Saturday, July 22, 2017

Change is Good

I spent the first part of my life learning how to be a good person. Listening to endless discussions/lectures on how to be responsible, but most importantly, a humble and respectable person. And above all, I was taught to take care of myself, to be strong, to follow my instincts and to learn to create my own diversions when the wrong paths were calling my name.

The second part of my life was spent teaching my children these same values. And I have to tell you, if you thought the listening part was hard, irritating and even boring; geez Louise, the teaching it / preaching it part is so much worse. You have the behind-your-back eye-rolling, the wondering if it’s really sinking in, and of course, the part where they won’t speak to you for a week; or until they really need something or they’re hungry, whichever comes first.

But every so often in your lifetime you will also be faced with the job of being not only the teacher, but the student. You will find yourself having some serious Come to Jesus conversations that no one is participating in but yourself and hopefully the mightiest guiding light that exists.  You will fight within, you will weigh-out the pro’s and con’s and you will slowly and carefully come to a conclusion that will hopefully be a better one for you and what makes life work right for you.

And at some point you will probably have to make some changes. Now I don’t know about you, but I tend to find my comfy spot and I let myself get rooted there and I’m not real fond of changing that. 
But I go back to my raising's and I remember what my Daddy tried to teach me for years and years, and paraphrasing, that was basically this: ‘only you can be the change, only you have the strength to make it happen, we are solely responsible for our destiny’s, try to make the best choice the first time’.

And that’s how I am coming to you today as you read this – I decided to make a change. I love talking to Gadsden County folk about my life here, my family, my thoughts, the things that make me happy and the things that disappoint me from time to time. I like knowing that something I have to say can make someone not feel so alone or isolated in their thoughts or their struggles.

Life is hard folks, it just really is and all we can do is the best we can, from one day to the next, to make it as easy on ourselves and the ones that we love, the best that way we know how. Make the best choices in the moments we are given, stand strong in our beliefs, and steadfast in our hearts and souls. I truly appreciate the opportunity to introduce myself and I’ll see you all next week!






Friday, July 14, 2017

Still Going Strong

By the time ya’ll are reading this, my husband and I will have celebrated our 11th year of marriage and our 19th year as a couple. It’s of course, not the first marriage for either of us, but we both promise it’s the last.

There’s a lot of lesson-learning that goes on in a 19 year span; I cannot even accurately express just how many lessons have really been learned. We have both expanded our level of patience, him probably quite a bit more than me, and we’ve both learned that neither one of us is always right, me probably more than him.

I came in riding a wave of a red hot temper, combined with a head as hard as stone. He came to me with a habit of driving off when things got tough, and pretty much being only concerned with what worked in his favor/his way, because that’s the way he was used to living.

With both of us being Type A personalities, we learned pretty quickly, that neither one of us was going to put up with the foolishness of the other. It was figuring out how to make everything else work along with our own special brands of behavior that would be the real job at hand.

But we did, and we’re still here, stronger than ever. He helped me grow as a person and I like to think I did the same for him. He helped me raise my two children who are now both intelligent, and very successful adults.

We’ve come a long way from our first date, our first fight, and our first break-up. We’ve crammed a lot of real life into those 19 years. We made it through a cancer scare with my husband – barely two years into our marriage. He’s been cancer-free for 7 years now and we count our blessings every day.

We were both a part of a somewhat traumatic job transformation just about 4 years ago this month of July. We were 20+ year employees for a company that closed down. To have to find yourself all over again at 50 and 61 years of age respectively, well, I can’t begin to tell you what a life transformation that was for us both.

But we both found our footing, got back on the horse, and we’ve continued to move in a positive forward motion, because that’s just what you do in life when you get knocked down. You get back-up and figure it out.

I find myself thanking all the stars above that I found such a strong man to finish out the second part of my life with; a kind and gentle soul to walk beside me on the rest of my journey here on earth. We know one another inside and out; there are few surprises and even fewer disappointments.


We still say I love you before we hang-up the phone and every night before we go to sleep, and that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

And The Rain Came Down......

And so the disagreement begins with - the dreaded water bill. The water bill reflects a doubled number and of course, so does the septic. Because what comes out of that hose, most go down somewhere. But honestly, that’s something I’ve never understood. The sink in my home, yes. The toilet in my home, yes. But not the water hose in my yard that disperses water OUTSIDE, not down a drain.

But I digress, the water bill comes in with our electric bill since we are within the city limits. I can always tell what day that bills arrives, because upon entering my house from work, on whatever afternoon that happens to be, I can see my husband slouched down in his recliner, the color in his face drawn and pale, and he looks like his last friend as left him.

But then he sees me and suddenly he comes to life. It’s like a bolt of lightning has entered his body as he approaches me clutching that wretched sheet of paper that portrays LIES, LIES I TELL YOU, about how MUCH I have been running that outside water. We stand nose to nose, he tells me the amount, I deny, deny, deny, and the circle of stories that begins then is for someone smarter than me to untangle.

But the bottom line for me is always this: we bought all these pretty flowers, plants and bushes to make our outward home as attractive as the inside and I refuse to let it all die, just because we are currently in the middle of a drought.  So YES BY GOLLY, I’m going to run that water hose as much as it takes to keep it all alive; and then I feel defeated and promise to cut-back to every other day.

However, this promise is made with my fingers crossed behind my back – because the first time he goes out of town, you know that water house is going to be set on high until he returns! I have to get in all the “extra” I can while he’s gone because I’ll be back on water-distribution-restriction when he gets back!

But FINALLY, we find ourselves right smack in the middle of a recreation of 40 days and 40 nights. Well, not literally, but it feels like it. Everyone’s moods have shifted and we are all about to believe the sun will never shine again. But you can bet your sweet bippy our lawns and gardens are as green as they have been in months!

Now if it will just hold off another few days for the Fourth of July! The local kids have potato sack races to win, watermelon-eating contests to fill-up on, pies to cram in their mouths, and bike races around the square.


Come nightfall, everyone will stand with their hands over their hearts and sing loud and clear, the song that unites us all and we’ll watch a beautiful display of colors bursting into the sky, representing the best of what it feels like to be a proud American.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dreamwork = Teamwork

I swear to Suwannee, when I get something stuck in my craw, I’m like a dog with a bone ( I know that’s like a double metaphor), I can’t let it go until the problem, the contemplation, or the idea/plan has come to fruition.  And sometimes, it’s not just a matter of days or weeks before everything gets decided and comes to a head, sometimes it can be a year or so. And that my friends is where the misperception can come in – that is where other folks (like my husband) can get confused and act like they don’t really understand what is happening when it all comes slamming down to the final moment of action.

I guess I tend to think that if I’m still thinking about it, planning it, etc., then everybody else is just going to be on board when it gets time to get down to it – whatever IT is. Well let me tell you my sister planner’s – everybody is NOT always on board. Not at first anyway.

For quite some time I’ve had in my mind to expand my Canna Lily bed. And by expanding it I mean, making the bed quite a bit bigger and finding the right color/fit of bulb to blend with the bulb colors that I have now.

Now I know perfectly well that all of my “ideas” are going to require muscle/help. I’m not able to operate a tiller anymore, and hole diggers and shovels don’t like my lower back very much either. So I also have to put into my configuration of plans, “leading” my sweet husband down the same idea-path as myself. Explaining to him with heightened enthusiasm and imaginative/descriptive words just how beautiful it’s all going to look once “we” have it done. 

So Operation Canna Lily Bed Expansion started last weekend with a Face Book post asking if  any of my friends wouldn’t mind sharing canna bulbs with me – and let me say this – what a success that was! I was pleasantly surprised with the number of people who were willing to help me out, but unfortunately only one or two had the strain/color I was looking for. But after some back and forth, it was agreed they would send them to me and the idea was now moving along at full speed.

Last weekend we cleared/cleaned out the expansion of the bed, tilled up all the grass, and there it sat waiting on the bulb shipments to arrive. The shipments arrived toward the end of last week, and today, my husband and I put them in the ground and finally saw the project to the finish line.


The outside of the bed is flanked with Liriope grass to pull the finished-look altogether and while the bulbs/plants themselves look a little pitiful and droopy right now, I’ll give them plenty of TLC for the next couple of weeks. Then when the soil/bulb acclimation takes place, they’ll grab ahold on their own and all that will be left is to wait for the beautiful blooms to blossom. Dreams really do come true.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Front Porch Swinging and Sweet Tea Drinking

I’m a firm believer that front porches are made for plenty of rocking chairs, gliders, swings, and people. Decorated with clay pots full of flowers, beams that support beautiful green ferns, a hummingbird feeder or two, and some wind chimes making music that would challenge the finest of symphony orchestra’s.

The right front porch is also made for sitting undercover while watching the pouring rain and talking about how all that rain is turning everything so green and sending the grass and flowers into a growing frenzy. For telling tall tales and drinking even taller glasses of sweet tea.

And the front porch is the perfect place for aching backs after working in the yard, away from the sun that has been scorching your skin, and causing you to break sweat like a waterfall as it travels down your face. All of which brings the kind of tired and weariness that can only be satisfied with some ice cold water, or for some folks, an ice cold adult beverage.

It’s also made for quiet, serious talks that require darkness to create anonymity and a silent listener who gives the unspoken promise of keeping a confidence and passing no judgement, and only contributing when prompted from the other side of the swing.

But mostly, it’s a wide open space, inviting any and all, with the high expectations of lots of laughter and smiles, family and friends alike, and the subjects that change as fast as the folks swatting the gnats that seem to take over the South in the summers with a vengeance strong enough that I swear to sugar somebody should have long been rich from creating something to prevent them!   

This past Friday night was little pieces of all of the above as my husband and I made our way out to have a seat on the porch, sometime between 7 and 8pm, and settling down to about an hour of nothing but me and him, giggling neighborhood children in the distance, and the lightening bugs.

When I first met my husband he smoked those big, fat smelly cigars, and I didn’t mind them so much because they reminded me of my Pa Pa Josh who left for heaven when I was just a little girl.  My husband quit smoking them years ago, but he also used to occasionally smoke a little, skinny cigar with a plastic tip on it called Black & Mild. Now that cigar, and that sweet smell, would send me into sensory wonderland. 

A couple of weeks ago when were in South Carolina visiting family, I had bought him one, but we never got still anywhere long enough for him to smoke it. So Friday night, when he walked out onto the porch with that little cigar, and between that old, sweet familiar smell and the conversation/memories it brought back, well it was a wonderful hour on our old porch for sure.


Here’s to hoping all you fellas get to share your family-time on a love-filled front porch somewhere, and that you all have a very Happy Father’s Day.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Whirlwind of a Week!

Who would think in a weeks’ time, one could pack in so much?! Well let me tell you folks something, it can be done. Starting with last weekend which was Memorial Day weekend, when my husband and I headed out for Turbeville SC, back to my husband’s home, the place where he grew-up.

And again this year, as well as trying to make sure our schedule of events and stops included everyone within 3 counties, we had another grandchild graduating from high school, which makes two years in a row and that meant we had another graduation party to attend!

So we actually got to see almost one whole side of the family at once – in one place – which was not only convenient but loads of fun! And BONUS! We were able to see our grandson who lives in Miami and is in the Coast Guard – along with his new wife, and be witness to the announcement about their new baby that will make its entrance into our family come this November! Along with the news that their station point is about to change from Miami Florida to a nice, small town in Oregon – a town with a population of 6,000 or so folks. Talk about downsizing!

But my adventures didn’t stop there; Wednesday evening after work I drove to Marianna, Florida to have dinner with an old friend Tammy Carr, from our previous work place. About 8 years ago now, she and her husband moved to Neosho Missouri, and it had been about 3 years or so ago, since I had seen her last. A couple of hours later, after dinner, some selfies, and lots of laughter, we felt caught-up enough to last us until our next visit.

Then yesterday which was Saturday, I struck out to celebrate one of my closest friends’ birthday. Actually her day of birth was several days prior, but I was out of town, and you know, you HAVE to celebrate or didn’t happen!

We spent the afternoon shopping and strolling through nurseries, taking pictures, and having lunch. It hadn’t been but a month or so since I had seen her last, but regardless, there is always catching-up to do which for us, always brings hilarious laughter and stories.

Proof: I told Kathy while flower-looking about me telling Darla, another friend of ours, that I was confused about how those strawberry planters work. I mean after you put all the dirt in there, and then the bulbs/flowers, how do they know how to find their way to those holes and grow outside the pot? Do they follow the light? I was quickly and hilariously “schooled” on how it works, and yes, I felt pretty DUMB.  Even funnier, did I buy one? No. Because I’m still not completely convinced they’re right!

And finally today, June 4th, my parents are celebrating 57 years of forever-together. That’s a long time of compromises, tender-feelings, different sides, and love. But I think it’s safe to say, they’ve got it wrapped-up from here on out!


Sunday, June 4, 2017

GOALS

I have had to “work at” my weight most all of my life. I was a chubby little girl and I was a semi-chubby teenager. It wasn’t until my late teens that I learned how to keep my weight under control. And by “learned” I mean, by just not eating, by starving myself.

I can remember getting headaches, the horrible kind of headaches that make you sick – from not eating. All for the sake of being attractive to some boy, or to feel like I fit in.

I’ve always been a picky-eater, and still am to this day. There are so many “healthy” things to eat that I just do not like. I have tried them again even as an adult, and unfortunately, though many have said their appetites and taste sensory’s changed with age – mine did not.

I WANT to like salad, I really do. I see them all decked out with chunks of meats and cheeses, but it’s all the other stuff that gets in the way. You know, the healthy stuff like lettuce, kale, spinach, radishes, tomatoes, and onions etc.

And so, as is glaringly obvious, I still have a huge problem with my weight because I like foods that don’t like me, or that aren’t good for me. And starving yourself doesn’t work as you grow older. It only makes you “hangry” and difficult to work with and live with.

I was having a group text conversation the other night with some friends of mine who suffer from the same disease of loving to eat. One of them was saying it only took her two weeks to overcome her addiction of bread, pasta, potatoes and chocolate. Once she got past that two weeks – she no longer even thought about it.

To the first friend I said this: I will NEVER not love bread. I will NEVER not want bread. And that while I am sure that I would feel better if I could shed myself of that addiction, I probably never will – so much so that even from my grave, I would snatch a sandwich right out of your hands should you have a picnic around me one day when I’m gone.

Another friend told me in that same conversation, that you could eat bread on the weight watcher’s food plan. And to my second friend I said this: “Not three baskets of Texas Roadhouse yeast rolls you can’t”. And she said, “Well not all at one time.” And I replied, “And there within lies the problem”.

In case you’re wondering what prompted these latest conversations and my conversation with you now; I saw a picture that was taken of me the other day, and it was not flattering in the least. It made me want to cry, but mostly it made me want to have my eyes checked because I must be blind not to be able to see myself like that in the mirror every day. So my new goal is to take it one day at the time, do my best to do better, so that I can live longer.



Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Little Boys to Men

From the age of three they made a quick, forever-lasting bond. Just out of diapers and training pants, somehow they knew what some grown people cannot seem to understand now – that they would be forever-linked and forever-friends.

Of course they would laugh and fight, and be buddies again before parent-pick-up at daycare. They would stand by one another through kindergarten, first little girlfriends, and peewee football. Then would come grade school, followed by middle school and then the real test of a true friendship – high school. When boys become men, their opinions become stronger, and their hearts start to separate and share in different directions.


But all the shenanigans in between would be what would strengthen that bond between the two boys. Sleep-overs, sneaking out of bedroom windows, and as I learned just this past weekend, doing a lot of others things, “Mama” would never know about.


And in high school, one was the center and one was the quarterback – the ultimate positions for trust and good old fashioned mind-reading. They worked together like to and fro, ying and yang – and even today as they both sat here in my living room, one stretched out on the couch, the other slouched in a chair, they were finishing each other’s sentences and laughing before the last word was said out loud.


But something else happened this weekend that I can’t say has ever happened before. Saturday afternoon I found myself sitting in a church gym, surrounded by a bunch of other women and watched a three year old sit beside a beautiful young woman and open one present after another, after another.

At some point I distinctly remember leaning into the young lady sitting next to me and asking her how in the world did we get here so fast? And honestly, as I was asking her that question, I was also remembering her as not much older than three years old herself – just yesterday.


One of my youngest son’s best friend’s is about to get married. I attended his and his future bride’s bridal shower this past Saturday afternoon.  As he was opening the gift that was from me and my husband, a slow, sly smile started to cross his face. He said, “Miss Michelle, you have one like this at your house don’t you?” It was a slow-cooker/pressure cooker and I said “Yes, but not quite like that one”. He said, still smiling, “Remind me after this is over and I’ll tell you a funny story about yours, and what me and Zach did one time”.




Well the story WAS funny, NOW, and he was right, I never knew. They’re probably at least a dozen more stories that I don’t know about. But that’s okay, I kind of like finding out about them this way.

Come the end of September, Dustin Watson and Brooke Meadows will be married and Zach, along with two other long-time buddies, McLane Edwards and JD Jones will be some of his groomsmen.  It still feels pretty unreal, and I still say, three year old’s are too young to get married.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Time Keeps Moving On.....

It’s been a wonderful weekend spent with family celebrating Mother’s Day. Then later today, as I was looking at the calendar trying to decide whether or not a trip to see our South Carolina family was going to be able to happen at the end of this month, all of a sudden I realized – IT’S ALMOST SIX MONTHS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!

I can remember when I was growing-up it took SO LONG for time to pass. To get from one time to another; and now, it seems like everything moves at the speed of light. I’ve become to believe that’s why I have such a problem remembering anything anymore, it all happens too fast!

And I don’t remember families being as active when I was growing up as they are now. The parents went to work, and the children went to school, and everyone came home. They had supper, did homework, watched a little television and then everyone went to bed and got up the next day to do it all over again. The weekends were made for chores, lawn work, and riding bicycles in the neighborhood until almost dark.

These families now are involved in every single activity you can imagine! Tee-ball, ballet, baseball, soccer, and ALL of those activities are now weekday/night events – not just Saturday mornings. Kids belong to all kinds of clubs that have year around activities and someone is always running in one direction or another to get folks where they need to be.

It’s no wonder we can’t keep up with time, it’s stretched so thin, it’s about to snap in two. I don’t know how these young parents do it – I truly just don’t. When I get off work in the afternoons, it takes all I can do just to drive myself home some evenings. I DREAM of what my recliner will feel like when I collapse into it. I can remember some days that have been particularly bad that I jokingly said, “I wish I could afford a driver, I’m so tired I don’t even want to push the gas pedal.”

Real life story – one day last week:
I got home one night from my after-work hair salon appointment and as usual I was tired and starving. I was talking to my husband on the phone, as he was still driving and on his way home from a load. I'm telling him I don't even know what I want to eat, because I'm not even up to opening a can of Spaghetto's because I don't want to stand there and dig out the meatballs (I don't like them, and the cans without them taste different - weird I know).


He sat there quietly for a minute and then he said "Well baby, if it's that bad, do you think you're even gonna be able to chew once you figure out what you want to eat?" And we laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

I know that has to sound familiar to people in “my age group.” But the scarier question is – when did I start referring to myself like that?!


Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mother to Mother

Do you ever wonder if the day will come when you’ll stop looking at them misty-eyed and in amazement when all you’re doing is having a simple conversation about their jobs, their plans, or their life? Or when you’ll stop imagining the soft, squishy arms and legs from their childhood? Because when you reach out as you walk by, as they’re sitting at your kitchen bar shoving Tostito chips and salsa into their mouths like they haven’t eaten in days, and you give their arm a little squeeze, but all you feel is firmness and strength.  

When our children were growing-up, we spent so many days and nights praying for what we all have now. Children with decided paths, strong and positive points of views, and children who are finally independent and perfectly capable of surviving without us should they have to do so.

From toddler to teen and beyond; we cheered, we cried, we were disappointed and proud. And we all said at some point, “Gracious, I cannot wait for the day they’re all grown-up and I don’t hear Mama called a hundred times a day!”

But you know, that never turns out quite like anyone expects it to. The quietness is stifling. The amount of un-need and lack of attention we continue to receive is devastating.

If we’re lucky though, it all comes back when you least expect it to. And amazingly enough, it’s somewhere around the time that their lives are beginning to have big changes. Weddings, babies being born, their “baby’s” first day of school, teen angst, and “children” driving vehicles.

But what is more amazing that any of that is this: those misty-eyed looks, and soft, sing-song voices; now they come from somewhere else as well. It doesn’t happen every time, but probably one out three times that I call home during the week, my own mother will answer the phone and I can hear her telling my daddy in the background who it is on the phone. And when she says my name, it rolls off her tongue so soft and sweet, it’s how I imagined her to have said when I was a baby. And many times now, when we are talking face to face, her eyes will become misty as we reminisce about one memory or another.

I wonder when my children hear me speak now, if they translate that softness into what it is, or if you have to be a certain age to even understand that it exists. Kind of like those whistles that only dogs can hear; I wonder if only grown children can began to hear that softness again that was certainly used in their first days/years of life. That softness reserved for the people we brought into this world, for the people that we love the most.


Because that is the same softness that will reverse, and be used by children for their parents as those roles also change through the years. The cycle of love between children and parents is ever evolving. Happy Mother’s Day to all who help keep it going. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

There's No Place Like Home

Sometimes the things less prepared for turn out the best. I love Quincy Florida, and I’ve lived here almost twenty years now, and for the most part it seems the like home. But there’s something to be said for the place where you grew-up to feel the most familiar at different times in your life.

This past week, on the spur of the moment, I decided a trip home was necessary – for my peace of mind and mostly because I needed the fellowship. I needed the sisterhood of all those girls, now women, that I grew-up with; I needed those same faces to remind me that this is exactly how life is supposed to feel right now.

So Saturday, as I pulled up at the decided restaurant in Albany Georgia I was so excited about all the faces I was about to see, and how much better I would feel when it was all over.

But let me backtrack a bit and tell you about what happened BEFORE I arrived at my destination. I saw a CVS as I passed by on route and I decided to stop and go in. I had about 30 minutes to spare and I was hoping they would have what I was looking for. First, I needed a new orange-colored tube of lipstick to go with my outfit as the one I had wasn’t quite the right shade of orange, and secondly, I wanted to purchase a selfie-stick.

I had wandered around a bit before I decided I might as well ask for help, so finally I approached two very young women who were behind the pharmacy counter, and asked could they tell me if they even sold those selfie-sticks. Just that one question sent these young ladies into gales of giggles. I stood there confused and trying to figure out why. I mean, is that not what they were called? Was that just a fad and they didn’t even sell them anymore? Or was it that they had never had a 53 year old woman wearing orange lipstick ask them a question like that?

At any rate, I found the selfie-sticks at the front of the store, paid for it and my lipstick and headed out to my original destination. And just as I knew it would be, it was a day of laughter, old stories, and hugs – many, many hugs.

The only thing was, not a one of us “old” gals could figure out how to hook-up that dang selfie-stick and make it work. No one could read the fine-print paperwork, half of us were pulling out our “readers” from our purses – EXCEPT for the daughter of one of my most treasured friends who had joined us that day. In a snap – Tiffany had that thing hooked-up, angled in the air and we were all smiling for memories. Maybe THAT was what those other young girls at CVS already knew was going to happen – and that was what all that giggling was about.

Home Sweet Home: you never really know how true that is, until you become just a visitor.






Sunday, April 30, 2017

Mostly A Miss

The grass is brown, crunchy, and it’s patchy like a sad old dog with a case of the mange. The blades are practically stretching to their limits as if getting closer to the sky would bring the rain.

We were “promised” a good rain-day today, but that certainly didn’t come to fruition. And of course, when we heard about this rain a ‘coming, all 80% of it, we went racing outside with the first sign of cloud-cover to put the ferns, all eight of them, where they could get fresh rainwater.

We got just enough of a sprinkle to make us both sprint to the front porch, practically tripping over one another and our own feet to see what real rain looks like again. We could actually stand there and count the drops as they hit the hot concrete and dried as fast as they seemed to land. Then my husband looked at me and I looked at him, and we both looked out in the yard at the ferns strewn about, and we just turned around and went right back into the house.

We came back inside, turned the television to the weather channel for what would seem like the 47th time today, to make sure we were at least watching the weather predictions for the right county! And I’m telling you all, it still says we have a 90% chance of thunderstorms tonight! I’m just not seeing that happening.

Now because of all this non-rain we’ve had in the glorious month of “April showers bring May flowers”, I have been watering my yard with the water sprinkler. Funny story about that: our faucet that we connect the water hose to has been “leaking” for about two years now. At first it was just a dribble, then it became an irritating spew. But this year – it became an all-out hostile fireworks water display.

And even though you know how far and wide it’s going to spray because it’s already happened MANY times, and you turn your head to prepare; well you just can’t. It gets you every time anyway. Not only do I have to bend-over, one foot on the ground for balance, and one leg up in the air behind me like a ballerina’s pirouette, half of my face is almost touching the dirt, and the other half is dodging the limbs on the bush that is right next to the faucet so I don’t poke my eye out. So I’m trying to balance, not fall-over and scrape my face upon the side of the house, and dodge the water all at the same time.

After three separate nights of being drenched from my ankles to my ENTIRE FACE, I decided to take charge of getting that dang faucet replaced. I called a local plumber who had done some work for us before. Eighteen total minutes of work and $130 later, I had water that only came out of the bottom of the faucet.

With that kind of work/time to dollar ratio – how my parents didn’t insist that I become a plumber is beyond me!


Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Truth Will Set You Free

I remember it like it was yesterday. So many questions would begin to whirl around in my head. How good at it would I be? Could I even do it? I had never even baby-sat or changed a diaper. But I was soon to learn about all of those things – because I was going to be a first-time mother.

That nine months would fly by as fast as a speeding bullet, just as some of those days would seem like they took forever to turn into the next. I don’t think I completely understood at the time the miracle that was growing inside of me, but I knew enough to know, that this would be one of the most special and precious times of my life.

When my baby was no bigger than the size of a pea, I could already feel an unexplainable connection. I would sing, I would read, and my hands were constantly making contact with the vessel in which I was carrying my first born.

And then my baby was born. And for years and years, I made all the decisions. What clothes looked best, the ways in which to fix the hair, and the shoes that went on each foot. Never really thinking about the day that would come, that none of those things would be my decision any longer. And certainly never knowing that the way I looked at my child’s life, my child’s being, may not be the way that my children would see their own reflection.

It’s a hard thing the day you acknowledge and I mean truly admit to yourself – that as a woman, as a mother, you were simply the means to a beginning. You were nothing more than the vessel, but hopefully the one to be a guide for their educational, emotional and physical needs. It’s a startling realization to know that you never really were in charge of their destiny.  

Both of my children are very independent, intelligent, and open-minded. By the time they were both 18 years old, they had very significant and strong ideas about who they were and how their lives were about to proceed.

This may be the truest/hardest story I have ever written – for when I say – that my children’s favorite saying to each other was always “you’re not the boss of me” – it is now being silently said to me.

My oldest child’s story is not mine to tell. I already have my own story and it is in progress, and ever-moving. My children are but chapters in my story, just as hopefully I will always be contributing and continuous chapter’s in theirs.

Changes of major proportions are being made and it has been an emotional struggle for everyone involved. But this beautiful person will always be my child, and will always be loved. And I am the Mama that cannot be anything other than the same Mama I have always been.

Happy 31st Birthday to my oldest child, J.  May you progressively plow through this sometimes treacherous and scary world, and hopefully find comfort and peace within. 

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Angel Wings

Any of my neighbors could testify that I spend hours upon hours sitting on my front porch, on the right-hand side of our glider, because that’s “my” side; more times than not with a camera strapped around my neck. 

My name is Michelle, and I am addicted to bird watching. Sometimes I don’t even realize how much time has passed; until suddenly the sun has moved/gone down considerably from the time I originally planted myself and all my camera apparatus in my seat.

A few weeks ago now, I asked my husband to move our shepherd hooks (again) that our bird feeders hang on. I couldn’t seem to find the optimal location for them so that I could take my bird pictures in full view. We (he) had just moved them two weeks prior, putting them right where I asked him to, all the while telling me they would be too close to the front porch and the birds would be afraid to feed there. After another two weeks of no-show birds, I admitted he was right.

So when I asked him once again to move them, he never complained, he just went right outside and did it all over again for me. Now during this move, I’m perched up on my glider, giving directions (which you probably already knew) and he manages to get one of them in the ground, in the spot I picked, successfully. The other one, which I asked to be placed on the opposite of my jasmine-covered swing, is being stubborn about going into the ground. No matter which way he seems to move it, two inches either direction, it’s not going down.

I looked down at his feet (because he said his feet were starting to hurt) and he had on his rubber clog thingies.  So I said/suggested “Well, why don’t you go inside and put on your hard-soled boots to try and do that?” He walked slowly away from the hook, which is still half in the ground and half out, his head is down and he’s shaking it from side to side, and then probably counting to ten, he stopped. He looked back at me and said, like I’m the biggest ignoramus in the world, “Michelle, 200 pounds is 200 pounds, no matter what pair of shoes I have on – that hook ain’t going in the ground right there.”

Those hooks are now in a much better place, and my nightly/morning/feeding-time bird shots have resumed.

I post a lot of the pictures I take on Facebook and the other night a friend of mine who has recently

lost her husband, the love of her life, posted a comment that maybe he was one of the cardinals visiting my yard that particular evening.  And as broad and proud as the shoulders were on that one particular cardinal, I’d say my friend was exactly right.

I’ve heard all of my life that cardinals are angels visiting from heaven. Flying-high angel’s right here at Easter are both a beautiful thought and comfort, to myself included. Wishing Easter blessings to all.




Saturday, April 8, 2017

The Purge

I pulled the doors open wide, switched on the overhead light, and just stood there, pondering my next move. I don’t really know what I thought I needed to decide, I already knew what needed to be done. But it was taking that first step, making that initial move, forcing myself to either keep the things before me or give them up.

It’s hard sometimes to know just exactly what you’ve had long enough, what has served its purpose, and what you can now do without. And as I stood there with plenty of built-up energy and all-day-long for time, I knew I was ready to take the plunge.

I’m just like every other female I know, I cannot seem to bring myself to give up any article of clothing – no matter that it hasn’t been seen or worn since two sizes ago, no matter that my body may never see the likes of those peg-legged pants again, and no matter that I cannot even remember when
I would have ever thought that style of blouse and the color of it, would have looked good on me.

But today I woke-up in a positive frame-of-mind. I had laid there still in my bed, in the earlier morning hours, making plans for how my day was to go. And this, this closet full of far too many non-worn clothes was to be my main project of the day. I made-up the rules in my head as I went along, knowing that I would have to be the worker-bee AND the boss today. I would have to be firm with myself, and MAKE myself part with things that had been hanging in that closet so long, they practically had “she knows full well I don’t fit anymore” signs attached to each hanger.

So out it all came, whatever I knew I hadn’t worn, or heck knew I hadn’t even SEEN in over a year, and it was put in a stack to go. Little by little I whittled the closet down as the stack on the top of my bed grew. I had bags set to the side so that when I was done, I would place all the to-go-clothes in those bags and I would immediately place them in my vehicle and take them to a drop point. Mainly, because I knew if I didn’t carry this act all the way out, it would never happen. There have been times I have ridden around with bags of clothes in the back of my vehicle for weeks, just because I was in denial that I really need to part with them.

My husband’s closets are next – and believe it or not – he has three to my one! But I wasn’t about to try and bag up any of his stuff – his relics – like some shirt he’s had since 1977 that he wore to a Nascar race one time when Dale Earnhardt Sr won. Oh no sir. I’d be digging those bags back out of the Goodwill box come daybreak! But his closets are next! I guarantee it!



Sunday, April 2, 2017

Christmas in Spring

For everybody that knows me, they also know that for me, Lowes is the home of devil. The everywhere-you-look-you-find-something-you-love –devil; especially this time of the year. It’s as if they find every single solitary color of flower, plant and bush they can and pile it all up at the entrance to the garden department. As a matter of fact, it is spilling out of all most every entrance orifice of the entire building

Bags and bags of dirt, every kind of dirt you could imagine to be bought is there and just waiting to jump on your cart. Plain dirt, dirt with all the stuff already in it to set your new flowers into pots without the fuss and mess of mixing it up yourself. Fertilizer’s set-up right beside all these stacks of dirt for anything you might want to boost for the highest expectancy of bloom.

And right next to all of that, the gardening utensils. Hoes, shovels, hand shovels, gloves, and gardening hats. Big floppy hats, stiff safari hats – the choices and colors are endless. They give you every opportunity upon arrival, to leave with everything you need to at least appear as a professional gardener, even if you really have no idea what to do with it all when you get home.

And the carts – they come in all sizes as well. The big heavy duty carts with rails are for the serious gardener who absolutely means business. The medium sized cart is probably best suited for the customer whose needs are more for a low maintenance lawn/garden. And the regular buggy carts – well in my humble opinion, those are meant for people who really didn’t come to get much of anything. They’re just lurkers who have wandered into that area, and really have no idea why they even ended up in lawn and garden.

We of course, had the king daddy dog cart – because I knew exactly what my mission was to be. We walked out of there with 8 green hanging-ferns, 2 planters with various flowers to fill-up my pots, and a huge bag of compost dirt with all the special stuff already mixed.

Now here is the best part – I got to the check-out counter and started flipping through my wallet looking for my debit card. I watched from a side-ways glance at my husband who had been quiet mostly, as I had previously piled all this stuff on my cart, but now appeared to be sweating profusely and frowning as he waited for the final price announcement.

When low and behold, I found a card in there that was a Lowes in-store-credit card! We had both totally forgotten about a wall heater we had purchased last fall that didn’t work as we thought it should, and my husband had returned it. Well, they don’t give cash-back, they give you one of those cards.

Santa Claus suddenly appeared right there in the sunshine of the lawn and garden center – my balance owed after swiping that card was $1.55! What a wonderful forgotten surprise and happy spring to us!






Friday, March 24, 2017

Depends On How You Look At Things

It’s been quite a week. No quicker than Daylight Savings Time snatched an hour away from us for the Spring rotation - another cold snap came through Florida making the likes of our prior “winter” seem like a joke. We had more days of what would seem like winter in that one week than we had in any one month before.

The day-time temperatures barely reared their head above the 60’s and the morning temperatures dipped low enough to put harm to most everything that was already in blooming formation. After two nights, back to back, of freezing/frost temperatures, I had damage foliage all over my yard.

The jasmine that covers my front yard swing is burnt across the top just like a fire had been lit to it. My lantana beds look pretty much the same way and my Amarillo’s stems and canna lily stalks are lying flat on the ground from the brunt of the cold attacking it in the early morning hours.

It’s too soon to tell what all will recover from the damage and what may have to be replaced. Granted my yard situation isn’t nearly as dire as some of the farmer’s and their worries of freezing crops – but just the same, it hurt my heart to see all that brown in the days after, where there once had been the promises of soon-to-be blooms.

But then Friday came, and a trip to my hometown that had been planned for weeks, was about to happen. The Albany Pink Walk for breast cancer awareness was scheduled for that next Saturday morning, and many of my girlfriends and I would be walking once again for our friend Darla, as she is once more in the fight of her life.

I arrived at my folks’ home late that Friday afternoon, and would spend the rest of the day and evening with them which is always an enjoyable time for me. That next morning, they would rise early with me, make me a nice breakfast and some much needed coffee, then off I would go to the walking site to meet my friends.

The event was as packed as usual – women and men dressed in pink as far as the eyes could see. Friends running up on other friends that they hadn’t seen in a while and many times, making new friends as well. We were all there for a common goal – supporting our loved ones, supporting the survivors, and respecting the ones who had sadly lost their own fight.

For this old gal, it was quite the moment when my friends and I finished at the 3 mile marker; having to deal with 2 bum knees in the span of 12 months has been zero fun for me.


But as we all gathered for lunch afterward and discussed our aches and aliments – I thought to myself – wow – we’re really NOT 25 anymore. But the loud laughter coming from around our table was in denial that mother-time had found any of us. Getting up out of our chairs an hour later, would be a different story.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Talk Is Cheap - Become the Change

Harriet Tubman was an African-American civil rights activist. She not only fought to save herself and her family from slavery, but risked her literal life almost every single day rescuing others as well. She took beatings no one could ever imagine, she suffered injuries from those severe beatings that were lifelong and would eventually contribute to her death. Yet while alive, she raged on in the fight for freedom of her black brothers and sisters with pride, grace, dignity, and strength. 

Anne Braden was a Caucasian anti-racist activist. In the period of time in which she lived, there was rarely even such a person heard of – much less as fundamentally active as she continued to be until her death. The lengths in which she was willing to put herself out there to obtain justice for all was incredible. She and her activist husband raised four intelligent children, all of whom in some form or fashion would follow their parents’ footsteps for equality for all – this including developing the PUSH Rainbow Coalition and staunch advocates for LGBTQ rights in their later years.

Rosa Parks, another African- American civil rights activist. A strong female who was determined enough to one day risk being arrested in order to have her rightful seat on the city bus – the public city bus that should have been open for anyone to sit anywhere. But nowhere in all of that did she kick, scream, or shout obscenities; again, she moved the world forward with dignity and grace.

All the women above, and many more, took action that created change: foundations, safety homes, the Underground Railroad, and programs that would in turn unify and bring attention to, change. They risked their LIVES doing these things – and they didn’t use abusive language and ugly poster illustrations. Do you think that by using the same terms that your abusers/attackers/racists use against you is a solution of positive progression for you?

Immigrants have been coming to America for years and so many of them worked so hard to be a part of our American fabric. Their stores, deli’s and bodega’s ran the streets of New York City in a proud fashion that represented nothing but hard work and their pride to be here, to be a part of our freedom; they insisted on WORKING for it.


If you’re outraged about immigrants being deported – do something about it. Create programs to educate them so that they can pass the citizenship test to stay. Start a movement to create programs in schools that will help them all the way through and let that be a stipulation of graduation. Create a foundation to help the older people who are here and can’t read or write – set-up centers/tutors to help them learn. 


Do positive WORK with your intelligent minds/education – become community leaders, state/county
representatives, governors/senators. Use your voices for true progress and positive movement. Put down the signs with degrading words/illustrations. BE the change you want to see and use your strength in ways you’d like to be remembered for – or in the pictures your seven year old child will see one day.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

As The Generation's Turn

Evolution is absolutely amazing isn’t it? The changes that come with each generation of people, the levels of what is acceptable and what it not, and more importantly, the degrees of what is expected of us and what is not – are all constantly changing.

When my grandparents were growing-up, to finish high school was rare, and college, well that was even more of an unknown unless you were fortunate enough to have “come from money”; most men went directly into the service as the draft was in effect and there was a war going on.  Men and women got married as young as 16 and 17 years old,  were having children almost immediately after, and most women did not work.  

Then my parent’s generation came along, they didn’t get married quite as young, most all finished high school, a few who already knew what they wanted to do went to college; but still a huge amount of  men were signing up for one branch of service or another. They had children, both mother and father worked, they took summer vacations, and life moved on.

My generation got married between 20 -25, children shortly after, and we mostly became dental hygienists, nurses, admin secretaries, office workers, hands-on-men work, and of course, some went to college to become doctors, lawyers, and businessmen.

My youngest son’s generation – well they are 22 years old. They are almost all college graduates/or graduating. They are most all professionals of some sort, and they are all on the biggest adventures of their lives – a few married, but for many, it’s a distant thought.  They are traveling to Argentina to bird hunt’s, Arkansas to duck hunt’s, golfing on the weekends, fishing/frog gigging on Friday nights, and going everywhere and doing anything else in between that you can imagine.

They are living life large, working hard, playing harder. They’re a smarter, more politically involved generation, they are liberal and they are conservative, and they are loud and proud of whichever affiliation-slot they may fall into.

They’re already buying homes, making financial investments, and making their way into this big wide world, head-strong and feet-first, breaking all boundaries and crossing all borders. There is nothing that they can’t do, and not much they wouldn’t consider trying.

As I am one day away from my youngest son turning 22 years old, I can’t help but wonder who I would have been in this generation. Would I have been an activist? A world traveler? Would I have been straddling the fence between liberal and conservative as I do now, or would I have been strongly and staunchly, one or the other?


Would I have married so young? Would I have had children as soon as I did? Or would I have been just me, spend my time finding me and all that could possibly mean?

I don’t guess it really matters does it? It’s not going to change anything. And besides – I’m kind of doing all those things anyway. Second-hand living you might call it – I’m living through the eyes of my children – and that’s some exciting sight-seeing most days!  

Saturday, March 4, 2017

And Fourteen Cautions Later........

It’s Thursday night, somewhere around 7:15pm, and I’m gripping the television remote trying to get ready for my night of viewing. I know that I will have to tape/DVR some of my shows, as too many good things come on that one night, spreading across all the different stations. I no more get my finger set to hit the guide button that scans the channels, than my husband practically screeches at the top of his voice “What are you doing with that remote, do you know what comes on tonight?!”

Well, yes, actually, I do know what comes on television tonight and as I began to recite all of my shows – he looks at me like I have lost my ever-lovin’ mind. He asks me (or sternly suggested) to hand him the remote, and as I hand it over, slowly his breathing begins to regulate once more, the coloring comes back to his face, and I feel like it’s now alright to ask him what in the world HIS problem is?

DAYTONA FLORIDA. That’s what his problem was – flippin’ Daytona Florida and the first race of the season was about to come on television. HOW?! How could this be happening to me again so soon? It was just yesterday that racing season ended and I got my husband back! I mean seriously, there is NO OTHER SPORT that lasts almost 10 full months every year! Well baseball runs a close second in its length of over-all playing time, but I LIKE baseball, so that doesn’t count.

So back to my Thursday night viewing – not only did I NOT get to watch all of my shows, I didn’t get to watch ANY of my shows; I had to DVR every single one of them. How To Get Away With Murder had its two hour season finale that night and I STILL have no idea who killed Wes!! And who knows what kind of high jinx Red from the Blacklist got himself into that I also missed! I’m just waiting on social media to ruin it with some spoiler article!

And yes, I know I said I DVR’d them all, so why you might be asking, have I not watched them yet? Well, I’ll be glad to tell you. February Daytona racing is a FOUR DAY EVENT! There has been racing on my television since last Thursday night. Right this minute it is 4:45 on Saturday afternoon and I’m begging you to ask me what is on my television!

Tomorrow will be Sunday and at 1pm – racing will be on again. I just do not understand the fascination with this sport, I truly don’t. Over the years I have tried to increase my interest in it, I learned the rules, I learned who the drivers were, but it is still just not my cup of tea. I just don’t care anything about watching people circle a track 300 hundred times, trying to see who can finish the fastest.

I’m in day three of a ten month hostage situation. Can you see my white flag from where you are?


Friday, February 24, 2017

Alternative Weather

I’m not quite sure where this year’s ground hog came from – the one who decided we still had six more weeks of winter – but his credentials need to be checked. We’ve had exactly two days of what would qualify as winter weather, since the day he climbed out of his hole and announced his predictions to the world.

While parts of the world have been coated with 10-15” of snow, my front porch has been left with thick layers of yellowish/greenish powder that is blowing-up my sinus’s and creating the perfect storm for an early sinus infection.

Teeny leaves are already forming on all of my drake elm trees, the azaleas are blooming like it’s a week from Easter Sunday, and my grass is GREEN! My canna lilies and lantana keep trying to bust through the beds of pine straw, and the birds are eating-up the feed like crazy! We’ve refilled those bird feeders twice a week for a month now!

And while I’m on the subject of bird feed – let me tell you about the new feed I discovered last summer at our local Bell & Bates store here in Quincy. The birds liked it so much, I bought it again a couple of weeks ago, two different bags, one labeled Coles Hot Meats and the other Coles Nutberry Suet Blend. I’m telling you, I have seen a much larger diversity of birds eating that feed than you could imagine.  Bell and Bates has a whole section devoted to the Coles Bird Feed – if you’re a bird follower/lover – you won’t be disappointed!

I looked at the weather channel this morning and for the next two weeks, all of our temperature highs are in the upper 70’s and lower 80’s! That my friends – is NOT what I call winter weather.

Somehow or another, I, and all of my fellow cold-weather-friends, have been gypped. I don’t know what has happened, but this year, the summer to winter ratio is totally out of whack. It was warm at Thanksgiving and it was warm at Christmas! Heck, my kids went to the beach in the afternoon of Christmas day, sporting shorts and flip flops!

And the annual boxing-up of summer clothes/winter clothes – well that never happened. One day I’m wearing long sleeved shirts and the next day I’m sweating in a thin-sheathed short sleeve shirt.  My A/C unit here at the house has gotten quite the workout! The heater running one day, the air conditioner running the next, and a lot of neither in between. You would think I would have seen some difference in my electric bill, but I’m here to testify – that didn’t happen.

Oh woe is me, how unfair this has turned out to be. I understand all you summer/heat lovers, but all I’m asking is for some equal opportunity weather! I wanted a REAL winter, one that would make me appreciate the endless summer heat a little more, or at least, be able to tolerate it better than I do.

I wonder if somehow I missed the signing of another executive order – BEWARE - FAKE WINTER IN FLORIDA.  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Music Unites Us All

Forty-five plus years ago, I was with my family, visiting some of our Alabama family in Gadsden, Alabama. It’s crazy the things I do remember opposed to the things my family thinks I should remember. I have no real memory of what we were doing there or the purpose for that visit, but I distinctly remember a television show coming on that would change my life forever.

That night in Gadsden, Alabama, the Grammy Awards was on television. For whatever reason, I was allowed to stay up and watch with all the grown-ups; and oh my gosh, the music, all the different kinds of music that was played – what an exciting night for me.

Even further back than I can remember, my parents have recited their own memories to me of my love for music. I know that when I was five I had a little record player and that one of my first records was the theme to the Jungle Book. I, of course, have no idea how much I loved it then, but I do know to this day, when I hear that song, it makes me want to tromp the living room, just like those elephants did through the jungle, swaying from side to side with the joy that the music brought.

During my junior high school days I can remember a lot of my girlfriends having pictures of Shawn Cassidy on their walls – I had the Bay City Rollers. A British group that came through the United States in a whirlwind wearing their patchwork clothes and touting their spikey hair and a different music sound no one had heard since the Beatles crashed here in the 60’s.

In high school I would alternate musical tastes between The Bee Gees, Alabama, The Eagles, Prince, John Denver and Conway Twitty – and sometimes my favorite music of all were the older albums that belonged to my daddy like The Box Tops. There was no real rhyme or reason for where my ears would take me - but every different stage in my life was directed in the background by whatever musical artist and their words fit at the time.

The only time I would completely drop country music from my repertoire of choices was right after my divorce. For two solid years I would listen to nothing but rock music, and many times, what the younger generations would call “head-banging” music. The louder and harsher the better – nothing soft or sentimental.

Later, I would meet my future husband and my life, my thoughts, and my heart would soften and melt back into a calmer, more mellow me and country music would enter my life once again.
My parents love for music was passed down to me, and in turn I passed mine own down to my children. They too like all kinds of music – not limiting themselves to any one genre.

Tonight, I’m once again watching the Grammy’s in amazement at all the differences that still capture my heart and rock me to my soul; music – will always be the international language.




Monday, February 13, 2017

Real Life = Real Love

As you grow older you soon come to realize that what you thought was the definition of love when you were 15, 20, or even 30 years old is no longer even close to your definition of love at age fifty-three. It’s not so much about you being in sensory-overload, or the sight of a good-looking young man or woman who also finds you attractive, funny, and hopefully interesting – but about all the other ways in life that love can present itself.

It’s when tornado rips through your hometown, and the people who raised you, loved you, and cared for you all of your life, are sitting in a house with no power, no heat, in the dead of winter, and no real way to get in and out of their home, for days on end – that you feel a love that runs neck and neck with heartbreak.

It’s when your husband and your child, take turns traveling the road to get to those same people who raised you, because now those people belong to them as well, and the worry and love is also theirs, and you see them, without a second thought or hesitation, load-up all the supplies needed and head in that direction, as many times as it takes.

Or the pure love you feel when just as many hometown friends send messages and offers of help, food, and whatever else you may need them to do, for those people that raised you, just because they care and they are willing to do anything they can to help.

It’s when one of your best childhood friend’s has received word that in less than a year – the cancer that she fought for a solid year prior – is back and once again – the devil must be battled and beat down. Immediate love fills your heart, and you know that all you can give is time/words and hope that with both, the love you feel will build a bridge to her heart by the simple miracle of transference.

It’s when your oldest child moves 2000 miles away, the same child whom you never thought would stray that far from you, but he does, and he blooms and thrives all over again. He finds his tribe and learns to survive again, on his own, in his own way.

But the biggest surge of love is when your youngest child is giving a grace at a meal, everyone’s head is bowed, and suddenly he begins to describe all the ways he has grown; his newfound appreciation for the opportunities afforded him, admitting his selfish ways of the past, taking us all for granted, and his gained recognition/respect for the family that has always loved him more than anything and his determination to now give that love back.

For me, those memories determine the definition of love as this: loving unconditionally, loving when you’re tired and worn out, and loving when sometimes you feel the least loved. Real love, true love, always comes full circle. Take the time to discover what the real meaning of Valentine’s Day is to you.