Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Young Adult Tales 3--Jobs

My young adult years were filled with a variety of summer jobs. Here's what I remember about them.

1. Insurance brokerage. Summer between high school and freshman year of college. My first job ever, it was working at the business owned by the parents of my old friend Ericka. My big project was to clean up the storage room. I re-alphabetized the files and cleared up some clutter (oh the irony that I was in charge of de-cluttering and organizing!). Meanwhile, I learned how to put together the packages for clients and run the computer programs (gotta love DOS). I remember the boss (Ericka's mom) telling me that when we answer the phone, don't say "Can I help you?" because of course you can; instead, ask them "How can I help you?" Words of wisdom, my friends.

2. Usher. Summer of '93. This was probably the best job I've had. There's an outdoor pavilion in the Chicago area called Ravinia, and each summer there are tons of shows. The Chicago Symphony plays each weekend, kids acts come on Saturdays, and all sorts of everything in between perform as well. I wore a uniform (the vests were totally unflattering with my small chest). I passed out programs and helped people find their seats. We also enforced rules like no standing on the railings. And we cleaned up the pavilion when the shows were over. If a show was sold out, we'd put a program on each seat rather than hand them out.

It was pretty hectic before the concert started, especially when everybody poured in at the same time and everyone needed a program etc. But then once the concert was going and everyone was seated, it was great, I just enjoyed the concerts. Some of the best acts I saw that summer were Dolly Parton and Peter, Paul and Mary.

I became friends with some fellow ushers and had a crush on this one boy. He got a group of us together to play frisbee after work once or twice. That never went anywhere of course, but on our last night, we did dance together (I think he danced with all the girls that night) to Strangers in the Night (though I don't remember who was performing). Anyway....

3. Realtor. Summers of '93 and '94. Another friend of the family, Mrs. M., was a realtor. My older sister had worked for her one summer and then I don't remember exactly but I think we split the job my sophomore summer (and that's why I got the ushering gig too?) and then I worked for her again the next summer after I got back from 6 weeks in France.

Anyway, working for Mrs. M. wasn't too bad. She was a very easygoing boss. I helped her with some advertising/brochures for the properties she had on the market. And I "hosted" some brokers' open houses, in other words I sat in an empty house and barely anyone ever came.

4. Accounting at a law firm. Summer of '95. I wanted to be a lawyer, so my parents, once again, helped me get a job. Their friends, Mr. R and Mr. B, were partners at a Chicago law firm and they said there were always a few positions for lawyers' kids around the office--and I got one of those. It was in the accounting department, not quite the "legal" job I had in my idealistic mind. The project I was hired for was to track down outstanding checks. I had an office and everything! Lots of files to go through. As I wrapped up that project, I started doing this and that for the various people in accounting: mostly filing, a little data entry, sometimes adding up phone bills. At some point the Accounts Receivable person was on vacation or something and I filled in for her on a couple tasks. I liked that kind of busy work--take the checks, enter them on a spreadsheet, photocopy them, take the checks here and the copies there, I don't remember what all, but it was do-able.

That's it. Summer of '96, I started law school. Summer of '97, I interned in the law office of a tribe in South Dakota (a story for another day perhaps). Summer of '98, I was a summer associate at a fancy shmancy Orange County (California) law firm. Then I graduated from law school and became a couch potato.

Okay, folks, question for ya! I have 3 weeks of these young adult tales yet to come and I'm open to suggestions on what to write about. Here are some choices:
-My wedding and/or honeymoon (to Whidbey Island, WA)
-Our vacation to Charleston, SC
-My summer on an Indian reservation
-My 6 weeks in France in college
-Something about growing into either my appearance or personality over the years

What strikes your fancy? Tell me in the comments what you'd like to read about. Thanks!!!

To read more Young Adult Tales, go here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Five Question Friday--October 22

Another crazy week here. I'm hoping to come back and tell you all about it soon (very exciting stuff going on in our household--L is growing up fast!). For now, just a quick 5 Questions post. Enjoy!
1. Who is the better cook, you or your spouse?
My husband is by far the better cook. And he enjoys cooking while I do not. How ironic that I'm the at-home spouse. These days, he cooks dinner about half the time.
2. How often do you talk to your mom?
This has been a point of contention for a long time. My parents still like to "check in" on me in a weekly phone call, which I think is absurd {looking forward to reading others' answers to this one}, especially in this age of email. I am not a child anymore, I'm 36 for goodness sake! Anyway, for now I've stopped arguing because the kids enjoy the calls. Pretty soon they'll be moving to town so we'll probably talk more often.
3. Are you adventurous in the kitchen or stick to the recipe?
I am not adventurous in the kitchen (see #1), but I like "recipes" that are so easy I can do them by memory, eyeball the spices etc.
4. Is your second toe longer than your big toe?
No, the second toe is shorter.
5. Do you dress up for Halloween? (Bonus question: What will you be this year?)
Sadly, no. I like to aspire to that, think about it, I've mentioned in another post how I'd like to dress up in a '50s poodle skirt but I know that ultimately I'm too shy/easily embarassed to go through with it. So instead, I'll wear a pumpkin t-shirt to all the various parties and trick-or-treating.
For more Q&A fun, go here.
Tell me, how often do you talk to your parents?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Young Adult Tales 2--College Friends

Continuing with my Young Adult Tales (check out my other tales by clicking on the "MPT" tab in my sidebar), this week I'm writing about College Friendships. In my "old age," I'm realizing I've never been great at making friends. I had a few close friends in high school, but I didn't have much of a social circle back then. In fact, my two closest friends, Amy and Karen, didn't get along with each other. One day, I'd hang out with Karen and possibly some others of her friends; the next day, I'd go to a movie with Amy. And so forth. Those two have remained my closest friends to this day, they both were maids of honor at my wedding.

Okay, so off I went to college. I had been assigned a roommate, Sarah, and we'd exchanged letters and talked on the phone once before school started. When I arrived at our room, there were two girls sitting in there. I introduced myself and I didn't know which was Sarah. Finally, one girl spoke up that she was Alison from across the hall. I don't know how it all unfolded but Alison became a friend and while Sarah and I got along at first, it deteriorated over time (that's a story for another day) and we were never close. Alison was actually a junior, a transfer student, rather than a freshman. She had a single room across the hall from my double.

Meanwhile, classes started. I was in an awful class, Ecology of the Americas, it was in the American Studies department and a substitute for English 2 (I had AP'd out of English 1). There I met Joanna. I think we made plans to meet at the dining hall for lunch or dinner. I am so grateful that she was outgoing, because apart from Alison, she was the only friend I made. Joanna had made several other friends already and so she introduced me and that's how I met my other friends.

We all know how you go off to college and go to frat parties and get drunk. Yeah, well I was very ambitious and also a bit concerned about my family history of alcoholism (not my immediate family but past generations), plus I hated the taste of alcohol, plus it was illegal and I was a goody-too-shoes... so I didn't drink. While some in our group drank (like Alison who was over 21), Joanna was a non-drinker as well, and she was great at coming up with fun alternatives to the frat party scene. {My college was not big into the Greek scene. It only had 2 frats and 2 sororities at the time, I believe, but that was still the main entertainment scene on the weekends.}

Other friends in my group: Shirley (still a close friend), Mika, Brian, Anna, Christian, Cindy (joined our group, through Shirley, our senior year).

Some of our off-the-beaten-path activities: apple picking, the A to Z birthday party (an activity for every letter of the alphabet), "How to Host a Murder" parties, going to Improv Boston and "Tony and Tina's Wedding" and the ballet. Otherwise, there were lots of pizza and movie nights.

I was also in choir. I had fun with the people in Chorale and Chamber Singers, but rarely did those friendships extend beyond class time. Angie and Kathy are the exceptions there. They were both younger than me, but we had lots of fun.

While I'm talking about fun and friends, I think I'll take a minute to reminisce about Chamber Singers' trip to Martha's Vineyard my sophomore year. Chamber Singers was a small group, maybe 14 of us. We took two vans from Boston to Martha's Vineyard. On the way there, I was in the van with Angie and she was a very gregarious (loud) person. I guess we started singing to the radio, or maybe just singing for the heck of it, anyway I distinctly remember singing "I Saw the Sign" (Ace of Base, this was 1994). Even though I never ever sing by myself and let people hear my voice, I did on this occasion.

Anyway, the first day we had a rehearsal, then we stayed with host families--I stayed with a nice family with a high school daughter--and had a concert the next day. Walking on the beach, dinner with the choir, I remember having a great time that weekend!

Another friendship highlight was Spring Break of my senior year. Joanna, Shirley, Cindy and I stayed on campus and did a ton of fun things. That's when we went to the ballet. We also drove down to Rhode Island for a day trip, very fun! We each cooked one night, so I made a pizza of course (using Pillsbury crust, I'm not a chef by any means). That was an awesome week!

Great, I think I'll leave it there. I remain close with Shirley, who has twins almost the same age as my son, though we live 2000 miles apart. And thanks to facebook, I am back in touch with Alison, Joanna, Anna, Cindy, and Kathy (I'm still searching for Angie, I'm sure she'll turn up there sooner or later!).

For more walks down memory lane, head to Mommy's Piggy Tales. Join me next week for another installment. Thanks!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Internet Hodgepodge--October 16

Just a few links that I've been saving up. I'm linking up to Saturday Stumbles at It's Come 2 This. Hope you're having a great weekend!

Free Christmas Planning eBook from Organizing Your Way. Awesome! Lots of free printables as well.

This is a great post to get ready for Halloween--it's written for kids with sensory issues, but I think there are helpful tips for all families.

I am eager to try this gluten free naan recipe (hat tip to Aubree Cherie). I love naan bread!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Young Adult Tales 1--Courtship

I have a new project, a continuation of Mommy's Piggy Tales, this time about our Young Adult Years. It's a more write-whatever-you-want kind of deal, so today I've chosen to record my courtship (at least the beginning of it) with Hubby. In the summer of '96, I started law school. For whatever reason, this school starts one section of its students in the summer, so there were about 80 of us on the law school campus. Y'all, it was like summer camp. Until it hit me about 6 weeks in that, um, we're going to be tested on this stuff! But I digress. The point is, with only 80 people, we all got to know each other. No, this isn't where I want to start, let's try this again.

In the spring of 1996, I was a senior in college. I had been admitted to several law schools but was waitlisted at another. One day, the dean of admissions from the waitlist school called me and offered me a spot in the section starting in the summer. For a number of reasons, including starting in the summer, I chose to go to that law school. So one week after graduating from college, I started law school.

My mom drove me to law school and I met a few students when I reached the quad. I met a few more students when I went to get my ID. I met several girls when I moved into the dorm. Then I met a bunch of people on Orientation Day. The day after Orientation, day 2 of law school, was Service Day. We all went over to a nursing home. Oh and we were told to wear old clothes you could get dirty. Now of course I packed light for law school so I didn't exactly bring a bunch of rags with me. So I wore a sweatshirt I'd bought 4 years before when I was looking at colleges. In other words, I was wearing a college sweatshirt from a school I DID NOT GO TO. Bad idea! All day long, every one of my new classmates asked me, "Did you go to {school A}?" People who asked me that early in the day got the long answer "no, I almost did, I got this when I visited but yada yada yada I went to {school B}." That got old real fast so if you asked me late in the day you got the succinct "no, I went to {school B.}"

The first time I met Hubby, I don't actually remember. As he tells it (cuz he's a sweetie), he saw this cute girl (me) in a {school A} sweatshirt and so he initiated a conversation, knowing several of his high school friends who'd gone to {school A}. We were standing near the elevators and he says hi and asks me if I went to {school A.} It was late in the day so I said, "no, I went to {school B.}" As he didn't know anyone who went there (I'm not even sure he'd heard of the school), that was the end of the conversation and I got on the elevator and he was bummed.

The second time I met Hubby was a few days later. This time I remember our meeting but he doesn't. ;-) It was at a party on the quad. I met him and two other guys at the same time, we only talked for a few minutes.

So then we start classes and formed our cliques and so forth. Then a bunch of us girls started going to church together on Sundays. One Sunday as mass was starting, we noticed Hubby sitting by himself a few rows over from us. So we asked him to join us. From then on, he was in our little Catholic going-to-church group.

Okay, so when I started law school, I flirted with everybody. But I really didn't think about Hubby because the word about him was "he wanted an undergrad."

Second semester started in the fall. Hubby sat behind me in one of my classes and one day at the end of class as we were all leaving, he tapped me with his pen and said goodbye or see ya later or whatever. I noticed because you know we all saw each other all the time (we were still having all of our classes together as a section), so it was strange to have such a pointed, personal goodbye.

One day, I went shopping with friends, an engaged couple I'll call Jack and Jill. I mentioned that I thought this guy (I'll call him Joe) was funny. They cautioned me away from him (thank you, he was totally a player) and Jill said, I kid you not, "like Hubby." As a command. I was all, no, he likes undergrads. Then Jack explained he thought that was just a put-on so he doesn't get pulled into the whole "who do you like?" pairing up thing. Hmmmm, I thought. Well, he did tap me with a pen the other day. And we all thought hmmmm.

So then I saw him with fresh eyes. I started listening to him talk at dinner in the dining hall and I found him more interesting than I'd previously thought. I remember we had some conversations around campus and then came Rock 'n' Bowl. It was a Thursday night and our section went bowling. Several times that night, Hubby came over and visited me at my lane and I went over to his lane and I guess we started flirting that night.

The next night, Friday, was movies on the quad. I was in a friend's room and telling her I was starting to like Hubby and she agreed he was a good guy. Then the movie started so I went down to the quad and found some friends, including Jack and Jill. The movie was "Babe" (about the pig) and we were having a fun time and I thought how much I'd like for Hubby to be sitting next to me. I even wished it on a star. I kid you not. I did the whole "star light, star bright" rigmarole and wished that Hubby would sit next to me.

As Hubby tells it, he had a couple beers in his fridge so he grabbed them and headed down the quad toward a friend's room, then he noticed the movie was playing. He saw someone he could sit with but a voice told him to keep walking. Then he spotted me and my group--and he joined us! {So my wish came true!}

So we watched the rest of Babe together, then the second movie was something James Bond and I made snarky comments all through it, which Hubby tolerated so that was a good sign.

Saturday we ran into each other on the quad and were talking and I could hear my phone ringing so we went up to my room and Jill had left a message about going to a movie that night (a plan already in the works, she was just letting me know time and movie) so I turned to Hubby and invited him along and he agreed--so this was our first double date with Jack and Jill.

Following the movie, we all made plans to go to Cracker Barrel the next night, so we did that Sunday night and at some point Hubby said the movie Braveheart was like an epic poem and I had to see it, so we made plans to watch that together the next Wednesday.

Between Sunday and Wednesday we walked and talked a lot. Wednesday rolled around and I had second thoughts about our date. But then I thought "{Hubby} makes me smile."

So he came over to my room to watch the movie and long story short we stayed up all night talking (yes, talking, no funny business). It was a magical night and the start of it all. We got engaged a year later, married a year after that. 12 years next week. For many years, we celebrated the anniversary of "Braveheart night" by rewatching the movie.

There you have it, how I met my husband. It's a really long story but I tried to keep it short, hopefully not too short to lose it's magic. Go to Mommy's Piggy Tales to read more stories from our Young Adult Years and come back here next week when I'll be talking about... I have no idea! Stayed tuned! ;-)

Tell me, how did you and your husband meet?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Celebrating Birthdays as a Mom

In case you hadn't heard, yesterday was my birthday. It was a typical crazy Monday (my hardest day of the week), then we celebrated with a great dinner, pumpkin cheesecake, presents and a movie. I don't know about you, but I find it hard to "celebrate" my birthday now that I'm a mom because I'm so busy being a mom, which involves changing diapers, wiping noses, being at others' beck and call (not to mention driving to preschool, driving to speech, stopping at Whole Foods). Now if you can get away on your birthday, to a spa or a date night with your husband, that's great. Have a wonderful time! But if, like me, you celebrate amongst the chaos, here's my advice for how to enjoy your day.

-Low expectations. If you expect to be treated like Queen for a Day, you will be disappointed. If you expect that it will be a usual day of chaos with some birthday cake thrown in, you'll be able to appreciate the extra perks like your favorite dinner and a movie when the kids are in bed.

-Answer the phone or don't. I don't know about your traditions, but in my family, people call on your birthday. This can be fun, enjoy it! Or it can be annoying. Maybe you'd rather be watching hulu. Or maybe you just had a baby two weeks ago and all they want to do is hear about the wonderful baby (who is keeping you from getting any sleep). If it's the latter, feel free to let the machine get it.

-Feed your kids what they like. Lunch and dinner drive me crazy these days. Even if your kids don't have food issues, why not give them their favorite foods so meal times are ever so slightly more manageable. For my birthday dinner, I chose to get food from Carrabba's--my favorite restaurant and we had a gift card. My kids could have had their usual this and that, but instead I made a frozen pizza. This didn't work as well as I'd hoped, L still hopped up every 5 minutes to scrounge for food, driving Hubby and me kookoo, but I still think it was a good idea.

-Dad home early. With the kids' earlier bedtimes, I knew it would be hard to get takeout, eat, have cake, and open presents without keeping the kids up late. Hubby would have to leave work on time or early. Yesterday, he didn't get out as early as I would've liked, but we rushed through dinner and managed to get everything done and the kids down on time. Maybe I should have titled this Enforce Bedtime. ;-)

-Time management/Plan ahead. If you're a regular reader, you know I suck at time management in general. But I planned ahead for my birthday so I wouldn't need to shower before bed. I picked up the living room on Sunday night so the mess wouldn't drive me crazy. I left myself very few chores and got them done pretty early in the day. Then I was able to watch Project Runway on DVR while L was at preschool and watch Glee on hulu during nap time. Then, once the kids were in bed, I could crash in front of a movie--no shower, no chores.

-Think ahead to after the kids go to bed. The real "gift" of my birthday was once the kids were in bed, I got to pick the movie. The kids are in bed by 8:30 so that leaves enough time for a short movie before Hubby and I get ready for bed around 10:30. It took me a while to choose what to watch, I wanted something I was guaranteed to like, but I had trouble choosing among our old favorites (I've seen them too many times). Finally, I searched instant Netflix and found a Jane Eyre with Orson Welles and Joan Fontaine from 1944. We hadn't seen it before, but I love the story (Jane Eyre is one of my all-time favorite books). Sure enough, it was quite good, though I wore out before the end and we turned it off around 10:00 (we'll finish it tonight or tomorrow).

That's it, that's what I've learned through trial and error over the last few birthdays and it worked for me yesterday. Focus on what you can control (what's for dinner, what kind of cake, what to do after the kids go down) because there's so much you can't.

For more tips and tricks, visit We Are THAT Family.

Tell me, how do you celebrate birthdays now that you're a mom?

Last week's "Glee"

Warning: a not-particularly-family-friendly rant follows.

So as part of my birthday "celebration" yesterday, I chose to watch last week's episode of "Glee" on hulu during T's naptime (L has "quiet time" in the living room, but in honor of my bday, I kept the tv on to keep him quiet, heehee). Now, I was skeptical to begin with because it was The Britney Episode, but I also feared the Madonna episode (that turned out to be great) and the Lady Gaga episode (that was okay), so I thought maybe it would be okay.

Don't even get me started on Lady Gaga! My thoughts on Britney are a little more benign. I don't think she's particularly talented and I can't figure out her continued airplay. And of course like many (most?) female recording artists, she uses sex to sell.

So I was pleased when the episode started and Mr. Shoo (Shoe? Shu?) refused to let them do Britney because, say it with me now, She's a bad role model. Woohoo! Then everyone goes to the dentist and has anesthesia-induced Britney dream sequences. Half-naked. Sorry, just the Brittany character is half naked. The midriff-baring snake scene and the mesh sequin body suit thing. Classy! I fast-forwarded. Then Brittany and Santana have a shared dream sequence of that Britney-Madonna duet--yuck, I fast-forwarded again.

I watched Rachel's version of Hit Me, Baby, One More Time because that song I kind of like. Did anyone else think how sad it was that this very talented girl (Lea Michelle) just couldn't do much with a song traditionally sung by one with far less talent. Sad!

I also enjoyed Artie's version of Stronger, so I didn't fast forward.

Then there was the big Homecoming number. Toxic, I think? Fun rendition but the crowd, especially the nerds getting, um, excited. Yuck!

Oh and meanwhile, the whole "plot" is that these Britney dreams have been so good for the Glee-Clubbers: Brittany has confidence, Rachel dresses better, Artie is inspired to try again for the football team. Yuck, yuck, yuck. The message: Mr. Shoo was wrong, she's a great role model. Gag!

Meanwhile, the real Britney Spears appears in the episode. Thank you, Fox, for employing this um, has-been.

So here's the thing--I haven't finished watching the episode. (When I left off, Sue had just set off the fire alarm at the pep rally.) I probably should so I can get some closure and of course be up to date on any "plot" before next week.

But a few more episodes like this and I don't know if I'll keep watching. The show is only as good as the music, I've never particularly liked the plots. In which case, why do I care if it's about Britney as role model? I suppose the answer is because I don't think this kind of plot/episode is good for the young women who watch Glee. Just like I don't think Supermarket tabloids are good for women or photoshopped covers on "legitimate" women's magazines. Don't I become part of the problem if I continue to watch and endorse this show?

Anyone else watch Glee? What do you think of this season so far?

Top Ten Tuesday--Halloween Costumes

I have mentioned before how much I love Halloween, so today I bring you my Top Ten Halloween costume ideas (in no particular order, and these are not affiliate links)...
1. I love peacocks so I think this infant costume is Adorable! 2. This is the cutest baby bunting costume I've seen:

3. I love this! It's a Coke machine costume!

4. T loves playing with her Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads, so how's this for a great costume? 5. How about one of these Christmas costumes from Oriental Trading? Only $10 and your child can wear it for Halloween AND Christmas!

6. Pottery Barn has amazing costumes, but I especially like the food ones. Here's popcorn:

7. I just think this R2D2 costume is too cute! 8. L had the idea that he and T should be pirates. How cute would matching pirates be?! Girl and boy.

9. I think it would be so cool to dress up our family like the Scooby gang. I'd be Velma, of course, because I wear glasses. Hubby would be Shaggy cuz that's easy--green tee and brown pants. L could be Fred, T could be Daphne, and we could carry a stuffed Scooby.
10. I would love for T and me to dress up in matching poodle skirts.

For more Top Ten fun, visit Oh Amanda.

What are your favorite costumes? Share in the comments!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

On My Mind

-Dinner drives me crazy. In fact, tonight I had to leave the room, L was not eating and was giving us the hardest time. He won't eat. He wants cookies and gum drops (fruit snacks) but won't eat his chicken nugget or vegetables. While I was gone, he started eating yogurt. Later, he ate watermelon. For that, we gave him dessert. WTF are we doing?! Meanwhile, T had started eating more than 10 minutes before the rest of us (because that's the only way to keep her from moaning/yelling at the gate) so she was bored and dropping silverware on the floor.

-I tried to make a Scholastic book order online and it just wasn't working. Over and over I tried and just kept hitting the same error. Poop! I really wanted to order online for the larger selection. Now it looks like if I want to place an order, I'll have to use the forms. Argh.

-I have been shopping for days. Thursday T and I went to Kohls. I tried on a thousand things and everything looked hideous (except one sweater vest that I decided against because it was black, I own too much black). I bought brown jeans and a white cami. Friday I went to Old Navy, Steinmart and Nordstrom Rack. Again, I tried on tons but only bought one sweater. (I tried on that sweater I liked at Old Navy. It was cute but itchy, so I passed.) Today, I went to Kmart to get a toy for T and browsed their clothes. Actually, I found a bunch to try on. A couple sweaters came close, but I didn't buy anything. Tomorrow, I plan to hit the mall. I have gift cards to Gap and Express, neither is my favorite store but I'm all for free stuff, and I saw a sweater I liked on Aeropostale's website, so I might try that too.

-Monday is my birthday (which is why I'm treating myself to clothes in the first place). Mondays are my worst day of the week. Hopefully, Hubby can get out of work a bit early. He's going to pick up Carrabba's for dinner. My favorite! (And IBS-friendly because the next morning I'm taking T to Scottsdale for a doctor's appointment--fun.) I've asked hubby to find me a pumpkin cheesecake for dessert. Then presents and putting the kids to bed, then I'm thinking chick flick. I may watch Young Victoria again. The thought of good food and chick flick will hopefully carry me thru the tough day.

-Tuesday I was eaten alive by a mosquito. I have 12 or more bites. At any given time, I have about 7 bandaids on. (I put Benedryl on the bandaid and it keeps me from scratching.) So I've been wearing jeans all week even though it's still over 100 degrees. 110 today. I'm hoping I'll be healed by my birthday. :-)

-The end.