Monday, November 05, 2012

Gah, Politics

I will be so happy when tomorrow is over and life can stop revolving around political signs, political posts, incredibly annoying and invasive political phone calls, the even more irritating political door-to-doors, political debates, political flyers, political commercials, political...well, you get the idea.

I think the thing that annoys me the most about all of politics is that apparently people absolutely CANNOT discuss the matter with an opponent without degrading into mudslinging and name-calling. The word 'ignorant' gets thrown about with abandon. Ordinarily rational people froth at the mouth with the need to bash people over the head with their opinion, which of course is not an opinion but a FACT, and anyone with -any- intelligence whatsoever would clearly see that, you uncouth savage.

I have observed entirely too many "conversations" (and oh, I use that word with the most tenuous of connections to the actual definition) that almost immediately become a trade of insults.

Please tell me, when in your life have you ever seen this happen:

"Oh, I'm an ignorant pathetic blind moron who has no concept of what's really going on in the world? Yes, by all means, let me become exactly like YOU and vote your way! You have me convinced!" Followed by rainbows and sunshine and beautiful theme music.

Um, that would be never.

A few helpful hints, if you absolutely MUST discuss your political OPINION:

* Don't call the other candidate by a name that is a derogatory pun. It's not funny, it reflects poorly on you, and you have shut off the other person before you have even finished your first sentence.

* Don't call other people names, period. Do not insult their intelligence. Do not insult them at all.

* If you cannot defend your opinion in calm, rational terms, shut the everloving hell up. Raising another person's hackles is never going to be a way to let them look objectively at what you are trying to say. You are not helping yourself, or your position, or your candidate.

* Always, ALWAYS respect that everyone is entitled to an opinion, and that it does NOT need to be the same as yours.

* Accept that someone with a differing opinion is extremely unlikely to change it just because you want them to.

* Learn how to walk away. ESPECIALLY if someone says to change the subject, or that they don't want to talk about it anymore. Stop immediately. Immediately. Do NOT give in to the desire to cram in the last word. Agree to disagree.

* Remember who you are talking to. Is it really worth losing a friend or alienating a family member or coworker over this? The day after the election, some of the debris being cleared, besides the leftover political signs, could very well be the shreds of a relationship that mattered.

Generally speaking, I don't discuss politics. I utterly and totally hate the weeks leading up to a major election, when I watch the screaming and yelling around me reaching a fever pitch, even as people stopper their own ears to any other voices. I hate seeing people using mass forms of communication (email, Facebook, a usually benign humor blog) to spew forth unsolicited commercials for their favored party or candidate.

Today, in fact, I received an email from someone in my community who has been sending out fairly regular emails regarding local events, the historical society, information about the volunteer firefighter fundraisers, that sort of thing. This time, he was using this email list (which I had never signed up for, by the way...he got local people's email addresses from some other source) to state his own opinions about candidates and issues, telling people how he is voting. I replied and asked him to remove me from his email list. He sent back an email saying that he didn't know how he got my email in the first place (um, if you don't know who you're sending email to, do NOT send political crap, please), that he "usually doesn't go overboard like this."  Uh huh. Sure. Whatever. Just get my name off your contact list, guy.

I'll be voting tomorrow. A very few of my friends and family know what I'll be voting on and what my vote will be. A lot of them don't know, but could probably guess, based on what and how much they know about me. And some have no idea at all.

And that's the way I like it. ~mk

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Last Hurrah for Halloween

This year, Kira designed her own Halloween costume. My only job was to take her vision and convert it into some kind of reality.

Kira decided she wanted to be a peacock. But not EXACTLY a peacock. More like a model-y kind of peacock. I changed this description into "a high-fashion interpretation of a peacock."

Yards of fabric. 600 feathers, individually glued (200 for the tail). Several weeks of panic over finding patterns and waiting for feathers to arrive from China (900 were ordered...200 of which ended up being the -wrong color- and had to be scrapped). Hours and hours of actual design, pattern adaptation, sewing, hot gluing. (it took five hours to glue the feathers on the tail)

All of this knowing that she would be wearing it for, at most, 2 hours for the Halloween Carnival. This is the last year that Kira was eligible for the costume contest, although we knew going in that a) the "judges" were 8th graders who were completely clueless and therefore b) Kira was unlikely to win anything because did I mention that the judges were clueless?  Let me reinforce this with a couple of this year's winners for grades 5-7: Most Original (a girl in a store-bought Twister costume) and Best Overall (a boy dressed as Justin Bieber--and by that, I mean a boy in jeans, a hoodie, and a sideways baseball hat, with side-swept bangs. Yes, I am serious.)

Anyway. This is likely the last year that Kira will want or need a homemade costume of the caliber that I make each year. She isn't going trick-or-treating (it's 7:30 on Halloween night as I write this, and she's watching Avatar episodes on Netflix). So I went all-out on this one, a last hurrah sort of thing, and my reward was:

SHE LOVED IT. As evidenced by the "photo shoot." (click for closeups) ~mk

Kira made the headpiece. There was also turquoise netting added, but I didn't get a good shot of that.

Closeup of tail. 200 peacock "eye" feathers

The tail attached over the skirt with a belt.

Voila! Ready for the runway.

Twelve. The girl is TWELVE.

The hardest part of the whole costume for me was adding the feathers "randomly", as per the designer's request.

The 'chased by the paparazzi' shot, headed into the school for the Carnival. This was the point where I was no longer allowed to take pictures of her. :P
Happy Halloween, people!!! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Clear The Roads

Mark got his driver's license. ~mk

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Messages from the Universe

I believe that the Universe, in whichever form you choose to see it (God, Karma, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whatever does it for you), sends me messages.

I believe that when I drop the chocolate chip cookie twice on the way from the kitchen to the couch, it's a message that I shouldn't be eating the cookie. (This message I ignored.)

I believe that when you happen to think of a particular song that you haven't heard in 20 years, within 24 hours you will hear this song: on the radio, in the elevator, over the loudspeakers at the supermarket. Somewhere.

I believe that when you figure you're just going to sneak into the store for a quick errand and decide you don't really need to fix your hair or makeup or even shower or change out of sweats, you will run into many people who know you, including at least one old boyfriend or crush. The Universe is telling you to clean yourself up and show some pride, for goodness sake. (This does not work in reverse. If you are looking especially hot, you will not see one person you know. This is the Universe telling you that you should be looking this way all the time, dammit...what, you think you get a reward for that?)

I believe that sometime, somehow the Universe will reward random acts of kindness. This also means I believe that the Universe WILL eventually kick your ass for being a jerk. Don't test that one.

And I believe that yesterday, when I was in an immense amount of emotional pain, when I was struggling to find a reason to continue, when I couldn't keep the tears from rolling down my face, when all I wanted was to beat the crap out of myself or curl up and die, the Universe responded.

  • Brenda, knowing nothing of my state of mind, sent me an email and at the end invited me to sail this weekend. Probably the only time for the rest of the sailing season that I would be able to make it work. Sailing, the of my favorite places in the world to be and one that restores my soul. With one of my favorite people in the world. Yes, Brenda. Yes.
  • I found out through a post of Jenny's that yesterday was World Suicide Prevention Day (that alone gave me pause, the timing). Her post, and reading comment after comment from people to let me know that I am -not- alone in fighting the black monster of depression, helped clear the clouds. Thank you, Jenny, for reminding me that "Depression lies."
  • On the way in to town to get something for dinner and perhaps treat myself a little to something special, I stopped at my mailbox and there was a package that contained a sterling silver heart necklace that I had forgotten I even signed up for a chance to win, weeks ago.
  • Michael, who I ordinarily don't get a chance to speak to on Mondays, was able to talk to me several different times, including one where I could not stop crying. His support, his reminder that I promised him that I would not self-injure any more, his love and understanding and caring, all helped me find my way out of the darkness. I cannot possibly put in words what that meant to me. Michael, I love you.
I truly believe that all of those were messages to me from the Universe. Messages to remind me that I am loved, that there is hope, that I am not alone and that there are things and people in the world worth being here for.

To the Universe, my thanks. mk

Monday, September 10, 2012

Not Just Double-Checking Anymore

I am very often frustrated by the number of times and places that the majority of us have to put up with additional bullshit because of the (hopefully) minority of idiots who have fucked things up.

Two examples, just today:

Example One:

Transferring funds online. I selected the account I want the money taken from, the account I want it to go to, and typed in the dollar amount I want transferred. Clicked "submit."

Got a popup window that said "Are you sure you want to submit this transaction?" (Yes, I'm pretty sure, since I just filled it all out and clicked 'submit,' but I get it that you need to double-check.) Clicked "yes."

Now another page comes up. The first couple of times I did this, I just assumed (yeah yeah, I know about assuming, shut up) that it was the standard "here's a summary of the transaction you just did, print a copy for your records, etc" stuff. But NO! Hidden in amongst the summary is a small button that says "approve."

OK, at this point I have filled out the transaction, submitted, and verified that I did, indeed, want to submit this transaction. Now I have to approve it? Irritated, clicked "approve."

Fucking popup window: "Are you sure you want to approve this transaction?"

At this moment the only thing I am sure of is that I want to punch something. YES YES YES, I want this !#$$^#$%# transaction to happen, would you just DO IT ALREADY????

People. When move my mouse around and type things in to fill out a transaction, please believe that I want to process that transaction. I get that sometimes there's a little finger fumbling and a person might mess up...but that's why you ask ONE TIME if it's correct. Pick one: either a pop-up window that asks if I'm sure I want to do this, OR a summary of transaction that I need to approve. But you do NOT need me to quadruple-check this transaction.  That's excessive and irritating and insulting. Can you imagine them doing that when you go face-to-face at the bank?

*passes teller a withdrawal slip from savings and a deposit slip to checking, all filled out*
Teller: Are you sure you want to transfer this money?
Me: yep
Teller: So you want me to transfer x dollars from your savings to your checking?
Me: yep
Teller: Are you SURE you want me to do this?
Me: *bitchslaps teller*

Example Two:

Went to therapy this morning. Entered one of the registration booths, told the woman there my name, who I was there to see, and the time of my appointment (that last one should have been obvious, but they will ask you if you don't tell them). Next she asked me if any of my information has changed. Now, I am at this building EVERY WEEK. Have been for YEARS. For a couple of those years I was there twice a week . And no matter how many times I tell them "nothing has changed," they will STILL then ask me every time if I am still at (and they say my address out loud), if my phone number is still (again, said out loud), whether my insurance is still (yep, out loud). These are NOT soundproof booths. There is a person on the other side of the partial wall checking in another client. And everyone (including the client) gets to hear my "confidential" information.

Now, I have been at this same address, with this same phone number, for close to fifteen years. I have had the same insurance information for ten years. If something changes, you can bet that I'm going to share this information with people who need to be able to properly bill my insurance so they don't have to stick -me- with the entire bill.

Here's an idea: how about believing me? How about believing that when I say (EVERY WEEK) that "Nothing has changed" that I have the first frigging clue of what "nothing" means? How about believing that I understand that my address, phone number, insurance, emergency contact people, etc would be "something" that had changed, and that if any one of those HAD changed, that I would know, remember, and tell them? How about NOT finding it necessary to ask me a question (has anything changed?), GET an answer (nothing has changed) and then go on to ask me about every bit of information that your computer has that I have just told you is exactly the same as last week, and the week before that, and the week before THAT, and (let's just pretend I did that to cover every week for the last ten years).

I vented this to Brenda awhile back and we were joking that one of these times I'm going to say yes when they ask if anything has changed, and then when they ask me each field, give them exactly the same information that is already in there. Because they seem pretty damn determined that something should change so they can update it.

People. I -know- that you have clients who won't remember or think to tell you if something changes for them. I am not one of those. Neither are the majority of the people I know. ALL of the people I know understand what the word "anything" means and the difference between that and "nothing." Give us a little credit, yeah? Especially if you see (and I KNOW that information is on there) that we have a standing appointment, which means we are NOT new clients, and we know how the check-in process works.

I am curious about the number of times they "catch" an error doing this, vs the number of transactions/check-ins. Like, if they are checking in 400 people a week (conservative estimate), how many times in that week do they say "has anything changed since your last appointment" and the client says no and they continue "are you still living at" and the client responds with "oh yeah! I moved! I completely forgot!" How many times? Is that really a high enough percentage that you need to do that with every person?

Please, please, stop treating us all like complete idiots. Yes, some of us are, and you would have to deal with those anyway, regardless of the number of checks and balances in place. The idiots -will- get through.

Just don't assume I am one of them. mk

The Irony Does Not Escape Me

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. When I went to the International Association for Suicide Prevention   web site (they're the sponsoring organization) to look it up and maybe get some help with the crushing depression I am in right now, I got an error message that said

You don't have permission to access blah blah blah

I am in a frame of mind to take this as a personal message. Slow, deep breath. mk

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Obviously I Need to Cook More or Something

At Denny's last night:

Kira: I'm really bummed, they forgot my hashbrowns. All they gave me was coconut.

And then when we told her those were the hashbrowns, she couldn't make herself eat them. Not even one bite. *facepalm* mk

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Joint Compound

I decided this morning to work more on Kira's room. She's been waiting so patiently for me to get her room done. I still needed to do some wall repair, so I set out to get the stuff for that.

Ladder, check. Joint tape, check. Putty knives, check. Joint compound: can't find it.

Now, I -know- I have a fairly new container of it, because I had done some other wall repair in her room and bathroom. It -should- be with the rest of the room renovation stuff. It's not. I searched all over the house, the basement, the trunk of the Intrepid (don't ask why I was storing some of it in there), her room, the hallway, and then all of those places all over again. I peered as best as I could into the little bathroom in her room (that she has blocked off with a bookcase in the doorway). No luck. Third time full round looking around, and I'm about to give up. I'm pouring sweat from crawling around and moving things (which I really shouldn't be doing with my shoulder, but I get stubborn sometimes. I know, you're all shocked).

Then it occurs to me to check the corners of the little bathroom one more time. I can't quite see them. Can't quite reach my arm through the bookcase to feel in the corners.

So, in what can only be described as one of the weirder things I have done lately, I emptied the bottom shelf of her bookcase and army-crawled through it to peek into her bathroom.

And found the joint compound. mk 
Yeah, that bottom shelf? Was what I somehow got my body through.
I -knew- it was somewhere.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Be the Change

We're out to dinner last night (a very very rare occurrence): me, Mark, Kira and Aiden (1st mate on the Evans--Kira and I had been sailing earlier). We're all having a great time at the table, talking, laughing, more laughing. Very suddenly, without a word to anyone, Mark gets up and walks out of the restaurant.

The three of us left just looked at each other and tried to figure out what just happened. I had the keys to the locked car, so he wasn't getting something he had forgotten. We just had no idea. A few minutes later, he comes back and just sits down at the table like nothing had happened.

Naturally, we asked him what that was all about. He kind of shrugged and said, "I was holding the doors."

Bewildered, we all just kind of said, "Um...what??"

Just then, a woman went slowly past us, with a gentleman at her elbow, guiding her along. She was maybe in her late 50s or 60s, and was obviously struggling to walk. Mark nodded in her direction and said, "I saw her through the window, so I went to help her with the doors."

Aiden asked why he didn't let the man with her do that and Mark just kind of shrugged again and said, "There were two doors."

Mark's favorite quotation is by Ghandi: "Be the change you want to see in the world."  

He is. mk

Friday, June 22, 2012


Last day of school:

mk: Mark, did you pass in all your textbooks?
Mark: yeah Mom
mk: Are you sure:
Mark: -yeah- Mom
mk: Did you clean out your locker?
Mark: yeah Mom, it's empty
mk: You sure?
Mark: YEAH Mom, sheesh

Two weeks later, when his report card comes in the mail, included is a form letter saying that the following items were not returned: CP ALG II text, cost $60.

mk: MARK! I just got something in the mail that says that you didn't pass in your Algebra II textbook.
Mark: I didn't have one
mk: Then how did you do your  homework all year?
Mark: Oh yeah. Wait. It might be in my locker.

*facepalm* mk

Monday, June 11, 2012

Meeting Jenny

OK, wow. Apparently New England loves them some Bloggess, because Jenny's Brookline, MA reading/signing was -packed-. SRO. People packed up along the stairs and lurking at the top, not even able to see her but hoping to hear. There had to be a couple hundred people in a not-very-big space. My anxiety went all out of whack, of course, even though I was pre-loaded with Xanax. I had a space in a little corner in the front part (corners are good) and it was really close so I had a great view. Well, except for this pole, but she considerately stood just to the side of it so I could see.
The only picture I got during her reading where my hands were not shaking so much that the picture blurred. And of course her eyes are closed. And also she looks like she's going to break out into the chicken dance. Which she did not, by the way.

Jenny appeared impressed with us...said two stops before that one, like 4 people showed up. This made me a bit envious, because I would WAY rather have been in the 4-person crowd than the MOB that showed up in Brookline.

She was, of course, complete awesomeness, and her reading of excerpts from the chapter "The Psychopath on the Other Side of the Bathroom Door" was utterly hilarious. She also gave us an informative aside: Pepto-Bismol actually turns 1 in 6 people's tongue black. Pepto-Bismol contacted her on this one. (Important note: temporarily black. It eventually goes away. That aside actually reminded me of when I discovered through personal experience that if you drink too much red wine your teeth will turn black. For awhile. Because of the tannins.**)

**Incidentally, if you look at Google Images for "red wine teeth black" you will not see one picture on the first page of results where someone's teeth are stained from red wine. You -will- see dozens of pictures of super-white teeth.

Wow. Tangent.

After the reading, Jenny was going back upstairs for the signing. Now, Kimmie and I were stationed right by the stairs, so you would think that this would give us a head start on getting in that line, right? SO WRONG. Because all the people who came late and couldn't get close enough to hear her reading decided to get in line for the signing. By the time we got upstairs, the line already went from her table down to the back of the store, wrapped around a bookcase and came all the way back up to the front of the store. It was insane.

It took an -hour- to get through that line to the point where I finally (!) met Jenny. It gave me a great opportunity to practice the technique my therapist has discussed with me called "flooding" in which you are kept in a high-anxiety-provoking situation until eventually your adrenaline runs out. More on that another time.

I do remember remarking to the people around us that there should be an Express Lane for people with panic disorders. You'd have to show proof like a current prescription bottle of Xanax or a doctor's note or something. That would have been awesome.

Anyway, finally got to the head of the line, Jenny signed my book, we exchanged a few words that I don't remember now (something along the lines of how great to finally meet), took a couple of pictures, hugged, and on to the next person in line.

I sincerely hope that Jenny got a very large amount of vodka or something good like that, later that evening when she finally finished with that line, because I -know- it went for at least another hour or more.

As for me, the plan was to go back to Kimmie's and consume many strawberry daiquiris and/or cosmos and/or whatever else we could make with the alcohol she had. However, I had completely reached my limit what with all the new scary things I'd done that day, and I didn't even get halfway through one drink before I -needed- to crash. (Not one to let a good drink go to waste, I used it the next morning to wash down my meds. Hey, I was on vacation!)

The book reading was awesome, Jenny was awesome, the whole thing was terrifying -and- awesome, and I am so, so glad I did it and made it through. I would have kicked myself for YEARS if I had bailed on that opportunity.

So, here we go, pics. mk

That's my book she's signing. Well, -her- book, -my- copy. :)
I look all crazy-grinny and slightly psycho if you see this up close.
markira meets Bloggess...yay!!!

Thursday, June 07, 2012

I'm Off to See the Bloggess

This keeps running through my head: "Iiiiiiiiii'm off to see the Bloggess! The wonderful Bloggess of Blog...I know she is a wiz at her biz, if ever a wizard there was! If ever a wonderful blogger there was, then Jenny the Bloggess is one because...because because because because beCAAAAAAUSE...because of the wonderful blogposts she does!"

That's right. I'm gonna go see Jenny at her book reading in Brookline, Massachusetts. And now hopefully you also have this awful earworm song going through your head so I'm not all alone.

Speaking of alone, I'm doing all kinds of out-of-my-comfort-zone stuff for this trip. First off, I'm going to Massachusetts. And I've invited myself to stay with my friend Kimmie. AND, because I really do not want to drive in Mass because all the people who live there get behind the wheel of a car and immediately become insane*, I'm going to take a -bus- there (which actually will cost me, round trip, less than the price of gas to halfway there and back). So I'm doing all kinds of new things (for me). And yes, I am -very- nervous and my stomach is all tied up in knots.

* As evidence of this: everyone in Mass tailgates. Like, really badly. On the highway. Going like 90mph. I was taught to leave one car length between you and the car ahead of you for every 10mph of speed. I asked Kimmie about this and she said she was taught one car length. PERIOD. No matter how fast you are going, one car length. And apparently they all think cars are about five feet long.

Anyway. I canceled my therapy appointment on Monday because I got my period and was wicked crampy and didn't really want to curl up on the floor in his office but that was the only comfortable position. SO, he rescheduled me for this morning and this is a very good thing because we can go over this trip and hopefully he'll tell me all kinds of good things that will make me feel less freaked out and then I'll be able to see properly again. (My vision is a bit foggy at the moment. It happens when I'm panicky.)

AND, on Michael's advice, I sent an email to Jenny several days ago to remind her that I exist and tell her I was going to be coming ('cause my blog has kind of dropped off and she knows like a billion people and has likely been swarmed by tons of people popping up saying "HI! REMEMBER ME??"). So I babbled at her for a few paragraphs and probably made little to no sense but she was awesome and emailed me right back. So yay!

Bus leaves tomorrow morning, reading is at 7pm. I'm soooo excited.

Of course,  it's 5pm and I have yet to pack. I should maybe go do that. :D  mk

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Prom 2012--Part 3

Of course, there must be pictures of the boy! Nikki's family is very protective of their privacy, so I didn't include any of him with his date, and also didn't include any of the pics of Mark with his friend Marc, who came over to hang out and get ready with him. BUT, here's my boy in his finery!
Handsome boy...wait, young man.

I shall not smile.

During the father-date 'talk.' Mark said, "Oh, this is the part where I fidget and look nervous, right?"

Obviously had a hard time keeping serious for this talk.

Being a gentleman as he puts Nikki in Marc's car. Kira looks on. :P
Over at Nikki's before they left for the prom was so much fun. Kira and I went in ahead so we could start with the pictures from the time Mark (and Marc) came in, Nikki's appearance, etc. Nikki's stepfather was hysterical, said we had done it all wrong, the father is supposed to open the door, and made the boys go back outside and knock so he could open the door. Then he brought Mark into the living room for the pre-date "father talk" where he asked Mark's intentions for the evening. Mark pretended to be all nervous and gave very respectful responses, all the way up until Dave asked if Mark was planning to be responsible. Mark replied with "Yes, sir" and Dave asked Mark if he brought his responsibility with him that evening. Mark said yes and Dave said he failed, right there.

Apparently "responsibility" is what fathers are calling condoms these days, and Dave said that responsibility better stay right in the wallet. This was hilarious, as Mark and Nikki are more brother & sister than anything else and we all know it, but Dave likes to tease. 

Anyway, there was a LOT of laughing and everyone was just really comfortable and having a good time (we even made sure Marc was included, seeing as he had just met everyone). Wendy and I decided that Marc needed a boutonniere too, so we clipped a couple of flowers and some baby's breath from the flower arrangements Wendy had and wrapped thread around them and pinned them on. (We knew this would not last long and Mark confirmed later that Marc conveniently "lost" it, which was fine...just a way to pull him in, too, and he was a very good sport about it.)

Nikki's dress was gorgeous, a floor-length red "greek goddess" style gown with silver detailing on the bodice and cross-over straps, and she looked so beautiful. Her hair had a braid on one side and lots of curls and ringlets and was just lovely. 

The kids posed good-naturedly for all the photos the moms wanted, and even managed to get going on time. The last thing we saw was the back window of Marc's car rolled down and Mark's arm holding out the umbrella like a sword, yelling "On to the prom!"

And a truly fun time was had by all. mk

Prom 2012--Part 2

Mark and Nikki had a -wonderful- time at the prom! Yay!!

We went for the preview and OMG. It was just so stunning what they had done with the place...completely unrecognizable as the school gym. Our dances, and even proms, had decorations that consisted of lots n lots of streamers and some balloons, usually some hanging from the basketball hoops. Proms at my son's school have decorations that consist of stuff like this (click to enlarge pics...especially panorama):

Panoramic...first thing I saw. -This- is the -gym-??
The "outdoor cafe."
Entry on the other side of the gym..welcome to Central Park!

The bridge. Lights under the "water". Bridge is functional, you can walk across it.

The "hotel bar."

In the "hotel bar."

The "hotel lobby."

Steps on the bridge.

Another shot of the bridge.

Another angle of the "hotel lobby" with the "mini-golf course" on the right.

Corner of Wall Street and Prom Avenue. :)

Not shown: the parquet dance floor with DJ stage; the chess tables with a phone booth nearby; a closeup of the floor-to-ceiling skyscrapers, which were backlit through the windows; the partition for professional prom pictures with a flowered arch, park bench, lamppost and street signs; the mini-golf course; various pushcarts and a graffiti "wall".

It was overwhelming and stunning and unbelievable and amazing and oh my, what a time these kids will have! mk

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Prom 2012--Part 1

Each year at Mark's high school, the junior class hosts the senior prom. Thus the junior class, as hosts, also may attend. Mark's going to the prom. His date is a friend who is pretty much like a sister to him. Her mother is a good friend of mine and her younger sister is Kira's best friend. (There is also a brother who is currently in 8th grade.) The theme of this year's prom is "Central Park." Mark spent several hours after school yesterday helping with construction and assembly of what I can only think of as "the set." It's apparently going to be rather elaborate (which does not surprise me coming from this high school). They're having a "Prom Preview" in a couple of hours where parents can go check it out and see what everything looks like, and Wendy and I are going. There will be pictures. :)

Meantime, Mark has the tickets (instead of actual tickets, they gave him an embroidered key lanyard with the school name and Prom 2012 on it...this may be the 'souvenir' they have created this year. Last year they gave out sunglasses at the prom), we have just picked up the corsage, he has his tux (oh, he will look SO handsome), and a friend of his is coming over in a little while to hang out before they get ready. Then we'll all go over to pick up Nikki and take many many MORE pictures, then the three of them will head off to the prom. (Kira and I will take her best friend Dianna home with us to spend the night)

As a quick taste, here's the corsage:

Monday, April 30, 2012

And I Will Drive 5000 Miles...

On 11-26-11, the odometer on the Impala hit:
Today, 4-30-12, it reached:
This averages out to 1,000 miles a month (almost to the -day-, how funky is that?)

According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average annual miles for a female driver in my age group is 11,464.  That puts me at slightly above average. *grins* (Of course, the number of miles I drive is going to slow way down now that sports seasons are over.)

Anyway, thought I'd share because a) I like weird things like this and b) I shudder to think how my Intrepid would have handled the number of miles I have driven in the last five months. Yay for new cars! (Also, wicked cool that my 2004 Impala only has 30,000 miles on it.)

Oh, and another detail that just tickles my fancy...through no deliberate planning, the car rolled to 30,000 just before it rolled into my driveway.  ~mk

p.s. I am amused by the statistics that show that in -every- age group, men drive WAY more miles per year than women.

p.p.s. I posted the 1000 miles/month comment on Facebook and got back some responses about other people having a much higher average. Mind you, these people also work outside the home and have social lives. Personally, I think my average is pretty darn good considering that except for kid-sports, I'm pretty much a hermit. :P

Friday, April 27, 2012

Must Be My Magnetic Personality

Ok, so this morning I had the MRI for my shoulder (followup appointment on Monday with the orthopedist for results).

Shoulder actually wasn't bothering me too badly before I went, and as I got the coils strapped on, etc, I was actually pretty comfortable overall.

However, as the MRI kept going, my shoulder started to hurt. And hurt more. And hurt -more-. By the last six minutes of it, I was in a LOT of pain. It's weird, but it seemed to be related to the magnets and the vibrations.

I told the not-as-friendly tech (the other tech was extremely nice, she was the one who got me set up) as he was unhooking everything, that I was in a surprising amount of pain. He just blew it off and said it wasn't uncommon, it came from lying still for 30 minutes.

Um. I've lain still for longer than 30 minutes with no pain.

I've had an MRI before (for my ankle) and it didn't hurt at -all-. I've never heard anyone talk about an MRI hurting. It's supposed to be a painless procedure.

Anybody got any idea what might have been going on there? ~mk

Netflix Killed the Cable TV

(ok, first off, imagine the title of this post sung to the tune of "Video Killed the Radio Star")

Just got a notice from our local cable company that they are "upgrading" their system. In doing so, they are restructuring the cable packages. Currently we're paying about $40/month for about 40 stations (basic cable). The new basic package is about $20/month and includes about 20 channels. The Tier 1 package is about $60/month and includes about 80 channels.

So, we have the option of a) paying $20 less a month and losing half our channels, including pretty much all of our favorites or b) paying $20 more a month and doubling our channels, gaining a ton of really good ones.

I didn't want to make this executive decision without at least consulting the kids, so I brought it up to them last night. Surprisingly, Mark -immediately- voted to drop to the $20 plan. Kira's first reaction was to vote for the $60 plan. (Great, I'm the tie-breaker. Sigh.)

Then Mark explained his reasoning. We have Netflix. Streaming and DVD. Between those two options we have a ton of shows already available to us, not to mention movies, and Netflix is adding new stuff all the time. That got us thinking, and what we discovered is that not one of us could really remember the last time any of us watched "regular" TV.**

We also -do- have the option that if we find we can't stand having "only" basic cable, for $35 we can upgrade our service. So as long as we can survive two months of basic cable, it will have cost us nothing to try the experiment of having much fewer channels available. Case closed, we decided to drop down to 20 channels.


I got thinking after we all went to bed, and it's $45 to reconnect after complete removal of services. We're paying $40/month now. That means that if we cancel our cable altogether, one month later we can have it hooked back up and not be out any money. And meantime, we'll have a chance to see if we can survive today's world without a cable TV package.

Between Netflix and our computers, I am betting that we can. New family meeting tonight to see what say the children.  ~mk

** The kids were recently gone for ten days on a vacation with their father. In that time, I turned the television on -once-, to watch a movie with a friend who came over. I've never been a big TV watcher. I'll be -just fine- without cable. :)

The Next Great Men's A Cappella Group

Every once in awhile Mark gives me these random amusing glimpses into his life that I would not otherwise be aware of.

Couple of days ago, we were all driving somewhere and were listening to random music from my iPod. All of a sudden Mark pipes up and says, "We used to sing this. The Varsity boys would sing this in the locker room. It was a thing."

I got quite a kick out of picturing a dozen high school guys belting this out. ~mk

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Living the Blogger Dream

Ok, -I'm- not living the blogger dream. But Jenny is.

Jenny is Jennifer Lawson, aka The Bloggess. Although when I first met her (in either 2006 or 2007), she had not yet morphed into the Bloggess, but was one of four writers on the blog MamaDrama for the Houston Chronicle.

Now when I say "met," I have not actually met Jenny in person, but we have read and commented on each other's blogs over the years, and are friends on Facebook (yes, me and like 4000 other people, but still. That's her personal Facebook page. There are 30-something -thousand- people who have liked her Bloggess Facebook page). For some reason, even though she has seen pictures of me, Jenny has a mental image in her head of me as Hawaiian (because of the name markira, even though that's not, y'know, Hawaiian).

Anyway, in June 2007 Jenny started her blog "The Bloggess" and it started out normally, in that she would get anywhere from no comments to 20 or so...and then her blog kind of exploded.

NOW, she is THE BLOGGESS and her blog gets somewhere between 2 and 3 MILLION hits a month. (To put this in perspective, I have had maybe 25,000 hits in the entire, what, six years I've had my blog.) She knows celebrities. She speaks at conferences. (Sometimes from the security of the bathroom.) She's been on CNN. (and Jenny, -did- you send your zombie apocalypse plan to the White House?)

And recently, after about 11 years in the making, she has published her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir

Which, she just found out, will be -debuting- at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. (Why can't I underline more than once? I want at least -five- underlines on that one. So, imagine I did that. And add exclamation points. And flashing arrows and stuff. And confetti.)

I am the tiniest bit envious of this**, but mostly I am thrilled to death for her and, weirdly, very proud of her. She's overcome enormous obstacles to achieve this (including working around her anxiety and depression issues).

** And I mean very tiny. Michael asked me I would like to be where she is, and I said probably not, since if I did really want it, I think I would at least be more dedicated to my own blog.

So anyway, Jenny's awesomeness is just overflowing everywhere and you should all buy her book. Go! Go now! ~mk

(Like, y'know, I'm gonna help her book sales so much. I'll be responsible for, oh, one. [Because my buying a copy counts, right? Right?])

Injury Update--Shoulder

So, it's been awhile since I've updated the Stupid Ways That I Have Injured Myself. I mean, I've posted a couple of other things I've done, like this and...wait, is that the only other one I've posted? I didn't post how I got a concussion getting into the van when Mark was in 8th grade, or the incredibly nasty gouge-y bruise I got falling off the coffee table (no, I'm not going to tell you what I was doing on the coffee table), or the time I fell down the cellar stairs about five minutes after I had assured someone just leaving that I would be -fine-, or the number of times that I have tripped going upstairs because I catch my toe in the pant leg of my pajamas? Really? Wow, I have neglected this blog.

Anyway, I hadn't done anything stunning in quite awhile, and I was starting to lull myself into a false sense of security that perhaps I was becoming less accident-prone. And then I majorly messed up my right shoulder doing...I have no idea.

It started bothering me in February-ish, and at first I thought it might be related to being a stomach-sleeper my whole life, so I trained myself to sleep on my back (thank you, meds for my periodic limb movement disorder, which allow me to now wake up in pretty much the same position I go to sleep in). I lightened my purse and started carrying it in my hand instead of slinging it on my shoulder. And the pain would go away, and I would be all good, and then it would come back, and I would think about going to the doctor, and then it would go away again.

Well, finally it stopped going away and was hurting -all- the time, so I called the doctor and she did some basic tests in the office and told me that I had tendonitis, bursitis, and an impingement in the rotator cuff. Told me to stop using the shoulder as much as possible, take Aleve twice a day, ice it three times a day, and referred me to physical therapy.

Naturally, because this is me, my shoulder actually got -worse- after I started resting it. Ptherapist told me that I had additional tendonitis in the bicep and the pectoralis. Go me. My body has this thing where it will drive itself as long as possible, and then when I finally get a chance to slow down, it will pile all the crap on me that it's been putting off.

So anyway, blah blah blah, instability in the shoulder, blah blah blah, pain all the time, blah blah blah, suggestion that I should get some additional tests with the orthopedist. So I made an appointment. The very next day, I did something that gave me excruciating pain in my shoulder at the moment (boarded the boat, actually, to visit with Brenda, and hit something just wrong), but after that, I had almost -no- pain in my shoulder unless I was moving it in certain ways, BUT my collarbone started pushing out in a funny way which was -completely- freaking me out, and there was pain around -that-. Apparently I may have released the impingement, but caused some severe inflammation in the pectoralis muscle under the collarbone. So sez the physical therapist.

Now I've seen the orthopedist once, with XRays (which came out ok except for a couple of bone spurs), and have an MRI scheduled for tomorrow.

SO. Naturally my shoulder has now pretty much stopped hurting anywhere unless I do particular movements, and my range of motion is improving. This thing has been bothering me since -February-. I will not be at all surprised if very little shows up on the MRI. Which on the one hand is very, very good, because I really did not want to find myself going down a path that led to surgery.

On the other hand, if it was all going to go away as soon as I started getting it seriously checked out, why didn't I do that two months ago?? *sigh* mk

Friday, March 23, 2012

Random Exchange

In a rather inane mood today (not to be confused with insane, although I'm that too).

Kira, getting ready for school, standing in front of my desk chatting with me while she puts her hair up in a ponytail: "This pony holder is making me mad."

mk: "These pretzels are making me thirsty."

Kira: "That's because you're eating salt."

mk: "Kira. You are looking right at me. I have no pretzels. That was a quote."

Kira: "This never happened."


Thursday, March 22, 2012


Today was rather a bad day for me in terms of anxiety. I had a low-grade panic buzzing in me all day, despite many efforts to bring it under control. I was chatting with Michael (I know, I haven't mentioned Michael...he lives out of state, I met him online, we are very very close) and mentioned that among other things, I had not been out of my house since the previous morning. This, despite the abnormally warm weather we are having (85 degrees, in Maine, in March). He told me to stop, go out on either the porch or the deck, take a few deep breaths, and come back.

So I'm out on the porch swing for like, two minutes, and go back inside.

Later, at Kira's basketball practice, my friend Michelle said that she saw me when she drove by. Seriously, I'm outside for literally two minutes and was spotted. This does not work well in dispelling my paranoia about people looking at me. :P

What got to me a little was that her immediate reaction was "Oh my god, she's OUTSIDE."

You know that phrase, "I need to get out more"? Yeah. That. mk

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Drive, Drive, Drive

Last week between two trips for Kira's tournament, various practices (for both kids) and appointments, and Kira's District 3 Honors Music Festival, I put over 500 miles on my car in 7 days.

Stay at home mom? Ya, RIGHT. mk

Travel Team

Basketball, basketball, basketball. It's our family's primary sport. They started practice in November. Mark's JV & Varsity seasons ended in February. He does have a single tournament this weekend, for boys from his school but not an official school team event. Kira's busline season ended in mid-January, her Y season ended the end of January, but then her travel team started up and goes until April 1st. So, we've been revolving the family schedule around basketball for about 5 months.

This is the most extensive travel team that Kira has been on yet. They'll have participated in six tournaments and two scrimmages by the end of season. (Well, two of the 'tournaments' were more round-robin type things, but it was a chance for them to play against several other travel teams.) The "real" tournament that they have participated in was a smashing success, with her team sweeping the entire thing and winning the Championship with a tourney record of 7-0. (Kira's coach awarded her the "Tourney ball" for her "contribution in many different areas.") She's kicking some ass, and so are several of her teammates. It's really great to watch, especially knowing that many of these girls are going to play high school ball together.

It's been super fun for me to see how these girls have developed since first starting out in Y ball in 2nd grade. I also love that Kira is making friends with so many different girls from other towns, which will really help her adjustment to high school. And, I just flat-out love watching my kids play basketball.

I so wish that I had known about travel teams when Mark was coming up through grade and middle school. It's such a great opportunity, and he especially would have loved it, with basketball being such a passion for him. *sigh*

Still, it's an opportunity I have been able to give to Kira, and she's having a great time. Which, of course, is the most important part of it all. mk

Happy Pi Day!

I love that my friends make a point of wishing me a Happy Pi Day. I love that I am geeky enough to think Pi Day is awesome.

And I LOVE that Mark's school chose today to be Pirate Day for Spirit Week. (╥rate day!) Seriously, math and pirates on the same day? How fabulous can you get? mk
Off to pillage the school for treasure!

It is Facebook's Fault That I Forget I Have a Blog

I am totally going to blame Facebook for my failure to blog. Yes. It is just too easy to put up a quick little snippet or 47 every day, whenever I choose, and the fairly instant feedback is very satisfying.

However, I do miss the ability to drone on and on endlessly about whatever. With Facebook I do feel the need, most of the time, to be fairly positive and occasionally witty. I have to worry a bit more about who's in my audience (my kids, for example, and several of their friends).

I could go on about the pros and cons of Facebook vs blog, but many many other people have already done that, and probably in a far more interesting way than I have, so let's drop it and move on, shall we?

Once again I vow to post more to my blog. It's like a New Year's Resolution. Only, in March. mk

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine 2012