New Year's Re-solutions

I hope everyone had a merry Christmas. Ours was pretty quiet, visiting with Mom and Dad for a few hours on Christmas day, having the in-laws and the nieces and nephews over the day after. I HAVE to blog about my nieces and nephews. I love those kids!

Tomorrow is New Year's Eve, and as usual, I'm thinking about my resolutions. Or, more specifically, re-solutions since I've made these promises to myself year after year in one form or another. Being a little introspective these days have helped me to decide which resolutions I'll keep in the coming year. And I'm making five. Five changes for the better.

I was reading over my rants in my November posts, and realized how petty and silly I sound. Yes, yes, stupid really pisses me off. Ignorance grates my nerves. Arrogance grits my teeth. Argh! Stop. Breathe. Calm? Okay. Now listen. Repeat after me. I CAN'T HELP HOW OTHER PEOPLE ACT. I CAN CHOOSE HOW TO REACT. Is getting upset worth it? Is getting bothered healthy? Nope. So this is resolution number one. Don't let stupid get me mad. Be a duck. Roll it off my back. Don't succumb to the pettiness and ignorance that surrounds me. C'est la vie. I won't be a doormat- if someone steps on me, you'll hear me. But I'm not going to get angry over pettiness. Or stupid.

Segue into resolution two. Since I'm not letting stupid bother me, I'm not letting ugly get to me either. I'm really going to try to see beauty in the everyday trek of my life. I consider it a good day when I hear and can spot one of our neighborhood mockingbirds. I'm going to treat each day like a mockingbird day and be aware and appreciative of my surroundings. And if my surroundings at the moment suck, then I'll try to get to new surroundings!

This coming year is going to be "The Year of Frugal Living" at my house. I really need to pay down my debt, get my credit score up and start saving. No more needless spending. No more LIRR. Bring my own breakfast and lunch. Make my tea at work. Try thrift store and eBay for absolute neccessities. Try to sell stuff on eBay and Etsy. Actually go to the gym I'm paying for. So, if you want me to have lunch with you, make sure you're paying! lol! Resolution number three.

Resolution number four is a dumb one, but I think it will have an impact on my mood, and how people perceive me. I stopped wearing makeup to work. I wear my sneakers and Uggs into work and never change. I also wear jeans frequently. I always told my ex-asshole that the reason he never got a promotion was because he always wore white gym socks with suits (something about sweating...) Well, I'm guilty of the same thing. I'm not saying if I put on makeup I'll get a promotion, but who knows what people think when they see that I can't even be bothered changing out of my sneakers, or clumping around in my boots. I need to put my best "face" forward.

Resolution number five is big. I've been neglectful taking myself and my family to healthcare. We need to see some doctors and the dentist. I'm fortunate enough to still be employed, so I'm going to take advantage of my healthcare and get everyone checked up. Phone calls start the week of the 5th. Dentist, acupuncturist, GP, Gyno, Optical- it all has to be done. I can't rely on Dr. Evelyn, my Chiropracter, to cure everything!

So, I don't think this list is too traumatic. I keep thinking back the "The Secret", where the theory is if you throw good thoughts and karma out to the universe, good stuff will come back. I tend to be negative and bitter (no, really!) so it's time for a new mindset. I'll have to keep reading this post to remind me. Over, and over, and over!

Happy New Year! What're your resolutions?

Ten Rules for Being Human

My friend Ruddyna sent this to me today. How very introspective.

Ten Rules for Being Human
by Cherie Carter-Scott

1. You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it's yours to keep for the entire period.

2. You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time informal school called, "life."

3. There are no mistakes, only lessons. Growth is a process of trial, error, and experimentation. The "failed" experiments are as much a part of the process as the experiments that ultimately "work."

4. Lessons are repeated until they are learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it, you can go on to the next lesson.

5. Learning lessons does not end. There's no part of life that doesn't contain its lessons. If you're alive, that means there are still lessons to be learned.

6. "There" is no better a place than "here." When your "there" has become a "here", you will simply obtain another "there" that will again look better than "here."

7. Other people are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects to you something you love or hate about yourself.

8. What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. What you do with them is up to you. The choice is yours.

9. Your answers lie within you. The answers to life's questions lie within you. All you need to do is look, listen, and trust.

10. You will forget all this.

Finishing up the Thankfulness

My last "thankfulness" post was on the 24th. The day after, I got stuck. Not trying to think up a post, but life in general got stuck. Two days before Thanksgiving, we got word that my mom's cancer is inoperable. I had posted that her cancer had come back after her last surgery only 5 months ago. The new surgeon saw her and her PET scan and was worried about a shadow at the base of her skull. He sent her for a CAT scan, and for one grueling week we waited for him to look at it. The news came back bad. The tumor is going into the brain, and she has two tumors on the other side of her neck. They can't operate, and chemotherapy at this point would be experimental, and cause her body even more distress than she's in. Radiation isn't an option. Pain management and hospice care were the recommendations.

How does one go on with life sanely knowing these growths are in your body sucking away your life force?

My mom's my hero. I can't imagine what she's going through. She can't eat and can't hear, and she's being so brave about everything. And my dad...he's being such a trooper. What can I possibly say to ease their pain? What can anyone do? It's hard. Everything I say seems trivial, and I don't know what to do for them. So we visit, and we hug.

So I'm finishing up the thankfulnesses now- starting with my parents. I'm thankful for my wonderful husband. My kids. My in-laws. My nieces and nephew. My family- aunts, uncles and cousins. My friends. My soccer moms. St. Andrew's Lutheran Church. The pets. And, of course, God. I truly have alot to be thankful for this Holiday Season.

Giveaway for KEEN!

Check out this giveaway at Absolutely Bananas! If you win, you can pick ANYTHING from the KEEN website! Awesome. I'm going to win me a pair of camping shoes!

November 24th Thankfulness

Ah. Finally caught up.

Today I am thankful for Chinese food. Well, not Chinese food exactly, but the fact that we have the freedom and the opportunity to choose not only what we want to eat, but that we don't have to cook either. I went to the Chiropractor, and while walking home tried to figure out what to make for dinner. It's already going on 7:00 pm, so whatever I make has to be quick. I walked past a Chinese food place that I never noticed before, and since it was empty, called MR and asked him to meet me there.

Located on the same strip of stores as the Chinese food place (Green Shell, btw) was also two pizzerias, one kosher, one not. Across the street was a kosher bakery. All on one block. On the Turnpike is your typical fast food places (more on Burger King tomorrow- still too angry to talk about it), an Indian restaurant (Samrat- yum!), a Dominican place, a Greek gyro hut, a vegan coffee house (Witches Brew- Zombiegirl's fav place to eat), a Thai food restaurant, and scores of Italian pizzerias and restaurants. How great is this country that we have the choice to eat anything we want, and anyone can live here and have the opportunity to open a business and make a living?

So I guess I'm really thankful that I'm an American, and have choices. I have ALWAYS been proud to be an American, ever since I could recite the Pledge of Allegiance in grade school. Today I am thankful to be an American, eating Chinese food.

Ack, I am so behind!

Here goes...

November 19th thankfulness: Today I am thankful for all the creative people on the Internet. You've inspired me and taught me. What did we do in the past without all this knowledge at our fingertips? Special thanks to Amy Karol at Angry Chicken, Kristin and Beth at Sew, Mama, Sew, and Jana at Lola...again! These blogs have given me the information and the confidence to create my own stuff- to sell and give away! You guys rock!

November 20th thankfulness: Today I am thankful for birds. I get such a kick out of watching them fly in and out of our birdhouse. When I'm doing my hair, looking in the mirror, I can see into the backyard, and they keep me company (and entertained) sitting inside poking their little heads out. MR- get cracking and build many, many more birdhouses! That reminds me, I have to put out seed for them....

November 21st thankfulness: Today I went into NJ for our monthly "Best Practices" meeting. I left my bankcard home, so I had absolutely zero money. Thankfully, George D. picked up my lunch. Thanks, George! Don't believe everything we say about you!

November 22nd thankfulness: Today was the craft sale. I'm thankful to all the people who put their faith in my talent and bought stuff from me! Shawn and Judy- you are very classy ladies!

November 23rd thankfulness: Can I be thankful for a TV show? Bravo's Top Chef never interested me until I got caught watching their Season 2 marathon. Now I'm hooked. Thanks for the entertainment value, as well as the inspiration to cook new and exciting foods! I don't know how you guys do it. I wish I went to Culinary School. Every Wednesday nights at 10:00 EST!

Now I'm caught up. Stop your bitchin'!

November thankfulness- let's play catch up

Yeah, it's been a week. With my mom, and MR going away for the weekend hunting, then me coming down with a cluster of migraines, I haven't been in the mood to post. So a week later, I'll do a little catching up:

November 14th thankfulness: Today I am thankful for my sister-in-law, Laura. One of MR's two younger sisters, she has the pleasure of hosting MR and Jason for two nights. And they're stealing her husband, Eric, to go with them hunting up in Putnam Valley. God bless you, Laura, that you get to put up with all the hunting and gun talk. And thanks. I know how the guys are.

(Why do the boys keep coming home empty handed? Seems there's plenty of wildlife out there...)

November 15th thankfulness: Tonight I am thankful for cab drivers. Mandy, Jodi and I went out to a local bar (boy did I need a drink after the week I had!) and instead of driving and losing one of us to sobriety, we cabbed it there and back. At 3:00 am, these men (and women) live dangerously dealing with the drunks on the road, and the drunks in their cabs. Thank you, Mr. Cabdriver, for picking us up and safely delivering us to our homes. Even if we forget where we live.

November 16th thankfulness: Today I am thankful for yoga, and our yoga instructor, Christine. after 4 hours of sleep, and a hangover that would take down a moose, Jodi, Mandy and I made it to yoga. Begrudingly and sour, we used yoga to release the toxins inside. I think I released a little too much toxin at one point, but I was in good company. Christine was very understanding, and went easy on us, and left us in the Savasana pose (Corpse pose) for a little longer so that we could rest. Honestly, afterwards? My hangover seemed to dissapate, and I was able to function normally (though tired) for the rest of the day. Yoga is awesome.

November 17th thankfulness: Today I am thankful for sewing machines. I've recently developed a renewed love of sewing and thanks to all the fabulous crafters on the Internets, I've taught myself how to make bags, stuffed animals and other wonderful things. My sewing machine, however, is tempermental. If it doesn't stop jamming, I'm going to teach it to fly. Into the backyard. This is the perfect outlet for the creative side of me. Create functional things! Be prepared, though. I'm making about 70% of all my Christmas gifts!

November 18th thankfulness: Since this is the first day of my migraine cluster, I don't feel thankful, but I'll come up with something. Okay.... I'm thankful for Peppermint tea. Right now, it's the only thing my stomach can handle. When it's hot, it gives off a soothing mentholated vapor that will clear your sinuses. The tingle you get when it hits the back of your throat is wonderful. Try Celestial Seasonings. It's awesome.

Okay, more tomorrow. And if you're interested, stop by the St. Thomas Craft Sale tomorrow in West Hempstead. I'll be there selling bags....

November 13th thankfulness

Hah! Two in one day!

As I'm cutting out pieces to make bags for the craft sale next weekend (I know I procrastinate,) I figured out what I'm thankful for.


I've cut my fingers twice with the scissors, and I stabbed myself twice on the bus today doing my cross-stitch. Since I'm selling these bags, and giving the cross-stitch as a gift, I can't personalize them with my AB-. So I'm thankful for Bandaids.

The Bandaid was invented in 1921 by Earle Dickson, who realized his wife was clumsy. She kept cutting her fingers with the knife as she prepared his dinner. Back then, the gauze and the tape were separate, and when he applied the gauze then wrapped the tape around his wife's fingers, they kept slipping off. He put a small piece of gauze in the middle of the tape, then taped it to her fingers, then wrapped it in crinoline. His boss, James Johnson, was so impressed with this he decided to market this invention, and made Earle the Vice-President of Johnson & Johnson. The Bandaid was born.

So be thankful to Earle, his clumsy wife and his boss. Even small, stupid ideas can be fruitful!

My rant today happened on the V train coming home today. Besides the fact I was supposed to be on the F train and ended up not where I was supposed to be, I was pushed aside by a man desperate to get on the train and get a seat. So desperate he pushed me aside, stepped in front of another girl and pushed a man over who needed to get off the train. Pushed him over! I followed him into the train, and sat exactly opposite him. When I caught his eye, I wagged my finger back and forth at him. He looked puzzled, then I said, "Not good." "What?" he replied. I continued waggling my finger (not the bleeding one) at him and said again, "Not good. You pushed everyone aside to sit down. That is NOT good." I kept repeating this like the madwoman I felt like until I so totally intimidated him and he scuttled off further into the train to another seat. Hah! I felt so vindicated and strong that I got totally lost for 45 minutes deep in Queens.

That'll teach me.

November 12th thankfulness

It seems that I'm running a day behind with my daily thankfulness-es. I try to go through the day and be specifically thankful for something that has touched my life that day. But by the time I get home, time gets away from me, and I can't get to the computer to be thankful. So please bear with me, and stop complaining.

Today is my Mother-in-law's birthday. That's the perfect segue- today I am thankful for my in-laws, Johanna and Bob. I consider myself lucky that I have great in-laws. I know so many people who don't. Johanna and Bob live waaaay out on Long Island, then pretend they're snow-birds and fly south to beautiful Hilton Head Island for the winter. They invite us down there every year during spring break to spend time with their grandkids. You don't have to twist my arm! I always have a wonderful time, and cry every time I have to go back home.

Anyway, I'm thankful to them. Johanna raised great kids, one of which resulted in a wonderful Husband for me. They watched Zombiegirl regularly when MR commuted out to Holbrook for his job. They drove an hour every Monday and Friday to meet him to hand off the kid all to save us money in daycare. Zombiegirl has a very special relationship with her Grandma and Grandpa. They're very close even though they no longer see each other regularly.

They're wonderful people, and I'm thankful that they're in my life, and I'm in theirs!

I received an email back from the Stop And Shop people replying to my email about carrying soy cream cheese and soy yogurt:

"Thank you for contacting us.

We appreciate knowing how pleased you are with the natural/organic food aisle. It is always nice to hear comments such as yours.

You mentioned that you would like for us to carry soy yogurt and soy cream cheese. I know how important these products are for dietary purposes and understand your concern. We wish we could carry all available products, but that is not possible. We rely on market research, information provided by our suppliers, and, of course, what our customers are asking for. We make every effort to carry those products our customers want, and constantly review product selection and monitor customer requests. Decisions are based on product availability, customer requests, and the selection of similar products in the same category.

Please know, however, that we will forward your request to the appropriate buyer for their information and consideration.

Thanks, again, for contacting us. We appreciate hearing from you.

James Weldon
Customer Care Representative"

Thanks James. Three times you mentioned that decisions are based on customer requests, among other things. But I get the feeling that I'm not seeing my soy cream cheese and yogurt anytime soon. Hey- anyone care to help me out? Place your request with James here.

November 11th thankfulness

Today is Veteran's day, so naturally, I thank God for those men and women who have served in the armed forces. They've sacrificed much to serve their country, and I thank them!

I'm also going to thank God for doctors. My mom, who has gone through extensive surgery to remove cancerous tumors in her face and neck just found out that the cancer has come back. After 5 months of grueling recuperation she faces surgery again. Her surgeon, after the last surgery, said that if it comes back there isn't anything they can do. Another surgeon who had been following her case feels that there is a chance he can help. They're calling him tomorrow for a consultation.

Please keep my mom, Helen, in your prayers, as well as the doctors and the nurses that heal us and make our bodies well.

My heart isn't really in a rant today, but here goes. Stop going to tanning salons. You increase the risk of skin cancer later in life everytime you tan. If you want to look healthy, put healthy foods in your body, exercise and drink lots of water. You don't need to change your color to look healthy. I'm not going to protest outside tanning salons. If you could see my mom and what she's going through, you may change your mind.

November 10th thankfulness

(One day late)

Today I am thankful for soy beans. As a recent vegetarian convert, I've relied on these marvelous fruits of God's earth to ease my transition. You can buy fake chicken nuggets, fake hamburgers, fake ribs, fake cheese, fake cream cheese, fake turkey slices- fake everything- all made out of soy products! Some of them aren't even that bad! What a wonderful, versatile vegetable! Go, edamame, go!

I'm in a good mood , so I'm not railing against anyone today.

November 9th thankfulness

Today I'm thankful my daughter came home. 'Nuf said.

November 8 thankfulness

Today I am thankful for my parents. My mom has gone through alot with cancer and the subsequent surgery. Her face is swollen, she can't eat, she can't talk very well and she's lost alot of weight, but she is being very brave in the face of uncertainty and adversity. I can't imagine what she's going through and feel helpless that I can't do anything to ease her pain or help her eat. But through all this, she doesn't forget her family and they are both willing to help out when their family needs something. I thank you, Mom and Dad, and Beena thanks you as well. Love you both! Be strong, Mom!

Today I'm going after the feminine products companies. Obviously, since some companies are producing tampons with cardboard applicators, it's a possibility. For crying out loud- O.B. doesn't even NEED an applicator. Why then, are these companies still producing plastic applicators? Ladies- is it really that important that your applicator "glide?" I won't go into how many pads end up in the landfill. Why must our applicators end up there too? I'm demanding that tampon companies that still make plastic applicators cease production and go green. A research trip to Walgreens tonight will be necessary for me to get a good idea on which products are increasing my carbon-footprint. I'll post links soon if you want to join my "bloody crusade!"

And by the way...I switched to cloth sanitary pads. They're cute, really comfortable, washable and best of all, I'm not sending around 300 pads a year to the landfill! I love Claire de Lune's cloth pads on I've got my eye on those cute rocker skull pads!

November 7th

Today, I am thankful that this week has come to an end. I guess that doesn't count, really, because every Friday I'm grateful the week is over.

Okay- today I am grateful for Autumn. Walking to and from the bus stop every day, I have to wade through inches of unraked leaves. I don't mind, though. Walking through them brings up a crisp, fall smell which I love. One house I pass has a beautiful peach colored tree on their front lawn, and the leaves on the sidewalk form a colorful mosaic. It really is breathtaking! If I could make a quilt that reflects those colors, it would be beautiful!

The majesty of God!

What am I ticked off about today? The approach to Jamaica Station on the LIRR! The workers leave all their construction debris piled all over the place. Shovels, water bottles, railroad ties, metal plates, etc. What an impression it gives to all the tourists coming in on the Train to the Plane! Why doesn't anyone take pride in their work anymore? What would it take to find someplace else to pile all this crap? Why in between the tracks? It's such an eyesore. So, I'm writing a letter to LIRR President Helena Williams. I'll post the letter and the answer if/when I get it.

More tomorrow...

Thankfulness With Added Attitude

I surf the web. I surf the web alot. My job requires me to sit behind a computer, and sometimes run routines on Autocad. This takes awhile- if I smoked, I could go downstairs and smoke 20 times a day. So, instead of inhaling, I surf.

I run across alot of stuff on the interwebs. That's the main reason why I started this blog- to have all the links I've found over the years at my fingertips, instead of in my Favorites at work. What if I was laid off? Gasp! I would never find some of my favorite websites/blogs/lolcats!

Anywhoo, yesterday while I was surfing, I found this blog where the owner said she was going to post what she was thankful for each day of November. Well, I thank God privately in my prayers each day for what is given to me in my life. But I'm going to follow that woman's lead and actually say out loud what I am thankful for- one for each day in November. Okay, okay, I'm a little late- it's already the 6th. I'll catch up.

November 1st- I'm thankful for my Soccer mom friends. See this post to know why. I'm thankful today for them because I'm watching Zombiegirl and the Soccergirls play their semi final game, and even though we're in last place playing the first place team, the moms never give up cheering and rooting for the girls. Hugs go all around when the girls lose 5-3 but the encouragement never stops. These moms are awesome, and I'm blessed to have them as my friends. Even Ronnie, who wasn't there on for the game, made up for it with laughs Saturday night at Jason's party.

November 2nd- I'm thankful for St. Andrew's Lutheran Church in West Hempstead. It was All Saint's Sunday, and " take a friend to church" day. Zombiegirl took Haley and Tyler to church, then to music, then to Sunday School class. The teachers and the ushers and especially Pastor were so kind and welcoming that the kids want to come back this week! It is truly "a caring church for all people, sharing God's love!"

November 3rd- I'm thankful for my job. I know I complain about it, and it's really not the greatest job in the world, but at least I have one. As I see all the layoffs in the other divisions, and get word that my friends have been let go, I have to step back when I get aggravated and be thankful that I'm still employed.

November 4th- Election day. I'm thankful that I live in America and have the right to choose who I want to be President.

November 5th- I am thankful for my work "wife", and her sweetheart of an officemate. They didn't throw it up in my face that Obama won the Presidential election even though I did exhibit some childish, peevish behavior that McCain lost. I love these two, and I think they like me for who I am, even though I'm 20 years their senior and Republican.

November 6th- I am thankful for cilantro. Yes, I said cilantro. I just had a Veggie Burrito Bowl at Chipotle, and I think the crisp, clean taste of cilantro is one of my favorite flavors! Note to self- grow cilantro in the herb garden next year.

See- I've caught up. Now for the attitude portion of this blog...

I am so tired of being a wimp. When you work in NYC, you have to put up with so much crap from so many arrogant, ignorant people. It's hard to put people in their place, though, without risking a broken nose or a rabbit punch to the kidney. But there are little things that irk us that we can voice an opinion or complain about! So each day in November I'm going to post about something that ticks me off, and what I'm going to do to rectify it, or at least make me feel better that I did something about it. No violence- I'm not ready to punch the woman who keeps hitting me in the head with her bag on the F train. And I'm NOT grumpy. Just fed up. Feel free to peruse my "causes" below, and join in the protest and petitions! Once again, I'll catch up...

November 1st- I Contacted Stop and Shop about not having soy cream cheese and yogurt in their organic aisle. Stores actually listen to their consumers, so if your store doesn't carry want you want- ask for it!

November 2nd- I received a letter and check in the mail yesterday from Bank of America. I think it was for a referral for when Biggz opened her student checking account. I say think because the letter I received, as well as the insert WAS IN SPANISH! Now those who know me know my name is the least sounding Spanish name there is. It's German. I have no idea why BOA would send me a letter totally in Spanish. If they had a doubt as to whether or not I was Spanish, shouldn't they send it in English since THIS IS AMERICA? Taking time out tonight to write a letter to Mr. Kevin Miller, Vicepresidente of BOA. Should I write it in Spanish?!? I'll post it and the response when/if I get one.

November 3rd- I contacted The Town of Hempstead Highway regarding the bus stop shelter where I get the N6 in the morning. The glass is hanging out of the frame, and rattles every time a truck goes by. It's just a matter of time before it falls out. I'll post the letter and the response when/if I get one.

November 4th- I'm planning this weekend to take some "recycled" campaign lawn signs and post them in the creek area behind my house. All with the message "Curb your dog". People, myself included, walk their dogs in this area. It's owned by the county, so technically, we're not supposed to walk down there. Our family always cleans up after Spencer, but recently, there has been alot of poop down there- right on the pathway! Maybe people just need a gentle reminder. I hope so. I hate poop.

November 5th- I'm contacting my neighbor to ask him to clean up all the construction debris they left in above-mentioned creek area when they tore up their backyard.

November 6th- I contacted Pathmark about putting in a bike rack in front of their store. Since I'm walking and biking everywhere in the neighborhood, it would be nice to be able to do a little grocery shopping and know my bike would be there when I'm done. If they respond back, I'll let you know.

So I'm caught up. Check back daily! And I AM NOT GRUMPY!

BTW- SS23 is the winner by default for Hump day Hypothetical Question #1, and Beena is the winner of question #2! They'll each receive a $10 Dunkin Donuts Gift Card on Friday, November 7th! They'll be more Hump Day questions coming up next week. I'll announce the gift at that time- maybe we can get a few of the shy readers to comment!

My baby

My oldest, Beena, turns 20 years old today. How is that possible, when just yesterday, I was taking her to Kindergarten? When just yesterday, I was dressing her in a witch costume to go Trick-or-Treating tomorrow? When just yesterday, the dentist said she needed braces?

When did she become the woman I am so proud of?

When did I become old?

This past week, she's had off from work- she works at Mandee's- so she's been hanging around with the family until her boyfriend gets off from work, around 10 o'clock. Usually, since she works retail, I don't see her often. She goes to Adelphi University full time, then works until 10ish, then goes to eat with her BF. She's oftentimes not home until I'm in bed, and if I happen to be up, it's a quick hello, then off to bed. So it's been a real pleasure to have her home, eating with us, watching TV instead of treating home like a hotel. We've actually been able to talk and laugh and shop. I know Zombiegirl misses her if she doesn't see her for a stretch of time. They're very close. Beena even asked if she could go Trick-or-Treating with them tomorrow!

Last night we celebrated her birthday, because the BF has plans with her today- taking her into NYC for dinner and a cruise.

As I'm watching her open her gifts, I'm struck that this kid has grown up into someone special. We talked about how she's doing in school, and what her plans may be when she graduates. She's a math major, with an education minor- she wants to teach High School math! She's currently enrolled in a 5-year program combining her Bachelor's degree with a Master's degree. She still has her faults (she knows my pet peeves, but yet still continues to ignore me when I say anything. I AM still her mother, after all!) and her quirks, but she's developed a maturity that kind of snuck up on me. She's always been mature- she always helped out when Zombiegirl was born, and taught Sunday School, and babysat. I saw her last night however as a peer, or a friend, someone I would like to hang around with. The baby daughter is gone. The woman daughter has arrived.

I love you, Beena! Happy Birthday!

Don't forget the Hump Day giveaway here!

Hump Day Hypothetical Question #2

I can't believe a week's gone by since my last post! I have to post about the was an awesome weekend of Halloween thrills!

Okay, since my only reader won last week's Hypothetical Question by default- don't worry SS23, you'll get your prize- I'll give her a shot at this week's Question:

If you could move anywhere in the world tomorrow, where would it be and why?

Comment by midnight Sunday, November 2, and I'll pick the winner by random (HA!) drawing.

Don't forget to turn the clocks back on Saturday night!

Hump Day Hypothetical Question

It's hump day. We're starting on the downward slide to Friday. This weekend should be lots of fun. Zombiegirl has her first Girl Scout outing Saturday morning. Much to her dismay, they're going to see High School Musical 3. Now this is a kid who would rather watch Dawn of the Dead right before bed, and who is going as Sweeney Todd (the Demon Barber of Fleet Street) for Halloween. Having to go see one of the "popular" tweeny movies is tantamount to pulling out her fingernails. But she said she'd go because her whole troop is going. Who knows- maybe she'll replace the song "Bones" by the Killerz with "Right Here, Right Now" from the movie on her MP3 player!

(I looked that song up. I really have no idea what the movie is even about!)

We also have a Halloween party for Soccergirl K (Mandy's daughter) Saturday night- I get to be a Fortune Teller! Last year I was a witch- see my myspace page. On Sunday, we get to celebrate my nephew Raymond's 4th birthday. My SIL Paula usually does a Halloween party for him because his birthday is the 29th. Funny- Beena would NEVER let me do a Halloween birthday party for her growing up. She was born on the 30th! Maybe for her 21st....

Anyway, I'm happy it's Hump Day. And I'm going to start a new tradition! Answer the Hypothetical Question in the comments section by October 26th, and the next day I'll pick someone (all one of you) at random for a giveaway! Here is Hypothetical Question #1:

If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Comment by October 26th, and I'll email the winner on the 27th. Happy Hump Day!

Update to the Epiphany

It's been one month since my life-changing epiphany. How is my new vegetarian life going? Not as hard as I thought it would be. I'm still cooking meat for the family, but it's practically no effort to cook something else for me to eat. I do feel it's hypocritical of me to cook animals for everyone else while I'm protesting the meat industry, but my family is not going to change. One less person is better than none, I guess.

Healthwise, I feel great. I've lost 5 and a half pounds. I'm not as hungry as I used to be. I don't feel as grouchy as usual (people may dispute that, but that's how I feel!) For the first few weeks I didn't have any migraines, but then they showed up like bad realtives at Christmas. The changing of the seasons, and the fact that I haven't been to see Dr. Evelyn, my chiropractor, probably has a lot to do with the frequency of occurences. I just found a video that totally captures my "aura"- the time when the migraine shows up visually. Link is here.

To recap, I'm:
  • not eating meat.
  • not eating dairy, except for 3 mozzarella slip-ups, for which I paid for in bathroom visits.
  • trying to eat organic.
  • not eating refined sugar, except for finishing up the package of Twizzlers I bought.
  • limiting myself to 1-2 cups of coffee a week, in dire emergencies.
  • trying new veggies. Broccoli IS good!

I'm also taking my vitamins every night, and walking to and from the train/bus stop every day.

It's evident that this can be a healthy way of life for me. It takes a little planning, and things cost a little more, but the way I feel is totally worth it all for me!

Goals for next month:

  • Try 5 new vegetables
  • Have dark greens every day
  • Make a large meal on the weekend for lunches for the rest of the week.

Thirty days. That's what it takes to change a habit. And this is one "habit" I'm glad I changed!

Ode to Soccer Moms

Never, ever in my life did I imagine myself being a soccer Mom. Growing up in Queens, we played softball, basketball and football, but soccer was unheard of. Must've been the concrete playgrounds and schoolyards that discouraged soccer games. Did I ever think I would be driving a minivan with window paint saying "Go Lady Jaguars!" or "#87 Rocks!"? Would I be wearing a Soccer Mom T-shirt that proclaims "We Y our girls! Never in a million years.

But while I'm on the sidelines screaming at the refs because the other team pushed our kids, I am joined in this insane harmony by...

Other soccer moms.

These ladies that I now call my friends.

After a Girl's Night Out in NYC a few months ago, on the LIRR coming home, I realized something- none of these women piss me off. If you know me, you know I get pissed off very easily! But our personalities mesh with each other. They're thoughtful. Mandy brought me a stress frog, fat free candy and a candle during a period of teenage angst in our house this past week. They're kind, always quick with a hug when you need it. They don't judge. If you don't want to wear makeup to the soccer game, they don't ask if you're sick, or make snide remarks. They buy you coffee. They take you kids for the whole day, feed them and never comment on their bad habits. They give you sweatpants when you need them. They invite you to see the Rachel Ray show, and insist they won't go in without you when the folks there say they can only scrounge up 3 tickets and you offer to go back to work. They support you and listen to you when you have doubts about how you're raising your children.

I haven't had many good female relationships. In grade school, Maryellen and Virginia and I were BFF. Through high school, I had close friends, but they turned out to be toxic. I'm extremely lucky to find these soccer moms. They don't even get mad when we do this to their vans for their birthdays:

And their kids. These are the kids I blogged about a few weeks ago when MR and I took them to the Medieval Fair. When Zombiegirl and the other girls get together, their giggling is infectious. She'll have them as friends for a long time- through high school. Which is great, because then I get to keep their moms.

Love you guys! You are awesome! Go Lady Jaguars!


I gave platelets today. I went over to the Citicorp building on 53rd and Lex. at lunchtime and got my blood pumped out of me. The procedure, called Apheresis, entails putting 2 needles in one arm. The blood is taken out, centifuged, pulling the needed blood component out then adding an anticoagulant before returning the blood back into my arm. And it's not a restful procedure. You have to actually have a relationship with the machine- squeezing and pumping on the intake turn, and resting on the return. I'm tired.

Why give platelets? Because my blood is rare, whole blood donations are not in demand. But you can give platelets to anyone. Cancer patients, those receiving organ or bone marrow transplants, victims of traumatic injuries, and patients undergoing open heart surgery require platelet transfusions to survive. You can donate platelets every 3 days or so, because they're not taking whole blood, and they're giving back most of it.

So I'm sitting in the Blood Donor room, and my left hand has 2 needles in it. I was told not to move, or I would blow the vein. I tried to read, but everytime I tried to concentrate, I'd forget to squeeze and the machine would beep. It snitched on me! The technician would then come over and repeat the directions all over again. About 45 minutes into this, my hand goes totally numb. Then my lips, then my nose. Have you ever tried to squeeze something while your hand is asleep? It hurts. Fifty minutes into the procedure I look up and see the yellow pus, I mean platelets, hanging above me. Great. I can stand seeing blood, but this turned my stomach and I broke out in a sweat. 5 minutes later the room starts spinning. I told myself I have 13 minutes- I can do this for 13 minutes. I forget to squeeze, the machine beeps, and adds another 4 minutes. Argh! Finally, the machine beeped one last time and I was done. This was the first time I had such a strong reaction to giving.

I was going to try to do this once a week, but I think I'll have to scale it back to once a month. After this, giving blood is a dream. So remember- when the blood mobile comes around, donate!

Medieval Fun

Flashback time. MR and I took Zombiegirl and 3 of the soccer girls to the Medieval Festival in Sands Point Preserve a few weeks back. I was excited to see the knights- shining armor and all. I'm not sure what the girls expected.

When we arrived, much ado was going on at the King's Court. Knights were fighting, swords clashing against wooden shields, metal clanging against metal. The girls squeezed their way up to the ropes, and MR and I stayed in the back. We watched their expressions while the knights were fighting, and they were absolutely mesmerized!

The knights seem to take these battles very seriously. In fact, all the folks at the Medieval Festival take their roles seriously. I was watching a young girl dressed in a long gown watching from the actor's tent. She had a bottle of 21st century water in her hand. I thought- Aha! She's out of character! My surprise when she poured it into a metal tankard and drank.

After the battles, the King announced that each knight would do battle for a fair lady's hand. Each knight circled the meadow looking for a lady to defend. Since we were behind the girls, we were pointing and yelling that we had 4 beautiful girls here to pick from. Sir Adonis came over, and picked Zombiegirl! He led her to the king, where she sat with several other damsels while we cheered on her knight to win!

That's our fair maiden in the red hat...

Unfortunately, Sir Adonis was defeated. He claimed his lady, gave her a corsage, and led her back to her people.

The girls all agreed that he was "hot!"

We walked around the commons to sample the wares of the kingdom, and to partake in a few of the recreations. Hey! I'm getting into this! At one table, the girls tried on armor...

After visiting the castle and having an ice cream break, we went over to see the jousting. Yes, they use real horses. Yes, they use real lances. Yes, they are really charging at each other. It was very cool when we discovered one of the knights participating in the joust was a woman- Lady Genevive. What a great role model for our young girls!

The jousting was awesome- the lances split apart when they crashed together!

The girls each got a piece to take home.

In the middle of the jousting, a commotion was going on by the King. The girls yelled that the King was hurt, and when we looked over, Sir Stephen had picked up the Queen and kidnapped her, running through the crowd.

They took the Queen to the castle, where the King's knights laid siege, and rescued her after a fierce battle. Huzzah!

No Festival is complete without purchasing swords for slaying dragons, or going into battle. The girls had a blast, and talked about it for days afterwards! They're looking forward to going back next year, and talking about which "princess" is going to have Sir Adonis defend her honor!

The Epiphany!

It's been way too long since my last post! I have to write some flashback posts of everything that's happened since August.

But first and foremost- my epiphany.

SS23 and I were making our weekly library trip (Columbus and 10th) and the book I had reserved somehow went to the Midtown library. Panic sets in. What will I read for the 2 hours going home? SS23 gave me one of her books to read- one that I had picked up in Borders over the summer, but put it down in favor of Twilight. Sometimes, SS23 will reserve books I had been thinking about, or had read in the past and absolutely loved- I think she's a little psychic. Out of all the books she had reserved, when I bemoaned the fact I had nothing to read, this is the one she handed me- Skinny Bitch.

Get thee to the store and buy this book.

It was last Friday. I read the whole book during the commute home. I was numb when i got off the train.

I don't want to give a whole synopsis on the book. You can read it on Amazon. But I want to tell you- it changed my life. I wish I was ALOT younger when I read it!

Since then I've:
  • Switched green tea for coffee. I've come to realize that my drinking coffee is a ritual, a social thing. I LOVE coffee, but I never drank it alone. I was always making a pot for MR., buying it for the soccer game, brewing it in the office for the girls. Whenever I had me-time, I would always reach for a cup of Red Rose tea. I never drank coffee by myself. So taking the social aspect away, I'm drinking green tea. And I don't miss the caffeine- that stuff has just as much as a normal cup of coffee!
  • Stopped eating dairy products. Later in life, I became lactose intolerant. So this was a no-brainer. Rice milk, soy yogurt (yummy!) olive oil spread. As the book says- we're the only species on earth that drinks the milk of another species. Ew.
  • Cut out the refined sugar. The title of the book is Skinny Bitch. Emphasize the SKINNY!
  • Started eating only organic products. The trace amounts of pesticides used on my vegetables is building up in my system. Many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before extensive research linked these chemicals to cancer and other diseases. Will cancer show up eventually? I'm protecting my family, and buying organic. It might be too late for me, but I'm going to try to protect my kids.
  • Shunned meat. No chicken, beef or pork. Read the book and you'll understand why. Unfortunately, I can't impose this restriction on my family, but hopefully, over time they'll see the light. In the meantime, I'll double cook. It's not hard. They need the veggies, too. (If MR brings home a deer, however, I'm eating it! It's organic, and was not subjected to the cruelities of the meat-packing industry.)
  • Become a vegetarian. In one week, I've eaten new things. I've learned to cook differently. I've had to plan. This has shaken up my life, and it was the best thing that's happened to me in a long time. How complacent I'd become! It's a new adventure, and one I'm excited to embark on!

So it's been a week. How am I doing?

I've dropped 4 pounds. I have more energy. I sleep better. I've become "regular" in my potty activities. I don't feel as irritable as usual. I feel lighter. Soulspeak will probably know what I mean. She read the book too.

Any regrets? Besides not doing this sooner? One so far. MR made his famous chicken cutlets the other night. They're awesome.

Interwebs friends

With the exception of Soulspeak 23, I haven't actually met any of these bloggers. And they certainly haven't heard of me. But I pop into their lives every so often to check up on them. They're worth reading and worth getting out of My Favorites and forever immortalized in my links.

Bookish Penguin, the muse behind my 101 in 1001 list.

Ms. Banshee at Inverse Candlelight. Fully prepared for a zombie apocalypse.

Stan and Bunny over at 86'n It. Fellow architect renovating their "crack house."

Chris from Notes From the Trenches. She has seven kids. And somewhat holds it together.

Brittany cracks my shit up- read Barefoot Foodie. Now.

Jenny from The Bloggess. Like Mother Theresa, only better.

The Unbearable Banishment. This smart writer shares my disdain for cell phone users on the train. And does something about it.

April, Clay and their four kids down on the farm at Coal Creek Farm.

Another Hot Mess- some messes aren't meant to be cleaned up.

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. She's all kinds of awesome.

Ginny at Praying to Darwin. More kinds of awesome!

My Bucket List

Things I want to do before I die:

  • Make homemade ice cream...Done!
  • Blow glass
  • Wake up to the sound of the ocean
  • Get a tattoo...Kinda done!
  • Have a house with a front porch
  • Milk a cow
  • Have beignets and coffee in New Orleans
  • Have my teeth fixed
  • Run the NYC marathon
  • Buy hubby his heart's desire...Done!
  • See a Zydeco band and dance like there's no tomorrow!
  • Hike the Appalachian Trail
  • Stay at a 5-star resort
  • Have a tummy tuck
  • See a ghost
  • Make a quilt with all the kids old t-shirts
  • Swim with Bioluminescent plankton in Puerto Rico
  • Stay in the Ice Hotel
  • Tour India by train
  • Drive cross country for vacation
  • Grow my own vegetables...Done! (Well, kind of. More herbs than veggies. This year I got one pepper!)
  • Live in Italy for a year

Olympic-sized observations

This year we've been watching the Olympics with Zombiegirl pretty religiously. She's at that age where she can appreciate the performances of the athletes, being an athlete herself. She's also at that age where she's questioning everything (like last night's question, "What's masturbation mean?") Here are some of her observations and a few of my own:

Why do the women's volleyball teams have to wear such skimpy bathing suits? I understand it's a beach sport, but the men don't wear Speedos, so why do the women? If the women's swim teams can wear full wet suits, why can't the volleyball teams wear shorts, at least?

Misty May looks like Zombiegirl's soccer tournament coach, btw.

Walsh and May are an awesome team, and we love watching them, despite the skimpy bathing suits!

Why can't any of the American athletes who have won Gold medals sing the national anthem? Some of them mouth the words for a few lines, but then totally stop. Is Michael Phelps that waterlogged in the brain that he can't sing the anthem? He's set records, won gold and has become a national hero- where then, is the Patriotism? Michael- the whole world is watching you! At least make an attempt to look like you're proud to be an American.

The Chinese gymnasts are scary. They're all serious warming up for their event, but the minute their name is called, they put on the biggest grin and stick out their chests. Then, in a flash, the smile is gone. Creepy.

Shawn Johnson does the same thing. We don't trust her and her fake smile. Zombiegirl gets a big kick relating one of her comments in an interview that Shawn goes to the store to see herself on all the Wheaties boxes. And a butter statue? Please. Nastia Liukin is so much more graceful in these Olympics.

"The Pole vaulting event is probably the hardest event in the Olympics." This event is incomprehensible to 9-year old Zombiegirl. How they get their bodies over a 10' bar with a skinny pole is probably the greatest achievement an athlete can attain, in her eyes.

Women swimmers look like men.

We love Bela Karoli's mustache!

We like the Rowing events because of the "sculls". (Zombiegirl loves skulls!) Who are all those bicyclists riding along the river in the background? Coaches? Spectators?

And finally- don't bother us on Thursday, at 9:00. We'll be watching the US Women's Soccer Team go for the gold against Brazil. We miss Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, but we like Angela Hucles! Go USA!

My Etsy

Hey! Go visit my Etsy shop. Either click this link, or type in "mamasoo" in the search box on the homepage.

Items for sale:

This bag is so cool." says my daughter Zombiegirl. If she didn't already have a backpack, she would use this for school. You can use it to take to the store, bring books to the library, tote your shoes back and forth to work- all in cool skull style. With flames!Cotton 15" wide x 13" high, with 10 1/4" high handles from top of bag to bottom of handle, perfect as a shoulder strap. Black ribbon with a glass skull bead adorn the side. Inside divided 3 1/2" x 5" and 3" x 5" pockets are great for a cell phone or mp3 player. Straps are triple stitched for added strength. Black cotton interior.I used the soda bottle as a reference. You can easily fit two in this bag with room for more groceries.Made in my smoke-free home. International buyers, please convo me regarding shipping rates.I love custom orders. If you like this bag but the print just isn't for you, or if you love the skulls but need a different size, please convo me so we can work together to make you happy.

These bags are great as gift bags, or to tuck a little something in when your favorite soccer player scores an awesome goal. The longer handle goes through the short handle to keep it closed and keep whatever's inside a secret.This cotton bag is 8" wide x 6" high, and the long handle is 8" from top of bag to bottom of handle. Let me know if you like the blue or the orange. Stay tuned- more colors coming!Made in my smoke-free home. International buyers, please convo me regarding shipping rates.I love custom orders. If you like this bag but the print just isn't for you, or if you love the soccer balls but need a different size, please convo me so we can work together to make you happy.


At first glance this tote looks like it was made using a black bandana. Take it to the mall! Take it to Grandma's! Take it to the PTA meeting tomorrow night. It's bound to get compliments. Imagine when they look closer and see the pattern has skulls running through it! How awesome can you be?This cotton 15" wide x 12" high bag can easily hold two 2-liter bottles of soda or a bunch of library books. The handle is made to throw over your shoulder, 10" from top of bag to bottom of strap. There is an inside divided 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" and 3" x 4 1/2' pockets that are are great for a cell phone or mp3 player. Straps are triple stitched for added strength. Black cotton interior.I used the soda bottle as a reference. You can easily fit two in this bag with room for more groceries.Made in my smoke-free home. International buyers, please convo me regarding shipping rates.I love custom orders. If you like this bag but the print just isn't for you, or if you love the skulls but need a different size, please convo me so we can work together to make you happy.


What kid wouldn't want this huge T-Rex to hug? See- his arms are already posed for one!Weighing in at around 22" tall and about 22" from tip of tail to the tips of his toes, he has cute "claws" and "scales", and is comfortably stuffed for hugging.This dino is my sample. Your dino will be customized in any color you want. Blue, red, green, yellow, pink- whatever is your child's favorite colors. His arms will be one pattern, his legs another. His claws will be 3 different pattern material as will his body and scales. I will email you samples of the material in the color you request within 3 days of your order. After approval from you, the dino will take approximately a week to finish and ship.Please see my other dinosaurs for examples of other colors, as well as the matching t-shirts!Made in my smoke-free home. International buyers, please convo me regarding shipping rates.

GIANT STUFFED STEGOSAURUS-CUSTOM Isn't she adorable? She's so round and plump!Weighing in at around 17" tall and about 25" from tip of tail to the tip of her nose, she has cute "scales", and is comfortably stuffed for hugging.This dino is my sample. Your dino will be customized in any color you want. Blue, red, green, yellow, pink- whatever is your child's favorite colors. Her legs will be one print, her body another. Her scales will be 5 different prints as will her spikes. I will email you samples of the material in the color you request within 3 days of your order. After approval from you, the dino will take approximately a week to finish and ship.Please see my other dinosaurs for examples of other colors, as well as the matching t-shirts!Made in my smoke-free home. International buyers, please convo me regarding shipping rates.
Stay tuned for more items!

My 101 in 1001 days

I recently found this awesome idea on this blog. Y'all know how much I like making resolutions and how much I like NOT keeping them! But I'm going to try this and roll all of my resolutions into one list. I think my problem is not setting a deadline. My resolutions are more like life changes, but life moves on and I "forget" or become preoccupied with something else. This way I have a list, and a deadline to think about. I think I can clean up my life in three years!

Here goes:

The Mission: Complete 101 preset tasks in a period of 1001 days.

The Criteria: Tasks must be specific with a result that is either measurable or defined.

Why 1001 Days? Many people have created lists in the past - frequently simple goals such as new year's resolutions. The key to beating procrastination is to set a deadline that is realistic. 1001 Days (about 2.75 years) is a better period of time than a year, because it allows several months or seasons to complete the tasks, which is better for organizing and timing some tasks such as overseas trips or outdoor activities.

Start Date: August 5, 2009

End Date: May 12, 2012

1. Lose 30 pounds (0/30)
2. Fit into old pair of jeans- the ones in my bottom drawer.
3. Complete 6 sessions with Mike, my trainer. (9/17) Okay, I now have 24 sessions, due to the kindness of Synergy Gym!
4. Maintain a workout schedule of at least 3 days a week at the gym.
5. Practice yoga at least 4 days a week.
6. No cheating with bacon. Or meatballs. Unless it's deer.
7. Have a green salad once a day.
8. Cut back the pre-made veggie burgers to once a week.
9. Buy and use the Diva Cup. (Done! 09/09)
10. Continue going to the dentist to have my teeth fixed.
11. Take my vitamins and herbs daily.
12. Put makeup on everyday. At home, before I leave. Not at work or on the train.
13. Blog about the progress of these Body items on the first of every month.

14. Build up savings account to equal 6 months of salary.
15. Fix credit report. (Done 1/18/10)
16. Refinance the house.
17. Get quotes on new insurance for house and car.
18. Secure 2 more years of student loans for Beena.
19. Sell stuff on Ebay.
20. Transfer coupon savings into ING account. Try to save $700 a year.

Family and Friends
21. Arrange ceremony to scatter Mom's ashes. (Done 10/25/09)
22. Spend more time with Dad.
23. Attend Beena's college graduation. (Done 5/18/10- Congratulations, Beena!)
24. Attend Zombiegirl's 5th grade graduation.
25. Communion for Zombiegirl. (Done 4/11/10)
26. Celebrate Beena's 21st birthday in a big way.
27. Be active in PTA for 5th grade. I really don't like the PTA board/participants this year, so I'm revising this to read "Be more active in PTA in 6th grade."
28. Write or email my aunts regularly.
29. Make and follow family meal plan. Remember to keep it healthy.
30. Meet a long lost friend for lunch.
31. Have a "no reason" dinner party.
32. Go shopping more with the girls. (Coats, Shower gifts, birthday shopping)
33. Yearly camping trip or rent a house with soccer families. (1/3)
34. Yearly "Mom's" overnight trip. (1/3- Vermont with one of my "Moms")
35. Go out with "Mom's" once a month. (0/33)
36. Plan MR and my 50th birthday party.
37. Send handmade birthday cards to everyone in my calendar. And NOT late.
38. Do not gossip or rant about friends to friends.
39. {Private}

40. Finish all the alterations on that pile of clothes in the sewing room.
41. Build up my Etsy shop and sell something.
42. Make all my own Christmas cards. (1/3)
43. Make 50% of all my Christmas gifts. (1/3)
44. Make enough merchandise to rent my own table at craft sales.
45. Make an article of clothing and wear it to work.
46. Clean out and organize sewing room.
47. Make mirror for living room using broken Fiesta pieces.
48. Learn how to crochet a granny square.
49. Finish MR's Christmas stocking.

50. Visit 2 states I've never been to before. (0/2)
51. Hike 2 more sections of the Appalachian trail. Overnite. (0/2)
52. Take a "real" family vacation. (0/1)
53. Play "tourist" in NY once a month. (1/33 Howe Caverns/Albany trip)
54. Try five new restaurants. (4/5- Ted's Montana Grill, Cool Moose Cafe, 4/21-Brick Lane Curry House, 5/1- Texas Roadhouse, 5/18- Carmella's in Franklin Square)
55. Go to new Citi Field and new Yankee Stadium. (1/2- Let's Go Mets! Citifield 5/10/10- Mets vs. Nationals)

Just for Me
56. Get my Pistol Permit
57. Upload all our CD's into our hard drive
58. Scrapbook 2008 photos in 2011.
59. Scrapbook 2007 photos in 2010.
60. Scrapbook 2006 photos in 2009.
61. Finish Beena's school scrapbook.
62. Help dad get the Mustang on the road.
63. Get passports for the whole family.
64. Cross 3 things off my bucket list. (0/3)
65. Learn the basics of Photoshop.
66. Learn how to make a blog template using html and Photoshop.
67. Get my 2 tattoos. (1/2) I might actually change this to only 1 tattoo. That really hurt!
68. Organize my computer files. Including flash drives. (Done 8/6/09)
69. Find a therapist. (I'm changing this to Acupunturist. I don't need a Therapist. Everyone else does.)
70. Read the newspaper everyday.
71. Watch Gone With the Wind, Doctor Zhivago, Great Expectations, The Maltese Falcon, La Dolce Vita, Casablanca , North by Northwest (didn't like), Rear Window, 39 Steps, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Psycho, Notorious, Dial M for Murder (liked!) and Spellbound. With popcorn. (0/14)
72. Re-read Sherlock Holmes.
73. Blog about each completed item.

Greening my life
74. Make net produce bags.
75. Compost. (Produced my first batch of good compost Spring 2010)
76. Collect rainwater- ask for barrel for Christmas! (MR bought me a barrel for my birthday 2010)
77. Grow herbs every year.

House stuff
78. Balustrades and newel posts for the upstairs stairwell. (Done! Thanks Dad!)
79. Replace the ceiling and tile in the upstairs bathroom.
80. Change the theme of the upstairs bathroom.
81. New baseboard molding in the kitchen.
82. Start cleaning out the basement for TV room.
83. Start demolition on the downstairs bathroom.
84. Make the fountain for the backyard.
85. Finish walkways in backyard.
86. Follow Flylady everyday.

87. Renew relationship with St. Andrew's. I'm revising this one too. I need to go back to church. I don't necessarily NEED to go back to St. A's. I've been going on and off (mostly off) for a year now. Has anyone contacted me to see how I am? Noooo...
88. Engage in 25 random acts of kindness. (0/25)
89. Read the Bible.
90. List 100 things that make me happy in a blog. (Done 10/2/09)
91. Participate in 5 community service activities. (0/5)
92. Maintain St. A's website.
93. Sketch and doodle in new sketchbook.
94. See beauty everyday. Blog or put it down in sketchbook.

95. New digital SLR camera (Done 10/26/09)
96. A pistol
97. A drawer dishwasher
98. A dual flush toilet for the downstairs bathroom
99. A sink for the downstairs bathroom
100. A new refrigerator for the basement (Bought a freezer instead. 10/26/09)
101. A new hybrid car

Links I love

Links that inspire, humor and invoke intense feelings of jealousy...

Awkward Family Photos- I could so submit some of my family photos.

Angry Chicken- Amy Karol of "Bend-The-Rules Sewing" fame has great sewing projects and fabulous crafting ideas.

Ask And Ye Shall Receive- A Quixotic quest to improve the quality of the blogosphere.

The Bitch Sessions. More snark. I love snark.

Cakewrecks- When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong. The king of pranks and weird experiments.

Confessions of a Renegade Mom- so not mommybloggers.

Emails From Crazy People- I think some of the People from Walmart wrote these.

How About Orange- Jessica Jones designer extrodinaire. And fellow orange lover.

I Can Has Cheeseburger- LOL cats cheer me up. Also, check out the World of Cheeseburger!

Mental Floss- Where knowledge junkies get their fix.

Neatorama- Trolling the internets to keep us amused.

Passive Agressive Notes- More craziness. I think some of these people work in my office.

People of Walmart- Be afraid. These people might live in YOUR town.

Scouting NY- A location scout with a good eye for the unusual in NY.

Sew Mama Sew- Sewing tips, contests, reviews and inspiration.

Super Eggplant- Adventures in knitting, sewing, baking and life.

The Sneeze- Half zine. Half blog. Half not good with fractions.

WaiterRant- Do you want pommes frites with that?

Woot- One item a day.

Zakka Life- One crafty lady.

Freaky Friday

Wow. It's been awhile. It's 3:51 pm on Friday afternoon, and I don't feel like doing a lick of work. And my programs keep crapping out on me. So let's have a little fun!

Try to spear the biggest fish in Harpoon Lagoon. Earn money and buy faster boats!

EveryBodyPanic is a quick, infuriating, totally addicting game. Try not to touch the walls!

Reverse 2 freaks me out! Same theory as EveryBodyPanic, but the direction your cursor goes is opposite of the direction of your mouse! I think only Biggz will be able to do this- something about the left/right brain...

Boomshine sets off a chain reaction when you blow up your balloon close to the dots. They give you goals for each level, and if you miss a goal, they're are slightly insulting.

This game is one of Zombiegirl's favorites. Shown to her by the most influential person in her life- her dad. And she doesn't like it only because there are zombies in it. She also gets to shoot them. She's 9, and already loves to kill. I'm keeping her on my good side. Play Deanimator, and help out my kid.

Hope this makes the afternoon go by quicker. Because I actually think I saw the clock tick backwards.

Happy Friday.

New Habits

There is alot of talk about it taking 30 days to change a habit, or something about yourself. This is not good news. There's so much about myself I want to change, it'll take 10 lifetimes for me to achieve perfection, or at least a state that I'm happy with myself.

But every achievement starts with one small step, right? Flylady says to start with babysteps. You can do anything for 15 minutes a day. I've been babystepping for a month now- literally. I stopped taking the LIRR, and walk 30 minutes a day to and from the bus stop. My calves don't hurt anymore, and I actually look forward to that alone time twice a day. So. What can I focus on now for 30 days? What's the next challenge for myself?

I started going through my day to see where I can improve, and the very first thing I do in the morning jumped out at me. DON'T HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON! I can go some days smacking that button 8 or 9 times before I drag myself from the bed. And I end up feeling worse that day, run down, crabby (I know, how can you tell)? So my next 30 day challenge is going to be to set a morning routine.

Right now, my routine is to get out of bed at 6:00 am, go to the bathroom, get a drink of water and plop on the couch, after moving Spencer out of the way, and turn on the tube. If there's something on that interests me, I'll more often than not watch until 6:30 or 7:00, causing me to have to take the late train in. Then I'll take a shower, get dressed, put my stuff together and get to public transportation. What a waste! If I get up when the alarm goes off at 5:00 am, I have an hour to do something productive. Here's my plan:

Morning Routine

1. Wake at 5:00 am

2. Drink water.

3. 15 minutes of exercise.

4. Water plants or weed garden. This is to get me out of the house for a little while. 15 minutes, while it's still nice out. This task will change in the winter.

5. Prepare dinner for that night.

6. Prepare lunch for that day. Once Zombiegirl starts school, I'll include her lunch in this.

7. Set 3 Most Important Things (MITs) for the day.

8. Eat breakfast. Brew and have cup of coffee. I can do this while setting the MITs, or read the paper.

9. Shower.

10. Get dressed.

11. Out of the house by 7:00 am or earlier.

The MITs that I set for the day need to include one item towards one of my goals. But that's a whole 'nother post. The other MITs can be wither work-related, if I'm on a deadline, or life-related. The goals of each day is to finish my morning routine, and finish all 3 of the MITs.

Think I can do this? It's not too far out of reach. I just need to get my bootie in gear, and stop being lazy.

I'll keep ya posted.

50 Things you probably didn't know about me:

1. I can't use toilet seat paper liners. I don't know why- I can't get them to work.

2. I'm a coffee freak. Espresso is my new addiction.

3. I dunk chocolate cookies in ice water instead of milk.

4. I lost my virginity by accident.

5. I destroy my cuticles. I pick at them when I'm nervous, when I'm bored, or when I'm talking to someone.

6. I can't balance my checkbook. Bank statements are a mystery to me. I end up bouncing more checks than I should.

7. If I'm ever in a boating accident and a shark devours me and leaves my foot, I can be identified by a freckle on the underside of my second toe on my right foot. Zombiegirl has the same freckle.

8. I have exactly 3 scars. Only 2 are visible.

9. I can't lie to my kids. They always know.

10. I cry at commercials, weddings, certain hymns and sappy movies.

11. I pass out when it gets too hot. I've passed out at my Junior High School Graduation, and a few times in church.

12. I have a fear of driving over bridges. I'll do it, but I'm not happy about it.

13. I collect Fiestaware (Vintage and Post-86), cow creamers, Garden Gnomes and Webkinz (only Lil Kinz).

14. I read voraciously. My commute is 2 hours each way by bus and train, so I could plow through two books a week. Sometimes I read a book commuting, a book at home, and a book at our beach house. All at the same time. I usually don't retain much of what I've read. It's mostly an escapist moment for me. BTW- all recommendations are appreciated!

15. My family owns a beach house in a little community on the North Shore of Long Island, NY. It's my sanity. Just thinking about it calms me. It's a 2 block walk to the private beach of Long Island Sound, and the house is comfortable- sandy and fishy.

16. I've started 2 businesses, and pretty much failed at both of them. I owned an incorporated kid's party place, which I had to close when my evil landlady raised my rent, and a home based business selling Adult Toys. From one end of the rainbow to the other. Advice to anyone opening a business? Take stock of how much capital you need, then double it.

17. I'm supposed to wear glasses.

18. I've perfected my cross stitch method, kind of a "speed method". I can knock out a counted cross stitch pattern in practically half the time as usual, and anywhere- on the bus, at work, or on the train.

19. I don't have a favorite food, specifically. My favorite type of food is Indian. The spicier the better.

20. Speaking of spicy, I put hot sauce on almost everything, and have a pretty high tolerance for Scoville Units.

21. I listen to show tunes when I'm home by myself.

22. I've never had a bikini wax, lip wax or a brazilian. From what I hear, I'm lucky.

23. Well, not really lucky. I can count on one hand the amount of things I've won. I used to be so jealous of the girls down the block. They were the ones always winning bikes and stuff. I truly believe that if I scratch an instant lottery ticket, I won't win. I'm better off giving it to Biggz- she usually wins something. Zombiegirl has also, in all of her 9 years, won more things than I have in my lifetime.

24. At one time in my life, I wanted all boys. I got all girls. Now I'm glad.

25. I regret not breastfeeding my older 2 girls. The decision was purely selfish- I wanted my Ex-Asshole to share in the feeding of the babies. I didn't know about pumping, and using breastmilk in a bottle. All I knew was that baby-feeding was NOT going to fall solely on me, like everything else in our sorry-ass marriage.

26. I watch tons of cooking shows, collect recipes, buy cooking utensils- but my cooking sucks.

27. I love looking in people's windows when I drive by their homes. I am obsessed about how other people decorate. A perfect night for me would be for Mr. to drive while I look in everyone's windows in my neighborhood, maybe while sipping wine.

28. Speaking of wine- I can't drink red wine. A migraine will hit me the next day if I have one glass of red wine. So I drink white. Or anything else. The only red wine I can drink without suffering the consequences of migraines is the spicy wine at our Indian Restaurant.

29. I wanted to become an architect because I was loved the Brady Bunch. If Mike Brady could support 6 kids, a huge house, a housekeeper and go on cool vacations on an architect's salary, that's what I wanted to be. Plus, I always liked carrying around rolls of plans.

30. When I was in grade school, my parents had me convinced spaghetti grew on trees. There was a commercial that showed Italians harvesting spaghetti from trees. At the end of the commercial, someone held up a napkin that said "Spaghetti doesn't really grow on trees." My parents always got me out of the room before that napkin went up, and had me going for a few years.

31. I'm a klutz. I fall upstairs, downstairs, walking, riding. I never seriously hurt myself, though. It runs in the family.

32. I haven't worn a belt in 20 years. My belly won't allow it.

33. My favorite colors are chartreuse and tangerine. They are also the names of 2 colors in the Fiestaware line.

34. I can ride a unicycle. I had one as a kid.

35. I've never danced on a bar or flashed my boobs. But- I have taken pole-dancing lessons and received a lap dance at my bachelorette party by a gorgeous Puerto Rican transvestite.

36. One of my pet peeves is to be late. My family was always late to things. It ticks me off when people are late, and when I'm unavoidably detained.

37. Stupid people piss me off. Lazy people piss me off. Irresponsible people piss me off. Inconsiderate people piss me off. If you're any combination of the above, stay away from me.

38. I have my degree in Architectural Technology- that only means I didn't do my thesis. I've taken the Registered Architectural Exam about 6 times, and passed 2 of the 9 parts. It's harder than the bar exam, and the medical exam. I don't need to be registered for the job I'm doing now. In fact, I pretty much feel all architects are whores anyway.

(Wow- I looked at the last 3 items- I'm pretty angry today!)

39. I have a dollhouse that my dad built me when I was 12. I've started to totally overhaul it and electify it. It's on my "Things-to-do" list.

40. I also have a '66 Mustang convertible that I plan to work on this summer (finances willing) so
that Beena can take it to school in the fall. Or next spring. It's on my "Things-to-do" list, too.

41. I hate NY. I hate NYC even more. I would move down south or out west in a heartbeat. Zombiegirl won't let us. And I would miss my soccer moms.

42. When I worked for NYC HPD, I renovated brownstones for low-income housing. Mostly in the Bronx. About 5 years before, just after Beena was born, I went blonde. Needless to say, I stuck out in the Bronx. One day, I was waiting in the front lobby of a building we were going to renovate when 6 or 7 little girls came up the stair- all about Beena's age. They asked me all kinds of questions, and I told them I had a little girl their age. That brought on even more questions. The oddest one? Could they could touch my hair. I honestly felt I was in a Third World Country that day, with a gaggle of little girls stroking and playing with my hair. It makes me appreciate the fact that my girls today are totally "color"-blind.

43. I pick up the tab in restaurants and bars way more than I should. And I tip too much, too.

44. I love to garden, but unfortunately, my property is 85% in the shade. I've learned to garden with shade perenials- I won't waste my time buying annuals. My favorite flowers are Rudbeckia hirta or the "Black-Eyed Susan" and Leucanthemum x superbum, or the "Shasta Daisy". Don't give me roses- give me daisies!

45. I hit the snooze button at least 6 times every morning before I finally get up. My best dreams are in those 9 minute intervals. Maybe that's why I'm so tired all the time.

46. My blood type is AB- which is pretty rare. 0.6% of the population have this type. I get free offers to give platelets (they don't want my blood- not many people can use it.) I've received shirts, gas cards, jackets, and Home Depot gift cards. I wanted to renovate my bathroom by giving platelets, but they don't do this promotion anymore.

47. I don't speak well in front of crowds. Even small crowds. I thought selling Adult Toys would help with that. Or acting in my church play. I still get tongue-tied, and forget about learning lines!

48. I had alot of fears as a kid, but I got over them. Spiders, needles, heights, stopped escalators, elevators, dentists, and snakes. Well- I still don't like snakes. Or bridges.

49. I love to sing, especially hymns. Don't stand next to me while I'm singing, though. I get the lyrics wrong, and I'm tone-deaf. I dont' "get" song lyrics. I mis-hear alot.

50. It took me over a week to compile this list. I'm probably the most boring person you're ever going to meet. And if you DO know me, and know of something that SHOULD be on this list, thanks. You're too late.
Now you try.

Freaky Friday

I missed posting some games last Friday due to my falling out of a bus. That was pretty Freaky in itself!

I love flash games. You've probably seen all of these already, but it's good that I'm immortalizing them in my blog. I'm giving you two sites today, with lots of games. Gives me time to find the rest of the ones I want to post! Check these out:

Samorost, and Samorost 2, created by Jakub Dvorsky while he was a student of the Academy of Arts, Archituecture and Design in Prague. Beautiful, haunting, lots of fun! By the same author- Questionaut! Hit the link on the BBC website here.

Eyemaze has all the Grow games- try to "grow" the cube by placing the objects on it in the correct order. Each object has an effect on the next!

TGIF, and it's Friday the 13th, to boot! Stay away from buses!

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