September 30

Kim guessed it first.   In the picture yesterday, I am in the second row, all the way on the left…red dress.   Applie, that should make you so happy.

I took 3 years of French, during high school.

I loved the way the language sounded, rolling off the tongue.

It is a  beautiful language, and I wanted to sound just as cool, just as sophisticated, and just as gorgeous as the French.

When I lived in Oklahoma, my best friend and I were in the same French class together.

I spoke better French, but she understood it better.  I was all about sounding cool, and not about learning the language.

All those conjugation of verbs and making sure each verb was in the right form. It made my head ache.

We would go to the mall on the weekends, and we would walk into a shop, both of us speaking French to each other, pretending not to know English.

We would make sure that one of the employees heard us.   They would, without fail, come over and try to help us.

We would take turns “translating” for the other, pretending to speak English with a thick French accent.   It was great fun, and it also made the store’s employees extremely attentive.  It was even greater fun to have one thing said, and translate something totally different.

Today’s TWD is Crème Brûlée.  Crème Brûlée is French for ‘burnt cream’.

I have never had crème brûlée before, and I couldn’t wait to make it.  Not only because it was French, but becasue I got to play with fire and not get in trouble for it.

Crème brûlée has all the ingredients of vanilla ice cream, so if you like vanilla ice cream, you’ll love this.

You can infuse the cream with all sorts of flavors…espresso, lavendar, cinnamon, chocolate, anything that you would like.

Since I had never had it before, I made it plain.   It is wonderful plain.

If you’d like to see the recipe,  Mari from Mevrouw Cupcake has the recipe on her blog.

Laissez les bon temps rouler.

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September 29

A very long time ago, when my sister and I were teenagers, the youth group we were in was so large that we went on Choir Tours.

We’d practice for months before hand, the youth leader’s wife would schedule church’s for us to sing in, we’d load up in an old school bus and for a week or so, we’d be away singing praises, and having tons of fun.

(Can you find me?)

At one point, we had stopped at a restaurant.   One of the boys (the one in the white tie) had a piece of parsley on his plate.   He picked it up, held it in front of his face and said “hey!  Camouflage”.   Of course, at 16, we all thought it was a riot!

Later that year, right before school started, my parents took us to Elephant Rock, a state park in Missouri.  We, still being the goofy teens that we were, ran ahead of the parents, found us some branches, crouched in the pathway with those branches in front of us as our “camouflage”.

Kind of like this….I wonder if he realizes what he started.

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September 27

Thursday morning found us scrambling around trying to get to the Fair Grounds around 8am.   We really didn’t need to be there till 8:30, but I really like a good parking spot, and the way the Fair Grounds are situated, good parking spots are gold, Internet, GOLD.

A golden parking spot was acquired, and in we went.

We got to the Art Building only to realize that the girl had scooped up the wrong exhibitors ticket.

Superman to the rescue.

Out she went to the front gate, while I set up our chairs.

About 2 minutes later, I went to stand with her at the font gate.

She was just a bit worried that Superman wouldn’t get her the right ticket on time.

Our conversations went a bit like this.

She: Mom, where IS he?

Me: Honey, it takes about 7 minutes to get here.  You have only been waiting about 2.

She: Oh..

He came valiantly to the rescue (5 minutes later) and we had an hour to spare.

How did we spend this hour, you ask???

We walked around the building for awhile looking at the 600+ photography entries.

I stared at her feet for awhile.

But the majority of the time, I spent in lens envy.

Oh…and someone placed.

September 26

Hey Internet!   It is Friday, and I am nosy.

It is Fair week here in Pothole, Ohio.   So today’s question(s) will be Fair related.

  1. Do you attend your county fair?
  2. Why? or why not
  3. What is your favorite fair food?

I am fortunate enough to live in the county seat, and live 7 minutes from our Fair Grounds, so we go.   We generally just go on the days that the chips enter items in the fair.

If I were to go on another day, it would be totally for fair food alone.

Favorite fair food???   French fries, funnel cakes, Italian sausage, Stromboli, and deep fried Snickers.

September 25

Thank you for all your Happy Birthday wishes for the girl yesterday.

She had a great day.

Yesterday was busy with the girls birthday.

Today is busy with taking the girl to the Fair to have her embroidery judged for the fair.

Tomorrow will be busy with taking in the boy’s food to be judged at the Fair.

Fortunately, the Fair is a 7 minute drive from my house.

Pictures tomorrow.

Oh….I miss my camera.    sigh….

September 24

Whenever I thought of having children, I always wanted a girl.

I couldn’t wait to have someone to dress up in pink.

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Or to sit and do her hair.

Today is my girls 16th birthday, and I thought that you might like to see the many faces of my girl.

You would?   Great.

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This is one of my most favorite pictures of her.   It captures her personality so well.

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4 months old at Christmas, 1992.

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Happy Birthday, my dearest girl.   You are all I ever dreamed of and more.

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September 23

Isn’t it so ironic how miscommunication can wreak all sorts of havoc in a person’s mind?

Yesterday, being the boy’s first day of college, I had asked him what time his last class ended.

2:15.

It takes about 45 minutes to get home from college, so when he wasn’t home by 3:15, I didn’t really think much about it.

3:30 came around and the niggling of “I hope he is ok” began to surface in my consciousness.  So I did what any other mother would do.

I gave him a call.

He didn’t answer.

People, let me just stop here and say that if your mom is calling you.   Answer. your. phone!

I don’t care if cell reception is spotty.  Answer. the. phone.

And when she calls at 3:35.   Don’t just let it ring and ring and ring and dump into your voice mail.

Mom’s tend to really begin to get concerned.  They begin to factor in time, slowness of traffic, the fact that you are the least irresponsible 18 year old you know, that you have to be at work at 4, and maybe the ER workers are working so furiously to save your life that they can’t stop and answer your phone and…and…and…

Where are you?!?!?!

At 3:43, I made my last call.

He answered.   He was just pulling up to the house.

Whew!  I could breathe again.

“Son, why were you so late?”

“I got behind someone sooooo slooooow.”

“Yeah, but your class ended at 2:15, where were you?”

“Mom!  My class ended at 2:50.  Didn’t you hear me tell you that?”

2:15, he had said 2:15….or at least that is what I heard.

Pausing a brief moment to say, when you are telling your parents times of events, don’t. mumble! and answer. the. phone!

None of that has anything whatsoever to do with my Dimply Apple Plum Cake, but I just had to get that out.

Today’s TWD, is Dimply Plum Cake picked out by Michelle of Bake-En.  If you’d like the recipe, check out her blog.

The boy had made this a couple months ago with peaches.   It was good, but I really am not a fruit in my cake type of person.

Fruit belongs in pies.

Fruit belongs in middle school lunch boxes, or trail mix, but not cake.

This wonderful cake calls for plums, but you can use peaches, nectarines, apricots or even cherries.  Blueberries would be great in it too.

Since it called for fruit, I thought that apple might go well with this.  I left out the cardamom and put in some apple pie spice,  and I have been thinking about caramel apples a lot lately, so maybe some caramel sauce on top to fancy it up a bit.

The texture of this brown sugar cake is different from any other cake I have had.   It is tender in the middle, the outside edges are slightly crunchy.  It is wonderful, and best eaten warm or on the first day.   The texture begins to change after that, but it is still great.

I highly suggest you try it.

Try it with apples, try it with blueberries, try it with any fruit you like, but try it.

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September 22

Happy first day of Autumn.

Today begins the shortest season of the year.

Autumn lasts all of 4 weeks 2 days, then the temperatures begin to drop like a rocket on steroids.   Snow begins to fall and we enter the longest season of the year.   Winter.   Frozen.

Winter Frozen lasts for 6 very long months up here in Pothole, Ohio.  6 long months of putting on coats and hats and gloves and scarves, only to arrive at your destination 15 minutes later, and  have to remove all you coats and hats and gloves and scarves.

Last year, the cold almost made me insane.   This year, I think I am moving to South America where the weather is always warm.   I’m chartering a cruise.   Anyone in???

Warning:  Rant

A friend of mine told me Saturday that she went to Lowes and saw Christmas trees already on display.

Seriously people!   It is still September.   It was 92º yesterday.

I don’t want or need to be reminded that 1. cold is coming  2. I haven’t even started shopping for that day or 3.  cold is coming.  Did I mention the cold?

Please let me enjoy the holidays as they come.   I want to wring every last minute out of Autumn.   I want to look forward to Thanksgiving.   I don’t want Christmas crammed. down. my. throat.   Having Christmas trees displayed early doesn’t make me want to shop at your store.   It makes me want to never enter it again till January 1.  But noooo.   You display so early, that I am forced to purchase things now, because if I wait like a normal person and shop you know…after Thanksgiving…nothing will be left for me to purchase.

Rant over.

Ok, I feel much better now.

Today, a new chapter in the book of the boys life starts.   It is entitled “The College Years”.   I am so proud.   So proud, I am about to explode.

So, today will find me outside, soaking up the sunshine, forgetting that December is only 4 months away and I haven’t started shopping yet, and trying very, very hard not to explode.

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September 21

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Family.
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Roots.

I am sure you all have seen ‘Cousin Jerry’ commenting on my blog.   Cousin Jerry is actually my dad’s cousin.

Dad and Jerry’s mother’s, were sisters.

He is family.

His genes are my some of my genes.

Meet Jerry’s grandma.   My great-grandma.

Her name was Alta Bullard.

Alta married Walter Dean McCarty around 1922ish.

Meet Walter Dean McCarty.  My great-grandpa.   He is holding my son.  His great-great-grandson. (taken in 1990)

My dad and my son are named after him.

In May I had posted about playing on an old antique wood cook stove at my great-grandpa’s house. (Interestingly, I posted in May of 2007 almost about the same thing)  Jerry sent me a few emails telling me a bit more about my great-grandparents, and my dad’s side of the family that I am quite unfamiliar with.

I am so glad he did, because I love who I am and where I came from.

I thought I’d share it with you.

Chocolatechic,
Aunt Etta (my great-grandpa’s sister) and Uncle John were my favorite source of stories to tell my kids. They never tired of hearing them. One thing I learned as a parent is that kids want to know how they fit in the world.
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They want to know how they’re connected to the world and that they are an important part of it. Everyone should tell their kids about their ancestors.
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Aunt Etta and Uncle John were originally from Portsmouth, Ohio.  She was a retired school teacher and he was retired from the highway dept.  They came to the Mechanicsburg area when Great-grandpa McCarty (my great-great grandpa) could no longer take care of his farm.
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The farm was about a mile straight west of Treakles Creek cemetery on a gravel road named McAdams Rd. The house was an old two story farm house with no indoor plumbing. An old hand pump was the only source of water. The house was heated by an oil stove in the center of the house. The kitchen was heated with the old cast iron range.  Up until about 15 years ago, the only thing left of the house was the old hand pump sticking up out of the ground.
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I don’t think your folks spent as much time with Aunt Etta and Uncle John as we did. One Saturday a month, our routine was getting up at 5:00 A.M. and going to Aunt Etta’s for a breakfast, and then on to Grandma’s (my great grandma’s~~first picture) house for the rest of the day.
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Aunt Etta  had what I call a REAL old stove. When we would go out to visit, Aunt Etta would fix a platter of eggs (with a couple of goose eggs on top for good measure), a platter of fried potatoes, a platter of sausage and bacon and a platter of orange-drop cookies for breakfast. Aunt Etta cooked everything with LARD! But. OHHH was it good!  And it was all fixed on an old cast iron stove.  The stove must’ve had it’s own foundation, because I don’t know how their floor could support it. She had no running water except for a hand pump  on an enclosed porch. They had an out house and a chamber pot for the other necessities.

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Too bad you didn’t get to know Aunt Etta and Uncle John(he had only one good eye). When my kids where little, they loved to hear stories about their Great-Great aunt and uncle. They were REALLY old-timey!

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Aunt Etta was sort of a jolly person with a cackling kind of laugh (Martha has a similar cackle).
(This is Martha~my dad’s sister)
She never had kids of her own and really loved her nieces (Mom and Aunt Doris(My grandma)). She was not what I would call a very attractive person physically. She had two prominent moles on her forehead, and with her strong Scots-Irish features, I always thought she could play a witch-like character in a play.
Great-grandma McCarty (pictured here with my dad standing behind her) was a lovely person and lived with them on the farm. Mom(My Aunt Betty) and Aunt Doris (my Grandma) were her only Grand-children. Great-grandpa died before we kids were born.

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Uncle John was a large man with a patch over his bad eye. He was wounded by mustard gas in WWI. He was a bald-headed man with no teeth and had an ornery sense of humor.
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Nothing seemed to amuse him more than teasing us kids to tears. We would run and tell Aunt Etta and she would mildly rebuke him, but, that just amused him all the more. When my brother Dan was real little, my brother would say “More pie!” every time he wanted more food no matter what kind of food it was. Uncle John never forgot that and would say “More pie!” and laugh about it every time he saw us.

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They raised geese, chickens, a few beef cows and goats (I think). They did their farming with an old Percheron horse named Joe-Joe. After much begging, Uncle John would occasionally let us ride on Joe-Joe’s back. They also had a big friendly English Spaniel dog that ran around the place. In about 1959, they had to sell the farm and move to town.
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Shortly after they moved, Aunt Etta was diagnosed with cancer and died not long later. Great-grandma went to live with Grandma and Grandpa.(my great-grandparents)
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We kind of lost touch with Uncle John after Aunt Etta died. There is no doubt that she was the heart and soul of the household.   As Uncle John got older, he became a little more grouchy and forgetful. He had a very over-weight cocker-spaniel for company( he fed her ice cream!). According to Grandpa,(my great grandpa) Uncle John got so upset at a villain on TV that he threw something right through the picture tube of his TV.
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Eventually he had to be put into the veteran’s home in Dayton. He was well into his 90’s when he died- sometime in the late 60’s or early 70’s.

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Old Joe-Joe the horse spent the rest of his days in the pasture directly across from Treakles Creek cemetery where Aunt Etta and Uncle John are buried along with most of the rest of our family.

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As I was saying earlier, after that big breakfast at Aunt Etta’s, we would go to Grandma’s(my great-grandparents) house for the rest of the day.  At the end of the day, we kids would put our pajamas on, go out to the barn and sit on the feed box in front of the cows being milked and watch as Grandpa finished
the milking. The smells were absolutely wonderful. Nobody can tell me we didn’t have a great childhood.
Ah well, those were the days.
Great memories.
Cousin Jerry
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Thanks Jerry, for such lovely memories, and for letting me know more about my ancestors.

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We need to get together some time soon.
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Roots.   They go deep and spread wide, but the same roots feed the entire tree.
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September 20

I am busily working on what was to be today’s blog, but life caught up with me fast this morning.

Tomorrow, I will have a full blown post with pictures and everything.

Today, I will be enjoying the last day of summer by hemming 2 pair of pants and cleaning.

Good times, Internet, good times.

September 19

Hi Internet!

It’s Friday, and I’m nosy.

I have traveled with my sister more than any other person in the world.   She loves ‘adventure’.   I call it getting freaky lost, but she has a better outlook than I do.

Ma, ya might not want to read this next part.

Once we were traveling, she driving and getting tired, so I offered to drive.   The thing is, we didn’t want to pull over.   So, we set the cruise and switched places.  On the Interstate.   Doing about 70.   We were having an adventure.

So, I ask you what is something really, really stupid you’ve done that could easily have resulted in your own death?

September 17

For those of you wanting yesterday’s recipe, Claudia has it up. Her blog is in German, but she has it set up to where you can click on a link and it automatically translates into English.

For the longest time, I had been searching for something for me the  Chips to snack on that was

1. fun great tasting,

2. healthy,  and

3.  will last longer in my their stomach than 20 minutes.

To me, carrot sticks and apples while healthy, are definately not fun.

3 years ago I found it.   I can not remember where I found this sweet little snack, but it is hearty, fun, and just a wee bit healthy too.

First get yourself a tortilla.

You can use any kind.   Wheat, white, rice, whatever makes you your kiddos happy.   Spread it with about 2 tbsp. peanut butter.

Drizzle with honey.

Sprinkle with granola.

You can make home made or use the stuff off the shelf.   I prefer home made.

Roll them up, slice them and eat them give them to your kiddos.

This snack meets all my requirements.   I sometimes make this for lunch.   One tortilla lasts me them a good 4 hours.

Try it, you’ll like it.

September 16

First, I just can not reiterate enough just how much I appreciate electricity.   Hot shower, blow dryer, C-PAP, washing machine, internet service, etc.

Thank you Ben Franklin for discovering electricity.

Bad segue…

I will never forget my first memory of chocolate.   I was 4, I think, (ma or Aunt please correct me) and I went on vacation with my grandparents.  They had this silver bulletesque  camper, and we went to Kentucky.   I sat on my grandma’s lap and she fed me Milky Way candy bars from a bag.  I never knew that candy bars could come in a bag.   Grandma was a wonder at getting her grandchildren cookies, candy and snacks.

I have a few other vague memories of that trip, but it is the Milky Way’s and sitting on Grandma’s lap, being able to see out the front that is burned vividly into my consciousness.

When I saw that we were doing another cookie for today’s TWD, I was a bit ‘iffy’.   The last 2 were rather disappointing to me, and I just didn’t know if I wanted to… 1.  be disappointed again and 2.  use up ingredients that I could be using for something fabulous.

This recipe did not disapoint.

Internet, this recipe has six different kinds of chocolate in it.  SIX !!!  With that much chocolate, how could I be disappointed?

There was unsweetened chocolate and bittersweet in the batter.   The recipe said to melt over a double boiler.   I just can’t bring myself to do that, when I can do it just as nicely in the microwave.   Please don’t tell Jacques Torres.   I might be kicked out of the chocolate club.

Then there was powdered cocoa added to the flour.

After that, we folded in 3 different kind of chips.  Semi-sweet, milk and that other ‘stuff’ some people call white chocolate, but it really is just cocoa butter chips.   I was supposed to add raisins, but I am just not a raisin fan, so I didn’t…because I could.

As you can see there just barely enough dough to hold all the yummies together.

If you go to Claudia’s blog at Fool for Food, you will find the recipe, and can make these fabulous cookies for yourself.

When you do, you will find yourself in chocolate overload, but don’t worry.

You’ll  like it.

I promise.

Why Chocolatechic didn’t post this morning

It all began around 3pm yesterday afternoon.

Chocolatechic and the girl were home alone and taking advantage of Netflix’s ‘view now’ when the lights began to flicker, and the WiFi connection conked out.

That is when Chocolatechic and the girl actually noticed that the wind was blowing.

Hard.

By 5ish, our electricity had flickered on and off so much that the girl and gave up I just went outside.

The  neighbors had gathered  around my next door neighbor’s house to chat about who’s house was getting torn apart faster.

‘Cause we are all about ‘loving thy neighbor’.

(not only was this picture taken with my little Nikon CoolPix, it was taken in 40 mph winds)

After we watched this poor man’s roof blow off, the girl and I went down the street to see if other neighbors needed help. <——-read, I wanted to get pictures of destruction so I could blog about it.

We watched this limb fall.

This is Cadillac Man’s yard.

He works at one of the funeral homes here in town, and he always has either a Cadillac hearse or limo parked in his drive.

Bad day to park under a tree.

Makes me almost happy I don’t have a tree in my yard.

Almost.

Chocolatechic’s house remained totally unscathed.

Except for that pesky little ‘no electricity’ thing.

September 15

Dear Internet,

I heart electricity.

I heart electricity.

I heart electricity.

I haven’t had any for the last 12 hours, but it has just come on.

I heart electricity.

I will update this soon, showing pictures of Ikes destruction here in Pothole, Ohio.

September 14

I was reminded this past week about words.

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About how helpful and harmful words can be.

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.Flippant words.

Supportive words.

Ugly words.

Happy words.

Sarcastic words.

Caring words.

Angry words.

Funny words.

Words that are never meant to hurt but do.

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How we speak to each other not only impacts people for the moment, but it impacts people for a lifetime.

I’ll never forget 1981.  My dad became a pastor, and we moved to St. Marys, Ohio.

On that first day of school, my very first class was PE.    I didn’t have PE clothes, so I sat on the bleachers the entire time.   Close to the end of the class period, 2 girls came up and one sat on either side of me.

They began chanting to me  “U. G. L. Y.  you don’t have an alibi.   Your ugly.   Your ugly.”  Over and over again.

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First day of school.

Not knowing anyone at all.

No where to turn.

No one to run to.

I remember nothing else from that year.   I don’t remember their names.   I don’t remember their faces, but I do remember their words.


What are YOU saying to others?

How are you saying those words?

How are YOU impacting the people around you?

Do you build each other up?

Are you flippant and sarcastic?

Do you tell people that you care?

Do you tell them in such a way that it will stay with them for the rest of their lives?

Be careful what you say.

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The spoken word can NEVER be taken back, can never be erased.

Never.

September 13

I had put it off for as long as I possibly could.

But it couldn’t be put off any longer.

My warranty was about to expire.

You see, my beloved camera had just been giving me way to many fits.   The lens wouldn’t seat well, and I was always getting this ‘F—‘ error message stating that the lens wasn’t attached, when it really was.

It was annoying.

It was aggravating.

It had to be fixed.

But, I have some confessions to make.

  • I am a camera snob
  • I am addicted to photography
  • If I had to choose between giving up pink, chocolate, or my camera I don’t know which one I’d choose.

So,  because I can not be without a camera, and because there is no way I could purchase another good camera,  I went to Stuffmart.  I wrangled a pretty good deal on a point and shoot camera, and came home.

That was well over a week ago, and I am just now getting around to sending it off.

Why?

Why have I put it off?

Because I have been taking pictures with a Cadillac and now am reduced to a 2 seater Geo Metro.

I don’t like my Geo Metro.

I want my Cadillac back. (actually, I’d prefer to upgrade to a Rolls…)

2-3 weeks, Internet.   I have to be strong for 2-3 weeks.

I will just have to wrap myself in pink, and eat more chocolate.

September 12

Hi Internet.

It is Friday and I am nosy.

First, for those of you that asked, the girl is not taking ballet.   Most likely she never will again, but she gets in her shoes quite often, just to keep it in her head, to keep muscle tone, and to dance for herself.

Now…for my nosy question!

Since it is September, and the new fall line up is going to start in a couple of weeks, what television show are you willing to stay up late to watch?  and why do you like that show so much?