In the wake of Eric's continued problems with his employer (the fire department) and his long-standing injury, there's been a definite need to downsize the house and the utility bills. Plus, when we moved into this house, Eric was overseas with the Army, my mom was living with us helping with the kids, and Anna was 17. Now, we're in five bedrooms with me and Eric, Stony, the girls sharing a big room, Mom living on her own, and Anna heading off to college.

But in this three-story-house-plus-a-basement, you don't even want to know what the utilities run. Plus, it's a lot of house to take care of...something we don't really have time to do. For us,'s just too much house. I have to say the rent is very reasonable, but it's still downtown rent, and we can cut that cost with something smaller.

So, with almost two years of a three-year lease under our belt, we asked our landlord if she'd let us out of the lease. She's a super-wonderful woman and was very sympathetic about the situation. She agreed to let us out of the lease if we'd show the house (and when an acceptable replacement was found). That was about five days ago.

Since then, I've been gathering moving supplies, packing the decorative things, and trying hard to find a nice, clean place that's affordable and, at the same time, in a neighborhood safe for the kids. The thing is, rentals move fast! But moving is hard and takes a long time, too! When we moved in 2006, it seemed like it took 15 of my closest, liquor-sweating friends to get it done and still took all day. (Yet another thanks to those friends!!) So we figured we'd see what was out there and then be ready to jump whenever our current place rented...especially since the new tenant would probably want to move quickly, too. (There's more information to come on that in about six days...but it looks like we'll actually have our choice of two really good situations!)

THEN, today, our landlord referred a very well-known, local do-gooder...a friend of the landlord' look at our current house. The prospective tenant has two friends who live 30-or-more miles away, work in town, and are getting killed by gas prices. They want to move to town...and the woman wanted to come look at the house in 90 minutes! We rushed home to try to make the house at least somewhat presentable, and minimize the evidence of three young kids and three cats. Eric, Anna, and I produced a whirlwind of efficient action and did quite a miraculous job...turning the house from a possible health hazard into just a place that needs the stuff moved out of it and then cleaned.

The prospective tenant, herself a really cool person who loves an early 20th Century house with lots of character (more than she cares about the dirt in it) indeed dug the large rooms, the high ceilings, the gas stove, the antique, claw-foot tub, and the creaky wood floors. She called the landlord right away and told them she and her friends would take it!

The timing will be perfect because her lease at her current place ends at the end of June, allowing us four more weeks to get the decision about the other place(s) settled and finish packing/moving. Eric will be out-of-town with the Army, too (relax, my strong, youngish friends)...but he'll be back the last week of June.

So, even though life has dealt us some craptastic days the last year, this week yielded some good progress toward a less expensive and less labor-intensive living situation. Whether you consider them prayers or just a petition to the energy that makes up our universe, these things are very positive responses to my very serious requests.

Childhood Laughs

I've always appreciated the simplicity of physical comedy...and as a child I loved to watch The Carol Burnett Show. In honor of the passing of Harvey Korman today, here's something that really, really makes me laugh:

Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta

For the past several years, I've adopted the position that going for a drive to nowhere specific with someone, especially a teenager, is a great way to get them to talk. (Sitting across a restaurant table from each other also works because no one has to cook or clean and eating has always been a social event for people.) My youngest sister, Anna (whom I've raised since she was 12) is 19 now. Anna and I go for nowhere drives a lot...and we often talk at length about culture, equality, teen issues, movies and music. Of course, this got a lot easier after Anna turned about 17. Before that, between about age 13 and 17, it seemed like all she did was cry melodramatically and wail that my husband and I were crazy.

Anna has always identified more with the African-American culture and attributes this to having lived around several African-American families as a child where the mother was someone she really enjoyed and respected. Now, on our drives, she talks a lot about her experience as one of the only white people in her groups of friends, about the things people say to her, and about the reactions she gets. It's almost all positive. Anna doesn't try to be anything she's not and I think people, in general, relate to that.

Today she told me that one of her friends commented, "You have all black friends...but you act so white!" This wasn't a cut on her. They were talking about her lack of use of their own sociolect and probably about her choice of stylish but only slightly Hip-Hop-style clothing. I've always spoken to and around her about how I think a person can appreciate and admire another culture, but that one should not appropriate another culture for their own personal use like some sort of fashion statement (which is why I've always wanted to, but have never been quite sure if I should...wear a Sari).

So Anna said she laughed and said, "Hey, I live with the whitest gangsters in the world." She told them about my tendency to say I live in the Hoo-Dizzle, to turn the bass all the way up in the minivan when we're listening to rap music, speak at length about the complicated stories of The Black Panthers and The Conservative Vice Lords, and texting her Tupac lyrics ("We got money for war, but can't feed the poor").

She also did her impression of me singing rap lyrics in my excellent diction and nearly accent-free voice, all while usually wearing a t-shirt and my Danskos. (In case you're wondering why I'm not rapping in my beloved Appalachian accent...I really love it and am fascinated by its history, but growing up in some different areas around the country homogenized my accent.)

The moral of my story is twofold: (1) we're all our coolest when we don't try so hard; and (2) my Danskos are the most gangsta, high-end, healthy foot, comfort shoes...eva.

Tina's Adventures in Ambien Land

Well, my fascination with my (and some other people's) reaction to Ambien might be a little self-centered...or maybe even narcissistic. I guess I'm not so worried about seeming narcissistic, because I'm sure people are just as fascinated with me as Ahem.

But, I have to mention this: I spent Monday through yesterday looking all around the house for my brux guard. (In my body's continued quest to make sleeping as unsatisfying as possible, I grind my teeth when I'm not experiencing insomnia.) In case you don't know, a brux guard is something you wear in your mouth that cushions the attempted grinding of the teeth. I couldn't find this thing anywhere! And this is not like you can just go out and replace these things! They're really expensive (for anyone who's brother-in-law is not a dentist) and still take several days to get back, and fruit basket to your brother-in-law's office if he is a dentist.

I knew it could be laying around the bedroom or bathroom because, despite what the commercials say, Ambien is hard to shake off when you wake up. (Should that be "laying" or "lying"? Is it "chickens lay and horses lie"? Why are horses so dishonest? What about "getting it right from the horse's mouth"?) But what's the choice? Be tired, disoriented, and unhealthy because of long-term sleep deprivation?

Anyway, the amnesia that you have at night can linger into the morning and, in my experience, it makes me emotional. Here's an example of THAT...back in January I was doing my last-minute weather checks for the Orlando area since we were getting ready to take the kids to Disney World for vacation. I checked every morning when I first got up, waiting for the 10-day forecast to totally encompass the days of our visit. So one morning I'm upset beyond belief when I read that our trip was going to be filled with 30-something-degree days and a possible snowstorm. I immediately sent out a somewhat hysterical e-mail to all my friends, my dad (who lives in Sarasota), and my two brothers.

About an hour later I got to work and suddenly reality sank's crazy to think it would be 30-something degrees and snowing in Orlando...let alone for several days in a row. I checked again and realized that I had not clicked on my saved Orlando search and had, therefore, been looking at the weather for Charleston, WV. Not surprisingly, and maybe intuitively, my dad's one-line response to my written hysterics was "No snow in the Big O."

So I couldn't find my brux guard for three days. I had to sleep without it and awoke with all the symptoms of grinding my teeth the night before. This morning, I was digging in the bottom of my purse looking for more mints (to which I'm addicted) and I brux guard. I just wonder at what point Monday morning I decided to take it to work with me.

Power Scrabble & Scrabbling PA style

For a casual, Saturday, informal club meeting, Raf, Lisa, Corey, and I had some pretty good competition going! Due to some scheduling issues, we didn't have our regular club meeting but the four of us got together to play anyway.

I lost to Raf...but we had a fun, close game. Then I lost to Lisa, who had a great string of bingos, and I wouldn't take that away from her...except for maybe in a tournament...if I could!! We had three games, played round-robin style... and it goes a little sumthin like dissss...

Raf and I put up scores that were nothing to sneeze at, especially if one wants to keep their Scrabble board dry. We ended up with scores of 390 and 384, respectively. I gave it my best shot, coming up with HOISTED (74) and LOANERS (for 67 points).

Raf held no punches with Lisa, scoring an impressive 435 without any bingos! Lisa's game was a very respectable 305, including AXIS and QI, for 33 points each.

However, Lisa beat me like I stole something. Her 455 points put my measly 285 to shame. She put up bingo after bingo with ZEALOTS (94), REVOKES (83), and, in the very next play, DECEASED (for 76 points). I could pull out only one bingo, NOISIER (for 67 points). It's no surprise that the game too only 14 1/2 turns since Lisa was using up all the tile's Sam's Club-style (in bulk).

Lisa's husband, Corey, was playing for the second time (I think) with our group and Lisa says she's beginning to regret teaching him how to play so well. He's making great strides in his game, and in short order. In their game, Corey pulled out the dubya with 300 points to Lisa's 263.

Then, in his game against Corey, Raf dished it out again, scoring 342 to Corey's 251. Corey got in at least one really good punch, playing HAZEL on a triple word score for 59 points.

Corey also put up some good numbers in our game, scoring 286 to my 395. I lucked out with a bingo using SQUATTER on a triple for 101 points. By the way, I also won for the naughtiest word of the day which was...(cover your eyes if you don't want to see)...CUM. The prize for the naughtiest word, by the way? Bragging rights.

So did you notice that Raf is three-and-oh with no bingos at all? As usual, he produced a steady stream of words between 20 and 30 points, interspersed with some zingers like ZA (64 points against Lisa), ZEES (47 points against me), and MOXIE (for 63 points against Corey).

In the end, I think with our one, up-and-coming new player, and the other three of us moving further out of our new phase, we put up a good showing. You know, all the coffee drinkers in the place would try to walk on by like they weren't interested or impressed, but I could sense that they really were.

So, you know, we'll go back there and give them another impressive show...if they're luckaayyyyy!!! Of course, in two weeks Martha, Brad, Chris and I will be kickin it tournament style in Pittsburgh. Right now, 42 players are scheduled, including 20 in my division!! This will be my fifth tournament since I started in April 2007. My tournaments, in order, have yielded records, of 2-10, 5-8, 6-5, and 2-4. I'm hoping to continue what has mostly been an upward swing which, to me, will equal success.

Wish me luck!

Mathematical Probabilities in Modern Music

Many thanks to Martha for making me EL-OH-EL with this compliment to yesterday's blog:

And along those same lines, here are some other graphs I love that help us see how musical lyrics are directly related to life:

iTunes Treasures

Do you ever find some hidden treasure in your iTunes...tucked in with the 3000 other songs? Some song or artist you forgot was in there? Last night I "found" Talking Heads. I think they compliment my recent run with Queen, Blondie, and Meatloaf pretty well. So for today I'm loyal to Talking Heads...until I become bored with it and some other, cuter, seemingly more interesting band comes along and manages to turn my head. It's a cycle.

The Weekend So Far

Well, six people from Charleston trekked to Huntington yesterday for the second meeting of their Scrabble club. Funny thing, though...aside from one dedicated player (who has driven here to Charleston to play) and one newer, but very skilled, one else from Huntington showed up. Not even...umm...the director. It appears that just maybe the last meeting's strong showing was a fluke, a lot of the director's friends showing up at his request, etc.

Still, we had a great time in a really cool environment. We snacked on mostly vegetarian food (which was delicious) and had some very non-vegan cappuccino drinks and milkshakes. I ended up 2-1 with a pretty decent point spread and, you know, as long as I don't just do really, really bad...I'm happy just to play. Based on this experience, and the need for the occasional backup director here in Charleston, I've decided to take the NSA Director's Test. Passing this test will not just make me more of a Miss Smarty Pants, it will qualify me to conduct or officiate, so to speak, both club meetings and tournaments.

Since Eric is away with the Army Reserves on drills this weekend, the rest of the evening found me at home, playing Scrabulous on Facebook, goofing around on the Internets, and researching exciting things like wallpaper. Before I knew it, though, it seemed like it was just about bedtime.

So without Ambien, I can't maintain an acceptable amount of sleep. Before I started taking it, I had a hard time falling asleep, would sleep restlessly, and would wake up every morning about 4:30 and not be able to go back to sleep. Now my routine is to take it about 10:30 or 11:00 and go to bed about 45 minutes later, when it really kicks in. I do have what's known as Ambien Amnesia which means I have almost no memory of conversations and events while Ambien is in my system. One sort of funny part of this side effect is my tendency to send somewhat off-the-wall or nonsensical e-mail to people while I'm Ambien. It's a good thing I'm not the angry drunk type, so the e-mails usually don't have any malicious content. The most troublesome, but less common, problem is what I call "breaking through" the Ambien. When this happens, I somehow move past the medication's sleep inducement and stay up nearly all night with no real sense of the passing of time. This has only happened a few times but, yes, it happened last night. One minute I was getting ready to wrap up the last of my Scrabulous moves before the ridiculousness set in and, the next thing I knew, it was 4:00 a.m. I sent an e-mail to someone at 3:00 a.m., the evidence of which is in my OutBox. Other than that, I think I played more Scrabulous.

So much for my crazy-chick-who-totally-pulls-off-the-acting-normal thing. Today will continue to be one seriously tired day. I'm glad Eric will be home tonight so he can supervise and make sure I actually go to sleep at some point.

Scrabble in the River City

Tomorrow is the second meeting of the newly-formed, and still developing, Huntington WV Scrabble club! Pleasing it is...because now I can play Scrabble in a competitive (but fun) setting almost every week. It gives a little something special to every an extra-fun mini-break right in the middle of the break from work. I hope I make a good showing, though. Last weekend, I got my ass handed to me!!


Sometimes...when I'm having toast...I like to be incredulous.

Thoughts from the Road

For work today, I did deed research in Cabell County, about an hour away. I love courthouse work. I get to drive, the work is sometimes interesting (like a puzzle, trying to find out what happened with someone's property), and no one bugs me. And it seems like any drive that lasts more than 30 minutes allows my brain to wander, gives me time to really take in some good music, and lets me be attentive to the funny or interesting things I pass.

So, today I thought...

Wow! My taste in music is so very eclectic. (Does everyone say that?) Anyway, my favorite style of music cycles from one genre to another all the time. Right now I find myself listening a lot to Queen, Blondie, and Meatloaf. It's surprising how well those artists go together on a playlist. I think they're artists whose music was/is different than anything else out there, and powerful in sort of an energetic kind of way. Many of the songs are in my repertoire of those I sing loudly when I'm in the car by myself. My greatest hits: Bohemian Rhapsody (No, No, No, No, NO, NO, NO!!!), Two Out of Three Ain't Bad (...but there ain't no Coupe de Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box...), and One Way or Another. I'm also digging on a lot of old disco right now. (Stop laughing.) Play that Funky Music makes me dance in my chair every time. That's some of the original Cowbell style, you know! And for you youngsters out there, here's an interesting, albeit trivial, thing about Bohemian Rhapsody: although there's speculation that the lyrics are rooted in Freddie Mercury's family's deep involvement in Zoroastrianism, when interviewed about the song, Mercury himself insisted that the lyrics were just "random, rhyming nonsense."

If you have a die-cut "In Memory Of..." decal on your car, and you have to remove it because you're selling the car, does the faint image of the decal appear whenever the windows fog up? If so, does this freak the new owner out? And if that happens, does the car get sold and resold, like one would with a haunted house, never telling the next owner what they're in for? Finally, would I ever want my friends and family expressing their "memory" of me on a bumper sticker?

As I passed by Barbie's Formals (a dress shop), I wondered, "Do all the dresses inside look something like this..."
I love my iPod. The thing that bugs me is trying to listen to it in the car with my current equipment. The only thing I've got so far to get the music from the iPod out through the car speakers is the radio transmitter thing. First of all, no matter what, there's a decent amount of static as a result of this process. Secondly, if you're "in town," then it's too hard to keep the radio tuned to a station that's adequately distant from the transmitter's frequency. If you're driving from one town to another, you're likely to notice the static getting worse when you get closer to the town (when your transmitter, again, is set on a frequency and there happens to be a station in the area close to that setting). I've got my eye on this contraption but, after factoring in installation costs, and the fact my OCD would require me to have one for each vehicle, the purchase would definitely be a luxury and a special treat.

And I wonder if the person driving behind me on the back road from Barboursville to Milton thought I was a maniac. First of all, my car's looking a little rough. It's six years old, sufficiently "dinged," and currently filthy. The last one is not only because cleaning the car is about the lowest thing on my priority list, but also because the rubber around the antenna is dry rotted, so the antenna is rockin the gangsta lean. Anyway, I can't take it through the automatic car wash. So I'm driving along in my usual...ummm...expeditious style and this lady in front of me started to merge into the turning lane to our left. She slowed way down and, calculating my ability to just glide on by her, I kept going pretty much straight. But she changed her mind and decided to turn left from the driving lane. I had to brake pretty aggressively to not hit her then, in my super-quick, lightening-style thinking, went to her right when I realized I might hit her anyway. Since Mario Andretti and I share the same birthday, this maneuver allowed me to reaccelerate. The whole time, I'm aware of the car behind me, in case the thing with me and Ms. Doesn't-Know-The-Rules-Of-Turning-Left causes them to plow into me, in which case I would have activated my force field immediately before the would-be impact. A minute later, I came around a slight turn which was angled just enough to hide this fairly big piece of styrofoam which was right in the middle of the road. I plowed into it and it smashed into a million pieces...then blew out of the back of my car like a tiny-beaded smokescreen. Of course, there was no need to slow down then...the damage had been done. I wonder if static electricity caused tons of those little things to stick to their car. THAT would be funny.

Triple Nerd Score

For about 18 months, I've been playing Scrabble. For about the last four months, I've been full-on obsessed and immersed in it. Of course, when I first started playing, I was what would be known in the poker world as a "fish". I'm working my way up, though...learning more words, better word placement, and so on. It really helps that I get in tons of games with the best players around (at least as far as members of the National Scrabble Association go). Brad and Martha make up half of the top four players in West Virginia. (How many's half? One-and-three-quarters? I'm a SCRABBLE player, people...not a mathemagician!!!!)

So, anyway, competing against players who are so much better helps me strengthen my game. Saturday's regular club meeting was poor evidence that it's doing me any good, though. I got my ass absolutely handed to me...twice. I'm not saying I should, by any means, be unbeatable at this point. Aside from the existing players, there's a bunch of up-and-coming players movin' on up through the ratings, making the competition especially...ummm...competitive. PLUS, we had two new players who to put this...SHARKS!!! Heh. I'm kidding. They're just good players who have been building their skills behind closed doors as part of their super-secret, devious plan to take over the Scrabble world, including my tiny section of it. OKAY, okay...they're just good players.

It's a great thing that the local club is growing, that a new club has sprouted in Huntington (about an hour away), and that even more competitive players are taking Scrabble another step past the kitchen table. I'm hope this new concentration of players will motivate me to take my game even further. Even if my skills top out and my opponents leave me in the ratings dust, I still say that Scrabble is more funner than anything out there (since I cut back on the drinking).

Toddler Angst

My almost-four-year-old has the distinct brand of over-the-top stubbornness that could only have been inherited from her father. She also exhibits the interesting trait of the intelligent child who maybe lacks a little motivation. She didn't walk until well after a year old and simply seemed to prefer being carried. I guess it didn't help that my mother-in-law and the Manny actually did carry her everywhere. But she has a great vocabulary and what I think are pretty advanced verbal skills. Sometimes I refer to her as "The Evil Genius" because of her advanced knowledge of sneakiness and The Art of Making Your Older Sister Cry.

So for months we've been trying to convince her to potty train. She actually can go potty on a regular basis and has done so for days at a time. After that, she'll start going in her Pull-Ups (or her pants if we've fallen for the idea of alleged potty training...again) and attribute it to being "too busy" to stop what she was doing and go to the bathroom. She's wanted to go to pre-school for a long time so we've even used that as an incentive. It's touchy, because, as a psychology major, I'm paranoid that we're going to give her "issues" about the whole thing and then her little psyche will be permanently damaged. (Heh. Yeah, horray for my ability to be rational.) But she's even gone to pre-school for about seven days before her motivation wore off.

Anyway, she just used "I gotta go potttyyyy" as an excuse to get out of her bed for a minute. She's in the bathroom now, down the hallway, and I can hear her yelling, from the toilet I'm sure. She's shouting...(and read this phonetically)..."I don't cure if I don't go to pee-school! I don't cure!! I don't wanna go to pee-school anywayyy." Ironic, huh? "Pee"-school.

Do you think we can find a Kindergarten that takes kids in Pull-Ups? Maybe she'll be on the Jeopardy teen tournament one day and her cute story will be how she's so full-o-info because she was home schooled...because she didn't potty train until she was 11.

Dancin and singin and movin to the groovin

It's getting easier to remember special days around here. My great friends Melissa and Sara share April 19th as their birthday and now my brother Cliff's anniversary is on the same day! Eric and I flew down for the wedding last month and had a crazy-fun weekend.

Thursday we got settled into our hotel, took a little nap, and headed out to the Sarasota Sailing Squadron for the pre-pre-wedding party, hosted by my brother's fiance's Texas friends and family. The weather was windy and cold for Sarasota but being waterfront at sunset is always beautiful.

Ummm...did I mention it was cold? Well, it was cold...and I had arrived in Florida with a nagging cough resulting from the yellow layer of pollen coating every surface back in West Virginia. So, after Thursday night's windy chill, Friday morning found me with no voice, a deeper (but still dry) cough, and no energy because I couldn't breathe. I spent the day in the bed at the hotel with a box of Mucinex by my side. Unfortunately, I missed the bridal luncheon but taking some down-time to try and recover was the only chance that the whole weekend wouldn't be tanked.

By Friday night, I felt somewhat better so, still without my voice, Eric and I trotted off to the rehearsal dinner. It seemed like a lot of people were just beginning to recover from Thursday night...not in the same way that I had recovered from Thursday night, though. My Florida family is known for its partying power and, for the last several years, they've been able to drink me under the table and stay out waaayyyy later than I. Friday night I learned that they'd all gone out after the end of the pre-pre-party and many of them (especially the younger relatives and their friends) had gotten home at about 4:00 a.m. The rehearsal dinner was low-key and gave everyone the chance to sit around together, enjoy the food and drinks, and get ready for The Big Day.

Saturday morning was an A+ in my book. Since I'm not the best at sleeping in anymore, I woke up at about 8:00 and searched the Internets for something comparable to Charleston's Taylor Books. I lucked out and found maybe the coolest coffee shop to ever be located in a strip mall. Java Moon Coffee had free Wi-Fi, comfy chairs, local art, great latte, a to-die-for egg and cheese sandwich (on a croissant), and an atmosphere that welcomed me to stay the several hours I did. Of course, that meant online Scrabble time!!!! After several games of Scrabble, two extra-strength lattes, one egg sandwich, and maybe something sweet...I blame the fact that I can't remember on the two extra-strength lattes...I went back to the hotel to nap (yes!) until it was time to get ready for the wedding.

Being familiar as they are with: (1) Florida's quick-changing weather; and (2) their friends' and families' desire to get on with the party, my brother Cliff and his fiance, Beth, had a short, outdoor ceremony in the outdoor garden of the Chelsea Center. After that, we all had a 20-second walk to the reception, right inside the Chelsea Center's doors.

Fifteen minutes later, everyone was drunk and on the dance floor. Okay...I'm kidding! Kidding!!! Everyone knows you have to eat before you really start to drink or you'll get sick. hour later everyone was drunk and on the dance floor (or something like that).

Seriously, though, the party was spectacular! The band was called's a local favorite and the favorite of my dad and step-mother. They have a special talent for "playing to the crowd" and changing their set on-the-fly based upon how their audience responds. Almost everyone danced...and danced a lot! We all got our groove on to disco, newer dance stuff, and even some classic rock that you shouldn't be able to (even though we all did anyway). And did you know that if 200 people sing Bohemian Rhapsody at the top of their lungs, it can actually sound pretty good? It helps if you swing your arms around dramatically and maybe even direct an invisible orchestra or play an invisible guitar.

My dad played with the band for a few songs and that's always a big treat. He's been playing for, oh, maybe 40 years, and gets a great response. My lack of any discernible rhythm and/or pitch is some pretty strong evidence that I did not inherit any of his musical abilities. Heh. That's okay. I did end up with a pretty decent talent for photography, which it appears that I gained from that side of the family.

And the party went on. For hours everyone danced and drank and danced some more. Stormbringer played until about midnight, and the after-partying began. Eric and me being Eric and me, though, midnight was about enough. We headed back to our hotel room, buzzing from one of those super-good-time, perfect-amount-of-fun-without-overdoing-it, special kind of nights. Nothing compares to dancing all night, spending time with your family, and not ending up with a hangover the next day.

There are lots of pictures on my Picasa page. Here are some that I really, really like:

Beth, my cousin Erica & Erica's sister Jennifer

My dad and me

Beau (father of the bride), my Grandma Lucy, and my dad

My stepmom Patty and my Aunt Beth

Me with my brothers Cliff and Keith

Me & my brother Keith.
Can we get a bigger bottle, please?

My Grandma Lucy and me

Beth and Cliff, newlyweds

Larry Crane (check out his website!)

Stormbringer...and my dad

Blogging it up

By definition, fads come and go and anyone who doesn't have a MySpace by now probably isn't going to make one. Although I got in on the MySpace trend somewhat early on, my page has been up for a few years now and I'm not finding it as fun or interesting as it used to be. Some people say it became a "time sucker" but that part of it came and went for me quite a while ago. So, I'm not sure yet if I'll completely dismantle it, but I'm not really going to mess with it much anymore.

But then sometimes we still need a forum for our opinions or an interesting story...or even just some random thoughts. I used to post those on my MySpace blog but that fell along the wayside along with my routine time on the site. I haven't blogged at all in about six months...and not much the six months before that. So now I'm here. Dubya-dubya-dubya-dot-Scrabble-crush-dot-blogspot-dot-com.

And, upon my entry back into the world of virtual mass communication, I'll say's been a tough past eight months. I've transitioned from one job to another, I started graduate school while working that full-time job, and Eric was injured on the job in September 2007 and hasn't been back to work since (and got a pacemaker). We've had some good times in there, though, and some interesting things, so I'm going to try and focus this blog, as much as possible, on those bright spots. It might take me a few entries to work my way backward through anything I might have missed talking about but still want to.

SO...let's blog it!