Monday, December 29, 2008

18 years ago

It was a Saturday on this very day 18 years ago- a lovely day with perfect weather, though not as cold as I would have liked. Because we live in the south, the winter weather sometimes does not cooperate, and it feels more like spring. If you live somewhere with huge snowfalls and below freezing temperatures, you might wonder why I would wish for colder weather, but to me December should be winter really, and I love cold naturally, I was hoping for cold.

I was not nervous in the least....which if you know me, is unlikely at best. I worry about everything, and get nervous just thinking about things. But, the sun was shining down upon us, and I felt like this day was meant to be. Everything was planned perfectly, and I was finally ready to marry the man of my dreams.

Thinking back on that day now, I realize how young and foolish I was...I realize how much I did not know...I realize no one could have prepared me for what was going to happen to us in the 18 years to come. No matter what though, I would not change a thing. I would do it all over again!

It is shocking to me that we have been married for 18 years...I have wondered so many times in this space where all of that time has gone...usually concerning our daughter and how fast she has grown up, but the realization that we have fallen asleep next to one another for almost the last 20 years is many people are not fortunate enough to stay married for too long, so I feel blessed that we are still together...that he still loves me in spite of so much...that we have loved, laughed, forgiven, and created together for 18 years...

This anniversary has not been like I envisioned it...we are dealing with the husband's stomach virus, a sick cat, band practice for a New Year's gig, and the lethargy that comes after too little sleep because of all of the above...regardless, as I am typing this, I can hear the riffs of the bass and the beating of the drums from the band room, my heart swells with pride for the man I love and have loved for so much of my life...he makes me swoon. I pray that we enjoy another 18 years together or more!

The beginning of our official family: December 29, 1990.

May you be blessed with love and happiness for the upcoming new year!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In the span of two weeks

I am fortunate to live in a state that allows me to travel to varied locations rather easily...
In the span of virtually two weeks, I have been to two locations on short trips- two very different places with weather extremes that are hard to believe happened in the same month!

First, I had the privilege of attending the lovely wedding of my second cousin. He and his now wife live in Orlando, Florida. Even though the wedding was the first weekend in November, it was so very warm and sunny there. It was an outside wedding that took place at 3:00 pm...just in time for the sunshine to burst forth from behind a huge palm tree and heat me until I thought I might spontaneously combust! Needless to say, the wedding was brief, but the festivities surrounding it were so amazing- THE most delicious Italian food for the rehearsal dinner the evening before the wedding, cocktail hour by the pool while waiting on the wedding party to take photos just after the wedding, a sit down dinner of several courses after the wedding, and a champagne brunch on the morning after the wedding. We did not stop celebrating (or eating) the entire weekend! It was one of the best times I have ever had at a wedding!

A shot of the aisle where the bride walked...lovely flowers and such a view!

The fountain in the plaza leading to the wedding exquisite location! The Mission Inn

Below, the daughter and I are really enjoying ourselves...and below that, our view just outside the the sun began to fully set.

Lastly, this is the morning of the brunch after the wedding. I am pictured here with my parents, the daughter, my favorite aunt (my mom's sister), my favorite cousin H. and his partner, B. It was really such a remarkable time!

Picture two weeks later....I just today arrived home from this: SNOW!

My parents, my brother, sister-in-law, and their daughter, (my niece) MEBS and I took a trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee for the first part of our Thanksgiving break. As we crossed the mountains to get to our destination, we traveled through a recent snowfall, and the temperatures were still so frigid that the snow had not yet melted. What fun! We took the opportunity to throw a few snowballs and take some photos. It was not too long, and we were hopping back in the warm car to thaw out! It's not every day that Southerners like us get to play in the snow, so we just had to take a few moments. We had a great time, and while we were gone, we celebrated my mother's 70th birthday with a delicious breakfast at a down home restaurant, a visit to a winery (tasting and purchasing!), dinner and a fabulous show. I am so blessed to have a close family with whom I treasure these travels.

This is MEBS with my brother. Below, is my father, a 70 year old child...gathering snow for a that he was going to throw at MEBS, just before she got him!

Now matter the weather in your part of the world, I pray that your holidays are blessed this the spirit of our holiday of Thanksgiving, I am thankful this year for family, friends, good times, happiness and heath. I hope that you, too, may experience a feeling of thankfulness, peace and love!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

From under the mountain

It's me. I am here. Currently, I am buried under THE biggest mountain of life...just thought I'd say that I am still alive and kicking...trying to get out to take a deep breath...taking a minute to look around...whew! Back to the grind...sigh.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Case Report MO8 178700

Date: Septemeber 22, 2008

Time: 9:15 AM

Address: My home, my sanctuary, the place where I am supposed to feel safe...

Incident Type: Burglary

As of 6:15 PM, I was on my way home this evening, and I phoned to tell my husband that I was finally leaving school and coming home...We have Open House at school this week, and I have been spending many hours after school lately getting bulletin boards done, getting my room clean, and trying to make sure that I am ready for the parents. Well, this is what my husband says to me when I call, "Do you know already?"

"About what?" I reply. I have no idea what he is talking about.
"Someone broke into our house this morning. Just come home, " he replies.

I feel sick inside, and almost drive right off of the road. I hurry on home though. Before I get there, I call my parents. My mother, still shaken even though this is 8 hours later, tells me that my child, my sweet precious baby girl was home at the time, and she saw the intruder and called the police. I literally almost threw up right then. I told her I would have to call her back, and I drove like a maniac to get to my child....I just wanted to rest my eyes on her, to hold her, to shield her from this horrible world...She is ok. She doesn't feel like talking about it with me yet, but she did let me hold her for awhile.

The story: This criminal kicked in my front door at 9:15 this morning...fifteen minutes after my husband drove out of our driveway to go to a doctor's appointment. Broad day light. On a busy street. My husband had a thought to set the alarm system, then for some reason decided not to since he was not going to be gone long. This criminal entered our house at the same time the daughter dialed 911 on her cell phone and tiptoed down the stairs from her room to see what made such a horrible noise. You have to understand that she has not strated back to college yet, and she sleeps late most days. She is a ridiculously heavy sleeper. I have said many times that a tornado could sweep the house away, and she would sleep through it all. She did not sleep through this today. She came practically face to face to this man who had made it all the way into my dining room. She screamed when she saw him, and he ran. Thanks and praise to you, God, my Father...I can not say how much has gone through my head about what this man, this criminal, could have done to my baby instead of running. I will have this sick feeling in my stomach from now on about that. The daughter called my parents, and she spoke to my mother. My mom told me that she had no idea who was even calling, the daughter was screaming and crying so mother will remember that call forever. My father beat the police over here trying to see about his first granddaughter. My sweet parents. They come to our rescue so often; I just can not express how much they mean to me.

The reality: They will most likely not catch this man. He was probably on foot. He was brave enough to kick in a dead bolted front door in broad day light on the front of my home while cars drove by and neighbors walked their dogs and people jogged down the street. This street is not secluded or seedy; it is a very nice neighborhood. People are always around, out on the streets, and living their lives happy and unaware of what is lurking. We are not safe anywhere.

The Blessings: My child is alive and safe. My home will survive. The door can be replaced eventually. Nothing was taken. But most importantly, my child lives to see another day.

Please go fnd the ones you love; give them a kiss and a hug...let them know you love them. Then, be certain that you have an alarm system. Finally, pray with all of your might that the darkness will not reach you. I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

This Time Last Year

"Thanks for this weekend," he said.
The husband. He was off this entire unusual occurance lately since he's been working 6 days a week of 12 hour shifts! We have spent this weekend chatting, snuggling, watching movies, running errands, snuggling some more, and enjoying meals together. Not a particularly exciting weekend for some people, but a time of togetherness for us none the less. He wanted to surprise me by being off 3 days in a row, since my birthday was last Tuesday and I was sick. Sometimes, he can be so sweet. I so completely love this man. I have blogged about my love for him before here...
We realized at some point this weekend what we were doing this time last year.
Before I tell you about that, I will explain the above photo. This was taken of my father, me, and the husband at the Pananma Canal some time during the week of August 4-11, 2007. We went on a week long cruise to Costa Rica, Mexico, and Panama with 20 other family members! We had such a wonderful time...exploring places we had never seen before, enjoying our family, laughing and playing on board the ship... The most surprising thing about the whole trip really is just how rare it was... a-once-in-a-lifetime rare that I would be able to take off work for the very first week of school (something I will NEVER do again) and for the husband to take an entire week off from the hospital! Remarkably rare! We were just so fortunate to be together on such a fabulous trip!
Nine months before this trip (in December) the husband had brain surgery to remove a softball size benign meningioma. This surgery was shocking, and at best one of the toughest things we'd ever been through! To hear that your husband has a softball size brain tumor and that his brain has shifted causing personality changes- I can not say how scary that all was! He came through the surgery just fine, had a remarkable recovery, and we were just so thankful to God that it was all over. This was actually one of the deciding factors for us when we finally made the decision to go on the cruise. Taking that much time off from work was not an easy task for either of us, but we realized how short life can be, and it is not all about work all the time!
Little did we know that after the cruise and less than a month later, we would both be off from work again, but this time for totally different reasons. In September of 2007, the husband had a follow-up appointment to see how his brain was doing. (He can not have an MRI, since he has a defibrillator for a rare heart condition that was discovered in 2006.) So, when he went in for his CT scan, they discovered that he had another golf ball size tumor in exactly the same place...the nightmare was reoccurring! Still benign...still needed to be removed. We were told the first time that this kind of tumor is very slow growing, but how it grew back this fast was a mystery to all of us.
So, this time last year, I was watching the husband go through literal hell once again. The second time was so much more difficult for him- more pain, more swelling, more bruising, more weakness...just all around more difficult. He stayed one entire day and night in ICU just after the surgery, and then they sent him home. (I know. That's what I thought too. WAY too soon!) I am not a nurse. How was I going to be able to take care of him? I really needed to get back to work. So far, in six weeks of school, I had missed two and a half of them! I did the best I could...scheduling people that I love to come and check on him, make him lunch, and keep him busy during the day...and make him rest from time to time until I could get home from work. He also experienced some depression during this time, and that was a very tough thing to see. This man, one of the strongest men I know, was weak, sickly, slow, and so very fragile. He was missing so much work, after missing so much work so recently for other surgeries and the cruise...he actually lost half of his pay for awhile since he had not had time to build his sick leave back up...and we began having serious financial difficulties from which we have yet to completely recover.
One year later...we realize how blessed we are...God took care of us...everyone prayed for us, and the entire situation left us completely aware how much the hand of God is on our lives. Though I often do not deserve it, He takes care of me and loves me in spite of my many faults. As I look back at that time, I know that prayers of many sustained us. I did not fall apart. I was not sick with worry. I felt an unusual peace...the kind of peace that can only come from God. He has carried us through some of the most difficult things, and for this I will be eternally thankful.
One year later, the husband is strong and healthy once again. His scar has healed. His memory has returned. His personality is back to normal (if it ever really was normal to begin with!) He is kinder and more tender to me. He is the man I love...the one that shares my home, my bed, my heart. I thank God for him. I know things could have turned out differently, and when I look at him now, I realize how truly blessed I am...
Such a difference one year can make.
Right now, I am going to go climb back into bed to snuggle the man that I love once again...and continue the togetherness of our weekend. I hope you are having a wonderful weekend too! Until next time, I wish you much laughter, love, happiness and many, many blessings.

Thursday, September 11, 2008



I can not think of words to say to express my feelings on this day. Someone I visit from time to time said so eloquently what my heart feels...please go there and take a moment to read Golightly's beautiful post and to remember. Then, follow the link and read the poem. You will be saddened, shaken, moved...

I could tell you a long and ridiculous story of what I was doing that day...but I will keep it short.
Let's just say I worked for an insensitive administrator who thought it was best not to tell any of us about the terrorist attacks. Yes, any of us, including adults- teachers and students...she told no one. I did not know until I was on my way home that afternoon at 4:30. I pulled my car over on the side of the road to listen to a sketchy news report, and instantly knew something was not right. I called my mom on my cell phone to ask what was going on. She was upset because she called the school to talk to me and was assured that we were being told. Nope. Not me.

Today is almost over here. It is just past 11 pm...I am working on more school work and wishing I could go to sleep. My thoughts and prayers today have been with those that can never really forget. Our world has changed...our lives are all vastly different than they would have been had this unspeakable tragedy not happened. But, I do not remember everyday. I live my hectic life. I worry about ridiculous things. I stay busy. I do not grieve every single moment. I did not lose what many lost that day. So, I am pausing once more just before midnight to pray once more for those that still hurt.

I hope that your day has been blessed with freedom, safety, and love.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Hugging something other than a tree.
Came home from work today...sick.
Apparently, there is a stomach virus going around our middle school.
I was not aware of this...until today.

Image credit.

I am in need of a new camera, all my own.
Mine is currently on vacation in the daughter's purse.
She happens to be in Daytona Beach, Florida with my parents and my favorite cousin.
My camera has been on hiatus with the daughter for some time now.
This is why I have not posted any photos lately.
In my sleepy sick dreams, I dreamt that the husband bought this for me.
Tomorrow is my birthday.
I am staying home from work...sick.
What a nice gift that would make.
Not likely though.
One can dream, right?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Peace Summit 2008

Three full weeks of school...exhaustion, stress, ridiculous expectations, literal mountains of paperwork, lesson plans, meetings, meetings, meetings, and did I mention ridiculous expectations??? Despite all of the hardships of my career, every once in awhile something like this makes it all worth it...

Yesterday, I had THE best day with my entire cluster of much so that I wondered if I should be getting paid to have this much fun! Of course, I should...everyday in education should be like that. Sadly, it is not...but fortunately I have had enough days like this one to keep me in the profession for the last 13 years.

The scenario: Mayor Magallano (that would be me) has called for a "town hall" style meeting with all of the animal groups that live in the Segowlee Cantonment, an army base in India (the fictional setting for Rudyard Kipling's classic "Rikki Tikki Tavi"). Apparently, a severe conflict has erupted among the animal groups, and some loss of life has even occured. The insurrection groups involve: the mongooses, the cobras, the tailorbirds, the muskrats, and the humans. These groups have been invited to come to the Peace Summit to present their positions on the violent happenings in our cantonment and their proposals for a non-violent solution to this conflict. The Town Council shall listen to the proposals and select the best one- the one that would be appealing and fair to all of the animals as well as the one that furthers our vision of non-violence.

The reality: Each student in all four of my classes selected a card from an envelope that put them in one of the five groups listed above. Next, for three days prior to the Peace Summit, my students planned, prepared, researched, and put together such wonderful speeches. Yesterday, our Peace Summit happened in each of my four classes. I had no idea what to expect, but I was hoping for the best, after all, I am Mayor Magallano, and I was looking for a non-violent solution to the conflict. What I got was far superior to any of my hopes and expectations! My students were passionate; they were cheerleaders for their animal groups; they thought on their feet, answered questions from the Town Council and a "reporter" guest (our Instructional Lead Teacher came in for a visit to watch the proceedings during 4th period), and most of all, they were critically thinking to solve problems and come to a peaceful solution. In each class, the Town Council deliberated at the end of the presentation and certainly selected the group with the best argument. At first, I feared that the most popular students would naturally be selected as the winners, but time and time again, I was amazed that the best and strongest arguments were chosen as the winners no matter who was in that group. One of the greatest things was many of my special needs students (in two out of my four classes) had speaking parts, and they completely rocked every time! I was glowing with pride and enthusiasm...

The Results: Besides having the time of our lives, my students were able to see outside of this classic story, into the nature of conflict and problem solving...they related this happening to the world around us- conflict in their own lives as well as, in the global community. All day, the kids were buzzing with excitement- in the morning when they saw the room rearranged for our proceedings, during the day, between classes, and well into the latter part of the afternoon. I heard normal chatter as students walked by my room, but it was geared to things like, "Which group were you in?" and "Who won in your class?" During my last class of the day, (which is not an academic class, but a remediation class called Focus) the students came in literally begging to do the presentations again. We spent the next 40 minutes just having a conversation about why the experience was so meaningful to them, and how they could relate it to their lives...I was feeling on top of the world.

The Reality Part 2: After all was said and done for the day, I had to post my grades before I left the building. We had approximately one day to get this done...and obviously, I was far to busy throughout this particular day! So, needless to say, I did not leave the building last night until 6:15 pm! I was so quickly knocked back down to earth and to the mountains of paperwork I spoke of earlier! Thank God this is a long weekend, and I can rest up for another wonderful middle school experience next week!

Thanks for letting me gush about such a rare fun-filled middle school day...
I sincerely hope your Labor Day weekend is filled with fun and relaxation!

Image credit.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Wonderful Weekend

A full week of school is under my belt...not such a bad beginning. Class sizes are rather small (largest class right now has 20 kids), and soon to complaints, just happy that the weekend is here!

The husband and I have been glued to the television this last week, watching the Olympic Games from Beijing, China. Our favorite events so far have been...SWIMMING! We have yelled and cheered for all of the USA team members, but especially Michael Phelps. He is a sight to behold!

In fact, he is swimming soon, so I gotta go...just wanted to check in and have a look around to see what was going on in the blogosphere...Hope your weekend is exciting and relaxing!

Image credit

Friday, August 8, 2008

A Few Things...Here and There.

I have never been so glad that it is Friday! This was my first full week back to work after summer (we had five pre-planning days to get ready for the kids)...and I have had students for the last two days. Initially, I thought what in the world are we going to do for five days...and then I realized today that I still had not unpacked two of my boxes for the desk in my room! Ha. Where did all of that time go? I used every single minute to prepare my room, meet with co-workers, and just do whatever needed to be done. Not a sinlge minute was wasted, and yet I could have used a few more before they arrived on Thursday!

Back to school is one of my least favorite times as a teacher...learning the names of anywhere from 90-125 students is tough...dealing with scheduling, setting a firm foundation of discipline but at the same time making them feel welcome and that this is going to be a great year- a delicate aching body getting used to me standing mostly all day once again, and the bladder issues of retraining it to wait until I get a break to go!

So far, these last two days have gone smoothly, and I adore most of my students- they seem an eager bunch and spirited in all of the right ways! I am sure that I will have tons of middle school fun to share throughout this year.

On another note, my parents' house is up for sale! I have not yet actually seen the sign in the yard, but I know it is there...realtors have shown it twice in the last week, and my parents have busied themselves packing up the normal clutter of living in a home for 32 years...making it look more presentable and ready for possible buyers. The idea of this still tugs at my heart and makes me feel weepy, but I am really ok with it...much more so than last Saturday!

I have no special plans this weekend, and for that I am ever grateful! I have a bit of school work to do- work on lesson plans for the last part of August (yes, I am actually ahead fo the game!) and perhaps see a movie with the daughter...if she will go with me. The husband has to work, and other than some light house cleaning, I would love to rest up for next week...our first full week of school!
I hope your weekend is filled with wonderful things and doing just what you would like to do! Enjoy it...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

A Brand New Day

I have read and re-read my previous post so many times it is is almost like I am trying to get used to the idea of my parents totally changing life as they know it and selling perhaps if I read it once more, it will just become a part of me, or my brain will finally wrap around it all. This is progress...slow, but getting there. It will be ok!

I am feeling differently today...right this minute...a new feeling is stirring inside of me...

Today is a brand new day...Sunday...and I feel blessed in spite of my emotional outbrust on Saturday. I am a few hours away from going into my Father's house to worship sing out my praises and to give thanks for the blessings that I have...and I do have SO many! My tears have dried, and my eyes are less swollen, and I believe that it will all be alright. I really had to think about how much worse it could have been...this situation makes me sad, but it is in no way similar to the horrors that other people deal with on a daily basis. I will praise my God for the parents He gave me, for the wonderful life that He blessed us with, and for loving me in spite of my many, many faults.

While I am at church, I am also going to witness the baby dedication of one of the grandsons of my very best friend in the whole wide world...the parents of this precious boy are going to publicly dedicate their son to our Father...I know I will shed a few more tears, but this time in pure JOY!

I hope you will be blessed today in your own lives...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Soft and Sad Eyes

It is 3:02 Saturday morning as I begin to type this....I woke up to use the restroom (I do that most evenings) and I could not fall back asleep (I do not do this most evenings).
My insomnia has not returned (hopefully) although I am feeling so worried about my parents it might just's hoping that getting this off of my chest will do the trick and the insomnia will stay far away! My eyes are soft looking at these people (my parents) in this precious eyes are also swollen and moist from the tears I love to shed. No, nothing majorly earth-shattering has happened, but I am mourning to say the least.
I had a conversation with my father earlier this evening, which left him unable to continue talking to me for the moment; he had to pass the phone to my mother, saying, "You talk to her; I just can't..." while he lost the cool control of himself that he always has. This left me sobbing. My father is a proud, strong, and wonderful man...I do not remember a time when he has ever lost his emotional control. I just can not emphasize enough how much I love this man and my mother...I have always said that I could not have chosen better parents if given the choice and that I have been blessed beyond measure in them. Everyone deserves parents like mine! The main point of this conversation that rendered my father unable to continue talking to me was the state of my parent's finances, and a meeting that they had with a financial advisor.
First, you have to know that before he retired, my father was a banker. He worked himself up from being a teller to a Vice-President of the bank he worked for his entire adult life. He is a wiz with numbers (I did NOT inherit this!) and he always prided himself in making sound financial investments and decisions. As a banker, he planned well for his retirement, and they have been living quite comfortably for the last twelve years. They own two houses- one they live in, one they vacation in and rent out; they have a lovely, well-maintained pool and yard (my parents both so enjoy working in this yard, taking amazing care of it by themselves); they own several deeds with a vacation resort company (it's how we travel so often to the beaches and such); they are also quite genereous with their children and practically anyone else that needs help.
After the meeting with this financial advisor, basically this man told my parents that they are going to have to sell pretty much everything, move into a much smaller house, cash in a huge insurance policy (what they were planning to leave my brothers and myself as our inheritance) and drastically reduce the amount of money that they live off of each father's retirement is simply running out. The economy has reeked havoc on his investments...He went into the meeting thinking he had a good three years at least before this happens; only to discover that no, it is more like twelve year to toally alter life as they know it.
My father insists that he is ok with this, just momentarily emotional while talking to mother is shockingly fact, when she took the phone, she calmly explained her point of view, "Everything in this house is just is not important to me....all that matters is that I have your father by my side. We can live anywhere and get through anything if we are together." As I am typing this, I just can not stop my flow of tears! Why am I crying? So many reasons! I could not even utter words by this time on the phone I was sobbing so hard. My mother said, "We need not worry about what is done...we just all need to be concerned with our salvation- knowing God and living the best way we can from here on out...; she continued, "I do not want you to worry about us or to cry...everything will be fine...". This is what my life is always like- they comfort me, when I should be comforting them.
I am not mourning the loss of material things....I am truthfully sad for them to sell the house they live in- it's where I grew up; it's where we lived when the daughter was is THE place I know of as home, even though I have not lived there for years. I watched a quirky movie last week that expresses some of what I have felt about this Garden State the main character at one point talks about returning home- this place that you have always known and loved- only to discover that it is not your home anymore...and feeling a loss in that. I remember that feeling...when we (the husband, daughter, and I) moved out, and would come back to visit my parents, I felt like a piece of my childhood was lost to me. So, yes, I am sad about the house. But, it is more than that parents are vulnerable...defenseless against something I can not name...they are human...fragile...and incapable of stopping this. To me, they have always been invincible...unshakable...they recuse me when I am hurting or in need...and I can not rescue them. I can not save them from this mess. I have my own financial mess...I guess I also feel guilty in a sense...since so often they have helped me with financial stuff...paid for things when I could not or loaned money and not said a single word when I had difficulty paying it back...This is no one's fault. It just is. I know everything will be fine...that is just how my parents are. But, whew. I can not stop the tears. This just should not have happened.
My sweet mother, who is filled with wisdom, said, "I did not call you up to tell you that your father was dead...that is the only reason you should stop your tears now. " She just made me sob even harder. I can NOT imagine this world without them.
It will be ok. I will stop the tears eventually and move on. This is not the end of the world, as my mother likes to say. It just feels like it (sort of), but I know it is not. I also always know things could be worse. This was just a shock to me, to my heart, and my brain. It will be fine.
Thank you for allowing me to invade the early morning hours of the blogosphere to unload this heavy burden. I would like to say that I feel better already, but I would be lying. My swollen eyes actually ache and my head is about to split open! I am off to take some headache medicine and then try to go back to sleep. It is now 4:31. I will rest on my pillow with a song from Garden State in my is a love song really, but some of the lyrics always make me think of my parents...
"I drink good coffee every morning / Comes from a place that's far away/ And when I'm done I feel like talking / Without you here there is less to say / I don't want you thinking I'm unhappy / What is closer to the truth / That if I lived till I was 102 / I just don't think I'll ever get over you..."
P.S. I did not type this as one big gigantic paragraph...I had skipped lines periodically throughout, but it will NOT publish the way that I typed it *grrr*
So please forgive the big LONG mess. I am too tired to sit here and worry about it. I need rest...
P.S.S. That lovely photo of my parents is from their wedding day, 50 years ago in May 2009!

Monday, July 28, 2008

BSM: Reflections at Sunrise

Tracy at Mother May I is reflecting on things for Best Shot Monday this week, so I took cues from her and composed my own list of current reflections.

Just returned from my last hurrah of the summer, as I start back to work / school this week on Thursday (yikes!!), so most of my pondering happened in the face of this glorious place- the crashing waves, the sucking wet sand, the delirious laughter of children playing in the nearby pool...what a place to reflect! This is Daytona Beach, best shot above is at sunrise on our last morning after spending a week there.

While there, I reflected upon the following:

* going back to work this week- trying to gear myself up for a less stressful year...hoping and praying that all will go well with new administration and new students...I took deep breaths while trying to soak in this sea thinking that would rid me of all of my worries...

* my parents- growing older and more fragile- my father celebrated his 70th birthday while we were at the beach...70 years old. That sounds so old...they are such active and busy people that they do not act like that age, so it is easy for me to forget...I already ache for the day that I will have let go of them...*sigh*I can not even think that thought all the way through...but I have just in the last few years really realized the years in them...the photo below is my father with his two grandgirls- my daughter (the oldest grand child) on the right and MEB, my brother's daughter (the youngest grand child) on the left.

* how fast children grow up- the daughter just turned 19 this summer, and we were all talking about how she would be 20 years old this time next summer...(*oh, my heart*) During this conversation, all of a sudden the daughter realized that MEB will soon be 6 (in November), will start kindergarten in a week or so, and will be almost 7 this time next summer...(boy was that shocking for her!) I told her that is what it has been like for me to watch her grow so very fast before my eyes...that is one little girl that the daughter simply is so nice for the cousins to be so close; when the daughter is around, MEB will not have much to do with the rest of is really quite touching, and I hope MEB will still love the daughter that much even when she gets older and older...The photos below are from MEB's first slumber party! My brother, sister-in-law, and their kids were in Daytona with us (we stayed in different sides of the resort), and MEB got it into her head that she was going to spend the night with the daughter planned a slumber party with dinner, games, painting nails, make-up, pop-corn, late night television (Disney Channel), and much much was so sweet!

MEB is wearing my shoes in the first shot...a sure sign of growing up- wearing heels! Nana (my mother) was our nail tech for the evening in the next shots...she was so gracious in applying polish to everyone's fingernails and toenails...with such skill and no complaints! And of course, MEB wanted to sleep in the daughter's bed...

* lastly, I reflected upon the future- right now there are many uncertainties for us- financial difficulties, the daughter's college / job (or lack there of), where life will take us throughout the next several months...I continued to take deep breaths and realized that God is in control of it all, and I need to trust in Him...I took this last photo as a sign that all will be well! (not sure if you can see the rainbow, but it is there...His promise.)

Check out other stories and photos of reflections for this week here. Hope you have a great week!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Summer Sky

..."Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom. July is dressed up and playing her tune.
And I come home from a hard day's work, and you're waiting there, not a care in the world.
See the smile a waitin' in the kitchen, food cookin' and the plates for two.
See the arms that reach out and hold me, in the evening when the day is through.
Summer breeze, makes me feel fine
Blowin' through the jasmine in my mind..."
Exactly two weeks...and my summer will end.
I know I have lamented about the boredom I felt for a few days, but sheesh...the thought of going back to work still students, new administration, proving myself all over just two more weeks.
I am leaving Saturday for my last hurrah- a second beach trip with the daughter and my parents. The person I feel sorrier for is the husband...he can not get off work to go with us. Like so many others, he does not get a summer break. So, I should suck it up and not complain about it being over. It will be good to get into a busy routine again.
Until then...
"summer breeze, makes me feel fine...blowin' through the jasmine in my mind...".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Two for Tuesday

Ok, so I missed did that happen? I am on summer break, and while this is the most luxuriously lazy time of my life, I sort of lose all track of days...I am fully aware that it is 2008, but I can't easily recall what day of what month it is...I did realize that it is July (mostly thanks to the 4th of July celebrations), but I completely missed Monday. Yesterday was kind of a blur to here is what I would have posted on Monday! was blueberry picking time on Friday morning. My friend, Natalie, invited us to tag along with her and several of her friends to a nearby blueberry field. So many little ones and their moms...the daughter and I enjoyed the frenzy of it all...lost buckets, toddlers picking up blueberries off of the ground, and eating handfuls rather than putting them in the bucket...I laughed so much....We had such a nice time.

This is a bad picture of the husband's dessert last night...the daughter made a delicious chicken stir fry with Thai rice for dinner, and I made a light cream to go with these luscious berries. I have also found several not-so-good-for-you blueberry recipes that I will try over the next several months with the blueberries I put in the freezer. For this week's Best Shot Monday, Tracey talked about the "earth's currency" and I think these blueberries are exactly that...for more BSM photos and stories check out her place.

Another wonderfully fun thing that we did recently...a day of swimming and several games of Candy Land afterwards. How long has it been since you have played this game? Well, for me, since I have a nineteen-year-old, it has been quite a while! Of course, I remembered how to play; it is so simple, but things on the board game have changed a bit. There are bridges and people that I did not recognize...including the King and the Candy Man. What fun. MEB is such a delight, and is totally in love with playing games. She is also very good at most of them...she wins more often than not. Oh, how I love this little girl. You can read more about her here and here. And even here. She makes my heart sing... I love that my parents keep her, especially during the summer, since I get to see her more often. She will start kindergarten in the fall...and most likely will not need to go back to Nana and Papa's house to be kept since school is all day. We are all struggling with that...her growing up and not being a baby anymore. *sigh*
So, I will enjoy many more games of Candy Land and Monopoly Junior while I can!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

No BSM: Camera Missing in Action

The daughter is away...with my camera. All of my weekend photos are still on the camera, so I have no shots to post for today. *sigh*

Oh well, just as an update...
I found a book with which to busy myself over the last day or so...
The 4th of July weekend was lovely- swimming and eating dinner at my parents...
Another cookout at a cousin's house with many, many of the other cousins that I so rarely see.
Time with my husband, as he had several days off in a row. That almost NEVER happens, so I was giddy with snuggling and early bed times...(that totally helps my insomnia!)

Speaking of bed times, I just wanted to let you know that I was off of the couch...
I am headed to bed, but I will post some photos when the camera comes in from life on the road with a crazy teenage girl.

Hope your week is wonderful...
Check out the really great Best Shot Monday photos and stories at Melody's place- Slurping Life!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pity Party for One

Incapable of getting off the couch.
Daydreams about things that should be done, and then does not do them.
Wakes up ridiculously late, then naps off and on throughout the day.

They say confession is good for the soul....

I am not good (REALLY no good) without the routine of the school year. As a teacher, I need the meetings, the bells, the paper work, and the lesson plans...Summer causes me to wallow in a pit of quicksand, slowly the point of heartburn...oh, maybe that was what I ate for dinner. Glutton.

My mother used to say, when I complained of boredom, "Oh, you are bored? Well, I have something you can do..." It was never something wonderfully exciting like shrinky dinks or a game of Parcheesi. No, it was scrubbing the bathrooms, or folding laundry. I need a summer job, I think. Perhaps I will look in to that for next summer. This one is almost over. *sigh*

Do not get me wrong...I enjoy the beach...the sand ,the surf, the sounds. I need that as well- for my sanity. And summer is just about the only time I get that...It's just that in between the beach trips and a few other things that I do over the summer, I get lost. Lost aimlessly wandering through my days wondering what to do...I have no plan for the days. No little ones to chase after. No schedules to keep. The days are endless open plains...I know what you are would love to have just ONE day like this, and what the hell am I belly aching about anyway?! Well, excuse me. This is a pity party for one, and I get to cry if I want to.

Perhaps my hormones are out of whack, and I would feel better after a good night's sleep. Yes.


Tomorrow is another day, and I will find something constructive to do with my time. I will surely let you know what that is...but in the meantime, thank you for having such a great life and for blogging about it, so I can at least fill up a few hours each day. Loser.

Monday, June 30, 2008

BSM: A Letter to my Niece

Dear MEB,

You are getting older, so fast I can hardly believe it. I am so happy that you still find wonder in the world, that you are not scared to be yourself, that you march to your very own beat...
You make me smile with your laughter....the way your sweet nose crinkles up, while your eyes practically squeeze shut, and your laughs come out in precious tiny gasps. When you wrap your little arms around me, I want to stop time to savor the seconds of your youth.
As I look at you this summer, and think of summers past, I am amazed at your fearlessness in the water- swimming without any floats, jumping off of the diving board, and swimming the full length of the pool by yourself. I am shocked by the length of your legs- so long and lovely, ready to carry you away into the world. You make my head spin with all the wonderful things that you know...the questions you think to ask...the answers you seek...I am knocked out a thousand times over listening to you read your favorite book.
When you start school this fall, a whole new world will open up to you...there will be things you already know, but also much, much more that you don't. Won't it be fun to make new friends, learn something new each and every day, and discover a brand new place? I will be excited to hear about all of the fabulous fun things you do each day!
I hope you realize, dear one, how very much you are loved...from the first moment I ever held you in my arms, my heart was swollen with love...and now these days, I am near bursting!
I love you, sweet girl.
Your Andi
For more Best Shot Monday photos and stories, head over to Melody's this week!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

She's in Ireland!

Oh, thank very best friend in the whole wide world, Sallee, made it to Belfast!! She finally posted a message to say that she and M, her husband, made it safely. I have been worrying and praying that all would be well. I have checked her blog a million times lately to see if she's posted any news. Whew! At least, she's there. I will spend every free moment this next week checking for updates and photos. She is planning on blogging about her visit, so when you have a minute, check it out here.

Image credit.

Monday, June 23, 2008

BSM: This is Summer

" Out of the Sea Endlessly"
Ode to Walt Whitman
There are some things too big to fit on paper.
What if words could describe the ripples of the sea?
And if there were words, what would call us to it?
The heartbeat of the sea,
rocking, spilling its secrets onto the shore.
The ocean's pent up emotions pour out in the surge-
the surge, the surge, the "procreant urge..."
We are drawn to the erratic "convulsive breaths" of the sea
the swollen moon above
the gulls mourning their losses
the sucking sand pulling us in
as the sea whispers.
July 2007
I wrote this poem last summer as part of a poetry class for my master's degree. I try to describe in mere words why I love the sea so much...there really aren't words.
This photo is from this last week at the beach...when I look at it, I can hear the sounds, smell the surf, and feel the sucking of the sand...this is summer to me.
Keep reading below to find out more about the sights and sounds of this trip.
Also, check out more summertime shots for BSM.

Images of Summer Fun- This is Vacation

We just returned from a week at the beach...Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. We had a wonderful time-resting, relaxing, summering away our time in a lovely place! This is me with my father and the daughter... (I am HATING my Sandra Dee is courtesy of the sun, the wind, the sweat, and my inability to stop tucking it behind my ears!)

This is our view from the 9th floor balcony... it also shows our path to the beach. We take the wooden deck and the steps all the way down to the sand. Not too far, and such a view!

The daughter and my most FAVORITE cousin, H. sipping a delicious tropical drink on the beach...H. was our bartender for the week, and I must confess, we all spent a great deal of time sipping delicious concoctions!

Typically on beach trips, my father and I get up each morning before the sunrise to walk several miles down the beach...this is a tradition for us. Every time we visit a beach (at least twice a year) we do this together...daddy calls it "our time." This tradition is one of the things I treasure most about our trips. This is time for the two of us to talk, discuss hard things, remember good times, or just walk in silence listening to the waves crash...priceless time. This year, H joined us. We had just as many wonderful and funny conversations! It is just such a nice time on the beach before the day really begins...
This photo, however, was taken on one of our afternoon walks- just before a storm came. H. and I were skipping over some water, trying not to get our feet wet, as the daughter captured this silly shot. I love the sky here; you can see the storm brewing!

This is my sweet mother doing what she enjoys best- reading! Of course, I was on the love seat nearby doing something that I enjoy too- reading also! I just looked over at her, and the sight was so precious to me that I just HAD to snap this shot. Although, in a few short moments, I looked over again ,and THIS is what I saw:

LOL! I am not kidding- there is like five minutes between shots! When I showed them to her later, she laughed and said, "I could not keep my eyes open...I just needed a short little nap!" Two activities that my mother and I both enjoy-reading and napping!

This is the daughter on our night to cook. We traveled this year with my parents, my Aunt P, and my cousin H. (my husband and H's other half had to stay home and work) Other than the evenings we go out to eat, we each take a night to make dinner. The daughter was head chef and I was her sous-chef! We decided to make beer battered shrimp and chicken (since I do not eat shrimp). A nice summer salad was the perfect accompaniment to the heavier fried foods. Everyone said her meal was better than any we'd eaten so far. Watch out Food Network, we may just have another famous chef in our midst! (By the way, it TOTALLY cracks me up that she is wearing a field day t-shirt from her 6th grade year in elementary school.)

This is my plate piled high with yummy things! I ate chicken, but the salad is my favorite- with mandarin oranges, strawberries, toasted almonds, and poppy seed dressing. DELICIOUS!

An interesting ending to our trip this year included a visit to a local gay bar called Rainbow House to see a drag show on our last night. (H. and his other half B. have visited this bar before.) This is after a few drinks, as you can tell.

This is H. with a lovely lady from the show...This was a first for me, but we had a blast!

Our last morning on the beach...the daughter and I took a sneak peek one last time, while everyone was inside checking the drawers, cabinets, and closets to be sure we had gotten everything packed up. We needed one last glimpse of the wonderful sea...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

This is Vacation!

Taking a brisk walk for miles down the ocean front before sunrise...
Lazily resting by the sea...
Lazily resting by the pool...
Taking a dip in the refreshing water...
Eating delicious sea food...
Playing cards and dominos...
Taking a nap after all of the hard work we've done...
Lazily resting on the couch inside the resort...
Laughing until I can not see...
" must be time for bed!"

I am having a great time at Myrtle Beach, SC. Be home later!
Hope your week is going nicely...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Insomnia Update: ZZZZZZ...

Bliss once again.
Sleep has returned.
Not completely full force, mind you, but I have again visited the Land of Nod.
This is a place that I love; I did not realize how much I would miss it when I was away.
I am hopeful that our beach trip this coming week will bring it back completely!

Hope everyone is doing well, and prepared to have a GREAT weekend and Father's Day!

Monday, June 9, 2008

BSM: Parenting Imperfections

Parenting imperfections???
How much time do you have? I have been a parent for some years now (19!), and I have had countless moments of imperfection....too many to confess in just one simple post! Evidently, I REALLY need to tune in to the blog series that Tracey mentioned- Brene Brown's The Gift of Imperfect Parenting. I have never before thought of my imperfections as a gift. What I hope this series does for me is confirm that most mothers do in fact struggle with the uncertainty of what we are doing...I hope that I am not alone in my worries. I am the mother of a head strong, lost, and struggling nineteen year old daughter, and I OFTEN HAVE NO CLUE WHAT I AM DOING AS A PARENT!!! Some days, I want to stand on the roof tops and yell, "HELP!!!" I know I have made mistakes, errors in judgment, and had some of the worst imperfect moments...I am certainly planning to tune in later today. I may even purchase the CD! I am certain that this is something I will need to revisit- LOL! All in all, I hope to learn something that will benefit me as a mother.

The picture I chose as my best shot is one from a series of shots that I took awhile ago for a class when I was getting my master's degree. It is symbolic of many of the struggles I have had as a parent of a teenager in today's society...she is faced almost daily with access to drugs, alcohol, and sex, you name it...these issues are present in the lives of our children, even when we think they are not. Many of these things blindsided me as a mother. Even though (I confess) I was a rowdy teenager myself, it was a completely different world then. It is worse now. I continue to hope that better days will come for our youth- that we as a society will recognize our shortcomings as parents and community members, and stand up for what our children need. May God bless all of you that are newly starting on your journey as parents...I pray your years are a piece of cake!!
For more Best Shot Monday photos, take some time to visit Mother May I.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sleepless in the South

Sometimes late in the summer I have bouts of insomnia...usually it is because I start having massive anxitety about school starting again. When I am able to actually fall off into dreamland, I have nightmares about showing up for school on the first day in my pajamas, without shoes, in the most God-awful clothes or that I have forgotten completely how to teach...

Well, in case you do not have a calendar handy or you just woke up from a coma, it is not the end of the summer. My summer JUST began. And I can not sleep.

First, I should confess how much I LOVE to sleep. When I was pregnant with our daughter, the husband (who was then the boyfriend) would often say, "Are you sure you are ok? I have NEVER met anyone who could sleep as much as you do..." When I was a young child, my mother would put me to bed so early that the sun had not gone down, and I would exclaim, "But I still hear kids playing outside!" She would pull the room darkening shades down, tell me a story, and allow me to drift off into dreamland, because she KNEW without a FULL night's sleep, I was a total grump! On the other hand, in my college days, I could totally pull off all nighters...remember I was a new mother, married, and living in my parent's home back in those days. Staying up all hours of the night was expected with a new baby and school work! Even later, when we moved into our first home, I spent MANY nights up into the wee hours of the morning writting papers and reading class assigned literature. Somehow, my body, the older I have gotten, just can NOT do this anymore. It's like I hit some magic age and I literally start yawning at 11:00. This last year, I made it to bed earlier and earlier every night...and just LOVED it. I adore my luxurious 800 thread count sheets, my comfy mattresses, snuggling with my husband and our cats...I crave our bed when I have been out of it for too long. Often on Saturday mornings, if I have nothing particular planned and if the phone does not ring and if everyone leaves me alone, I will sleep ALL afternoon. No joke. Sad, but selfishly true.

So, all of this being said...I can not sleep.

Today is Saturday. I have nothing particular to do today. My husband is at work. My daughter is asleep. The phone has not rung, and yet I am AWAKE. I have been awake since 8:30 am. Before that, I was awake when the husband's alarm clock went off at 5:15 am. Before that I had just come to bed at 2:30...This is how last night went for me:

12:00 mindnight- the husband kisses me good night.

1:18- I am reading blogs, trying to get sleepy. I still feel WIDE AWAKE.

(by the way, if you have not done so, check out The Pioneer Woman. I found her on someone else's blog, and she is a HOOT! I read her entire story of how she met Marlboro Man. It will make you swoon...)

2:30- I decide this is ridiculous. If I just go on in and get into bed, sleep WILL come.

2:37- I notice that the neighbor's dogs are barking AGAIN.

(now, I am a pet LOVER; I have five cats. But they do NOT bark. They have five dogs. And they bark! Every single night. One of them starts barking, and then it turns into sort of a howl. Our bedroom, unfortunately for me, is on the side of the house that is closest to the area where the dogs are. The husband is a bit deaf; he wears two hearing aids- from YEARS of damage from being a musician in a band- he does not wear said hearing aids to sleep; he can NOT hear the dogs. They only disturb ME.)

2:45- dogs are still barking...I am still awake. I have begun to toss and turn.

2:53- I must be sort of asleep, because I do not really hear the dogs anymore, but I do hear this tiny whistle is MY I am having some sinus issue and can not fully breathe out of my right nostril. I get up. I blow my nose, and blow my nose...trying to make the whistle stop!

3:17- I am begging God at this point to help me must work for an hour or so.

5:00- For some reason, my eyes fling open, and I think, "his alarm will go off in a few minutes..."

5:15- The alarm goes off...he gets up, and gets ready for work. The dogs are barking again.

6:15-The husband comes to kiss me goodbye; he is leaving for work.

And then from 6:15 until 8:30 or so, BLISS! I must have slept...I did not recall it, so I must not have enjoyed it. And now I am AWAKE again.

This is very similar to how my last SEVERAL nights have gone...I do try to read different things to help sleep come- a mystery that my mom gave me (I finished it in one night) a school related book about pedagogy (would usually put anyone to sleep! not me), so last night, I tried reading blogs. No such luck. Any ideas? Any suggestions?? This is far too early in my summer to start having this problem. I NEED to sleep.

I am holding onto hope that when my family and I go to the beach- that wonderul place that I LOVE more than anywhere in the world- I will be so at peace and relaxed, I will be able to sleep. We leave on Father's Day! Here's hoping...

I hope your weekend is filled with bliss and epecially SLEEP!

Image credit.
P.S. I am going to read the article related to this is about sleep disorders and allergies. hummm...very interesting!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Theme Thursday: Time

Relay for Life Torch Garden- 2008
(each torch is in honor of a cancer survivor or in memory of a cancer victim)

I took these photos one month ago at our county's 2008 Relay for Life...where participants celebrate...remember...and fight back in honor of cancer survivors and victims.
A woman with whom I work named Deborah saw this same sight one year ago, when she walked in the survivor's lap, celebrating and fighting along with the rest of us, determined not to let cancer win...only to discover several months later, her cancer had returned with a vengence.
What a difference a year makes.
How can we know what will happen in only a year's time? What will happen to us in another year? What pains, sorrows, frustrations, or disappointments will we know in this next year? How do we deal with this uncertainty; what is it that keeps us sane in the face of such odds? Have you ever felt the weight of sorrow for someone else...just not really knowing what to do for them to ease this pain?
My heart has been heavy for Deborah this year. I have done so little for her, and I feel ashamed because of this. I shy away because of my own fears...but time is ticking. I hear it in my ears.
My mother suffered with breast cancer 14 years ago. She is now in remission, and I worry every day that, like Deborah, this might be the year it returns. Tick tock...
My cousin, Carolyn, also had breast cancer, and like Deborah, it has returned and spread. She takes each day one day at a time...tick tock...
I can not tell you how strong these women are...their strength causes me to marvel in awe at the love of God; His hand is on their lives. He has a plan for is not for me to know or to understand. But still, I wonder at the passage of time....what it holds for these women, for me, for us all.
I know this is not the most uplifting post...but it is what is on my heart concerning time.
Please do not let it pass before you go and get checked by your not wait until it is too late to get a physical...make your health one of your priorities!
There is HOPE for the day, someone's son or daughter will be the genius who discovers the cure to this dreadful disease!

I have spent my last several posts pondering time concerning my own child's is it that she can possibly be nineteen??? Time is such a curious concept...I know only one thing about it with certainty- it flies by...

Take the time to view everyone else's Theme Thursday posts here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Two for Tuesday

What a fun couple of days I have had! The daughter has been really excited by her new birthday gifts, and she's been cooking up a STORM. Many of her friends have been over, and the house has been filled with giggly girls, great food, and good times...Normally, I try to get out of their way, and allow them to have free time without the "mom" hanging out being in the way. I typically excuse myself to the bedroom and read a book. These last few days, the girls have asked me to join in the fun. Yesterday, after the most delicious brunch of "chicken and waffles," we all went shopping. They had a party to go to last night, so they wanted something new to wear...(No, in case you were wondering, I did not go to the party!) Today, we all went swimming at my parent's pool...a wonderfully lazy afternoon filled with blazing sunshine and crystal clear water- a fabulous day! They did invite me along to a club called The Red Eye this evening...not sure if I will go, but the thought was sweet. I enjoy being a young mother, but there are times when I KNOW for certain that I am too old for some of the things that they do...stay out all night, drink like fishes, get up early the next morning, still make it to class, no hangovers, a power nap, ready to go out again the next evening! LOL- I start yawning generally around 11:00. Anyway, it has been enjoyable spending more time with the daughter, and I appreciate the fact that she still wants me around. Check out the dishes below- some of the first things she has made with her new birthday gadgets...

Thanks to The Food Network's Bobby Flay, the daughter saw an episode where he challenged a lady in Harlem to a throwdown cook-off making chicken and waffles. The daughter has been wanting to make this for the longest time, and I never could imagine why...who in the world eats fried chicken with waffles???...well, it rocks! Let me just say, it was delicious! I was quite surprised. She even took pains to "plate" the dish like a pro. The next dish she made for dinner was grilled panini sandwiches, fried pickles with ranch chipolte dipping sauce, and kettle cooked chips. They washed it all down with a new find from our local grocery store- a blueberry lager called "Wild Blue." The fried pickles were espeically nice, since this is one of our favorite things to get when we go to a beachside grill in Seaside, Florida called "Pickles." The daughter's were just as tasty! We were all stuffed to the max, and several of the girls took their left-overs to the party with them for later. Ha,ha.

Tonight, we are having grilled chicken and salad...something much lighter than the last few days! The husband will be home soon, and I have given the daughter the night off from cooking (LOL), so I better get moving. Hope your week is going nicely.