Friday, July 12, 2013

this blog has been too long neglected

 am sitting next to a fire. No one is yet awake. The lake is gently rippling before me as I look contrast to the gale force winds and white caps of yesterday. :) peaceful moments like these are a gift and unexpected blessing. They are provided from above, and should remind me to trust. I've been trying to make a practice of finding something to be thankful for each day. If I am honest, I find many graces to be found even in the worst moments. It's only my childish nature that wants to paint all black and despair. Already one young boy has escaped from the cabin and will be clamoring for some breakfast made on our humble campstove. This work, this service has above all saved me from swirling thoughts and quivering knees.In difficult times, what a treasure the mundane is.  "The idea that humans can capture a mere mood--"happiness"--and somehow preserve it seems absurd. As an aim for a life, it is not only doomed but infantile."

Sunday, May 6, 2012


The funny things kids say: Me: So you got some snow while I was gone!" George: "Yes, it was really coming down like it was the real deal.....but the next day it melted. "
I guess that sums up winter so far. We get brief interludes where winter seems like "the real deal" but then it reverts right back to early-springish. :)

On the bedside table:

Kingdom: Hawaii's Last Queen, Sugar Barons and America's First Imperial Adventure
Julia Siler

This one I lost interest in before finishing. Hawaii is an interesting place with an interesting history, but I just couldn't keep interested. :)

Clover Adams: A Guilded and Heartbreaking Life
Natalie Dykstra

Why I am so intrigued by Clover Adams is a mystery to me. Perhaps it was that she married into one of the great American families of the time. And I admire her husband ( Henry Adams, great grandson/grandson of "the" presidents). She was also a contemporary and friend of many of the greats of the Guilded Age. Hers is a tragic tale and really makes no sense. And since everyone who knew her, including her husband, have kept "mum" on speculating or giving any clues as to the "why's" of her early demise by her own hand, I suppose it is a mystery that keeps me intrigued. I read an earlier biography of her, and this is a new work. That fact makes me feel better ie: I'm not the only one who finds obscure people fascinating.

Guess What I Did?

From the above pictures it may be obvious I ( along with my daughters) had a little visit to Disney World. :) Yes, the two girls and I were blessed ( and it was a blessing) with a trip down to Florida to visit with my parents and grandmere. My birthday spent in the Magic Kingdom. This was Gabriella's dream and Miss Naomi was enchanted as well. Poor little Gabs came down with a raging, double ear infection the day before we left, but she managed to blaze on through with the help of a few drugs. Maybe "blaze" isn't the right word, but she did enjoy in a hazy sort of way.

As winter wrapped up and spring came upon us:

We got to take a trip down to Memphis, where Tim hangs his hat every two weeks. The weather was delightful, and Memphis is a lovely place. We enjoyed our little jaunt there.
We also saw our seventh confirmand! George Augustine Telemachus Vrazo was confirmed in the Catholic Church with Zak as his sponsor.

What's Next on the Agenda?
Now we are in the final rush to get school done by the first of June, and get Naomi graduated by the end of May! We look forward to a camping trip directly after all that and......a mid-July graduation party!

Monday, January 16, 2012

What's new for the New Year?

I was recently looking at some pictures Naomi took of fall scenes around here. I was musing nostalgically about how nice our recent fall was when it hit me that the pictures were from the year before. I'm sure this will give-away the fact that I am a bit ditzy, but I was a little confused and confounded for a bit. The same season, same scene, two different years, so alike in our little neck of the woods. But really, except for some natural disaster or human intervention, why would it look different?
This past year, like our country road, has been relatively free of change. Which is no small milestone in the life of our family. When you are married to a gypsy, and have a good number of children, change is common fare. Moves ( to a new house, new state...or country) another baby, job changes, school changes, spiritual changes...the list goes on and on from year to year. But this past year has been relatively stable. Which is a gift in many ways.
Even my New Year resolutions ( that I didn't make) would be the same. Lose 30 lbs, try to tone up this flabby body, be more present to my children and those I love, complain less. Maybe an added less scatterbrained. As someone who has had a pretty good memory throughout her life, I find I can't rely on my memory quite so thoroughly as I used to. :) Focus. It's a word I use a lot around here, but a good example starts at the top.
So this year, like the last, not much out of the ordinary is staring us in the face. A new boy in college, a girl trying to figure out where to go to college, a boy contemplating his future are some of the things will be different this year. Otherwise we are sticking with the status quo.:) It will be interesting to see what possible "natural disaster" or "human intervention" will change that as we progress, but for now, we rest at peace in sameness. :)

Quotes I am pondering:

"One thing I do find intolerably the idea that one should have to renounce one's personal life in the name of universal love. I believe that there are obligations that are ordained by God, that no one has the right to deny them, and that the obligations actually promote rather than hinder the spiritual life." Sophia Tolstoy 1887


A bit ironic that I had two "connections" with popular media this month that touched on similar themes in different contexts. Both were about light skinned peoples ( specifically Southern) interactions with dark skinned peoples.
One was a book: "The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingslover. Two things that surprise me about this book and the effect it has had on me are the title; it doesn't sound very favorable toward a beloved book ( it isn't) and that I found out later it was on the "Oprah Book List". Erg. But it was a very engrossing read. If you can peel off the layers of Miss Kingslover's apparent bones-to-pick with Christianity and Westerners ( Americans?) in general, her descriptions of southern folk and culture are both humorous and spot on. And while there is probably no one who dislikes the tired, old "religious man = bad man" character than me, the one in this book rings a bit more true than the usual overblown caricature. Misguided and blind to the fact that he needs healing as much as those he is coming to "save", he is someone I know I've met in the past, or maybe there is a little of him in us all.
The story is one of a southern family ( who interestingly enough, hail from Bethlehem, Georgia....a town we've actually lived in!) who go to the Congo in the 50's as missionaries and how Africa changed all their lives. The point is well taken that while wealthy ( even if we think we aren't) white, Christian, Westerners may have a lot to offer those in third world countries, a dose of humility is often what is missing. For however strange and outlandish we think their customs and practices may be, they certainly have cause to think ours are as well.

The other was "The Help", which I didn't read, but watched the dvd. So I can't comment on the quality of the book. It may be very good. It certainly is a story that is good to be reminded of and outraged over. I found the acting in this one pretty sub par ( except for the two black maids, who were excellent). I need to haul out the thesaurus to find a solution for my overuse of "caricature", but that is what I would call the women portrayed in this and large. Additionally, the fact that everything had to be wrapped up in a happy red bow by the end, no matter how implausible, was annoying. For instance, although we are introduced to example after example of injustice to the "help" by their employers throughout the film, near the end, one suddenly enlightened couple invites the maid to dinner at THEIR TABLE ( no less), and that wonderful act of kindness gives her ( said maid) the courage to leave her abusive husband! Come on.
Ok. I wasn't feeling well, and Naomi wanted to see it, so it seemed a good choice for a mother-daughter movie night. I can't say it was totally a wasted experience, but not a movie I'd watch again.


The Photographs and Diaries of Countess Sophia Tolstoy by Leah Bendavid-Val

(Let's say I am sort of "leafing" through this one more than reading it at this point:)

"A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President -Destiny of the Republic" by Candice Millard.

You know, the focus on Abraham Lincoln's assassination ( or JFK's) usually take front and center in history books, so much so that we forget there was another president who was assassinated. Of course, James Garfield was not in office very long, and so, not a pivotal character in our countries history. Nonetheless, this is a fascinating tale of his short presidency and the assassination that made it infamous. There are all sorts of sub stories going on in this book--related to the assassination and the presidency, that give it an added punch. I haven't yet finished it, but it's one of those books I look for every opportunity to read. Really hard to put down.

Watched: The Red Shoes

This film was made in 1948 and re-released on DVD recently. The acting and plot may be somewhat 40's-esque, but it was worth watching for the lovely ballet scenes and terrific costumes. The "fab" way some of the men dressed back then ( especially in Europe and among the art crowd) was delicious. :) I think the intense use of color took everyone by storm back then and it is no less appealing now.

Comings and Goings: I would say we had a very wonderful Christmas, which we are all grateful for. It was a lovely family time, and we had much fun together. Tim was off for a week, and we had some visits with friends and extended family, as well. Let's not forget the extra treat of warm, snow-free January weather. We got a new trampoline for Christmas and I hemmed and hawed over the suitability of putting it up during the winter. Those kids have had MANY opportunities to use it, so I'm glad I overrode conventional thinking for once! :)
December 20th (Gabriella Ruth, 5!) started our most intense birthday season ( 5-in-a-six-week-period + Christmas and New Years=help!) Last night we had a dinner party for 30 ( and that's only 3 families among our crazy friends :) for Dylan's 21st birthday! On my birthday ( 1-30) Gabi, Naomi and I will be in Florida at DisneyWorld, thanks to my dear parents. How about that!? It wasn't fun having Tim fly out of town every week, but those frequent flyer miles come in handy. :) Manny's 7th birthday is right after New Year's and we'll finish things off with Jed's ninth the beginning of Feb.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Farewell fall

No, the calendar doesn't yet say fall is over. (edited to add: now it does:) But here in the north we've had enough gentle snows and chilly temperatures to say "winter" is here. At least in spirit.

George burning a fraction of the several tons of leaves raked. ;)

Our Thanksgiving centerpiece!

I found these little trays at Sam's. They are so great for serving things like hummous and pita chips or chips and salsa, crackers and cheese, veggies and dip.

Tim will often complain that I don't explain myself clearly enough. If I needed to be reminded that he is right, this example did it. What I said: "Put the leaves in a bag and take them down to the marsh" What I should have said "Put the leaves in a lawn and leaf bag, take them down to the marsh and empty it, bring the bag back and refill it. " :)

What I am thinking:

"You're beautiful mom!" "Looking good, mom!" Words like this from my children warm my heart, of course. Even though I am decidedly less enthusiastic about my appearance. Sometimes I really wonder HOW they can make such comments. Free from guile, I know they aren't saying it just to win brownie points. And since trying to make someone feel good isn't generally high on their priority list either (I don't say they are unfeeling or uncaring, just that, as children, thoughtfulness isn't a well developed virtue. :)it probably isn't coming from there either.

I know that if a truly beautiful woman walked into a room, my little boys would never notice, or if they did, it wouldn't because of the way she looked. Gabriella may comment "How pretty!" but it would only be if she was wearing something showy. These thoughts have made me appreciate the fact that young children are attracted to beauty mostly because of an emotional attachment to the object of beauty. Or that an object ( or person :) becomes beautiful or attractive to them because of the fond feelings they have for it/them. I can see that many things will become attractive or repugnant to them based on this, many important things. Relationships, their beliefs, what they value. I'm very glad to be beautiful in their eyes because they love me, but I must also be careful that the things I believe are important for them to embrace become beautiful to them by cultivating positive emotions toward them.

Quotes I am pondering:

"On a huge hill, cragged and steep, Truth stands, and he that will

Reach her, about must, and about must go,

And what the hills suddenness resists, win so:

Yet strive so, that before age, deaths twilight,

Thy soul rest, for none can work in that night.

John Donne

Reading, Watching, Listening to:

Almost done reading "The Sisters" The Saga of the Mitford Family by Mary Lovell

The lives of different families always intrique me, and this one, although obscure these days, was quite remarkable. They were a family of minor aristrocrats in England, although during WW2 nearly all of these sisters became "cause celebres". Two were fascist ( one called "the most hated woman in England", the other a fan girl of Hitler.) One a popular writer. One a communist, the last, became the Duchess of Devonshire. The whole book is both a fascinating history lesson and a study of family relationships. Of note is that the girls early education was provided by the "PNEU" system, now more popularly called "The Charlotte Mason Method" by home educators.

Listened to: The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maughm. "The Painted Veil" is one of my favorite movies, so I decided to actually read/listen to the book. It was remarkably close to the movie, except for a few things. The story of a spoiled, selfish girl who realizes the depth of character of her husband through adversity is thoughtfully poignant.

Watched: A new series I found at the library is "Royal Upstairs Downstairs" An antiques expert and a chef tour the great houses of England as Queen Victoria did during her reign. While that aspect of it is neither here nor there for me, getting a inside look at those great estates and castles is mind boggling. And what is even more interesting is that the chef goes "below stairs" and cooks up some of the period dishes using cookware, tools and ingredients from that era as well. While the chef (Rosemary Shrager) is a bit embarassingly over-enthusiastic at times, and the visit at each location is a little on the brief side, overall it is a very enjoyable series.

From the kitchen: I tried my hand at making "cake pops" for Gabriella's birthday. I had little princess ( what else?) do-dads that you put on top of them ( ie: the actual "pop" looks like the princesses dress) In that regard, they were cute, but TOO sweet for me. Not for the kids, although I can't say they flew off the plate. :)

From the schoolroom: OFF.FOR.TWO.WEEKS. :)

Comings and goings: Tim will have some vacation time this week, but I'm afraid the bulk of it will be spent carting boys to basketball practices and tournaments. Hopefully, we can eek out a little of it to do something fun ( not that basketball tournaments are not fun. ;) I hope to tackle some household projects (sort books, organize office) and have quiet New Year's celebrations that are relaxing. Christmas-time is fun, but grueling. There, I said it. :)

Friday, November 18, 2011

I love God, because I love His creation

Outside My Window: I love fall! I found myself humming "It's the MOST wonderful time of the year!" ( Yes, I know it is a Christmas song) more than once after a walk or a jaunt outside. Out here in our rural area the day can sometimes "glow" with the sun coming through the brightly colored leaves. I'm not generally a person who enjoys hot weather, so I welcome the cooler temperatures. Cider, and apples and the scent of burning leaves, all is heaven to me. Now, we have sort of left the "glory" days of fall and all the leaves have blown off the trees and the days take on more grayness than sun. Still, it is my favorite season and I revel in it. Above are the "decoupage" pumpkin candle holders we made. I have discovered "Modge Podge". Pretty fun stuff!

Well, our Halloween was a muted affair. We sort of scrambled to come up with costumes (Gabriella, by and large, came up with that one herself!) and since trick or treating doesn't happen on our country road ( too far to walk between houses :) we hid some candy bags in the backyard and the kids seemed happy with that. On a whim, we decided to drive to a neighborhood down the road, but even there, only 3 houses were giving out treats. For those to whom this holiday mattered, I think it was fun enough. :)
Jed is enamored of "Stupendous Man" from Calvin and Hobbes.
These pumpkins we actually got from the pumpkin farm, but we did get 6 or 7 small pumpkins from our own crop this year.
Of course, even during fall, the inevitable happens here in MI.
You know, if I was out walking and saw a diamond ring on one of my neighbor's drive, I wouldn't be the least tempted to pick it up and pocket it ( unless it was to give it back to them) as I am if I see bittersweet on their property. Seeing that makes me start coming up with all kinds of covert operations to go and snip some for myself (they'd never miss it, right? ;) Thankfully, I was saved from my shameful thoughts by finding some in an open field, although by the time I discovered it, most of the pretty orange leaves had blown off by a couple windy days. Still, I love it and all the dried plant life I find this time of year. I adore flowers, but I think I love dried more...mostly because it can last so long. (I may add that if you find bittersweet at a Farm Market or such like , it is darn expensive...thus the excitement over finding it :)
A little Thanksgiving project. The original idea ( have to find that link) that a friend shared is much cuter and is done with more fallish colors. I was trying to use "what I have in my hand" and came up with this. You put little unruled index cards in the envelopes with things you are thankful for throughout the month and year and I plan to read them at T'giving dinner.
Here is what bittersweet is REALLY supposed to look like....this little bit I actually found down by our marsh. Funny, what a small amount there was when in other places there are trees just loaded with it.

For some reason, this house is plagued with a glut of cables on the outside ( do cable-guys have no aesthetic appreciation?) I don't know if it is because we are out in the sticks or these particular cables were done long ago, but they really look ridiculous. The worst offenders are on the overhang to the door to the patio. I even found some cute lights to hang there, but I think it made it look worse with the electrical cord from them added to the mix. My magnum opus this fall was to hang some...what else....bittersweet vines and another vine...maybe wild grapes? (don't quote me) intermixed with the wires. Well, I have no idea how well this solution will hold up...if they will start looking tired soon, or if the snow and ice will bring them down eventually, but for the time being, I like.

I am thinking: "[Americans] are extremely eager in the pursuit of immediate material pleasures and are always discontended with the position that they occupy....They think about nothing but ways of changing their lot and bettering it. For people in this frame of mind every new way of getting wealth more quickly, every machine which lessens work, every means of diminishing the cost of production, evey invention which makes pleasures easier or greater, seems the most magnificent accomplishment of the human mind...One usually finds that the love of money is either the chief or a secondary motive at the bottom of everything Americans do." Alexis de Tocqueville, 19th Century :)

From the schoolroom: Nothing much interesting here...just ticking away.

I am reading/watching/listening to:

"On Canaan's Side" by Sebastian Barry. Mr Barry has definitely made it onto my list of favorite authors. Not only can he tell a good story, but has the added talent of inserting lofty thoughts into his tales. I have to say, as seems to be the case with a lot of authors, I don't always embrace his worldview, but enough of what he writes is edifying enough to keep me reading. I suppose the simplest review would be to say this is a tale of an Irish woman who has loved and lost, in a variety of ways, but there is much more to it than that ( of course. :)

"Night Strangers" by Chris Bohjalian . "The Midwives Tale" was the first book I read by Mr Bohjalian, and I always liked that one, so when I see another title from him, I give it a look. None have ever measured up to the first, but I keep trying. This one I couldn't put down until the end. But the end was a huge disappointment, so that overshadows the rest of the tale. Sort of a creepy ghost story, sort of a psychological thriller. I hate to critique a seasoned author (what the heck do I know? :), but I always wonder how someone with such talent can just give up at the end and why do successful publishing companies and editors not say something?!? :)

"The Englishman's Daughter" by Ben Macintyre . This is actually a true story of an English soldier who finds himself separated from his company during WW1 in rural France. The people of that community hide him from the Germans, often at great personal cost to themselves ( lack of food was a very real problem, as well as the threat of fallout to their own selves if the Germans found him). Eventually, he falls in love with one of the village girls and they beget a daughter. Not long after, he is betrayed and is executed. An interesting glimpse of life during WW1 in an occupied country and a bit of "who-dun-it" as the author tries to find out who gave the soldier away.

"Wait for Me!" by Deborah Mitford. This is a memoir of a lady who eventually became the "Duchess of Devonshire". Far from being of interest only to those who identify themselves as "anglophiles" :) it really is a story of a remarkable family, life during and between the two World Wars, and the end of the English aristocracy (sort of). One of 7 sisters ( and 1 brothers) two of her sisters were hated fascists, and one a communist. She also had a great deal to do with the restoration of "Chatsworth", the family manor ( and what a manor it is!) so that finds a soft spot in my heart. She is very critical of those who tore down many of the old English homes during the 60's and 70's because no one could think what to do with them. Hello!? FIND SOMETHING! You just don't throw a glorious and ancient work of art into the garbage because it doesn't match your decor....why would anyone think to tear down these beautiful and important works of architecture? (Alright, I know it is a bit more complicated than that :) Well, they sadly did. So, it is nice to find a kindred spirit both in someone who finds that a huge loss and did something to prevent it happening to yet another victim. The only critique I may have is that the writing of her experiences makes it somewhat evident why the aristocracy induces common folk to want to pull their hair out at times. While she sometimes complains of lean times during her growing up years and not being able to afford the latest Paris fashion, the family never lived in a cottage on the side of the road, and always had a houseful of servants ( including a nanny, of course!) which enabled them to do nothing more than go out riding, hunting with their cantankerous father ( Lord Resedale), attend fashionable parties and the like.

Watching: These dark and cold fall nights have definitely been enlightened by watching the original "Upstairs Downstairs" series. After viewing the more recent edition, I was curious to see why the first was so popular. It really is evident. It is well writen and well acted, and even though done in the 70's, the costumes and scenery are also stunning. ( Nothing against the 70's, but there is usually much more sophistication in modern renditions of historical fare). Thankfully, there are a WHOLE lot of episodes... I may just get through the winter with this one. :) I often wonder why the subject of the relations between servants and their "masters" back in the day is one that so fascinates me? I suppose because, being a real Yankee, I can't imagine how these people were in such awe of aristocrats during that time and did such demeaning work for them for shockingly low wages.. Yes, they were rich, but no better than anyone else ( says I! in true American form:). Simply by being born into the "right" family they were deemed socially superior. I suppose that goes for the monarchy as well. Such a different mindset than we have now, I'm always trying to understand it....although I know there are always threads of that mindset weaving through even our own enlightened times. Human nature, I suppose. As a humorous side note: One evening Tim came up and saw that I was watching it. He said "I remember this being on at our house quite a bit. We were always checking PBS to see if Monty Python was on and instead it was that darn "Upstairs, Downstairs"! " Yes, Tim and I's marriage is the epitome of "opposites attract" ;)

Comings and goings: There have been a whole lot of comings and goings taking Naomi to her new job ( 5 days a week, I might add!), drivers ed, and the boys to basketball practices. Of course, there has been help from my dear sons when able, and a carpool with other basketball families, so it could be worse. Things I have been mercifully spared from driving to : are play rehearsals, youth group, and picking up/taking Tim to the airport. In everything give thanks! Well, there is a light at the end of the tunnel since as of today Naomi can actually get her permit and begin the task of logging driving hours. I don't know why there has been such reluctance on my part to get her driving. Call me sexist, but she seems so little and frail compared to her burly brothers to be operating a big lump of metal on wheels. She definitely is very responsible and has a good head on her shoulders. But, time marches less than a year she will be off to college and being able to drive might come in handy. :) We are looking forward to the premier of "Briar Rose", a play written by one of the boys at our parish, with musical scores written by none other than our dear Dylan, and Naomi being part of the cast.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Words of wisdom

I had a conversation with my dad not long ago. He was probably on me for putting salt on my food ( something he is notorious for in general) and I probably said something glib like "Well, I like salt!" ( convincing!) His response was "Well, I like salt, too, I don't eat it because I know it is better for me not to!" Well, it's hard to argue with my father. One, because he is also known for being NW ( never wrong..... example: one time when I thought I was in labor and came to drop the kids off at their house, he said "You don't look like you are in labor." Sure enough, false alarm. :) Two, because he looks good and is in purty good health for a 71 year old man. ( as does/is my mother!) Beyond that, I've thought a lot about that comment. I might argue with him about the salt issue, but not about the self discipline issue. Denying yourself things you really like seems to get harder for me the older I am. Maybe that isn't true. Maybe I've been living on good gene fumes for most of my life and have avoided chronic health problems because of it ( not because I've made a whole lot of conscious choices to be a healthy person). I'm pretty sure that situation is starting to wind down.

I know the mental battle that rages within has mostly to do with "poor pitiful me " thinking. It's not that I don't enjoy my life or my vocation, but there are always things that are distasteful in any life/career. I know I don't want to add certain unpleasant tasks ( like lifting weights) or subtracting pleasant ones ( like eating whatever I want) because "Oh, I already have this, that or the other difficult thing to do on a daily basis and why shouldn't I be rewarded by doing things I enjoy and why should I punish myself by doing more things I don't like to do? ( yes, mature! :)

Something else I read underlines this as well. "I work out every morning, 7 days a week-even when I am traveling. I hate it. But I love the results! That's the key, baby!" Jack La Lane. Jack La Lane?! The grandfather, the patriarch of the fitness movement hates to work out?! Yes, I believe that is the key. What separates the men from the boys here. Doing things you don't like to obtain good results. So simple, so difficult. Hopefully the genes I've inherited include the wisdom & strength of will my dad possesses. I just hope I don't have to wait until I am 70 for it to blossom. :)

From Naomi's blog

"Remember how much stress you had over the past year? It probably wasn't worth it. Whatever happened, happened and would have happened without the stress"

Funny how mother and daughter learn the same things at the same time. Not that I have really LEARNED this lesson, but it's at least on my radar and I've been thinking a lot about it. So much of what we stress out about is gone and forgotten a year later, heck sometimes a week later! Why do we put ourselves through it? In reality there seem to be very few things to stress about in life. Case in point, Noah's grad party. Oh, I stewed about that one all summer. Would we have enough food, would we have too much food. Did I invite too many people, did I forget to invite certain people. How would I arrange tables/chairs, parking, invites and on and on and on....when, in the end, it was just a party. Sure, a party to mark one of your child's milestones in life, but nothing life or death for sure. I know I lost sleep, I know I was crabby about it, I know I was short, scatterbrained and distant from my children while I worked everything out. Was any of it worth it? Probably not. But that is just a vignette from the many things I get stressed out about during any given day, week or month. The funny things is, I am a nazi-like perfectionist about a few things, and not so much (even when I should be more careful) about a lot of things. Why not just be balanced? Well, the first step in conquering any given issue in your life is the realization it's an issue. So, onward and upward. :)

Streams of consciousness from a mother of 10 who usually can't collect her thoughts and finds commas a nuisance.