Saturday, October 16, 2010

Love is a verb.

I have spent a lot of time trying to decide how to write this particular post. The title came to me in the middle of an eight-hour long drive, but the words have been elusive.

September 20 was Bucket's birthday. It was also the day that he left Pittsburgh for the state of Indiana, near Chicago, for work. He was gone for almost three weeks, and each night it got harder and harder for Llama. She's a daddy's girl, almost without exception, and she was missing him. For the first few nights, I handed my cell phone to her and she talked to him on the phone. She started waking up in the middle of the night, crying and asking me to get her daddy.

Bucket went and bought a webcam. My laptop has one built in. For the next week, we used Google's video chat (super simple and already set up because we both have Gmail accounts), and that helped a bit because they could see each other. But it got harder and harder for us to coordinate the chats because of his work schedule, her bedtime schedule, and the one-hour time difference. On the first night we missed one, Llama got up in the middle of the night, crying and asking me to get her daddy. On the second night we missed one, the same thing happened, only it was worse because she was hitting me and telling me that I wasn't her daddy, and begging me to go get him.

I had a free weekend, with nothing going on (a rare thing). I have a brand new car. What was stopping me from taking her to Indiana? It would be the longest drive I'd ever done alone, but I seemed to be one of the only people who was NOT concerned by that. Llama has puked in or on the way to Erie (PA), Sandusky (OH), Orlando (FL), Annapolis (MD), and many other places. But the seats are leather and she's washable. I determined that we would leave on Friday afternoon, after I was done with my internship hours, and drive through the evening and arrive about midnight.

The next day my cell phone leapt out of my pocket and into the toilet of doom. I frantically stuck my hand in a vessel of my own urine to save it, but it was not to be saved. Would I make this drive without a cell phone? No. I paid an obscene amount of money to replace it with a clone. The clone is even purple like the old one was.

My internship supervisor, upon learning of my plan, advised me to just take the day off on Friday and drive during the day. Oddly, she doesn't even know about my inability to drive safely at night. So we set off on our journey. Llama knew that we were going to Indiana and that her daddy was in Indiana, but I don't think her brain made the connection that we would see him there.

The drive was uneventful. I sent Bucket pictures from my (new, uncontaminated) cell phone at every stop so that he could see our progress. We arrived at Bucket's hotel and went swimming while we waited for him. We were the only people in the pool, and it seemed like we were the only people to use it in a long time. Llama has this neat little lifejacket/arm floaty thing and it keeps her pretty independent in a swimming pool. She's never more than an arm's length away from me, but she does not like to be constrained. She paddled around for almost an hour.

We went back upstairs, showered and cleaned up, got out some books and puzzles and played for a while, and then Bucket sent me a text that he was almost there. His room was directly over the entrance to the hotel, which was excellent for this next part. I put Llama in the window as he pulled into the parking lot. She was happy, looking at cars and telling me what color they were. And then he got out of his rental car. Llama could not contain herself - her excitement and joy were just too big. She was jumping and saying, "My daddy! My daddy is here! Look, it's my daddy!" and then he looked up and waved to her. I was in tears over how happy I had managed to make her, and we went out to meet the elevator. She was wiggling and jumping and laughing, and she kept patting his face and hugging him and saying, "My daddy." It was one of the best moments of my life, and it had nothing to do with me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Another "Llama in church" story, and a song.

So I keep trying to take Llama to church. Mostly because I like church, it used to help me find peace and meaning in my life. Taking Llama mostly helps me find anger and embarrassment, but I keep trying.

Today, Father B was praying over the Eucharist, and Llama apparently thought it should be her turn to speak. "Make him stop talking now, okay?"

At least my mother-in-law says that Llama isn't as difficult in church as her father was. Llama looked cute, anyway. And on the way there, she was joyful about getting to go to church. She seems to like it, even if she doesn't quite get the whole "sitting quietly" concept.

Now for the song. Llama was singing to me this morning because she was awake and I was mostly not awake, but we were snuggled in bed together since we're on our own right now. (Bucket's away for work.) "Rock a bye baby, little baby, little baby. You are so cute. I will rock you and rock you and rock you... all fall DOWN!"

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Tidbits from Llama

Llama is all about writing her name lately. She can't write it herself, she wants me to do it.

Llama: Write my name. (Hands me paper and a crayon.)
Me: (Carefully block printing each letter and saying them each out loud.)
Llama: Where is the Q?
Me: There is no Q in Llama.
Llama: Put a Q in it.
Me: Only bad parents put Qs where they don't belong.

Llama: (Walking down the front stairs in the morning) I'm Biggie Talls!
Me: Do you even know who Biggie Smalls was?
Llama: It's me!

(Singing in the back seat) "Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle star. Star star star star star. Up sky, up sky, up sky. Twinkle, twinkle, twinkle staaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!"

Edited because I almost forgot this one:

Bucket fixed one of the cars today and took it for a drive. Llama asked me 58 times where he went, and the first 57 times I answered her, I said, "He took the blue car for a ride to see if it's working." On number 58, I said, "He went to join the circus, he'll be back in a little bit." Upon his return, she said, "Hey, Dad! How was the circus?" He was mystified. I was more than a little amused.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

"Only say the word and I shall be killed."

There are two stories intertwined in this one post. I'll try to keep it from being confusing.

We're Catholic, I might or might not have said that at some point before. Llama and I have just started going back to church since I finally feel like I can sit through a Mass without crying and making a fool of myself. This was our second week back, and Llama was in rare form. She has allergies or a cold (I can't tell yet), she was out too late last night and up too early this morning, and church is generally difficult for a 2 year old. So she was in full Llama effect.

At one point, she threw her cup toward the back of the church. I didn't see where it went, and I'm pretty sure a very nice man either caught it or was hit with it. (He returned it to me, but I'll get to that.) I whispered, "That was a bad choice, now you have no juice." That was perhaps a bad choice on MY part, because in her anger at being juice-less, Llama ripped off her plastic necklace that she had chosen to wear and threw that too.

At that point, I was remembering how Aunt Dots used to think that when we say, "Lord, I am not worthy to receive you; but only say the word and I shall be healed," that we were saying, "...only say the word and I shall be killed." The fact that she continued to attend church and receive communion, believing all the while that she might at some point be killed as she approached the altar... well, faith is a strong and incredible thing, I'll just say that.

I was very embarrassed by Llama's tantrum and throwing of possessions, and I was wishing that God might see fit to kill one of us, and I was hoping it would be me. However, the necklace and juice cup were returned to me, and I apologized and thanked the poor targets. I hid Llama's stuff from her so that she would have no further throwing opportunities.

Mass progressed without incident until we were all offering each other peace, shaking hands and exchanging nice words. Llama took the opportunity to say, loudly, "WHERE MY JUICE CUP GO!?" How peaceful.

Neither of us were killed approaching the altar. Clearly Llama is feeling more peaceful, because she fell asleep in the car and I couldn't even wake her up for lunch. I know she's still alive because she's snoring.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oh, the places we've been...

Well, welcome back to myself (again). I seem to have this nasty habit of living life and getting so involved in it that I forget to blog about it. And really, this is supposed to be the scrapbook/journal for Llama. However, as often happens, I currently have something to talk about that isn't open for discussion with a two-year-old, no matter how smart she may be. (And she is pretty smart, but that's for another day.) So, things we've seen or done this summer:

1. Bucket wrecked his car. He was and is fine. We bought a new car yesterday. It's a 2010 Chevy Equinox and it's silver. It's very fancy. My 2005 Subaru Legacy was the first brand new car I'd ever driven, and now this is the second. Bucket is a very special kind of guy, and so I get the "new hotness," and he gets "old and busted." The Subaru isn't old and busted in any capacity, but it does get much better gas mileage. And it's small and fast, which are desirable characteristics on the highway and not so much in the pre-school dropoff line.

2. Llama has TWO new cousins. They don't have secret blog names yet. The lucky parents are The Army Guy and Frenchy (a little girl born June 11) and Hawaiian Punch and iHusband (a little boy born August 4). I'm jealous.

3. This is the reason I'm jealous, and also the thing I most need to write about. I had a miscarriage. It was the third miscarriage. I had one before Llama, one when she was nine months old, and one in July. It's kind of the reason I dropped off the map (this time). I still just don't know what to say, other than I know with every part of me that I am a good mom, a deserving mom, and I will eventually understand the reason why I can't seem to do "pregnant" well. I finally went back to church today. I hadn't been all summer - first because I was pregnant and sick, and then because I was just so sad and angry, and there was a healthy dose of guilt in there. The guilt was and is unfounded, but that doesn't make it go away.

I have so much else to say, but apparently, I'm still not able to put it into real words. I'm not sure if that's because it's so hard for me to understand, or because I'm worried that putting this information out there will upset the people who read this who I love so very much, or what the reason might be. It's hard to even distinguish in my mind. I don't begrudge my sisters-in-law their gorgeous babies. I don't want to replace my Llama's baby times with new baby times.

In fact, I wasn't even a good baby mama. I like sleeping and drinking alcohol and not wearing pads in my bra and not feeling like a slave to a little tiny thing. At one point during Llama's very tiny times, I was sitting there in the middle of the night, looking at her nursing, and she popped off and looked at me with her giant blue eyes... and I thought, "You were sent here to destroy me." And then I woke Bucket and made him take the baby, because I was clearly too tired and stressed to be in charge anymore. I'm adding that story to illustrate how very much I was not a glowing, happy, lovely new mom.

I'm much better with a two-year-old. But I want her to have siblings with whom she can share all of the crazy. My brothers and I have shared experiences that have defined us and our relationships, and there is nobody who understands where you came from like someone who also came from that place. I'm not planning to be crazy or to introduce crazy or to even let Llama know what crazy is all about, except that THAT makes me crazy. Does that even make sense? Even "normal" families are crazy. Everyone has crazy and some people hide it better... but I want Llama to have someone to call and say, "What. the. fuck. is. Mom. talking. about!?!?!" and that person will be able to answer. Or not, and they'll commiserate about how batshit insane I am.

But I also want another child because I'm meant to have more than one child. I hope. I think. I mean, I don't know for sure or anything, but I just don't see my car as only ever having one baby seat in it. We have a lot of love and a lot of crazy. We can and should share it with another person.

I'm all over the map tonight. To recap: Bucket's car is gone and we have a new car. We have a new niece and a new nephew. Llama is an only child for now and I don't want it to stay that way, but it's not up to me and that's sad.


PS: I say this all the time, but I have big plans for more posting. Ha.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Title needed.

Today was a beautiful, sunny day, so my work friend and I decided to eat our lunches outside. We were sunning ourselves, having one of those roundabout conversations that starts nowhere and ends on something interesting and possibly important. I think it started with my statement that our school did a huge disservice by putting a parking lot on the riverfront property instead of something that would have a nice river view. So she told me a story about a kid who got drunk on our campus and fell in the river and drowned. (Cheerful, right?) So then I told her a story about a kid in a wheelchair who froze to death on another state school’s campus closer to where I’m from. And then it turned to our discussion of how neither of our undergraduate schools ever canceled school for snow. (I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.) And THEN it turned to a discussion of driving in the snow even when roads are closed. And then I said that a big part of why Bucket and I even have a relationship is because of a car accident I had. After the story of that, she said I should write a book. (See, I told you I was going somewhere.) The book would be my memoirs… my crazy childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood. But told through my skewed lens, and amusing. Not “A Child Called It,” and not even “Running with Scissors.” So now I need a title. The current front-runner is, “You Won’t Die… But You’d Be Surprised What You Can Live Through.” But that is still a little depressing, and it’s from “The Return of Jafar.” I don’t think Disney wants their words attached to my life story. Leave suggestions in the comments, and remember… funny!

So here’s the story I told her:

I didn’t get my drivers’ license until I was 18, because my mom didn’t want me on her car insurance. I failed my test twice, and the examiner passed me on the third try… probably because he was tired of seeing me exceed the speed limit on Buffalo Road and make illegal left turns. I spent the better part of one paycheck ($200) on a 1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88, and it was five colors. I didn’t exactly love it, but it was a set of wheels and that meant freedom.

So I drove that for a while, and then my mom’s boyfriend (we’ll call him Bob, because that’s his name, and I don’t protect the guilty) told me about a 1989 Ford Taurus that a guy was selling. I spent the better part of a FEW paychecks on that one ($1000, a princely sum in the year 2000 for a college student with a part-time job) and it was perfection. I love, love, loved that car. I drove it all over creation and it was reliable and it had a good radio.

Then I met Bucket. The car was not an issue because it worked perfectly. (Bucket is a fixer of cars in addition to his other many talents, if you didn’t know that.) I was on the way home from the mall one night, taking back roads because that’s what people where I’m from do. The Wolf Man and my youngest brother (did I ever give that guy a code name??) were in the car with me. A lady was tailgating me pretty heavily all the way, and at the second-to-last stop sign, she didn’t stop when I did. I was on the phone with Bucket at the time that I got rear-ended because we were going on a date as soon as I went home and put on my new clothes. I did not get to go on my date. The car was totaled. My heart was broken, but nothing else. We were all fine, lest you think otherwise, except for some minor bumps and bruises and soreness.

My mom didn’t want to help me rent a car (remember, I was 18 and you have to be 25 to rent a car) because… well, I don’t really know why. Probably because she had Bob the boyfriend and he was all about not being a nice guy. So that’s how Bucket and I got closer and closer – he would pick me up for a date, and then I could sleep over (just sleeping, you guys, I swear) and have a guaranteed ride to class the next morning. Or he could take me home and I wouldn’t be able to get to school. I’m ambitious and I always was, so I took that good deal and let Bucket take care of me.

When the insurance company gave me my check for the lovely Taurus ($1400, more than I’d paid!), Bob the boyfriend took it and came back with a silver 1985 Cadillac Sedan de Ville. It was interesting to drive, and I took it in to Bucket so he could investigate why it was so interesting. Plus, I was proud that I had wheels of my own again. Bucket poked around and said, “Heather, this car is stolen.” I disagreed with him, because… really, I’d given Bob $1400. Surely he wouldn’t have gotten me a stolen car, right?

Wrong. The back passenger window was plastic (not glass) and put in with bathtub silicone. The glove box was missing. And there was broken glass in the crevasses of the back seat. PLUS, the thing didn’t run right. He didn’t even get me a GOOD stolen car. Just my luck. But when I asked him for my money, or even some part of it, so that I could get a car honestly, he said, “It’s gone.” So I continued to drive the car and crossed my fingers every time I went somewhere that I wouldn’t get pulled over and arrested.

It eventually died… on the way to my Speech Communications final. I failed the final and the class, which was required for graduation, so I had to take it again. Without this interesting set of circumstances, though, I think Bucket and I would have gone on a few more dates and he would have graduated without us ever “making it official.” So thanks, lady who rear-ended me, and thanks, Bob.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A Conversation with Llama

Llama: Belly hurts, kiss it.
Me: (kisses belly) You're probably hungry, let's get some food.
Llama: Frettist. (That means breakfast.)
Me: What do you want to eat?
Llama: Cakeys.
Me: Try again.
Llama: Pop Tarts? (All hopefully - they are a major treat here.)
Me: Sure.
Llama: And a beer.
Me: (Laughing.) Not until college, kiddo.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I realize that posting once a month is no way to keep readers interested.

And now that my hellish semester is over, I can change that and go back to a minimum of weekly postings.

Llama turned two, and she deserves an awesome post devoted only to her second birthday party, so that's coming.

Aunt Dots is graduating, and she ALSO deserves an awesome post devoted only to her graduation festivities.

Two gratuitous photos:

Llama has outgrown her car seat. See how her head is over the top and the strap slots are below her shoulders?

On April 22, which is Earth Day, I saw the Green Power Ranger on campus. My friend and I chased him down and took pictures with him. He asked for "a big thumbs up," so I complied.

I have a lot less to do this summer than I've had for the past four months, so I'll be showing up in your feed a lot more. :)

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A conversation with Llama

(Llama is home sick. I'm home with her and she's starting to feel better, so I made an omelet for us for breakfast today. I was beating the eggs when this conversation happened.)

Llama: Eggys! (pointing at the eggs)
Me: I'm going to make an omelet.
Llama: Om-tit?
Me: Omelet.
Llama: Om-a-bit?
Me: Omelet.
Llama: Eggs.

Something tells me I'm in for a little trouble as time goes on.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Living intentionally

Today I was lucky enough to attend the American Counseling Association's national conference. ACA was lucky enough to be able to hold it in Pittsburgh, which is of course a place that I hold near and dear to my heart. Very near, very dear. So much, in fact, that while I was handing out tote bags as part of my volunteer commitment, my colleague (who lives near Cleveland) told me that I made her want to explore Pittsburgh, and she was bound by everything SHE held near and dear to hate Pittsburgh. I directed people all over our fair city. Primanti's, Lidia's, the science center, and the Carnegie museums may all send me my check. A nice man told me he'd never seen a river before and asked me, "Where do I go to see the river?" I sent him to the Point and explained that there were three rivers that he'd see there. He was duly astonished.

The keynote speaker at the conference was a wonderful, interesting lady named Patti Digh. I linked her blog so that you can go read it yourself, because she is a much better writer than I am. She talked about living intentionally, about how we spend our time and energy trying to create the big memories (the Disney World trips), and how what we really remember after someone's gone are the little things. The rituals, formal and informal, that we go through each day or each week. The moments that seem like nothing when they're happening and are precious beyond compare when the person with whom we shared them is gone. I brought home two things - one, that as a mom, I want my little Llama to remember me as loving and fun and as the mom who was THERE. I'm afraid that right now, she knows me as some lady who provides the snacks every now and again. And two, that my job as a counselor will be to help "my kids" make good memories with their families and loved ones. To teach them to cope when I can and to be the bridge for them when I can't. I was really touched today. I know, I know, I'm touched every day. I'm always crying nowadays. I used to have a thick skin and I'm not sure where it went.

In any case, I have a lot to think about. I also have some new books, and I brought home one new book for my Llama. There's an opening party happening right now at the convention center, and the drinks were free. But I really wanted to have dinner with my little girl and my husband, so I gave away my ticket and came home.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I gave up sarcasm and mean comments for Lent.

It's not really something I talk about on here or even "in real life," as internet people like to say, but I'm Catholic. We go to church as much as we can, which is hard since we've been living in a snow globe for the past few months and Llama gets bored. She tries to take the "snackies" from Father Boyle, too. Anyway, that's not the point of this. This is about me, not her. How often does a mom say that?

So I gave up sarcasm and mean comments because I use them to hide behind. Sure, they're authentic because they come from me. It's easy for me to quickly spit out something funny and cutting. I'm good at it, just ask anyone who's felt it. (And I do apologize if you've been the recipient.) But they're not authentic because I don't mean them.

The things that I really think, the things I really mean with all of my heart, are not the things that I say to most people. It's not easy to be a soft-hearted girl in a hard-hearted world. I'm a crier, and for the most part I've hidden that from people by laughing when I wanted to cry. Instead, I cry in the car when I'm alone. Or in the shower. Or, on one memorable occasion this week, in class in front of eight classmates and a professor.

So, if you have this blog link, it's because I love you and you matter to me. It's because I want you to know my daughter and you're far away, or because you don't actually know my daughter but I want you to know that she's a sweet, funny, adorable little lady who I hope grows up to know that she doesn't have to hide behind anything.

I gave up sarcasm and mean comments in hopes that I would become more true to myself. If you've known me a long time, you might remember a time when I wasn't adept at sarcasm and I wasn't that funny. I was awkward and scared and sad. I still am all of those things. Something touches my heart every day, and instead of hiding that, I wanted to be honest about it.

There you have it.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

And days go by...

Again, a month between posts. If I were trying to make money as a mommyblogger, I'd never be successful.

Gems from Llama's mouth in the past few weeks:
  • When walking past a construction site: "Backhoes. Escavators (Excavators). Pap-Pap ride on it." She's right, Pap-Pap does have a backhoe.
  • When asked what Mommy does: "Mommy pee potty." Good to know that my achievements have been noted.
  • When seeing me in a black bra, VERY excitedly: "Mick-ouse hat! Mommy Mick-ouse hat!" Thanks, kiddo. Mommy loves to have a Mickey Mouse hat on her chest.
  • When Bucket walked in the house after having his hair cut: "Daddy! Your head!" He replies, "What's the matter with my head?" And she says, "Is wrong." Awesome.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The fun just never stops.

Bucket finally came home on Wednesday. I deliberately did not make it clear to Llama that he would be picking her up, because I didn't want her to be crying for him all day. (And superstitiously, I didn't want to be a jinx and make something happen.)

From what he said, she was so excited when he arrived that she could not stop running in circles and squealing. I don't have the right words, but I got a little teary when he told me that. She missed him so much and is so happy that he's home.

That said, though, a sick girl wants her mama. And on Friday afternoon of my much-anticipated weekend of having a second parent with whom to share all the fun and work, daycare called me and said, "Heather, can you come get Llama? She just threw up. A lot." In the 10 minutes between when they called me and when I arrived (it is only a few buildings away), she had thrown up again. And we made it almost all the way home before she threw up in her carseat. The vomit comet kept rocketing around until late yesterday morning, when my poor Llama passed out on top of me in what was (for me) a very uncomfortable position. But I was afraid to move because I didn't want to wake her or make her puke on me again, so I just laid in this contorted, hunched position for two hours in the corner of the couch.

Until Bucket walked in the door (very quietly) and Llama's Daddy radar went off and she popped up. I was both grateful and irritated. Grateful because God, thank you that I can move now. And irritated because she was finally effing sleeping and then she was not.

But we went to Target to drop $200 on random household items and diapers and all was well.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Whoa, two posts in two days? This hasn't happened in MONTHS!

I was looking at my friend's photoblog and thinking that I should do the same thing. Daily photos. As long as I don't lose the USB cord (ha!), I might be better able to keep up with it. Here's the catch, though. My schedule right now is as follows:
  • Monday: Field Experience 8:45a-3:40p, Class 4:00p-6:45p
  • Tuesday: Work 8:00a-12:00p, Meeting 12:30p-1:30p, Class 7:00p-9:45p
  • Wednesday: Field Experience 8:45a-3:40p, Class 4:00p-6:45p
  • Thursday: Work 8:00a-4:00p
  • Friday: Work 8:00a-4:00p
  • Saturday: Housework, homework, shopping (for food and other necessities, of course)
  • Sunday: Church and family dinner

So the photos would be of various things I see as the day goes by. And my camera is not that good. But I do carry it all the time and take photos of lots of random crap. I mean stuff.

I'm thinking of starting it on Llama's birthday, which is April 17. Leave me a comment indicating if you think I'd neglect a photoblog as sadly as I neglect this blog, or if you think it's a good idea.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Some photos and some quotes from Llama.

Disney World was super fun. There were moments where it was super cold. Llama fell on her face so many times because she just could not contain her excitement. Please note the scraped nose. But also the excitement.

The Army Guy thought he was going to have jambalaya for dinner. He was wrong. He got The Wang Platter.

And not Disney, but a rare family shot. Bonus that we're all facing the same direction and appear to be happy! (We were, in fact, happy.)

Now, the quotes.
  • Upon entering the water floor at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum: "Swim! Swim!" (While taking off her shoes.)
  • While driving home from the museum: "Daddy has a hamma." He does have a hammer, that is true. I'm just not sure why it was relevant.
  • In the grocery store: "Monkey! Monkey! Mama, ho ho ho all gone." Good call, kiddo. Christmas has been over for a while. That's why I'm not sure why they still have a Santa Claus overlooking the produce department.
  • In church, to a lady who had crutches and a leg brace: "You get up! Stand up!" Llama is the church enforcer.
  • Same Sunday, also in church, to the Priest: "Snacky time!" He didn't appreciate it the way I did.
  • And finally, tonight, when I asked her if she could say "armadillo": "Arm-a-dildo!"

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Well, welcome back. To myself.

Long story, no excuses. I haven't been here because life got out of hand. Since I last wrote:
  • I went to the funeral of the kid I wrote about last.
  • I turned 28.
  • I finished my semester with a 4.0.
  • Bucket's grandma died.
  • Christmas happened. Santa was good to us.
  • New Year's happened. Aunt Dots slept over with Llama and Bucket and I went out as a couple for the first time in forevah.
  • We went to Disney World with The Army Guy, Frenchy, and Z-man.
  • I went to my oldest friend's baby shower. And by oldest, I don't mean she's the oldest person I know. I mean I've been friends with her since we were 15.

Obviously I have a lot of photos and a lot of stories and a lot of things to talk about. I'm only going to tell the happy or funny ones here.

I start back to school in two short days, and I go back to work this afternoon. Somehow having things to do makes me more motivated than NOT having scheduled things to do.

Pictures coming either later today or tomorrow. Some of them. There are so many that I can't do it all at once!