A Man and A Goat

I get these email updates from Scott Towels at work- little tips for cleaning, housekeeping- tips to make life easier. Friday's tip was interesting...to kill weeds, spray a mixture of vinegar, water and dish detergent on them daily until they're dead. That got me to thinking about killing all the poison ivy at the beach house. I did a quick Internet search for "vinegar kill poison ivy" and got quite a few hits. Seems the vinegar/dish detergent/water mixture will also kill poison ivy- without all the chemicals.

This is good news.

Anyone who knows me knows I am VERY susceptible to poison ivy. To kill it without chemicals also soothes my greener side. I can't wait to try it.

While surfing the net, I found another sure fire way to kill poison ivy.

Get a goat.

Nigerian Dwarf, Angora and Spanish goats love to eat poison ivy, and will even climb on steep slopes to eat it. They'll also eat honeysuckle (which we're overrun with, but Zombiegirl takes care of eating that.) Goats are very popular these days. Fainting goat videos have gone viral. Z-girl cracks up watching these videos, and says before she dies she wants to see a fainting goat. And there's a new movie starring George Clooney, Jeff Bridges and Ewan McGregor called The Men Who Stare at Goats.

So MR and I were lying in bed last night and I told him about the goats.

Me: The goats will eat all the poison ivy at the beach house. We should so get a goat.

MR: A goat.

Me: Yes! An Angora goat! And the goat'll also give us wool. Angora! We can make sweaters!

MR: A goat.

Me: Yes! (I'm starting to get frustrated with his lack of enthusiasm.)

MR: Will it be a girl goat?

Me: ?

MR: I'll have to meet her, first.

[snort] I looked at him, and he looked at me, and we both cracked up.

Happy Birthday, Beena!

I was in labor for approximately seven hours. I was a little worried the whole time because my doctor had a reputation for being a "cutter." The last thing I wanted was a C-Section. My mom told me I had nothing to worry about- these hips were MADE for having babies!

So at 4:37 p.m., with no drugs, minimal episiotomy and MUCHO pushing, a nine pound 21-1/2 inch BEENA was brought into this world. This kid had long hair and really long fingernails. I guess that's what happens when you're 10 days late. And I guess that's why I had so much heartburn- the hair "tickled" me. Gotta love the old-wives tales...

So. Here we are 21 years later. And I've got something to say to my eldest daughter.

You were our Beanie Baby before they were even invented. When you were born, you scared the crap out of me- I was a new mom, inexperienced with babies of any kind. Thank goodness for your Grandma and Pop-pop. They helped us out caring for you and helped fix up your beautiful little room. The day after you were born (Halloween) the nurses in the hospital spiked your hair up so you looked like a little punk rocker. Nothing could have been furthest from the truth. You were a princess from Day One. No wonder you love Disney!

You always had a quick smile, one that would crinkle up your eyes. You were silly and carefree as a child. Until we took away your Binkie. Then we saw the devil in you. But it was okay- you were still adorable.

You went through so much. Your migraines, your medication, your braces, your expanders, your patches, your glasses. I don't remember you ever breaking down and making too much of a fuss. You took it all pretty much in stride. Even the divorce- you seemed like you accepted being shuttled from one house (ours) to another (Grandma's and Pop-Pop's) to another (your dad's.) You were my calm in my storm. With a great personality to match. Right? Right. Begub. Begub. Begub.

In school you always did well, and was always responsible. Do you remember me marching you around the house to your spelling words? Teachers never had one complaint about you and you were always willing to help out. You even followed in my footsteps and started teaching Sunday School at 16. Is that where you learned to love teaching and children?

You were my right hand at the party place. You were only 14, but you were running the business as if it were your own. The kids loved you. If it weren't for you, there would be no dancing and games at the parties. I was front end, you were back end. I felt terrible being so disorganized- it put you at a disadvantage. I only hope my poor business sense didn't rub off on you. You were truly amazing and I wanted nothing more than to leave that business to you.

Your relationship with Zombiegirl is amazing. I am truly blessed that you two get along so well. She looks up to you and takes in everything you say. Now that she is maturing, she has her own opinions, and her opinion of you is VERY high. She loves hanging with her big sis. And I love you for taking care of your little sis.

You've grown so much the last few years. You've matured and grown into a woman I am proud to call my daughter. Who else would get a tattoo with their mom? Mandee's is lucky to have you. Adelphi is lucky to have you. John is lucky to have you. And we- your Dad, Kelsey and I are lucky to have you.

Happy Birthday, Kristina. I love you and am SO proud of you!

I Remember it Like it was Yesterday

I remember exactly what I was doing 21 years ago today. I was out on Maternity Leave from my first architectural job, patiently waiting for my first-born to show up. It's about ten days late at this point. No matter, though. I'm busy. I have lots to do.

I was the Superintendent of Sunday School for my church, St. Barnabas Lutheran. I had no kids in Sunday School, but I had been a teacher since I was 16, so it was only natural that when the previous Super "retired" I would step in and take her place. I say "retired" because really, can one retire from a volunteer job? And if memory serves correctly, we kind of forced her out- she wasn't really on the ball when it came to running the Sunday School. Big deal, you say? It's once a week on Sunday, learning about Jesus. Yes, but it was a very large Sunday School and she wasn't ordering the materials or doing any of the admin work required. So I usurped her and ended up doing fun stuff like holding a carnival.

On October 30th we were going to have the first Carnival! Since it would be the day before Halloween, all the kids were invited to wear their costumes and come and play games of chance and try for this ENORMOUS teddy bear we were raffling off. Kathy (my best friend at the time and Assistant Superintendent) and I made all the games- bean bag toss, fishing, knock 'em down- about 12 games in all. It was going to be held in the basement of the church. I spent all day today, 21 years ago, up on a ladder hanging streamers and crawling around on the floor placing tape for the games. Kathy realized we didn't have tickets so we went shopping after dinner to Green Acres- Dennison's- and bought tickets and some more prizes.

The basement looked awesome! It was colorful and happy. Our friends were going to run the booths. We had bought the prizes in a wholesale warehouse out in Babylon-stuffed animals, penny prizes, a whole bag of them. I really think this was start of my love of party planning- and I didn't even have kids yet!

I was exhausted by the time we got home. It was really late. My feet hurt from carrying around that extra 25 pounds of baby weight. My back was sore. I didn't mind though- I was 25 years old, in good shape and totally excited for the next day. I went to bed drained, but happy.

At around 3:00 am, I woke up with really bad back pains. They would come and go sporadically. They weren't steady; if they were I would have suspected labor pains. But I didn't think I was in labor- I had things to do!

By 8:00 am they started coming faster and harder. My then-husband called the doctor and it was suggested that I go to the hospital, which was in Syosset, about 45 minutes away. I called Kathy and broke the news to her that I wouldn't be at the carnival and she would have to run it herself. Later I found out how annoyed she was.

To be continued tomorrow...

Zombiegirl in Zombieland

It's no surprise to any of our friends that our daughter, affectionately named Zombiegirl, is a little bit of a freak. I owe all her freakiness to my husband, MR. He's been spoon feeding her horror flicks since she was in Kindergarten. She loves zombies, vampires, aliens, blood, guts, gore, freakishly large creatures and all things Tim Burton. The Chiller channel and the SyFy channel are favorites in my house. According to her, she's never been a "princess kind of girl."

She's a great kid. She does really well in school. She's well liked by both boys and girls. Adults adore her. She cracks us up.

But she's a freak.

Last year, she was Sweeney Todd for Halloween. The year before, she was a Punk-a-Zombith (her words.) Before that, she was a Pirate (yes, you've noticed the Johnny Depp theme, have you?) This year she's going to be Coraline- yellow coat, yellow (somewhat) boots and blue hair. If you haven't seen Coraline, make a point to. It's an awesome, dark, fantastically animated movie.

So last weekend we took her to her second "R" rated movie- Zombieland. Now this kid LOVES Dawn of the Dead (new and old), Shaun of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, District 9, 28 Days Later and 30 Days of Night. We heard Zombieland was a comedy and not too gory. Gory enough, I was sure, for a 10-year-old but she's not your ordinary 10-year-old...

The "R" rating was mostly for language and gore. I know she doesn't drop the F-bomb herself and gets very indignant when someone around her does. But she's not naive- she knows people use it and that movies are full of cursing so I didn't have much of a problem with her hearing it. It's the sexual innuendos that I try to shelter her from. And this movie didn't seem to have much of that going on.

If you liked Shaun of the Dead, you'll like Zombieland. If you didn't see Shaun of the Dead, make a point to see that one, too.

Zombieland stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale), Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone (The House Bunny) and Abigail Breslin with a cameo by Bill Murray. It's a fun, fast-paced movie without a lot of in-your-face-blood and guts. The parts I liked were the credits and the "Rules for Zombie Survival". The credits seemed like part of the movie- for example- when a zombie ran through them, they crashed/broke/disintegrated. I like that kind detail in movies. The "Rules for Zombie Survival" showed up-literally- in the movies as they applied. Never, never forget #4- Doubletap!

The funniest part of the movie came not from the movie itself, but from Zombiegirl. When she saw Emma Stone, she turned to me and whispered, "Do you know who that is?" Who, I replied. "It's NATALIE" she says, in a VERY deep voice. I knew EXACTLY who she was talking about since we had just seen The House Bunny and that's how Anna Farris' character remembers names! In those two words she let me know the movie and the character! And she did the voice perfectly.

Anyway, back to Zombieland...great plot, awesome one-liners ("When the zombie outbreak first hit, the first to go...were the fatties" and "You just can't trust anyone. The first girl I let into my life and she tries to eat me.") actors that play off of each other, and the quest for a Twinkie...you can't go wrong for a fun-filled time at the movies.

And don't forget Rule #31- Check the back seat...

It's time to nut up or shut up.

We Have a Winner!

At first I was disappointed in the amount of comments I received on the blog. But then I realized that I gained a few new readers, and got a lot of positive feedback on my posts. That made this all worth it!

Yesterday I had a retail therapy session. I took advantage of PC Richard's Anniversary Sale- they've been in business for 100 years, and they're offering 100 weeks interest free credit. Since I've been saving for my SLR camera, I finally bought it, along with a new freezer, flat screen TV and DVD player for our bedroom. Cheered me up IMMENSELY!

So tonight, after we carved our pumpkins and I wrapped the nephew's birthday present, I counted up all the comments added the blog links and Facebook shout-outs wrote them out and dropped them all into Halloween bag. MR was kind enough to pick the winner, and it's...


Krista, my southern belle, you really worked for that gift certificate! Thanks for commenting and reading and all your kind words. I TRULY wish I could hand deliver your choice of the gift certificate (I'd fly down there TOMORROW if I could...) Let me know which store you want, and the certificate will be on it's way!

This was fun- it kept me occupied during the bumpy ride this weekend.

Thanks to all of you who participated. Roe- if you would have told me you didn't know how comment, I would have taught you how on time! lol!

Love you all!

It Was A Very Odd Day...

Don't forget to comment and earn a chance to win $100 gift certificate!

I wanted to post this yesterday but I was mentally exhausted. Physically, too, since I was up really early in the morning. I zoned out watching The Next Iron Chef America and couldn't muster enough energy to tell you about my day.

I had a knot in my stomach all morning getting ready to go to church. I was a little nervous going back to the church I grew up in since I haven't been there for eight years. I left a few friends and a few un-friends behind. I was a little nervous seeing Dad- how he's going to react to all this- it is his 50th Anniversary, after all. I was a little nervous at how the family and I would react letting mom go...

Church was fine- nothing changed. Mrs. Daniellson got me all choked up when she came over and gave me a big hug. She was the sweet lady who made Zombiegirl's beautiful baby blanket 10 years ago. Laura hasn't changed- still talking up a storm. Everyone asked how old the girls were, and some asked where Obdurate Daughter was. Instead of going into detail, MR told everyone she was a Buddist, and doesn't attend Lutheran churches anymore.

We didn't stay for the coffee hour afterwards. Dad's not much for socializing. We went back to his house to wait for Pastor Baum. A few sips of coffee, Pastor's here, we're ready to go.

Okay. Let's do this.

We walked over to the park which is basically across the street. It was an absolutely gorgeous day. The sun was out, the bay was a sparkling blue. We went down to the water's edge- standing on a little ridge of sand. Ducks swam by quacking, but stopped when we approached.

Pastor read from Psalms, then after we let the plane from Kennedy airport fly overhead, we said the Lord's Prayer. The ducks joined in quacking louder as we prayed. Pastor took the urn from Dad, and flung the ashes out over the water. Some landed in the water, some landed on the sand. The water, which had been calm, washed over the little ridge twice to take the rest of the ashes out to sea. We had to step back so the waves wouldn't wash over our feet. Once all the ashes were gone, the waves stopped. We all commented on that.

It was sadly beautiful and very touching. Mom would have loved it.

After thanking Pastor, we went to the diner for brunch. Subdued and quiet (amid the diner's constant chatter) we had our omelettes (shrimp cocktail for Z-girl) and we went back to Dad's. I think he held up pretty well. It helped that it was a nice day So we have tomorrow to get through and the closure is complete.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad. It was the first one you were apart in 50 years.

An Even Better Most Awesomest Giveaway

Okay, people, I know you're out there. I know you're reading. I know you're downloading pictures of our tattoos. So why don't you comment? Don't you like the giveaway? No? SERRV.org not your style?

I get it. No problem.

I'll up the ante.

Comment on ANY of my blog postings and you can win your CHOICE of $100 gift certificates. I'm still standing by SERRV.org, but I'm also going to add $100 gift certificate to the store on my favorites list, BranchHome.Com, or $100 gift certificate to Walmart. There. That should please EVERYONE!

Check out the rules HERE.

I'm not looking for traffic to my blog. I don't have advertising, (although my Hubby does, and would appreciate you clicking on them so he can stay home a little while longer...) so I'm not looking to make $40,000 a month in clicks. I just wanted to celebrate the fact that I did something more than 100 times, and I've been blogging my heart out for over a year. So comment. I really don't mind handing over a gift certificate to my one true reader. I love her and her wife, and they really deserve it. Just wanted to make it interesting...

Back to the Earth

Pssst. Wake up. I can't sleep. It's 4:00 in the morning, I've been tossing and turning for an hour. It's fruitless to stay in bed, so here I am. Watching "Milk' with Sean Penn and telling you about the strange, sad day I have ahead of me.

I'm letting go of my mother today.

We're scattering some of Mom's ashes into the Bay today.

We're celebrating what would have been Mom and Dad's golden Anniversary today.

I'm going back to my roots today.

My mom passed away eight months ago from synovial sarcoma. She suffered for two years with debilitating tumors in her neck and face. Surgery and radiation didn't slow this cancer down- it caught up with her, wasted her away and killed her.

At the end, she couldn't talk, so she would write notes to Dad. I would go over and she'd have notes waiting for me. One of these notes was her last wish for her funeral- she wanted to be cremated so no one could see what she looked like, then she wanted her ashes scattered into Jamaica Bay. She wanted her final resting place to be the place where she grew up. Where she lived as a young bride. Where she raised her children. Where she died.

Her wake was lovely. Her ashes were in a pretty blue urn, surrounded by yellow roses from Dad. We had a picture of her next to the urn, and a Star Trek pin pinned to the vestment covering the stand the urn was on. Picture boards of her and Dad on their trip across country in the "Marshmallow" and to Hawaii were standing next to the flowers from her family and friends. Bowls over her favorite candy- Jelly Beans- were set up around the room.

The funeral home had never done anything like this before. Usually the body is cremated after the wake in a coffin that costs close to $1,000. My Nana Frances was cremated before the funeral, and Mom liked that idea. I plan to follow in their footsteps. It was so tastefully done. No badly made up bodies for the masses to gawk at. No coffin to purchase. I know a dozen people who don't go up to the body at a funeral. Face it, it's uncomfortable! I want to go one further and not even involve a funeral home. I'd like a memorial service at my church then a party. Not that I have anything against funeral homes and morticians. I just think they take advantage of the bereaved. People think they have no other options except to mourn the recently deceased for three days and nights at a funeral home stuffed with flowers that are thrown away after the funeral. Don't buy me flowers. Buy a 6-pack of beer, drink up and remember my life!

Mom changed her mind in a note a few days later. She said she wanted some of her ashes let go into the bay and the rest interred into the niche they purchased next to my brother in Pinelawn Cemetary. So on Tuesday, we're putting the rest of Mom to rest behind a pink marble wall next to her son she said good-bye to 20 years ago.

I gonna need my hankie.

Dad's been keeping the ashes at home. He mentioned a few months ago that he wanted to scatter the ashes soon. I knew their 50th Anniversary was coming up, so I suggested we do it on that day. He's going to be sad anyway- we should celebrate and do something special. So today, we're all going to St. Barnabas for the service this morning, then we're meeting Pastor Baum at the beach in Charles Park. Mom had asked Beena if she would read a specific poem, but we're saving that for Tuesday. We'll say a prayer, then set Mom free. I was planning on throwing them a huge 50's dance for their Anniversary. Instead we'll go out for a quiet lunch. And prepare for another sad, strange day.

"By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return." Genesis 3:19

The Most Awesomest Giveaway!

In August, I hit my 100th post. I was on vacation that week, and promptly forgot to do anything about it!

I've since hit my 150th post with that last one, Dreamscape #2.

So in honor on my two readers many, many readers and all those who come here looking for tattoo pictures, I've decided to do a giveaway.

Hmmm. What to give away? The iTunes Gift Card didn't go over well. I don't want to give away something I made since I would ACTUALLY HAVE TO MAKE it. And I don't have time for that. I want to give away something that people would enjoy and actually want to comment instead of lurking behind the scenes (feedback, people! I need feedback!) Plus the gift has to have meaning, a purpose. A Wal-Mart gift card is too impersonal, too plastic.

So I turn to my source of inspiration- the whole reason I created this blog. My Favorites list. Where, in my internet travels, I drop interesting things I may want to visit/buy/play someday in the future. I turn to my "Stuff to Buy" folder...

Okay, I'm pretty sure no one is going to be interested in Lumicor Resin Panels (even though they'd look nice in my bathroom.) PJ Greetings is cute- my SIL bought Zombiegirl these notecards a few Christmases ago- but how many notecards does one need? Y'all know how I feel about the Diva Cup.... I should delete that...I already bought it. I'm not sure how many of you want the new Fiesta color (isn't it pretty?) Or a Rain Barrel. They're on my wish list on the sidebar. What about something from this store? I love their stuff. And it's sustainable. But...

No. I got it. When my church, St. Andrew's, had their Alternative Giving fairs right before Christmas, I would purchase items from this company. Wait- what's an Alternative Giving Fair you ask? Since the majority of us have way too much stuff already, the Alternative Giving Fair gave you other options for gift giving. Give a cow or some ducks from Heifer International. Adopt a virtual turtle. Give a gift to the church in your recipient's name. While there "shopping" you could also purchase items from SERRV.org, a nonprofit company that works "to eradicate poverty through our direct connections with low-income artisans and farmers." They buy their unique crafts and food items and "help them grow and embrace the future."

Their stuff is beautiful and unique. Jewelry, home and holiday decor, scarves, tea and coffee- there's something for everyone.

Now here's the good part. I'm giving away a $100 gift certificate to SERRV.org. Okay- say it with me..."Ooooh! Aaaah!" I'll hold the random drawing Tuesday night- October 27th- after all my sad stuff is done (you'll find out) from everyone who comments on ANY of my postings between now and Tuesday, 9:00 pm EST. For every post, you'll get an entry into our magic hat. Mention this giveaway on your blog, or Facebook (prove it- send me the link and/or be my "friend") and you'll get an additional entry for each. Follow my rants and ravings ("follow blog" on the Nav Bar) and you'll get another entry. Comment on Hubby's blog that you came from here and earn another entry! Family members may participate provided you use the gift certificate to buy something for ME! Please be sure to include your e-mail or have it in your profile so I can contact you if you win. Good luck and thanks for commenting!

Check out SERRV.org- Strengthening our Global Community!

Dreamscape #2

It may have been the fall off the stairs and the bruised foot and toes I suffered, but last night's dream was very strange. I'm sure I didn't hit my head...

The emergency warning alarm pierced the air and blared every five seconds. My mother (deceased) came onto the porch (house I grew up in) and asked me if I knew what the emergency was. No sooner did she ask that question when emergency vehicles driving up and down the street blared out of their bullhorns "Everyone is required to evacuate the neighborhood. Proceed in an orderly manner to the designated safe area. We are anticipating heavy electrical storms and rogue lightning. Pets are welcome. Please do not bring excessive personal belongings." This message repeated over and over until Nana (also deceased) came out to the porch also inquiring what was going on. (She was deaf in real life.) We got Zombiegirl (much younger) into a stroller and leashed Lola and Spencer and stepped out of the house into a beautiful day. The sun was shining on the bay across the street- it was a really pretty day. But quiet- no birds chirping, no kids playing- just the sound of the warning alarm and the emergency message blaring from the trucks. I looked to the sky toward the city and the biggest, blackest rain cloud I ever saw was looming about 10 miles away. It was somewhere over north Queens and heading our way.

We walked up the street toward this ominous cloud since that's where the safe house was- a huge catering hall over the county line in Brooklyn. We walked for about an hour, Mom, Nana Ethel, Z-girl and the two dogs, along with everyone else in Howard Beach. It was calm, though- we all were chatting as if it were a block party or something.

As we approached the catering hall, all hell broke loose. The cloud hung over the neighborhood as small lightning bolts crashed behind us. We ran for the doors and just got inside when a bolt of lightning hit the street where we were standing and disintegrated it. All the power went off in the catering hall, as well as the rest of the city.

Emergency power brought lights on in the cavernous hall where circular tables were set up and people were camped out around the tables. I found a few spots at a table that included three of my high school friends (found on Facebook) and my husband. I sat next to him, he kissed my cheek and gave Z-girl a hug. We all sat quietly listening to the sound of what might have been hail on the roof of the hall.

The doors then crashed open and my old friend and Maid of Honor for both my weddings came in dressed in a theatrical gown and hat. She made her way to our table while people scrambled to shut the door to the mayhem outside. She stopped to give air kisses to my three friends, then stood behind me. I looked up and backwards at her- her face was grotesque upside-down- and she asked me if I noticed her implants, and did I want to feel how real they were. (There was never anything sexual between us...we were best friends.) My husband volunteered, and they went off to a dark corner. I looked at my Mom, and she gave me a wry smile. I got up angry and went to the front doors of the catering hall and peeked out. There was nothing but blue skies. Literally. Everything had been destroyed and what took the place of the rain cloud was a gigantic space ship (one that I've had recurring nightmares about before.) I screamed and...woke up.

It was good to see Mom and Nana again.

Blood, sweat and....

Warning to all the men who sometimes visit my blog: you might want to skip this posting and go here instead...look at the funny cat pictures.

Did I look forward to my period this month? I did because I wanted to try out the Diva Cup again but I didn't because I knew it was going to be a bad one based on my wicked moodiness and inability to see the good in ANYTHING.

And I was right. It was a bad one. I used the Diva Cup in preparation for the Big Bleed- you can do that and not worry too much about Toxic Shock Syndrome like you have to with tampons. I was wearing it when it started and I didn't leak, so I was psyched.

I should have known better.

The next day I wore it to the gym in the morning and still didn't leak. Wonderful! I finally mastered this thing! When I got home I took a shower and re-inserted it for the maximum 12 hour usage potential and left for work.

I felt like what amounted to a little leakage by the time I got to work, but I was confident because I learned from the last time to wear pantyliners. Being that it was THE busiest day in the fourth quarter, I stayed at my desk on the computer most of the morning. When I got up to get something at the printer, I felt it. Whoosh. Like the Uterus decided it didn't want to be inside anymore and was ready to take a vacation. I bypassed the printer and went to the ladies room. And it was like they filmed Friday the 213th in my pants. And they were beige.

I cleaned myself and my pants up the best I could, and re-re-inserted the Diva Cup. I went back to my desk wet, miserable and mad.

The rest of the day was a total Cup failure. I couldn't remove it because I had nothing to put it in and I was NOT washing it out in the public sink. I just had to keep shifting it and hoping for the best. The best never came that day. By the time I got home I wanted to take the old Uterus out myself and send it to an institution. Plus I was pissed about all the other crap going on at work.

The next day I bucked up and tried it again. I inserted it while in the shower and got dressed and went to work. This time it felt like it was riding "low". It wasn't actually uncomfortable but I could feel it. The day before I felt nothing. All day I was prepared for that "whoosh" but it never came. I did feel like I was leaking, but every time I went to check, I wasn't. It worked beautifully all day. My conclusion is this:
  • If you feel it, you've put it in correctly.
  • When inserting it, you need to insert horizontally towards the back, not up and in.
  • If you've inserted correctly, you'll feel the blood going down- it'll feel like you're leaking, but you aren't. The Cup is catching it before it spills out.
At the end of the day I made it home commuting with no leakage. As soon as I got home I went to the bathroom and started to take the cup out. All of a sudden I felt a warm rush of liquid on my hand. Crap! I spilled the cup again! But...noooo...the cup wasn't out yet.

I was peeing on my hand.

I forgot I had to pee in my rush to take the Cup out and the action of pulling stimulated my pee muscles and I let loose. Two hours of commuting pee poured into my hand since I couldn't move it away or I would drop the Cup that was halfway out. Wonderful. At that point I wanted to rip my Plumbing out too and send it packing with the Uterus. I want a penis! And balls! Anything but these girly parts that were driving me insane.

And men wonder why we get PMS. It's in anticipation of the insanity that is our period.

Blood, sweat and...pee. Lovely.

The Whore of Babylon

Okay, maybe not Babylon. I'm not THAT far out on Long Island. But today, I definitely felt like a whore. Or maybe a bitch. Yeah- today, I was everybody's bitch.

I decided to become an architect early on in life. You see, I was a Brady Bunch fan. I loved Greg, was jealous of Marsha and wanted to slap Cindy around. And before I knew he was gay, I loved Mike Brady. I waited anxiously for him to come home from the office with a roll of plans, or catch him in his office at his drafting table- damn those kids for always interrupting his creativity! And Mrs. Brady. How many times I seethed when she draped herself around him while he was trying to work. Yes, I loved and admired Mike. Whenever anyone asked me what I wanted to be, I would say (after my customs-inspector stage) an Architect. If Mike could support six kids, a trendy wife, a live-in housekeeper, huge house and awesome vacations to Hawaii then architect looked pretty good to me. Plus I could draw and was pretty creative. I knew I wouldn't make any money being an artist, so it seemed like the perfect job.

Um. Yeah.

Fast forward to college. I was at an immediate disadvantage my first year at NYIT. I didn't know how to draft, I had no tools and had no idea how to use them once I bought them. Drafting was NOT taught in college- most of my classmates had taken drafting in high school. Add the construction classes to my confusion. Again, a lot of my male classmates worked construction after school or during the summer. I didn't know a stud from a beam.

Throw into that mixture of college angst a fiance and a wedding and cook up a recipe for disaster.

Fast forward my first architectural job. A small architectural firm in Queens. My mom put in a good word for me there (she had dated one of the partners and the other partner lived a block away from them.) I learned how to make blueprints the ammonia way, stand in line at the building department (several hundred times pregnant) and how to produce a set of construction drawings that eventually didn't look like they were bleeding after the partners got through marking it up with the red pen. I was happy there (except for the time the guy came in with the gun- but that's another blog post) but the pay was paltry. I was basically there just to serve the apprenticeship before I took the exam to become a registered architect. I was married with a baby and both salaries weren't cutting it, however. And it was here I learned that architects are whores.

Philip Johnson, one of the greatest architects of the 20th Century said it best- "Architects are pretty much high-class whores. We can turn down projects the way they can turn down some clients, but we've both got to say yes to someone if we want to stay in business. " So right. And you can be the cleverest, most innovative, artistic architect in the world- if the client doesn't like that color because it's too "mustardy" then you have to change it.

Fast forward to my second architectural job. Regretfully, I left the first job for double the salary working for New York City Housing and Preservation and Development. Earning my halo renovating abandoned crack houses for low and middle class housing. Learned Autocad. Worked my way up to supervising 10 other architects. Lived through the drama of a morally corrupt set of bosses. Got pregnant with Obdurate Daughter. Divorced Ex-Asshole. Met my hubby-to-be. Was tenth in line to become a Permanent employee. Got passed over in favor of all "the good ole boys". Filed a EEO complaint. Answered an ad in the Times (thanks, Frank) for my current job.

Sidestep, please, to the Registered Architect Exam. In order to take responsibility for your drawings and project, one must be registered with the State of New York as an architect. In order to become registered, one must pass an exam.

The Mother of All Exams.

Harder than the Bar Exam.

Harder than the Medical Exam.

This test (in my day) was four days long, composed of nine parts- Structures, Planning, Design, Plumbing/HVAC, Site Design, etc. The LAST day was a 12 hour long exam where you plan a building within the guidelines and produce a full set of drawings. I know people who have thrown up before this test, have taken this test nine times and who have had nervous breakdowns because of this last exam. I've taken it three times, as had MR. All in all, he's passed five parts of this torture test, I've passed two. Is it something I wish I've accomplished? Yes. Do I need it for my current job? No. It would have been nice to be registered, but then again, think of the liability insurance...

Fast forward to my next job, the present job. I started in my current job as Chief Architect. I was responsible for plans and fit-studies of the home office of a major Financial Institution. I designed trading floors. I spoke with heads of departments. I instituted Archibus (a facilities database) to help with cost allocation. I was one of a kind in my little world of Facilities. I was newly married to MR.

Fast forward through one merger and one layoff then 12 years later. I no longer do design. I no longer do planning. I do mostly data input. I have a deadline one week out of every quarter. And it seems that everyone wants a piece of my ass during that week. And I usually get my period around that time, so it makes the idiocy that I deal with all the more idiotic. But isn't this your job, you may ask? Don't people need the reports that you produce? Yes they do, and I do support management with my reports. It's all the "extra" crap that's not really in my job description that people ask me to do because they know it will be right, and they'll get it quickly if I do it.

I won't go into specifics about who and what pisses me off. I don't want to be "Dooced". But today I should have just laid down on my back and let them have at me. They did anyway. And they didn't even offer me a smoke.

Curse you, Mike Brady.

My Grain

It feels like a ball peen hammer thudding directly on my brain.

It feels like my eyes are being pulled and stretched from the inside.

It feels like a giant hand pressing down on the top of my head, pushing to my stomach, making me sick.

It feels like a migraine.

Those of you who know me know I've been getting migraines since Beena was born, so that's going on 21 years. Debilitating migraines. Stay at home for three days migraines. Throw up until I pass out migraines. I've tried different prescriptions and they would work until I got used to them- then I'd have to change. My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant to prevent them, but they made my life foggy, like I was walking through pea soup, so I stopped taking them. I learned to avoid my "triggers" - those things that will cause a migraine- like red wine, phosphates, hard cheese, too much caffeine and too much stress. But I noticed a few years ago that even if I avoided my triggers, I would still get two or three migraines a week, usually in the spring and the fall. Clicking around the interwebs, I found a trigger I never would have guessed- a change in the barometric pressure.

Barometric pressure, or air pressure is the pressure exerted by the weight of air over an area of Earth's surface. This value factors in how many molecules of air there are in a specific area, how fast those molecules are moving and how often they collide. At sea level, gravity is strongest and attracts the greatest number of molecules, so air pressure is greatest. Because gravity weakens as you go up, air pressure is lower at higher altitudes.

Air pressure changes are caused by storms, which are areas of low pressure moving across the country. Clear skies are areas of high pressure. When a front- or boundary between warm and cold air- comes by, the air pressure can drop and rise rapidly. It seems that changes in air pressure can cause migraines and sinus headaches. They don't know why, but that's okay. I at least figured out why during these seasons I continue to get migraines.

Mom bought me a glass barometer for my birthday a few years ago. Zombiegirl used to watch it then run in and tell me that I'm going to get a migraine. Whenever the water rose in the spout the air pressure was decreasing- a storm was coming. I usually got hit with the migraine when the spout water was going down. Note to self: clean out the stupid thing and fill it properly so it will work! I pretty much stopped using the barometer when I started going to the chiropractor specifically to treat the migraines.

Having an adjustment on a weekly basis seemed to lessen the migraines down to once every three weeks in my peak seasons. Times of stress usually brought them on more, but they weren't as debilitating as usual. Did I keep up with my adjustments? Of course not. I missed spring and summer and come this fall, they came back with a vengeance.

My migraines usually start with an "aura". A spectral vision of zig-zag lines that start in the center of my vision then gradually grow outward to hinder my peripheral vision. It was hard to describe this aura to my family and friends until I found this flash animation on this post that nails my aura right on the head. Scroll down for the animation. Mine is reversed, though. It starts on the upper left side...

If I take medication (right now I'm relying on Excedrin for Migraine) while I have the aura the migraine usually won't "take" and I can function like a normal human. What's been happening to me recently is I'll wake up in the middle of the night, or the morning already in the full throes of a migraine. How the hell to I combat that? I woke up with one this morning at 2:30 am, and yesterday when I got up at 5:00 am. I'm going to continue see Dr. Evelyn for adjustments every week and I'm going to limit my coffee intake. It HAS been a stressful week, though. Maybe that's it.

If you suffer from migraines please let me know what you do to fight them. Any suggestions?

In the meantime, I'm just going to put my head down on my desk for awhile...

Results Not Typical

It's Tuesday again, so it must be workout day. I REALLY need to go more than twice a week...

I start with six minutes on the treadmill at 3.9. This works out to be around 15 mph. Don't ask me how... Mike comes over and takes me to the free weight area and puts a half bouncy ball upside down on the floor. I do 3 sets of 12 push ups with my hands on the bouncy ball bottom. This is hard because I have to balance as well as do the push ups.

Next, he flips the ball things over and makes me sit on the top with my hands under my ass. He tells me to bring my knees to my chest and then straighten them out. All while balanced on the ball. Riiiight. I do two very shaky sets of 12.

Still on the ball, leaning back, I do two sets of 15 crunches.

Next to the machines I've been looking forward to- the Adductor and the Abductor. Three sets of 12 with 70lbs. on each of these inner and outer thigh machines. Ouch. This is why I can't get up from my office chair easily.

Over to the tall machine that can do 1,000 different exercises with straps, bars and handles. He has me doing three sets of 12 downward triceps curls with (I think) 40lbs. Then he switches the bar for two handles and has me in a lunge stance doing two sets of 12 chest presses with (I think) 20 lbs on each side.

I have nine more sessions, then I'm on my own. Sniff!

100 Things That Piss Me Off (or make me mad)

Oh, this one was MUCH easier. As I suspected...I am a misanthrope. And there are so many more...

1. Riding the subway.

2. Taking the N6 bus.

3. People who spit or hock a lugie on the sidewalk.

4. Wednesday matinee days.

5. People who take advantage. People who take home all the food after a conference.

6. The phrase "It is what it is."

7. "Valentime's Day"

8. Liars.

9. When having a conversation: the person you're conversing with is not listening to you but is prepping what they're going to say next.

10. Being put on hold.

11. Poison ivy.

12. Rap music.

13. Celebrity gossip.

14. When I can't finish a Sudoku.

15. When I forget to bring my reusable bags to the store.

16. People who don't even TRY to recycle. Litterbugs.

17. Micro-managers. Managers who are also megalomaniacs.

18. Michael Jackson tributes.

19. Tanning salons.

20. Half-assed jobs.

21. Breaking a nail. Not that I EVER get my nails done.

22. Crackberries. Twitter. And the people who walk V..e..r..y...S..l..o..w..l..y while using them.

23. Bad boyfriends and their families.

24. Children misbehaving in public and usually how their parent's (don't) deal with them.

25. Dirty bathrooms and the pigs that make them that way.

26. People who talk on the phone all day instead of working.

27. Tourists.

28. Authors who crank out books in a series when clearly the series has already jumped the shark.

29. Reality TV shows. Except for Wipeout.

30. Mommybloggers. ESPECIALLY Dooce. And that Sandi Benson chick.

31. Starbuck's and the posers who buy their sludge.

32. Companies that outsource their Help Desk and Customer Service to India.

33. Facebook friends that play those games all day long and post the status updates, thus clogging up the status list.

34. My ex-husband's child bride.

35. When dog poop is NOT picked up.

36. When I can't find something. My house has a black hole.

37. Bad breath. And the unwillingness to do anything about it.

38. Loud phone talkers.

39. Loud LIRR talkers.

40. People who won't say "Good morning" or "Hello" when met passing on the street.

41. The nosy person in my office.

42. Neighbors who insist on coughing loudly or making other noise early in the morning or late at night under my bedroom window.

43. Dishes in the sink. And the unwillingness of anyone to do anything about them.

44. Burnt cookies. Burnt food.

45. Unresponses to emails.

46. The person who monopolizes conversations. Especially at book club.

47. People who constantly talk about their children. Every. Chance. They. Get.

48. Nasty soccer parents. And their nasty children.

49. Counter people who don't get your order right. Usually because they don't speak English.

50. Democrats that don't like me because I'm a Republican.

51. Liberals.

52. People that hold grudges.

53. Season finales.

54. Shattered dreams.

55. The guy on the corner that has a billion kids, but can't get any of them to do yard work. And he only "cleans" up his yard when it's time to put his sukkah up.

56. Daughters who think we're idiots.

57. Stray cats.

58. Bosses who don't let you know when they're going to be out.

59. Co-workers who take advantage and DON'T DO THEIR JOB.

60. Drug addicts. Alcoholics.

61. Spencer and Lola.

62. When my sewing machine gets moody.

63. When I'm moody (THAT time of the month) and no one is sympathetic.

64. My period. Period.

65. When my plants die.

66. People who ALWAYS cry poverty.

67. When my computer crashes. When my program doesn't work. When I get a virus.

68. When my family is sick. MR's allergies. Z-girl's asthma.

69. When I'm sick. Migraines. Cramps.

70. My fat belly.

71. When I procrastinate.

72. The current physical state of my home.

73. Assholes who voted for Obama because he's black. Assholes who didn't vote for Obama because he's black.

74. People who accuse first without getting the whole story.

75. Snotty, snooty or stuck-up persons.

76. Sloppy, slovenly or messy persons.

77. Kids with bad table manners. Even worse- adults with bad table manners.

78. Breaking a dish or a glass.

79. Bad drivers. Arrogant drivers. Asshole drivers.

80. People who don't realize that you DO have a life outside of work, or outside of THEIR lives!

81. Men who undress you with a glance.

82. Small dogs. If they can fit in a pocketbook, they're annoying. If you dress them, you're annoying.

83. Rich people who feel entitled. Poor people who feel entitled.

84. Clueless Upper Management.

85. When the spouse can't take a hint.

86. When friends cancel or don't respond back to you.

87. People who would rather spend money on themselves than their kids.

88. Swindlers, bamboozlers, cheaters.

89. Bus riders that take up two seats. Subway riders that stick their feet out, or cross their legs. Guys who sit with their legs WIIIDE open. Then get mad at you if you try to sit/hit their feet...

90. When asked what they want for dinner, my family says "Whatever" or "I don't know." Or, when asked what they want from the supermarket, they reply the same, and complain there's nothing to eat.

91. Not being able to take a real vacation.

92. When I trip or fall for no reason.

93. Typos. Grammatical errors. Use spell-check, people!

94. Body odor. Flaky scalp. Dirty clothes. Stinky feet.

95. Hidden fees. Late fees. Greens fees.

96. Underestimating my abilities.

97. My hair.

98. Cancer.

99. People who say "I haven't seen you in Church lately!" Well, I haven't seen you at the bar lately!

100. Bad porn.

100 Things That Make Me Happy

This list took me almost a month to compile! I wonder if that says something about me? Hmmm....

These are in no particular order. And it's a given that my family in general makes me happy! (On most days, at least.)

1. Hugging Zombiegirl. Getting hugs back.

2. The smell of a thunderstorm or rainstorm.

3. Hilton Head, SC

4. Riverhead, Long Island

5. Savannah, GA

6. Fresh tomatoes.

7. An email saying my library book is in.

8. Seeing my husband and child when they pick me up from the train/bus.

9. Hearing my husband and child's laugh when they're joking with each other.

10. Really clean windows.

11. Completing a sewing project.

12. Watching Zombiegirl play soccer.

13. Having Parker call me "Mrs. Reichert" or "Mamasoo."

14. Soy yogurt, granola and mandarin oranges.

15. Not having to deal with stupid CAFM managers.

16. The words "I love you" whispered in my ear.

17. The feel of sand in underneath my feet.

18. Speaking of feet, having my husband rub them.

19. And pedicures.

20. Getting mail, but not bills.

21. Playing with the nieces and nephews.

22. America's Funniest Home Videos, iCarly and Wipeout.

23. Going for a coffee run with friends.

24. Looking in people's windows at night.

25. A lone voice singing "Amazing Grace".

26. Looking at my wedding pictures and pictures of my kids when they were little.

27. Frozen Charleston Chews.

28. Butterfingers.

29. Pecan pie.

30. Sweet potatoes. Any shape, any form.

31. Gardening. Planting. Pruning. Weeding.

32. Garden Gnomes.

33. Fiestaware. All shapes, all colors, all styles- old and new.

34. Iced coffee, peppermint tea and chai.

35. Kissing the kid goodnight. Saying "Sweet dreambles." Giving "dream dust."

36. When the kid has a sleepover and the guest knows to ask for "dream dust."

37. Watching Beena drive.

38. Saying the Lord's Prayer. Hearing a multitude of voices saying it with me.

39. Compliments.

40. A hot shower after a workout or a long day at work.

41. Flannel pajamas. All day long.

42. A massage, a facial and a sauna.

43. Cilantro

44. Having dinner with all my family.

45. Seeing my friend Eileen.

46. Shopping in thrift stores and antique stores.

47. Hearing Beena speak "Math".

48. Finishing a sudoku.

49. A really good book. Or the next book in a series I'm reading.

50. Indian food. Thai food.

51. MR's smell. Especially when he comes out of 7-11.

52. Flowers, plants and veggies. All homegrown.

53. Spending a lazy day in bed watching a series (Dexter, Gilmore Girls) on DVD.

54. Hugs from my CAFM team when I see them once a month.

55. Ryan's face when she laughs, and Ruddyna's snort!

56. Baking with the kids.

57. Going new places. It doesn't matter where!

58. Going to soccer practice/games and seeing my soccer moms.

59. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas season. If they're not hectic... I could list 100 things that make me happy during the holidays alone!

60. The colors orange and chartreuse. Even better when they're together.

61. In a canoe.

62. Seeing the recipient's face when they open a gift made/given by me.

63. Thinking of Mom, Nana Ethel and Uncle Robbie.

64. Cow creamers and all things Cow Parade.

65. When I remember to take my reusable bags to the grocery store.

66. Babies and toddlers. Even if I'm not related to them. And this DOESN'T MEAN I WANT TO BE A GRANDMA.

67. Will Smith movies. Johnny Depp movies. Tim Burton movies.

68. Wine tastings on Long Island. Vodka tastings on Long Island.

69. Yes.

70. Hiking and camping.

71. A hot bath. Preferable with a book and a glass of wine.

72. Wrapping presents. Opening presents. Blowing out candles.

73. When my outfit works. And someone notices it.

74. Reminiscing.

75. The day after I dye my hair.

76. A new notebook or pad of paper.

77. A good pen or marker. Office supplies in general.

78. Finding dimes with MR.

79. A nap on the train. Hell- naps in general!

80. The piccolo player in Penn Station. He plays songs like Gilligan's Island and the theme from F-Troop. I always give him a dollar.

81. A new friend request on Facebook.

82. When one of the blogs on my blog roll updates.

83. When Beena comments on my blog.

84. Butterflies, lady bugs and lolcats.

85. A cold beer with lime. A cold white Riesling or Gewurztraminer. Amaretto on the rocks. Jack Daniels and lemonade. Ice wine.

86. New clothes, a new Coach bag, new shoes or new piece of jewelry. Or all of the above.

87. Seeing the results of my hard work.

88. Feeding animals. Wild animals. Not the ones that live at home.

89. Carnivals. Rides. Cotton Candy. Ferris Wheels. Fireworks.

90. Globes and pictures of the earth.

91. Uniforms. Groups in uniforms. Fleet week. Firemen.

92. Harry Potter.

93. The smell of fresh laundry.

94. Watching OUR shows.

95. My favorite blanket.

96. Winning.

97. Pretzels with mustard from the pushcart guys.

98. Synchronicity.

99. Sewing and creating.

100. Chocolate. Specifically dark or spicy.

Update on my 101 in 1001

It's October first. There's a chill in the air and the leaves are starting to turn. I'm taking my sweaters out and switching out my short sleeved shirts. I love the fall!

I'm not going to re-iterate things already accomplished. Just an update on section BODY, and any new developments.

4. Continuing with the gym, but it's down to two times a week. I'm going to make an REAL effort to get my sorry ass there a third and/maybe fourth time.

6. I didn't have any bacon. I swear.

9. I bought and used the Diva Cup! Bloody adventures here!

10. I have been going to the dentist. But not progressing. More like waiting to see if my teeth "firm up."

11. I have been taking my vitamins every night. I added Glucosamine to the mix.

12. I missed ONE day of wearing makeup. I put it on in the morning right before I do my hair.

13. So far, I've blogged every month about my Body items!

27. I was "elected" Fifth Grade Representative. I don't know how that happened since a) I didn't volunteer for that position, and b) I didn't go to the PTA meeting. So by default, I'm going to be active in 5th grade PTA whether I like it or not!

29. Still following the meal plan.

40. Alterations still pending.

46. I work on the sewing room a little every day. Next thing I have to do is get rid of the piles. Next pile to tackle is filing all my crap away.

That's it. Pretty pathetic. I think I'm going to print this list out and post it in several places so I see it more often. There were some things I totally forgot about. Really, though, it's only been two months. I have to stop beating myself up about the shit I DON'T get down and start focusing on the things I DID get done!

Keepin' a positive attitude, dude...

Results Not Typical

Today at the gym I realized I cannot get dressed in the dark. My shirt had bleach stains on it. Mike said not to worry- I'm only working out. Why then, do all the other people at the gym look like they just came out of a workout video? Why do I feel like a schlub next to them?

Anyways, today we did arms and abs. First we did three sets of 15/12 shoulder presses with a barbell with 20 lbs on it. I say 15/12 because I didn't do the whole set of 15. Seems every time Mike says "Three more" those three become the hardest reps to do. I told him I count, and he shouldn't say anything, but after awhile he thought it was funny that I strained under the "last three." He said those were the most important anyway because they were the ones that would do the most good. After the shoulder presses, using the same barbell, I did three sets of 12 arm curls.

Off to this torturous looking bench he had me lay down on to do crunches. Three reps of 20. I swear sometimes I can't figure out how to situate myself on some of these machines. I have to wait until he shows me where to sit! Another example- a "bench" that you lay down on at an angle. The pads hit at your pelvis. You then bend and straighten working your lower back and abs. I did one set of 20 of these.
On to the lat pulls- three reps of 12 then back to abdominal work. Another crazy bench- laying sideways and doing side crunches- two reps of 20 each side.

Before all this, I did the treadmill. I'm up to seven minutes on the treadmill at 3.9.

The next shirt I'm getting. Mmmm. Bacon.

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