Sunday, December 28, 2014

What I did the rest of the year...

Since the new year is rapidly approaching, I thought this would be a good title.  Even if it is not, here are a few things that I'm sharing with you. As you all know I have spent the past year or so remodeling my home.  Timbo and I had done so much to the house with the carpet being one my favorite things.

After our last kitty had died, Timbo and I decided it was time for new carpet.  I had always wanted a light color carpet and we found just what we wanted.  He worked very hard getting ready for the new carpet and we loved it.  Right after he died, I took up all the rugs and carpet remnants that he had used to keep the high traffic areas from turning black, got new furniture, had all the dark trim painted white and was quite pleased.


After about sixteen months, I realized that the carpet was extremely dingy in the entry way and no amount of steam cleaning was taking care of it.  I asked our friend TD what to do about it and he suggested hardwood.  I'm not a big fan of hardwood floors through out, so I came up with the idea of replacing the carpet AND adding wood flooring for the high traffic area...Taa Daa!!!


I never did like the half wall in the hall and hubby and I were taking it down gradually.  He took the spindles off years ago and painted the top white, but we just never got around to removing the rest of the wall and basically used it as a catch all/room divider.  It was also the main reason that the rescue squad had to take Timbo out the window in the office when he had his heart attack, but I digress. I was ready for it to be g.o.n.e.

The whole process only took eight days and my guys tried to make it as stress free as possible, but still having all my furniture jammed into my studio for a week was a bit disconcerting.

The noise and dust that were byproducts of the remodel were a hassle, but they tried to clean and dust everything as they put it back.

All in all, I would have to say it was extremely successful and now the only rooms left to do are the bathrooms.  Who knows maybe I'll do them in 2015.

One thing I am going to try to do is write more.  Blog more and work on my novel which is tentatively titled "Lammy's World".  Hopefully there will be lots of art going on and jewelry being made and books being read.  Looks like it will be a year full of hope and happiness.  That's my about you?

Well, until next time, take care and remember to have fun and love as much as you can.  It's easier than you think.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Still not finished...

Not only is the portrait not finished, I haven't done any more on it.  I told him he'd better have a good back up gift because I wasn't going to complete it for Christmas. 

One of the main reasons I haven't had time to work on it is that I started attending a two week real estate seminar.  I wanted to take some classes that were not art related, as I tend to do more art during the warmer months.  So I had been thinking about doing something fun, but something totally different.  The course is actually an accelerated course so you can get your sales license. The first week was quite interesting and I enjoyed everything I was learning.  The first weekend is what really got me.  I had to study all week end for a test and it reminded me quite firmly that I was STUDYING.  I don't want to study.  I don't need to pass a test so I can become employed.  I quit work eight years ago because I wanted out of the rat race.  Anyhoo, we had a test yesterday and a substitute instructor.  I did not like him at all and he kept hammering away at the point that this course is so you can get your license, get your license, get your license...I just wanted to learn something new and I did.  I learned that real estate is never for fun, even if you can afford for it to be.  It is work and I don't want or need to go back to work. I would be great at the real estate game, if all you had to do was meet people and show them houses, but it's so much more than that.  I have a new found respect for anyone that has to make their living in this way.  You have to love it to do it and I say, if this is your thing, go for it! 

So from now on the classes that I take will most likely be hobby related.  I don't want want to change my life, that will happen no matter what I do.  I don't really know if I want to do anything different right now.  I may take some art classes if I feel the need to get out and socialize, otherwise for now I'm going to concentrate on having the inside of my house painted and having new flooring put in and just doing my thing.

Taking classes is really nothing new for me, over my lifetime I have taken:

Ballroom dancing
Baton twirling
Belly Dancing
Sewing classes
Key punch classes
Speed writing
Cake Decorating
 Glass Bead Making
Precous Metal Clay
Chain Maille

I know just enough to be dangerous in things like:

Polymer Clay 
Interior Decorating 
 Jewelry making
Wire Working
Metal Working

Just enough to be dangerous...herein lies the key.  I don't want to be totally proficient at anything.  I don't want to be an expert or a master.  I just want to learn enough to see if I like it and if I will be good at it.  Take gardening for instance.  Don't care for digging in the dirt, planting stuff and weeding out in the yard.  Don't like it at all.  I have several house plants that I haven't killed, but please don't suggest "Garden Club".  Everyone is different, I don't like to do things that I'm not good at immediately.  I give up too quickly if I feel like a failure from day one.  No one wants to feel like a failure, and they deal with it in different ways.  My late husband was much more of a perfectionist than I and would delve into something with everything he had.  He would become fixated on whatever it was that he was doing and he didn't understand by casual attitude to learning things.  My attitude has always been, "looks good enough to me" and I seldom pull out a seam that's not completely straight (that's why quilting didn't work for me) and if I'm three feet into a knitted afghan and see a dropped stitch, it's "oh, well, whatever".  I would not frog (you know, rip-it, rip-it) unless it was a really bad mistake, and then chances are that I ball it up in a Kroger bag and eventually give it and the yarn to the Goodwill.  

Perhaps it comes from my mother.  She would say things like "it will never be noticed on a galloping horse" which meant "you're a kid, who's going to notice or care if that hem is straight".  I took this to heart.  That is probably why when we painted our living room, we used masking tape to repair the wallpaper before painting over it, and why she and I removed a corner cabinet with a claw hammer and dry-walled our kitchen using a butcher knife AND probably why I have a partially finished nightstand in my guest room.  Seriously, who cares?  Not me.  All those things worked for what we needed. 

Now, know that when I've done something well, I'm properly proud of it, but I'm just as proud of the not so perfect things that I have created, also.  After all, as Peri the Great knows and says...

"That's how we role in The Shire"

So,in closing this post, I'd like to say, if you don't like the way I do stuff, then you can just kiss my @$$ and stay home.  Ohhh, I do so hope you're not offended, if you are, please see previous sentence.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Portrait sketch...

I am in the process of working on a portrait for a young friend of mine.  It will eventually be a portrait of him and his girl friend and since they don't follow my blog (I hope) it should be safe to show the initial sketch here...

They took a selfie in B & W and sent it to me and this is what I've done so far...

Please keep in mind that this is just a practice sketch.  I am trying to decide what size to make the overall drawing.  I have decided to stay with graphite/pencil for the portrait.  Two reasons...they are a mixed race couple and I thought doing it it black and white would be kind of cool.  An ebony and ivory kind of thing, plus I had forgotten how much I love working in pencil.  This sketch was done on a piece of watercolor  paper to test the blending, etc. and I think I'm happy with how everything felt as I drew it.

This photo doesn't do the sketch justice, actually it looks better than this, but it's night and I took the photo in the kitchen and I wanted to go on and post it here since I cannot say anything about it on Facebook.

Anyway if the finished product goes as easily as the first few sketches have gone, I'll be very happy.

Well, that's it for now.  Hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving and is ready to face the upcoming month of December.  We'll talk soon and I'll keep you posted as the  portrait progresses.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Moving forward

As you should all know by now, when life gets me down, I shake myself off and move forward.  Sometimes it's baby steps, but it's still motion.  I realize that I still haven't figured out exactly how to live by myself yet. 

In the big scheme of things I have only lived on my own for short periods of time. I lived with my mother until I was in my late 20's (dating a guy for ten years that wasn't interested in commitment), then lived by myself for a few years, marrying the first guy that asked, who turned out to be a complete loser, marrying me for what he thought was family money.  Then I started staying with family and friends while I divorced him, then moving in with my late husband almost immediately. We met in a local "watering hole" and we really hit it off, knowing that we wanted to be together with our own place so we moved in an apartment, and got married about a year later. 

Tim and I were together twenty-five years, and while we were both set in our ways, and each had baggage, we did the best we could.  After all no one is perfect, right?

So here I am now, almost two years after his death, still trying to figure this thing out.  Due to excellent advice and great planning on the parts of lots of folks, I am in a position that allows me the blessing of living without carrying undue financial burden.

So over the past two years I have been able to remodel my house.  This year I am having the inside painted and redoing my floors.  I'm getting new carpet and having wood floors installed in hallway and possibly the upstairs bathrooms.  Not sure about that yet.

Anyway, while the hardwood floors are being done in Buchanan, our contractor and his crew will be working here doing floors and painting.  I'm going with gray textured carpet and taupe walls.  I may paint my brickwork in the living room to open up the space some...

but the new gray carpeting would make the grayish bricks really pop.  I'm also having them remove the half wall that acts as a divider and catch all...

It used to have spindles which Timbo removed years ago for me.  At least we were able to use it as a shelf, before it was just a waste of space.  Still, it is so 1970's, so the plan is to remove the wall, put hardwood in the hall, gray carpet in all the rooms and paint the walls taupe.  I think.

Who knows what this project will evolve into?  At least I'm moving forward again, not feeling like I have to stay close to home in case,..well, for reasons that I wont go into here.  I'm moving forward.  I'm going to take some classes that I'll talk about later and I'm always doing art.

So that's it for now.  I'll probably put some Christmas lights up again this year, but I'm not even sure about that.  We'll see.

So until next time, take care and keep those cards and letters coming! (emails and texts, these days, but you know what I mean).

Monday, November 17, 2014

No harm in being down...

I've always heard that there is no harm in being down, the harm is in staying down.  I am just one of those people that needs to move forward.  I've moved forward after losing jobs, after breaking up with long time boyfriends, after a divorce, after having changes in my family, after any number of the usual life time events.  As some of you may remember, my husband died suddenly December 31, 2012.  Not quite two years yet.  I have dealt with his death and the changes that it brought in the ways that I thought were best for me.  Those of you, who have been married, know that no marriage is perfect.  No person is perfect.  Some people are far from perfect.  Who knows what causes this.  One of the ways I have dealt with the life style change that came immediately after realizing that my husband was dead...was to hone in on every negative thing that had happened between us in the few years up to his untimely death.  Sometimes I wish I didn't have to do this to get past certain things.  We had good times, to be sure, but often ours was a dysfunctional relationship where everything we did, just drove the other crazy.  BUT we were married for almost twenty-five years.  A commitment that I made and chose to honor.  That was my choice.  Sometimes my choices were not the best.  Shoot, sometimes they still aren't the best.

All of this said and done, I don't sit around and cry about what was, or what could have been, or what will be, for that matter.  Today though, as I'm watching old episodes of NCIS and relive the death of Director Vance's wife, coupled with the death of Ziva's father, ELI, it brought on a crying spell, that I can only assume that I needed.  I cry for my own reasons.  Private reasons, reasons that you will never know.

But, I shake myself off, throw cold water on my face and prepare to move forward, again.  Watching NCIS makes me think of "The Rules"... and a couple of my favorites are:

Rule 36: If you feel like you are being played, you probably are
Rule 11: When the job is done, walk away.

These are my favorites, even if I often want to ignore them...

There are others, of course, that if you read the link, you can relate to. 

My tears are dried.  I'm ready to propel myself forward again. 

All is well, until later.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Savannah part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, my friends and I went on a road trip that ended up in Georgia.  Wednesday of last week we went to Tybee Island.  Walked along the beach, picked up a shell, bought souvenirs and had lunch.  It was the perfect time to go, still very warm, but deserted.  On the way out of town, Chelsie was driving and slowing down for a red light and started yelling, OMG that guy's not stopping!  The car in front of us ran the red light just as a guy on a Harley was coming through the intersection.  The Harley hit the Nissan.  We used to call it t-boning.  The driver flipped off the bike and landed in the road right in front of us.  Chelsie got the car pulled to the side so we could call 911.  I ran out and got traffic stopped, then another gal and I ran up to the guy.  It was such a relief to realize that he had his helmet on and was conscious.  We talked to him and I held his hand until the crew got there.  I was asking him his name, trying to keep him talking and awake, while the other girl was helping find his phone to call his wife, who was in Alabama.  His name was Patrick and I'm guessing he was in his late 50's or maybe 60.  He was a sweet looking man, silver hair and goatee, and was holding my hand for all he was worth.  He asked me my name, and I said Susan.  He said, "Susan, I will never forget you".  I had to let the rescue squad take over, but we all hung around, giving our names and address to the island police and watching what was going to happen with the guy that ran the light.  Nissan guy was eventually taken away in the police car.  Here is his car...hard to see, but there are beer bottles on top.
We were so concerned about Patrick.  We tried to get his info from the police dept. later, but they had just changed shifts and no one was there that knew anything.  I pray that everything worked out for him. I felt like I was right where God wanted me to be at that moment. 

Talking about being in the right place at the right time...something else happened that could have been really bad, but once again there I was.  My sweet young friend, Chels, was in the bathroom in our hotel room doing her make up.  Get this...she sits in the sink.  So here she is perched in the sink and yelled for me to come in there and she would flat iron my hair while the iron was still hot.  Well, I walked in the bathroom right as she was trying to get out of the sink.  She got her foot caught in the faucet and accidentally fell out of the sink.  Fortunately me and size 40D bosom was right there to catch her.  If I hadn't been right there, been the strong, real size woman that I am, being able to physically catch her, she would have landed on the tub and surely split her head wide open.  Did I mention that she's in her first trimester and does not need to be flailing about in a hotel bathroom?  Right place, right time.

We did do a bit of sight seeing...

Started to do the river cruise, but my heart just wasn't in it.  I did take a few pictures of trees...

and a picture, here and there of a house...

and we did take a few pics while we were at the beach...
Tried a panorama...

Click on it for the real view...

Got a good picture of some monarch butterflies...

Everyone said, "go to Wet Willy's".  Well, I don't drink a bunch.  Only a cocktail here and there with a neighbor during the summer, but I did take a pic of the outside...

All in all, we had a good time.  Being with friends, away from...well, just away for a few days was very nice.  Perhaps, I'm just a cynic, but it seems to me as I get older, that one place is just like another.  I did think this tree in downtown Savannah was neat, with it's long, long limbs...

We don't have that here...

Well, that's it for me today.  I'm sure soon enough I will have new pictures.  My sisters and friends have just about convinced me that I need a rescue dog.  They have promised to help me with learning how to be a parent of a fur-baby.  Maybe I am a bit lonesome.  If I get an older dog, that puppy stage will be over. I hope he or she will be loyal and protective and will love me no matter what...just like my friends, only I won't let them sit on my lap.

Until then, take comfort in the fact that life goes on, hearts heal, frustrations diminish and we grow stronger.  I know I do, I know I will.  I have the best sisters in the world and wish everyone did.

Take care friends and continue to live life, learning while you go.  Life is too short to hold a grudge, so wipe the slates clean and move forward.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Went to Savannah

My girlfriends and I went to Savannah this week.  I wanted to get away and we thought about going back to California, but I had just been last month and wasn't ready for another flight across country.  Then we thought about visiting Mall of America, but once again, so much time in the air and airports.

Then we started thinking of places within driving distance.  Driving the past, for me, a road trip usually meant a distance of no more that three hours and it involved packing up all the comforts of home, in case the hotel didn't have exactly what we were used to. This was different. They convinced me that we would travel light, they would do the driving so I could relax and a good time would be had by all.  So we then started thinking about places within driving distance that I had never seen.  Been to Myrtle Beach, been to Florida, BUT I had only just driven through Georgia, never stopped to see the sights and I had always wondered what the big deal was about Savannah and the old homes and the trees with moss.  Savannah it is.  One of the girls had spent a year in Hinesville when she and her ex were stationed there for the military.  She knew her way around and could handle any traffic we encountered.

We left early Monday morning and got there around 4:00 pm.  We made only one stop for gas and fast food.

The first place we hit when we got there was Walmart for some items we forgot, because we packed in such a hurry.  Then we went back to the hotel to put our suits on and go to the indoor pool.  The room that held the pool and spa was somewhat smallish and the smell of the chlorine was too much for me.  We sat in the hot tub for just a few minutes, then wrapped towels around us to go back upstairs.  Much to my discomfort, there was a man in the elevator and it was only one floor, but I didn't want a strange man to see me in a towel and a cover up.  After we got out on our floor, they said "OMG, did you see him checking you out?"  Of course I didn't believe it.  I'm over 50, a size sixteen and I don't color my hair.  Why would anyone be checking me out?  My self esteem has never been the best and well, let's just say right now I do not want to even think about a guy checking me out.  So I laughed about it.

We go back to the room, changed our clothes and get ready to go to dinner.  As I walk around the hotel to the car, I noticed we had parked in front of the gym that the guests use.  What do we see through the huge windows, but another guy checking me out (the girls were already in the car and were watching him).  Not only was he staring at me, but as I got in the car he made a licking motion with his tongue.  For heaven's sake, what is wrong with some people?  This is a nice hotel, but perhaps there was a lonely man convention going on. It's not like we were staying in a roach motel, full of pervs.  I didn't know what to think.

Well, we went to Applebys for dinner, laughed and talked some, then back to the room to relax and watch television.  Just getting away, having someone do all the driving really was nice.  As we were going back through the lobby of the hotel, who do we see in the lounge but "elevator guy".  He was sitting at the bar and almost fell off of his chair looking at me. This time it was obvious that it was me he was looking at.  I just shook my head.

I don't want to "paint all men with the same brush", but I'm guessing that there are some men out there that just love women.  They don't care if they are a bit overweight.  They don't care if they don't look like Barbie dolls.  Maybe these same guys that were checking me out, always did this.  In the words of one of the girls "whatever".

While were were on the trip I did take a few pictures, my heart just wasn't in it,  but I'll save them for another post.

In the meantime, I'm back home, making some changes and forgiving myself for not knowing what was actually going on. I know someone who proudly admits to "fighting dirty". I realize that I didn't really know what that meant. It means doing whatever it takes to save yourself and not just in a bar fight. I know now. I'm not used to being around liars, and guess I missed all the signals. I am now much wiser.  I shook myself off and said a prayer.  A prayer for all those that are hurting right now and a prayer of thanks for  finding myself in a certain situation.  A situation that may have actually been a "blessing in disguise".

I'm still very disappointed in the way it happened and the fact that, again, I don't get closure of saying good-bye, but I've been through a lot worse than this and I bounce back.  I always do.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

I got a new camera...

I cannot remember if I mentioned that my sister-in-law GAVE me her Nikon SLR D7000 when I was in California.  I'm having a blast taking pictures, so here are a few that I'll share with you.

Here is a sweet shot of my house.  Sunshine casting beautiful shadows on the side of the house.

Here is a nice shot of fog hovering along Purgatory mountain. Purgatory is one of the ridges that give Buchanan such beautiful color in the fall.  Sorry I was too early for the leaf color, I was concentrating on the mist...

Shucks, I noticed this morning that my fence is falling.  Another thing that needs to be tended to.  Being a homeowner comes with responsibilities...doesn't it?

I took a close up shot of some fungi growing in the yard and you know what...

even a pile of rocks and wood looks pretty with leaves fluttering around and the sunlight hitting just so...

My neighbors' house looks cheery and inviting with the Halloween decorations they have chosen...

and here is a shot that I took at the hometown cemetery...

I took a close up of a water drop that looks like a dragon's eye...

and a close up of some neat pine-cones that are on one of my neighbor's trees...

my own back yard is finally starting to show some color.

SO with all that being said, Bobby Ritchie and I are going to strut our stuff and just see what we can get into next week.  Hang in there and enjoy the changing seasons.

AND, thanks again Miss Peg for such a nice gift.  You're the best.  Love ya bunches!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Nothing to say, but some new photos

Went to Buchanan this week and took these shots...

The roof still needs to be painted and the trim needs to be installed inside.  After those are done in the next two weeks, I'll post some more, but this will let you know that I haven't abandoned the photography of this ongoing project.

Talk ya!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Don't have anything new to post, so here is the latest video I did saying hi to everyone...

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nothing new to post about the house, so...

I posted some of the progress shots of my painting several weeks ago, but I came across a few more. Here are several different pictures of my most recent art project.  If you follow me on FB you have seen them, so in the event that I still have any blog followers, you too can ohhh and awwww.

I started out transferring the image from the reference photo to the 2' x 3' canvas...

 I started on the sky first, then did the houses...

Here is a bit of detail on one building that I proceeded to cover up with a tree...

Thought I would toss in a selfie, just in case you thought I was teasing you with a painting by some other famous artist...

Here is the almost finished version.

It was a fun project and I'm already chomping at the bit (see what I did there?) to paint something else.

Ill keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Thirty lashes with a wet noodle...

OK, y'all I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything for a full month.  Like a lot of folks, I do keep up daily on FB, but I seldom post these kinds of pictures there.  The contractor had to really stay on the plasterers to get the walls done, but they are getting there...

The siding is coming along nicely also...

The brick guy is supposed to be there tomorrow, so here is a before picture of some of  what he will be working on...

Well, that's not much of an update, but it is slowly coming together.  TD says it will probably be two more weeks before it's ready for any more pictures, but I'll keep them coming as I can.

In the mean time I can show you some pictures of my current art project.  I'm doing a large acrylic painting on a 2' x 3' canvas of Colonial Williamsburg.  Here it is in the early stages...

 That progressed to this...

I'm seriously thinking about making the road a warmer color, but I'm just not sure.  I've already started painting in the closest horse and I think they would look better if the road was more brown than gray.  Sometimes you have to take artistic license on these things, for the sake of perspective and continuity.  I saved my mask for the focal images, so it will be easy to modify the foreground. 

With all that being said, I'll bid you farewell and we will, as always, talk soon.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Happy Friday!

I suppose somewhere down the line, I made some sort of silly rule that I could only post updates on the remodel.  Duh...what was I thinking?  My sissy tells me, how she always checks my blog for new info and there never is any.  It's not that I'm lazy, (I'm really not), or that I no longer have anything creative to blog about (we KNOW that's not it), it's just that I am so content with this life that I have carved out that I tend to sit around the house/porch/deck and bask in the beauty that surrounds me.

So enough basking.  I wish I could promise you some busking, but alas, my talents net me little profit, therefore I resolve to spinning a yarn, at no charge to you, the reader.

How I Spent My Spring and Summer:

Some of you may remember that my sister came for a visit in April...

While she was here we laughed like the goofy sisters that we are.  We laugh over the silliest things, like her trying to fix the mini blind in the kitchen, that had me stymied...

We had fun and visited with friends, but another reason she came in was to get everything going on the remodel.  As you may remember if you do still read this blog, that led to a trip with the contractor (and good friend) and his daughter Chelsea back out to Cali in May...

It was more of a pleasure trip for us gals, with Dad along to do business.  He humored us though and we did fun things like the Wild Animal Park where we got up close and personal with lots of animals.

Chelsea will not soon forget the encounter...

with what her dad dubbed "that big blue chicken" which wanted to peck her brightly painted toes.  The polish was the same color as the birdie's kibble, so we understood, although Chelsea was more skittish than the bird.

We then went on a guided tour through the Safari Park and saw animals you just don't see everyday.  We fed the giraffes...

and observed lots of other animals.

It was a warm day with a pretty blue sky,

It was an interesting day and we had fun, you may be able to tell from this next shot that it was hot as Hades, and even with the benefit of the canvas roof on the truck, we were starting to wilt.

So, it's off to do something else while out on the left coast.

Sister's home is so nice and we took advantage of pool several times...

We went out to eat and went to LA, Beverly Hills and other fun stuff.  As we all know, fun stuff finally comes to an end and we get settled on the plane and come back East.

It was a rough flight back and they chose to try to sleep their way through it.  Not me, I'm rocking this first class experience all the way home...

I'm not above having a beer whilst in the air...Lord knows we needed it.  What a bumpy flight.

Well we got back home safely and it was time for me to have some more remodeling done at my house.  I had them add a deck and sliding glass door to my kitchen, to complete my outdoor living space.

It takes a brave soul, to voluntarily have the windows taken out of the kitchen (remember that picture of Peri and the mini blinds) and replaced with glass doors...

But it was exactly what I wanted and I'm so glad I did it.

So the rest of the summer has consisted of sitting either on the deck, or slipping through the screen door onto the porch that I had screened in last year.  It's been wonderful.  So that was June.

In July, I was ready to get back in the art studio.  I hadn't done anything artsy since the palm tree painting that you saw here, and I wanted to do something different, so I decided on paper mache.

I started out using a disposal turkey roaster as a form, and proceeded with the usual technique of pasting strips of newspaper to the form, I finally ended up with this...

Had a lot of fun doing it, even though it's a sample or prototype for the larger piece I really want to do. It will be much bigger and will hold lights.  In other news...

I saw ring tailed hawks on my fence and

I made some i-phone speakers out of Styrofoam cups...

I think I'm getting in the mood for fall.  I'm already thinking about Autumn decorations and waiting for it to snow.  Life has been good for me and I'm not taking it for granted.  I love my sisters and my friends and I know how important it is to surround yourself with good people and (guess what else?) I've learned to say no.

So how's that for an update?  Pretty good, if I do say so myself.  We'll talk again soon. Till then...