Archive for October, 2005


Happy Halloween!!!

October 31, 2005

It’s October 31st, All Hallows Eve. Halloween. That’s Jake the Jack-o-Lantern over there. He’s a good jack-o-lantern and graciously allowed us to carve him, scoop his innards out, and toast his seeds all without cutting or burning ourselves.
Pretty good, I’d say. And, with cinnamon sprinkled inside and the candle blazing, he makes the house smell just like Autumn should smell. Welcome, Jake. Hang out for a while. You’re pretty groovy.

It’s scheduled to rain tonight – just as it rained last year. Man, last year sucked out loud. I was in one of my “NO WIRE HANGERS” moods and poor Stealth and Duck were just about convinced that the ghouls and goblins were not out on the streets as they had been told, no, they lived in their house and looked like Mommy. That was worth at least 3 years on the therapist’s couch. Damn.

This year, things are much different. This year, Mommy is much more Zen. It’s a tangible difference. I’m happier now than I have been in years, I’m so much more relaxed, and it shows. And I hope that my boys can see it. They deserve it the most.

Tonight we’ll brave the wind and rain and cold together, all four of us. We’ll be making memories that will last forever. And, as we come home and sit down to some warm food and laughter and the endless examination of candy and goodies and treats, I’ll be grateful for this holiday, for my family. And, I’ll wish my own ghost, the ghost of the Demon Mommy, a swift trip to the afterlife. She’s not needed here anymore.



October 28, 2005

"I isolated myself from people and things that might tear me down."

These words were spoken by a teenage girl in San Diego when asked how she made it.  She was featured on a national morning news program today.  This young woman made my heart swell.  She made my brain stretch.  She made my faith and belief in humanity take one more step.
She and her family spent the last couple of years homeless, having nothing much to eat, no where to live.  5 of them trying the best way they can to survive.  In a community where a mind boggling number children in the school systems are homeless, where over a thousand of this girls classmates are in trouble with the law, where the drop out rate is raising faster than The Monkey’s disapproval rate, where almost 2/3 of teenage girls end up pregnant, this young woman graduated high school with straight A’s and is on her way to  college.
She is a Phoenix rising out of the ashes.
My mother has always said, "Self preservation is the key."  She’s absolutely correct.  One must do what one has to do to take care of ones self.  It’s not always easy, but it’s always necessary.  No one can succeed for us.  No one can pull us out of our ashes but ourselves. 
I think about the young girl in California.  I know that she’s just one of many people in the world who share the same story.  And there are other stories that also deserve to be told.  Millions of them, perhaps.  An organization which is very close to my heart has a slogan: "Behind every decision, behind every choice, is a story."  We all have stories.  We all have had defining moments where a specific choice has changed the courses of our lives.
We all have Phoenix moments of our own, don’t we?  Moments of rebirth, recreation.  Moments of change and growth and hope and uncertainty.  Moments where we know that we can never (and should never) go back, we don’t know what the future holds, but that we refuse to fail, refuse to be anything but successful, no matter how hard it is.  Sometimes that means accepting things we don’t want to accept, sometimes that means accepting people we don’t want to accept, and sometimes that means isolating ourselves from folks and things that we cannot accept.
Sometimes it’s easy to stay in the fire pit.  Sometimes it’s easier to just stay down and not rise again.  I know that there have been times in my life that I’ve stayed in the ashes longer than I should have.  I can see places in my past where certain decisions I made took my life places I’d rather not have gone.  I can also look back and see where I some how chose the right thing, took the right path, and my scorched, seared reality again took on a shine and glowed as if brand new.
Taking a look at my emotional plumage, I can see that I still have some burned and singed feathers.  I have some that are about to fall out and I also have some that are brand new, regrowing.  There’s some shiny patches and some gnarly spots.  It’s a work in progress – but it’s getting better.  I’m rising a bit higher and higher out of the pit every day.  It’s hard work, but I can do it.  We all can do it.
How are your feathers?  Have you checked them lately?  I should check mine more often than I do.  I should do a personal inventory more regularly.  After all, I have to shake all the dust off before I can fly.


October 27, 2005
May the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows
May you continue to rock hard for another trip around the sun
May you always feel the groove in your souls and the beat in your feet
May you always know that Mamakohl loves you all to bits.


October 26, 2005

“Psst. Mama. Mama. MOM!”

“Yes, Duck, what is it?”

“Um. Mom. Um. Well, you see, the lamp in the living room. Um. We’re so sorry Mom. There’s been some serious damage to the lamp. And we’re sorry.”

What a lovely turn of events. It’s about 6:05 in the morning and I’ve just recently crawled back into bed after chasing Duck down at 5:15 and telling him that it’s way too early to be up. I spent about 20 minutes cuddling with him in his own bed and then finally allowed him and (now awake) Stealth to get up and start the day. As I quietly rummaged through my drawers to find warm pj pants and a sweatshirt, I hear B stirring. Sure enough, as I walk past the bed on my way out, his arm shot out and pulled me back into bed. Let’s see here. My options are to crawl back into a warm, inviting bed with my warm, inviting husband or get up into the cold living room with 2 small boys for endless rounds of train bowling (don’t ask) and “Mom, I need!” The bed won out.

Until the damage.

Turns out that the lamp shade in the living room (a beautiful rice paper looking thing) had slipped off the brackets or something and was laying directly on the light bulb. It’s hard telling how long it had been like that, I have no idea. What I do know is that when I finally made it out to investigate, the thing was smoking, flames were just starting to be apparent, and there was a lovely burned hole in the lampshade. Shit, that is some damage, now isn’t it?

Having taken care of that and having made some coffee and kiddie coffee (hot cocoa with marshmallows,) I started my day thinking of damage.

Damage is really an interesting concept, when you think about it. I mean, it seems so simple and self explanatory, but not so much. Damage is not deconstruction, it is not ruin, it is not an end all be all situation, it is not irreparable.

Damage is, in essence, motivation in tangible form.

The lamp shade was damaged, but fixable, and it motivated me to finally secure the brackets that have been loose for a few months now. Have a fender bender that results in a little damage? That will motivate you to get those brakes replaced on time. Hell, have a hurricane that floods an entire city, kills thousands, and leaves thousands of others homeless? Well, that might motivate you to rethink and redesign those damaged levees, eh?

But damage happens to things you cannot see or touch, yes? What about that?

A damaged heart might motivate someone to rethink limitations and boundaries and expectations. A damaged sense of pride might motivate someone to give humbleness another thought. Damaged trust might motivate someone to rethink how open they choose to be and they might also rethink who deserves their trust.

Damage opens up opportunity. And, if looked upon in that way, if the opportunity is taken, the end result is most often better off than the original thing that got damaged to begin with.

My high school years were pretty tumultuous (yeah, I know, who’s weren’t?) My parents were splitting up, my self worth had pretty much taken a nose dive, it was rough. One day, my father sat me down while I was in the middle of a self pitying, blame everyone, teenage rant.

“Let me tell you about the theory of Quantum Physics” said my Dad.

“OH Dad, not now. I know you loved teaching math and science all those years ago, but can’t you see I’m in the middle of a crisis here?”

“Yes, I know, but I’m your father, now listen to me. The Theory of Quantum Physics states that the world, the universe, is expanding. Slowly, bit by bit, year by year, each planet, each star, each mass out there in space is drifting further and further apart from each other. It will eventually be so far apart, that it will shatter all former limitations and groupings and arrangements. The universe is destroying itself. The universe is falling apart.”

“I can relate, Dad. My life is falling apart which is why I don’t have the time or desire for a science lesson.”

“Yes, I know. Now follow me here. The reason the universe is falling apart is so that it may come back together in a higher order. Things have to be deconstructed before they can be reconstructed. Things have to fall apart and get worse before they can get better. So, when you feel like your life is falling apart, it’s because it really and truly is. But it’s falling apart so that it might come back together in a higher order.”

Now that’s some damage control, eh?

I’ve carried that conversation with me for 12 or 13 years now. It has served me more than just about anything else I’ve ever heard, read, or said. Coming together in a higher order? I can dig it.

As I look around my house, I can see all kinds of damage. The stairs leak a bit, we need a new roof, the kitchen needs new flooring. My older son is needing a bit more of a sense of autonomy, my younger son is needing a stronger sense of independence. My marriage is showing the wear and tear that comes from not spending enough time together. Damage is all around us.

“It’s falling apart so that it might come back together in a higher order” says a voice in the back of my head.

Damn, one of these days, we’re going to be awesome!



October 25, 2005
Props go out to VJ today for knowing the value of art and creation.  Thanks, VJ.  Your friend, C, will be getting a lovely handbag shortly. 



Blue Skies

October 25, 2005

I woke up this morning singing Blue Skies. I gotta say, that’s a pretty wonderful way to start the day. I feel light as a feather, optimistic about the future, loving life.

Sometimes being true to yourself can hurt other people. That really sucks. No doubt about it. I don’t enjoy hurting folks, I don’t get off on upsetting them, I don’t aim to piss people off. But it happens sometimes and as long as your actions weren’t tainted with malice, as long as you are honest and true to yourself and coming from an honorable place of stating facts, well, you just cannot control how other folks feel or react. I laid my head down last night with a clear conscious and with the weight of the truth off my shoulders for the first time in a long time and, well, let’s just say I slept great.

I met with a wonderful couple last night who are going to have their second daughter any day. I love being invited into peoples homes, into their lives. Last night I was offered a glass of wine, several opportunities to laugh (I tell you, sometimes the quiet ones are the funniest,) and left feeling warm and hopeful for their upcoming birth. My gig brings me into the homes of folks of all different social and economic classes and folks of all different ages. While it can be a little intimidating sometimes (after all, I’m just a college drop out living (for the most part) paycheck to paycheck and I often find myself in homes of folks in the upper 6 figure incomes,) I have always been welcomed with open hearts, arms, and minds. What this proves to me is that class and economic lines really mean nothing and people are just people, no matter where you are or what you do. If you are good at what you do and you offer your very best, well, it’s all an even playing field. Coming from a background of very limited means (now, don’t get me wrong – we always had everything that we needed, but often times not what we wanted,) this is an amazing opportunity for re-writing my opinions of self worth and it’s association with status. I’ve been re-writing it for a few years now and I have to say my opinions are a far cry from where I started out. In fact, those dividing lines have all but completely disappeared. Viva La Progress!

(VJ, let’s hit one of those cocktail parties when you’re home, shall we? Just don’t wear the black suit – I cannot handle it! Oh Oh, but shout out to you for your top secret activity today!! 🙂 )

DDFF has been working through some issues in our profession as of late. That sister is between a rock and a hard place and I’m not envious of her. But, with the grace that is her style, she and her partners in the situation have found a good middle ground. I have nothing but lovely and hopeful thoughts for you DDFF, and you know I got your back, baby.

I have an all night date scheduled for this weekend. Provided that I’m not at a birth (crossing fingers,) I think I’m going to take B out for dinner and then either bowling or to shoot some pool. Simple, active, warm. I’m looking forward to it. We could use some time.

I love my kids. LOVE them. Guess I’ve said that before, eh? I just look at them and marvel at how brilliant they are, how loving and caring and conscious. I know I can take them anywhere and they’ll be fine. I know that I can trust them to have a conversation with an adult. I trust them completely to take the lead in their education (at this point) and they have led me further than I would have ever dared to go. They’re amazing, these little sponges. Stealth has all but learned how to read. Because of the way we practice spelling with Duck (spelling words and whole sentences out loud, etc.,) Stealth has learned to not only recognize words by sight, but also by hearing the letters. Yesterday, I spelled “Duck, do you want to make some cookies?” and Stealth started screaming “COOKIES, Mama, I want to make some COOKIES!” I think he can read much more than he’s letting on. What a booger! I’m in so much trouble.

I’m taking a little break from my Kohleidoscope orders to make a few things for myself. It feels good, I gotta say. And not a moment too soon – it was 32 degrees here last night. BRRRRR.

Jill continues to send postcards and I love it. SO do the boys. Yesterday we were watching a video on the animals of the African Plains and the boys asked if Jill made the video. So funny. Anyway, Jill, Duck and Stealth expect you to bring a monkey AND a hippo with you when you come to visit – so plan your carry on luggage carefully.

Occasionally I find a new little product that I just love. The Swiffer Sweep + Vac sincerely rocks. With hard wood floor, two little boys, and endless amounts of wool and mohair floating around, this thing has become a little life saver for me. Now, I haven’t had it long enough to report on the parts that suck (surely there must be one or two,) but for now, she is my new queen. Gotta say, however, that every time I use it, I think of Mark. I’m sure he would be so pleased – he must like that about as much as he likes Karaoke. 😉 And it reminds me that I gotta make him a black skull cap. Crap, I suck – I mentioned that 4 months ago. Sorry, dude. I’ll get right on it -as soon as my floors are clean.

I swear, I go to the freaking store 4 times a week. RIDICULOUS. I gotta plan better. And I have to write better – I’m hoping for a deep post tomorrow – or at least something worth reading.

I suppose I should get off this computer and go about living. Come on, Willie, you and Trigger have plans for the day.

Nothing but Blue Skies do I see …


A random assortment of thoughts

October 24, 2005

This weekend was rather, um, shall we say, thought provoking. Not the kind of thought provoking that usually ends in some deep revelation about life or anything, but thought provoking in the sense that I spent a lot of time thinking about how that sucked, this rocked, and wondering why in the hell some people never seem to get it. EVER.

I have no answers, but since this is my blog and I can write whatever I want, I’m just going to start listing a few things that occupied my melon over the last few days (and maybe some this morning, too.)

First things first – Mamasan had a scary inconclusive mammogram a few weeks ago. Now, for most folks, this wouldn’t mean beans, but we have a history of breast cancer in the family and not exactly the best health on other fronts AND Mamasan is on hormone replacement therapy, so an inconclusive / questionable mammogram is cause for concern. I’m pleased to say that a repeat scan this morning seems to have cleared up the issue and everything is fine and dandy (except, of course, for Mamasan’s squished breast – I’m sure it had happier goals in mind to accomplish today besides being able to fit through a mail slot.) The complete and final okay should come within 24 hours or so, but it looks great. YIPPEE.

The shit is hitting the fan with regards to B’s situation with his addict friend. Friend is a generous word, frankly because an addict slowly loses friendships and replaces them with resentments. The snag comes in the form of employment – the addict to whom I refer is a co-worker (technically a superior to B, although in name only, not in practice.) Just got off the phone with B and he told me that it’s going down. NOW. And that B has been told to “keep his head down.” I’m DYING to know what is going on, but will have to wait until I’m filled in. What an interesting family dinner we’ll have tonight!

The race is on for 2 clients I have right now. One was due last week (first time mama -usually go a bit late,) and one due on the 3rd who has a history of going early and who is already 3cm / 90% – and isn’t even in labor yet. They are both hospital births. DIFFERENT HOSPITALS. This could get interesting.

Some people never get it and they probably never will. Past behavior is the best indicator for future behavior. I’m not surprised – but it’s annoying as all hell. I read in a schmaltzy Annie’s Mailbox clipping the other day the following (about an unrelated topic): “You cannot expect them to remain an unending well of comfort.” . I hope like hell I’m not the only one who read that – I know of a couple of others who really need to read it and understand it. There are folks out there who will just bleed you dry – just to prove to themselves that someone cares. I’m bone dry, folks, thanks so much. Your life is falling apart? I don’t care – I cannot care anymore. You continue to make the same childish, selfish, ignorant, immature, asinine choices that continue to drop you on your ass in the same horrible places. It must be working for you, you must be getting something out of it, or else you would stop doing the same damned thing. I’ve given you folks everything I can give you – you’re on your own.

You cannot see or hear something that some one has and then just decide to make it your own. This applies to catch phrases, favorite songs, a particular style, and even friends. And yes, there are folks out there who will just snag anything and everything from someone else just so they don’t have to do the work to gather up their own. It is just not cool. Some folks say, “Well, maybe it’s a compliment.” Nope. “Wow, what a great shirt” is a compliment. “You make the best lasagna in the world” is a compliment. “You’re such a good friend” is a compliment. “I’m going to take bits and pieces of your life and try to make them my own” is not a compliment. Which leads me to…

I’d rather have the whole world pissed off at me and be happy with myself than have the whole world love me and hate what I see when I look in the mirror. The only person I ultimately have to answer to is myself and, if you know me, you know I’m one tough cat. I find that I spend more time lamenting things I have said and done in the past that are just out of character – things that I have done to please people, to win people over, to try and find myself (yeah, see, I said in the past because I haven’t lived that way in a long, long time.) Just last night I was feeling really crappy about something I did when I was 11 years old. I mean, good night Irene, that was 18 years ago! But, the event that clouded my mind was an event that took place because I was trying to be like someone else, trying to please folks. In 29 years of life, I have very few things that I regret that came from my own truth, but loads that have resulted from trying to live someone else’s truth. To thine own self be true, you know? So, world, go ahead and set up your “We hate Mamakohl” fan clubs – I don’t care. I won’t be joining your membership roster.

I am blessed beyond words because I have wonderful things in my life. I have exciting opportunities, a great career (two?,) a plenitude of amazing and rockin’ friends, a terrific husband, awesome kids. I am the proud owner of a mortgage. I have a really positive outlook on life (’cause I have learned how to set limits and care for myself) and, while I hate to admit it, the truth is that I’m really a hopeless optimist. I believe that anyone can change and grow and have a great life (unless you’ve burned me and if you’ve burned me, well, see above.) The problem comes when folks ask me how to go about getting all that I have. I have no idea. Honestly. NO IDEA. I know that I wasn’t always like this. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out when the switch took place, what precipitated it. I don’t know. I look in my past and see a time when I was so desperate for attention and acceptance that I jumped through all kinds of hoops to get it. I don’t know when it changed. I don’t know how it changed – but it did. Must think about this some more – if I come up with an answer, I’ll be sure to post it. Surely, I’m not the only one wondering.

Buying something brand new that has to charge for 24 hours before the first use can be really infuriating to a woman who is all about instant gratification. No, dear friends, those things take batteries – I’m talking about a vacuum. Sheesh! Get your brain out of the gutter.

There is just about nothing cooler than watching a 5 year old stomp around the living room singing “Get up, Stand Up” along with a Bob Marley dvd. I swear. And then the 3 year old raised his little fist and sang,” Well, everywhere is War.” Sent chills up my spine. I love my kids. I just freaking love them. I’m so proud of them. Stealth is named after Robert Nesta Marley and he knows why. We love Bob. Sandie, if you’re still reading, I imagine you’ve had very much the same experience.

My sons are going to eat me out of house and home.

I’m stopping here. I gotta make some grilled cheese and soup for lunch and get to work on a hat and scarf set for (GASP) myself. I have several orders for Kohleidoscope – but Mama got take care of herself, first.

And my brain rattles on…


Weather School is Cool

October 21, 2005
Today we had Weather School with our homeschooling group.  One of the local news stations offers this program to schools and educational groups free of charge.  It’s pretty cool.  I nearly had given up, however, because the guy was 30 minutes late.  Lovely.
When he did show up, things got a little nutty.  There were probably 25 home schooled children there, ranging in age from 3-11.  Duck, in his crazy way, found that the guy’s tie was most interesting – and eventually, the meteorologist just took his tie off and gave it to Duck for the duration.  I’m told that one of the mom’s got a picture of Duck in the weather man’s tie.  Sheesh.  I’m so proud.
Regardless, he was very receptive to the kids.  He brought lots of fiber fill (like the inside of pillows) and gave some to each child so they could better understand 3 different types of clouds (can’t beat hands on learning.)  He answered questions and got on the floor with them.  It was wonderful.  Stealth and Duck and all the other kids learned lots (what is fog?  what happens when there’s severe weather during a football game?  Where do you hide in a pumpkin patch when there’s a tornado?  You know, the essential questions of life.)
It was approaching 11:30 in the morning and he mentioned that he had to go back to the studio (about 15 minutes away or so,) for the 12 noon live news broadcast and he invited us all to go with him!  UNREAL.
So, we all piled into our vehicles, carpooling when possible, and drove en masse to the studio.  I couldn’t believe it, but all these kids and their parents crammed inside the studio (not behind a window) and watched them do a live news broadcast for 30 minutes.  This meant sitting still, being quiet, not running in front of any cameras and lifting up dresses or dropping pants.  This is big time stuff for some of these small kids.   Every single one of them (my two monkeys included) behaved better than I could have ever possibly imagined.  We got to see the green screen that they use for weather, got to see the robotic television cameras move around the studio unmanned.  We got to see the control room and the teleprompters and all that so cool stuff.  And, after the newscast, the kids got to go back into the studio and check themselves out on the green screen.  Hell, even the adults were impressed with that.
It was by far much much much cooler than anything I could have planned to teach them today.  And it didn’t cost us a dime (okay, it cost me the price of two ginormous cookies I gave the kids as bribes to keep quiet in the studio during the broadcast.)  I’m so blessed to have my homeschooling group.  I’m so blessed to be able to teach my children in this way. 
And, should I ever be in a pumpkin patch during a tornado, I know what to do.
Way to go, Weatherman, you’ve just won 3 new fans.

Jo Jo goes to work

October 20, 2005

This is a new hat that I have made for a special project. I have written about Jo Jo on the Kohleidoscope blog. It’s good to finally put her to work. It’s hard to tell, but the hat has a rolled brim. Posted by Picasa


Windows have no limits

October 19, 2005

Did you see it?  Did you notice?  Probably not and that’s cool.  But it’s there.  Take a second and see what is different.

Give up?
I changed the name of the blog.  No longer Corners of My Mind, it’s now Windows of My Mind.  I got to thinking – corners are VERY constricting, limiting, ending.  Once you’re in a corner, you cannot go forward, only go back.  My mind is not like that – or, at least, I don’t want it to be.
Windows can be closed or open – but there’s always the option to go beyond them.  Always.