Monday Tidbits

I swear I saw Almira Gulch pedaling furiously through the air on Saturday. Laughing and pointing and scowling at me as she flew by the window. What kind of weather was that? Seventy-five mile per hour winds, slashing rain, thunder, lighting…we’re not in Kansas anymore!
After an already full day of wet haircuts and wet Bridal Shower (Congratulations Jessica and Mervin!) we were tired. I started painting the brick wall for Platform 9-3/4 and Z-girl was on Facebook. We were zoning out fast. I finally dozed for a bit. That’s when the tree limbs started raining down from the sky.

Since MR was seafooding it at the Boston Convention Center for the last few days, Zombiegirl and I were left home by ourselves in the middle of the storm. Z-girl was a little nervous about the lights going out so we got dressed and went out around 5:30. Maybe not the smartest idea.

We went to Panera Bread on Jericho Turnpike for dinner. Just the walk (run) from the car to the restaurant soaked us. Hot soup was looking mighty good ’bout now. Zombie-g waited a long time to finally get the potato soup in the bread bowl and it was worth the wait. She finished it in record time, which for her is odd since she’s the slowest eater on the planet.

After another quick, wet dash to the car, we drove up Jericho for about a half mile before we were detoured by a LOT of police cars. This was not boding well. I couldn’t see a half a block in front of me, and people took this kind of weather as an okay to drive like assholes. We finally made it, after about 45 minutes, to the BJ’s on Broad Hollow Road.

Hey- I needed stuff for the party! Yes, I knew it was hurricane-like out. But we would be the only ones in BJ’s! It’ll be great- no crowds!

Yeah, no.

We weren’t the only nuts out in this weather. There were plenty of people there, buying 2-3 items- not even huge orders! It was like BJ’s was a sanctuary in the maelstrom of a storm.

Until they announced their system was down, and could only take cash.

I moved up to the front of the line and bought my Cow Tails and Pixie Sticks. Zombiegirl, being the smarty that she is, grabbed one of those boxes in the front of the store to put over her head. I was complimenting her ingenuity when the box of giant Pixie Sticks broke (due to leaning against my wet coat) and went flying all over the exit. Where people were all standing and debating whether or not to go out in the rain to their cars. And, of course, not helping me.

So we once again ran to the car, and drove approximately 100 feet to the movie theater. This mad dash to the theater was totally worth it because WE FINALLY GOT TO SEE ALICE IN WONDERLAND!

Yes, instead of staying home under the covers, we risked power outages went to the movies.

IT.

WAS.

AWESOME.

We’re going back to see it again since it was such a colorful, beautiful movie I’m sure we missed alot of stuff.

And because Johnny Depp is in it.

Driving back home was super creepy/ The kid fell asleep and I was listening to Bad Romance (again) and I realized that the whole area of our neighborhood north of Hempstead Turnpike was dark. No streetlights, no house lights-it was like someone painted a dark gray veil over the neighborhood. I tried to wake Z-girl up, but she was zonked. Then I came to the turnpike and the brightness of the lights actually hurt my eyes! Thankfully, we had power when we got home.

Not for long…

Monday Tidbits on Tuesday

I can’t believe how fast time flies. This weekend marked the year anniversary of Mom’s passing. She technically passed away on February 27, 2009, at 11:45 pm, but she wasn’t declared gone until the Hospice nurse got there at around three o’clock in the morning of the 28th. I’m amazed that the year went by so fast. Dad has been awesome this past year- he’s had his sad moments, but he’s coping. Very well. I’m so relieved.

After Friday’s “Snurricaine” turned into a “Snore-iccaine“, we were pretty sure we would be able to follow through with our plans to remember Mom. I took off work on Friday due to the weather, so I was able to get done everything I needed to get done (sewing little man clothes- more on that later) and be able to devote all day Saturday to our trip. We honored Mom by going down to Atlantic City.

What better place to remember Mom? What better place to cheer Dad up…especially after he won over $600 at Caesar’s! Yeah, he’s cheery now. Mom definitely smiled on him. We played the two slot machines they always played and he was describing how they would nudge each other when they hit. He turned around from elbowing me and he had hit the jackpot- 2,500 quarters! After he did his happy dance, and threw me a few $20’s to keep going, we left and switched off with MR and Zombiegirl.

Thanks, Mom. You dissed me and your son-in-law. But you made Dad happy.

I wanted to post this on Monday, but the pain I was in prevented me from doing much more than moaning on the couch begging MR to rub my back with Bengay. I’m not sure what I did to my back, but I’m pretty sure it’s not muscular. I need to see the chiropractor, stat.

Oh, btw. If you give up candy for Lent, do NOT bring your child to It’Sugar. It’s a playground for kids, a Willy Wonka type of heaven. I was in HELL.

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.

Monday Tidbits

It’s crunch time. The craft sale is one week away and I’ve been sewing, gluing, tying, and cutting like crazy to get things done. Not only am I working on my stuff for my table, I’m also organizing and finishing the crafts for Zombiegirl’s soccer team.

I had this bright idea for the girls to get together and make crafts for St. Andrew’s Holiday Fair. They have a bunch of tournaments coming up. We can offset the cost of the tourneys by raising some money by selling our crafts. Bright idea, right?

Next time I have a bright idea like this, someone smack me.

Mistake number one- trying to teach fourteen non-crafty girls to make things that are nice enough to sell. Girls who are growing up in the video age. Girls who can’t sit still long enough to even listen to instructions- they are athletes, after all. Girls who think snacking is more important than doing the work. Some of them get it, and others…need more time. And… I’ll admit it… I don’t have the patience I used to have when I was a Girl Scout leader/Sunday School Teacher. But we’re having fun though. I think what’s most important is not only raising money for the team but the camaraderie the girls are sharing. They’re going to be on the same team for the next few years- they have to get along off the field as well as on the field. So sitting around a table tying pillows while gabbing is a good thing.

If I don’t have to do the pillows over…BECAUSE they’re gabbing.

These are some of the things we’ve/I’ve/Ronnie’s made so far…

  • Fleece hats for kids. With fringe and without. Some with scarves.
  • Christmas wreath pins (lace and beads)
  • Candy cane ornaments (lace and beads)
  • Ribbon angel pins
  • God’s eyes ornaments/gift trim
  • Clothespin reindeer ornaments/gift trim
  • Fleece accent pillows in a soccer print
  • Chocolate lollipops
  • Cookie jar mixes
  • Mesh ribbon boxes
  • Christmas CD’s

On Thursday, the moms are going to get together and make Oreo Turkeys. Yes, wine will be served, thankfully. My dad also donated the Christmas earrings that Mom made as well as the plastic tablecloth hairbows she used to sell. The lace and bead stuff she donated to the Girl Scouts, but Ronnie donated them back. So we should have a pretty full table.

I just hope they sell something.

I spent almost seven hours finishing off fleece hats on Saturday night. I never want to see another hat again.

Mistake number two? Thinking I’d actually get some cooperation from the families. I totally understand that the girls have so much to do besides school, but we tried to make it easy and have the crafting sessions after right after practice. I understand that the kids have other weekly commitments. But some of the other excuses we’ve gotten are unbelievable! We have 28 parents involved with the team, AND various grandparents (thanks Stan, Jeannette and Bob!) I like the majority of these parents and consider alot of them friends. But the same parents help out week after week.

So where is everyone else?

We’re not asking for EVERYONE to show up each and every week. We craft for an hour/hour and a half each week and occasionally when the girls have a day off. Jodi’s next door neighbor has shown up to help out more than some of these parents. MR even stayed yesterday and tied pillows with us. I just don’t get it. We’re trying to put money into these families pockets so they don’t have to pay out for tournaments and trainings. Some parents are there EVERY WEEK and then there are some parents that we haven’t seen yet. WTF?

And if I hear one more time “But I work full time!” I’m going to puke.

Still, it’s not as bad as when I was a Girl Scout leader. Those parents never did shit.

Okay, enough ranting. I’m not going to change people’s nature. I know what I do and I can go to sleep at night knowing I did everything possible for my daughter and her team. I don’t know why I get so enraged. I suppose it could be worse, right?

So…mistake number three? Waiting until the last minute (week) to finish up MY stuff. Why do I procrastinate? I know I work better under pressure, but why do I do this to myself? My sewing room is a mess so I’m tempted to organize my fabric, or pull out all the lace. I have to stop myself and concentrate on finishing up stuff for my table.

Some stuff I’m selling?

  • Tutus
  • Princess wands
  • Princess crowns
  • Key chain wristlets
  • Felt fruit and vegetables
  • Tote bags
  • Angel magnetic cards
  • Dishtowel angels

Add to that MR’s wood cut outs and we should also have a pretty full table, too.

I just hope I sell something!

And yes, I did all this with a full-on migraine on Saturday. When it finally broke Saturday night it was like the weight of the world lifted off my head. I had a headache Sunday morning (missed church) but I took a cat nap and it went away…

What else happened this weekend?

  • The Panthers lost 3-2 in the rain and wind we had Saturday. My Uggs are ruined.
  • I followed Flylady’s method of cleaning the kitchen. Got most of it done except the floors. I need to get one of those floor cleaning things. Um…what is it called? Oh. A mop.
  • Zombiegirl and I made pumpkin pies. She had a craving. If I can get her to eat it, it’ll be the first thing in days practically. She has no appetite. I’m guessing it’s from the flu, but if she doesn’t start eating it’s back to the doctor.
  • I watched part of my first non-professional hockey game. Fifteen year old boys. And it was just as exciting as an Islander game. Thanks Hailey, Kathy and Brandon!
  • I made apple butter in the crock pot. And applesauce. With black chai tea flavor. Oooh. Yummy.
  • I cleaned out my produce drawer and stir fried everything. I used the Vanilla Fig Balsamic Vinegar we bought at the summer craft sale in East Quogue. More yummy. I froze individual portions so I can take it to work.

All in all, it was a productive yet infuriating weekend. And exhausting. I can’t wait to get back to work…

Monday Tidbits

A very exciting recap of my weekend….

1. Watching Hedwig and the Angry Inch, I forgot how much I loved this movie and how much I liked John Cameron Mitchell’s voice. I looked him up on IMDB and he was born on my birthday. Year AND day.

2. Zombiegirl’s team lost to Auburndale 5-2. The other team was really good. Quote during the game- Stan G (Hale’s Grandpa) asked if the other team were all going back to home to Nicaragua after the game. Bad grandpa.

3. Z-girl has a better social life than me. AND her sisters. This kid averages two birthday parties a weekend lately. And I’m really proud of her- they are all different circles of friends. She’s not confining herself (like her older sister(s)) to one or two friends. Very few of her friends bisect her circles, either. And I’m going broke buying birthday gifts.

4. Reading Dan Brown is like getting a history lesson in under five minutes.

5. I’m slowly getting rid of the crap in my life. To clarify, it’s getting harder to find stuff to sell at yard sales. This very well may be my last one. If only it doesn’t rain, again.

6. I have way too many crafts started and not enough finished. I booked three craft sales before Christmas, so I have to get a move on.

7. September flew by WAAY too fast. But I’m looking forward to all the things I have to do in October.

8. Mr. and I were talking about Anna Farris last night while watching Family Guy. House Bunny is on tonight. Synchronicity?

9. I need to see Dr. Heredia more often. My migraines are back with a vengance.

10. I now know why my mom’s hand were so soft all the time. Frosting made of shortening will make your hands soft and smooth. My cake decorating exploits will be chronicled here shortly.

11. I wish my life would Flashforward six months. Will I be watching Flashforward?

12. It’s very hard for someone to say no to 12 girls in soccer uniforms. The guy in the yoga place is a hard-hearted man. A yoga gift certificate would have been wonderful for our raffle basket. His loss. Thanks to the Barber shop, The Witches Brew, Phoenix Chiropractic, Aroma Nails, Gina at Mandee, GNC, Beena, Dad and Rob for their donations to our baskets.

Another exciting weekend. A little cleaning, a little laundry, a little soccer, a little cake. A few crafts and some TV.

And…I want cerviche.

Monday Tidbits

Instead of boring you with a play-by-play of my kids soccer games, or the most exciting things I do on the weekend, (laundry, dishes, soccer games) I think I’ll feed you tidbits of some of the events and musings of the weekend.

Tidbit 1- Zombiegirl’s team won their first Travel game of the season, 3-1 against Valley Stream. Off to a good start!

Tidbit 2- I convinced small children that a) the people in the low flying planes that flew over our soccer field can see us and were waving. At one point there were eight people waving at planes and not watching the game. B) If you spin around really, really fast, you’ll lift off the ground, c) if you flip your hands up at a 90 degree angle when you’re running you WILL slow down and d) that my house is haunted.

Tidbit 3- My husband is a much better cook than I am. This is evident by his meatballs. Which I HAD to taste.

Tidbit 4- Apocalypse Now (director’s cut) is NOT my favorite movie.

Tidbit 5- Strange people use the laundromat. And it’s expensive to wash a comforter.

Tidbit 6- I now know how to kill a maenad. I just have to change into a bull and convince her to marry me.

Tidbit 7- Time truly flies when you watch end-to-end episodes of the third season of Dexter. Which I DO love.

Tidbit 8- After 12 years of marriage, I would do it all over again with my hubby.

Tidbit 9- If I hear one more of my friends/acquaintances back out of doing something because “I work…” I will have to bitch slap them. I’ve been working full-time for 24 years and I have managed to: get married twice, have three kids, own a home, car and pets, have numerous yard sales, run two businesses, be a Girl Scout Leader, Sunday School Teacher, Soccer Mom and Class Parent many times over, write a blog, take pretty damn good care of my family and house AND go to the gym. Yes, I have flexibility at my job and a good support system at home. That does help. But I am just really SO very tired of the Primadonnas making excuses.

Tidbit 10- I am secretly married to Dan. My Facebook friend told me so.

That was my weekend in a nutshell. Comment if you’re interested in any of the backstories!