Thursday, December 29, 2011

Red Deck, Blue Deck

My father attended a lot of principal's conventions during his 35 years working for the school district. He learned a lot of great lessons, some of which he shared with me. This is one.

The gentleman running the seminar asked for a volunteer to help him out. A woman was chosen, and the speaker told her: "I'm the principal. You're my secretary. We're a team. As part of this team, it's important that you trust me and support me." He held up several playing cards, fanned out so that the blue backs showed clearly.

"These cards are red," he told her. "Now, will you please tell everyone what color the cards are?"

Confused, she looked at the blue cards and said to the audience, "Um, the cards are blue."

The speaker shook his head and fanned the blue cards back out in his hand. "It's very important that a secretary and principal have mutual trust and support. These cards are red. Will you please tell everyone what color the cards are?"

Hesitantly, looking at the very blue backs of the cards, she once again told the audience, "The cards are blue."

Smiling a little, the speaker shook his head again. "As your principal, it is important that you trust me and support me on this. These cards are red. Will you please tell everyone, what color are these cards?"

Obviously humoring him, the woman parroted, "The cards are red."

At that, the speaker turned the fanned cards around so that the woman, and the audience, could see that the cards were double-backed, and that the sides facing the speaker, which the woman was unable to see, were, in fact, red.

The point of this demonstration was to show that a principal, when making a decision, often has information that his secretary (and/or staff) doesn't. She needs to know and understand that, and rather than question or second-guess or undermine his decisions, he needs her to trust and support him.

My father went over this story with both of his secretaries, as well as the rest of his staff, and for the remainder of the time he worked in the school system, whenever he made a decision that looked a little strange on the outside, if his secretary started to second-guess him, he would just say "It's red deck, blue deck," and she would know that he had information he wasn't sharing with her, that made his decision reasonable.

Very often when we make decisions, we have information that others don't. For a variety of reasons--time and others' privacy being examples--we can't always share all of the information we have in explaining our decisions to others.

For example: Perhaps the principal announces that there will be inside recess on a day when the flawless weather makes this seem an odd decision. The kids are restless, the teachers are confused, everyone thinks the choice is unreasonable. The piece of information that none of them has is that the principal received a call that animal control has been called to handle a potentially rabid dog that has been seen on the playground. Sharing this information has no benefit and in fact would be wildly disruptive. So, he keeps it to himself and just announces the indoor recess. Animal control comes, takes the dog away, none of the children were put at risk, and life goes on.

This lesson works not just within the school systems, but in any boss/worker relationship, as well as parent/child, or any of a myriad of other relationship dynamics.

I know that as a parent, I don't always share with my children all of my reasons for a choice I make. I know that it is frustrating for them when they don't agree with something I decide and they think that it is arbitrary or unreasonable. What I need to be able to tell them, what they need to understand, is that I usually have a lot of information that they don't have, and that even if they don't think so, my decision makes sense.

Red deck, blue deck. mk

Friday, December 02, 2011

Basketball, Basketball, Basketball

It's my favorite and most hectic!! Kira is playing for two teams this year; her last year of Y ball, and her first year of busline! Busline has one or (usually) two games a week, plus 2-hour practices the other days. Generally busline is only Monday-Friday, but the schedule does include two Saturday games to play the island teams. First game was one of those, but at home. We have the other coming right up, and that's an away game, so everyone will be taking the ferry out to the island (brr!). The Y team gives her additional 1-hour practices on Tuesdays and Fridays, with games on Saturday mornings. So, six days a week of bball for her. So far she is handling all that beautifully, and she is in awe-inspiring physical condition (is an 11 year old supposed to have ab muscles like that??).

In addition to that, she is one of the best players on her team, a starter and the one who does the tip (at 5'4.5", she is the tallest girl on her team). I'm just blown away by her skill, on both offense and defense. At a game earlier this week against a consistently very well-coached team, she had a triple-double game....scored 16 points (of her team's total 32), and totally lost count of (utterly amazing) blocks and rebounds, along with several steals. We've known for some time that she had great potential, but it has taken until busline for her to be consistently put up against bigger and more skilled opponents, and she is rising to the challenge like a freakin' rocket. It's utterly beautiful to watch.

She has girls switching to get away from having to guard her. In two different games (they've played three so far), she was the direct reason for a time-out called by the other team's coach, to give instructions on how to (try to) handle her. Her defense is's amusing to see the girls she guards just not even try anymore to get the ball passed to them or to try to get to the hoop, but to just pass it back out. Oh, it doesn't happen with all the girls she guards, but it's happened a few times. She's not intimidated by the girls who are bigger than she is, either. One of the teams they've played had about six girls who were all WAY taller than she was, a couple of them around 6' tall (really, the team was just HUGE), and she didn't even blink but still went right after them. (This, I think, is probably because of all the times she's played against Mark, who towers over her and she couldn't care less.) She is just. plain. FIERCE.

X was telling me that he was sitting by the bus driver for the other team at a different game, and the bus driver said, 'Wow, she's really good, she'll do well at the high school next year.' When X told him Kira was only in sixth grade, the man was absolutely stunned.

(Can we tell that Mama is proud?) Hey, if I can't brag my tongue off on my own blog, where -can- I? I try to be fairly restrained with other parents and people, but DAMN the girl is good and I'm so amazed and impressed and proud.

Speaking of proud, I've got another kid to be super-proud of. Mark met his personal goal of making it onto the VARSITY team as a junior. There were three spots available on the team when you take into account the returning players (last year's freshmen and sophomores) and the juniors-turned-seniors who are guaranteed a spot on the team. (Not to be confused with 'all seniors who try out make varsity'...they actually had two seniors who tried out who have -not- been playing on the underclassman teams, and they were cut. You can't just walk in your senior year and say 'here I am, make me varsity!')

Mark is justifiably proud of this accomplishment, and I'm right along with him. I'm a little nervous that he won't get as much play time, since they do have the more experienced players for his position. There is a possibility that he could 'swing down' to play in some of the junior varsity games, they do that with the varsity underclassmen sometimes, but he's oddly not really interested, which surprised me. I would have thought he would have loved the opportunity to have the extra play time, but he really just wants to concentrate on his varsity work and being the best player for -that- team that he can be. Once I thought about it, and talked it over a bit with my dad, I can see it, and of course I'll support him on his decision, it's -his- sports career.

*grins* Some of the 'perks', so to speak, about being a varsity player: they get the biggest crowds, of course. They get the pep band playing at their games. They get warmup uniforms. They get the posters on the walls of the gym with their names and numbers on them. They get the "big picture" in the yearbook. The game programs have their height and weight (they are gathering that information at today's practice). (Freshman team just lists name and uniform number; JV lists name, uniform number, class year [Fr, Soph, Jr, Sr] and height; V-squad lists all that plus weight and I think position.) They have a specific 'entrance' routine, which is pretty impressive to watch, actually. They have the starting lineup announced. They have an -announcer-. They have tournaments and exhibition games. There is a ritual (weird, really) pre-game flat-on-the-floor huddle where they all drum their hands and yell (it's hard to describe, but yes, it -is- odd). There is a ritual where the crowd gets on their feet before the tip to applaud, and stays standing and applauding until the team scores their first basket, at which point everyone sits back down. (Basketball is -huge- at the school, can you tell?) All of these little things that add up to a -huge- difference that says: WE. ARE. VARSITY. This is what Mark has been looking forward to for his entire basketball career, and he gets two years of it. Two years of being one of the twelve top players on the top sports team in the top high school sports program in the state.

So yeah, Mama's a little proud of her boy, too.

Of course, what all this means for -me- is a LOT of time spent running around and juggling schedules. Who's at what school for what practice or game and how do I see this game and still pick up this kid or get this one to that place by what time? For example, today: Kira has busline practice from 3-5 and Y practice from 6-7, and Mark has practice from 2:30-4:15. Both just stay after school to get to their practice, which is great. (Oh, and did I mention I'm kind of the team mom for Kira's busline? So I go to all of her practices, too.) So Mark will stay at the school until Kira's practice ends at 5 and then I'll pick him up around 5:15, back home by 5:30, drop him off and Kira changes, then take off to her second practice before 5:45 and back home around 7:15, 7:30 to have dinner. Next Friday is going to be super-tricky. Next Friday is Mark's first GAME, and it starts at 7. Which is what time Kira's practice ends. I am not missing a minute of Mark's first game, including the warmups. So it's drop Kira off at practice and go to Mark's game. But how to get Kira back to the high school? Oh, and did I mention it's her birthday that day? Last year the girls who had practice on their birthdays brought cupcakes, and one had a pizza party (screw that). I don't mind doing cupcakes, but it does mean one. more. thing.

Oh, and did I mention that Mark's practice times change? Last night it was from 7:15 (which means he has to be there before 7) to 8:45. His coach said at the meeting the other night that they -hope- to have a season-long practice schedule out by next week, but right now they only know the rest of this week.

There is one (ONE!) date during the season in which there is not a conflict between a game for one and practice for the other (Mark has a home game and Kira has no practices that day). There is one date where they both have a game...and both are away games. (This doesn't include busline playoffs, where every one of those dates Mark has a game scheduled also)

So. LOVE LOVE LOVE basketball season, this year is going to be especially wonderful to watch...but it's also a personal scheduling hell.

Let's get ready to rock n roll. mk

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


So, Kira and I have been watching Glee on Netflix. We just finished watching an episode in which this song was played not once, but -twice- during the show. With lyrics. And obvious emphasis on the meaning of the chorus.

Pleeeease let her not recognize that this is the ringtone I have had for her father for several years. :P

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Things That Made Me Laugh Tonight

In typing my earlier post about Mark and the garage door, I found myself looking at movie and TV cliches. Some of them were just meh, but a few of them made me literally laugh out loud. Such as:

*Whenever someone is being chased by a car, they continue running down the middle of the street and never duck into a place the car can't get into.

I have no idea why this one gave me the giggles as badly as it did, but I find myself still grinning like a fool thinking about it.

I also found these: (and C, I thought of you and previous posts about oddly translated signs)

Actual English Subtitles Used in Hong Kong Films

1. I am damn unsatisfied to be killed in this way.

2. Fatty, you with your thick face have hurt my instep.

3. Gun wounds again?

4. Same old rules: no eyes, no groin.

5. A normal person wouldn't steal pituitaries.

6. Damn, I'll burn you into a BBQ chicken!

7. Take my advice, or I'll spank you without pants.

8. Who gave you the nerve to get killed here?

9. Quiet or I'll blow your throat up.

10. You always use violence. I should've ordered glutinous rice chicken.

11. I'll fire aimlessly if you don't come out!

12. You daring lousy guy.

13. Beat him out of recognizable shape!

14. I got knife scars more than the number of your leg's hair!

15. Beware! Your bones are going to be disconnected.

16. How can you use my intestines as a gift?

17. This will be of fine service for you, you bag of the scum. I am sure you will not mind
that I remove your manhoods and leave them out on the dessert flour for your aunts to

18. Yah-hah, evil spider woman! I have captured you by the short rabbits and can now
deliver you violently to your gynecologist for a thorough extermination.

19. Greetings, large black person. Let us not forget to form a team up together and go
into the country to inflict the pain of our karate feets on some ass of the giant lizard

I seriously need to get out more. mk

Living in a Comic Strip

I swear to God, so many times I feel like I am living in a comic strip, or a sitcom. I was going to say the Brady Bunch, but I'm missing several kids, a new husband, Alice, and Tiger (although did anyone notice that Tiger just disappeared after awhile?).

Mark has his permit. Which, naturally, means that he is rabid to drive. Being the Awesome Incredible Mom that I am, I try to let him take the wheel as much as possible.

Have I mentioned that I just got a new(er) car??

The title finally came in, I got it registered, it is officially the new markiramobile. Mark loves driving the new car. Whenever I am supposed to take him someplace or pick him up, he makes sure to ask me to bring the new car (I keep telling him that the Impala is now the primary vehicle, that he doesn't have to keep saying that, but he wants to be really, really sure that he'll have the chance to drive it).

So, Tuesday we were going to Kira's practice, and naturally Mark was going to drive there. I had at that point had the car registered for less than a week, after waiting 19 days for the replacement title to come in. -I- was still eager to drive the car as much as possible, but I remember what it is like to have your permit, to finally after years of dreaming about it, be able to be legally behind the wheel, to have the power of thousands of pounds of metal in your hands.

We're in the driveway, Mark adjusts the seat, the mirrors, responsibly makes sure that everyone is buckled up, puts his foot on the brake, puts the car in gear, rests his right hand over the back of the seat as he turns around to watch behind him to back out of the driveway.

At which point I look over at the dashboard and, in increasingly frantic tones, say:

"You're in drive...You're in drive...YOU'RE IN DRIVE!!"

I spent the rest of the way to Kira's practice in some vague semi-hysterical state between laughter and not-quite-crying, realizing that my new car, that I have been waiting and waiting to get, was almost a prop in a cartoon cliche of a beginning driver barreling into the garage door instead of going in reverse.

Seriously. Comic strip life. mk

Friday, October 28, 2011

Halloween Prep 2011

As we all know, October is my very favorite month, Halloween my favorite holiday. Every year I scurry around making costumes, perhaps attend the Halloween dance at the Bog Tavern, and if it's a good year, scaring many small children as a dead pirate on a haunted ship.

This will be a good year.

Setup will be last-minute, because the forecast says wind and snow Sunday morning, so we're going to have to pull it all together in one day, which is freaking me out, but I'm sure we'll be able to do it. I have the kids this year (traded for tomorrow, when X is taking them to see his sister-in-law in a roller derby in Portland). Still need to work out exactly what Kira is wearing, but that'll come together, and bring down all the big boxes of props from the third floor.

Tomorrow night Michelle, Brenda and I will go out dancing, and I like my costume idea this year. I'm going to be a Titanic non-survivor. Wearing the deep purple full-length bridesmaid dress I wore in 1999 (yes, I've kept it. Who knows why. Wait, I do...for this!), I've made a life ring that says Titanic on it to carry as a prop, and I will be cold and dead and drowned. Yay theatrical makeup!

Michelle is going as Red Riding Hood, and Brenda will be a sexy sailor girl. She got a costume pre-made, but was a little unhappy with how tight it was, so we picked out some glittery gold ribbon and I deconstructed the sides of the dress and inset the ribbon (freakin glitter EVERYWHERE now). It should be just right now. (She's also got a pair of very high gold heels, which are just a little too small for her, and she intends to give them to me after Halloween. Shoooooooes!!!)

Interestingly, that's the only sewing I have to do this year! My dress still fits perfectly (which I'm a little depressed about, actually), and for Kira's costume I ordered an actual proper uniform, so that'll be all set.

Kira will be a dead cheerleader. :D

We'll get started on her makeup about 2 hours before the Carnival, since I have to deaden her arms and legs too, in addition to putting bruises and scars and blood. Originally we were going to have half of her face terribly burned, with parts of it peeling away, but she is hoping that a BOY SHE LIKES (oh eek) will be going to the dance afterwards, and didn't want to be dancing with him (-if- they were to dance together) with a peeling face. Sheesh. I can't understand why not. :P

I -did- make the pom-poms to go with her costume, as I am apparently incapable of having an entire costume be purchased. :P The pom-poms were easy to make, cost $3 total, made from plastic tablecloth fabric. I'm not wild about the slight mis-match of color on the yellow with the gold-yellow on her costume, but she's ok with it and I just keep reminding myself it's JUST a Halloween costume, for a 2-hour Carnival, blah blah blah, but you know me. These details get to me. (deep breath. let it goooooooo)

So, those are the Halloween plans for this year. Oh, and Michelle and I are going to see Paranormal Activity 3 on Sunday. :D

Just for something fun, for the last couple of weeks, I've been changing my profile picture on Facebook every day to some horror image or another, mostly movie stills. Today it's a collage of scenes from 'Psycho.' I have also put in a couple of art pieces (Jamie Wyeth's Pumpkinhead: Self-Portrait, Charles Allan Gilbert's All is Vanity) and two digital media pieces an artistic friend has created (Entrance to Desecration, and Ghost Town wallpaper--a friend of mine commented and asked if that was my dream home, to which I replied 'of course!').

Well, I have a couple of hours before I have to start transforming my beautiful living daughter into a horrifying dead cheerleader, so off I go, attempting to be productive. :P

Let me know -your- plans for this Halloween weekend! mk

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Meet Paula

So, in an EXTREMELY exciting piece of news, my parents bought me a car!!!! Yes, it is time to retire the 1997 Dodge Intrepid (which I -love-, but she's unreliable and starting to break down around my ears). So for the last several weeks, I've been browsing for vehicles.

The first thing I had to do was let go of the idea of getting my dream vehicle, a Dodge Durango. That was hard to do, I've dreamed of having one for oh, more than 10 years. My friend Michelle has one, so I do get to drive one on occasion, which only made me want one more, but when I am perfectly honest with myself, I really don't need a vehicle that big, and the V8 engine is super thirsty, so I wouldn't be able to afford the gas. So with a HUGE sigh (well, a lot of huge sighs), I put away the Durango as a possibility.

Then I was looking at smaller SUVs...the ones that are sometimes referred to as 'cute utes.' In particular, I had my eye on the Honda CRV. Just the right size, great gas mileage, fabulous reputation.

As it turned out, Brenda ended up getting one on Friday!

So now two of my best friends have my dream vehicles. Can you believe it?

Still perusing craigslist and Uncle Henry's (Maine statewide classifieds publication), I first looked at and dismissed a car, but then went back and really checked it out. Researched the hell out of it (like I've been researching any car that takes my fancy...I could probably recite stats and true market value on several years of CRVs), and then called Mom & Dad. We drove down to Portland, took a good look at the car, barely had to test-drive it, and bought it.

Now I'm waiting for the paperwork to get worked out so I can get it insured and registered, but please meet the new markira-mobile. Mark insisted on naming it, and as it is a 2004 Chevy Impala, the name 'Paula' was a natural. Paula had one owner, a disabled older couple who are now both not allowed to drive, and stunningly, has LESS THAN 24,000 miles on her!

She's in absolutely brand-new condition, inside and out, has a trunk large enough to hold multiple bodies (which was my first comment when I saw it, of course, and has been verified...the kids have climbed in the trunk, they thought it was great fun...bwahahahaha), is sooo quiet you can barely tell when she's on. In fact, when I started it the first time, I looked at Mom and said, "The car's ON" and she, surprised, replied, "Are you sure??"

I'm customizing her a little bit, of course, to be more of 'my' vehicle. Yesterday I got these license plate frames. *grins* I'll be moving my stereo from the Intrepid to the Impala, so I can plug in my iPod, and I need new floor mats (seriously looking at these).

It's going to be interesting to be a little anonymous with my ride for a while, until people start to associate my vanity plates with the new car. I will no longer be the one with the purple car! (and most recently, the purple car with black primer paint :P ) Soon enough, though, people will start recognizing Paula. :) mk

p.s. Dammit. Dammit dammit dammit. I can't use the license plate frames. State law says:

False identification. A person commits a Class E crime if that person obscures identification number, identification letters, the state name, validation sticker or mark distinguishing the type of plate attached to a vehicle.

Well. I'll just have to find something else awesome. :)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

OK, Seriously?? You're Going With -THAT- As An Opener?

Actual opening emails I have gotten from people on the dating website I'm on. Now mind you, this is first-contact, and these are the -entirety- of the email. (spelling/grammar/punctuation as it was in the email)

*if you look up the word gorgeous in the dictionary your pictue is there just sayin

*whats up sexy

*hey hey

*hi (I've gotten this one a whoooole bunch of times)

*Hi, Did you have a good summer?

and the winner so far of the "WTF, Dude, SERIOUSLY, You're Going With That?!" Award is:

*wouldd it be badd if i kiss you alll over nicee and slow then do you reallly goood all night long??you have the cutest cheeks on your face by the wayyo

I just have to shake my head. There is nothing else to do (oh, and blog and poke fun at them). mk

ok, the 'hey hey' guy liked his line so much that 12 hours later (after NOT receiving a response the first time)...he sent it again. oy.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Friendly Tips for Guys on Self-Promotion

Ok, so my little town is not exactly a hotbed of dating, and I'm not the most socially forward person you could meet (I know, so surprising). So, occasionally I find myself perusing the dating websites.

My favorite so far has been PlentyOfFish. Mostly because it's completely free. :D It provides all the same benefits of match, but without the hit to your bank account. Now, being the introvert that I am, I like to talk to someone awhile online before I meet up, get to know them a little. When you're paying X amount of dollars to have a membership for a certain amount of time, there can be a little impatience with this idea. It ends up being a drive to 'get your money's worth' by going on as many dates as you can within the amount of time for which you've paid your membership fee.

Which is not to say that pof is not a meat market also. It is. It just has a more laid-back feel; a lazy meat market, maybe. (Wait. That doesn't sound appealing at all. Oh, you know what I mean)

Anyway. So today after several months (wait...seriously...wait...a year? where the hell did -that- time go?) I 'unhid' my profile at pof, updated the photos, and am already weeding through the hits.

As such, I have a few tips for the guys on how to tweak your profile so that it's a bit more appealing.

* SPELL CHECK. Seriously. Take a little time to go over your writing, check for errors, both spelling and grammatical. Know the difference between you're and your. Use a capital on 'I.' Punctuation can be your friend. Take some TIME to show that you care about this profile, it is your first impression and if you can't be bothered to at least make it correct, guess who's moving on?

* PHOTOS. Please, PLEASE do not include any pictures of you with another woman in the shot. I mean, seriously. Even if it's the most amazing picture ever taken of you, if you can't crop the other woman out, don't use it. Speaking of cropping, I don't mean cutting out half of her face but leaving the other portion of her cheek resting on your shoulder and her arm across your chest. (seriously, someone just sent me an email and their profile picture had exactly that. Their MAIN PICTURE.) Also, I don't care if it's just your cousin or your best friend's girlfriend or a celebrity or what. My first image of you is with another woman wrapped all over you. Give up now.

* MORE ON PHOTOS. Be aware of your background. I do not want to see: a stained shower; a pile of dirty dishes; the 1000 trophies you got when you were in high school 25 years ago; cars up on blocks; a pile of various trash behind your house that needs to be hauled away; a dog doing...what -is- that dog doing?; the fact that you apparently have not decorated your apartment/house AT ALL because is that drywall?. Believe me, you are telling me WAY more about yourself than you want to. And yes, again, I have gotten hits from guys who actually have these in their profile pictures. Photos should be cropped, guys, seriously. And if you are capable of holding the camera away from you and taking a picture, then that means you are capable of moving yourself to a place where there is a neutral background. If you are only capable of taking pictures of yourself in a mirror where the background is all trashed, then have a friend take it. Or become friends with the self-timer on your camera and MOVE LOCATION.

* EVEN MORE ON PHOTOS. I know we can have several different photos on our profile to give people a little bit of variety. There's the key: variety. This does not mean I want to see exactly the same expression from exactly the same angle, with maybe a different shirt on. (Seriously. One guy had eight photos that were all the same, except for the shirt. Dude.) Oh, and have -at least- one picture on your profile where you are NOT wearing sunglasses. I want to see eyes. If I see 154 pictures of you and in every one you have sunglasses on, I am going to wonder if you -have- eyes. And I may say something about it.

* The profile...say something. Really. We all -know- you are on the site to meet people. Don't bother to mention that. Don't say 'I can't believe I'm actually doing something as stupid as joining a dating site'...because, hello, so am I and did you just call me stupid? Talk about what you like. Talk about what you want. Make a joke. Say. SOMETHING. Not just "here I am, let's get together and talk." Because then I am relying on the scant info of how tall you are, how much education you have had, whether or not you have or want kids, and the profile photos. (And don't even get me started on the guys who have that little to say on their profiles AND don't even have a photo)

* I know we live in Maine but seriously does every single guy in the state have to say they love the outdoors and then ONLY list outdoor activities that they enjoy? Doesn't anyone ever come inside for any reason?

* Yeah, another on photos: Dude. I do NOT want to see a picture of you lifting weights. I do not CARE if you can dead-lift a cow. And that is NOT a pleasant expression on your face while you are doing it. I also do not then need to see a dozen or so pictures of you with your shirt off assuming various poses to show off your muscles. I get it. You work out. Put your shirt back on.

(I know, that last statement is a bit odd..but really. Someone is so vain that all they want is for you to admire their enormous muscles? pfft. I am so not impressed.)

* Why are you having a picture on your profile of your motorcycle? Without you on it? Do I CARE to date your motorcycle? NO.

* If you have kids, wonderful. Please do not put pictures of yourself with them on your profile. That's creepy. And no, I do not want them going on our first date.

* If YOU are not in good shape, do not REQUIRE that your match be a Barbie doll. In fact, even if you ARE in good shape, don't outright state in your profile that you only want a thin girl. Even if you do. On second thought, yes, say it, because you are obviously a shallow asshole and I hope you hook up with someone who gains a thousand pounds on you.

I'm sure I'll come up with more rants as I go along; I usually do. But that's a good start. :P mk

Wow, I've already come up with one. When you find someone you like, and send that first message, give her something to work with. 'Hi' is not a good first email. 'Nice pics' is not a lot better and at MOST will get you a reply like, "Thanks." (this was actually an exchange I had today. *grin* I don't make it easy.)

Oh....and if there are awesome pics of you with adorable puppies....yes, that does work (awwwww). Until I look at your other profile pics and see the one where the puppy is all grown up and is standing next to six dead birds laid out on the tailgate of your truck.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

1st Days of School 2011

Well, we've survived the first week of school. Kira loves middle school so far, which does not surprise me, as among other things she has Ro as her teacher. :D Mark likes almost all of his classes, but has decided he wants to drop Spanish 3...I hope he is able to replace it with a 'fluff course' to try to bolster his GPA, along with giving himself a sort of mental-vacation class, where he can just enjoy himself.

Pictures from the first days. (Kira started on Monday, Mark on Tuesday) mk

Pretty girl

Even better when she smiles

Lighting is weird..the shirt is lavender and grey :P

Mark, look up...

Mark, trying to take your picture, here...


You can smile, you know. Oh. Um...

There we go!

Rollback Prices?

Mark took this at our local WalMart when we were school shopping. :P mk

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My Favorite Quote Today

From Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars:

"When it came to the dark fuckery of the human heart, there seemed to be no limit."


Thursday, July 07, 2011

Baby Chucky

OK, in yet another example of how twisted the senses of humor are in our family...
Went to my parents' house to visit a few weeks ago, and sitting on the recliner was this lit
tle baby doll. The thing had white hair and a sewn-on face, but I swear, it looked like a baby Chucky. My parents had bought it at a yard sale thinking the same thing and hoping to freak me out (can you feel the love, people?). Well, Chucky doesn't freak me out (not to say I want to cuddle him tight while I sleep, mind you), but dolls -do- freak Mark out. bwahahahahahaha (can you see where this is headed?)

SO. I brought the doll home, originally intending to dye its hair red and make him a little pair of overalls. Well, as it turned out, I didn't get to that. Further, turns out I didn't need to. :D

One night Mark and I were sitting up late talking and I remembered Baby Chucky, who was still in a bag in the car. I went out to get him, brought him back behind my back, and had Mark close his eyes. Then when he opened his eyes, Baby Chucky was about a foot from his face.

He was all "UGH!" and freaked out a bit. He grabbed the doll and chucked it (lol) across the room. I went over and got it and scolded him that he couldn't be mean to the doll like that. *grin* A little while later we were ready to shut the house down and go to bed, and Mark looked at the doll, grabbed it and threw it behind the couch, thought about it a second, got it back out, and brought it in the dining room. We had a chest cooler in there from a trip to the park earlier, and he opened the cooler, put Baby Chucky in, closed the cooler. Then he thought about it, and took the -vacuum cleaner- and put it on top of the cooler. Only then did he feel comfortable going to bed. I was laughing my ass off. :)

Next morning, Kira wanted to know why the vacuum cleaner was on top of the cooler so I briefly explained. Then I had to go to an appointment, so I left. Mark was still sleeping.


I came back to find out that Kira had gotten a little creative. While Mark was sleeping, she took Baby Chucky into his room.

She pinned the doll to fishing line that was duct-taped to the ceiling, and as you can see she gave him a weapon...duct-taped a screwdriver into his hands.

She put this on the announcement board downstairs:

And then just for a little something extra, when he came downstairs, she was back-to, but when she turned around, he saw this:

(he's also freaked out by clowns)

In retaliation, he put Baby Chucky under her bed pillows that night. Which apparently did not freak her out, but she put him in -his- room under the covers.

And Baby Chucky has not been seen since. mk

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Knit One,, pretty much just knit one

While the kids were gone on their vacation to Disney with their father, I was able to take advantage of some free time to join Brenda on a multi-day sail. Boarded on Monday morning (the rest of the passengers spent Sunday night on board while the boat was docked), got home Thursday.

This was one of Brenda's Knitting Cruises, which I had never been on and had never been of particular interest, as I didn't knit. (Not the sailing part. ALWAYS love the sailing part)

Well. Guess what I learned how to do!

Yep. Knit. I know how to cast on two different ways (my preferred method is to knit-cast on) and I can knit. I haven't learned how to perl, but as it's apparently just the reverse of knit, I think I'll pick it up fairly quickly. Eventually. Brenda taught me how to bind off, which I'll need a refresher course on when I finish one of the projects I'm working on.

Yes. I said 'one of.' You know me, people, I don't do things half-way. I have two different projects I'm working on at the moment. One is one I started on board. Knitters are very generous people who love to see new people catch the fever, so I was gifted with two skeins of yarn, one silver grey and another eggplant purple, as well as a pair of wooden size 10 needles. That's in addition to the ball of yarn I received as a "porthole prize" and which I used to learn. It was a very thin cotton, which apparently is rather a tricky yarn to begin on, and is not forgiving of mistakes, so the little piece I knitted shows where I dropped stitches, etc. But hey, it's the first thing I did, so I like it.

I started using the grey to maybe make a scarf, then I woke up the next morning wondering what would happen if I used both yarns at the same time. Asked one of the knitters, Hope (who also taught me how to knit, along with Ann, who gave me tips later), and she grinned and said I was definitely a knitter when I start wondering things like that, and that of course I could use two yarns, it would make a marled effect. So I pulled apart the silver and re-started with the silver and eggplant together. It's gorgeous. I'm thinking now that instead of a scarf it's going to be a Kindle carrier. We'll see.

Of course, as soon as I got on land, I had to get some of my own gear. And naturally, I can't just go get -one- set of needles and a skein of yarn. So now I have...ahem...eighteen skeins. And like six pairs of needles in different sizes, including one pair of rounds. Plus some accessories.

And I know I won't stop there. For example, I already know I need a different set of rounds. I have 10/29, and I need 10/16 to make a hat. There's apparently some technique called "Magic Loop" that would mean I could just use the 29's, but...ok, stop me now.

The second project is using one of the skeins I picked up after the sail. It's a fuzzy yarn in white, blue, and bright green. Planning to have it as a scarf for Kira.

I really want to start a hat, but I'm forcing myself to finish at least one of these projects before I start. :D

I think I hear my yarn calling to me right

Friday, June 24, 2011

File Under: Weird Things That Work

A loosely crumpled ball of aluminum foil can be used (repeatedly) in the dryer in place of a dryer sheet in keeping clothes from getting staticky.

I have just tried this. It works. Even on flannel pajamas and socks. Bizarre. mk

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Toilet Paper Ghost

So. My kids are at their dad's for the weekend, I'm the only one in the house, and I considered watching a couple of scary movies this afternoon.

I am so glad I did not.

Just a little while ago, I went upstairs to the bathroom. Got in there, closed the door, turned towards the toilet.

The toilet paper was gone.

Not just used up. GONE. The entire roll was missing. Now, I have a toilet paper holder that looks something like this, so occasionally one of the kids knocks it off and it's on the floor. Doesn't usually happen to me, and I'd been in the bathroom oh, several times today, and didn't remember knocking it off, but hey, it happens.

It wasn't on the floor.

I looked all over the bathroom floor (my bathroom is about 6' x 5' maybe, including the shower). Twice. Looked in the cabinet under the sink. Looked in the trash, which Kira recently moved to the cabinet under the sink. Looked in the shower stall (don't ask me why). Nowhere. Finally I got another roll and put it on the holder and took care of business.

After, I looked all around the bathroom AGAIN. Still nothing. Not even an empty roll in the trash. Just..gone.

I open the bathroom door to go back downstairs, and just outside the door, where I would have walked past it on my way in, was the toilet paper roll. Standing upright.

In an extremely unlikely scenario, it could have fallen off the holder and maybe somehow rolled away. But there is no way I can think of that the thing would have rolled away from the holder, around the corner through the doorway into the hall, backwards to be just out of the way of the door, and then turned itself upright. And then have me not see the WHITE roll in the hallway right next to the window.

Freakiness. Now I've got all the lights on in the hallway upstairs, and my bedroom, and the bathroom. And I am damning my overactive imagination and the movies Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2.

Gahhhh. mk

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Fun at the Dentist

Kira had to have a lower labial frenectomy on Thursday. Pull out your bottom lip and look in a mirror...see the little piece of skin connecting your lip to your gums? That's the frenum. Hers was too high up, which meant that as she got older it would pull harder on her gumline, pulling it down, possibly leading to bone loss and other nasty things. So our dentist, Dr. Randy, who totally ROCKS, said she should get this, which basically was just clipping the frenum. Quick and easy, three or four snips and one stitch, that's it.

Kira was really nervous about the procedure (her actual verbal reaction as we were going out to the car after the cleaning last week, knowing she needed this? "I'm gonna DIE!"). Nothing I said could calm her down about it. She didn't go into hysterics at any point, but she was NOT looking forward to it.

I picked her up at school just before lunchtime to take her to see Dr. Randy. I had Brenda's gorgeous new baby boy Kai (oh yes, I haven't told you about him! another time. but he's 3 months old and I am Auntie) with me for the day, so the three of us went in together. Dr. Randy was really great, as he always is, and the procedure went really smoothly and quickly (although when he was getting ready to put the needle in for the Novocain, even though she was already numb from the topical, she shot her hand out for me to hold and almost crushed my fingers...damn she's getting strong). When it was over, she was poking at her lip, which she couldn't feel, and said, "This is the weirdest I have ever felt." She didn't like it at all. Dr. Randy told her never to get drunk, because if she didn't like this, she -really- wouldn't like the loss of control from drinking. I liked that. Yay Dr. Randy!

So, we went out, she a bit woozy, I paid for the part of the procedure insurance probably won't cover, and she headed through the door to the waiting room. She was on the other side of the door and I could see from the glass that she was starting to tip. I wanted to get to her, but the door opened outward, so if I had opened it, I would have knocked her over. VERY FORTUNATELY, there was a paramedic in the waiting room (scheduled for a cleaning) and she got to Kira before she could actually fall, and lowered her to the ground. (Leah, you rock!)

I bolted through the door with Kai in his car seat/carrier, put him down, one of the staff immediately said, "I've got the baby" and I was on the ground with Kira. She was really out of it, although I think she only lost consciousness for a second or two. We did all the right things, with the cold cloth and making her lie down for awhile and then sit up slowly, etc. The staff was really awesome during that, and Dr. Randy came back out, too, and said she was in shock from the adrenaline dump (which we had actually talked about while Kira was in the dentist's chair, that she was going to feel a bit weird from the dump after being scared for so long--we had no idea -how- weird she was gonna feel). Eventually we got her up and back into the room and on the dentist's chair again, someone carried Kai in, someone else brought more cloths, oh, we had gotten a small bottle of water at some point and a little rubber cup in case she needed to vomit or spit (she did spit a couple of times, but no vomiting, thankfully). Dr. Randy poked his head around the wall from the next room and asked how much she had eaten that day. I said not much, I had gotten her from school before lunch, and he said, "Give her a muffin" and zipped back behind the wall. So someone brought a little mini muffin and a tiny cinnamon roll, and Kira picked at it very very little. She couldn't have any juice, because she wasn't supposed to have anything acidic or salty for a couple of days after the procedure.

At one point Kira said she wanted to go home, and stood up, then said, "I think I need to lie down" and got back on the chair. Eventually she felt well enough to get up and walk out to the car with no assistance, I thanked the staff profusely, and I took my little girl home and got her on the couch.

Awesomely, the receptionist, Kim, who had been the most helpful, called us later after her lunch hour to check on Kira. She had been worrying about her. I thought that was the sweetest thing.

Kira's all better, was doing pretty well after about an hour, and is feeling great now. She says her lip still feels a little odd, but it doesn't really hurt. (yay!)

Between starting her period on Sunday and passing out at the dentist on Thursday, this has -not- been Kira's best week. :P mk

What I've Been Reading

I picked up a bunch of books at Goodwill about a week or so ago, and here are three of the books I've read from that bunch:

American Wife: A Novel, by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold

Trans-Sister Radio, by Chris Bohjalian

I very much enjoyed each of these books, which all covered very different topics. The first, American Wife, is a novel very loosely based on the life of a First Lady (Laura Bush, to be exact), almost entirely before her husband's time in office at the White House. I found it interesting, although I never really connected with her character, and in fact often found myself frustrated with her and even actively thinking she was mealy-mouthed or an idiot. Still, I liked it enough that I would recommend it as a fairly good read.

The second, The Lovely Bones, has been made into a movie, as I'm sure you all know. I previously had no interest in seeing the movie or reading the book, because I found the premise a bit stupid, really....a girl is murdered and then narrates the entire book from her heaven as she looks down and watches the people in her life adjust in their various ways to her death. I picked the book up as a sort of "oh, might as well" kind of thing, but really found it an intriguing read. The unique perspective of the narrator allowed her to not only watch but also to know what the various characters are thinking and feeling. It was a bit disturbing to read, because I have an enormous fear of one of my children pre-deceasing me, and this book triggered that quite a bit. I was frustrated with both of the parents for different reasons, based on their reactions and how they coped, but I could also identify with bits from the father. (the mother, yeah, no) Having my sister die before me is an eventuality I have been prepared for most of my life, because of the nature of her illnesses, although her being murdered has never figured into any of the preparative scenarios. Further, I had a cousin who was murdered while I was in high school, so the girl's friends who cope in various ways was also something I could relate to. Not one of the characters was someone I could totally identify with, but I could understand their motivations. Overall, I'm glad I read the book, but I was also glad to put it aside, because it made me uncomfortably aware of the random nature of events, and that at any time we could lose someone we love, and I just don't handle that idea well.

The third book was my favorite. Trans-Sister Radio deals with a couple who fall in love, only to then have to deal with the enormous complications and adjustments that go along with one of them having male-to-female (M2F) sex reassignment surgery. Allison and Dana had already fallen in love when Dana reveals that (s)he is in the process of changing genders. There is a great deal of introspection needed on Allison's part when she needs to work out whether she is in love with Dana the man or Dana the person, and whether she as a previously staunch heterosexual is capable of pursuing a lesbian relationship to stay together. In addition, there are the reactions of Carly, Allison's daughter, who is just entering college, and Will, Allison's ex-husband, who has remained close friends. There is also an enormous amount of mixed, mostly negative, reaction from the community at large, and the issue comes up as to whether Allison's personal life should be a factor in whether she is allowed to keep her job as an elementary school teacher.

Altogether, it is a very thought-provoking book. We are driven to look at the separate issues of gender and sexuality, our own flexibility or rigidness in reaction to the issues, our acceptance (or not) of a very controversial form of diversity. Questions constantly arise: how would you react if someone you started a relationship with, told you that he was really a lesbian woman trapped in a man's body and was going to get that changed? Would you be able to continue a relationship? Would you be able to adjust your previously unquestioned sexual preferences to continue the relationship? What do you feel about the process itself, independent of being in a relationship? Do you think that the procedure is immoral? Do you find it a perversion? Do you think being in a relationship with someone who is transgendered is perverted or immoral? Do you think that teachers should be held to a higher standard of morality than anyone else, because of their potential influence on our children? Do you think we have the right to dictate how a person conducts their personal life because of their chosen profession? Could you find yourself attracted to a person if you found out that they had once been the opposite gender? Is gender identity disorder biologically based or psychological? And on and on.

I consider myself a person who is very accepting of diversity, but I admit that this issue is a challenge for me. I finished the book this morning, but I know that I will be thinking a long time about it, seeing where this topic fits in my spectrum. Some of the above questions I have quick and firm answers to. Others, I think I will have to really turn over in my mind for a long time, and still might find myself unable to decide.

I -highly- recommend this book to anyone and everyone. I think it would be a FABULOUS book-club discussion. I wish I was in a book club just so I -could- discuss this book. :)

The author of this book, Chris Bohjalian, wrote the book Midwives, which I also enjoyed very much and recommend.

Any of you who have read any of these books, I would love to hear your take on them. mk

Thursday, June 02, 2011

If They Could Just Stay Little....

On Sunday, May 29, 2011, Kira started her first period.

My little girl!!!!! *sniff*


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.*

*Inigo Montoya, The Princess Bride

Ok. Quick (or, knowing me, not so quick) summation of the last six months.

No more boyfriend. Big surprise there.

Surgery in December to fix the whole bleeding thing. Am now officially unable to have any more children, as my uterus has become a hostile environment. That happens when they scorch out your uterine lining. Am still having difficulty adjusting to the fact that I definitely can no longer bear children. Particularly lately.

Am in the process of having Mark looked at for the possibility of ADHD/inattentive. Testing on June 1.

Kira is attending her first school dance on Friday. It's sort of a step-up dance, where the fifth graders are included with the middle-school kids (grades 6-8). I am chaperoning. She is unimpressed. She is also hoping a certain boy in her class goes to the dance.

I am currently working to recover from another breakdown. This past weekend. This is one of the things I am trying, blogging, to see if it helps. Especially since I am really working to keep my general writing 'voice' and not give in to the desire to just repeat endlessly, 'this sucks. I suck. everything sucks.' I have the kids staying with x an extra two days to give myself time to bury it over enough that I will be back to what passes for almost normal for me. Fingers crossed.

Is there more? There should be more. Well, there -is- more, but a lot of it are topics I just flat-out don't discuss in this blog. And some of it I can't talk about because it is still too painful. Very likely never will, either, because it's sort of mixed in with the stuff I never talk about. sigh. mk


Why the hell have I ignored this blog for so long? I'm a good writer (modest, too, huh), and it's always so beneficial to me to pour this crap out on the page rather than bottle it up, but somehow I always manage to forget that and wrap myself all up in my head instead. Fabulous. Very healthy.

By now I'm sure the what, three or four people who ever faithfully read this blog have long abandoned it, so I am most likely talking to myself, which, really, is mostly the purpose anyway (as much as I love you guys).

Right now is a particularly good time for me to reconnect with my blog. I'm in rather desperate need of a bit of pouring-out.

As usual when I've been away for months, it's likely that I'll be particularly prolific for a few days with various postings. Maybe I'll even level out and then just post on a regular (daily?) basis, but you know me, I'm not especially skilled in moderation. We'll see. mk