Thursday, November 28, 2013

Gratitude

     It is the wee hours of Thanksgiving morning.  I'm sipping my first cup of coffee and catching up on blogs and such.  Soon I will make my way to the kitchen to putter, cook, create and pack up my lotions and potions for the Spirit of Giving: Holiday Marketplace on Saturday.  It is my first fair and I have my table set up in the "dining room" as a dry run to make sure I have everything.  And I ponder what I am grateful for.
     Each morning I wake up grateful to be alive.  My simple prayer to the universe is thank you.  I find living with a grateful heart makes me happy, grounded and hopeful.  It also helps when those energy vampires attack - we all have at least one of those people in our lives.  But, I digress.  This year I have a gratitude jar.  I've filled it with colorful slips of paper with items that spark gratitude in me.  I put notes in it from my niece and nephew.  The card from the flowers one of my clients sent me just because they appreciate me.
     This year is a quiet day of celebration.  My parents have migrated South for the winter.  Their pilgrimage two months earlier than in the past.   My hubby is in the middle of his work week so he will be sleeping most of the day (he works nights) and joining us for dinner as usual.  Youngest is the only child at home.  Three for a special meal.  We discussed over dinner a few weeks back what we would like to eat.  Turkey was sent packing.  The Thanksgiving I had for my parents before they left was enough turkey for my family. I'll miss the leftover meat for sandwiches but....  So the menu this year is

  • Bacon wrapped pork loin
  • roasted potatoes
  • roasted, mashed butternut squash
  • Creamy Brussels sprouts
  • Sausage Dressing
  • Maple Pecan Pie
  • Pumpkin Pie


Oh, and my hubby and daughter said I could make a pie for myself as well.  Mighty big of them  I think we have plenty for three.  And I'm thinking bacon, pork sandwiches will be great leftovers.
     I am grateful my parents are healthy, can travel at will, have a great social network and friends to enjoy the holiday with.  I am grateful for my mother and father-in-love.  They are very supportive and kind.  We have had some growing pains in the past but they seem to be behind us.  I am grateful that my children are healthy and following their dreams. I am grateful for youngest's hugs and eyerolls.  I am grateful for my loving, supportive hubby.  He still rocks my world after all these years.  I am grateful for amazing, crazy, creative, inspiring friends.  I am grateful for my clients who make going to work enjoyable.  I am grateful to have a job that pays me enough to live the life I want. I am grateful for my new business. I am grateful that I am in a position that I can help others with my time, prayers and donations. I am truly blessed and am so grateful for all the things in my life.
   

Saturday, November 16, 2013

What I've Learned from Pinterest

     I started slowly on pinterest.  I liked seeing what my friends were interested in and looking at all the pictures.  I made a few categories to pin to and it grew from there.  A few minutes here and there just scrolling through images calms me down and ignites my creative fires.
     I have discovered that I really like iron work as part of my home decor.  I kind of knew that before but now....  I discovered that I have an obsession with cool doors and so do a lot of others.  I never knew so many creative ways to incorporate spirals.  Cool quotes, and wicked quotes abound.  I'm not really into pinning recipes.  That struck me as odd.  I really, REALLY, love to cook and have a huge cookbook collection but do I really need one more recipe?  Well, yeah but now it is as an inspiration or flavor profile.  As a result I weeded out my cookbooks and have a huge pile to donate.
     I am awed at creative ways to organize and decorate.  I am soothed by beautiful artwork.  I realized that I could find free cross stitch patterns.  I made a "sign" for my kitchen and a birth announcement cross stitch for a friend.  I've always took patterns and added my own spin - adding or deleting as I saw fit so now I have so much to work with.

     I am prepping for my first craft fair.  I've been making products to sell for months now.  And through pinterest I found great ways to display my wares, marketing tools, tips for craft fairs, and new product ideas.  As a result I've combined new scents for soaps, created several new lip balms and a cuticle salve.  I think I may be ready.
     I have dabbled a little with art journaling.  An amazing friend and teacher introduced me to the idea a while ago.  I'm am far to self conscious with art to go all out so, I tend to pull back.  I took one of her intro to Heart Journaling classes and was so inspired I started again.  She let me know I had the freedom to "mess" up.  I could paint over, collage over it or learn from it.  And then I looked on pinterest - holy art journal inspiration.
     OK, sometimes I do need to set a timer or I could get lost but, I know I have benefited from most of my time on the addictive site.  

Monday, November 4, 2013

Blog Blast for Peace

 
  Today is the day that bloggers all over the globe blog about peace.  I've been thinking a lot about what I would write.  What does peace mean to me?  I had to start with deep, deep gratitude for growing up in a family, in a neighborhood a community that was safe and nurturing.  I can still call on those neighbors and refer to them as aunts and uncles.  With that foundation I was able to grow and stretch and be who I am today.  I am happy with where I am at physically, mentally and spiritually.  I am happy with the journey I am on.
     Yet for many in this world they do not have this luxury.  I try but cannot wrap my head around many of the atrocities in this world, in this country, in this town.  My heart hurts for so many reasons when I contemplate all that is happening outside of my little bubble.  And I am overwhelmed by all that I cannot do to help.  So i bring it back in.  I can be that safe foundation for my children.  I can touch the lives of those around me.  Like the stone tossed on still waters my actions can ripple out into the world.  I can pray. I can take action.  I can love. And even in these imperfect gestures, because after all I am human, I believe I can make a difference.
     I remember when I was young and I would see the signs saying "Make love not war."  I thought they were great.  I thought they were about sex.  Everything at that time was about sex.  I was born in part to seal the deal that my dad would not be drafted to go to Vietnam.  He was a little too old, he was married and now had a baby.  It was later in life that the true words of that sign sunk in.  Love in all its forms.  You do not need to like someone to love them.  Having children really drives that point home.  Some days I do not like my kids but I love them any way.  I love them through the growing up, the rebelling, the doubts, the trials and errors.  I love them because they are children trying to find their way in this world.  And I believe this has made a difference.  I know that love made a difference in my life.
     But what about loving your enemies or that annoying person at work.  I'm really working on that.  And if not love at least compassion.  And some days the most compassionate thing I can do is shut up and walk away.
     So peace for me is a circle of love, compassion and trying to make a difference one small gesture at a time.  And if we can agree to disagree slowly peace will ripple out over coming the hate and the fear.

Monday, October 14, 2013

He's home

     This past week son graduated from Marine boot camp.  Hubby, youngest and I drove down for the ceremony and family day.  MIL and FIL also drove down to meet us.  We picked youngest up from school on Tuesday and made it to Baltimore.  We headed out bright and early and arrived at the hotel a few minutes before my in-laws.  We had stopped at the visitor's center on the way in to town to use the facilities and were given some great directions and advice.  The center is housed in a historic home and is oh so charming.  We asked about a great place to eat and we were directed to The Brick.  The service was great, the live music was great and the food - out of this world.
     I had been taking milky oat straw tincture to calm my nerves.  We had no idea if bio would show up.  She had threatened to - I mean she promised son she would.  Just before arrival in town youngest said she didn't think she was coming because oldest said they had no money.  I guess getting a job and saving money was out of the question.  She only had 15 months to save up for it.  Still, MIL and I waited Thursday morning in anticipation.  I was prepared mentally and had all my sisters back home sending good medicine my way.
     We were on the Island early to watch the motivational run.  We sat in the bleachers watching the family day films and then we had our son for liberty for the afternoon.  I had brought a full batch of cookies for him. Bio didn't show.  In the films it had a short clip interviewing parents.  They said they were surprised when their son/daughter signed up for the Marines.  They were nervous, shocked, angry, etc. etc.  Hubby and I couldn't relate.  Son has been looking at the military his entire life and the Marine's for the last six years.  They told us our Marine would be different - polite, fit, mature, etc.  Well, our Marine was different.  He was smiling from ear to ear.  He looked like himself only in uniform.  He wouldn't eat the cookies while we were walking (not allowed) so we stopped and he inhaled a good pile of them.
     After liberty was over we had dinner on base with some of his drill instructors.  When they asked about a change in him I replied, "he smiles more."  They looked at each other and at me.  He never smiled for us was their reply.  No, I'm sure he didn't.  He is way to serious for that.  We explained that he has been prepping for this for years.  The Marine's only reinforced who he was already.
     Friday we arrived early again for the colors ceremony.  The Marine Band played and the flag was raised.  What an impressive ceremony.  The band is fantastic (and that is a huge understatement).  Then it was off to the graduation.  Pictures and heading home.
     Oh, the other thing different - he let me take pictures both days - lots of pictures.  When we got in the car to head home he stated before we even left the Island that he was pissed his mom hadn't come.  He said she only wrote twice and that he stopped writing to her because he received no reply.  He had a pile of cards and letters from us and family and friends.  He then proceeded to eat his way home.
     I've stocked up on all his favorite foods.  I've been cooking up a storm.  Cheddar biscuits and sausage gravy for breakfast, enchilada casserole for supper, plus banana bread and a green tomato cake.  The cake was a new recipe (thanks Rose) that I didn't think I could try until I found green tomatoes at the farmer's market.  It was a big hit.  Check the link for the recipe.  The only change I made was using pumpkin pie spice for the cinnamon and nutmeg. Today we're starting with baked oatmeal.  The rest of the week includes bacon cheese burgers and baked potato salad, ribs and cole slaw, beef stroganoff, chili, corn chowder, more cookies and a double chocolate mocha trifle.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fall Day

It was a beautiful fall day.  The sun was warm but the air was a little crisp.  Perfect in my book.

I did a few chores and headed to yoga.  I took a class that challenged my sense of balance and my muscles.  It felt good.  Afterwards I walked across the street to the farmers market and snagged some spaghetti squash, heirloom tomatoes and fingerling potatoes.  I then headed up the street to a craft fair.  Some  lovely crafts and hugs and visits with friends.

After stopping at the grocery store I spent the afternoon making soap.  I was careful to let the temperatures of the two mixtures agree.  I didn't rush the process as I would like to.  After the first batch of lavender & lime was poured into the molds I cleaned up what I needed to and started a second batch.  I tested my patience once again with a batch of sweet orange soap.

Roasted some chicken with a batch of za'tar that I had made and sauteed some sweet onions, bell peppers, squash and beet greens together for a simple supper.  And while the chicken roasted my Dad surprised me with a visit.

Life is good.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Back to kindergarten

After the “new” girl at work interrupted me and then snipped at me and I lost it I have started a new way to deal with it. I was very annoyed at myself for being so unprofessional and stooping to her level. I have never in my working career had break down. This girl is 61. She wines like a 5 year old. Not like one of my kids because wining was not allowed. She complains about everything. She interrupts everyone. She talks about her husband like they were still married or recently divorced. Everything in her life happened during this brief marriage that ended more than thirty years ago. She is stagnant. She has no common sense.

She called HR on me. I think they soon learned what a loon she is. My boss had me apologize after I calmed down. I simply stated I was sorry for what happened. I was sorry I snipped back. I was proud that I didn’t raise my voice or swear. She claimed she felt threatened. Maybe because I looked her in the eye as I told her my truth. In private co-workers came up and thanked me. After the apology she called HR back and said never mind.

While I was on vacation she got into it with someone else. The girl noticed she was quiet (which never happens) and asked if she was OK. She came back in a tirade of how loud this girl was and how she couldn’t concentrate etc. etc.

Since starting work she has been e-mailing the boss 2 to 3 times a day to say what we are all saying or doing wrong. My boss ignores them. She saves them in a file though. So, after this she was told by her supervisor in no uncertain terms to STOP e-mailing the boss to not even send an apology e-mail to the boss. The boss is not going to patrol the cubicles. She expects us to get the work done. End of story. She was told she should attempt to get along with her co-workers or she will be gone.

I have for more than two months been giving myself a sticker on the calendar every day I don’t come over the partition and kill her. The sticker reminds me to breathe and let it go. I brought in a comic strip that says to look for the good in everyone even if you need a microscope. I’m looking. I’m also looking at what edges she rubs raw and why. What lesson is in this for me?

Friday my boss was on vacation and the supervisor was out. The new girl was louder than normal. She not only talks to herself but gives a running commentary on her every thought. I’m tired, I’m going to hum to keep myself awake, I must be going crazy, I wish the work for this client would come in early, and on and on for 8 hours. I had my head phones on and cranked and I could still hear her. I ate lunch at my desk and enjoyed an hour of silence. Blissful quiet. By midafternoon I went and sat in a co-workers office. I told him to keep doing what he was doing that I just needed a moment to let the buzzing in my head stop.

I came home and cracked open a beer. This is not normal. A six pack at our house can last six months. My hubby looked at me and said, “you realize that you have a sticker chart and had to take a time out today and you are how old?”

Yes, next week my boss and I will be having a chat. This can’t continue like it is.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Heartbreak

It is past time to replace my computer. I can no longer do simple tasks on it. It is old, very old and I have lovingly had her cleaned and maintained by computer hero but it is time. Posting to this blog for example has been a challenge. I must write my posts in Word and cut and paste. Enough of that…

I’m back at work. I earned a sticker every day this week. I give myself a cheesy sticker every day I do not breech the partition and choke someone. It is amazing how one person can grate on everyone’s nerves so much that the atmosphere changes. I breathe deep and plug in my headphones. And the visual of the stickers actually helps calm me and feel compassion.

We received a new letter from son yesterday. He is on light duty at boot camp because of cellulitis on his ankle. What is it with my kids and ankles? He says the meds are working quickly and he will be back to full duty by the week end. And then in a few short sentences he breaks my heart and brings out the full rage of mama bear. He asked again if we would pass his address on to his mom and sister. He has not received a letter from them and thinks he may have sent his wrong address. He wants them to know when he graduates because he really wants bio to be there. The moment we received his address I sent a mass e-mail to family (including his sister) and a few friends with his address. I also sent a facebook message. His sister responded and said she had written and would mail it out the next day. This was weeks ago now. How, how for the love of all that is holy do you not write to your son? Even if sister did not pass the address on (because you know damn well I’m not giving bio any information) he wrote to her with his address. And I know it was the correct address because he has received letters from us, my in-laws and my parents. He even received letters from his friend that is a girl that I tracked down and messaged on facebook.

If you are new to my blog you may ask how I could not pass on info to bio. Well, she moved away almost five years ago and still has yet to give us a change of address. My children have not seen her since she left. My youngest has not talked to her since Christmas. Son only talked to her because he would call her. And frankly I hope she is not at graduation because we plan to bring youngest and I would like the visit to be drama free. And yet, my heart breaks for him. He so wants to believe that bio loves him and cares about him. He so wants that connection with his mom just like oldest wanted that connection. Oldest even moved to be with bio seeking that connection. What she found is a different story. Let’s just say she doesn’t live with bio.



Saturday, August 10, 2013

Vacation

We did not have Wi-Fi on vacation and from my phone I could only view my blog – I could not post to it. So much for a blog a day. We did have an awesome vacation. This year it was just three of us. Oldest son is off making a life and family of his own. Oldest daughter is living, working and going to school across the country. Son is at boot camp. From his letters so far he likes the long hours and scheduled time. He’s not impressed with the food. But, as MIL says, “he is used to your cooking.” So youngest had us and vacation to herself.

We were in the high country of North Carolina. We spent time wandering the mountains. A arts and craft fair on top of Beech Mountain the highest populated town in the East, a spectacular time at the museum and swinging bridge on Grandfather Mountain. The bridge hums in the wind and let me tell you with 40 MPH winds it was humming as we crossed it. It is a mile above sea level and the views are awesome. We drove the Blue Ridge Parkway and stopped at a local craft store located in an historic home, hiked around the lake and picnicked among the trees.




We browsed the shops in Boone, Banner Elk and Blowing Rock. The art co-operatives were wonderful to see. We missed the art walk but loved the concept. All the artist galleries are open one evening a month and you stroll from art gallery to art gallery where refreshments are served. Sounds way better than a pub crawl to me.

We visited Linville Caverns. After seeing the Luray caverns it was a let down but brought about a whole new respect for those first discovering and exploring the caverns. And instead of a t-shirt to remember my vacation I found a beautiful mortal & pestle to use in my kitchen.

We spent a day in Asheville at the Biltmore Estate. Wow! We were able to tour the gardens before the rain started. A good two hours was spent in the many gardens and I could have spent longer if the weather and family would have allowed. We were so happy we opted for the audio tour. The attention to detail in this 250 room house was mind boggling. That a young bachelor built this blows my mind. The colors, carvings, artwork, antiques and thought awe inspiring. The fact that he deeply respected and honored those that created, designed and worked on the house elicited a deep respect. Youngest favorite room was the pool room. An indoor 70,000 gallon heated, lighted pool. Keep in mind this house opened Christmas Eve 1895. Hubby loved the billiards room. And it was quite impressive. The dining hall had three fire places and a pipe organ. Our house could be set in the center of the room and you could walk completely around it or sit on top of it. My favorite room of course was the library with over 10,000 books. And with all of that it wasn’t gaudy. After the house tour we headed to the winery and farm. The blacksmith was fantastic. And after his demonstration he played the anvil. What a beautiful musical instrument. We never knew.

Daddy and daughter went to the movies to see the Wolverine. I went to Art History Museum instead. They had an exhibit of American Impressionists. Lovely.

We ate breakfast in the cottage and packed a picnic for lunch. At night we tried different restaurants. We avoided the chains and sought out the mom and pop operations. There seemed no one food the high country was known for except maybe trout. One of the few foods I am not a fan of but, that is another story. We did have plenty of sweet tea. I did get my fried catfish and hush puppies one night. We had steaks, BBQ, Mexican and Cajun. We went to the Black Cat one night. They have a wide variety of burritos. I had a chicken satay that was delicious. One night we ate at the Bayou and I had the Louisiana sampler plate that included rice, sausage & beans, crawfish etoufee and gumbo. The gumbo was out of this world. I’m not a spice loving fan but gave it a try. You could taste all the wonderful flavors and then the heat hit the back of your throat. Your lips didn’t burn, you could taste it and it was really good.

And now I’m home and settling back in.



Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blog a Day

I wish I had the discipline, time and energy to blog every day. It might force me to be more inspired. I write beautiful posts in my head on the way to work. They disappear into the mist of my mind never to appear again. Try as I may I can never recreate that wit later in the day. For the next few weeks I’m going to try.

Well, that is if I can figure out how to post from my smart phone while on vacation. Smart phones by definition are something that takes way more of my time and energy to figure out than I care to spend.

We received a real letter from son this week. Short, sweet and to the point. Once I suppressed my urge to correct the grammar and spelling I was OK. He likes Parris Island. He likes working 16 hour days starting at 0400 and ending at 2000. He listed those I should contact with his graduation information. He asked for us to send stamps.

I am trying really hard to post weekly to my Raven’s Edge Blog. It has forced me to look at the plants I see, harvest and use with a new lens. I like that. I have expanded my material medica in the process. I am inspiring myself with the journey and enjoying every moment.

I was supposed to be “working” today. I completed everything on my desk and worked myself into a spot where I have nothing to do at the place that pays me to live my life. So, I took a PTO day. Who can say they can do that before taking vacation? I have the next 12 days off. We leave in the wee hour’s tomorrow morning for the mountains of NC. I can’t wait.

Laundry is almost done. Hubby detailed my car (reason 1,652 why I love him). Spicy chex mix is made. Traveling muffins baked (coconut blueberry). Clothes are stacked and waiting for the suitcase. The paper and mail have been stopped. Someone has been found to tend to the kitties. A last dump run was made. House cleaned. I’m ready to go.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Since he's been gone

Many people asked how I've been since son entered boot camp a week ago. I'm fine, really. We dropped him off last Sunday at the main recruiting station. I must say the recruiter driving him and four other boys to MEPS at least had a clue. Son's recruiter did not instill any confidence in me at all. And as much as I fully support son in his decision and those who serve the military I'm not real fond of the military. I should say I do not agree with using violence to bring about peace. But, that is my issue. We received our scripted phone call to say he arrived and other than letters we will not hear from him again until boot camp is over unless his unit earns a phone call home.


MIL and FIL took us all out for dinner before son left. She is very anxious. As I explained there he is supervised. If he were going away to college he wouldn't be. And heck, I know what happens then. And as far as I'm concerned he is far safer in the Marines than he would be living with bio. As a side note oldest has once again moved out of bio's home due to conditions and I believe will not be going back this time. And let's face it very few things come between me and sleeping or eating - when I think of what those are I will let you know.

I'm not saying I do not worry but I have learned to let go of what I have no control over. He has been planning this phase in his life since before I met him 11 years ago. I've had time to adjust.

Youngest had a melt down the first day son was gone. She cried how she was not meant to be an only child, she was lonely, she missed him, etc. I comforted her the best I could and explained that it was now her time to shine and spend time with friends. She could write to him and she would see him in October when boot camp is over. I must admit in my head I was screaming "really, get over it, life goes on and I'm sure my brother never cried when I left home." But, I managed to keep all of those thoughts in my head. The next day she contacted her friends from school and the tears have passed.

So, since son's been gone I have less laundry and less food to cook. We have attended a concert in the park, gone to the movies and went to lunch and shopping. All of which we would have done even if  he were here.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blessed

As I see others react with their families I reflect at how blessed I am. I see so many friends and co-workers seeking approval, love, contact with their parents to no avail. One sticks out clearly in my thoughts - the more successful she becomes the more her mother lashes out at her. It is a tough lesson she must learn. The frustration and anger have moved her forward in a positive way but with much pain. But, what I find the most heartbreaking is that no one has her back - nor her mom, her sister or to a large extent her husband. She is very much expected to have theirs.




And this is where I find myself very grateful. As dysfunctional as my parents are - because every child I think feels that way at some point - they have always been there for me. They have not always agreed with me. But, they loved and supported me no matter what. I look at them now and realize their dysfunctions are minor and I share many of them. We have a good relationship. Our visits are filled with laughter so hard my sides hurt and the tears flow. I know that at any moment I can pick up the phone and fall apart and they will just listen. Thankfully this is rare.



And this sense of holding your children I hope I have passed on to my children. I have not agreed with all of their decisions but, I have tried to support them. I have let them make decisions. Sometimes they work out and some times they fall flat. And through it all I do not say I told you so, or did you learn anything (because they clearly did) I simply love them with open arms.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Taken for a Ride

Son leaves is less than two weeks. He has sold his Bronco. The one he worked hard for, saved for and fixed up. It is old and tired and has served him well. He his making room for a new vehicle once he is stationed some where. A power wagon if he has his way. And I believe he shall.


I told him at dinner that he had a couple of dates with me before he leaves. One is to spend some time cleaning and sorting his bedroom. The next I said is that he could not sell his Bronco until he took me for a ride. There has been no reason to drive me around. He did that a lot when he was learning to drive. He was a natural. I don't think I ever hit that imaginary brake on my side of the car - not like driving with his sister. Any way...

Hubby pointed out that I didn't say how far - he could just drive me to the end of the cul-de-sac and back. So after dinner he took me for a ride. I offered to hang out the window and wave my arms. That's not safe he said. No, you just hook your feet under the seat and sit in the window. I don't want to know how you know that, he said.

I said I read about it. As he pulled in the driveway I started to climb in the window asking what hubby might think. But, hubby wasn't in ear shot so I passed. It kept him wondering though.



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Herbs, Study and arriving home

This past week end I was at the International Herb Symposium. I had gone once before in 2007. I was new to this herbal study then and didn't know anyone. This year I was blessed to ride with a friend along side me and see friends I have made in this herbal realm. I took as many classes I could and attempted to back notes than I have in the past. I also remembered to date my notes and include the year. I have been sorting out notebooks the past few weeks and now know how important this little detail is. I have a lot of information to sift through, assimilate some, discard some and contemplate still more. I took some teachers that are known to challenge your thought process. This is good. I also had others who inspired. The passion for what they do is infectious.


Hubby took the week end off with the kids. They spent some quality time together. They visited family at his niece’s graduation party. They enjoyed themselves while I was away.

I returned to work the next day not feeling home yet. So today I reground and fully arrive. It is time to plot out the next few steps.



Monday, June 10, 2013

Shimmy Love

Saturday was my first "performance" as a belly dancer. The Girl Scouts of Sandy Hook asked my teacher (K) to teach and dance at their end of year gathering. Four of us were able to attend. We started the day in class then practice and lunch before arriving at camp. A beautiful sunny day filled with laughter and friendship. We were not sure how many girls would be there or what exactly to expect. K brought as many scarves as she could stuff in a bag and laid them out for the girls to grab as they came in. The 30 or so scarves only went so far with the 125 in attendance. The girls were age 5 - 18 and many adult leaders. The girls greeted us with smiles and awe. They were thrilled to be in our presence. We quickly started helping little ones tie adult size scarves around their tiny waists. Some scarves were wrapped 2 or 3 times. When we ran out of scarves one little girl shrugged her shoulders and quickly tied her t-shirt up to show her belly. Soon she was helping others do the same. It warmed our hearts.




We started with a dance routine. Then K explained her teaching style - it is about be happy within your own body - short or tall, thin or fluffy - we are all beautiful. She then showed the girls several moves. They participated with joy and enthusiasm. We danced and shimmied together. We ended with another routine. We were thanked, we were hugged, and we felt blessed. I felt blessed. My heart sung to see the joy in the faces of these girls.



And then one of the leaders came up and thanked us for such a joyful end to their day. With damp eyes she told us how eight of the girls who lost their lives were Daisies. That four of the leaders lost their daughters that day. The Daisy troop that was so big it had been split into two troops now had to combine into one. The girls felt survivor’s guilt. She was so grateful to us for helping in the healing process. And we wept. And I know that it was to them I owed gratitude. My heart had split open with joy before I knew their full story. I couldn't think of any where on Earth I would have wanted to be.



The girls and leaders left uplifted. We left uplifted. What an amazing sacred moment.



And in the funny way things twist and turn we ended our day at dinner - Sultan's Turkish Restaurant. We googled Middle Eastern food and that popped up. And just as we were served our food the music was turned up and we were entertained by a beautiful belly dancer.



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Resounding Yes

A few months back I read somewhere that if it is not a resounding yes for you then your answer should be no. I've been sort of living my life that way for years but this year I am really consciously putting that into practice.




I remember the first time I said no to something for a committee I was on. The shocked look of the chairperson still amuses me. No, I can not do that. Ah, and I know no explanation is needed. So many feel the need to say no and justify it. No need. No, period.



Work as an accountant is not a resounding yes. There are many aspects of my job I enjoy but.... I don't hate the job and when I look at all the resounding yes responses I can give because of the job I stay there. It serves its purpose.



Travel, gardening, cooking, dancing, reading, hiking, friends, herbs, love all are resounding yeses. I have found several tribes that sustain and support me on that path. I am blessed. My foolish wisdom group has been a monthly constant for years now. They challenge my thinking, offer love and support and make me laugh. My shimmy sisters have accepted me with open arms. We belly dance together and lunch and walk and laugh.



Drama, energy vampires, dishonesty are all items that bring a no response from me.



Saturday, June 1, 2013

Gotta laugh

Bio's only communication with youngest is via facebook.  Youngest checks her FB every so often.  She is more apt to play games than communicate or read messages.  For her birthday in April all she received from bio was a FB happy birthday.  The last "conversation" was in March. This past week she posts a meme to youngest's time line stating how she's a wonderful mom and will always be there for her kids no matter what.  Um, this is coming from the woman who hasn't seen her kid in almost 5 (yes, I said five) years.  Who hasn't had a phone conversation since Christmas and can't even send a card or make a phone call on her birthday.  And I'm wicked!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Graduation

Son graduates from high school in a few weeks.  He has no desire to attend the ceremony.  Hubby thought he had to or he wouldn't receive his diploma.  I assured him that was not the case.  His attending is not a fight I chose to have.  He expreseed this desire back at Christmas time when bio was threatening to attend,  I'm not sure if that had anything to do with it.  He has no emotional connection to the school.  He claims the only important graduation is the one from boot camp.  The Marines the be all and end all for him. He didn't attend the 8th grade outing, the prom and now graduation.  I did ask him. OK I told him, he needed to attend the awards ceremony for his class.
I had him tell the powers at be that he would not be at the ceremony.  They are deeply disappointed.  They are trying to get him to go.  Good luck with that. I did let them know I was aware of his decission.
And the funny thing is the kids will not receive their diplomas at the ceremony.  They need to have so many days in for the year and they will not be able to get them until the next day when they return from project graduation. One more thing he is skipping.  So, he'll drive up in the morning and receive his diploma with everyone else.
I did ask about giving him a graduation/going away party.  He was up for that.  After thinking about it the invites do not mention graduation.  It asks people to help us celebrate son before he leaves for the Marines in July.  I printed them out on stars and stripes stationary.
I went over the menu with him.  I want food I can prepare ahead and doesn't have someone manning the grill all day.  This is what we came up with:
  • Pulled pork sandwiches
  • Beef briscuit
  • Chili
  • Potato Salad
  • Macaroni Salad
  • Cole Slaw
  • Fruit Salad
  • Cookies, toffee bars and ice cream
Son, I do celebrate the man you are becoming.  You are determined, focused, hard working and able to think for yourself.  You are considerate, responsable and a patient teacher (unless your sister is involved).  You will go far.  Love you!
    

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Childless Mother

It has been a long strange trip...  I mean a really up and down roller coaster of emotion type of week.  It started with my least favorite holiday - Mother's Day.  It is a day when people bubble over and wish every woman they see a happy mother's day.  And indeed I believe all woman are mothers in some form or another but............   Unless hubby goes out and buys a card and makes the kids sign it I am completely ignored.  It is times like this that drive home the point that I am a childless mother. And on the average day I can handle this but.....   Hubby did buy me a beautiful card from him.  My MIL sent a sweet card.  My kids did not acknowledge me or the silly holiday. I let it go by spending time in the garden and having my parents over for dinner.  I spent the afternoon puttering in the kitchen which I find total delight in.  We had crab cakes to start, a roasted pork loin, butternut squash and a huge tossed salad topped with dandelion greens and violet blossoms picked in the yard.  I made ranch dressing and blue cheese dressing.  Dessert was toffee bars topped with home made coffee ice cream.  We talked and laughed until tears came.  It was a good time.

Two days later son in a reply to something I said thought he was being funny and said, "You have to admit, I can honestly say we are not related."  I didn't find it funny.  And after stewing for a day this was my reply (at dinner for everyone to hear).  You can honestly say I did not birth you but you can NOT say we are not related. I find your comment mean and hurtful.  Like it or not I am your step mother.  and related, relative, relationship we have one.  I have spent the last 11 years of my life help raise you.  I have clothed, fed, taken you on vacation, stayed up late to pick you up from work, bent over backwards for you.  So no, you can not honestly say we are not related.  He was a little taken aback. He had not intended to be hurtful. But now the air was clear.

Thursday night I sat front row at the high school to watch the senior awards ceremony.  He received the board of education award for technology for his work in the wood and masonry classes.

Work - the place I choose to go three days a week to finance my life has been really driving me crazy.  Our office was rearranged.  We have new desks that are much more functional.  The set up is really great.  And in theory it should work much better but....  The girl that now sits behind me is loud - I mean LOUD.  I have been wearing headphones for a week now to drown her out.  And obnoxious.  We started our healthy challenge II at work.  I'm really proud of the program our Health & Wellness committee has put together.  It was a great team effort in launching a program to help employees get healthy.  Girl is hyper and walks every day at lunch.  This is great.  Her pace is such that it is more like a jog.  I don't walk with her because I'm sweating in our office already and to come back from a work out and work just feels gross.  She has taken it upon herself to "motivate" others in the office.  She starts in the morning, does a prelunch speech and then a post lunch speech.  I don't find these motivating.  She is a nag.  An obnoxious, loud, nag.  She does not try to motivate me.  I think I've made it clear from my actions I don't want to hear it.  That or she knows I will tell her to go F#@& herself.  She makes you want to be a lazy donut eating slob in defiance.  Others are going along just to shut her up. 

And my clients.  Most are absolutely wonderful.  I adore them.  Then there are two.  It takes all of my power and energy to work on their accounts.  Those are the accounts I needed to work on this week.  I trudge forward.

Friday I met with my tribe of beautiful Goddess Sisters to discuss our goals and achievements in our businesses.  I did accomplish things this month.  The state now recognizes me as a business, I revamped my business cards and bulletins, I taught a class, I scheduled a weed walk, I took orders for product and I set up a facebook page.  This month I need to work on promotion and production.

When I arrived home there was a letter from oldest.  Hubby commented that I received a letter and he didn't.  I have never received a letter just to me from her.  I opened it to find a handmade mother's day card.  Not step mom, not like a mom but a mother's day card wishing me love and joy.  I cried. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Getting Ready

This morning some beautiful Goddesses will arrive at my door.  It is my turn to host the business group I belong to.  These women inspire, support and hold me (and each other) accountable. I have some mini vegetable quiches baked for the occasion.  Once the kids leave for school I will finish the cleaning.

Next week the kids have off from school.  Hubby and I are off from work.  It is son's last family vacation before leaving this summer.  Less than three months and youngest will be an "only" child.  She's looking forward to it.  We are off for an adventure to a part of the country even I haven't been.  I think I'll have to let the family know at some point all the prep that goes into vacation.  I made all the reservations and planned out the driving routes.  I only trust the GPS so far.  I've stopped the paper and mail.  I've printed out a packing list for each member of the family.  They have come to depend on it.  It saves me a lot of stress.  I pull up the list on the computer change the quantities accordingly and print.  If someone is missing something it is their own fault.  I arranged for someone to check in on the cats, made sure they have plenty of supplies and that their nails are trimmed.  I don't want my young cat watcher to get scratched playing with the dears.  Laundry is in full on mode.  We will have no laundry facilities this trip so we are packing much more than normal.  Which made me realize the kids have plenty to pack and I am lacking.  Bills are paid and birthday cards filled out.  Those will be mailed just before leaving. 

While I'm away from work our office is being remodeled.  When I left yesterday all of my files were packed away.  I will come back to a new (and bigger) desk.  This set up for our department is a much needed and looked forward to change.  Well. for most of us.  We have one gent who is in full panic mode.  Change freaks him out.  Sad.  Because, I've come to know that change is the only thing you can really expect to happen in this life. 

Some beautiful warm days have started coming our way.  Almost all of the garden beds are raked.  The sticks are on the burn pile.  The crocuses are blooming and the daffodils are budded up. 

And that is what I am readying at the moment.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Took the Leap

Paperwork (and checks) are in the mail.  Articles of organization sent.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring has sprung

Ah, snow may still cover parts of my yard but I can feel spring in my veins.  The flip of the calender says it arrived.  We had a supper of egg dishes to celebrate.  But like the daffodil bulbs that are popping through the last of the snow I feel myself bursting forth.  The energy is flowing, the creative juices surging, life is opening up.

The check arrived and I will be headed to the bank today and sending off paperwork for the business.  The fear rearing its ugly head is being looked at with love and I'm moving forward.  Business goals are being checked off.  Intentions are becoming manifest.

I finished the belly dancing intro class and loved it.  I have become a regular at Saturday's class and I am embracing the train wreck.  My body is learning to move in new ways and it feels good.  This new community of women feels good. At the same time I completed a month of unlimited classes at the yoga studio where the belly dancing is taught.  It's been a really long time since a yoga class - almost two decades.  I had missed it.  I can feel the stretches opening up my body and my heart.  I feel muscles that have been neglected and tight for too long.  I'm taking the gentle classes and easing them back to life.  It feels good.

I have started communicating regularly with oldest. 

I sent a boxful of books via amazon to grandson for Easter.  Saturday is his second birthday and I received verification that his present(s) have arrived.  Oldest son and girlfriend have limited funds so GS received a new wardrobe - pants, shorts, shirts long and short sleeved, pajamas and socks.  These are all wrapped in Cars paper.  I also found a cars backpack that has a cars sleeping bag inside. He likes cars and dinosaurs (which is the motif for a few of the shirts).  It is hard long distance but I intend to keep him in clothes and nurture a love of reading.

Hubby worked a double shift on Easter.  My parents are still South for the winter and my brother and his family were arriving home after driving straight for 18 hours so, Easter was a quiet affair.  Baskets contained books except for son who received a gas card.  He's still reading his books from Christmas and driving is much more important to him.  And it affords me a freedom I prefer.  Breakfast was a mocha chip coffee cake.  For dinner I made an orange & apricot glazed ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans almondine and deviled eggs (made with fresh grated horseradish).  For dessert a white cake with white frosting - hubby's favorite.  I let youngest decorate it.  She asked for red, green and orange and here is her creation.


The afternoon was spent reading and cross stitching.  I'm hooked on pinterest and discovered some free cross stitch patterns.  One I fell in love with.  I changed up the colors a bit and added a "the" to the beginning of the sentence to make sense to me.  I finished up last night.  I just need to frame it. 


It is full steam ahead.  Spring bursting forth in my every cell.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

check, check

I'm a checklist type of girl.  I have checklists for my checklists.  Really, I do - at least at work.  I have a checklist for each client, a master list and a daily list.  With interuptions and work flow this helps me figure out where I am in the process.  At home I have a grocery list, a menu list, a cleaning list and most importantly now a business goal list. 

I filled out all the forms to send in for tax id's and llc and all that stuff.  I found a hidden source of money to go with it.  When the check didn't arrive I looked again at the fine print - they cut checks ever six to eight weeks and I can expect to wait up to 60 days from the time I requested it.  :(  I guess that is one way of keeping me from just using the funds on a whim.  So, I wait.  In the mean time I've worked on my goals and vision.  I've set up a business e-mail.  I've reworked my brochure and business cards

I need to look into a website.  I'm not sure I want to go there or not.  It depends on how user friendly it is to set up and maintain. 

So, I'm off to revise the check list for the day and accomplish something.  Today includes booking the hotels for spring break, making supper and belly dancing.  Dishes and laundry will be squeezed in there as well. I've already e-mailed youngest's teacher regarding our PPT meeting on Monday, balanced the checkbooks and paid the bills.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blog Neglect

     I open my blog up, my mind goes blank and that it is it.  I have so many thing on my mind and yet so little.  Things are changing, manifesting in my life.  I am actively participating in the process.  I'm pondering a vision of what it will look like.  I'm not there.  I may never be there.  When I was young I had my life mapped out - degrees, marriage, babies, the house with the white picket fence - the rose colored glasses.  I've learned that life leads you down different paths and I need to go more with the flow and rhythm of my life.  Life is not on a linear time table.
     Dreams of birth are still coming.  Dreams at night are more vivid and frequent and more convoluted than ever.  I journal about them,  I ponder them.  I glean what nuggets I can.
I finished the three week introduction class for belly dancing.  I've finished week one of dancing to the drum.  We are learning a belly dance routine to a drum solo.  I leave class energized and in tune with my body.  My heart is open.  I am prioritizing things to manifest the funds to continue the dance.  I love the community, the beat.
     I have the paperwork all filled out for my business venture.  I have found the funds in an unexpected source.  The check is in the mail.  When it arrives the paperwork will be sent out.  My lists of goals and visions have been tweaked and worked to come up with a coherent vision statement for my company.  I'm not sure it is my final statement but for now it is "To help people be healthy through food in tune with nature."  I need to up date my goal list for the month.  I belong to a business collaborative of beautiful Goddess Sisters.  We support each other with love.  Yet keep each other accountable with a nurturing fierceness only women can do.
     I'm writing a book.  It is a memoir and a cookbook.  My life story.  My cooking story.  All rolled into one.  One memory triggers another triggers a recipe. For now the words tumble onto the page.  I can go back and make it more coherent.  Time is truly cyclical.  In my mind, my memories time is not linear. It is not chronological.  I will need to edit enough later so a reader can follow the thread of my memory.
     Son is out of work.  He is looking.  He lasted much longer than most at his place of business.  It is not an easy place to work.  And son's serious attitude where life is fair and played by the rules has been a constant source of frustration for him.  He will learn in time that being right is a privilege held by the boss/owner of the company.  That where there is a pecking order the low man doesn't have much input.  I like that I can plan meals now without working around his work schedule.  He's been doing odd jobs here and there to earn money for car insurance and gas.  It's a difficult time to find a job.  And he leaves in July for boot camp.
     Oldest went back after her visit and refriended me on facebook.  She likes and shares some of my stories.  This week she e-mailed me a joke (along with a group of others).  This is HUGE for her.  I am on new ground.  At the same time I'm a little miffed.  For Christmas she wrote out a very generic thank you card because she hadn't opened her presents yet.  For her birthday I tracked the package so I knew when it arrived.  No comment at all from her until hubby asked if she received it via text.  A quick text back with a thank you was all we got.  She then received a package I sent from Amazon with some books she wanted.  We did get a quick text saying she got the package.  I believe because I included on the note to let us know she received it.  At the same time she sent presents for her cousins to us at Christmas.  I had to go out of my way to deliver them.  And actually I took the easy way out and dropped them at my mother and father-in-love's.  I had a nice visit with them.  But, they were hurt.  Here oldest sent a card for her aunt and uncle and presents for her cousins and they didn't receive a card. They told themselves that bio removed it from the box before shipping to make themselves feel better.  After all they had just spent a ton of money flying her here for a visit.  And then no word at all after they sent her birthday gift.  They know she received it because she cashed the check.  I've been trying to decide how to handle this with out setting our relationship back.  She knows better than to not send a thank you.    Of course my in-laws would die before ever saying anything.  FIL almost did one Christmas.  If he was any more worked up or red I think he would of had a heart attack.  Any way....
     Bio still only has contact with son and youngest via facebook.  The messages are few and far between.  Her latest message to youngest was that she wanted updated pictures of the two of them.  They should pick a pose from there school pictures and have me or daddy e-mail her or oldest.  Youngest replied that they didn't have pictures taken.  When she said it again youngest signed off saying she had to eat dinner (at 7:30 at night).  School pictures are taken the first week of school.  They are expensive and horrible so we stopped buying them years ago.  Bio has not been in contact with the school since moving four years ago.  She could have contacted the school and ordered pictures in September.  She could of had oldest take a couple nice pictures of the kids when she was here.  She could contact hubby and ask him for pictures.  She could send a check and have us take them for pictures.  She could do a lot of things.  The first year she was gone I had pictures sent to her.  The second year she complained she didn't like them.  That was the last time she received pictures.  And really, she hasn't seen her kids in four years.  She wants an 8x10 hanging on the wall so she can tell her friends about her kids like she has a meaningful relationship with them.  I might just send her one this year.  When oldest was here son took a really nice picture of me with my two girls.  That I might send her.
     Hubby is taking his final test today for his Officer 1 class for the fire department.  I will have my hubby back.  It seems like forever since this class started.  It's hard enough with us working different shifts. 
     And that is where I'm at. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Birth & Trains

So, I've been having some startling dreams that wake me up and shake me to the core.  They are night frightening as much as jolting.  As I described one such dream at my shamanic dream circle someone commented that it reminded them of giving birth. And then it all clicked.  And the angel card I drew at the end of my belly dance class was "emerge."  Ah, yes, my dreams are talking to me. 

From my dream group I came away with a new inspiration for my book.  I've always wanted to write a cookbook of sorts.  One with stories along the way.  I was told of a website where I can self publish and create.  I have some 4400 words down so far.

And last night was my second belly dance class.  We were learning drop kicks which are not an easy task for me.  22 of us in some form of a down hip pop and a drop kick was pretty funny looking.  And the teacher says, "embrace the train wreck."  It didn't matter if you got it right or pretty all that mattered was you were doing it.  And the tricky step though definitely not pretty became fun and funny.  What a metaphor for life.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Yup, I finally did it

I signed up for belly dancing classes.  The intro was Thursday night and some 20 or so of us women in all shapes and sizes braved the single digit temperatures and showed up for class.  The note said that most wear yoga pants and a t-shirt to class but to dress in what makes you feel beautiful.  Now how one can say yoga pants and beautiful in the same sentence is beyond me.  Unless you are slim and trim with only slight curves do yoga pants do any one any justice and those years are behind me.  Plus, even those I found not so appalling were so long.  I know I'm not tall like my in-laws but at 5" 4" I don't think I'm really short.  Every pair I tried on was at least 6 inches too long.  WTF.  So, I opted for sweat pants.  Needless to say I arrived having one of those fat days.  Which really isn't like me.

Instantly the instructor made me feel comfortable and beautiful.  Class was so much fun.  I can't believe I waited so long to check this off my list of want to try.  Did I mention how much fun I had.  And I felt so good after class.  This is what exercise should feel like.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Excitement

I've decided the theme for 2013 is excitement.  I've never really come up with a theme for my years before but it just seems fitting somehow.

This year son graduates high school and embarks on his military career.  A little nervous excitement here.  It's what he has wanted to do since birth.  He's so looking forward to boot camp.  Any way, his plans after his four years is the police force.  Hmm!  Not sure who he takes after. 

Travel.  We have lots of travel plans this year.  I love to plot, plan, pack and go away.  April we are headed to Ohio and the air museums.  This will be son's last family vacation.  August we are headed to the mountains of North Carolina.  In October Paris Island for son's graduation.  And in between I'm headed to the International Herbal Symposium in June and the Women's Herbal Conference in August. 

Yesterday a friend shared that the local yoga center is offering a beginners class in Belly Dancing.  I signed up.  I've always toyed with the desire and now it's manifesting.

I have a new group of supportive women to help with my business venture.  I've been filling out forms and writing down goals.  I will be running my own company shortly.

Today oldest turns 20.  Her first set of presents have arrived.  A few items left on her Christmas wish list.  The rest will be a total surprise.  She loved one of the books she got for Christmas which is a first in a series.   I ordered the rest of the series via amazon and having it shipped directly to her.  That will arrive later. I'm excited for her.

My cousin's daughter is expecting her first baby in April.  The shower for her little boy is next week.  My cousin is expecting for the second time - twin girls.  They will join an older sister.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Good Place

I'm in a good place. I haven't needed the avena tincture in awhile.  The stress was reduced greatly when oldest "ran away." She needed to go.  And she needed to come back.  We are on a much better footing now.  I can once again look at her picture and not shoot daggers. I can enjoy her for who she is.

Youngest seems to be coming out of her funk.  She even joined me for grocery shopping yesterday.  It was nice to get out and about with her.  We even made a few detours along the way including the book store.

And to my great and happy surprise not only was son home to help unload the car when we arrived but he had a friend with him.  I like his friends.  And they have been hanging at the house more and more.  I like that.  I had a pork shoulder in the crock pot melting its way into pulled BBQ pork so I offered dinner.  Cole slaw and baked beans rounded out the meal.  We had a great visit and we hung out at the dinner table for more than hour after dinner talking and laughing.

I found (was invited to join) an amazing group of creative supportive woman to help spark me in my business adventure.  The forms are filled out to become an LLC and I am on my way.  I have some goal setting and vision writing to do in the next few weeks.

And I have a date planned with hubby in a few weeks.  This month when he is not at work he is in class.  I see him for brief moments.  I think part of our date will be planning a week end get away.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Business a new way

I'm off this morning to meet with some beautiful Goddesses.  They are all in some type of business of their own.  We are meeting to reflect on our own goals, visions and abilities and how we can combine them.  How can we support each other and grow from there.  At least that is my take on the upcoming event.  I look forward to fresh ideas, sage advice and what tidbits I can offer.

I have been contemplating moving my soaps & potions forward as well as my herbal practice.  I have been putting things in motion slowly and seeing what fits and what doesn't.  I've been researching the legal and financial implications.  It is a lot to take in and comprehend all at once. But, baby steps still move you forward.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Smiles and vacations

Youngest almost always looks miserable.  The puss on her face.....  Yesterday morning as I'm driving to the spa for our girls day that she received for Christmas I imitated the look.  What?  What?  She kept asking.  What does this look say to you?, I replied.  That you're depressed.  Well, that is how you look.  That was until she finished her massage.  She was smiling from ear to ear and looking like she was in her happy place.  She absolutely glowed after her facial - inside and out.  Hmmm!

Afterwards we headed to the craft store and then lunch.  It was a wonderful day.  She ended up with a charm from the clearance rack that she is morphing into a necklace.  She also found a great book teaching her how to draw aname characters.  That we came home and ordered on amazon for half the price.  That she also paid for herself.  I priced out the materials for making my own book.  It was a wonderful class I watched on line with Effy Wild at Wild Soul Arts.  Lunch was at the local tea shop and was scrumptious.  And with my "coupon" it was also a really good price. 

And, the best part of the day was coming home and booking our summer vacation.  Youngest has been asking to go to the Carolina's for years.  She is not sure why?  Last year we went to Maine.  It was son's last summer vacation before heading off to the Marines and he want to go North and hiking.  This year it will just be the three of us and I had four resorts to choose from in our desired location.  We will be in the North Carolina mountains for a week in August. 

I have so many wonderful travel plans scheduled this year.  April vacation we are headed to Ohio and Patterson Air Force museum.  In June I will be at Wheaten college for the International Herb Symposium. And the end of August youngest and I will be in New Hampshire for the Women's Herbal Conference.  Son graduates from Paris Island in October and we are still deciding if hubby will go alone or if we'll pull youngest out of school for the occasion. 
There was an error in this gadget

Visitors