Tuesday, September 30, 2008


One of the downfalls of backyard hummingbird theatre is that hummingbirds are increasingly finding their way into our garage, and unable to find their way out. They hover at the ceiling, beating their wings as they frantically search for a way UP and out. They don't seem to realize that by flying a few feet DOWN they can exit by way of the gaping hole that is the garage door. This morning I discovered that one I thought I had found it's way out last night was still in there, and I tried gently coaxing her out with a large plastic rate. To no avail.

My parents arrived this afternoon to be here for The May Queen's birthday. They came bearing a flowering plant that they knew the hummingbirds would enjoy, and we hung it outside our kitchen window.

Later in the afternoon we saw the hummingbird again. She sat on the garage windowsill, looking out at the back yard and the feeder, chirping frantically, exhausted. My mother walked over to the window. The bird flew up but still pressed against the glass, trying to will her way through to the other side. My mother gently took the bird in her hands, walked to the door, and released her. The bird flew off.

"She didn't poop in my hand," my mother said simply.

How often we do, indeed, poop on the person who is simply trying to help us.

Monday, September 29, 2008

la la la...this class is so boring

Today's Monday Mission is to write a post in the form of notes taken in class, and as you can see, I am feeling TOTALLY uninspired. ack. I did recently, however, come across this fun little note actually written in class over a decade ago as I was brushing up on my Strindberg:
yup, that says "class adjourned due to blood"
I wish I remembered what happened.
Hopefully you'll feel more inspired than me. If so, leave a link in the widget below.

October Monday Missions
Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write posts in the style of:
10/6 - An exercise routine
10/13 - An excuse letter (thanks for the idea, Alejna!)
10/20 - Campaign Coverage
10/27 - The plot summary of a horror movie

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Following in my footsteps

Every night before bedtime we have story time. For years we've read 2 stories to The May Queen, but over the summer we added a third story, one that SHE reads to us. I went through her shelves (and shelves) of books and pulled out books I thought she could read and placed them in a basket for her to choose from (I'm awfully glad I kept a lot of those "baby" board books!). I also hit up the library for new books for her to read. She now often pulls other books off of her shelves and surprises us by reading many of them.

My heart fills with pride as she reads a story to me. But tonight, my heart nearly burst. As she read a book I didn't think she could read she surprised me even more by doing voices for all the characters. The same voices I use. When the frog had a deep southern accent, I nearly had to bite my tongue to keep from laughing, it was so adorable.

The May Queen does not appear to have been bitten by the acting bug, and I am totally OK with that. But I am beyond thrilled that she'll be a dynamic reader (there are few things worse than listening to someone read in a monotone!)

Don't forget Monday's Mission: write a post in the form of notes taken in class

and if you have any ideas for upcoming missions, please share them! I'll post the list for October on Monday

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Backyard Hummingbirds - Wordless Wednesday

ok, ok, so that's not a hummingbird.
but he was in our backyard this morning!
*all the birds are female ruby-throated hummingbirds

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ready to serve

In this essay I will prove that I, Sarah Palin, am ready to serve our country, that is, the United States of America, as it relates to other countries in a manner which is referred to as "foreign policies."

As for foreign policy, you know, I think that I am prepared. And I know that on January 20, if we are so blessed as to be sworn into office as your president and vice president, certainly we’ll be ready. I’ll be ready. I have that confidence. I have that readiness.

Last year I took the trip of a lifetime to visit our troops in Kuwait and stop and visit our injured soldiers in Germany That was the trip of a lifetime and it changed my life. And no, I have not met a foreign head of state and I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you. But, again, we've got to remember what the desire is in this nation at this time. It is for no more politics as usual and somebody's big, fat resume maybe that shows decades and decades in that Washington establishment, where, yes, they've had opportunities to meet heads of state.

I have a lot of experience with our domestic energy supplies, and it’s about putting government back on the side of the people, and that has much to do with foreign policy and national security issues. A credential that I do bring to this table is with the energy independence that I’ve been working on for these years as the governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy, that I worked on as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, overseeing the oil and gas development in our state to produce more for the United States. I want you to not lose sight of the fact that energy is a foundation of national security. It’s that important. It’s that significant.

I am in a unique position to understand the workings of Russian government because They're our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska -- from an island in Alaska.

In sum, I am ready and will be ready, I have the readiness and the confidence, to lead this nation in its foreign relations. I have been to the middle east and visited soldiers. I have not met with foreign heads of state which is a good thing; it means I am not going to give you politics as usual. I have worked with energy, which is a key part our national security. And I can see Russia from my beloved state of Alaska.

The highlighted links in my post are either the exact quotes, or quotes slightly altered so as to take out the interviewers question or qualify a pronoun, etc. The links will take you to articles containing the actual Sarah Palin quotes. This is a tad snarkier than I usually write around the Maypole, but once I had the idea, I couldn't resist, and it was fun to try to keep the whole body of the essay as actual quotes.

This post has been a Monday Mission. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the form of a badly written essay (inspired by Bea's post about the things that drive her nuts about the essays she has to read). If you play along please place a link to your post in the widget below.

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Though War is Old It has not Become Wise"

A new children's book caught my eye at the library the other day, and I brought it home. I had just finished reading it myself. I still had tears in my eyes as I was silently debating whether or not I should read it to the May Queen, when she spotted me with it.

What's that?

A book I got from the library.

Can I look at it?

Sure. Would you like me to read it to you?

Yeah! Let's sit on the couch and snuggle.

Well, I never turn down an invitation to snuggle, and so it was that I found myself curled up on the couch with The May Queen and a copy of Alice Walker's Why War is Never a Good Idea

I asked The May Queen if she knew what war was. She didn't. (Oh blessed not knowing what war is. Which is how it should be when you are not quite 6, I think). I explained in general terms about how war is when people fight... not like 2 people fighting, but countries and armies fighting each other and causing a lot of harm.

And then we read.

Though War has eyes
Of its own
& can see oil
& mahogany trees
& every shining thing
The earth

When it comes
To nursing
It is blind;
Milk, especially
It cannot

I had to speak of bombs, and poisons, and missiles. There was a moment of quiet after I closed the book, and then I repeated the title... and that's Why War is Never a Good Idea. After another moment of silence The May Queen asked to read another book, and we were off...

(edited to add: MQ asked to read the book at bedtime the next night. She asked WHY is war never a good idea and we talked a little bit more about war and how animals and people and the earth are hurt and afraid-- edited AGAIN: now it's been two nights in a row she's asked for it after the initial reading)

I don't know whether or not you'll want to read this book to your children, although it is certainly a wonderful starting point for a discussion. But I do know that you should read it and examine the illustrations for yourself.

*the post title is another quote from the book

read an interesting interview about the book with author Alice Walker here

on a lighter note: Monday's Mission is to write a post in the form of a badly written essay (inspired by Bea's post about the things that drive her nuts about the essays she has to read).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Things that are making me smile today

The cooler weather - and the subsequent accomplishment of lots of yard work, as well as the pilfering of wood from neighbors' Gustav debris piles to be used for future s'more making fires

Open windows - the fabulous smell in the house of the fresh air, and the discovery that in addition to being visually entertaining, the hummingbirds make fun chirping noises, especially when chasing each other, AND you can hear the buzzing of their flapping wings

The fruits of our garden-

I carried a watermelon


Shock-a-cone - A friend brought us some of this ice cream, and of course I can not say the name without breaking into a revised version of Chaka Khan's I Feel for You. And now when The May Queen asks for a bowl of it she says "Shock-a-Cone" like the opening of the song, and strikes a pose with her fingers pointing to the sky. I may have to get some video of this.

Vanilla Chai Tea - I've been searching high and low for this since I first had it at a hotel in March, and was about to give up and buy it by the case online but today they had it at the store!

this Daily show clip - you've probably already seen the (very funny!) SNL Palin/Clinton clip, but this Daily Show coverage of pre Palin/post Palin speak had me laughing out loud

Strindberg and helium - thanks, Mad. Because nothing says "lighten up" like a pink balloon squeaking "misery"

what's making you smile today?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

All in the timing

When I auditioned last weekend, both directors told me when they would be calling about casting - one said Saturday night, the other said Sunday night or Monday. So when I went to bed on Monday and no one had called, I was writing those auditions off (and doubting myself. Had they really gone that poorly? Does my new headshot suck that much?). Tuesday morning I found an e-mail offering me a part in the Strindberg play. I accepted.

My husband, despite his fear and downright loathing of all things Strindberg, was supportive, and scaled back on his scathing Strindberg critiques.

Then, later that afternoon, the call came from the Halloween spoof show. The one all about (one of my hubby's favorite things) vampires. They apologized for taking so long to get back to me, but said they had some problem figuring out the men in the show, and then had to work the women around the men, and offered me a nice part.

I thanked them, and told them I had just that morning committed myself to another show. Graciously they said they hoped I would audition again. And I will.

Carefully, I told my husband. And, to his credit, he sighed and said I did the right thing by not going back on my other commitment.

I would have enjoyed either show, in much different ways, of course. I'm looking forward to diving into a meaty text and doing some serious drama, which I haven't done in a while. But the Big Guy is stoically lamenting his poor luck. The difference of a couple of hours, and he could have seen his wife in a funny vampire play. Instead, he will have to suffer through some Strindberg.


Just a few minutes ago The Big Guy got in a car on his way to Texas. He'll be staying outside of Houston, and meeting with pastors in that area about how to move forward and serve their congregations and communities after Ike. He did so much here after Katrina, and now is heading there to help encourage them and get them on their feet.

As if Strindberg weren't depressing enough.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sing, Sing, Sing with me

sing out loud and clear
to tell the people everywhere
that music time is here

Preschool Music
Fall 2008
Instructor: Painted Maypole

Office: Around the Maypole
I do not hold regular office hours. If you need to reach me you can call the school office. I will, hoewever, be happy to give you a big hug and chat amicably with you whenever I run into you at the store, the park, etc.

Class hours: Monday mornings, in 20 minute chunks. Your teacher will bring you to me, you needn't worry about your exact class time. You can't tell time, anyways.

Description: This class encourages students to move, sing and use instruments, thereby fostering a life-long love of music.

Course objectives: In addition to the main objective of keeping the children contained in one space and not injuring each other or themselves, the instructor hopes to introduce the children to music, rhyming, rhythm and group silliness.

Required supplies: A good attitude. All other items (shakers, rhythm sticks, rainbow scarves, hula hoops, etc) will be provided by the school.

Grading: All children will pass music with flying colors (literally, when we use the rainbow scarves). No grades necessary.

Attendance: Students are expected to attend music class unless they are suffering from green snot, a fever, or head lice. In those cases, please stay home. Family trips to Disney World will be excused, as long as you can sing me a Disney song upon your return.

Classroom rules of contact: Unless we are all holding hands in a circle, please keep your hands to yourself. When we are pretending to be dinosaurs, do not bite your friends. Please follow directions. Please only talk when it is your turn to do so, and do not tell a long story about the dog down the street from you that got hit by a car or about what you watched on television last night while the instructor is trying to teach a new song.

Discipline: If you are not able to follow the rules you will be asked to sit with your boring classroom teacher while the rest of your class has a fun time in music.

Schedule: Because the instructor reserves the right to lead you in whatever musical activity strikes her fancy, or matches your energy level, that day no specific schedule is provided. However, the course will begin with songs that introduce the structure of the class as well as introduce us to each other. We will include lots of songs with movement, and will begin our use of instruments with shakers. We will explore volume and pitch. In October we will sing Halloween songs, and in November we will sing fall and Thanksgiving songs, as well as begin practicing for our final performance.

Final Performance: Although this class is largely for the simple joy of making music together, the fall semester will culminate in a holiday performance for a select audience of family and friends. All students will be encouraged, but not forced, to participate. A performance is considered a success if students look cute and their parents get a good picture. Actually singing the songs and doing the hand motions is purely icing on the cake.


This post has been a Monday Mission. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the form of a Class Syllabus. If you do, please use the widget below to link to your post. And check out all the the other syllabi. (or syllabuses or syllabus, there is apparently some debate over the correct plural form. Blogger's spell check votes against "syllabi," apparently)

Join us next week when our Mission will be to write a post in the form of a badly written essay (inspired by Bea's post about the things that drive her nuts about the essays she has to read).

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Mission Audition

I had two auditions today, one for a lighthearted Halloween themed spoof, and another for an obscure Strindberg play. I did a different obscure Strindberg play nearly 11 years ago, and my husband has begged me to never do another one again. If you know anything about Strindberg you know that lighthearted and cheerful do NOT describe his work. The play that I did was a Christmas play, yet it involved a child-stealing gnome. And not in a funny way. Apparently at lunch today my husband prayed that at the audition I would slip and fall, breaking something important to the theatre and perhaps even harming the director, thus ensuring I would not be cast.

Nice to know I have your enthusiastic support, honey.

Neither of these shows are scripts I'm dying to work on, yet they are both at theatres whose productions I've enjoyed recently and would like to work with. I think both auditions went fairly well, but you just never know.

So we're back to the waiting game. Fun, fun.

Also, it occurs to me that I need to remind you about our upcoming Monday Mission: write a post in the form of a class syllabus. And while that sounded like a fun idea when I posited it, I realized that I'm not sure I remember what a syllabus really looks like. Perhaps you are in the same boat. So, I did a bit of poking around online and found this definition of Syllabus on Wikipedia,this example, which seems way more detailed than any syllabus I recall receiving at the prestigious university I attended, and a page on designing a learning-centered syllabus. You most certainly don't need to go so in depth, and now that I've done your homework for you, feel free to completely ignore it and have fun! Which is really the goal of the missions, anyhow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I haven't thought a lot today about 9/11. I mean, I thought about it, but not a lot. I thought about the upcoming election and I thought about hurricane Ike and I thought about my stupid battery back up for the computer and I thought about starting back to work at the preschool next week and I thought about grocery shopping tomorrow.

But when I sat down for a few minutes before bed, to read blogs, I see that you all have been thinking about it.

And I remember how I was awoken (I was living in California) by a phone call, and how my husband and I stumbled out to the living room and turned on the TV. And we saw the second plane hit. How I went to my job as a church secretary and listened to the radio reports all day long, and how I tried to reach my friends in NYC. How I felt inexplicably sick in the middle of the day and had to lay down. How I went to rehearsal that night and the cast fought about whether we should be there or not, and in the end it was decided that our play... designed for middle school students to raise the issue of tolerance... well, that the show truly must go on. That we needed to use our gifts to speak of what we knew. That we needed to open the dialogue for young students. How it wasn't until several days later, when the show had debuted, that I kind of freaked out and bought a bunch of emergency supplies to keep in my car.

I remember how I thought that now we know, in some small yet terrifyingly huge part, how so much of the world feels on a regular basis.

And I'm glad that we stop to remember. Yet I can't help but think of all the horrors that happen all over the world every day; the bombs and the attacks and the natural disasters and the genocide and the gang killings and ....

Well, I can't help but think. Isn't there something we could remember for each day? Some event that reminds us that we need to fight injustice and love our neighbor and help in a time of need?

I hope that any thinking you've been doing is not focused on anger and fear. I hope that you're thinking about how to make the world a better place.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Shifting winds

I haven't mentioned Ike... partly because I'm afraid ya'll are sick of all hurricane all the time blog programming, and also because the storm has turned and isn't headed towards us anymore. Those poor folks in Texas, however... It's nice to feel like I can make some solid plans for the days ahead, and I'm looking forward to 2 auditions this weekend that should actually happen. Thanks, Emily, for asking. And since I'm on the subject of hurricanes: even though we got off relatively easy with Gustav, there are some areas on the coast and also Baton Rouge that got hit pretty hard. No, it's not as "big" as Katrina was, but it's still pretty serious. It's not getting a lot of news play. And obviously Cuba etc. have really taken a beating this hurricane season and could use your help, prayers, and good thoughts.

In hummingbird news: yesterday as our Red-necked Guarder chased another bird away the usurper's beak got caught in the screen of our porch. It baffled me, and our Guarder - who fluttered around him and occasionally pecked him. He did finally get loose on his own, fortunately I didn't have to go push his beak out through the screen, although that would make the story even more funny. Hummingbird rescue! It made us laugh quite a bit, and the hummingbird theatre continues.

As you can see, life is pretty slow around here, what with not having to evacuate and spending way too much time watching the birds. It's rather nice, but not very exciting.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Maypole Continuing Education

Painted Maypole began Maypole Continuing Education as an opportunity to share with others the skills that she is continually learning and improving upon in her own life. Maypole Continuing Education is proud to announce its fall course schedule:

Hurricane Evacuation
This class will cover all the basics such as watching a hurricane's progress, choosing what to save and fitting it into the back of your vehicle,where to stay and how to decide when to return home. Guest speakers will discuss how to survive in a car for long hours with children and pets, as well as how to time your travel to avoid contraflow traffic. We will also cover preparing your home before we leave. This class will have several practical labs, and although we hope to only PRACTICE these skills, the class is being held during hurricane season so we may get the chance to put them to the test. If we're really unlucky, more than once.

Cheap Entertainment
This class is all about how to find hours of entertainment for little to no money. Painted Maypole will share her tips on everything from creating backyard hummingbird theatres to buying craft projects on clearance at Michael's for anywhere from 6 to 50 cents apiece. The class will begin with a lesson on being easily amused.

Clearing the Clutter
After clearing the clutter in her kitchen, Painted Maypole feels not only somewhat like an expert, but that she's on a roll. This class will be held in PM's computer room where students will get a VERY hands on chance to learn how to clear the clutter. Lessons include "sometimes it's OK to throw it away," "if I can find it I can use it," and the commonsense "there's a better way to file things than putting them on top of the filing cabinet, and usually that means OPENING the filing cabinet."

How to Drive Your Parents Crazy and Endear Them to You at the Same Time
This class is being taught by The May Queen who refuses to reveal any further information about the course, as apparently this is a top secret formula. Class open to children under 10 years of age only.

How to Throw a Child's Birthday Party at Your Home and Enjoy It
This course will begin by discussing the differences between an off-site party and a home party and discuss ways to plan activities for children in your home that will keep them occupied, entertained, and out of your medicine cabinets. After helping to implement a Cat themed birthday party for a 6 year old, students will then have an opportunity to plan their own birthday party.


This post has been another Monday Mission. Your Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the form of a course description. And... good news! I solved my Mister Linky problem, and now if you participate in the missions you can add your own little link below. Please put in the link to your actual POST.

Join us next week when your mission is to write a post in the form of a class syllabus.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Hummingbird Theatre

Our hummingbird feeder continues to provide great entertainment, particularly as one hummingbird has claimed it as his own and drives any other usurpers away. He sits on the tomato cage and guards his small bottle of red sugar water diligently. If another hummingbird (or two!) dare to enter the yard, he swiftly rises and chases them through the yard, swerving above the ground until the other bird flies off. He then returns to the cage to keep his watch. He has grown accustomed to our coming and going from the kitchen, and so merely glances our way when we enter the room. We've been breaking into giggles and cheers of "get him! go!" in the midst of meals. I suggested we name our new little friend and The May Queen, in her usual way, dubbed him "red-necked guarder."

(Ruby-throated hummingbirds are apparently very territorial and aggressive, particularly in late summer when they are fattening up for migration. It's like a Discovery Channel special in our back yard)

Don't forget Monday's Mission: write a post in the style of a course description. Go wild. Give us a few courses to choose from!

I Don't Like Ike - and Monday Mission Reminder

Just when I thought I could relax....

Guess I won't do a full fridge restock just yet.

Monday's Mission, should you choose to accept it, is to write a post in the style of a class description. Maybe before I moved to Louisiana I needed to take a class called "New Orleans is fun, but they call those drinks hurricanes for a reason."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Putting it together

We put the bird feeders back out yesterday (we pulled everything in from the yard so the storm wouldn't blow them around), and the birds have literally flocked to our backyard. We usually get quite a few, but today there seemed to always be a dozen or more cardinals, blue jays, and other birds coming and going. Perhaps other folks haven't gotten their feeders back out yet. Perhaps the storm somehow messed with their other food supplies. Regardless, we got to enjoy their presence today. We also saw many hummingbirds, and that one dollar hummingbird feeder that I hung up with an old wire hanger ("usually you have to go to a trailer park to see something that classy," commented the Big Guy) has proved well worth the buck. The hummingbirds would even rest on top of the tomato cage, cleaning beneath their wings with their pointy beaks, and I'm not sure I'd ever seen a hummingbird at rest before.

I spent most of the day at the kitchen table, entranced by the jigsaw puzzle started by the Big Guy and his friend while they were waiting out the storm. I get so pulled in to jigsaw puzzles, driven to put in just one more piece as I get to know the variations in color and texture. I love how the more time you spend with a puzzle the better you get to know it, the more easily you can look at a piece and know exactly where it goes. And yet there is always the elusive piece, the one you look for seemingly a million times and can't find, but should be so obvious. And then, there it is. Jigsaw puzzles seem like the perfect metaphor for so many things in life.

Finally, after dinner, I unloaded the minivan and began putting back the pieces of our life that I deemed worth trying to save: scrapbooks, old love letters, a heart shaped locket with black and white photos of my grandparents. Pieces of our lives, rich with color and texture, just like the jigsaw puzzle.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

home - edited

The May Queen and I arrived home about 9:30 last night. As we drove in to our neighborhood all the homes had lights... then about 3 houses away from our home it became completely dark. As of about noon today power was still not on at our home. I'm sending this from church, which has power and internet (satellite, not cable like at home, so even if our power gets back on we may still not have internet).

We threw away all the contents of our fridge and freezer and cleaned those out this morning. We have several offers of places to go if our power doesn't come back on today, and will do that if we need to. It was hard to sleep last night. Fortunately it's a relatively cool and cloudy day here, so it's not too bad, but it is nice to be in A.C. for a little bit here. We picked up a pizza to eat here while The Big Guy is on a conference call, and we're charging up the portable DVD player! ;)

There was at least one house in our neighborhood sliced in half by a big pine tree (and it's not too far from us, we're wondering if that's why our area doesn't have power....) and a few more that were hit with branches and have tarps on the roof, but the damage is far, far less than with Katrina. The May Queen's school plans to reopen on Monday.

We have running water, and our water heater is gas, so we even have hot water. We are, however, under an order to boil water before drinking (we've got lots of bottles, though, so we're good)

thanks for all your thoughts, prayers and good wishes.

edited to add:
at 3:30 pm our power came back on, and with it our cable, phone and internet! The house is cooling off and things are looking up!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Heading home!

packing up and getting on the road after lunch. don't know when I'll have internet access again...

Monday, September 1, 2008

Quick update

I've been in contact with The Big Guy throughout the day, and he is doing just fine. Power, internet, and cable are all out, but no major damage, and no flooding (perhaps down by the lake... he didn't report on that in his drives). Branches down all around town, but not the big trees through houses like with Katrina. They were still experiencing some pretty fierce wind and rain this evening as one of the outer bands passes over, so there may still be a few more problems, but probably not too much. We most likely won't be heading home tomorrow, but I'm hopeful for Wednesday.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers.

and PLEASE check out the Monday Mission participants in my post below. I really appreciate you guys playing along.

And look... being evacuated and all I'm mostly skimming blogs on my reader, but just don't have the time and energy to read and comment like I usually do. But I'm around.