My cup runneth over with F*CK You’s.  So many and so vile that it may end a few relationships if I actually wrote them down and published them.

Bitter.  Resentful.  Hateful, even.  It would not be pretty.  I have emptied the shelf at Duane Reade of Black Cohosh, it’s that bad.

Instead, I’m going to post things that I’ve found on the Internet that I want- no, NEED.  Things that will make my day a little brighter and maybe turn these furrowing frown marks into a wisp of a smile.

I need more zombies.  And more gnomes.  This satisfies both desires:

Nom, nom, nom.

I’ve decided I’m going to start collecting snippy t-shirts to wear to soccer games and grocery shopping.  Here are two I MUST have:

When I’m PMS’ing, in a foul mood or just down in the dumps, I usually turn to chocolate.  Someone tell me where to buy THESE:

Nom, yum, nom.

Mix and match.  Insert and stack.  Experiment with different flavors.  Pure genius.

Even though I haven’t had bacon in over a year, I still want these in my stocking for Christmas:

Nom, nom, oink...

I’ve tried the Roomba and all it did was end up getting clogged with dog hair.  On the upside, it terrorized the dog, which is always fun.  If I had this, I could run it every day and my floors would be pristine, my family could stop ingesting dog hair and it would probably still chase the dog around:I sleep like the dead.  Nothing wakes me up once I’m out.  But in the morning I pay for sleeping on our 14-year old mattress. So, since I’m wishing, I might as well wish for this organic beauty:

The Bloggess’s red dress.  Because I’m worth it.  And if I keep saying that, I might be.

Alas, I won’t be buying any of these things any time soon.  Unless I can scrounge up a coupon or two…

At Least I’m Not in Japan

Hello Fruitcups…still here?

Things aren’t going any better around here.  I think about this blog constantly and all the things I want to put down into words, but I’ve been really busy at work since it’s my quarterly deadline and when I get home it’s rushing hither and yon to  soccer games and now, softball practices, parades and pictures.

I’m pooped.  And emotionally disturbed.  But then, you knew that…

I’ve been so distracted and disturbed lately that I’ve left my wallet home twice in the past week, locked myself out of the house, yelled at the kid numerous times, pissed numerous people off, caught conjunctivitis and have woken up with a headache EVERY freaking day these past two weeks, many of them developing into migraines.  Yay for me!

When I complain to MR about my woes, he tells me (very wisely) that AT LEAST I’M NOT IN JAPAN.

Hmm.  Yup.  I guess I should be counting my blessings:

  • I’m not pregnant
  • I’m still employed
  • Out of the 30 Metrocards in my pocketbook I can find one that will get me home.
  • There are new friends in my life.
  • There are new OLD friends in my life.
  • Zombiegirl’s stupid name for her new softball team is…go on, guess.  Yes, the Panthers.  Now I won’t be confused about which game I’m at and can cheer on ALL the Panthers.
  • I’m on vacation over the Easter break.  Although we won’t be going to Hilton Head, we have tons of stuff planned.  Best of all, I get to sleep late if Maggie the cat lets me.
  • No one in my house is suffering from sickness or allergies.  Unless you count my pink-eye.
  • I’ve discovered a new bus stop on the N6 line that allows me, 9 times out of 10, to get a seat.  It’s a civilized bus queue therefore eliminating the urge to kill line crashers and creeping ladies.
  • I’ve reached level 4-6 in Angry Birds without help.
  • Two mohitos can be nursed for four hysterical hours.
  • I get to spend Easter with my daughters and my Dad.
  • I’m going back to the gym.
  • My birthday is coming up and I’m still alive.  That’s a good thing because at this point no one would come to my funeral and there would be no pictures of me at said funeral…
  • I can wear bright green nail polish and not care what anyone says about it!

Hold tight, fruitcups.  There’s going to be a flurry of blogs, sewing and stuff sent out before the month ends.  Unless an earthquake or tsunami hits in the next few days.  That would suck.

Hitting the Wall

I’ve started and erased this post about six times already. 

I have so much to say, so much to write, so much to record and remember yet I don’t have the emotional energy to do it.

I’ve hit a wall.  Or rather, the wall has tumbled down and hit me first. 

There are emotional bricks laying on my heart and bashing me in the head and they’re making it hard for me to form cohesive thoughts.  I’d usually lay these thoughts out here- get it off my chest- but this time, they’re not for public consumption. 

Bear with me while I rein in and deal with my feelings.  They’ll either be bottled up (my usual way of dealing with crap) or they’ll be exploding and the aftermath won’t be pretty.  Too many thoughts are racing around my head and they’re going too fast for me to reach out, grab one and write.

Other that that, everything is just…peachy.

The cupcakes, btw, were Panthers…the stupid name of Zombiegirl’s travel soccer team.  The Google search results yielded up “Pink Panther” cupcakes and fondant sculpted panthers which were cute, but not practical considering I had to make 48 of them.

Jansie- email me your mailing address and I’ll send you something for playing anyway!  Kim…I know where you live!

Dear Mom

Dear Mom,

It’s been two years since you left us.  How is that possible?

I took the day off yesterday to be with Daddy.  He’s been doing really well on his own, keeping the house immaculate, making his bed, planning his next tattoo.  I know he has his down days, especially when he finds something you squirreled away or a note you wrote, but that’s totally normal.  Thank goodness for Pumpkin.  That cat keeps him company and on his toes.  The thing is, Mom; could you find a way to let Dad know he’s feeding that little porker too much?  He looks like Garfield- fat and orange.  He has a kitty food buffet on the counter, and he won’t listen to me…

Did you see the beautiful flowers Dad brought you?  Look in between the petals- I made a penguin for you.  Out of a used lightbulb, lol.  I made a snowman for Robbie, too and left it in front of his stone niche.  We can’t pass a penguin by without thinking of you.  Kansas is thinking of getting a tattoo of a penguin, just for you.  I would consider getting one with her, but I’m not going to hold my breath.  You know how much she hates needles.

Dad and I did something yesterday I know you loved to do- we went shopping after we visited at the cemetery.  I dragged him around to Ikea, then to Walmart, then out to lunch.  You’ve trained him well, Mom.  He actually likes to shop, and didn’t rush me or complain when I went from one end of the store to the other.  I even made him wait in the storage section of Ikea while I ran to the bathroom.  I know you knew where every public restroom was in every store, mall and gas station you went to. I definitely inherited the lactose intolerance from you. 

I’ve been thinking of you alot lately.  I’ve been painting the ceramics you cleaned for me years ago- those three-sided “go-rounds” of Mr. and Mrs. Claus and the elves.  They’ve been sitting in a box forever and I’m trying to finish all the half-started projects in my office.  How many of those pieces did we do over the years we went to ceramics?  I know you donated a few of them to St. B’s for their Penny Social, and I’ve given them away as gifts to a bunch of people.  We always joked that we did ceramics for everyone but ourselves.  I like knowing that you cleaned and touched the pieces that I’m now painting.

I miss you, Mom.  I know we had our differences (I also inherited the stubborn streak from you) but I miss talking to you about the kids and work and crafts and sewing.  Sometimes I get so frustrated with a pattern piece or some directions my first instinct is to call you up and ask for your help.  Sometimes I feel you looking over my shoulder when I’m sewing and I take extra care to get it right because I know that’s what you would have done.  I wish you were really there guiding me.  I’m sorry I never took advantage of your talent and wisdom when you were around.  It was easier to ask you to fix those pants or make those bridesmaid dresses for the girls than for me to do it myself with you standing behind me.  I miss your guidance.

Dad’s going to Florida in a few weeks to visit your sister, Jean.  I’m so proud of him driving down by himself and eating in Cracker Barrels alone.  I know it’s hard doing all the things you guys used to do together, but I think it’s also making him stronger.  Not that he wasn’t strong when you were around.  He was always a Titan to me- big and bold and sometimes scary to a little kid- but it kills me when he’s sad.  So he’s staying down in Florida for a couple of weeks with Aunt Jean and Uncle Bob.  Just like old times when we camped together, but without the kids and a little more Bengay. 

I put the picture of you and Daddy on our living room side table.  I need to see more of the healthy Helen, not the Helen you became when the cancer got bad.  Those memories are fading, slowly, being replaced by less sombre memories.  Like the times I’d see you when I picked up the girls after work, or at the Calendar parties (you and Barbara sitting in the front of the social hall making notes on all the bad acts…), sitting in church together and driving to ceramics class with Ann, Diane and Lucille.  Girl Scout camping.  Family camping.  Holding Beena and Kansas and Zombiegirl in the hospital.  Going to all those Broadway plays.  You singing “Shall We Dance?” in the kitchen while making dinner.  That’s the mommy I need to remember.  I don’t want to forget all the suffering you went through or the time we spent before you passed away- me rubbing your feet and you shooting Daddy sarcastic looks because you couldn’t talk- but I found that’s all I was focusing on and that’s not what you were about.  I try to focus on our good times now instead.

I’ll talk to you soon, Mom.  You know I always do.  Say “Hi!” to Robbie and Nana and J for me.  I can’t believe it’s been a year since we lost J.  Life moves too fast.

I love you always. 

Love, Sue


I am heartbroken.  Remember this post– the one about the squirrels and my “584” tree?  I know some of you couldn’t see the numbers 5, 8 and 4 in the tree but I’ve been staring at that tree for 13 years.  It’s the only good thing about the winter- I can see the numbers and follow the squirrel’s crazy antics.

Then, a few weeks ago, I noticed this:

Half of the tree is missing!

My number 5, 4 and half the 8 is gone.  It’s now lying on Nassau property, blocking the way from our backyard gate to the stream.

Mother Nature, you are a cruel bitch.

Countdown to Christmas – Winners and Losers

Argh- I apologize for that last post.  I thought it would be hilarious to “drunk” post.  I’ve never drunk texted or drunk dialed someone because I can count on one hand the number of times I got blitzed.  And seriously, the day after I drink I swear I’m never going to drink again.

Or eat fried sushi.  It tastes worse the second time around.  I’m such a loser.

Looooser.  Yup.  That’s me.  I went to the post office today to mail out one of my sweet dinos.  I was pleasantly surprised last weekend when someone placed an order for a blue T-Rex on my Etsy shop.  I finished him up this morning (since I was up at 2:00 am with a hangover headache), packed him up and brought him to the Post Office when it opened.  I THOUGHT the clerk said $3.05, which if I was in a right state of mind (and if she was speaking proper English) would have suspected that was WAY too cheap to send this big-ass box to Michigan.  The screen on the debit card swiper wasn’t working, so when I got back into the car I looked at the receipt and it said $35.00! 

I burst into tears.  My Dad, who was driving us around to the cemetaries was a little scared.  All that time making the dinosaur and I lost money on the deal.  Should I have gone back?  Now, I think I should.  Either way I look like an asshole.

So I’m a loser.   I was going to use that found money for a great giveaway next week.  Don’t think that’s going to happen…it might have to be a much smaller giveaway. I want to crawl back to bed…

On a happier, less muddled note, we have a winner for the tutu and the wand!  I random generated the numbers and the number picked was 52!  I counted all the most recent comments (excluding mine) and the winner was the very sweet Djaj, who said “This is a great giveaway, but I got struck by the post dedicated to your brother, so I send a special thought for him, for you, for your parents, for you kids, and for all the people who miss him.”  Thanks, Djaj! 

Thanks to you all for your kind words about the giveaway and other stuff.  Have a wonderful holiday and stop on back every so often, okay?  I might make hot chocolate.

Rivals + Friends = Siblings

Forty-five years ago, you entered my life; a roly-poly butterball made especially for me (or so I thought) to cuddle and play with.  I practiced my budding mothering skills on you until you couldn’t take the smothering and smacked me with your chubby fist.  When you started going to school, I would make sure you were on the right class line, had your lunchbox and threatened anyone who looked at you weird.  I waited for you after school and walked home with you while looking over my shoulder for any potential threats.  You put up with me being your second mother for a really long time.

Forty years ago we shared many good times- camping trips with the cousins, scary stories at night.  We walked over to the boulevard to go to the rides on Sunday nights when Mom and Dad were bowling.  We had to stop on the wooden bridge every time so you could feed the fish.  We curled up under the afghan on the other Sunday nights to watch Disney and Wild Kingdom.  You had your Big Jim dolls and I had my Barbies and we would have adventures in the Barbie Camper or the Big Jim Range Rover.  You would ask me to do something and I did it.  I would boss you around and you did it.  We had spats but once the tears were dried we were back to playing.  We were each other’s best friend.

Thirty-five years ago, I thought you were a royal pain in my ass.  You were the little brother that tagged around the park after me and my friends.  You wouldn’t let us dress you up in makeup and play fashion show with us, so what good were you?  You were constantly butting in to my 12-year-old life so I had to constantly put you in your place.  We had some spectacular fights on the living room floor or in the back deck of the station wagon.  I loved boys, but I hated you.

Thirty years ago I barely knew you.  We were teenagers each leading our separate lives.  We passed each other going up and down the stairs to our rooms, but I don’t remember if we even acknowledged each other’s existence.  Probably not.  I had boyfriends, you had girlfriends. I had Girl Scouts, you had Boy Scouts.  We went to the same school but neither of our circles intersected.  The only thing I liked about you was you worked at the Big Bow Wow so we got free food.  That and you smelled like French Fries.

Twenty-five years ago you were one my closest friends.  You were working full-time and going to school part-time and I envied your life.  You and Dad were working on transforming that VW bug into a hot-rod and you painted your bedroom walls in zebra stripe.  You drove the family Bronco over the footbridge to Hamilton and came home with a tattoo.  You started training for the fireman’s test.  While running up and down the stairs at the park with weights on your ankles, you got arrested for buying drugs, which was silly because you weren’t carrying any money (no pockets in sweatpants) and your ID was in the car.  You called me to come get you at the police station.  You knew what I was getting into when I got married but stood up for me anyway at our wedding.  We invited you to our parties because you were cool.  You would come over to our apartment, eat and hang out.   Remember when I permed your hair?  You had great hair.  You rode your jet ski in the bay and your dirt bike in the park.  When you crashed your bike and went for X-rays, they found the tumor.  I remember your surgery and how you walked with a cane afterwards because they had to take muscle out along with the tumor.  I thought you were so funny, yet so brave when you envisioned a little Calvin (from Calvin and Hobbes- your favorite comic) flying in his spaceship zapping cancer cells while you sat there getting the chemo treatment through your port in your chest.  You made me spit soda through my nose describing how your mustache hair fell out in your cereal.  It looked like shredded wheat even though you were eating Froot Loops.  We cried with grief when all your hair fell out, and then with relief when you went into remission.

Twenty-two years ago you became Beena’s godfather.  You adored that kid.  You took her to the mall to pick up girls.  Go figure- you got phone numbers from girls cooing over the baby.  You were the one that helped me paint her room and put up the wallpaper.  I remember the conversation we had about our parents and life in general.  We painted side by side and you told me I was lucky because I had beautiful Beena.  I hugged and kissed you that day- the first time in years.  When you found out the tumors were back you went out and got another tattoo.  We watched over the next months as the tumors got bigger and bigger and chemotherapy didn’t work.  You couldn’t eat and couldn’t breath.  You lost so much weight I couldn’t bear to see you.  We were helpless. 

Twenty-one years ago today I raced into Sloan Kettering Memorial to see you but it was too late, you were gone.  I lost a piece of my life that night.  My parents lost their precious child.  My grandmother said she should be the one to go, not her grandson.  It was two weeks before Christmas, your favorite holiday.  I found out I was pregnant the day before your funeral, which was huge, by the way.  So many people liked you, loved you.  We named Kansas after you when she was born.

I miss you everyday, little brother.  I talk to you a lot, do you hear me?  I tell you how much you would have liked MR because you have so much in common.  How proud you would have been of Beena, Kansas and Zombiegirl.  Oh, yeah…you would have loved Zombiegirl.   I know you would have been the fun, cool uncle to the girls.  I weep when I realize over and over they’ll never know you and your crazy ways and ideas.  My childhood memories will fade because I have no one to remember them with.  I regret with every ounce of my being all the fights and arguements we ever had.  Twenty-five is too young to go.

I love you, Robbie Arfmann.

Riding the Roller Coaster with Marlboro Man

Oh, it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. My emotions have been riding this roller coaster, which is mostly engineered of twisting downhill turns and long plunging dives. These past few weeks have been a rackety ride with double dips and zero-g rolls. I didn’t want anyone buy a ticket to my mental ride. Refunds would have been requested.

I admit, a lot of my emotional turmoil could be attributed to PMS. Hating on my friends, exasperation with my family, no patience with work or the commute or the stupidity of life. Well, I’ve bled and I’m feeling better. Better, but still sad.

We lost J.

John Garino- musician, researcher, Big Bottom, grizzly bear, Indian Food lover, Groomsman, Guinness drinker, bucket-game player, doctoral student and good friend- passed away February 13th. It was already a sad day because it was my Mom’s first birthday in Heaven. J went to sleep on Thursday and never woke up.

No one got to say good-bye.

Being friends with J was like being in an exclusive club that everyone belonged to. He always made you feel like you were the funniest, smartest, most talented person he knew. Yet he travelled in such wide circles of life making friends wherever he went. You could go a long time not talking to J but the next time you saw him was like coming home. You fell into such an easy patter with him because he was so easy to talk to.

He was the smartest person you never realized you knew.

The guy playing bass in a punk band. The guy at the bar having a little too much to drink. The guy smoking a butt covered with tattoos. The guy at the Yankee game yelling at the umpire. You wouldn’t think this guy would be as brilliant as J was. Getting first his BS in History, then his Master’s in Library Science while working IT at St. John’s University. Deciding to pursue his PhD so he could teach. He was at home in the classroom as well as the stage. But did he show off his smarts? Was he obnoxious about how much he knew? Nope. Most people upon meeting J never realized how intelligent he was. Sure, he would debate baseball, religion, music and politics with you. But you never came out of an argument mad or exasperated at him. He would show up at your door with home-brewed beer or his mom’s Irish Soda Bread and never looked for praise. He was unassuming to a fault.

There’s a special place in my heart for J. He was practically the only one of MR’s friends I met when I first started going with MR that didn’t make me feel uncomfortable because I had two kids. He made me feel at home with the guys (we were on the dart team) and when he came out to the beach house, he played endlessly with the kids- humoring them in their made up games. He coined the persona I use to this day- Mamasoo, bad spelling and all, because I was the one with the kids. And it never bothered him like it bothered so many of MR’s other friends and family members. I will always be grateful to him for that.

It’s hard to accept that he’s gone from our lives. What will happen to Norman Bates and the Showerheads? I listen to his “Rock of J Bralter” CD over and over, appreciating more and more what a great musician he was.

Yes, my life is dimmer now that he’s not here. But living “The J-way”by accepting everyone (faults and all), living life to it’s fullest and learning new things will definitely make my life brighter. It’ll be hard, but I’m really going to try. I wonder if Guinness helps?

Rest in Heavenly Peace, J. You’ll be missed.

It Was A Very Odd Day…

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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.