Come play in my world for awhile!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No good deed goes unpunished

The Scenario: Abandoned kittens, hardly able to feed themselves let alone fend for themselves, are found in the neighborhood. The kittens are in bad shape and will not survive on their own.

The Solution: Take the kittens into your home for 24-48 hours and take them to the Safe Haven for Cats

What could go wrong? Let me make a list:

1) The kittens. They were very young and weak. Initially they would only eat from a medicine dropper. The good news is they got stronger quickly. The bad news is they got stronger and started eating on their own. Apparently, eating on your own involves standing in your bowl of kitten formula and knocking your food dish over. Oh, and taking in food also means you immediately begin peeing and pooping everywhere.

2) Fleas. I thought the cats were dirty, but then the dirt took off running across the kittens' tummy. The good news is the vet told us how to solve the problem - a bath with Dawn dish soap followed by some prescription medication. The bad news is I had to bathe four kittens. Bathing one cat is bad, bathing four? Traumatic.

3) The Beaver (aka our rabbit). We thought it was cute that the rabbit and the kittens hit it off so well. Then we found the fleas. Guess who else needs a bath and medication? Bathing a cat sucks, but it's doable. Bathing a rabbit is like giving birth, but without the good part at the end.

4) The Fear. It quickly became evident that the no-kill shelters in the area were full. FULL! What in the heck was I supposed to do with these kittens?! I'd keep them, but then the hubster would probably not keep me. I spent Sunday night crying like a school girl as I tried to concoct scenarios to save the kitties.

5) The adoption. It was never our intention to keep the cats. So today when we miraculously found someone to adopt two of the kittens we should have been happy, right? I spent the afternoon stoically reassuring the girls and keeping them from having a nervous breakdown. Now, they are in bed and I am sitting here typing and trying to cry very quietly. The hubster knows the extent of my stupidly soft heart. If he catches wind of this stupid blubbering he won't let me take in another stray if only because he wouldn't want to see me hurting like this.

Maybe he's right. 60 hours with those kittens and I'm a sobbing lump of boogery humanity. I seriously need to get a grip.

Farewell sweet kittens.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Garden surprises

This weekend our calendar was full of college football games and birthday parties and sleepovers and everyone was excited. So when I found these in the garden on Friday:

And these in the garden on Saturday:

I was considering myself pretty lucky.

Then we found these:

Technically they weren't in my garden. The four orphaned kittens were under the porch of an unoccupied home, and a neighbor came over to tell us about them. The mother is a feral cat and rumor has it that the neighbor's dog chased her away.

Guess who's their mommy now....

Friday, September 25, 2009

I don't even know where to start

A couple years ago we gutted our kitchen for a remodel. After eating countless meals lovingly prepared in the laundry room, we took the kids to Denny's for breakfast. Madagascar had just come out and they were giving away these masks. The kids thought the masks were brilliant.

This picture makes my heart swell a little when I look at it.

Lack of self-awareness

Free spirits

Open minds


They make me try just a little bit harder every day, and
inspire me to be a better version of myself.

These little critters are my heroes.

Better in Bulk

Check out Lolli at Better in Bulk!

She's hosting more fun photos today and every Friday!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Super Mama?

This week has been a monster. Middle school has been like opening Pandora's box: Shaving legs, cell phones, dances... Each one of these could merit a post in and of itself, but I'm so overwhelmed by it that, frankly, I haven't earned the perspective to write it.

And then I stumbled across Mama Kat's writing prompt:

If you could be a superhero,
what would your superpower be and why?

I want to control time - I want to rewind to the blissful days of infancy, but skip the sleepless nights and colicky days. I want to fast-forward through ridiculous battles of will, and freeze time and savor last weekend at the beach.

I want to read minds - I want to know the monkey-business before the kids have a chance to do more than think about it. As the mother of four girls who are roaring towards the teen years, I'd pay a very steep price for this power.

I want to move without making sound - That way when the little miscreants were up to no good I could sneak up on them and scare the sh*t out of them. If you' re gonna have superpowers you should get to have some fun. Right?

And since we're having fun...

I want to be able to control technology with my mind - Between my well documented battles with the bloggy gods and my latest (undocumented) issues with feedburner... Let's just say the wine budget's been a little, um, inflated.

I don't know what this fabulous foursome of powers would be called. At the moment?

I'd call it perfection.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My guest for a day

I had an out of town visitor recently: Moxie Mona.

Mona is the dream child of Better in Bulk, Mama's Losing It, Scary Mommy, Seven Clown Circus and Mayhem and Moxie. She's touring the blogosphere this week, and stopped to visit North Carolina! I agonized over what to show her, and finally had an epiphany: While there are certainly wonderful places to see in my home state, it's the people of North Carolina and their southern hospitality that make it so beautiful. And what better way for Mona to meet people than to take her to a barbecue?!

It goes without saying that Mona had a blast, but she's definitely a West Coast kinda girl. I think she was unfamiliar with some southern-isms. So, without further ado, I present to you:

The Top 5 Things Mona Learned in North Carolina

1. When a friendly neighbor invites you over for a barbecue it means pork cooked over an open fire and seasoned with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Eastern barbecue is legendary out here. Barbecue is NOT burgers and hot dogs.

2. When the friendly neighbor asks you to "give him some sugar," he is not looking to sweeten his tea, if you catch my drift. Tread lightly.

3. The person speaking to you is not French if they look at you inquiringly and say, "D'jeet?" North Carolinians are truly some of the most hospitable people on Earth. They also take some short cuts with standard English. The person is simply being kind and asking, "Did you eat?"

4. When someone says, "Bless your heart, that's the most unusual headband!" It is NOT a compliment. There is a code in the south... whenever a sentence starts with "bless your heart," you're about to be insulted. If it comes at the end of the sentence (She's been sick as a dog, bless her heart) it's a legitimate show of concern.

5. The food in North Carolina is delicious. Grits, greens, barbecue, and butter beans are all wonderful things, but they are surprisingly high in calories.

I had such a good time with Mona. I wasn't ready for her to go, but she has lots of other blogs to visit. If you see her jogging along the side of the road do not offer her a ride. She needs to do a lot of running to work off all that southern hospitality.

Want to see where else Mona is today? Of course you do! Go see Angie at Seven Clown Circus to find out...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

They said, we said

Today I am playing along with Mayhem and Moxie!


For today’s topic, the lovely ladies at Mayhem and Moxie have asked participants to write a tribute to that special aspect from their summer vacation. This year is a special year for us because it's the first year we've been able to enjoy our vacation together, and also as individuals...
This week hubby had business near the coast, so the rest of us did what we always do: tag along!

No one wanted the weekend to end... but we had very different reasons:

We all had ideal breakfasts:

The adults: Coffee and newpaper on the balcony in the balmy sunshine overlooking the beautiful North Carolina coast.

The kids: Breakfast in bed, served by mom, while they watch their own t.v.

We all had spa treatments:

Mom: Rubbed her heels, cracked from a summer of endless flip-flop wearing, in the grainy sand to reveal baby-smooth feet.

Seriously. All you have to do is grind your heels in the wet, beach sand and when you pull them out you have a pefect pedicure and a big, fat lilly between your ankles. It's worth trying.

The kids: The girls have become champion boogie boarders. Unfortunately, riding big waves means you wipeout. As such we have coined the term "spa treatment" for those occasions when events are particularly catastrophic. For example, you might get the "full body exfoliating polish" courtesy of the sand into which the crushing wave grinds your body. Good times.

We all had stellar meals:

The adults: Grouper, softshell crab... yum.

The kids: Had some of this, which I will admit I love... but it's not seafood.

Clearly we all had fun but I have to wonder...

Were we all on the same vacation?

Life lessons learned in the minivan

You can see more in the light,

But you can think and feel more in the dark.

However, you can smell the most

when trapped in a minivan with four gassy kids.


I know... it's profound stuff.

You're welcome.

Friday, September 18, 2009

We were having a bad day

You know the type. The kids are bugging each other, and every little thing they do seems to end in a verbal smackdown. We were in the car when I reached boiling point, and so I did what I always do, which is clearly ineffective, but I'm apparently powerless to change. I lectured them.

KathyB!: Wah, waah, wah, wah, wah, waaaah... I don't know why I even bother. I swear, it's like I'm talking to myself.

The kids made the appropriate contrite faces and then lapsed into silence. I briefly contemplated pulling over and running screaming into the woods, but abandoned that idea when I realized we were a good 5 miles from home. Instead, I flipped on the radio hoping to divert the seemingly inevitable return to bickerdom. I succeeded in distracting myself but apparently it didn't work for the kids because soon there was giggling in the back, and it wasn't the happy kind. It was the mischievous kind. And yes, there is a difference.

Visions of potty talk and inappropriate humor danced through my head, and I felt my irritation roar back like a freight train as I demanded to know what was going on back there.

KathyB!: Now what? Honestly, you guys don't start. It hasn't even been 5 minutes.

(more giggling except this time it's on the verge of hysterical)

KathyB!: What already?

Hannah: Promise you won't get mad?

KathyB!: (Silence)

Hannah: It's the song.

(now they're laughing like hyenas and I'm looking confused. It's Billy Idol for cryin' out loud, not Weird Al Yankovic)

Hannah: (suddenly breaks loudly into the chorus of the song)

Oh, oh talking to myself
Oh, oh talking to myself
Well, there's nothing lose,
And there's nothing to prove
And I'm talking to myself

We were listening to Dancing with Myself. They didn't get any of the other words but they were clear on changing the dancing to talking.

Seriously. It's like I was trapped in a tin can my minivan with The Three Stooges.

I rolled my eyes.

And then I laughed. Maybe I should make that my theme song?

Here's a little Billy Idol video refresher if you don't remember the song

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Where did I go wrong?

On Sunday I had my Brownie Girl Scout troop over to learn about campfire safety and making fires. It was supposed to be a straightforward affair.

Step 1: Explain fire safety and general campfire rules? Check.

Step 2: Light fire with assistance from girls? Check.

Step 3: Prepare dinner? Ummm...

This is the part I was most excited about. Last year when I was camping with my eldest daughter's troop we had the best hot dogs. Basically, you take a raw hot dog, place it in a bun, wrap the hot dog/bun tightly in tinfoil, stick it in a cardboard juice container, and toss the whole mess in the fire. When the juice carton has completely burned... magic... the hot dog is perfectly cooked. An idiot-proof dinner.

I knew the girls would get a kick out of this, and I also knew that it would keep a bunch of 7 year old girls from tempting fate and my sanity by leaning over an open fire with a hot dog rammed onto a sharp, pointy stick. I was already patting myself on the back and tossing the b-word around. And just so you know? B is for brilliant.

It started out well enough. I goosed the fire to get it nice and hot (and yes, that's a technical term). The girls assembled their hot dog packets and hucked them into the fire. I set about getting condiments and side dishes when one of the mom's called over that the juice boxes were finished burning. What? I specifically remember that this took at least 15 minutes - not five. I took my time and finished what I was doing before I went over to check.

The fire really had made quick work of the juice boxes. I reluctantly pulled the first, charred hunk of foil out of the fire and gingerly tried to unwrap it. The buns were charred. Actually I think charred might not be accurate. The buns were cremated. Hardened little nubs of charcoal. It was not edible.

My error? On the original camp out we put the juice cartons in hot coals, not a hot fire. Apparently this makes a huge difference.

Good to know.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Some days it's all I can do

I usually enjoy my volunteer time at the school. Some days I even love it.

And then there are the other days.

I was working one-on-one with writing students last week. I had one particular child who came to me with absolute gibberish all over the paper. Sentences didn't even make sense let alone have proper punctuation. This is a child of at least average intelligence. There was no excuse for this state of affairs. He just wasn't in the mood. I tried coming at it from a variety of angles to no avail. He then proceeded to tell me that I was the problem. That I could not appreciate his "art."


I kindly explained that I was definitely not a connoisseur of the arts and that I might very well be missing the meaning of his "art," but that we needed to get busy with some writing. Art would have to come later. He responded by telling me: "You're not very nice."

I had two things to share with young Picasso that I, thankfully, had the sense to keep to myself:

The fact that no one understands you does not make you an artist

I'll try to act nicer if you'll try to act smarter.

I think I'm ready to make rock candy with the fourth-graders tomorrow.

Wish me luck.

picture from google images

Monday, September 14, 2009

Truth can be insightful

This weekend I ended up with a block of time on Saturday morning that I spent at home with Abby and Emily (my youngest). We played board games for a bit, but they lost interest and began digging through their room and unearthing long forgotten treasure (and bubble gum wrappers). In their search they did manage to find one true gem... They found a bag of goodies a friend made to keep us entertained on one of our long road trips, and inside the goodie bag was a book with famous sayings that were intentionally left incomplete.

We spent two hours completing al 30 pages of the book. The objective was to complete the sayings accurately. We couldn't pull off accuracy, but I got some fun responses:

1. Don't bite the hand that . . . that gives you chocolate.

Mom's response: They're cute and smart.

2. Better to be safe than . . . get Hannah mad. You will never hear the end of it.

Mom's response: Add perceptive to the list. I must be doing something right!

3. If you lie down with dogs, you . . . why would you even do that when you could lie down in your bed?

Mom's response: Practical, too! Where is that Mother of the Year application form. With brilliant kids like these I'm going to be a serious contender this year.

4. If at first you don't succeed . . . you should try again. And if you still don't get it then ask Mom. And if she messes it up get Dad. He can always fix things.

Mom's response: What is this Dad business?! I fix all sorts of things. Just because I wrecked the bike ride because I couldn't figure out how to pump up my flat tire and ended up trailing the pack on a scooter doesn't mean I don't know how to fix things. Sheesh. I probably shouldn't include this part on my application, right?

5. Where there is smoke, there is . . . mom playing with her blog and not watching dinner.

Mom's response: What? That hasn't happened in at least a week year.

Maybe I should hold off on that Mother of the Year thing 'til next year?

Friday, September 11, 2009

My apology to the universe

First the blogs I follow went missing and spoiled my evening of blog reading, but then they came back. I thought that meant that the universe and I were good. Friendly even.

I should really know better by now, shouldn't I.

I was in the garage to and was just getting ready to slip on my shoes when I see this:

Can't see it?

I don't blame you. It's hard to see.

Let me blow it up for you... That better?

In. my. freaking. shoe.

I love nature. Really. I do. I put up with the snakes in the pool and the snakes in the skimmer basket and ginormous groundhogs eating all of my flowers. But this?

Reptiles in my shoes are NOT OKAY.

Clearly, the universe is upset pissed. I don't think the usual fare of lucky rabbit's feet and four leaf clovers are going to get me out of this pickle. Fortunately, as I sat contemplating my miserable fate blogger Janie Woods came to my rescue with this comment:

"I pay homage to the blog gods by lighting a candle and dancing naked to some tribal music. It usually doesn't work, but my husband laughs his ass off."

I'm just desperate enough to restore order to my world and get off the universe's shit list that I'm going to have to try it.

Monday's post will be the video.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I wonder what I did to tick off the universe?

I just sat down for the evening to catch up on all of my favorite blogs but Blogger says:

You are not currently following any blogs.
Click the add button blah, blah, blah

What the heck?!

I guess I should be thankful I didn't lose my followers, but still. I'm not sure what to do other than to start from scratch. So if I followed you before leave me a comment. Otherwise, I guess I have to start over from scratch.

I told Mother Nature to bite me once and I understood when she hit back. But this I don't understand. I always play nice with the bloggy gods.

Hello, ACME Pest Control?

Hannah is an awesome kid. She's bright, enthusiastic, driven, incredibly funny in a very dry sort of way which I LOVE. I could go on and on. But...

Hannah is also a pest.

She has the innate ability to make peoplecrazy with the snap of her fingers. She knows just what makes people tick and exactly which buttons to push. That child can walk into a room where her sisters are peacefully busy and have all three of them in an uproar in 33.2 seconds. It's almost a gift, really.


After school the other day Hannah and I were sitting in my office reviewing a logic worksheet. She didn't "get it" so I was trying to explain it from yet another angle when I noticed she was looking over my shoulder and clearly not listening to what I was saying. I caught her attention, but rather than going back to the worksheet as I had hoped, we had this conversation:

Hannah: Hey mommy? What's a pest service?

KathyB!: (not paying full attention as I'm still trying to wrap my head around a good explanation for that stupid logic problem) You know... exterminators. They come out and get rid of the pests.

Hannah: What's a termite, mom?

KathyB!: (still not there) Seriously, Hannah?! It's a pest. There's a termite warranty on our house and every year the exterminator comes to make sure we don't have pests. You know... like termites.


Hannah: Um. I'm not a termite. Am I?

KathyB! Wha... no. NO! (lightbulb finally goes on) Hannah, termites are bad bugs - like fire ants. The exterminator comes... Why on earth would you think you're a termite. For Pete's sake, Hannah...

I followed Hannah's gaze to where this was sitting on my desk:

I'm thinking I need to stop calling her a pest before I land her in therapy.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

There's always the bus

I'm still reeling from the impact of having the kids on different schedules. Rachel is embarking upon her third week of school, and the others are just two short weeks away from their first break. The kids seem to be handling it fine, but me? I think I ran into myself at the intersection of crazy and busy. I may or may not have hit my head.

I try to present an optimistic, focus-on-the-positive kind of attitude to the kids. I try to be a good role model. Unfortunately some of my modeling must come across like acting, and I'm guessing I'm not a contender for an Academy Award. At nearly 12 years of age Rachel has become a master at seeing through my, um, baloney and getting an accurate read on my more honest opinions.

The other day I'd waited in the carpool line for half an hour, picked up Rachel, and the two of us were waiting in the next carpool line to pick up her three sisters. I was trying to resist the urge to repeatedly smash my forehead into the steering wheel as I sat roasting, again, in the hellishly humid heat that can be part and parcel of a North Carolina summer. Rachel appeared oblivious to the stagnant air and blazing sunshine as she breathed a little sigh of contentment and said, "This being-on-different-schedules-thing might not be so bad." I brushed at the sweat trickling down the side of my face, and tried not to roll my eyes as I waited for her to finish. I was hot and cranky and not in the mood for contentment and happiness. And I had a feeling she was getting ready to take a verbal poke at me. She grinned knowingly as she delivered the punchline that she knew that I knew was coming:

"Yeah, the different schedules might actually be the best thing for our family. (pause) We actually get along really well when we're not around each other all the time."

Remember I said I got into an accident with myself and that I might have hit my head? Well now I'm certain that I did. And I must have hit it hard.

Had I been in my right mind she would totally have been walking home.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Something smells good!

Do you know the Muffin Kid?
She made muffins, yes she did.
This feisty little Muffin Kid,
Made muffins this fine day.

She measured very carefully
Her face is earnest, can't you see?
She served her muffins so proudly.
To her hungry family.

I love that little Muffin Kid
Into my mouth a muffin slid
It's a shame that the little Muffin Kid
Baked in some egg shells

I took an enthusiastic bite
Something clearly wasn't right.
But I love that little Muffin Kid
So I ate them anyway.

My stomach has been upset a lot recently. I've been seriously contemplating whether I might be getting an ulcer. The kids have been doing a lot of cooking lately. They enjoy it and are finally at a point where they can do the bulk of the work themselves with minimal supervision.

But when I stand back and look at these two seemingly unrelated pieces of information

I have to wonder if it's simply something I ate.

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm like rubber, you're like glue

I've been conspicuously absent in the blogosphere lately because I was lucky enough to go and spend some time with my beautiful sister who just had her first baby.
Ack. It makes my ovaries weep just looking at this picture:

I spent the better part of a week doing my best to spoil that little bundle of love rotten.

And trying to come up with a nickname.

I am the queen of nicknames. Everyone in my life has nickname(s). There is no way I was leaving without giving that little monkey a nickname. But it's tricky when they're so little. It's not like they've got much personality to work with. I mean, it's not like his nickname could be "blob." Unless I could convince my sister to change his name to Bob. Bob the blob could kinda work.

When my visit concluded I only had three potential nicknames:

Hambone: You know, he kind of reminds me of a little Easter ham when he's all curled up. But then, remember that show Growing Pains? And that kid they called "Boner..."

Not good. I think anything with "bone" in it will have to be excluded on principle. Can you imagine if this sweet child became Boner 2.0?! My goal is to welcome the little man into the family with a nickname - not to get myself excommunicated.

Hamlet/hamlette: This one picks up on the whole ham-vibe nicely, plus makes him look scholarly by throwing in the reference to Shakespeare, but his parents didn't really seem to be loving it. That may or may not be a problem. Once I've birthed a nickname they tend to stick around. Regardless of whether the recipient appreciates it.

Spongebob Wetpants: His diaper feels like a bloated sponge when it needs changing. Get it? Spongebob... Wetpants... You aren't laughing, are you? I didn't think so. My kids thought is was H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S. They've clearly got my DNA.

This is the face my little buddy made when he heard the nicknames:

So I'm the rubber, and you're the glue.

It bounces off me, and sticks to you.

I can't wait to see which one "sticks."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Por favor?

I haven't really talked about my past much on my blog. I wasn't a prostitute, or a drug addict, or a child movie star. But I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in my early 20's. I had some surgery. And some chemo. And I got better... I'm thankful every day, but it isn't something I spend much time thinking about. Frankly, it was a long time ago and it feels very surreal in retrospect. The older I get the more I understand just how serious it was. If I'm being truthful I'll tell you that is frightens me to my core to think about how things might have ended...


Jessica Bern contacted me the other day. She asked me to request help from my lovely readers. You see, Jessica was contacted by Seventh Generation, the company that makes environmentally friendly cleaning products, diapers and now tampons. They asked if she would make a video for them for their campaign, "Let's Talk....Period." And she did!

Honestly, I would have sent you over to watch even if she was selling dryer lint. She is a wonderful comedienne, and I am proud to call her a friend. She's also a fellow blogger who got a shot to do something awesome as a direct result of her blog. All those reasons alone are enough for me to send you over there. But if you head over and sign up you'll have the opportunity to make a difference for the 22,000 women who will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year.

Please head over to, watch her wonderful video from “Aunt Flo”— and then please sign up (it's only three clicks). If you do, Seventh Generation will make a donation on your behalf to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Do it because she's funny.

Do it for me.

But if that's not enough, then do it for the 22,000 women
who'll have their world rocked with a horrifying and deadly diagnosis this year.

Do it for them.