Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sincerely 'Fro Me to You - A letter to my 14 year old self

Learn more about this Blog Carnival by visiting Kristen at We Are THAT Family. Read my entire archives of Sincerely 'Fro posts by clicking here.
Dear 14 year old self,
First, your make up is fabulous, the black lip liner combined with the black roots really completes the look. And isn't that your mother's shirt?
But in all seriousness, allow me to give you some pearls of wisdom, 12 years later. A sort of "if I knew then what I know now" fantasy.
I promise that you are smart and will learn to be good at things, including learning. Don't be too rough on your teachers, they really do know what they're talking about. The awkward phase you think no one understands? It's happening to all of your friends, too. The sadness you feel deep in your gut is depression; tell someone and see a shrink now while you're still covered by government health insurance. Enjoy these acne-free years of your youth because just when you get cocky about having wonderful skin, you go and get knocked up and your skin never does go back to normal. And speaking of skin, you're gorgeous, dahling. Skip the pancake foundation, mmkay?
I'm going to tell you something that you really need to listen to because your failure to do so will lead to a lot of years struggling in this department. Those people you think are your friends? I swear to God they're not. They spend hours hacking into your aol account and spreading horrible rumors and excluding you on purpose. You will cry so, so many tears over these girls and they're not worth it. It will take you a long time to get over them and even 12 years later, your experience with them will impact your ability to make female friends. Besides, you're prettier than them and when you're all in your mid 20's, you're the only one not living with parents.
About boys. While I understand it's fun to write Mrs. Block on every single surface you come across, that boy is not the man of your dreams. In fact, in 2 years, he will break into your house while you're on vacation and steal everything you and your family owns. And PS - he turns out to be a drug dealer. The man of your dreams is going to come to you in the funniest way and you won't even have to wait that long for him. He's going to be unconventional and old but you're going to love him the second you meet him.
Be nicer to Mom. She tries her best with what she has and when you're an adult and have children of your own, you're going to realize how much she loves you. And don't worry - you don't turn out anything like her, I swear. Say thank you to Tony because you're going to say goodbye to him one Thanksgiving and then he's going to die and you're never, ever going to forgive yourself. Don't get so annoyed by Grandpa, in a few years, you're going to be so charmed by his quirks. You're going to get a sister who loves you unconditionally and is so cool.
One last piece of advice I want you to really pay attention to is this: stop growing up. You get to be a grown up eventually and really soon so live in the moment and just be 14.
Oh yeah - and take more pictures because in 12 more years, you're going to write a blog where you post old pictures of yourself and you're not going to have nearly enough photos to go with all the stories.
With love and concern,
Yourself 12 years later

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The man, the myth...

And the legend of El Cheapo.

I really, really love my husband. In our relationship, we broke all the rules and defied all odds of lasting; especially in the presence of those who wished we'd fail. I have fallen in love with this man so many times over the past 10 years that often times I have to physically place my hands on his being to remember he is real.

With that said...(Danny, you may want to stop reading right now.)

My husband is infamously cheap and I don't even mean in the-sitcom-"isn't he so cute"-way cheap. I mean, the man hates to part with money like an 8 year old hates to part with lip gloss. Unless it's something for himself. When it's something he needs, there's always a way to justify a very expensive purchase; just look in his closet, jewelry box, DJ Diaper Bag and secret drawer ("tax write-offs"). That's not to say that he doesn't spoil both Olivia and me to no end but believe me, it's not easy for him. I've never gone without a single want, let alone a need, during my entire life with him and we already know how horribly Olivia is spoiled.
As we all know (because I won't stop squawking about it), we are trying to have a baby. And we have no immediate plans to move. And we only have 2 bedrooms. And we outgrew this place two point 3 seconds after we moved in. But! I! AM! DETERMINED! I've started purging and organizing and planning on how I'm going to make this work.
Unfortunately for my dear, sweet husband, this is going to require spending money. Way more money than he thinks we're going to spend; at places that make me swoon like Ikea, The Container Store and The Target. There's new dressers I'm going to buy for Olivia's room, a set of cubed bookshelves (like the ones found on Jon & Kate + Eight) and endless amounts of buckets, baskets, containers, oh my!

I'm haven't exactly figured out my approach but as a starting point, he bought a new TV. Then again, I did make him get rid of his beloved coffee table in exchange for a microfiber storage ottoman and decorative tray.

Now this is a story all about how my life got flipped and turned upside down...

Once, after the 100th episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, they showed how the whole cast and crew celebrated with a big ass cake.

I cannot offer you a big ass cake but in honor of my 100th blog post (this one is #92), I'm going to play a game. Submit your questions to me: funny, odd, personal, etc and I will answer them to the best of my ability. I assure you that no question will be too bizarre.

To participate, leave your question in the comments section of this blog. On the day of my 99th post, I will post a follow up #100 with all of your questions and answers.

And tell your friends! Because what fun will it be if it's just my sister and Kim asking me all the questions - they already know everything!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why I Blog Answer

There has been a theme going around in the blogsphere (blogosphere?) these days; Why I Blog? I've come across too-many-to-mention posts about this and y'all know I don't like to be left out of these kinds so here's my version. It's deep, yo.

During 6th grade part deux, I was blessed with an English teacher - the only teacher - who believed in me. I stayed with her throughout the rest of middle school, one year as her "aide" and another year when she was yearbook advisor. She had a serious impact on my education and was the first (read: only) one to tell me I had a writing talent. I think that comment was found on an essay I wrote about why it's bad to do drugs. (Which, only a couple of years later, would prove so, so ironic in my life.) Before Ms. Weiner (swear to God), I thought I was never going to be good at anything, especially in school but thanks to her taking the time out to build my confidence, I did what any 13 year old girl would do. I wrote really, really bad poetry. I wrote poetry to boys I liked but dissed me, I wrote poetry to girlfriends about girl power (very Spice Girl-esqe) and I wrote poetry about what a horrible, sullen life I had and left it out for my mother to find.
Somewhere between 6th grade part deux English class and raves and ecstasy in 9th grade, I forgot I was smart. I rediscovered my intelligence by watching the news when I was pregnant with Olivia and I was convinced at that time that I'd been dealt a really bad hand. All this intelligence and a baby to hold me down - what a shame. Then Olivia was born and I was swept off my feet by loving her and busy rebelling against the "babies having babies" stigma and I forgot my smarts again.
My creative time between then and around 2006 was filled with writing proposals to replace computer room air conditioning units and faux-lawyer letters on behalf of Danny and his band. Then I joined myspace (classy) and discovered their blog section; immediately intrigued, I started reading other people's blogs and shortly thereafter, decided I would write one myself. My early posts are really bad, in my opinion, except the one I wrote about my sister; which I only think was as good because it was the first time I wrote from my heart. (Bad 6th grade poetry excluded, of course.) Myspace blogging became an obsession; I evaluated every minute of my life in blog terms: would this be funny, how could I write this, etc. There is a time frame of almost 1 year where there are no posts on my blog because I forgot about me; I completely dove into the needs of everyone else (as do most other moms). There were several months of depression that probably should have been medicated but wasn't and before long, I was ok.

The bottom line is: I write because it makes me feel smart again. It makes me remember that I'm not just a paper-shuffler or a PTA mom or a Spacemen groupie. Of course, it's something all of my own; which is almost always a common denominator in she-bloggers. And there's the documentation part of it - I'll always have these archives to look back on the time when I was trying to conceive baby Scooter (ha), or was dragged into a lawsuit I didn't want to be involved in and of course, that beautiful time before Olivia was a snot-nose brat (wait, when was that?).

I'm someone who has something to say - even if it isn't always good or funny or thought-provoking or blog-roll worthy.

Worst $15 spent EVER

New OB/GYN: Hi Sophia, why are you here today?

Me: I want to have a baby...We're trying to have a baby.

Doctor: How long have you been trying?

Me: We haven't. We start on Monday.

:::crickets chirpping:::

Doctor: :::blink::: Um. Ok. So why are you here?

Me: :::nervous chuckle::: Well, see, I was 17 when I had my first child and she was unplanned, obviously. And um, I didn't know if there was a special "grown-up" way to plan and prepare to have a baby. I guess....I just wanted to do it all right and proper this time.

Doctor: Ok. How did you get pregnant last time?

Me: Possibly mind altering chemicals and definitely a lot of cheap beer.

Doctor: Sounds good. Try that. :::laughs::: Just have lots of sex.

Me: :::blink - blink - blink:::

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Sincerely 'fro me to you - Prom 1998

Join me in this Blog Carnival courtesy of Kristen at We Are THAT Family. (Posted every Thursday.)

This is me the night of prom. Except it wasn't my prom (I was a Freshman) and it wasn't my high school (it was my high school's rival, in fact) and I didn't even know this dude. Remember when I told you about how hip it was to meet boys on aol chat rooms in the early/late 90's? That's how I met this fella. I can remember only these details about him: his name is John, he's Hawaiian, his dad was a cop (so not kosher for bad-girl me) and he did not have a date to prom. The story goes like this...
I went to a different high school than most of my friends because I was in a "magnet" program (for law enforcement - haha). Luckily, my very best friend was also in the same program which made it bearable but we missed our old friends. Spring of 1998 came and we mutually decided we weren't going to attend our own school's prom, instead we wanted to attend the rival high school's prom; where all of our other friends were. Except she (who'll remain nameless until I post a blog about her, too) made plans with people that I didn't like. I can't remember why I didn't find another group to go with but I'm sure it had something to do with my burning desire to make her jealous (I was never successful at that).
After a virtual-meeting in a local chat room, John asked me to be his date to prom. 3 days before prom. So I bought a dress ($12 at TJ Maxx), got my nails done (at the beauty school) and I vividly remember struggling for a long time with my hair. In my Reliant K car, I drove to John's house and there was a limo, another couple and all of these parents taking pictures of us. (I'm pretty sure that my mom didn't even know I was attending prom. My relationship with my entire family began to deteriorate around this time.) That's where this famous picture came from. The details of prom are very cloudy in my head - it almost shows like a picture slide show instead of a movie. I remember being very, very, very bored. And regretful. And sad watching my friends from the ballroom balcony while they danced and laughed without their shoes on. After prom, we went to Lake Worth beach and sat on the benches. It was unseasonably cold and John graciously gave me his jacket. Then he tried to kiss me and I asked to go home.
Two weeks later, John emailed me this (and more) pictures and thanked me for a wonderful night. I really felt horrible about John's prom.
Years later, while signed onto my old aol screen name, he IMed me. He was a cop living in Lake Placid and having a great life. I guess I'd already had Olivia and I remember how degrading he was to me about having a baby so young. Faster than I got knocked up, I forgave myself for ruining his prom.
Before that, though; just a few months after prom, I emailed that photo to Danny after chatting with him in another aol chat room (this bitch got around). He told me I was hot and asked who the fat guy was (pot: meet kettle). So - 10 years later, I'd like to apologize to John and thank him. If it weren't for that picture, I might not have hooked the man I would fall in love with at first sight, marry and have children with.
PS. In case you're wondering - yes, there are endless stories about boys that I met from aol chat rooms. And no, I will never tell them all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I pink puff paint heart technology

Because when I'm in the middle of reading the archives of a very moving blog when nature calls, I can bring my laptop with me into the can.

You're welcome.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Pimp My Blog

How do you like it? Definitely beats that blue.

I've been doing a lot of "promoting" (essentially commenting on my favorite blogs) and hope to lure in some unfamiliar ip addresses. So if you're new - welcome to my humble abode. It's messy so watch your step.

Next, I need to publicly thank Shauna at Blah Blah Blog & See My Designs for this makeover. She was wonderfully easy to work with and obviously psychic because she knew exactly what I wanted based on my favorite color being pink, I like tropical stuff and polka dots. In addition to being super fast and courteous, she was cheap! No, no. Not that kind of cheap. So if you're looking to do an episode of "Pimp my Blog", contact Shauna.

You may have noticed some new features; such as a subscription box. I challenge you to subscribe - get notification of new posts emailed directly into your inbox! (At least I think that's how it works. Try it and let me know, will ya?) There's also a blog roll (or whatever) where I've linked up to my favorite blogs. The really neat feature about that is that it tells you when the other blogs have posted. In other words, you should come here first, then read dooce, bossy & Kristen. Lastly, I've gone into my archives and tagged all of the old posts. Now, you can click on a tag link and it will bring up all the other posts tagged under the same name. (It's times like this I listen when Danny talks because then I wouldn't sound like such a fool when trying to explain technology.)

Look forward to another Sincerely 'Fro Me To You post on Thursday and a post about how my husband prepares to breed. Good stuff, folks. Good stuff.

Friday, July 18, 2008

For it is a temple

Dear Body,

First, I would like to thank you for cooperating this afternoon at the gynecologist's office. It was a drastic improvement from our last gyno visit; which as we both remember was less than pleasant - hell, it wasn't even sane. It may have helped that I called in the appropriate anti-anxiety friends to calm you but still - I give credit where credit is due.

Body, I know I haven't always been kind to you. After all, I've spent a lot of years filtering nicotine into your blood stream and eating more than our share (and a small African community) of Twinkies, ho ho's and Hershey bars. But this time you've really gone too far. I tried giving you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you missed the Twitter where I announced to you and your organisms, cells and other crucial elements that we are on a diet. However, the debilitating headaches and endless lack of energy proves to me that you've noticed the aforementioned sugar and other miscellaneous junk food disappearance. This isn't any old diet, you know. This is the diet in which I am preparing you to gain even more mass for the purpose of procreation. I know you probably don't want to manage another 30lbs on top of what we've already got going on and I'm only looking out for your best interests here.

So please tell me why - after 7 days of strict dietary cut-backs and enormous amounts of water - have you gained 3 flecking pounds?

Sincerely Yours,

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The first of many...

Kristen over at We are THAT family started this "Blog Carnival" that is pretty popular in the Blogosphere. Never one to be left out, I decided to join the ranks of many. Permission to laugh at my expense.

Spring 1998

Man, that's a doozy, eh? Before I tell the story of what Missy & me were up to that night, let's spend a little time on the photo itself.

1. The purple feathers: I was a craft queen before my time. I made this picture frame for myself shortly after the picture was developed. I think I used some left over purple feathers from a (very) last minute mother's day gift I gave my mom that year. It was also a picture frame.
2. The wall: This was a wall in my bedroom that was devoted to rave party flyers. I attended each of those parties and eventually married the man who performed at most of them.
3. The Glasses: You may have been surprised to discover that even at the tender age of 16 I was wearing prescription glasses. But I wasn't. Those glasses were a fashion statement. One that probably said "I am Bono's illegitimate daughter".
4. The Jacket: Not only was jacket not even close to being the tackiest thing in my wardrobe; but I owned two of them. One more plastic-y than the other.
5. The Girl: The lovely teenager standing next to me is Missy Clinton. I'm posting her whole name in hopes that one day, she'll google herself and find this picture of us and me. I've spent years searching for her on the internet and was never able to find her - which makes me a little bit sad. Melissa Clinton from Lake Worth, FL was da bomb! See, Missy & me were BFFL4E when we were kids & met at the skating rink. She was the baby girl in a family with 2 older brothers (I made out with one of them once) and let me tell you, she was the apple of her momma's eye! She lived pretty far from me but that never stopped us from spending endless weekends at each other's houses. One thing was a drag - she was a kick-ass soccer player and sometimes our weekends would be cut short so she could travel around the state playing. We were like peaz 'n' carrotz until we got to be teenagers and lost touch. Until I was 15 and standing in line to get into a nightclub and low and behold, there was lil' miss missy clinton standing right behind me! And she was a raver, too! We was peaz 'n' carrotz again real fast like.
6. The Bathrobe: Yes, Missy is wearing a red bathrobe over her ensemble. It was my mother's bathrobe that she received as a baby shower gift when she was pregnant with me. And Missy could not stand to be without it because clearly, it just makes the outfit.

Back in da day, circa 1998, the internet was all the rage and chatting on AOL chat rooms was the thing to do - I was no exception to this new trend. The details of what led up to this night are a little foggy (ah-hem) but somehow a DJ at a nightclub in Fort Lauderdale thought I was a DJ and - probably thinking he was going to get him some Sophia love, he invited me and a guest to his club. To DJ. With records on turntables. This called for an adventure and the perfect escort would be Missy.

We drove down from Greenacres (the place to be) to Fort Lauderdale (about 50 minutes away) in my Dodge "K" car and found the place. I can remember that it was a fetish club but I can't remember if I knew that before hand. Regardless, we went in and the DJ guy was pretty old (even by my current standards) but shit - we were in a club! In Fort Lauderdale! We walked around and rejected the looks of disapproval from the elders who probably didn't know it was teeny-bopper night and generally enjoyed ourselves. Over the pounding techno music you heard something to the effect of "And now please welcome our guest DJ - DJ KREAM". Knowing that was my AOL name, Missy and I walked super slow into the DJ booth and we must have looked like a couple of baby deer in headlights! When el creepo handed me the headphones to start spinning, I accelerated into panic mode and gave Missy that look of desperation. There were a couple of whispers and a lot of giggles between us in those few minutes and next thing you know, we've high tailed it to the exit, jumped in that Reliable K car and were out of that joint quicker than you can say "Aunt Jemima".

Swear to God.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Green: Red light

I've been taking steps to lessen my family's carbon footprint. Tiny steps, albeit but steps nonetheless. I've switched from heavily chemical-ed cleaning supplies to the Method line of more environmentally, safer, non-bleach smelly products. They're heavily available at Target and I heard you can get them at Costco but I've never seen it myself. I also switched from my regular Cascade dishwasher detergent to a Green version. The only thing I haven't switched so far is laundry soap and that's because I haven't read wonderful things about the product's ability to thoroughly clean clothes. Also, I haven't given up my Clorox Antibacterial Wipes. Because really: what's the point in Going Green if the salmonella on the kitchen counter is going to kill me?
In conjunction with Going Green at home, I'm trying to live a more simple life in general. Before buying that crap from China at Target, I really weight how I'll use it and for how long. Of course, this is hard with a small Hannah Montana, Camp Rock, Cheetah Girl loving girl but I'm trying.
Another way I'd like to change my lifestyle is eating more organically and locally. Except that's pretty hard to come by here. There are no Farmer's Markets (that I know of - and I've looked), there's no co-ops or specialty stores featuring locally grown produce, meats, etc. Down the street there used to be a farm that grew it's own strawberries and other fruits & veggies but they sold their farming land to a nursery who stores their potted plants on the land now.
I'm hoping to recruit some new, local readers. Not only for socializing and networking purposes but I truly hope they can point me in the right direction for a solution to this problem.

Do you know of any locally grown, possibly organic places to purchase produce, herbs, meat, etc?
Also, are you local to the South Florida area? Are you a new reader? Are you an old friend who reads this blog faithfully and sends me emails instead of leaving comments? (Ahem - KIM!) Tell me so in the comment section.

The one where I want to kiss Al Gore

This morning, as per my regular AM routine, I sat outside with coffee. And I did not sweat. Not only did I not break a sweat, when the wind blew, I got a little chill.
Enjoyable, right?
Except we're in the very sunny and very hot South Florida. It's not supposed to be 73 degrees in the middle of July. Crap, it's hardly 73 degrees in the middle of January.
What gives, Momma Nature? What gives?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Consider this your warning

I'm not really sure how to announce to your family & friends (and clearly the entire world of internets) that your husband and you are trying to have a baby.
"Hey Grandma! Guess what? I'm going to be having a lot of sex these days! Hello...? Um, Gram? Heloooooo?"
"Hi Mom - yeah I'm doing good. Listen, I need you to babysit Olivia for 3 nights every month for the next few months. Oh, what are we doing? We'll be doing it in efforts to give you another grandchild. Mom? Where'd you go, Mom?"
"Boss! Please consider this your official notice: I may be extremely distracted from my actual job in order to do things like take my temperature and track my fertility and you know, blog about it. Hope ya don't mind! And by the way, I could really use a raise and 3 months paid maternity leave sometime in the near future. Thanks!"

Yes - after many years of discussion (ahem - see: begging) - Danny has finally come to his senses and decided he'd like another baby. Those of you who know us personally know what this means for me and what a huge step it is for that sweet, sweet husband of mine. Bless his baby-wantin' heart.
The first step is getting a pre-pregnancy plan - which I'll be establishing with my new OB/GYN next week. And effective immediately, I'm on a quest to loose weight. No, I won't tell you how much. The number is too big. Trust me.

Sex Ed - the 7 year old's version

Olivia: I know how you get pregnant.
Me: :::intrigued & very, very scared::: Oh? How?
Olivia: Well, first you pee on a stick, of course. Then you go to the hospital and get x-rays of your belly. Then, you go back home for a little while and go back to the hospital and the doctor takes the baby out.
Me: No, that's not really how it works.
Olivia: Oooh, something shiny! Look, Mom!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Calling all people smarter than me!

I really, really, really need my blog redesigned.

Would someone PLEASE help me?

Getting on that Pop Star band wagon

When you have a 7 1/2 year old daughter who's allowed to watch Disney Channel exclusively*, it's only natural that an embarrassing amount of the family budget goes towards Hannah Montana junk.

Hannah's original ego, Miley Cyrus has a new CD coming out on July 22nd (Happy Birthday, Mom!) and her first single from that CD is "7 Things". Here's the video. Here are the lyrics.

First, Miley co-wrote the song; which for the record, I really like - it's catchy and smart. I've been bopping to it for a week. I completely relate to the lyrics (I love being 26 - makes it easier to remember being 15.) and the video is original.
Second, I feel bad for what the media has done to poor Miley. The media & her parents are to blame for that whole "Mileygate" incident. (Hm, blaming media & parents - Lindsay Lohan, anyone?) All in all, I think she's a cute girl from a cute town with a cute voice. I like her. And if you can keep your kids away from mainstream media (meaning anything NOT Disney Channel), she's an excellent role model for little girls.

Now, I'm going to pick on her a little bit. Before you read ahead, please click on the link above to see the lyrics.
Perhaps while Miles was trying on blonde wigs, she missed the part in math class where you learn to count to 12. Because that's how many things she hates about you. Not 7.
Go see the video now. Back? Ok. Seriously, what's with the "shaw"s? I don't get it. And the over exaggerated facial expressions are just killing me. I've resorted to having to watch the Sims version of the video because I cannot stop the giggling once I get to the end of the video with all the melodrama.

Please excuse me while I pre-order my daughter's copy of the cd.

*I've found Disney Channel to be the only channel with programming that my child can watch unsupervised. That doesn't mean her and her father sneak in an episode of Family Guy once a week. Good, wholesome family togetherness.

The vacation that wasn't a vacation

You may have noticed that I haven't mentioned my vacation yet... I wasn't going to as I'm still emotionally recovering from what was the most exhausting (and by exhausting I do not mean exhilarating) vacation of my life.
My beloved grandmother experienced flu-like symptoms shortly before my arrival; nothing to worry about, just a little bug. Except the day I arrived, something was off. Except my grandmother is the type of woman who raised 11 children - 6 of them not biologically hers - who suffered from various handicaps (some physical, some emotional). So she refuses to be knocked down by anything - especially a tiny little flu bug. We were all muzzled from expressing our concerns on her health that day and decided Day 2 would be much better. You can probably predict this next sentence: She was not better; she was worse. Way worse. She was in and out of consciousness, didn't recognize any of us, even her favorite sister and was so sick, she literally could not sit up on her own. There were several hours of pleading, arguing and demanding before her favorite sister sat on my Gram's bed and said if she didn't go to the hospital, we would call 911 and that would create a big scene at the campground. A few more hours pass and we've finally got her into the tiny but efficient hospital. Assuming she is simply exhausted, dehydrated and with flu symptoms, we conclude "they" (hospital peeps) will keep her overnight with IV fluids, a couple of bottles full of pills and send her on her way. Turns out she was suffering from pneumonia and was bit by a (non-deer) tick and was very, very, very ill. She stayed in the hospital 3 more days - more than half of my time in Vermont.
I can handle physical illness - give me your best puking, coughing up phlegm and bleeding from limbs and I'm ok. I don't do emotional and mental illness well. Especially from my grandmother who's been a strong, sharp and quick personality in my life. Gram was confused. You could see it in her enlarged eyes; it was terrifying. I could not cry because crying meant something was wrong and there was reason to be scared.
I rented a car and took Olivia to a couple of planned visits throughout New England and to my sister's house for a sleep over with her cousins. We had a nice visit with my sister and spent a lot of time with my favorite Great-Aunt. But I still couldn't cry. Because we only cry if something is wrong and nothing can be wrong with my Gram. She's fine.
I was relieved to leave after seeing her gain a tiny bit of strength every day. She was able to keep food down a little more every time and was even enjoying some time outdoors.

She's still not 100% better. I'm afraid to wonder if she'll ever get back to 100%. We were in Vermont to celebrate her 70th birthday and I just cannot bear to even consider the facts of her age, illness and recovery rate.

I did finally cry for about a week when I got home. She's not going to die, you know. She's going to get better and live to see many, many more great grandchildren. I have to believe that because when she dies, it's going to be the most horrific experience of my life. And I don't know how I'll survive it.

Fo' Realz

Picture a happy family of 3: a dad, a mom & a 7 1/2 year old child in a grocery store. Mom's attention is at her coupon folder, list and aisles. Dad & child are horseplaying a couple of aisles away - perhaps bickering over $1. Several minutes pass and out of the child's mouth the mother hears: "You mess with the bull, you get the horns."

Yes. That's my life; my family. Jealous?