Thursday, May 29

On Being a Gazelle

I am trying to catch up from our trips to Texas and South Carolina (to drop off and pick up the girls from a Grandma and Pa Pa vacation). Laundry is nearly caught up, house is a disaster, school is limping back to the track, and I'm working 20 hours/week in between.

So, dear readers, as much as I enjoy our time together, I have to cut back a bit somewhere. Posting will be generally light.

I did, however, want to pass on some really happy news.

Back last year, we bought that beautiful minivan, which we oughtn't have done, and I realized before year's end that if we were to stay afloat around here, we had to sell it. Just after that decision was made, we were still floundering a bit as to how to organize our finances better. One of Travel Man's friends at work gave him a set of CDs and a book by Dave Ramsey. He read The Total Money Makeover cover-to-cover in a few days and pushed me to read it, too. Though I reisisted a bit (who wants to read about how stupid they have been?), I found the book to be warm and friendly towards people who have made mistakes and are ready to change. Plus, Dave is funny!

We got on board. We became gazelles. We sold that van ASAP, took our tax refund and set up an emergency fund, and started writing down everything we spent and made up a written budget. When we looked at May's budget in late April, we set aside money for a trip to Texas and money for food on our trip back and forth to South Carolina. (We came in under budget for the trips, too.) We set aside money to replenish the emergency fund after I paid off my medical bills. And we've paid stuff off and cancelled cards. (Though Dave likes cutting up the cards right away, I take great pleasure in shredding them as we pay them off.)

When we got back from the last trip to SC, Travel Man discovered that my cooling fan wasn't coming on in the Jeep any longer. The mechanic discovered that this was the reason my A/C wasn't working very well (a bill that was paid for out of the emergency fund), and they went ahead and fixed it for me.

When they told me it would run about $650.00 installed, I said, "Okay. Do what you have to do." Mind you, they only take my debit card, cash, or a check. And I wasn't stressed out at all!! I actually HAVE that money set aside in the emergency fund. And we'll only be off-track on our debt snowball for about a month while I get the money back in the account. And if it weren't for God prompting that man at Travel Man's office to give him the book and CDs, I'd have been crying about not having the money for the car to be fixed this month.

I love Dave Ramsey. I'd kiss him if I saw him.

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Wednesday, May 28

Protected Sex

via First Things:

Heck, let’s go out on a limb here and point out that none of these women seems to have a stable relationship with a man that has stood the test of time. So, “protected” sex doesn’t seem to do much for women in terms of encouraging long term commitments from men, and it certainly has adverse effects on career prospects. Last time I checked, the office slut was still the office slut, and promotions went to the stable women executives who honed their business acumen and accomplished strategic goals.

Fertility and sexuality are united, but often clumsily shared. Protection means providing a context for that shared gift that can handle any and all of the consequences. Contraception fails. Impotence happens. Pregnancy is not a surprise. It happens after people have sex! Or it doesn’t. In real life, the desperate housewives are usually more worried about paying the bills.

Then again, I’m old and tired, too. When people tell me I look great, I am really grateful for the compliment, because I have eight children. People joke that my husband and I don’t know how this happens, but we have one up on Hollywood. We understand how real sex gets protected.

We’ve never been truly surprised to find I am pregnant. So, we do have protected sex. We’re ready for the fruit of the conjugal bed. And our conjugal sharing goes way beyond the bed. When menses and ovulation cause physical symptoms that ruin my mood, exhaust my energy and stain my clothing, my husband is right there to commiserate with me and make sure I rest. He shows his love by tackling Mt. Laundry and baking bread every day. (Yeah, our version of protected sex gets expensive, too.)

Be sure to read the whole thing.  (Don't worry, it's not that long, and it's well worth it.)

Sunset on I-77

Taken on our trip back from dropping the girls off at Edisto Island, SC.

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I'm Glad I'm Not a Child There!

For five years, I've driven past this sign on I-77 in North Carolina.  I have to say that the first thing I thought of when I saw it was the unpleasant experience of getting a lower GI when I was a child, and so I wonder what kind of home for children this could possibly be??

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Tuesday, May 27

Marriage Tip for Young Women

If your boyfriend wouldn't be willing to do this for you once you're married, he's not good enough for you.

Have I mentioned that I have the best. husband. ever?

'cuz I do.  

Blogroll Highlight: New Blog for Grammar Nazis

I've just added a new blog to the blogroll, though it's just getting started.  So far, they've only got one entry, but they are looking for help.

Should be interesting once it's got more entries.

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Subway's Essay Contest

Regular Guy Paul says that Subway is holding an essay contest.  Only problem is, they're banning the largest group of parents who would actually make their kids participate: homeschoolers.

Their rules state:

Contest is open only to legal US residents, over the age of 18 with children in either elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.

(In case you don't get the idea, they mention this twice on the front page, then again in the lengthier rules on the click-through.)

Well, I asked them at this feedback page what the deal with that is:

I was excited to see that Subway had an essay contest for children PK-12. I have two daughters in elementary school, and thought this would be a great idea for them. Alas, you are preventing homeschoolers from participating. I would like to know why Subway made the decision to ban homeschooled children from this contest. It doesn't make any sense, especially when you are allowing participation from parochial and private school students. Thank you in advance for your answer.

I will let you know if anyone answers me. Why not drop them a line yourself, homeschooling parents? (As always, be respectful. Of course, I doubt I need to tell you that, do I?)

(Paul's hat-tips include: Michelle Malkin and Home Educator Magazine)

Update: Michelle Malkin (whose link I clicked after posting this) says that a homeschooler got a response - a NICE one - from Subway. See her click-through for details.

Also, if you'd rather not go to Subway anyway, I'd recommend Jersey Mike's. WAY better subs there, with really excellent deli meats. (My sister used to frequent the original Jersey Mike's.)

Wednesday, May 21

Time to Pray for Ted Kennedy

What is happening to him is exactly - exactly - what happened to my aunt.

Pray for his soul.  Pray hard for him.  He will have a lot to answer for.

Tuesday, May 13

Viewing Thursday, Funeral Friday

Needless to say, I won't be posting for a few days.  I'm leaving for Texas tomorrow before sunrise.  I'll see you when I get back next week.

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Rest in Peace

My aunt's suffering is over.  She passed away this morning around 10:00 a.m. (Central).

Please pray for the repose of her soul, for her husband, for her four sons (two of whom are in high school right now), her daughter-in-law and grandson, and for her mother, my grandmother.

Thank you.

Monday, May 12


There was a great post at Ignatius Press' blog recently:

• Calumny In the Blogosphere

Calumnious blogging is a serious offense against God's law. And those who engage in it are jeopardizing their immortal souls and the souls of others.

by Rev. Michael P. Orsi

It should be required reading for all Catholic bloggers. Including me.

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Busy Holy Spirit

Barb's post on Baptism reminded me that I wanted to mention how busy the Holy Spirit was at our parish yesterday. We had a Baptism at 9:00 Mass with two First Communions, plus another child received First Commuion at another Mass over the weekend.

It was really awesome, too! Only thing missing was Confirmation, and it would have been a mini-Easter Vigil!

Speaking of the Easter Vigil, Soccer Dad and I had an idea to highlight all Bible verses in the three-year Sunday cycle (I'm including all the Antiphons, too, but not the references in prayers). I am color coding it by year and season, and the Vigil got its own color. I durn-near used up my orange highlighter for the Vigil!

I'll have to take some pictures of the Bible as I go through, just to give some idea as to how it's looking. As of now, nearly everything in the first four or five chapters of Matthew is highlighted, as well as nearly the last half of John. 1 Peter has a lot of color, too.

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Sunday, May 11

Miriam-Webster? Big Girl is on the Line for You!

Big Girl, looking at her sister in glasses: Glasses make you look scholorastic.

me: You mean "scholastic?"

Big Girl: No, scholarastic - like a scholar.

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Happy Mother's Day!

"Madonna and Child"

"Sacra Famiglia"

"Madonna Litta"

About the Artwork

Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519) was a Renaissance Master whose genius also profoundly impacted mathematics and the sciences. Insatiably curious and inventive, Da Vinci possessed unparalleled intellectual diversity. While scientifically studying light and shadow, he was able to conceptualize three dimensions and used the knowledge to impart his figures with their revolutionary lifelike quality. His works also reflected his insight into techniques for expressing atmosphere, depth, and the effects of age and emotion.

"Madonna with Green Cushion"

[source for images]

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Texas Update

My father arrived safely in Texas, and has been able to visit with his sister. My mother wrote about it a bit in an email:

[H]e got to talk with B***** and hold her hand. She was aware he was there and happy to have him there. She didn't talk much, it seems hard for her to find words. That is likely an affect of the Thorazine... that is powerful stuff. Mom said that she has told her several times that she sees Daddy and he is waiting for her. I believe that is really a great thing for Mom to hear. She feels comfortable that B***** will be with Dad.

"Daddy" is, of course, my grandfather, who passed away 13 years ago. I called my mom while she waited for her flight today, and she said my grandmother told my aunt that if she sees Daddy again, she should go ahead and go with him. And I can personally attest to the powerful effects of Thorazine, too.

In the meantime, Soccer Dad has again donned his Travel Man super suit, climbed into his new company car, and left for faraway lands. Not even fifteen minutes have passed since he pulled out of the driveway, and the girls and I will be playing games this afternoon to pass the rainy day together. He said that if the call comes about my aunt's passing, he'll get someone to cover his second two classes, if necessary, in order to drive us all to Texas for the funeral. At this point, we do not know what arrangements are made, if any, or when anything will happen. We're pretty much clueless. So we'll leave it up to God, and He will take care of it.

As always, I thank you for the prayers for my family. It means a lot to us all.

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Friday, May 9

We had some bad storms last night, and apparently some tornadic activity. So, when we sat down to watch our "Office" recording (DVR), we found that we had five minutes of "The Office" and 25 minutes of local weather (with little new information).

Someone let us know that we could get the re-run schedule at the website so we could set the DVR again, but I had to laugh at this sentence. It's SO poorly constructed that it makes it sound like the tornado coverage was last Saturday night. Plus, there's not even a period at the end. Come on, guys.

WSLS to re-air NBC shows from Thursday night that were interrupted due to tornado warnings coverage late Saturday night, early Sunday morning

1:30 a.m. - My Name is Earl

2:00 a.m. - Scrubs series finale

2:30 a.m. - The Office

3:30 a.m. - 30 Rock season finale

Plus, does this mean that they'll air it Saturday morning at 2:30 am, or Sunday morning at 2:30 am? I'm thinking that it's Sunday morning, but the post is just not clear.

Guess I'll call and find out for sure.

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"Look What We Caught, Mom!"

After all these years, I still am absolutely terrified of Gypsy Moth caterpillars.

When I was in grade school, there were some VERY mean boys who would throw them at me (as well as any other girl it bothered). To this day, looking at them makes my skin crawl.

The girls were catching caterpillars, and showed me (rather proudly) their dozen or so catches.

All. Gypsy. Moth. Caterpillars.

I thought for a moment that I'd vomit. I am not kidding - my filleted finger bothered me less than a dozen caterpillars in a jar.

I HATE gypsy moth caterpillars. HATE them.


[(disgusting) image credit]

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News Flash!

Guess who has started getting reading headaches now?

Big Girl, that's who. (And I thought it was because she wanted to avoid math work! Apparently, she gets it when reading for pleasure, too, which explains the frequency.)

She even conducted an experiment. She thought it was due to lack of sleep, so she slept as late as possible, but still got a headache after reading for a while.

I guess I'll make an appointment for early June for her!

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Thursday, May 8

... Now, and at the Hour of Our Death.

My father is flying tonight to Texas. My cousin (his sister's oldest son) called him last night and said that he did not expect his mother to make it to Sunday, when Mom and Dad were scheduled to fly out together.

Saint Joseph, patron of a good death, pray for us!

Blessed Virgin, please intercede that my father can make it in time to see his sister once again.

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Wednesday, May 7


Just wanted to be official. This is the 1000th post on Domestic Vocation. :)

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knives are sharp

flayed finger while slicing lettuce for dinner

henpecking keyboard (badly) to type

going to walk-in tomorrow first thing to have it looked at

at least it isn't throbbing at the moment, which it did frequently during my shift tonight

blogging VERY light until I feel better - unless I am really, really inspired

much to do tomorrow between shifts, too - incl. shopping for the tea

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Tuesday, May 6

How They Decide the Weather Forecast

Soccer Dad has once again donned his Travel Man supersuit. Tonight, I called him in his hotel room when I was finished with my shift. He must have been watching the news, because suddenly he said this:

Travel Man: This station here has, like, ten meteorologists. I don't know why you'd need ten of them. If anything, you should have an odd number, that way there's no tie - you have to have a majority.

(Where is Travel Man? Stay tuned ... he'll be posting on his blog again about this trip.)

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Monday, May 5

I've Got the Blues

I have had the baby blues BIG TIME lately. Every once in a while, I get a yearning to be up all night with a wee one again, holding the tiny bundle of love and sweetness, smelling the baby scent that always lingers on the head...tiny toes, tiny feet, little bitty fingers that wrap trustingly around your own with a grip that is freakishly strong for such a tiny being. I want that unparalleled trust that you see in the eyes of a newborn - that look that clearly says, "You've got my life in your hands, and that's great."

Sometimes, the feeling is so overwhelming that I don't care if I'd likely be sick for 25 weeks or longer - hospitalized, IV's, serious mind-altering drugs to keep the nausea and vomitting at a managable level. I don't care that I'd not only be unable to care for my family, but I couldn't even care for myself.

I. Just. Want. A. Baby.

It passes. It always does. And I remember that I'm highly blessed with two beautiful girls. The good Lord protected them while I was pregnant - protected them from the drugs I have to take that can cross the placenta, protected them from possible malnutrition due to my inability to eat or drink anything for weeks. He wrapped His mighty hand around them and saved them from harm. And I am eternally grateful. I cannot express the relief I feel when I realize how seriously harmed they could have been due to the drugs I had to take. And I lived, too. I'm so grateful for that. My OBs handed me over almost immediately when they realized how sick I was getting when I was pregnant with Big Girl, and as soon as I was diagnosed with HG again with Little Girl, they handed me over again to the same high-risk OB. No one even once suggested abortion. I had friends, family, and even the nurses at the hospital praying for me, praying for my children. Even when I had a Dark Night during the second pregnancy, God never left me. He carried me through it, even when I could not feel His presence.

But that feeling comes. And when it comes, nothing in the world could make me stop wanting to have another baby. But I know the cost. And it's a high cost. And I don't pay it all, either.

I just cannot ask my family to go through it again. I can't disappear for days at a time in the hospital when my husband has to travel for his job and my children need me. I can't become completely non-functional for months, where I can't stand the smell of anything at all, nor any sensory stimulation.

And I know that there will come a day when we'll be able to adopt a child, add to our family that way. Little Girl will get to be a big sister, finally. We talk about it - my husband and I - often. When he read about Jim Caviezel and his wife adopting, he said, "I'm not sure I could adopt a disabled child, but I can totally see us adopting a child from another country if it was possible." So we know our family will grow, someday...

But, man...that feeling. That yearning for a newborn, for the feeling of that baby kicking inside my womb...

But it will pass.

Always does.

[image source]

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Whew! Shift Over!

Well, in my first full week taking calls, I had a miserable time. I was finally able to accomplish something this weekend when I was able to field calls that were more than questions about iPhone. And tonight was, for the most part, a decent night for me. I had a pretty good day overall. Saturday was a really good day, as a matter of fact. I'm starting to get the hang of things, though I know I need improvement in some areas. (And I pretty much know what those areas are; I just need to remember to work on it!)

Tonight, I was frustrated because of some minor glitches and a couple of frustrating calls, but I Can Has Cheeseburger cheered me up. There were a string of pictures today that are just flat-out funny. Since I can't show Soccer Dad at the moment, I'm sharing with you. (Soccer Dad has left the building, and Travel Man is on the move again.)

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Non-Official Update

My father has spoken to his brothers recently, and his older brother just finished up a visit to their sister (my aunt, who has cancer). My uncle tells us that her days seem to be few, and that she is slipping very quickly.

Please pray for her, most of all, and my grandmother, as well. (I think my grandma is still in Texas with her only daughter.) Also, please keep all the "boys" of the family - her five brothers - in your prayers, as well. My own father is traveling to Texas next week for a one-day visit with her, and my prayers for his trip are that he arrives in time. This is a very difficult time for everyone, and your prayers are not only appreciated, but the effects of them are felt, as well.

Thank you in advance.

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Saturday, May 3

Fashion Accessories

At breakfast this morning, Little Girl dawdled a bit, and Big Girl went off to get dressed.  She flitted across the hallway and waved at Soccer Dad.  The following conversation ensued:

Little Girl: What is Big Girl wearing?

Soccer Dad: Big Girl is wearing an evening gown with Versace pumps, Christian Dior neckware, and a fishing hat.

I dissolved into a fit of giggles, not over the fishing hat, but over the "neckware."  

me: "Neckware"??  

Soccer Dad: Yeah.  Why?

me: You mean, maybe, "A diamond pendant"?

Soccer Dad: I guess so.  Something like that.  It's not just a necklace, it's fancier.  "Neckware."

I suppose it's a sign that I'm kind of low-maintenance that he came up with that phrase.  Honestly, if he bought me "neckware" I wouldn't know what to do with it.  I just don't wear a lot of jewelry.  

Still, I'd love to get a picture of that ensemble.

Thursday, May 1


The other day, I was on the phone with a woman and extoling the virtues of Apple's Mighty Mouse. Later in the day, Little Girl asked me why it's called a "mouse".

me: Well, it's small, and the wire looks like a tail.

Little Girl: Okay, I see ... Hey! That means that the wireless Mighty Mouse is one of the Three Blind Mice!

At dinner one night, we were talking about someone being semi-good at lots of things, but not really good at one thing. Hoping that Big Girl had heard the old saying, I tried to draw the ending of my phrase from her...

me: You know..."Jack of all trades"? [blank stare from both children] *sigh* If you're a Jack of all trades, then you're ...

Big Girl: An idiot?

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Are You Hard-Core?

I've seen this list before, but it's always fun to revisit. Esther and Jackie both posted it, and now I'm joining in with my own added comments in red.

You Know You're a Hard-Core Catholic When...

  1. - you've accidentally genuflected at a place other than church ex. the movie theatre, school auditorium (My whole family has done this. Last time we went to a movie, Big Girl started genuflecting, then loudly announced that she almost did so and laughed.)

  2. -you're sick of being asked why priests can't be married

  3. -you have a "favorite" religious order

  4. -you say the meal prayer no matter where you are (We've gotten into the habit of doing this, too, though Little Girl says that she notices that some people stare at us. I tried to comfort her that it's okay - maybe they're thinking that they should do that, too.)

  5. -you have a nativity set at your house during Christmas, and have also played with it. (The girls actually have a special set that they play with all through Advent.)

  6. -you've accidentally made the sign of the cross when leaving regular buildings

  7. -you know that advent is the beginning of the new church year. (Who doesn't?)

  8. -You know at least five people named Mary

  9. -You can name off all the Joyful, Glorious, Sorrowful, and Luminous mysteries. (Yup, kids, too.)

  10. -one or more of your friends entered the seminary or the convent

  11. -you have 20+ cousins. (Close, though my mom's family isn't Catholic. I've got 14 first cousins.)

  12. -your mom is currently pregnant (

  13. -you and your spouse practice NFP

  14. -you believe in Purgatory and know it's important to pray for the souls who are currently in Purgatory (Yes! And it bugs me when we don't include them in our intentions on Sundays, too.)

  15. -you live chastity and are saving yourself for your future spouse. (I'm chaste now ... does that count? And I might add 15a: You know that you can be married and chaste at the same time.)

  16. -you're able to sit still for a full hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament (I'm getting there...)

  17. -you are discerning the religious life

  18. -you often end disputes with, "Let's look it up in the Catechism."

  19. -you and your friends have shown up at Adoration at 4:00 in the morning

  20. -when watching star wars and hear "may the force be with you" you respond with "and also with you" (Oh, gosh, when I first read this, I was so glad I wasn't the only one! It's an uncontrollable urge sometimes! Even the girls have to resist!)

  21. -your mom always says "4 kids, Catholic"

  22. -you have participated in sword fights using Palms on Passion Sunday

  23. -you and friend friends ever played "Mass" instead of House, or Cops and Bad Guys (I didn't, but my girls have once in a while.)

  24. -You have your own designated seat at Mass (We do tend to sit in the same place, and we confuse people if we change seats. Oh, and this week, we were happy that we couldn't sit there - First Communion families did!)

  25. -they know you at every Catholic bookstore in the area, and ask you where you’ve been if you haven’t stopped by in a while. (We've got a store at our parish, and if we don't all go after Mass for a while, Miss Kay wonders where we've been. Aside from the Maronite parish across town having a parish store, that's it. Does that count?)

  26. -you're named after a saint, not a family member.

  27. -you get excited about going to Mass

  28. -you arrive at Mass half an hour early to get a good seat and talk to Jesus

  29. -your mom always makes sure to celebrate your feast day

  30. -altar serving was the cool thing to do

  31. -you point at your friends in line for confession calling them sinners and everyone laughs as you get to the end of line

  32. -Your teachers grade you down when you write papers about moral issues and papers involving God

  33. -You never eat before church, and brunch afterwards is always the best!

  34. -Your first serious conversation you have with a potential girl/boyfriend involves your conversion story

  35. -You lie awake at night wondering why the St. Michael Prayer was removed from the end of Mass

  36. -The word "vocation" to you does not simply mean "job" (Yup - major topic of discussion with the girls, you know.)

  37. -People tend you look in your direction in class whenever anything involving religion comes up

  38. -You have a Rosary or Saint Christopher pin in your car (I've often got Rosaries in the car - always in my purse - but I've got Miraculous Medals in our cars, and Sacred Heart tags on all our keys. Oh! And a new Lady of Guadalupe air freshner that smells like roses! If we're in an accident, no one will mistaken us for Baptists.)

  39. -One of your Crucifixes has five years worth of dried out palms stuck behind it. (Mine are in a vase - but this year's are behind the Crucifix.)

  40. -You have more than one Rosary hanging from your bed. (I woke up today with one in the bed with me! LOL! I keep one on the nightstand.)

  41. -You have contemplated being in a religious order at least once.

  42. -you say "God bless you" anytime anyone sneezes, out of habit (Yup, did it at the library yesterday. First two times, the kid didn't really say anything, finally said, "Thank you," on the third sneeze.)

  43. -you have had multiple meetings with the priest at your own will

  44. -You had competitions with your friends on Ash Wednesday to see who could keep their ashes on the longest

  45. -You still write "Your Kingdom Come!" or "JMJ" at the top of your page/letter/report/test

  46. -You know that some Catholics don't eat meat on Wednesdays or Fridays, even not during Lent. (Are we supposed to not eat it Wednesdays, too? I'm good for Fridays. Someone help me figure out how to bring Ziti to soccer on Friday night, please.)

  47. -you get really excited over a holy day of obligation (YES!!!! Today is the Ascension!!!!!)

  48. -if you are tired of people referring to the birth of Jesus the immaculate conception (ARGH!)

  49. -you've ever been told my your mom, "Offer it up", and then felt very obliged to do so (Not really. In this case, I am the mom saying it.)

  50. -when discussing possible names for your future children with friends or your future spouse, you start ruling out names that aren't virtues, saints, or biblical

  51. -You plan what to wear based on the liturgical color of the day (*giggle* Sometimes...)

  52. -you were disappointed when you couldn't find a catholic version of trivia pursuit

  53. -You know that "prostrate" is not a place where men develop cancer

  54. -Instead of change, you find a Rosary under your couch cushions. (Yup. Either that, or beads for making Rosaries.)

  55. -you have at one point had to stop a younger sibling from playing in the holy water font.

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Six Word Epitath

I remember looking at the historic graveyard in Toms River, NJ, and reading a tombstone that read:

View me now
As you pass by
As you are now
So once was I
As I am now
So you must be
Prepare for death
And follow me

It was cool and it gave me the creeps all at the same time.

If I'm in charge of writing my epitath, I don't think I'll be as clever. But I'll give it a shot.

Ma Beck tagged people who had pets named after TV characters. I had a dog named Ernie. Therefore, I am tagged for this meme.

Six word summary of my life, as I'd like it on my tombstone:

Don't forget to look under stuff!

(Soccer Dad will get that. Love you, honey!)

I will tag anyone whose birthday is within 15 days of this post, past or future.

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Who are your heros?


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