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Friday, September 29, 2006

Moving Day for Bloggers

Tina (The Other Tina) hangs her hat here

Dongurigal can be found here

Long day and still nothing specific about Ray which in itself is good news I suppose.

I'm still coughing and sneezing so staying away. For sure tomorrow with his clean clothes though. I'll put a mask on and just buzz in and out.

Elcie was sick today - it seems to be making the rounds. Rebecca fell asleep early for a Friday. I wonder it she will be next.

Just checking in to say hello, thanks for the comments, and I'm still trying to catch up with all the blogs. My eyes are still bothering me. I read for a little while and get fuzzy.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Nothing Much - Just Saying Hi (Update)

Ray isn't hanging around the emergency room - he's in a room with a bed. I talked to him twice today (now a little after 11 pm Thursday) but haven't been over there. I woke up with what I thought might be the beginning of a cold or some other bug and decided better to stay away. I'll get there tomorrow. He understands and there's no point passing on whatever I might have had which I now think was just a bad air day here and not contagious at all.

And Rochelle was sick Wednesday night and out of school today. She was fine by later in the day and so was I.

My bedroom t.v. did something weird yesterday and Ray's the only one who knows how to fix it. I booted the girls out of the living room (bedtime anyway) so I could watch at 9 and 10 yesterday and today. I never made it to 10 before I was asleep on the couch. Problem - I woke up at midnight last night and 11 tonight. Last night I was awake off and on most of the night; I hope tonight is better. I'll try again in my own bed in a few minutes.

I met Tim for lunch yesterday, ran a couple of errands, picked up Rebecca from the bus stop, and came back home. I've done what was necessary but not much else. At least with older kids, they're somewhat independent. Dinner was simple and so was cleanup. They helped with other things and no one had much homework for a change.

We don't know yet what's happening with Ray - maybe by tomorrow. I'd like him to be home for the weekend but I'd be surprised if that happened.

This has to be the most boring post ever - I'm even boring myself. Tomorrow is major shopping day after the girls have left for school. Not too bad this month; I'm low on cereal and the usual dry goods (toilet paper and laundry detergent always) but I bought cat food and a couple of other things earlier this week so I won't have as much lugging tomorrow.

I think I'm getting sleepy again or so I hope. I'll try to find something more exciting to report by tomorrow but don't count on it. The girls' candy sales start tomorrow and I'm too tired to even do my usual rant on school fundraisers that involve door to door sales. I think I'll pass on it this year and send a small donation to the PTA instead. They'll make just as much as they would from the small amount of money they keep from the sales

Now I know I've been around a year. I bet I was ranting about candy last year at this time.

I'm way behind on reading your blogs but I'll catch up. I've had problems focusing on reading yesterday and today; one of the things that makes me believe it's air quality that's bothering me more than a cold.

Thanks again for the good wishes. I'm feeling sleepy again - probably a good thing. It's warm but not hot so I should be okay. Forecast mid 70's (F) this weekend with possible rain which will clear the air.

Take care all and good night.

P. S. My friend "J." has a new blogging home.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Something Is Finally Happening

1:00 p.m.

Ray's doctor sent him to the emergency room with the referral and instructions to have the hospital call the doctor (who is furious as am I). They should do something now. Almost 72 hours wait with no communication.

Elcie had her third appointment this morning to check the cyst or whatever it is on her ankle. It seems to be growing. She'll see the orthopedic surgeon at Children's Hospital in Madera (near Fresno) in a couple of weeks. It's probably nothing but the pediatrician wasn't sure and she'd rather play it safe. I agree. One more thing to add to my growing list but it's not a bad drive and I can probably scare up some company for the trip.

Her dad went along this morning to help with her chair. We were in and out in 15 minutes (a new record), bought her chicken nuggets and french fries, and then back home. Her dad took Ray to the hospital for me - I'm zapped and it's only early afternoon.

The Giants are playing and I'm halfway watching them. Oshee - Diamondbacks 2, Giants 0 in the 2nd. I know you'll be pleased so far.

In other news, I received this from my son and my friend Heather in email today. It's been around since 2005 and I'd seen it before. It's not a hoax; it's a "jury duty" scam attempting to discover private info over the phone through intimidation.

For U. S. citizens only (although someone else might try it in another country). I'm including the link to Snopes. They're usually reliable.

I should do something useful but I may take most of the day off except for homework and anything else that can't wait.

Take care - If I don't get back later, you'll know I'm probably asleep.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

12 Hours Later

I wrote this last night but Blogger wouldn't post. Trying again at 6:00 a.m.

8:30 p.m. and still waiting. I doubt they'll call now.

I phoned the doctor early this afternoon. They thought he'd been admitted and were appalled (as they should have been). The called back to tell me Ray was 2nd on the list and it shouldn't be more than an hour or two. That was around 3 p.m.

I'm trying to remain calm; Ray seems to be doing fine, but inwardly I'm seething. Couldn't they at least have called? I can understand emergency admissions taking precedence but they could have let us know. Still not a word.

In others news. I went to coffee with my two friends today. My new blogging buddy Chuck seems to be a great guy; much younger than his chronological age. We had coffee and then went over to the recreation room where he lives to listen to a pianist accompanied by Chuck on the harmonica.

The guy was good - cocktail lounge music right out of the forties. Gershwin, Porter, and others. He has a huge collection of sheet music and each week brings a different letter of the alphabet. Today was songs beginning with the letter "I" as in "I'll Never Smile Again", etc. I was a little young for the war years but still I know the big band music and the romantic ballads very well.

It was great fun and quite different from the way I usually spend my days. I felt a little selfish but I needed the break. Ray was quite comfortable with his sci-fi and probably appreciated the quiet.

Ran a few errands; daughter was home and Ray had his phone right beside him so I wasn't worried - I was five to ten minutes away driving depending on the cooperation of the Burlington-Northern-Santa Fe which runs through the middle of town. No trains today and I made more than one trip back and forth across the tracks.

Elcie's run into a problem at school (too tired to explain tonight). I talked to her teacher, her teacher will take action but suggested I call the Principal as well. I'll email for the record . Briefly, the person who is supposed to do nothing more than help her off the bus and to her classroom has taken it upon herself to read the notes I write to Elcie's teacher about medical issues, progress, etc.

That will stop. There were other issues as well and the teacher didn't sound too surprised.

And now it's past nine, I have two new Law & Order shows one after the other if I can stay awake and silly blogger can't keep up with my typing.

Take care everyone and thanks again for the encouragement. I'll answer as many as I can.

And Still Waiting

Quick update - so many of you have asked and I don't have time to respond to all.

We're still waiting for a bed - it's about 8:30 a.m. Tuesday here. He's feeling much better but I still want him evaluated and so does his doctor. That left arm and sometimes leg weakness can be a symptom of stroke (or at least a warning). Meantime, life goes on, a little more frantically than before.

Thanks for the good wishes. I'll update when I can.



Monday, September 25, 2006

Waiting and Waiting

I had all sorts of mental notes to catch everyone up on the weekend. For now, I'll just say it was full of craziness and one temporarily missing kid (Rochelle). It all worked out fine; she just misunderstood the instructions and Rebecca was the one with the phone.

Thanks to all for the wonderful good wishes in response to the blogiversary post. I was bowled over.

Glad you liked the long fish story. I didn't realize it had been around for a while.

If any of you know Tina from "The Other Tina", she asked me to let you know she's deleted her blog for the time being. She will be back. Message conveyed, Tina. I'll keep a light on in the blog roll for you.

Max, the pretty orange kitty who came to visit a couple of weeks ago, is back. Rochelle discovered him at our front door early this morning waiting patiently for someone to let him in. I still don't know if he has a home. He's been napping most of the day when he wasn't getting reacquainted. He may or may not hang around. He's a good little guy and his buddies here seemed to be glad to see him.

When I wrote Friday's post I said Ray was doing well - one day at a time. I didn't know how close to the truth that was. Right now we're waiting for the hospital to call and tell us they have a bed for him. He's had some arm and shoulder pain and weakness which became more severe this afternoon. (He's had problems with his entire left side from time to time.) I took him to the doctor who wants to admit him.

That was around 4:00 p.m. It's now almost 8. He shaved, bathed, changed clothes, ate dinner, and is feeling better. I'm beginning to think it may be tomorrow before we hear but who knows?

I hope it's nothing but it doesn't pay to take chances. He's had so many different things going on it's hard to know what's happening. They keep ruling out his heart so that's a good sign. I'm ot exactly worried; just a little fretful and tired.

Updated 8:56. Looking more and more like it may be morning.

Meantime, I watched the beginning of the New Orleans Saints first game back in the Superbowl since Katrina. I hope it's the begining of a comeback for that beautiful city. Now I'm watching my tailspinning Giants just to take my mind off everything.

Elcie's algebra is completed but not her 20 sentences using all the parts of speech. I wrote her teacher a note. She was falling on her face and so was I. We'll do them tomorrow. I'd do well tonight to remember what the parts of speech are except to know that using all of them could make for a very long sentence. Noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, article.

Did I miss anything? I use them all the time without thinking of course.

I added a new visitor, Much More Than a Mom, to the blogroll. Welcome. Her latest post reminds me that it's National Banned Book week, brought to us by none other than the American Library Association. They must like censorship about as well as I. I wrote about it on the other blog and was going to give it it's very own post here but this will work. I noted that on the list of books banned or challenged over the years, Fahrenheit 451 was probably up around the top ten. For any of you who aren't Heinlen fans, it's a book about book burning. It's the job of the fire department to gather up printed material and burn it. I've seen the lists before. It's fascinating and not a little scary to see which literature has been challenged over the years. To Kill a Mockingbird is on there I remember.

Anyhow, I may try to lie down for a few minutes while we wait. It's been a long day.

Take care everyone.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Too Good to Keep to Myself

I send many of the jokes I receive in email on to my friend Merle whose blog features lots of jokes, inspirational quotes, recipes and tales of her life in Australia.

I got selfish with this one and kept it for myself. It's from my former neighbor Pat; a lovely woman about my age who now lives in San Diego. She keeps me well supplied with stories.

It's a little long but I found it hilarious. I don't know if it's true or a "fish" story but no matter.

I'll try to get back with a "real" post; if not, I'll catch up tomorrow.

If you have raised kids (or been one), and gone through the pet syndrome
including toilet flush burials for dead goldfish, the story below will have
you laughing out LOUD!

Overview: I had to take my son's lizard to the vet. Here's what happened:

Just after dinner one night, my son came up to tell me there was
"something wrong" with one of the two lizards he holds prisoner in his

"He's just lying there looking sick," he told me. "I'm serious, dad, can
you help?"

I put my best lizard-healer statement on my face and followed him into his
bedroom. One of the little lizards was indeed lying on his back, looking
stressed. I immediately knew what to do.

"Honey," I called, "come look at the lizard!" "Oh my! gosh," my wife
diagnosed after a minute. "She's having babies."

"What?" my son demanded. "But their names are Bert and Ernie, Mom!"

I was equally outraged. "Hey, how can that be? I thought we said we didn't want them to reproduce," I accused my wife. "Well, what do you want me to do, post a sign in their cage?" she inquired. (I actually think she said this sarcastically!)

"No, but you were supposed to get two boys!" I reminded her, (in my most loving, calm, sweet voice, while gritting my teeth together). "Yeah, Bert and Ernie!" my son agreed.

"Well, it's just a little hard to tell on some guys, you know," she informed me. (Again with the sarcasm, you think?)

By now the rest of the family had gathered to see what was going on. I
shrugged, deciding to make the best of it.

"Kids, this is going to be a wondrous experience, I announced. "We're about to witness the miracle of birth." "Oh, gross!" they shrieked. "Well, isn't THAT just great! What are we going to do with a litter of tiny
little lizard babies?" my wife wanted to know. (I really do think she was being snotty here, too. Don't you?)

We peered at the patient. After much struggling, what looked like a tiny foot would appear briefly, vanishing a scant second later.

"We don't appear to be making much progress," I noted. "It's breech," my wife whispered, horrified. "Do something, Dad!" my son urged. "Okay, okay." Squeamishly , I reached in and grabbed the foot when it next appeared, giving it a gentle tug. It disappeared. I tried several more times with the same results.

"Should I call 911," my eldest daughter wanted to know. "Maybe they could talk us through the trauma." (You see a pattern here with the females in my house?)

"Let's get Ernie to the vet," I said grimly. We drove to the vet with my son holding the cage in his lap. "Breathe, Ernie, breathe," he urged.

"I don't think lizards do Lamaze," his mother noted to him. (Women can be so cruel to their own young. I mean what she does to me is one thing, but this boy is of her womb, for God's sake.)

The Vet took Ernie back to the examining room and peered at the little animal through a magnifying glass.

"What do you think, Doc, a C-section?" I suggested scientifically. "Oh, very interesting," he murmured. "Mr. and Mrs. Cameron, may I speak to you privately for a moment?" I gulped, nodding for my son to step outside. "Is Ernie going to be okay?" my wife asked. "Oh, perfectly," the Vet assured us. "This lizard is not in labor. In fact, that isn't EVER going to happen... Ernie is a boy. You see, Ernie is a young male. And occasionally, as they come into maturity, like most male species, they Just the way he did, lying on his back." He
blushed, glancing at my wife. "Well, you know what I'm saying, Mr. Cameron."

We were silent, absorbing this. "So Ernie's just...just... excited," my wife offered. "Exactly," the vet replied, relieved that we understood.

More silence. Then my vicious, cruel wife started to giggle. And giggle.And then even laugh loudly. "What's so funny?" I demanded, knowing, but not believing that the woman I married would commit the upcoming affront to my flawless manliness. Tears were now running down her face. Laughing "It's just...that...I'm picturing you pulling on its... its...teeny little..." she gasped for more air to bellow in laughter once more.

"That's enough," I warned. We thanked the Vet and hurriedly bundled everyone into the car. "I know Ernie's grateful", my son said. "Oh, you have NO idea," I replied. Closed mouth, my wife agreed, collapsing with laughter.

2 - Lizards - $140...
1 - Cage - $50...
Trip to the Vet - $30...
Memory of your husband pulling on a lizard's winkie... Priceless!

Moral of the story - finish biology class - lizards lay eggs!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Blogiversary!! Update to Correct My Failing Memory

Tomorrow will be one year hanging around here writing about family, stealing jokes, memes, great recipes, and generally making up the rules as I go along.

Here's my first post. (A year ago I couldn't have added that link to save my life).

This post (a day early) will be devoted to gratitude.

Some of you may know how I started blogging. I bought a computer in late 2004 and at some point discovered Blogging Baby (see my sidebar and save me putting in another link), a parenting blog, and fell in love with it. I started leaving comments and more coments and more comments. My first banner read "because Blogging Baby's comment boxes are too damn small". I would have left it but many new visitors didn't understand the reference. All the original BB visitors sure did.

After a month or so one of the writers (Jen C.) sent me an email thanking me for something - no idea now what. I was blown away. Wow.

Then, several people started saying (in the comments) "get a blog, Ann". I was terrified of the thought. Jen offered to set it up once I made up my mind. Then she made my mind up for me by setting it up and emailing me saying "you have a blog - now write something". She also wrote the first post - one word - Welcome!. She may have created a monster.

I'm bound to forget someone. Thanks to Jen, L., Gawdessness, Dutch, Jay, and Roger (and the ones I've forgotten) who nagged until I finally did it. They were among my very first visitors and are still around.

There have been so many others who have helped. Andrea (formerly of Japan - now Canada) took over with my blogroll until I finally tackled it myself. Jen has been available whenever I begged for help. Angela has been my right arm, updated my banner (update - Angela just reminded me that was Andrea, sorry Andrea), and restored my blog when I zapped it by thinking I knew more than I did. They're all listed under contributors which makes this a "team" blog. A good word - team.

And to many others - too many to list who have responded when I've asked questions or become confused. One who stands out in my mind is the almost anonymous woman who unlurked to teach me how to do ° and ¢. She helped on something else too and now I can't remember what (it's back in the archives somewhere). Another showed me how to fix a misteak goof. (hope that works). You all know who you are (sounds like the Academy Awards doesn't it). They'll start playing the "shut up and get off the stage" music any time now.

To Worried American, another great-granny, who invited me to join her on her blog - very different from this one.

To all the friends I've made over the year. I was feeling quite isolated here. I didn't fit in with the senior set too well because of the girls and I didn't fit with the "mommies" too well either. I've found so many friends here. We're all so different and yet we have so many things in common. 99% of you are on the blogroll and I promise to catch up with the other 1% - probably this weekend (I hope) if Blogger cooperates.

I love reading your blogs and having you read mine (and respond). I don't think Angela will mind if I repeat a snippet of one of our conversations. We agreed that the age difference all but disappears here. I'm almost 50 years older than she (not quite) but it doesn't seem to matter when we're chatting about baseball or kids or the many other things we find in common. It's the same with all the visitors. No matter what our differences may be, they seem to vanish when we talk as friends. Even national boundaries don't mean much. We represent the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, Sweden, Norway, Turkey, India, England, Scotland, Philippines, Netherlands, and, once again, I've probably missed someone or some country. I'm thinking about rearranging the blogroll by country if I can find a spare block of time. It would be interesting, I think, to see who is where. We have many different faiths (or none) and probably disagree sometimes politically as well. It doesn't seem to matter here. We find common ground which I think is vital.

We toss the word "love" around a lot but I love you all.

Thanks to all for everything you've done.

In other news, there really isn't any. School is going well, the driving has eased up a little, and I'm feeling much better. Ray does well most days - it will always be a day at a time with him but then so it is with us all.

Take care everyone and have a wonderful weekend.

Big hugs all around


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Good Morning Again

The two pictures of Elcie below are an experiment. They took the girls' fall pics at school two days before payday and want the money up front (sight unseen of course). This time I just couldn't do it. I took a couple of pictures of her student i.d. just to see how it would work. Not very well so I'll try it with the scanner next. Rebecca has her's too - Rochelle's is missing (after less than one day?) The extra pic of Max was on the camera and it's more trouble to take it off the post than it's worth. He's eating tuna out of Elcie's hand.

Incidentally, I think Max went back home. We let three cats out at night - only two came back. He's probably one of these "visiting" cats and no doubt he'll turn up again when he gets bored. At least I hope that's what happened.

I forgot to tell the missing cell phone story. First of many I suspect. Long story short - I suspended service. Rochelle's teacher called me on Friday (I think) to tell me another girl in the class had confessed to stealing it, a school worker was picking it up, and "action" would be taken.

The minutes are fine - I checked. The little girl (Rochelle's best friend at school) wrote her a note yesterday saying she was sorry. She wanted the phone and she took it because "I'd eaten too many candy" that day. "Will you be my friend again?" Does anyone but me remember Supervisor Dan White in San Francisco and the "Twinkie" defense? His lawyers used his poor nutrition habits as part of the reason he murdered our Mayor (George Moscone) and another Supervisor (Harvey Milk). It worked, sort of. He was sentenced for manslaughter instead of murder, came out after five years, and killed himself inside a year. Meantime the President of the Board of Supervisors took over as Mayor (Diane Feinstein) and is now our Senior Senator.

Much more to that story of course but, if you're interested, it's quite famous and on line someplace. Google Dan White or "Twinkie defense".


Okay, just came back from taking R & R to the bus stop and Elcie is waiting for her bus. No writing class again today; Ray has a doctor appointment this morning.

Yesterday was a reprise of last Tuesday - driving much of the day. And then Blogger was down for maintenance in the late afternoon. Two of my favorite t.v. shows had their season premieres at 9 and 10 last night. I barely stayed awake for both of them.

Long pause.

I've been doing laundry, a few dishes, and put a couple of turkey legs on for dinner tonight. Haven't quite decided what to do with them. Maybe turkey and dressing with some veggies. Or maybe curry? I'll decide later.

A Merced blogger has found me. Quite a pleasant surprise. He's 82, a retired teacher, and still gets around town fairly well. We're trying to coordinate a coffee meeting at the Starbuck's closest to him. I should do a Blogger search and see if I can turn up any others. We can't be the only two.

Perhaps one of you can identify the vine that has overgrown his wall. We've eliminated kudzu (we don't have it here thank heavens) and probably grape (although it resembles a grape leaf). It's been cut down but I bet it will be back. Vines do that. Our main horticultural plague here is mistletoe overwhelming our tall trees and killing them off. It grows faster than the city can get rid of it.

Elcie did not miss her lunch hour due to incompleted make-up work. Probably the note I wrote to her teacher "we spent two hours before she collapsed into her math book" helped. We finished it last night (all working with fractions - I had to relearn dividing them, it's been a while). I tried to explain a "reciprocal", finally gave up and said "just remember to turn the second fraction upside down and multiply". Three easy pages of capitalizing and punctuation and then memorizing the Preamble to the Constitution. She had it down cold this morning except for mixing up insure and secure. She said there is pizza involved if she gets it right.

Rebecca, who was promoted to 6th by the skin of her teeth, brought home her progress report. All the Language related classes were straight A, math was a very high C, almost a B-minus. I knew she was doing much better and I'm proudest of that C. My son Tim and I had both noticed how much she seemed to have matured over the summer. Rochelle is having some problems but I know her teacher well. I'll call her and find out what's going on and where Rochelle may need a little help. She's always been the independent self starter and still is but I hadn't really checked her homework line by line. Told her next time ask for help; meantime, I'll start looking at it more closely.

It's a little after ten a.m. here. Perhaps I should go do something useful like make sure the turkey hasn't boiled dry and take the clothes out of the dryer. Or catch up on a few of my blogging buddies. Choices, choices.

Take care everyone.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Banana Bread Anyone?

I hadn't seen this recipe from Tammy before. It looks wonderful.

If I'm not back tonight, it's because I fell asleep. Quiet day anyway with not much to report except an overload of math for Elcie. We stopped after almost 2 hours.

And now I'm on my way to help her with her bath.

Take care everyone.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Elcie, Princess, and Max (temporary we hope)

The orange kitty (Max) turned up early this morning with a little help from Elcie. He must have a home but we haven't been able to find it. He's tame, trained, and came with a collar. We'll keep looking. And yes, that's tuna.

I haven't caught up with all the new visitors yet but my friend Heather who sent me the information about Chili's, has started her own blog.

She lives in the Sacramento area and has a lovely little girl named Faith who looks just like her.

She'd probably appreciate a welcome and some encouragement. So far I'm her only commenter.

I was feeling well enough today to attend a birthday luncheon for my friend David with other members of the writing class and his visiting son. Good food and a piano recital by kids ranging from their very first lessons through older kids who had been studying for around 3 years. It's always fun to watch them.

Now I'm dragging a little again but I've been away from here much too long. It seems to be a combination of tired and maybe the bug making the rounds. The girls' colds have cleared up if that's what they were. It could have been the air quality - symptoms the same. I'm a little sniffly and achy yet but much better than I was.

Elcie's ankle problem turned out to be a cyst which the pediatrician thinks will go away on its own. She said they're fairly common and harmless. Ibuprophen will take care of any pain. She twisted her knee on the day of her followup appointment. Perfect timing. The knee was improving by the time she saw the doctor. She probably just stood up a little too fast without realizing it.

She starts her Depo patch tomorrow. We will watch her very closely for side effects and if she has any problems, we'll stop it. I'm hoping it will work for her. She has enough challenges without dealing with one more.

Other than that, I've been taking it as easy as possible. We had another BB gun incident today (different kid, different circumstances) and this time I did call the police when his mother said she couldn't deal with him and to go ahead. It turns out the guns shoot plastic pellets, not metal and are legal. This boy is a young thug who actually shot Rochelle a couple of times, then Elcie, of all people, when she yelled at him, then Rochelle again when she tried to get Elcie back across the street and home.

The police couldn't do much except threaten (the kid is only nine and on his way to juvenile hall or worse eventually). His mother seems helpless to control him. The police officer offered to take the gun and dispose of it but the mother told him she'd keep it away from him. Yeah, right.

I think his mother was wishing the police would do more. She seems to have washed her hands of a nine year old. Sad; he may still be salvagable but someone needs to take an interest quickly. He's missed a lot of school; perhaps something will be done from that end.

I can hardly wait to see what happens next. I'm sure the kid thought he got away with something. Meantime we know who he is and where he lives and all the neighbors are watching for any trouble. Hitting Elcie (who didn't even have her crutches to help balance) was the final straw for everybody. Those pellets don't break the skin but they hurt and they could put out an eye as easily as the metal pellets (which are illegal in the city limits).

There was a bright side. The little boy who was responsible for the first BB gun incident saw this one and ran for help which allowed the girls to get back acros the street. He came over while we were waiting for the police and apologized to me. Said what he did was wrong. He had to see it happen to realize what he'd done. He's basically a pretty good kid and he was almost in tears.

Tim and I watched "Rent" together Thursday afternoon at his house. I loved it; I'm a sucker for tearjerkers; the more Kleenex the better. And then tonight I finally watched Narnia with Elcie and Rochelle (Rebecca came in for part of it). They'd seen it on big screen with Tim. He or Carol are usually the ones that take the girls to the movies. They're old enough to be dropped and picked up but Tim likes the same blockbuster type films (Narnia, Harry Potter, etc.) so it works out nicely. I'm happy to wait for the dvd and the "pause" button.

I had a couple of quibbles with the film but overall it was fun and I may have been a little oversensitive. These movies portray the bad guys as ugly or misshapen and the good guys as handsome heroes. So it has always been of course. The good guys wear the white hats. I don't want the girls to think of that as reality. A handsome exterior often conceals evil and a person considered unattractive or even deformed by some may have the proverbial "heart of gold" and be the true hero. The girls need to know that.

Don't know what got me started on that. End of rant.

I'm thinking about clam chowder tomorrow. It's been on the request list for a week and the weather has cooled off enough for soup to taste pretty good. I'd better make it before the girls eat all the raw potatoes again. It's easy enough; especially when I leave most of the peel on the potatoes.

And, speaking of food, you all know about packaged fresh spinach and e coli, don't you? If you have some, don't use it (USA only so far as I know) and don't buy any until they can track down the source and issue an "all clear". Right now they have it traced to some farm in San Juan Bautista about 70 miles from here toward the coast.

Thanks to all for the good wishes. If I'm not back here daily, don't be concerned. I'm catching up on all the things I let go last week so I may have a little less computer time.

Have a good weekend and take care.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I Cancelled Yesterday Completely

At least for me. I'm sure the rest of you were leading busy, productive lives. Not this granny.

I ached all over yesterday. Even trying to sit at the computer was more than I could do. I drove the girls to school, put the laundry away, and went back to bed. Woke back up for a little while and back to bed again. The girls ate corn dogs and packaged potatoes for dinner and I managed to help with a little homework.

That was my entire day. I'm so glad they're old enough to fend for themselves once in a while although Ray was here and pitched in.

I'd planned to attend my writing class and then go watch Rent with Tim in the afternoon. I cancelled both. (I'm sure the writing class went on without me).

Tuesday had been one of those too much driving days. I don't know if I picked up whatever the girls had or if I was just tired but by the time I came home for the last time on the day, I was exhausted. (That's where I left off on the blog and never got back to it).

Ray's finished with therapy and that should make a big difference. Much as I enjoyed sitting in Starbucks, the drive clear across town and back was getting to me.

Anyhow, enough whining. The City has their annual Open House tonight and the girls want to go. There will be games in the alley behind City Hall and all the public works equipment will be on display. I think they'll discover they're a little old for it but I won't try to tell them that. They can find out for themselves. I doubt that Elcie will want to go but I'll take Rochelle and Rebecca. Maybe. Other than that I have nothing scheduled for today outside the house so I'm going to try for one more day of laziness and see if I bounce back. Today seems better than yesterday already.

Rebecca and Elcie both have the beginnings of colds. We're trying to make the school week with lots of tissues.

This isn't much of a post but I wanted to let you all know I was okay. I don't usually take two days off.

My sympathy to my Canadian friends, especially those living in Montreal. The United States has grown far too accustomed to school shootings but I think it's a rarity in Canada. (It's a rarity here too but w've still had far too many). What an awful day it must have been for them.

Thanks to all for the comments and good wishes. I'm sure I'm fine; just needed to regroup.

Take care everyone.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


It's a little past eleven on Tuesday. Busy day and I'm falling asleep.

Thanks to everyone for the comments. I'll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Silence and Reflection

I've read many beautiful tributes over the past few days and I've been trying to put something together that would do justice to this anniversary. I keep hitting a blank wall and finally decided to remain almost silent.

I kept the girls out of school on September 11, 2001. Not out of fear but because I wanted them close to me. Family seemed more important than ever that day and I wanted what they heard to come from me.

We talked about the twin towers and the destruction a little today. We said a prayer for the families and for peace.

I'm going to leave it at that and leave you with this:

If there must be trouble let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.

- Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

Yes, I Know It's a Hallmark Holiday

I still think we grandparents have earned our very own day.

Happy Grandparents' Day to all of you!!


Just heard from one of my Australian friends. This day is celebrated only in American so far as I know. Here's the history.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

St. Jude's - Update (and Updated Again

My friend Heather who lives near Elk Grove (Sacramento, CA area) (yes I do have a few friends who don't live in my computer) sent me this message today.

I don't know how many of you eat at Chili's or would be interested but I believe in the work St. Jude's does so I'm posting it here for anyone who's interested.

The closest Chili's to my house is 25 miles down the road but we still might try for it.

Another update. One of my visitors was concerned that this might be interpreted as 100% of the restaurant tab. Not so. As the press release and the post says, it's 100% of the profits; still a generous contribution.

Update: It occurred to me I should verify this. Here's the link to the Chili's Press Release

This is from a friend of mine. I am sending it to all of you in hopes you will join me September 25th I will be at the Chilis in Elk Grove, but you can go to your nearest Chilis and join me in spirit.
St. Jude Night at Chilis

Nick Avery was a St. Jude patient until August 25, 2006 when his life ended suddenly due to an unexpected complication from leukemia. Please help children and teens like Nick who are still fighting for their lives. How can you help? Simply by taking your family out to dinner at Chilis.
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is undergoing an expansion that includes the Chilis Care Center which will house more inpatient rooms and research. Chilis guests nationwide can be a part of this meaningful campaign by donating $1 or more throughout the month of September to color a pinup of the signature Chilis pepper. In addition, patrons can purchase Create a Pepper t-shirts from Chilis that can be customized with permanent marker to fit their individual style. New this year are Create a Pepper gift cards, which offer a means of giving to those you love while giving back. Chilis will donate $1 to St. Jude for every $25 purchased in Create a Pepper gift cards. Patrons also are encouraged to eat at their local Chilis on Monday, Sept. 25, when Chilis will donate 100% of its profits from restaurant sales to St. Jude.

Join us on Sept. 25 to honor Nicks memory and to help other children continue their fight by eating at Chilis. Visit to find the Chilis restaurant in your neighborhood.

(Our family and friends are helping to promote this special night at Chili's. You can eat at the Chili's restaurant closest to you on Monday, September 25 anywhere in the country and 100% of your bill will go to St. Jude. Please eat at Chili's this night in honor of Nick or another child that you may know who has had or is still battling cancer. Thank you!)

Friday, September 08, 2006

Caribbean Chicken - Yummy

Here's the link to Wolf Baby ad Dreaming and Believing. At least I hope it's the link. If not, I'll just go back and steal the whole recipe.

BB Guns and Other Things

So many of you have written expressing concern about the BB gun incident. I answered several of the comments but it's been a busy few days.

The boy's mom was in the hospital overnight and knew nothing about it. Their non-custodial parent was there. He had bought the guns and was foolish enough to let them out of the house with them. Totally stupid.

The younger boy was "sure" his gun was "unloaded" and pointed it at Rebecca and fired from very closeup - hence the mark on her spine. For some reason, he decided to try it again on Rochelle to make sure. If I have something to grateful for, at least it was BB's - not bullets. My God kids can be so stupid.

The boys compounded it by erasing my voice mail message before their mom came home. Big mistake. Did they think I wouldn't follow up? Now the guns are verboten and the boys are grounded.

If it had been a kid I didn't know, I would have called the police. I wanted to give my friend a chance to handle it herself, at least this time. I don't know if those guns are legal here or not but I'll find out. We're a small city surrounded by farmland and it would be a local ordinance.

It could have been worse. What if they'd found a real "unloaded" gun? We found one in our empty outside trash can a few months ago - loaded. My God, what if a kid had found it before we did? I still shudder thinking about it.

Thanks to all of you for the concern.

My closest (geographically) blogging friend has written an interesting post on her home town of Madera, CA For any of you who'd like to know more about the CA San Joaquin valley, drop over, say hi to Janice, and take a look.

I'm about 30 miles north on Highway 99 and I remember being so surprised when I found her blog somehow and her profile read Madera, CA. I had to let her know I was here.

I've "met" one woman from my home town (Ilion, NY - very small) and another five miles down the road from Jonesboro, AR where I lived for 8 years. I'm used to seeing people from the larger cities I've lived in but seeing Bay, AR or the NY Mohawk Valley pop up makes my day. I'd mentioned Diane (in Bay) before but I was reminded when I started writing about Janice just now.

Whatever Rochelle had the other day, left her and moved over to Rebecca. She missed school yesterday but, just like Rochelle, was fine the next day. I don't know what it was but it's gone now.

Elcie. The nurse practioner (who I trust - she's great) thinks the strange thing in her right ankle may be misplaced cartilage. Could be - all that surgery could have shifted some things. We agreed to watch it for a week and see if there was improvement (or if the pain became worse). She was reluctant to order X-rays that might not be needed. I agree - it's good to see a medical person on the conservative side where radiation is concerned.

While I was there, we talked about Depo for Elcie. Her periods started over two years ago, she's had a bad time almost every month, and she's erratic as well. Sometimes two in less than the "normal" 28 days. She lost a lot of time from school last year. Again, I've said this before. It's hard for her to change her pad in the school restroom (stiff legs - didn't you want to know all this?) and tampons don't work for her - we tried and we'll try again when she's a little older.

We opted for the "patch". The pill is too high maintenance and the shots every three months are painful. They are required to check for pregnancy, clotting factors, and anemia so we had her lab tests done the same day (needle sticks unfortunately that took two tries to get right). It worked in her hand but not her arm. I told her to remember that.

I have the prescription - we'll pick it up as soon as I get the go ahead from her pediatrician.

Then I took her to lunch - no more school for that day and she earned it. She was so brave about the whole thing.

I hope it works and there are no unpleasant side effects. I took the "pill" years ago when it first came out and had no problems at all. If it doesn't, we'll figure something else out.

Ray has a nine o'clock therapy session today; usually it's 8:00 so I had a few minutes before I have to leave. It's almost over - this session and two next week will be it. It doesn't seem like it's been five weeks but it probably has.

After that, I get to come home and deal with laundry. Did a lot of work in the kitchen yesterday - cleaning counter tops, rearranging shelves, etc. Sweeping and mopping (which I hate). Ray helped a lot. He can do some things as long as he paces himself. It's when he decided to be Superhero he gets into trouble.

Thanks again for all the comments. I'm sorry I don't get around to everyone - it's mostly off again - on again Blogger not letting me comment or access other blogs and I can't always get back a second time. I do read them all and I appreciate every one.

Take care everyone. We're supposed to drop to the mid 80's (F) this weekend. Maybe this time I'll try for that picnic.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I Hope This Posts

I emailed this to myself earlier this morning when Blogger wouldn't let me edit or post.

On my way out now but I'm going to try to post it "as is" while I can.

Rochelle stayed out yesterday and slept until 11:00. She felt much
better and by afternoon was well enough to go with her sisters to the
first day of the church weekly after school program. This is Rochelle
and Rebecca's first year with the older kid's program. I think they
enjoyed it and they always like the dinner afterward.

I think now it was something she ate rather than a "bug". She never
really had a fever; just the upset. I probably could have sent her on
to school on Tuesday but I wanted to be sure.

I stayed with Rebecca until her bus arrived and then picked her up
after school. I don't want either of them walking alone.

It was another driving day with not much else accomplished but at
least I didn't have to cook. Ray and I fnished up some leftovers and
cleaned out the fridge. Today will be lasagne and later this week
I'll make clam chowder. That should catch me up on the requests for

I hung out at Starbucks while Ray was doing his therapy (ultra sound
this time), took him home and then met David for coffee. Took the
girls to church, went back across town to pick up Tim and take him to
Amtrak, picked up the girls.

Elcie has a doctor's appointment this morning. She has something
strange going on with her right ankle, right above the bone. We can
feel something in there that doesn't belong and it's been hurting her.
She waited until the three day weekend to say something so there was
nothing we could do until yesterday and they didn't have any openings.

It's the same leg she had surgery on in 2004. They put an internal
brace in her knee and lengthened the tendons once again. For some
reason they did just the one leg. When she was much younger (before
she was walking) they did both legs (no knee brace that time).
Anyhow, it may end up with a trip to Fresno to see her orthopedic
surgeon and she's not looking forward to that.

Later today, Ray has a breathing test for 1-1/2 hours. I hope he gets
to keep his oxygen. They have been intent in the past of thinking up
ways to eliminate it regardless of how much better he does with it.
We'll see.

Oh and Rebecca and Rochelle were both attacked with a b.b. gun last
night. I've called the kid's mother but she hasn't called me back.
Rebecca was hit right on her backbone and Rochelle in the shoulder.
It happened before and I talked to the kid. Obviously it didn't help.
It's a little boy three days younger than Rebecca and they've been
friends almost since birth so I hate to start a war but I'm not taking
the chance of one of them losing an eye. I'm not allowed to break it
over his head but it's tempting.

I may be switching over to morning posts until this crazy schedule
eases up. All I want to do at night is crawl into bed. You may not
be hearing as much from me but this insanity can't last forever. Ray
has three more weeks of the therapy and then it should settle down
unless they decide on further surgery for Elcie.

Still have to schedule eye and dental checkups for all three. I let
the summer get away from me somehow. The dentist is just up the
street (3 blocks - walking there) but their opthmalogist is in Fresno.
She'll usually schedule all three for the same day and I'm thinking
about seeing a local eye doctor for Rochelle. The other two have had
corrective surgery; Rochelle didn't need it and I think her eyes are

We have competent opthmalogists here but a special program pays for
out of the ordinary costs for the girls so I have to go where I'm
sent. They chose one of the best doctors in the state but I hate that
boring, almost 60 mile drive). There is nothing between here and
there except my friend Jan in Madera and she lives off the beaten path

Other than that, everything's fine.

Ignore the rest of this - it's just part of the email I couldn't delete.

Take care everyone.

I'll be back.



Monday, September 04, 2006

Merle at Heron's Nest

After several false starts at switching to Beta Blogger, our Australian friend Merle of the jokes and recipes can be found here

I checked it and it works both for her posts and our comments. It's a temporary home as far as I know so I'll wait to change my blogroll until she has a permanent home.

It's been a quiet couple of days until tonight when Rochelle got sick. She's asleep now but I think I'll keep her out tomorrow and let her get over whatever suddenly caused her to start running at both ends. She's sniffling and sneezing a little as well.

Short post tonight. I'm a little tired even though I haven't done much today. Haven't left the house.

Mollie, if you're reading, we pulled it out in top of 10th and Barry is up to 730.

Take care everyone.

Steve Irwin

By now all of you must have read about the sudden death of Steve Irwin while filming at the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.

My girls loved to watch his antics. He had an obvious love for his work and a way of making people smile even while they may have been shuddering. He was, to me, a symbol of Australia and he'll be missed.

To my Australian friends, I'm so sorry this happened.

I told my girls about it early this morning before they heard it anyplace else. I said to them what I've said on other blogs.

It was a freak accident, there is no need to fear the water, we shouldn't criticize him for his life choices even though they might not be ours, and there are far worse things than dying while doing something you love.

Our hearts go out to his wife, children, and family.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

My Weekend So Far #4 Update

The #4 in the title should tell you there are three posts below this one with nothing but pictures. Too many pictures but Jonathan was really showing off for the camera and I kept clicking away. He's at that wonderful age (born in May) where he's laughing out loud, chattering away to us and fascinated with the world around him.

I thought in all this I had a picture of Elcie with her new haircut but I searched and couldn't find it. I know I took it. The computer ate it? I'll catch up with her again eventually. There should be one of Melissa in there too. Very strange. One would think Jonathan didn't have a mommy but she was sitting right there with us. I don't think I deleted them from the camera yet so I'll start over. They should be on there somewhere. Update - found Melissa but Elcie wasn't anywhere. I'll take another one later today or tomorrow. See post #3.

I finished up most of the grocery shopping on Friday afternoon with a fast run to Grocery Outlet for canned goods, crackers, all the stuff they have cheaper and better than anyone else. That should do it for the month except for the usual milk, juice, bread, etc.

Elcie and I went for her haircut on Friday while the other girls were skating. They did a great job. Took about three inches off the length and layered it. Not a huge change but no more dead ends and frizz to deal with, at least for now. Then we went for Chinese food. She pigged out on chow mein, broccoli with chicken, grapes, and a small dish of ice cream. I prefer the small individual items. I really like dim sum (no restaurant dedicated to it here so far) but this buffet is leaning in that direction so I grabbed what they had. I'll have to wait for my next San Francisco trip for the real thing, I guess.

It's an odd restaurant. They have one table dedicated to "American" food which to them includes all the makings for tacos along with pizza. I think they have a few french fries there too. Another table has sushi, lots of salad fixings, fruit, tapioca pudding, and jello. Finally, they have a soft ice cream machine in three flavors and a small assortment of cookies.

The other three tables have the assortment of Chinese food, including 3 different soups. I love hot and sour soup so that's usually my first stop. Sometimes I take a container home to Ray and Carol who like it too. They're quite good on their seafood variety, I like the buffet for the kids. They charge by age (up to 13) and the kids can pick what they like.

In the meantime, Rebecca and Rochelle were busy falling on their backsides at Roller Land. They compete to show me the most bruises which to them means they had a great time. I picked them up and we all went home and crashed.

That brings us to Saturday morning.

I hung out at home catching up on some blog reading and then set out with Rebecca and Rochelle for their haircuts. Rebecca decided at almost the last minute (once she saw Elcie) that she wanted her hair cut too. Thank heavens. You can see from her picture (below) what they did. Not too short; just a neat little bob and once again they layered it. It fits her face.

Rochelle wanted hers short and they did a lovely job. I know some people don't like Super Cuts but I've always had good luck with them. I took Elcie to a more expensive place for her first professional cut a few years ago and not only were they almost rude to us, they didn't listen and did an awful job. Tim (who worked at the Mall then and knew everybody) complained to the manager who was appalled. Elcie will get their best person and special treatment if I ever decide to go back. I don't think so. Once was enough. They spoiled what should have been a special occasion for her for no reason that I could see. I guess we weren't "cool" enough for them.

Anyhow, Rochelle loved her new look until she got home and decided to "fix" it. She snuck into the bathroom and tried to remove a couple of little twigs from the back. At least she's not bald but I don't know what she was thinking. She has one place in the back that's really noticeable. Carol is good at haircuts and I'll have her take a look today and see if she can smooth it out. I'd told her curly hair often does that and not to worry. Once we washed it again we could see if anything needed a little trim. Did she listen? Of course not, she listened to some kid instead (see below). I almost cried and so did she once I got through with her. (No, I didn't beat on her - I don't do that but there was no doubt in her mind how unhappy I was).

The one good thing about hair - it grows. If we can't fix it, Rochelle with have to live with it. I'll look at it as a learning experience for her. Check with granny before you do something like that.

She said "some kid down on the corner" was teasing her. I told her everyone who'd seen her hair loved it - she was going to listen to some dumb kid? I worry a little about Rochelle. She's always been the "easiest" child; in some ways almost too easy. She's a follower, she wants to please everyone, and I'm concerned about her judgment. She'll bear watching as she gets toward the teens. A very good girl but even good girls can make mistakes (sometimes more likely - Rebecca would know better and probably kick the first person who tried anything, Rochelle I'm not so sure).

I digress. Sorry. We went from Super Cuts to Payless Shoes right next door who were having their "buy one - get one 1/2 price" sale. We went through looking for sale shoes and found a pair for each child that should last through the school year. They had shoes from last year but they've been washed many times. They're still good enough for play and I've warned them once again to take their school shoes off as soon as they come home. Rochelle is up to a 7 or 7-1/2 depending on the shoe and Rebecca measures at a six but a pair of 4-1/2's fit her perfectly. I don't understand sizes at all.

Elcie wasn't left out - we bought her shoes before school started. I still need to go through all their school clothes though and thin out their closet so I can get a couple of pairs of jeans and tops each for Elcie and Rochelle (they can share - same size). Rebecca's outgrown most of her size ten clothes from last year and is in hand me downs for the most part. No problem, they grow faster than the clothes wear out.

Then we headed for Barnes & Noble to annoy Tim for a while. He said Jim made it home for the long weekend after all so I called him. They were out running errands but said they'd try to get over there. They did - just as girls and I were getting in the car so we headed back in. Had a great time. Jim doesn't usually wear his uniform once he's home but he had Army (Nat'l Guard) errands to run while he was here so you get to see him almost hidden by camouflage. I'm sure he blends in with the Mojave desert perfectly. (To any who don't know, he's on military leave from his Barnes & Noble job and stationed with the Guard on the border). It looks like he may go back to full time Guard once again which will mean he can retire as a Sergeant with 20 years in 2010 (counting his regular Army and Reserve time) and go right back to B & N. It's probably safe to say they'll still be in business.

The girls shared a strawberry frapp, Rochelle ate a cheese pretzel, and Rebecca and I shared a turkey and cheese chipotle sandwich. I had my usual - a caramel macchiatto. Tim managed to take a short break - he's in one of the pictures.

We finally got home and they headed right back out to the neighbors who invited them to walk down to Sonic (hamburgers, chili dogs, etc.) with them. They'd been saving up and had enough between them for all the girls to pool resources and eat. The other girls' dad walked with them. I told them if it was too much walking (about a mile each way) to call and I'd rescue them. Not necessary - they did just fine. They spent the night over there and they're not home yet. (About 7:30 a.m. now - I woke up early to a quiet house).

And that's my weekend so far except for one unexpected grocery run. I'd forgotten eggs of all things and one of Ray's prescriptions next door to the grocers. While I was there I spotted a sale on ice cream and sodas. I don't buy many sodas but once in a while we have root beer and Sierra Mist (like Sprite) as a treat. No caffeine; if there's one thing they don't need, it's caffeine.

I'd thought about a picnic at the lake for the weekend but I may skip that. Our warm weather will still be here next weekend and it won't be crowded. Today will be a mob - the holiday weekends always are. (Our Labor Day weekend). I cooked a big pot of white beans on Friday and we need to finish some of them (maybe with franks - I think most of the meat I put in with them is gone by now).

Elcie just woke up and is surrounded by cats. I'm trying to make up my mind about church today. If the girls come in on time, I might try for it. Ray's still asleep too and I'm watching Meet the Press (halfway). And now Carol's awake, this post has run on much too long, so I'd better find a stopping place.

Thanks to all for the comments and enjoy what's left of the weekend. To those of you on the other side of either ocean, that won't be much.

Oh, I've heard from a couple of friends in "hurricane territory". They're fine although one (Autumn) lost power and her sister was surrounded by water in the yards and street and downed branches but no real damage. Good news.

Take care everyone and stay safe.

My Weekend So Far #3 - Update


My Weekend So Far #2

Most of these are Jonathan with his daddy (home for the weekend from El Centro) and one with his Uncle Timothy. We're all hanging out at Barnes & Noble right after the haircuts. Tim is in uniform of sorts too. He was taking a short break.

My Weekend So Far #1

Too many pictures but I've sort of lost my place. Here are Rebecca and Rochelle outside Supercuts right after their haircuts.

The rest are Jonathan.

More to follow.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Good Morning

Here's Elcie on the campus of Rivera Middle School. I wanted to get all the girls but my camera wouldn't switch over to the memory card.

Back to School Night yesterday. We all ate hamburgers or hot dogs and then tried to visit all their classrooms in an hour. We missed all three P.E. teachers but I sat with one I knew from last year and he said don't worry about it - it happens all the time.

We got to everyone except Rebecca's math intervention teacher. I was exhausted but the girls were happy.

Tonight is Roller Skating for Rebecca and Rochelle. Another fund raiser but a bargain. I'll probably take Elcie for a haircut while they're skating. She's finally decided she wants some of it gone. Rochelle's thinking about it too.

It's also the 1st which means major shopping for Ann. I'll see how much I can get done while Ray is at the therapist.

This is short but I've been absent for a couple of days and I had about 15 minutes before waking girls. Elcie's already up. I'll try to get back.

I noticed a couple of new visitors. Welcome and I'll try to get over to your blogs. The weekend should be quieter. Between blogger acting up and staying busy, I'm way behind but I haven't forgotten my friends.

Thanks for all the help on parallel and my music quandary. I found K D Lang (favorite) and several others singing Hallelujah on Rhapsody so I've been listening. Love that song.

Take care everyone.