Saturday, December 19, 2009

Something New

I started playing with a little jazz group this summer
and last Friday we spent the day in the studio,
making a demo CD.

The recording guy said that a photographer was stopping by
to take pictures for an online magazine that was doing a feature
on his studio and would we mind if he caught us in action?
I said fine but I would have combed my hair and worn something cool had I known.

The singer chick Abigail and our band leader Keith:

Ed the drummer:

Randy on keys and me with apparently no makeup on.

All of us:

Listening to a rough mix in the control room -
You can see my shoes, I'm sitting on the couch exhausted,
eyes closed, with my head back.
This is a typical posture for me. :-)

Home by 5, had my pajamas on by 5:15, in bed by 9 that night.
It felt like a good day's work.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Making A Point

I've been getting this simple joy
from picking up everyone's water glasses that they keep leaving around
and emptying them into the Christmas tree stand.

Nobody is noticing
and it's sort of ruining the whole thing for me.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

It Takes A Village

The husband was quizzing Middle Child for her American History test.

I was only vaguely listening as he hammered away at the questions,
spitting them out in a merciless staccato
while Middle Child murmured her answers with her head down on the table,
tired and bored of memorizing words.

"What was the French and Indian war,
who fought in it,
where did it occur,
who won it,
and was the indian in the Village People an actual native american?"

She sat up and blinked.

He cracks me up.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Jessica Watson

This girl inspires me.
I read her blog every day,
and every day it does the same thing to me.

It gives me hope.

She is sixteen years old,
and she is sailing, unassisted,
around the world.

Why would this make me hopeful?

I think that I just need to see her succeed at this.
I think the world really needs it too.

Read about her here.
Her blog is here.

Sail on!!


Saturday, December 12, 2009


I just love
It saves me at Christmas.
Free shipping on orders of $25 or less,
and great prices.

It makes me want to buy and buy and buy and buy...

Okay maybe "it saves me at Christmas" is not the right phrase.

But it sure saves me time and gas.

Today just for fun I searched "stocking stuffers".
Not because I'm going to buy any of course,
that's Santa's job.

And the number one item listed?

The Pull-My-Finger Fart Pen, $1.99

Followed by:

Slingshot Flying Chicken with Cockadoodle Scream Sound, $5.10

I especially like the suggestion of:

Meatball Flavored Bubble Gum Balls, $8.95


Last but not least?

Bacon Bandages, $3.50

Ho Ho Ho!!


Tuesday, December 08, 2009


2am-8am - be awake
8am - get children to school
8-ish to noon - learn music
noon-1 - attend rehearsal for concert
1-2 - rest head
2-3 - transport child to community college, back to pick up the rest.
3:30-6:30 - students
7pm - concert

That's how my day looked yesterday,
and things were going well until I went out to start the car
at 11:55am,
because of course I left myself only 5 minutes to get to the rehearsal.

Battery dead.

I pulled a stocking cap down over my ears and zipped my coat up to my neck.
I balanced my notebook of music on the handlebars of my bike
and rode it through the winter cold,
with tires slightly flat,
up to the school.

Breathless, I pedaled up to the back door where a custodian was unloading chairs
in preparation for the concert.

"Can I leave my bike out here? Do you think anyone will steal it?" I asked him.

I should say that my bike is a beauty to behold.
It is huge, and red, and completely rusted by being left out in the rain too often.
It is a Pee-wee Herman style one-speed bike,
with wide handle bars and big round tires and a big, big comfy seat.

The custodian looked over and sort of laughed,
"No, I don't think so."

After the rehearsal, I came outside and sure enough, it had not been stolen.
The fifth graders were lining up outside the building and one called out to me,

"Sweet ride, Mrs. K," in a dead-pan voice.

I saluted her and pedaled off to the wonder of my own two fifth graders,
who didn't have the information about the car,
and just took it in stride that on that freezing day their mother decided to ride
her bike to school.

On the way home after school, in a car the husband had jumped back to life,
I found out that girl twin won the Student Council election,
and boy twin had been given the threat, "You're dead meat" on the playground,
53 times by the same kid, because he counted.

In response to my questions regarding this information,
they pummeled each other in the backseat yelling, "Slug bug! No slug bug back!" over and over,
while middle child sighed in the front and rolled her eyes.

I drove home with a steady hand,
checked off the remaining items on the list for the day,
and marveled at the end of it
that everything turned out okay.


Monday, December 07, 2009


It happens sometimes.

Went to bed at 10, woke up at 2 this morning, with a gasp,
remembering a particularly painful moment from yesterday.

In the middle of the night it's hard to let it go, you know?

Had a first gig with a new little band and for the most part it went well.
If I can look at the overall picture, it was a good first time.

But there were a few train wreck moments courtesy of me,
and in the middle of the night, the big picture fades away,
the spotlight zooms in,
and my heart starts banging around.

Today will be particularly challenging.

A rehearsal at noon, a piano gig tonight.

In between those, there is a child transportation issue,
and several students.

I've been taking things one day at a time,
and it has been working,
but the sleepless night means that one day
is sort of
bleeding into the next.

You know?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Out of Sync

*Twin girl ate a bowl of the froot loops we were saving for making gingerbread houses tomorrow before anyone could stop her.

*Roger the 7 year old piano student asked to use my bathroom yesterday (upstairs) and only later did I find that the sink had a pair of underwear soaking in it.

*I can't find my calendar, and I have that dreaded suspicion that I have double booked a gig and a family outing.

It feels like my timing is all off.

Sort of like when the dog starts to do his business and right then a car drives by.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Ugly Shoes

Middle Child has a savvy fashion sense
and I do not.

Today while shoe-browsing after her orthodontic appointment
I asked,

"Hey do you think these are cute?"

She looked at them,

"For me or for you?"

Okay nevermind.


Saturday, November 07, 2009

Fire Starter

Got a letter in the mail asking us to participate in a
twins study at the University, so I filled out the on-line survey.

I had to ask the twins if they minded and they both said no,
and Twin Girl said,

"I like it when people study me."

Then I asked Twin Boy if he remembered who was born first, he or his sister and he said,

"MOM!!! I'm your SON!!!"

Yes, but it was ten years ago, dear.

The survey was a series of yes or no questions
that I had to answer for the "First-born Twin", the "Second-born Twin",
the "Biological Mother of the Twins" and the "Biological Father of the Twins."

There were health questions and behavior questions,
but the best part was a series of four questions at the end:

1. Smoker?
2. Ever convicted of a felony?
3. Participated in dance, cheer or gymnastics for at least one year?
4. Starts fires?

Something about that list just strikes me as odd.


Monday, November 02, 2009


A band I play in does covers of some cool tunes
and this is the latest one.

Been listening a lot - a little bit to learn the song,
but mostly because I like it:

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wild Thing

So last night I was out walking in the dark,
in the warm, wet night,
and I was feeling soooo sad about nothing in particular.

Maybe I was feeling sorry for myself
because the wind was whipping my hair everywhere,
and the rain was falling on my face
and I was all alone.

Who knows where these mysterious moods originate?
Usually a nice long walk zaps them.
But this time, the more I walked,
the worse I felt.

Coming back home,
seeing the house all lit up,
I didn't want to go back in,
and that is a very, very bad sign.

Emergency measures must be taken
when one is reluctant to go back home.

Three children inside,
in their jammies,
late getting to bed
because mama is walking way too long...

So I opened the front door and hollered.

"Get your shoes on!"

The older one recognized the drill and
helped monitor the confusion of the twins,
who were concerned with unimportant details
like whether they had to wear a jacket,
change into real clothes
or whether slippers counted as shoes (they do).

Once they appeared - more or less clothed -
I said, "Ready-set-go!" faster than they could process
and dashed toward the backyard.
They tailed me, not wanting to get left behind
in the creepy pre-Halloween black of night.

We tore for the back field and cut through
Gillespie's backyard for the subdivision.

We ran down the road with our arms held straight up in the air
for absolutely positively no reason except that
we were wearing pajamas and slippers in October
at 10pm and it seemed like a crazy thing to do.

Then we came back and played Popowitch in the yard,
hiding behind trees and screaming.

The warm wind was glorious,
the rain and the dark felt dangerous
and when we fell in the front door laughing,
it felt so good to be home.


Friday, October 30, 2009


Last night on an emergency run to the grocery store,
I walked by the display of Halloween cupcakes from the bakery.

Then I walked back to them.

I looked at the cool green witch's finger on the top of each one.

I looked in my cart
at the cake mix,
the frosting,
the baking cups,
the decorations.

I did math in my head.

And I realized with sudden clarity
that $15 for 36 cupcakes,
the night before the school Halloween party
is really money well-spent.


Thursday, October 29, 2009


Uncontrollable laughter...
the kind where you can feel it coming, and you know it's going to be bad.
The kind where at some point you might worry that you are going to pee your pants.
The kind where you make loud noises and tears come to your eyes, and you know you're embarassing yourself, but it's just out of your control.

It started last night at the choir concert when Twin Boy fell asleep.
It just struck me as so funny, because he is SUCH an animated being, and seconds before he was asking to go run around with his friends, talking a mile a minute.
One slow song in and he was OUT.

I looked over and it was a sudden burst of hilarity.
I felt it coming, I was shaking, trying not to snort,
doing the silent laugh that hurts your stomach.
I could feel the people behind me wondering. It was just not THAT funny.
But looking over at him, with his head lolled to the side and his mouth open, just - boom - asleep. It just flipped a switch in me.

That's the way it is with that kind of funny moment. It doesn't really make sense.
It triggers some nonsensical part of you that nobody else understands, and that's part of what makes it so funny.
To you.

Maybe it's hormonal.
I remember attending my first Lamaze class, and going through the motions of breathing.
I looked around and all of the couples were so SO serious.
It just struck me that we were all sitting there pretending to have a baby.

Like, acting it out.

I don't know why, but it just threw me and I started giggling.
At the first glance toward me from some dour serious parent-to-be, I knew it was over.
The look that said, "Rude. You are rude to laugh." It put me over the edge. I snorted.
I tried to stop. The husband shushed me and smiled apologetically to the others.
By then I was in full out laughter - loud, long, gasping for breath and what made it even more funny is that the whole class was silent, continuing on with their exercises,
completely ignoring the maniacal laughter from the one lady who was now lying prone on the floor, hiccuping and not even trying to stop anymore.

I mean, wouldn't you stop, sit back on your heels and try to catch the joke?
Nope. They wrote me off. And I laughed all the harder.

So twice now the Teenager has joined me in an "episode".
The first was when he had to get pictures taken of his mouth just before getting braces.
We had no idea what was going to happen.

I was sitting supportively opposite him.
I was smiling encouragingly as the technician fitted his mouth with.....a medieval torture device.
When she backed away, I was staring at my poor son, who was looking at me questioningly, his lips peeled back away from his teeth with some sort of metal clamping gear - top and bottom.

It was the most hideous grimace I had ever seen. And I just burst out laughing.
Then he did too, and we both went through the whole gamut - the tears, the loss of breath, the guffaws.

The technician just stood there, kind of taken aback.
The more I laughed the more he laughed, and the funnier he looked and the more he drooled.
He had tears streaming down his face - his little Joker face - and I....could....not....stop....

Fast forward to today.
This is SO not that funny.
I hadn't eaten yet and was on my third cup of coffee and I could feel the tremors beginning.
The inner quivering of my stomach. The woozy head. It was coming.

We were sitting in the oral surgeon's office, waiting for the doctor to come in and consult about his wayward wisdom teeth. I told the Teenager of how my brother had posted a question on Facebook: Which would you rather have, a head twice its normal size, or half its normal size?

It set us both off, and we could barely talk, laughing at the question and then laughing at the other person laughing, egging each other on, topping each other with just one more layer of stupidity, just one more silly "what if"....

We were crying by the time I said,
"When that doctor walks in, all I'm going to be able to see is whether his head is proportionate to his body."
Again with the gasping, the falling out of the chair, the wiping of the eyes.

Then he walked in and he was so normal looking it was a let down.

All this to say....

I have no idea why I said all of this.

It's just....sometimes, it feels really really good to laugh.
I highly recommend just letting go. Letting it rip.
Life is funny.
There is laughter to be had.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Math Balloon

After an hour of stressful mathematics,
feelings of failure,
twin girl disappeared upstairs.

She came back down and stood half behind a door
to tell me she was making something.

"It's to help with my math facts,"
she said with a grin.

"Show me!" I said.

She pulled out a balloon from the Teenager's
birthday celebration this afternoon,
and said that while she is lying in bed,
she can toss it up in the air.

When she catches it, she looks at whatever fact
is facing her,
and she says it aloud three times.

Then she throws it up again.


We may not be good at math in this house,
but we are good at shaking off the bad stuff
and trying to make it into something happy.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Life is Short, Wear the Dress

This summer I bought a dress on impulse.
It was completely unrealistic.
But I came out of the dressing room with it over my arm,
and I marched up to the register.
My girlfriends raised their eyebrows with pleasure.

I said,
"I know. I'm never going to wear this.
But I'm going to buy it.
Because it makes me feel like a Princess when I put it on."

It hung in my closet for months.

Then early this month I had a wedding to attend.
Sadly, the husband had to back out.
I was depressed about attending alone.

I was standing in my closet in my underwear,
getting even more depressed because I couldn't find anything to wear,
and it was getting late.

Middle child walked in and innocently fingered the Princess Dress.
"Why don't you wear this?"

I explained to her that it was October,
and that dress was too skimpy,
and I'd have to wear sandals with it,
and it was just not the right dress for an October wedding.

The pile of castoff outfits on the bed started to grow.
I kept looking at the clock and getting more manic in my search
for something right.
I was growing more and more depressed about going to the wedding alone.
I got that familiar weepy feeling, sort of a
"boo-hoo I don't have anything to wear" thing
that only girls understand.

Middle child came in again and it felt like she was the grown-up.

"Mom, please, why don't you just wear the dress?"

I stopped and looked at the dress.
I thought about how I bought it
knowing I'd never have any reason to wear it.
I thought about how it felt when I put it on,
the soft fabric, the slinky feel of the skirt.

Something in me just kind of relaxed in one second.
I grabbed the dress and I put it on.
I strapped on the sandals.
I draped a black cover-up over my shoulders.

Middle child oohed and ahhed, and grinned at me.

The thought that had gone through my head,
is one that keeps returning to me since that night
when I swirled into the wedding, late,
slipped into the back row and crossed my legs.

Life is short,
Wear the dress.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pickin' and Grinnin'

So I was on my way to rehearsal last night and
I looked in the rearview mirror to check my nose
because something was tickling it,
and I was driving and checking, and kind of wiping,
NOT picking,
and I look down and there is a couple walking their dog
and the man is looking right at me.

I made a left turn and I'm thinking,
"SHOOT! That guy thinks I picked my nose!"

Well I am here to state emphatically that I
was NOT picking my nose last night at 6:55pm on Grand River
just before turning onto Elm.

Checking your nose in the rearview mirror
just before meeting with people is a long-standing
practice and should be encouraged in my opinion.

It doesn't have anything to do with picking your nose.
When people pick their noses, they lean their head DOWN.
Think about it.
They do not angle their noses upward,
which is proper nose-checking procedure.

Nose-checking: acceptable, desirable behavior.
Nose-picking: completely different and I was not doing it.

Thank you.


Monday, September 28, 2009

Tractor Pull

Time for the annual Pedal Pull during Fireman's Field Days in our little town.
This will be the last year that the twins can compete.
We never really stand a chance against those farm guys and gals.
Fun anyway.

I lost track of twin boy, but soon spotted him in a tree.
Silly me, I was looking on the ground.

There he is, waiting anxiously in the 4 Square shirt...

There he goes!

She's so excited!

Good Sports.

Now the real contest begins...the Tractor Pull

This is serious business.

Small Town, U.S.A.

Friday, September 25, 2009


I like the idea of everybody having a style.
Attractive, repulsive, popular or weird...I think everybody does.

When I was teaching first grade, the bad kids always intrigued me.
I loved their style.
They were so tiny. Such little people,
and yet they were distinctive - different - they stood out in the crowd.

Not their clothes or their face...
their style.

I knew they were naughty, incorrigible,
sometimes stinky,
erratic and compulsive.

But they had a certain flair to them.

Being the big person in the room, it was easy to step back
and see them for who they were.
Little beings just pounding around inside their bodies,
trying to get noticed, trying to yank some love out of somebody.

They fascinated me.
I secretly loved their style.

I had to carry one down to the office once and he kicked me in the leg.
It was easy to love him. It barely hurt.
And it sorta felt like...he finally reached out to me, you know?
Even if it was his sneaker to my shin.

How come it's so much harder to love big people?
Maybe it's because we're the same size,
in the same class,
competing for the same attention.

I betcha it's not so hard for God to love people.
Big ones, small ones.
Dirty, selfish, proud, silly ones.

He'd probably like to help us out more than we let him.

He probably really likes our style.


When They Can't Sleep

When they can't sleep, it goes like this:

I cuddle them for a few minutes,
listening to their sad tale of bad dreams
or scary thoughts, or stuffy noses or just general discomfort.
I make low, sympathetic noises and nod my head.

Then I suggest that they put a pair of pajamas on,
instead of the jeans and shirt that they are still wearing.
I say maybe the ponytail can go too.
I ask about whether the teeth have been brushed and then
send them on to complete these tasks, asking them
to come back down when they're ready.

I give them my full attention after that.

I point to the dog and say he needs to go out.
When they come back in I show them
the laundry by the stairs because it needs to be folded.
And after that I send them down to the basement
to throw the wash into the dryer.

As they complete each thing, they return to me a little slower,
a little more sleepy,
a little less happy about being out of bed.

Finally they ask me
if they can try to go to sleep again,
and I let them,
because I am a good mamma,
and my babies need their sleep.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Grocery II

Just a few comments this morning about grocery shopping:

1. I love shopping at Walmart, because I don't feel like I have to comb my hair or anything before I get there. This isn't a commentary on the people who work or shop at Walmart, it's just the subliminal message Walmart seems to send to all of us, like the good old church tune,

"Come Just As You Are."

2. I saw these Slipper Genies again, (pictured) and stopped to check them out.
Last time I was there my kids begged me to get some for myself. I can just imagine from their point of view what it would be like to have a mother who glides across the floor
in her Slipper Genies to clean it instead of kneeling on hands and knees, muttering to herself.
Such a happy picture.

3. Cereal is way way way way overpriced. Seriously, 7 bucks for two boxes of cereal?? Seriously??
I got oatmeal.

4. Jiffy's Corn Muffin Mix is still one of the best buys around.
I bought 2 boxes. I don't even need any Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix.
I just wanted to buy something that cost 33 cents.

5. I didn't injure myself, but the incident of the day was making a big pen mark on my face with the ballpoint I was holding. I had my cell phone in the same hand and tried to make a quick call.
I spent a couple of minutes hiding in Office Supplies rubbing it off with my finger and some spit.

Have a great day and Happy Grocery Shopping!


Monday, September 21, 2009


I haven't had a cookie in a really long time.

Wait, I had one at church a couple of weeks ago,
but that doesn't count because I hadn't had breakfast
and I was starving, foraging in the church kitchen
right after I played music for the service, but before the service got out.

It's like my regular little jaunt after walking off the platform.
I just keep going, right out the back door of the sanctuary,
on down the stairs, in search of a bathroom, some coffee and stray food
before I go back in to sit with the family.

So anyway, the cookie doesn't count because I was so hungry
I barely even recognized its edible-ility
before I mashed it into my mouth and swallowed it.

Sometimes I get like that.


Do you know how sometimes you just
need a cookie?

You can be washing dishes, or typing on the computer
or walking up the stairs and suddenly it just washes over you and you think,
"I need a cookie."

That happens to me a lot,
but I can almost never find a cookie right at the very moment of
my greatest need.

Until tonight.

I was sitting here checking my mail when suddenly that familiar feeling rose up.
I was about to push it back down, because there are never any cookies around here,
when it dawned on me that in the bread drawer was an entire package
of Cool Mint Creme Oreo cookies.

I had bought them for Company yesterday, unsure of whether there would be enough desserts. The ice cream and cookies were the dessert back-up plan.

It was too good to be true.

I wanted a cookie,
and I had a cookie.

And I have never tried a Cool Mint Creme Oreo Cookie before.

I took a bite of it.
A slow warmth spread through my chest.

"This is wonderful," I said as I took another bite.

I looked at the little piece left in my hand.

"You are wonderful," I said to it, aloud.

The dog looked at me funny.
The Teenager called, "What?" from the other room.

But I am not ashamed.


Sunday, September 20, 2009


It is a known fact that when I go to the grocery store, there will be an incident.
I can't help myself, I am incident-prone.

Yesterday, dropping in after church to pick up Ice
and one other thing that I could not remember no matter how many aisles I wandered,
I checked out.

Except that I zipped the ribbon from my shirt-sleeve into my purse.

Immediately I was surrounded by store personnel.
One was carrying my Ice,
one was holding my receipt,
one was asking to help.

I said to none of them in particular, "This is awkward."

The bagger was kind and forthright,
treating my incident as completely normal.
His large fingers closed on the tiny ribbon and expertly yanked it out of the zipper,
sending me on my way.

I think he had been standing there waiting for me.
Maybe they had all been alerted as soon as I stepped into the store.

Would she upset the pyramid of pears?
Would she have another incident involving a shopping cart?
Might she injure herself today?
Will she become light-headed in produce
or hyperventilate while choosing cereal?
Will she run over her own foot or
catch the edge of the diaper display as she is rounding a corner?

Will she even make it out alive??


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Funky Blogger

I'm so fickle.
But I love that the blog allows me this.
It is a free expression of me - not a job, not a requirement, not an expectation,
not a duty.
There is a beauty about being able to leave it undone, without consequence,
when I need to.
That's probably why I've kept up with it,
not left it abandoned like so many other projects in my life.
Because I don't have to do it.

All that said, here I am back again.
If you read this blog, you'll find that sometimes it lets you down.
Doesn't follow through.
Doesn't keep up.

There you go.

Today is a Saturday and ahead of me are two hours
of sitting under the Spirit Tent
selling Spirit items.

I don't know what these things will be.
Maybe insulated soda can holders.
Maybe t-shirts and hats and keychains.
Maybe a big foam "number one" finger.

I will sit there proudly, with the cash box.
I will pretend I am one of the gang of mothers
who always volunteer at these games.
I will nod and smile, waving "hey" to passerby acquaintances.

But I will always be a half-step out of sync
with the rhythm of this rec league machinery.
My head will not really be in the game.
My Spirit shirt will be a little too new,
and my hat will not quite be broken in.

She will look over for reassurance
that I am there.

And that is why.


Friday, August 28, 2009



Sometimes I think the word verification
is completely and randomly computer-generated,

and sometimes I just don't know what to believe.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Quote of the Day

At Walmart, walking cheerfully through the home improvements section,
twin boy glanced up and read the sign aloud,

"Do It Yourself.


Boy, that's kind of rude."


Thursday, August 13, 2009


A few days ago, we felt the storm coming.
So we went out onto the front porch and watched it blow in.
The trees bending with wind gusts,
lightning flashing, the air growing still again, sky slightly green...

We stayed out there until the power went off,
and then trickled inside to light candles and wait for bedtime.

I got my guitar and the children grabbed theirs and we each played something.
And we really listened, enjoying each other.
Because there was nothing else to draw us away.

Then we started singing a made-up song,
and twin boy invented a little descant,
and we kept singing it over and over,
making little changes each time.

And it went something like this:

Summer rain is falling down.
And it lights up the night sky.
We count one-two-three, Mississippi.

She is scared, and wants to go inside.
But we beg her to stay for a little while.
And we count one-two-three, Mississippi.

In the darkness we play our guitars.
And we watch the candles burn down.
We count one-two-three, Mississippi.

Autumn soon,
Winter next,
Spring then,
Summer now.

Summer now.
One-two-three, Mississippi.
Summer now.
One-two three, Mississippi.


Sunday, August 09, 2009


We've had tadpoles living in an outdoor plastic "pond",
and recently have begun letting them go 'cuz they're jumping out.

Freedom is a scary thing.

But new friends await.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009


Last night, a mission to destroy the bean-plant-eating slugs
with salt.

Had to wait until after dark.
Had to use flashlights.

Mission accomplished,
headed home.

And home always looks so good,
'specially after hard work.