It Is An Obsession


Genealogy started out as a hobby 40 some odd years ago. I got into it because my mother had always been involved in it for all of my childhood. Back when she started working on her family lines in the late 1950’s, it was a great deal harder to get information past her parent’s and grandparent’s generations, even with access to a family bible or other sources within the area. It took hard work digging through various libraries and court houses to find documentation to prove information was truthful. Letters had to be written and sent off to all sorts of people while following possible leads, and it took weeks, sometimes months, to get anything back. Most leads were dead ends, leading my mother right back to where she started. It was a long hard slog to get things sorted and the needed documentation to back it up.

It got easier with the advent of the computer age. Contacting the right people and various governmental departments became as easy as sending an email. It still took weeks to get information back, but it eventually found its way into the mailbox. Then along came sites designed just for genealogy buffs. It all started with the LDS Church and their site and spread from there. Eventually the grandmother of all sites, Ancestry.com, became available for a price, and people flocked to join. But just because it was on line didn’t mean it was always correct information. In fact, it just became harder to sort the truth from the gossip.

Here’s the deal, without documentation from or concerning the people you are researching, all you have is family lore, gossip, and something your twice removed second cousin’s half sister’s dad once said, to follow. Dates, name spellings, even names themselves are often wrong. And once it is taken as family history gospel, it just keeps getting repeated over and over, even if it is wrong. Documentation consists of things like birth, death, or marriage certificates. Baptismal documents, tax roles, census rolls, personal letters written to and by the people you are researching, even things like pay stubs can give information that will lead to the right information. All government documents are also gold to genealogists who are seeking the truth. Anything else is simply family stories that are unproven and will remain so until there is documentation to prove it.

I was fortunate to travel and live abroad. More than one weekend was spent following the family history trail. In England, I was able to visit one of the traditional family houses belonging to my mother’s family lines. Valence House, as it is now called, is in Debenham, England. It used to belong to the Bonham family, one of which immigrated to the young country called America in the 1600’s. The rest of the family stayed in England. It was a thrill to walk into a building where my ancestors walked. When I told the docent that I was an American relation, he pulled out the charts he had, I pulled out the charts I had and we found our connection. He practically did a Happy Dance, then took myself and my family into the rooms that were off limits to the public. It was amazing to stand in the library/study of Thomas Bonham and realize the deep connection I felt to the room. My biggest regret was that during our stay in England, I didn’t get to go to the Stanway House in the countryside where other relatives lived.

When I tell that story today, believe it or not, I actually have “cousins” who question its validity. Yeah, it shocks me too. Why would I lie about something so vitally important? I have found that some people simply cannot admit they might have something wrong in their information as well. By heavens, they are right and EVERYONE else is wrong. Even if we have documentation that proves them wrong Some people simply always have to be right. Kind of sad, that. Of course, when one becomes addicted to a hobby, no one wants to have to go back to the beginning and start all over. But I know I have on many occasions.

With today’s access to information, it is so much easier to get our hands on documents, photos, and to exchange all sorts of information. DNA has changed the way a lot of people look at genealogy. It used to be something only the old folks and the spinster aunties bothered with, if anyone did at all. Now even the younger hip generations are finding an interest in where they came from and who they are. While DNA is an overview of a person’s history, the details are in the documents that follow the family history. For instance, I know that my DNA says I have English, Irish, Scandinavian, African, Jewish, American Indian, and several other types of people in my blood lines. I am also 4% Neanderthal, and more of my family comes from Northern Europe than anywhere else. All of that is interesting, but it still doesn’t tell me who those people are as individuals. For that, I have to dig through a lot of information and then document it all to prove that it is MY family line.

My mother laughs at me when I whine. She had to do all of this by hand on her own while I have access to millions of records and people. But we agree on one thing, no one gets into our site on Ancestry. I am willing to give information on a case by case basis. Why? I got so tired of people simply data mining my site, without so much as a thank you. I got tired of people wanting to argue with me about information, even when I could patently prove that information with all the documents under the sun. I got tired of working so hard, and people saying, “Well, when you get it all figured out, I would love a copy.” But, they sure aren’t willing to do any of the work themselves. So, my mother and I agreed to share carefully, one name or connection at a time. It used to bug me when people were like that, but one person too many finally pushed that annoyance button one time too many. Ask me nicely, as the private sites on Ancestry say, and I might help you out.

Having vented all that, I am still addicted to my hobby. And I still have to go back and start all over on certain family lines all the time. It is frustrating, it is exciting, it is amazing, and it is always interesting to dig around in the past to find dusty documents and stories about the people who make up my family history. One word of advice, if you want your future generations to know about you, write a journal, send letters, or, today, write a blog so they know your words, thoughts, and feelings about everything. Cut and dried documentation is a good thing, but knowing you personally takes something more.

Back to banging my head against today’s brick wall, I know that there is a document somewhere about that guy. No one lives to be 86 without someone knowing something about them. Really, genealogy is an obsession.

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Thank You Mr. Barry, Somewhere In Time


Have you ever heard a piece of music that fills your soul, your heart? One that, when the first notes play, you slip into a memory, a moment in time, a feeling that envelopes your entire being? The music from the movie, Somewhere In Time, does that to me.

I don’t know why. The movie wasn’t all that great, but the music speaks to me in a deeply, wonderfully personal way. The smooth, gliding notes make my eyes want to drift shut, and a soft smile comes to my lips as I let the music lead me away from stress, sorrow, and worry. I can sit for hours listening to the same music over and over as my thoughts wander, and day dreams drift like clouds in my mind. I feel tears gather, and when I least expect it, love fills me.

It is a piece of music, meant as a background for a sad love story. I have heard thousands of soundtracks over the years, few stay in my heart and mind like Somewhere In Time. I stopped trying to figure out why it touches me so deeply and simply allow it to happen. It is a blessing.

I suppose it is silly, maybe overly dramatic, to allow music to deeply effect my life. Music is always with me, every moment of every day. Sometimes it is a reflection of my day or emotions, like listening to loud rock and roll when I drive my car on a sunny day, top down, music blaring. Sometimes music helps me create a story or a character in a story, and sometimes it lifts me out of sadness or loneliness. Music helps me say what I feel when words fail me. It makes me sing, dance, and rock my babies to sleep. It makes me want to be in the arms of the love of my life, and sometimes, it makes me cry.

It is rare that one piece of music can invoke all those feelings and thoughts. This soundtrack does all of that and more. I don’t know anything about the composer, John Barry, but he found his way to this music that has taken root in my soul. Thank you Mr. Barry, from the bottom of my heart.

New Normal Nonsense


Over the past few years I have heard a phrase used often that, when deconstructed, makes no sense at all. The phrase is, “the new normal.” How can something “new” be normal? It isn’t remotely normal, and although, over time, it might become part of your lifestyle, it isn’t normal when it first begins.

The situation might be considered a new beginning, a new type, a new way of doing something, a new event, a new expectancy, a new thought, a new passion, and new meaning, but it isn’t anything near normal when it is NEW.

Normal. What does that mean? Normal to whom or what? My normal isn’t your normal, and we don’t really have a normal. We have a routine, a way of managing our day and life. Not one day is exactly the same as another, so how can you judge something to be normal? Lets say we have an hour long commute every single day, going to the same part of town, to the same building or workplace, the same position or office, five days a week. Most of us, will not have the same exact experience on any of those five days. The only normal part of that commute is the direction and destination in which we are going. Something different will happen, a random event, an accident, a slow down, something weird in the car next to you or on the train near to you will happen. You might miss your train, the exit, or someone may cut you off causing an accident. Maybe you will have a flat or your car won’t start. On the train or bus, a conversation might start up that you join, or most likely, you over hear and that will set your thoughts off in an original direction. Sure we get to work, but it wasn’t a standard, exactly the same, normal every day thing. It was a day. different, strange, boring, amazing, but it was A DAY,

No job is ever normal either. So you stand in the same spot, doing the same job, but the assembly line fails, someone doesn’t turn up, or is late. Gossip goes up and down the grapevine, someone is having a bad day and takes it out on someone else, everything goes to hell in a manner of seconds when someone throws a spanner in the works. It is a day, but it isn’t exactly the same ever single work day. It isn’t the Old Normal, therefore, how can there be a new normal?

What you have is a change in your life. Sometimes good and sometimes bad. You learn to adapt to or overcome that change in your life. Because if life was always normal, it would be static. A static life is a stagnant life, and that is not normal, in fact, it is harmful, debilitating, depressing, and demoralizing. Human beings are meant to change, sometimes on a daily basis. Those that can’t get left behind as everyone around them moves forward with their lives. The only people who can’t or don’t naturally change daily are those with disabilities, and they do change only more slowly. It isn’t in us to always remain the same. If it was, we would always be children, never maturing beyond being totally dependent on parents and caregivers. It is within our DNA to try to grow up and away from our parents into adults who can take care of ourselves. That growth, while in one way is normal, it is also individual and therefore there is no correct or normal way to reach maturity. It is simply an individual effort that changes daily.

Stop already with the New Normal nonsense. No one is normal, we are all unique with unique moments and events in our lives. Our singular way of coping with those events makes us different from one another, and it also makes us interesting to others around us. There is no Old Normal, there is no New Normal, there is only change and how we cope with those changes in our lives.

You Must Think You Are So Smart.


Someone posted on social media a foul mouthed rant filled with profanity by some immature teenager about President Trump. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to write about today, since the world is filled with horrific things, not the least of which was the latest news of the death of children and adults at a high school in Florida. My deepest sympathy to those who lost a loved one. In all of the horror, a silly, under educated child ranted about how much she hated President Trump. How, may I ask is that going to make a difference to those who are suffering today? It won’t. But maybe she feels better and thinks she is something special for knowing how to use naughty words in front of the entire world. Too bad all she did was let the world know just how uneducated she really is. I responded on social media that people would take her more seriously if she understood civil discourse and had the vocabulary and ability to form a cogent argument for her rant. One person responded to my comment by saying this, “You must think you are so smart.” Several responses occurred to me immediately.

First, what did my intellectual ability have to do with the topic at hand? The comment was a non-sequiter. So, I shrugged at that behavior.

Second, I figured he didn’t like the fact that I used words like cogent. Maybe it was too intellectual for him to comprehend without use of a dictionary. So, I shrugged at that thought.

Third, I decided he deserved a response, after all, it must have taken him a whole minute of his valuable time to come up with that brilliant analysis of my comment. So, I wrote back and thanked him for noticing that I am, indeed, quite smart.

Then I started to deconstruct his sentence, as I often do when I am a bit bored. It is the ingrained English teacher buried deep in my soul that causes the need to take apart idiotic comments. Generally they are in what is commonly referred to as “memes,” but you find them in comments made by people who have hubris issues, or who are simply unable to think things through to a logical conclusion.

“You must think you are so smart.”

Actually, sir, I don’t. There is no “must” about how I think, or what I think. I simply think, something I am sure that is uncommon in your circle of life. I don’t “think” I am smart, I know I am. Assuming, of course, you are referring to the common use of the word “smart” to mean that I am intelligent. If so, then I agree with your assessment of my intellectual capability. I am indeed smart.

According to all the exams I took at various ages throughout my life, I am considered to be somewhere in the genius level of the scale. However, when one adds in life experience, and common sense, I am even brighter than the exams tout. So, of course I am smart. Most people are, if they simply allow themselves to think, read, learn, ponder, study, and use their brains rather than their emotions to contemplate reality and life. Even if one tends to use emotion as the litmus test for intellectual ability, at some point reality must make an appearance so said person might be able to walk and talk at the same time. So yes, I am indeed smart. I don’t think I am, I know I am, and that sir is the difference between us.

Yes, I realize that you were trying in your own way to insult me. Sorry, you failed. I found it amusing, if somewhat confusing, that you would stop the flow of the discussion to throw in an insult based on your dislike of my comment. Then, it occurred to me that you probably didn’t have the ability to respond with an argument that would reply to my questions about civil discourse without the use of profanity. Because, sir, you simply do not have the ability to use a vocabulary that isn’t beyond the common vernacular of what passes for an education today. In short, sir, you cannot form a response that isn’t profanity laden or insulting, lacking in any form of debate or sense. It would be emotionally laden and strident with hysteria and anger instead. How dare someone ask you, or expect you, to speak without using foul, substandard language when trying to debate a topic. Well, I did, and I do. Because, I simply refuse to believe that humanity has fallen so far that they cannot carry on a civil conversation with those who may think, or believe, differently.

However, let us return to the profoundly inept sentence you worked so hard to display. The word “smart” has more than one meaning. So, if you meant to use it in another manner, such as in how well dressed I tend to be, then again, you are quite wrong. I don’t think I dress smartly. Although, according other people I do clean up quite well, I prefer to dress comfortably. That generally means jeans and shirts of various styles and fabric. I wear them with either sandals, boots, or shoes, depending on where and what I am doing and the time of year in which I am wearing them. So, generally, I am dressed neatly, with clean clothes, but not of the highest fashion or newest styles. So, in that I am not smart when I leave the house. Because, sir, I am smart enough to know what I like to wear.

So, I thank you for noticing that I am smart. And though you wanted to insult me, you amused me on a gloomy winter day. All the while I was writing this, I was smiling to myself. Why? Because I knew it would baffle you, annoy you, and you would take ages to understand that you made a complete fool of yourself. Oops.

A Blank Page


There is something about a blank page that bugs me. It doesn’t matter if it is on my computer screen or a real piece of paper, it screams out for something, anything, to be written or drawn on it to make it unique.

When my kids were little, paper was a way to keep them entertained for all of two minutes while I made a bathroom stop. A notebook and pencil in my purse or diaper bag was a must to hold off boredom in places like restaurants and church. As they got older, we used paper and pencils to write words, and draw pictures to go with them. Sometimes, if we were in an appropriate, and sometimes not appropriate, place we would make paper airplanes, or fans, or anything we could by folding paper. It was a useful tool.

Then, when my kids were teenagers, before we all had text messaging, they left me notes on the fridge, the front door, in my car, and sometimes, on me, to remind me of things they needed or places they needed to be. I did the same for them and for my husband. Notes became an every day way of communicating in a busy teenage household.

But always, through the years, writing down my life was a part of my daily routine. I filled pages of paper in journals telling my story. Then I started writing down imaginary stories, always trying to write something that would teach, lead, or entertain others. I wrote letters, by hand, and notes saying Thank You, or You Are Invited To An Event, to others. I wrote love letters to my husband, and letters of appreciation and admonition to my children and grandchildren. I wrote the histories of my ancestors, and reams of papers for college courses.

Today, I still write every day. Sometimes it is just a blog, sometimes I work on a book or a short story, sometimes I just write an email, a response on social media, or to my elected officials. Like reading every day, writing is as much a part of my life as breathing. I can’t imagine being unable to do either.

So, today, when I was faced with a blank page, I thought about how important it is to write things down. Because once you are gone, and your children are gone, who will remember what you said, how you though, or the feelings that filled your life? This is your chance to put down the words that mean something to you. This is your time to tell your own story, opine on your ideas and dreams, and your time to say what you really think about any and every subject that comes to mind.

Every personal story is important. Without personal accounts of events, real history will be lost to the ages. All that will be left is what the professional politicians had to say, or the media of the day had to say, not what every day people had to say about a moment in time. Daily grind events are just as important as life changing events. And in the future, some many times great grandchild will sit in wonder reading what you really thought, did, or felt in your life. It will amaze, thrill, and surprise them with the turn of every page. Write it down. Inquiring minds will want to know.

A blank page is an opportunity. Don’t waste it.

Broken Memories


A Valentine for my husband of 46 years.  In all the years of pain, loss, joy, and happiness, we have fallen in and out of love many times.  Today, we have found each other again. And this is what came to mind today. I love you old man, I always have, even when I got lost in the sorrow.

Broken Memories

Memories of your arms

holding me, hands touching me

reaching for you, touching

broken memories.

Memories of laughter

sunshine days, warm nights

gentle loving,

touching broken memories.

Memories of joy

memories of contentment

careful words, giving

broken memories.

Memories of loneliness

memories of emptiness

memories of needing you

lost in broken memories.

Memories of growing old

lost and alone

finding you in my heart

mending broken memories.

Reaching for your arms

touching your love

finding warmth

leaving behind broken memories.

Every Day Heroes


A friend told me about an accident she and her husband came upon the other day. A car was on fire, and someone was trying to get out. Her husband jumped out of their vehicle and ran to help him get out, stayed with him until medical people arrived to fly the injured driver out to a hospital. Her husband was banged up a bit, but fine. Everyone was commenting on how much of a hero he was for helping and putting himself at risk. She demurred. I wrote in her comment section the following.

“Heroes are every day people who do extraordinary things without worrying about the consequences.”

I thought on that later, and I have come to the decision that all of us are everyday heroes during our lives. Often we don’t think of our actions as heroic or special. We simply react to what is happening in the best way we can. Sometimes it is helping someone survive a horrific accident. Sometimes it is taking soup to a sick friend. Sometimes it is a listening ear, and sometimes a swift kick in the attitude of someone having a pity party.

Saving a life is a big deal. It is a lot of responsibility and takes someone with inner strength of steel and granite to do what has to be done. Pulling someone out of burning building, out of the twin towers; running into the line of fire to rescue someone, standing up to the local bully to protect someone; leaving the abusive spouse, male or female, and taking the children with you; moving back home to take care of aging parents and giving up your plans to raise a child you didn’t expect to raise. All of those are heroic things. It takes guts, selflessness, and a willingness to deal with unforeseen consequences due to your actions to fulfill the title of hero.

Some people have jobs that are more like callings which are intrinsically heroic. Fire fighters, Law enforcement, Military men and women, Emergency Medical Personnel, are all in highly dangerous occupations. People are willing to accept those dangers. They train and work hard to gain the skills to do their jobs to the highest degree of proficiency. They are heroic in going out into the harsh world and fulfilling their duty.

Some people are heroes for taking on responsibility that they didn’t sign up for in their lives. They don’t run into burning buildings or chase down criminals, nor do they go out and put an end to evil regimes that threaten their countries and ours. These are the average moms and dads who sacrifice career advancements, educational opportunities, and being upwardly mobile so that one of them can stay home and raise their children. These are the single moms and dads, who, for whatever reason, are raising their children without benefit of a spouse. These are the single parents who are working, going to school full time, and being a mom or dad too. They could easily drop the kids into the system, hand them off to grandparents or other family members, but choose to be the mom and dad, provider, and give up personal time to be the best parent they can be.

There are heroes who teach, guide, lead, discover, and reach out to students who are on the verge of becoming another statistic to the poverty, gangs, and violence of their cultural world. Older men and women who set out to be an example to younger men and women, becoming a mentor and someone who believes in a young man or woman who has never had an advocate for their potential. And some heroes who coach and shape young people into strong, independent, thinking adults become the silent hero in the lives of the lonely, lost, and ignored. Most of them never know they made a difference just by their example.

And there are the every day people who reach out to everyone around them with friendship. Sometimes all it takes is just one person to change the life of another in a positive way after the slings and arrows of life has beaten them down. To the one they helped, they are doing something extraordinary. They cared enough to encourage someone on the abyss to keep going, not to give up, and ask for nothing in return. Sometimes all it takes is one person, just one, to change the trajectory of the world for another lost or grieving soul. Who is your hero?

Every day people, doing extraordinary things . . . think about it.

Favorites


I was cutting onions for a soup this afternoon. I was using my favorite paring knife, one I’ve had for over twenty-five years. I like my knife, and it annoys me when someone else uses it. “Huh,” I thought, “I wonder if that is weird or if other cooks feel that way about their knives.” I have probably close to two dozen, mostly very sharp, knives in my kitchen. Most of them have a certain purpose for chopping, cutting, or what ever needs done to make a meal. If I had to chose five to keep, I already know which five are my favorite. Is that weird, or is it any different from anyone who uses any sort of tools on a regular basis?

I know my Dad had his favorite tools that he liked to use for different projects. He also had his favorite guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass, amplifier, microphone, and hat. My mom had her favorite sewing machine, and heaven help us if we messed up her favorite cast iron frying pan. My Grannie had her favorite needle, and she like a certain kind of thread to quilt with, and my Granddad absolutely had his favorite hammer, I remember because he yelled at me for playing with it when I was a little kid. He also had his favorite razor that he sharpened on his razor strap. I got spanked with the strap once too. But only once. I learned to never lie to him that day.

My husband has his favorite guns, pistol, long gun, and shot gun. His favorite type of ammo for each. He has his favorite tools for his computers and tech gizmos, and his favorite kind of electronics to test for problems. And he is picky about all sorts of tools in the garage and house.

I have my favorite writing tools, things like dictionaries, thesaurus, reference materials, and research materials. I do not like using the Internet for that information. Half the stuff on line is incorrect anyway. I have my favorite kitchen gadgets, and do not allow anyone to use my baking pans for the wrong thing, that really, really annoys me. Does that make me a creature of habit? Probably. I know I find it comfortable to use the tools that I have had for a long time. And, I hate new technology. Just as soon as I get used to the way my computer works, something has to be changed, I hate the constant learning curve.

After getting the soup on, and cleaning my knife, I put it back on the wall magnet I hang my knives on. I wondered, as I checked them for sharpness, how I could use them as a weapon in a story I have in mind to write. “Huh.” I thought, “How weird is it that someone would look at their kitchen knives and wonder how to use them in a story, or is it weird?” Apparently, not for me.

I Am A Writer?


I wrote a book. Me. I like the book I wrote, but so do other people, and that surprises me. Now I am writing another story. And that surprises me even more. It’s scary to write a book, it is even scarier to let people read it. Because I am putting myself on the line, and I don’t do rejection well. Never have, probably never will. So why bother to do this?

I am 62 years old. I have led a varied and amazing life. And like everyone, I have stories to tell. Not about me, really, but about people I’ve met, things I’ve seen, places I’ve been, and the miracles that bind people together in the most amazing ways. I want to tell those stories without being specific about those people.

So like most writers, I want to tell the stories in a way that is fiction, based on facts and experiences. It is a fine line to walk, because someone might recognize themselves, or think they do, if they know me. Or maybe not. Depends on who it is and when the story takes place. Writers tend to write what they know, and some of us, (Wow, I said US!) write what we know in very different times and places. Science Fiction stories are still based on known quantities in an imaginary place. Humans are always going to act like humans. Vampires act like humans with extra abilities and sharp teeth; monsters act like humans with terrifying abilities and attitudes. Even stories about dogs and cats have situations where humans place their human behavior on the cats and dogs. I find that interesting, with varying degrees of horrified. What I don’t usually like are writers who have a formula for their stories. They tend to all have pretty much the same storyline, the same characters, and no real surprises. Boring.

I figure I have read hundreds of thousands of books over my lifetime. I started reading when I was four years old, I taught myself. The first thing I remember reading was Jack Be Nimble. I loved nursery rhymes. I’ved read every genre at one time or another, everything from earliest written books to the most modern books. Learning along the way that I hate creepy books, and the people who write them must have some deeply disturbing issues to be able to write things like that. Mr. King, you need serious therapy. I also dislike predictability in a story, and if you are going to write historically based books, please, get the facts straight about the minutia. It drives readers nuts to know you have it all wrong when it comes to things like the use of guns, martial arts, and magic. Really, speak to a modern day witch before assuming you have it right Fantasy writers.

I admire writers who have the courage to toot their own horns, doing what it takes to get their books read, even in this age of massive self publishing. I haven’t decided if I want to publish, well I do, but I don’t know if I have the courage to publish. I am really worried I will make an ass of myself, like I often do when I get in front of a crowd. Yep, me, cowardly lion here. Unless it comes to politics, family, friends, or my country then I can be brave and speak my mind.

So, I’m a writer, sort of. The stories really write themselves. I just go along and type it up for the characters. I’m having fun, and if I get rejected, I get rejected. The stories have got to be told. I’m a writer, who would have thought that would ever happen?

I’m a Mess


For the past seven days, I have been writing a story. It has taken over my life. I looked at myself in the mirror today and laughed. I was wearing my pajama bottoms and a ratty old t-shirt, a sweater three size too big, and socks. My hair was standing on end, I had no make up on, and I looked tired.

I am obsessed with my characters, who have, by the way taken over the story and are doing what they want. They made me cry twice, and they got a bit, um, racy a few times. Whew! Holy Cats!

My house is a mess, my laundry needs done, my dog wants attention, and the cat stopped talking to me. I can’t have a conversation with my husband without my mind wandering back to the story. He is cooking dinner or we are eating take away, because I keep going back to the computer every second I can. I haven’t talked to anyone, except the once a day visit to Facebook. I am a mess. And I LOVE IT!

I have made it past the magic chapter ten, all the way to sixteen. I am at 60,703 words and going strong. Happy dance! I am not ignoring my blog, well, not much. But people, I have to tell you, I haven’t had this much fun in ages. I had to force myself to stay off the computer all weekend. Me, the one who just isn’t that into being online etc.

Just wanted to check in. Gotta get back to my story. Big things are about to happen. I finally got them in the same room… never mind – its complicated. Later people.