Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Inspired by Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening



We descend upon the empty beach
With the sun still low in the blue sky
The warmth it will give still out of reach
To witness what is left of her fly

Light reflected is overly strong
Making us all look down as we’d choose
The cheer in the weather feeling wrong
To support our hearts for love we lose

By handfuls we cradle the ashes
Some giving pause to think or to pray
Children’s large tears rest on their lashes
Still haven’t dried when given to play

Siblings, friends, in-laws, and all loved ones
Stand in circles big and in groups small
All drop titles becoming one heart

Mourning our Eileen who gave her all.

Inspired by Street Music


This home
the doors slamming
voices distant
the doors bursting
voices erupting inside
cats mewling
requesting love,
food, space
vacuum whirring,
clanking, zinging up legos.

Drums vibrate the
floors
guitars settle the walls
singing stinging my eyes
its beauty and my child
kettle screeching
inviting a rest
garage door’s creak
summoning excited yelps
and scraping chairs
and calls of his name.
This home
rarely silent
rarely completely quiet.

Inspired by Tiger, Tiger

My Three

Quietly sitting in a chair
Stillness juxtaposed by swirling hair
Heart as open as the sea
Comfortable in who she wants to be

Clinging, holding, squeezing tight
Running, flipping, showing might
Outwardly wearing a tough kid mug
Sneaking in nightly for an extra hug

Born with his soul shining outside
Every thought and feeling never to hide
Confidence bellowing from every pore

Kindness and love as his very core.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Inspired by the Jabberwocky



The hour was late when he arrived in the womby
In from the snow, weakened by the fredelex
Suki Von Meow Meows emerged from the cronul
And was met with the hiss of spallor and tail all flogflam

Cookie Von Nummins angered, sharnacked, insulted
Vowed then and there, in the purny laundry room nool
To never welcome the bruckish kitty so sleek and cute
At the same moment Suki vowed to win her shueshun

With short, purring mews, glonding, wooging, and sloods
Suki reached out to Cookie in hopes to be included
And to each glond, woog, and slood that she witnessed
Cookie mustered her greatest harkbins to shun the kitty brunchly

It was then the line in the grandies shone clear
Cookie upon this chair, Cookie upon this bed
Suki to reach with sugarpoofin paw, to mew, to retreat
To circle and suggest a malonguns or wormscurl

The hero, to be sure, hidden within the age-long struggle
Was no more than the clock upon the vendy
The calendar showing days, months, years as the jojun
Simply put: time to pass, settle spriteslines, scores, and oppbenuns

To check in now on mour spurgnubble pair
With time’s jinbowlty and parallel lives conbleanding
We see bruckish Meow Meows and sharnacked Von Nummins

Cozpudding, back-to-back upon the misstresses quilt.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

6th Grade Poetry Assignment

Where I Am From

I am from the electric blanket,
from the Hostess and lemon-ginger tea.
I am from steep staircases.
(Splintered, warped, salt-dusted grey.)
I am from the blazing maple tree,
the browning pine,
both leaving their discards
crunching underneath my feet.

I am from Christmas and hilarious,
from Burke and Pollock and McFeat.
I am from the belting of Happy Birthday
and lingering around a round table.
From don’t-make-me-come-up-there
and don’t-you-spill-don’t-you-spill.
I am from kindness and caring.
Sending both out in hopes to ease
and be eased.

I am from Viking ships and windy hills,
swirl cookies and spice bars.
From the flat tire dad had and
how he was sure he had missed my arrival.
And the dance he had whenever I came home.
I am from the brown and gold album
with the pages too full and sliding out,
the images and memories fitting perfectly-

though not always neatly- in my heart.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

I Never Had a Big Sister Until I Went to MHC


Yes, I know I talk about my college too much. It comes up as often as possible. Not to brag or annoy, but because it is like a num num. It is still, besides my children, the most amazing thing I have ever done (and I have parasailed and ziplined and eaten an apple turnover AND a donut at the same time...so this is big).

I went to revisit Mount Holyoke this weekend as I do every Fall with my bestie. Sometimes we end up there in Spring, too. We talk of bringing our kids there to run around and soak it in. I think I may go again next month with another friend/Alumna and her girls. I keep going back because of one reason: Mount Holyoke believed in a girl who did not believe in herself. (That'd be me) It is a place that centers me and recharges me. 

All my friends from college probably know this. Anyone from the college offices who have thanked me and asked me why I volunteer for them will hear me gush about the reason why. I am sure I have shared it with friends I have met since my years at MHC. Mount Holyoke took a chance with me and knew I could make it.  It was a total right-on move of theirs and I will never, ever stop thanking them. Ever. And it will make your ears bleed from listening and your eyes ache from rolling, but I won't even be embarrassed. That school is like the coolest older sister EVER. And I will tell everyone about her. She is my legend. She was the clearest mirror I have ever had in my life. So I go back there and I wander and I re-look at myself in that mirror and damn my ass looks good. You know? (not literally....well....yeah, maybe it does there. But I was using that as an analogy or metaphor or euphemism... something...)

I used to wander the campus junior and senior year with my friends saying, "I love this school and all it has taught me!!! (stage whisper) but I kinda want to be a mom, still." I was paranoid that my staying home once I had children would let the school down somehow. Some serious pioneers have graduated from there. And my alumna friends talk about how little we feel we have accomplished once we have read the class notes and learn about an alum building a school in a third world country out of reinforced, organic popsicle sticks, harvested sun power and a dream. (Wellllll, no. But some pretty amazing stuff.) But then I go wander the campus and feel a big sister harsh knuckle punch to the arm in which the college says "No, dweeb! Just impart who you are in the world. Give something and be smart about it!" I need that yearly punch in the arm.

MHC has no size or color or religion. She has them all. She has no judgements. She has diversity...not just of people, but of sweatpant styles and approaches to friendships. She is here and there and anywhere you want to be. She doesn't parent, you see. She big sisters. She gives you a funny look when you suggest something and then shrugs an "OK". She teaches you the lesson by making you go through the fire rather than preventing the fire as a parent might. She watches us stumble and fight and picks us up when we fall.... she doesn't dust us off, but throws us back in the center and says, "GET IT!! GET IT, YOU PUNK!!" or at least that is what she did for me. What she does for me still.

So I am back. I am feeling better after a weekend of non drama with my friend and a quick under arm pinch from the school. My head has cleared and my worries have lessened. If I made it through those 4 years of growth, development, and change unscathed and a better person, I can make it through life right now. Of course I can. And I am re-commited to being the kick-assiest. Not sure what that means exactly, but it will contain getting out there, outside of myself, and doing some great things.

And now, some inspiring words from Mary Lyon, the founder of Mount Holyoke College:

If anyone thinks he has no responsibilities, it is because he has not sought them out. 

There is nothing in the universe that I fear, but that I shall not know all my duty, or shall fail to do it. 


Go Forward, Attempt Great Things, Accomplish Great Things.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Dirty Conscience

Oh....the guilt.
And yes, I have heard all the reasons why I should feel no guilt and they all make sense to me, but who would I be without the guilt? Surely not Kate Laird, I tell you.

Surely....not Kate Laird.

I was overwhelmed.
I went from a job I could balance to one that I became a wee bit obsessive about. This is why I knew I shouldn't take a head teaching job. I mean, I know myself. I know my crazy.
Don't poke at it!
But I poked and was not getting everything accomplished outside of teaching, prepping, driving and feeding.

I finally conceded, "OK! Fine. We will get house cleaners. But they have to wear shirts!"

My husband looked at me sideways in the car, "OK. Good idea."

"You know what I mean. I want some sort of uniform."
"Wow!" He was shocked. "I never thought I would hear a demand like that from you."
"They can't wear something I would wear because then it should obviously be me wearing it and cleaning my own durn house!"
"OK. Monogrammed shirts."
"Stop judging me."
"I am not judging you. I am loving you."
"You are judging me and laughing at me."
"I am doing neither. Well, I am laughing because you are feeling so guilty when you shouldn't be."

I did some on-line searches for a company and read posts in local groups I belonged to. Things like "If you are looking for a house cleaner, please consider X! She is great and we have had her cleaning for 15 years!"
And I would think: 15 years? Poor X! Leave her alone, damn you! Stop pimping her out. (sob) Let the woman rest!

I saw ads for a cleaning company we tried before and would zip by them. I couldn't call them again. One woman was wearing a flowing skirt I had eyed at TJMAXX while cleaning my house. Why, Kate, did you not just buy the friggin' skirt and come home and clean your own house? You are the worst.
You deserve no TJMAXX skirt ever again.

My husband found a company and pointed out to me the shirts they wore on the website with joy!

shut up.

And then he pointed to the car they would drive with a matching logo!

shut up.

Fine.
We will call them.

We set up an initial cleaning which would be a payment per hour to get it up to "their code".

shut up.
(This was going to be a judgement in what I end up paying!)

Then we could pay a per visit fee.

The first thing that the team did was throw out my husband's bar of soap I had bought him that was jet black. Upon finding it missing in the shower, I wrung my hands and said "They assumed we had moldy soap! They assumed we were THAT BAD based on what they had to do to this house to get it up to "their code" of clean.
Oh my lord.
I can never meet these people.
I CAN NEVER MEET THEIR EYES!!!"

I run around and clean before they come most times.
Of course I do.
It is quite motivating.

This Summer we are all home. I plan an outing each week so we aren't "underfoot" (read: shamed in person) when they arrive. I literally have a backdoor plan should they arrive before we abandon ship and wait out their window of appearance.
I am so serious about this.
(My husband has given up on me.)

The few times we do meet- the faces are often different the times I have been home- there is always a warm smile from those who have warm smiles or a business hello from those who are all business. I can't find judgement in their eyes....well I  could if I searched long enough or dwelled on it as only I would (and do).
They have arrived to work and are doing their job.
I get it.
I am sure no one feels guilt for my giving a refresher mini lesson on dividing fractions to their children, nor do I heave a heavy sigh when editing writing with a student.
I need to get over it.

But I won't.

Or maybe I will?

(I won't.)