Archive for October, 2006

Party Update

Pumpkins, food, costumes, kids…. party successful and OVER.


October 31, 2006 at 7:58 pm 17 comments

The Power of Numbers

“World Peace” the tag line of beauty queens and Christmas caroles. The battle cry of hippies. A mind set many of our world leaders find laughable. A state of being viewed as overly optimistic and unachievable by most of the world’s population.

But this is the beginning of the season of miracles and I believe in the power of the written word. There is another old cliche that says you get what you ask for. Cliches become cliches because they’re usually true. It’s time for us to ask our world leaders to put down their weapons and bombs, and with the power of our numbers and our minds, to do what we’ve been admonishing our two year olds to do for centuries: “Use Your Words!”

The goal is for all of the blogging community to use November 7th as an opportunity to band together with a single topic: Dona Nobis Pacem – Grant Us Peace. You’ll find a much more eloquent explanation at the originators site:, or even at Quilldancers place. Take some time today to think about what peace means to you.

October 31, 2006 at 9:02 am 9 comments

Beggars Night

Here in my little town, with a population of less than 3,000, we have a church on just about every corner. The town is dry, no hard liquor sales, and sometime in the past the Council decided that children trick or treating on October 31st was too dangerous. So they changed the name to Beggar’s Night and move the date every year to accomodate … well, the council or sometimes the Mayor.

I really try not to be a poop about things like this, but come on! This is ridiculous. Their attempts at safety didn’t change anything but the insertion of razor blades into chocolate one day early… if that was something some wicked person was going to do anyway. What the council gained was two nights of opportunity for teenagers to soap windows and break pumpkins. Oh, and the influx of kids from other towns who don’t practice this wonky policy and trick or treat in our town one night and theirs the next. Dorks.

I woke up this morning with the mother of all snotty, sneezy, head pounding, eye leaking colds. I blame this on the music director of my play. Last night we did SERIOUS singing.

The poor woman started rehearsal by asking: “Sopranos? Where are my sopranos? Okay, Altos, tenors….” until finally she got down to me. I suffer from the need to be honest, I should have just pretended I could sing with the alto’s or something. She looks at me over her podium, and says “let’s just try some parts out for you Kat”. We eliminated the two soprano groups right away without even trying, then muddled through the high altos and the low altos. Finally she says “just try singing with the tenors.” I’m pretty sure I warbled along on my own thing all night despite the fact that I was trying to stay in tune with somebody. The somebody just kept changing. That kind of stress and throat punishment would give anyone a cold.

Despite several years of piano and clarinet lessons, I don’t have a good grasp on reading music. I know when to hold a note, when to sing higher or lower, just not higher or lower than what. She can pound that keyboard with my starting note all night and it still does not relate to me as a sung note. When she started directing us to go back to “the 13th bar” or “hold that three beats”, I was completely lost. What I need is someone who sings really loud and in my range, then I’ll just hum along. Which won’t work for long, because once we start actual rehearsals – we’ll be walking and singing. One more rehearsal and they cast the speaking roles. That’s my new mantra. Oh, and never, ever try this again.

October 30, 2006 at 8:22 am 16 comments

If It’s Sunday, I Must Be Brain Damaged

Pap and I worked hard for our calm, adult life. We planned for it. Had all our kids in our 20’s so they’d be gone in our 40’s. We assumed our progeny would do the same, which would leave us ten years to do our own thing before grandkids started showing up on the scene. In Pap’s case that meant running around naked a lot. In mine, it involved tidy dinner parties with six witty guests, weekend trips to tropical places and endless hours of free writing time. Oh well.

Operation cleaning was almost a success. We did bring order to the den, library, craft room and the grandgirl’s bedroom with a minimum of tears and broken knick-knacks. Just as Jazzmin threw down her dust rag and declared “I’m sick of cleaning, I’m ready to make a mess!” Briauna distracted me with the lure of a rousing game of Risk and the three year old had a total meltdown. Juliette can scream like Jamie Lee Curtis in any of her slash and gash movies, scared my poor dog to death. I gave up, we carved pumpkins. Then watched Monster House.

Tonight is play practice, where I will once again attempt to croak my way through Christmas songs. One more week of this and they cast the skits.
In which I will have a part, or they will have a scathing review in my paper. I don’t mean that.

Most of the freelance jobs I apply for ask for a resume and a writing sample. Every now and then, they look at these things and then follow up asking for a link to my blog and/or website. Since I never land one of these jobs, I have come to the conclusion that my best writing must be here, and the look inside my head is way too scary and unorganized for an employer.

Note to self: It’s going to be one of those ADD kinds of days, probably best to start the day with something less twisted than Pink Floyd… ooh, look at that duck….

October 29, 2006 at 8:09 am 13 comments

Party Countdown

Okay, Ruger’s taken up his position guarding his kid this morning, which means the rest of this crew is gonna get busy up in here.

I wish I could say they were enthusiastic about the need to “party clean” the house of perpetual remodeling. But these grandgirls of mine are not accustomed to doing anything more than reluctantly picking up half of whatever crap they just took out.

In the three year olds words “I has just tree words for you Nana: I is not cleanin’ nuffin.” I told her that was five words, not three. The debate that ensued was entirely too complicated to repeat. The eight year old attempted to bargain chores for extra privileges. The seven year old suddenly has “a sick headache, and my stomach really hurts.” Poor things, these girls just don’t realize they’re in the company of a pro.

I’ve never cared much about housework. When I was raising my five kids everyone had to kick in, and we kept the mess to “somewhat sanitary but cluttered” most of the time. Aside from daily dishwashing, we were too busy with work, school, cheerleading, band, sports and running amuck in many other ways to fit serious housework into the schedule. Luckily we were organized, they always knew their bookbags would be in the pile next to the door, and their shoes were in that heap by the laundry room.

Certain events spurred a major cleaning: before a holiday, a party or the all out, frenzied “mop until you see your face in that floor” event- a visit from my sister-mom. My kids knew if Ace of Base, or the Moody Blues were blaring from the stereo, war had been declared on the dirt. Failing to jump into the fray and help was grounds for swift and painful retribution. They also knew that we’d be done by the time all five records (yes, it was 80’s, we had records) had dropped down the spindle.

We had a system: Tiffany (grandgirls mom) would carry a basket through the house gathering up the orphans and returning them to their places. Michelle took care of anything wet (bathrooms, kitchen), Sheena took charge of the vacuum and broom, Princess cleaned out the closets and shelves, I washed walls, took care of the laundry and dusted. Pap and the boy whipped the yard and garage into shape. Four hours to house beautiful.

These little grandgirls don’t have a chance.

October 28, 2006 at 8:17 am 23 comments

Burning Questions

I say this often, I’ve lived a charmed life. Unconventional, but nevertheless charmed. Full of love, surprises, joy and companionship. Over our 25 years of marriage, I’ve done many things to preserve our family: Agreed to go camping instead of shopping in New York, compromised on the color of the den, rethought some rules, standards and beliefs to fit the seven personalities that comprise my clan. I would throw myself into the path of a speeding bus, fight my way through burning forest, wrestle a wolf to the ground if I needed to protect one of these people I love with every cell of my body. I’m sure every wife and mother can say the same thing. There is nothing I won’t do to preserve my family.

So why am I so shocked and disturbed by the fact that one in four women are beaten by their life partner? That every fifteen seconds a woman is the victim of domestic violence. Even in these enlightened times, with a glut of information, music, and video shouting that “love doesn’t hurt”, that message can’t get through the fact that women will do almost anything to preserve their families. “All I had to do was fix me.” Chilling words, those. The mindset that exists when women are doing what we were genetically engineered to do: nurture and preserve our families, no matter what the cost.

Rush Limbaugh, shame on you for criticizing Michael J. Fox’s demonstration of just what Parkinson’s disease looks like. Because we have a medication that will mask the symptons, he’s supposed to be satisfied with that? Well I’m not. I’m not satisfied with our treatment for aids, cancer, heart disease, diabetes or alzheimers either. I’m sick of seeing young, vital people struck down by these hideous diseases they have no control over. However controversial, however wrought with the potential for mismanagement, I’m losing my family to these diseases and I’m in favor of stem cell research. It’s a glimmering symbol of hope.

Physicist Costas Efthimiou, professor at the University of Central Florida: Big old raspberry at ya fella! He thinks he’s proved there are no such things as ghosts, vampires and zombies through the probabilities of physics. Oh yeah??? Come live in my old house for a weekend and tell me there’s no such things as ghosts. Fun sucking old busybody, you could have released that news anytime but Halloween.

Apparently I’m much too crabby to blog today. I must need a nap.

October 27, 2006 at 7:44 am 22 comments

Steal This Gnome

While minding my own business, this judgemental creature popped by to criticize my raggedy yard. While it may be true that house of perpetual remodeling is a neighborhood disgrace at the moment, its nearly Halloween, and all that garden clutter is ambiance. Jeesh, some gnomes are so superior.

I’ve heard he’s visiting wherever he can get, so feel free to steal him from me (I’ll be glad to get rid of the snotty little bugger) or pop by his master and commander and say hi while you’re there.

October 26, 2006 at 10:04 pm 14 comments

Just Say BOO and Call Me in the Morning

A few posts ago, bobciz commented that he just didn’t get the whole Halloween thing. That’s okay, bob, I’m here to help.

You see, in the pursuit of an acceptable adult lifestyle, it is necessary to abandon certain childish things. One minute we’re giving up our imaginary friend, next thing you know we’re wearing matching socks and depositing our extra money into in IRA. There is a distinct lack of Magic and Miracles in adulthood. Most of the time I can deal with this and keep my love of the tacky, shiny and socially unacceptable under control. But when it comes to Halloween and Christmas, all bets are off.

The first step to understanding Halloween is to forget its actual origin. It’s enough to know that Halloween is about costumes, things that go bump in the night and the ability to use orange, black, purple and acid green together without fear of arrest by the fashion or decorating police. It’s the one time a year you can have a discussion about the best way to display a bloody cadaver without people looking at you strangely. An opportunity to insert a little magic and imagination into our humdrum lives.

Even if I had no kids or grandkids, I would make a spectacle of Halloween and Christmas, I miss having a little magic and miracle in my life.

October 25, 2006 at 11:26 pm 20 comments

Ticking Clock and A Touch of Ranting

R.S.V.Ps for the party started rolling in yesterday. That’s no indication of how many kids will actually be here, people on the whole have no manners now days. There is this tendency to wait until the last minute in case something better comes along. That irritates me to death. Of course there is the possibility that they don’t know what R.S.V.P. means. But you’d think that little message on the invitation that says “who’s coming?” followed by R.S.V.P. with names and phone numbers would clue them in. Jazz and Bri were not only unterrified by Pap’s gruesome Pirate, they wanted to braid his hair and then spent an hour using the microphone to make him sing Christmas Caroles. Argh… the lassie’s are jaded scoundrels, ain’t they?

I’ve had to fight the word verification on my own blog for the last three days. It’s only on there because I kept getting these weird spam comments “I visited your site and didn’t find what I was looking for…click over here”. Half the time I can’t read the crazy letters they have strung together. Time to recite the Dr. John mantra…blogger is free, blogger is free.

October 25, 2006 at 5:49 am 23 comments

It’s All The Parents Fault

Nothing like a cat coat to keep you warm on a brisk fall day. Ophelia loves to sprawl on the grandgirls, they don’t complain.

I got up late this morning, and while I was getting ready, instead of hearing the morning news in the background one of those talk shows with a psychiatrist was on instead. Three grown women trying to decide whether to ever speak to their father again because of the way he disciplined them in their youth. They had a litany of complaints from hair pulling to spanking to not connecting with them emotionally. They said they cheered when their mother divorced him.

“What Mom and Dad did wrong” is a favorite game of my five children. Unlike the aforementioned young women, they usually do it with laughter and much clowning around. Apparently I wasn’t “Mommy Dearest” enough to keep them from flopping on my couch and emptying my fridge whenever the spirit moves them. But they have managed to commit to memory all of my very worst moments as a mother. There were a few, let’s face it, I’m human and because I was close to my kids they all knew just how to push my buttons.

Now that they’re all in their twenties and either have or are planning families of their own, we sometimes talk seriously about those parenting errors I made. I’ve said I was sorry for some things I did that were just boneheaded, but much of what they complain about came either from how Pap and I were parented, or rules the two of us just really feel strongly about, right or wrong. When we were raising them, there was no internet, few parenting books and terms like “playgroups” and “educational” toys may have been used, but not in our neighborhood.

I’ve been telling my kids for years, (when discussing those behaviors I don’t feel sorry for and still believe strongly in), to do it different with their kids. This makes my son foam at the mouth. Which makes me remind him of my cast-in-concrete philosophy of parenthood. Our job, as parents, is to do it better than our parents. I did it better. I kept you.

October 24, 2006 at 4:33 pm 14 comments

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October 2006