Thursday, August 30, 2007

Gathering quotes...

One of the most tragic things about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. ~Dale Carnegie

Good morning! If you were to gather 100 people in a room and ask them to write down their happiest times, you would likely find the lists had one thing in common. Our happiest times come when we connect with others and give the best of ourselves. Yet, these happy times can be hard to come by since human nature is to acquire "this or that," or accomplish "this or that," before taking time to connect.Taking a moment to list out what makes us truly happy can be an interesting exercise. Often we find that the items on our list aren't things that are hard to attain--they are simply things we must make time for. When we are chasing after "some magical rose garden," we can forget to make time today, assuming that the time we create in this "magical someday" will be richer.

Your Turn:Take a moment today to think about what makes you truly happy. Is it spending time with a friend or sharing a good laugh with a child? Make the time each day to find happiness instead of looking for it in a distant someday.

I've had this little ditty in my mailbox for a week, but never stopped to respond to it... so here I am.

I was watching the 2 years ago coverage of Katrina, and quite frankly, am appalled that two years later people are still living in trailers. With their babies, their pets, and whatever they could rescue from the flood waters. Imagine if something of that significance happened in your town, or here in Chicago. I love Chicago..the energy, the skyline, the sport teams. I love the restaurants I always go to when down town and the heralded shopping days at our favorite stores. I love the windows in the winter and the crystal blue sky in the winter. The horse carriage rides I can't afford, all of it. I love this town. It makes me happy, really happy to walk down its streets and hear the sounds and smell the smells..., Kinda funny since I hate IL. But that's another blog for another time...
but I stopped and thought about, what if we were decimated through no fault of our own: terrorist attack, horrific tornado or the legendary earthquake we should be getting "any day now" for the last 30 years. What would I feel if my towns and roads and everyTHING I say I love were gone...and then 2 years later I was still in a trailer...
I lobbied last year to spend our Christmas vaca in New Orleans...helping somehow. Habitat for Humanity or something. Didn't happen. I'm lobbying again this year. We have a week left. I'd like to do it. I'll keep you posted...or do you want to form a posse to go and build a house and some memories? (Ever hear that Bon Jovi song...Wanna make a memory?)
so...what brings me happiness besides Chicago???
My family. My husband. My daughter and new son in law (OMG...I'll get used to that RIGHT???). My boy-turning-man son. My nieces. My nephew. My girlfriends. I love babies I can borrow and give back. The laughter of toddlers, that squeal that they get when they are excited. I love working with teens and hanging out with them. I love my sisters and brothers. I love good books and talking about movies, and our lives over a decent meal.
Hearing songs that make me cry and stories that make me laugh. Sermons that make me think and affect how I live my life....that makes me happy.
I love that I"m forgiven, and that I CAN choose to forgive. The joy that letting go brings to my soul...
I love internet shopping. I love exercise videos that save me the price of a gym membership. I love hot tea with yummy creamers. I love the smell of downy and fresh air in the laundry. Cell phones and IM's keep me in touch with my girlitas makes me happy and all warm and fuzzy inside.
I love a good hug and a sincere smile. I love being able to breathe without my asthma weighing me down (I'll let you know when that's true again). I love laughing till I cry and crying without shame.
I love chocolate martini's, and Panera's iced tea, McAllister's sweet tea and Portilo's hot dogs. Those local meals make me happy!!
I love to travel..that first moment when you see who you're heading for...whether it's them coming down the steps of Midway or up the steps of their airport, waiting for us when we get out of a long car ride, or walking up Cassie's scary stairs and sitting in her kitchen. Joy. Contentment. Connection. Happy.
I love redecorating...I'd love to move, but that's not going to happen, so redecorate it is!!
I love it when those jeans that didn't, now DO fit!! (Keep you posted on this little happy maker)
I love it most when people are real with me. Don't pick and choose what they tell for fear of judgment or my reaction. I love it when I can support someone through their tough times and look them in the eye and say "I LOVE YOU!!!".
I love...and I wish for you, people who live out that love in your life...and people that you love unabashedly. So take the time to connect. Linger over that meal or drink. Laugh more and sigh less. Forgive people for being people...and enjoy them. Life is short and unpredictable. Things change in a heartbeat...
Choose my friend says...choose peace...choose happiness. Because it is a choice. And like a book I used to read Cassie (because it had Cassie the caterpillar wearing glasses, among other things!!), I'd choose YOU.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


which was great, but I was ready for it to be over. It was challenging, and I hope that I re-read the book some time. I tend not to do I can memorize a book from one reading!! LOL
I went to grab something from Kimberlee's car last night and we ended up talking till after midnight.
A couple of things came from that conversation:
~~Life is short, it changes in an instant and we need to live our life to the fullest every day. Easily said, yet I fall into complacency and going through the motions far too easily.
~~We need to be friends others can count on in crises. Not just "I'll pray for you", but in action too. Joseph was so disappointed that none of his friends called him Sunday or Monday to see how the wedding went. That's what I"m talking about...reach out. Remember. Make a little meal or deliver a flowering plant, send a card. Just a "you matter on this earth and you matter to me" gesture.
~~God is amazing...developing compassion and empathy, conviction and strength in each of us differently.
~~Kimberlee gags. It makes me gag. Lord help me never to see that again. Seriously. Thought i was gonna vom.
~~Cars get hot when the air is turned off. And I"m not the only bug-magnet on earth!!

And a few questions someone passed on to me!!
1) What state are you in and have you always lived there? IL If not where else have you lived? NY, NJ, MI, WI
2) If married, how long have you been; 22 years in October
3) How many children and grandchildren do you have? 2 children, no grandchildren. Do you think you'll have more grandchildren? I hope so!! More would be ONE!!
4) Do you work outside the home? NO What is your job and how long have you been doing it? I was trained to be an accountant, and being a numbers nerd, I still love it. I'd go back to it in a heartbeat if I could find one that isn't year end psychosis!! I did it for 10 years and love it...
5) Did you go to college? yes graduate? yes, in 1990 after going part time for 9 years If so, what is your degree? BS in accounting
6) What job would you love to have? I'd love to teach or do youth ministry again
7) Will you remain in your current home/state when you retire? Sadly, probably. Do you have plans for that retirement and when it will be? No will be in another 20 years!! Sheesh
8) What is your favorite household chore? Aren't those words diametrically opposed? What is your least favorite household chore? All of them. Ok, I like organizing, but that's not an ongoing thing.
9) What do you feel confident giving advice about? Lessons learned in not spreading myself too thin
10) Have you ever met a famous person? Yes Who? Oprah WInfrey When? when Joseph was in 2nd grade, Cassie in 5ht. Whatever year that was Where? we were on her show for homeschooling, back when homeschooling was unique!!
11) Where is your favorite vacation spot? Hmmm...the carolinas, and recently FL
12) What is your favorite food? Portillo's chili dog, Drink? iced tea, chocolate martini, hot tea
13) Do you have any pets? no....What?
14) What is your favorite leisure time activity? Scrapbooking
15) What kind of books/movies/TV do you like best? books, suspense; movies, same; TV, football games or dramas

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Today is done...gone the sun

from the east...from the west. That old girl scout song is echoing in my head. And today wasn't what I thought it would be. It was beautiful indication of the weather we had on Thursday and Friday. The sky was a bright blue, the temperature was fabulous and there was jsut a light breeze. We got there early for the "rehearsal" which was the head priest telling Paul what he'd be doing, after we waited outside for a good 20 minutes. And then Cassie got there in Lindsay's car.
Thank God for Lindz...she did Cassie's hair (finished straightening it), her makeup and got her to the church. Cassie thought Ron and Denise were going to pick her up and get her to the church, and THEY got to the church 45 mintues into the ceremony. Literally, they missed the entire service up to the wedding. It was one of the few times I got really teary eyed today, wondering how they made it ok with themselves to be 45 minutes late for their own sons' wedding. But not mine to wonder....

And the service..let's just say I got a good idea of what people must feel like when they go to the Catholic church for the first time with no background. Confusing, boring, stand stand stand, kneel, stand stand, what are they going around the altar for again? What do we say? We were totally lost and didn't get it at ALL.

Paul's parents came...his dad looked great!! There were times we could tell that Phil wasn't really connecting, but he looked fabulous and followed almost everything that was going on. I was so happy to see them and I know that it meant alot to Paul that they came.
My mother decided not to come, not to call, not to answer the door when my sister went to pick her up. I am SO ANGRY at her. She tells me how she "weeps many tears for our relationship and what it is" and asks for my forgiveness for past hurts...and then can't be bothered to come to her own granddaughter's wedding. Seriously. Baffled.

Back to the wedding...Paul did walk her down, and he did a great job. They looked fabulous together and his last words to her as a single woman was "I love you". It was very touching.

Receiving line...another tear jerker for me as I congratulated them and told Chris to take care of her. He promised he would. I hope he keeps his promise. She is a treasure in my heart and I can't bear the thought of her not being valued or treated tenderly...well...except by her brother!! This picture was their idea and we were all rolling in laughter as they posed and re-posed with increasing enthusiasm!!

Got tons of pictures after the wedding, of Cassie and our family, Chris and the wedding party. Didn't get any of his family till about 2 hours into the reception...the one thing Cassie didn't want was to be pulled from the reception for pix...and that's exactly what happened. Don't know how she feels about took us a few minutes to figure out what happened.

The reception started with "I loved her first" with Cassie and Paul dancing. Which I'll just admit was a big bawl fest for me. Then "ring of fire" for my dad...and Theresa took Cassie out on the dance floor and they, well, you COULD call it danced. They had fun and we all had a great time watching them. Then they played "I hope you dance" which Cassie dedicated to me. It made me cry too...that is was and always will be my hope for fully participate in life, find joy and choose never to be on the sidelines!!

Eventually, Chris and Cassie danced together. He's soooooooooo much bigger than her. Dwarfs her!! She looked mostly happy today, occasionally very undone and sometimes tired.

We did talk, way at the end, to Chris' parents. That's another blog worthy entry and quite frankly, I"m exhausted. Here's to a day of beginnings and hope and I pray that they will be a light in each other's life as husband and wife, that they make Christ central in their marriage and that they forge a bond of love, trust and strength over the years.

OMG>>>I'm officially a monster in law!!

So Cassie is getting married today...

and I literally got 2 hours sleep last night. I read till midnight, woke up at one, woke up again at 3 and tossed and turned till 5. Songs were going through my head; imagining today was a constant theme...apparently the plans for the reception aren't as solid as Cassie assumed they were, and literally as her wedding is ending, the reception is going to be being set by Chris' family and whoever else helps... The church rents out the hall to another congregation while their service is going on and for whatever reason, it wasn't dealt with. So as I understand it, Denise (Cassie's mil), is going to go in there and push them out as soon as they are done with their music. And from the sounds of it, it's going to be pretty forceful and confrontational.
I'd say poor Cassie, but this is her wedding and she's abdicated the bulk of the planning to Denise and what she hasn't just handed over to her, she's procrastinated to the absolute last minute.
And finally last night at 830 or so, she talks to Paul about walking her down the aisle, informs him that Chris' ENTIRE family was at this betrothal/rehearsal event yesterday and that "if you want to", we can show up at 9:30 this morning for a last minute rehearsal. This would be after telling me "there's no room for you" to wait with her in the office before the wedding. I literally can not remember a time in my life where I have felt less wanted and more rejected. Never.
I don't know what today will bring...and I hope that everyone (including me) can keep their emotions in check. It seems like a tall order.
In twelve hours, it should all be over. I will no longer feel like an unwanted interloper at my daughter's wedding. No longer have to deal with the impression that they'd rather us not be there (who are the they? According to Cassie, not her...but look at her ACTIONS!)
Hard not to reflect on the kind of mom I was and wonder where I went wrong that she'd either allow this to happen without saying "no, this is not how I want things" or make it happen. Either way, I'm hurt, disappointed and raw inside. But I've got to shut down these feelings till after the wedding. I don't want to make it worse. And I do hope she's happy...even at our expense. Because that's about the only way I can live with being treated this way. And I suspect it will be an ongoing theme in our lives from here on out.

Friday, August 24, 2007

yesterday didn't turn out

much like I thought it would!! We had our second day of school, which was supposed to start at 9. But Cassie stayed till after midnight and we were all up way too late. Poor Paul..he gets up no matter WHAT and had a 7:30 dr. appt. So I think he got about 5 hours sleep. And it wasn't good. He was tossing and turning, so burdened by what we envision as Cassie's life from here on out. I, on the other hand, just couldn't sleep. But then I decided to spend my time praying instead of worrying and fell off at some point.
So.........we do school. Joseph hates it already. Hates the poetry, math, Civics. And he hasn't even started Latin, which is notoriously his least favorite subject. Lindsay came over and we went tout to lunch to celebrate the start of the school year for both of them. Then went to check out JJC's main campus, giving Lindsay a heart attack (the only time my driving has been compared to Paul's) by cutting from the right lane to a stopping spot with a campus map. Ok, so it was pretty abrupt...but there was (1) no warning and (2) nobody behind me. Still, I'll never hear the end of that one!!
Then off to books off campus so she can save $5.00 and 45 minutes of standing in line. And we thought we'd get back to the house pretty quickly, just stopping at the Joliet Park District for Joseph to pick up an application for a job. Well...literally in the time it took for him to go in and out, the weather went from threatening to POURING, horizontal rain and the car was LITERALLY moving sideways. The port-a-potty we were near was tipped over (who gets THAT disgusting job??) and a tree limb broke and gave my car a colonoscopy. Once I got off the tree limb, we slid across Jefferson, blinded by the rain, got onto Essington and drove through flooded streets (as in all 4 lanes) to get home.
Joseph gets hero of the day from LIndz since he went out in the pouring rain to get her books and close her windows...and then we just watched the weather for like the next 1.5 hours and then the news...which was all about the weather.
On the up side...I did get half of my ironing done. I feel like a half a boulder has been lifted off my todo list. I hate ironing. SO I postpone it...which of course...makes it worse...and I hate it more!!
Two days till Cassie's wedding. We had a nice, albeit quick, time shopping for her accessories. She got everything she needs and is wearing the pearls that I wore at my wedding...a gift from Paul's mom. I'm at peace knowing that SHE knows that we are totally for her and that we will do whatever we can to support her, regardless of what decision she makes. That's all we can do at this point.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

GoodNESS...another week has

flown by. I do have a disclaimer here for why it's been so long. Big modem/cable issues. Stinks

because just when I have time to blog or check my email or whatever, it goes down.

So, before it goes down again, let's see:

Thursday is a 5 hour lunch with Judy...all caught up. It was great. I really miss her. All the time. Sigh. Anyway...we laughed, we talked, we solved no problems of hte world or our children, but we ate ourselves half to deah and went our separate ways. Two kids from my old youth group stopped by at 7 and they stayed till midnight talking...laughing...talking smack to and about each other. We had a great time. I love those kids to death. That's Claudia on the left and Martha on the right.

Friday, Girls night out. Judy was in...and we had some new people this month. It's getting bigger every month. The theme was favorites and literally all we had was salad and desserts. NO ONE brought a meal!! People stayed till 1:00, with lots of laughs and talking, some new people and a bit of "foyer talk" way at the end of the night, but it was mostly off limits and people really stuck with least when I was around. Next month it's a concert and dinner, then October The Melting Pot...after that who knows??? You can almost see Melissa's bump here...but it was supposed to be self portraits and I see too many arms for them to have taken this themselves!! LOL

Saturday I was supposed to crop all day, but I couldn't get into yahoo and Paul and I got in a big fight about his money obsessions and lack of communication. SIgh. I wonder if we will ever get past this point.

Sunday...went to Southwest and loooooooooved it. So many people from Assembly there. So many!! They arent' the friendliest people if you're new, but the message was great and the music was uplifting and God and I duked it out about forgiving Chris and the call to do that over and over again if they get married. Guess who won. Yeah. Not me. WHich ws good because when we went to the meeting SUnday night, which was a farce beyond description, there it was again. Forgive and move one. Let go.

Monday came news that MOPS isn't backing up the steering team, that it's a "chartering issue" and that issue is between the pastor (read: Earl) and the chartering leadership (read: Joy). Hmmm...wonder how that will turn out. It was aggravating, but it was also the last thing I needed to not look back and let go of it all. I don't care what they think and they have NO power in my life unless they want to get a restraining order to keep me out of P Rick's class. So whatever.

Monday...Tuesday...Wednesday...Joseph starts school. We will end midMay and I will be obsolete in the homeschool world!! We had a great first day and then Cassie came over after dinner and we finished up her accessory shopping for the wedding on Sunday. Yep. I guess it's stil on. Sigh.

And that brings me to today. And the internet was out 3 times while writing this, so I'm off!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

It's only THURSDAY???

yesterday was just a crazy day, as well as spending six hours on the phone Tuesday...
Bible/book study was good Tuesday. It was a quick chapter, so we were able to catch up on each other's life a little bit. which was good. Lynda and Theresa needed to vent. Why is life so freakin' hard some times? For me, it's easier to go through the valley than to watch others do it and feel helpless.
I was talking to Lynda about stress and its affect on our we need to take care of ourselves by eating right, sleeping (or at least resting), taking time for laughter and drinking lots of water. And then yesterday, I got so busy I forgot to eat. All day. Sheesh.
It seems like it's a trifecta of stressful stuff over here...if it's not church stuff, it's MOPS, and if those two are at a lull (a rare but possible occurence), then it's Cassie's wedding.
She doesn't return my phone calls or emails or posting on her facebook. She did, however, answer Paul's last two calls, so at least we have information, however sad it is. They still haven't sent out the invitation. Chris keeps saying he'll do it, but there they sit. Just like the forms they needed to fill out for the church (for like 6 weeks) Denise (his mother) is doing the flowers. Cassie doesn't even get a say in it...which is pretty much the way whole wedding has gone. She told Paul she wasn't going to ask him to walk her down aisle. There are two questions the priest asks...who give this woman and do you give her freely. She knows the answer to number two is no. So instead of saying "what the h*(# am I doing that my family and friends aren't going to be at my wedding, that none of them approve of this, and that I think I can't even ask my dad to walk me down the aisle, that my fiance has planned (or in this case NOT) every aspect of the wedding and I didn't even get the invitations or attendants that I wanted, WHAT KIND OF MARRIAGE IS THIS GOING TO BE????? and walk away... no. She just transfers blame to everyone else: her job and how busy she is, Chris and he hasn't followed up on his part, etc. I'd say I'm heartbroken, but honestly, after the last two years of seeing him steal bits and pieces of her soul, and then her giving away MORE, and the increased isolation that she goes along with, I'm not. I think I've accepted and grieved that this is waht she has chosen for her life, no matter what broken part in her makes this all ok somehow, and I just pray that someday she comes to her senses...before he kills her. Because she knows it's an abusive relationship and stays. And abusive relationships always escalate. Always. ANd who knows what's going on there now. I can't even think about that. I'll go crazy...this amazing, funny, talented, intelligent, tender, compassionate girl/woman being smacked, pushed, pulled, dragged, held down by a man far too big and no one there for her. I jsut can't spend much time thinking about that. I hate the thought of HIM, who should be caring for her, tender toward her, loving her to death, laying his disgusting fat hands on her to hurt her...and then their kids. OK, clearly, I need to work on forgiving him freely. Ugh. And I know it will be an ongoing thing. Repeated. And forgiving her for letting it happen.
But to quote Dana, in all her wisdom (which is alot), "these are the results of her choices and she's going to have to deal with them". She was talking about something else but it sure fits here.

On to happier things...Judy is in and we BETTER hang out today!! I have to remember her mom's number...I dont have it and Judy doesn't have her cell phone according to her last message. CAN NOT WAIT> CAN NOT WAIT!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hard to imagine it's just been a couple days...

Cassie's wedding is less than 2 weeks away. We still haven't seen an invitation, so we're aren't even sure what time the wedding is at. Melissa probably wont' be coming in for the same reason. Hard to book a flight home when you don't know when things are.
We're doing the back to school thing...I've finished planning and organizing the mountain of school work for Joseph's last year at home. I"m going on record now saying he's gonna hate this year. HATE it. Weird to think that after 11 years of h/s I will no longer hold that job title! Ahh...but imagine what I can do with day after day of project time...organize the world one house at a time, have lunch with friends and workout (uh huh), spend long periods of time in relative silence studying topics I want to. But it's not like he's moving out and we'll be empty nesters. As it is, the battle for the phone some days causes the plastic to soften from overuse and we literally wore out the battery on "the good phone"...or wore out the phone. That remains to be seen once Paul replaces the battery!!
I'm still undecided about how to handle one conflict I"m in the midst of. I had thought reaching out ONE more time was the right thing to do, until I uncovered more lies and got another nasty email that was also cc'd to others. Sigh. I think it's time to shake the dirt from my sandals (or flip flops, but those weren't around in biblical times" and move on to the next metaphorical town. I"m sure the answer will become clear as I continue to pray about it!!
Bears won. It was a darn good game. Not that I didn't experience some anxiety...but my guys are undefeated!! BWAHAHAHA!!!
Just when it seems that the turmoil in church has reached a fever pitch (and what I think is the climax), it goes higher. Talk about a pressure cooker situation. Hopefully the meeting Sunday night will shed some light, one way or another, for us to make the next set of decisions.
Went to Ikea yesterday with Lynda Sherrie and Laura. We had so much fun!! One...eating breakfast and talking without cutting anyone's food, little whispers in mom's ears, and free coffee for them. One of life's little pleasures!! Walking around and chatting, shopping and self check out...I think we are posted at the door with a red circle and line through our pictures. We needed AT LEAST 10 assists while checking out. And we looked like intelligent women until then!! Not to mention the "hook ass" funny!!
Ok, off to work out and nap. I got about 4 hours sleep for the last several nights. My eyeballs are burning!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

I took Lynda's advice

and just went private yesterday. There's no reason to wait and I feel much safer with it being a done deal. So...
If you're wondering why...go down to the "I love this quote" entry and read the ensuing comments. I think they are in reference to my last paragragh...
THE BEARS WON!!! That's my big news!!
Well that quote my niece "I"m so over" that whole comment thing. I feel sorry for them and their hateful hearts and I hope that THEY are never treated the way they treated me. And it's just a heart check for me that I don't get so hard hearted toward someone that I'd spew like that. And believe me, there are people I would CERTAINLY do that to. SO I've got some work to do on my own heart!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I'll be taking my blog

private at the end of hte week. If you want to be invited email me.

I know everyone has been waiting...


What big day???? The Bears kick off the preseason tonight!! 7:00 on Channel 5...that's NBC if you live out of the area and are dying to see Lovey and da Boyz!!!WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
So get your blue and orange ready!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

I love this quote for the day: We are all angels with but one wing. We can only fly by embracing each other. That is sooooo true,don'tcha think?

I'm so blessed to be embraced by and embracing so many wonderful people in my life!! I hope I never take that for granted...

Ok, so I"m back from vaca and had a great time...oodles of pix (183) and laughs and in general a great time. I've learned to appreciate laying out by a pool with people who talk and goof around. The girls and I had a fabulous time, right up to the end...

We spent the day at FL mall, which I guess is a good mall. would be an overstatement. We went to Teavana and loaded up on tea for us all, tried something I can't remember but DID like, ate and made idiots of ourselves trying to get a good picture. As you can see, some of us made bitter idiots than others. Then off to find a graduation dress for Melissa. Well, we did find one...I think at Penneys. Meesh and I loved it, but it was obvious that Melissa wasn't sold. I found some shorts and tops, but one of the shorts had a defective zipper so back it goes. I went from zero plaid shorts to more than enough, so I'm sure I can bear the loss!!

The next day, I think we went to the pool. Maybe not...but we ended up at Meesh's choice for food that night. All for the chips and ranch dip, which she swears is better than anywhere else. Not to me. However...the company was great, the waiter was a story unto himself and we had another great time.

Then it was on to The Melting Pot. The price wasn't that fabulous: $20 for a fondue plate that I could've eaten by myself. But the atmosphere was great...the food was good...and our waitress was funny. As I was dealing with hiccups for the 15th time that day (I get them when I laugh hard), she came back with the check..and asked "what's your middle name" We thought she was asking Melissa for an ID confirmation, but she was asking me to get rid of my hiccups. I said Marie, but everyone hear Meenie. So now that's a whole conversation about how if I was meenie, that would make AT Eenie and UJ Miney and UT Moe. If we did the whole family name thing. I know it was one of those "you have to be there moments"...but it was DARN funny!!

Tuesday night we went to a great place that I would recommend to anyone who is in Orlando. It's a dueling piano bar called Pat Obriens and it's at Universal City walk. So much fun. They tried to get me to drink hurricanes. I declined.

Tasted like cough syrup. I ended up getting some blue storm drink, which was great. Sadly, everyone was overly shy...

SO the deal is, you write requests for the piano players on a napkin and pay them a dollar or two or five to play that song. Melissa writes this essay on how we're all in for her graduation and would they play Joy to the World and make us get up there and do the motions. Instead, they got HER up there...which was good because I didn't know the motions. I did by the end though!!

It was fun being from everywhere because every time they asked "who's from..." I was like "I AM!!" LOL. FINALLY moving all over had a pay off!! Somehow we ended up doing a kickline to to NY NY. That's Carolyn, me, Michelle, Melissa (pretty invisible) and a stranger or two on the end. We had to leave early....with an underage member of the party we were only allowed to stay till 1030. Meesh drove home and did a great job. The rest of the drama can be left at the bar!!

Another great find...and a total accident (they TotALLY busted my chops about stopping at a store that said "beads and scrapbooking" was this store. We stopped by earlier but went back to make necklaces. I'd have gone back again but we ran out of time (well, and money). We spent the afternoon there...Melissa made an amazing necklace that was crocheted together. I could NEVER do that since all the 15 times I was attempted to learn crochet, it never turned out. Not once. Sigh. Michelle made a very cool necklace of natural beads and knots. I loved hers too!! And I made a double strand necklace with pink and brown beads. Super cool. They let me take all the pix I wanted of the walls and layouts...and I DID!! Super cool place.

And then it was graduation and home...the ceremony was pretty short (1.5 hours) considering the number of people graduating. We couldn't get pix inside because it was too dark, but the posed ones are always the ones I keep anyway!! She was sitting in the perfect spot for us to find her and we could practically look in each other's eyes as we were texting each other back and forth!! As always, I got totally choked up when Melissa processed in. She ended up not wearing THE dress, but wore a dress she liked and made her look fab...can't you tell??? LOL I'm so proud of her. She has really overcome alot of crap these last 5 years and never gave up.

You can't tell it in these pix but:
It's about 10000 degrees outside
and I have a tan line.

But now it's home and the house is finally put together. Too bad I can't say the same for our church. Man..the drama that ensued while I was gone!! My heart goes out to the MOPS moms who really put their heart and soul into MOPS all these years and then were just disregarded. A new steering team is formed. I have concerns for the next year, but am glad that 80% of the moms found a MOPS group. I DO hope that FAOG's is better than it seems it will sad. And I think it all revolves around pride and unforgiveness. Sigh. When will we learn?