Thursday, February 28, 2008

This is why I avoid the news

I am a catastrophic thinker. That's one of the manifestations of Anxiety Disorder whereby you are constantly thinking about and in fear of something horrible happening to you or your loved ones. It was the reason I could literally never drive by a lake without thinking of my car going off the road and into the lake and sinking in and what if I couldn't get the windows open and, and, and....

This castastrophic thinking (I and my therapists refer to it as my 'disaster thinking') soaks up large portions of my brain. I think about it when I'm cooking (what if there's a fire? what if I get burned? what if I burn my FACE?), when I'm driving (going off the road; driving into another car; uncontrollable skid; engine blowing up; trapped in car and can't get out; would it be worse to die or live?), and holy god about my kids (I can't even put into words some of them because it just horrifies me so much to think about something bad happening to one of my kids; one of the worst possible things I can think of--and I'm quite elaborate in my disaster thinking--is if something bad is happening to both of my children at once and I HAVE TO CHOOSE TO ONLY SAVE ONE.) God, that just makes me want to throw up even thinking about.

The disaster thinking has lesser levels. Going to a school event and having something embarrassing happen. Getting lost. Having people laugh at me. Having people think bad thoughts about me. Running out of toilet paper. Something breaking when I need it most (hello, car). Messing up something important. This stuff is chronic and constant and ALL THE FREAKING TIME in my head.

Catastrophic thinking can often lead to or acerbate agoraphobia. (It has in my case.) The idea of going somewhere, public or private, leads to such incredible worry about what could happen, and it starts immediately after learning about the event and keeps building until and during the event, that often it is just "better" to stay home. Social events are nightmares for me. I don't eat or drink anything for hours before I go somewhere, because my stomach is just a mess. Also I am afraid something embarrassing and bathroom-related will happen. I can't settle down to anything before I go places. The last hour or so before something is the worst. My concentration is completely shot, I'm constantly clock-watching (another post in itself), and a lot of times I will go early just so I can stop the spaz. You would think that would be counter-intuitive to the social anxiety, but even though being early is stressful (being the first one there sucks and also sets up a whole other range of disaster thinking), *waiting* is worse. Although lots of times I cave and stay home rather than open myself up to all this stuff, many times I will force myself to go places on the theory that it is "good for me" and that if I push myself past the block, maybe the block will break down a little bit. This was the motivation for my trip to Boston. (cannot tell you the number of times I have *planned* a trip, just to back out)

And on and on and on.

A major goal with my therapist is to reduce the disaster thinking (duh). A change in medication helped a lot, unexpectedly. (I was changing meds for other reasons, but a bonus was a reduction in disaster thinking.)

Another thing I do is avoid the news. The news is just full of disasters, the majority of which is stuff we can't do anything about and which likely does not affect us personally. I wonder sometimes why I need to know about people who die in car crashes, or fires in buildings in other cities, etc. And since reading or hearing these things naturally triggers my disaster thinking, I have come to avoid the news.

Oh, I still read the occasional article, usually when someone sends me a link because it is somehow related to me. In fact, when I read a newspaper, I am drawn to the disaster articles. You know, car-crash-can't-look-away syndrome. I torment myself with these things. For heaven's sake, my favorite writer is Stephen King!

I've tried to lessen this, and like I said, the meds help, avoiding the news helps. But every once in awhile I get blindsided and it all blows up on me.

Tuesday I was reading Bossy. I hadn't read her before, and as usual when I find a new blog, I was doing a little back reading. I found a lot of references to her daughter and a lip, so I searched to find out what that was all about (was her daughter born with a cleft palate and had surgery? Did she get punched in the mouth?). You know, inquiring catastrophic thinkers want to know. And I found out her daughter had her lip *bit off* by a dog. And it was very graphic, particularly Bossy's reactions and feelings and horror (she's a very good writer, but oh god, I wish she hadn't had to write about this).

Tuesday night when I went to bed I had a monster huge whopping panic attack. Disaster thinking everywhere. Could not stop thinking about something happening to my kids. Could not stop putting myself in Bossy's place, where I would have done everything wrong. Just horror after horror after horror and I could not get my brain to stop. I took two of my tranquilizers and eventually, eventually calmed down, but that was not a good night. (in fact, I am getting a bit worked up by writing about it, but I think it is good therapy)

I'm not sure if I had a point when I started writing this post, but whatever it was, I lost it in there somewhere. Now I'm just hoping that some of the poison is out. I do a lot of locking this stuff up in my head somewhere (I think of it as a big thick steel door, and I push the stuff in and slam the door shut quickly), and push it down and push it down, and I am very afraid that someday all of this stuff is going to explode and I am going to start crying and screaming and never be able to stop. I don't cry, even when it would be appropriate, for very very long periods of time. I suppress things to an astonishing level. (that's another therapy goal: to allow myself to identify and feel emotions appropriately)

Wow. Deep heavy shit for a sunny day. I've gotta stop. I could ramble on about this crap forever. Stopping now. mk

Update: and in an insane turn of events, I actually watched the CBS Evening News tonight (I started out turning to CBS to see if by any remote chance in hell CSI was new and somehow decided to actually watch the news and see how Katie Couric does...the verdict? meh.) and there was a piece on Ford/Lincoln/Mercury recalling twelve or so years' worth of cars that may spontaneously burst into flame due to a malfunction in the cruise control. Yeah, 'cause THAT helped my disaster thinking, in particular the part about my car's engine blowing up. Just freakin' perfect. [note: I have a Dodge]

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Hi, my name is markira, and I'm a blogaholic.

Seriously, I'm more of a bipolar blogaholic, since I often go long(ish) periods of time without blogging at all (blogblock), but then I'll blog a bazillion posts a day and only stop because I'm a little embarrassed for people to see how pathetic I am that I have nothing better to do with my life (what life, haha) than post to my blog that I stubbed my toe.

Similarly, when I am in these manic phases, I check my blogroll multiple times a day to see if there's anything new, or to read the comments, or to see if there was a reply to my comment, and seriously, if I had more than 17 people I check every day I can see where I would grow mold. (yeah, I know, RSS--eventually) And yet, I continue to check other people's blogrolls to see if there's something out there I'm missing. And ergo, I can easily waste days at a time on the Internet. And then I will lift my head and stretch my back (holy COW doesn't that hurt after a few hours hunched over the computer, and yeah, yeah, ergonomics blah blah) and look blearily around and figure out what day it is and how long it's been since I did laundry.

So yes, blogaholic, that's me.

To test this theory, see the following:
List of symptoms (A list of 50! Lists! Love lists!)
Another quiz

Can you tell that right now I am in a manic phase? mk


Anybody who knows me even a little bit knows how much I love Kira's hair. She has the most gorgeous hair, with incredible highlights that people pay big bucks to get at the salon.

X and I have been in a back-and-forth on Kira's hair pretty much since the divorce. When we were together, he adored Kira's hair long. He loved long hair on females, period. Was very upset when I got my hair cut while we were married.

He has apparently undergone a huge change in opinion since the divorce. (gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with D's super-short hair?) On more than one occasion I have been "surprised" with a new, drastic chopping-off of Kira's hair, which of course has made me go absolutely ballistic.

Lately (meaning for the past several months) there has been a sneakier approach. He continues to insist to me that "Kira wants" her hair cut. That she has been in tears at his house because she wants a cut so badly but "mom won't let her." Of course, when I went directly to Kira, she said she *didn't* want a cut, that she wanted to grow her hair out as long as Rapunzel's, and that she loved her long hair.

Then she started waffling. Kira's hair was so long (past midback, but not down to her waist) that she absolutely had to have it braided before she went out to play in the snow, or she would come back in with the most godawful rat's nest of snarles and tangles, which often required an actual shower with conditioner to get through. She wasn't always agreeable to having her hair done, so the snarls would build up. Then when I brushed through her hair, even with lots of detangler, she would cry and whine and generally make both of us miserable.

So yesterday, after a couple of fits and starts over a few days, we decided it was absolutely the day to do it. I decided to cut it myself (I am so freaking stubborn and cheap sometimes), even though X claimed he would pay for it if I took her to a salon. Yeah, I've had experience with that. He never seems to have the cash on him, or the checkbook, and I end up never getting paid back.

Anyway, I took the plunge, got all my haircutting gear out (I have all the mom is a licensed beautician, and don't think that wasn't freakin' awesome in high school and college to have a mom who could get you all the best product at reduced prices....yeah, baby). I sent Mark out to the barn to get a swiveling barstool, and we were off.

I estimate that I cut about eight inches (at least) off her hair. It's now swinging about her shoulders. She's super happy about it. I am less so. I keep seeing all the errors in the cut, and sections that are uneven, and I don't know how to do anything except a blunt cut on girls (I'm slightly better with Mark's, although I did kill it the time before last). I am totally cutting myself off from doing the kids' hair anymore. I think. Oh hell, I'll probably go at it again another time. Freakin' stubborn idiot I am.

So, after all that, I'm taking her to a salon today to clean it up. sigh.

Still going to try and get X to pay for it, though. Wish me luck. mk

Will you look at those highlights?

She looooooves her haircut.

Updated pics: took her to the salon today and got the cut smoothed out. The stylist said that I did a really great job for the most part. I know I don't know how to make it less blunt on the ends. So Alyson layered the ends up a little bit, texturized them, and razored the bangs a little. Overall I like it much better. When we got home I took a flat iron to Kira's hair and she wanted the ends flipped up a little bit. So I did. Here's the results:

And again she loooooooves her hair.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Dipping Toes in the Technorati Waters

Well, I did it. I joined Technorati. And right now my "Authority" is 4, and I have 0 fans, and this blog's rank is 1,644,723.

So people, it's up to you. "Fave" me on Technorati (button conveniently placed on the side of my blog, right around "People You Should Meet."

I will now have another place to constantly, compulsively check statistics to see what a loser I am.

Thanks Jenny! ;) mk

correction: I have 1 fan. Me. Have you heard of anything more pathetic? Link to me, people, c'mon.

Cripe. Jenny puts me in her faves and my ranking jumps up to 1,391,575. What power have you, woman?!?!?!? That's a QUARTER MILLION JUMP.

Fun Monday

The Fun Monday challenge was a two parter this week:

1) What's in a did you name your blog?
2) What's on your Plate....what is your favorite dish?

This assignment comes from mariposa at mariposa's tales. I came about it via Min at Mama Drama.

Well, I've told before how I became markira...but for the newcomers, the short version is that I realized if I mushed my son's and daughter's names together, it sounded neat. And I love the name, and have loved it for all the years I have used it. It has become more than just a name, but a part of my identity. I splurged on a Michael Kors purse because it had the repeating initials MK on it.

Regarding the name of my blog, Reflections of Nothing...

When I was in sixth grade, I wrote a book of poems for class. I titled it, Reflections of Nothing. (who knows sounded good) When I was probably around a sophomore in high school, I wrote a poem titled Reflections of Nothing. It was a time full of angst (of course), and my sophomoric writing was prolific, if not particularly good. Here, for your reading enjoyment (well, toleration, anyway):

Reflections of Nothing

in a hall of mirrors
a thousand reflections
shriek back at me--
short, fat and ugly,
twisted and grimacing,
or stretched out too thin.
I run from one to another.
no escape, no escape
They mock me, these images
others have made of me--
laughing, screaming,
contorted with pain.
In terror I strike out,
and break every glass
to shatters on the floor.
In one tiny perfect shard
I glance at myself
to see no image there...
Reflections of nothing.
Is this what I am?

For a favorite dish (there is no single one), it probably should be something Mexican. And my first really great introduction to Mexican (or what passes for it in Maine), were baby chicken chimichangas on a bed of freshly shredded lettuce with guacamole and sour cream on the side. It was at Margarita's Mexican Restaurant and Watering Hole, in Orono. Oh yum. I haven't been to Margarita's in many years, but The Park Street Grille in Rockland also makes very good chimichangas, only these are HUGE.

Here's a picture randomly grabbed from the Internet (

Doesn't this just look yummy? Add margarita(s) and some Mexican rice and black bean sauce and oooooooooooh.

So there. My foray into Fun Monday is complete. Comment to let me know if you participated, too! mk

update: next week's host is janet
(anybody else getting Rocky Horror Picture Show's "Dammit Janet" in their heads?)

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Drive-by Plowing

It took me years to get the fence up. Well, first it took years to get fence materials. Then it took a couple more years to get the fence installed. Which I finally did, in September 2007. And it was a beautiful thing, and it has garnered many compliments, and it has given me great joy, and I dressed it up with Christmas lights and everything.

And this morning I see this:

Somebody backed a plow into it. mk

Friday, February 22, 2008

Reasons My Kids Like It When I'm Exhausted

Mark: Mom, can Kira and I play the PS2?
Me (exhausted from a mere 3 days in the Boston area): sure, whatever

Kira: Mom, can we have a cookie?
Me: sure, whatever
Kira: Mark! We can have cookies!
Me: Cook-IES?
Kira: Mark! We can have a cookie!
Mark: Can we have two cookies?
Me: sure, whatever
Kira: WOW! Can we have THREE cookies?
Me: sure, whatever
Mark: Can we have FOUR cookies?
Me, giving him a look:
Mark: Three cookies. Got it.

Kira: Mom, can we have some Nerds? And maybe watch a movie?
Me: sure, whatever
Kira: Mark! We can have some Nerds or a lollipop or a movie!
(and somehow they ended up having Nerds AND lollipops AND Bottlecaps AND Laffy Taffy)

Kira: Mom, where do we put the candy bags? Or do we just leave them on the counter?
Me: yeah, sure, whatever, leave 'em on the counter

And Kira is now zooming around the living room/dining room/kitchen circuit, chattering away while Mark goes through every single video game they own as they try to agree on ONE to play first. I thought they were watching a movie?

Yeah, sure, whatever. mk

Coming soon! (or, more likely: coming eventually!) More of my Boston adventures, including my first-ever Cheesecake Factory experience (Reader's Digest version: Oh.My.God.), the biggest mall in the world (or at least in New England--same thing, right?), the caution-tape dress, and the best furniture store you will ever visit. Ever.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Moon, Sun & Stars

Did anyone go outside last night and check out the lunar eclipse? It was the last total lunar eclipse until December 2010, so I hope you did get a chance to see it.

Kimmie and I made a point to go out and look. Being in Watertown instead of rural Maine, the view was not as beautiful as it would have been from home, but it was still pretty awesome. I had never taken the time to view a lunar eclipse before. Amazing.

If you did see it, let me know where you were and how it looked to you. mk

p.s. There will be a total solar eclipse on August 1st, 2008. However, unless you are in a location that sees the midnight sun, this eclipse will not be visible for you. Be sure to check out the Perseids meteor shower on August 12 (meaning the morning of August 12th, not the night of)...the best viewing will be after moonset at around 3am, until dawn.

I've been planning to check out that darn meteor shower for years, and haven't made it yet. This year.....this year, darn it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hello From Boston!

Well, not actually BOSTON, but from Perkins School for the Blind, in Watertown. The church bells are ringing as I am typing, and all is peaceful on campus, since students have gone home for vacation.

My friend Kimmie works here, and I am visiting her for a few days. She came and got me yesterday (the girl loves to drive), and I'm going home tomorrow. The kids are with X, and I have nothing I have to do here, no agenda, just whatever we feel like. Kimmie's still sleeping (and snoring), having groggily come to long enough to give me the password to her laptop. So, bonus, I also get to test-drive the practicality of having a laptop, which I've been rather coveting for a long time. (as it just now occurs to me that a laptop can be just that, rather than having to hunch over the table typing, as I was doing....hello, desktop-trained)

I have told Kimmie that I really don't want to have to make any of the "major" decisions, like what to have for dinner, because dammit, I am on vacation. Short vacation, but a vacation. And being the head of household, I make ALL the decisions, ALL the time. It's refreshing not to have to do it. Decision-making is hard for me anyway, and to never be able to defer to someone else (or, if I do, hello, it's a kid, so that has to be limited) is draining.

The decisions I have not had to make so far include: whether to eat out, take out, or cook at the apartment (really a room in a suite shared by three people...private bedrooms, common bathroom, laundry room, and teeeeeeeny tiny kitchen)--we did takeout; what KIND of food to get for dinner (Chinese); what movie to watch while we were eating dinner (Becoming Jane, which I just love); whether to sleep in the spare room or drag the mattress into Kimmie's room (we did the latter...more of a sleepover effect); and whether to watch a second movie or crash (we crashed).

So, today I believe we plan to pick up a new Paul Pierce poster for Mark (Kimmie had gotten one for him previously, but she left it by the window with the window down and it got soaked...oops), and other than that I have no idea what we're doing. It's a very interesting idea, knowing that absolutely nothing we do today will be a part of my regular routine, that everything will be something new to see, somewhere new to go, and that even if it falls along the lines of similarity with my regular life (i.e. the whole shower-and-get-dressed routine), it will still be fresh.

I am looking at an adventure, people, and I am determined to suck every drop of different out of it, even as I am only taking babybaby steps towards newness.

What can YOU do today to make the sameness of your everyday seem new? mk

okay, I AM making the decision to wake Kimmie up. Time's wasting. She can sleep after I go home. :D

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reason #947 Why The Idea of Mark With a License Scares Me

We were going over to Brenda's today to work on wedding invitation designs. Well, Brenda and I were going to work on designs, and the kids and Brian were going to maybe do some painting for the boat.

Before we went to Brenda's, I needed to stop at TJMaxx to see if by chance they still had the dresses in stock that I really, really wanted Kira to wear to the wedding. Mark decided he'd rather stay in the car and listen to his iPod, so Kira and I went in.

We were only able to find ONE of the dresses left, and it was a size 14 (kira is an 8 or maybe a 10). She suggested that she try it on just in case, and it was fortunate that she did, because with that particular style of dress, it really did fit okay. I might tack it a little bit in the back, but even if I didn't, it would still look fine. In fact, the bigger size makes it longer, which I liked better.

So anyway, we were getting the dress. Poked around a little bit in hopes of finding a shawl or cardigan that might look good (the dress is a halter, and she might get cold), but no luck. We were headed to the register, and lo and behold, there's Mark!

He was getting tired of waiting, because we had been in there "forever." In a little bit of alarm, I asked him if he had actually left the keys in the car. He looked at me like I was completely stupid and said, "I LOCKED it."

So then I asked him for the keys. And he got this "oh shit" look on his face, because, yes, people, he had locked the keys into the car. The ONLY keys to the car. Oh, and the cell phone was in there, too, charging.

I found out that the police department no longer does lockouts, but thankfully I have AAA (that membership has more than paid for itself already this year, between the tow and this). And the people at the service counter at TJ's were very helpful in allowing me to use the phone and even looking the police number up for me. Thank you, TJ people!

It took about an hour to get the guy there, and then just a couple of minutes for him to unlock it. The kids were fascinated to watch the guy break into our car for us.

So Mark was persona non grata for a little while, but I got over my grump fairly quickly. It did, however, frighten me to think that in a very few short years, this kid thinks he's going to be ready to drive. mk

And yes, it is on my list to get copies of the key made, and one of these.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Last Dance Update, I Promise

So, dance was last night. Mark and Eddie met the girls in the lobby and they all went inside together. Mark didn't end up able to pay Kelly's way in because of the way they ended up standing (who knows what that means).

Mark danced with Kelly for the first slow song, and then Kelly took Eddie aside so she could break up with him for Kate, and Kate took Mark aside to tell him that Kelly likes someone else so she couldn't dance with him anymore.

Mark was bummed for a few minutes, but then asked another girl to dance (who he doesn't like, but she has a crush on him), and then another girl (just a friend), and then ended up dancing three times with Nicole. Nicole used to go to our school, but moved to another school nearby a few years ago. She's been flirting with Mark for some time now, whenever they run into each other, but she's also been dating someone. Apparently that is now over. Mark asked her if she wants to go to a movie next week. She's thinking about it. They're trying to figure out a good time to double with Eddie and Holly (Nicole's friend, who Eddie hooked up with at the dance after Kate dumped him...the boy does NOT let grass grow under *his* feet.)

In the meantime, there has been much IM-ing. When they got home from the dance last night, and then more today. Since Tuesday when Mark got IM, he's developed quite an extensive buddy list. TWO are guys. The rest....girls.

In Mark's words, "This dance totally ruled." ooooookay. mk

Friday, February 15, 2008

Sometimes It's So Hard To Play It Cool

I am trying sooooo hard to just be laid back about this and, you know, not be all hyperexcited or make a big deal about the dance tonight or anything, but man he makes it hard.

We're leaving in an hour to pick up Eddie (and also MarkS). Mark just finished taking the longest shower ever (I'm not sure he's ever been so dirty in his entire life to warrant the length of that shower), and then I heard this banging around in the bathroom that I couldn't figure out. And then. I heard it.

Mark was blow-drying his hair.

Mind you, Mark's usual method of hair care consists of toweling off after a shower. So my jaw literally dropped when I realized what he was doing.

It's kinda hard to stay chill after that. I want to giggle. I really, REALLY want to giggle.

Must. Not.

However, I've been MUCH kinder than my father. He called and when Mark answered the phone, Dad put on a high-pitched voice and said, "Hi, this is Kelly, is Mark there?"

And Mark, my darling sweet adorable boy, hung up on his grandfather.

Dad called back and he was laughing so hard he could barely talk. I called up the stairs and said mockingly, "Mark! You hung up on Gramp!" and I hear Mark up in his room muttering with the fake high voice, "thisiskellyismarkthere" and he yelled back, "He crank called me!"

Aren't we good to each other?

My Project For the Day

This (snapped off, extremely corroded bolt):

Plus an apparently for-show-only one of these:

Has led to this:

And today's project will be to first install an actually functioning shut-off valve to the toilet, so I can then remove the tank and install a new tank-to-bowl gasket kit with new bolts.

Thankfully I was actually *in* the bathroom when the bolt fell apart, leading to a several-gallon flood in my bathroom. I was able to relatively quickly get that cleaned up. However, my original duct-tape job holding up the ball float let go while Mark was in the shower, which led to a *second* several gallon flood in the bathroom. The second one was worse, because it was not noticed immediately, so instead of just holding up the ball float and flushing, thereby getting rid of most of the water in the tank, all of that water actually ran out onto the floor of the bathroom.

There was dripping through the dining room ceiling as well, as the water leaked down around the pipe at the base of the toilet. Not much, though. But still. So now also have to replace a 2'X4' ceiling tile.

Fun for today! This *totally* beats my original plan to go find some marked-down Valentine's chocolate. I mean, any day that is spent in extremely close proximity to an old toilet tank has gotta be pretty good, hey? mk

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tapping My Inner Child

I just made the extremely complex decision on which frosting to use for the cake (strawberries n cream or vanilla) by utilizing "Eeny Meeny Miney Mo."

Happy "Thanks for Reminding Me I'm Single" Day

So, this year's entry is not going to be anywhere near as toxic as last year's.

I'm still single. Very. VERY. Single. (In fact, today celebrates the FIFTH anniversary of the last time I had sex. Yes, people. FIVE FREAKIN' YEARS. FIVE loooooooooooooooooooong years. 1,826 days. And counting. That's a really long time. Wait, I digress. Where was I? Oh yeah. Peppy, positive post. Here we go.)


I am wearing a red shirt today. And Valentine socks. I have baked a cake, which I intend to frost and decorate with hearts all over it. I have Valentine napkins to use with dinner and dessert (I already had these, I did not go purchase them). I have a heart necklace on. (Kira gave it to me for Christmas....I am also wearing the ring Mark gave me.) I have Valentine presents for the kids, and have wrapped the gift Kira picked out for my parents. My parents are coming over for dinner (Kira's idea).

My gosh, people would think that I was all happy about the holiday or something. That I had converted! That I LOVE Valentine's Day and wish it were every month!

Do not be fooled.

I have had no major ephiphany that changes much of the basic opinions that I held last year. That is, I still think it's basically stupid to choose one day throughout the year where people who are in any form of a relationship are pressured unmercifully to produce copious amounts of material things in order to assure their partner that they are cared for.

I still think that people's feelings get hurt today.

I still feel that there is no way that the average joe can possibly live up to the hype, can come at all close to breaching the bar that has been set so unbelievably high by the commercialism.

So how is this year different?

Well, for starters, I'm not spending the entire day all alone at home in the middle of a blizzard. In fact, the sun is shining. The kids are due home from school in a couple of hours. I will have company for dinner.


Part of it is solar-powered. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, and it's been pretty darn dreary around here lately, and the sunshine is making me giddy.

Part (most) of it is kid-powered. Particularly Kira. Mark's at an age where he's not really excited by the "minor" holidays anymore, but Kira looooooooooooves holidays. Particularly one where she gets to dress in a particular color and make cards and cut up paper and especially one where she gets to draw HEARTS. Lots n lots of hearts.

I'm excited at the idea of doing things that will excite the kids (or at least Kira....Mark's too cool to get excited about napkins and hearts on a cake). That's my idea of a great time. So if making a big deal about a day that I personally think is more than a little stupid works for her, it works for me.

So. Sunshine, company & kids. A powerful combination. So, Happy Heart Day! mk

p.s. Plus, I get to secretly indulge my distaste by reading and re-reading the fantastic cards here.

For the Singles

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

My New Favorite Card Site

Thanks Jenny!

Mark and the Dance...Update

So Mark actually asked Kelly to the Y Dance, and she said yes. Mark actually did the approach while she was standing in a group of around five girls, so even though the answer was pretty well predetermined, I still think that was pretty brave.

After it was over, Mark told me that he was worried that Kate was just setting him up for a joke (which would have been really mean, but cousins can be that way sometimes), and also makes his doing the group approach an even braver act.

Anyway. Once THAT event was over, then progressed the drama. Pretty much the entire afternoon and evening yesterday was spent in an agony of decision in trying to figure out if asking a girl to a dance means you have to PICK HER UP and BRING HER HOME. Particularly if it's supposed to be a double date, but none of the parents were going to be able to bring all four of the kids in their vehicles (in my case, plus Kira), so it wasn't like all of them were going to be able to go together in any case. So THEN it was trying to decide if Mark should go with Kelly, you know, JUST THE TWO OF THEM, IN ONE CAR (plus me & Kira). Add to this that Kelly apparently is going to be getting ready for the dance at another girl's house (not Kate's), and it just got so freakin' confusing. Mark and Eddie and Kate were all IM-ing last night (Mark's first day of IM, he was so excited it was funny), and E&K were just chatting about other stuff while Mark was trying to get answers, until apparently he just screamed out (well, all-caps-typed, 'cause you know, IM, you're not actually SPEAKING), "I NEED INFORMATION!" Then Kate took pity on him and he asked his questions (which were a: is he supposed to pick her up and b: is he supposed to bring her home) and she basically said, "Probably not, I don't know, I'll check." Isn't that great?

So Mark's all spazoid and as a result, *I'm* all spazoid, and this morning I came to the executive decision that the kids can meet at the dance and I'm making the regular arrangements where I take Mark and Eddie to the dance and Eddie's parents bring the boys home. That way I'm not dragging Kira around 2+ hours past her bedtime. Although the downside is that I won't be able to totally humiliate Mark by taking pictures of his first date.

So I emailed Mark this information after I confirmed it with Eddie's mom (and WE were able to work it all out in three minutes on the phone, funny how it didn't take us ALL DAY and still no decision), and now I can't wait to hear the fallout.

Mark has already picked out his outfit, set aside money to pay for him and Kelly to get in, plus buy them drinks. He is very excited that he actually has a date.

The other day he was telling me: "Mom, you don't understand! It SUCKS to be single!"

Um. Yeah. I totally don't understand that, only having been single myself for the last FIVE YEARS. And you, dear heart, are TWELVE.

"Yeah, but Mom, it's not the same. I've NEVER had a girlfriend! EVER!!"

Please refer back to: you are TWELVE.

Oh, also, just because they are going to the dance together (which is a Valentine's Dance, and also a semiformal, which in middle school means the girls wear dresses or skirts instead of jeans, and the boys don't wear T-shirts), the following clarifications had to be made:

* They are NOT dating. They are just going on A DATE.
* He is NOT getting her a carnation on Carnation Day/Valentine's Day. See above: they are not dating.
* He is NOT giving her a Valentine. Gosh, they're NOT dating! And c'mon, Mom, VALENTINES?

So, okay, now everyone is up to speed. If anything further develops, I will update. mk

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Like Playing Telephone

So Mark said that Kate told him that Kelly told her that Kelly would like Kate to ask Mark to ask Kelly to the dance on Friday.

Got it? Great! Now explain it to me. ;)

Guinea Pig

Well, I've signed up to do another study at International Research. They contacted me this afternoon and asked if I'd be interested in a leg study that basically involves two weeks of putting a newly developed moisturizer on my lower legs every day, keeping a log of it, and going in on Mondays and Fridays so they can use their little machines to log any improvement in my skin. Seven visits (including the 15-minute paperwork visit) and it pays $250. That would pretty much pay for my airfare for the cruise (if I actually GO on the cruise...still haven't heard if it's a definite yet).

I haven't done a study at IR for awhile. For a bit I was a regular, I did face studies and leg studies several times, for amounts ranging from $50 for a one-day trial to I think $150 has been my max before this.

The only thing that really sucks about these studies is that even when they're over, they can't tell you the company who created the product you were testing. So in the one instance where there was an absolutely awesome moisturizer that I would have LOVED to go out and purchase when it reached the market, there was no way for me to know. I can see the reasoning, of course, but there's no way I'm going to go out there and try every new moisturizer from every company until I stumble across that one, so for me it just sucked.

The other thing that can get to be a pain is keeping the chart. You have to write down what time--to the minute--you apply the product. I actually put up a nail in my bathroom to hang a clipboard so I would remember to do this. A bunch of people cheat and write times in when they get to the office, while they're waiting for their appointment.

The objective portion of the questionnaires are difficult, too. I've never been really great at the subtleties between numbers 1-5 in describing differences. Heck, I can't always remember at night how my skin felt this morning, much less did it feel better or worse and on a scale of 1-5 how improved is the elasticity of my lower leg?

Fortunately they have a bunch of different machines and gadgets that will measure these things for you. My favorite is the one that tells you how much moisture is in your skin. When you first do the study, you have to wash your lower leg twice a day with something like Ivory (which they provide), for a week. You aren't allowed to apply any kind of product AT ALL to your skin for that week. They want those babies DRY. Then they measure with their machines to tell you just how like the Sahara your skin has become. Over the course of the study, during your visits, they will track the progress. Then you stop using the product, and they have you come back one more time a couple of days later, to see how fast your skin has regressed without the new miracle moisturizer you're testing.

Overall it's kind of fun, and hey, it's some extra money. Not bad for being a guinea pig. mk

Bad Day

I am having a very bad day. Nothing in particular has happened to trigger it, I just woke up that way.

I didn't sleep well last night, there were odd dreams and I woke up lying sideways in my bed (which is not usual for me). I was unrested and damn I look it. I will be picking up some hemorrhoid cream today to see if it's true that it helps diminish the humongous bags I have under my eyes. I'll let you know.

It snowed yesterday and last night and my car is covered. For some reason I am absolutely dreading, just DREADING, going out and uncovering the car. I was going to have the kids do it but they dawdled getting ready for school and in fact Mark missed the bus on the first round (it comes back past the house, though, so he caught it then), so it remains covered. I am just dreading this.

I have lots of housework to do, mostly laundry, but there is also a shitload of stuff in the upstairs hallway from Saturday, when Kira and I cleaned out her room. Her room looked fabulous (who knows if it still did last night, but she was in there this morning and I'm betting there's crap on the floor again). I have no idea where I am going to put all that stuff. I still haven't made a decision whether I'm going to attempt a lawn sale this year (where I would have a chance to make some money, which would be very helpful as I don't have much) or if I'm going to just get rid of it at the swap shop or something, so that it will be out of my face. I am struggling hard with my compulsion to keep things "just in case."

I look like hell, my weight has gone berserk, I don't look good in my clothes, I know I need to get my fat ass back on Atkins and I just don't have the energy. I've started it umpteen times and then I have some emotional thing happen that I use as an excuse to pig out. I hate it.

I have therapy today. I haven't taken a shower, I am not doing makeup because really I can't be bothered. I did do a little something with my hair but not much, and frankly I don't really care.

I have to do some grocery shopping and a WalMart trip after that and I bet I run into lots of people I know because I look and feel like crap.

I'm grumpy and pissy and moaning and groaning and griping and complaining. I'd like to just smack myself and say to get the hell over it. Then of course I would smack myself back and there would be a massive catfight and I would claw out all my hair.

I really just want to climb back in bed and sleep for a month or so. Maybe I'll be in a better mood when I wake up. Of course, this is not an option. Great.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Completely Unbiased Observation

My GOD, my children are gorgeous. I mean, completely stunning. How did I ever come up with such incredible, adorable, beautiful beings? They are totally amazing. I know, most moms think their kids are cute, but mine really are just superb. Everyone else should bow to the awesomeness that is my children.

Yes, there has been rum.

Jenny made me do it. mk


My parents picked us up this afternoon and we went to the Snow Bowl. It was the annual Toboggan Championship, which I had never actually witnessed, and my parents also wanted to take the kids tubing.

We had such a blast.

I have never seen so many people at the Snow Bowl before. There was a fee for parking (which made my dad grumble a lot), and someone was trying to be helpful and direct us to a parking space, except that they were all full in that particular lot, so the guy told us we could just park in the middle. My dad looked at him with some disbelief and asked what happened when someone tried to get out of the other parking spaces and hit him. The parking guy just looked dumb and said, "Oh." Just then someone else said they were on their way out, so we took their space and all was good.

I actually brought my camera, but the battery was noncooperative and so there are no actual pictures of our afternoon, which is very unfortunate. We checked out the toboggan championship first. There were several teams in full costume, including a group of well-padded superheroes styling themselves "The InSledibles." (the names of some of these teams is a here) Wanting to get a picture of them is when I discovered camera was a no-go today.

Anyway. Watched several runs (times like 8.9 seconds), then made our way through the crowds, including several vendor booths, to the tube run. Paid the fee, the kids grabbed tubes, and off they went up the hill. We set up our collapsable chairs by the end of the runs and waited.

It took about 10 minutes before they came down the first time. Mark came down on his stomach on the tube, and he was absolutely lit up with joy and exhilaration. Kira spun around in circles all the way down, quite a bit slower, as she was sitting on the tube. It was hard to read whether she had a good time. But she went again. Later on, she got on fire with it and started *running* up the hill. Ah, youth.

After they'd each gone a second run, my Mom borrowed Kira's tube and headed up for a run herself. She and Mark "raced" their way down. Mark blew Mom away.

Speaking of blowing away, at some point someone on the run lost their hat. It became sort of like a brass ring for the next bunches of runs, while people tried to grab it on their way by. Eventually someone did manage to snag it, to much cheering from the crowd.

After a bit I borrowed Kira's tube and headed up with Mark for a run. It was a long freakin' hike. Mark pointed out where someone had put a dollar bill in the run. It was folded up in fourths, and only about an inch was protruding out of the snow. I doubted it would ever get "gotten." I saw how tough it was for people to get a hat that was just sitting on top of the snow in the middle of the run.

Mark and I "raced" down, and I actually went down on my belly. I hadn't ever been tubing or sledding on a hill that size, and I had a bit of trepidation and flare-up from my fear of heights, but I sucked it up and went.

And it was sooooooooooooo much fun. On Mark's advice, I had tucked my own hat inside my jacket, so as not to lose it on the run. The wind was just whipping through my hair. I somehow got myself going sideways, and I wasn't confident that if I attempted to right myself that I wouldn't wipe out completely, so I just went with it. It was still loads of fun. Mark, of course, kicked my butt on the "race."

Enough fun that the next time I went down with Mark's tube, and Kira and I "raced." I used the second run this time, and with Mark's bigger and more inflated tube, I was absolutely screaming down that hill. I could literally hear the wind whistling past my ears. It was fabulous. Just fantastic.

Those were the only two runs I did, but it was plenty. The walk up the hill was intense. My knees were not happy with me. If I could have had a tow bar taking me up the hill, I would have done that all day.

The kids tubed the rest of the hour, and on the last run, Mark actually got the dollar! He has not stopped talking about it.

We all had a wonderful time, and now that I've "broken the ice," so to speak, with a new place and activity, I can see myself taking the kids to that more often.

Wish I had pictures, people. mk

Friday, February 08, 2008

My New Slogans

So, Jenny, who is like QUEEN of the WTF site links, is responsible for these. Choices for my own personal slogan are:

I am Stuck on markira, 'Cause markira's Stuck on Me.

When It Absolutely, Positively Has To Be markira Overnight.

Simple Impartial markira.

We're Serious About markira.

America's Most Trusted markira.

(You know, as opposed to all those OTHER markiras in America.

Hand-Built by markira.

It's a Beautiful markira.

The markira For All Ages.

My Doctor Says 'markira'.

The Joy of markira.

I think this one is my favorite:

All The markira That's Fit To Print.

If you try it (and you's fun), let me know what some of your favorites were! mk

Thursday, February 07, 2008

What to Watch

Sport Science.

How have I missed this?

Another MAJOR Snowstorm Looms

on Saturday night. So just said the ad for our local news station.


Oh yippee.

Today I'm on London Time

In London it's 5:15pm. So I think today I'm on London time.

This makes it WAY more acceptable for the fact that I am buzzed.

I was wondering just a few minutes ago why it is that I love myself when I am buzzed (yeah, okay, go ahead and say drunk if you want, but I don't think I'm drunk, but I looooooooooove you, you're my besssssssst friend, nobody has EVER understood me like you, we are like, connected, y'know??? but I'm not drunk) but I can't stand myself most of the time.

A few minutes ago, I was sexy, fun, smart, beautiful, and someone that you should totally hang out with all the time, because really? You are missing out on my wonderfulness. Right now? Well, lemme get another sip, and I'll get back to you.

What the hell is that?

Now, before the moms get up in arms, the kids are with their father today. Yeah, it's Thursday, but there's a snow day (a-freakin-GAIN, what the hell is this? We're gonna miss the Fourth of July parade at this point) and X says that the kids WANTED to stay with him (although, funnily enough, when I actually spoke to the kids themselves, they were more like, meh, whatever, which makes me think it's more like X didn't want to drive them home in the weather...WHY could he not just say that? It's not like I would argue with it, but hey, that would be something like HONESTY, which X is not particularly an advocate of, so there ya go). So anyway, no kids, nowhere to go, housework is amazingly enough pretty well caught up, so this is a relatively guilt-free drunk, once you get past the whole a) Um, Baptist and b) Um, it is now 12:21 pm EST, but as I explained I'm on London time today and c) "good girls" don't do this. But anyway. What the hell. I have vodka, I have Crystal Light (carb free! calorie free! sugar free! just don't ask me to pronounce the ingredients). So there. Jenny, you should be here. We'll have a freakin' cocktail party today!

Wow. Drunk writing. I haven't done drunk writing in awhile. Whoo-hooo.

The other exciting thing that I have going on today is watching court shows. You know, People's Court, and Judge Mathis and --you know, all the "Battles of the Gavels" or whatever they're calling it these days. Ever noticed how much totally irrelevant stuff gets brought up in these cases, 90% of the time by the judges who want to know the whole scuzzy background of these people, no matter how little it had to bear on the current court case?

So anyway, that's all the freakin' exciting stuff I've been doing. Not. a. hell. of. a. lot.

anyway. Mostly this post is because I'm feeling a bit weird that it's days since I've done anything approaching an entry. (other than the meme. Have you done the meme? Do it. Really. I'm always interested to see what other people have lying around for books.)

So there. OK, I think I might have to move on to Milan time. Or Moscow. Or Hong Kong. mk

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The 123/5/3 Meme

Kate of One More Thing tagged me for this book meme. I did it in the comment section of Sarah and the Goon Squad only moments before (coincidence? I think not), but here it is on my very own blog as well.

The meme is: Find the nearest book, turn to page 123, skip the first 5 sentences and then type out the next three sentences.

From The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson:

“Tell me,” Luke said politely to Theodora, “since you *are* a princess, tell me about the political situation in your country.”

“Very unsettled,” Theodora said. “I ran away because my father, who is of course the king, insists that I marry Black Michael, who is the pretender to the throne.”

I shall tag Jenny, Ro, Brenda, Beast Mom, and Paul (yes, you, Paul. You have to have something to do on your overnight shift). For those who don't have their own blog, or would just prefer, you can complete the meme in the comments. mk