Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Quilt That Took Over the World

OK, so I'm making a quilt for Mark for Christmas. I've been slaving away at this thing constantly, day and night, for weeks. (I haven't really, but it sounds like a good reason why I haven't been blogging and who out there knows differently, so there.) (and yeah, Brenda, I know you know differently, but shhhhh) I've never made a quilt before (in fact, "complete quilt" is on my list of 101, so whoohoo), and I designed this little puppy all by myself. It's a basic nine-patch, which I've put together using strip-sewing, and it's overall going really smoothly.


I finally got all the blocks made (had to reorder one fabric that I ran out of, but that came this week, so I was back in action), had three of the rows of blocks (which are each a nine-patch) sewed together, then ripped all apart because I had laid out the wrong pattern (grrrrrr), and then sewed back together. So I started laying it out on my living room floor to see what the finished product would look like, and also to get all the blocks in the right order and rotated correctly (because I am rotating the center square of each block a quarter-turn each time, but anyway). So the whole thing was laid out, all 35 blocks of it, and that is when I realized:

The thing was freaking HUMONGOUS.

I mean, it was monstrous. I had 35 18-inch squares laid out in a 5x7 pattern, and that made the finished front, before borders, 90 inches by 126 inches. It was OVER TEN FEET LONG. BIGGER than a KING-SIZE. Um.

Did I mention that Mark has a twin bed?

I wanted it to be a bit bigger than twin, like a double-size, so the quilt would hit the floor on both sides like a bedspread rather than a comforter. And then when he moved up to a larger size bed, he could still use the quilt. Still, even taking all that into consideration, I rather overestimated.

I've ended up taking two ROWS of blocks (10 blocks total) out of this quilt and it is STILL slightly larger than a double. Before borders. But it still looks pretty kick-ass, and hey, less for me to sew, right, so I might actually get the quilt top finished today if I get my butt off the computer and back to the sewing machine. I just got a chuckle over this gigantor quilt & figured I could babble to my blog about it. check ya later. mk

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Golden Birthdays

*THE* most common reaction when I told people Kira was celebrating her Golden Birthday this year was: "Her what?" And the most common response to my explanation was, "I've never heard of that." One of my friends even asked if I created that. (in other words, "you totally made that up") I assure you, I did not. I first heard about it in college.

A person's Golden Birthday is when they turn the age that is their birth day. So, Kira turned 9 on the 9th. My Golden Birthday was when I was eight. Mark's won't be until he is 19.

It can apparently also be called a Grand Birthday or a Star Birthday, which *I* had never heard of, but of course Wikipedia is all-knowing and never in error, so it must be true. ;)

If I had been throwing Kira's kid-party this year, I would have made it an "All That Glitters is Gold" theme-ish thing. However, this year X actually stepped up and offered to throw the party, so I said have at it and they had an ice-skating party. Kira had a blast.

Instead, for Kira's present I gave her a gold locket. She absolutely loves it, and has asked me to put a teeny little picture of myself in there. (she also wants to put X)

And in a show of just how awesome she thinks her brother is, yesterday morning she said that she likes presents, but what she was looking forward to the most seeing what the card was that Mark would make for her. And at the end of the night, when I was tucking her in and asked her what her favorite part of her birthday was, she said that it was his card. Isn't that the best?? mk

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Kira Quote of the Day

To my mother, on the phone this morning: "Where's Gramp?"
Gram: "He's still asleep."
Kira: "Oh. I probably would be too, if I hadn't woken up."

Happy Birthday Kira!!!

Monday, December 01, 2008


A couple of weeks ago, Brenda emailed me and asked if I could spare a few minutes today for a project she was working on. She wouldn't tell me what it was, but it required having a photo or two taken. I was mystified, but agreed.

So today when I showed up we hopped in her truck and there was a post-it on the dashboard with the number 21 on it. This was my clue.

Turned out that she was taking me to get passport photos taken, and I'm going back next Monday with the application and we're sending it in! She decided to gift me with #21 on my list of 101.

She's so sneaky (and awesome)! This is the second time she's surprised me with something from my list (the other, you will recall, was Stomp). She thinks it's great because she knows it's guaranteed to be something I'll love. *I* think it's only fair that she makes her own list of 101!!

For those who don't know, the list of 101 is a list of 101 things to do in the next 1001 days. I have so far completed 25 of this list (end date is Sept 24, 2009--I'd better kick it into gear!), with another 6 that are in process.

You should try it! If you make one, leave a link in the comments so I can come check it out. mk

p.s. Brenda, I did get the photos out of my purse and in the folder. Of course, it took writing this post to remember it. :)

****update 12/8: Application is now in! They said it might take 3-4 weeks but probably sooner. Whoohoooo! mk

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

It Doesn't Take Long

I've gone off the Celexa. My prescription ran out around the 13th, and it took me a few days to get a refill phoned in and filled. In the meantime, I noticed a dramatic drop in weight, which was interesting because lately it seemed like nothing I could do could get weight off, and in fact it just kept creeping on until I was at a lifetime high. Suddenly the weight was going. I was off Celexa for probably 4 days and lost around 10 pounds.

I got back on the Celexa, and in two days I regained four pounds. I Googled, and found forum after forum dedicated to extreme weight gains on Celexa, many as much as sixty pounds.

I'm already very overweight, and I *cannot* be on a medication that makes me gain that much weight. I just cannot. No antidepressant in the world is going to get me in the right place if I have to deal with that kind of side effect. So I decided that I was going to stop the Celexa, and talk it over with my psychiatric nurse on my appointment on the 5th. This was around the 20th.

It does not take long for the effects of the antidepressant to wear off. I started noticing a bit of irritability a few days ago. Yesterday I was pretty grouchy. And today I am just bonkers. I have been edgy, irritable, snappy, and just generally unpleasant. I have been acting unreasonably (in particular with a huge blow-out screaming fight with X on the phone tonight). I actually broke down into tears just a few minutes ago. Just for a moment, but since it has been many, many months since I have cried, it was a bit shocking for me.

I have these racing feelings that I just feel like my brain is whirling. I feel literally sick to my stomach with it. I can't settle down, I can't relax, but I can't focus on anything really productive, either. I'm badly impatient.

Just had to take a breather. While I was doing that, I actually called X and apologized for my unreasonable behavior and offered to accept a compromise. I explained that I'm going through a rough time right now and I took it out on him and that wasn't fair. I think I floored him for a minute, but he bounced back really quickly and offered his own apologies and thanked me for making the effort. It was very weird to be so civil so quickly after we had been so truly awful to each other. But I feel better about it.

I've also made a decision that for the next two weeks, I will go back on the Celexa. Whatever happens in those two weeks with my weight, happens, but I just cannot live feeling the way I have been today. So I'll go back until I can talk to the p.n., and work out a different game plan.

I forget when I am on even ground just how horrible it is to be off the meds. It's an incredibly awful way to feel at all, and for it to be so constant is just horrific. I was feeling so amazing, so positive, so level, while I was on the (three) antidepressants, and now it's like it was never there.

So I go back, and hopefully the reinstatement of the emotional stability won't take long. God, people, wish me luck. mk

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Red Rover, Red Rover, Send the Dolphins Right Over

Went to a friend's to watch the Patriots game on Sunday. Brenda and Brian were there, too. We ate chili and talked and laughed and cheered and generally had a great time. For me the football game is always peripheral to the company of good friends, and Sunday was no different. The game was okay, Pats won, yada yada. In the last moments of the game it became obvious that there was no way for Miami to come back and take it. Pats were 20 points ahead. This made me wonder what would happen if the Pats just stood back and said, "Hey, go ahead. You've got 37 seconds to try to make 20 points. Run with it. You'll get at most 7 before we get possession back. Go. Run."

Brenda thought it might be more interesting if the Pats just lined up against the Miami 0-yard line and see if the Dolphins could break through. You know, like Red Rover. I agree, I think that would be way more fun.

[aside: In a travesty against youth, my son did NOT know what Red Rover is. This must be remedied.]

Some of the other conversation included particular difficulties we as individuals and Americans in general have with language and pronunciation. Brian, like myself, gained most of his vocabulary through reading, and even today doesn't necessarily know how to pronounce the words he knows. (My biggest flub-up is "envelop." Especially when it is used as past tense: enveloped. I always pronounce it en'-ve-loped.)

Brenda told us that until very recently, Brian said 'crudites' as "crud-ites" (to rhyme with mud mites). Brian defended himself, and said that "Americany" pronunciation was messed up. Which of course provoked its own mini-hilarity.

Once we got past the totally geeky nature of discussing grammar and language, we moved on to a situation whereby the grandparents of a girl adopted her, and then insisted that the girl call them "Mom & Dad." Which turned all of her aunts and uncles into brothers and sisters. Including her own birth mother. And her brother would be her nephew, except he was adopted too. Doesn't it sound all redneck-y?

Speaking of redneck, after the game we happened upon probably the most bizarre program I have seen on TV: My Big Redneck Wedding. Have you people seen this? It is insane. The bride wore bottlecap earrings, carried her bouquet in a beer mug, wore sneakers with her gown (not even new or clean sneakers--somehow this bothered me more than the rest of it), said, "Hell YEAH I do!" at the end of her vows. The bride and groom then shared a disgustingly long kiss and jumped in a mud pit. He gave her a Harley for a wedding gift, and she gave him these. We won't even get into the reception games, like bobbing for pig's feet, toilet-seat horseshoes, or the groom's cake. The armadillo ROADKILL groom's cake, complete with tire tracks. Oh. My.

I told my dad later that I was taking notes in case I ever get married again. mk

Keeping Myself in Stitches (and other tidbits)

In my continuing self-education in sewing, today I learned how to replace a sewing-machine needle when it gets bent beyond all recognition. I also learned how to miter corners of a blanket when adding satin binding. And not to forget to stitch two lengths of blanket-binding together BEFORE you pin it all the way around the blanket. (I winged it. I doubt I'm going to be judged on this thing.) Now I just need to go over it with a decorative stitch and then that present will be done. I have fabric washing for the quilt I am also hoping to finish for Christmas (I am ambitious...I have never completed a quilt before). Once that is dried and ironed, I can start cutting. I think I'm going to do some strip-sewing which will hopefully speed the process some.

I'm going over to a friend's house today to watch the Patriots game. This is a purely social thing for me because I don't really care about football at all. I need to pick up some "chips that go with chili" before I go. (can we say "tortilla"?)

I kept Mark home from school on Friday. When we got home from the game on Thursday night, I took a good look at his face and got a little nervous. He's skinny anyway, but that night his face looked like nothing more than a skull with skin. He had huge dark circles under his eyes. During the game his face had been very pale, and was still, which is unlike him, especially when he's exercising. I knew he had lost weight during the season, going down to 134 pounds (at 5'11", not good). Beginning after school Friday he was on vacation, and he had a Social Studies test, but in a rare decision for me, I concluded that rest was definitely a priority over everything else, including school. He can make the test up when he gets back. So he slept very late, stayed in his pajamas all day long (didn't even want to get in sweats...just pj's), ate lots of food, and was feeling much better by the end of the day. On a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best he has ever felt in his life, he was up to a 6, from a 4 the day before. I think I made the right decision. Being able to get lots of sleep over the vacation will also be a very good thing.

He continues to do very well in basketball. Overall he's the team's high scorer (his average right now is something like 15 ppg), and his personal improvement has been awesome. I'm very happy for him. He loves basketball so much. I'm still hoping to work out something for after his season ends in mid-December, so that he can continue to play in some form or another. We only have three games left in the regular season, then playoffs. I'll be bummed when the season is over, because I just love watching my boy play ball.

Kira is also doing a great job in basketball. She has had two games so far. The first game she scored 14 points, and yesterday she scored 17. She's equally comfortable dribbling with either hand, and does some great crossovers (also known as anklebreakers--isn't that lovely?) to maneuver around her opponents. She's an excellent little ball-thief, a good rebounder, and a very good guard. Got the whole package, my girl does. One of her coaches is the varsity coach at the high school, which is just such an excellent opportunity for Kira. His daughter is on the team, and she has the best layup form I've seen in a girl that young.

Kira's season goes until the end of January. She's actually playing more games than Mark is in the regular season. Basketball is steadily rising in the ranks of Kira's favorite sports to play. I think it may be beating soccer now.

Italian Night at Mom's was a blast. There was SO much food!! Besides my Torta di Mele, we also had stuffed manicotti, aroncini with various fillings, orzo with wilted spinach & pine nuts, salad, bread, antipasto, olive cheese balls, bruschetta...all this for five people. We all had so much fun! Next time I believe we are doing India, sometime after the New Year.

OK, need to get some stuff done. Will leave you with this little collage from Mark's first game. mk

Friday, November 14, 2008

Of Lice and Laptops

Well, today has just been a bundle of joy so far. Got a call at 7am from one of Kira's friend's mom, to let me know that there are two cases of lice in Kira's class that she knows of, including her daughter. I checked Kira out, and she is thus far clean, but I will be keeping an eye on that one.

Also got a call just a bit ago from the school, to let me know that Mark's laptop got damaged on Sunday at practice in the gym. Mark apparently was bringing his laptop back home from his father's house (X drops Mark off at the gym and I bring him home, and I am there during the entire practice, so there was no reason for the laptop to be unattended. There's a $100 deductible on the insurance, which the school pays half of, and X and I are responsible for the other half. Mark is paying the $25 on this end. I'm pretty sure X is going to make him pay the $25 over there, too (just got off the phone with D). Maybe it will occur to Mark to be more responsible

What else, what else.... Oh. Mark's coach is looking at different ideas for what Mark can do after the busline season is over to get more basketball in. One of the possibilities, that one boy did a few years ago, is that he might be able to practice with the high school team. No games, obviously, but the practice will be superb. There also might be some kind of travel team league that Mark could participate in. I know also that the girls' coach is planning to run intramurals starting after winter break and running until the beginning of baseball season. So I think Mark is going to have some good opportunity to play b-ball this winter.

Kira has her first game tomorrow through the Y league. She's on a combination 3-4 grade team. She's very excited, and I'm looking forward to it, too. She's not as into basketball as Mark is, in fact she still thinks soccer is her favorite sport, but she does enjoy the activity very much and she's skilled, so it'll be fun.

Kira and I created a new style of cleaning for her room, which has once again become overwhelming. After school today, we are going to do "rainbow cleaning." First she will take care of everything red, then orange, yellow, green, blue, purple. (and black, brown, white) She's actually looking forward to this. Weirdo.

Tomorrow night is the third meeting of our international food group. It's Italian night, and we are gathering at my mom's house. I am making a Torta di Mele (Italian apple cake). The recipe I have uses shredded coconut, raisins, chopped walnuts, apples of should be very yummy.

Mark & I were talking last night, and I was asking how the whole girl thing was going. Last I knew he had an intense crush on one particular girl. Apparently that is waning, to be replaced by come-and-go interest in just about all girls. This was confusing to him. He is finding something attractive about most girls, but not always the same girl and not always the same thing. One day he'll think one girl's eyes are really beautiful, for example, and the next day they're just eyes. I had to break it to him that this is normal and natural and will, in fact, never go away. The way we look at other people, and things that may seem attractive to us, are often in a state of flux. I love that he is seeing so much beauty around him, and I hope he continues to enjoy that. Too many times we stop really seeing the people around us.

OK, I really should go do something about this house. grrrr. Kira said last night that she wished we could just push a button and everything would go back where it belonged. Oh girl, don't we all. mk

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

More Laundry

Enough people hate the thankless, neverending job of laundry that there should be a specific phrase for it. You know, like "laundrophobia" except that would mean fear of laundry, and it's not that one is afraid of laundry (although I'm sure there are some people like that out there and I don't want to sit next to any of them). So if anyone has any suggestions for a word, I'd love to hear it. I've Googled but when I do "hate laundry" I just come up with 349,000 different sites of people saying how much they hate it. And what they hate about it.

If you can't guess, I am currently finding ways to avoid directly dealing with the laundry. I'm *doing* the laundry, I'm just being poky about parts of it. Like, right now both the washer and dryer are going, so I feel a bit industrious, but there's a laundry basket of clean clothes waiting for the three minutes it will take me to fold, yet here I am, doing things like Googling "hate laundry" and "faster line dry laundry inside outside." I have one of those dryer-rack thingies (two, actually), and for some reason was wondering if it is more beneficial to leave it inside or outside to dry. Now, I know that it will dry faster outdoors until the temperature is freezing. But I still look these things up.

I wish I still had my clothesline off the back of the house. I had one several years ago, and I could also actually get through the back room to the door so I could hang clothes out. Then X took that down and built me a beautiful multi-line area up on the hill behind the house, which required this huge trek with a heavy basket of wet clothes and so I rarely used it and then stopped altogether. Someday I'll get the back room cleared out enough and re-install the line so I can hang behind the house. Although that will also require being consistent with keeping the weeds down back there so they don't grow up higher than the hanging clothes. :)

I think this is one of the ultimate boring posts, but hey, if I stop I'm going to have to fold those clothes. And then, the worst part....putting them away. Blah.

Alas, short of listing all of the reasons I hate laundry (haven't I done that before? amazingly enough, a search of "hate laundry" in my archives does not reveal such a have I not ranted about this before?) I really need to get off my ass and get it done because I am sick of having the house look like hell with clothes all over the dining room waiting to get washed and clothes all over the living room waiting to get put away. And in a little over an hour I've got to be at the school to get on the bus with the basketball team for an away game. We won't be home tonight until probably close to 8. sigh. But I do looooove to watch the games. So that'll be okay. No idea what I'm going to do for the kids for dinner. That's always a problem during sports season.

STOP. Before I get onto another side rant. MUST. FOLD. LAUNDRY. sigh. Unless, maybe, I really can find that term for someone who hates laundry...... mk

update: based on Brenda's jumping-off point in the comments, I have created the word: misovestilavarant. One who hates to wash clothes. Ta-da!

And from there, we have misovestilavarany, the hatred of doing laundry. Bwahah!

back to freakin' laundry. mis, mis, mis (I started with miso, miso, miso, but that's soup)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Love Basketball :)

and markira said, let there be a blog post: and there was a blog post. and markira saw that there was a blog post, and it was about dang time.

Mark's team had their first game today. Mark has been waiting and waiting for basketball season to start, and then for the first game. So today was a pretty big deal for him.

First, some team background. We have 15 boys playing. 4 are 8th graders, two of whom have played all three years of busline (Mark is one). We have 4 6th graders, and 7 7th graders. Mark is the tallest on the team at 5'11", and also has excellent vertical leap, so he does the opening tip.

We played the team that won the championship last year. Most of that team was 8th graders, though, so they have a relatively young team this year. Which is okay, because so do we. We reallllllllly wanted to beat this team.

We didn't. We lost 40-38. Mark had a pretty good game, though.

He scored 24 points.

Yes. 24. Two dozen. And he had a bunch more shots that could have gone either way, but didn't happen to go in. Plus he did a TON of rebounding, and just basically dominated the court. It was pretty damn awesome to watch. (mama so proud, can you tell?)

He sat out maybe half of the third quarter because he had three fouls, and also because coach wanted to rest him a bit, since at that time our team had a six point lead. By the time Mark went back in, we were at a three-point deficit that we never recovered from. It was not from lack of trying, though! I counted at least four times that Mark landed on the floor during a particularly fierce play. This is not counting the time that he just kind of randomly tripped when nobody was anywhere near him, because he had been playing pretty much the entire game and he was pretty exhausted. He is going to be SO sore tomorrow!

What impressed me the most about Mark's game was his sportsmanship. He lost it very briefly in the fourth quarter, when he messed up and was mad at himself, but he shook it off in about a second and went back to taking care of business. But the rest of the time, he was very good. He didn't get all weird and self-congratulatory whenever he did something awesome, he just acted like nothing big had gone on and continued to play. He was very friendly to the other team, and in fact after the game was over, he and the top player of the other team did that hand-clasping-chest-bump thing that guys do.

I don't know if Mark will have another game this season where he scores like that. We may play better teams who will keep him from scoring. We may play much worse teams where Mark's play will be limited to let other players gain more experience. But this game, this first game of his eighth grade season, it was something to see. Way to go, baby! mk

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My name is markira, and I am a Googleholic

I think I have a major obsession with Google. Really, it's not surprising. I love to learn new things, and with the Internet connected at my house 24-7, information is available literally at my fingertips at all times! Any time I have a question, I speed right over and Google it.

Some of the things I have found myself Googling in the last couple of days (these are the actual search terms I used:

* toilet john wikipedia [The history of the toilet (thanks, Beast Mom, for inspiring that one)]
* Euphemism treadmill
* erythematotelangiectatic rosacea
* Maine election results
* Palin lipstick
* unanswered point
* Celtics
* NBA Thunder [brandy-new team that the Celtics are playing tonight, go Green!]
* book wet [Kira got her library books wet, I wanted to know the best way to dry them]
* socialism
* democratic vs. republican
* Masked Magician
* mulled cider spice mix recipe
* marionette costume
* chinup bar
* Black Friday 2008
* goth vs. punk
* exorcist spider walk
* cheek bit swollen
* freak flag
* soften t-shirt
* bag of bones [like, a Halloween prop, not the Stephen King book]

What are some of the things *you've* looked up lately? mk

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Letting My Inner Freak Flag Fly

Halloween Carnival was a blast. Kira looked FANTASTIC in her costume:
I didn't get a picture with her wings on. They were purchased (sigh), but they still looked great with her costume. The eye makeup was hand-drawn, based on a kit I saw online that had a glittery tattoo to be worn over just one eye. She looooooooved her costume & thought it was the best one there, even though she didn't win any prizes. (Ro was irritated with that!)

One of *my* favorite costumes was Kody's. He put the whole thing together with finds from the Salvation Army. Guess who? (looked even better in the dim gym)
I got a shot of the entire eighth grade in all their finery. Mark's in the way back, in case you couldn't pick him out.
The carnival was a huge success, the class made lots of money, and everyone had a great time. The haunted house was VERY popular, with many screams echoing from behind the walls. And guarding the entrance?
I *told* you I love Halloween. mk

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Did I Mention That I Love Halloween?

I spent a few hours today helping the 8th grade create their haunted house for the Halloween Carnival tomorrow. I'm going in tomorrow as well, since it's not quite done. Also will help with setting up the games, etc. It promises to be a great time.

I had so much fun with the haunted house. They use the stage, and hang sheets and things to partition it into "rooms." The kids designed it all, and chose what goes in each room. Mark S is the guide who brings the groups through. When you first enter, there is a long hallway, Mark is sitting in a chair in ghoul gear, pretending to be a dummy. Jumps up and scares them. They then flee into a room, where there is a ventriloquist's dummy sitting on a skeleton's lap in a chair. Chair will move by itself. Group then flees to next room, where there is a kid on an operating table and a mad scientist/surgeon in bloody lab coat & scrubs is "operating" on his brain. He is restrained, but breaks free of his restraints and goes after the surgeon, who then forces him back into the restraints. Much groaning and screaming. Group then goes back out to hallway, where there is a "touch table" with gross things. Next to touch table is a caldron hiding the "disembodied" head of another kid, who will scream and growl. Kids flee into the "bedroom" where there is a coffin with a ghoul in it, who rises from the dead. They flee into the final place, which is "outside" with a rusty wheelbarrow filled with leaves and bones, and a ghoul in the corner holding a pitchfork and pointing the way out (and Mark pops out from a hidden entrance to scare them one last time.

And of course there will be freaky lighting and music and fog and spiderwebs and things all over the place. It will be pretty good, I think.

On other Halloween news, I went over to Ro's to try to temporarily color my hair black. Unfortunately, although my hair is now much darker, it is not actually black. Sigh. I guess I'll just use some color spiking gel in it. I'm dressing up kind of punk/goth for tomorrow. Much fun.

Kira's costume is complete except for the wings. I'm actually taking a break from them now to write this. I tweaked the pattern's design for the wings, because I wanted them to be pointier. And I've done a last-minute change of fabric. I was going to use plain netting, but it just doesn't seem dark enough, so I'm using the same sheer that is on the sleeves. Kind of ties the whole thing together.

I picked up some classic Halloween movies today. I've been wanting them for a long time, but hadn't gotten around to it. I got "Friday the 13th," "Halloween," and "A Nightmare on Elm Street." Now I need to find some time to watch them with Mark. It'll have to be after Kira goes to bed, because she will get WAY too frightened.

OK, I think I've taken a long enough break...better get those wings done. mk

Update: To hell with this. I'm gonna buy some damn wings tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Betsy Ross I Ain't

As many of you know, I make a lot of costumes for the kids. I usually make their Halloween costumes, as well as several costumes for Spirit Week each year. This means I sew. Now, I don't particularly LIKE sewing, although it's kind of neat to see a vision come together, but because I can't find exactly what I want other places, I make it.

So, I'm in the midst of sewing Kira's Halloween costume for this year. She is going to be a Goth pixie. (This was her idea, people--although I LOVE it.) I'm making a short black satin dress with long sheer sleeves and an overlaying black vest with cool embroidery on it (I didn't do that) and sheer petal-type ruffles at arms and waist. Oh, and wings, that velcro onto the back of the vest. She's also got some great accessories to go with it, and we experimented with makeup last night and determined what we were doing with that.

Anyway. The dress is done, and I am now working on the vest. And I am doing some of my LEAST favorite part...pinning patterns and cutting the fabric. I HATE pinning. And you can tell I'm starting to get a little irritated with it because I'm starting to do things like just pin one edge and then wing it on the cutting, figuring it'll be close enough. And one part I didn't pin at all, just kind of held it on the fabric and went. This is a major contrast with how I did the dress, where I was so detail oriented. I am justifying it in my head that this is a *costume* and I have already spent more time working on it than she'll spend wearing it (yesterday I worked on it for eight or nine hours, and four or so today). But then I get all fussy again.

I am learning a lot about sewing, though. Each costume I make, I learn a different skill. This time I had to do darts, which was new for me, and I was very nervous about it, but they went really quickly, really. I also discovered a new stitch on my sewing machine, which I'm using like crazy.

And I will be thrilled to see her in it, and she is just so excited about it, every minute I have spent, every ache in my back from bending over the pinning (the damned pinning), every penny I have spent on this, will be worth it.

Stupid pinning. mk

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sports Jinx

Sports enthusiasts are superstitious people in general. It's pretty well known that Michael Jordan wore his North Carolina shorts under his Bulls uniform for every game. Tiger Woods wears red on the last day of a tournament (red is a good luck color in Thailand, where his mother is from). Wade Boggs eats only chicken on game days and draws a good-luck symbol in the dirt before each at-bat.

Similarly, sports fans are often superstitious. Many fans have a lucky shirt or hat that they wear when watching games. Mark has a lucky shirt, hat, lanyard and Paul Pierce figurine that he has to have with him whenever he watches a Celtics game. He is convinced that these are lucky. (And Paul Pierce has to be facing the television.)

Rationally, we realize that these things have no effect on the outcome of the game (especially fan stuff). Yet, some part of us insists that it helps.

Yesterday, Mark's team lost the semifinals. Last night, I watched part of the Red Sox game with Brenda and Brian. We stopped watching when the score was 5-0; Brenda was exhausted and we were all a little depressed at what looked like a spectacular loss.

Turns out, the Sox made a phenomenal comeback, pretty much right after we stopped watching. When I read that this morning, my first thought was "oh SURE, we stop watching and they start winning!" My next thought was that yesterday I was a major sports jinx. Maybe if I hadn't watched Mark's game, they would have won. Maybe I should be banned from major sporting events (I watched the Super Bowl, the Patriots lost. I went to a Red Sox game, they lost to the Yankees.). Of course, the many times that I *have* watched a game and there has been a win was drastically overshadowed by these losses. Seems I, too, have more than a little streak of that ol' superstition. I know, I KNOW, that having my eyes pointed at the action on the field had zero effect on the outcome. In fact, having my eyes on Mark's field was probably a positive thing, as I was showing support and yelling encouragement (in the pouring rain, no less). But still, a little niggling thought keeps poking at me. maybe is IS your fault, it says.

Kira's got her last soccer event of the season tomorrow, a round-robin tournament. Where's my lucky hat? mk

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sports are all children's games revisited...

While we were watching Mark's game today (they lost...very disappointing, and Mark is crushed), another Mom and I were talking about how you could describe the rules of soccer to a young child. Turns out, it was pretty easy. Soccer is a big game of keep-away. You're keeping it away from the other team, until you can put it in their goal. :)

Basketball is keep-away, too.

Football is a really fierce game of tag.

And baseball is a game of monkey-in-the-middle between the pitcher and the catcher, with the batter as the monkey.

What think you? mk

Any excuse not to clean...

I'm cleaning my house today and catching up all the laundry. It's been way overdue, and I have extra motivation in that I am having company tonight...Brenda and Brian are coming over to watch the Sox game. Yay! (and no, Bren, I am not cleaning JUST because you're coming. I was going to clean anyway.) They actually invited themselves over, which I think is fabulous. I hope they do it more often. (hint, HINT Brenda!!) They are so busy that it is hard to know when they would be available to do things, and they are avid sports fans and don't have cable, so they are dependent on others' TVs to catch the games. (also, I wouldn't have thought to invite them, mostly because I forget about professional sports games *and* I forget that she has to go places to watch them.) But now I get some Bren-time! So I am excited and pleased that they are going to be here.

But right now I am taking a clementine break. The timing of the break was dictated by fish oil capsules. I've started taking those to get my Omega-3's, since I don't eat any fish products, and Omega-3's are supposed to help lower your triglycerides, and mine need lowering. They are said to possibly also have a positive effect on depression, which would be a great bonus.

Anyway, one of the horrible (HORRIBLE) side effects of fish oil capsules that I have been experiencing is belching. FISH belching. It is totally disgusting. (Aren't you glad I shared that with you?) I have discovered that if I eat right around the time that I take the capsules, that it is somewhat lessened, but not completely, and then when it starts up, I usually eat something else, like a fruit. Hence the clementine. Supposedly if you keep your capsules in the freezer it will help reduce this side effect, but I am so horrible about remembering to take my meds, that if I don't have them RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME, I will forget to take them.

Mark's team is supposed to have their semifinals today. Obviously, they won their quarterfinals, with a score of 5-1. (Mark made 15 saves.) It's drizzling right now, and supposed to rain pretty much all day. That is going to make for a majorly sucky time if they have the game. I'm really hoping that we'll reschedule for tomorrow, which is supposed to be mostly sunny. We'll see.

Well, my break has definitely lasted long enough. Back to work! mk

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Facebook is killing my blog

Not really, but it sounded like a great title. And truthfully, I have checked Facebook every day and updated my status and checked everyone else's, but I haven't even looked at my blog feeder in ages and now I have like 1000 entries to catch up on. Ain't gonna happen.

So, here's just a little catch-you-up, and hopefully I'll be better.

The Wellbutrin doesn't seem to be helping. I have another appointment on Wednesday, and we'll probably bump up the dosage. I had such high hopes for this, I will be so disappointed if it doesn't work. But at least I have someone who is actively working with me on this.

I had more blood tests, this latest one to check my cholesterol, which turns out to be high. Dammit. Now I'm working on changing my eating habits. It's hard. Add to that, I have completely stopped consuming any alcohol at all, and I'm being much better to my body. Am impatiently awaiting results.

Mark's soccer team has done an outstanding job, and ended the season undefeated (three ties and five wins, including against the team that had won all seven of their other games). Playoffs start Tuesday. We're playing a team that has been taught to cheat. That bothers me a lot. They cheat at ALL the sports they play. How horrible.

Mark has done a great job as goalie. He's had two shutouts, and the other five games, let in a total of 7 goals. He's averaging about 9 saves per game. One game he made 16, another 15. (yes, I'm keeping track) He has improved so much since last year, and he's much more confident and focussed. I love it. I still do my "goalie groupie" thing, where I set up my chair down by the goal to watch the game, and when they switch sides at the half, I move my chair down to the other end. Hey, I'm there to watch him, right? If I'm in the middle, I don't get as good a view of his action.

Kira has done very well in her first year of soccer. She has scored three goals. She's very aggressive and rather skilled, one of the top players on her team. She's enjoying herself immensely, too, which is of course the most important thing. She has her last regular game on Tuesday, then they have the "tournament" on Saturday, where every team plays every other team for a fifteen-minute game. Interestingly enough, the busline championship game is also on Saturday. If Mark's team makes it, there will be a major conflict for me. I have already decided that I would go to Mark's, because it would be his last soccer game in middle school, and would also determine whether there would be a banner hanging in the gym, which Mark reeeeeeeeally wants. He said he'd love to have one for soccer and another for basketball, in his eighth grade year. That *would* be pretty nice.

Basketball starts next week. Mark is psyched. It's his favorite sport. Kira is also playing, on a 3rd/4th grade team for the Y. She's happy, too.

Um. I know there's more, but I'm pretty wiped out. Yesterday I spent the entire day in bed. Major headache. Today it's still lurking, giving little warning pokes every now and then. I had originally planned to do the weekly shopping today since tomorrow the kids have the day off from school. I was also going to work on Kira's Halloween costume. I don't think either of those is going to happen. I think I am going to have a silent day, after I take a little something for this headache, which is actually getting worse even as I type. Dammit. mk

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mud man

We had a lot of rain this weekend, and the soccer field was still wet, particularly around the goals. After practice, a couple of the girls and Mark decided it would be fun to go belly-sliding through the mud. They were each COVERED in muck down their entire fronts. Mark was wearing a white shirt.

I told him I wasn't putting that into my car, and he could run home.

Good thing we only live a couple of miles away, huh? mk

What a GREAT start to the day!

Mark got up late, which meant he got in the shower late, and then took his normal extra-long shower even though I had Kira pound on the door and yell in that *I* needed a shower too this morning, because I had a doctor's appointment at 8:30.

So it was 7:45 before I got *in* the shower, and then the outfit I had planned didn't work out, so I had to rip through the closet (I HATE MY CLOTHES) until I finally just grabbed something and bolted out the door.

I was a couple of minutes late to the doctor's, which for many people is normal or no big deal, but it upsets me. So I was already rattled.

Then I get in for what I *THOUGHT* was just a med-check and it turns out that HI, it's a total physical!!! Thank all that is holy that I got that shower, eh? Thank you, what a wonderful surprise, a Pap smear! Oh, you shouldn't have!

Anyway, in the course of all the other stuff, we decided that in addition to the increase in Celexa that I started two weeks ago, I should also give Wellbutrin a try. Hopefully it will give me the little energy boost I so desperately need. And hey, it's supposed to help with weight loss, so that's definitely a side effect I can get behind!!!!!! ('cause lord knows I've got PLENTY of behind to go around)

One of the side-effects of Wellbutrin SR that usually goes away after a few days is an increase in anxiety. I'm not sure I'll notice the difference between that and the panic I have over my increasingly busy schedule, though. :)

I ended up spending over an hour at the doctor's office, so I was *almost* late for my weekly therapy appointment, so I went in rattled, and I've been rattled since. I'm looking forward to taking Kira to the school while Mark is at soccer practice, so I'll have a little over an hour where I have nothing to do except watch the kids play. That'll be a good calm-down time for me.

I hope to write more later (although ironically, you would end up reading that before this, so you'll already know if I did or not). I want to tell y'all about STOMP!!!! mk

Friday, September 26, 2008

Hey, I'm Not Dead!

Really, everything is fine. I've just been having major blog-block. You know, writer's block for blogs. :D And naturally, every time I *do* think of something to write, I'm far, far away from my computer. And by the time I get back near it, I've already forgotten I even meant to write.

More later, really, I promise. mk

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cottonelle Generation

I was reading an article today about a kid who was banned from pitching in Little League because he was too good.

Are you serious?

Too good to play? Isn't skill and ability something we WANT our kids to develop?

I agree with the author of the article that it's more likely that they're worried that the other kids won't be able to hit against him. The author called this current age of overcaution the Cottonelle generation. I liked that.

We *are* teaching our kids to be too soft. Too many of our kids are afraid to be truly competitive. They don't learn about being aggressive on the field. They never overcome our instructions to be fair and kind and take turns. Mark is in eighth grade and he is still overly cautious during sports not to bump into anyone, and he backs off entirely too much when someone takes the ball away from him.

When we were kids, we came home from games dirty and bloody with skinned knees and bruises, and we didn't think anything of it. We didn't wear our "good" clothes to play because we knew we'd be getting them ripped up and stained.

Kira has played three years of baseball and has yet to play with anything approximating the real rules. They don't keep score, everyone gets up to bat and gets pitched to until they hit. Half the time, even when they are "out," they still stay on base. It doesn't matter if they're out anyway, because nobody keeps track of outs either.

This drives me crazy.

Games are not the time to be doing this. That's what practice is for. Games are when you apply the rules of the game, so that kids can LEARN the rules. And if you're out, you're out, and maybe next time you'll try harder.

Teams are SUPPOSED to be afraid of a kid on another team who's really good. But they're also supposed to PLAY against him. Not make him play another position.

I'm pretty sure that Mark is not going to make the junior varsity or varsity teams when he gets to high school, because he hasn't been trained to play hard. And I mean HARD. In order to really compete at the high school level, you need to be driven. You need to play against people who are way better than you are, because that's how you step up your game. You need to be challenged, not coddled.

There's a phrase I heard awhile back that I have adopted regarding sports: Earn your shower.

Get grimy. Pour sweat. Grind dirt into your skin from diving for the goal or sliding into base. Get scabs. Ache at the end of the day. Work hard. Don't just show up.

I'm not talking about *playing* dirty. Good sportsmanship is essential, and playing by the rules. Don't *play* dirty, but *get* dirty. Earn. Your. Shower.

Bring your best game, and expect that everyone else has, too. mk

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Please, can we get back to our regularly scheduled program?

The schedule with the kids and X has been just nuts this month. He's had a vacation, and some extra days off, and as a result it's looked like this:

Sat, 8/9, evening: kids w/ X (vacation)
Sun, 8/17, evening: kids home
Wed, 8/20, morning: kids w/ X
Fri, 8/22, morning: kids home
Sat, 8/23, evening: kids w/ X
Sun, 8/24, evening: kids home
Wed, 8/27: 1st day of school, kids start at my house, end w/ X
Fri, 8/29: kids home after school
Sat, 8/30, evening: kids w/ X
Mon, 9/1, evening: kids home
Tues, 9/2, morning: Mark to Leadership camp until Sept 7
Wed, 9/3: Kira to school, home w/ X after
Thurs, 9/4: Kira home after school
Sat, 9/6: 1:00 Mark home, 7:00 both kids go w/ X
Sun, 9/7, evening: kids home

They are spending more time with X lately than me, and I'm the "primary custodial parent." Plus, I just flat-out MISS the kids when they are gone. I know, he's their father, yada yada, think of what he feels when it's reversed, blah blah blah, but he's also got a wife and two other kids, and it's just me over here, and I'm LONELY without them.

Hopefully after Labor Day and Mark's leadership camp, the schedule will settle down some and we'll get back to the way it usually is. Can't wait. mk

p.s. First day of school picture.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

How on EARTH did this make it past the editors?

I've been reading a lot of what I consider "junk" novels lately. You know, books that are purely for entertainment, no real "value" to them, no lasting message, yada yada. I've been devouring them, reading one after another, and not really paying much attention to them.

Well, I've just finished one, and I just have to talk about it. Not because the book changed my life in any meaningful way...or maybe it has. This book is a New York Times Bestseller. The author has published over sixty books. She started her novels, according to Wikipedia, because she was reading a particularly bad romance novel and threw it across the room, asserting that even she could write better.

And this is what she has come up with as "better:"

'We're sitting here like two folks who've been sitting here for a very long time.'

Are you friggin' kidding me?

She's big into similes, this author. Some of the other gems from this same book:

'She pushed away from him to see him grinning like a thief who'd just lifted Bill Gates' wallet.'

'her laughter cut off like water from a spigot'

'the rain pelted hard against the windows like pebbles thrown hard by angry children'

'the tea tasted as dark as (his) eyes'

'he grinned like a schoolboy who'd just shot a three-pointer from twenty feet'

I'm more than a little floored that this kind of crap (and there was more...MUCH more) made it past the editor. I mean, at some point, wouldn't you think there'd be a little red ink taking pity on the reader? Yes, some similes are fine, and some can be really powerful, but really. This book is swamped with them, and I spent so much time thinking about the horrible similes that the rest of the book just kind of drifted by.

So where this was lifechanging was to decrease the intimidation factor about my own writing. I mean, if this stuff gets published and is a bestseller, that lowers the bar WAY down, in my opinion.

Anyway, sometimes I just have to pour this stuff out in the blog and rant until it's out of my head. You know, like a rant that emptied my head. mk

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sushi Night

Friday night I hosted dinner at my house. My friend Kimmie knows how to make sushi, my friend Ro wanted to learn how to make sushi, and I added my mom for a fourth.

We had vegetable sushi (cucumber and avocado) with sliced ginger and wasabi paste, jasmine rice with vinegar, tankatsu (panko breaded pork) with sōsu (sauce), (also panko chicken), miso soup, and a basic salad with a soy sauce/oil/ginger dressing. We ended with Pocky, which are chocolate-covered biscuit sticks. Pre-dinner munchies consisted of various rice crackers, wasabi crackers (I was the only one who liked those), sesame sticks, maki rolls (seaweed-wrapped crackers), and edamame (soybeans)--both fresh/frozen and dried-roasted.

We had a lot of fun. We tried all kinds of different foods, including sake (which none of us liked AT ALL), laughed a lot. The evening was such a success, in fact, that we have decided to make this a regular event, trying foods from different countries. We made a list of a dozen or so countries that we would be interested in, and picked one out of a bowl for next time. So, in early October, we are going to Ro's for French cuisine.

We'll all bring something, and the general rule is no fair doing the easy way out. For example, when we do Italian night, we can't do spaghetti.

So now I'm trying to think of something cool to bring for French night. Any suggestions? mk

The table is set for sushi night!

Nobody liked the sake. Cool bottle, though!

A welcome sign by the door.

Of course there was wine. Mom, me, Kim.

Ro slices her first sushi roll.

We got Dad to take a picture of us when he came to pick up Mom. Kim, Ro, Mom, me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The Bloodmobile

So I'm in the bloodmobile outside the Belfast Co-Op, getting ready to drain a little of the ol' AB-positive, and the woman hands me something to squeeze periodically to increase blood flow. I look at it. It is a brain. Specifically, one of these. I look up at the tech.

mk: It's a brain.
tech: Yeah, it is.
mk: It's a rainbow brain.
tech: Yes.
mk: A brain.
tech: Would you like something else?
mk: No, that's ok, I'm good. But I will be talking about this later.

I wish they had been handing those out instead of the little squeezy water bottles.

By the way, I asked the woman if they had any particular goal for today's blood drive. She said they didn't have anything specific, but they had been hoping for maybe 15-20. (The bloodmobile could have three people at a time donating.) I know that the area where they were running the drive is pretty small, but that still seemed to be to be a very tiny number of people they were hoping to get. Blood donations are still far below the level of need, so if you are healthy and over 18, please try to find a donation site in your area!!!!!!

Family Portrait

My aunt Dianna sent this picture that she took last month during her visit. Finally, a family portrait that I actually like!! mk

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Frog Race

We had the most incredible fun at camp yesterday. It was the last day that our friends/family from Florida were here, my kids were going with their dad that night for eight days (eight! what am I going to do with all that spare time?), and we were doing nothing more exciting than hanging out at camp, relaxing. Kenneth spent an hour and a half slow-grilling some extremely delicious barbecued chicken, Mom made her potato salad and cooked up some green beans that had been in a garden that morning, along with some homemade pickles. There was swimming, board games, card games, a fire in the fireplace...all the best of camp.

My parents decided that in addition to having my sister along for the ride, they would invite her son (who doesn't live with her, as she is not capable of caring for him--she lives in a group home). We hadn't seen him in quite awhile, but he blended in very well with the rest of us. Much of that, I think, was that we were getting such a kick out of him. He's twelve.

He was catching frogs. And he's very good at it. Not the best at *keeping* the frogs, because they would escape again and he would have to re-catch them, but man, he was fun to watch.

He inspired the rest of the kids to new heights of camp creativity. Suddenly Kira and Kristin were catching bugs in the water, to feed the frogs as a reward after the race that the kids decided to have at the end of the day. Stephen also managed to re-create an event that Mark did many years ago, namely catching a fish in a five-gallon bucket, and the bugs were for the fish as well.

At the end of the day, after dinner and final photos of the group, we got ready for the frog race. Lines were drawn, and where there were only three frogs (well, technically, two frogs and a toad), Kira and Mark decided to just cheer on while Stephen, Kristin (age 9), and Kaitlyn (16 next week) were the frog-holders.

Kaitlyn was nearly hysterical (and hysterically funny) when she had to hold her frog. She was holding it as far away as her arm could stretch, and was just making this wonderful faces and shrieking. It was great.

It took a number of false starts (meaning that Stephen's big bullfrog kept escaping and heading for freedom) before they got the contestants all lined up and released. Naturally, Stephen's won, being both at least three times the size of the other two and having had those practice runs. Kristin's got to just before the finish line and stopped cold, so she had to nudge it with her sandal before it finally made a little waddle across and then stopped again. And Kaitlyn's headed completely off course, veering away to the woods.

There was a lot of screaming and yelling and laughter, and I got some great photos (which I'm not going to share because none of these were my kids and I don't have the right to put them out on the 'net) and we all had an awesome time. What a way for two city kids from Florida to end a vacation in Maine. Frog races. Yeah. mk

Friday, August 08, 2008

Question for the "Normals"

How many people have to have a weird habit in common before it is no longer a weird habit?

For example, in the people I have talked to about this, more people than not prefer to sleep with no limbs dangling over the edge of the bed, in case something "gets them." (it's not always expressed about the WHY, but it's pretty obvious to me that if you aren't comfortable sleeping with pieces of you sticking out into the air, in the dark, it's because you think something might happen to them.) Does this majority preference mean that it is NORMAL to be afraid of a monster under the bed?

I was discussing different personal quirks with some people today and a couple of us separately mentioned that we know we probably do a bunch of things that are weird, but because they are "normal" to *us,* how are we suppose to know that they are weird?

And when does quirkiness cross the line into a disorder? Like, does it have to be disruptive to your life and bothersome to you personally before it's considered obsessive-compulsive? What if you LIKE being OCD? Is it still a "disorder?"

Who gets to make these decisions? And how do I get on that panel? mk

My Leper Boy

Saturday afternoon Mark started getting a rash while we were at camp. We thought he might have gotten stung when he swatted at a bee on his arm, although all we saw was a scratch from his fingernail. We gave him some Benedryl, he felt better, end of story, right?

Oh, so wrong.

Sunday morning I went to go wake him up and he was absolutely COVERED. Face, neck, arms, legs, back, chest, buttocks. It went up into his scalp. His lips were swollen. So were his hands. So were his *ears.* What didn't have angry red bumps had just plain ol' angry red. It freaked me all out. I got the Benedryl in him as fast as I could. He fell asleep on the couch.

Dad came up and got Kira, dropped off a couple of Zyrtec that our friend Kenneth had with him. When Mark finally woke up, looking quite a bit better, I told him to go take one. He took them both. Dosage is one every 24 hours. I told him to take a cool shower. He took a hot one. The hives (for that is what it was, as confirmed by crazed Googling by spazzed-out mom) got worse. I gave him some more Benedryl. The hives went crazy. By the time he went to bed (on the floor in my room, where I could keep an eye on him and where there was air-conditioning), he looked like he had been dipped a vat of them.

The scariest part about it was that it kept changing. Every time I looked at him the hives were in a different pattern, on different parts. The swelling on his lips and face came and went. Sometimes it looked like they were going away. Then they would come back even worse. He would look near normal, then he looked like a leper. He never had any problem with his breathing, so I didn't take him to the emergency room (although I was driving him crazy with the repeated asking: "How's your breathing?").

Monday morning I called the doctor first thing and brought Mark in. I didn't give him any Benedryl that morning, because I wasn't sure what they'd do at the doctor's and I didn't want him to be overdosed with anything.

Doctor confirmed that he had "acute urticaria (hives) of unknown origin" and put him on a five-day course of Prednisone. He told me that the oral steroid would make Mark extremely hungry, very emotional after about three days, and that he wouldn't sleep well.

So, basically he was saying I would have a ravenous, hyper, cranky teenager. Great.

On the extremely positive side, the hives are now completely gone. We have decided not to give Mark Benedryl anymore, because it does seem that every time we have done so, the hives have just gotten worse, so it is very possible that he's allergic or something. Wonderful.


No more leper boy. This is a good thing. mk

Thursday, August 07, 2008

A Life Motto We Should All Adopt

Overheard as Kira was playing on the couch the other day with tiny stuffed leopard and tiger:

"I won't eat your friends if you don't eat mine."

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Women's Works

I went to see a wonderful performance last night at Unity Centre for the Performing Arts. It is called "Women's Works: An Evening of Contemporary Dance." I had never gone to anything like that, and it was just the most amazing, powerful event. The interpretations and the movements were just fascinating, and there was such an energy, I was very impressed. I'm definitely going to seek out more of this type of thing.

My favorite was a piece called "Two Into One," which was (apparently...they don't spoon-feed you this stuff) about the conflict between work and family, and balancing the two. It was performed by an artist named Joan Proudman, who also designed the artwork used to promote the event. I also loved the art, and purchased a fine-art print. She does mixed media and paper collage, and I really encourage you to check out her website and see some of the work she has done. She has some awesome stuff there.Another piece that was just awesome was called "Coming Home" and was performed by Shana Bloomstein, to background sound of an interview of her grandfather about his journey to the United States. Very cool.

There were also two different pieces of Contact Improvisation. I hadn't seen any of that, and it was really something to see. Very personal and explorative; intriging.

I really enjoyed my evening, and I really want to continue to broaden my horizons regarding music, dance, and the visual and performing arts in general. Hey, if you happen to be in the Unity area tonight (yeah, I know, not likely, but you are missing out!), go check it out, people. mk

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's Not Just Me, Right?

When I'm cleaning up blood, either in the house or out of clothes, I always think to myself that it doesn't really matter, because CSIs could find it anyway. And that if the CSIs were ever to come into my house with their luminol and portable UV light, I'd have some serious explaining to do. mk

(prompted by finding a single drop of blood in the middle of the bathroom floor, and also the conversation I had with Kira this morning while I was on the phone with my dad, in which I told Kira "quit making it bleed!"...after I'd been chatting away to Dad for about fifteen minutes about inconsequential topics, never mentioning that my daughter's leg looked like a prop from a horror film)

Wordless Wednesday



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Probable Overreaction

You know the phrase "the straw that broke the camel's back?" My straw was ice cream.

My kids have been driving me CRAZY with their total irresponsibility with the house. I know, kids are kids the world over, and most of them don't understand or care that parents like to have the house looking clean and decent, and that assistance with this is not only appreciated, but very often necessary. I know, many kids don't understand that everything costs money, and they just randomly use the things they find in the house without thought to the idea that someone had to go get those things, and spend money to do it, and that money doesn't grow on trees, yada yada.

My kids have been blithely going along acting like the house is a free hotel with built-in maid service and an unlimited mini-bar, and this morning I absolutely snapped on it.

I've been attempting this morning to actually shovel through the mountains of friggin disaster that is my house. That I have received little to no help on, regardless of the number of times that I have asked or demanded help. I have been scrubbing and running up and down the stairs, and I HAPPENED across this mess.

I found, on the dining room table, amidst piles of kid crap that I had been asking to get taken care of, and a bag of clothes brought back two days ago from their father's house, a grocery bag containing an unopened container of ice cream. That had been left there since the day before. Somebody had gotten it out of the big freezer and pulled the OTHER container of ice cream out to eat some, and instead of putting this back, had just left it. And of course it was ruined.

I. Just. Snapped.

I am SO completely sick of this crap. I am sick of being treated with such incredible disrespect that they think that I have nothing better to do with my LIFE than to clean the house every day, all day, while they just leave things wherever they feel like it. I am sick of working my ass off trying to figure out how to get them tons of fashionable clothes, deals so they can have the current electronics, each have their own computer for crying out loud, and plenty of food and snacks and toys and whatever, just so they can treat it all like nothing.

I have just screamed my throat raw telling them that I deserve more in my life than this. That I have other things in my life that I could be doing. That I am just ONE person, a single mom trying to make the best life for her family, and that I'm not doing it alone anymore. I. Deserve. Better. mk

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Special Spots

Where do you go when you need to be alone?

When I was in college, every once in awhile I used to go to my parents' camp for a few days, all by myself. I would get a stash of junk food, maybe some wine coolers, and just be. I was still living at my parents' house, except when I was living in the dorm, and camp was the only time I could get some extended privacy. I just loved it. There was limited electricity, no running water, it was VERY dark at night, and very, very quiet. Awesomeness.

My mother has observed that I never do that now. My answer is, that I don't need to anymore. I have my own house. The kids are gone periodically, and I have the entire place to myself, to be silent. With a bathroom!

Another place I used to go to be alone, in smaller doses, was the ocean. I would drive down to Crockett's Beach in Owls Head, and just sit and watch and listen and breathe. It was a good place for me to think. I made the mistake of telling a boyfriend once where I went to get away, and he followed me there after a fight. I haven't gone there just to be, since.

I was asking Kira some questions the other day about life at her dad's house, especially with the new baby (he's 11 days old). At X's, Kira and her sister share a bedroom, which you can only get to by going through her dad's bedroom. Mark has his own small bedroom downstairs. The new baby is apparently sleeping in X's room for convenience's sake, and will then be moved to Kira and A's room for a few years, until he is old enough to move into Mark's room. D is a nurse and usually works the night shift, so she sleeps during the day. A still takes naps (she's three). Between D, A, and the new baby (also A...let's call him A2), Kira is pretty much never allowed in her own room, because of the risk of waking someone up.

I asked Kira where she went when she needed to be alone. She said the bathroom. But that even then, she didn't get much peace, because someone would come along and want her out.

I think it's essential that everyone has a place that they can go to be by themselves. It doesn't have to be the same place every time, but I believe that each of us *has* to know that there is a place that we can get to, to be alone with our own thoughts and feelings, where we can center ourselves and find peace.

I think that's one of the biggest things that drives new moms crazy. It's never being able to be by ourselves for any length of time. It's having someone making demands on us, 24/7, following us every single place that we go, always, never giving us a breath alone. Wherever we are, there is a little person, clinging, questioning, chasing us down. The first time I was able to go into the bathroom by myself with no kids banging on the door, asking me what I was doing and if they could come, that was a little piece of heaven.

We need a haven, a private breathing space. For many of us, we are able to carve that spot out somewhere in our homes. It might be your bedroom, or a corner of the garden, or a rocking chair in the den. It might be the morning walk that you take by yourself. Or the long drive in the country. Wherever it is, each of us should have this special space for ourselves; have it, and guard it, and keep it for ourselves. Even in a live where you share everything, you should always have something that is your own. Something, some place, where you can be entirely and utterly you. Alone.

I believe that having this sanctuary is essential for our mental health. Well, mine anyway. I need time where I am not a mother or a daughter or a friend or a neighbor or a volunteer or a patient or any other label. Where all masks fall away, where I am open and vulnerable to myself, where there are no expectations or demands. When all of this is stripped away, I can just breathe, and be.

Do you have a special spot? mk

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Love Games

This song has been stuck in my head since Mark made me watch the Old Gregg video. Mark seems to be really amused by British humor. He hasn't seen the Monty Pythons yet. Can't wait to see what he thinks of those.

Do ya love me? mk

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Progress of a Vodka Evening

Thought it might be interesting to do a free-association type of thing, whereby I just kinda type random things that pop into my head as I progress further and further into the vodka bottle.

7:45ish First very-large drink: As I am watching Friends and reading a Marion Keyes book: I am wondering if things would have been different if I had ever shared an apartment with friends, rather than just jump directly from college to a live-in/marriage (well, with a small side staying-with-my-parents/move to Alaska for a month/live-back-with-my-parents thing). Anyway. I never really had any single independence time. I think I might miss it.

Need to refill drink. And bowl of crackers.

Dammit. I just broke a cookie and crumbs have gone all down the front of my tank top. I am all crumb-y. It itches.

Some of the girls on America's Next Top Model have absolutely no breasts. Seriously, my 8-year-old DAUGHTER is more developed than they are. And I think I would be totally grossed out to see some of these girls naked. No ass AT ALL. C'mon, THIS is fashion's physical ideal? Are you kidding me????

How have I managed to go through the entire day without noticing that one of the kids pulled a fake plant halfway out into the middle of the living room? And do I need to know what they were doing behind the TV?

Is anybody else worried about this Gardasil stuff? I mean, Kira's coming up on 9, the minimum age to receive the vaccine. Do we know what possible long-term effects there are for this?? I'm very nervous about it.

I need more vodka.

9:00ish It's not looking like more vodka will happen. Feeling a bit queasy, and am very tired. Not a good combination with alcohol. I think I'm gonna end up going to bed early. Damn. I was kind of hoping for a drunk-blog. Freak. Maybe another time. damndamndamn mk

p.s. Is it just pathetic that I have no real tolerance for alcohol right now? Is it a good thing? Am I just getting old? Is there any way that I could spell alcohol right the first time that I type it? (instead of "alchohol") I need a real life.

Random Tune in My Head

Lollipop, lollipop
Oh lolly, lollylolly

For your listening pleasure. Bwahahahahaaaaa! mk

Also, a heads-up: There is vodka.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sophisticated Automotive Repairs

More adventures with the markiramobile!

Tuesday night when I pulled up in the driveway, I discovered that the rear passenger window no longer wanted to go up. Great! And we're expecting rain and thundershowers. Just perfect. I was so irritated I couldn't do anything at all, so I just said to hell with it and left it. Hoped no critters would take a liking to the idea of hopping in overnight and pissing all through my car (that happened with X's car one time).

Yesterday, in preparation for the storms, I went out and put a black trash bag in the door so it flopped over the window. Klassy. But at least it would prevent the inside of the car from getting completely soaked. I hoped.

I had wonderful visions of trying to take the car somewhere and not being able to leave anything in the car or trunk because with the window wide open, it's kind of pointless to lock up, y'know? Fortunately my stereo has a detachable face, so I could at least thwart the stereo-burglar. OR, I could just never go anywhere, ever again. This was starting to look appealing.

This morning my dad popped in on his way to camp. He wanted to help me pull the window glass up so at least the thing was closed.

Yeah, no luck on that one. So, being experienced mechanics (oh my, I can't even type that without snorting laughter), we decided that we couldn't hurt it much more if we just took the entire door panel off and took a peek. **

So we did, and wiggled some wires to no real effect, and then dad just kind of whacked the window motor with the side of his hand.

And the freaking thing works. mk

**Strangely, this same attitude ("can't hurt, might help") is what led me to repair an XBox that we picked up pretty much free at a lawn sale, that wasn't working. I figured, what the hell, I'll take it apart (and Microsoft does NOT make that easy for you...they hide the screws under stickers and crap, so you'll be forced to take it to an authorized XBox repair place, etc etc). Took the thing apart, reseated the disk drive, and it works perfectly, has for years now. Impressed the heck out of Mark, who bragged it up to all his friends.

This is also my attitude in having fixed my washing machine on at least two different occasions. Hey, can't hurt to take the entire thing apart and just look at it, right?

Try it sometime! (disclaimer: don't try it if you're not willing to pony up for a fat repair bill if you frig it up, or unless it's something that's headed for the dump anyway)

Friday, July 04, 2008

The Girl Loves the White Board

Found on a 2-foot by 3-foot white board propped across the hallway upstairs, after the kids left on Wednesday for five days with their dad:

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Classic Mark

The most recent Classic Mark statement, last night:

"I've memorized pretty much the ENTIRE THING...except the ending...and the middle part...and, like, the beginning."

Wordless Wednesday: Popham Beach

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

File Under: Seriously Trivial Irritant

It should be illegal to make a white polo shirt with any form of red trim on it, and then have washing instructions that just say "Machine wash. Tumble dry."

Because you just know it's never that easy.

Alternately, it should just be illegal for me to FORGET the pure hell that is washing a white polo with red trim, so that I then EVER go out and purchase another one.

Naturally, having spent three days washing the thing, rewashing it with bleach and vinegar and OxyClean and anything else I can think of to remove the pink splashes, to finally get it clean and dry and looking (almost) new, *immediately* the son wears it the very next day, and it's back in the wash. And I am on day three of washing it again. There is no rest for the wicked, I tell you. mk

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Just catching up

Well, the big fight has been resolved. Mark is back to his normal, lovable (mostly) self. His thirteenth birthday has come and gone; I am now the mother of a teenager. We didn't do anything majorly significant to mark the date, which is unfortunate; my original intent was to make a good memory for him. Between his horrific attitude earlier this week and the bizarre weather, it just hasn't worked out. That's too bad; I hope that later he remembers entering his teens with fondness.

Today is a catching-up day. I've made six copies of Kira's play on DVD. Right now I've started Mark's play from April, which will take much longer, because each copy is over an hour long. Fortunately, I have fewer of them to make. It will be good to have these off my plate, they've been hanging over my head for the longest time.

This has been a weekend full of events, not all of them pleasant. Yesterday I found out a very very dear friend is pregnant; today I found out a lifelong friend's grandmother passed away. We celebrated Mark's birthday yesterday with my parents and sister; today I am spending the day all alone. Lots of contradictions that define life.

Not much else to say today. The kids have a half-day of school tomorrow and then summer vacation begins. Thursday we are going for an overnight visit at Ro's parent's cottage at Popham Beach; should be awesome. Will check in later. mk

Monday, June 16, 2008


Fun Monday's topic today was about walls. The assignment was meant to display the physical walls in your home, but the wall that concerns me the most today is the one towering between me and my son.

My house is currently oddly silent, although we are all here. We are dancing around each other's presences, with Kira nearly desperate to maintain some normality. She is determinedly coloring and reciting lines from her play and creating things with her dolls.

Mark walks from his room to the bathroom and back. He made a ghostly appearance downstairs long enough to wordlessly consume some dinner, and then disappeared back into his bedroom.

In half an hour or less we will all be going to the school to attend a meeting for the seventh graders and their parents, where I assume we will put on faces of normality, although perhaps quieter than usual. I cannot imagine smiling and chattering and pretending that all is well, although I know that I will do all those things, and do them with skill.

We are dancing, he and I, around things that were said this morning. Around the discovery of yet another trivial and needless lie on his part, which led to an argument and punishments meted, and disrespect, and harsh words said at the bus stop that his sister overheard and reported to me after school. Words of hatred and violence that stun me from this child of mine, this treasure.

There is betrayal and disappointment and hurt. There are wounds that cannot be staunched, that remain open and bleeding. There is frustration, on both sides, I imagine, although I wonder if I can still say that I know my son's heart. There is dismay. I cannot begin to figure out how to breach this wall that seems to have sprung up, whole and enormous and bristling, between us. I am not sure if I have the strength to try.

I am not even sure if I want to.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kira the Maleficent

Kira had her second-grade class play tonight. They did Sleeping Beauty. Kira was cast as Maleficent, the dark fairy and "mistress of all evil" who cursed Aurora. Well, Kira did an *outstanding* job playing an evil witch. It's a little disturbing, actually, how INTO her role she got. The dark glee with which she pronounced her curse: "You will prick your finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel AND DIE!!!!!" was a tad unsettling. I was so proud.

She was an absolute mess of nerves before we went to the school. This manifested itself in a huge outpouring of fury and temper at me and Mark. Oh, it was a joyous and pleasant afternoon. I did convince her to let me do a bit of stage makeup on her eyes, although when she saw what I did, she was FURIOUS: "I HATE you for what you did to me!" She wasn't very good at listening to my explanation about the nature of stage makeup and how it *does* look horrible close-up, but really good from the audience. Then, of course, she got to the school and everyone absolutely loved it and she was much better. Gee, 'cause her mom (five years' experience as a drama makeup mistress) didn't know ANYTHING.

She basked in the glory of the compliments everyone gave her (and hey, I did a little basking myself...the principal said to me: "You have TWO of them!"--reference to my son's dramatic talent as well--yup, I do).

I really wish the lighting in the gym was more cooperative with my cameras. Pretty sure the camcorded stuff won't be much better, but here's a photo or two:

Maleficent and her evil minion, the Warthog

Aurora waits in a trance while Maleficent eagerly anticipates the fulfillment of the curse.

Hey, the curse worked! Well, mostly.

After the play, Maleficent gracefully poses for a picture. What the hell, a smile? Yeah, real evil.