Sunday, March 30, 2008

Maypole for BlogPresident

On average, bloggers have 3 loads of laundry that urgently need washing.

The kitchen floors of most bloggers go 5.7 days longer between washings than in homes where no one blogs.

Most bloggers sit in front of their computer for at least 2 hours a day that they could be spending more constructively, and secretly wish they could spend more.

Bloggers with anonymous blogs find themselves having to stop themselves before giving away their secret in conversation an average of 3.7 times a week.

Bloggers with a day job spend lunch hours and many moments in between secretly checking their blogs

If Painted Maypole were president of the Blogosphere, many of these things would be better for the average blogger. Senator Maypole would make sure that ads running on blogs paid WELL, never infringed upon the look of your blog, and were always for products and causes you endorse. Blogging could become your full time profession. You could hire someone to wash the laundry and clean the floor. You could speak proudly of your high paid career in electronic communications. You could quit your day job and spend all day posting and commenting. Changing the world through your words. And wouldn't that be a much better world, not to mention blogosphere?

This ad was paid for by Maypole for BlogPresident. All statistics in this ad were collected by the independent consulting team of May Day, Inc.

This has been a Monday Mission. Your Mission (besides voting for me, of course!) is to write a post in the style of a political ad. If you choose to accept this mission leave a link to your post in the widget below. Get out and rock the Monday Mission.

And it's that time again - a new month of missions before us:
4/7 April Showers - We've all been to baby and bridal showers. What else deserves a shower? Who would you honor? Who would you invite? What kind of activities would it entail? Write a post as an invite or party plan for your own kind of April Shower.
4/14 Bridal Breakdown. You've read the newspaper briefs about weddings. "The bride wore a floor length satin gown...." Write a post about anything you'd like in that same style.
4/21 Want Ad
4/28 House listing

Saturday, March 29, 2008


don't forget Monday's Mission - to write a post in the style of a political ad (crap, does this mean I'll actually have to watch a few for research?)

real post with photos below, if you haven't already seen it...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I heart NOLA

I've been busy showing off fair New Orleans to my brother and sister-in-law. My parents treated us to two nights, KIDS FREE, at a hotel in the French Quarter.

As they've never been to NOLA before, we enjoyed introducing them to the sights, sounds and tastes of New Orleans.

We took a carriage ride, listened to music on Frenchman street, visited museums, took walking tours, and explored a cemetery.

We ate crawfish, beignets, bread pudding, gumbo, po' boys, pralines and fried alligator. We drank mint juleps, Abita beer, hand grenades and many of our favorite hurricanes by candlelight at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop.

I never expected to close out last night singing karaoke at a gay bar with my sister-in-law. But we had a blast (and earned ourselves some free shirts, too!)

And all I can say is that I love this city more and more.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

He is Risen!

He is Risen, Indeed!

This is how I arose this morning: my 3 year old nephew saying "Good morning, Aunt Painted!" and then, at the top of his deep throated lungs "KITTY!!!!" as he chased a terrified Shakespeare down the hallway.

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Christ is Dead!

Many years ago, following the Good Friday worship service, The Big Guy and I went with some friends to a little Irish bar in our Philadelphia neighborhood for some Rolling Rock and a night of Karaoke. When we got our drinks our friend lifted his beer high and proclaimed:

Christ is Dead!
Without missing a beat the whole table raised their beers and said in unison:

He is Dead Indeed!
For a moment we thought the whole Irish Catholic population of the bar was either going to faint or beat us up, but then they laughed heartily, and our friend went on to win the Karaoke contest.

Good Friday, is, I think, my favorite observance of the church year. I like the quiet reflection, the acknowledgement of the grief. I love the tenebrae service, as the lights diminish and the last words of Christ are read. I love old hymns and the slamming of the bible to signify the stone being rolled in front of the tomb. The quiet. The aloneness. The prayer.

But this year it wasn't Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed or Ah, Holy Jesus that moved me most during the service, although they are wonderful hymns, sung for centuries on this solemn night. Rather, it was this song that I sang, with my daughter in my lap, that moved me most:

How deep the Father's love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure

How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory

Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers

It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished

I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom

How Deep the Father's Love for Us - by Stuart Townend

Christ is dead. But I know the end of the story, and that is what makes this Friday Good. On Easter Sunday we will say that Christ is Risen. But that is the truth every day, not just on Easter Morning. Hallelujah.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

excuses, excuses

Hey, ya'll.

I'm tired, feeling a bit overwhelmed, have family in town and will have more family here by the end of the week. I've not been visiting much nor posting much, and it will likely be that way for a bit. Bear with me...

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Light is Gone

F. had more lives than a roomful of cats. His deaths were many and varied. He died from prickly heat, riding a motorcycle, slipping on a ketchup packet, in a unicycle accident, searching for the Loch Ness monster, falling off the bar and falling out a bedroom window, and many other stange, bizarre and freakish deaths. Each time he'd die, they'd wake him and he'd live to die another day. But not this time. What finally managed to keep him in the box? A producer who failed to find him a home convenient to tourists.

He is survived by his mother and his fiance of 30 years. He will be remembered for his gift of storytelling, and his ability to drink enormous amounts of Guinness. Unfortunately he had many dreams in his life he was unable to fulfill, including water skiing while playing the tuba, wrestling bears in India, playing for Notre Dame, commandeering a hot air balloon, flying an airplane, swallowing a cat, becoming a Fema agent, making cheese, sleeping with the queen, writing a Broadway musical and going to Disney World.

F. will be laid to rest in the dark corners of the prop room. But he will live on in our hearts forever. In leiu of flowers donations can be made for the building of a casino/orphanage on his land.

This has been a Monday Mission. As you may guess, my show closed this weekend. Today's Mission is to write a post in the style of an obituary. If you play along, post a link to your post in the widget below:

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Could You Buy This House?

Last night my husband and a friend were watching a video, and when it ended some TV show was on HGTV that followed people who were house hunting. The Big Guy and I commented that it seemed like a boring concept, but our friend remarked that you got to see some interesting things. Which reminded me of the most interesting thing we saw in all of our three hunts for a home.

We were house hunting in Long Beach, California. The home was currently being rented out, but the owner was tired of renting it, and wanted to sell it. From the street it was well kept and in a nice neighborhood. Sago Palms grew by the front door. Our agent rang the doorbell, and a thin man wearing a large ram pendant answered the door. He was a bit grumpy about letting us in (as renters in homes being sold often are) but was polite enough. There was gorgeous tile around the fireplace, hardwood floors, and interesting light fixtures. We walked through, admiring the home. The appliances in the kitchen were older, but in a quaint way, not in a 70's avocado green way. So far so good. We continued into the first bedroom.

On the floor was a large pentagram. In the center of the room was a coffin. Clearly, the room's inhabitant SLEPT in the coffin. The only other piece of furniture in the room was a tall dresser, which held many candles and more pentagrams. Leaning against the window were bumper stickers with cheerful messages like "Kill Christians." We peeked in the closet (we were house hunting after all...) and saw a closet full hooded robes in various colors.

The other bedrooms were unremarkable.

In the backyard we noticed outdoor lighting and speakers. As if perhaps it were a party place. The ground was plain dirt, but as we walked over it, we noticed it wasn't packed down as if from dancing party goers, but rather soft earth, as if perhaps it had been recently dug up. The Big Guy and I exchanged a glance as our agent said "The guy selling this house says he had this back yard beautifully landscaped before he rented it out."

Fortunately we didn't care for the layout of the home, so didn't have to wrestle with the question of could we buy a home we'd feel the need to have an exorcism performed in. But what if it had been perfect? Could we have gotten over it and bought the home? Could you?

Monday's Mission is to write a post in the form of an obituary.
The floor is still open for interview questions.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This and That

I think it's just allergies. This theory is supported by the thickish layer of yellow pine pollen I had to wipe off the table on the porch the other day. Regardless, it means a scratchy throat, runny nose, and tiredness. Just what I needed after finally recovering from the 5 week flu. And, of course, with relatives coming into town in a week I have a long list of things to get done around the house before they arrive, and all I really want to do is nap.

Since I have felt rather uninspired in the blog post area of late I have decided to jump on the interviewee bandwagon, and open myself up to your questions. And no pressure (I know I sometimes feel pressure to ask a witty question) to ask a question. But if there's something you want to know, ask away.

Here's me, mounting the coffin (photos from production fall '06)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Nobody puts baby in the corner

I was a first anniversary gift, chosen lovingly between them. I made Painted squeal with glee and shimmer with excitement.

At first the time she spent with me was devoted to relearning those songs she had played at camp on her mother's borrowed guitar. Then came Indigo Girls, Bare Naked Ladies, Dave Matthews, Dar Williams... songs she loved and downloaded from the internet, teaching herself how to play as she sang along.

We moved across the country and still she sat on her bed and we sang together regularly. Then we spent time in the sunshine, in the parking lot of the Science Museum as a friend tried to teach her the blues. She made up her own songs, and they weren't very good, but it was warm in the Los Angeles sun and laughter was plentiful.

We moved again and I would feel the soft kicks of the coming child as Painted practiced for the first official lessons we ever took together.
Then the child was born.

It's been over 5 years since Painted Maypole has spent more time with me than it takes to move me from one place to another. I hear her spirit calling out to me occasionally, the promises that she makes herself that she'll play me once again. The wishes that she could use me when she sings with the kids at school. The willingness to even cut her nails so she can press my strings properly.

Yet here I sit, ignored in the corner of the guest room. Collecting dust.

My companion? A beautiful bass, HAND MADE for Painted and The Big Guy. No one in this house even knows how to play her, but she was a gift, specially made for The Big Guy by a friend. Maybe someday together we will sing.

But for now we sit: out of tune, out of use, out of sight, out of mind....

This has been a Monday Mission - this week's mission was to write a post from the point of view of someone or something else in your home. If you've written a Mission post please post your link in the widget below. And then scroll down and read the fun I had with Limericks this weekend in my posts below...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

More Limericks!

I tell you, driving across a 24 mile bridge twice in a day gives you plenty of time to come up with more limericks (see the others in the post below...)

Here we go again:

Says Julie at Using My Words
Toxic chemicals AREN'T for the birds
Dread Disease is no fun
Listen, candidates who run:
Plan to get this environment cured!

Got causes? Then write some Just Posts.
Mad and Jen are the lovely co-hosts.
Speak truth in love
Or throw down the glove
Over issues that speak to you most.

There once was a blogger named Painted
Whose image was suddenly tainted
When her Mom found the blog
All her veins it did clog
And onto the hard floor she fainted

(and these limericks just use NAMES of blogs, rather than being specific about the blog or bloggers...)

I exercise while Seeking Sanity
My search is not purely for vanity
If I fit in this dress
I will have much less stress
Than if I'm as large as a manatee

Oh, how I do love to sing
Bright sunshine true happiness brings
A hug and a kiss
Will always bring bliss
Peanut butter's Another Good Thing.

(Monday Mission - a post written from the point of view of some other thing in my home - coming soon.... And don't miss my Limericks below. This is fun! Write one about me!)

Late night Limericks

Earlier today (or I suppose, technically, yesterday) I read over at Niobe's place about a Limerick Contest at Weebles Webblog.

On the long drive home tonight from the show wherein I have to make up my own dirty Irish ditty, I decided to come up with some cleaner Irish Limericks. Here's my go:

I like to read Slouching Past Forty
Even if that fair blogger's a shorty
I'll forgive her that ill
since she has mad skills
I don't care if she's only 5'4", see?

If she didn't live quite so afar
I would like to meet up at a bar
I bet she's quite fun
when she's had more than one
That Jen M. at Get in the Car!

My reader says five hundred two
these posts, it claims, are all new.
Where to begin?
I think I'll dig in
With the dude who writes at One Plus Two.

The kooky gal at RimaRama
is not truly the Queen of Drama
When she writes comedy
I'll be slapping my knee!
That blogger is one funny mama!

Some say that she is quite an A-hole
Though it's hard to believe Painted Maypole
Could ream someone out:
Yell, scream and shout.
I guess lack of sleep takes it's toll.

(not based at all on fact, but I just had to rhyme my name with A-hole!)

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Blind Date

I had my second Bloggy Blind Date last night. (The first was a mere month and half after I started blogging, when I met up with Ewe in Cambridge.) Those of you who have done this before, who have met up with friends you've gotten to know online, know the sort of excitement and nervousness that goes with such a meet up. But I will confess I was mostly excited.

Allison from Soccer Mom in Denial is here in New Orleans for a conference, and staying with her old friend and fellow blogger the Ambassador of the lovely New Orleans blog The Ambassador Returns.

I had a performance last night, so met up with them late for drinks. They were having dinner so I went to meet them at the restaurant, and was told I would know them because they would be the loudest people in the room. They also gave me easily identifiable physical descriptions as well.

When I arrived I found they had a table full of friends, and worried I was crashing the party. But they both immediately rose and gave me hugs. Good hugs. Strong hugs. It's amazing how the right kind of hug can immediately make you feel welcome and at ease. Allison and the Ambassador both give top notch hugs. They pulled up a chair between them and the "date" began.

I ordered a drink, had a few bites of Allison's Pecan Pie (yum! My favorite!) and we all talked. Allison spoke so movingly about the work she does. She's passionate and articulate, just like you would expect from reading her blog. And her skin. Her gorgeous, fair
skin glows. Seriously. The Ambassador was warm and friendly and charming. We asked each other questions and talked and listened and laughed and had a lovely evening. (Their friends were all friendly and fun as well. And I didn't pay for a drink all night. Thanks!) It was a fantastic first date. Hopefully someday we'll have a second.

Oh. And we're all tall. Hooray for tall bloggers!

Monday's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post from the point of view of someone or someTHING else in your home. Perhaps the delete button on your computer wants to spill some of your secrets? Come back on Monday and post a link to your Mission.

And I apologize for not being around reading much. This is the first week I've felt truly well in nearly 2 months, and I've been quite busy trying to catch up with all the things I neglected during that time. I'll be getting back in the groove here soon. I hope.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thanks, and another request for help

Thanks for all your insights on my current school dilemma in my last post. Thank you, particularly, for consistently telling me to go with my gut, and that either choice can work. When I first began thinking about that post I was going to specifically ask for no advice, but I wrote it when I was less raw about it, and glad that I did. You were all supportive in your comments, and thank you.

The Big Guy and I have talked, and we plan to keep The May Queen heading into first grade next year. We will set up more play dates with kids at school and also look into getting her involved in martial arts (something the Big Guy has advocated before for discipline, etc). She plays with lots of kids her age and older both in the neighborhood and at church, so has lots of opportunities for socialization. She is very happy at school, and we fear that keeping her in kindergarten will cause boredom and other problems. So that's where we are.

On a completely different subject: any advice for how to save/back up previous posts? I haven't saved anything I've written here, and if blogspot somehow disappears, all will be lost. Help?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Here we go again?

On the way home from school yesterday I sat and listened proudly, and in awe, as my child read a book to us from the backseat. My child who last fall refused to read lists of words, wouldn't even try. But when we introduced the concept of reading words IN BOOKS, well.... The growth brought tears to my eyes. The Big Guy and I were just coming out of a conference (regularly scheduled, everyone does one this time of year) with the teacher. The teacher, Mrs. B, spoke of how well The May Queen does with the academic part of school. How she is learning and progressing. How her writing is improving. How she asks for help when she needs it. How she doesn't get tired and want to leave school early in the day. How she follows the rules. We beamed with pride.

Then the teacher told us about how at recess The May Queen chooses to play with kids in the Pre-K class. How she gravitates to the younger children. She gets along fine with the kids in her class, but seems to prefer the company of the younger children. And being the youngest in her Kindergarten, but nearly a full year in some cases, this makes sense. As Mrs. B said, she's right on target for a 5 year old. But she's in a class of 6 year olds.

So The Big Guy asked the question. He laid out for her how we had
fought for Kindergarten, taking her to this private school that would accept her even though she was three days past the public school cut off date. And he asked what she recommended: keeping her on this track and putting her into first grade, or putting her into kindergarten at a public school? I held my breath. "If it were my daughter," she began, "I would put her into kindergarten at a public school, where she could be put in the advanced track and still challenged." She went on to say that she thinks she'll be fine if she stays and does first grade.

My heart wanted to scream "No!" I really had a strong reaction against this. And while I don't want to disregard that reaction, I also want to look at it more objectively. Be willing to see another side.

I really thought our stress related to this issue was over. As I read back over my post about our decision to put her in kindergarten I found I still feel the same way, only any concerns over academic readiness are completely gone. I was willing to just go forward and not think about this any more. But now I am thrown back in to wondering if she will be mature enough. Are we taking away a year of her childhood by keeping her moving into 1st grade? What will it be like when she's in high school and all of her friends are driving and she's not? What if she's socially awkward through junior high (and I mean more than the usual social awkwardness we all go through!)? How does this weigh out against be gargantuanly tall when compared to kids her age and younger? If we hold her back, will she eventually be MORE mature, like I was, and resent being with the younger kids? Am I projecting my own insecurities and frustrations on her, and not allowing for her to grow and face those challenges on her own? And is preferring the company of younger children such a big problem, really, and will that not change a bit next year when she's no longer at recess with the younger kids? She plays fine with older kids at church and in the neighborhood.

Ack. The Big Guy and I haven't had a chance to discuss this yet, but it has been taking up a lot of my brain power since yesterday afternoon, this old problem that I thought we were done with.

As I listened to The May Queen read that book in the car yesterday, and again today, I'm torn. She has come so far since her
first day of kindergarten. Academically there is no reason she shouldn't advance. But maybe there's another, more compelling reason to hold her back. I just don't know. I want to make the right decision. Yet I wish it didn't have to BE a decision.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Please leave a message after the beep....

Hello. Painted and Big Guy? This is Mrs. R, your neighbor three doors down. I couldn't help but notice that your front yard has some er... new items in it. Like 2 coolers. Some odd looking green poles. Washed out cat litter pans. A Christmas tree stand. Several push brooms. Children's toys. FIVE garbage cans. Now you know that our neighborhood association rules clearly state that your garbage cans must be out of sight from the street. I'm fairly sure this statute applies to litter boxes, coolers, brooms, toys and random green poles. And Christmas was over well over 2 months ago. Now, you've always been good neighbors, even if you don't mow quite as often as you should and your garden could stand some weeding. But I'm beginning to worry that you will soon have a car up on blocks under that beautiful oak tree of yours. Don't even think about it. If these items aren't cleaned up immediately I will have to report you to the Neighborhood Association, and I would hate to have to do that. So please.... clean up your yard.

Oh. And by the way. My little girl is selling wrapping paper for school. Would you like to buy some?


This has been a Monday Mission (our weekend Mission was to clean out the garage and paint the floor....). Your Mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a voicemail message. If you fulfill the mission, come back here and leave a link to your voicemail post.

Future Monday Missions:
3/10 The voice of someone or someTHING else in your home (here's your toaster's chance to tell all!)
3/17 An obituary
3/24 Easter week - I'll have family in town... take the week off.
3/31 A political ad