Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Toughest Job You'll Ever Love

I haven't mentioned that Mr. Daddy is out of town this week. ALL week. He left Monday morning and he won't be back until sometime on Sunday. So this week's on me. When we did this last year (it's an annual trip), we got in a huge fight when he returned because I said "tag, you're it" when he got home. He got all up in arms about the fact that he wasn't playing! He was working! It's not like he was just off goofing around. He might have even said something like "I don't know why you're making such a big deal out of keeping the kids by yourself for a week. It's your job." And then I might have eaten him.

Before you guys eat him on behalf, he's sort of right. It IS my job to take care of the kids and it is my job to do it by myself when he's gone. I guess what I was looking for was a little acknowledgement that it might be more difficult when one does it alone. And that while he is working during the day, when he's finished working he's then sitting by the pool and drinking beer, and eating Omaha Steaks and bratwurst hot off the grill (as he keeps reminding me). And that I might like a little time to myself after being at the beck and call of two small humans for an entire week, with little to no relief.

But you know what? This time it's been easy. Okay, not easy. But easier this time. Because this time I decided to focus on enjoying this time with my kids. Don't get me wrong -- some voices have been raised and they might have even been mine. A time or two. But on the whole the kids have been VERY good. And every time I feel my patience start to wear a little thin I remind myself -- payback is hell!

I'm just kidding. The truth is though, that you win a lot more flies with sugar than you do with vinegar. If I jump on him the minute he walks in the door, sure, he's going to react defensively. If, instead, I tell him I 'd like to go see a movie with a couple of girlfriends on a weeknight next week, he'll probably say it's fine (and he did!).

So, I've learned my lesson. Now if Mr. Daddy would just quit calling me and talking about how awesome the weather is in Florida, I'd say he's learned his too.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

She Held Out As Long As She Could

I think I've mentioned before about how much Punkin idolizes Bubba. Although they do have their scuffles and she gets mad when he takes something of hers, she worships the ground he walks on. If there's something that he wants and he gets really upset about not getting it, she will do whatever she can to make him happy.

Case in point, at HER third birthday party I had balloons for all the kids to take home. I had bought extras, just in case, but several children had lost their balloons on the way to their cars and because I'm a softie I gave them new ones. Which meant that when it was time for us to leave my mom's house, there was only one balloon left, which I gave to Punkin since it was her birthday. You would have thought that I had mortally wounded Bubba the way that he looked at me. Big, fat tears welled up in his eyes and he started to cry because seriously, both my kids seem to love balloons almost more than life itself. He sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. And then Punkin walked over to him and said "Here, Bubba, you can have mine." She gave away her own balloon. At her own birthday party!

Yesterday when I picked her up from school, Punkin found a snack bag full of pretzel sticks that my step-sister had so kindly packed for the kids before we left her house on Saturday. After I confirmed for her that they were "not old" I heard Punkin began to crunch away on them.

"I'm going to save one of these for Bubba," she told me.

"That's great, sweetie. That's really nice of you."

She kept crunching. And crunching. And crunching. Finally, she said, "Mommy, can you break this one in half for me? I'm going to give half of it to Bubba."

As I reached around to get the pretzel stick for her, I realized it was the last one. Well, at least she was saving half for him.

I heard her crunch her half and then it was quiet for a few minutes. And then:

"I'm just going to lick this pretzel, okay, mommy?" she said, oh so sweetly.

"I thought you were saving that one for Bubba," I reminded her.

"I am," she said. "I'm just going to lick it, that's all."

Oh, well, if that's all.

When we picked Bubba up, Punkin held out the pretzel and crowed "Bubba, I saved this pretzel for you!"

"Don't eat it, Bubba!" I warned. "She licked it!"

It's too bad, really. Her heart was in the right place, but her willpower was nowhere to be found.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Me and My Stories

So, it's not really news because I saw it announced somewhere else a couple of months ago, but Entertainment Weekly just did a story on the fact that Days of Our Lives just let John and Marlena go, and frankly I am still shocked. Days used to MY show. Granted, John and Marlena were never my favorites, but still, they were an institution.

Days wasn't actually the first soap I ever watched. The very, very first would have to have been Guiding Light, which was guaranteed to be on every day at my Grandma's house (along with The Price is Right, of course). But I was young then and the stories really did nothing for me.

The first soap that really hooked me was General Hospital. I started watching it at my after school sitter's house. Keep in mind that this is the same sitter who wouldn't let us watch Three's Company because it was too raunchy, but didn't seem to mind if we sat and watched GH with her. I came in after the days of Noah Webster (or Rick Springfield to the uninitiated), but I watched Blackie (aka John Stamos) accidentally kill his girlfriend and go to prison for it. His bandmates discovered a new talent, Frisco (Jack Wagner) who fell in love -- over and over again -- with Felicia. I loved Frisco and Felicia. And Tony and Tanya. And Holly and Scorpio. And Scorpio and Anna (or Anner, as he called her).

Frankly, I'm not sure how I got hooked on Days since it came on while I was at school. But I remember getting hooked on the romance between good girl Hope and motorcyle riding, long-hair wearing Bo. In fact, I even skipped school the day they got married -- the first time. Because I never took advantage, occasionally my mom would let me have a "day off" from school and there was NO WAY I was missing that wedding. How could I have missed this?

My obsession with Bo and Hope was eventually overshadowed by my infatuation with Days other good girl/bad guy combo -- Kayla and Patch. And then of course Jack and Jen. I guess I quit watching sometime around middle school, but occasionally I'd check in. It usually wasn't too hard to catch up with the storyline since there were always Hortons and always Bradys. Heck, most of the characters I was watching were children of the characters my mom used to watch, so occasionally I'd catch her up on what was happening in Salem.

I couldn't even tell you the last time I turned on Days. There were a few characters I recognized, but most of them were new to me. And I couldn't really catch up. And now that John and Marlena are gone, well, that's just two more reasons for me not to tune in.

Did you have a favorite soap? Did you ever do anything crazy (like skipping school!) for one of yours? And OMG, you WOULD NOT BELIEVE the family trees, storyline recaps, and wiki entries for soaps that I found out there. It made me feel a lot better about my soap addiction!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Equal Rights for All, Blondes and Brunettes Alike

So, it goes without saying that this was a pretty momentous week. On Monday I was home with the kids since we all had the day off for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. As we were getting up from lunch, Bubba announced "Tomorrow's our 100th day of school! And today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!"

"You know what that's all about, right, Bubba?" His pre-K did a really good job of covering the basics of the Civil Rights Movement and who the major players were, but I was curious to see how much of it had stuck with him.

"Yeah, it's about everybody treating African Americans the same as us. And I know about Martin Luther King's speech -- I Have a Dream."

He then began to ask me lots of questions about "that lady, the one on the bus."

"Rosa Parks?"

Yeah, that lady. He was very curious to find out if she was still alive.

"No, she died a while back. Can you imagine what that was like, Bubba? Imagine if you were sitting on the bus and somebody got on and said 'Hey you, you have green eyes, you can't sit here, you have to sit at the back of the bus."

"Well that's not fair!" he said indignantly. I could see a light of understanding click on in his head.

Bolstered by the success of that I pressed on. "Or if somebody got on the bus and said 'Hey you have brown hair, you have to sit at the back of the bus."

"Yeah," he said. "Unless you have a little bit of brown hair and a little bit of blonde hair, then you can sit in the middle of the bus" he replied thoughtfully.

Hmph. I guess I should have quit while I was ahead.

On a similar topic, if you've never seen it, I highly recommend viewing "A Class Divided," which documents an Iowa schoolteacher's unforgettable lesson on discrimination. You can watch it here. I watched it in third grade and it changed my life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Country Mouse....

My mom asked me today if I had completely given up my blog for Facebook (to which I have become addicted and is another story for another day). Actually, I told her I'd given up my blog for reading. So far I'm on track for my book a week goal, though I had to give up on The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. It was too wordy and too-self aware. I kept getting the feeling that he thought he was wowing me with his verbosity, but really he was just turning me off. I rarely give up on a book, but this one just wasn't doing it for me.

So, anyway, last weekend the kids and I went to visit my best friend from high school, Dee, and her kids. Her sister, also a good friend of mine, was also there and we had a blast. I'm ashamed to say that I haven't seen Dee in almost two years. I know, I'm a really bad friend. It's just that sometimes when things aren't going exactly right in my life, I like to just tuck into my shell. It's hard enough to admit to myself that my life hasn't turned out exactly like I expected, so I'm not all that keen sometimes to expose my failures to other people.

But the great thing about Dee and her sister is their easy friendship. We just dropped back into our friendship as though no time had passed.

When it came time to leave we were standing by our cars when one of Dee's cows mooed loudly. Punkin's eyes lit up and she yelled out "COW!" You would have thought she'd heard an elephant. Dee made everybody's day by offering a quick jaunt into the pasture to see the cows. Both Bubba and Punkin were thrilled and acted as though cows are exotic animals. I found this highly amusing, yet also slightly shameful that they've never had any more contact with cows than that. I guess not everybody grew up on their grandfather's dairy farm like I did. It was hard not to be affected by their delight and I ended up being just as excited about the cows as they did.

But do you know what sent them absolutely over the moon? Cow poop. Yes, I said cow poop. Bubba spotted it first. "Is that cow poop?" he asked.

"Yep," I replied. "Also known as a cow patty or a cow pie."

"Look!" Punkin yelled. "There's more poop over there! Let's go see it!"

We went from cow pie to cow pie, marveling anew over every pile. Bubba's fascination with all things butt and poop related is well documented, but what you don't know is that Punkin has followed in her Bubba's footsteps. She too is a fan, and is gassy girl. Let's just leave it at that. And also? She is easily amused. We should be probably be discouraging her, but she takes such delight in making us laugh at her, um, offerings, that she's probably ruined for life.

Yeah, that what happens with country folk go to Obviously, we need to get out more.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stuff Part II

So, I had all these thoughts running around inside my head when I read Anna Quindlen's column In Newsweek called "Why Stuff is Not Salvation." In it, she says, "Americans have been on an acquisition binge for decades. I suspect television advertising, which made me want a Chatty Cathy doll so much as a kid that when I saw her under the tree my head almost exploded. By contrast, my father will be happy to tell you about the excitement of getting an orange in his stocking during the Depression. The depression before this one." (If you'd like to read the entire column, you can read it here.)

We always want a better life for our children than the one we have and I hope that I can raise my children to be free of the stuff-want that I've suffered from. But it's not easy when your children have one set of grandparents who take them to the dollar store every time they visit -- which is often -- and buy them cheaply made toys that don't last. Because of these toy store runs, both of my kids have come to expect a trip to the store with every visit. They also don't value any of these toys and don't take care of them. It enfuriates me but I have held my tongue thus far.

And then we went to my mother-in-law's for Christmas, where she gave Bubba an absolutely fantastic artist's easel. On one side was a dry erase board, on the other a chalkboard and it had a roll of paper that fits in the middle and hangs over one side. She rounded out the gift with some dry erase markers, some chalk, and an eraser. It was a great gift. And Bubba was thrilled....for a second. He looked around for other gifts to open and upon finding that there were no more said "That's not very much stuff."

And my head exploded. I.Was.Mortified. I took Bubba into the guest room for a very serious talking to. I told him that what he said was VERY rude and that it had probably hurt his Nana's feelings. I tried to get him to imagine how he would feel if someone said something like that about his gift. I also told him that Christmas wasn't just about presents, that it was about Jesus and God's love for us. In my anger and embarrassment, perhaps I went a little overboard, but in my defense I was reacting not only to his remark, but to all these issues that had been swirling around in my head and my own struggles with stuff want.

It became obvious that I had gone overboard when a few days later I overheard Bubba absolutely berating Punkin in the other room. "You don't know anything, Punkin," he sneered. "It's not just about presents. It's about God and Jesus, too. You're just being selfish," he scolded.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. That's not right either. There has to be a way to balance the normal excitement kids feel about Christmas with the proper perspective on stuff. I called Bubba to me and pulled him in my lap.

"Listen, Bubba," I said. "I didn't mean for you to get the wrong idea about what I said the other day. It's okay to be excited about presents and stuff. Presents are fun. And Christmas is supposed to be fun. I just want you to understand that it's not ALL about presents. Okay?"

"Okay," he said.

And I think he got it. On Christmas Eve as we were leaving my mom's house I asked the kids "Okay, one more time...what do you hope Santa brings for you?"

"I want the car that drives on the wall, Mommy" Bubba said.

I knew the car was in Santa's bag, but I asked "Well, what if Santa doesn't bring that, Bubba?"

"That's okay," he said. "I'll be happy with whatever Santa brings." And he meant it.

"Well, he'll probably bring it," I reassured him. "You told him a long time ago that's what you wanted."

Sometimes I think about Anna Quindlen's father, happy with his orange for Christmas. And it's not that I want Bubba and Punkin to just have an orange, I just want them to be happy with what they have. I want them to have peace.

Isn't that all we ever want for our children?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Stuff and Nonsense

This is my long promised "deep thoughts" post. I hope it's coherent. It should be -- it' s been hanging around inside my head long enough. It's just that for me it's a complicated subject and I've been grappling with the best way to get across to you all the conflict I feel.

Have you ever been thinking about something and then everywhere you turn you're confronted with articles or stories about the very thing you're thinking about? That happened to me right before Christmas.

I had been thinking about "stuff" and its hold over our lives for a while. All the news about the economy and people losing their jobs and their homes had me thinking a lot about the choices that we as a country, in general, have made. We seem to be driven by a desire for "stuff" and I think that desire has led us to hell in the proverbial handbasket.

See, me and "stuff" go way back. I've always wanted "stuff." My mom more than provided for the things that I needed and in most cases she also gave me what I wanted, but there are a few instances when she just could not justify the expense of whatever it was I was craving at the moment. As a parent, I get that. Boy, do I get that. However, as a teenager, all I felt was WANT.

And sometimes I have let my want for "stuff" make me miserable. Why does so-and-so have such-and-such and I don't? Why do they have a new house, a new car, an iPod, whatever? I can remember once, in college, sobbing in the car as listened to Colin Ray's song "Someone Else's Star,"

I guess I must be wishing on
Someone else’s star
It seems like someone else keeps getting
What I’m wishing for
Why can’t I be as lucky
As those other people are
I guess I must be wishing
On someone else’s star

Gah. I can remember as clear as day how much it hurt watching my dreams come true for other people. It was when I was reading The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs right before Christmas that I was struck with a realization. (This is an awesome book, by the way, no matter your religious views -- or even lack thereof. Jacobs attempts to follow all the laws, no matter how obscure or odd, for an entire year. It's hilarious, thought-provoking, and touching. I highly recommend it.)

In one of the first chapters, Jacobs addresses the issue of coveting, as in Thou Shalt Not Covet, number 10 of the Ten Commandments. The actual commandment reads "You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not cove your neighbor's wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his ass, or anything that is your neighbor's." He goes on to talk about different interpretations of what "to covet" might mean in modern society, but I realized that's my problem. For most of my life, I've wanted what other people had. To the extent that it has made me unhappy -- very unhappy in some cases. Jacobs says that some rabbis say that coveting means you are so desirous of obtaining material goods that you have veered from the path of being thankful for what God provides.

Even if you don't believe in God, I think that an obsessive desire for what you DON'T have can blind you to all the good things that you DO have. Don't get me wrong -- I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting stuff, you just can go overboard with it.

Anyway, all of these thoughts, combined with the Christmas advertising onslaught, the kids' incessant cry of "I want, I want" and a thought provoking essay by Anna Quindlen, all of these things combined to make me do some serious thinking....which I'll share with you tomorrow. This whole entry is convoluted and long enough for today.

Friday, January 9, 2009

You've Gotta Be Kidding Me

I'm starting a new series for this blog called "You Gotta Be Kidding Me" in which I'm going to post things that I stumble upon that are just plain weird or strain my credulity. Today I offer you this:

(image courtesy of dlisted)

What the hell, Nikki Cox? Do you honestly think those lips look good?

As I told a coworker yesterday, these lips leave me speechless. They probably leave Nikki Cox speechless too, because seriously, how do you talk with those things?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

They're Playing My Song

This morning Mr. Daddy and I were listening to the radio in the car -- we commute together most days -- when The Cult's "She Sells Sanctuary" came on the radio.

"That song right there is the soundtrack of my teenage years," Mr. Daddy mused. "I wore out two copies of that tape. Even though I couldn't understand a word he said."

That got me thinking about my soundtrack. Hmmmm.... What would it be? I started to say "Strip" by Adam Ant, but that sounds all kinds of wrong. But then I started thinking about Adam Ant and how I was pretty much the only person at my high school who liked him. Or had even heard of him.

And then that reminded me of this awesome mix tape a guy made for me in high school. It was full of new wave songs by bands like Yaz, Squeeze, Flock of Seagulls, Depeche Mode. We just didn't get those kinds of bands on our local radio station, but this guy had been to a boarding school in a larger town and had been exposed to more progressive music.

That tape opened up a new world of music for me and the song that I loved most on it was "Goodbye Girl" by Squeeze. So that's going to be the song I choose as my soundtrack.

Man, I wish I still had that tape.

What's the soundtrack of your youth?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Have you ever done something really boneheaded? I don't mean being forgetful -- heck, we're moms, we forget to stuff all the time. At least I do. When I was pregnant -- both times -- I would lose my keys so often that it became running joke. A very unfunny running joke. Forgetfulness is due to Mommy Brain and I'm hoping it goes away once both kids are in school. It does, doesn't it? Doesn't it?

For the record, though, our forgetfulness does not extend to the running of the household. I guarantee that any one of us can automatically answer correctly when some child/teenager/husband calls out "Mommy/Hon, where is my bookbag/briefcase?" or "Have you seen my...." ) We can also tell you the names, birthweight, time of birth, and other miscellaneous facts about the children, the pharmacies where all pertinent prescriptions are housed, activty schedules...well, you get the idea.

But what I'm really talking about here is not plain old forgetfulness. What I'm talking about something really boneheaded. Well, I've done it. Tonight, as a matter of fact.

I've been making Weight Watchers meals all week and tonight I was going to make a Roasted Red Pepper and Cheese Omelette. I pulled out my handy dandy cookbook and started tossing stuff in.

Eggs? check.
Roasted red pepper? check
milk? check
cheese? check.
2 Tbps. of salsa? check.
1 tsp of butter? check.

I commenced to stirring it all up and...whoa! Ew. That looks kind of gross...kind of like...well, I won't tell you what it looked like but it was not appetizing in the least. And then I saw the pat of butter floating there and I thought, "That's weird. What's going to happen to that butter when I put the omelette in the pan? It's probably not going to distribute evenly." And that's when it hit me.

The butter was for greasing the pan. The cheese was supposed to be added right before you folded the omelette and the salsa was supposed to go on top of the omelette as a garnish. I was only supposed to mix the first 5 ingredients, not every single item on the ingredient list.


I tried to salvage it as scrambled eggs, but something in the mix wouldn't gel. I kept stirring it and stirring it, but it would never firm up. Mr. Daddy took one look at it and said "No offense, but there's no way in hell I'm eating that." I was not offended. I was relieved.

So, I gave up and we had sandwiches. Let's just hope tomorrow night turns out better. Hey, it certainly can't get any worse!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bubba's Mom Has Got it Going On

So, some of you who have been around here a while might remember my Hallelujah jeans. For those of you who don't remember, it's these:

Gap curvy boot cut jeans. Those babies? Don't come cheap. In fact, I only have one pair because $69.50 for a pair of jeans, even Hallelujah jeans, is not something I'm going to be shelling out all that often for. In fact, the pair that I have was a combo birthday/Christmas present last year. All year I've checked the Gap site periodically, but those things just don't go on sale. Well, they DO, but $52 (which is their current sale price) is still too steep for me.

I came into a leetle bit of money over Christmas and since having only one pair of jeans that you actually like is pretty limiting when jeans are pretty much all you wear in your down time, I decided to head to the Gap outlet to see if I could score a good deal.

A quick aside -- it is just me, or are outlet prices just not as good as they used to be? Outlet used to mean cheap. Sure, it also usually meant shoddy, but still, cheap is cheap. And if you had a really good eye, you could usually find whatever you were looking for with no visible flaws for a really good price. Now? Not so much.

Anyhoo, at the outlet those Gap curvy bootcut jeans were still $39.50. $39.50!!! That's closer to what I would consider a regular price, not OUTLET prices. Sheesh.

There was a Lee outlet right next to the Gap outlet and I started to go in, but then thoughts of that hilarious mom jeans sketch from Saturday night live started flashing through my head and I couldn't bring myself to go in. The last time I looked at Lee jeans the options were, shall we say, somewhat limited. And yes, I'm a jeans snob. Sort of.

I shopped around a little more, went back to the Gap and walked around with a pair of $39.50 jeans for a while and then finally put them back.

As I was walking to the car I decided to just check out the Lee store. Just to see what they had, you know. Market research, so to speak. I picked out several pair and headed to the dressing room. There were a couple of pair that definitely had me channeling Tina Fey

But then I found them. These, to be exact:

Lee midrise, bootcut jeans. They may not be Hallelujah jeans, but for only $21? They're heaven sent.

And back then? I was trying to recapture my post-baby body in a pair of jeans. While I haven't completely reclaimed my post baby physique (I frankly think that's an impossible dream), with the help of Weight Watchers I am pretty close to my pre-baby weight. And I like the way I look in jeans again. Especially $21 jeans. Halle-freakin-lujah!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Let's Get Ready to Rummmmmble!

We've got a lot of ground to cover...or at least I let's get started.

We had a great Christmas and I hope you did too. Punkin had a good Christmas last year, but she had a GREAT Christmas this year. She was so excited about everything, from the carols to the tree (I keep hearing her sing "fiiiive goooold riiings!), and of course, most especially the presents.

A couple of weeks before Christmas I finally pinned her down for what she wanted -- a Barbie. I had been hoping to stave off the Barbie avalanche for another year or two, but what the heck. At least it wasn't a Bratz! We were driving in the car when she very solemnly asked me "What color hair do I have, Mommy?"

"Blonde, Punkin."

"That's what I want, a blonde Barbie."

And Santa delivered.

The only thing Bubba really asked for was the Air Hogs car that drives on the wall (which Santa delivered, I might add), but his big gift from Santa was a complete surprise:

"I didn't even ASK Santa for this" Bubba crowed!

Two days after Christmas we left on our annual trip to the shrine of Dolly (also known as Dollywood). We still had our year-round passes from LAST Christmas and it seemed a shame not to use them one more time. I didn't take nearly as many pictures as last time, but here are a couple:

Some of the memories that stand out from this trip are when Punkin and I were riding the ferris wheel, out of the blue she said "Do you know what my favorite part of Christmas was? Decorating the tree!"

My eyes teared up a little, knowing that even though it was one of the most frustrating tree decorating sessions ever, that it had made an impression on her.

Punkin and I aslo shared a bed while we were gone, though "bed" is actually a very generous name for the....thing...we slept on. We were stuck with a very rundown, very saggy, very squeaky (and vaguely pee smelling) fold out sofabed. But, sleeping with Punkin ended up being pretty pleasant actually as it seems that she has grown out of her inclination to sleep with her toes dug into my belly.

One night, as we snuggled in she said "What do you smell like Mommy?"

"I don't know. What DO I smell like?" I asked, half afraid that I was going to recieve some preschooler honesty about my bad breath or somesuch.

"Just regular ol' Mommy" she said matter of factly. Whew! I can handle that.

And that's about it. Since we've been home we've been watching a lot of tv. Or having a lot of "float days" as Laurel calls them. It's an excellent concept and you should try it if you get the chance. It basically involves lots of pajamas and doing pretty much whatever you want all day.

I've got to get going....I've got a book waiting on me. One of my resolutions for the new year is to read more (right, Katie?) I'm also vowing to be more adventurous in my reading -- reading something I might not normally -- though this book doesn't fall into that category. I'm finally reading Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster, which Elena has been recommending to me for ages.

Remind me to tell you about these things:

1. My new, wonderful, amazing, $21 jeans that I found.
2. My deep thoughts that I've been pondering FOREVER
3. ....Hmmmm....I know there was something else...maybe it will come to me.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

Hi! Did you miss me?

Well, I missed you! Though I was taking a much needed internet-free vacation, I did miss you guys.

Tonight I'm enjoying a little bit of the last SEC football still left to be played, so serious thoughts will have to wait for another time. Tomorrow perhaps. If I can pry the monkeys from around my knees.

There are tales to be told, funnies to share, and serious thoughts to ponder.

Thanks for not giving up on me!