Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Family Fun Weekend

Digging for souvenirs - found a book!
David came home from his trip to Germany late on Friday night.  After a week apart we were all excited about Papa's homecoming!  Since I had to drag Madeline out of bed to head to the airport at 11:30 at night, by the time we got home we sent Madeline straight back to bed.  Consequently, she had to wait to see what type of goodies that Papa brought home from his travels.  Madeline, of course, was all too happy to dig through David's suitcase the next morning.  David is really good at getting a huge collection of little goodies.  Nothing too big but a little something from each of his stops so that the collection of small loot makes Madeline (and me) feel like we are being showered in presents....too many to include pictures of all!  For me, many of my goodies were packed with calories.  Although my body doesn't need those calories, I have been enjoying the indulgences.  It is always nice to know that David was thinking of us while he was gone.
A chocolate Eiffel Tower coin


Gummy Bears from Germany
Knoppers from Germany - my favorite!

Saturday we had to get some work done around the house.  Our new pool winter cover  arrived while David was gone.  That is the only thing we were waiting on in order to finish the pool closing process so we needed to take care of that PRONTO.  This process was a hoot though as Saturday was a very windy day.  Trying to open up a 24 foot (+ 3 ft overhang....so what would that be, a 30' diameter?)  pool cover and lift it over the pool (oh yeah, the deck gets in the way too) and secure it without letting it touch the remaining pool water is difficult enough.  Trying to do this on a windy day is like trying to refold a parachute mid-flight after jumping out of a plane.  Not an easy task!  We also puttered with some yard work and while doing so David and I noticed the "wonderful" bowing of one side of our pool.  Grrrrrr.... Yes, the pool was here when we moved in and it is probably about 20 years old but we will be lucky to have this pool  last through the winter.  I guess we now know that we need to save up some extra (extra???what's that??) pennies over the winter.  Sighhhh.....moan....groan.....I can't even *think* about that expense now.

Sounds kind of funny to say that Elmo is as high as a kite!
We DID try to enjoy some of that windy Saturday.  David disappeared into the house and came out with an Elmo kite that we bought a while ago but never had a chance to use.  We attempted flying the kite on our street's cul-de-sac but were not having much luck.  We decided to head over to the field in front of the middle school.  We also grabbed an old kite (giant squid) that we bought in the Outer Banks on the family campout the month after we got married (yes, over 12 years ago!).  Even with the ocean breezes, we were never able to successfully launch that kite way back then, so Saturday was a last ditch effort.  The Elmo kite took off pretty easily.  Due to its flying history, the purple squid had one tentacle in the grave....so close to the trash.  Finally, after much, much, much determination on both mine and David's part the squid launched.  Madeline enjoyed the kite flying but I think I enjoyed it the most.  Why was I so thrilled?  I think I can say that in my 40 years I have NEVER flown a kite.  Yes, David and I attempted to fly the giant squid  many years ago in Outer Banks yet it never soared.  This is the first time that I ever launched a kite and felt its movement as it danced in the wind. What an absolutely relaxing feeling. I LOVED it.
The purple squid flies!!! Can you see it??
Some video footage of the dancing Elmo kite....

video
 
On Sunday, the three of us headed out to Becker Farms for some apple picking.  We  enjoyed a mini tractor ride into the orchard and picked a few varieties of apples.  I thought I would *never* use all the apples that we picked yet Madeline has been averaging about 3 apples a day now that we have them at home.....maybe they won't go to waste afterall.  Even still, for a household of 3, we have enough apples to last a loooooong time.  I am not an applesauce making kind of person and David is NOT one to grab an apple for a snack.  So, hear I am with over a 1/2 bushel of apples.....wish me luck!  I think I will make an apple pie tonight. I am making an apple flake pastry for my Candle Party this Thursday night and I am trying to snack on apples too (although I won't match Madeline's pace).  Let's hope these "apple projects" will be enough to unearth us from our mound of apples.  Despite the apple overload, we had a great time picking the apples.  Madeline also enjoyed feeding the goats on the farm and rolling down a huge hill with all the other kids that were there.
Madeline picking apples at Becker Farms


5 bags! What were we thinking?!
Leery at first, Madeline eventually enjoyed feeding the goats.
All in all, it was a great weekend!  It has been wonderful having David home again.  Unfortunately, Monday came and along with it came the work week.  One might argue that "everyday is a weekend" for me since I am a stay-at-home mom. But no, my week consists of keeping the house afloat until Friday when the 3 of us can enjoy the weekend together.  I look forward to the weekends just as much as I used to when I was working.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Fall Homecoming

Picking out pumpkins
As I type this, David is working his way home from Germany on his transatlantic flight (29 minutes and 266 miles before landing in JFK to be exact).  Madeline was in school this morning and I decided to get the house cleaned up, laundry sorted (as David will has 2 suitcases full when he gets home),  stash toys away (at least until Madeline got home), change sheets on our & Maddie's bed (nothing better than crawling into clean crisp sheets, especially when coming home after a long trip), and decided to get a start on Fall decorations for the house so that the pretty Fall colors would welcome David when he got home (okay, so it'll be dark when he gets home but it's the thought that counts).

After picking Madeline up from school, we headed out to a local farm and bought a few corn stalks, a hay bale, a couple pumpkins and some colorful mums. Okay, I'll be honest....I was also trying to minimize the time before bedtime that Madeline would be able to trash the house I just cleaned. Regardless, it is a beautiful day here - perfect for taking a drive into the country.  Although quite humid, it is in the upper 80's and windy.  I love days like this (although I could do without that darn humidity) and  love the colors of Fall yet I am not crazy about the fact that this weather means the cold days of winter are approaching.  I choose to try to ignore that fact and bask in the last few warm sunny days of the year.

A tree swing on the pumpkin farm
David will be calling soon when he lands in JFK (yeah!) and Madeline and I will go outside to spruce up our front yard with the decorations we picked out today. But first,  I thought I would share a couple of pictures.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Got Camo?

Camo Crockpot?? And WHO would spend $50 for THAT??
My dream (not) - to extract my mail from a fish mouth
Back in June, as David and I were driving back (and dragging our feet because we didn't want things to end) from our romantic get-away to celebrate my 40th birthday, we stopped at a mall to stroll and browse.  We stopped into the mall's Bass Pro store and took a look around.  I understand, since Brass Pro IS a hunting/fishing mega store, them having a certain selection of camouflage gear.  But really?!?!?  Does anyone *really* go THIS extreme?  As the Jeff Foxworthy spiels, "You know you are a redneck when...." crossed my mind I felt obligated to snap some photos.  I could only image some country house decked out with ALL THREE of these accessories and think to myself that  a marriage is not so much about  control, but rather mutual respect.  With that said, to the couple who resides in said country house accessorized with enough camo to hide West Virginia, I say , (A) the wife has NO control over her husband  and (B) the husband has no respect for his wife.
Camo gear while channel surfing = work avoidance.  Hubby won't be seen by unsuspecting wife



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Travel Agent From Across The Pond

Bov Kro
My day was fairly uneventful today.  I am still trying to manage my way through the time that David is away.  This was my 4th (3rd chick-flick) movie night this week.  Tonight's movie, "The Back-Up Plan" was the chick-flickiest of them all and one that I guarantee David would've hated.  And so I settled in, wearing a set of flannel PJs, trying to make the most out of David's trip to Germany.

One sort of neat story came out of today - one that I have to say, "Holy Cow! Technology is amazing"!  While David travels, we talk regularly on Skype.  David does, however, have a German cell phone that he can use while in Germany.  In order to conserve spending Euros on pre-paid minutes, David will call me & ring twice and hang up when he has a moment to talk but is away from the computer.  When I see on caller ID that David called, I in turn call him back as our international calling fees are reasonable.

Like I said, David is in Germany. He is staying in and having meetings in Hamburg but also commuting daily to Husum, Germany for a trade show.  Husum is in northern Germany near the border of Denmark.  David being David (and why I love traveling with him...so jealous that I couldn't be there!) decided that after his work obligations he was going to drive to Denmark for dinner - just because.  And so that is what he did.  He and a guy that he is traveling with headed off to Denmark before heading back to Hamburg.

David called me after he crossed into Padborg, Denmark.  Come to find out, David and his travel partner didn't see much in terms of restaurants in Padborg.  By this point in time, 7:30 pm Denmark (1:30pm EST) the guys were starving and just wanted to eat.  They were tempted to stop for pizza because they were just ravenous.  WHAT?!?!?  You *can't* drive to Denmark for dinner and then just stop for a pizza!!!!  Quickly, I grabbed my laptop, asked the guys where they were and Googled up their location.  Yep, there really didn't seem to be much.  Luckily, I found a place that was a little off the beaten path but not far from where they were.  I pulled up Google maps and the guys talked through describing to me where there were so I could pinpoint their location on a map.  Too cool!!  So here I was in New York, giving driving instructions for a restaurant to David and his travel partner, Dan, in Denmark!

Much better than pizza
Where I led David and Dan to was Bov Kro, which is one of Denmark's oldest inns.  According to the web, the Bov Kro received its royal license in 1566!!!  Yep, this is the way I like to travel - be adventurous.  What a gem of a find.  I know many non-adventurous travelers that would've stopped at the truck stop-like restaurant that was, according to David, the only "obvious" restaurant close to the border.  Or they would've stopped at the pizza place.....but really?? Then what was the point of going to Denmark???  The non-adventurous fall into the same category as people who (very few acceptable excuses for this) travel half-way around the world and eat at a Hard Rock Cafe or TGIFridays.  Huh???  What's the point?? You can get that at home!!.....but I digress. And so, the two guys had a successful trip into Denmark and did NOT have to try "Danish pizza", found (from the help of transatlantic technology) an off the beaten path place to eat while also enjoying a piece of Danish history.  (siiighhh) sooooo jealous :-)

The other day - Polly enjoying a beer at the Husum Brauhaus

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Another Movie Night

Madeline had a great day today as she woke up on the right side of the bed (although bedtime was a little rough because I had company).  Her cold is slowly starting to get better.  Madeline was a happy camper in the morning and was 100% playing with her barbies and princess toys - playing make believe.  This girl has such a vivid imagination.

Finally, come afternoon, I decided we needed to get outside.  It was absolutely gorgeous out!  I had a couple small errands to run but while we were out Madeline and I had a picnic lunch at a local park and Madeline had an opportunity to play on the playground.  There is a huge "rock" climbing wall that goes up the entire side of the playground structure.  Madeline fell of a rock climbing thing on her first attempt a couple weeks ago so Madeline was a little leery to try climbing this one - especially this one, because it is pretty tall.  I talked Madeline into trying if I helped her.  She did it!  After, I sat back down and Madeline climbed the entire wall without any help.  She was sooo proud of herself.  I forgot my phone so I didn't have he ability of taking any pictures at the playground (I know, Kelly......I have a kid and should *always* have a camera with me).

Later in the evening, we had a movie night.  My friend Tammy came over with her daughters, Jenna & Tanya.  We ordered up subs and stuffed our guts while watching a movie.  It was difficult to pick a movie that I thought would hold the interest of Jenna & Tanya (teenagers) and one that would be safe enough for Madeline to watch too.  My dear daughter is so sheltered in what she sees on TV to the point that she is very sensitive to things she watches.  And what is "kid friendly" in the eyes of TV /movie execs isn't necessarily kid friendly enough for Madeline (because of Madeline's nature).  I ended up choosing "The Tooth Fairy".  Even still, small things (like when the main character awoke from a dream with a start) sent Madeline running to sit on my lap. 

After the movie, Madeline went to bed, Tammy's girls hung out doing teenage girl stuff while Tammy and I chitchatted away.  It was a fun evening although a shame that we had to keep an eye on the clock because it is a school night.  Anyway, in addition to my God-awful family room couch (I hate that thing!!), above is a picture of Tammy, Madeline (stealing my spot), Jenna & Tanya along with Madeline's "picnic area" on the floor. Thanks for coming out girls....had fun!

In The Swing Of Things


Madeline is settled into the school routine and I am enjoying the extra time that I have to take care of errands, etc. when she is in school.  Although, it may take me until June to catch up on all the things that I pushed aside over the summer.  Yes, we are back in the swing of things - which of course means that Madeline has caught her first cold of the season.  That didn't take long!

One of the traditional start of school activities for younger kids is always a getting to know you "interest inventory".  The teacher hung these in the hall and the parents had to try to pick out their kid's sheet.  A drawing signed by each kid was hung directly beneath so that you could check to see if you guessed right.  Another mom and I were laughing that these forms are appropriately named "Who Am I?. I would have NEVER guessed some of these answers.
Favorite color- blue???? Since when?
Favorite animal- duck?  I know why she said that (has bunches of rubber duckies for the tub) but I would've guessed cat.
Favorite game - Go fish? She played that once over a year ago.  We are just getting into the game stage and she is hooked on CandyLand (I guess I need to crack out the Go Fish cards again)
TV Show- "Cartoons"? She watches a couple but I didn't even new the term "cartoons" was in her vocabulary
Occupation - Dentist.  I know why she said that. She has been obsessed with teeth ever since her cousin Anna lost a tooth at the campout but I would've guessed that Madeline would've wanted to be a princess.  I like the Dentist idea though!
Madeline's school has a great program but I also try to work with her at home when I can.  We are working on writing her name as well as some pre-reading skills.  Here you can see Madeline's name that she wrote from copying my model.  Also, Madeline read all four of these books to me. (They are very predictable from the pictures and repetitive in structure. Madeline was able to do this after I read the book to her I said, "Your turn" and she read them to me.  Like I said pre-reading skills but she was so proud of herself.)

What else have we but up to??  Well, I had my MOMS Club monthly MOMS night out.  Love that group of girls!!  I wish I had more pictures from September's get together but I only came up with this one.  Hmmmm.....can you guess where we went??  Yep, we met out for dinner at a Chinese buffet.  I had to laugh a the signage. Something obviously lost in translation.  Bacon WARP (?) 
Bacon WARP??
We also went for the first time to the annual peach festival in Lewiston, NY.  I didn't realize how big that festival is so I am sure we will return next year.  Madeline had a blast riding all the rides.  We had to try to ration the ride tickets because they were ridiculously expensive (Kelly, I'll take you up on getting pre-sale ride tix next year.....who knew??)  Despite the ticket rationing, I tried to explain to Madeline that she could ride more rides if she rode them alone.  But Madeline wanted to ride with Mama.  I am okay with rides but have found that since I hit the big 4-0 I can't do spinning rides like I used to.  The problem, however, is that my dear daughter has NO FEAR and wants to ride everything.  Some of these rides have height requirements where that if they are below a certain height they have to ride with an adult. That leaves me because I have always been able to spin more than David.  Spinning would've knocked out David for the rest of the day.  So for the first time EVER in my life I literally feared for my health on a ride.  I pretty much thought I was going to die while riding Starship 4000.  If you are not familiar with this ride, riders stand upright while the space car spins.  It gets the whole centrifugal thing going to the point that you are sort of "stuck" to the wall.  It got to the point that not only were my cheek jowls (yeah, I could stand to loose 20 pounds) sucked behind my ears but ALSO, I felt as though my insides were being squished from the force.  Blah....never again!  I was however saved when we ran into my friend Kelly at the festival.  Kelly's daughter Hailey also has no fear and Madeline looks up to Hailey like she is a super star.  So, Madeline was thrilled with the chance to ride Tilt-A-Whirl with Hailey....and I was thrilled that I didn't have too!  On the way out of the festival we grabbed some ice cream and also a 2 liter bottle of peach soda (made annually for this event by a local bottling company) to take home.  I thought the peach soda would be disgusting but it was awesome!
Waiting for rides
Madeline dragging Mama on rides







Running, running RUNNING for the fun house
Some type of flying contraption
Swings! Making silly faces every time we passed Papa
The ride that almost killed me!
Kelly and Amy















Hailey and Madeline on Tilt-A-Whirl

















Ice Cream!




















We also had a temporary thought of adding to our family with either a doggie or another kitty.  We went to the SPCA and got pre-approved for an adoption.  I grew up with dogs and like the idea of them but after really thinking about the work involved (oh yeah, and David (pretending to be a dog) following me around at my side, underfoot  in the kitchen while panting and tapping his foot on the cupboard (to simulate a dog rapping its tail) as I was trying to cook dinner quickly reminded me of some of the pain in the butt aspects of a dog).  We also considered the amount of travel we do and realized that we are not ready for a dog.....which made us consider another cat.  We ALMOST adopted this cutie below.  I saw him at closing time on Friday and came back with David the following morning and the kitty already had an orange collar on that morning indicating that he was adopted......whhaaaa!!  Oh well, I guess it wasn't meant to be.  But, it was soooo cute to see Madeline and this little guy together.  That kitty totally let her man-handle him!  I guess we'll still toy with the idea of cat/dog and when the time and/or pet are right we'll know.
Madeline at SPCA


















And now, David is currently in Germany for business.  David and Madeline now have a sweet little ritual when David travels.  Madeline began packing a toy for Papa to take on his trip.  For this trip they worked on picking out a Polly Pocket together.  Madeline almost had a heart attack when she realized that she left Polly in the car as we were dropping David at the airport.  Luckily we had plenty of time and I got a parking space close enough to the terminal that I was able to run out to the car to make sure that David could take a Polly Pocket to Germany.  Even after getting Polly from the car, Madeline was very concerned that David did not lose her and kept checking that David had Polly.  While on his travels, we talk to David on Skype.  I don't know if Madeline is more concerned about seeing Papa or Polly on Skype.  Occasionally, David will take a picture of Polly doing something in whatever city they are visiting (similar to a school's Flat Stanley project) and he'll email the picture home.  As for me, well my ritual when David is traveling it to stock up on chick-flick movies that I know David wouldn't watch, eat crappy food and try to meet-up with friends.  So far I watched "Julie & Julia" and also "Coco Before Chanel".  Also on tap for this week..."The Back-Up Plan".
Picking out a Polly Pocket














Double & triple checking to make sure Polly is safe















Polly looking out David's hotel room in Hamburg, Germany














Polly enjoying lunch with Papa in Hamburg



















A Skype screen shot















Making pizzas (aka trying to make things fun while Papa is gone)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

First Day of Pre-K 4's

I awoke Madeline at 7:30 this morning.  As she was wiping away the sleep from her eyes I told that it was time to wake-up because today was a big day.  You could tell that Madeline's memory clicked on it registered that today was her first day of school as she instantaneously got a huge smile on her face.  Madeline was excited about getting into her new dress and everything associated with getting ready for the day.  David went into work a little later this morning so that we could both take Madeline to school this morning  Madeline was pretty good about going in. We took the traditional Maddie & teacher picture. Madeline  was pretty good about getting settled but she got a little clingy as we were about to leave.  Only an extra minute or two was needed to give Madeline a little confidence booster and for David & I to head out.  Just like I predicted, I wasn't sure if I should jump in the air, click my heels and holler "woo hooo!" or shed a few tears for having to let go a little more this morning.  However, I was quickly distracted as this morning's extra bonus was  a Tim Horton's coffee date with David after Madeline was in school & before David headed in for the day!

Picking-up Madeline this afternoon, Madeline seemed excited about her day.  I was a little frustrated, however, with how Madeline seems to be practicing for her teenage years.  Trying to get her to tell us about her day today was like pulling teeth. What's up with that??? She's 4!!!  I guess I will begin to put he pieces of her day together once school is under way a little more.

As a first day of school treat, Madeline and Mama went out for ice cream after I picked Madeline up from school......yum!  It's funny - one day of school and this evening, over dinner, Madeline seemed somehow more mature, like she grew some today.  David and I gave Madeline the opportunity to say grace before dinner tonight.  You should've heard what a beautiful job she did!  Also, as I was placing her plate on the table with chicken enchilada & refried bean slop on her plate, Madeline exclaimed, "Ooooo! That looks beautiful!"  After dinner, it was pretty chilly outside so outdoor play did not last long.  Instead we decided to wind down the day by turning on the fireplace for the first time and playing a game of CandyLand in front of the fire.  All three of us really enjoyed the game (Madeline won, David came in 2nd and they both got a kick out of mama being last).  Bedtime came and Madeline fell asleep in no time flat.  I can't imagine that tonight will be a late night for me either!
Walking into school
Madeline with teacher









Ice Cream after school

CandyLand before bedtime

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Night Before Pre-K

Madeline starts her Pre-K 4's tomorrow. We are all ready. Geez, what a hoopla Mama is making this! What am I ever going to do next year when she starts kindergarten?!?!?

-New school clothes organized and 1st day of school outfit picked out - check!
Madeline chose a dress that we bought that came with a matching dress for her doll.

-School supplies on supply list bought and brought to classroom the night of open house - check!

-Earlier dinner to aim for earlier bedtime - check!

-Tubby-time and clean sheets for a squeaky clean child tomorrow - check!

-New shoes, new dress, new undies & socks laid out for the morning - check!

-Madeline's doll dressed in matching 1st day outfit (no, the doll wont be going to school) - check!

-Beginning of year paperwork filled out, check for milk money, note volunteering myself as room mom all in back pack - check, check, check!

-Freezy packs in freezer ready to put in lunch & snack containers in the morning - check!

-"Teacher Survival Kits" packed up in small gift bags for teacher & teacher aide (school-themed tissue pack, apple scented anti-bacterial gel & strappy holder thing so the gel can be connected to a tote bag, Tylenol, bar of "emergency chocolate" and "tension tamer" herbal tea . No, I am not trying to suck up. I simply remember many of the very thoughtful parents I had when I was teaching) - check!













- Love note/picture to tuck in Madeline's lunch - check!


















I am excited and sad about Madeline going back to school. I don't know if I should jump up, click my heels and holler, "Woooo hoooo" or if I should ball up in bed tonight and softly wipe away tears. This is how I am before Pre-K, what will I do before my little girl starts kindergarten?? I guess this is what motherhood will be like from now on as I watch Madeline grow and reach various life milestones. All I ask, Madeline, is please slowwwww down! It is going way too quickly!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Rock Of Ages

THE Rock..... Automatically, with only those two words, my siblings should know what I am talking about. THE rock was a rock that sat in the landscaping of the house next door to my childhood home. Notice the capitalization on the word THE?? This is not a typo as this was not just any old rock. THE rock sat in the neighbor's landscaping to the side of their house that joined our house's driveway. Who knows how many owners owned our neighbors house throughout the years that my parents lived in our house and who knows how long that rock sat in that spot of our neighbors driveway but at some point in time that rock became THE rock.

What was so special about THE rock? In the rock world, probably not much but in a child's imagination, THE rock had an indentation on the top that offered a spot to make the most fantastic concoctions. As a child, I remember sitting for long periods of time next to THE rock - sometimes alone on a boring quiet day & sometimes with a sibling or a friend. Into THE rock's indentation would go dirt, water, hedge berries and any other special ingredients that were essential to making the perfect "soup" or mud pie. Finding the perfect stick to mix & stir our creations was critical as well. I am sure that on more than one occasion my mud pie masterpieces were laid out all over the driveway to "cool off" from THE rock stove top.

We grew up, life went on and my parents moved out of our childhood home in 1988. The old neighborhood changed dramatically (for the worse) and years went by. However, about 10 years ago, my sister Marysia was in Buffalo for a visit. At some point during her visit, Marysia and I drove through our old neighborhood for the sake of reminiscing our childhood. Keep in mind, the old neighborhood in East Side Buffalo isn't exactly the safest place in the city. It was a rainy afternoon as our car crept through the streets of our old stomping grounds. Marysia and I came to our childhood home and parked the car out front. We commented about various changes in our old home and the former homes of our former neighbors (who have all since left the area too). We spied THE rock and got nostalgic when thinking of the wonderful mud creations. And at that moment I decided I HAD TO have THE rock for my own home. With the crazed look in my eyes I know that Marysia was wondering (and worried...especially while in that now crime-ridden neighborhood) what I was going to do. I grabbed a piece of paper and wrote a note trying to explain the fact that I am attached to "a rock" (the stranger certainly wouldn't know it was THE rock) in his/her landscaping. My sister really thought I flipped my lid when I left my phone number and a statement expressing my desire to buy the rock. Yes - rainy day, note in hand, look of astonishment on Marysia's face, I proceeded to drop my number in the mailbox of a stranger in a really not good part of town. Marysia and I gawked at our childhood home for another minute and off we drove.

A half-hour drive later we arrived at my home at that time. We walked in the house to David seeming very confused about why the guy on the phone was calling to speak to me about a rock. Woooo Hoooo! I quickly grabbed the phone and bargained for THE rock. I, of course, played it cool and tried to minimize the importance of THE rock by bluffing, "ha..it IS *just* a rock after all". When all was said and done the stranger agreed to sell me the rock for $20. So, before long, I was out to the old neighborhood with a money order in hand (do you actually think I'd hand out my checking info with address??) to drop the money and grab THE rock. Yes, Marysia was still astonished but has since joked with me that I must leave THE rock to her in my will.

So this is the story.....THE rock sat in my 1st home's landscaping, tucked in the bushes that helped to shelter the birdies that would visit our feeders. When David and I moved into our new home this year, I was so worried that we would forget to take the rock that I made sure David removed THE rock weeks before our moving date and place it amoung our boxes to be moved. It wasn't until mid summer this year that we found a perfect spot for THE rock - nicely tucked under our corkscrew willow tree, beside the pond in our yard. We placed a child-sized park bench in that area as well. Madeline has enjoyed sitting on the bench, next to THE rock but has never quite discovered the magic THE rock has to offer......until today.

David and I were very busy with end of summer landscaping work. Madeline was doing a fairly good job occupying herself but eventually she became bored and was beginning to have the tendency to be underfoot. I decided to call over Madeline and told her a very special story about when Mama was a little girl. And so, Mama introduced her daughter to THE rock. Taking a brief intermission from the day's yard work, I felt like a child again as Madeline and I found special ingredients and the perfect stick for cooking. To Maddie, THE rock was "hot", to me the warmth I felt was in my heart for reliving and sharing beautiful memories.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Polish Friend At German Fest In Polish Town

Huh???? What is that blog title about?? Well, this evening David Madeline & I went to a small German Festival in Cheektowaga, NY. Cheektowaga is a small suburb of Buffalo that is not only high in the Polish population but is lovingly teased about the perception of "cheesy, pink flamingo on the front lawn Polish" that live there....and thus the town's nickname, "Cheekta-Vegas". In general, Cheektowaga is a Polka-lover's dream - a town with an annual Pulaski (Polish general) Day parade. (That's all cool as Mama-Dirtyfoot is 100% Polish) But, once a year Cheektowaga has an annual German Fest. Why?? Maybe because the German music is similar to the polka. Or maybe the area Polish just need an excuse for a beer. Regardless, the Cheektowaga German Fest was our family's destination this evening. In fact, if you have been following my blog long enough, it has been a year since a visit from my brother Paul & his family. While they were in town last year all of us trekked south to scope out the mini-fest (click here for *that* blog post).

When we left our house this evening, BOTH David and I forgot our cellphones. I was secretly pleased that David forgot his phone because, by default, he was forced to be out of touch with emails & thoughts of work . However, I was sooooo disappointed that we were not able to take any pictures of our evening. Madeline danced a few polkas, and I was teaching her how to dance the Rhinelander. Also, I would have loved to snap a photo of David & Madeline waltzing. But the photo opp that I was the most bummed about missing was a picture of me & Mr. Kij.

Mr. Kij was my dad's best friend. The two of them, such intellectuals, with an insane yet simultaneously cerebral sense of humor were hysterical together. Their punch-line timings were impeccable and they fed off each other with some sort of mental telepathy that only the best comedic pairs share. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Kij & my dad met in law school. They maintained friendship throughout the years. In fact, Mr. Kij is my sister Marysia's godfather. And my dad & Mr. Kij once again became regular sidekicks from the time my dad neared retirement until my dad's death in 1993. Those two got into so much trouble (clean, old-fashioned "trouble") together and they loved a good practical joke. In fact, in their honor, Mama-Dirtyfoot used Mr. Kij's name for my own April Fools's practical joke (click here for *that* story) when I was traveling (& blogging) in Germany last year. And finally, thru the wonders of Facebook, my siblings and I have reconnected with Mr. Kij's daughter Valerie who has the same zany & wonderful sense of humor as her father. So, you can only imagine how thrilled I was to run into Mr. Kij at the German Fest.

Thrilled? Yes! Disappointed....extremely!!!! Why? If you recall, I said that neither David nor I had our cell phones. No photo opp :-( I tried though! I asked a stranger to take a photo of the two of us on her cell phone and text it to me. The stranger was completely happy to help out (Buffalo - aka the city of good neighbors). Although the stranger claimed that her phone might not be capable of the photo/texting because it was an "old lady phone", the two of us fumbled through the options on her phone. We managed to take a picture (which I saw & I know that it worked) and we attempted to text the photo. After the two of us checking the stranger's "sent" messages, my cell number was listed there so she and I assumed the photo message went through to my cell phone. The first thing I did when I got home was find my cell phone and look for that photo.......which didn't go through :-( Whah!!!!!! No picture :-( But, it was great to see you again Mr. Kij and even though my blog post tonight included a photo of Mr. Kij circa 1960's(??), I must say that at 80 years old he looks just as dapper as always!