Saturday, October 31, 2015

A Good Week Of Thankfuls That Included No One Getting Arrested

If a week has to go by in a flash, one that includes small children in Halloween costumes at school is a good one for that. I mean, seriously, didn't I just write a Ten Things of Thankful, like, five minutes ago? No? Okay, then here's another one.

1. The electric mattress pad is on the list once again. We've had some chilly nights, and there's nothing like slipping between the sheets and having them be all warm and toasty! I get hot a couple hours after going to bed and turn it off, then I'll have an additional hot flash and shed my jammy bottoms next. Then I get cold around 5 a.m., and the mattress pad gets turned back on. But what a luxury to be able to make myself warmer and cooler as necessary!

2. Now, I'm not saying I'm glad my husband was out of town one night this week and I got the bed to myself (sort of), because I don't sleep well when he's gone, but I DO like having the whole bed to myself, especially since the two big boy kitties like the electric mattress pad even more than I do. When you ordinarily have to share your side of a queen sized bed with two cats with a combined weight of about 45 pounds, then having the opportunity to stretch out on the other half of the bed for one night is pretty sweet.

3. I told my Primary class that we would make our own snack on Tuesday, so I brought all the ingredients to make pumpkin muffins. Well, all EXCEPT for milk, of which I had none. My milk drinker is away at college, and we didn't have a drop in the refrigerator. No problem, I thought, there's always a jug of milk in the church kitchen, but when I went over there to get a cup, I found no milk. Checked the pantry, hoping for a can of evaporated milk or maybe even some powdered milk, which would work fine for muffins, but nope. I was contemplating whether Cremora would be a viable substitute when it occurred to me I could call one of my preschool moms and ask her to bring a cup with her when she brought her daughter. She was happy to do it and the muffins were saved!

4. Tuesday afternoon, I had finally had it with my cell phone and went to AT&T to get a new one. I decided I wanted the iphone 6s plus, which means I have given in to the fact that I CAN'T SEE ANYTHING ON MY CELL PHONE WITH MY OLD EYES. They didn't have any in stock, so one was ordered for me. I was expecting it to take a couple of weeks, but it was delivered on Thursday afternoon. Pretty speedy, huh?

5. We had our Pumpkin Parties at preschool on Wednesday for Pre-K and Thursday for Primary. I hate party days, but these went really well. 

6. That last one is worth two, since there were two days of parties.

And you thought I was only a preschool teacher....

7. My husband had to go to Springfield for the afternoon on Thursday, so I rode with him, just for fun. On our way back, we stopped at a restaurant in a town halfway between Springfield and Joplin (pretty much the ONLY town between Springfield and Joplin). My tummy is STILL happy about that decision! 

8. My husband's tummy was so happy about that meal that he, unbeknownst to me, undid his pants at some point on the way home and forgot about it until AFTER we had gone through the Wendy's drive-thru so we could bring Emma something to eat. The good news is that the drive-thru employees didn't seem to notice, so we weren't stopped by the police on our way home.

9. Let me be perfectly clear that his junk wasn't showing or anything, but his pants were very not buttoned or zipped. AND he was driving a company car, logo and all....

10. I took my new phone to AT&T on Friday so they could activate it. I backed my phone up to my laptop (or so I thought) right before I went, just in case. I expected them to put all my stuff from the old phone onto the new phone, which they did when my kids got new phones a year or so ago, but they don't do that anymore. Instead, I had to go home and do it myself. I was running some errands first when my husband called, but I couldn't HEAR him at all, although he could hear me just fine. Tried it again a few minutes later with the same result, so back to AT&T I went. I was explaining my problem when the guy who helped me saw me and came over to find out what was wrong. He grinned, took my phone from me, and peeled off a layer of plastic that was surrounding the phone. Oops. When I got home, it only took me just over THREE HOURS to get the new phone to have the same apps and stuff that the old phone had, but I finally accomplished it ALL BY MYSELF.  Now it will just be a matter of getting used to such a big phone, but I think the pay-off of being able to see the screen will make it all worth it.

How's your Halloween week been? Did you have 650 trick or treaters like I did (true story)? Link up YOUR thankfuls, right here, right now.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Refuse: A Six Sentence Story

To the casual observer, the two women in the small, outer office could have been having a conversation about the latest fashions, but upon closer look, the observer would see one woman seated behind her secretary desk, leaning back slightly, a half smile upon her lips as she took a deep draw from her cigarette, while the other stood tensely, feet planted, just inside the doorway of the office, her eyes narrowed beneath the brim of her hat, her neatly gloved hands clenching her pocket book.

"No, Lydia," said the seated woman calmly, exhaling as she spoke, the cigarette smoke swirling into a cloud around her as she crossed her legs and let one shoe dangle casually from her toes.

"Just like that, you refuse to stop seeing him?" Lydia asked incredulously.

"I love him, too, so yes, I refuse," said the other woman.

"He doesn't love you," spat Lydia, pulling a gun out of her pocket book and pointing it steadily, and as the other woman threw her head back and laughed, the door beyond the desk opened to a man standing there, his hand on the knob, eyes darting from his secretary to his wife as he processed the scene before him. 

"Refuse THIS, bitch," Lydia said as she fired the gun and watched dispassionately as the man stepped back, mouth open as if to speak, then slowly removed his hand from the doorknob and crumpled into the doorway...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Glorious Fall Days Full Of Thankfuls

October really is a lovely month. There are warm days, sometimes even hot ones, where you can cling onto your summer clothes and flip flops for just a little longer, and there are snappy days with a little bite in the breeze that make you remember how much you love wearing boots and sweaters, and there are glorious days in between, with bright, blue skies and just a pinch of briskness in the air, and we've had them all this week. If that's not a thankful right there, then here are Ten Things of Thankful for the rest of the week:

1. I ran into Sam's Club (like Costco, for those of you who don't live in Walmart Country) the other day to pick up a few things, put my grocery cart away (where it was the only one in the little cart corral), went back to my car, pulled out of my parking space, and just as I put the car into drive, I spied with my little eye A GROCERY CART ROLLING RIGHT AT ME. I can't imagine where it came from, because I was the only one in the immediate area when I put my cart away, and I was preparing for the impact when it veered to my right. This was a thankful for me, but the cart's next intended target was the bottom end of a woman loading groceries into her trunk. I started honking my horn like a maniac to get her attention. She looked up at me and gave me a half smile, then noticed I was frantically pointing behind her. She turned around in time to catch the cart before it boffed her in the butt.  

2. As I drove past the cart corral, I was happy to note that my cart was still firmly parked where I left it and was NOT the runaway cart, because that would have really sucked. 

3. It's been a long, dry spell since I indulged in my little hobby of taking pictures of exposed butt cracks, but I was rewarded with a pretty decent shot in the checkout line at Walmart:

As if the butt crack weren't bad enough, we now know
he buys his underpants at American Eagle.

4. I really, really hate spiders, but in the fall, we always have a big 'un spin a web in our carport, between the posts along the driver's side. This year, there is a GINORMOUS spider setting up camp there. I keep forgetting it's there when I go to my car and when I pull in the carport and get out of the car, and he scares the bejeebers out of me every time, but as long as he stays in his web and doesn't try to attach himself to me in any way, then we can coexist. So far, so good.

Gargantuan spider. I couldn't hold anything up there for
reference, because I was too scared, but suffice it to say
that his body alone is bigger than a quarter.

5. Volleyball is over, over, OVER for the season! The girls lost in their first game of District play, and this hellish season is DONE.

Isn't this awesome? One of Emma's friends found it in the
archives of the paper for fall sports. It didn't make the paper,
but it should have.

6. But the Kansas City Royals? Yeah, they made it to the World Series. 

7. When we bought our house 18 years ago, the refrigerator came with the house. We had a practically new side-by-side that we brought with us from California and were going to put in the kitchen instead, until we found out it didn't fit in the refrigerator hole. It went down to our basement to live instead and has been useful to store extra flour and baking mixes and rice and other foods that can get bugs in them. The freezer side has always had some overflow stuff and odds and ends, but we also have a chest deep freeze big enough to hold at least one body (not that we've tried, but still). Wednesday, I went down to look in the freezer of the side-by-side to see if there were any frozen vegetables stashed in there and found there were only thawed ones. Let that wash over you a minute. The motor was still humming away, but the inside of the freezer was barely cool. I threw away half a trash bag full of food that had thawed (including some salmon fillets that should have been in the deep freeze in the first place), leaving only some gel ice packs on the shelves.  Then I opened the refrigerator side (it didn't have anything perishable in it), and, not having any clue what to do about the whole situation, turned off the switch, then turned it back on and sadly hauled the trash bag outside. Fast forward four days. I went into the basement for something and decided to go see if the side-by-side had fixed itself (ha ha ha). I opened the freezer door, and was met with a puff of cool air and gel ice packs that were almost frozen. WHAT. THE. HELL? I list this tentatively as a thankful, for obvious reasons.

8. I bought a new pair of jeans. I hate to shop for jeans, but finding a pair I not only liked but that were also on sale was a pleasant surprise.

9. We went to the lake house this weekend with the primary purpose of visiting nearby Silver Dollar City, an 1880s theme park. It's always seasonally decorated, but the fall decorations are my favorite. It was a gorgeous day, I got to sit and listen TWICE to a little bluegrass band that has been playing there for many years and that I adore, and THERE WAS NO FIGHTING, BITING OR OTHERWISE HATEFUL BEHAVIOR from any of my family.

10. Ruby made the journey with us to the lake house, but I guess when we left this morning to go to Silver Dollar City, she was not happy. My parents had gone out to get Sunday papers when we returned in the early afternoon, and we found this note from my mom on the refrigerator door:

My mom cracks me up!

Be thankful, be thankful, be thankful!

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Saturday, October 17, 2015

In Sickness And In Health: Ten Things Of Thankful

This week went by in a flash, and it's a good thing, because that little cold named Melinda that I had last week? Yeah, well, on Wednesday, it grew teeth and claws and horns and turned into a sinus infection and completely wiped me out. Maybe the week went by so quickly because I was in such a fog? Something to ponder. In sickness and in health, here's this week's Ten Things of Thankful:

1. We've had stunningly beautiful weather all week, with clear, blue skies and pleasant temperatures. 

2. Monday afternoon, I stopped at Walmart (the Supercenter, not the neighborhood market, and while this may not seem like a significant difference to you if you do not go to either, it really is a big one; a neighborhood market is just like any grocery store, but a Supercenter has the groceries plus all the other Walmart stuff and generally attracts a somewhat different crowd), because I needed some Rubbermaid tubs. As I was pushing my cart through the store, picking up a few other items while I was there, I had not one, but TWO men flirt with me. Okay, they were senior citizens, but still, they were both rather dapper, dressed nicely and clean and with either all their teeth or very nice dentures, and it was cute and made my day. Shut up.

3. While I was at Walmart, I found a display with different dried fruits and nuts on it, including roasted and salted edamame, so I picked up a package of it. It's pretty tasty, although there is a moment while you're crunching it up when your mouth gets kind of dry and you would swear you have a mouthful of salty kitty litter. But it's a nice, fairly healthy snack to have around, plus it doesn't take a whole lot to satisfy you....

4. Tuesday, my daughter's volleyball team played in West Plains (birthplace of Porter Wagoner), which is a three hour drive from here. My friend Melinda (yes, THAT Melinda) and I drove there together, and we probably had more fun than is allowed by law. 

5. I found a restaurant on Tripadvisor for us to try on our way, and we both declared it was one of the best meals we have ever eaten. If you're ever in Seymour, Missouri (don't laugh, you might be some day), then visit Rusty Spurs Cafe (turn at the Casey's General Store and go one block or so - you can't miss it; it's the only other building on the road). 

6. Oh, yeah, the volleyball games went well.

7. We went to the pumpkin patch this week at preschool. Glorious weather, adorable preschoolers, and no one cried or wet their pants (always my litmus test for a good event).

8. Wednesday afternoon, Melinda the Cold moved into my sinus cavities, and by Thursday, my head felt like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon. That was not good, especially as we had our last volleyball home game of the season that evening, but I had my husband stop at the Neighborhood Market on the way so I could get some kind of decongestant that might help. Lo and behold, I found one for only 88 cents for 20 caplets AND IT WORKED. By Friday morning, the crud started breaking up and making its exit (not pretty). 

Note to whoever decides where on a shelf a product should go: medication for sinus pain and pressure should NOT be placed on the very bottom shelf where the person who's suffering from sinus pain and pressure has to bend over to get it.

9. In the midst of dealing with Melinda the Cold, I got the loveliest of texts from Ivy of Uncharted. In spite of her plethora of health issues, she was checking on me to see how I was feeling AND SHE SENT ME A VIDEO OF MY CHICKEN. I heart you, Ivy!

10. Best part of the week: One of the boys in my Primary class gave me a spontaneous hug at recess and said "I love you more than anything in the whole world. Except for my dad." Fair enough, sweet boy!

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Small Town Saturdays Are For Thankfuls

I am inspired this week by Christina at The Plagued Parent as I write this week's Ten Things of Thankful. Some weeks, it's easy to come up with ten things for which to give thanks. Really great weeks make it difficult to limit the list to ten (and why limit yourself, then, when you have so much to be thankful for? Go with it!). 

Then there are the weeks where the bad overshadows the good so much, the thankfuls are hidden from you. That's when you pull out thankfuls like Diet Coke and indoor plumbing and electric pencil sharpeners. 

Then there is this week. Nothing horrible, but a little bit of a Sad Sack cloud hanging over my head and a stuffy nose and cough that may be allergies or may be a cold named Melinda.

That's when you play fast and loose with the rules of the TToT (some might call it cheating, but not me, or at least, not now). Here is my Ten Things of Thankful, told mostly in pictures.

Saturday, my husband and I drove an hour north to the little town where my parents live (they spend part of their time there, part at the lake house). If you want a taste of REALLY small town, midwestern life, this is your place. The reason for our trip was to attend a fundraiser that my husband needed to go to for work. 

In a big city, you wouldn't get much turn out for a little fundraiser dubbed "Octoberfest" and held in a vacant lot near the square. In a town of less than 8,000 nestled among soybean fields and pasture land, this was an Event. And it's what small town America is all about: fellowship and simple fun mixed with good food. I'm thankful ten times over (see how I did that?) that I live in the heart of America.

You've gotta have a petting zoo.

My parents, visiting a booth.

Alpaca butts. Just because.

Local singers on a stage made from a flat bed trailer.

Tables for eating chili from the chili contest or just resting.
Need a place to sit? Find an empty chair and sit down.
It doesn't matter if others are already seated at the table;
the more, the merrier!

4-H representing.

Men coming to the rescue of an older woman on
a scooter who got stuck in a rut in the ground.

Pig farmers. Correction: REAL pig farmers.

Kettle corn.

Sun tea on top of the Red Cross funnel cake trailer.

The courthouse peeping over the buildings.

The guy who made balloon animals was very popular.

A rare picture with my husband, who is camera shy.

See? Thankfuls don't have to be laid out in a list! 

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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

One Of THOSE Days

It was just one of those days....

Today was Primary class day at preschool (3 year olds turning 4 over the course of the year). One of my students started the day by refusing to sit down in her chair and her mood (and mine) only deteriorated from there. We've been going to school for a month now, and the class still can't walk in a line down the hall (and there are only 7 of them!). It's like herding cats to get them from point A to point B. Several of them are having trouble sharing toys, which is a nice way of saying they ruthlessly grab toys from each other, leading to a tug-of-war over the toy, bawling and/or tattling, all of which were exhibited during Center Time. Juice was spilled. Playground rules were broken (don't pick up the mulch, don't pick up the mulch, DON'T PICK UP THE MULLLLCH!!!). The Sad Chair had a bottom in it more often than it didn't. And one of those damn hairy web worms fell out of the sweet gum tree on the playground and landed on my arm. 

A day like that can only get better, right?

Soon after school dismissed at noon, I was outta there, heading to Springfield, an hour east of here, to spend the afternoon taking the College Boy to lunch and to do some clothes shopping, then going to one of the high schools in town to watch my daughter's volleyball game. I had just left town, was in no-man's land between our town and the next one 15 miles away, jamming to the BeeGees on the radio, when I heard (and felt) my car run over something. I sure didn't see anything coming, and I didn't see anything on the road behind me when I looked in the rear view mirror, and while I most assuredly ran over SOMETHING, there seemed to be no repercussions from it. Kept driving. Kept singing. 

Aaaaand BANG!

Stopped singing. Wrestled the car to the shoulder just past an exit sign. Just. Past. In between cars whizzing by at 70 mph, I opened the door and stepped out long enough to see that my front tire on the driver's side was very, very flat. 

Did I panic? Nahhh. I very calmly called AAA and explained what happened, but when the agent asked me where I was, I realized I had no idea. I mean, I knew what HIGHWAY I was on, but I didn't know where along that highway I was. There were no buildings, no signs (save for the one that said "exit" right next to me). Just trees. So I made my best guess of what the name of the exit was where I sat (turns out I was a little off), and I was informed a tow truck would be to me within 45 minutes.

That is a long time to sit on the side of the road, but the bright side was that it was, literally, bright and sunny outside and not in the middle of the night. I sat there, 4-way flashers on, car running because I figured the last thing I needed at this point was a dead battery, my seatbelt on in case anyone slammed into the back of me in spite of the 4-way flashers being on, felt sorry for myself, and contemplated whether or not I should cry (I opted not to). I amused myself while I waited for the tow truck by sending my husband texts, even though I knew he was in a meeting, and playing Candy Crush. After about half an hour of being fairly certain I was going to be killed by a speeding car careening into me, the tow truck driver called me. 

He had been driving around the area where I had told the AAA agent I thought I was and couldn't find me. 

"What are you near?" he asked me.

"An exit sign," I answered. "But I don't know which exit."

"What do you see on either side of the road?"

"Trees. Just trees."

On my left.

Straight ahead.

On my right.

Five minutes later, I see my knight in shining armor pulling up behind me (not my husband, the tow truck driver). After a brief conversation about how I was only about 5 miles off of my guess of where I was (on a stretch of highway that was only about 7 miles long), he asked me if I had a spare.

"I hope so," I said. "I never needed it before now." 

"Do you know where it is?" he asked.


"Never mind. I found it."

I will tell you that he removed the spare from its super secret hiding place, aired it up, jacked up the car, took off the flat, put on the spare, and put the flat tire in the back of the van in 7 minutes, and that included the times he had to run around to the front of the car (if he had enough time) or throw himself against the side of the car (when he didn't) to avoid being smashed to smithereens by a passing car.

During the changing of the tire, I finally got a text from my husband, who had just gotten out of his meeting and saw all of my text messages. Even though I told him I had everything under control, he headed towards where I was (which I still wasn't real clear on the exact location), arriving just as I pulled onto the highway. He followed me to Walmart, where they had exactly zero customers in the auto center. In only about 15 minutes, I had a shiny, new tire and my husband, who decided to forego the rest of his plans for the day (things like work) had me park my car in the Walmart lot (which I did, carefully parking it under a security light in the parking lot, as it would be late when we got back) and went to Springfield with me

We had to give the College Boy a rain check on shopping and lunch and drove to the high school where the volleyball game was scheduled. Naturally, my bladder was at the brink of bursting by this point, so the first thing I did was go to the bathroom. 

Where I got locked in a stall and was on the verge of crawling under the door to get out when the lock finally gave and I was freed.

And our volleyball team got beaten to a pulp.

And when we finally got back to my car in the Walmart parking lot at 9:30, I found that I had managed to park under the only security light in the entire parking lot that was broken.

Is it a light if it isn't lit?

Yep, just one of those days....

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fall Weather And Other Thankfuls

I am pretty sure this is the first time I have opened my computer in exactly one week. I really need to shake off this writer's funk and get my shizz together. Maybe it will help to be thankful? Surely, it will!

1. Fall is finally here! Now, I hate, hate, HAAAAATE cold weather (unless I get a snow day out of it), but I love the clean, crisp air of fall! Our leaves aren't changing yet, save for a single leaf here and a single leaf there, but FALL, people!

2. Volleyball still sucks. I'm not going to lie. But the JV team, on which my daughter is now playing (and please, don't get me started on the unfairness of this) won both their games this week. That team she USED to be on, the one she worked so hard to make and which she, so she's been told, single handedly has caused to lose nearly every single game they have played even though she has only lost them a handful of points, lost both of their games. By a lot. Bam!

3. I'm thankful for a daughter who may fall apart about said treatment at home, but at practice and at games, she keeps her chin up and a smile on her face. I should do the same, but I'm not as good at hiding how I feel as she is.

4. I'm really thankful for my good friend and fellow bleacher buddy Melinda. She was one of my very first friends when I moved here 17 years ago, and I'm happy to say she's one of the best!

5. Funny preschoolers. Instead of straightening my hair, I wore my hair in its natural state (wildly curly) this week for the first time since school started, and one of my 3 year old girls looked up at me, smiled sweetly, and asked, "Did you take a shower?" "Because of my hair?" I asked her. "Uh huh!" she nodded happily, and I laughed and laughed. 

6. Unless we are cooking or doing something else special, our preschoolers take turns providing snack for the class. Popular choices are goldfish crackers, Cheez-its, fruit snacks, cheese, cookies, etc. On Tuesday, the snack helper for my primary class brought watermelon (cut into bite sized pieces and in a clear, plastic box from the produce dept. at the grocery store). We've never had that for a snack before, and while messy, most of the kids loved it (I have eight 3 years olds in that class). When snack was over, I took the nearly empty box to the water fountain right outside the door to drain the juice out of it before putting it in the trash, because we all know trash bags are great and all, but they aren't leak-proof. I had the lid loosely over the box and was straining out the little bits and pieces of watermelon that were still in there as I poured AND WAS NEARLY DONE when something horrible happened and the box slipped. I do NOT know exactly how this all happened, as it went down quick and ugly, but the remaining watermelon and juice flew out of the box and against the wall above the water fountain, as well as IN the water fountain, down the sides of it, onto the wooden steps there to help preschoolers reach said water fountain AND onto the floor. What was probably only about a quarter of a cup of watermelon bits and juice appeared to be more like an entire watermelon. With a deep sigh (and, surprisingly, no bad words from me), I got paper towels and was in the midst of the clean up process when Vanessa, the church office administrator, came up the stairs. "Did you take a picture of it for your blog?!" she asked. Dammit! No, I did not! But know what makes this a thankful? That Vanessa's first thought was that it was great material for my blog. She's a fan and I appreciate it more than she knows.

7. Can that one be two? It was really long....

8. I'm thankful for the positive benefits of living in a small town. I did something earlier this summer to goober up my achilles tendon (I have a vague recollection of it popping as I stretched up on tiptoe to reach a high shelf). My heel has been pretty tender all summer, and I have been doing heel stretches in an attempt to make it feel better. Then two weeks ago, when I took Lizzi on her Tour de Missouri (blog post to come, I swear!), I put on real shoes instead of flip flops for the first time since, oh, May, walked for miles and climbed on rocks that nearly were the death of me (teaser), and the back of my heel became swollen and painful. REALLY swollen and REALLY painful. And kept getting worse. I was able to wear a pair of TOMS shoes, since the part that touches the heel is soft and I could slide it under the swollen part, but all other shoes are out for me. And it's fall. After Thursday's volleyball home game, I showed it to the athletic trainer and asked him what he thought about it. He thought I could have torn part of the tendon. The dad of one of the team members just happens to be an orthopedic surgeon, and while he wasn't there that night, his wife was, so, at the trainer's suggestion, I asked her to take a picture of it and ask her husband what he thought. And she did, texted it to him, and got me a tentative diagnosis of retrocalaneal bursitis. He advised ice, ibuprofen, heel stretches and clogs and let him know if that didn't make it better (which research on The Google tells me would mean four to six weeks in a walking boot to immobilize it until it heals). Try to accomplish a diagnosis and treatment plan that quickly and inexpensively (i.e., free) in a big city, why don'tcha?

9. The second thankful here is that the doctor VERY CLEARLY has instructed me to go shoe shopping.

10. I have loads and loads and LOADS of laundry to do today, which isn't my favorite way to spend a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon, but by the end of the day, I will have put my electric mattress pad on the bed and made it up with fresh sheets and a couple of blankets and I will be ready for cool weather!

I don't even have pictures to use this week for my post.
Enjoy this instead....

How the heck are y'all, anyway? I've missed you, even if I haven't been making the rounds of your blogs lately. Do link up with us at Ten Things of Thankful. It really does make you feel better.

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