Thursday, October 28, 2010

A New Day

Yesterday was no fun at all.  I woke up with what I thought was a sinus headache.  Turns out it was a migraine.  By the time I was out of the shower, it was pretty obvious that I was not going to be in any shape to go to work.  (Dizzy and nauseous doesn't play well with the middle school crowd...)  I felt like a wimp, but I called in.  I spend almost the whole day (minus my blog rant about size and Marie Claire) in bed, alternating sleeping (or attempting to) and watching Season 5 of Grey's Anatomy on DVD.  This didn't actually make me better, as I was usually sobbing or trying to self-diagnose.  ("This isn't a headache, it's a brain tumor."  "My back is kind of sore.  Are my kidneys going out too?"  It's possible I'm a hypocrondriac at times.) 

Today, however, has been a much better and symptom-free day.  I actually watched the sun rise on my way to work, which sounds really impressive but the sun didn't rise until after seven, so it wasn't really.  It did make for a nice drive in, though.  Been relatively quiet around here other than that.  I just can't thinking about how it tells us in the Bible that His mercies are new every morning.  Today feels new, like God pressed the reset button and everything fell into place.  And that's a really nice feeling to have.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


We all have them.  I think mine are the right ones, but you are entitled to yours, too.  But please don't expect me to agree, and by all means, don't expect me to feel sorry for you if you get called out.  I'm looking at you, Maura Kelly from Marie Claire.  Since I was home having a migraine today (seriously nasty, folks), I first heard about you on The View (albeit briefly because my tolerance for women screaming at each other is a little low today.)  But then, Jen Lancaster threw her hat in the ring.  And you know I love me some Jen.  It's in my blog roll, but just click here if you want to read what Maura and Jen had to say for yourself.  (Be warned that Jen uses language, and if that offends you, you can just read my summary below.)

I have no problem calling a spade a spade.  I'm fat.  It's not something that I love about myself, but it's true and it's not like I go around trying to hide it or anything.  But it is not okay for a national magazine to ever encourage body image issues.  I don't care if it's because they are using models who are unhealthy levels of thin or telling us that if we don't look like that we should be ashamed.  But I will tell you right now that I will not be buying Marie Claire anytime soon.  (Which is okay really, since I'm a tried and true Glamour girl myself.)  And here's another thing if you don't like seeing funny, amazing, and quite frankly, beautiful women like Melissa McCarthy (who was Sookie on Gilmore Girls, too) on TV, don't tune in.  Go for a jog or a spin class or something. That's fine.  I promise I won't care.  Just don't write an article about how fat people gross you out for a national magazine and then be shocked when more than a few people get really pissed about it.  I haven't seen the show.  I don't even get CBS at my house because I'm too cheap to get a satellite, so I don't know about the show itself.  

The point is there are days when I look in the mirror and I hate what I look like.  But that happened when I was a heck of a lot thinner, too.  There are also days when I look in the mirror and think I really look good.  And you don't have to agree with me on that.  I don't really care what your opinion is of me.  I've never really had a problem loving myself, no matter my size.  I'm lucky that way.  However, I know enough to know that not everyone gets there.  Just walk down any high school hallway, fashion runway or office building in America.  And the more we hate on other people for their size, their race, their sexual orientation, whatever--the more hate there is in the world.  And aren't we sick to death of that? 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Laughing Is Good...

I am exhausted.  There's something about slinging processed nacho cheese and candy for a few hours that will do that to you.  I'm also wound up enough that I can't actually go to bed.  So, as I was checking my stats (It's a sickness, people), this is what I saw.
Is it just me or does that look like a cat? (Feel free to leave other ideas in the comments.)   Maybe I'm just a little nuts.  (A little might actually be an improvement.)  But it made me laugh, and even if it doesn't make you, it's my blog and I get to decide what makes it on.  I'll leave you now.  Maybe tomorrow I won't be feeling quite so sassy.  But I wouldn't count on it!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weekend Update

I had a great weekend, but I have absolutely no pictures to show for it.  ( I know, total blog fail.)  Friday was a half day, so I ended up going to Paducah with my parents.  We went to a local jeweler and I fell in love with this designer.  While seriously out of my price range, it was fun to play around a bit.  Maybe someday...

I got up early and ran errands on Saturday morning, which is further proof that being an adult is not nearly as fun as I once imagined.  Of course, much of this imagining was based on some kind of weird TV version of what I thought you got to do as an adult, mixed with the belief that being an adult meant you had all the answers and all the power.  (Could I have been more wrong?)  On Saturday night, I made a lasagna (yes, I can cook a few things well) and had dinner with my family at Mom and Dad's.  It was relaxed and fun, and while I got absolutely no laundry done, it was nice.  Sunday after church, we had dinner at the family farm house for my mom's birthday (she somehow managed to celebrate for a week, which she says you should get to do at her age) and then I went back to church for prayer group. (Which I wrote about last night, sort of.)

When you see it like this it doesn't really seem like much, but it made for a pretty full weekend.  It seems like whole weeks go whizzing by before I even have time to process them.  It would be nice to slow down but, I highly doubt that I will somehow.  Tomorrow marks the start of home basketball games for me, and it makes for a very full slate.  Of course, I've never been one to shy away from a full schedule. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The God of the Battle

I went to church this morning, which isn't really a newsflash.  I go often enough.  Maybe I should say that I paid attention in church this morning.  The evangelist was speaking about David and Goliath, and his point was essentially that the battle is the Lord's.  When we find ourselves up against the giant, we have to know that the God who made the heavens and the earth is standing with us.  We are fighting in the army of the Living God!  And I needed that.

But what I needed more was what we discussed in prayer group tonight.  I'm not really the kind of girl who freaks out when the big things appear.  I know what to do when I am facing the big things.  It's all the little things that I let wear me down.  I forget the irrevocable Truth.  I forget how blessed I am.  And I really need to remember sometimes.  My Jesus loves me.  The power of that love can change everything--from my heart to the world. 

Because the thing of it is, the battle's already won.  We know that from the very beginning.  It's not really about how it all ends.  It's about what we are going to do in the world in the meantime.  Better go get your slingshot because there are giants to be slain.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Things "They" Don't Teach You In College

Let me take a minute and talk to my fellow teachers.  I don't know about where you went to school, but now that I have been in education for eight years, I see that there were a lot of useless things my professors really wanted me to know, and a whole bunch of things they forgot to tell me.  For instance:
  • There will come a day when you will find yourself staring at your closet trying to come up with an outfit professional enough for Parent/Teacher Conferences, yet durable enough to survive Emergency Drill Day.
  • Some days, teaching is like herding cats.  You get a lot more attitude than progress.
  • It doesn't matter how well you plan, some lessons bomb.  It doesn't mean that you are a bad teacher or that your students are bad students. 
  • You can't save them all.  Education is a two-way street, and even when you are giving it all you've got, if you haven't got a cooperative party on the other end, you will be limited in your outcomes.  It's one of those hard truths.
  • Teaching is the least of what you do during the day.  Depending on the day, you may be parent, therapist, first responder, actress, and chief cook and bottle washer.  And that's probably a slow day.
  • Some days are just movie days.  Embrace it and move on. (That came from my cooperating teacher when I was student teaching.)
  • Hands-on projects are awesome, but there are some things you only learn through repitition and practice.  It's not fun, but it is necessary.  (That's another one from Mrs. Hille!)
I'm sure there are a thousand more.  I've said time and again that I wish that in my classwork we would have spent more time looking at useful information.  Of course, I had no clue what to expect so, I didn't know what I should be asking.  To think that on my first day of teaching, they just threw my 21 year-old self in a room with 25 eighth graders and expected I would figure it out is hilarious.  Of course, I managed, so maybe I knew a little more than I thought.  (Or, in a much more likely scenario, was much better at winging it than I ever imagined.)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Outsiders

My 8th graders just started reading The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  I didn't read it until I was in one of my college classes, but it remains one of my favorite books.  I love the voice of the narrator, the descriptions of each character, the themes, everything.  There are countless moments that make me cry, or laugh, or think and I just love how books can do that to us.  My kids were amazed when I shared that Hinton was only 16 when she wrote the book, and even though we are only through Chapter 2, even my more reluctant readers are eating it up.  Other favorites (YA Lit and Grown-Up books) include:
  • The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
  • Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson
  • The four Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Books by Anne Brashares
  • Bookends by Jane Green
  • Pretty much any book by Jennifer Weiner, Jen Lancaster, or Rebecca Wells
  • The Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan
  • The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc by Loraine Despres
I never quite got into all the classics, obviously.  But these are some pretty good books, even if they do lean a little too heavy on the old Chick Lit.  So the question is, my dear people, what is your favorite book?  It doesn't have to be young adult lit, but it certainly can be.  I would love to hear from you in the comments!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Things I Love...

  • being one of the only people in a movie theater.  It's like having a giant living room!
  • antique shopping
  • laughing with Amber.  Sometimes we are the only one who would find us funny, but still...
  • Say Yes To The Dress.  Even if spending $10,000 on a wedding dress is excessive to say the least.
  • White Chocolate Hot Chocolate
  • playing "beauty shop"
  • a cheap bottle of wine
  • dancing to Arcade Fire's "Keep The Car Running" so badly it scares the cat
  • fried pickles.  Seriously, they are not as disgusting as they sound.  Trust me.
  • short school weeks
  • big bottles of Evian
  • Driving home with the gorgeous fall leaves changing
  • great weekends.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Beauty Queens, Baseball, Birthdays, and Books

Before I say anything else, I want to take a moment to talk about what today is.  October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  While I can't imagine what it would be like to lose a child, I know people in my real life and in the blogosphere who have had that experience.  Today, above all my normal rants and foolishness (let's call a spade a spade, people), I think of them and the children they lost.  You have my love and my prayers always.

Let me warn you right off the bat that this post is going to be all over the place.  But at least there's alliteration.

Beauty Queens

My little sister, Lu (on the right), is a retired beauty queen.  So, back on the first weekend of October, she got to relive her magic moment as they honored past queens.  Even better, the new queen (on the left) was Lu's pick!  Aren't they beautiful?  While Lu was being all queeny, I got to tutor her boyfriend, C, in the way of pageantry.  Let's just say it blew his mind.  Here's a couple pics of them from the big night... (She's singing the theme song to him in the bottom one..."I've Had The Time Of My Life" from Dirty Dancing.)

And because I just can't resist, here's a couple more of my favorite pictures of my boys from State.  They have been so much fun, even though at least one insists he's "moved beyond that" because it's now basketball season.  (And I promise that I did take some of their adorable faces, but again, not my kids for real and this is a public blog.)

Birthday Cake
I also realize that you never saw my birthday cake.  It's a German Chocolate Upside-Down Cake.  And it's seriously good.  Like eat the whole thing in one sitting good.  But I didn't.  However, I totally had birthday cake for breakfast.  Here's a slice...

And finally, books.  I really need to do a whole book post because I have read several really great books recently.  I don't even have a picture of this one yet, but I have loved it so much that I had to talk about it.  I am currently reading Love Is A Mixtape by Rob Sheffield.  If you have ever been in love or loved music, this book is like a primer course.  Sheffield's wife, Renee, died of a pulmonary embolism, and this book is like a beautiful eulogy without ever being truly depressing.  Trust me, it's worth a read.  I will work up a post on some of the other books soon.

I also have great weekend plans.  I will do my best to share them.  Perhaps now that I am halfway through the month, October will be a little kinder to my blogging! 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Airing of Grievances

October has not been a good blogging month for me.  There's just too much going on (around me and inside my head), plus I seem to have developed some kind of head cold/sinus thing from the kids, with special guest appearance from my allergies.  All this super cool stuff has happened, but I just don't have the energy to share it right now. 

On top of that, I can't get this stupid DVD of pictures to burn correctly.  I have 3.4 GB of pictures that I need copied and every time I try to do it I am getting error messages.  So, there's that too. 

Plus, it feels like Monday.  I mean, yes, I realize that it's Tuesday, but today has Monday's hateful self all over it. 

And I forgot that Glee is on Tuesday now when I was filling out the extra duty schedule and I am down to working Tuesdays for the forseeable future.  (Thank goodness for Hulu!) 

I just want to be at home in bed.  But I'd probably whine there too.  (At least going back to school guarantees I get showered and dressed in something other than my Swamp Tigers t-shirt.)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Love The Smell of Surveys in the Morning

New house rule:  No more Bones marathons before bed.  It makes you have super weird dreams, and you will wake up at 4 a.m. all freaked out.  Especially after you knock the floating shelf off the wall, scaring both you and the cat.

The upside to this is I can catch up on my blog reading, and therefore see that the darling and entirely too funny Taylor, my bloggiest of blog friends, tagged me in a post full of super fun questions.  And you know how I like a survey.  So, here we are, kids, blogging in the middle of the night.  With no one to blame but myself.  And Emily Deschanel.

But on to Taylor's questions...

1. What is one food you detest?

     This is really a whole family of food because I have consistency issues.  I detest oatmeal.  And Jell-O.  And Cottage Cheese.  But I like pudding, because it comes chocolate-flavored.  But chocolate-flavored oatmeal would be gross...unless it was a no-bake cookie.  Then it would be awesome.  But probably not as good for you, which surely explains why it tastes better.

2. What is your perfect day?
      Yesterday was pretty perfect.  I had lunch with my girls, got presents, added another friend, went to a winery I'd never been to, and heard a great band.   (I bought a t-shirt and the CD.)  It would have been absolutely perfect if Casey could have stayed with us. 
       A close second was Friday, where I got to watch "my boys" experience winning state.  It made me cry, and I am not someone who does that.  Actually, when it comes to sports, I am someone who does that.  But whatever.  I am so proud of them I could just burst.

3. If you could take a vacation next week, where would you go?
    Funny you should ask that Taylor, as I am technically on a "fall break" right now.  If I could be anywhere, I would be at the beach.  Any beach.  But I especially love Folly Beach in South Carolina or Gulf Shores, Alabama.  (See also here.) Oh and Puerto Rico was pretty freaking awesome.  (See proof below)

4. What are five of your favorite blogs?

In the People I Don't Know In Real Life But Love Anyway Category:  
  • The Pioneer Woman -- More accurately, I want to be her when I grow up.
  • Ministry So Fabulous -- Amy Beth loves big hair and pink, and was my very first blog friend.
  • Jennsylvania -- Jen Lancaster is wickedly funny!  And a little too much like me in some ways.
  • matt, liz and madeline -- Matt's story sucked me in.  His writing and adorable kid have kept me there.
  • The Lumberjack's Wife --  Because she started this whole question thing.  And she comments on here all the time.  And she's hilarious.  And awesome.  (Hi, Taylor!)
  • these are the days - Jenna and I, we're like peas and carrots.  Actually, we are more like peas and more peas.  Us single girls have to stick together.
In The People I Know In Real Life But Love Anyway Category:
  • A Life In Ordinary - Because she's totally a better writer than I am.  Probably a better teacher too.  And when we were in college, she would regularly let me snore on her trundle bed and dye her hair. 
  • Losing 150 - Jay is losing weight.  And taking about how loving Jesus fits into that.  And he's really funny and wise.  (And that's exactly how he is in real life, too)
  • Sing! - She's admitted that she is, in fact, a bad blogger.  But, she's a very busy girl, with the teaching music and getting married, and teaching voice and getting married.  And we have been known to drive half an hour on a whim just for cookies.  (In college, it was Cherry Limeades.)

 5. What are your thoughts on The Facebook?
      Though some friends have chosen to shun The Facebook, I still have a warm place in my heart for it.  It's a fun place to put up my photos (no apostrophe) and to see what my former students and friends who live far away are doing.  Though I do believe that some people should keep their personal business to themselves.  The Facebook is not the personals.  Or a place to stick it to the people you don't like, veiled or not-so-much.  To sum it up, The Facebook is not the evil scorge or somewhere you should spend all of your life.

6. Are your parents technological goobers, like mine?
     My parents try really hard.  My dad is pretty savvy, but he might break things on the first try.  My mom really wants to learn.  Sometimes, it goes okay (she can email with the best of them) and some things need a little more instruction (see iPod loading or The Facebook)

7. If you had to choose between losing 15 pounds forever, but never wearing makeup again OR having perfect skin but putting on 15 pounds permanently . . . what would it be?
     Decisions, decisions.  If I have to keep the 15 pounds permanently can I still lose the weight I currently need to lose?  Because if that's the case, I am totally keeping the makeup.  I really like makeup.

8. What is your best recipe?
     I am not a cook.  I do make a pretty easy and yummy cheesecake and here's the recipe:
               3 pkgs. cream cheese, softened
               3 eggs
               1 c. sugar
               1 tsp. vanilla
               1 Keebler (read already made) EXTRA SERVING graham cracker crust

Preheat oven to 450.  Mix sugar and cream cheese until smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla and mix some more.  You can add other things too (peanut butter, chocolate chips, etc).  Pour into pie shell.  Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 250 for 30-35 minutes until the middle doesn't jiggle.  Cool, then put in the fridge (it's best served chilled).  You can make a yummy hard-shell topping by melting mini chocolate chips and heavy cream in the microwave and pouring it on the cooled cheesecake. 

I don't know that anyone really loves surveys as much as I do.  But, if you do, feel free to answer these questions.  Or you can answer the Pivot questionnaire questions.  Or you can write your own questions.  Or write a bucket list.  But it's after 5 in the morning, and I should probably just stop for now.

Thank you, Taylor.  This was awesomely fun!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Let Me Explain...

I know that I am a whole weekend behind in updates at this point.  And I actually have a lot to tell you and show you! And I really can't wait for that.  (Things like how my boys are the STATE CHAMPS! and how pretty the girls were at Riverboat, and how much fun my birthday was...)  But, this long weekend is still really busy.  So, you will just have to be patient and know that as soon as I get a second I will tell you everything!  Until then, I hope this will do...

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Do Unto Others...

I've been thinking a lot about the way I treat people recently.  Maybe it's all of the bullying talk that's been going on.  Maybe it's other things I've recently seen or heard from so-called adults.  But it's caused me to really re-examine what comes out of my mouth toward others. 

Because here's the thing, I'm loud and I don't always think of this before I speak.  There have been many instances in my life where something I said was taken a completely different way because someone thought I was yelling at them when I was just speaking at my normal tone.  Sometimes, I'm bossy without really intending to be.  I like to be in control of situations where the result will be related directly back to me.  I'm also not particularly graceful, which means I may slam and bang around without any real intent behind it.  Sometimes, I have been a bully.  Of course, I've been bullied too.  Haven't most of us?  (Particularly if we went to junior high.)   

But, as a Christian, who is more than flawed, I am called to make myself more like Jesus Christ, who was flesh among us yet never sinned.  I'm sure, based on accounts in the Word, that there were times when Jesus was frustrated, especially with those closest to Him.  I'm sure that when the pharisees were up to their trickery, Jesus felt like He just wanted to wiped them off the map.  But He didn't.  Because His life is our example.   There's more than enough "meanness" in the world.  I certainly don't need to keep contributing.  Now, I don't really think this is a skill I'm going to master right away.  My quick wit sometimes outruns my good sense.  I just really feel checked that I should work on this, and if the public accountability of a blog doesn't do the trick, I just don't know what will.

What is all comes down to is that I am an example, too.  Every day, several dozen students sit under my teaching, but I'm showing them who I really am through my actions.  I know that I am not the only influence on their lives, but if nothing else, let me be one positive one.  If what they get from the rest of the world is the message that it's okay to hurt others for your own advancement, that being petty is the status quo, that embarrassing others isn't really that big of a deal, then let me be the one who shows kindness, grace, mercy, and love (even if that means tough love). 

The addage says to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  And that's a good place to start.  It all comes down to how we react when they don't.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Kiddos Birthday...(aka The Post You Thought Would Never Happen)

We're going to take last weekend in reverse.  I went to HB's birthday party on Sunday and the above was one of her presents.  I don't have kids, but this is like a gumball machine with these odd toys inside.  I was fascinated!  But not as much as I was by her cake.  My friend, Michelle, did an awesome job!
The birthday girl taking out the candles

Top view of the cake

On Saturday, we had a birthday party for the Twins.  They are so much fun!  I can't believe that they are already four.  Seems like yesterday I was hanging out with them, holding them and spoiling them rotten!  Now they are big kids.  At least they had a great time at the party.
Even the biggest kid of them all had a little fun!  Though I think he may have realized that he's not as young as he used to be!
I may not want kids of my own, but I love that I have friends so that I can borrow some from time to time! 

A Little Late Is Better Than Never....

I'm linking up with Kelly to show you my dining room this week.  So "Hi" to those of  you visiting!  This is the main focal point of my dining room.    I have an "L" shaped room that houses my dining room, living area, and office.  The china cabinet is nothing fancy, but it's my grandmother's and I love it.  Mostly, I love all the dishes I have in it!  I do have a table, but it's small and usually covered in mail.  But here's a few of my favorite things.  These pieces are Fiestaware that belonged to my great-grandmother.  My grandma gave them to me a couple of years ago, and they matched what I already had pick out!  I thought it was cool that I had the same taste as a great-grandma I'd never gotten the chance to meet.

This adorable bowl is one of two I picked up at Annie Laurie's.  I adore unique pieces, and I thought these were just so much fun, even though I don't like cantaloupe!  And yes, that is a fine layer of dust you see there.  You wanna make something of it?  (tee hee!)

I have lots of Fiestaware.  I have the dark blue and green in my kitchen, but these are the colors of my living room, so I thought these fit the palette of the living room a little better. (And besides, you can never have too much Fiestaware.  Seriously.)

I also have a huge collection of wine and other glasses.  I had several different ones and my aunt has helped me add to the collection.  but my favorite things are little touches like these little picture holders with pictures of my grandpa's from World War II. 

Of course, there's also this centerpiece.  It's a 4 feet by 4 feet painting that I also got at Annie Laurie's.  It's really striking.  This is the next area that I am going to really work on, as soon as I get a chance.

Thanks for stopping by!

The American Gossip Epidemic

I have always loved celebrities.  From as far back as I can remember I was fascinated by the glamour and glitz, watched the award shows, practiced my own speeches.  I still read People magazine (mostly online) and know a little too much about some celebrities.  But, the older I get, the more I see that we have become a sensationalized culture.  I am not one who regularly uses my blog for the big news issues, but I don't think you can hear about the death of Rutgers student, Tyler Clementi, and not have an opinion.  It doesn't come down to where you stand on homosexuality, it comes down to where we are as a culture.   If we are what we consume, we aren't much.  And trust me, I'm including myself in that "we."  But don't just take my word for it.

There's an actress from the show One Tree Hill, Bethany Joy Galeotti, who says it a lot better than I do.  So please hop over to her blog and read what she has to say on the matter of gossip and the American hunger for it. 

I don't want to continue to contribute to this problem.  When I think about these students who believed that taking their own lives was the only way to deal, I can't help but think of the kids in my life.  I love to think that something like this wouldn't happen here, but it could.  As a society, we have become mean, pettty people, and we are influencing an entire generation by what we read, watch, and repeat about others.  We can only be responsible for our choices, but I know what I'm choosing.  What about you?

Why Is It....

I get my best revelations when I am getting ready in the morning.  I find this ironic because I am not really a morning person, so I'm not usually at my best when it comes to making sense, but whatever.  Anyway, yesterday morning as I was getting ready for church, I was stewing over something someone had said to me.  They were rude and they didn't need to be, and it was really bugging me.  I'm not nearly as tough as I would like to pretend to be, and I have a terrible habit of replaying bad things to see what I did that caused it, even if there's no real rhyme or reason to it.  I don't just chew on a problem like a dog with a bone, I suck all the marrow out and then beat myself up with it.

Well, as I was stewing, I felt God speak into my heart.  He said "Why are you so willing to carry around the ugly things that happen, but you won't carry around all the good?"  Good question.  I am so blessed in my life.  I had an amazing weekend!  (Which I will tell you about when I have all my pictures up and worked over).  I have all of these people in my life who really do love me.  And I have a God who took a sinner such as I, and loved me enough to send His son to die for me.  Why should I let some mean person ruin all that good?

So, I'm casting down my baggage.  From now on, I am traveling with my blessings on my back. And I'm finding that to be a much more enjoyable load.