Sunday, January 31, 2010

031/365: Snow Angel?

We survived the storm, but the collateral damage could put us under:

SRR: "Mom, you need to put JOR in time out!"
Me: "Why?"
SRR: "He bit me!"
Me: "Why?"
SRR: (Feeling defeat): "Uh, it was an accident..."
Me: "Why?"
SRR: "Uh, I accidently had my hand near his teeth....."
Me: (You guessed it) "Why?"
SRR: "I accidently punched him..."
Me: (Everybody now) "Why?"
SRR: "Never mind." (Walking away defeated).

SRR is now attempting to atone for his deeds by heating up a rice pad for JOR's sore leg. We'll see how this goes. Hopefully he won't scorch his brother.

Until next time....bite away!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

030/365: Snowman

We were gifted with almost a foot of snow. It was a wonderfully decompressing day: as the snow fell, so did my stress level. The snow just naturally mutes out the world. How exciting to just be! Until....

"Honey, do we still have that space heater out in the shed?", he asks out of the blue.
"I don't think so", I reply.
MGR: "Can you go out to the shed and check?"
Me: "I don't think so!"
MGR: "Can you help me?"
Me: "Do I have a choice?"

So, donned in his new boots, jacket, and ergodynamic snow shovel, MGR and I ventured out into the storm. I assisted in clearing a path to the shed, froze my hands to unlock the door and searched for the heater. As luck would have it, we don't have one. But we did take time to laugh and throw snow at each other as we took a brief respite from the house and kids....and life!

It's not the destination, but the journey that makes life fun!

Until next away!!

Friday, January 29, 2010

029/365: Waiting.....

I feel like a child on Christmas Eve. I'm nervously trying to get things done: laundry, bills, floors, and anything else that needs "fixing". A Starbucks' Venti Skinny Vanilla Latte is adding fuel to the fire. MGR, feeling the same way, created and baked a lasagna that smells heavenly!

We went out this evening and enjoyed a trip to the library, a fun dinner, some last minute winter clothing shopping for MGR, and a Starbucks run. That will probably be our last time out of the house for at least 2, maybe 3 days. And you what? I LOVE IT!!!! I am a firm believer that God gave us snowstorms to either calm us down or make us happy. In our house, it's both! It has been a rough couple of weeks for us, physically and emotionally. I can't wait for the first flakes to fall. It almost seems like that will give me permission to start shutting down.

Until next time....wait away!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

028/365: Bring it on!

Watching the Weather Channel 12 hours a day.....check!
All news websites tabbed in order.....check!
Positive affirmation on the board.....check!
Went to Ukrops for milk (already had bread) and lots of other essentials (cookie dough, popcorn, frozen pizzas, cheese, chips)....check!
Shovel and de-icer out of the shed and in the house....check!
Ice cubes flushed down the toilet....check!
Pajamas inside out....check!
Mentally prepared for whacked out people (big and little) tomorrow....check!!
Getting ready for a 6"-10" snow at a time we all need a little happiness and fun....check!!
Bring it on!!

Until next time...let it snow!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

027/365: Rally Time!

While the evening was cold, the spirits were hot! A coalition of parents, teachers and community members gathered outside the government complex to fight for our kids. Guest speakers included a former school board member, the former VEA president and the presidents of the county's PTA and NAACP. Unity for a common cause. They all spoke of creating revenue, not creating cuts.

The most stirring speaker, however, was an instructional assistant from an elementary school. She spoke of the many duties she has in her position: working with students in reading groups, supervising breakfast and lunch duties, and, of course, completing numerous clerical tasks. All this for a salary of $14,000 (this is before our 3% pay cut next year). She is a single mother with two daughters.

Why is it that we, who have invested in quality public education, have to stand out in the cold to voice our concerns, while Wall St. gets to sit in their corner offices and get what they want? I wish someone has an answer....

Until next time....rally away!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

026/365: Let the Games Begin!

There it is, on live TV, the "Budget Reduction Summary". The superintendent presented his proposed budget to the school community. It is, in one word, ugly!!

There are two rounds of cuts. The first includes a 3% pay cut (6 less days of instruction), and hundreds of job cuts, including teachers, instructional assistants, and secretaries. Programs involving the special education population will become almost nonexistent.

If the necessary revenue does not appear, then the following will also occur: an additional 1% pay cut, more teachers gone, 10 integrators and 8 MCAs (the wonderful people who maintain the hardware and software) gone, electives (such as music, drama, and advance courses) gone, athletics, gone.

Now the school board gets to play hardball with the county board of supervisors. It seems that last year, the school system gave money back to the county; money that was not used. Now they want (need) the money back. Let's see if the supervisors will play fair and return the money to fund the schools.

It appears that the supervisors have a long lasting love affair with builders in this county. A love affair that continues even under these circumstances. It almost seems like Tiger Woods trying to pick up women even after being caught. The county just loves approving subdivision after subdivision, even though the only things they contribute to the county are traffic, overcrowded schools, and maybe a trickle in real estate taxes. I don't see them going after the big business and green energy folks to get what Chesterfield really needs: lots of jobs and lots of tax revenue.

This is the beginning of what will be a long four month period. Lots will happen: jobs lost, salaries cut, programs gone, children deprived. I pray that a miracle will happen, the games will stop, and the education of our kids be put to the top of the priority list. Schools, NOT subdivisions!!

Until next time...pray away!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

025/365: GradeQuick...HELP!

My job is to make technology easier and more accessible to all end users: students, teachers, administrators, secretaries, custodians, and parents. I hit a major road block while trying to do my job today.

Teachers had to submit their grades electronically by the end of the work day. My job was to make sure there weren't any snafus in the sending process; that teachers had an easy path to grade sending success. This was made impossible by the mere fact that the server could not handle the volume of users! Imagine thousands of teachers sending millions of bytes of data through the network without any rhyme or reason, and almost all at once. When I left work at 4pm, teachers, some with tears in their eyes, were still trying to send grades they finished this morning. I felt absolutely helpless! Time is the new currency, especially in public education. It disturbed me that much of it was wasted today.

It is my hope that a sending schedule will be established to assure that this sort of debacle won't happen again. I need to be at work early tomorrow to help the teachers who couldn't send today. Hopefully, they will be able to send quickly and be done with it!

Until next time....send away!! (Hopefully....)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

024/365: Empty Nest

I need to go to the doctor tomorrow. My hearing and vision are going fast!

I can't hear the giggles, belly laughs, screams, threats, cries, and the thousands of "Mama"s that resonate through the house. I can't see the legos and dirty socks on the floor or the face of a sad little boy on the time out step and the smile of the little boy who put him there. I can't see a video game or cartoon on the TV and can't hear the bleeps and blips on the DS.

Yes, I feel like I've lost a part of me tonight. JOR and SRR are sleeping over Fairy Godmother's as MGR and I shlep through a teacher workday tomorrow. While it's always nice to have a peaceful evening, I miss the little stinkers. This separation is a good thing for them. They need time away from their parents as we've been driving them crazy lately. They deserve some time off.

I, however, need a checkup!

Until next time....break away!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

023/365: Sharing some Stone Soup

The boys' drama class had their big production tonight. They starred in "Stone Soup", a lovely little musical based on the famous book. The story is about a group of townspeople all pitching in to create something wonderful.

As a proud mama, I can say that the boys ROCKED!! They did a spectacular job with their lines, dances and songs. However, there was song performed that really hit a nerve with me. The first verse was sung (beautifully) by JOR and an amazing young lady, then the rest of the cast joined in. It's a timely message:

"The greatest gift is to share, to tell a neightbor you'll be there.
To show a friend you really care. The greatest gift is to share.

For alone, we have nothing, we could lose our way.
So reach out to others, sisters and brothers. You'll find a better way.

That's what this world is about; to meet a neighbor, help him out.
To trust a friend when you're in doubt. That's what the world is about."

Until next time...share away!!

Friday, January 22, 2010

022/356: Gathering Around the Table

Tonight's agenda included a parents meeting for children making First Eucharist this year. JRR will go to the Lord's table for the first time in the spring and I am thrilled for him!!

Religion aside, part of our meeting centered around meals and traditions and habits that go with them. I brought up how I love sitting at the table with the family, as that is usually the first time I really get to listen to them discuss their day. I also brought up that after a day or two of not eating together, due to meetings, trainings, life, etc., I miss that gathering / debriefing time with my family. There's a deeper sense of appreciation for the "gang" when we reconvene at the table.

This week has been quite hectic: dress rehearsal and performance for the boys, report cards for MGR, report card / benchmark support for me. However, one thing is for sure: come Sunday, there will be a lovely the table! OK, so it'll be some yucky food, but we'll be together again!

Until next time....gather away!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

021/365: Web 1.5?

Welcome to the CCPS Portal. This is the central location for all things CCPS. It contains information for staff, instructional resources for teachers and avenues for collaboration for students and staff. Sounds good?

Tonight, I had the honor of assisting a training for this portal. The participants had to sign a form acknowledging the Acceptable Use Policy. The question? Which form! (They were given a few versions.) The participants were supposed to have their portal page up for the training. The problem? The elementary pages wouldn't come up. Luckily, the one elementary teacher in the training was a great sport and followed along beautifully...on a sample site. These are just a few of the "snafus" in the name of emerging technology.

I really hope the ease of this technology will emerge before people will start pulling the plug on it!

Until next time...collaborate away!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

020/365: Precious gifts...

This past weekend, my dear colleague had to get Hospice care for her father while making sure her mother was being taken care of as well.

My boss' brother had extensive brain surgery last week, in and out of ICU. He is slowly recuperating, but not out of the woods yet.

Last night, the family and I had an impromptu love fest: While listening to Michael Buble's "Everything", we spontaneously started dancing. We ended up holding hands while dancing in a circle. If you don't the words, they go like this:

And in this crazy life, and through these crazy times
It's you, it's you, you make me sing.
You're every line, you're every word, you're everything.

(What an awesome family!!!)

We all need to take a moment, a very long moment, to cherish those who make our lives worth living. Life is too short to let those people go by unnoticed and unappreciated.

So, chances are most of this vast readership consists of a dear friend, family member or an acquaintence that has had an impact on my life. To all of you I say, "Thank you!" You are all important to me and I love you! My life would not be the same without you.

Until next time....hug away!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

019/365: See fit to C-Fit

Tonight started, in earnest, my training for the Ukrops 10K. It ties in nicely with the start of C-Fit, the county's attempt to get its employees off their dupas and moving. A group of us, "The Fit-egrators", are going to do our best to get anywhere from 3-5 days of exercise a week for the next few months. Since this is 10K training season, I'm twice as inspired. Whether my dupa is or not is a totally different story.

I must say, my first real run (4 miles) wasn't too shabby, although I'm sure I'll feel it tomorrow.

Until next away!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

017/365: Mommy's Time Out

My time out corner
Book and candle, wine and chair
Paradise is cheap!

Until next time....haiku away!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

016/365: Mucus Be Gone!

Every four hours I come to you.
You hear me sniffle with an occasional "ah-choo!"
My head is pounding, my throat is sore.
Puffy and pained eyes cry out, "No more!".

You give relief, ever so slight,
As I feel the drainage both day and night.
I hate feeling like I've been hit by a truck,
On a three day weekend, of course it's my luck.

I've managed some chores, though all quite mundane.
It's good to know I can function, that thought keeps me sane.
I want to just collapse and rest my heavy head.
Until I can buy myself a case of Sudafed!

(Pitiful attempt, but I'm tired!!)
Until next time....drain away!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

015/365: Hell Care?

I have to confess, this picture was taken back in October, but it relates to today's post, so I feel it's legit.

Today was the first payday of the new year. While I'm happy to be getting a paycheck , I'm not happy about bringing home less due to increased health insurance costs. It is not a huge increase, but it is enough that we have to make adjustments. It will be even worse come the fall, when the school's budget cuts give us the privilege of furlough days AND higher premiums for health care. So, I'm so looking forward to having to make more "adjustments" in my lifestyle...not!

However, I will try to look at the bright side: I have a job (for now), I have a somewhat healthy family (physically), I do have health insurance if it's needed, and I live in a country where we might have health care for everyone!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Until next time...adjust away!!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

014/365: Gratitude Road

This week, my job took me to eight different schools for a total of almost 300 miles put on my poor Silver. I feel as though I've been living in the van with my backside growing roots in the driver's seat.

There is a positive spin to all this commuting. Some of my schools are in the southwestern part of the county, on the outskirts of the local state park. The back roads I take put me smack dab in the middle of the park. I have used this time for a great deal of thinking and praying. The tragedy in Haiti, along with a local family losing everything in a fire has kept my "brat" in check. Life IS Good and I am grateful for what I have. Maybe there is a reason I have to schlep around the county....

Until next away!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

013/365: T the Magnificent!

She has stood behind me, literally, for 12 years. My hair stylist, the Great TM, is an awesome woman!!

TM is amazing. Not only does she put up with my hair, but with my moods as well. I've finally settled for a no nonsense, low maintenance cut. TM has done her best to maintain this style 'cause she knows that the rest of my life is NOT no nonsense or low maintenance. The one thing that my hair and my life have in common is that they both have a few highlights.

She has been with me during some life-changing events. She came to my apartment to do my wedding 'do with supplies in one hand, cocktails in the other. She has cut both boys' hair since they were babies (JOR was only about 3 months old at his first cut, the little primate), and now does all of us. Yes, even MGR.

While we differ on politics, we both value the basics: faith and family. We've had many discussions about these and more. I cherish my 60 minutes with her every 6 weeks! (Yes, even the facial alterations TM!) She had a sign in her old shop that said, "I'm a beautician, not a magician!". Au contraire TM, thanks for your magic the past 12 years. The older I get, the more magic you'll have to do!

Until next away!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

012/365: Shoot me now!

Rough start today. I awoke to the trio screaming and gagging about the smell in the refrigerator. Thinking a decomposing body somehow landed in our kitchen, I went for a look.

The source of the odor was my poor, innocent vegetable soup. Harmless ingredients, harmful result. This was a head scratcher as there was nothing in this soup that was toxic. Onions, garlic, spinach, tomatoes, chicken broth, basil and oregano should not warrant a visit from HazMat. My crew cared to differ. After getting ready for work, I found them all at the table with a strawberry candle burning in their futile attempt to clear the air, still flapping their gums about the smell in the house.

As if this wasn't enough to ruffle my feathers, I had to work with MGR's class in art today. Not only did the office staff ask me about my smelly soup, but the third graders, upon entering the art room, greeted me with many "soup"er comments. (Except for some of the exceptional ladies. They knew better.)

I guess I got the last laugh when I came home and smelled this sweet, mouth-watering aroma wafting from the kitchen. I put on the TV, made a sandwich to accompany my soup and sat down to a lovely dinner....solo! The soup was quite tasty and made for a fine meal. When the stooges came home, it was announced that they had to make their own dinner. During this process, they all managed to get a taste out of the crock pot. Guess what they want for lunch tomorrow? Shoot me now!!

Until next time...slurp away!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

011/365: A chip off the old block.

Bad news: In a fit of anger, JOR lost his DSi for the week.
Good news: He made his mama proud.

Tonight was JOR's first "official" guitar lesson. He learned the basics: holding it correctly, hand positions, and finally....playing the darned thing. He did a wonderful job. He strummed without a pick (or a "pluck", as he first called it) to get a feel for the strings and managed to switch from C to G7 (one finger version) without little hesitation. "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" is his practicing homework for the week.

JOR's playing wasn't the only thing that made me proud. It was his excitement. He was genuinely thrilled to be playing "real" chords. He kept asking for more, but we had to break to give his neophyte fingers a rest.

While I watched him strum, I had flashbacks to my beginning guitar days. I was his age (8) when I started guitar at Center Moriches Elementary School. Mrs. J., my music teacher, let me come to school early and play while she prepared for the day. Occasionally she'd stop her planning to show me a new chord, a new strum or to give me a song to learn. I thought I was the "bees knees". Eventually, I would "borrow" my brother's guitar and play along with the radio. That's when my sister bought me my first songbook, Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors". (OK, so that was a LONG time ago!) Fun times!!

I can only hope that JOR has as much fun with music as I have. By the looks of this picture, I'd say he is on his way! (The future Simon and Garfunkel?)

Until next time...strum away!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

010/365: Goals

Many people despise Sunday nights. They bemoan the fact that they have to go to work or school. I'm different. I like Sunday evenings. It's a chance to get in some last minute R & R while planning for and anticipating the adventures of a new week.

The ritual I've tried to start includes checking the calendar for what has been scheduled. Luckily this week isn't too crazy: swim lessons and drama class for the boys, a Noah's Ark party and haircut for moi (thank goodness) and planning for hubby. I've also tried to have everyone think of things they'd like to accomplish this week. They are noted on the kitchen whiteboard as a reminder. Goal setting has always been easy for me. It's the accomplishing part that challenges me!!

Until next time....plan away!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

009/365: A lesson learned....

Our family chose to visit the library today. It was nice to walk through each section, grabbing books that grabbed my attention. It also brought me back to my childhood, when library visits provided an escape from the bedlam called "home". I distinctly remembered how that little white house in front of my elementary school gave me a chance to experience "normal", to see how the outside world functioned, to witness how "regular" people lived. Back then, library manners were important....NO talking!! I think that's why I liked it the best. No one to make fun of me, no one to yell at me. The whole world stopped coming at me in the library. I liked that.

Fast forward a few decades: a library is now a thriving, vibrant environment for learning and exploring. One does not have to feel muted, especially in the children's section. The exchange of ideas is allowed and even encouraged. Today, SRR made a new friend while MGR looked at books. This little boy, without fanfare and formality, bonded with SRR as they played with the above toy. They worked together to create roller coasters that would crash into each other as well as roller coasters that would reach their destinations. These two future engineers dialogued about what would work the best and what wouldn't, what the plan would be and how did it work in the end. Sadly, the little boy had to leave when his mom was done at the checkout counter.

SRR, being the social creature that he is, found another little boy sitting in the children's section. He recognized the boy as one of his preschool classmates, "A". SRR was all excited, even calling over to me (taboo in the old days) to tell me he found this boy. "A", dressed head to toe in labeled clothing and wearing an iPod, was SRR's age, but wanted nothing to do with him except to brag about his iPod. No interaction, no playing with toys, just "I have this and you don't". As I was overhearing the conversation (my mommy feathers getting ruffled by the second), I thought this to be a sad moment for SRR. He had just finished playing nicely with a boy he never met, to reuniting with this snotty thug that I wasn't fond of when they were in preschool together. The icing on the cake was when SRR was talking with him, he got up mid-sentence and left my boy there, hanging. No goodbye, no "Say goodbye to your friend" from his mom. Nada. My heart hurt.

While we drove home, SRR talked about the incident. He expressed his hurt feelings and felt "A" was rude. I told him sometimes it's just better to be by yourself than to be with people who are hurtful. I know.....

Until next away!

Friday, January 8, 2010

008/365: The eagles have landed

The boys are usually pretty good about hanging up their stuff at the end of the day. However, after their first week back and today being a 2 hour delayed opening due to snow, I'll let it ride.....this time.

Until next time.....toss away!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

007/365: Serenity

I have been spoiled lately. Between 4:15 and 5ish, there exists a peaceful block of solitude. I use it to do mundane chores (check mail, voicemail, e-mail, dishwasher, laundry, start dinner), but more importantly, I use it to decompress.

Luckily, our Verizon FIOS offers digital music channels. The "Soundscapes" channel is the soundtrack for my decompression period. It is similar to XM's Spa channel: calm, mostly instrumental music that puts the listener in a serene place, perhaps a mountaintop or snow covered landscape, where one can forget about reality for a small amount of time. It is a very therapeutic way to transition from calm to.....

Ah, my kingdom for a mountaintop!

Until next time....decompress away!!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

006/365: Mission: Impossible

Homework for SRR is a long, drawn-out process. Herding cats would be easier than getting him to sit and focus long enough to complete his work. MGR's body language says it all.

MGR is an amazing guy. As if he hadn't had enough of children in academia the entire day, he managed to work up the courage to accept the above mission. This is because I needed a Zumba class to raise my endorphins. He also did some laundry and packed the boys' lunches while I was mambo-ing the melancholy out of my system.

Maybe I don't say it as much as I should, but I love him!! He is a wonderful husband and an outstanding father. I am very blessed to have him in my life! (Disclaimer: This can be retracted if he doesn't help me clean the bathrooms this weekend!)

Until next away!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

005/365: Working it out.

Tonight was "Y" night for our family. The boys began their swim lessons (thanks to Grandma and Grandpa!) and Mommy needed a work out! And I mean NEEDED a work out!

All employees were sent a survey to collect feedback on what to cut out of next year's budget. There are 3 columns of potential cuts and it is the employees' job to choose what should be cut. The catch? All the cuts selected had to equal the deficit of $40 million! Jobs, benefits, transportation, athletics, administration, and yes, a choice of furlough lengths were all listed. It was unsettling to see my position on this survey and know that I have a good chance of being voted off the island.

I tried to remain calm and positive, but lost all control when I got home. Any edible morsel in the house was consumed! And this was before I started cooking dinner. I then gorged while cooking and at the dinner table. It was gross!

Luckily, it was Y night. MGR was gracious enough to watch the boys at the pool while I attempted some physical exertion that didn't involve utensils. After 30 minutes of hard elliptical work, I felt better. My stomach has one heck of a hangover, but my brain is clearer and my spirits are higher. I'm now getting ready for a good night's sleep with my therapy blog and cup of peppermint tea. I hope to spend the rest of the week detoxing and working things out, physically, mentally and emotionally.

Until next time......exercise away!!

Monday, January 4, 2010

004/365: I was working in the lab late one night....

Well, truthfully, just a few minutes after quitting time. This first week of 2010, we begin the exodus into Office 2007. I guess better late than never. We are sharing tips and tricks with each other in a series of classes. I think I can actually navigate through an Excel spreadsheet. This is a breakthrough!

However, it didn't take long for the rumblings of job cuts to begin. People are sitting on pins and needles. We don't know who is staying and who is going. A survey is going out to all employees as to who and what to cut. This is going to be a very long five months.

I guess while I wait, I'll keep learning, keep working, and trying to keep my chin up. After all, I think I know how to format a cell now. The world is my oyster!!

Until next time.....format away!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

003/365: The party's over....

The halls have been un-decked, cards and presents put away, the wreath taken down. A sigh of relief is expelled.

While I'm sad that vacation is coming to a close, I'm relieved that another holiday season is over. The expectations thrust upon us by outside forces clash yearly with what really happens in our lives. We strive for Norman Rockwell and end up like Norman Fell (luckily not Norman Bates). Truthfully, I am happy not seeing another Christmas commercial til next December, although they start to rear their ugly heads in August!

Tomorrow, we go back to our routines. The boys go to their school, I start a series of trainings. We begin the New Year learning. Maybe the learning should be a little different: that the holidays aren't about perfection and expectation, but about togetherness and laughter; not about gifts and shopping, but about gratitude and blessings. This is the learning I wish my boys would master.

Until next time.....learn away!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

002/365: Friendmily

Moving to Virginia 12 1/2 years ago was truly an adjustment: new job, new apartment, new everything. This exodus also gave me something I truly did not expect: a new family! These very special people welcomed me into their home and lives even before I moved down here. The A's have been more then friends and better than family. They're friendmily!

This picture is of the "Fairy Godmothers", AA-C and LA, and AA-C's husband, CC. This group, along with the patriarch AA and the little sister SG (who lives in Charleston), have been by my side since I moved down here. They were at our wedding and at the hospital when each boy was born. In fact, AA-C was my coach for most of my labor with SRR.

Tonight, we were lucky enough to have dinner at their house. We were gifted with delicious Puerto Rican food and even better company. The laughs were enough to make room for the next course.

I am so blessed to have this friendmily in my life. They not only have blessed me, but my family as well. (They are pros at spoiling the boys!) The world would be a much better place if we had more friendmilies like the A's around!

Until next time....a la friendmilia!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

001/365: Coincidence?

Project 365 is a daily blog post complete with a picture. I was thinking long and hard as to how to kick it off. Should I take a picture of a natural wonder, my children playing joyfully, my cat being cute? Should I list my resolutions and how I'm going to turn into a wonderfully skinny, kind human being? Or should I be a realist?

This picture does paint a thousand words. My family is my world and keeps me sane (believe it or not) through their humor and unconditional love. However, if you know my "boys", you know why the TV screen completes the picture. (Disclaimer: I am only speaking of my "Three Stooges" although my wonderful extended family is in the picture as well.)

2010 is going to be another challenging year. Job cuts loom yet again and our financial situation is not a healthy one. However, like my friend and fellow blogger EJG, I am going to try to keep a positive, albeit realistic view of life the next 365 days. Attempts will be made to find the good in life and the good in people. Goodness is out there and needs to be recognized.

Until next time....THAT'S ALL FOLKS!!