Happy Blog Year!

Wow, apparently I’m on fire. Thanks to you all!!!!

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,100 times in 2010. That’s about 7 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 99 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 226 posts. There were 138 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 121mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 2nd with 69 views. The most popular post that day was Celebrity Crush – Anthony Bourdain.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were networkedblogs.com, healthfitnesstherapy.com, digg.com, dating-online2u.blogspot.com, and slashingtongue.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for fanny doodle, fanny doodle game, fanny doodle zoom, feminine christian attire, and fanny doodles.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Celebrity Crush – Anthony Bourdain May 2010
2 comments

2

About me April 2010
1 comment

3

Me yesterday June 2010

4

Fanny Doodle loves the Tooth Fairy but doesn’t like Santa Claus November 2009

5

So it begins . . . November 2010
2 comments

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Dear Mike,

So this is Xmas, and what have you done?

I keep hearing John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War is Over) playing everwhere. I remember sitting on the floor in your room on Skank Ave. I’m infront of your stereo listening to that song. You’re probably playing it to show me how much better it is than Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime. You’d always get sentimental during the holidays and you’d pull out your old singles and the Beatles’ Blue and Red albums and play them for me. This year is the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death and it is hard for me to believe that it has been that long. I also can’t believe that someday it will be 30 (or even 10) years since you died. I don’t want the time between when you were alive and when you were not to ever stretch that far apart but I cannot make it stop. I was listening to NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast the other day and they were talking about It’s a Wonderful Life. Linda Holmes said that she really loved that movie not only because it’s about a noble person who makes sacrifices and how those choices enrich all the people in their life. She loves it because it shows how those sacrifices come at a price to the person. Making hard choices is hard and life sucks a lot of the time.

I made Glenn wake me up in the middle of the night on Monday so we could go outside and look at the lunar eclipse. It wasn’t as big as I hoped it would be but it was very cool looking. I thought it looked kind of like a smooth orangey cookie. Or maybe that was the oven talking. We just got our new oven installed on Monday and I started baking as soon as I got home from work. I had you partly in mind when I asked Glenn to get me up. I don’t know if you had ever seen an eclipse or not so I’m saving that memory for you Mike. I know that there will be more “things” I’ll be saving for you along the way. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to give them to you but maybe I already have.

Merry Christmas.

Love,

M

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Sea Monkeys and Other Disappointments

My daughter told me about a brine shrimp ecosystem she had seen on a shopping trip with Mr Awesome and it got me thinking about Sea Monkeys. I told her how I saw the Sea Monkey ads in the back of comic books and begged my mother to let me send away for them. Once they arrived I was very disappointed to see that they weren’t even remotely like the happy little creatures in the Sea Monkeys ads. They couldn’t “appear” to do tricks. The only way they’d dance to the beat of music is if you put their milk glass on top of the speaker and turned the dial all the way up. They didn’t have faces or even arms and legs. They were just brine shrimp or Artemia. They weren’t adorable, in fact they looked like swimming bugs. I just noticed the line of fine print at the bottom of the page “Caricatures shown not intended to depict Artemia”. Well, what were they supposed to be depicting then? I never saw that before. Maybe it was there all the time and I just blocked it out. I told her that these kinds of ads wouldn’t be allowed these days. But don’t worry kids today learn their cynicism in other ways. She and I laughed reading the ad copy. I hope that you enjoy it as well. Here is a link to a lot more ads if you’re feeling nostalgic.

While looking up the Sea Monkeys ad we also found the one for the “Gag Gifts”. I love how the Disguise Kit is described as “A Riot of Fun for Everyone!” I think my favorite is the “Radio Time ‘Bomb’. Looks like a transistor radio but can be set from 10 seconds to 10 minutes to explode – harmlessly, but really shocks and surprises. Plant and watch the fun.”

Wow, where can I get one?

I hope that this holiday season brings you everything you hope for!

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T-Baum 2010

We put up our tree last weekend. We are real tree people. I have always been adamant about having a real tree. I love the smell and how each one is different and special. Over the past few years I’ve noticed that I always get a lingering cold at Christmas time that mysteriously disappears as soon as we take down the tree. Smart person that I am, I have deduced that I’m probably allergic to the darn thing. I made one weak try to talk to my family about possibly going the fake tree route this year but it didn’t work. We are real tree people and we’re not going to change. I’m just taking extra allergy medicine and it seems to be working so far. Someone I work with told me a story about her friend who always got really sick at Christmas time. Ever since he was a young boy he would get so ill that he would have to spend the holidays laying in his bed with a fever and flu. His parents felt bad that he always missed the holiday festivities sick in bed so as a special treat they started putting a small Christmas tree in his room. It wasn’t until he was an adult many years later that he learned that he was highly allergic to pine trees.

We’ve been having a good holiday so far. My mom is feeling a lot better. She’s had two rounds of chemo so far and the pain in her leg is gone. There have been many other side effects and times when she’s really suffered but for now she’s stable. She’s going to have another CT scan next week and the doctor expects to see that the mass has gotten measurably smaller. This is all good news!! My daughter is in her standard holiday mode. She’s dreaming of all the presents she’ll get at Christmas and then for her birthday 2 weeks later. Though this year she has really gotten into picking out her own gifts to give to others which makes me happy. We’re trying (I mean, I’m trying) to not go too too crazy with the gifts for her this year. I hope that she likes what Santa brings! She still believes in Santa though I’m sure she has her doubts. However, she has told me that Rudolph is definitely a myth. No red nosed reindeer is pulling the wool over her eyes anymore. Santa is going to be very good to me this year. We are getting a new oven TOMORROW! I have been without a working oven for just about 4 years now. Mr Awesome has been truly awesome getting the kitchen ready for our newest appliance. Yesterday he moved a heating duct from its original position underneath the old cooktop to a new location right by the kitchen table. This involved cramming his almost 6′ body into the filthy crawlspace underneath the kitchen floor to detach and reattach the hvac piping. He grumbled and groaned his way through it but he got it done. I love my guy!!! I can’t wait to start some holiday baking. I especially want to make some brown butter cookies that are the most delicious things ever. I’ll let you know how it goes.

I always take pictures of our tree but they just don’t do the original justice. I set up the camera to take a little video of the trimming activities. I thought that we could speed it up and reverse it and have a fun little movie. However, once I started my editing process in imovie ’09 I started running into a problem with the audio. Somehow the audio tracks  from the footage were finding their way into the movie even after I had muted and in some cases deleted them. Since I’m totally bonkers and get obsessed with little projects while I ignore the million other things I need to be doing I have spent the last week working on my 2 minute video. Apparently there is some bug in this version of imovie that doesn’t allow you to completely get rid of audio tracks on clips that you’ve used custom settings to speed up or slowed down. I fixed it by going back in and re-edited all my clips to the preset speeds. I hope that you enjoy it!

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A Very Lenska Christmas

Once the holiday season starts I always have an overpowering desire to sing Christmas carols in four part harmony in the original latin where applicable. This happens without fail. I thank my High School Chorus teacher Mrs. Martindale for this and I say this without sarcasm. I really thank her for making me this way. I love that I know the words to the second verses of most of the traditional carols. I thank her for the thrill of getting to sing our songs in the city at the Pan Am building. Years later when I worked in that building it was almost as exciting to see all the school groups coming to sing every year. I would feel just a little bit jealous as I looked up at them singing at the top of the now removed grand white staircase. I remember practicing on the school bus on the trip into the city and singing out the windows to the people on the street.  Thank you Mrs. Martindale.

I try to fill my musical holiday needs by singing Christmas carols loudly in my car, in the shower and whenever I hear them playing. One of my most favorite “numbers” from that time was Dona Nobis Pachem. It is sung in a round and that makes it kind of unsatisfying to sing by yourself. I’ve started teaching it to my daughter but we’re not quite there yet. Then I realized that I could sing it by myself, with myself and I recorded the music you hear in the video (thank you GarageBand!) below. Originally I wanted to just have the music but couldn’t get it to load so I decided to make a year in pictures video and the rest is Roolalenska history. I hope that you enjoy it!

I want to wish everyone out there a very happy holiday. I’m hoping for a good holiday this year. Things have been a little harder and uncertain lately but we’re making our way. I guess that’s the best we can ask for? I’m wishing good things for you internets.

I’m wishing you peace.

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Fanny Doodle loves Sonny but doesn’t like Cher*

This blog gets regular hits from people searching for Fanny Doodles. Here’s some Fanny Doodle love for ya –

Fanny Doodle loves snowballs but hates snow.

Fanny Doodle loves noon but hates 12 o’clock.

Fanny Doodle loves to cook but doesn’t like the kitchen.

Fanny Doodle loves swimming but doesn’t like the water.

Fanny Doodle loves slippers but doesn’t like shoes.

Fanny Doodle loves lollipops but doesn’t like candy.

Fanny Doodle loves glitter but doesn’t like sparkles.

Fanny Doodle loves squirrels but doesn’t like chipmunks.

Fanny Doodle loves kittens but doesn’t like cats.

* Just to clarify, Fanny Doodle and I are NOT in agreement on Cher. I love Cher and always have.

Do you have any Fanny Doodles to share with the class?

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Better Days

From the best of 2007 files . . .

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To My Brother

My brother Mike took his own life three years ago today. It’s hard to believe that it is already three years past. In a lot of ways it still feels fresh. It makes me sad that it is already three years. As time moves on we get further and further from when he was here. Lots of things keep happening in between the time that he left and now and I just wish sometimes I could make it stop.

For some reason it reminds me of a Native American story about dogs. Long ago people and animals all lived together and at one point God decided that it was time to separate them. God created a great chasm in the earth and started to put the people on one side and the animals on the other. All the while the space between them kept getting bigger and bigger. Just before the very moment when it would have been too great a distance to make it to the other side, dog jumped over to be with man. I can’t make that leap anymore. I lost my chance. I’m losing him and I’ve been losing him for three years now and it makes me so sad.

Here is what I wrote to read at his memorial service. I thought I’d share it with you now.

Dear Michael,

We were supposed to see you at our parent’s house for Thanksgiving. I’m angry that you couldn’t have just said that you didn’t want to come home. They would have been really upset and mad but it would have saved us from this new world of pain. Speaking as a parent myself, I can’t even begin to understand what it must feel like to lose your child. No matter how old they get they will also always be the tiny baby you held in your arms. All the planning, shopping, cleaning and hoping they did to get ready for your visit must feel like a cruel dirty trick now. You never dream that someone you love so much could do something so final and terrible to you. If you hadn’t gone and done this insane thing I know I probably would have been whining about the long ride out to Long Island and it makes me feel so petty and guilty now. Now I’d gladly take the four hour car trip and listening to everyone arguing over nothing to this bizzaro-world alternative. Of course, hindsight is always 20/20 and I don’t have to tell you, the perspective from this end is a real kick in the ass.

Your full name is Michael Roy Peluso but you seemed to go by many names. In our family you were always Michael and Erica called you Michael. You and Erica visited us for Piper’s third birthday almost two years ago. The morning after you left I asked her if she liked having her Auntie Erica and Uncle Michael at our house. She turned and said to me, “I don’t call him Uncle Michael, I call him Uncle Mike!” To your friends, you were Mike, Peluso, Pelusi, Big P, Huge P and sometimes just P. I have always thought of you when I hear that Rentals’ song, “Friends of P.”

If you’re friends with P.
Well, then you’re friends with me
If you’re down with P.
Well, then you’re down with me

Having this happen at Thanksgiving has helped me to see that I have a lot to be thankful for. I’m thankful for my life, my parents who love me and my health. I’m thankful that I’m able to recognize and appreciate all the love from friends and family that surrounds me. I don’t think that you knew how many people really loved you or maybe you did but didn’t trust it. I’m so very thankful for my husband Glenn. I almost lost him in February in a horrific car accident. He shattered his knee and has been working on his recovery ever since. He has leaned on me a lot throughout this past year and I tried my best to hold him up to support and comfort him. Now when I look to him for support and comfort and he opens his loving arms to me I know how truly lucky I am. I’m thankful for my beautiful daughter Piper. She teaches me to be patient and to appreciate life’s smallest joys. The Friday after Thanksgiving, the three of us took a little family trip to a nearby farm. We were chased around by a paranoid looking turkey. We saw some emus, llamas, turtles, some pigs and a peacock. Piper got to pet the fluffy bunnies and goats, feed a bottle to a baby lamb and have a pony ride. Her smile was eight miles wide the entire time. It beamed its glee right into our hearts that day. She doesn’t bother to stop for sadness when there is happiness all around her. I’m sorry that you won’t now get a chance to really know the funny, wonderful person she is becoming.

I’ve taken comfort from the many conversations I’ve had with your friends. Without fail they’ve told me how much they loved you and what a special person you were. Without fail they’ve told me that they were in regular (sometimes daily) contact with you. And without fail they’ve told me that they had no idea you were feeling this way. And if they had known, they would have dropped everything to be by your side in the deep dark hole you’d fallen into. Mike, they would have carried you out on their backs.

Our 90-year-old friend and neighbor Alice Potter passed away recently. She attended the same church in our town for over 50 years. I went to the 8:30 am service there the Sunday after you died. I felt she would have wanted me to go there. I walked from my house even though it was only 20-something degrees out. The church felt warm and welcoming once I passed through the heavy wooden doors. I didn’t know anyone there though everyone I made eye contact with wished me a smiling good morning. I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t smiling. The service was good. I liked the hymns and the lesson about needing to stand up in the word of God. As I walked out the minister shook my hand and I introduced myself to her by saying that I was a friend of Alice’s. She seemed to remember me from the funeral. Then I just started telling her what had happened. She immediately put her giant arm around me and spoke gently to me. She told me that the moment you left this life God was there to welcome you and hold you in his arms. She prayed while I just cried and let myself sink deeper into her enormous shoulder. I’m not sure how you’d feel about me becoming a regular churchgoer though I have a feeling you wouldn’t like it. But since your action compels me to seek more meaning in my life, I really don’t care.

Mike, I’m angry with you. I’m angry with you for leaving me an only child. I’m angry with you for leaving our parents without their only son. I’m angry with you for leaving them with the final image of you dying in a hospital bed. I’m angry at you for leaving Erica behind with so much sadness. She really loves you and didn’t deserve this from you. I’m angry with you for leaving us with all these questions that we can never have answers to. And I’m angry with you for forever depriving me of the pleasure of making you laugh and of ever seeing your beautiful face again. Even with all this anger, I still love you and will miss you for the rest of my life. As you know, I have also struggled with depression and loneliness in my life. To me, it felt like being trapped in the very smallest room with an even smaller door. I hope that wherever you are now you’ve got the key in hand and you’re striding for the door headed for peace.

Love,

Marisa

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Crisis at Skylandia

A texting excerpt from my recent trip to my parent’s house which Mr Awesome and I affectionately refer to as Skylandia. I noticed that the toilet in “our” bathroom was flushing slowly. I thought it was running after I flushed it so I tried jiggling and pushing down on the handle. I heard a funny noise and when I looked down I realized that water was just pouring out of the bowl. I quickly opened the tank and pulled up on the bulb and stopped the water. Later on I texted Mr Awesome to let him know about all the fun he was missing . . .

NOV 14 2010 10:11 PM

Crisis time!!! The toilet in the grey bathroom just overflowed  . . .

There is no caulk around the toilet or tub and the grout is shot so it went straight through the floor . . .

And poured down all over the kitchen counter.

Mmmmmm!

My dad is convinced that the kids flushed something down the toilet. He also asked me if my cousin or I flushed a sanitary napkin down the toilet.

What, you’re NOT supposed to do that?

Oh what fun!!

LOL!

He sees the water in the kitchen and starts screaming like he’s on fire and running up the stairs. Meanwhile both kids and my mom are up there trying to sleep.

Don’t you just wish you were here too??

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So it begins . . .

My Mom has cancer. She has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. She’s had pain in her leg on and off for a while but it started to get much much worse about a month ago. She went to the Doctor who did an MRI and they found a large mass. It is pressing on the nerves in her leg and it is what is causing her pain. A biopsy said it was Lymphoma. When she first told me about the tumor that all I could think was, so it begins. Both of my parents have been very physically healthy up to this point. They are very lucky. I hope the luck isn’t going to run out now.

It really makes me sad that my brother is not here for her now. It also makes me mad that he is not here for me now either. She really misses him now and nothing I can do will ever fill her need. My dad is having to take on a lot at home now which is what he should be doing. My mom can’t really move too well because of her leg. He’s complained to me that she’s telling him what to do, down to the simplest detail. It’s just payback time as far as I can see. He’s been telling her what to do for the last 50+ years and now it’s her turn.

I’m going out there tomorrow and will be there when she starts her antibody treatment on Monday. I’m looking forward to meeting her doctor and I hope to have a chance to talk to her. My parents have a way of fudging up the facts. It’s a lot for them to take in at once. I imagine my mother is totally overwhelmed and my dad is not a good listener. This is ironic of course because he is a Psychotherapist. All I keep thinking about is if my mom ends up passing away before my dad I will probably have to kill him. I don’t know how I’ll deal with him all on my own.

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