Saturday, March 15, 2008
Emma's report from Noni and Popi's
Hi Mommy and Daddy,

I just wanted to send a little message to you to let you know that I am having a good time at Noni and Popi's and they are taking great care of me.

We had a nice ride home last night. Noni laughed and said I was a real chatterbox because I had so much to talk about. We had supper when we got home and then Popi and I played most of the rest of the evening. We built castles, Popi pushed me around while I was pushing the baby stroller around, we played hide and seek, we put puzzles together and I pretended to play something else while Popi put together a hard puzzle. Noni gave me a great bath and I had a good night's sleep in the "big people" bed. Noni sent a picture along of me sleeping safely and soundly in that big bed.

I slept until about 8AM this morning and then Noni gave me my milk and cereal and we watched "shows" until Popi got up around 10. He wanted to go for a run, so I kept watching shows while Noni fixed us some breakfast. I had toast, scrambled eggs with cheese and bacon. I ate a good breakfast.

Noni needed to get some things at the grocery store, so she and I went while Popi was busy putting stain on his deck. They had the neatest grocery cart, Mommy and Daddy. It has a big red and yellow car on the front of it. I sat in the car, with my seat belt fastened, and drove us all around the grocery store while Noni shopped. My cousins called while we were there and I sang "Happy Birthday" to M since today is her real birthday. She is seven years old. I had so much fun driving us around. I swerved from side to side. Noni said I was a crazy driver.

When we got home I sat on the deck and watched Popi paint a while and then helped Noni fill the bird feeder and put it back on the tree. She sent some pictures of this too. It was such a pretty day, Mommy and Daddy. It was so sunny and nice and I enjoyed being outdoors.

After Popi stopped painting the deck, he came in to change clothes so we could go to the tractor store and the motorcycle store, because I like both of them. I laid on the couch while he went upstairs. You know what, Mommy and Daddy, I fell asleep and the next thing you know, it was almost 4:30 when I woke up. I must have been tired. I do have a bit of a cold and it makes breathing kind of hard at times. Noni gave me some medicine and maybe it made me sleepy. Noni laughed and said I talked in my sleep and I snored too. She took a picture of me sleeping (AGAIN!). You must think all I do is sleep here at Noni and Popi's, Mommy and Daddy, but honestly I don't. When I woke up I wasn't feeling too good, so I sat in Popi's lap while Noni fixed us some supper. I wasn't very hungry, so I ate just a little bit of pork chops and some smashed potatoes.

After supper I laid in Noni's lap too because I didn't feel too good. But you know what, Mommy and Daddy, Noni asked me if I wanted some ice cream. Popi and I said yes. We had vanilla ice cream with chocolate on it and I couldn't believe how much better I felt after that. I got talkative again, so Noni and Popi laughed and said I must be feeling better. I really think ice cream is the miracle cure, not that stuff that comes in a bottle that Noni has to measure.

Popi is going out for a little while this evening and the "girls" (Noni and I) are going to stay home and relax.

It's been a good day except for my runny nose, but I'm OK and I'm hoping we can go to the tractor store tomorrow and that I'll feel much better tomorrow. Don't worry about me though, Mommy and Daddy, Noni and Popi are taking really good care of me and they are trying to knock this old cold right out of my nose with medicine and tender loving care.

I miss you both and hope you had lots and lots of customers at the Festival today.

Don't forget to look at the pictures of me Noni sent along. I think they're pretty good!!

I love you a bushel and a peck, a hug around the neck, a barrel and heap, talking in my sleep about YOU!!!!!!!



I am so screwed
Yes, I am posting this at 4:50 a.m. I have not slept. This is one of those nights when my mind will not let go. Now I'm afraid to take any sleeping remedies because I need to wake up too soon. Dear Lord, help me get through this day, I'm going to need it.
My last year of innocence
Was my freshman year in college. I went off to college hungry to learn, anxious to make new friends and sure that my future held "big things." I was planning to be an International Studies major. My first semester course load even included Russian language.

I was assigned to Barrett Hall, an all-girls dorm on the old campus. The dorm was more notoriously known as the "virgin vault." Somehow, by the luck of the draw I was assigned the only student room on the hall with it's own bathroom attached. I thought that was a good portent.

Unfortunately, my roommate and I got off to a bad start an it only got worse from there. We were too different. It didn't take me long to realize that her favorite topic of conversation was herself. I had difficulty maintaining interest.

So, I turned elsewhere for friends. I found them on my freshman hall. Within the first week of college, orientation week, I made most of the friends I was to have my whole college career.

My best friends lived at the opposite end of the hall. One came from Chesapeake and had the greatest laugh ever, one was Indian and was destined for an arranged marriage, one was Hungarian and had actually escaped from communist rule, and one was my best friend from high school who had been assigned to the very same hall as me.

I quickly bonded with Chesapeake. While I was happy to hang out with everyone, she was the one I "wooed." I could be a really good friend back in those days. I had lots of free time to spend at it. I remember doing things like making little posters of encouragement or just leaving notes of same. Making Chesapeake laugh was one of my biggest joys then. We used to frequent the Friday night movies at Trimble Hall. I'd sit next to her making wisecracks. I distinctly remember one time when she erupted in laughter so loud that I had to clap my hand over her mouth.

The group of us on freshman hall, we had a blast. We'd crack each other up constantly. Our conversation was littered with pop culture references, bawdy endearments and inside jokes. We talked about everything: our classes, our families, our friends back home, our ideal men, and, of course, sex. What we'd be willing to do, how we'd do it...and who in the hell were we going to do it with anyway? It was all theoretical as we were indeed Barrett virgins, all of us but one.

We'd always go to lunch and supper en masse. That's how you pick out the freshman, you know. Our college required that freshmen purchase a nineteen meal plan, so we went. We'd have the best time at those meals. It was all jokes, clever repartee and raucous laughter. I can remember one meal, we were almost done eating and some random guy walks up to our table. He wanted to thank us for thoroughly entertaining him while he ate his meal and eavesdropped on us. We were so nutty we felt honored by his compliment.

I remember staying up all night talking to Chesapeake, both of us laying on the hallway floor. I remember games of Canasta, swapping romance novels, and coloring pictures to decorate our hallway walls. I remember...Worms! We explored Colonial Williamsburg using our student IDs as passes to all the attractions. We rode the Green Machine to get groceries, shop at Roses and Woolworth's, and eat at Sal's Pizza.

I remember joining Circle K, the collegiate level of Kiwanis, and meeting the rest of the friends I was to have in college. I dove right in, attending meetings and volunteering for the preschool program WATS and walking dogs for the SPCA. Chesapeake joined too, which made it all the more fun. I remember one rainy weekend, praying the local Kiwanis would call off their outdoor steak and shrimp supper, so we wouldn't have to go work in the downpour. But they still needed us and we went. We endeared ourselves to many upperclassmen that day, just for showing up.

I clearly remember those first few nights of freedom, realizing that I could come and go at will. I was accountable to no one but myself and was taking on all the responsibility that entailed.

Freshman year had it's rough patches too. There were the occasional squabbles due to misunderstandings and my big mouth. But the negatives have faded over time and I'm left with very warm feelings toward the friends I made that year and the bonds that were forged on freshman hall. I'm sure that at the time we thought we'd be friends forever...but you know how that goes.

I say that was my last year of innocence because it was the last year that I felt my future was full of possibilities. It was the last year when my future was a blank slate to be writ large. Over the summer following that year I was to meet someone. I then began a series of bad decisions that ended up coloring the rest of my college experience.

My corner of the world at school.

Where the real work got done. Note my loverboy right next to me at the desk.


Friday, March 14, 2008
Festival, weekend two
This time we've sent Emma over the mountains to Noni and Popi's. They should all be in hog heaven. Emma promised me she'd be a good girl, but frankly, her promises aren't worth much yet. I hope to get some reports on how they're doing. I haven't been told a single plan so it will all be a surprise to me.

M and I went out to supper at the same restaurant as last Friday. This time I was smart enough to leave my coat in the car so it wouldn't still smell rank the next morning. If you've ever been to a local diner you'll know the smell I'm talking about, french fry grease and cooked onions. Very potent.

Now I'm printing labels for the store while M plays on the treadmill. He has plans to go back in to work tonight. Me, I have a book to work on.

The weather tomorrow is supposed to be rainy, but the temps should be in the high forties or low fifties. Cross your fingers for us that business is good.
After work today I needed to drive Emma over the mountains to meet Noni and Popi at the halfway point. M was kind enough to pick her up for me and deliver her to my place of work so we could shave off a few minutes of time getting there. M put her in the car and said his goodbyes for the weekend. We no sooner pulled away from the curb when Emma starts in on me.

"I want my songs!"

"Uh, how do you ask for songs."

"May I please have my songs?"

"I'm thirsty, I want a drink."

"Emma, I'm driving with both hands, I can't get you a drink right now."

"I'm hungry, Mommy, I'm really hungry."

"Emma, I can't help you right now, I'm driving."

"I don't want those songs, I want the new songs."

"Emma, I can't do everything at once!"

"I want my new songs!"

"Emma, you really don't have any respect for me at all, do you?"

Very blithly, "No."

I take solace in the fact that she doesn't know what the word "respect" actually means. Obviously it's a lesson we need to work on.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
It's not spring yet!
Poor misguided bastards.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Pictures from Noni's collection
The girls are at the Veteran's Memorial.

M is opening her presents.

M thanks Emma for her new Miley Cyrus doll.

Monday, March 10, 2008
Me, me, me
I'm feeling a bit better these days. I used the bootstraps method to pull myself out of my funk. I'm not completely hunky dory yet, but I'm much better. My house is clean (by our standards) and I'm working hard to keep it that way. I'm getting tons done at work, which is making me feel better. I've been a lot more active, using my treadmill, housecleaning and being busy in general. I've cut out sweets almost completely. I'm down to one treat every couple of days. That is a huge change for me. I think my head is finally in the game.
Monday, Monday
I can't seem to upload pictures right now. I have some of Noni's photos to show you from the weekend.

The store definitely had a down weekend as far as the festival goes. I attribute it to the weather on Saturday. Some locals think it might be because of high gas prices. I tend to doubt that's having that much of an impact. I think most sensible people looked at the forecast and said, "I'll go next weekend." I sure hope so.

Today I was back to my day job. It really sucked getting up in the dark this morning, but many of you already know that.