Monday, August 15, 2016

How to Break Your Electric Pressure Cooker

Listen close, ladies and gents: for what I'm about to impart upon you and yours is wisdom beyond your wildest dreams.

"How?" you are asking yourself, or perhaps a co-worker.  Your child.  Your life partner.  "How, pray tell, does one break an electric pressure cooker?"

The wait for the answer to that time old question is over.


One must start with a beef roast.

Not just any beef roast!  No, no.  USDA Choice from Costco.  3.37 pounds of pure, top round beef roast.

Oil your electric pressure cooker, for the roast must not stick if events were to unfold as the instruction booklet would imply.  But in this case, it does not matter.  Because the pressure cooker will break before it would.

Set the pressure cooker to the "Brown" setting and brown it.  Sear it.  Make it SMOKE.  

Attempt several times to flip it, and be sure to use plenty of soft spoken fiercely uttered swear words as the oil and fat from the roast spatters everywhere, including your arms.  

Achieve flippage!  And brown it more!  Sear it more!  Make it smoke MORE!

Remove the roast with as much grace as you can muster.  In my case it was less Mrs. Cleaver and more Mr. Ed.

Add onions.  Saute until softened.  Not a lot of flair needed here. 

Add lots of chicken stock and garlic powder and juice from yellow pepper jar and just sit there and let the heat steam your face as you inhale the intoxicating aroma of a feast never to come.

Add back the roast and finally notice that the entire unit is off.





Repeat for as long as you need to accept that the whole unit is shorted out and that you have a heavenly smelling broth and a well seared outside but raw inside 3.37 pound USDA Choice beef roast that will not be ready until 9 pm at the earliest.

There you have it.  Step by step instructions so that you, too, can be the proud owner of a 13.5 pound electric pressure cooker door stop.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

On Being An Introvert

Heh heh... I know some of you are laughing.  "LORI?  An INTROVERT?  Not even."  

For the bulk of my life, I would have completely agreed with you.  I've surrounded myself with family and friends for as long as I can remember.  When I lived alone my freshman year, I was so desperate for human contact that I joined a *gasp!* SORORITY.  And those women are STILL some of the best people I know.  

When I lived above the tattoo parlor my senior year, I didn't spend a whole lot of time there.  I was out and about, mingling.

By being around other people, it meant that I didn't have to be by myself.  I was scared of being alone with my thoughts, because my thoughts weren't all that comforting.  Alone, I'd distract myself with books.  Lots and lots of books, being more comforted by the thoughts of writers rather than my own.  With other people, I was distracted by the thoughts of other people rather than my own.  

What was I so afraid of?  It's rather hard to explain if you don't innately know what I'm talking about, but I will attempt to explain.

You know how you can be sleeping in your bed, alone, and you hear a noise?  A rustle, a bump, a creak?  And then your mind goes down that hole of "OH MY GOSH WHAT WAS THAT?  Was that a ghost?  A robber?  Oh my gosh, I'm not ready to die...  Where is my baseball bat?" and then you realize it was a branch/the house settling/the damn cat.  I'm sure we've all had those moments in our lives.

Thing is: I'm like that all the time.  I'm easily distracted by my own mind, weaving these horrible scenarios.  

In the office?  No problem.  I just dream up workplace violence and plan about what I'd do if a terrorist somehow worked his/her way into our secured building.  Could I hid under the desk?  Could I lock myself in that weird room in the bathroom with the creepy, old Lazy Boy?  Would I be a hero?  Would I be a coward?

Walking on the street?  Gotcha covered.  I think that person is following me.  Bob and weave, Lori.  Bob and weave.  See if that person is really following you.  If the person is, make sure you have your keys in the shiv position so you can cut the attacker.

Eating in a restaurant?  Oh, EASY.  Someone is going to rob the restaurant.  I need an escape route with G.  If bullets start flying, what I need to do is cover G.  Not enough to smother but enough to ensure my bulk will protect her.


And so on. 

When you portray yourself as an extrovert out of fear, that doesn't mean you are an extrovert.  It might mean you have severe anxiety issues and an overactive imagination, but not necessarily an extrovert.

I recently read/heard somewhere that to be an extrovert, you are energized by being around people.  When you are an introvert, you are energized by being alone.

This rings true for me. 

I love being around people.  I like to host dinners, go out for girls' nights, being with family, playing games with friends.  (I tend to enjoy doing things in relatively small groups and in relatively quiet places because I'm losing my hearing and cannot, for the life of me, understand any conversations in crowds/loud restaurants/anything with moderate ambient noise.)

But after the socialization comes the need to LEAVE ME ALONE.  

I spend 5 day weekends with family on both sides.  We spend the hours mingling, chatting, whatnot.  By the end, I really just need to be in a place where no one is talking to me or touching me.  For the longest time, I thought this just made me a huge bitch.  But now I realize that all my energy was (happily) depleted and I need to reload.  G is getting to the age where she understands that sometimes, mommy needs a half hour to herself, especially when daddy is around.  When daddy was off on his business trip, I got all the alone time I needed without sacrificing time with G.  When he's home, as soon as I'm done snuggling with the kiddo, I come downstairs and have about an hour of quality time with him before I go to bed.  When he's away, that hour is all mine to recharge.  

For example, Sunday I was at the vendor fair where I was talking to the vendors, playing with G, engaging the people who were making donations and all that  for 5 hours straight.  By the time we got home, I left home almost immediately to go shopping by myself for an hour or so, despite being utterly exhausted.  Why?  Because I needed the quiet.  

"But, Lori?  You were saying that you are scared to be alone with your thoughts."  Ah, excellent point, dear reader.  However, through the glorious invention of modern medicine teamed with the hippy dippy ways of the far East, I have quieted the voices in my head.  I'm on antidepressants, which keeps me from spiraling down those useless holes of "what ifs."  And I've learned how to meditate on the fly.  Even when G sees me get all worked up, she goes, "Mama, remember to breathe!  Deep breaths, Mama!  Deep breaths!"  And hearing her little voice remind me to pause, just like I do when she gets all worked up, and brings me back to the present.  When alone, I practice deep breathing.  I engage in mindless Internet reading.  I play a game or two on the phone.  I listen to the fan whirl, the fireplace crackle, my dog heavily sigh with sleep.  

My thoughts still veer into the absurd, but I really enjoy being me now.  I genuinely *like* myself, and I am a great friend to myself.  The voice that I speak to myself is kinder, wiser, more patient than when I was a teenager or a 20-something.  

Moreover, I understand that nowadays, my need to be alone is not a flaw, does not make me a bad daughter, friend, mother, or wife.  It's just who I am.  My family recognizes this now and lets me do what I need to do.  My husband hears the change in my voice or that look in my eye and sweeps in to have quality daddy-daughter time with G.

And I disappear for an hour or so, to take a walk or have a hot shower or sit on my porch and just be.

Now as for my planning for the imminent zombie invasion and the calculations on how fast I can get G to safety?  Hey... you never know.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Orchid

Let's just be to the point: sometimes I feel like writing, sometimes I don't.  Lately, after being swept away by some truly fantastic novels, I've started to write my own. 

Out of nowhere, I was completely inspired to write my own original story.  I've gotten further with it than any other story before, which means that I might actually have something in the coming years that I'm willing to let out into the world.  

I did this project a few years back, a sort of serial writing experiment involving movie star Phil Brickland, a sassy former spy and geriatric sidekick, and her faithful companion...  Bruinhilde?  An Anatolian shepherd.  It was fun to write about them, but I found out quickly that, lacking inspiration and passion, a story dies out quickly.  For me, writing isn't about forcing something.  It's about noticing a seed that's beginning to sprout and gently nurturing it.  

I've approached a lot of my writing like a typical, hard to kill houseplant.  Watering it when it starts to look droopy, throw it in front of a window, and know that, 7 plants of out 10 (at least in my house) will live.  And I've been doing that wrong, as it pertains to writing.

Writing is more like caring for an orchid.  One cannot take the same approach.  Can't hose it down with water once a month (ish) and throw it in front of a window and hope for the best.  My husband got me a glorious orchid for our 9 year anniversary.  It's quite possibly the most beautiful specimen I've ever seen.  It has close to 20 blooms on it!  But when he brought it in, I was awed and disappointed.  Didn't he remember the 3 other orchids I've systematically assassinated in the last 9 years of our marriage?

Of course, he said.  That's because you've been doing it wrong.  The fact that he was right did not keep my feathers getting all puffed up with indignation.  *I* was the plant expert around here.  The expert that was expertly killing off orchids left and right.  So what was I supposed to do?  Something my mother even mentioned to me many times.

1 ice cube.  Put it on top of the soil.  1x a week.

That's it.

NO.  Surely not that?  Yes.  Surely.  Just that.  1 ice cube once a week.  And only 2 blooms have dropped.  It's healthy and happy in our dining room.  Every day I resist the urge to give it more water, more nourishment, because THAT'S WHAT LIFE NEEDS.

Not for the orchid.  A little here, a little there, and almost 2 months later that plant is still looking as beautiful as the day he gave it to me.

I haven't written substantially for my novel for over a week now.  Instead, I'm letting ideas fester in my head.  Would the protagonist do this or that?  Where will he go?  Who really is the antagonist of this story?  How does the wind feel, the sunrise look, the autumn leaves underfoot smell like?  Who is his family?  Why is he pursuing this adventure?  

How does it all end?

So instead of telling myself "THOU SHALT WRITE 30 PAGES TONIGHT" and then instead avoiding the work by pinning the hell out of potential front doors to our home, I wait.  I think, and I think, and then I think some more.  I pull out my trusty notebook, scrounge up a pen, and water the idea just enough to nourish.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Forgetting Who We Were

Back in the day, some family members (A) stopped smoking but other family members (B) did not.  Very quickly after the A's found success, they started to chastise the B's for continuing the habit.  Pestering.  Shaming.  As if all it took was to simply put down the pack of smokes and quit.

I'm glad it was easy for the A's.  But shame on them for expecting everyone else's journey to be exactly the same: Easy.

I'm finding this a lot on the pages and blogs that I follow regarding weight loss.  All these wonderful women who have accomplished my ultimate health goal: lose a tremendous amount of weight and keep it off.  Some of these women have lost over 100 pounds and look and feel fantastic and constantly post about how wonderful they feel and come on, America!  Let's do it!

It always starts out like that and I'm lured in.

Then, many of those women start to dole out the tough love posts, the "get off your ass and move, and stop stuffing your face" posts.  The posts that say that that is all you need to do.  Just do it.  Stop complaining.  Get up and run 5 miles, I do it, so why can't you?

And that's when I delete them from my favorites or stop following them on Facebook.  Why?  Because it is clear to me that they've forgotten what it's like to be fat.  They only show how much they can lift right now and how many miles they put in per day and show me selfies of their now taut tummies and how they get up at 4:30 a.m. to drink raw egg smoothies and have so much energy!  and then turn around and flaunt on how easy it is.  Or how hard it is, but because they want it, they can do it, and if you can't find it in yourself, you deserve to look the way you do.

Some of that is great.  I'm glad people have found whatever it is to keep themselves on track and to truly embrace a new lifestyle.  But I have no room in me for stories like that.  I don't want to hear stories from people who never learned to love themselves as a fat person.  Sometimes the love comes after you get skinny, and you can look back on your fat self and say to yourself, "You know what?  I was a great person.  She was awesome, and I'm awesome now.  I just had to work through some stuff."  Sometimes, like me who is still quite tubby, you learn to love yourself as a fat person.  That what you look like on the outside cannot snuff the glow that comes from within when you do love yourself.  I'm pretty awesome.  Being fat does not erase that fact.  But for some of these women?  It's like dealing with downtrodden, hopeless fat people is a curse, that if they would only want it like they did, they'd have success.  It's like they are talking to their former, fat, lazy, awful selves.

Being fat like me is not just a simple case of being lazy.  It's just not.  I wrote a few days ago that I believe that being morbidly obese is a mental disease that wreaks destruction on the body.  To be clear, it IS my fault, ALL my fault that I'm this fat.  No one gives me ice cream by the gallon, no one buys me McDonald's by the dozen, no one chains me to my chair so that I can't get in exercise.  Like an alcoholic or a drug user, my binging is a symptom of a greater problem within my mind.  People who use things to cope with life/pain, it's true that they do choose to use to numb, but the problem is up here, in the head.  I'll never be truly healthy if I don't approach this thing holistically.  So telling me to put down the damn sandwich doesn't help at all if I don't understand why I'm picking it up in the first place.

You don't say to someone who is depressed to just lighten up.  You don't say to an alcoholic or a drug user to just stop.  You don't say to an anorexic to just eat a sandwich.  These conditions are recognized as something more than a physical addiction to shake.  Remission/cures do not simply happen by just stopping what you are doing.  The mental addiction is the true war to be won.

And the people who used to be morbidly obese who either miraculously didn't have to deal with  the mental aspect or conveniently forgot about all that other work?  I don't have time for you.  

I know it is hard work.  I've been trying for 20 years: if it were easy, I would have been skinny 19 years ago.  Don't tell me about the obvious parts of weight loss: eat less, move more.  Got that.  Read that, old fucking news.

Tell me about that one night three months in that you sat alone in your apartment and ate a half gallon of ice cream and what helped you brush yourself off the next day to keep on trucking.  Tell me about the vacation you went on and you ate all the things and came back and discovered you gained 10 pounds and how you found the courage to not give up.  Tell me about the time you didn't want to go for that walk at 300 pounds but you did anyway and it was only to the end of your street.  Then tell me about how at 250 you found yourself walking a mile at a time and it took you 8 months to get that far.  Share with me your pain and how you got through it.  

Truth is, I don't want to know anything more about losing body weight.  I genuinely know all about it.  We all do.  What I want to learn is how you shed your soul baggage to make everything in your life possible.  Provide empathy.  Give me the reality of your journey.  Tell me that it's possible.  Tell me that you were able to embrace a new lifestyle.  Tell me you understand where I am and how hard it must look like from where I stand.  But that I'll find my way someday.  That we all have it within us to find that spark to achieve what seems not achievable.  

In short: be a real, compassionate human being.  And for those bloggers and weight loss Facebookers who have shared their story and have found a fan in me: thank you.  Thank you so much for your inspiration, your compassion, and your honesty about your life.  

You haven't forgotten who you were.  

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hardest Thing About Home Improvement

Is the waiting.

D and I are still waiting for our destiny to fulfill when we win a huge jackpot in the lottery.  So until then, we need to be selective as to how to properly pretty up our home.

Yeah, I bet we are all in that same boat, right?  Right.

Back in the day, when I was a single schmoe, I couldn't wait to decorate my first apartment when I was a post grad young professional.  I lived in the most adorable flat in a house you could imagine.  It was freshly remodeled and white white white.  Clean.  Fresh.  A new canvas.

So I started look snoop around stores, itching to buy myself some decorations to deck my halls.

What I got?  Sticker shock.  I was paralyzed.  They wanted how much for window treatments?  Rugs cost HOW much?  What is that pillow filled with, GOLD?

The one thing I remember I got for that adorable apartment was a beautiful shower curtain.  It was fabric and shimmery and had all these softly colored purple and teal butterflies all over it.  That was it.

And so began my decade of completely not decorating my home.

Every last thing was a hand-me-down or a gift.  Which is not to say my stuff sucked.  I remember that place being cozy.  I had my mom's couch and pillows, an old comforter from home that was well loved.  It was cozy.  But plain.

Then I moved into a room at my great grandfather's house.  The place was already decked out due to my Aunt with whom I lived.  She had an eclectic and clean style.  Think leopard print and cats.  She knew her style and had 20 years on me to afford such luxuries.  Still, not my style.

Then I moved into a large apartment in Oak Creek where I inherited a glass dining room table from my grandmother, which I had every intention of spray painting and recovering the cloth cushions.  Still, I did nothing.

Over the years, I would find something at a rummage or an art show that inspired me and I would quietly thumb through my wallet, carefully deciding on whether or not buying that item was worth it.   One was  a Dave Badger pencil print called Bubble Bath purchased at a GenCon.  Proved to be a worthy item, because after 10 years it still hangs in my bathroom.

Even after D and I got married, our first apartment largely remained the same with the exception of his father and brother's beautiful artwork.

Then: the first house, where budget seems to fly out the window.  We bought a rug (which we fought over.)  We bought drapes (which we fought over.)  We bought a couch, over sized chair, and ottoman (largely argument free.)
That damn rug and drapes.  Both of which we still have.  Still have the furniture too.

Trouble is, when you live your life with someone, they get an opinion too.  And they have an opinion about budgets.  So I was doubly paralyzed.  First, will he like it?  Second, will he flinch at the cost?

So, yeah... did nothing.

Our first apartment out here was void of any possibility because it was stacked to the gills with boxes.

Then this home.

This glorious home we have now.  A new blank canvas.

It's taken me 6 years and a green light blessing from D to start work on decorating this thing.  When I falter on a decorating challenge D issues, he'll just go out and buy what he wants.  And while he does have a great eye, I would have picked something different for our living room drapes.

I've painted.  We've bought art.  Window dressings.  Throw pillows.  Selective trinkets.  I've been cautious, true, but I've also not sacrificed what I envisioned.  The curtains for my dining room?  Perfect match to the color of the room.  Looked for years for those things.

I can't believe it... but now we are at a place where, while we are hardly flush with money, we can afford to invest in the luxury of decorating a home.  We have big plans for renos,  but we still move forward with the cautious frugality of our 20's.  It took us 5 years to put a porch on the back of our house.

We have slowly invested in truly making this place a home.  Softening the bare walls and windows, getting new sheets for everyone, a warm comforter for us, a new bed for G.

What's funny is that I just went through my smugmug and I haven't really taken pictures of what we've done.  It's all in the background in holiday pictures and such.

What does that mean, then?

I suppose that the decor of a house isn't supposed to be the end all, be all.  It's meant to help create an ambiance, a feeling of home.  It doesn't define your home, but it can set the stage.  You don't need $1000 chandeliers or silk curtains.  It's the picture of G smiling on the wall.  Jerry and Rob's art in a few rooms.  The warm comforter on the bed.  The few knick knacks sprinkled throughout, that when my eye lands on the item, it sparks a happy memory.

Maybe that's what I've been missing all these years.  Maybe I don't need the matching furniture or the perfect set of window dressings.

I don't need a massive budget to make this house feel right.  I just need a man named Dave and a little girl named Grace.

Let's be honest...This face also helps.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Thinking About Bathrooms

G has been in school all day, and I have been at home.

It certainly feels a bit strange to have the whole house to myself.  I feel like I should either be with G or be at work.  But for right now, that isn't the case.

You see, we've been trying to plan ahead for the future, but I've been caught up with the But What Ifs for over a year now, paralyzing any significant decision making.  A month or two ago, I was finally ready to live life as is and deal with changes as they come.

What did I want to do now?

Well, I've been thinking about going full time at work for awhile now, but G was just too happy with her situation.  She started a very part time preschool and she loved going to her in-home daycare.  Why pull her from that norm just so I could work more?  I just wasn't ready.

Then, D and I started to realize that G actually outgrew her in-home day care.  She wasn't napping and come winter, she wasn't going to be playing outside at all.  So we started to shop around and discovered that a full time preschool/day care combo was the way to go.  She'd get some schooling in the morning, quiet time in the afternoon, and plenty of fresh air and good wholesome food for the same rates as we were paying before.

So I said hey, Work!  I'd like more hours!

And Work said, hey!  We'll get back to you!

And D said, hey!  Let's get G enrolled now before the spot closes!

And I said, hey!  Okay!

Work eventually agreed to up my hours to 32 a week, but not until November.  Which means for the duration of October, G is in full time care and I'm off Thursdays and Fridays with nary a permit to write.

What's a girl to do?

Paint a bathroom.

Here is our guest bathroom:

Compare it to Grimace or Barney, depending on your generation, and either way, you get a Vibrant Purple.

It took me an hour to put the first coat on, but here's an up close of that first coat:

Behr Premium Plus with Primer does not cover in one coat, especially if you are trying to cover the Great Grape Ape with a soft, butter cream color.

I still need to cut in around the doors, ceiling, shower, light fixtures, etc, but overall not bad for an hour.

I hope to be done by date night time tomorrow.

In the mean time, off to go get that step ladder from the basement so I can finish for the day.


Monday, July 7, 2014

Late Night Reflections

I finished my library book in record time at about 10:45.  I reached up, turned off my bedside lamp, and snuggled into my cozy, comfortable bed and fluffy pillows and the fan on to create a gentle breeze on my skin.  On good nights, I drift off to sleep within the half hour, thoughts and imagination softly soothing me to sleep.  On nights like tonight, my thoughts and imagination are less a lullaby and more of a mosh pit at a punk  rock concert.

Starting out, peaceful memories creep into my mind, like that one time when Grace was itty bitty and I ran an errand to Staples to buy some supplies and shred paper, and I had her strapped to my front and I had my backpack on and I was so rocking the mom thing.  The cashier even commented how awesome I was, and I was all like, "Hell yeah, I'm awesome."  Then my Debbie Downer mind is quick to remind me of that one time I was trying to get to a restaurant in Colorado Springs and I ran across a street to make sure I made the signal, all with G strapped to my front and my backpack bringing up the rear, but I didn't close the backpack securely and all my diaper bag paraphernalia dumped out in the middle of the crosswalk.

I don't know about you, but my memories often produce a visceral, physical reaction.  There, in my peaceful sleeping place, my stomach clenched at the memory.  Then my mind started pinging all over the place:  Man, that was stupid.  I was so stressed.  Why did I run?  Who cares if you are a few minutes late with an infant in tow?  Why do I think of these things when I'm going to bed?   I bet it was that beer I had a few hours ago.  This happened last night, and I had a beer last night too.  I bet it's the alcohol.  Maybe I should go downstairs and Google "Can alcohol affect sleep?*"  I really wish I didn't run out of melatonin.  Gosh, this position is uncomfortable.  My hair is still wet from my shower.  I wonder when it'll dry?  I bet Dave is silently cursing me for moving so much.  And having my light on so late.  Pffft, he watches TV when I'm trying to sleep, so we're even I guess.

And on and on.  So I come downstairs, putter around on the computer, upload some pics of G's birthday party, and suck down some lukewarm milk.  I contemplate doing a dewrinkle cycle on some clothes.  Maybe I should.

You know what's weird?  A year ago, you couldn't keep me up past 8:30.  And it isn't as if I have the energy to do anything truly significant throughout the day.  By 2 p.m., I'm dying for a nap.  But today, I didn't take a nap.  No, I got shit done!  Ran errands!  Did stuff!  Got a book from the library and couldn't put it down.

Oh yes, that's right.  This is my point, my motivation for writing this post in the first place.  It isn't so much about the insomnia, but rather to unload some mommy guilt here.

Confession #1: I spent the afternoon reading.  My daughter played, and I read.  She watched TV, and I read.  She and daddy played, and I read.  She took a bath, and I read.  I even sometimes got annoyed with her asking me for things, because I wanted to read.

Confession #2: I get pissed at her for the stupidest reasons.  She had a Popsicle after dinner, one of those blue freezie thingies.  She was down to pure vibrant blue liquid.  I was reading (duh) and she was watching Peppa Pig from my lap.  And she dumped it all over my lap and couch.  And I got ticked off.  I reflect on that moment where I should have reacted differently, but for some dumb ass reason I was frustrated that  my kid didn't know not to dump blue freezie stuff on me.

She's freakin' 3.  And it isn't like she did it on purpose.  So instead of using this as a learning opportunity, I got all pissy and acted like a spoiled rotten 10 year old.  (Also?  Put the frickin' book down, Lor.  It's a book.  You can pick it up anytime to read.  G is only 3 once.  Insurgent will be in your possession for 3 weeks.  Get a grip.)

I cleaned things up like a sourpuss, but returned to my place on the couch and had her snuggle with me again.  Took her up to her bath.  Read as she bathed.

Then it was bed time.  Time for mea culpa.  So I dried her off and helped her dress for bed.

"Snuggle?"  She asked.
"Of course," I replied.  And she brought her blanket and tiger and bunny and towel onto the over-sized chair I was seated in and she set up for snuggle time.  First, blanket down.  Second, towel down.  Third, check for bunny.  Check!  Fourth, check for tiger.  Check!  Last, check for binky.  Check!

And she settled in.  I hugged her tight and played a little bit with her damp hair.

I told her that I'm sorry.  That I don't understand why I get so upset about silly things.  That I'll try harder in the future to just chill out.  That I loved her.  That she's my most favorite person in the world.

She wasn't listening.  She was watching the clock to see how many snuggle minutes we have left.  She gets all excited when the numbers change, calling out the new number when it turns over.

Hopefully by the time she's old enough to truly retain the memory of her mother behaving like a royal bitch, I won't be behaving in that fashion too often.  For now, she likely remains oblivious to what happened.  The mea culpa was more for me, I suppose.  I have to forgive myself and just always always ALWAYS try to be better tomorrow.

My most favorite person in the world deserves that, doesn't she?  Yes, I believe she does.

*Yep.  Apparently, having a beer near bedtime can prevent sleep.  Damn.