From State to Sandwich

Poor Utah.  She works Customer Service for an insurance billing company, making doctor appointments for insurance claim customers (as near as I can figure out).  She speaks to dozens of people each day and every day she has a story.  Usually it’s how people butcher her name.

We didn’t give her an exotic name.  She was named after my brother, who passed away while I was pregnant with her.  It’s a form of Robert and the name of a bird.  With a “Y”.  Don’t make me say it, lol!

Anyway, it’s not hard to understand when spoken and at the very least the spelling could be off by that “Y”. She introduces herself and the company and trust me, she enunciates when speaking. So why do people have such a hard time with her name?  Some of the names people respond back to her are;

Allen

Jessica

Autumn

Ruben

Goblin

Goblin? WTF people?  Even if you didn’t hear her correctly, who names their kid Goblin?  And she is definitely a woman, where do the guy names come from?  People are morons.

I’m changing her name on the blog to Ruben.  I actually laughed out loud when she posted that one on Facebook.  I never liked “Utah” anyway.  Still confused about why she wants to go there…

Insane In My Membrane

It’s said that each child gift their mothers with something to remember them by after they’re born.  All three of my kids left me little afflictions mementos that I still have to this day. All three pregnancies brought me up half a shoe size; now I wear a size 9 from a 7 1/2. Beena left me bulgy jelly belly that no amount of sit ups will erase.  I’ve been doomed to wear “mom” jeans (no low cut for me) for almost 30 years.  Utah left me with a streak of gray hair going down the middle of my head when I was a mere 27 years old.  Over these last 26 years, it’s been creeping and growing, but I have had a lot of fun playing with different shades of Clairol.  And dear Zombiegirl left me with rosacea on my cheeks and a propensity for sinus infections.

Doctors have told me to avoid sun, alcohol, spicy foods and stress in order to tame my rosacea.  Pfft, ain’t going to happen.  I can live with the rosy cheeks in order to enjoy a cold beer and Mexican food on the patio of our beach house.  Stress is unavoidable- I’m a mother commuting to a stupid job in New York City.  Tell me how to avoid stress in this case, please?

The sinus infections are something different, though.  The day I delivered Zombiegirl, I’m pushing and straining, eyes clamped shut to help concentrate on getting baby girl out of me.  I feel something give in the center of my face and feel warmth flowing out of my nose.  I thought I popped a blood vessel and my nose had started to bleed, but then I heard the doctor exclaim “Oh my God” (WHAT?) and “I’ve never seen that color green before!” (WHAT THE F*CK IS HE TALKING ABOUT?).  MR leaned over and wiped the bright green goop of snot off my face- I gave birth to a baby and a sinus infection.

Said sinus infection garnered me a private room for a few days after Z-girl was delivered and I’ve been suffering from them ever since.

About 10 years ago, my chiropractor recommended using a Neti pot to help with the sinus treatments she was giving me.  I don’t use it regularly, but I should. Since it helps relieve the symptoms of sinusitis, it should also cut down on the amount of episodes I get.  I can count on one hand the number of colds I’ve contracted over the years, so duh, maybe I can lessen the amount of infections I get.

A little research on the web led me to the perfect recipe for a “Sinus Missile“.  MR and I have been using it for a few days and it really helps knock things loose and clear things up.

THE SINUS MISSILE

12 drops Rosemary Pure Essential Oil
4 drops Tea Tree Pure Essential Oil
4 drops Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil
1/2 tsp finely ground pure sea salt(you can grind the salt fine in your food processor)
2 cups filtered, purified, distilled or previously boiled water

I doubled the recipe, put it into a sterilized jar and shook it until the salt dissolved.  We’re both rinsing 3-4 times a day.  MR has been against the Neti for some weird reason, but now he sees the light.  Whenever you feel pressure in your ears, face, behind your eyes or in your teeth, hit it with a sinus missile and get some relief.

Looking Over My Shoulder

I know it’s coming- the bad luck, the sickness, the accident or the tragedy.  It’s how my life rolls, where there is good, evil is usually not far behind.

Life has been so good lately that I’m half expecting a tsunami to come through my living room.

School is wrapping up today and Zombiegirl has once again done us proud.  She had perfect attendance again this year (that makes TWO years in a row) and was put into three honors classes for Eighth Grade.  She received a few High Achievement awards (English and Physical Fitness) and she took a state physical fitness test and was cleared to play soccer at the Varsity level (that’s High School- she’s in Middle School).  She’ll try out for the team in August and we’re pretty confident she’ll make it.  She wrapped up a season playing softball with the MS and won a few of the game balls (free balls!).  She’s managed to avoid most of the middle school drama and only catches that teen attitude on days that end in “y”.  (She’s not really that bad…)  She loves her soccer team players and all her friends.  Life with this kid is good.

Speaking of soccer, the girls had a great season and a nice tournament in Gettysburg.  The most exciting news is we managed to overthrow our soccer dictatorship.  The soccer coach, K, took a season off for personal reasons and so J, MR’s hunting buddy and assistant coach, stepped in as Head Coach.  He did a great job- the team won more games than the last two seasons and the girls really started to click on the field.  Just when we’re looking forward to another great season, she wants back in.  Really?  She’s very close to opening her own business, I find it hard to believe she’ll find the time to be a coach as well.  She barely showed up to the practices when she was Head Coach and she hardly came to any of her daughter’s game last season.  Plus, the girls don’t like her– she’s egotistical and competes with the girls on the field (Look at me!  I run fast!  I’ve never played soccer before!)  The parents got together and composed a letter stating they wanted things to remain as it was.  THE GIRLS got together and composed a letter stating they didn’t want K and her husband (who was another assistant coach, treasurer of the soccer board AND team treasurer) back as coaches at all!  Twelve out of 16 girls signed that letter.  If I were K, I wouldn’t show my face on the field ever again.  But, egotistical as she is, she fought for the position and DUN, DUN, DUNNNN, she lost.

Who did they make Head Coach?  J?  Nope.

My MR.  He was the only one who didn’t have any complaints (or red cards) against him and besides, he’s the only one who ever really played (and plays) organized soccer.  So now we’re looking forward to an even BETTER season because all the ex-coaches have to stay on the parent’s side of the field!  I know for K and her husband, it’ll be for the first time.  He said early on when the kids were young, “No one coaches my daughters except me”.  LOL!  Sucker!

This has done wonders for MR’s ego.  He truly cares about these girls and their soccer situation so it’s a win-win all around.

Speaking of MR, he’s been really busy with the business.  He’s adding more clientele weekly and has big ideas for growing the business.  He sees every opportunity, every person he meets as a bonus to the business or as a new client.  He even asked Utah if she could get them referrals from her company.  He’s happier, which makes us happy.

Speaking of Utah, she’s doing really well in her job.  With the stupidity of the Hut behind her, she says she likes her new job and she’s making “normal” friends.  I know this kid is smart (okay, she’s not a kid- she’s going to be 22!) and I know she’ll do well in anything she does.  She just has to find her right pathway.  And pay attention when she’s driving so she doesn’t drive down the path the wrong way. (lol!) I love having her home most nights, we really have to plan more things to do…like go to the gym…it’s just been busy around here lately.  She and Beena have a standing date to go out to dinner on Fridays.  I love that they’re finally all on the same schedule so that they can do things like this.

Speaking of Beena, she’s still loving her teaching position.  Although she didn’t get hired to teach summer school, she’ll still have a busy summer tutoring and working at the Learning Center.  She came through her first year teaching with high commendations and students (and teachers) loving her.  She still cracks us up with tales from school and I’m so glad it’s been a positive experience after the rough start she got.

Me?  I find myself smiling all the time.  Remembering the impromptu kickball game between our soccer girls and a rival team while they waited for a thunderstorm to blow over in Gettysburg.  Picking up my CSA vegetable bounty every Tuesday and actually looking forward to trying these beautiful new vegetables.  Connecting with a long-time neighbor and finding out you have so much in common (music, lacto fermenting, gardening).  Acting onstage with a group of wonderful teenagers and youth leaders.  Planning fun things to do with our newly formed Youth Group.  Counting points and eating healthier than ever before.  Listening to Dad talk about his day without a hint of sadness in his voice.  Watching people stop and look at my herb/vegetable front lawn.  Rocking on my porch and talking to neighbors after being inside all winter.

Waiting for that tsunami.

Six More Years

Okay, I reread my last post.  Don’t get me wrong…I don’t hate Mr. B.  I really like Mr. B.  He’s kind, generous and has a good sense of humor.  His wife is really nice and his kids are nice too.  I don’t hate my neighbors- I’m actually blessed with good neighbors for the most part. We put up with them and they put up with us and our stupid dogs.

My problem is I live too close to people.  Sixteen feet between houses is WAY too confined for someone who likes to walk around the house half undressed and absolutely hates curtains.  I need space.  Land to grow things and raise chickens and have a patio and a dog run and be able to make coffee without pants on.  I would never survive in an apartment building.  I would nuke the place.

Please don’t think I hate Mr. B.  I’m just touchy about my personal space.

So because Zombiegirl won’t move, I’m stuck on a shady 40′ x 100′ lot on Long Island.

The reason she doesn’t want to move is because she’ll miss her friends.  Her soccer friends, her neighborhood friends, her softball friends and her school friends.  The school friends she couldn’t wait to get back to today.The first day back to school with her cool skull backpack (made by me, last year) and turquoise hair.  So starts 7th grade, which means I only have six more years until I can skedaddle out of New York.

I may kill someone before then…

Happy Borned Day, Kansas!

On August 8th, 1990, I went into labor with my second child.  I swore this kid was going to be a boy- I carried totally different than with Beena and I didn’t have the same pregnancy symptoms I had the first time around (morning sickness, spitting, heartburn).

I had a new obstetrician who didn’t like to cut (Yay! No episiotomies!) and the birthing center in the hospital was brand new.   Everything about this pregnancy was different and the delivery looked to be different as well.

We got to the hospital and got about as comfortable as one could get in hard labor, and it wasn’t long until the contractions were coming fast and fierce.  The nice thing about the new birthing center was that I didn’t have to leave the labor room to go into the delivery room- the bed converted into the delivery table.  The bad thing was the nurses had no experience converting the bed into the delivery table.  Supports were pushed into the wrong holes and railings were falling on the floor.  At one point during an especially hard contraction, one of the nurses handed me a side rail and asked me to hold it for a minute.

Are you kidding me?

Of course, my ex-asshole was little help.  I think he held a few parts too until they figured out how to work the bed.  If I wasn’t already wracked with pain, I would have taken the instructions myself and figured it out for them.  I’m good with instructions.

Out of all three of my labors, this one hurt the most.  Like I mentioned, my obstetrician didn’t believe in cutting so he was constantly stretching, stretching, stretching until the baby’s head crowned.  I kept from strangling him because I was mesmerized by his beautiful blue eyes.  I’d heard a lot of his patients fell in love with him during labor because of his eyes…

The first struggle of many between this child and this mommy occurred at this point.  Despite the constant stretching, baby didn’t want to come out no matter how hard I pushed.  After fifteen minutes of constant pushing, I was just about at exhaustion level and ready to give up.  The delivery nurse looked at me (she had nice eyes too) and said if I could give her one more push, it would all be over.  I gritted my teeth and went for it at the same time she threw herself across my stomach and helped with the last push.

My baby girl was born.While they were cleaning her up, I heard one of the nurses say “Oh, my God.”  It was one of the more terrifying moments of my life, hearing those words.  My heart stopped until I heard her ask what today’s date was.  Then she started to laugh.

Robyn Nicole was 8 pounds, 8 ounces, born on 8/8.  The doctor asked them to weigh her three times to be sure.  While we were marveling at the coincidence, the ex chimed in that it was our anniversary as well.

He asked me out at at party on August 8th, ten years prior.  I had forgotten that.

So Kansas, you’re 21 today and as part of your birthday present, I’m changing your blog name.  You’re no longer blowing in the wind so “Kansas” doesn’t work.  I am dubbing you “Cheesestick”.  Crunchy on the outside but  gooey and soft and delicious on the inside.  Plus, everytime I read your blog, I think “Holy Cheesestick!” and laugh.

Laughing is something that I’ve always done with you.  I love your sense of humor.  Even though you get aggravated (work) and annoyed about a lot of things (customers), you always manage to convey it with humor.  Some of the times I’ve laughed the hardest were with you.  We find the same things hilarious.  Some of the funniest lines to ever come outt of your mouth are still repeated in the family today.  “Do puppies have pockets?” and “Boop-wiggedy-wiggedy” crack us up every time.
You always marched to your own drummer.  No, you probably don’t have a drummer- you probably have a big brass band in your head telling you what direction to take you in.  You never followed your big sister around- most of the time you were the leader and she followed, probably to see where you were going to go next.  It was always YOUR way of doing things,  and as much as I admire that trait, it lead to some exasperating times.Like the time we took you to Disney World and you went on all the rides with your hands over your eyes, crying.

Like the time we drove to Hilton Head and you realized that you left your luggage home.  Thankfully we were only on the Belt Parkway.

Like the time you begged us to let you climb the rock wall at a fair only to get halfway up and cry because you were scared to go up and scared to go down.

You are the most like me.  People say we resemble each other the most and I’m flattered because you’re so beautiful.  I see other things of me in you besides my eyes.  Some good things, some bad things and some things that just causes us to bang our heads against our respective walls.

But…I love how you’re a romantic.  You want the happy ending (you wouldn’t get so upset with the stupidity in the world if you didn’t) and you love the cute and cuddly.  Stuffed animals, Wade figures and rubber duckies are all your friends as well as Harry Potter and Angry Birds.   Yet you can manage a restaurant by yourself and pull straight A’ s in school.  You’re  a softy, but really, really smart.

You’ve given me some of the proudest moments in my life, like when you were awarded that bond at your 8th grade graduation for donating your hair to Locks for Love (you’re a  trendsetter…now all the kids do it).  Seeing you dance on pointe for the first time in dance class.  When your picture appeared in the paper for the Battle of the Bands.  And when you walked across the stage at High School graduation and received your awards.  I know you’ll do well and go far in life because you’re that smart.  Figure out what you want to do and go for it!

Happy 21st birthday, Cheesestick!  You know I love you…I wouldn’t spend five hours making cupcakes for just anybody!

Transcend the Annoyance, Bask in the Good Stuff

Okay, enough with the pity party.  I’m sure my family will attest that my mood swings are all a part of this journey called MENOPAUSE.  Lovely.  I’m sure it will get worse before it gets better.  In the meantime, I am doing yoga and meditating and trying hard to transcend the annoyances in my life.

Let’s get on with it, girlie.

Yesterday I mentioned one offspring- Kansas- who resumed her blog and started another.  I commend her for sticking to it and getting all her thoughts down (and entertaining me as well).  But there is other news in the household.  I haven’t written about the huge goings on with my other two offspring:

Beena, my little math geek, has earned her Master’s Degree in Education!  She’s completely finished with school and is now a step ahead of all the other would-be teachers out there. We’re so proud of her!  This past semester, she taught 7th and 9th graders mathematics and loved every minute of it.  I’ve never seen a person more suited to a chosen career than Beena.  She’s been wanting to teach since she was three years old and now she’s ready and fully prepared to go out in the world to do so.  She’s also taken her teaching certification test and already interviewed for a full-time position in one of the local schools.  Keep your fingers and toes crossed.  She needs to buy a car and pay off those loans…

Zombiegirl has declared herself  10% less cool than she once was.  I say in 20 months she’ll be 20% more beautiful than she ever was.  The kid is sporting new grills!  We thought she would only need a few brackets to straighten out her lower teeth, but seems the kid has a “deep bite”, meaning her uppers come down almost covering her lowers.  She’s full metal mouth and has two little plastic bars glued to the backs of her front teeth to prevent her upper teeth to meet her lower teeth.  Eventually, they’ll be lowered into the correct position, but for now she can only slightly chew her food.  She worries that she’s been swallowing her dinner whole, but since she’s been living on macaroni and cheese, I don’t think that’s a problem.  Beena offered to chew it for her, but Zombiegirl politely declined by pretending to vomit into her mac and cheese.  She didn’t take anything for the pain (my little trooper) and is only experiencing slight discomfort.  I experienced deja vu going back to the orthodontist, because of all those years with Beena and her teeny tiny palette.  Z-girl’s mouth isn’t as bad as Beena’s is, however.  With all the new technology, the kid will be smiling perfectly before her 8th grade graduation.

Now with the extra monthly payment for the braces (which equals a small car payment) I’m looking to give up a few “luxuries”.  Since my extreme coupon is saving me money (I don’t have to buy deodorant or hair color for the next two years, yay!) do you think anyone would notice if we don’t eat?

Or live on mac and cheese for the next 20 months?

It IS vegetarian….

Catching Up

Whew.  The last few days in October are always a whirlwind at our house.  If they happen to fall on a weekend, it’s even worse.  Besides Halloween and soccer games, there’s my nephew’s birthday and of course, Beena’s birthday.  I’m usually found finishing up Halloween costumes at the last minute as well as baking cupcakes and birthday cakes.  Going out dinner, visiting the in-laws, shopping for candy and scheduling Trick-or-Treating dates.  Maybe a party or two.  And carving pumpkins:

(MR’s Oogie Boogie)

(My Hedwig)

(Kansas’ racoon)

(Z-girl’s Flaming Skull)

It’s chaotic.

This year I decided to make matters worse by making cake pops for Zombiegirl’s soccer team.  I had it in my head to make enough for her team as well as the opposing team and all the siblings, probably 60 was a safe amount.  These are the infamous cake pops made famous by Baker-ella, whom after writing her cake-pop-book, took the instructions off her website.  Gee, thanks.  I’ve wanted to make these pops for a long time- they’re so cute and so damn easy, made evident by the sight of them around the WHOLE internets.  Almost every site I’ve visited in the last year or so has experimented in these bite-sized morsels.  Therefore it was easy to get the directions from someone else’s website.  Hah.  More than one way to skin a cat.  I’m not buying the damn book just to get this experiment out of my system.  I’ve made Cheshire Cat and Mad Hatter cupcakes with FONDANT, for cracker’s sake.  What’s a few (dozen) cakey bally ghosts and pumpkins?

Okay, maybe I should have at least taken the book out of the library.

I followed the instructions for the ghosts and they came out absolutely horrible.  The frozen cake disintegrated in the chocolate and my tap-tap-tapping caused it to fall off the sticks.  My ghosts looked like they didn’t wash their sheets in a month.  I managed to salvage about 15 of the 30 balls I froze for ghosts and piped eyes and wrapping around the whole mess.  My ghosts were now mummies:

The pumpkins didn’t fare well either.  I now realize I didn’t use the right chocolate to dip them in.  Wilton chocolate disks, although pretty colorful, aren’t right for this project.  At least the dipping part.

I ended up with 15 mummies and 15 pumpkins- enough for the siblings on our side of the field.  The girls lost that game, but at least they had delicious (albeit ugly) cake pops to munch on the way home.

Saturday afternoon was dedicated to making cupcakes for Beena’s birthday (she didn’t want cake and she hates frosting) and the owl cupcakes I made for Zombiegirl’s Harry Potter Party.  I WAS going to make the owls for MR’s soccer team for Halloween (they’re the WH OWLS) but since I wasn’t going to the game it would have looked silly if MR brought CUPCAKES for these guys.  Kansas asked for a dozen of the owls to bring to work, so I split a batch of cupcakes between owls and Beena’s birthday.  I was going to hit Dad up for Mom’s white frosting recipe, but I found this and decided to try it.  Oh, yum- so good!  And it was easy- 10 minutes in the Kitchen Aid and it was done!  In fact at the nine minute mark I cracked up because the frosting puffed up so much it tried to escape the mixing bowl.

(yes, I made the cake stand too.)

Beena decorated them, we lit them on fire and sang.

Happy 22nd Birthday, Beena!

On Halloween, Zombiegirl and her friend were ready to go at 10:00 a.m., but I held them off until noon.  Even then people turned them away because it was too early or they just didn’t answer the door.  Really?  On a Sunday?  We got some kookie people ringing our bell- parents dressed up in costume and holding out bags right along with their kids and thirty-year olds dressed as knights going door to door.  The economy is that bad that adults have to go Trick-or-Treating too?

M’kay.

Zombiegirl shed her costume part by part as the day went on.  She doesn’t have her utility suspenders on.  She is a dead ringer for Hitgirl, no?

 

She’s even got the ‘tude.

So now that tumultuous weekend is behind us, it’s a fast slide towards Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Oh. Joy.

Hang on.