It’s Getting Hot In Here…

I love lists. I love thinking things up and writing them down in a list. I love reading other people’s lists. If I find one in the supermarket, I love playing the voyeur and reading what other people need out of life. I love making shopping lists, to-do lists, Christmas lists, meal planning lists, even “100 things I love/hate” lists. Many, many years ago, my friend and I even wrote a “Pro/Con” list why I should get married to my future ex-husband. The “cons” totally outweighed the “pros” and yet I married him anyway. Yeah, young and stupid. That’s me.

Anyway, I came across a list today that I DON’T FREAKIN’ LIKE MUCH. This list scares the crap out of me! Like, HOLY SHIT, why did I even click on this? Damn you, Google, for even putting this out on the Interwebs

Try and guess what these are symptoms of:

1. Hot flashes, flushes, night sweats and/or cold flashes, clammy feeling
2. Irregular heart beat
3. Irritability
4. Mood swings, sudden tears
5. Trouble sleeping through the night (with or without night sweats)
6. Irregular periods; shorter, lighter periods; heavier periods, flooding; phantom periods, shorter cycles, longer cycles
7. Loss of libido
8. Dry vagina
9. Crashing fatigue
10. Anxiety, feeling ill at ease
11. Feelings of dread, apprehension, doom
12. Difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion
13. Disturbing memory lapses
14. Incontinence, especially upon sneezing, laughing; urge incontinence
15. Itchy, crawly skin (feeling of ants crawling under the skin, not just dry itchy skin)
16. Aching, sore joints, muscles and tendons
17. Increased tension in muscles
18. Breast tenderness
19. Headache change: increase or decrease
20. Gastrointestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea
21. Sudden bouts of bloat
22. Depression
23. Exacerbation of existing conditions
24. Increase in allergies
25. Weight gain
26. Hair loss or thinning, head, pubic, or whole body; increase in facial hair
27. Dizziness, light-headedness, episodes of loss of balance
28. Changes in body odor
29. Electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head
30. Tingling in the extremities
31. Gum problems, increased bleeding
32. Burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odor
33. Osteoporosis (after several years)
34. Changes in fingernails: softer, crack or break easier
35. Tinnitus: ringing in ears, bells, ‘whooshing,’ buzzing etc.

Yes, it’s a list of symptoms of menopause. Lovely.
So…not to go too deeply into the realm of TMI, but DAMN, my armpits have been itching for weeks now! A really deep itch. Like the itch I had in my boobs about a year ago. Related? Probably. I’ve changed deodorant and detergent and I’m still walking around scratching like a monkey looking for a banana. And when I go to bed, I get all snuggly in my pajamas and comforters and put my feet on MR to warm them up. By morning? Fuck that! Too hot! I want to strip down naked and stand in front of the open refrigerator. I would, too, if my kitchen had curtains. I wake up in a puddle of sweat every damn morning lately. Thirteen of the 35 symptoms listed here have now made themselves known to me.

WTF.

Is this what I have to look forward to for the next 10 years- my body playing some hideously ridiculous tricks on me? Why can’t my eggs dry up nice and quiet like? Why do they feel like they have to have some huge going away party at my expense?
Yeah, so this is one list I’m not looking forward to completing. In fact, I’m planning on adding to this list. I’m going to blame EVERYTHING on menopause! Fever sore smack dab in the middle of my lip on Christmas? Menopause! Grotesquely calloused feet? Not because I live in my Uggs– it’s Menopause! Third degree burn on my index finger from molten caramel? Menopause caused it! Major heartburn the day after Christmas- it wasn’t the gravy- it was Menopause!

(Hey- I’ll be like that annoying mommyblogger when she got Shingles! Capitalize and exclamation the hell out of it!)
Now to continue showering you with the cookie recipes from the cookie party (those extra pounds were NOT from eating cookies- they were from Menopause!) here are Mia’s version of Uncle Anthony’s Sesame Cookies- a definite winner in my household. And Mia is now a cookie making monster!

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick butter (left out of refrigerator for an hour to soften. Do Not microwave!)
2 tbsp water
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt
1 beaten egg
1 cup of sesame seeds

Mix all ingredients so smooth. Add wet ingredients (egg/water/vanilla). Mix/roll until uniform. Roll into logs. Cut into 2 inch pieces. Roll in seeds. Bake 16-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Poke with toothpick. Remove when slightly moist. Cookies will cook a little more on cooling rack.
Makes 2 dozen.

Happy Boxing Day!

Today’s Boxing Day. The day after Christmas when you get rid of all the boxes of all the presents you received the day before.

Okay, not really. Boxing Day (in Great Britain and Canada) is the day you honor all the servants and work people in your life. So since I forgot my mailman, John and the paperboy and the bus drivers, I’ll get their cards together and give them tokens of our appreciation. How much do you give your mailman?

Our Christmas was very low-key and simple this year. We went up to Paula and Ray’s Christmas Eve for a HUGE fish dinner. Gak, I ate so much. Ray is an awesome cook (Paula is NO slouch, either.) The scallops were the best I’ve ever eaten. Yesterday, we had Dad over for dinner and some Wii games. A casual time, with no fuss. The food was good, the gifts were great and the French Creams tasted like Pepto Bismol. At least the pink ones did!

I hate when people post what they got for Christmas. I always feel like they’re showing off. But I have to post what I got for Christmas- it’s too funny. Besides the zoom lens for my Rebel (thanks MR), the silver and turquoise cross by C. Iule (thanks Z-girl), Stephen King’s latest novel Under the Dome (thanks Beena), my Secret Santa got me an awesome gift off my gift list on the right. Instead of buying all the sister-in-laws and brother-in-laws gifts, the six of us pick our Secret Santa out of a hat. I got Ray this year and Laura (MR’s sister) got me. Paula picked up a knife for Ray the Hunter and Laura got me a Doggie Dooley.

Yes, a septic system for dog shit.

And how awesome is that? It gets buried in my backyard and all the poop gets shovelled into it. A digestive powder is added and it breaks down the crap and it liquifies into the ground. My only concern is that it’ll seep into the water table. Long Island gets their freshwater from the underground aquifers. Will the massive pooping systems I call Lola and Spencer contaminate the aquifers? Will I be harming the ecosystem by putting doody into the ground? Probably not. We can’t break ground until the spring. And I can’t wait. How pathetic is that that I am anxious to shovel shit?!

I’m going to continue with the Cookie Exchange recipes, then when that’s all done, I HAVe to blog about the Croque-en-bouche disaster.

So here’s another cookie recipe featured at the party… Rosalie’s Tri Color Cookies. These were absolutely lucious! And Roe is great- she’s Beena’s “Mother-in-law”- her boyfriend John’s mom.

Tri Color Cookies


2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sifted flour
3 teaspoons pure almond extract
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
food coloring, green, yellow and pink

FILLING:1 jar seedless raspberry spread

TOPPING: 1 (12-ounce) bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

This recipe is cooked in three separate layers and then assembled. The bottom layer is green, the middle layer is yellow, and the top layer is pink.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Use air-foam pan approximately 15x10x1 lined with parchment paper.
Cream together butter and sugar. Blend in eggs one at a time. Add flour gradually, blending well. Add extract, orange zest, and several drops of green food coloring. Blend.

Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Let cool on rack and carefully flip cake out of pan onto flat tray or into larger pan. Carefully remove the parchment paper and spread jam across entire surface, not too thick.

Repeat cooking directions for next layer using yellow food coloring. After cooling, flip this layer on top of first layer, press, and spread with jam. Repeat last layer using pink food coloring.
In a double boiler, melt chocolate chips with oil. Spread evenly over top layer with a spatula. Let cool.

Refrigerate until read to cut. Before cutting, bring back to room temperature and using a sharp knife cut into 2-inch by 1-inch cookies, discarding edges that are uneven.

TIP: Cookies also freeze well. Freeze uncut and bring to room temperature before slicing.
Yield: Approximately 70 – 75 cookies

What was your favorite gift YOU got for Christmas?

Countdown to Christmas #11- Puppet Master

Finally! I’m done with my nieces and nephew’s puppet theater. I had pretty much finished yesterday but I still had to make the case. It was inspired by Amy Carol’s book “Bend the Rules Sewing” which I purchased last year. I started the puppet theater last year, but I never finished it for Christmas. I put a little bit of history into this thing…the curtains (which look a little scrunchy) are made from material my mom made for me and my brother when we shared a room at my old house. The room was done in a circus theme. We shared until I was around 5, and they put an extension on top of the house and added two bedrooms- one for me, one for my brother, Robbie. The black and white material is from an old sheet I kept over my dollhouse in my old home.

I picked up two sets of new puppets on eBay for them and when we go up when the new baby is born, I’ll bring three more puppets I plan on making from recycled dish detergent bottles. Now all they need is their imagination!

Continuing with my awesomeness (hah!) I’m posting pictures of one of my nativity sets. I have three out. I made this one around 15 years ago at ceramics. I started going to ceramics (hi Judy!) in 1984 to start making my first wedding favors. Aunt Anne, Mom, Diane and I would carpool to Merrick and go to classes in Judy’s basement. Some of my best memories are from ceramics. So getting back to the nativity (not creche, MR!) I cleaned and painted each piece (baby Jesus isn’t there yet) and Mom and Dad bought the stable for me. I still have two or three pieces I have to paint, and for some reason my shepherd is missing. Maybe he went for coffee. I’m planning on doing an artsy pictorial with this nativity set because there is so much detail.

We went to Walmart tonight. We had to pass the mall entrance and I said a silent prayer of thanks that we didn’t have to go to the mall. Walmart was all kinds of crazy- with the best of humanity shopping for last minute presents. I got a headache just trying to maneuver between the massive masses. But I almost finished. A few more odds and ends and I’m done!

Cookie recipe tonight- Beena’s no-bake Chocolate Coffee balls. These are really good when they’re stale!
2 tsps. Instant coffee powder
½ cup hot water
1 cup (6 oz.)semisweet chocolate chips
3 tbsp. light corn syrup
3 cups powdered sugar
1 3.4 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 cup walnuts, chopped fine
Powdered sugar for rolling
Dissolve the coffee in the hot water. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chocolate over low heat, stirring until smooth. Stir in the corn syrup. Stir in the coffee. Remove from he heat and beat in the powdered sugar. Gradually blend in the graham crackers and walnuts. Pinch off 1-inch pieces of dough and roll into balls. Roll each ball in powdered sugar. Store in an airtight container for at least 2 days before serving.

For cookies with more of a kick, use 1.2 cup of coffee liqueur in place of the
water and coffee.

Four more days!

Countdown to Christmas #10- Like an Elf

Being snowed in today with the first blizzard of the season, I actually got alot done. I was like Santa’s elves. Did laundry, made butter cookies (using my new cookie gun- thanks Kathy and Patty,) cleaned the kitchen, made peppermint bark with Z-girl and finally got my nieces and nephew’s puppet theater done. I need to make the case, but the gift is done. I’ll post pictures when it’s ironed and ready to be wrapped.

I didn’t take pictures of the snow! We got around 14 inches overnight. Zombiegirl was at Kendal’s birthday sleepover and I had to walk a few blocks to drop winter clothes off so she could play with her friends. It took me less time to walk than to clean off my car. MR shovelled us and the ladies next door out while I shovelled their walk and stoop. And I’m paying for it now. What the heck am I going to the gym for if a little physical labor knocks me out?

I still have several gifts to make by Christmas eve- hooded towels and a set of felt mustaches for

the nephew. I got a reprieve on the soccer kids gifts- we’re having a Christmas dinner on January 2, so I have until then to finish that sewing. I’ll finish everything, though. I’m pacing myself and I took Christmas Eve off. That day is going to be taken up making a croque en bouche and chocolate monkey bread for Paula and Ray’s.

Today’s cookie is my co-host’s and my favorite from the cookie exchange. It’s almost like a gingerbread cookie- and works great when dipped in tea!

Ronnie’s Molasses Sugar Cookie

1 1/2 cups shortening
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cloves
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
Melt shortening and cool. Add sugar, eggs and molasses; beat well.
Sift the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ground cloves and ginger. Add to the molasses mixture and stir until well combined. Chill dough for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet. Remove dough from the refrigerator and form into walnut sized balls. Roll balls in white sugar. Place balls about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies and 10 to 12 minutes for crisper cookies. Store cookies in an airtight container. Yields 6 dozen.

Countdown to Christmas #9- Cookie Exchange 2009

Okay, enough with the stupid crap that’s going on at the Dreamscape post. It’s been taken to Facebook. I’m keeping the comments up for one more day, then they’re being archived.
Soulspeak, baby. I love you. Thanks for saying everything I’ve been thinking.
So enough. Christmas is almost here!
Last Saturday we had our annual Cookie Party Exchange. I was smart this year and tried my cookies out in October because my cookies never come out like the picture of the recipe I use. The consensus was good so I stuck with that one. What’s not to like about Caramel Apple Cookies?
We moved the party to Ronnie’s house last year because it’s apparent that my house is way too small. We ditched the kids this year since all our guests had kids and it would have been too crowded.
What do we do at a Cookie Party, you may ask? To start, each guest is asked to bring six dozen cookies and a $5.00 gift beautifully wrapped. They have to email me the recipe beforehand because each guest goes home with a tray of cookies (tray provided by us) a stack of recipe cards, a gift and a favor (provided by us) usually something baking related.
We play Steal the Gift, that’s why the $5.00 gift has to be beautifully wrapped, to entice everyone to steal it. It’s hard to find a $5.00 gift, so next year we’re going to do Steal the Gift with ornaments or up the price of the gift.
Some of the games we play are;
  • Forbidden Words- each guest is given a necklace with a small cookie cutter attached. A group of five or six words are posted around the house. If you catch someone saying the forbidden words, then you get to take their necklace. The person with the most necklaces at the end of the night wins a prize.
  • Sit On Your Friends Lap- a list of questions is asked. If you answer “yes” to any of the questions, you move one seat to the right. If someone is sitting there, tough- sit on their lap. The person who ends up in their original seat wins.
  • Draw On Your Head- paper is placed on your head, and your given instructions on what to draw. The person who comes closest to the directions wins.
  • Left/Right Game- A modified version of “Night Before Christmas” is read and every time the word “right” or “left” is said, a stuffed Rudolph is passed around the circle in that direction. No hands allowed, though! Last one with Rudolph is the winner.
  • Guess What’s in the Stocking- items are placed in two stockings and without looking, guests have to feel and write what’s in them. The person with the most right answers wins.
Each day up until Christmas, I’ll be posting the recipes of all the cookies that made an appearance at the party. I’ll start with mine…it was originally found here.
Caramel Apple Cookies

1 cup butter
½ tsp salt
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
12 oz caramel baking bits
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups granny smith apples, peeled and finely chopped
2 cups flour
2¾ cup old fashioned oats, pulsed in food processor until finely ground (not quick-cooking oatmeal)
In a large bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar with an electric mixer until the mixture is fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs. Beat until combined. In a medium-sized bowl, stir the oatmeal, flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda until combined. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until combined. Stir in the caramel bits and apples. Save a few of each (the apple and the caramel) for dotting on top of the rolled cookie dough balls. Refrigerate the dough for 1 hour. Roll the cookie dough into golf ball-sized balls.

Bake on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F, for 10-12 minutes. The sheet should be placed on the upper middle rack. Cool on the pan for 4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

Note: Dough is best the day of. In time, the apples add extra moisture to the dough, causing a wider spread on the baked cookies. Alternatively, you can pre-roll the dough into balls and freeze if you aren’t using it all the first day. Place the dough balls on a cookie sheet until solid, and then transfer to a labeled sealable freezer bag. Use within one month. Simply add an extra couple minutes to the baking time since the dough is frozen.
Yields 3 dozen

My Soccer Moms. Thanks Ronnie, for hosting the 6th (or it 7th?) Annual Cookie Exchange!

Countdown to Christmas #8- Sleep in Heavenly Peace

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,

There must be peace in the heart.
~ Lao-Tzu

I was going to finish my weekend post about the Cookie Exchange we had last Saturday night, but a recent anonymous comment left on this blog prompted me to preempt the weekend post with one I’ve been carrying around with me for awhile.

Guess what?

I realized the other day that I’m content.

I realized the other day that I’m at peace.

As the world swirls around me, as the economy crashes at my feet, as my family is torn asunder…I can honestly say I’m serene in my heart.

Yes, I may be cranky at times. Or cruel. Or snarky. Or bitchy.

Yes, I want the pieces of my family put back together.

Yes, I want my dog to stop drooling. And my underpits to stop itching. And my belly to be less flabby.

Yes, I still complain about work, tourists, Naomi, and the people who’ve “done me wrong.”

But it doesn’t matter. It’s all crap.

As I sat on the bus the other day holding a stroller upright for a young mother juggling an arm full of baby and groceries I was like the Grinch, who’s heart swelled 10 sizes that day. My heart swelled and I knew that I am blessed. Blessed with a wonderful family, awesome friends, a job, no bills, good health, minimal stress and I want for nothing.

Dare I say it?

I’m happy.

Is it the effect of the season that’s making me happy? Is it this gorgeous Christmas tree sitting in front of me that not only lights up the room, but also my heart?

I don’t think so. I think the Holiday Spirit inside me has been magnified by my new-found inner happiness. My contentedness. My calm.

Do I have peace in my heart, in my mind, in my soul? Do I feel that I’m a good person, a good wife, a good friend and a good mother to those around me?

Yes, I think I do, and I think I am.

I’m sleeping very well these days…

Countdown to Christmas #7- The Laying of the Wreaths (or What I Did This Weekend, Part 1)

Part 1

Here it is, Monday the 14th. It’s a sad day for me, but I’m not ready to blog about it just yet. I’ve been in remembrance mode all weekend and I just need to get into the spirit of the season. And I’m happy to say I’m there. I’m not ready to sink down into sadness just right yet.

I want to blog about my weekend, but you might want to wait for the “Saturday Night” installment of this blog. I’m documenting my Saturday morning with Dad not only so I can remember what we did and where we went, but throwing out the names of my relatives on the Interwebs might bring interesting results. If you want to read about my dead family members then have at it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Saturday Morning:
After losing Zombiegirl and MR to Putnam Valley (him hunting, her shopping with Aunt Laura) I was free to spend five hours traveling the length of Long Island and Queens with Dad. He had asked me a month ago if I would come with him to place wreaths on our family’s graves. I knew he and Mom did this every year after taking it over from my Aunt and Nana Frances, and I knew it was important to him- he already had the wreaths in the car when he asked. So we made a date for early Saturday morning.

After breakfast at the Venus, we headed out to Pinelawn, where my brother and mother are interred. Okay, here goes- I’m acknowledging my brother’s death today, 20 years ago. But I’m not going to dwell. Don’t want to sink…not yet.

Out in Pinelawn, Dad placed a miniature Christmas tree in front of their stones. I hadn’t seen Mom’s engraving since the last time we were out there to place her ashes in the niche, so it came as a little bit of a shock and I got a little bit choked up. That’s okay, though, perfectly normal response, right? Not going to let this day get me down. Dad and I were having a great conversation about practically everything. I didn’t want to get all emotional and bring him down, too. A few tears, a kiss on each stone and we’re off to the next cemetery. I don’t remember my Uncle Ed very well. I remember his girlfriend at the time, Doree, though. (She was one strange peacock- always decked out in jewelry and makeup- even though she was in her 60’s. Dad claims she was a hooker. I always thought she was glamorous. I was five. What did I know?) Uncle Edward Ellsworth Hewlett is buried in the U.S. National Cemetery. I was truly amazed at the amount of all the soldiers buried here and the military precision in which the headstones are placed. Straight lines in EVERY direction, as far as you can see. Truly amazing. We placed the wreath, Dad told me a few stories of my Uncle, (one of Nana Ethel’s nine siblings) I snapped a few pictures and we got back into the car.
Why does it feel 20 degrees colder at cemeteries?

On the way out of the cemetery, I see a man about my age bend down to kiss the headstone of his loved one. A father? A son? A daughter? Tears sprang back into my eyes as I witnessed this very tender act. Crap. Don’t let Dad see me cry…

My beloved Nana Ethel is buried in Trinity Cemetery in Hewlett. My family founded Hewlett, Long Island- but unfortunately none of the money trickled down into our hands. We hit this cemetery next because it’s close to the Lawrence Costco, and I needed to pick up an art desk for the nieces and nephew. Dad recently had Nana’s name added to the Pfeiff headstone. One of my Mom’s last requests (of me, actually- I totally dropped the ball on this one) was to have Nana’s name engraved on the headstone. This was the first time I saw the new engraving. Her husband William is next to her and her mother and father (my Great-Grandparents on my Mom’s side) are buried on the left side of them. Don’t tell anyone- Nana and her husband are really lying reversed of their names on the headstone. Nana was supposedly slightly pissed when they engraved her husband’s name on the wrong side, but who’s going to know? Besides us…

Costco had the art set at HALF the price it was last week at the Old Westbury Costco. I like instant Manufacturers coupons! Yay for Christmas!

We drove back into Queens to visit Dad’s relatives. First stop, Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens. Seems Dad’s father, Grandpa-formerly-known-as-Pop-Pop, didn’t want to be buried in the family cemetery- he wanted something more peaceful and shady. Well, Maple Grove is pretty, but Grandpa is buried within sight of the Van Wyck Expressway overlooking the Good Samaritan Village. The nearest tree is around 30 feet away. Good planning, Grandpa! Lol! We had a little problem finding him- thank goodness Mom had written down the plot number. Howard Arfmann is the only Arfmann in our family buried in this cemetery. On the plaque in the ground (no headstone) there’s a spot for my Nana. According to my Dad, his father was ready to die- maybe to get away from my Nana? Now he’s going to spend all eternity with her, whenever my Aunt decides to place her ashes in the ground. Stop talking to your dead mother, Aunt Jean and get her buried. Or something. It’s really not healthy to have her keep you company! [snort] We placed a wreath on the cool metal vase that pops out of the metal ground plate and geared up for the next cemetery.

My Great-Grandma, Ida, and her spinster daughter, my Great-Aunt Marion are buried at Trinity Lutheran Cemetery in Ridgewood.. This cemetery is so old, a bush that was planted around where my relatives are buried was probably three feet in diameter 60 years ago. The damned bush is over 25 feet wide now! If they ever cut this bush down, I won’t be able to find my folks. And in 15 years, it just might overtake my ancestor’s headstones. A family of five could live comfortably within it’s evergreen branches, it’s so big.

Anyway, Great-Grandma Ida Arfmann, Marion Arfmann and my Great-Grandpa, George Arfmann, whom I never met, are buried here. Great-Grandpa died 50 years before his wife! She never re-married, preferring to keep her daughter by her side as company. Aunt Marion was never allowed to marry. Seems weird now that I’m an adult, but as a child I loved these two women. Future blog post.

Cousin Mildred Arfmann (Dad’s father’s cousin) is buried with her parents right next door. Mildred was another spinster who preferred the company of her married boyfriend to actually finding someone available and settling down. She had a good life with him, though. He doted on her and she was able to maintain her independence. She loved MR so much more than my ex. She was the only one happy to hear I was getting a divorce. Mildred told it like it was- direct and overbearing- and I loved her very much, too.

I got some great pictures of some of the soaring angels at Trinity Lutheran. It got really cold and windy so we didn’t linger. Dad and I talked some more about our crazy relatives (another blog post) and then he dropped me off so I could start on my cookie baking. All around, it was good we did this together. Another tradition born out of necessity! Is it morbid that I took pictures of my family’s tombstones? I’m just afraid I’ll never find them again when it’s my turn to go cemetery hopping at Christmas.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of What I Did This Weekend.