A Year of Meh

Today is the first day of 2014.  So then, Happy New Year!  As I look back on 2013, it certainly was a year of meh.  No, that’s not a typo- not a year of “me”, just a year of meh.  It had the potential to be something great, but no, it turned out to be meh.  Mediocre.  Unexceptional.  Same old shit.

I checked out my blog history for 2013 and I posted exactly seven times in 2013.  SEVEN.  I had more drafts, more posts started sitting there in my dashboard than those I actually posted.  I was not inspired and definitely not in the mood for anything last year let alone posting.  Pathetic.

Being pathetic, I watched all the episodes of Breaking Bad (except for the last 8 episodes.  Thanks Netflix).  I watched all of the first two seasons of The Big Bang Theory (including all the episodes on network TV and the Tuesday night marathons on TBS).  I watched Best Ink, Once, Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Long Island Medium, Top Chef, Master Chef Junior and countless bad movies.  I sat on the couch, worked from home and stared at the TV.

It was better than dealing with what was going on in the world.

You can reread all my F*CK You Friday posts, or you can watch the news and see senseless killings. Log on to twitter and gawk the twittering twits. Look out of my window and you’ll agree I’m living in Crazytown. Follow me to work and observe the moronic. Contemplate the skies and witness wacky weather. Regard the rude, look at the liars, behold the ungrateful and note the knuckleheads.

Escaping into television seemed like a good idea at the time. Having only my yoga pants fit now doesn’t seem like such a great conclusion to 2013.

Other people in my family fared better than I did in 2013.  Beena started a full-time job in a Bronx high school teaching Math to ESL students. Yes, they are kids who don’t speak a lot of English.  It’s a lot of work for her and a hellish commute but she seems to love it and keeps us laughing with anecdotes of bad English and cute kids.   We’re in full-blown wedding mode now that it’s less than six months away and I’m seriously considering taking her to the doctor and getting her a prescription for Xanax.  She gets kind of frantic even though she has the majority of wedding stuff taken care of.

Utah is still working full time and going to school.  This past semester she pulled a 4.0 GPA for her four classes.  Today is her one year Anniversary with Kevin, one of Beena and John’s groomsmen.  MR calls her dating “Kevynning”.  He’s nice and really good for her.

She’s been looking into her future and trying to decide what to do for the next phase of her life.  She shouldn’t worry- she’ll be good at anything she does.

Zombiegirl had a few milestones this year.  She graduated from Middle School with Honors and the won the same award Utah won ($100) when she graduated from MS.  She was also Confirmed from St. A’s and got her first real job with a real paycheck at the local ice skating rink, working the snack bar.  High School is keeping her busy- honors classes and soccer and more soccer and an iPhone and a boyfriend- it’s a miracle we see her at all.  The highlight of her year was shooting her first deer.  We’re eating good in 2014.

MR and I celebrated our 50th birthdays.  Hooray.  It was a quiet birthday for both of us except for the honking of cars on my day.  Thanks to the soccer moms for bombing my house with “Honk, I’m turning 50” signs and “50”s spray painted in shaving cream on the sidewalk, I’m constantly reminded of a perfectly mediocre birthday because the 50s are still there.

Memorable events in 2013?  A zombie 5K run (walk), a rocking good time with Ro seeing Rock of Ages on Broadway, an all-girls camping trip to Lake George, surgery for my lady parts, Amy’s sudden passing (Pastor’s wife), any time Howard the Snake sheds, the passing of Magma, Z-girl’s gecko, the Red Wedding and a major spiritual breakup.  2013 saw the usual delusionals, drama queens (and kings) and wackadoodles, but I should be used to all that.

2014? It can only get better.  I got off the couch today and I’m planning on running later and do some yoga before I go to bed.  Happy New Year to you and you and you.

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Countdown to Christmas – Need a Gift?

Holy hotcakes!  I can’t believe how many comments there are so far for my humble little tutu!  Y’all are so sweet saying so many nice things about it.  I can’t wait to pick a winner!

If you have someone on your list you have no idea what to get for Christmas, I know people.  I have friends in high places who sell stuff.  Check out their websites or give them a call to get that perfect gift:

  • Kelli at Gobbie’s Goodies has beautiful handmade gifts and cards.  The cards are awesome- she took all the pictures herself.  Christmas plates, decorations, kids stuff…email her for pictures and prices.  Kelliw@mindspring.com
  • Eileen sells Jewels by Park Lane.  I’ve bought many pieces from her- their deals are awesome! No matter what piece I wear, I always get complimented on it.  Email Ei with your order- mikenei@aol.com
  • My soccer peep, Jan sells Tastefully Simple food products.  I can’t tell you how many of their spices I have in my pantry.  Don’t get me started on the Bountiful Beer Bread Mix.  Oh, yum.  Search for Jan Petersen in the Consultant Search or email her at entertainwithez@optonline.net.
  • Denise sells Pampered Chef.  Have you tried their pizza stones?  We make pizza on one every Thursday night- they are awesome!  (Now if I could perfect the sauce…)  I love Pampered Chef’s stoneware- they’re easy to use and to clean!  Email Denise at soccermom1514@hotmail.com or visit her website above.
  • Nanette is my Avon lady.  Everyone needs one at this time of year because their stocking stuffers are adorable!  Order at her website at the link above.
  • Finally, the greatest saleswoman of all time, my business Mom, Becky Vance.  Becky sells Passion Party– if you haven’t checked out Passion Parties, you’ve been missing a LOT of fun.  (NSFW, BTW)  If you don’t want to order for Christmas, keep in mind that Valentine’s Day is coming up!
  • Oh, yeah.  Then there’s me.  Check out my Etsy shop.  I have to add tutus to it.  If you want to purchase a tutu, please let me know!

Those are my friends and they’re all awesome ladies.  They do great parties and their customer service is terrific!  Makes buying gifts easy…now I have to go and place my orders!

The Worst Camping Trip Ever

Our annual camping trip with highlights in no particular order of importance.  All spelling errors are intentional

Fresh mountain air

Smoky blazing fires

Gooey marshmallow s’mores

Drink of the day

Food cooked outside

Fishing on a misty lake

Propane lanterns

Sharing coffee

“The other day…I met a bear…”

Gathering for dinner

Pear and walnut salad

Sandy volleyball games

Ranger Stan

Big old lap dogs

6 a.m. pasta salad

Lake swimming

Scooters and Ripstiks

Forgotten stoves

My Dad, the hero!

Dunkin’ Donuts

Perc’d coffee, not drip!

Hot pushbutton showers

Yummy orange brownies

Scratchy sexy beards

Black dyed feet

All day hangovers

Shipoopi

Paddleboats and kyacks and conoes

Hot chocolate fondue

Newts, frogs and toads

Porkchops at the Pavillion

Messages in a bottle

Messages from home

Toasting weiners

Drippy tarps

Omlettes in the rain

Mud puddles

Freezing nights

Imaginary skunks

Waking up too early

Going to sleep too early

Skinned knees

Catching catfish

Green lasers

Name calling

Obnoxious boys

Irritating girls

Felt food

Sliced fingers

Speckled fawns

Divorce court

Once a day crying

Michael Jackson imitations

Sleeping in the car

Crashing into DEC trucks

Laundromat hag

Yelling at kids

Immature pranks

Wishing for pork-fried rice

Wishing for chili

Wishing for tie-dye

Wishing for hikes

Washing dishes in cold water

Muddy clothes

Paddleboat hogs

Is he OCD?

Hoedown Throwdown lessons

Borrowing kids to keep warm

Really bad ghost stories

Music Man vs. Oklahoma

“Pretty pretty five”

Mopping out tents

Visiting neighbors

Gathering firewood by the armful

Buying firewood by the carload

Overpacking and U-Hauls

Wet, tired and cranky

We’re outta here…a day early.

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

Yes, well, it doesn’t look like I’ll be writing those reviews of our adventures in Puerto Rico anytime soon.  I’m stuck trying to meet the deadlines of projects at the job, and working on a few super-secret projects in the little spare time I have. 

It’s also been a hassle trying to get pictures into Work since Big Brother doesn’t allow the use of flash drives or CD’s.  I’m looking into photo sharing sites like Flickr that a) don’t cost too much, b) can be accessed at work and  c) can hold my many, many photos.  I even stopped putting photos on Facebook because loading them was incredibly tedious and time-consuming.  So until I can find a site that satisfies, pictures on this blog are going to be few and far between.

Adding insult to injury- or coming up with more excuses why I don’t post more often- I’ll be away at our annual Soccer Family Camping trip in the Catskills for five (long) days.  Yes, this is the trip I look forward to every year but by the third or fourth day I’m ready to string a few people up in the trees for the bears to eat.  I have to put up with whining, complaining, immaturity, squabbles and attitude.  And then there’s all the kids to deal with.  Add to the fact that MR has either the flu or a really bad cold and I don’t feel all that well myself.  I think it’s because I’ve been begrudgingly eating meat. 

In Puerto Rico, it’s hard to follow a vegetarian diet if all you want to eat is mofongo or rice and beans.  So I had a little chicken here and there.  We’ve been so busy packing for camp that I haven’t been making special meals for myself- I’ve just been eating what everyone else was eating.  Now my bowels are making me pay for it.

I’ve loaded up on the fruits and veggies for camp and hopefully I’ll be back on track and feeling better in a week.  My bowels will be happy, but I still may want to put out bear bait…

So see you in a week.  Unless I can get reception on my Droid.  Then I’ll put up a post from the woods!

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!

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…

Pluck You Elasticity!

More rain today. More rain, in fact, for the next five days. How do people in Seattle deal with weather like this? I’ve been so tired the past few weeks, and I think it’s because of the rain. Thankfully, however, my migraines haven’t been bad at all. Maybe it’s the three week “vacation” I had. Anyway- I could so put my head down on my desk right now and sleep. And yes, I’m writing this at work. I’m so tired when I get home, I can’t do anything except change into comfy clothes and zone out in front of the TV. I have things piling up at home that I have to finish/start/make/paint- I just don’t have any energy. And those magic pills are not working.

This email greeted me this morning from one of my soccer moms- Hey Jodi! It was the laugh I needed. Not only was I tired this morning, I was soaking wet- from mid-thigh to foot. My pants are swishing, my shoes are squishing, and I’m not happy. But this cheered me up. I can’t vouch for the validity of the whole Maya/Oprah thing because I’m too weary to look it up, but it’s funny anyway…

“In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday.. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older.

And, there on television, she said it was ‘exciting.’

Regarding body changes, she said there were many, occurring every day…like her breasts. They seem to be in a race to see which will reach her waist, first.

The audience laughed so hard they cried. She is such a simple and honest woman, with so much wisdom in her words!

Maya Angelou said this: ‘I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.’

‘I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.’

‘I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.’

‘I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life.’

‘I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.’

‘I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back..’

‘I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.’

‘I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.’

‘I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.’

‘I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.’

‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’

I invite you to send this to five phenomenal women today…If you do, something good will happen: You will boost another woman’s self-esteem..If you don’t…the elastic will break and your underpants will fall down around your ankles!

I didn’t send it on, I posted it. Pretty good words to live by, Maya!

On a separate note: when I plucked my eyebrows this morning, nine out of ten of them were white. Lovely.