Archive for the ‘Blessed and possessed’ Category

I totally forgot about the second day.

August 21, 2018

I tried to make the title even a bit more ominous than that because YOU GUYS – Second Day today. I always dread First Day of school because of (hours) earlier get-ups for the girls and the two hours of forms to sign and return, and arguing over who gets to tell mum her stories first.

But Second Day…oof. I forgot it might be worse.

I heard the girls arguing while I was still putting on my face. I almost went out to stop it – girls got claws these days! – but I figured they would sort it out. I didn’t get even a whimper out of them while we were driving; Gracie didn’t even grump when I beat her at padiddle, handily. Nope. My lumps just lumped there, unmoving. Wishing they had even five minutes of sleep left.

Of course my morning went better. My alarm went off today and everything! But ThePlaceThatShallNotBeNamed is extra NotNamey today, so there’s that.

But at least there’s crack-chicken for dinner. Nomnomnom. That will get us through. That and the promise of squishy beds!


First Day of School!

August 20, 2018

I present to you, my not-littles!


We have a 7th grader and a 9th grader – and they are both so excited, nervous, I didn’t have to remind them to get up and get ready this morning.

…in fact, they had to remind me to get up. After I hit the second snooze, I must have accidentally shut my alarm off. YIKES! Gracie came in and woke me up when we were supposed to be leaving. Uh – didn’t the absence of coffee or lights on in the house tip her off?!

So we left 15 minutes later than we usually do. …And then I remembered in my rush that I had forgotten my cell phone. Thankfully, we weren’t even halfway to their dad’s house. We banged a u-ey, got my phone, and finally all was well. The girls won’t have much time at dad’s house to get ready, but everyone made it!

Sweet baby jeebus, pray for us this school year. Because if this is any indication….mama’s just gonna lie on the floor and laughcry about it!

That’s one heck of a reminder.

August 6, 2018

Longtime readers know I believe in karma and balance in the universe. If you lose something somewhere, it helps soothe my heart to think it means that the universe will soon make it right. I know it’s a silly little way to look at the world, maybe. But it helps.

I was trying to find the upside to all of the changes we’re going through at Casa de Katie. I’m turning 40 in a few weeks. (Which, really, isn’t daunting at all: Imma make 40 fun and fabulous and I’m not worrying on that at all!!) School is starting and all the structure that goes along with that; I’m not ready. When I was chatting with someone about that, they were so “kind” as to point out that with Gracie-girl starting high school , and Bee starting junior high, I have no children left in elementary school.

And that – well, that just about walloped me.

With my kiddos all grown up, surely they wouldn’t need me any more. That left me feeling so empty. Children’s coming  and going might not be convenient all of the time, but I always relished feeling needed. The girls being older  meant they wouldn’t need me as much – not like they did, anyway.

I should have known the Universe was laughing at me.

The very weekend after making such a stark realization, I got smacked upside the head by a story that I imagine will be told and retold las family. Lore.  See, about a week ago, one of the girls asked me to check her hair. She was itchy itchy itchy and so I checked her hair, but found nothing. Again on Friday, she complained and I checked and, again, nothing!

And then last night, after an entire day of cleaning out the abomination that was the Front Room Chaos of 2018, one of my girlies declared a few bugs crawled out of her hair. And then I shaved off all her hair and torched the house and still felt like I had creepy-crawlies crawling all over me. Bleerrrrggghhhh. I had the girl in question (they’re so embarrassed, I’m forbidden from disclosing any information) shower while I googled all sorts of information about head lice. And blow torches.

A second trip to Target and  63 loads of laundry later, I confirmed that yes, one girlie did have lice. It seemed like maybe it was early on – thankfully. The other girlchild had a single baby louse and some eggs that hadn’t hatched.

And that’s the story of how both girls were held out of church (and public places of all sorts) for at least 24 hours. I followed the directions on the special (and expensive) shampoo. I laundered the girls’ bedding at scalding temperatures, and had the girls bag up their stuffed animals.

That was the easy part. Shaking the feeling that everything was c-r-a-w-l-ing all over me was harder to shake. And then I had to laugh over the fact that right after I cried over the girls not needing me anymore, this giant kerfluffle lands in my lap. Do we ever learn not to tempt the wrath of the whatever on high atop the thing? Well. Apparently not.

So, if you’re listening, Dear Universe  – I’m sorry I doubted you. No doubt you’re laughing your booty off! As soon as I finished my 239489th shower (just to be sure) I might even join you in the laugh. Only us!


August 4, 2018



August 3, 2018

Remember when I said you wouldn’t believe what Bee’s room looked like when I got home?

I was not kidding.

Not only did she clean that mother, she re-arranged it!!! Without me hearing! My jaw hit the floor. In real life!

Granted, I haven’t checked under the bed, or opened the closet, but still – pretty impressed, Bee-tween. Pretty impressed.

Getting Through It.

August 2, 2018

It’s been a tough year. This week…this week has been a tough week. Monday night, in particular, exploded in spectacular fashion.

My Bee-tween is just that right now. In between the superfabulistic girlchild she was, and the inconceivably wicked young woman she’s about to be. Right now, though…right now Bee is a Bee-tween stuffed chock-a-block fulla hormones. And feelings. And stubborn tenacity that cuts both ways like ouch. I love the guts right outta her. Even on nights like Monday.

My Bee-girl, she and I got sideways. She mouthed off, said things she shouldn’t have said, refused things she shouldn’t have refused. And kept doublin’ down on trouble. Like, my girlie got so worked out, she put herself in time-out and refused to clean her room, do laundry, or apologize.

Being a mom is hard.

Being a tween is hard.

But we’re getting through it. Bee eventually started working on cleaning her room.And Lord – it needed cleaning.


And that’s after a lot of work had been done. Yeah. So the Ex offered to let Bee come over the next night while he was at Camp Gladiator. Bee was in such a different mood and happily cleaned and chatted away as I helped her sort through trash. She asked for (and received) permission to stay over so she could get more done.

As we were taking a short ice cream break, Bee asked me something. “Mom, do you remember when we were little, and you’d make us go clean our rooms? And we’d close the door so it would be a big surprise for you? Then we’d give you a tour of our clean room?”

I couldn’t believe it was a fond memory for her. I couldn’t believe she had fond memories of anything after the tween-demon had infested her the night before. But I was glad we were all moving on. Of course I remembered how happy the girls were to show off their work. I told her so.

“I want to work on the room tomorrow and you stay out until I’m done!”

“Okay,” I said, laughing at her. Gracie-girl’s friends ended up invading the house and sleeping over, so I was glad Bee had a project to keep her busy.

It kept her busy until 1 a.m. that night (not parent-approved!), and my jaw dropped when I came home to see what had gone on.

Wait til you see…

Those tiny moments.

April 23, 2018

With an incredibly hectic schedule during the days, and with crazy schedules frequently at night with the school year winding down and concerts and field trips cluttering up my dayplanner, the moments I cherish are the quiet ones home with my girls.

I had to be in place early this morning, so the girls stayed with their dad for an extra night. I miss them so much after they’re gone all weekend. One extra night makes it so much harder, for some reason.

Soooooo, tonight there’s a game plan. No, literally – we’re going to play card games and order pizza and just chill out on the couch. Gracie-girl mixed five different decks of cards for us, and we are gonna have us an epic game of War. Mwa ha ha ha!!!

Games are afoot, madam. And I cannot wait to relax with my chicas and enjoy them!

Jumping back into the water – all of me, all at once.

April 22, 2018

Hello. It’s me. I’ve been wondering if after all this time you want to hear me. But I want to write. I need to write again. I need to feel like me and it’s time to add this piece back into the mix.

So how do I do it? I spent the past week thinking about it, casually, and then I contemplated it more often and seriously this weekend. How do I write out loud, on my blog? How do I return? Dipping my toes back into the water doesn’t seem like a good idea: it always feels colder and draws out the uncomfortable part. Just jump back in, Katie. The water will feel warm and you’ll get your breath back in just a minute or two.

Still, it’s a weird feeling – being gone so long from my blog, and then just being here, in one fell swoop. Or jump, I should say. I wonder if anyone will notice, or if I’m just shouting into void, voicing words that won’t even be heard. But that thought, even though it echoes back frequently, doesn’t hold much weight. I write for myself. I always have. It’s why I shrug my shoulders when what I’ve written causes trouble (because heaven knows I’ve tripped backwards into trouble so often it’s like an old friend), because what I write is me trying to figure out what I feel, what I’m going through, how I should act and react. It’s how I process so much of what I go through in my life.

Okay, this is getting maudlin and more than a little cheesy. Just jump in, Kate!

So what’s going on in my life? What the incredible, impossible-to-ignore urge to write? Let me tell you a little bit of it. It’s all way too much to write about in one go. So for starters…

I’ve all-of-a-sudden gotten a giant promotion at The Place That Shall Not Be Named. It came at exactly the right moment when I thought I would implode from burnout and…okay, I’m going to stop there because we don’t talk about things at The Place That Shall Not Be Named. Talking about work is not what you do in public, in writing. Suffice it to say that I’m incredibly happy to be noticed and rewarded. I’m overwhelmingly challenged to think and improvise all day, every day. And so I’m exhausted and barely able to move at the end of some days. But it feels like the best unexpected blessing right now. So I’m just going with it and trusting in my angels that they know what I need.

Then there’s the girls. Gracie is turning 14 on Thursday. Four. Teen. That is, if she makes it! We’ve hit a bit of a rough patch, the girls and I. Bee-girl is turning 12 in a few months and she’s full of hormones about to explode. Every time she asks to talk to me, she starts with an epic eye roll and “No, I didn’t start my period.” Because she’s been so acting like it lately that I maybe possibly might ask that question a lot. Oof. But we’re surviving. A little bit ago I thought we might not. Show me a parent of two teenagery girls who didn’t think that once or twice! But something I didn’t expect and no one told me – when your girls hit this age, this hard-to-parent, oh-my-goodness, pass-the-wine, oh-no-you-didn’t! kind of age, your love for them grows even fiercer, like you might explode with love and protection instincts, and you just want to smother them with mama love and talk their ears off, and show them every card game you know, because you want to spend time with them, but it has to be sly and sneaky, or else they’ll disappear into their rooms. It’s a tricky time, but we’re managing. I’m managing. By the skin of my teeth some days, but we’ll be okay.

My reading life has come back, and I am rejoicing! It’s what keeps me going when things get dark, and I am so grateful for it! I’ve already topped 125 books for the year and some of the books I’ve read have been shout-from-the-rooftops! kind of wonderful! Exit West, by Moshin Hamid; The Chalk Man, by CJ Tudor (Oh, I can’t wait to tell you all about it in my Thursday book reviews!); Allegedly, by Tiffany Jackson; The Sun and Her Flowers, by Rupi Kaur; Love, Hate, and Other Filters, by Samira Ahmed. And speaking of Samiras, I’ve finally watched Orange Is the New Black after four or five attempts, and Samira Wiley, my god you guys! I need more of her in my life! For reals. And surely that show counts as literature, yes?

Other creative outlets are afoot. Bee-girl and I have started an Etsy shop, and as soon as I get a few items in there, I’ll set you guys up with a link and beg you to take a peek. Bee has slime, slime, and more slime. Finally, a place to ship everything she creates! And ohhhhhhh does that girl create a lot of slime! She’s a connoisseur of all things slime-related. Isn’t it normal to have industrial-size containers of Borax on your counters? And shaving cream. And food coloring? I’m blaming Uncle Kene for introducing my mad scientists with the wonders of Borax. As for me, I’m selling needle point creations of literary quotes and political jokes. I have baby blankets. And so. many. Christmas ornaments! Corrie and I spent an entire weekend making Christmas crafts, but we might need to wait a few months before our Christmas Shop hits the markets. Let’s just say we’ll be ready!

And running! I’ve started running again, using the Couch to 5k method. I’m on Week 3  and about to embark on Week 4 – 12 minutes of walking and 18 minutes of walking. I’m doing great! I’m so proud of myself. I told you I was crawling back into myself, and running is definitely a part of me. I started running because a dear friend PHYSICALLY MADE ME, and I will always be beholden to her, to use an Anne-ism. Running is something to strive for. It gives me goals and an outlet to pour myself into! When I get a bit better, there’s a running club I want to join. Maybe there will be cute, sarcastic, bookish types who flounder near the back of the pack, like me. Who knows?! But I can’t wait to find out! Goals are good. They’re fantastic! And I’m reaching for them.

So yes, I’ve been up to a few things. Just a few, because these past few months have been sort of dark and depressy. I’ve been missing for a reason. But I’m glad to be back. The water is warm, jumping in took a courageous moment of fuck-it proportions. But my water-wings are nearby if I need them.

But mostly I just need to write.


Good thing chicken soup comes in big batches.

February 20, 2018

My mom’s chicken soup is one of the few recipes I can make that tastes exactly like my mom’s. When you’re missing your mom, this is important. All those almost-right recipes are still tasty, but every once in awhile, you want something that tastes like home. Say, for instance, when you’re sick as a dog.


Wednesday night it was Gracie. She went from slightly sniffly to so-congested-she-wanted-to-fall-over-dead in the space of a few hours. I checked her for fever a hundred-million times, but she wasn’t ever warm. I figured it was the bug that was going around, let her stay home Thursday and Friday, and by Friday night she was mostly better, Saturday she was practically cured.

Bee-girl pulled the same stunt Sunday night. She had been fine all day, and then all of a sudden, she said her throat hurt and that she had a headache and went to bed. Then she got up and asked for cough medicine. I let her sleep in on Monday, and when she got up, she said she had a headache. She also looked like she got hit by a truck. I felt her head and hooboy, yes, my baby girl was a little warm. I took her temp – 102.1°. Urgent Care had a two-hour wait, during which we both took a nap (and I prayed I wasn’t falling victim to the same flu) and then went in for confirmation.

Poor Bee-baby. If you know her, you know she bounces rather than moves, never sits sit, is always scheming and planning, and moving. Not yesterday. She laid her head on my shoulder (and baked me with her fever), laid down on the exam table, meekly submitted to the mask and 8034 hand sanitizer sessions. She was sick. But not with the flu, apparently. Her flu test came back negative, oddly enough. And this is not a girl who gets a fever with any other bugs. So they loaded her up with Tamiflu in case it was too early for positive flu results, antibiotics in case it was something else, and a school note to stay out all week if needed.

I was texting back and forth with their Dad and Stepmom while all this was going on. And don’t you know that they were both sick, too. The Ex was so sick that he ended up at Urgent Care later that night, but his flu test came back positive. We can’t catch a break!

So their house has become the quarantine facility. I dropped Bee-girl off after I got her meds and she went right to sleep. Gracie and I huddled at home, hoping we evacuated the outbreak monkey quick enough. We should move the girls step-sis and niece into Bee’s (freshly laundered and bleached) room until everyone is okay!

And so tonight after I make chicken for dinner, I’ll pull out the giant soup pan – see! we even call it the “soup pan”! – and make some chicken soup. We only make it in the giant pan, so it only comes in giant batches. Sometimes it’s annoying because we can’t finish the soup, but I don’t think that will be the case this time.

Chicken soup to the rescue! Maybe I should mix the tamiflu right into the pan. Yeah?

How to display a million, zillion Funkos.

January 30, 2018

I don’t understand when people say that tweens and teens are hard to buy gifts for. I’ve had a blast buying things for my two – or maybe it’s just that my girls are easy to buy for because I know them so well and they’re engaged with so many interests it’s hard not to trip over so many tiny little things they’d like.

One of those things is the Funko Pop! figurines that everyone is crazy over. I can’t remember the first one I bought for Gracie, but it might have been Harry Potter. She, of course, went nuts for him (Gracie loves being a dedicated and loyal fan almost more than she loves the subject(s) of her adoration), and the rest, as they say, is collectible history.

Gracie’s Funko addiction (for that is what it is, now) has grown to include the Harry Potter group – including a nose-less moldy Voldy, a truly creepy dementor with gauze-like material covering them, and a Hagrid whose size really does dwarf everyone around him (Huzzah for details!); a lone Katniss to represent her entire imaginary world; a Doctor Who or two (and maybe a Dalek, don’t hate); mini- Gandalf and Frodo (who were supposed to be keychains, I think?); and so. many. Stranger Things characters that my heart bursts with happy!

The question that had been nibbling at the back of my head became more insistent – what do you do with Funko creatures once you have more than one or two? Gracie used to have them arranged on the top of her shoe cubbies, and that worked…until she got about a half-dozen more for Christmas and over the tipping point she went. We needed a creative solution. And Gracie’s Auntie Kim loves to tackle problems such as these. Shelves, of some sort, would make a fantastic Christmas present. And if she found a great deal (she did), she would throw in a gallon of paint to re-do the accent wall in Gracie’s room.

Eventually, the shelves I found were all summarily dismissed and instead Kim decided we should go with a bunch of distressed wood crates she’d found at Michael’s. I agreed that I could live with them, did a few measurements to make sure they’d function and everyone (eh, except maybe Hagrid) could fit, and off we went.

A few design suggestions were proffered, and we went with a modification of the one Auntie Kim liked best. I love the spiral look, but the proposal had all of the crates touch and to me, it looked scrunched. Call me crazy, but since it’s mi casa and I’m the one having to look at it all day, I’m not going to greenlight something that drives me buggy. I’m happy to shrug my shoulders or greenlight lots of other things I’m neutral on, or things that don’t actively make me think of nails-on-chalkboards. Otherwise, I’m pretty sure we can come up with something everyone’s happy about.

Besides – how awesome does THIS look?!!

I can’t decide which of the new Stranger Things is my favorite: Hopper with his mug of coffee (to go with his contemplation), or Eleven with her Eggos and smudges of coffee, or Dustin with his Ghostbusters gear?Gracie might lean towards Hopper because she also did this thing with her lightboard, clearly proving that I am Raising Her Right:


Yep. That kid is definitely a keeper.

Gracie had an extra Joyce (silly Santa, forgetting which he’d already picked up), which we were going to exchange, but then someone took it out of its box and recycled said box. So. I decided to keep it, paragon of feminist barely-keeping-it-together-but-don’t-EVEN-go-after-her-kids Mom of the Year that she is. This particular Funko Joyce is Season 1, and is carrying a ball of Christmas lights, hoping they’ll lead her back to Will. And so…I did a little thing to fix it. I present…


Am I right?!!

Awesome feminist moms aside, once Gracie’s display issue was settled, we did also repaint her wall, as promised. I know it’s a little anti-climatic, but I *do* love the way the peacock blue pops, and I know it’ll match her gold-white-peacock blue color scheme to a T.

I still miss the purple, but it’s her room, I don’t hate the blue, and I can repaint my own room in purples and greys, now that the nearly-robin’s-egg-blue color experiment is officially dead. (Hey, it still beats painters-white.)

Not a huge reno project, but sometimes it’s the small things, guys.