I have to admit it. I hate shopping.
I hate crowds, I hate waiting in line and I especially hate having an image in my mind of what I want and not being able to find it.
I do love, however, shopping online. The ability to search for, see, and purchase exactly what I want is amazing!! I never have to leave my house!!
This year I was able to buy a book I had been coveting for my Dad. This particular book was long gone from the actual book store shelves, but I found it online and with my husbands super discount plus a Cyber Monday coupon I got the hardback edition for $13!!
Along the same lines... I love that I can have pictures printed from my home computer to the drugstore and then go pick them up in just a few hours. We picked the shots we wanted, sent them and got them back with almost no effort. Mom's gift: check.
Most of all I love that Internet shopping opens up the entire world of options to me. I can find something that is only sold at a gift shop in Northern California and have it shipped to me that day! This global shopping center is less than 15 years old, but I am embracing it thoroughly!!!
Now... let me see... what exotic culinary item can I find for sister that she won't expect but will love more than anything...
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I have to admit it. I hate shopping.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I lost my Cattledog Wrigley in a divorce 9 years ago.
I think I just got her back.
I keep calling Lily a Sheep and Cattledog... She's definitely Sheltie and definitely something Australian. She is her own self but time after time I want to call her Wrigley. The way she runs, the silly look on her face...
We swore we'd never have another dog. But Loreena wanted one (note the past tense) and she fell into our laps serendipitously like all of our animals do. It just made it seem more like she was meant to be ours.
So she's added to the chaos. Is trying my patience. Is inspiring me to make long awaited changes. Is totally NOT a cat.
My cats are very mad. This time though they've decided to take it out on Loreena! Apparently they know the source of the canine usurper. And I really don't mind washing a basket of peed on clothes because I know that they know that I love them and would have never done that to them if it hadn't been for Loreena.
I do love Lily. And something will give here eventually. We struggle for routine around here and insist that we are letting go of the drama. Stepping off the roller-coaster if you will. I have my own carnival rides to visit. Lily is along for the ride here and she'll do great. We all will.
This next year around the sun is all about creating reality. Letting go and moving forward. Being happy and trusting the Universe to provide what we need to prosperous and loved. Love multiplies love.
Welcome to the carnival Miss Lily. Keep your paws in and enjoy the ride.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
When I was 15 I had my first boyfriend with a car. I got threatened with expulsion for fighting in class (with a boy who still apparently can’t resist needling me to the point of extreme irritation). My friends decided to hate me randomly for no apparent reason. The first deep lessons of the “anyone can say anything they want” quandary started to cut into my soul. I was deeply into Ray Bradbury. My crushes at the time were Harrison Ford, John Lennon and the older boy across the street. No boys at school looked twice at me. We performed Oklahoma, which is significant because those songs are the ones that pop up on incessant replay in my mind to this day. My locker looked like I was hording paper for doomsday. Alienation from the mainstream was solidified. I just did not fit in. Thank god. Thank you thank you thank you because I would not be who I am today.
At 16 I went to High School. Fell in love twice. Met lifelong friends. I went to a dance with someone who had known me since birth. We hung out on the levee, in parks, and boarding houses. We listened to music that reverberates through my memory like a soundtrack. The feeling of being wild and free is palpable in those memories. My sister was 4 and she willingly tagged along in convertibles with the top down and the air blowing through our hair. I got a 45 record of sixteen candles as a birthday present and a t-shirt I have to this day. My brother began to exhibit the signs of severe OCD, addiction and violence enhanced by his lifelong defiance of all authority. My Dad took away the phone if I got in trouble, especially for bad grades. At school we were power reading, moonlight swimming, and spending study halls lying on the floor of rehearsal rooms talking about poetry and love. We couldn’t stand to be apart even for 45 minutes and wrote notes to one another in classes. I was the babysitter of all babysitters for a huge number of families. Some of those kids are still on my friends list today. One Saturday afternoon I had a fight with my Dad and broke the glass in the front door just as a mother came to pick me up to babysit. That was the only time I forgot a job. Sometimes we’d get up in the morning to find that my brother had eaten a gallon of ice cream during the night. My Dad put a lock on the freezer.
I have to remind myself just how wonderful and terrible it is to be a teenager. I have to remember that those memories linger and the people who you love do not fade.
I have to remember that now, to me, my Dad walks on water and that my Mom is the one I go to when I am crying.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
I came into Sarah and Loreena’s lives when their parents were separated. I had know their father years before and at the time I had no idea if I’d be a permanent part of their life or just a passing through kind of friend. It was a really hard time. Sarah was struggling with seizures and finding the right medication at age 7 and Loreena was 4 and had her own struggles with speech and conveying her already abstract and complicated world view.
We all hung together through thick and thin and both girls overcame a great deal of difficulties and problems and their father and I did too. Not all of our problems, but some really big ones. But the underlying theme always seemed to be that Sarah was sick with one weird thing after the other. I would call my family back home in Iowa from the ER and they’d say “again!?!” I have been in the ER more with these guys in the last 8 years then in the rest of my life combined. It became kind of a joke that if anyone was going to get something it would be Sarah; the rare sickness, the anomalous symptoms.
Through it all her resilience amazed me. She kept plugging away at school and physical activities and friendships and even boys (karma has not forgotten my own teenage woes). When her health started to decline 2 years ago we chalked it up to growing pains, teen angst, and lingering illness which was always a problem for her. She just never seemed to get well. And then we started the cycle of symptoms that would eventually lead us to POTS syndrome.
As a step mother is it torture for me to see them in pain, either physical or emotional and not be able to help either by determining a better course of action (that’s not my decision to make) or even just by comforting them (don’t want to step on anyone’s toes). It’s a struggle for a problem solver like me to find diplomatic ways of persuading the players to look at things from a different point of view and satisfy the nurterer in me as well.
I eventually came to see that I have a place in this complex puzzle. I can’t say I have totally accepted it but I recognize my role. I was raised with parents and extended family that are highly skilled in the art of unconditional love. That is a quality that I know I can provide for these two beautiful girls and their Dad if only I can let go of the need to have a influence in the outcome. I need to accept that my influence is passive. Sarah needs support for strengths and comfort. She needs to understand that everyone is fighting for her best interests and that no one wants to fight against her. Loreena needs to know that we are all just as worried about her as we are about Sarah. POTS syndrome effects the entire family and how you interact and what you do together. It sucks the life out of the person who has it and everyone who loves them. John needs some clarity of thought and unconditional support when everything around him is falling apart.
That’s me. The Goddess of Unconditional Love. Those of you who know me can hear the sarcasm in my voice. How can I explain that while it comes naturally, it also goes against my perfectionism and critical tendencies? I am only human after all. I am really trying.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
A very sweet friend mentioned on Facebook the other day how no one would watch a reality show about us – the REAL John and Kate – because no one wants to watch two people who are really in love. It got me thinking…
A reality show about our life?? Oh you have no idea.
Here’s the pitch – a bohemian family struggling with chronic illness, high IQ’s, and cats who think they own the lot of them move into a 100 year old home with no closets. Hilarity ensues.
On any given day our house looks like a chaos bomb hit it. We recently tore up a front flowerbed and displaced about 1 million little black biting ants. My boy cat thinks he’s a soccer star and loves to kick things onto the floor (mostly my pint glasses full of iced tea and anything smaller than a dictionary). Daughter 1 is struggling with a recent diagnosis of a syndrome that keeps her on the couch 24/7. Daughter 2 just stepped on and broke Daughter 1’s laptop severely limiting any connection with the outside world.
John is at home writing for a living and frustrated that he’s fixing the writing of fools instead of writing his own stuff and I am gone half the time at an office job or directing other people’s children in community theatre productions.
You want fights? We got fights! But does anyone want to see us argue about how you should wash a dish, or whose turn it is to make dinner? How about which daughter gets to use the one working laptop we have? Or even better – when the lawn is going to get mowed!!
Yesterday Daughter 2 and I had a conversation about the gallon of water she spilled on the stairs. We got 3 clean stairs out of the deal. I tried to get her to clean more of them. No luck. I explained I only care about spills when they are sticky, stain, or are stinky; water not so much. Words to live by.
SO if anyone wants to pay us a million dollars or buy us a giant house to sell out our story on tv; bring it on. You will also see us all sit down to dinner every night, watch movies together, get insanely fattening custard and carmel corn sundaes, spoil our cats to death in what we call “kitty city”, and have Indy car races with Sarah in the Walmart wheelchair.
Friday, June 12, 2009
SO in honor of my summer theatre kids here is a list of some of my theatre memories growing up:
• My first stage feature was as a yellow crayon. I wore corduroy and a turtleneck. It was deep in the 70’s.
• My follow up performance was as a townsperson in Tom Sawyer. I got the role because my mother has a talent for historical costuming. (I already had a dress)
• Then I was typecast in the role of Lucy in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. It made me love Moonlight Sonata and gave me knock out audition song. I got my first community theatre role with that song in Music Man; another costume drama and my first “cast party”.
• 7th grade was Bye Bye Birdie and the director who quit every year the week before Dress Rehearsals. In 8th grade she quit Oklahoma too.
• I went on to play such show stopping roles as a Swedish Maid, a stripping Aunt, a tomboy, a catatonic nursing home patient, the Chiquita Banana Lady, Cassandra, and an angry Earth Goddess among others.
• I loved doing theatre. I loved hanging with the boys backstage and running across the street to get malts at Dairy Queen. I loved and still love the smell of dust in hot lights and how cool the floor is underneath the stage.
• In high school some genius gave me the opportunity to be a stage manager. Probably type casting again but I had never considered that being bossy could actually be a job!!
• Theatre teaches you how to see someone’s real personality. The one they only show when they are acting. If you don’t believe me you have never been in a show.
• Theatre teaches you how to find your own personality. The one you think you never show anyone.
• I still love theatre and I love children’s theatre because I see the looks on their faces and I know that they are starting to hear the voice of their true self in their minds. I hope they never lose the ability to hear it ever again.
I am doing more children’s theatre this summer even though it is a longer drive and a bigger commitment. I am doing it because theatre let's me hear that voice of mine and because when I see the fire catch in their eyes it makes my heart sing.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
So my husband and I had that conversation. I work 3 jobs. I am taking classes. I cannot help you do this. It is your priority and I have finally given in and acknowledged that we need to be in Winston Salem, but I cannot help you do this. He engaged the help of his father and I said fine. You move it. Remember that I cannot help you.
I knew that the agreement had gone South when I got the call at 8pm on day one of moving van rental. “We picked up the van. Then we bought a chair and went to the house to load the things that are going to my Dads. Now we are going to Dads to unload. None of us have eaten and we’re just going to have to load up the truck in the morning.” Oh Sweet Lord this was bad. It devolved from there to become a 2 week process of exactly what I expected. Picking stuff up, carrying it to the car, driving to Winston, carrying the shit into the house, putting it down, and then milling around in giant stacks of boxes until you find something you need. Lather, rinse, and repeat.
The I Can’t Help You conversation is long forgotten. Saturday we dug out a 4 foot by 6 foot Prickley Pear cactus. This was a remarkably easy task that only cost me one pair of leather gloves. I still don’t know how to get it to the compost facility or if they will even take it once I get it there, but it is out of my yard. I am seriously considering those things that shrink wrap bags of clothes and blankets so you can store them in small spaces. Someone at work had a box of books to give away left over from a yard sale. I checked every title in paperbackswap.com and these aren’t even my books!
We do have a Harry Potter room under the stairs… Now if I could only figure out how Harry makes it into a real sized room that holds all of his shit.
Monday, May 11, 2009
I’ve been talking to an old friend about the things that make us who we are. It’s where we are from but much more than that. It is where we are and how we got there and the people who sang us their songs along the way.
I am back in a City. It’s a community within a city. It’s the people you know and which streets you use to get where you’re going. It makes a big difference. Do you take the back roads or do you always get on the expressway? Because there are cities within cities and your boundaries define your limits.
People have said to me a million times: I didn’t realize you grew up in town. You don’t sound like you grew up in town.
That’s because I didn’t. I lived in town, but that is only a part of where I grew up. I grew up in farm fields, and county parks. I grew up with my feet in the streams and rivers and the storm drains. I grew up in our family van driving the back roads of America looking for pieces of history and culture that most people never see. I grew up with my friends sitting on the edge of the levee and lying in the leaves.
Sometimes my new City reminds me of home. On Saturday mornings it smells like lawn mower exhaust but this morning it smells like rain soaked lilacs. With a window open I can hear dogs barking and kids playing somewhere down the sidewalk. Other times it reminds me that here, old men speak using accents that my brain lags a good 3-4 seconds behind in comprehension.
Stories swirl around you in Cities. Waiting to be sung.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
My stepdaughters are writing a horror story.
"Fictional" characters living in a house that sounds like our. Who are haunted by living memories inside the house.
Both John and I have been having dreams that go way beyond your normal night time flights of fancy. I can't help thinking that either the girls are planting seeds in our brains or that this house has inspired all of us to take a deeper look at how we relate to the past the present and future.
We are, after all, living in a 100 year old farm house in the middle of a major city.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Man, I hope my Mom isn’t reading this.
I couldn’t resist! When I realized that I could get a 16g stainless steel barbell in my upper ear at Claire’s using the earring gun at the mall for less than $20??
I was so there!!
So I get to the store, a little worried because, hello! Cartilage! And I sit down to wait for the manager who is the only one in the store trained to pierce cartilage. And who should walk up to wait in line behind me to get her little ears pierced but Cindy Lou Who. I swear this little six year old is standing by the chair I am sitting in sucking her thumb and holding her teddy bear.
I tell her “don’t worry if it looks like it hurts me, yours is going to be MUCH easier than mine” (at this point I am hoping for silent tears at best) and her mother ask where I’m getting it, I point and she mouths to me “she’s really scared, this is her 3rd try”.
Great. No pressure to cowboy up or anything.
They watch. I get pierced. Cindy Lou gets a high five from me and she was all smiles hopping up into the chair. I didn’t have the heart to stay and watch her get hers done. I would have felt like a traitor.
But honestly? It really wasn’t that bad! Not really that much more pain… seriously.
I can so totally handle a tattoo now.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
If you know my Dad, you know this makes total sense.
The next is a year we had snow on Easter. I remember laying on back between the trees in our back yard and the huge fluffy flakes falling softy all around me. I love that memory. It's one of my happy thoughts.
This Easter I am missing being with my family and enjoying Mina's first Easter. My sister loves bunnies so I bet Mina will get at least one lovely stuffed bunny to hug. I am also missing my Grandmother's pickled beet eggs.I love them!
Kelly- if you are reading this, let everyone know I would rather be home with all of you, eating beet eggs and ham.
I will instead be in a hot dusty house packing up what is left of our lives and trying to move on up.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Younger step-D just slipped on the floor leaving the room. Does that mean she's a spaz or that I need rugs? You be the judge. I have now convinced her that wet-Swiffering her room sounds like FUN! Maybe not fun exactly but she's doing it.
Kitty Walk 80% installed. Pictures coming later! John and Sarah made a trip to Tville to get the walk part and another load of stuff.
I have to sleep. Stayed up late watching the EMT's help a crying girl in front of my house. Have washed every comforter and sheet set at least twice and Fat Head is still only peeing on things he's perceiving to be mine. Apparently this is all my fault. I am not trusting him to go anywhere out of my sight.
Something that sounded like glass breaking just fell in the kitchen and Stella is the only one uaccounted for. Guess I don't get my nap.
Monday, April 6, 2009
(in no particular order...)
A picture of my Dad
My Dad's bible
A picture of my first step-pet Sheba
A Hawkeye bracelet
My Grandma Schantz's lamp
Artwork from Gary
stickers from my sister
a christmas ornament from my Mom
Princess Katie Strunk letter and pics
a Mayan bookmark from the step-girls
My HS ring
QC Symphony key chain
A Star Trek TNG bumper sticker
Van Halen concert tickets
A Screaming Halloween Witch with glowing red eyes
a million claw clips
postcard from Hungary from Hynden
a 5th of Jack
nail polish and remover
back pack patches
bike tire inflater and multi-tool from Kris
Vicks vapo rub
Matthew Sweet dubbed cassette
i carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart) i am never without it (anywhere i go you go,
- e.e. cummings
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Andy Warhol gave everyone the potential for 15 minutes of fame.
I haven't had my whole 15 minutes of fame yet. I have attended protests, performed in plays, directed childrens theatre, and cooked well enough to convert a vegetarian to meat but I have yet to be famous to the world.
Saturday, April 4, 2009
Today we could not find an adapter cord. Correction THE adapter cord. We found about 100 adapter cords just not the one that would fit until about an hour into the process. Boy was I sorry that I asked...
The stepdaughters apparently have been convinced by their mother that our new old house is haunted... Great. The younger one has been taking photos and running them through a heat sensing filter to show us the hot spots. I will have to remind her that they usually look for COLD spots when it's ghosts. Maybe hot spots mean we have demons... NOT!
Everything looks lovely and freshly painted. Can't wait till we have piles of books and garbage everywhere. Sigh... Looks like Easter weekend is gonna be sifting and sorting. No candy coma, no going home to see my family.... bigger sigh.
On the bright side our house is 2 blocks from the recently relocated Favorite Bar of all time. We sat their last night and listened to belligerent Irishmen argue over Irish political history in between songs about the Uprising... I loved every minute. The fabulous food doesn't hurt either. I think we're going to have to start a Pub fund. Fancy a pint?
Saturday, March 28, 2009
We are "camping" in our new house (:)). But I have no kitchen equipment at all.
We ended up with frozen pizzas, oven ready Jack Daniels pork roast, tortillas, a small container of precut peppers and onions, bag of cheese, chips and salsa, and a can of black beans. Do you see my mistake? No can opener. Sigh...
The only thing I really wanted but did not get was ice tea. There is no blasted un-sweet tea in this state!! Maybe we will find a fast food restaurant that still has some of their "diet" tea available for the sugar intolerant on the way home.
By the way- I have named our house "the super happy sunshine house". So far it's only me who is not living up to the name. I think it's the Benedryl hangover from last nights West Coast Wings sulphite bonanza....
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I can't wait to be able to walk to the library, listen to live music outside, walk on a sidewalk, see the skyline, order out and have it delivered, walk downtown and find my husband at his coffee shop, live in a home with real ceilings, and find art in unexpected places.
I am going to buy a brick for my husband to help pave the city we love. It will say: true love endures.
I am going to buy the most outrageous blooming flowers for my window boxes so that everyone who drives down our street will see them and know that wildly happy people live there.
I am going to know my neighbors and people who serve me coffee and sandwiches downtown.
I am going to live my life in the moment and not waste one second in fear or anxiety.
I will teach my family that home is a feeling and that we carry it with us wherever we go.
Teeny is my Tom-cat. He was the best and most precious present from my husband who has taken to calling him Fat Head. Stella is our new Maine Coon Princess who I have just realized has been moved around to house after house in the last 9 months. She has attention issues.
The Princess loved Teeny at first sight but has now cooled her attentions and is agressive toward him. I don't blame her. She's had enough. But she also probably feels like this cat threatens her people time. And boy does she love people time.
There is no doubt in my mind that Stella is a permanent member of our family. I do not take animals into my heart and home without believing that it is forever. I do not understand people who do. Fostering is great, those are not the homes I'm talking about. It's the homes that buy a pet and then can't take the responsibility.
Are these the same people who believe that animals do not have souls? Do they think animals do not experience fear or loss or happiness? If you have ever been licked by a dog, or felt a cat purr against your chest you know the truth. Animals can be pure joy in a home or a heart.
I read an article about pets and stress relief. The world has a whole lot of stress lately and these animals feel it too. Share some love and stability. They will be there for you whenever you need them if only you will open the door.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Watch out little katydid, there are many pitfalls and false alleyways in which you might lose your way!
Today I am writing a $50,000.00 NEA grant for a quartet in residence from Mexico, writing a paper on voter registration and if there is a better way, nursing a new kitty through a heat cycle and ear mites, nursing the other kitty through neutering surgery, thinking about all the fun things we can do this weekend in the city, making strawberry sundaes with my husband, and sending out press about how my county had 2 regional winners advance to the state level in our conservation poster and speech competitions!
Life is full and good. Living in the moment, I have to say it really is.
Monday, March 23, 2009
He worked and I read Geek Love all morning at the coffee shop, quick sandwich for lunch, trolled the thrift stores, found the library, and started to create a to do list. All within a mile of our new home.
The house has an awesome furnace and is high enough above the street that car sounds don't bother. The closets look like they were an after thought and I don't think anything will hang in them, but that probably just means we buy some cool furniture pieces. Any suggestions?
I know what I need for the kitchen; butcher blocks for baking! I will be baking my way through the Scandinavian Baking Book I got for Christmas. I will post results here I promise. And rugs. I for sure need rugs.
First on the list: Downtown Thai and The Tempest
I love my life!
Saturday, March 21, 2009
It was a solid gray day. Right around 30 degrees. My friend Jennifer and I had made arrangements to meet at her house to dye my hair for the school play. (Method Actors!) To pass the time she had rented a movie. That movie made a striking impact on my life.
We read James Joyce in school, Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man. I liked it. I did not read anymore Joyce. Perhaps to intellectual for 15 or 16. But this movie, at the age of 18 hit me hard. The Dead is still a transformation story for me today. The memory of seeing it for the first time is punctuated by an image of the day in all its grayness. Snowflakes falling silently in no wind. Cold seeping into our bones.
In the story, Joyce gives you a real time description of a holiday dinner party in Ireland at the turn of the century. Events recall a memory, of Michael Furey who died as a young man. It is sad. And chilling. But the love that is brought out with the sorrow is palpable.
The Dead do not leave us. They go far away and then linger in our memories. Their perfect beauty is remembered in our hearts and souls. Today feels cold and gray and snowy if I let it.
Friday, March 20, 2009
No I am not becoming a crazy cat lady. Crazy yes, cat lady no.
The very instant I accepted that our sweet little Izze was not coming in from the wild I checked Craigslist to see if anyone had cats to give away.*
The very first post said Maine Coon Cat free to good home. I said to my husband, wow. That's a message from the universe. Should I call her? Is 10:30 pm too late? (of course it is! Sheesh!)
Moral of the story is 4 days later I have a beautiful young lady named Stella Luna who is now a part of our family. Last night was rough. Lots of crying and helloing (MC's do this masterfully) but this morning she was more comfortable. It's so easy to fall in love with this cuddle ball of fur. My husband said "I think I would have taken her across the country with me. I'd never have given her away." I of course agree. But there are folks all over making the same decisions more now than ever.
I wondered for a second if I'd made a mistake. That instant occured after an hour long drive in the car where she sat and purred in my lap the entire time. The minute we came inside and saw our 1 year old cat Teeny she made a spectacular verticle leap out of my arms flailing and hissing. Hence the night of trembling and crying. But this morning by the light of day they eyed each other without incident. I just know they'll love each other in the end.
That's the way it always works out in our house.
* Ha! In this economy EVERYONE has pets of all kinds to give away! So if any of you have room in your homes, hearts, and especially budgets for an animal friend, check out Craigslist, the classifieds, and all the posting boards you can find. Your compassion and love will be returned to you a thousand fold.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
My new to me house will be 100 years old this year! I want to find a special way to celebrate that. I also want to find a way to ease our lives into the new situation. Old house, old neighborhood just 1/2 a mile from a vibrant downtown with an arts scene and live music and a brand new baseball stadium! I am so excited to be moving.
It's romantic, the notion that we'll be just a few miles from where we met. Where we spent some very romantic moments. I can't wait for the feeling of lifting our lives up. It should be interesting to see if that works for all of us, or if we will be met with resistance!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I WILL do it!
We are moving to the city, closer to our new life and further away from the old.
My sister and her husband will be moving with little Miss Ellamina and FAMILY is the new most important word in our vocabulary!
Life's looking up!