Monday, May 25, 2009

Best laid plans... part XXIV

You may be able to tell by the sweet potato puree on my jeans that I am watching the babies again today. Alone. Because Bob decided to make sure I couldn't hand him a honey-do list this morning by staying up half the night working on a project. So he's asleep. The babies are almost asleep. My honey-do list is history. The Kathy-do list is glaring at me in bright neon pink. So, of course, I'm blogging.

I am watching the kids again because their mother my daughter-in-law Katy is facing one of the hardest things a person faces in life. Her father is critically ill and in intensive care here in Columbia. She is a young woman who does what needs to be done, so she arranged for him to be brought here when MUSC in Charleston didn't have an open bed. Her family (other than her sisters who stand with her) is not appreciative. It is sad to see a soap opera in the family of a person I love very much. I can only offer support and love to her and her sisters, but I can't make her father's sister, brother, and girlfriend behave like civilized adults. It is too much for a 20 year old to have to face. I watch the babies and offer prayers for courage, strength, wisdom, and solace.

My children have been very lucky to have two grandmothers and two grandfathers for so long. It makes me sad that my mother didn't live to see Robert happily married. I am sorry she never met the babies, whom she would adore. I am glad my father & Bob's parents are here to see the children turn into wonderful young men and to enjoy their great grandchildren. I hope Katy's father recovers enough to enjoy his grandchildren longer.

Since it's Memorial Day, I'm also thinking of all of the ways people have sacrificed for their families, their communities, their nation, and their world. I honor the people who have died so that my life can be blessed with freedom, justice, mercy, and peace.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Birthday Mark

My baby is 11 years old today. I'm not sure how that happened, since it seems like only yesterday he was 10.

Eleven is a big deal: middle school, girls, hair in places I don't want to see... maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. Because today, he is playing ball with his 18 month old nephew and his (chronologically challenged) father.

Mark is a remarkable young man. He is brilliant, kind, funny (although he told me that sarcasm is wasted on him since he's too young to understand it), cute, polite, and kind. I know I said kind twice, it's just important to me.

Mark is a quiet leader. He doesn't put himself out front, but he acts in a way that the other children notice and admire. Although he has great geek potential, he manages to pull it off with his humor and (did I mention) kindness, and his courage in the face of peer pressure.

I pray that he continues to grow into a strong, kind, young man. His brothers are wonderful young men, I know. I just kind of hope Mark won't hit so many potholes on the way to maturity. I'd like someone to support me in old age. (Joking, Robert & Joseph. You guys will have to help. Bob and I are high maintenance.)

It's a little sad to see my baby head toward puberty. Well, sad isn't the word. Terrifying. But Mark is a strong, stable, lovely young man. Ask anyone. But most of all, ask me, cause I'm his mom and I know.


Today is Blog Fart Friday, which we all know I love. It's a good thing, too, because while writing this post, I am watching a 3 year old, an 18-month old, and an 8-month old. The bigger boys are running around.. hang on...

Goodness, who knew an 8-month old could move that fast. Hold on, let me get the bananas...

OK, this is what I plan to do today...

  • catch up on blogging & reading blogs & facebook & other essential things

  • print photos for the photo clock Joseph got me for mother's day

  • complete four months of bookkeeping for my sister

  • do some stuff I can't mention for Carolina School for Inquiry
  • laundry

  • clean house --- at least the top layer

  • read War & Peace

I hear all of you SAHMs & professional nannies giggling, and it is very disheartening. Surely I can get all of that done. How hard can it be to take care of three... oh my .. what was that sound?

This really is no country for old women.


School is out next week. The next week we go to Hilton Head for a week. I'm looking forward to that. I'm not sure why, since we'll be in a three bedroom condo with us (four people), Dad, my niece, and my son & his family (4 people including the two babies). Want to come?

It will be nice, though. There are two pools and an ocean. Mark, Roslyn, and I are going to build the biggest sandcastle ever. We use the mud-drip method. Our castles are long Gothic creations, not the kind you see at beach festivals.

I hope there aren't any sharks. We usually see a couple of dolphins, and once we spent an early morning tossing stranded starfish back into the ocean.

OK, what's that sound?


It's about 5 hours later. All I can say is the kids are alive, fed, and (at the moment) not poopie. I got almost nothing done, even though I called Bob and begged him to come home after lunch. I picked up Mark & Shayna, took Mark shopping for birthday games. And I don't mean RISK, unless you are referring to the version for the PS2.

Suggestion to Game Stop, Game Crazy, and any other GAME store. Put comfortable chairs, real magazines (not the game cheat sheets), and a pot of coffee in a corner so that parents can sit down while their children search through thousands of used games to find Revenge of Spyro: red version 3 (not two, which is for geeks.) OK, I made the title up. If you know it, you are either way young or pay way more much attention to your children's games than I do.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thank you thank you thank you

Martha from A Sense of Humor is Essential (so true, eh?) has given me two awards. I am flattered, honored, and awed.

Which brings us to the first award:

My assignment is to list 7 things about me that are awesome. This may take time, since the only thing awesome about me at the moment is the size of the bags under my eyes. However, anyone who has as many great friends, virtual & IRL, must have something good going on. My friends aren't stupid. (Mostly).

  1. I can explain taxes and most accounting issues to regular people without any of us crying. Most of the time. And if they cry, it's not my fault. Usually.
  2. I can entertain two year olds with empty coffee containers and ball. (The trick: one for each, so you don't hear the dreaded "m" word --- MINE!)
  3. I seem to be able to say to be a bridge between people of different points of view and personality.
  4. I can often calm overwrought and overexcited people trying to operate in crisis mode. This is purely selfish --- if I get in crisis mode, I OD on adrenaline and can't do anything useful.
  5. I can write pretty gooder English.
  6. I talk to kids without talking down to them. I only use baby talk with babies who don't talk yet. Or my husband when I want to irritate him.
  7. I make a really yummy carrot cake with cream cheese icing. Oh, and the pumpkin cheesecake is great too.

The second award:

Isn't that pretty?

I get to pass this on to 10 bloggers I've recently discovered. Well, some are recent and some I've been reading a little while. I'm just getting into exploring all of the great blogs. It's amazing to me that there are people all over the world to whom I can relate. Either they think like me & I say "Wow, separated at birth!", or they don't think like me & I say, "Wow, I hadn't looked at it that way before!" Or both. And most of these folk I've just recently discovered don't know me from Adam's off ox, since 1) I don't comment regularly & 2) they have boat loads of followers. But that's cool. An award is an award, and I hope they enjoy it.

  1. Pseudonymous High School Teacher I used to teach high school, but then I realized I was mistaken about my calling. The caller must have been telling someone standing behind me to teach high school. I just start them up and leave it to the professionals to run.
  2. Ramblings of a Texas Housewife I found Nessa through Lynette, who was one of the first bloggers I followed.
  3. Not Your Average Soccer Mom Brandy participates in Blog Fart Fridays. What's not to love?
  4. Winsome Blog Get some culture. Have you ever heard a poem that just shifted your view (I didn't say paradigm) point enough that the world is clearer and fresher?
  5. Eating the Angel Way New blog, old veteran blogger. And when she says "eat a rainbow" she does not mean Skittles. I tried that joke.
  6. Holy Mackerel Who knew Canadians were funny? Well, I suppose a lot of people... but not me.
  7. Cinnamon, Spice & Everything Nice What's for dinner?
  8. My Brown Baby Interesting reviews, outlooks, ideas no matter what color your baby is. Even if your baby is ginger, hairy, and eats your boots.
  9. The me that I am Nice, friendly, thoughtful.
  10. YOU

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Everyone complains about the weather but no one does anything about it...

It's cold. How can it be cold, when it's May? How can it be cold in May when it was hot in April? How can it be cold when I put away my sweaters?

OK, it's not cold cold. It's maybe 48 degrees F. It will probably get to 70 this afternoon. But I'm still cold now.

I like cold weather, and so I'm confused about why this bugs me so much. I complain because we never have the cool, in-between spring weather. I thought Spring was April 24th this year. I already celebrated.

In SC, we have seasons --- at least two. Summer and not summer. All winter we wear the "spring wear" collection from L. L. Bean, cause it just isn't that cold here. All summer we wear as little as possible and giggle at the magazines that debate whether you should wear pantyhose with sundresses. (FYI: no.) The articles that suggest packing a sweater for the beach in case it gets chilly really crack us up.

But here I sit, without a spring sweater (not really sure what that means), with a choice between boots and sandals, with well-shaved goosebump covered legs. I have nothing to wear.

Oh well. As much as I'd like to call in unclothed (Hey, boss, it's too nice, I'm not coming in), I'll shiver to work and do what all good South Carolinians do. I'll turn on the heat in the morning and the air conditioning in the afternoon and watch the sunshine through the window.

Maybe I'll have a hot flash to carry me through... but that's a different story...

Saturday, May 16, 2009

8 things

Eight is my bestest number, & so when I saw the "8 things" meme floating around, I thought I'd better grab it. I am technically grabbing it from Martha at A Sense of Humor is Essential, since she put it on her buffet. She always has nice things on her buffet, so I encourage you to check it out. (Save the macaroni & cheese for me.)

FYI: I am singing the Schoolhouse Rock song as I write. "If you skate, it would be great, if you could make a figure 8!!!"

8 things I'm looking forward to:
  1. the trip to Hilton Head in early June
  2. the trip to Washington in late June
  3. my children having jobs they love, families they love, houses they love... lives they love and that love them back
  4. Bob having a job he loves (he has the rest)
  5. Carolina School for Inquiry 6th grade
  6. summer break for Mark
  7. making a sand castle with Gabe & Brendon
  8. pottery class in July

(This was really hard to do. What do you suppose that means?)

8 things I did yesterday:
  1. wrote a blog post
  2. went to lunch with my sister
  3. read a book
  4. changed the sheets (Yay me!)
  5. played with Gabe & Brendon
  6. talked to my kids
  7. tried to figure out my Blackberry (this explains huge gaping holes in my time yesterday... I think. Either that or I had a stroke.)
  8. visited my dad, sister, & bro-in-law

(Not a really productive day, although it was a good one.)

8 things I wish I could do:
  1. Help start a Padeia/inquiry middle school (preferably magnet.. charter is hard)
  2. Sing... not just this "joyful noise" crap
  3. Dance... without having people try to stick an eraser in my mouth
  4. Make beautiful pots on a wheel
  5. See my belly button
  6. Write a novel.. a story.. a something interesting
  7. Commit to my garden
  8. Talk to people without fainting, or feeling like I'm about to faint or cry
8 favorite fruits:
  1. green grapes
  2. pineapple
  3. perfect strawberries
  4. blueberries
  5. peaches so ripe you have to eat them over the sink
  6. oranges in winter
  7. bananas each and every day (I even like fake banana Popsicles... go figure.)
  8. watermelon in July

(The hard part about this was limiting it to eight.)

8 places I would like to travel:
  1. New Mexico - we went three years ago and fell in love. I'd like to explore more.
  2. Greece
  3. Ireland
  4. Alaska
  5. On a train across Canada
  6. Australia
  7. Kenya
  8. India

(I would like to work on an archaeological dig. I suspect I would be miserable, but it is something I've wanted to do for a long time. I blame Elizabeth Peters' novels.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

BFF - this ain't no beauty pageant

It's been a tough week. Not a tough week in that I had to work 80 hours or someone died or even got sick. I've just been blue. Post tax season depression, maybe. Maybe it's because I wasn't able to save any money during tax season because we had to get a new stove, have serious plumbing done, help out the kids who aren't kids, fix my tires & transmission. And there was the Blackberry...

I think I've been doing a lot of stewing about what I want to be when I grow up right now. I say stewing, even though I originally thought "reflecting." I have not been reflecting. I think that's what I need to do.

But I'll do it on my own time. Right now, on to the Blog Farts. Bring on the Pepto Bismal.

I've been thinking about the Miss USA pageant. Really. When we were little and there were only three & a half television stations, we used to watch the Miss USA pageant. My Mom, who was chair of the committee to get the ERA passed, would pass out paper & we'd grade the contestants on beauty, poise, and stupid answers. Mom said it was a damn beauty pageant and the best looking one should win. (For most things in life she'd say, "This isn't a damn beauty pageant." She, unlike Donald Trump, knew the difference between a beauty pageant and real life.) Which brings us to the Miss USA pageant. Someone needs to tell Miss California we don't give a rat's a$$ what she thinks of gay marriage. It's only since we've had 500 24-hour news stations that we even know what the contestants say about the stupid questions other than "world peace." No, Miss California, you did not lose because you took a "politically incorrect" stance. You did not lose because you have a revolving account at "Boobs R Us." You lost because Miss North Carolina was prettier. Tough titties, as my mom would say.

I'm sure there are other things going on in the world, but the 500 news channels I watch haven't mentioned them.
Oh, wait, speaking of beauty pageants, what's with the media coverage of Michelle Obama? I know I'm late on this (as with everything) but why are we talking about her as if she were in a Miss USA pageant? It's either the absurd adulation for a HOT first lady from MSNBC or the even more bizarre attacks from FOX news that some how imply that it is wrong to have a young, attractive, and stylish first lady. Like she's doing something wrong. My god people, she's a brilliant lawyer, a great mother, and a physically fit woman. Yeah, I hate her too. No, just kidding. I love her. But why are we talking about her looks?
And note to FOX news: are you saying your sweetheart Laura Bush is a dog? Because she really isn't. She's no Miss California, but this ain't a beauty pageant...

My brilliant son Mark has been taking standardized tests this week. Last year, it was the PACT test, a SC test that is used to skewer schools but has no recognizable value as a monitor of actual student achievement. So the legislature got rid of PACT and put in PASS, which is supposed to do a better job than PACT at whatever the PACT was supposed to do.

So I said to Mark, "How is PASS different from PACT?"

He said, "The name is different."
He tried to remember what the "SS" and the "CT" stood for, but he forgot. I hope that wasn't on the test.

I said, "It's supposed to be a better test."

He thought about it and said, "we did have writing in March."

Oh well. That's good... I guess. It's not pretty, but then, this ain't no beauty pageant.


It's Friday, which is my day off, meaning "the day I do everything I was supposed to do before but didn't feel like doing at 5:00 pm." I haven't figured out what I need to do today, but I think it will start with "take Alka Seltzer." I'm addicted and take it all the time, even if it's not a hang-over. It's probably not good for me. I probably have bounce-back headaches and heartburn, but I'm not up for doing anything about it right now.

Friday is also "yard day" in the neighborhood. The lady across the street, a teacher who must be independently wealthy, hires a team of men to do her lawn every week. The carbon foot print must be as big as a brontosaurus. This fella is riding around on her apron of a front yard on a lawn tractor almost as big as my car. Talk about tight turns.

Oh yeah, Friday may be the day I fight with Miss Clairol. Two clients have commented on my gray hairs. One said he didn't want to give me any more than he'd given me. I told him those weren't his doing. The problem is that I'm in between, with about two inches of gray and the rest mostly black. I ought to color more often, if I'm going to do it, but I'm lazy and cheap. And I'm not quite ready to go gray, partly because it's not pretty gray hair, it's a sad urine colored gray hair. Maybe I should go blue...
Speaking of blue... my bags under my eyes match my eyes. Where is my Mary Kay?
Anyway, I'll dye my hair & it will be REALLY black. I'll look like Elvira (is that her name?) for a couple of days before it tones down. I know, a real hairdresser could do wonders, but see above **lazy & cheap**. I'll think about some after pictures.
But anyway, this ain't no beauty pageant.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coming into the twentieth century

I am always the last to do anything that has to do with trends, technology, and style. I'm not a Luddite, I'm just a) cheap b) lazy c) easily confused by mass amounts of information. I'm moving slowly into the second half of the twentieth century, and hope to live to the 21st. In that quest, I am now on Facebook AND I have a Blackberry.

The Blackberry is great. I have e-mail and messages right here ALL THE TIME. I think I can write a whole novel while waiting for the train to pass... if it's a long train, a short novel, and I can figure out how to send it somewhere to print. I can actually see the pictures I take. I love the Blackberry.

Then I think, is it really important that I know Coldwater Creek is having (another) sale right now while I sit at this extremely long red light? Is it essential that I see from Facebook that my buddy who I haven't seen face-to-face in ten years is drinking coffee? Do I need to know RIGHT NOW that my real-life friend is Darth Maul?

Well.... yeah. And just how long does it take to microwave a pop-tart? I put that sucker in at least 10 seconds ago!

I read an article (on-line of course) called something like "10 reasons to quit Facebook." It was one of those lame AOL things that occasionally sucker me in. One of the 10 reasons was that it is now overrun by people over 30.

Yeah, I can't stand people over thirty... so 'flicked & geeky, not copacetic at all. Oh wait, they are talking about me. Oh well.

I joined Facebook to get in touch with my cousins, aunts, uncles, and old friends all around the place. That's cool, because I do want to see pictures of my cousin swimming with dolphins or my other cousin's daughter and son at a birthday party.

When I first joined Facebook, I started trolling for friends whoring for friends seeking out new friends where no friend had gone before. So now I have a bunch of friends, many of whom I have met. Some I know through the Internet, which is the same as meeting as far as I'm concerned. Then there are those I've heard of, those who have heard of me (which is scary), and those who I don't know from Adam's off ox, but they asked me to be friends and I didn't want to hurt their cyber-feelings.

All of that is fine, since I have an excessive curiosity about all people, even those I don't really know, and do want to know my former Young Democrat buddy is planning a Republican fundraiser while my former reactionary classmate is now a activist. Nothing changes, does it?

But the new format is not working for me. I can't figure out how to find out what my brother or sister are doing. I don't get regular feeds from my friends, maybe because they have all given up too. I don't twitter. I'm not ready for that.

Oh well. I'm settle nicely in the 20th century, and I guess I'll party like it's 1999. Peace out!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Can an 18 month old live on bananas alone?

Most of the time when a toddler says, "Nana!" he is talking about his beloved grandmother. Gabe is talking about bananas.

He wants bananas all day long. He won't eat much else. Bananas, milk, and juice.

He did eat a strawberry. He passed on the grapes (which I'd sliced for him) and the hamburger. He left the mac & cheese with cubed carrot & peas.

He will eat a couple of chicken nuggets. (Parts is parts.) But mostly, bananas.

Oh, well. At least Brendon is trying new stuff. Although he only eats fruit now, he has eaten apples, bananas, peaches, cherries, and blueberries. And loved every drop.

Back to the chase...

Friday, May 1, 2009


Blog Farts – noun.

Def: Crappy ideas that are too short to make a real
blog post, but when combined, join forces to make one unified, albeit half
assed, post. see also: memes, surveys.

Swine flu, bird flu... why can't they have tofu flu?

I have Hypochondria by Proxy, which means that when I hear about diseases I am sure my children, grandchildren, nieces, etc have it. A sneeze is pneumonia. A cough is tuberculosis. A headache is a brain tumor. So you can imagine, I'm in a tizzy with swine flu. It doesn't help that my son and daughter-in-law are on a cruise to the Bahamas, where they will, no doubt, get some dread disease or fall overboard, or both. Did Brendon just cough?


Dress codes are great, in that I don't think you should wear a bathing suit to school, but should they be the focal point of your school? I'm being unfair, of course. Mark & I have been looking at the school district's regular public schools in case Carolina School for Inquiry isn't allowed to open a 6th grade. There were several things that disturbed me, including the "majors" for middle school students, but Mark was OK until.... "shirts will be tucked in at all times."

What does that mean? he asked.

You know, shirt tail in pants.

Even if we aren't at a wedding or funeral?!

Uh.. yeah.

What do they do if your shirt comes untucked?

I assume they suspend you for disturbing the learning environment and send you home to play video games and watch the Disney channel.


One time I read "writing standards" written by a lovely person who was an English teacher. The purpose was to set guidelines to improve student writing. The first two "standards" were: use blue or black ink & only write on the front of the paper.


Is it wrong to pray for CSI to get a 6th grade?


I have my grandsons Gabe (18 mos) & Brendon (7 mos) with me this week... until Tuesday. There are lots of good things about that. Losing sleep is not one of them. Fortunately, I have my dear hubby Bob and my darling sons Joseph & Mark to help. In fact, Joseph is sort of in charge. When I got home from work on Wednesday, Joseph met me at the door, baby on hip.

How was your day? I'm going to take a nap, he said, handing me the baby.

The next day he found a babysitter and worked an electrical job with Robert's boss. Nothing like a day home with two kids under two to make you think work is fun.


Speaking of which, a lot of bloggers I read (OK one or two) are struggling with the SAHM/go to the office dilemma. I understand completely. My youngest is 10, and I still want to stay at home. In fact, it's better now, because there aren't so many kids.

At least MOST people aren't engaging in Mommy Wars any more. It's a choice for some and that cool. It's not a choice for others, and that's sad, but so is life.

Since it's Not Tax Season, I'm in the pretty good in between world --- part time work that I like. We have to be careful with money, but that's OK. I can volunteer at the school, blog, take on a side job, write a novel, whatever. I may even clean the house.

OK, well time to check out other blogs clean the house. Peas!