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I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world, and I have a beautiful stepson that I love with all my heart.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Jeepers, Creepers, How Can You Help Those Eyes?!?


Ah, the holiday season...time for food, fun, gifts, and gatherings with those we love. It's a great time of year--except for our poor little peepers.

This busy holiday season also usually means time for late-night revelry, stress, high emotions, arguing (come on, admit it--not everyone has a "Norman Rockwell" Christmas), allergies, and the ever-present lack of sleep. These can take a toll on our eyes, making them red, swollen, and puffy. Nothing prettier in those family photos, right? Ugh.

Here's a few home remedy ideas to help alleviate the redness, swelling, and puffiness in your eyes--during this busy season and any other time. **NOTE: these are home remedies, so use caution, as you need to take care when dealing with the delicate eye area. Keep in mind your general eye health, personal allergies (i.e., if you're allergic to it, DON'T USE IT), etc.

1. Milk does a body good--and it can be an awesome soother for your tired, puffy eyes. Just take a small bowl of milk (as cold as you can get it--icy cold is perfect), and dip cotton balls in the milk. Hold your head back and apply to your (tightly closed) tired puffy eyes. The coolness feels great! Replace the cotton balls a couple of times (or more, if you have time), and enjoy the cool sensation. Be sure to rinse your face with cold water afterward, and use your favorite moisturizer.

2. Speaking of moisturizer, if you use an eye cream/moisturizer, keep it in the fridge--you'd be surprised how much it will do for tired puffy eyes just because of the cold temperature. Use the cream as directed, and enjoy the cooling sensation.

3. Almost everyone has heard of the tried-and-true "cucumber slices on the eyes" trick for tired puffy eyes--and there's a good reason for that: it works. Cucumbers contain a natural astringent that helps smooth and tighten skin, and chiling the cucumber slices will make it so refreshing!

4. If you have an aversion to cucumbers, try chilled fresh strawberry slices--the berries also contain a skin-smoothing astringent and will soothe tired, puffy eyes. Just be sure you watch out for staining from the strawberry juice--fresh cold berries don't exude as much juice as room temperature ones, though.

5. I learned this one from an aunt--soak two teabags in ice cold water. While they are soaking, apply a small amount of olive oil to a cotton ball and gently stroke a light coat of oil on the under-eye area where there's puffiness. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the teabags, lie back, and place the teabags over your (shut) eyes. Leave on for 10 minutes, then remove and rinse/pat dry face.

6. The best defense against tired puffy eyes? Prevention! Avoid lots of salty foods, too much alcohol, or excessive amounts of caffeine. Try to get as much rest as possible, and drink lots of hydrating beverages--water, vegetable/light fruit juices, herbal tea.

Hopefully, both you and your "peepers" will survive the holidays with flying colors!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

This is a shot I just took of my lil' guy trying to take a nap...he's a doll!
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Short Story of the Week...one last bit of Christmas...

For the story of the week, here's a classic heart-warmer that shows the true meaning of this season, and the glory of true love.

"The Gift of the Magi"
by O. Henry

One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one's cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.

While the mistress of the home is gradually subsiding from the first stage to the second, take a look at the home. A furnished flat at $8 per week. It did not exactly beggar description, but it certainly had that word on the lookout for the mendicancy squad.

In the vestibule below was a letter-box into which no letter would go, and an electric button from which no mortal finger could coax a ring. Also appertaining thereunto was a card bearing the name "Mr. James Dillingham Young."

The "Dillingham" had been flung to the breeze during a former period of prosperity when its possessor was being paid $30 per week. Now, when the income was shrunk to $20, though, they were thinking seriously of contracting to a modest and unassuming D. But whenever Mr. James Dillingham Young came home and reached his flat above he was called "Jim" and greatly hugged by Mrs. James Dillingham Young, already introduced to you as Della. Which is all very good.

Della finished her cry and attended to her cheeks with the powder rag. She stood by the window and looked out dully at a gray cat walking a gray fence in a gray backyard. Tomorrow would be Christmas Day, and she had only $1.87 with which to buy Jim a present. She had been saving every penny she could for months, with this result.

Twenty dollars a week doesn't go far. Expenses had been greater than she had calculated. They always are. Only $1.87 to buy a present for Jim. Her Jim. Many a happy hour she had spent planning for something nice for him. Something fine and rare and sterling--something just a little bit near to being worthy of the honor of being owned by Jim.

There was a pier-glass between the windows of the room. Perhaps you have seen a pierglass in an $8 flat. A very thin and very agile person may, by observing his reflection in a rapid sequence of longitudinal strips, obtain a fairly accurate conception of his looks. Della, being slender, had mastered the art.

Suddenly she whirled from the window and stood before the glass. Her eyes were shining brilliantly, but her face had lost its color within twenty seconds. Rapidly she pulled down her hair and let it fall to its full length.

Now, there were two possessions of the James Dillingham Youngs in which they both took a mighty pride. One was Jim's gold watch that had been his father's and his grandfather's. The other was Della's hair. Had the queen of Sheba lived in the flat across the airshaft, Della would have let her hair hang out the window some day to dry just to depreciate Her Majesty's jewels and gifts. Had King Solomon been the janitor, with all his treasures piled up in the basement, Jim would have pulled out his watch every time he passed, just to see him pluck at his beard from envy.

So now Della's beautiful hair fell about her rippling and shining like a cascade of brown waters. It reached below her knee and made itself almost a garment for her. And then she did it up again nervously and quickly. Once she faltered for a minute and stood still while a tear or two splashed on the worn red carpet.

On went her old brown jacket; on went her old brown hat. With a whirl of skirts and with the brilliant sparkle still in her eyes, she fluttered out the door and down the stairs to the street.

Where she stopped the sign read: "Mne. Sofronie. Hair Goods of All Kinds." One flight up Della ran, and collected herself, panting. Madame, large, too white, chilly, hardly looked the "Sofronie."

"Will you buy my hair?" asked Della.

"I buy hair," said Madame. "Take yer hat off and let's have a sight at the looks of it." Down rippled the brown cascade.

"Twenty dollars," said Madame, lifting the mass with a practised hand.

"Give it to me quick," said Della.

Oh, and the next two hours tripped by on rosy wings. Forget the hashed metaphor. She was ransacking the stores for Jim's present.

She found it at last. It surely had been made for Jim and no one else. There was no other like it in any of the stores, and she had turned all of them inside out. It was a platinum fob chain simple and chaste in design, properly proclaiming its value by substance alone and not by meretricious ornamentation--as all good things should do. It was even worthy of The Watch. As soon as she saw it she knew that it must be Jim's. It was like him. Quietness and value--the description applied to both. Twenty-one dollars they took from her for it, and she hurried home with the 87 cents. With that chain on his watch Jim might be properly anxious about the time in any company. Grand as the watch was, he sometimes looked at it on the sly on account of the old leather strap that he used in place of a chain.

When Della reached home her intoxication gave way a little to prudence and reason. She got out her curling irons and lighted the gas and went to work repairing the ravages made by generosity added to love. Which is always a tremendous task, dear friends--a mammoth task.

Within forty minutes her head was covered with tiny, close-lying curls that made her look wonderfully like a truant schoolboy. She looked at her reflection in the mirror long, carefully, and critically.

"If Jim doesn't kill me," she said to herself, "before he takes a second look at me, he'll say I look like a Coney Island chorus girl. But what could I do--oh! what could I do with a dollar and eighty- seven cents?"

At 7 o'clock the coffee was made and the frying-pan was on the back of the stove hot and ready to cook the chops. Jim was never late. Della doubled the fob chain in her hand and sat on the corner of the table near the door that he always entered. Then she heard his step on the stair away down on the first flight, and she turned white for just a moment. She had a habit for saying little silent prayer about the simplest everyday things, and now she whispered: "Please God, make him think I am still pretty."

The door opened and Jim stepped in and closed it. He looked thin and very serious. Poor fellow, he was only twenty-two--and to be burdened with a family! He needed a new overcoat and he was without gloves.

Jim stopped inside the door, as immovable as a setter at the scent of quail. His eyes were fixed upon Della, and there was an expression in them that she could not read, and it terrified her. It was not anger, nor surprise, nor disapproval, nor horror, nor any of the sentiments that she had been prepared for. He simply stared at her fixedly with that peculiar expression on his face.

Della wriggled off the table and went for him.

"Jim, darling," she cried, "don't look at me that way. I had my hair cut off and sold because I couldn't have lived through Christmas without giving you a present. It'll grow out again--you won't mind, will you? I just had to do it. My hair grows awfully fast. Say `Merry Christmas!' Jim, and let's be happy. You don't know what a nice-- what a beautiful, nice gift I've got for you."

"You've cut off your hair?" asked Jim, laboriously, as if he had not arrived at that patent fact yet even after the hardest mental labor.

"Cut it off and sold it," said Della. "Don't you like me just as well, anyhow? I'm me without my hair, ain't I?"

Jim looked about the room curiously.

"You say your hair is gone?" he said, with an air almost of idiocy.

"You needn't look for it," said Della. "It's sold, I tell you--sold and gone, too. It's Christmas Eve, boy. Be good to me, for it went for you. Maybe the hairs of my head were numbered," she went on with sudden serious sweetness, "but nobody could ever count my love for you. Shall I put the chops on, Jim?"

Out of his trance Jim seemed quickly to wake. He enfolded his Della. For ten seconds let us regard with discreet scrutiny some inconsequential object in the other direction. Eight dollars a week or a million a year--what is the difference? A mathematician or a wit would give you the wrong answer. The magi brought valuable gifts, but that was not among them. This dark assertion will be illuminated later on.

Jim drew a package from his overcoat pocket and threw it upon the table.

"Don't make any mistake, Dell," he said, "about me. I don't think there's anything in the way of a haircut or a shave or a shampoo that could make me like my girl any less. But if you'll unwrap that package you may see why you had me going a while at first."

White fingers and nimble tore at the string and paper. And then an ecstatic scream of joy; and then, alas! a quick feminine change to hysterical tears and wails, necessitating the immediate employment of all the comforting powers of the lord of the flat.

For there lay The Combs--the set of combs, side and back, that Della had worshipped long in a Broadway window. Beautiful combs, pure tortoise shell, with jewelled rims--just the shade to wear in the beautiful vanished hair. They were expensive combs, she knew, and her heart had simply craved and yearned over them without the least hope of possession. And now, they were hers, but the tresses that should have adorned the coveted adornments were gone.

But she hugged them to her bosom, and at length she was able to look up with dim eyes and a smile and say: "My hair grows so fast, Jim!"

And them Della leaped up like a little singed cat and cried, "Oh, oh!"

Jim had not yet seen his beautiful present. She held it out to him eagerly upon her open palm. The dull precious metal seemed to flash with a reflection of her bright and ardent spirit.

"Isn't it a dandy, Jim? I hunted all over town to find it. You'll have to look at the time a hundred times a day now. Give me your watch. I want to see how it looks on it."

Instead of obeying, Jim tumbled down on the couch and put his hands under the back of his head and smiled.

"Dell," said he, "let's put our Christmas presents away and keep 'em a while. They're too nice to use just at present. I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs. And now suppose you put the chops on."

The magi, as you know, were wise men--wonderfully wise men--who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents. Being wise, their gifts were no doubt wise ones, possibly bearing the privilege of exchange in case of duplication. And here I have lamely related to you the uneventful chronicle of two foolish children in a flat who most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days let it be said that of all who give gifts these two were the wisest. O all who give and receive gifts, such as they are wisest. Everywhere they are wisest. They are the magi.

THE END

Friday, December 26, 2008

Recipe of the Week--Ramen Noodle Slaw

This is a salad that I recently discovered--it is easy and delicious. Serve as a side dish, or add chopped cooked chicken to make a wonderful luncheon salad.

Ramen Noodle Slaw
(serves 8 or so as a side dish)

1 1-lb. package pre-cut coleslaw mix (cabbage or cabbage/carrots)
2 packages oriental flavored ramen noodles, uncooked, crushed, seasoning packets reserved
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions
1 cup roasted salted sunflower kernels
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup apple cider vineager
1/2 cup sugar (or sugar substitute to equal 1/2 cup sugar--Splenda works well)
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup light salad oil (vegetable oil, corn oil, canola oil, sunflower or safflower oil)

In a large bowl, combine coleslaw mix, uncooked broken ramen noodles, scallions, sunflower kernels, and almonds. Set aside.

In a small mixing bowl combine contents of both seasoning packets, vinegar, sugar, soy sauce, and salt; whisk until well combined and sugar is dissolved. Gradually add oil, whisking continuously, until all oil is incorporated. Pour this dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss together. Refrigerate for 30 min to 1 hour, then serve. Yummy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Poem of the Week--"A Christmas Hymn" by Richard Wilbur

A Christmas Hymn


by Richard Wilber



A stable-lamp is lighted

Whose glow shall wake the sky;

The stars shall bend their voices,

And every stone shall cry.

And every stone shall cry,

And straw like gold shall shine;

A barn shall harbor heaven,

A stall become a shrine.

This child through David's city

Shall ride in triumph by;

The palm shall strew its branches,

And every stone shall cry.

And every stone shall cry,

Though heavy, dull, and dumb,

And lie within the roadway

To pave his kingdom come.

Yet he shall be forsaken,

And yielded up to die;

The sky shall groan and darken,

And every stone shall cry.

And every stone shall cry

For stony hearts of men:

God's blood upon the spearhead,

God's love refused again.

But now, as at the ending,

The low is lifted high;

The stars shall bend their voices,

And every stone shall cry.

And every stone shall cry,

In praises of the child,

By whose descent among us,

The worlds are reconciled.





Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Don't Use the "R-Word"...

Resolutions...just the sound of the word makes my head hurt.  Every year, I make lofty promises to myself that I never wind up keeping. 

I decided this year to set goals--small, reachable goals that perhaps I can accomplish throughout the year.

For 2009, my goals are:

1.  To stop worrying about being a big  girl, and focus on getting healthy. I've always been big, I always will be, and I need to try to make changes to live better no matter what size I am.

2.  To forgive myself for my mistakes--past, present, and future.  I've forgiven others for the pain they have caused me; now it's time to forgive myself.

3.  To make sure my husband knows I love him every day.

4.  To be the best stepmom I can be.

5.  To be the best teacher I can be.


I hope you, my dear readers--all four of you (lol)--have a wonderful holiday season, and the best New Year ever.  Thanks for being here to listen to me.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

How Do People Live With Themselves?

I can't stop thinking about the poor man who died from being trampled by customers rushing to buy sale items at a Wal-Mart in New York.  It makes me sick thinking about the people who just walked over this man and left him there, and the people who became irate when the store was closed.  What has happened to people?  Why are people so thoughtless and cruel?

This was not my first reminder of this fact, of course; however, this just hit me in the gut, considering the season.  This poor man will not be with his family EVER AGAIN because some people were so crazed to save money on a flat-screen TV or a Wii.  Ridiculous and so, so sad.

I guess it just really hit home because this year has been so lean financially, and we're only going to be able to buy for our little boy this year.  We've asked everyone not to buy for us because a) we don't need anything and b) we cannot reciprocate.  But you know, it doesn't even matter. This is the first holiday season in a long, long time where my heart is so full that I feel rich beyond belief.  I have found a peace and contentment that was never there before, I have forgiven people who hurt me (and I mean TRULY forgiven), and my soul is in a place I never thought I'd find.  I have a darling husband who means the world to me, and he feels the same way.  My family has more than doubled, and I'm so grateful to have them all...especially my little guy. 

There may be no presents under the tree this year, but they'll not be missed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The world is looking a little better...

Hi.
I'm back.
For now, anyway.
I can't say all is well, but it's getting better.
There was a point in time, not so long ago, where I thought that I was going to lose it completely, but I took a step back, took a deep breath, found some help, and turned back to God, which I hadn't done in a long time, I'm sad to say.  It's not that I lost my faith in him, it's that I lost faith in myself...faith, confidence, all that stuff.

With the help of some great new friends, my wonderful husband, and my renewed faith, I'm on my way back.

The first step was hard; it always is when you're in a pit.  However, as many of us know, you have to hit bottom sometimes before you can head back up.

Here's to step one of one million...

If you pray, I ask that you pray He sends me a little more strength to get me through the journey.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Things are looking a little better...

I have to admit I've been in a bit of a funk lately.  However, I've decided that I'm going to just buck up and get over it.  I am not going to start the 43rd year of my life with a negative attitude, no-siree-bob. Nope.  I've got too much to look forward to in this life. 

So...how's every little thing with all of you?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

News from the Doctor...sigh...

I am so exhausted, but turns out there was a good reason for it.  I thought I was just down and depressed or something, but I am apparently still having some major health issues:

1.  My thyroid is way out of whack--I don't have near enough thyroid stimulating hormone in my system.
2.  My body isn't absorbing vitamin B12, and I'm going to have to get shots for it.
3.  One of my medications was wreaking havoc with my blood sugar--I'm going to have to stop it, but there's no substitute.

I got a flu shot yesterday, as well as my first B12 shot, and the doctor upped my thyroid medicine, so maybe I'll start feeling better.  To think I almost canceled my appointment while Greg and I were in the waiting room.  Greg had to get to school in Lynchburg, and I didn't want him to be late.  He said it didn't matter, that I was more important.  He's so good to me.

People tease us at work because they say we are still "honeymooning."  I don't know about all that; I just know that it has been a year and four months, and I'm still crazy about him--scratch that; it gets better every day.  When I'm waiting on him to get home from school, I miss him as if I haven't seen him all day.  When I see his car go past the front of the house toward the driveway, I literally get butterflies in my stomach.  I still rush to the back door to greet him with a hug and kiss before he even gets in the house.  He gets more and more handsome every day!  I hope it never changes.

Okay, enough of that...sorry.

I hope that these new treatments will make me feel better again...I want to be better for my kids at school, for my husband, and for my life in general.  But mainly, I just want to feel better.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yes We Can...

I am so thrilled...yesterday my hubby and I were out shopping, and he turned the opposite way from home on the way back.  I asked him what he was doing and he said, "you'll see."

We wound up in front of the local Democratic party headquarters.  He went in and came out a moment later with an Obama/Biden lawn sign!!! My husband has become a Democrat....yes, yes, yes!!!

I knew it might happen someday, but not this soon.  My prayer has been answered!

I have a very good feeling about this election; I am so excited to think that we will finally have a Democrat back in the White House.  Not just a Democrat, but one I believe in.

I also have a very good feeling about the fact that we all have a very, very good chance to witness a major historical event with the election of Barack Obama.  I was born during the Civil Rights Movement, saw the results of change, but still I never dreamed an African American president would come along in my lifetime.  I'm so happy I was wrong...

If you don't agree with me, that's fine; so be it.  Get your own blog and talk about it.  I personally am excited and thrilled with what Obama hopes to bring to the American people with his presidency, and I am more than willing to help make change happen.

Stepping off the soapbox and continuing with the day now...take care all...

Charlotte

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some poetry...

Found some of my old poetry while cleaning out files on my desktop computer.  Thought I would post some of it here.  Hope you enjoy it.



Divinity
by Charlotte Wooden (Hillis)

Your eyes reflect
my silent confessions
that only you can hear…

The anointment of your touch
restores in me a faith
I had not known since childhood…

On your lips, my name
is like a prayer that
guarantees my salvation…

Your presence in my life
has proven to me
the existence of Divinity.

Are you truly oblivious
to the halcyon effect
you have on my soul?


I had always heard
that all Saints knew
when they were touched by God.



The Ghost and the Silence
by Charlotte Wooden (Hillis)

Endless nights of dreams...
my heart cannot let you go.
Despite my efforts to forget them,
these dreams become the mantra
crossing my lips in sleep...
could it be those sweet lines
I breathe into the darkness
are fed into my ear one kiss at a time
by the ghost of your love--
born in this same darkness,
nourished by the fruit of passion,
killed by the Silence contained in the walls?
I remain forever haunted by this love
while the Ghost and and the Silence hold hands and smile
as they await the approach of daylight...



In an Instant
by Charlotte Wooden (Hillis)

It can all be taken
In an instant…

Don’t hold your breath;
even that is not
yours to own forever.

Shattered glass,
shattered dreams,
shattered visage of security.

What do you see
when you stare down
Death’s closed eyes?

What comes to mind
when there’s no time to think?
There are no answers,
only endless questions…

What meant the most?
Where did you go?
Who did you touch?
When did it begin?
Is this where it ends?

And the greatest question of all…


What have you let love teach you?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The More Frail They Are, the Harder They Fall...

Got a call at 5:30 this morning; didn't wake me--I had been up since 3:30.  It was my mama--she had fallen on her porch and dragged herself into the house to call us for help.  I woke up Greg and we rushed over.

When we arrived at her house, there were small puddles of blood on her porch--this worried me so much.  I hurried in and there she sat at the dining room table--she looked so pitiful.  Her left forearm was badly skinned up (there was at least a 4 x 5" laceration), she was shaking, and she had a HUGE knot swelling up over her left eye.   She also said that her left hip was hurting quite a bit.

Greg, bless his soul, bandaged her arm up while I packed her things and we took them and the dog to our house.  Then we proceeded with mama to the emergency room. 

About 4 hours later we came back to our house.  Her hip is not broken (Thank God!!), but she is badly banged up.  What she thought was causing her to get dizzy and fall is not inner ear, but in fact may be a malfuction of her pacemaker.  She is on a holter monitor for 24 hours to see if we can figure out what is happening.

She is so strong...I cannot believe all she has been through.  I only hope I can be as strong as she is when I am her age.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I am Purple Today...

I am purple today…

Purple is the color of sadness and passion mixed.

Friday, Greg, David and I went to the fair.  While walking around under the grandstand, we stopped by McAfee’s Photography booth.  We saw some photographs of people’s little girls dressed as spring fairies and autumn fairies, lying in rapt attention on the bank of a pond or frolicking sweetly through fields of fallen leaves.  I don’t know why, but for some strange reason these photos struck my heart like a razor-edged chord that played the sweetest, saddest song I’d heard in some time. 

I saw a little girl, MY little girl, fawn-haired, blue-green eyed, dressed like a precious fairy with a smile creeping across kewpie doll lips she got from her mama.  The tears overwhelmed me as if I had been picked up by the hair of my head and plunged into icy water.  I spoke to the lady from McAfee’s, mentioning how beautiful the fairy photos were.

She smiled and said, “do you have a little girl?”

God, that question was like an axe in my head.  I wanted to say, “no lady, I don’t have a little girl.  I want one, though, a beautiful little girl who looks just like a combination of me and her daddy, except I want her to be slim, willowy and graceful…I want her to be everything I never was.  I want her to be…damn it, I just want her to BE.  I just want HER.  I want to hold her and feel her smooth cheek against mine, smell the top of her little head, know I made this beautiful little thing. 

I know I have students who care about me, but then they grow up and leave.  I’m NOT their mama; they don’t come crying to me when they fight with each other, they don’t need me when they are scared of the monster under the bed, they don’t need me to cry with them when their little hearts are broken, they don’t laugh and spin in my arms with joy because I am simply “mama.”  They don’t come home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays with their own babies on their hips.  I love them so, but eventually my students don’t need me anymore.  No matter how old you are, you always need your mama.

I walked from the photographer’s booth and made it a few steps before the tears really started to flow.  Greg asked what was wrong and I told him.  He grinned sheepishly and muttered something about “hormones.”  yeah, I’m sure that’s it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Calling All Angels...







Train


Calling All Angels


I need a sign to let me know you're here

All of these lines are being crossed over the atmosphere

I need to know that things are gonna look up

Cause I feel us drowning in a sea spilled from a cup

When there is no place safe and no safe place to put my head

When you can feel the world shake from the words that I said


And I'm calling all angels

And I'm calling all you angels


And I won't give up if you don't give up

I won't give up if you don't give up

I won't give up if you don't give up

I won't give up if you don't give up


I need a sign to let me know you're here

Cause my tv set just keeps it all from being clear

I want a reason for the way things have to be

I need a hand to help build up some kind of hope inside of me


And I'm calling all angels

And I'm calling all you angels


When children have to play inside so they don't disappear

While private eyes solve marriage lies cause we dont talk for years

And football teams are kissing queens and losing sight of having dreams

In a world where all we want is only what we want untill it's ours


And I'm calling all angels

And I'm calling all you angels

And I'm calling all angels

(I won't give up if you don't give up)

And I'm calling all you angels

(I won't give up if you don't give up)

Calling all you angels

(I won't give up if you don't give up)

Calling all you angels

(I won't give up if you don't give up)

Calling all you angels








 







Sunday, August 31, 2008

An Important Date Here at Our House...

Hi Everyone,

If you happen to see my husband today, wish him a happy 42nd birthday! That's right, as of 7:35 a.m. today he is 42 years old. From now until October 30th, we will be the same age--then I become the "older woman" again--lol.

I surprised him with his gift yesterday...I baked him some dark chocolate brownie bites, bought him a card and a new DVR so that he can tape classic cartoons and great old movies on TCM in the middle of the night. He was so tickled!! We had a great evening--I just love him so much.

Not much else here, except my cold has been hanging on for over a week--I'm afraid it's going to turn into pneumonia. May have to go to the doctor this week. ugh.

Take care, and talk to you soon!
Love,
Charlotte

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

School Starts for my Greg, and a Poem for this Wednesday...

Greg just left a while ago for his first literature class in quite a while. I'm so excited about him going to school!!! He will make such a wonderful teacher. He is so kind, patient, and loving. The students he works with now think so highly of him, and my students love him as well.

I'm sharing a poem for this Wednesday--one of my favorites:

I Feel, I See, I Breathe You

by Emmanuel Emesakoru
(from poetryhunter.com)

You're the first overwhelming feeling the engulfs me
When I wake up to behold the dawn that has come
I feel you in the rays of light that seep in slowly
Through my curtain blinds, straight to my dimmed eyes
I see you through the leaves that would always sway
And sometimes bow in awe of your stunning beauty
I breathe you in the air that I inhale into my nose
I feel, I see, I breathe you just to stay alive

And when I retire to my bed at night to think and sleep
My feelings untamed run deeper and deeper in my heart
I feel you in my irregular rapid and violent heartbeats
You bring intense joy and satisfaction to my peaceful mind
I see you, you are right there, up and high in the skies
The galaxies are but a reflection of your shiny pupils
I breathe you in the sea breeze that brings so much warmth
I feel, I see, I breathe you, so don't take your breath away

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Head Colds, Grading Papers, and the Stepmom Blues...

I have a head cold, which is a bummer because I am contagious and have to stay home tomorrow. I also have to stay home to take my lil' mama to the doctor because she is having trouble walking; she fell about a month ago and has had some soreness ever since.

I don't want to be away from my students, but I don't want to get them sick, either. Especially with this gunk, as it may develop into bronchitis with them as it has done with me.

Being off sick will give me time to grade their autobiography papers (rough drafts). The students were to write from the 1st person perspective of a cherished possession, and let that possession tell me about him/her. For instance, an ipod could tell me what kind of music a student listens to, what kinds of moods they have, their friends, their style, etc. I wanted to do something other than a tired old "I was born...." etc. paper.

My stepson has been here since Friday night, and he goes home this afternoon. I haven't seen much of him since I have been sick, and I miss him already. He brings so much life and fun into this house that we miss him during the week when he is away. His vitality, his imagination, and his unconditional love are so refreshing that he completely changes the atmosphere wherever he is.

I can't wait until he comes back.

I'm going to rest for a little while...take care.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I Saw Him Yesterday...

I saw him yesterday afternoon...just in passing. We barely spoke, which is not anything new for quite a while. I suppose I was to feel honored he acknowledged me at all. He has hardly spoken to me since the wedding--although he had a lot to say AT the wedding. Could have been his half-drunken state then, though. Can you imagine? Half-drunk at 2 p.m., sulking around with that hangdog look on his face--ugh.

I have decided that incidents like that only make me realize how stupid I was back then, to be so hung up on someone who cared nothing about me. Things are so different now that I can't imagine why I spent a single day waiting for anyone else to "see the light" and realize I was worth caring for. Greg has made me feel beyond worthy from day one, and he shows me every day that he loves me and that I can count on him. Every day we are more in love. If he had not come into my life, what would I have had? Where would I be? Forty, Forty-five, Fifty...waiting for some dream that would never come true? How sad my life would have been.

I guess the song says it best: "It's never love 'till you're loved in return/Some fools never learn."

Well, this fool learned her lesson, just in time.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Coffee and Scones on a Saturday...

Saturday morning, and all is well. Greg is getting ready for work at the Pool Shoppe. I've been up since five or so. I made scones and coffee for breakfast (which, for those who don't know, are triangle-shaped English biscuits).

I've completed my first week with my English II students, mostly 10th graders. They are such wonderful students. Like all teenagers, they love to talk, but nothing out of the ordinary. I've only had to have assigned seats for one class so far, and they have until the end of the month to gain a reprieve.

It's so good to be back in the classroom! My fellow teachers (well, those that are my friends and bother to talk to me) say that I am my "old self" again. It's true; this year is so, so different from last year. This time last year I was dealing with so many things: yearbook, mama being sick, my being sick (although I didn't realize it)...this year yearbook is no longer my problem (YES!), mama is much better (thank you Jesus!!), and I have had an almost-complete recovery. I am able to focus on my students and being a better teacher.

I'm able to take care of things at work and at home now, and it's awesome. This time last year, poor Greg had to work and then try to do the things I couldn't do. Now I'm able to be the wife I promised to be, and we're just able to relax and enjoy each other. He comes to my classroom to see me at least once during the school day (he works on the other side of the building), and the girls in my classes always giggle and go "awwww" over us and tell us how in love we look. We can't hide it, I guess...

We've fallen into such a comfortable rhythm with our daily routines...morning coffee and breakfast together, riding to work, little moments during the day, our drive home, making dinner together, and lately spending the evening snuggled up watching TV and talking about this and that. It's true that when you find the one you love them more as time goes on.

Well, time to tackle the mountain of laundry waiting for me in the sunroom. Have a great weekend, all.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A bit of a rant...

Yesterday the hubby and I went to my classroom to try and get ready for the new school year. The first day of school is Thursday, August 7th. I am so excited to start a new school year; I missed my students terribly while I was sick last year.

The last month that I was finally allowed to come back to school I spent most of my time dealing with the students and didn't pay much attention to the state of my classroom. When I came back yesterday to get things in order, it made me sad to see the way some student treated my room while I was gone. What has happened to respect for other people's property?

There were wads of gum on the ceiling, faces drawn on the photos of my bulletin boards, pencils stuck in the ceiling, etc. The most heartbreaking aspect, though, was the fact that students had stolen from me. I had posters of Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, The Beatles, and Bob Marley on my walls at the beginning of the year; at the end of the year, they were nowhere to be found.

I am not blaming all of my students; the majority of them were smart, sweet, courteous and wonderful. It saddens me that there was a small, selfish, unthinking faction that did not care who they hurt, but just wanted to satisfy their own selfish wants and needs.

It may have been a form of "punishment" for me because I had substitutes in the room most of the year. I would love to find the culprits and explain to them that it was never my intention to become ill and almost die--twice--and that I would much rather have been in the classroom with them.

I'm replacing the posters, and hopefully my being there all year will keep it from happening again. Problem is, the damage has already been done.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Some of my favorite quotes about teaching...

As anyone who knows me knows, one of the biggest passions in my life is my work. Over time, I have found quotes about teaching, and decided since it was getting close to the new school year, I would post them here. I start with a quote of my own.

"Just because I have the big desk doesn't mean I have all the answers." - Charlotte Ann Wooden-Hillis

"Good teachers are those who know how little they know. Bad teachers are
those who think they know more than they don't know." - R. Verdi


"Awaken people's curiosity. It is enough to open minds, do not
overload them. Put there just a spark." - Anatole France

"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence
stops." - Henry Brooks Adams


"A teacher is one who makes himself progressively unnecessary." -
Thomas Carruthers


" A teacher who is attempting to teach, without inspiring the pupil
with a desire to learn, is hammering on a cold iron." - Horace Mann
(1796-1859)

"Education costs money, but then so does ignorance." - Sir Claus Moser


"Education...is a painful, continual and difficult work to be done in
kindness, by watching, by warning,... by praise, but above all -- by
example." - John Ruskin

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." -
Malcolm Forbes


"Education should turn out the pupil with something he knows well and
something he can do well." - Alfred North Whitehead

"Getting things done is not always what is most important. There is value
in allowing others to learn, even if the task is not accomplished as quickly,
efficiently or effectively." - R.D. Clyde


"Good teaching is more a giving of right questions than a giving of
right answers." - Josef Albers

"I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think." -
Socrates


"If the child is not learning the way you are teaching, then you must
teach in the way the child learns" - Rita Dunn


"If what you're doing isn't working, try something else!" - NLP adage


"I may have said the same thing before... but my explanation, I am sure,
will always be different." - Oscar Wilde


"I put the relation of a fine teacher to a student just below the
relation of a mother to a son." - Thomas Wolfe

"It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot,
irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to
question it." - J. Bronowski, The Ascent of Man


"It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative
expression and knowledge." - Albert Einstein


"Learning is finding out what you already know. Doing is
demonstrating that you know it. Teaching is reminding others that they
know it just as well as you. You are all learners, doers, teachers" -
Richard Bach


"Men learn while they teach." - Lucius A. Seneca

"No matter how good teaching may be, each student must take the
responsibility for his own education." - John Carolus S. J.

"People's behavior makes sense if you think about it in terms of
their goals, needs, and motives." - Thomas Mann

"Praise, like gold and diamonds, owes its values only to its
scarcity." - Samuel Johnson

"Spoonfeeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of
the spoon" - E. M. Forster

"Teachers should guide without dictating, and participate without
dominating." - C.B. Neblette

"Teach your children by what you are, not just by what you say" - Jane
Revell & Susan Norman


"The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to
learn." - Cicero


"The basic idea behind teaching is to teach people what they need to
know." - Carl Rogers


"The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and
inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself." - Edward
Bulwer-Lytton


"The job of an educator is to teach students to see the vitality in
themselves." - Joseph Campbell

"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be
ignited." - Plutarch

"There are no difficult students - just students who don't want to do it
your way" - Jane Revell & Susan Norman


" The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house
of his wisdom
but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind." - Kahlil Gibran

"To define is to destroy, to suggest is to create." - Stephane
Mallarme

"To me the sole hope of human salvation lies in teaching." -
George Bernard Shaw

"To teach is to learn twice." - Joseph Joubert

"Try to present at least three options. One is no choice at
all. Two creates a dilemma. With three you begin to have real choice
and flexibility" - Jane Revell & Susan Norman


"We think too much about effective methods of teaching and not enough
about effective methods of learning." - John Carolus S. J.

"What we want is to see the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not
knowledge in pursuit of the child." - George Bernard Shaw


"Who dares to teach must never cease to learn." - John Cotton Dana


"You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it
within himself." - Galielo


My greatest wish is to be able to tell each and every student I've had how much they mean to me, and how much they have taught me. Teaching is one of the greatest blessings of my life, and even when it is stressful, scary and frenetic I love every second of it. Here's to a new school year, and to a long life of learning for us all.

Take care,

Charlotte



Saturday, July 12, 2008

Timeless Summer Songs...

I love music of all kinds--everything from ambient to zydeco (ha! found an a-z for that one!). I was lamenting the fact that most of the music I grew up on is now played on the "oldies" channels when I decided to take a more positive spin on things and list the songs that remind me of summer that I could listen to over and over. So here goes, folks--by the way, I started to link them to sound clips, but I'm not great at that stuff, so if you're interested enough, you'll find them:

1. "Summer Breeze"--Seals and Crofts--To me, one of the most perfectly crafted pop songs ever, period. Sweet melody, with lyrics that celebrate the joys of a simple life--a nice little house and the one you love.

2. "Fire and Rain"--James Taylor--One of the classic vocal performances of all-time, and a song that makes you feel mellow, sad, nostalgic, and content all at once.

3. "Pictures of You"--The Cure--A beautiful song that means something to anyone who has ever loved and lost, which would be all of us.

4. "Sultans of Swing"--Dire Straits--Mark Knopfler's guitar at its best, with lyrics and music that paint a picture of life as a working-class band.

5. "Baker Street"--Gerry Rafferty--Without a doubt, the single greatest sax performance in a pop song ever.

6. "American Pie"--Don McClean--You've heard it, you secretly know the words, you secretly love it. Sing it proudly.

7. "Can't Find My Way Home"--Blind Faith--Smooth and heartbreaking, this is a song that brings rock'n'roll to a spiritual level.

8. "Side"--Travis--Cross the faith and optimism of U2 with the style of Radiohead and you have Travis. This song explores the concepts of mortality, faith, ethics, and envy in a little over three amazing minutes.

9. "Dear Prudence"--The Beatles--One of the band's best songs, in that it combines the romanticism of the early work with the artistry of the later work. Breezy, sweet, and beautiful with a darn good beat.

10. "She Drives Me Crazy"--Fine Young Cannibals--Roland Gift and Co. take the simplest (and most perplexing) of feelings and summed them up in a song that is still easy to dance to after all these years. Oh, and it's a great driving song.

Now, this list is my opinion, and by no means complete. If anyone has any contributions, please comment.

Take care, all

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Shots from the 5th Parade...

Here's my Greg and me on our porch; our little guy took the photo--not bad, huh?












Speaking of the little guy, here he is with his daddy.... =)

Here's our front porch...I love our little house. It makes me proud when people stop and admire our herbs and flowers on the porch.
Here's the parade route to the left of our house, and here's the route to the right of our house. We had a great view of everything this year!

There were a lot of cool entries in the parade this year, but my favorite were these guys:


There was a man there with these brown sheep, and he brought his partner, a black and white sheepdog:

He did a great job keeping the sheep in line--I finally got a shot of him at work:





Here's one of the antique fire engines that were in the parade... here's a shot of an even older one.


I saw several students and former students today--it was great. See this bull?

As he rolled past my porch, I heard him bellow, "C-Woo!" (my nickname) Turns out, Cody Walker (a student from two years ago) was the "innards" of the bull!!

In addition to current and former students, I met a big group of future students from the Morrison community--





The majority of the parade consisted of classic cars and trucks--here are some shots:



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The 4th on the 5th...

Hello Everyone,

Happy 4th on the 5th! While we still observed the Independence Day holiday yesterday here in Warren County, Tennessee, we moved the majority of the festivities to today. The reason? This is the year we also celebrate Warren County's Bicentennial. There are many activities scheduled for today, including a parade that will be going right down my street! We are pretty jazzed about that, needless to say. I'll post photos from the parade as soon as I can.

I've spent the morning watering/feeding plants and hanging out with my (step)son while Greg is working. The garden is going fairly well--we have tons of cucumbers right now, and the tomatoes are coming along nicely.

Greg has decided that the best way to celebrate the nation's independence is with some sushi for lunch--sounds good to me.

Tonight there's fireworks--I'm anxious to try the settings on my camera.

Take care all,

Charlotte

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Reason I Waited Until I Was Forty-One to Get Married...

This video is a summary of all the reasons I believe everyone should wait until they are in their 40s to get married...live, travel, learn, laugh, grow, love, become a whole person, and THEN tie the knot. Just my opinion..please hold the hate mail.


The Sad Truth About Relationships

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Hero Worship, Health Update, and Hallelujah!


Nothing like a man with a guitar...

Here's my Greg at our church hayride and picnic last week...he's been playing since he was about twelve or so, and also plays the piano and sings. It's like having my very own Elvis...*sigh*...

He's truly my hero in so many ways. In our first year of marriage he has shown me so much love and done more for me than any woman could ever ask for. He has nursed me through so much sickness, dressed wounds, bathed me, dressed me, held my hand when the doctors had to draw blood, rocked me to sleep when I couldn't go to sleep on my own, kissed my forehead when I had horrible fevers, and told me I was beautiful when I looked like dookie on a cracker.

Even before that, he was a true romantic. Not hearts and flowers romance, but real-life romance, the kind that matters. I've only washed dishes once since we were married a year ago--every morning Greg gets up at 5 a.m., washes dishes, makes the coffee, then comes and kisses me awake. I never have to put gas in my car; he takes the car and fills it up whenever it needs it. He holds the door open for me, carries packages, pulls out my chair, helps cook dinner (or many times cooks it all himself), and helps with the laundry. He's my angel.

Okay, enough gushing...lol...

On the health front, the orthopod says I have what is known as adhesive capsulitis, or frozen shoulder, on both sides of my body. It is going to take lots of exercise and physical therapy to resolve, but luckily no surgery. I'm incredibly sore right now, but at least I don't have to go to the hospital again...thank God.

Finally....Hallelujah! The groundhog problem has resolved, thanks to Greg and his pellet gun. It was a male, no babies in sight (we found the burrow), and the garden is safe once again.

Hope everyone's enjoying the summer...take care.

Monday, June 2, 2008

My Summer Job? Wildlife Feeder...grrrrrr.....

There's a groundhog loose in my garden. The little sucker has nibbled off the leaves on 2 rows of green beans, 1/2 a row of bok choy, and now he's eyeing the cucumbers. I can't catch him--I've only seen him once, waddling off, his little fat butt merrily headed toward his burrow. If I get the chance, I will kill him. Me, Ms. "Friend of the Fuzzies," will squeeze the life out of him with my bare hands if I get the chance.

No one told me I was growing a garden to feed him...I didn't know this at all.

Thank God he doesn't seem to enjoy arugula, leaf lettuce, or tomatoes. If he gets into my tomatoes, he will get a can of whoopass like he's never seen.

Let this be known--I have declared war on Sr. Groundhog.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Great Day...

There are some days in your life you remember right away because they are milestone days--birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, births, deaths--and then there are smaller days that creep into your mind at unexpected times but are just as important. Yesterday was one of those days.

David is here while his mom recovers from giving birth to baby Nika, and we spent the afternoon in our garden--our own little patch of heaven. Greg tilled the remainder of the soil so we could plant, while David and I sat on the porch in the swing. Correction: I sat in the swing while David played a game of cat-and-mouse (cat-and-boy?) with Kitty Puss. I could hear David squeal with delight as Kitty Puss chased him around the entire house; David was having the time of his life.

Then when the tilling was finished, the four of us planted tomato plants, including the pitiful little plants we raised from seeds. We also planted catnip, sunflowers, pepper plants, and canteloupe. We had such fun!

Afterwards we grilled out, watched a movie, then finally all snuggled into bed...the perfect ending to a great day. We were a family, a REAL family, something I've waited for all my life.

Yesterday was a day that will stay with me forever because of the love. I never thought I'd find such a love. Thank God I was wrong.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Excrutiating...

Today is awful...the clock has slowed to a stop. I am still at the adult high school, and the students are down to the wire on their work. They are either silently working or running their mouths about absolutely nothing, which is driving me crazy. There are several left who are supposed to get their work done by Friday (TOMORROW!!!!) in order to graduate, but they don't seem to give a flip. What they are thinking, I have no idea. Do they live in a parallel universe? Do they think there is a "schoolwork fairy" that is going to do this work for them? Arrrrrghhhh!

One girl talked (bragged, more like it) about getting in a fight with her boss and cursing her over something silly. Why do some young people think they have the right to say whatever they are thinking? Do they think that they are going to get ahead in this world with that attitude? What has happened to respect in this world? God, I sound so old!!!

Please let this day end soon...I want to go home to my hubby and Kitty Puss and finish my laundry and cook and be happy.

Monday, April 28, 2008

I Can't Wait...

I can't wait for summer vacation to arrive...I love my work, but it seems that summer is all I think about these days.

First of all, while I am working, it is not in my "natural habitat." I am working at the adult high school instead of my regular classroom right now, helping some seniors catch up on their credits so that they can graduate. Ms. Sherry G., a dear friend and former colleague of mine at the high school, has taken over my classes until the end of testing. The administration decided (and rightfully so) to leave her with my classes until the testing was over. I didn't blame them; after all, I have had two horrible health scares this year, and who knows when it might happen again.

Some of the kids here are very conscientious and try very hard to get their work done. Some spend most of their time talking and worrying about partying rather than working. It's a real shame--I partied when I was in school a bit, but I still managed to finish high school successfully. You have to have balance, man...if you can't balance work and play, then give up the play.

I miss my 10th graders terribly...they are the perfect age to teach. I've taught all four grade levels of high school, from special ed classes to Advanced Placement classes, and all grades have their positive points. I've learned, however, that 10th graders are definitely my favorites. 9th Graders are still too "twitchy" and that first flood of hormones has just kicked in...they are all arms and legs and have no idea how to deal with anything going on around them, much less inside their own bodies. 11th graders are okay, but have developed some sort of brain deficiency that makes them want to do things even a 4-year-old would balk at. Seniors are cool, but senioritis kicks in and they don't want to do ANYTHING once class rank is posted (or they receive their acceptance letters from college). 10th graders are the perfect balance of child and adult...they respect you enough to listen (at least most of them), they still have a bit of that eagerness to please, yet they have developed a somewhat sophisticated sense of humor. They are great fun.

I'll have about 2 weeks with my "babies" back in my classroom before I break for the summer...and then what a summer it will be. Graduate school online, needlework, reading, gardening, daytrips with my hubby, canning, playing with my stepson...I can't wait. Have I mentioned that already?

Friday, April 25, 2008

I've been gone so long...

I doubt anyone even reads this thing anymore. It's been a wild, wild time since October of '07...well, since September of '07, actually.

Mama had seven cardiac bypasses on 9/11/07, but came through like a trooper. She spent 10 days in the hospital, two weeks in the nursing home, and one week with me.

In October, I began having back/abdomen pains...nothing serious (or so I thought), just a strained muscle. The last week of October the doctor ordered a ct scan and they found gallstones. A trip to the surgeon Halloween night was almost too late...November 1st called for emergency surgery to remove a ruptured gallbladder, a cyst, and to remove gangrene which had set in. Two more days and there would have been no more me.

Seven days on a ventilator in ICU and five more days in regular room followed. I went home to recuperate, and went back to work on January 7th. Thing was, my incisions had not healed...my wonderful husband was still playing nurse and packing wounds. By the middle of February they still had not healed. Another trip to the doctor followed...

It was found that part of the incision went straight into my abdominal cavity (this is called a fistula), and each time I ate or drank it would cause more damage/drainage. The doctor ordered TPN, which is nutrition through a catheter that goes straight into your bloodstream, with nothing to eat or drink--that way, the wounds would heal.

Being a diabetic, the TPN solution sent my sugar level to 600 or higher--this, along with a staph infection and high fever, caused me to go out of my mind with delusions. While in the hospital, I tried to "rescue" people from the television, I was terrified the bed was going to swallow me alive, and I was convinced there was some sort of terrorist conspiracy involving (get this) people emailing me their urine. I kept whispering to my husband, "honey, don't accept any packages." Jeez.

Oh, and on top of the staph infection, I developed pneumonia and a blood clot in my lung. Not a fun two weeks.

To face death twice in one year--no picnic.

But finally the fever broke, the infection dissipated, and I went back to normal (a relative term if there ever was one). Thank God. I still have to take Coumadin for the blood problem, but I'm on my way back.

Things at Our House are finally getting back to normal. I have some upper arm pain that has not stopped yet (muscular in nature), but it is better. I cook, clean, and do a bit of work in the garden.

Speaking of garden, Greg and I are in gardening heaven. We have tilled up a big spot in our yard and have planted bok choy, lettuce, arugula, beets, radishes, strawberry plants, onions, and (eventually) tomatoes and string beans. We have over 60 tomato plants started, as well as some flowers and several herbs. I love to play in the dirt and watch everything grow...it reminds me of when I was a little girl helping Ma-Maw and Pa-Paw with the garden while Mama was at work.

Right now, a big part of the garden is Kitty Puss' personal giant litter box/playground. I'll post a picture of him soon--he's our adopted cat who lived in the neighborhood before he lived with us. He's sweet and so funny. He loves to roll around in the dirt on his back.

Life's pretty good at Our House right now. I couldn't ask for more.