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


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.


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


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

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
And tomorrow we will do this all again because a mom's work never ends

You don't need the reason why
I said so I said so I said so I said so
I'm the Mom
The mom The mom The mom
The mom

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

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