight: baked chicken breast, garden broccoli soup, baked potatoes, and crusty rolls. Warm and hearty. Dessert: chocolate pudding with whipped cream and banana slices.

OK. I'm gonna go sit on the couch and breathe for a few minutes before the kids get home in about 45 minutes. Tomorrow WILL be a better day. mk

*******postscript: It is now nearly 8pm and I am counting minutes until I can go to bed. There will be no Smirnoff Ice tonight. It is a sad state of affairs when a girl is too tired to even have a cocktail.

Didn't bake the chicken breast, added peas for more veggies, the chocolate pudding had sat in my cupboard for far too long and was hard as a rock. It did not go well. Fortunately was able to find some sugar-free chocolate pudding in there also, and that worked out okay. I'm trying something with the rock-pudding and some whipped cream, making a sort-of mousse-ish thing. It doesn't seem to be working. What-the-hell-ever. Bed. mk

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Taking a Mid-Season Breather

Thirteen more days until Christmas. The stores are filled with people who have a slightly crazed gleam in their eyes as they mutter to themselves from aisle to aisle: "Grandma, Aunt Ethel, my sister, Bob's sister, oh god, the teachers, what on earth.....?" The canned carols are starting to sound too loud, the holiday aisles are looking a little battered but still stuffed with stuff.

By now many of us have been to at least one holiday event (I attended my eighth annual interminable school holiday concert last night), we're looking at our calendars as they fill up and getting a little frantic when we realize that "not this weekend but NEXT WEEKEND IS CHRISTMAS! AAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH"

I haven't finished my shopping (I still have my grandparents to shop for, and also helping the kids get their stuff done, as well as some of my sister's shopping for my son). I have something-or-other every day for the next week straight. I haven't put the tree in yet. (perhaps today) I *have* gotten my Christmas cards done (I am obnoxiously early with those every year). I haven't wrapped a single present. [Oh, and I need to print out photos of the kids for the album I am putting together for my ex-father-in-law and his wife]

And yet, today I am peaceful. I am looking out my window and enjoying the snow-covered branches of the trees, and the way my new fence is half-buried in snow. I am wiggling my toes in a cheap new pair of Christmas socks while Kira skates around the floors in another pair. I fixed a nice hot breakfast for my two kids, am running a load of laundry, and am feeling pleasantly domestic and organized (even though I am neither). The kids have a half-day of school today, Mark has quarterfinals in basketball this afternoon, and these events are exciting to me.

I read a wonderful email this morning, forwarded by a friend. It was one of those mass-forwards, that most people skim through and delete (and indeed, I'll be deleting it, too, as I don't usually forward those things). But it really put me in mind of our Lord, and all of the blessings he has given me. Even when I forget about Him for long stretches of time, He never forgets me, and He keeps me safe. He makes sure that the little amount of money that I have is always enough not just for the basics, but for little luxuries. He has kept my children safe, and has made them healthy and strong and wonderful.

In this season of Santa, I need to take many moments to remember what the real purpose of this holiday is. I need to give thanks for the sacrifice Jesus made for me, and for my children, and give thanks that in a cold, dirty little barn, God gave us a miraculous gift.

I need to remember that Christmas is not about the material. I need to remember, it is all about love.

Merry Christmas. mk

Friday, December 07, 2007

Adding Injury to Insult

Mark sprained his ankle at the basketball game last night. He was going for the jump ball, and after the tip-off, he came down and landed on a guy's foot, rolling his ankle. We didn't notice at first, then I saw he was limping, and his coach noticed and called a time-out for injury. I had thought the limp might be related to his knee or shins (he was complaining last week that his shins hurt...he hadn't been stretching properly, fool), but it wasn't.

We got him some ice and someone taped his ankle (not a great job, but it was done...poor Mark, it was adhesive sports tape and when I removed it later, he lost quite a bit of hair on his leg). I gave him an Advil (always carry those around with me, along with some Xanax, which I did not offer). He decided to go back into the game and play. That lasted not long. At. All. He wasn't able to really put any weight on it, and was in some obvious pain, so I told coach to pull him back out. Mark stretched his leg out on the bleachers behind his teammates for the rest of the game, icing off and on.

Today he went to school with my crutches (readjusted for his height) and an adjustable lace-up brace (boy, do I ever have the gear to handle an ankle injury...it's even the same ankle). He didn't prop his foot up on a chair like I told him to, and he tried to push it during the day, and when he came home his ankle was a little puffier than this morning. Natural, I know, but I had hoped it would heal faster...Mark usually heals freakishly fast.

He is DEVASTATED at the idea of missing the playoffs next week (Wednesday is quarterfinals). He lost so much of his season last year because of his thumb, he doesn't want to miss one single minute due to injury, and he missed pretty much the whole game yesterday. The team lost by 18 points, and we can't help but wonder if having Mark out there with the other experienced guys would have helped any. Not that I think that Mark playing would have meant a win for the boys, but maybe just a smaller point spread.

Anyway. It remains to be seen if he will be able to play. If he treats it right for the next couple of days, and does his wonder-healing thing, and we tape it up properly, he might be able to play Wednesday. Maybe. I don't want him to play on it if it's even remotely still injured, but the swelling doesn't really look that bad, and there's no discoloration, so maybe it'll be okay.

*************
OK. My son is SUCH a freak. I was just checking his ankle before I sent him off to bed, and putting a light compression wrap on it (the swelling is almost gone), and he decided to try again putting some weight on it. (Mind you, this morning he was unable to do this at all.) He faltered for the first step, then did better, then started walking pretty close to normally.

He is up in his room walking back and forth putting his clothes away, humming. I had to almost physically restrain him from attempting to jump up and touch the ceiling to see how that went (Mark can touch a point about 8'9" high when he jumps....my ceilings have no chance against him. I had to measure against my parents' Victorian ceilings, and he can almost touch their crown molding).

So. We'll see how it goes, but it's looking favorable for basketball next week. (the cautious injury-prone person who is just now recovering from her own ankle catastrophe is still whispering "CAUTION CAUTION CAUTION". ok, maybe not whispering.) mk

Birthday Bummer

So, X's wife called tonight to coordinate schedules again, and it turns out that X does not have his customary day off this next week. Instead of having Wednesday off, he has Monday off, so the kids will be with him that day. And since they're with him on Sunday anyway, they'll just stay with him from the time he picks them up Saturday night until they go to school on Tuesday morning.

Now, ordinarily this would be fine. EXCEPT.

Sunday is Kira's birthday.

Per the usual dropoff schedule, the kids would have come home to me on Sunday night at 7:00.

NOW, I won't be seeing Kira at all on her birthday.

I have not had to deal with this before. Never have the kids been gone for every minute of their birthday. Even if they're coming home at 7 and bedtime is at 7:30, I've at least been able to be with them on their birthday. Even with our alternating-holiday schedule, I always get to see them on Christmas Day at some point, even if it's not on Christmas morning. The really important days, I haven't had to miss.

And it's just not practical in any way, shape or form to work this out differently if X is going to have them on Sunday and Monday.

I am NOT liking this. I am not liking this at all. mk

**note: I pretty much posted another whole blog entry in the comments section. Also, I would like to note that I really could have been a total bitch and insisted on sticking to the visitation schedule as written, which allows X the kids from Saturday night after he gets out of work until Sunday evening at 7:00, and on his days off from work from 8am to 7pm. So I *could* have made him bring the kids back at 7 Sunday night and turn around and get them Monday morning to take them to school. But we don't do that crap to each other any more. So part of my sadness is knowing that I cooooooooooould see Kira on her birthday, if I was willing to sacrifice a lot of hard work that X and I have put in towards working with each other. So instead, I'm sacrificing that precious half-hour with her on a day that means a lot to me.

Moms out there will remember that special fierce feeling of connection and recognition when they came face-to-face with the small person they carried inside their body. My child's birthday is a day for me to relive that first amazing moment. I know I won't be able to do that forever, they'll grow up and away...I just wasn't prepared for it now. I'm not sure we ever are. mk

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

RSVP....find out what it means to me

**warning: pet peeve rant alert**

OK, I'm throwing Kira a birthday party this Saturday. She brought invitations to school last week; she's inviting ten girls. (yes, 11 second-grade girls in my house, I know I'm insane...moving on)

On the invitation, I requested an RSVP and gave our home number AND my email address (because I know that *I* would rather respond by email). So far, and it is now three days before the party, I have heard from TWO people. (one acceptance and one regret) That means it is up in the air about EIGHT of the guests.

Now, I'm not sure about you, but for me there's a BIG FREAKIN' DIFFERENCE between preparing for a party where there are nine guests versus one guest. And as of right now, which is the day I was planning to do the final shopping for supplies, I have no clue AT ALL which party to prepare for.

The purpose of an invitation is to let people know there's a party, and when, and where. For people who care to know how many guests to prepare for, it is common to put "RSVP" on the invitation.

RSVP (or in the full French, Répondez s'il-vous-plaît) means RESPOND PLEASE. NOT: "respond if you feel like it" or "only call if you need directions or need to report an allergy" or "hey, I just put this here for the hell of it." It means "I need a head count on this party so I know how much food and drink to prepare, how many crafts and games to prepare for, and whether I need to bring an extra table and chairs into my dining room."

Often, an invitation will have either "RSVP" or "Regrets Only." "Regrets Only" is obvious...that's for a hostess who is going to prepare for everyone on the guest list to be there, in case everyone shows up. Ignoring this request and then not showing up will mean that the hostess and her family will be swamped in extra food, and will be making puppets every Saturday until next year.

Ignoring the RSVP and leaving the hostess with no idea whether you're coming or not will lead to an insane hostess who will wait until three days before the party and then CALL YOU to find out why you've been so unbelievably rude as to not let her know how much work, effort and money she needs to invest in this party.

Issuing an invitation and then having to turn around and call every member of the guest list is just flat-out annoying. Why did I have to spend an hour designing and printing invitations in the first place, if I'm going to have to call each person anyway?

Of all the etiquette rules out there, lack of attention to an RSVP request and the dearth of written thank-you notes are my big top two irritants. Both indicate a MAJOR MAJOR disrespect of the other party.

The proper way to handle an invitation is this:
1) read the invitation
2) decide RIGHT THEN if you are able to attend or not
3) immediately contact the hostess and let her know the result of 2)

#2 is essential. DO NOT WAIT. Do not decide to decide later. Either you are available or you are not. The point of sending an invitation out before the date of the event is to reserve your time. This is not a matter of "if you've got nothing better to do the day of the event, show up! Surprise me!" CHOOSE NOW.

The hostess is not a mind reader. If she puts RSVP on the invitation, she wants you to TELL HER whether to count on your presence or not. If you do not respond, she is forced to either a) assume you are coming; b) assume you are not coming; c) hunt you down and ask you. c) is redundant, because she has ALREADY asked you (see: you received an invitation).

Putting off the RSVP risks that you will forget you need to respond. Putting off the RSVP on the assumption that one person more or less won't matter does not take into account what will happen if EVERY GUEST makes this same assumption. Which will then put the hostess in the exact position that I am now in, namely that I have no idea if I am throwing a party for one guest or nine.

I've even taken into account if people are shy about calling someone. (Lord knows I am.) This is why I love when someone puts an email address after an RSVP. This allows me to whip out a little email, without having to brave the telephone and risk actually talking to a person.

So. Now that I've ranted on and on... It hasn't solved my problem. I still don't know who's coming. And since I hate the telephone, and talking to (real!) people, I am now going to have to assume everyone is coming, and get tons of stuff. Just in case. grrrrrrrrr. mk

Monday, November 19, 2007

Love, Adventure and Other Goings-On

Lots going on around me right now.

* Mentioned that Brenda got engaged. Well, yesterday she and Brian asked me to be the maid of honor. Yay! She PROMISED that she will not make me wear an ugly dress. :D I'm very excited and honored. This will be my second time playing MoH. (Funny, I've never been "just" a bridesmaid.) I am just so happy for Brenda, this is so wonderful, and I am tickled to be a part of it.

* Saturday night my friend Kimmie called and in the course of chatting she mentioned that she had won a cruise for two to the Bahamas! Three days, two nights, needs to be taken within the next 18 months. AAAAAAAAAND....she asked me to go with her! Yay! I need to get my ass in gear and apply for a passport. (WHICH is one of my 101 things, so double-yay!) (And staying overnight somewhere I've never been is ALSO one of my 101! dang, I'm knocking these things out left and right!) I've never been on a "real" cruise and I am VERY VERY nervous, but also psyched as all hell.

* Speaking of, #92 on my 101 list? Done.

* Under the category of "Things I had no freakin' idea about," apparently drinking a lot of red wine turns your teeth black! Seen the scene in "The Patriot" where the son's fiance fed him ink? Yeah, it's like that. The tannins in the red wine will stain your teeth. This can be avoided by either drinking a lot of water in addition to the red wine, or alternating red wine with white.

Funny, but these are the only things I can remember to write about right now. I *know* there's so much more happening than this, but my mind is locking right up on me. hmph. Well, it's not like I can't write more later, y'know? So, I'll be back. mk

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Hate My Clothes

I'm going for dinner and a movie with a friend tomorrow night (he's cooking) and I have an outfit planned (not much of an outfit, but it's not sweats), but it was a very painful process. I have no freakin' clothes. I am SUCH a soccer mom. (excuse me; a basketball mom.) I don't even own any nice jeans.

I need to put together a better wardrobe; one that has all the basics for everyday casual wear (read: when I don't leave my house), as well as a variety of adaptable stuff for various occasions from school events to evenings out with friends to even a fairly dressy thing or two. I *used* to have all that stuff (well, barring the school events...this was a million years ago, before I was a mom). When the hell did I become so completely fashion-unconscious? I am SO out of it.

Problems in my way: budget. And, um...budget. And did I mention budget? Also, size is an issue. I am currently about a 16 (on a good day....grrrrr), and also have short legs. There is not a lot out there that doesn't make me look like I am draped in a roll of fabric.

SO. Not much I can do before tomorrow, but I am on the lookout for some new clothes that are fairly flattering and make me look like I know what year it is, and also that are not so expensive that I can afford one sock.

sigh. Must research. mk

My Son the Porn King

Well, *this* post should get some interesting hits.

Wednesday I was helping a friend pattern a boat cover (he has a custom canvas business), when my cell rang. It was Mark. His dad made him call. Apparently Mark had gotten caught at school accessing some "inappropriate images" on the laptop. He had a detention the next day and his father and I had a conference with the principal.

Turns out that Mark had been utilizing some "very creative" methods to get around the school's filter so that he could get to "pornographic" websites. (I've put quotations on pornographic because I don't actually know what the sites are, although from the principal's descriptions of them, I'd have to agree they probably are.) He had created a folder of them, which he had named with a harmless title, so it wouldn't attract attention.

So there was a meeting with the principal, with Mark, where we could tell him how angry and disappointed we were, and how he had betrayed everyone's trust, and how it had been particularly hard for people because it was Mark, and he had always been such a good boy, etc etc. The principal also was concerned that this might be a major issue for Mark where he might have an addiction, because this wasn't the first time he had had this problem at school. (Last year he was apparently googling the Sims, and inappropriate images came up on the Google search, and he clicked on them...he lost the laptop, just before the Academic Fair, for which he had created a web site on his research topic of the Internet. He was granted supervised permission for his laptop to be available for the presentation, but then it was taken back away.)

So. He had a detention (one detention, for 45 minutes), and he has to have a meeting with the guidance counselor, and he has lost his laptop privileges. It wasn't determined by the time of our conference how long this restriction would last or under what conditions he would regain the privileges. We'll be given that information later, in writing. [I suggested the possibility of disabling his wireless, so that he would have to actually "plug in" to access the Internet, and so he'll be right there under a teacher's nose while he's online. They're going to look into that.]

Altogether, I was a little disappointed at the light punishment Mark received from the school for what they indicated was a severe infraction. There was a lot of talk about what would happen if this occurred again, but I'm sorry, if it's severe enough to warrant a parent-principal conference, I would at least expect a day of in-school suspension. I think everyone is trading on 8 years of "good Mark." If it had been a kid who routinely caused trouble, there'd probably be some major repercussions.

On the other hand, his father and I have passed down some harsh stuff at home. No Internet, of course (although he had already lost that privilege some weeks ago, when I found him googling inappropriate stuff here at home...this was not a new or surprising thing for me, to get the call at school, although I had hoped that he had learned his lesson here...apparently not.). In addition, he's basically under house arrest until the end of the calendar year, including loss of all electronics. (His father, who originally wanted to "kick Mark's ass," has already asked me if we can at least give back the TV, because "Mark will go crazy without TV," which really means that X will go crazy if *he* can't watch TV around Mark. Way to stick to your guns, X.)

The school's going to do some pretty thorough laptop checks now for the entire middle school. They've also already talked to each class again about laptop rules (not mentioning Mark's name, of course, although I'm sure his bright-red face gave him away).

So, oh joy. It's been a week. mk

***much later note:
It was officially decided that Mark's laptop privileges have been revoked until the kids return from Christmas vacation on January 2nd. He won't get internet privileges back until the end of the 2nd quarter, January 26th. The meeting with the guidance counselor: she called me and told me that she didn't believe that Mark was "addicted" to searching out inappropriate images. She didn't see anything that indicated a real and true problem, in her opinion. So he's not a psycho or anything. mk

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

She's a Wanderer, yeah a wanderer...she roams around and round....

Kira freaked me right the hell out of my skin last night. We were at Mark's basketball game, and she told me she had to go to the bathroom, and I just did one of the "yeah, fine" things that happens when you are deeply entrenched in the watching of a sporting event involving your child, and so she took off.

And didn't come back.

Eventually at halftime I figured this out, and started looking for her. And looking. And freakin' LOOKING. I looked all OVER the damn school, and out on the playground, and around the building, and through the whole school again, and again, and asked people as I passed if they had seen her (no one had), and was getting more and more frantic, and had asked the principal and the guidance counselor and the custodian and was just about ready to start screaming for someone to find my little girl, when I passed through the gym again on the start of another round, when I saw my parents waving at me from the bleachers and Kira was sitting on my dad's lap. So I went *back* around and told the principal and the custodian and the guidance counselor that I had found her. Turns out the *guidance counselor* found her in the *music room* (which I had looked in, but didn't see Kira), and told her that her mom was looking for her and she'd better get back. By this time I was giddy with relief and the resulting anger (the how-dare-you-scare-your-mother anger).

I had missed part of the third quarter, which pissed me off even more, and I just told Kira that she was in such trouble I didn't want to talk about it right now, and settled it to try to enjoy the rest of the game.

Which wasn't really possible, partially due to the huge surge of adrenaline that had drained me out, and partially because the other team was really stomping on us (pretty literally--very physically aggressive team--they really took our boys to school). At some point our coach decided it really wasn't going to be possible for us to win and he started cycling out the experienced players and putting the newbies out so they could get some minutes and game experience. I thought that was really great of the coach, that it mattered more to him that the team develops than to keep the point spread low (which he could have done if he had kept the veteran team members in). So we lost by a considerable chunk, but the new guys got a taste of game and a few of them really developed visibly, i.e. the kid who whenever he received a pass would stand rooted in spot and immediately pass the ball back out, actually dribbled and tried to bring it to the hoop. That was pretty cool.

Anyway, after some jokes with other adults about fitting Kira with a buzzer that goes off whenever she's more than five feet away (or a GPS chip), at home I spoke seriously with Kira about how unsafe her actions were, and that as a result I am curtailing her ability to wander during events. Now she's going to have to sit right by me during the entire game, and if she has to go to the bathroom, she's going to have to wait until halftime when I can take her. She wasn't really happy about that, but she did understand that what she had done wasn't responsible. And we did the whole hugs-and-I-love-you's and all is well. mk

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Captain Brenda's Engaged!

In her own words:

After a wonderful weekend in New York that included meeting his mom, step-dad, brother, sister-in-law, sister, brother-in-law, nieces, nephews, attending a soccer game that one of his nephews was in, ice skating, throwing a baseball around, swinging on swings at the playground, a walk in the park at sunset, dinner, a movie, and a myriad of other things, Brian proposed Sunday night.

I accepted!

Crazy in love,
Brenda

Wedding tentatively scheduled for the end of May, before her first sail of the season. Congratulations, Brenda! mk

ARRRRRRRREN'T YOU HAPPY FOR ME??

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Shirts vs. Skin-and-bones

Mark's skinny. He's always been skinny. (well, okay, when he was three months old he had a little pudge on him, but dang, it went away fast.) He's always been in the 95th percentile for height and the 50th percentile for weight for his age. This translates into a skinny guy.

In working on his family newsletter for school, he got a photo from his dad's house, showing Mark jumping into the water. It was a photo from behind, and you can see literally every bone in his back, all the ribs, everything. It's really quite gross (when Mark comes home tomorrow, I'll get him to give me a copy of the picture and I'll post it on here). That was the first time that Mark himself realized what we were talking about when we say how skinny he is. This picture to the left is from this summer's pond swim, and it gives you an idea.

So anyway. Skinny kid. And tall. He's about 5'8" and weighs about 120 pounds. Or he did. Apparently he has LOST WEIGHT during this basketball season. Well, he's got a high metabolism anyway (did NOT inherit that from his mom), and he's been playing basketball for 1.5 hours every day. He's burning calories at an incredible rate. And he just literally does not have enough time to eat enough food to restore those calories. But losing weight when your BMI is already 18.4? Not good.

I became aware of the weight issue when I picked Mark up at practice yesterday. They were playing shirts and skins, and he was a skin. And bone. I was on the bleachers perfectly able to count ribs and vertebrae. I need to fatten that child up. (eek, echoes of Hansel and Gretel there)

So, in a weird twist on today's obsession with weight, I am actually on a campaign to INCREASE the amount of calories that Mark will be taking in, while keeping it healthy. High levels of proteins, good carbs, and lots of veggies. Might add some Carnation Instant Breakfast shakes or something. Any suggestions?

Damn, I wish I had this problem for myself. mk

***********
update: here's the other pic....it reeeeeeeeeeally grossed out some of the girls in Mark's class.



















Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Big Talk, Less Followthrough

Mark's teacher sent home a goal-setting sheet for the second quarter. There was one the first quarter, too. The student had to list his/her specific educational goals, and then list what actions he/she would be taking to attain those goals. Then there is a spot for parents to list how they are going to help their child with the goals. Lastly, the teacher lists specifically how he will help the student with their goals. Everyone signs it and we're all happy.

Mark's goals for the quarter are excellent...on paper. He wants to:
1. Make high honors this quarter and other quarters
2. Use my time wisely on big projects
3. Work harder in Social Studies and Language Arts
4. Read bigger, longer, harder books

His "Student Commitment" says: "For my goals, I'm going to put forth my best effort in my work and will pay more attention in L.A. and S.S., and will use my free time to work on my projects and reading."

Wonderful, you say. What a great kid, really interested in pouring himself into his scholastics.

Uh-huh.

We are in day two of the second quarter, and Mark has already missed a current event that was due Monday (that he is working on now). He also had an opportunity to correct a math quiz that he got a 'D' on, and the average between the old grade and the corrected score would be his new grade. (That 'D' nearly cost him his A in Pre-Algebra) Still hasn't done it. It's due by tomorrow. He's grumbled and groaned his way through the whole evening.

And this is what I'm AWARE of. I didn't know there was a current event due. Mark is very bad at writing in his assignments in his planner, even though there is time set aside for this exact purpose.

I don't know if this is all just a part of the (non-diagnosed) ADD, or if he really just doesn't care all that much and makes all the right noises to impress people, but just doesn't want to bother with the followup efforts. It's incredibly frustrating for me.

I also worry that he sees my lack of consistency (due to my own mental illnesses) and thinks that this is an okay way to be. I worry about that a LOT. Also, I can't always keep on top of him (or Kira) with checking up and making sure they're doing everything they need to. I end up, from necessity, having to trust that they are getting it done. But with Mark, he doesn't. If you don't stay on top of him for this stuff, he lets it go until the last possible second, and then he slaps it all together in a piss-poor job, and blames everything else in the world except himself.

He's horrible with taking responsibility for his actions (or lack thereof). It's a fault that his father has as well, and I wonder if this is a learned thing or if it's hereditary. Am I fighting a losing battle in trying to establish better habits in him? (Not that I'm going to stop, but....)

Anyway. I'm trying as hard as I can to help him establish these basic tools in his organizational repertoire. (While I'm at it, I should do it for me, too....physician, heal thyself.)

GRRRRR. mk

Sunday, November 04, 2007

No NaNoWriMo

Well, it's National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for those "in the know"). Once again, I have contemplated the idea of trying it. And once again I have chickened out.

I know I have a novel or two in me. I just can't focus and concentrate my thoughts enough to pull it out. NaNoWriMo is supposed to help that...the idea is to write *something* every day, to finish a 50,000-word novel (about 175 pages) in one month. It's not necessarily going to be a GOOD novel. In fact, it's probably going to be crap. But dang it, you'll have written something.

Sustained effort on ANYTHING is a near impossibility for me at this stage. I can't even remember to take my daily meds on a daily basis. I can't keep up the laundry. I can't keep the housework up. Often I don't even have the energy to take a *shower* every day. So the idea of setting myself up for pretty much guaranteed failure on a 30-day writing project is probably not my best move.

Yet, I continue to hold NaNoWriMo up as a "someday" goal. Maybe 2008. mk

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Four Decades of Star Trek

So, Thursday night Ned and I went to the Rockland library, which was having a series of evenings titled: Four Decades of Star Trek.

Thursday, November 1 at 6:30 PM
Four Decades of Star Trek:
Star Trek: The Next Generation

Guest Host: Star Trek star and director, Jonathan Frakes


Four Decades of Star Trek continues with a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Star Trek: The Next Generation. We’ll be talking with Next Generation star and director Jonathan Frakes, giving away Star Trek dvds & books, and screening two episodes from Star Trek: The Next Generation. In The Pegasus, the Enterprise is ordered on a covert mission involving a secret Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) has held for 12 years. In The Next Phase Geordi and Ensign Ro are pronounced dead after an accident. They awaken on the Enterprise, only to find that they can’t be perceived by any of their crewmates.

* * * PLEASE NOTE: Seating is limited to the first 75 attendees * * *

************

So, Jonathan Frakes was great. He was funny, told lots of stories, and was there for about an hour and a half or so. Ned was disappointed because it wasn't set up for Jonathan to sign things (lots of people had brought things for him to autograph). I wasn't as worried about it because I already had an autograph from before (story to follow). I just relaxed and enjoyed myself. Took a couple of pictures, only one came out. I had worn my new Bajoran earring, set my cell phone ringtone to the Star Trek theme (although I had to set it to silent during the actual event, it was fun when it rang while we were waiting for it to open). Definitely glad I went, although I was totally exhausted by the time I got home, and yesterday I wasn't good for much of anything. Still, wouldn't have missed it.



















My other Jonathan Frakes story: a few years back, Mom and I were in Planet Toy in Rockland, just leaving, when around the corner came this little family--mom, dad, boy. The dad, who was very tall, was just putting his son up on his shoulders, to the delight of the youngster. I was smiling at the sweetness of the family scene, and admiring the very attractive dad, when I suddenly realize that it was WILLIAM RIKER FROM STAR TREK!!!! I was agog.

After an extremely short discussion with mom, we went back into Planet Toy, and after a couple of minutes of working up the courage, I went up to him and shyly asked if he was Jonathan Frakes. He confirmed that he was, and I said that I really admired his work. He thanked me, we shook hands, I asked if he could sign my bag (the Planet Toy bag), he did (he wrote: Go boldly! Jonathan Frakes), and I thanked him and went away. He was very nice, friendly, and holycow handsome.

Meanwhile, my mom had been stalking his wife around the store (he's married to Genie Francis, better known as Laura from General Hospital). Mom never did get to speak with her (Genie was talking with someone about murals for her son's room). I was floored at how dumpy and unattractive Genie was in person. I mean, bad. Maybe she was just having a really, REALLY bad hair-and-makeup day, but it was kinda shocking to me.

Jonathan and Genie live in Belfast, where she owns and runs a shop called The Cherished Home. (one of the questions someone asked was whether he helped out in the shop. He said his wife wouldn't let him do anything except cut up boxes and stack them neatly in the dumpster. He was also allowed to move things from the Cherished Home to "the cherished shed," and change lightbulbs.)

So, there's my story. Kinda cool for me. mk

This Is Halloween

So. Halloween pictures (finally). We had a totally fantastic time with our haunted pirate ship. Turns out we made the local paper. They posted a piece online, and that led to a few additional people coming by. :D We were, at one point, the second-most emailed article at the paper.

We considered it a total success. There were kids screaming, crying, refusing to come down the path, running away (one poor child fell down while he was trying to run away screaming). We toned it WAAAAAAY down for the little-little ones, and overall there were very few crying babies as a result. Brenda would walk candy out to them if they were too scared to come to us.

We even scared some older kids. Notably two girls in their early teens who were so scared they were clutching onto each other and moving together like some kind of drunken spider. Although there was also another girl who looked to be about sixth grade, who was totally freaked out by me in my dead-pirate guise. She was trying so hard to be brave and stand up to me, and when she finally did get all up in my face, Brenda, who had snuck up behind her, yelled "ARRRRRR" and the girl just about passed out. It was great.

It sounds kinda mean when I just write about it like that, but we really did scale the scary to fit the kids. We gave the kids what they could take.** We got a HUGELY positive response. People were taking pictures, telling us it was the best house they'd ever seen, that we should win a prize (except, of course, that there was no contest), that we were better than Disney (which was not quite true, although we appreciated the sentiment)...it was just great. We had a truly marvelous time. Brenda and I got TOTALLY into our characters, roaming amongst the graves, using our "pirate voices" to threaten and cajole. Brenda actually chased people down the street (which they loved). Ned *tried* to get into the spirit of it, but he couldn't quite be as mean and scary as Brenda and I were. :D

[**We had one boy who looked about early high school, so we started out with the top-level scary. His mom, who was with him but stayed at the top of the path, quietly informed us that her son was autistic and might take us seriously, so we scaled it way back. When he was done with the trick-or-treat, he was getting back into his mom's car and we could hear him jubilantly saying over and over, "I did it! I did it!" It was really a fantastic moment for us.]

Then there was an ADORABLE little girl in a ladybug costume. We weren't being scary at all for her, but apparently it didn't matter anyway, because she looked at us in our horrifying makeup and masks and smiled and said, "Hi pirates! I like your lights!" She was soooooooo cute.

I haven't had so much fun in forever. Brenda was really, REALLY having a blast. By the end of the evening, we had used our pirate voices so much that we could barely talk, and the next day neither of us could do the pirate voice at all without a GREAT deal of pain.

OK, pictures. mk(this is Brenda)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Maybe I Should Be Catholic

I've wondered for a long time if I was missing something by not being a Catholic. There's always been something appealing to me about the rituals, such as the crossing of oneself, the standard prayers (Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death, Amen). When I was a child I wanted to be a nun. Took a while to figure out that Congregationalists don't have nuns. Also took a while before I realized that nuns don't all speak with "thee" and "thoust" and all that. (Maybe I should have been a Quaker....hmmmm....anyway. Moving on.)

One of the coolest thing I think I'm missing out on is the idea of the patron saints. I like the idea of having someone specific who has been chosen to bless my particular types of situations. A long time ago I decided that my personal patron saint (not actually being Catholic, I have no idea if I can just adopt my own patron saint or if there's some special procedure or something...but since I'm not going by the rules anyway, I figure it's my call)...anyway...I have adopted St. Jude.

Now, the *reason* I adopted St. Jude is because many years ago I came across this little medal that just spoke to me. Tarnished silver, very beat-up looking, and it had a little figure on it and in barely readable letters it says, "St. Jude Thaddeus, Saint of the Impossible." (the back says "Shrine of St. Jude, Chicago IL, Dominican Fathers) Now, if ever a title appealed to me, it was "Saint of the Impossible." That just clicked. I was in a difficult stage in my life, and the idea of finding my way out of the depths of darkness seemed...impossible.

I've got my medal on a short silver chain and I wear it periodically. Nobody's ever mentioned it or questioned me about the necklace I was wearing. It's almost like it's invisible. But I like having it.

Anyway. I originally started to write because I was going to have a post about Mark's basketball schedule. It has worked out that not ONE of Mark's nine games has a conflict with anything. Each of the THREE times that Kira has Brownies overlapping with Mark's game, it's a home game, so I'll already be in the building anyway. And no conflicts with practices, either, even counting that Kira will be starting her own basketball practices in November. The odds of this working out well are...well...it just usually doesn't happen, something usually ends up being a major pain in the ass, and this season just seems to be scheduling very smoothly (knock wood--I'm not above that one, either). So I was going to praise the basketball gods, and from there I wondered if instead I should praise the patron saint of divorced single moms...which led me to wondering if there WAS a patron saint for divorced single moms (I haven't found one yet...divorced people, yes, and single--meaning never married--mothers, and mothers in general). That got me thinking about ol' St. Jude, my personal patron....Saint of the Impossible. Gotta love that guy. mk

Outside

It is a gorgeous day here in Maine today. Bright, sunny, warm (50s). I turned my heat back off and opened the front windows while I was piddling around with the things that *had* to get done today (made cupcakes for Kira's class, although I still need to frost them; burned a CD of pictures for Mark to transfer to his laptop for his photo collage; attempted to work on laundry but just couldn't get into the right frame, although I did wash and dry a couple loads--haven't folded, though).

Outside just kept tempting me. Now this is very weird, because I don't usually spend a lot of time outside. I don't like being where people can look at me, and my house gets a fair amount of traffic, which equals people. But for some reason I was just dying to get into the outside air. So finally after I did the "have to's," I grabbed a book, blanket, pillow, and went out. I scrounged through the garage until I found a lawn chair (one of those old tri-fold aluminum-frame things with the thin vinyl tube-y whatchamacallit-webbing....do they even MAKE those anymore?) and dragged it out by my new fence, facing the house, next to the tree garden. That chair was so old and crappy (it had not been used in probably eight or more years), it kept folding up on me as soon as I tried to get it set up. So I'd have to climb out, click the section all the way in to the middle and then back out flat, and try again. After about the fifteenth try with it, I folded it back up, stuck it in the "take it to the dump ASAP" pile and grabbed another one. Not much better, but I was able to finally get in a somewhat comfortable position with my pillow and blanket and book, and enjoy the breeze and the sun. It was really quite wonderful.

After awhile I got a little restless, and just kept looking at the horribly overgrown rock garden. I'm not sure exactly what my initial thought was, but before I knew it I had my pruners and I was wading through it, hacking back weeds and dead stalks to the ground.

Oh my holy cow, gardening. I had missed it SO much. I got completely out of the groove when I hurt my ankle in May, and it's just now gotten to the point where more often than not, I am not in any pain or discomfort or hyperawareness of possible re-injury. In the meantime, I haven't done ANY real gardening in the last five months, and I hadn't really realized just how therapeutic it is for me. I just LOVE it. I'm not very good, or very consistent, but man, it is just so awesome a feeling to clear things out, make a gorgeous little patch of dirt, and grow things. I love physically working hard on something that is visually rewarding. It's just such an awesome, awesome feeling. I have GOT to remember how great this is.

I got the rock garden cleared of the big weeds (now I have a big pile of them, need to get rid of that). I can actually see the magnolia tree that's in there! It's been lost in the overgrowth. I'm hoping that maybe on Friday the weather will still be good and I can do some more clearing of the other gardens, and get them all ready for winter. Yay!

Ah, bus. Gotta run. mk

Monday, October 29, 2007

Countdown to H-Day!

Well, today as soon as the kids hopped on the bus, I got in the (pre-loaded) van and headed to Brenda's to begin the transformation from regular ol' house to Haunted Pirate Ship. We got a LOT done today. All the sails are up on the roofline and also along the porch railings, the boxes are covering the bushes, we found a great old barrel at the shipyard, we've got Jolly Roger flags everywhere, ropes, rusty lanterns, the base set up for the cannon. We tested sound (still need to fine-tune location of the scream soundtrack), put up spiderwebs, laid out the skeleton bones, did a bunch of other stuff. It was really windy, which meant that the gravestones weren't staying in the ground correctly. The cheesy little stands that came with them are pretty worthless, so I need to make some better ones out of wire hangers.

We're going back tomorrow evening after Mark's out of basketball practice, so we can deal with lighting. We wanted it to be dark, so we'd know exactly what the effects were. The timing isn't really great for me because Mark has a major project due on Wednesday, but I'll have him bring his stuff with him and he can work on it in Brenda's living room if he's not finished. It'll also be past Kira's bedtime, which I'm not happy with, but hopefully we won't take too long with it all. I can always bail and let Brenda and Ned finalize everything. They don't really *neeeeeed* me, they could do it themselves, but we're all doing this project together, so it would be preferable for me to be there.

What else, what else. We're going to use some luminaries. I have a dozen mason jars with tea lights in them (from a few Christmases ago...not sure I ever actually used them). That was Brenda's idea, that the flickering candlelight along the path might be cool. I think it's going to work great.

But overall, except for a lighting check and making the gravestone stands, and trying to convert a .wma file into an .mp3 file so I can have cannon sounds, I'm mostly done with the prep work.

It looks freakin' awesome. The whole time we were setting up, people driving by were slowing down and staring. We were getting a lot of thumbs-ups and a couple of people rolled down their windows and yelled compliments to us. It was great.

I'll be taking pictures, of course, and hope to post them on Thursday. Stay tuned! mk

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Halloween Carnival '07

The school Halloween Carnival was last night. Because the kids will be with X on Wednesday, this was my only kid-Halloween event for this year. We had a blast. The kids had a lot of fun, I loved watching them and also checking out the really creative costumes people had (one woman came dressed as a snowman). Mark had a fabulous night. He scared people. The little-little kids were really freaked out by him. He was really great, careful to sit down with them and shake their hands and tell them it was just Big Mark in a costume. Even after the kids *knew* who it was, he still freaked them out. It was awesome, lots of good clean fun. Kira went into the haunted house without me, and said it wasn't that bad. (It helped that she knew some of the kids who were running it this year...she said that Justin kept grinning, which I'm sure took some of the scary away.)

After the carnival was a middle-school dance, which Mark stayed for. He came home with three new favorite songs and a line-dance kind of thing. Have you heard of Soulja Boy? I have now (since 9:30 last night) heard this song more times than I thought possible.

So altogether, a highly successful evening. And naturally, pictures. mk

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Interpreter Needed for Kid Writing

Kira laughs in her sleep. It's the most adorable thing.

I think I know why she laughs. Because she's got the most pathetic mom ever and she is reviewing the bizarre things her mom does and says in a day in her dreams and she just cannot help herself.

I have mentioned before Kira's love of her whiteboard. Well, this love has not faded over time. Lately she and Mark have been playing some kind of basketball game (that she made up) on her whiteboard, which is really quite creative seeing as it keeps a 12-year-old also interested.

But anyway. This morning she was writing notes back and forth to me. My note back to her invariably said, "Get ready for school." (eventually progressing to "Get ready for school NOW.") Her last note was obviously meant to sustain me for the day, as it included the directions "do not earase." Now *this* I was able to correctly interpret.
What I couldn't get was the two-part picture that was obviously a drawing of the photos I have hanging up in the stairway. I loved her interpretation of the bottom picture, which included the onomatopoeias "plump" and "oof," along with a helpful descriptor of the mass of scribbles attached to the person ("hair"). The top picture, however, had a single bubble of words that *I* read as "cuter me." As in "me, when I was little and adorable." And I started to tease her a bit about labeling it like that (although part of me was a little worried that she no longer thought of herself as cute, and what that might mean for her self esteem), and she looked at me like I had four heads (as opposed to my normal three) and said, "That's NOT what it says." So I looked more closely. And still more closely. Crickets chirped. And finally, the light dawned.

CATCH me.

As I burst into (slightly embarrassed) laughter, she looked at me, resigned, and said, "You're going to write about this, aren't you." mk

p.s. Somebody please tell me that they can at least see where I was coming from with my error.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Momsense

When I went to Women of Faith in July, Anita Renfroe was the guest comedienne. I'd seen her before, and she's really great. This year, she performed her piece called "Momsense," which is now taking the Internet by storm. If you have not seen this, you really need to. mk

**********
And for those who really love it (and are wondering what the heck some of that stuff is she's saying), here are the lyrics.

Get up now
Get up now
Get up out of bed
Wash your face, brush your teeth, comb your sleepy head
Here's your clothes and your shoes, hear the words I said
Get up now, get up and make your bed

Are you hot?
Are you cold?
Are you wearing that?
Where's your books and your lunch and your homework at?
Grab your coat and your gloves and your scarf and hat
Don't forget you gotta feed the cat

Eat your breakfast, the experts tell us it's the most important meal of all
Take your vitamins so you will grow up one day to be big and tall
Please remember the orthodontist will be seeing you at three today
Don't forget your piano lesson is this afternoon so you must play

Don't shovel, chew slowly, but hurry, the bus is here
Be careful, come back here, did you wash behind your ears?

Play outside, don't play rough, would you just play fair?
Be polite, make a friend, don't forget to share
Work it out, wait your turn, never take a dare
Get along, don't make me come down there

Clean your room, fold your clothes, put your stuff away
Make your bed, do it now, do we have all day?
Were you born in a barn?
Would you like some hay?
Can you even hear a word I say?

Answer the phone, get off the phone
Don't sit so close, turn it down
No texting at the table
No more computer time tonight
Your iPod's my iPod if you don't listen up

Where you going and with whom and what time do you think you're coming home?
Saying thank you, please, excuse me
Makes you welcome everywhere you roam
You'll appreciate my wisdom someday when you're older and you're grown
Can't wait 'til you have a couple little children of your own

You'll thank me for the counsel I gave you so willingly
But right now I'll thank you NOT to roll your eyes at me

Close your mouth when you chew would appreciate
Take a bite maybe two of the stuff you hate
Use your fork, do not burp or I'll set you straight
Eat the food I put upon your plate

Get an A, get the door, don't get smart with me
Get a grip, get in here or I'll count to 3
Get a job, get a life, get a PhD
Get a dose of reality

I don't care who started it
You're grounded until you're 36

Get your story straight
And tell the truth for once for heaven's sake
And if all your friends jumped off a cliff
Would you jump too?

If I've said it once, I've said at least a thousand times before, that
You're too old to act this way
It must be your father's DNA

Look at me when I am talking
Stand up straight or when you walk
A place for everything
And everything must be in place
Stop crying or I'll give you something real to cry about
Oh!

Brush your teeth, wash your face, get your PJs on
Get in bed, get a hug, say a prayer with Mom
Don't forget
I love you
**KISS**
And tomorrow we will do this all again because a mom's work never ends

You don't need the reason why
Because
Because
Because
Because
I said so I said so I said so I said so
I'm the Mom
The mom The mom The mom
The mom
Ta-da!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Four Things Meme

Tagged by Beast Mom!

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Receptionist
2. Peer Educator at college
3. Abandoned property reporter at a bank (among many other simultaneous responsibilities)
4. Grunt worker at an apartment renovation (I refer to it as being a "destruction worker")

Four movies I have watched more than once:
1. Star Wars series
2. Harry Potter series
3. Pirates of the Caribbean series
4. any and all Disney or Pixar movies (c'mon, I am a MOM...kids watch things a bazillion times!)

Places I have lived:
1. Rockland, Maine (the house I grew up in, where my parents still live)
2. an apartment in Rockland, Maine
3. a duplex in Rockland, Maine
4. where I am now (seriously, I've only lived in four places...wait, five, if you count a small apartment I lived in from birth to age one and a half)

Four TV Shows That I Watch:
1. CSI (the original)
2. Ghost Whisperer
3. Moonlight
4. Numb3rs

Places I have been:
1. Alaska
2. Florida
3. New York
4. the airport in Salt Lake City, Utah (layover en route to Alaska)

Four of my favorite foods:
1. my
2. mind
3. is
4. blank

Four people who email me regularly:
1. Ro
2. my sister
3. everyone else is kinda scattery
4.

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. that wonderful island in The Thorn Birds (the book)
2. shopping with some of the $10 million dollars I have mysteriously been given
3. watching Mark's playoff game (which is tonight)
4. um. Can't really think of anything else.

Four friends who I think will respond:
1. um.
2. I
3. don't
4. know

Things I am looking forward to this year:
1. This year? Seriously? 2007? 'Cause it's almost over.
2. Halloween
3. Black Friday
4. Day after Thanksgiving events with the kids (technically this is still *on* Black Friday, but it's all separate in my head)

Ok, everyone who reads this is tagged. Leave a comment so I can come check your responses out. mk

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mark's Latest Way to Get Out of Doing It Mom's Way

Raining like *crazy* this morning. Wind strong enough to blow the basketball hoops over. Thunder. Lightning. All that jazz.

So, rather naturally, I thought, I reminded the kids to wear their rain jackets. Kira got right in hers, buttoned up to the neck with the hood up (kids look so CUTE in rain jackets). Mark comes in wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

mk: Um, Mark, you really should wear a raincoat.
Mark: I'll be fine, I have this sweatshirt.
mk, still trying: You're going to soak right through that sweatshirt, soak your shirt, and then you'll be wet and uncomfortable all day.
Mark: Nah, I'll be fine.
mk, STILL trying: Really, get a raincoat.
Mark: Mom, sometimes I just need to make these mistakes for myself.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Here There Be Pirates

Kids are with X on Halloween (which, in case I haven't mentioned it before, is my FAVORITE holiday). Anyway, since I am deprived of their presence and the ability to take them trick-or-treating, I have been forced to make other plans.

My other plans are to help Brenda do her yard and porch in a Haunted Pirate theme. I've already got a lot of Halloween stuff stocked up, and have recently purchase a few more items that were missing and needed. Well, in the process, I have fired up an enthusiasm in the kids for the whole pirate thing (not that this was hard, mind you...what kid doesn't love pirates? hell, what adults?). Kira wants to be a pirate girl for Halloween, and Mark wants to be a dead pirate (he got that from me, since Brenda and I are going to be dead pirates).

Well, here's the first fitting for the dead pirate outfit.Here's a full-shot, in slightly stronger lighting (I just liked the darker tone of the first picture). Not showing are the bright-blue soccer shorts Mark has on with this outfit. He'll also be wearing the zombie hands as soon as I go get them out of the costume closet. (Yes, I have a Halloween costume closet. I told you, I am INTO this holiday.) I still need to figure out pants, which won't be hard, and boots, which might prove a problem without getting expensive. Particularly since the kids are just going to wear these things for the Halloween carnival at school (I'm wearing this dead pirate stuff on Halloween, and besides, I wouldn't want to deprive their father of the joy of putting together a costume for them).

Kira's costume I'm having to make a large portion of. It won't be too hard, just a shirt and a corset, because she already has brown gaucho pants and leather-look boots. I was able to get all the material on clearance, so I'm in for about $10. Which is a small, small investment for the amount of hyper-pleasure I get for this holiday.

OK, I need to go tuck Kira into bed, and admire her glow-in-the-dark nail polish (that we are both wearing. It's cool stuff.).

Hey, check out the thing below. What's your pirate name? mk



My pirate name is:


Black Mary Bonney



Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Mark's Writing

I get blown away by my son's writing. He wrote a 140-page book (handwritten) when he was 10, and he just is very creative in his work, with a wonderful "voice." Sometimes he comes out with lines that just stun me. (Then, lots of times he is incredibly lazy in Language Arts and does the bare--and dull--minimum for an assignment, which is very frustrating.)

This year (seventh grade) they are keeping journals where they do their book responses, D.O.L.'s (Daily Oral Language--they write out a sentence, then have to correct it for punctuation, grammar, etc), and what is called a "Free Write," where they have about five minutes to write whatever. I read Mark's Free Write for today; he decided to write a poem. Here it is:

Once upon a summer's day
A farmer came along the bay
With many corn cobs in a sack
And wonderful stories in his pack.
He told of fairies, big and small,
He told of giants, short and tall,
He told of pirates who sailed the bay
Once upon a summer's day.

Five minutes. He wrote this in five minutes. I love it. mk

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Photos With a Twist

Jenny over at The Bloggess brought up a great topic, of photos that we have taken where the primary purpose is NOT to record the typical "smile and say [insert your smile-inducing word here]." She posted a wonderful family portrait which is a collage of feet pictures. (Which I loved. Very cool.) Even included the family Ewok.

So, here are just a few of my favorite pictures (that are already on my computer) of my family, that have a different focus to them.

First, we have this two-shot, which is hanging along my stairway. I *thought* I was going to be taking a great shot of togetherness. Look how Mark is all primed to get her.
Catch Me!You missed.

(no children were harmed in the taking of this photo. Kira actually thought it was hysterical, and wanted to do it again.)

Next we have what is a VERY typical event for us...Kira bullying Mark at the bus stop. Her first day of school (this is actually first day of first/sixth grades) she came running in to tell me that Mark was bugging her. I told her to tell him I said cut it out, and she went back out and said, "MOM SAYS...no walking, no talking, no breathing, no humming." oooookay.This next has got to be one of my favorite pictures of Mark relaxing at camp. These are his ten-year-old feet.
Another at camp, this is during the winter. Mark's curled up on the futon under the stairs, which is his favorite spot. He's got hot cocoa.And Kira, my water baby. While Mark was at summer camp two years ago, she washed my car for me. (My car even got some of the water.)
So there you go. Some of the candids that show me little snippets of my kids' lives; unplanned, unposed, unpredictable. mk

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

They're Coming To Take It Away, Ha-Ha!

Men are coming to my house today. Lots of men. I am very excited about this.

No, not for the reason you're thinking, get your mind out of the gutter. I am excited because one of these men is helping me put in my fence (that I've had for over a year now). Or should I say, he's putting in the fence for me while I watch, as Monday I experienced another one of my stupid ways of injuring myself and pulled a muscle in my back while reaching for a magazine. Yes, I am so skilled and graceful.

The other men are my dad and two friends who have come up for five days for a vacation. From Florida. So instead of doing fun things, these guys are coming to my house so they can (drumroll it).....GET RID OF THE FREAKIN' TRUCK!!!! Aren't they lucky?

By "freakin' truck" I mean this:

This eyesore, this horror, this monstrosity, which was supposed to be temporarily stored at my house and has been here for YEARS AND YEARS AND YEARS. And yes, that's my fence leaning up against it. So, BOTH of these white-trash displays of taste will be relocated in ONE DAY. I can barely contain myself with the glee. (not that the fence is white-trash...or it won't be, once it's, you know, being a fence, instead of just leaning in a big pile against that piece of ..... truck)

The truck is going far, far, far away....across the street. Dad and the guy over there made a deal where the guy is going to attempt to sell the truck, and if it doesn't sell, his son has a junkyard. I think the guy should save himself the work and just call his son immediately. But whatever. I don't care. It will be OUT OF MY YARD. Kira noted my insane happiness and commented, "But it's not really going far away. We'll still be able to see it." And while she does have a point, MY point is that every time I now see the truck, I will be able to see that it is NOT IN MY YARD. My view, which looked like this:Will now look like this:
Works for me! mk