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 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

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

We're Gonna Party Like It's....

SiteMeter tells me that I have had 1999 visits to my little ol' blog. Not much by big-time standards, but pretty cool. mk

Don't You Just Love a Bargain?

Slogan for The Christmas Tree Shops, but in this case it's Kohl's.

School shopping for Kira, in which I spent just over $100 on a bunch of extreme-sale items. Received $20 in "Kohl's Cash" (in-store coupon which expired in 10 days).

SO. Went back to Kohl's today. In my wily shopping style, I purchased:

1 short-sleeve Sonoma brown polo (original price $18, on clearance for $3.60)
1 black Villager silky top (originally $34, clearance $10.20)
2 dark brown sofa pillows, original price $24.99 each, on clearance for $7.49 each, sign in the pillow department said "Buy 1, Get One Free" and listed no exclusion for clearance items (cashier tried to ring 'em up without the BOGO, but I protested and she called the department and then gave me the deal--my mom was horrified but impressed; she wouldn't have made a peep.)

Total original price total: $101.98
Clearance/sale prices total: $21.29

With my Kohl's Cash, which was applied before tax was calculated, I ended up spending a total of $1.35 (6 cents tax on 1.29) Which is basically 99% off.

heh heh heh heh heh


Monday, September 10, 2007


Kira is convinced that there is a leprechaun living at her school.

Friday she came home *very* excited, because she and her friends found a trail of tiny shamrock sparkles leading along the wall of the school.

Backstory necessary here: last March, Kira and friends saw some tracks leading into the woods at the edge of the playground. They decided it was a leprechaun trail, and sprinkled little snack foods and fake gold out there to see if the leprechaun would take it. Naturally, the things were gone the next time the girls went out. Much excitement.

I told the woman who is in charge of our lunch program about this (who is an *extremely* popular person with the student population, due to the fact that she is very cool), and she thought it was so adorable, she might put something out for the girls to find. What with one thing or another, St. Patrick's Day passed without her getting around to that, and the girls eventually lost interest. I am wondering if she is responsible for the sparkles.

Well, now the sprinkles are out, and the thrill is back. Kira hadn't realized that shamrocks were symbolic of leprechauns (I gently clued her in to that), but now that she knows, she is VERY determined to track the leprechaun down. I'm not sure exactly what she plans to do if she actually SEES the leprechaun, but she (and her cohorts) are deep into plans about presents and treats to leave the leprechaun, along with a note. It says:

Thursday, September 06, 2007

What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

I've read the book by Pearl Cleage, but what has always stuck with me most is the title.

I've always been drawn to topics that reverberate within my self-labeled crazy soul. Naturally, craziness itself applies here, as well as things that refer or seem to refer to craziness. The title drew me to the book like an extremely powerful magnet.

However, this post is nothing really to do with the book. It's the title. Or rather, the phrase that is the title.

What looks like crazy on an ordinary day

Is this a question or a description? For the longest time I was hearing it in my brain as a description. But just tonight it is echoing as a question. What does look like crazy on an ordinary day? Does that mean what does crazy look like to the outsider? Or what does crazy look like from the inside? What is ordinary to the crazy? What looks like crazy to the crazy? How does crazy ever become everyday?

My sister hallucinates, both visual and auditory. The walls talk to her. She sees tiny little people in business suits. (these are just two examples) At what point does this kind of sensitory experience become so commonplace that you can just tune it out like background noise? How can you ever become so accustomed to something so bizarre that you DON'T spend your entire life screaming in horror? When do you become so used to it that you aren't constantly asking someone else, "Do you see that? Do you hear that?"

There are a lot of questions I haven't asked my sister. Like, does she hear and see this stuff all the time? How does she determine what is real? Can she? I'm not sure what has prevented me from asking her. I think a lot of it is avoidance of dealing with the whole mentally-ill issue, as if it might precipitate a crisis. Some of it is a form of political correctness of sorts. As if I don't want to indicate by my conversation that I see her as anything other than a completely "normal" person. (similar to the way parents cringe when their kid goes up to a stranger and yells in the super-loud kid voice, "hey mister, what's wrong with you?") shhhhhh, let's all pretend nothing's wrong and then we won't have to deal with all the complications.

Mental illness is exhausting. [I'm speaking from my own viewpoint, as one who is struggling with several issues of my own, which leave me on the higher-functioning end of the spectrum of mentally ill, in that I am capable of living on my own.] One of the primary things that you find yourself doing is pretending to other people that there's nothing wrong with you. You hide your illness. This can occasionally be amusing for me, as I see other people struggling to keep themselves from delving into the too-personal. I'll get the cocktail party question of "And what do you do for work?" and my answer is along the lines of "Oh, I don't work." Naturally they are then curious, knowing that I am a divorced single mom, of how the hell I manage to pay the bills. They cannot, however, with any social grace, ASK me this. And I don't volunteer. So, not really knowing what else to say, I'll get a response something like "how nice for you!"

Now, I can definitely tell you, having a mental illness is NOT "nice." Mine is not on the same scale as my sister's, but "nice" it is not. It quite frankly sucks. Yes, it's good to be out of the "rat race," but the REASON I'm out of it is because I can't be in it. Just cannot. I tried. I'm still trying. I hope that eventually, with the right combination of meds and skills gained through therapy, that I will be able to rejoin society as a productive member.

So anyway. I'm intrigued by thinking about this. What does crazy look like to me? Am I looking at crazy from the inside or the outside? How much of what I see as ordinary is crazy, and how much of what I see as crazy is ordinary? How do I reconcile the two?

Them's some of my thoughts for the night. Gonna go ponder some more. mk

More from the X-files

Just as I was thinking how well we were getting along....

X continues to struggle with his relationship with Kira. She keeps having meltdowns with him. This morning, it was over a belt. She came downstairs dressed for school in a pair of jean shorts, a white top with pink shrug, and the belt that came with the shorts, which was red and white. The horror! After being told to go upstairs and take the belt off, there proceeded a fight, and a meltdown, and then X made the critical error.

He told Kira, "You're just like your mother....crazy."

She brought this comment home to me carefully wrapped in mental bubble paper. And after she delivered it to me, I called X.

I explained that while I understood that he might harbor negative feelings towards me, and that was understandable, that it was not acceptable for him to express these to or around the kids. That I have worked my ass off for the last five years to not say anything derogatory about him around the kids. That I would appreciate the same regard. That we seemed to have reached a point where we could work well together with compromise and consideration, and that I hoped it wouldn't backslide. And that it was a pretty negative thing to say about his daughter. (and also that he might want to pick his battles a little better...there were worse things than her going to school in a clashing outfit)

He admitted that he had made the comment, but claimed that it was in anger and not thought out, and that he had apologized to Kira afterwards. I told him that the apology didn't seem to have made it through to Kira, but the comment did: Your mother's crazy. (and so are you...this seemed to be secondary to Kira)

He said he was sorry and that he would try not to do it again. We'll see. To his credit, I was impressed that he a) owned up to the statement and b) offered an apology. Also, he said he made the comment after he went up to Kira's room and saw her huddled into a ball on the floor, sobbing incoherently. I acknowledged to him that it must have been quite a flashback; there were many, many instances where I was in that same position after a screeching, screaming fit with him. (But it's still not okay for him to say what he did.)

We were both calm, rational and mature. I was pretty darned impressed with us, to be honest. Neither one of us lost our temper, and neither one of us said anything snide or negative to the other. This is the first time in five years that we have been able to handle an emotionally charged subject in such an adult way. Halle-freakin-lujah.

I was almost grateful for this incident, as it allowed me to address a topic that has been bothering me for some time; namely, that I knew that he was making negative comments about me around and to the kids. However, I hadn't had a concrete example to bring to him. At least now I have been able to approach him on it, he knows that the kids are hearing and remembering these things, and that they are telling me. Maybe he'll even think about the negative impact this has to be having on his own relationship with the kids. Particularly Kira. She is and always has been very mommy-oriented. Don't talk trash about her momma, she kick yo' ass. mk

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


Anybody out there ever put their bathroom air freshener right next to their hairspray and accidentally grab the wrong one and not realize it until it was too late?

Yeah, me either. mk

I Love Busline Soccer

So far. Of course, today was the first practice. :D

One of the things (okay, a really, really BIG thing) that I love about busline is that practices are immediately after school, *at* the school. This means that I do not have to run my butt over to the other side of town to take him *to* practice, and then either stay there for an hour and a half until practice is over, or go back home and then BACK over to pick him up. Every day.

Also, practice is (did I mention?) immediately after school. Which means it is over at 4:30. Which allows us to have dinner at a reasonable time most nights (except games). Rather than practices that go from, oh, say 5:30-7. Even game nights are fairly reasonable, starting at 3:45, going about an hour or so. Away games are a little trickier, but we only have 5 away games, and of those, only 2 are at any real distance. Not too bad.

Our school is participating in the Sports Done Right program, which is a University of Maine philosophical guide for interscholastic athletes. Go check the link out, it's a really great group of core principles that I fully endorse.

Mark's training as goalie. Today he got a lot of one-on-one drills with the coach, in addition to some group practice for overall skills. Today's practice was just for the new seventh-graders who were joining the team. We had six kids from seventh grade join; four girls and two boys. Two of the kids had never played soccer before, and a third hadn't played on a team.

Mark is TIRED. He worked hard at practice. He's pretty sure that his legs are gonna be sore tomorrow. Thankfully (for him), he doesn't have practice tomorrow, as the coach (who is also the math/science teacher) is going to check out the eighth-graders who are camping at Kieve.**

**Each year the eighth-grade class goes on a five-day Leadership program at Camp Kieve. Overnight camping. Mark's already looking forward to this.

Well, it's almost time to tuck Kira into bed. They're out in the dining room having ice cream right now. Kira's all showered and pajama-ed (something I'm a little jealous of....I might have to jammie up in a minute). She was screeching at Mark to take a shower too, because he had practice and was all "gross." He declined. This is a slight dilemma during sports season, because he is sweaty and gross after practice, but he prefers morning showers (and honestly, needs them), and I have not yet been able to convince him of the wisdom of two showers in one day. :D

OH. Got to meet the new girl today--she's on the soccer team. Seems nice, very polite. I did notice that she was entirely able to keep her eyes off Mark during practice. ;) mk

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Wow. Loooooong time, no blog

It's been nearly a month since I've written anything here. How did that happen? Huh. Has anything of note happened to me in the last few weeks? Well, not really, so it's not like we're all missing anything much.

The kids are back in school. I'm not quite sure how I feel about that yet. Of course, they had school Wednesday and Thursday, and then have a long, four-day weekend, so I didn't have too much time to miss them. :D

Mark did end up making it into the pre-algebra math class, which will set him up wonderfully for the honors track in high school. He got the huge summer math assignment done (that was assigned by the teacher he is now not going to have). The last part of the assignment was to take a simulation of the high-school competency test, which helps the school in determining which track to put kids in. In order to make the honors track, he'll have to score a 90 or above on the test at the end of eighth grade (two years from now). When I graded his practice competency test, he scored an 82. So I think in the next two years he'll probably learn enough to get the 90. No real worries there for me.

He's got two more students in his class than last year, making a grand total of 13. One is a girl who had been in with them since kindergarten, but who home schooled last year. (her father goes to Alaska each winter, and they were going to see how that would work so that they could travel with him. Apparently she was absolutely miserable and missed being in school, so they put her back.) The other student is a new girl who moved here from Boston. Mark thinks she might like him, since she "couldn't keep her eyes off" him in science. (I said maybe she thought he was funny-looking. Nice mom.) He claims he doesn't like her or anything, yet he had an awful lot of observations about her. We'll see. It'll be interesting for him to have such constant exposure to a girl who hasn't known him since he was 5.

Kira has three new kids in her class, but she lost two, so her total class size is up to 23. Kira has lost status as the oldest in her class, since one of the new girls has a birthday in October. She's played with both of the new girls, but can't seem to remember the new boy's name. Dawson or Austin or something, she thinks. Maybe.

Overall, the first two days of school went well. Kira forgot her sneakers the first day and turned out to need them for Phys.Ed, so I had to run them in, which gave me a chance to say a quick 'hi' to the office staff (and hold the principal's baby granddaughter, who was visiting).

Tuesday is Mark's first soccer practice. There's a parent meeting after, where we will receive practice/game schedules. So I'll see just how busy my fall will be. Kira's first Brownie meeting (without me!) is on the 11th, with a parent meeting after *that.* And open house at the school is on the 11th also, with the middle-school laptop meeting, after which Mark will be able to bring "his" laptop home.

On a non-school note, I have finished my rounds of physical therapy on my ankle. August was twice-weekly ultrasound and Mulligan wrappings, work on the BAPS board, along with my cryo-cuff. Altogether it seems to have done a great deal of good. Now I just have to do the stretching exercises on my own and allow for the continued healing. It could take up to another 3-6 months for as full a recovery as I'm going to get. I go back in about three weeks for a followup with the orthopaedist. I have *almost* full mobility back in it, which is great. I don't have to go down stairs at an angle anymore, and I can crouch down with my knees bent, which I couldn't do before, so it's all pretty good.

Just realized I never put my MRI results in here. Turns out that I had completely ruptured TWO ligaments in my ankle, and they now placed my sprain at a grade three. (great. Usual treatment for a grade three sprain involves casting for several weeks. Of course, I found out about this two and a half MONTHS after the injury, so it was a little late for that.)

In other health news, I've been on my new med for over a month now, and I think it's doing great things. I've had so much more energy to do things, and I haven't had quite as much anxiety. I'm nowhere near *cured* or anything, but I think this was definitely a good move to switch over. I've actually been cleaning my house! It's not *as much* of a hellhole as it's been. I caught ALL THE WAY UP on laundry today. Can't remember the last time THAT happened, without a load of stuff waiting in the dryer that I just couldn't bring myself to get to. I've done some social things lately, like going to a movie with a friend, and out to dinner another time, and I haven't spazzed out. I'm going to a barbecue tomorrow where I'll be surrounded by people I probably won't know, and I'm okay with it. I'm really psyched and proud.

So, that pretty much covers all I can think of that's really happened in the last few weeks. Of course, I have pictures from the first day of school, too. mk

The traditional "pose beside the tree so we can see how much bigger you get every year" picture. Thank goodness they weeded out that garden for me the day before.

I love this. Gonna frame it.

Waiting at the bus stop.

Mom's been taking so many pictures, we'll take some of each other....

And Mom!

Ah, if they were actually this cute when they're "fighting."

Kira didn't know that big brother was making bunny ears on her...

But she figured it out. sigh.

And everybody face forward and pretend it never happened.