Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en!!!

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Happy Hallowe'en to all of my Ghoulfriends!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

O' Great Pumpkin...part deux

(I have found that I so enjoy writing in the morning...better than reading the newspaper. I grab the coffee, hobble to the computer, and enjoy myself...ahhh.)

I had to be gone for the pumpkin carving festivities...2 clients and fabric hunting. I asked Michael to make sure he took pics. He had the nerve to look at me like I was asking for his kidney which meant he got an even more potent hairy eyeball back plus some grousing. He took them.

When I went to look, there were, once again, these experimental masterpieces by diva Maggie. Pics like these are in every picture file I have, even the dressmaking files. I never see her take these. They just appear.
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Now on to the carving festivities... the young boy is our neighbor Ivan.
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Notice the seed teeth?
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Michael gave Ivan his pumpkin to carve.
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The artists at work.
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The monsters with their creations.
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You'd think there was inbreeding at work here, wouldn't you?
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O' Great Pumpkin, what a glorious tribute!!!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

O' Great Pumpkin...

(Caution...Mama whining ahead...)

We finally got pumpkins yesterday at the behest of Diva Meave. We were hassled, cajoled, pleaded with, black-mailed, manipulated with hugs & kisses, and finally just whined at until I took her (& Maggie) to get them. The kid is relentless!!!

I am very behind on our usual decorating busy with the ID dresses that have to be done for the Southern Region Oireachtas that the time got away from me. Bad Mama!!

Grandma and Aunt Debbie and the kids are coming over for Hallowe'en...and my house is a mess. Actually, mess is too mild and kind a word. Susi, I am in hell!

We are a messy family...a slight adjustment to my blog description states it correctly: "My mother has always excused our chaos by saying it is a sign of creative for me." She is amazed by our chaos, but she is also amazed and very appreciative of how creative, involved, and happy my divas are...sometimes in spite of their parents!!!

But right now the mess is out of hand. Having company does kick me in the butt. And, I realized yesterday, when we found out we had been designated as the clan trick -or-treat house, that having company kicks the divas in their respective booties, too. The call for a house cleaning today came not from me but from Molly. All are prepared to work...after the pumpkins are carved.

Hey Mom! Coming for Christmas with Auntie Sheila and the new baby would set rocket boosters on this fine rear-end!!!!!

The mess gets to me, too. The smallest thing will finally send me over the edge. Yesterday, it was hair brushes...MY hair brushes...the ones that are supposed to be off limits but seem to have legs that take them off into the nether world...every freaking day.

Yesterday, this not only chapped my ass, it flayed my skin, stripped my bones, drew and quartered me, boiled it all in oil, set it on fire, and then slapped it all back on my VERY LAST NERVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Yesterday, doing my hair was to be a special, wonderful moment for me. You see, I am back to looking like myself. I have this itch that I get about once every 2 years to cut my hair off. I fall once again into the profound delusion that a short hip hair cut will not only look good on me, but that it will also be easier. NOT! You have to have a cute little round face on a cute little round head with a cute little round perky personality to pull off the kind of hair-do that I want in my fantasy world. I do not...I have a big ol' horse head with a long ol' face and a decidedly NOT perky personality...and short hair makes it all worse! All you see is a LONG face accompanied by irritated crankiness! And then, once I have completely horrified myself with my stupid choice (once again) I spend the next year growing it out so I can finally get back to the bob that looks good on me. My hairdresser, Kayelynn, now has notes in her book on time I come in with that short hair bee up my butt, she is to stand her ground and remind me that it will not look good and that I will then have to deal with the dreaded "Mushroom Head" as I grow it out.

I am also not allowed to go conservative with the hair color. I did that last time and it is SOOOO boring. Yes, I color my hair. After I got sick and my hair grew back in, I had the oddest hair color. My wonderful light, bright red hair was gone and in its place grew this weird alien color. That's what I get for proclaiming myself beyond the vanity of hair-coloring when I was young and arrogant. Stupid girl! Now I say, Bring it on!!!! I am a dark red with lots of bold, light red highlights. Coloring my hair makes me a happy camper!!

And then the hair cut. The bob is back...short, but present. I look like myself once again.

So, yesterday...I went to do the 'do...and the necessary brushes were nowhere to be found. Again. I flipped a lid. Why is it that when I ask nicely for my brushes I simply get an "I dunno" with no eye-contact, but when that lid is flipped, I have 4 brushes in 10 seconds accompanied by high blood pressure and then guilt on my part?

(whiiiine) I just want my brushes to stay in my room because if they join the chaos in this house, they will be lost forever!!! (whiiiiine)

O' Great Pumpkin, hear my plea!!! (The pumpkin carving offerings will come later then.)

Ok, off to the dungeon...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Vegetable Victory & A Witch

When I am working on digitizing (as I have been for about 6 days now), everyone in this wonderful diva family cuts me mucho slack. The work-arounds are not always complimentary to me (which means someone, usually hubby, gets barked at, usually, but life freaking continues... if I could use my favorite string of curse words here, I would be SO COMPLETELY FULFILLED...but I cannot. Big sigh.

In the midst of my braincellsuckingcomputerwork, Michael and I have had a couple of school meetings, culminating with a child study meeting yesterday. Today my time on the digitizing computer has been interrupted by so many things, for better or worse.

Tonight, after homework, studying for tests, listening to rehearsal recaps, came dinner...chicken florentine...with spinach. Sometimes I really am so over the fact that I have so effectively TAUGHT my children my gag-reflex distaste for vegetables. They eat more of them than they know because I am so creative with my much for my health as theirs. But tonight, I was not in the mood to whitewash the spinach, figuratively OR literally. So I got to Meave first...told her that the gross green stuff was spinach but that it tasted TOTALLY like the sauce...and she was going to eat it even if it choked her. She looked at me in that demon-child-considering fashion that she possesses...slowly took a bite of ONLY the spinach...and declared it really good. After that, the older divas had to eat it or accept defeat at the hands of their little sister.

They actually came back for seconds.

Later Maggie and I worked through a different homework routine...both of us were calm and happy at the end...cannot even begin to describe how amazing that was!!!


Meave came quietly into my work space and requested pics. Last weekend, there was a shopping trip for Hallowe'en...our favorite time and holiday of the whole year. She found an old wig of mine, did her own make-up, and put on her whole, self-organized costume. When I had finished the pics, she asked, "Will you put them on your blog?"

"Is that what you want?"


So, here is Diva Meave in her costume, no help from me...

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I think that I am only cracking the tip of this kid...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Just 'cause...

I sought this post out tonight for someone in my new knitting group, Ravelry (I will do a post on this very soon).

Why re-post? BECAUSE...she understood "Póg mo thóin"...I liked reading about those few days again... it's my blog and I wanted to write something nice...for'cause, well.... I FELT like it, ok? But I could not here is something that made me laugh again!!!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Sunday, October 21, 2007

Aunt Margaret Stratman, 1935-2007

My father's sister died in California tonight. She had emphysema and had been in the hospital for the past 2 1/2 weeks.

This is the aunt I wrote about here: Clarity . She will be horribly missed.

I woke up this morning after a very weird dream of her and her cigarettes and her beautiful fingers, and I just knew today was the day. Called my family to get the news...she was still fighting to live. That's my scrappy Aunt Margaret.

Tonight both of my sisters called at the same time to tell me...we are all 3 in different parts of the US and right now that really sucks. My sister Bernie in California was closest to her, and she is taking this hard as obviously my cousins are, too. Wish I was home.

She is not suffering anymore.

Love you, Aunt Margaret.

Narcoleptic comment

I am butt-stuck to my chair in front of the computer today...3 dresses to digitize. That means I am also here when comments and emails come in which is fun.

I have enjoyed the comments on the Narcoleptic post. Caroline's just came in:

Caroline said...
I've never had it as bad as you, but I do always fall asleep during afternoon classes at the university. It can be the most interesting class ever, but at one point I will bang with my forehead into the desk because apparently...I've dozed off. Very embarrassing and impolite, but I really cannot help it! I have not to this day found a way to prevent this. And I have been a student for ...well...a long time :-)

I started chuckling, then laughing, then snorting! It reminded me of my teaching days.

For quite awhile, I was teaching a course called "Dance & Society." It was a lecture course, in a big auditorium filled with students...and it was a night class. It started at 5:15 pm and was 2 1/2 hours long...and the students ate dinner right before class.

Guess how many students' foreheads slapped the desktop in every class!?! I tried to make the class as interesting as possible, I really did! We even had class in the dance studio when I had guests to teach them different ethnic dance forms...but even there the foreheads still hit the floor when they sat down!!

Some of my colleagues were so irritated by that and would call the students out on falling asleep. I always figured that the red mark on their foreheads and the snickers from the other students was punishment enough.

One young man even apologized to me once. He was embarrassed but relieved when I laughed.

Thanks for the memory retrieval, Caroline!

Narcoleptic Day

That's what yesterday was...narcoleptic. You would think that I had run a marathon the day before. But that's the thing about Emily's dress...there were no late nights, no marathon sewing because it got down to the wire. I actually managed my time well.

But I still slept all day. I had, in fact, gotten up at about 9:30 but had to move fast to get back to bed 'cause sleep was coming fast!

Times like this I wonder about what I have actually inherited from my illness. For 2 years after that, sleep was in charge. When my body said it was time (2 or 3 times a day), it was to my benefit to make sure I was at least sitting down when I felt it coming because I did not have any choice in the matter...sleep happened. I was once standing just outside the front door, holding 1 month-old Meave, and it hit me, fast! I actually simply fell over into the bushes! I was so scared that Meave might get hurt that I stayed mostly conscious until my neighbor picked me up and I could get us into bed. So weird.

When Meave was 7 months-old, the Donahue clan all went to Disney World. I was awake for 12 straight hours (unheard of for me at the time), until we got to the hotel. Michael and the other parents took all of the kids swimming while I collapsed in bed. During the next few hours, Michael and my sisters-in-law were in and out of the room. I could hear them, and even see them through slits in my eyes...but I could not move. One sil thought I was awake so asked me a question and was completely freaked out when I just laid there like a mummy. I got an earful about how freaky I was the next morning when I finally woke up for breakfast!

So anyway, yesterday was one of those. I am better now.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pink Eye and Loving Sisters

Maggie has had a painful left eye for the past couple of days. Itchy but no yuckiness. Too much pain this morning so I called the doc to check for pink eye. They "seemed" to confirm it...I think they were not going to take a chance so we got some antibiotic drops. Personally, I think it is a stye...or maybe a cold that is irritating her eye because the diva is really lacking in diva temperament at the moment.

When Meave found out that Maggie was sick, she suddenly came down with a "terrible stomach pain, Mama." Meave has absolutely no problems with schoolwork, so I figured a day off would not hurt her. It was all she could do to make her excitement at getting to stay home with Maggie look like a burp!

So after we see the doc, I am waiting to check out and Maggie has laid her head down on the counter. Meave has been standing on a chair behind her choosing a sticker when I notice that Meave has quietly started stroking Maggie's hair. She says quietly, "You'll feel better soon, Maggie." Bless her heart!

We decide to go eat some lunch...Meave has noticed that Maggie might need some food. Sure enough, as soon as we finish lunch, Maggie has more energy and Meave says, "Look, Mama! Maggie has perked right up!" Where did my 7 yr-old learn to talk like this?

When we get home, I tell Mags she should probably Meave goes into the bedroom and gets a movie ready and tells Maggie to just lie down and feel better.

Later, Maggie is feeling MUCH better and starts teasing both Meave and Molly with her "infective fingers!" I think the kid really does listen when I tell her not to rub her eyes because she can spread the germs, but man she is getting the biggest kick out of making her sisters squeal.

Later, there they are, 16, 11, & 7...sitting on the couch with Maggie in the middle, cuddled and quiet for a change...taking care of Maggie.

Ever said how much I love my divas?

Do all kids have these moments that fill your heart?

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Blink Moment

You know when you see or hear something that just makes you stop...and all you can do is blink a few times?

There is obnoxious music here...

I truly cannot wrap my brain around this.

A comment on this post delineates the similiarities between this and Irish dance...I see it too. But what I do not see in ID is the push for young girls, babies really, to look and ACT as if they are in their 20's. In ID it can be about the sparkly, and yes over-the-top, presentation. But it is not about teaching my young daughter to move like a stripper, to smile like a doll, to look like the newest video-jockey on E! News! The bloomers on my 16 yr-old cover more than those tiny bathing suits!!!

What I cannot wrap my brain around is the psychology of it...the mind set of the mothers...and what it is doing to the little girls who are told that in order to win a child's beauty pageant she must look, walk, strut, pose, and dance like a grown-up stripper. Ugh.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Kid Knitting: Cable Shrug & Cardigan

This looks like a giant red slug...but it is a shrug for the youngest diva. There are cables there on either side of a moss stitch center.
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Here is the slug flayed open...
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Here's the cables!
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Meave found this yarn in my stash where it has remained buried because it is acrylic, and I have become such a snob about acrylic! But, Meave loved the color and the sparkles, and she decided it would make a perfect "arm thingy" for Christmas. How could I say no? So I made this pattern up...and I am so bored with it already. It would get lost if she was not checking on my progress everyday.

I was at the local craft store for some reason, and I went through the yarn aisle as I usually do. They used to have all sorts of wonderful yarn, but I guess not enough serious knitters frequent the store, so they have scaled back to the usual crap. I have become a bit of a brand snob, too... Red heart, Patons, even Lion Brand I consider to be yarns of last resort. But I found this yarn below...
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Patons, wool and soy. So very soft and wonderful! Got it, fooled around with gauge, started this little cardigan. Another one out of my of these days I need to write my patterns down. Christmas present for Meave.
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I have resolved to sit and knit every night as there are so many things I could make for Christmas. I do love it, and it is better than snacking!!!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Redskins WON!!!!!!

Like I really care...but Michael is working on the girls. They watch the games with him...and he took them to a game last weekend. What is it about men and taking pictures in direct sunlight?
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They came home ya think Meave was ever able to look UP and SEE the game?!?

What a hoot.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


I woke up from my dream this morning knowing the that space between dreaming and being awake, I was so clear. And then diva Maggie launched herself on me for a morning hug. As the muddy real world quickly rushed in to obscure the clarity, I said, "Shit," and Maggie replied, "Well, la-di-dah!" kissed me and ran away.

When will they learn that we mothers need to wake slowly, that we are trying to bring the wisdom of the universe through that sleep-wake space so it can function in the real world? Don't they understand that it will only make their lives better?!? So, stop jumping on me in bed!!!!

I actually possessed that clarity once. It came in the first couple of days of recovery after I was hit by a truck while I was jogging. Yeah, there I was, 27 years old, in peak form, getting ready to begin dancing with a ballet company...I had just returned from an incredible summer intensive, and I was a dancing Amazon. Felt the need to go running, and 2 blocks from my house, BAM! Threw me into the intersection, broke my leg...broke my invincible ego.

I really do not remember the hospital. For some reason my "memories" are of my sister Katie in the waiting room with 2 idiot men - my boyfriend and her future husband. I did not witness this, but here is her story as "I remember it": she rushed to the hospital with the 2 idiots in tow. It was hours before she could see me, and, as BOYS are wont to do, the 2 idiots got bored and began mis-behaving. They started throwing things at each other, sparring with rolled up magazines, hitting each other (they were 25 and 27 respectively) and generally acting up until my sister made them sit down on opposite sides of her. She scolded them and told them to behave...which they did for about 5 minutes. And then they turned on her. Her boyfriend, Idiot #1, kept trying to kiss her, and she told him to knock it off. Idiot #2 (my moron), started whispering in her ear on the other side, and she whacked him. All of a sudden, Idiot #2 stuck his finger in her ear at the same time that Idiot #1 stuck his finger up her nose!!!! She smacked them both and stalked off to ask the nurse one more time if she could see me...and this is when she showed up in my ER room in tears. Tears caused by idiot frustration, not by seeing me laying there!!! We dissolved in laughter as she related her waiting room adventure.

So, the clarity...the next few days were a trip. I was on some powerful pain meds, and I was sleeping almost constantly. Something interesting happened while I was sleeping...I would move into that in-between place and stay there. I was very conscious in this solid place. Drug induced? Probably, but here's the thing - I knew peace. I knew clarity. I KNEW. I could not explain any of it, not even to Katie, but that place was so real. There was no fear, insecurity, pain, or ego. And the best part? I still had it when I was completely awake. And I could go back to it when I went to sleep.

Do I still KNOW? No. Over the years it faded, but I could still feel what it had been. Now, all I know is that it happened, but I cannot explain it or even find vestiges of it anymore. My grasp on it was broken when I got sick in 2000, when my brain was creatively re-wired by the high fever and lack of oxygen.

But this morning, it came for a very brief visit. Why now?

My aunt, my father's sister, is very ill. She is in ICU on a ventilator back in California. We all grew up together, her 6 kids, we 5. We were literally one big family, and we did absolutely everything together. And now we are all waiting.

Diva Maggie once lamented that she has had more death in her young life than anyone in her school. She might be right. It all began in 2000 when I almost died. Over the past 7 years, we have lost aunts and uncles, friends and friends babies, about 10 pets (big deal for a kid...we had quite a menagerie for a while there), my father in 2003, Michael's father in 2004, my grandfather at the beginning of this year...this Saturday marks 5 years since my dad had the heart transplant surgery that should have been a miracle. It was, unfortunately, the beginning of the end. And I can't get it out of my mind right now.

It is always a shock when suddenly I miss my father. When suddenly it is as if he just died. We are all missing him so much right now. Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, counted on Dad's strength, his wisdom, his clarity. Maybe that's what came to visit me this morning. Maybe he is near, waiting for his sister.

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