06 November 2013


Long time readers will remember that I have certain fondness for my local public library.  I adore the young ladies who've worked hard to build the various programs into what they currently are.  Life moves on and so have those women and a new batch of folks have stepped up and continued to nourish those programs and add new ones as well.

Our newest staff member at Starkville Public Library is Meredith Wickham, Young Adult Librarian.  {and the crowd roars...and sighs in relief and relish}  Newly arrived from Seneca, SC, Meredith brings her sunny personality, her sincere love of reading and writing, and her wittiest of wits to us here in the lil city with a big heart.  So stop by and met her, it's worth the visit.

Welcome, Meredith, glad you're here!

31 October 2013


SteamPunk Coffee Roasters, a new coffee shop in Natchez, has our interest piqued.  So we'll visit them tomorrow morning, on our way out of town, to return to Starkville.  I'm really pretty psyched!

Four years ago

This day goes by many names.

Some call it "samhain", some "all hallow's eve", some "halloween".

I call it "my anniversary".

I love you, my Jerry, my sweetheart.

20 October 2013

Dancing with the Stars

I love this picture!  She looks like she is spinning out from a twirl at a 50s sock hop, with her lil arm and hand in correct position and everything.  I can't wait to see her again, in about two months.  Wow, how much she will have grown!

14 September 2013

Mania: The Flip~Side of "Manic~Depression"

Fortunately I have not had to deal with this excessively so for the past few months.  I have done a fair amount of self~monitoring and have been able to pace myself appropriately.  Or at least I think so.  It's hard to tell with Mania, cuz there are times when hypo~mania occurs, unnoted.

This is because hypo~mania is the preferred state of many who deal with manic~depression.  It's a slightly elevated state of euphoria when you are firing on all cylinders, optimistically juggling multiple tasks and deadlines, lots of ideas springing forth, and the flow of creativity seems effortless. Most people like those who are experiencing this level of mania.  Cuz these slightly off folks are gregarious and charming, they seem energetic and pleasant.  They're peppy and upbeat and joyous and eccentric.  They're artistic and a fount of wonderful suggestions and problem solving solutions.  They're just far enough off average to be outstanding, but not so far off they seem crazed.

Is it any wonder why most manic~depressants love, Love, LOVE hypo~mania?  It's a no~brainer why folks do not want to take note that this might be a sign that should be noted, cuz it might be a warning that just after this state is the mania, the true mania, the hyper~mania, the mania that passes into frantic frenzies and racing thoughts and impatience with folks who cannot conceive of the amazing ideas that have occurred to those in the throes of mania.

For many, depression is the most dangerous aspect of manic~depression.  It's crushing.  It's draining.  It's painful and true despair settles in and sucks your very soul in depletion.

For me?  Mania is the most dangerous aspect of this delicate balancing act.  For many years, Rapid Cycling {even ultradian} was a way of life for me.  It quickly becomes exhausting, it accelerates at such velocity that I would dash right thru the hypomanic, optimistic stage and tumble right into the Red Shoe Syndrome {I dub it that, cuz it's appropriate; but you'll not find it termed such in a medical text or the DSM V}.  Are you familiar with the old tale about the girl who wants to be a dancer and so she is given a pair of red shoes with the caveat that once donned, they may never be removed...until death.

The Red Shoe Syndrome is when I can't stop dancing at death~defying speeds, twirling and spinning, flinging myself from task to task, unable to slow, momentum feeding the dizzying rush til it scares me and everyone around me.  There is no relief.  There is no choice.  There is no slowing down.  There is no jumping off the cyclone~go~round.  There is no "take a break".

Unlimited irritation, rage, frustration, sharpness, violence erupts within my head, out my mouth.  Frantically, I'd try to contain myself, knowing that I am accountable for my actions at all times, and yet, I was sure that I was bursting from my skin.  Hyperaware of every single thing.  Unable to tone down anything.

For years, I'd cycle thru the range so quickly, so rapidly, that within five minutes, I'll have gone from tears of despair to the other extreme end of elation and back again.  Days on end of no sleep.  Those days adding into weeks, my heart on the verge of giving out, my brain exploding into horribly vivid nightmarish slashes of screaming color that howl and sharp shadows whose edges cut into my vision with such precision that I was sure blood was leaking from my eyes for all to see.  Anxiety ridden moments stretching into hours of panic attacks that physically, emotionally, mentally, intellectually, take a toll an every aspect of my life from being a grad student, to relationships, to being able to complete any task including brushing my teeth without turning the toothbrush into a tool for scrubbing my entire kitchen floor.

After years of this, I ground haltingly to a smoking stop.  My resilience shattered like an aged frozen rubber band that was dipped in liquid nitrogen, then dashed to the jagged glass embedded concrete.  I crumbled into a million pieces that would never be put together, I would never be restored to a complete whole.  The dust of me blew away in the savage gusts that ate holes into my life.

Then began a loooooong, arduous rebuilding process.  The process itself either so exhausting that I would sink into depression or so demanding that it would trigger mania and I'd spin out of control only to crash again.  And again.  and again.  yet again.  again.  and each time, I'd try again.  Cuz the alternative was not viable.

So now, where am I now?  How am I now?  I'm good.  I'm usually better than ok.  I'm sometimes in a bad way, but very rarely do I reach the extremes of either pole.  I stay in the mid~range as much as possible.  I know I need lots of rest.  I know that anxiety is a sign.  I know that what are some common triggers for me.  I monitor myself, all the time.  I have an amazing support system, made of an awesome husband, wonderful care givers like a counselor who I've seen for years and a general practitioner who has seen me in every single situation that is possible, a mother who continues to learn more about me, and a community that allows me to be me, within bounds.

I will not attempt to describe in detail the healing process here.  Except to say that it takes a team of truly committed folks to have a hope of moderation.  And it takes a deeply intimate knowledge of self to know when to say when.  I've reached my limit for today.  Perhaps I will discuss the reconstruction process here some other time.  Or not.  It depends on too many uncertain elements at this point.

Today, I am good.  And that's the best place to be for now.

24 August 2013

Two lil knitted blankets for Lil Suthern Belle

I don't always take the time to upload and post pix from home, preferring to wait til I am at the BookMart & Cafe' DownTown and use their faster speed WiFi to accomplish in a flash what would take my DialUp a looooooooooooong time.

So here are two lil baby blankets that I've made for the newest member of the family, who should arrive in just a few weeks:  Miss Lil Suthern Belle.  She's my husband's youngest son's first child.

He and his wife chose to go with a coral and grey, with white accents theme for their daughter's room.  So the first blanket pictured here is a simple garter stitch, done on the diagonal, in Caron's Simply Soft persimmon and grey.  It's small, just 2'x2'.

The next is a simple 1x1 rib stitch, done in Sensation's Classic Rainbow, coral.  It's also variegated with a soft grey and white.  This is a slightly fuzzy fabric that is nice and squishy.  It's a lil bigger, 3'x3'.  mmmmmm, sleeeepeeeeee time

I also have some Caron one pounders.  I thought about what to do, have come up with five or six different ideas, considered and discarded them.  I think I have a solution, tho.  It involves a grey hippo with white eyes and toenails on a persimmon background.  This one will be crochet, from a graph of a cutely squashed baby hippo.  It makes ya wanna hug her and squeeze her and call her "George".

20 August 2013

Cafe Sci: Starkville, MS

If you're around, and you want to join us; we'd love to have you!

When:  Tuesday 20 August 2013 @ 6p
Where:  Veranda {208 Lincoln Green}
Topic:  Diversity among African American Politicians
Speaker:  Dennis Nordin
Kickin' off our fall sessions, Dennis Nordin will be discussing some aspects of his 2012 From Edward Brooke to Barack Obama: African American Political Success, 1966-2008.  Come join us!

16 August 2013

The Depression of "Manic~Depression"

It seems like there isn't much that I can say that isn't intensely personal right now, but I feel I let that interfere with my writing and other activities.  In the past, when I would feel that I couldn't get out of my own head or events in my personal life; well, then I'd withdraw from most of my interactions with acquaintances, groups, and public activities; for fear that I'd alienate folks by saying the wrong things or focusing too much on personal stuff while in the company of folks who might find that inappropriate.  My filters begin to slip or simply vanish and then I say and do things that I later wish I had not said or done.  So the way I dealt with that was to withdraw for a time.

Some consider that isolation.  But I think that it can be a smart thing to do.  Sometimes, personal reflection, rest for the mind and body, is just the thing.  This type of behaviour can be restorative, healthy.  Withdrawing becomes problematic, or isolative, when it contributes to life's malfunctions instead of helping to solve those troubles. 

For instance, about ten years ago, I discovered that I sometimes needed complete peace from interactions with the outside world.  At that time, I found the phone to be particularly irritating.  It was an insistent interruption and would bring the outside social world right into my own peaceful place that was my sanctuary from invasive chaos.  I was experiencing heightened anxiety and would have panic attacks in public places often.  There were triggers that would startle me into losing my shit quickly and with a frightening intensity that seemed to never quite abate completely.  One of those triggers was a ringing telephone; so I silenced the ringer on my land line {I had no cell} and would periodically check caller id or the messages if needed.  My friends and family knew to leave a message if they wanted a return call.  Cuz really, I lived by myself, was not responsible for anyone but myself, and what sort of emergency was any one going to have that would require my immediate response?  Really?  Absolutely none.

So for five years, I didn't use the phone, wouldn't take incoming calls, and rarely made outgoing ones.  At first, that was fine, it was what I needed.  But then others began to worry because they felt that I was isolating myself.  I can see from their perspective, and in our society, at this time, yes, it probably was a bit excessive.

But then I rejoined the world at large.  Or rather, my community.  I met a wonderful man who become my husband within a year.  I began to get involved with several smaller groups, a few who met monthly or even less frequently.  I was careful not to commit to any obligations that would overwhelm me.  I was gingerly moving; but still, it was forward movement.  And that, my friends, is something.

I've made lots of progress over the past decade.  But then there are times where something so completely blindsides me, that I don't just have a set~back...I seem to fall to my knees, die a cutting death with great agony, and sink into the mucky mire of dreaded despair.  Then I want to retreat.  I need to retreat.  I crave that retreat so totally, it scares me.

Here's the thing:  when I feel this way, I feel like I will always feel this way.  Even tho I know that I won't.  It feels like I will.  And that feeling swallows me whole and with such relish that I cower in corners, under covers, shutting out the world.  Or at least I think I want to cower in corners, under covers, and shut out the world.

But I don't.

Cuz to do so, would be too easy.  It would lead me too easily into isolation, an unhealthy dark dank place that deadens me and scares my loved ones.  And that is what depression is like for me.

06 August 2013


Dear College~Student,

This is a hugely exciting time of your life.  You are meeting new folks, getting acquainted with your roommates, and stretching your wings.  There's a new town for you to explore, with all its cute lil boutiques, cafes/restaurants, and such.  I get that.

You've got lots of emotions running rampant.  Yea!  You finished a life~long endeavor to get here!  Be proud of graduating, completing thirteen plus years.  Yea!  You're starting something new, hitting the big leagues.  Wahoo!  You're leaving home and moving on.  Get that.

And I get the whole text book, class, professor thing.  It can be overwhelming.  It can be exciting.  You might say and do all sorts of things while you're finding yourself, trying this and that.  You might even say and do things in fits of nervousness that you'd probably never say or do at any other time.  I get that, too.

So go have fun.  Within reason.  Have a blast.  Within reason.  Enjoy the whole college experience.

BUT, {and you knew one was coming right?}  keep in mind that while YOU are not the center of the universe, neither are you alone.  Lots of others are willing to help you thru this process.  BUT you have to be willing to help yourself too.  Please get that.

Understand that not everyone around you is experiencing exactly what you are.  And neither do we want to do so.  I really Really REALLY do not want to hear about your dilemma over which ice~cream you choose and why you did so, and I certainly don't find the process of how you chose the ice~cream that you did nearly as fascinating as you do.  Please get that.

If I can hear your squeals of excitement while your describe your great love for Snickers Nutcracker, while I have earbuds routing Garbage's "Shut Your Mouth" into my head; then there is a likelihood that you are too fricken loud.  Just sayin'.  Please get that.

If I can hear your one sided conversation {that'd be a monolog, right?} as you chat away on your cell, while I am eating across the restaurant from you; please get that the entire room doesn't share your exuberance in finding just the cutest lil boots ever and on CLEARANCE {especially since it's AUGUST in Mississippi, you do get that, don't you?}.

And dudes!  If you are standing in line in a store, while the cashier is ringing up and bagging your purchases; be ready to pay.  If you and your roommates have turned shopping into a group event, and want to pay as a group; then try to work your strategy out ahead of time.  Huddling up at the end of the counter, while more folks queue up, is not effective.  If you can't divide the total bill by the number of housemates {or whatever your plan of attack is}, then just pay; and worry about divvying up expenses fairly later.  The cashier is not amused with your witty excuse that you are all poor college students.  Especially if you are dressed in clothes that would require an entire month's wages.

Please respect others; like the residents of this town, the employees who serve you, and your fellow students.  You will receive more respect yourself, if you treat others accordingly.  If you want to, get involved in the community.  Volunteer with some of the excellent efforts in the area.  But at the very least, be responsible for yourself.

Welcome to college, may you enjoy your years here.  May we enjoy your years here too.  Let's work together to make them good.

26 July 2013

A job well done

There are two rooms in our house that are not finished, not redone.  The large hall in the addition has been prepped, but awaits the two top coats of paint.  The smallest room is stuffed with a variety of items that need to be sorted and what not.  So that room is not even close to being considered for redoing at this point.

The other room is a large front bedroom that is ready for kilZ prep work.  The walls are now scrubbed and I will scrub the floor this next weekend.  Then my mom will set about painting it.  Then it will be ready for us to set up the bed {which currently is propped up in the large hall, which is why that is not yet painted}.  And I'll move in the bookshelves and build crates for atop those shelves.  And then the rest of the yarn and the myriad of projects can be organized.  We can put up the blinds, curtains, and other things.  And tah~DAH, that room will be finished and our living room won't be piled with things that will be in that room.

So this morning, Jerry helped me scrub the walls in that front room.  He ran the relay of fresh water for rinsing and I set about scrubbing.  We ran out of cleaning solutions, Krud Kutter and such.  So I used white vinegar, undiluted, for the last wall.  It did a fair job, tho required additional elbow grease.  Since Jerry was toting water, I wasn't needing to get down off the ladder to go change water, or get up and then down again so I could get the bottom portions.  It really was a huge help!  And the job only took three hours, with the two of us working together.

I'm ready for a shower.  I can feel my muscles' soreness now and have already decided not to do the floor tomorrow, but wait.  Jerry is out mowing the rest of the yard, and I know that when he comes in, he'll be ready for his shower {it amazes me how much stuff he does, non~stop}.

But he gets tremendous satisfaction out of a job well done.  And I do too.  I can't wait til this room is entirely done and things are moved into it!

24 July 2013


My new~to~me leather chair that I will love forever.  And ever.
The lil girls, all nestled on top of my husband's chair.

23 July 2013

lil girls

I snapped this right before I walked out the door this morning.

07 July 2013

What I did with my weekend...

Have I mentioned lately how very sweet my husband is to me?  Well, he is!  We have been considering how to store/display/organize my yarn for quite some time.  Long time readers may recall when I had posted some pictures of my stash.  Here's the link:  debrasdose.blogspot.com/2011/05/crafty-room.html

Part of the problem with the two large wooden shelving units was that if I would take one skein off the shelf, most of the yarn on that shelf would come off too.  This meant that I was constantly trying to hold my arm up to block the other yarn from falling off the shelf and/or replacing skeins on the deep, wide shelves.  They were not meant for holding yarn.  So I thought this and I thought that, and then I considered that and I considered this.  Then I weighed that alternative and this idea and I was still not satisfied that I was coming up with exactly the right solution.

So let's skip ahead two years and two months to just about two weeks ago...we decided to get interlocking wire cubes that are about fourteen inches.  kMart had a six block unit for twenty dollars.  So I purchased some at the "local" store {next county over}, made sure they would work, and then made a larger purchase online {free shipping right to my home!}.  My order arrived on Friday.  Saturday, my husband and I moved the wooden shelving units out into the living space {which brought an entirely different idea to mind for future use of them, which in turn made me very excited, wahoo!!}.  I had already rearranged the other things that needed to be moved back in that room.

Saturday, my husband and I built a wall of wire cubes.  It's five cubes high and eight cubes wide.  That's forty friggen cubes of delight!  I almost peed my pants, I was giggling with so much glee!

Then today, my husband helped me move some projects {works in progress, yarn projects, sewing projects, embroidery projects, monk's cloth, other fabric, the beginning of a quilt, all in various stages} so that I could get to the stacked up and bagged up and stored up yarn.  {cue choruses of "yarn glorious yarn"}.  I'm a big girl, I sweat.  I get out of breath much easier and faster than I used to.  And this is JULY in MISSISSIPPI, INDOORS.

So my awesome husband went to WalMart, bought an air~conditioner, came home, and INSTALLED it right then!!  That man is so sweet to me.  Lemme say that again:  he is amazing and he is amazingly sweet to me.

Then I began to organize and stack all that yarn that had been in ONE room {I have yarn spread throughout the house, it seems}.  My husband let me play back there, let my brain buzz away with joyous glorious happiness, let me interrupt his movie watching several times to exclaim my discovery of rediscovering my stash, and then let me drag him back into the room to point out all my lovelies.

So I had to brag on him.  And my stash.  Or at least, the bulk of it.  The rest of it needs to wait til the front room is ready for it.


The lil girls

Our lil girls at rest, after playing.  Sophie lets Chiquita set the pace.  Chiquita sort of rears up and then paws the ground, or stomps with on leg.  Then Sophie dodges forward and tries to put her nose under Chiquita.  Then Chiquita runs away, a short distance.  Then Sophie chases her and then Chiquita turns and Sophie runs the other way and Chiquita chases Sophie.  The rest of the play consists of either or both stomping and pawing the floor and chasing each other for short distances.  Sometimes they bump noses and it's funny to watch them get all excited about the other.

Shaddow has been keeping to herself, often going into the bedroom to lay in there.  This is even if the lil ones are not playing around.  She really values her sleep and it's dark and cool in the bedroom, peaceful.  I should know, cuz I visit it often!

05 July 2013

Chiquita, the Chihuahua

Jerry had a lil surprise for me yesterday.  Meet Chiquita, the Chihuahua.  She is fifteen weeks today and two and a half pounds.  She's a lil cutie, that's for sure!

29 June 2013

Shaddow's Fading

My lil girl, my first pup, is soon to be twelve.  I got her when she was a two month old eager puppy, tumbling after her mother and her one other sibling who was not yet spoken for.  She was a soft fuzzy black sweet thing and her mom appeared to be a lab, tho I was not exactly sure.  I really didn't care.

So I scooped up the wriggling mass and took her home.  She followed my every move and slept lots.  That was troubling to me, an inexperienced doggie companion; that she slept sooooooooooOOOOoooo very much.  I knew babies slept lots, so it only made sense that a baby~dog would sleep lots too; but that much?

However she seemed happy and healthy, so I didn't worry overly much.  After we'd spent a few days together, I decided to call her "Shadow" cuz she either was at my heel, dogging my every step, or she was just under the edge of table, in its shadow, sleeping.  The doof I was seeing at the time {omg, such a huge ass mistake that, but thankfully short~lived...being "together"; tho the way he lived, I wouldn't be overly surprised if he himself didn't see his thirtieth birthday} had a leather collar made with a lil brass plate on it and misspelled her name.  So "Shaddow" she became and has been and will always will be.

Shaddow has been my constant companion {with the exception of the two months it took me to track her down with the doof 'napped her and then left her with his crackhead friends who then gave her to some methheads after she retrieved the neighbor's koi from his pond~~she's a lab, who loves water, and retrieving is her thang}.  So after I got her back to health {she'd been in a cat carrier, in a junkyard, scrunched up in her own feces and ammoniac urine...it still makes me sick, poor baby}, she and I resumed our relationship.  I promised I would never let anything like that ever happen to her again.  She remained a sweet, gentle girl; would stick close to me, but never did like lots of human contact after that.  She likes to be close, but not actually touching.

For the first half of Shaddow's life, we lived on a large farm.  I'd rented a small place on that farm and so she had lots of room to run and explore.  There were several ponds and being a lab, this suited her just fine.  The other folks had dogs, so she had lots of playmates.  She loved the nightlife and would go out and check out all the critters that roam nocturnal.  She was safe and happy.

I met my husband in December 2008, he fell in love with her too.  She had already started to have a lil problem with stiff joints.  So he built her a bed to replace her sofa.  It's a low frame that fits a toddler's crib mattress, so she's got room to sprawl out.  We moved to his place, which sits closer to a highway, but she has amble room to roam and she's smart about the road.  She had no problems adjusting.

She often greets my husband with puppyish hops and lots of wriggles.  It's one of the high points of his day, coming home to such an enthusiastic welcome.  Shaddow's been our big girl, as we now have a lil girl who has learned how to remain sweet from Shaddow's example.  Sophie will be three and we've had her since she was ten weeks old.  She is a chiweenie, tho favors the dachshund line in appearance.  Shaddow's been a good big sister to Sophie.  A great companion to me, a loyal friend with a big forgiving heart, and a wonderful first dog for me to have had.

Shaddow is aging not so well.  Her earlier trauma has had its toll.  Her joints are stiff, she moves slowly and awkwardly.  Her growth had been stunted, so her proportions are a bit off and now she is almost swaybacked.  She also has tumors throughout her body that are growing at a fast rate, one is pressing against her throat.

Most of the time, Shaddow seems to be happy, content to live and sleep.  She goes out and basks on the cement parking apron.  Or over in the soft field.  Comes in and climbs into her bed.  Sighs.  She eats, gets her treats, lays out on the porch.  Comes when called.  Sprawls next to me, on the cool tiles.

But I can tell she won't be with us much longer.  She's fading.  Sometimes she seems to be fading faster than others.  Sometimes I can still see her bouncing puppyish aura, happy to see her humans, happy to feel the fresh breeze, happy to get the treat.

But she no longer plays with Sophie.  She no longer wants to be bothered with the hustle and bustle of company.  She no longer roams, making her rounds to visit others.  She takes longer to stand from the prone, supine, or sprawled positions.

She whimpers now.  From time to time.  She seems to be in pain.  Now and then.  And I keep watch, because when it's time to say goodbye and let her go, I want to be able to send her on her way with love.  But I don't want to do that too soon.  But I want to be fair and do it on her time table, when she's ready.  But will I know when that is?  Will I be able to do the right thing by her and not hang onto her presence selfishly?

Shaddow's fading.  Fast.  Too fast for me.

25 June 2013

Pail of Paint

This past week, it was a busy one for the family.  My husband's youngest son and his wife came to visit.  She is six months pregnant with their first child, a lil girl whom I wrote about a few entries ago {Suthern Belle}.  They are moving into a new home, which has some planting plots in the backyard, so she's going to be able to raise a bit of garden with veggies and herbs.  Plus when they left yesterday, they took a blueberry "bush" {it didn't look bushy, but in a few years, it will}.

Also, my husband's eldest son's wife returned for the fastest visit ever, and managed to squeeze a defense in there too!  It was a successful defense of her dissertation, so congrats to Dr. Daughter~in~Law!!  Yea!!!!

We had a lil cook~out with the above folks, plus the new Dr's parents and my husband's mom and one of the other siblings {my husband's youngest, the baby, who isn't such a baby anymore, 25yrs old now}.  The following day, my husband's oldest {35yrs old} and her family were here for a bit to visit with her brother.  So of my husband's five adult children, four of them were represented this past weekend.  The one who was absent was sorely missed {my husband's middle child, is also his middle daughter, as he has three girls and two boys}.

One of the things that Suthern Belle's mom and I did was go to the local "paint your own" studio.  The one downtown was closed, so we went to the new one out closer to the college and a lil bit trendier.  The staff was helpful, the ceramic selection was good, and there were plenty of various glazes to go with too.  So I would return there again.

Long time readers may remember that last summer I painted my "fire in the bowl" piece.  This year, I painted my Sky Bowl.  That's what you see here.

Also pictured is a small piece which is actually brown rather than the red it can appear in this pic.  Brown and blue combined are one of the pairings that Suthern Belle's mom likes, so I thought she might could use this as a caddy to hold her used tea~bag when she sips her mug of peppermint.

That is, if she doesn't use her own lovely creations pictured here as well!

17 June 2013


I've been procrastinating in a major way.  In fact, you could say that I'm a master procraster!  But here is the first third of the repair project.  After I get the other hexes joined into strips and the strips joined together; then I will go a~tuckin' and a~weavin' in the ends of all the joining yarn and such.  And then I'll post a pic of the finished project.  But here is the project at one third done!

Oh yeah? Well, Spec This!

So this afternoon, I wrote to my lovely daughter {yes, I claim her, I share her with lots of others, but she lets me claim her, so I do!} the following:

"...is irregular painful period part of the whole perimenopause thing?!? is it? cuz i wanna rip my uterus out, inflate it, tie it shut with my fallopian tubes, and use it as a floatation device while i am drowning in pain...oh good times, good times them..."

Then my husband brought in my new glasses which have arrived in today's mail.  They are my progressive multi~focals.  I think I'll adjust just fine to them.  I have a pair, pictured here, for everyday wear {mostly indoor}.  And I have a second pair with gradient tint so that I can see outdoors with out scrunching up my entire face into one big scowl so I can get the best squint possible.  Often I would forget my shades until I was already blinded by the sun.  So this time, I am hoping having the gradient tint will prompt me to actually WEAR them when appropriate.  I used to wear gradients at all times, cuz the glare from the text book page would give me a friggen headache.  As a grad student who was taking max hours, teaching, researching, using computers, and blah blah blah...it was important to be headacheless as much as possible.  I got waaaaaayy off topic here, the point is, got the glasses and I'm a happyish camper.

Except for the friggen hellishness that is commonly referred to as "cramps".  I got the front cramps, the back cramps, and the side cramps.  The side cramps are something that I've been introduced to within the last two months.  Oh yea!!  Lucky honored me!  Yea!!  A new type of seemingly unreachable pain!  Yea!!

And there is this sorta weakness, nervelessness, numbness, tinglies that make my thighs quiver and jump.  Ya know that sorta buzzed~numbness that you experience after that initial sharp pain when some asshat delivers a knuckle punch {and why the hell do they think that's funny?!?}?  That's the sorta feeling I have from the waist down.  I think it's lack of blood flow cuz all the blood in my body has rushed to my lower torso.

So I finally admitted defeat and took something a bit stronger than a handful of naproxen sodium, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.  It's kicked in.  I still have the pain, but now, I don't give a shit.

Our Girls

I love watching our girls sleeping; they relax so thoroughly that it's soothing just to see that.  Shaddow, the black lab, does this zen breathing that is so rhythmic and deep that I can feel my own breathing slow in synch with hers.  It's most peaceful to be with them.

07 June 2013

Creature from the Black Lagoon~1954

"It's a man in a rubber suit.  We know it's a man in a rubber suit.  YOU know it's a man in a rubber suit.  BUT it's a very well made rubber suit"

06 June 2013

Look, ma! I knit it myself!

Yeah, so I've been knitting for awhile, about two years now.  Sometimes I try different techniques, new stitches, strange fibers, etc.  I had some donated fuzzy stuff, mohair, that I had designated for knitting into items for charity {that's why the woman donated her yarn to me, so that I would then pass it on as shawls, blankets, hats, sweaters, scarves, etc}.  I started to tinker with the incredibly soft thin yet warm yarn and thought, "aha! I'll make a wrap with this here odd and end bits for some lucky lady."

Well as you can see, that is NOT what happened.  Sometimes things take their own paths and what they start out as, is not what they end up being.  In this case, I ended up with an old fashioned ornament that I most likely will applique on to an afghan that is a muted solid color.  Hopefully, it will make some lucky lady happy.

New Hair Cut, featuring my natural undyed/unpermed hair

So this picture is probably the last time you will see me wearing these glasses.  Cuz I've two new pair ordered.  Why?  Well, turns out those twitches I've been experiencing around my left eye are not nervous tics, caused by stressful situations.  Nope, I just found out I am in need of bifocals.  I'm getting those progressives, the no~line bifocal which is actually more of a multifocal than only two.  If I can get wear these with no problems, in the long run, progressives will be better than glasses with lines marking clear delineations.  Cuz eventually I will need to have not just the two prescriptions for close and distant work; but also my eyes will need assistance with focusing on mid~range work {like with the computer screen and such}.

Aging aint for sissies.

My love, my husband, the dapper dude

Every girl crazy bout a sharp dressed man

This past Saturday night, my husband took me to see Pops in Pink.  The Breast Heath Care Clinic has been directing this annual event for three years now.  Several of the Starkville Community Theater members set up their karaoke machine and entertained us while we nibble food and visit with friends.  The proceeds go toward helping women who cannot afford screenings and diagnostic measures, as well as helping to offset treatment of breast cancer.  So $38,000 has been raised in just three years, thru events such as this.  That's damn good, at any rate, but especially for our area.

It was a lovely evening.  While it was a bit warm to start, the back yard of the Modern Mississippi Homestead Center got much cooler as the sun set.  The lawn was lighted with strings of tiny lights, the round white tables were set with roses and napkins, the dog mingled with the attendees, the chickens and pigs provided further ambiance, and my sweetheart held my hand and sang along with the country program.

I'm a lucky gal.

26 May 2013

"I hear the ticking of the clock..."

I've been having very vivid dreams that stick with me even in my waking for a time.  I mean that the dreams linger for a time after I awake.  And I also mean that I've been having the dreams for a time as well.  Time. time. time. {"see what has become of me?"}

The dreams can cause anxiety during and afterward.  Or they can just be really odd, but I don't really react to that oddness with anxiety.  But usually, of late, I've been anxious in my dreams, which makes me physically anxious while I am dreaming, as well as waking anxious and being very disoriented and anxious for the first hour or so after I am awake.  Which in turn makes others anxious who are around me cuz I don't seem myself.

This morning, the sort of rhythmic whir of the bedroom's ceiling fan wormed into my dreams as the ticking of an alarm clock that was scaring my dream~self cuz someone was trying to find me and I thought that the clock's ticking would give me away.  There was another part of me trying to reason or reassure the dream~self that clock would tick even if I were not there.  Sort of the "tree falling in the forest" debate then ensued within the dream~self.

It's no wonder why I awake somewhat befuddled and turtleheaded.

Suthern Belle

My husband's youngest son and his wife are expecting their first child in mid~September.  This precious lil girl's name will be extra special but for right now, for the purposes of this blog, I'll call her Suthern Belle.  So at seventeen weeks in~utero they took some snaps of her during the sonogram and these pix are amazingly detailed.  The things that can be done with technology today seems utterly limitless.

In the past, when folks would show me their sonograms, I would smile and nod, while murmuring vaguely about the whitish greyish blackish blobs that seemed to shift even as I looked at them.  If someone pointed and said, "and his fifth arm is double jointed!", I would have continued to smile, nod, and murmur.  Cuz who the hell actually could make sense of these things.  My mammogram made more sense than these things and according to it, I can expect a pair any day now.

All joking aside, when I looked at these sonograms of Suthern Belle, my lil heart went pitter patter and my face went, "awwwww" as my head cocked to the side as it does when ever I see anything excessively cute, like a big~eyed puppy licking a toddler's ice~cream cone.  I was a goner.  Especially when I saw the one pic.

Suthern Belle was in the classic pose of a genteel lady in mid~swoon.  As all truly southern belles can tell you, nothing makes you look quite as helpless as the back of the hand to the forehead.  I know they tell you that when newborns smile, they really just have gas.  Well apparently this is the equivalent for in~utero baby~girls!

25 May 2013

The Gift of Giving

Each year, or thereabouts, I select a non~profit group in the area whose work I appreciate to donate hand~knit/crocheted &/or loomed items to.  Sometimes I already have a list of local groups, and other times, I construct a new list.  It depends.

I like to first look at groups in my town, county, and the surrounding Golden Triangle.  Then I widen the net to also consider efforts of those organizations within the state or the SouthEast region as a whole.  Usually I don't get further than that, cuz there are lots of groups right here at home, in my own backyard so to speak; that going national or international doesn't make the list often.

I also consider what sort of work that group does, who they serve, and what sort of record they have.  Do the recipients actually receive the benefits, or does most of the money go to the administration?  Is the organization mostly made of volunteers or is it staffed with mostly paid/salaried folks?  Is this group funded in large part by some major foundation? Is there a need for the items I make?

In the past, I've made fifty hats/scarves/hoods/hooded~scarves for the Palmer Home for Children {an orphanage in Columbus, MS}; over a hundred hats for the Children's Hospital in Little Rock, AR; about thirty lapghans for French Camp Academy's Autumn Auction; scarves, hats, toys, washcloths for both the Safe Haven {Meridian, MS} and Sally Kate Winters {West Point, MS}, which are shelters for women and children; and other projects for groups in the area.

I always contact the organization before~hand, telling them what I do, asking if they would be interested in some items, and if so, what are their preferences/requirements/restrictions.  If possible, I ask if they can give me some demographics for the population they serve.  I give examples of what I make, and why I am asking for the information that I do.

For instance, some organizations work with populations like children who need soft caps because they now have newly naked, tender heads due to the chemo and radiation treatments.  Their siblings and parents often need warmer hats too, as most of the families' resources are going toward care for their sick child.  However, there usually are many groups that are assisting these organizations.

So I tend to want to help those that are not quite as widely or publicly known to be in need, so might not be receiving the assistance that they need.  Group homes for the elderly, mentally ill, recovery addicts, or developmentally disabled are usually in need of items and don't receive adequate assistance.  Their clients are often financially stressed, have health issues and expenses, and can use something that is personal, functional, and pleasing.  Often these folks don't have families who provide them with boundless love and support, sometimes those families don't have the means to provide them with much at all.

I know what it is like to be on both ends of this spectrum.  I've received services over the years.  I've worked as a provider of services.  And when I can, I like to be able to give back, help someone else out, let them know that folks do care and can help and will help.  Sometimes, receiving a personal item can remind the person that they are just that, a person, an individual worth caring about.  A scarf, a washcloth, a lapghan, a hat are all small things, yet they can mean so very much.

So this year, I looked at various non~profit groups within Mississippi.  I read about Baddour, a residential facility for adults with developmental disabilities.  Baddour is a community, of sorts, which provides the clients there with various activities and environments that address residents' abilities, needs, and wants.  So some folks garden, work, create items to sell in the facility's store, learn skills that will help them live more independently, cook, sew, watch movies, play sports, etc.  It's about empowerment and enrichment.  It's about encouraging and assisting these adults who are like you and me in that they want to be able to live their lives with dignity, joy, and freedom.  Yet these adults are not like you and me, in that they might not be able to drive to the store, select groceries for diner, pay or count the change, or cook that dinner when they return home.  They might not be able to process multi~stepped tasks the way you and I do.  They might not have families to love them, scold them, get together and take them to the movies.  They might be depending on others to provide their clothing, their meals, their allotted monies.

I can't do everything.  But I can make Dot a shawl of blue so that she can feel pretty.  I can make Bill a maroon and white afghan so that he can show his love for MSU.  I can make a bag that will fit onto Sophie's walker and a large cloth so that Sam's shirt stays clean while he eats.

I know I like to receive something special that let's me know that I am thought of and cared for.  I think we all do.  Don't you?

what the ... fleece?

My husband and I are very "Jack Spratt"; he's slim and I am almost a hundred pounds heavier than he is.  Which means, amongst other things, that I am always lots warmer than he is.  I am throwing off heat.  My body generates tons of it.  With all these solid layers of fat, I am encased in thermoheat wraps, the internal kind.  Now with summer just a twitch away, I break out in a clammy sweat just thinking of stepping outside.

So the other evening, I glance over at my freshly showered and clad~for~the~night husband stretched out in his recliner.  The air~conditioner is set on 74, I'm in my panties and v~necked T, hair up off my neck.  He's in his long sleeved T, the one with super~heros on it.  A thick pair of woolen socks are covering his feet.  And his sleep pants?  Fleece, festooned with teenage mutant ninja turtle faces.

I'm hot summer.  He's a snuggly winter night.

We're an odd couple, but we fit together hand in glove.  We both are comfortable, with ourselves and with each other.  Even if he is a 58 yr old going on twelve.

28 April 2013

Oh, where to start, where to start...?

Ohhhh~Lah!  That's suthern for "hola".  Just sayin'.

There have been many things happening, many things happened, and a few have yet to happen.  So I know that I am making huge major glossing swipes here and will attempt to include all the biggies, but will probably miss something super~obvious; cuz sometimes I miss the trees for the forest, or the forest for the trees, but most of the times, I hit a nice balance where I can focus on both the forest AND the trees.  Why?  Not cuz I'm super~woman, no.  Cuz I have a great supportive husband, great supportive friends, and great supportive family.  Oh!  And did I mention that I have a great supportive mother?  She's been living here in Mississippi, just down the road now, for about a year.  Yea!!  It's been the first time we've lived in the same state since I was 24, let alone the same town, or the same property.  It's not that we didn't get along, we always have.  It's just life can take you places, if you let it.

So, this past year has been extremely difficult pet~wise for us.  We adopted a lil tiny ten week old puppy last October who had major congenital issues.  CoCo was with us for a month and then slipped into a coma induced by hypothermia {which apparently happens with small breed puppies very quickly}.  I did get her to the vet within fifteen minutes but she had a very traumatic day and passed during the night at the vet's home.  It was unreal how much she meant to us within such a short period of time.

Then we adopted Ginger, who was most likely six to nine months old.  So we decided her birthday would be St Paddy's day.  She was full~grown but still puppyish and weighed about 13 pounds when we brought her home.  She and Sophie played and played and played.  Ginger was definitely a daddy's~girl, for sure!  We had her for a few months and then, she was either hit by a car or beaten.  We searched for her and then that night she showed up on the front porch but we rushed her to the ER at the Vet School here at MSU cuz she was banged up pretty badly with lots of internal damage, tho not easily apparent from the outside.  Turns out her spine was separated from her shattered pelvis.  I have no idea how she managed to make it home at 3a.  She died just before what we'd been hoping would be her first birthday.

It was horrible.  So we decided that we shouldn't even think about another addition to our home for awhile.  I felt bad, but I swear that Jerry was crushed to the core.  So we just need to give ourselves some time and just enjoy the girls we have.

Shaddow is going to be twelve in August!  She is not in the best of health, several large tumors {systematic}; but she seems to be enjoying life still and not in undue pain.  She is loving her bed and during the day, she loves to either bask on the concrete apron in front of the house or stretch out in the field next to our place.

Sophie is two and a half and has mellowed somewhat tho she is very much a puppy still!  She has her favorite spots, usually Jerry's recliner during the day.  She has taken to stretching out in my lap {cuz Ginger was in Jerry's} as long as I put a blanket over her so that the passing yarn wouldn't tickle her while she was sleeping.  Otherwise, she fidgets and glares at me.

One of Jerry's students is graduating.  She has been our house and doggie sitter for us for the past four years.  She got married over Christmas.  So the other night, Jerry grilled chicken and corn on the cob, served up with his mashed potato salad {omg, so good!} for "The Smiths".  She brought her lil tiny eight pound poodle over and Sophie welcomed the lil fuzzy curly five year old rescue like an old long lost buddy.  They even sat on the chair together, watching us eat and keeping an eye out for morsels that might make it their way.

Summer is well on its way!  We've hosted two cook~outs already with more planned.  Here it is almost May!  That means that Mother's Day is just around the corner.

Speaking of mothers, mine has been teaching basket~weaving on Wednesdays at a local center.  More on that later, it deserves its own entry.  And my husband's mother joined me in physical therapy for awhile.  I've been going for months now, but now that the Cotton District Arts Festival is over, I've reduced to once per week, rather than twice.  It's amazing how much of an improvement in general I have noticed!

Also, Jerry's youngest son and his wife are expecting their first in mid~September!  So we have a new mama in the family, since I'm focused on mothers, thought this would be an excellent time to mention that.  The lil girl is tremendously treasured already, at week 18 or so in~utero.  I am amazed at how detailed these sonograms can be!  I usually smile and nod vaguely when I look at these grey white and black scans of blobs when I am presented with a gushing mother~to~be and her shots.  But this imagining now is so detailed that it's almost like seeing a sleeping newborn.  And she isn't even at midTerm yet!  Almost, not quite.

This spring was crammed with all sorts of community events that I was involved with.  Starkville Writers had a second annual Celtic Celebration.  In addition to readings of selections, essays, autobiographies, poems, and fairy~tales; we also had dancing; and announced the winners of the Starkville Memories essay contest.  The BookMart DownTown's Cafe had Rubens, Irish Stew, Irish Soda Bread, shamrock sugar cookies, and one of the writers brought in a wonderful lime sherbert punch and some cake.  It was quite successful and we had pictures with the Mayor and the sixth graders who won, along with their teachers.  I think it will be well~remembered for years to come.

Especially since we will be placing the essays in to the Time~Capsule as Starkville concludes its year~long celebration of its 175th birthday.  We intend for the Time~Capsule to be opened when Starkville celebrates its 200th in 2037.  I'll be 66.  Suddenly, that doesn't seem so far away.  My mom turns 66 this October.  Just to put it all into perspective.

This year was the first year that I co~chaired the Writers' Village for the Cotton District Arts Festival here in Starkville.  It was really cool and I'd love to do it again.  I think that this was a great group of folks to learn the ropes from and they all work well together, so I'm looking forward to seeing what the future brings.  This too deserves its own entry, so more on that later.

I met some fantastic folks these last few months, in several different venues.  I've been getting some knitting and crochet done.  But most everything got put on hold til May, when the spring's events were completed.  Now I have more than enough to do for the next few months!

So I think that brings the general over view up to date.  I will be writing more, more often.  That's a promise!

15 March 2013

"...imma git ta ya,"

says the manic one~armed monkey with Tourette's Syndrome.

18 February 2013

The Girls

The really cool thing about our girls is that they all get along swimmingly.  Shaddow even shares her bed with the two lil ones and they all gnaw on their treats together, as pictured here.  Shaddow is the black lab, with the aged~white hair on her face.  She'll be twelve this year!  Sophie is the black & tan stout lil chiweenie in the back on the right.  She resembles a short~haired dachshund more so then a chihuahua.  Sophie is two now.
Ginger is the latest addition to our household.  She's the long~legged thirteen pound Italian~GreyHound/Chihuahua mix above and to the right, pictured with Jerry.  Due to some camera trickery, it appears that Ginger has a green eye and a red one; she doesn't.  Her eyes are the most unusual of our three girls.  She has light golden eyes that can appear to be very deep like the rich Lion Syrup that we used to get in cans when I was little.  Ginger and Sophie are best buds; but when Jerry is home, Ginger throws Sophie over to snuggle with Jerry.  She gets all comfy and noodly, that super relaxed state of bliss and safe security.  She presses her lithe body into his chest, and sighs with such content, that I swear her lil doggie smile is one of pure joy!

I know how she feels.  He's a good guy, a sweetieheart, and you can't help but feel calm when with him.

25 January 2013

Hair, light and fluffy entry

The picture to the left was within hours of having my hair done.  The picture on the right is after five weeks.  This in my natural hair {not extensions}; altho I had bleached it last fall, so that is why it appears darker at the roots, while the ends are all light and fluffy.

It appears to be thicker and fuller in the picture to the right, because my hair grows quickly; so the roots are not so neat as when it is first done.  Also, the ends are curly cuz we had to actually replace quite a few elastics; so we'd put the bands higher so they wouldn't slip off the ends of the braids so easily.  Hence the curls. 

Jerry's been touching up some of the braids.  So that adds a lil difference in the texture and I think that is a good thing.  My hair is different lengths, cuz a year ago it was shaven and this is how it grew in, I've not had it cut since then.  Oh!  And I did have a very tight curly perm last September, which adds to the fullness and the curl somewhat.

I'm planning to do something with it in a week or so, as the braids are getting fuzzy and my roots need to be addressed.  So all the braids are coming out, which will be a job and a half, I think.  Everything combed thru and a good scrub, then we'll see what's next.

21 January 2013

this lil piggy went "wee, wee, wee" all the way home

These braids are lasting, we're working on five weeks now.  I say "we" because my husband helps me maintain them.  Since my hair is somewhat silky, the bands tend to slip off; so then the braid begins to undo and that won't do.  So Jerry checks them off and replaces elastics.  He's getting quite good at rebraiding these tiney things.  I cannot hold my arms in that sorta awkward position to get the ones in the back of my head, so I'm really glad he is is willing to do this for me.

This picture was taken the evening I got home from them being done, just a few days before Christmas.  I won't relate the entire friggen saga of finding someone to do them for me, other than to say that tenacity is becoming my strong suit.  So after my hair was done, I actually did squeal, frequently, with excitement.

I actually weight about fifteen pounds less than what I was here in this picture.  It's not that I didn't fully enjoy the holiday dinners, cuz I truly did.  It's more that I had a shock when I realized I had to take several breaks when just WALKING from the parking lot to the cutter {pinning ceremony} or the stadium {Gator Bowl}.  Then I gave some serious thought to how 270 pounds can wear and tear on my joints, place extra burden on my heart and circulatory system, and contribute to diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.

It's not that I didn't know this stuff before.  It's just that it become more...pressing.  So I gotta actually do something {exercise} and not do something {cut down on my intake of foods} and be more mindful.  I haven't gotten with the exercise component yet.  But I think that I've been cutting down on huge ass portions with multiple helpings.  And I've begun to eat more fresh veggies, less sweet fatty treats that are oh so common at the holidays.

I'm not impatient yet, cuz I know that it took an amazing amount of time to get in this condition, and so it probably will take awhile to get down on it, ya know?

20 January 2013

What, what?!?

Two months?!?  Holee~Bat~Babee!  Two months since I last posted...wow.  Altho, this last year has been pretty scanty post~wise as a whole.  Let's see if I can't do better this year, what say, hey?

So here's a picture of our two lil girls {Shaddow is our big girl and she is not in this picture, if I am not mistaken, at the time I was holding the camera, she was outside on the concrete park pad sunning herself and soaking up the warm rays even tho the day was not exactly warm}.

Sophie is the darker zaftig chiweenie while Ginger is the skinny blonde model.  Ginger has been with us for almost three months now, tho we are considering mid~March to be her birthday because no one is sure how old she is.  She has gained one whole pound since being with us, so she is now thirteen pounds and I think she is her full grown adult size.  Sophie, like me, needs to lose weight.  For Sophie, it is mere ounces, but I think she is finding it to be a chore also.  Relatively speaking, three or four pounds from the 22 she weighs is roughly like me losing forty to fifty at this point.  Poor thing, she can't even jump up on the bed and her stocky lil legs and long spine are not meant to handle any excess.  So we need to stop giving her so many treats and now that the holidays are over, there are not quite so many tasty dishes...for either of us.

Well, I've settled into the new year.  Wrote a short short for the writers' group here, keeping track of assignments, activities, and goals.  So that's good.  I started off the year with catching up on several to~do lists of stuff that I'd put on hold during the holidays, including getting organized in general and transferring birthdays, anniversaries, and appts to the new calendars.

This means that several of the meetings that I'd been meaning to get to, but had been lax on attending; well, now they are fresh in my mind and so I have no excuse for not getting to the various committees, writing groups, knitting groups, etc.  None.  Sigh.

Unless you count the odd weather we had this past week.  That provided an excellent excuse for me to stay indoors, out of the chilly wet slushy snow that actually stuck to the ground, which is a big huge thing for Mississippi.  I can drive in that, but many others can not so why would I want to risk an accident in several tons in order to show at a meeting?  Besides, I kept warm and toasty and dry and comfy in my jammies.  Cuddling with the pups and a pile of yarn, tho not always at the same time.  Lots of folks don't want items with pet hair, not even short lil matching hair.  Especially if it isn't their pet.  Can you imagine?

There are some after~holiday yarn sales at a few of the tried and true places.  One of the places, Herrschners is having a pretty decent series of sales because they are starting their own yarn company which I think they plan to sell exclusively their own brand {Willow} instead of what had been the house brand {Herrschner} and other yarns like Red Heart, Lion's Brand, Caron, TLC, Village Yarn, Nob Hill, Sundance, Northland, Universal, Dept 71, Bernat, and others.  The last few times I dealt with Herrschner, it was a pain in the ass and there were all sorts of SNAFUs.  But this might be worth it, cuz the sales are pretty tempting.

I brought home an afghan I had made several years back from my husband's youngest son's house.  I'd made 120 hexagons and joined them into a king~sized afghan.  The problem was that I didn't join the full width of the hex seam cuz I was probably thinking that I would need those corner stitches to seam the strip together.  Sillee mee!!

So I had this gaping hole at the juncture of the three adjoining hexes and I thought, "oh I'll take the quilt theme one step further", cuz it was basically like a Grandma's Country Flower Garden pattern in that the hexagons are used in both.  So I tied knots at those junctures, thinking about the lovely knotted quilts.

This experiment? FAILED.  The yarn is meant to have nice drape, and it does.  So nice that the knotted areas drape too.  Which is so not what I wanted to happen.  So I'm going to take the seams out and rejoin all the hexes again.  Completely, this time.  No knots that might fray or come apart and no big ole gaping holes.

I'm also doing some hats and scarves for St Anne's in B'ham.  I want to get those done and out to them so that they can use them while it is still cold enough to need them!  Otherwise, what's the point of hats and scarves?  I'll probably send them a few lapghans too, later in the year, cuz you can always use those.

As far as news in the family, my husband's eldest daughter graduated with her associate's while his youngest daughter just enrolled in college.  His middle daughter is doing great in school, 4.0, go girl, go!  His older son just was promoted at work and is making it thru his New Jersey winter {bit of a difference from Mississippi, doncha know}.  His younger son made chief in the coast guard last month and so will be attending school for awhile this spring.  He also got his next assignment and it was exactly what he wanted.  Yea!  So it seems everyone is doing well, working hard, and for the most part happy.

So I think that my husband is happy.  He is enjoying his last few weeks of football, and is off work tomorrow as it is a holiday at the university.  In fact, I hear him urging one of his teams to get it together right now.  I mean, they do hear him, don't they?

Hope every one stays healthy, avoids the flu, and is landing on their feet ok post~holiday!