25 July 2007

Here's to Good Friends...

This past weekend was GREAT! It was like a mini-vacation since some good friends, The Gilberts, came to visit. We had soooo much fun! And it only reminded me, yet again, how much we all have in common. Their daughter was a joy!

Saturday we ventured out to Old World Wisconsin, followed by steaks on the grill & an introduction to a hilarious game, Gloom.

Sunday was off to the Bristol Renaissance Faire. I haven't been a patron in about 13 years. It was a different experience, and I don't want anyone to think I didn't enjoy my time with my friends, but I think it will be another 13 before I'm a patron again. It's just too hard to NOT be performing. I was pleased to see one of my favourite bands, Tartanic, perform though!

Monday was sightseeing around my town & out to the lighthouse. I hope my friends made it home safely & we can't wait to get together with them again!

20 July 2007

Shop & Save a Life

Today begins the start of a wonderful new opportunity for you to be charitable while doing your shopping. Parent Bloggers is giving everyone the kick to raise money for their favourite charity in the most ingenious way...by doing what we all love...shopping. "So what does that mean, Kimba," you ask. It's sooo simple. Following this link, shop online with any of the retailers on the site's pull down menu (you'll be surprised to find many of the big name sites on there -- Disney Store, Hallmark, Linens 'n Things, etc.) and I've set it up to that 50%...yes, 50% of the proceeds go to the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

Multiple Sclerosis is an often misunderstood disease because not only does it affect every person with it differently, science still hasnt' determined exactly the cause yet. As a result, funding is often minimal to the research for a cure. Insurance companies & Medicaid won't always cover the care & treatment of individual's with MS. That's why any funds that can go to finding a cure are so important.

You see, my mother suffers from MS. Besides being a wonderful mom to me & my many siblings, mom used to be a professional figure skater & an award winning dancer. She was full of life & vitality. A petite blonde with a pixie haircut, I don't think I ever saw my mother wear anything but spikey high heels. She was hip & fashionable and she & my father loved to travel the world. She grew up in Chicago & loved the city. When I was in college she had started stumbling, & her legs felt weak. She was eventually diagnosed with MS. The disease attacked her fast, and within a couple of years she was in a wheelchair. This physically active woman no longer had use of her legs. My father cared intensely for her, and she willingly tried anything & everything that might help (including enduring bee sting treatments...something I could never do!) Unfortunately NOTHING has helped. She does not have the sort of MS that goes into a recessive state (like Montel Williams has), but instead her is ongoing. My mother now is forced to reside in a nursing home, unable to any longer wheel herself around, or even feed herself. Mentally she is bright & alert. Physically her body is a shell that she can no longer control. It's sad & difficult to see, knowing I can't do anything for her.

Ah, but I can! And so can you! Again, please consider shopping on line through iBakeSale, so that 50% will go to Multiple Sclerosis research. And just so you know, if you join you can set up your own funds (whether they be for a cause or the "charity begins at home" cause), though I hope you'll consider being a part of my MS group. My mom & I thank you.

Here are a few facts about MS:

Multiple Sclerosis is the most common progressive and disabling neurological condition in young adults
Approx 2.5 million people worldwide, have Multiple Sclerosis
Around 400,000 people in the United States have Multiple Sclerosis.

MS doesn't kill, but it does shorten a lifespan by an average of 7 years.

MS affects women 2:1 over men in the US, and 2:1 caucasion over other races.

The rate of developing MS is 1 in 800, meaning you probably know someone who has it or you will get it...what better reason to help find a cure?

14 July 2007

A glass of wine, a good movie & You

One of my favourite distractions is bopping around Netflix, checking out films I might never had known about, rating those I have seen, and seeing what recommendations they come up for me. (Trust me, some really make me chuckle.) It is rare that I go to the cinema, I just can't often justify the rising cost for the quality of the movies. Harry Potter cost us $20 the other night, plus another $9 for the smallest popcorn & one medium drink. So for me to spend that it has to be a film I REALLY want to see on the big screen (in this case, the MegaScreen). Otherwise I'll just wait until the film is out on DVD, snuggle up at home & watch it. I was never any good at returning a movie to the rental shop on time. I've probably spent far more money in late fees than going to the cinema would have cost me. And thus, the glory that is Netflix.

Now that I officially sound like the spokesperson for Netflix, I'll invite you to join my "Friends" list. I'm always looking for something new to watch.

13 July 2007

Order of the Phoenix

Since baby boy was spending the night with the grandparents, we took advantage of the time to go see "Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix" on the MegaScreen last night. I quite enjoyed it! I keep hearing people talk about how dark it is, and yeah, it should be! This is really the turning point in the HP stories. They've been students getting into some pretty difficult situations, but now the gauntlet has been thrown down and it's now no-holds-bar against Voldemort.

I felt it was done well, though I would have liked to have seen more with the actual Order of the Phoenix. The fight between Voldemort & Dumbledore was exactly as I'd pictured it in the book. Luna Lovegood is far more endearing than I expected (I thought she'd just be annoying, but really that title went to Cho). The special effects were excellent. Given this was my least favourite book, I can't wait for more!

Confession time...Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) is just far too good looking & has far too nice of a body for a boy so young.

11 July 2007

Birthday Wishes, Karma & Marley Chains

I spent many years being a cynic, always believing it was better to expect the worst rather than be disappointed. I no longer view life so dark. I know what made me get over it...drastic events...being kicked to the curb (and the gutter), losing myself and having to pick my way back into life. The irony of these sorts of events making me less cynical is not lost on me, but then my life is often ironic. I tend to think I'm more of a realist now. I try to learn from my experiences, especially my mistakes and use them to move on, hopefully become a better person because of it.

And yet, I can't seem to move on from a few friendships I've lost. There are a couple of friends who took themselves out of my life, and try as I might, I can't seem to get over it. They are like Marley's Chains hanging around my neck, weighting me down, tightening now & again to remind me that no matter how I might try, I haven't let go. I want to, I really do. I want to be able to say "it's over, its been years since you've been in my life, and I've moved on". But try as I might, I can't. I can't because I know what wonderful people they really are. I know how uniquely talented they are. I know that my life, heck I was better, because they were in it. I haven't let go because they are no longer a part of my daughter's life & she still thinks of them fondly. I haven't let go because it makes me sad that my son may never have them in his life. I haven't let go because part of me still wonders if they ever think fondly of me, and if things could ever be mended?

I believe I have begun to make amends with one of them. She has influenced, inspired, and affected my life for a long time now, even when she wasn't always around. I am continually grateful for even the briefest glimpses she gives me into her life, despite my wish for more. She will always be my red angel. The second friend is silly & strange & talented. I hope she is having nothing but success. I may never know. And the third. The gentleman. Out there somewhere in the world celebrating his birthday today. I hope he's happy. I hope he's well. From him I will always wish for answers. I can do nothing but send the most wonderful of birthday wishes for him out into the world.

I know I should just get over it. I want to. I can't. The answers & the closure isn't there. The Marley Chains are too heavy. Perhaps they always will be?

10 July 2007

Dumbledore's Army

Allow me to briefly state just how freakin' excited I am that Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix opens tonight at midnight! I can't wait to see it! (No, I'm not going to the midnight show, but I will go on Thursday night hopefully.) And then next week the 7th (and sadly, final) book will be out! I have oh-so-much speculation about it, and who will die. How 'bout you, are you excited about Harry Potter month?

08 July 2007

Stupidity Pays Apparently

I won!

Let me explain...a few days ago I participated in the Parent Bloggers BlogBlast. We had to write about the stupidest questions we've been asked as parents. Well, those kind, wonderful women selected Dawn & I as the winners. I'm honoured!

What's the loot? The booty?
An iPod Shuffle & an autographed copy of THIS book! How cool is that?
Maybe you should join in the fun with Parent Bloggers? They rock!

07 July 2007

Let's Play History

I recently came across a website that think has the potential to turn into something great. Have you ever wanted to know where to buy a Victorian bonnet? How about wanting to learn to forge your own armour? Want to attend a reenactment of a Roman battle? These are the sort of things you'd be able to find or learn about at Let's Play History. But the site needs to be built up. Artists need to advertise. Groups need to promote themselves. So if you love history, know people who do, or have knowledge that needs to be shared, I strongly encourage you to poke around the site, sign up, make a small (or large!) donation. Maybe you can offer your services? Or maybe you just want to know more. This website could prove a great resource.

No, I don't have any affiliation with this group/website. I simply see the potential it has. Please help it flourish & help keep history alive!

06 July 2007

Is that a Real Baby?

I realize that sometimes people are...er...well...just plain stupid. And for some reason when they see a pregnant lady, or a new mom, they just seem to open their mouths and let the stupidity fall out. Anyone who has a child has witnessed it...and wanted to scream. Instead we smile politely, answer their ridiculous question, and move on. So today Parent Bloggers is asking for those stupid questions. (You too can join in the fun, and maybe win an iPod)

I had to think about it, because there are just so many..."How many babies are in there?", "Your breasts are already so big, are they going keep growing?" and "Oh he's beautiful, he must look just like his father" (gee, thanks for telling me I'm ugly as sin!) But I realized that possibly the A#1 stupidest question I've heard yet (and yes, believe it or not I've had it asked several times now!) is "Is that a REAL baby?"

Are you kidding me? At the Civil War reenactment I had it happen at least a dozen times. At the 4th of July parade (in our Elizabethan costumes) I had it happen at least 4 times. But the worst is that I've actually gotten it while in "normal" clothing at Target. So what do I say? Usually I'm polite and smile and say "Well, of course", but on occasion I have been particularly snarky about it and replied "No, he's a puppet" or at the reenactment "No, they didn't have babies during the Civil War". (Yes, they did say "Really?!" and thus, again I say, people are stupid.)

"Don't you wish you could have just handed them this?"

05 July 2007

the 5th

Don't you hate when holidays fall midweek? We still have several days of work afterwards, and that's always a little let down. The 4th was pleasant. Friends came to visit, we BBQed, and then we went to see the fireworks on Lake Michigan, which is just always a good time. I love fireworks. No, I REALLY love fireworks. There is just something about them that always makes me feel like a kid inside. Last night's fireworks were especcially fun because I was able to watch my son seeing fireworks for the very first time ever. He was just wide-eyed with awe & wonder. Every now and again he'd look up at me or over at his Papa as if he was saying "Did you see that? Are you watching this? It's amazing!" It was a joy for us to see that wonder in his eyes, and wish we could always see the world that way.

03 July 2007


To anyone who knows me, I am far from being a patriot. That doesn't mean I don't support the basic liberties this country is known for. I am a firm advocate of free speech & adhere to the "if you don't like it, turn the channel" philosophy. I believe people can & should speak out on injustices in the country & government. I believe in freedom of religion, and with that allowing debate & discussion (not terrorism). Basically, I believe that in a "land of the free", we should, in fact, be free. I also believe that in a country that declares itself a democracy, we should actually be a democracy.

However, I do think that many of our rights are being stripped from us. I believe that the seperation of Church & State is being destroyed. I believe that Capitalism is taking over in all aspects of living in the USA. I believe that the most basic needs of people, and especcially children, are being compromised. And because of these things, I belive that this Independence Day we need to reclaim that independence as the citizens of the USA. We need to stop being silent & complacent about the issues -- whatever they are -- that bother us and let our government know! Thousands of young men & women have died --and continue to die--in Iraq, and our President still refuses to hear the voices of the US public, crying out.

I urge everyone to please take advantage of this 4th of July to do more than have burgers on the grill. Write a letter. Give a speech. Educate a young person. And contact our "so-called" leaders & let them know what you want to change in this country. Here's a good place to start.

02 July 2007

Holiday Parades

So yesterday we joined some friends (all of which are not "officially" performing at the Bristol Renaissance Faire this year) to represent the faire in the 4th of July parade. It was fun, actually. And this is the first time -- for all the damned parades I've been in over the years -- that we actually were able to ride on a float! Trust me, when you've walked miles in ungodly heat, dressed in 30-50lbs. of fabric, this is a thrill! The baby joined us (and promptly slept through the actual parade) in his first Elizabethan costume. (Thank you Misty!) Believe me, the irony of a bunch of people representing English nobility, complete with the Queen, during an American Independence Day celebration, wasn't lost on us. I just loved the amount of people along the parade route who actually shouted out "God Save the Queen!"

We're having a few friends over for a cookout & fireworks on the 4th. How are you celebrating?