Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Random Thoughts About the Zombie Apocalypse

I've been reading a series of zombie books this week, which of course kicks my overly active imagination into gear. As I was walking out my front door into the dark this morning, I had to do a quick scan - you know, just in case there were any zombies lurking.

The logical part of my brain reminded me that there is no zombie apocalypse. And the paranoid part of my brain pointed out that the first wave of victims never knows it's coming. The zombification has to reach critical mass before the news is widespread (by which time it's generally too late to stop the wave). If we were at ground zero for the infection, we wouldn't know it yet.

Which led me to wonder... Is it better to be taken out early or to be a survivor? If you're a survivor, you have the benefit of, you know, surviving. But you're living in fear. You're running from and fighting off zombies all the time. You're probably low on essentials like food, water, electricity, and Facebook access.

Whereas, being a zombie is probably fairly stress-free. Sure, there's that pesky craving for brains, but you no longer have to worry about paying the mortgage, holding down a job, cleaning the house. All those can go by the wayside, allowing you to focus on the search for more brains. I tend to think that if zombies think at all, it's just kind of a foggy awareness that they're hungry. But nothing else seems to bother them, even terrible wounds that previously would have incapacitated someone. See? Low stress.

Overall, I've got to think maybe you're better off to just go down in the first round of attacks. Now that I realize that, I guess I don't have to be nervous about zombies outside my door anymore. ;)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tell Me a Story: Where I Grew Up

I grew up in Vernal, Utah. Also known as Dinosaurland. There is a big focus on dinosaurs in the area because we have the Dinosaur Quarry (officially Dinosaur National Monument, but we've always just referred to it as the Quarry) a short distance outside of town. It's a pretty famous fossil site - there are even pictures of the Quarry in the Smithsonion's dinosaur exhibit.

There is also a dinosaur museum in town. (Again, the official name is more impressive - Utah Field House of Natural History State Park Museum. They built a new, updated museum a few years ago. It's much nicer than the one I grew up visiting!) There are statues of dinosaurs around town, too. Mostly of Dina, the town mascot. But also one of a giant T-Rex in the middle of Main Street. The T-Rex dresses up for holidays... a bunny at Easter, a Santa hat and lights at Christmas, etc. I always find it pretty funny. :)

So with the dinosaur obsession in town, I grew up knowing a lot about dinosaurs. After all, we had two field trips each year all through my school years. One would be to the dinosaur museum in town, the other to the dinosaur quarry. Sheer repetition meant that I would absorb a lot of dinosaur knowledge. I actually didn't realize how much random dinosaur knowledge I had acquired until college, when one of my roommates took a paleontology class. She would bring her homework to me each night because I knew most of the answers already without having looked it up... I should have taken that class! I could have used an easy A. :)

For most of my growing-up years, we lived in a house right next door to my grandparents on their farm. That meant it was just a quick walk across the fields to visit Grandma and Grandpa any time you wanted. You could stay the night there pretty much any night of the week. You could run over there to hide out when you weren't getting along with your family. It was pretty great.

I also loved being able to go roam the fields with my siblings and cousins. We would trek up to the pond and fish for sunfish... so tiny and useless that you couldn't even cook them. Yet we kept bringing them home for dinner. We picked watercress from the creek and Grandma would make watercress sandwiches for lunch. We picked asparagus from the roadside to cook for dinner. We got corn straight from the huge cornfield.

There were chickens and pigs and cows, too. I wasn't a huge fan of any of them. The pigs were huge and dirty and mean. The cows mostly ignored us - they really just liked Grandpa. But I learned to milk a cow and strain and separate the milk. It wasn't until I went to school that I ever had pasterized milk - we had always just had fresh milk from the cows. The "school milk," as we called it, tasted so horrible to us that my mom had to send a note to school excusing us from drinking the nasty stuff. (Actually, I still hate the taste of milk now. I wonder if I would like the fresh, unpasteurized stuff if I tried it again? Maybe my dislike of milk is still from the days of "school milk.")

I could gather eggs and feed chickens. I wasn't a fan of that, either, since the hens would sometimes peck at you when you tried to gather the eggs or even put out food. But I still helped with those chores because it meant going out with my Grandpa who I adored (still do!).

We would swim in the canal and swing on the rope swing in the gully. We smashed down "rooms" in the hay field and played there for hours. (Until we got in trouble for mashing the hay.) We tried riding the horses (we weren't very good at it) and we fed the cows by hand. We had campouts in the fields or on the trampoline in the yard.

We had a lot of fun. It was a wonderful place to grow up.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Tell Me a Story

One of my favorite blogs (Rants from Mommyland) had a very interesting post this morning. It was all about whether you have shared your life stories with your children. Thinking about it, I have shared some things, but mostly we're so busy with the day-to-day stuff that I just haven't told them a lot of stories about our past. So I'm accepting the Rants from Mommyland challenge to tell my stories... by which I mean, I'm going to blog about them. :)

This really isn't a way to avoid actually talking to my kids. Rather, it's a way to make sure I remember to share these things! If I put it on the blog, then I have it written down... at the very least it becomes part of my personal history when I publish a copy of the blog as my journal each year. Plus Haley likes to read the blog. So when she reads these posts, it can serve as the conversation starter with the kids.

I guess I just assumed that I'd probably blogged about this stuff in the past, but looking through the list, I was surprised to realize there's a lot of past history stuff I've never blogged about. In fact, there's only one item I can cross off the list! For the sake of sharing with my kids, there's a lot to catch up on. Here's the list:

The 20 Questions on the Do You Know scale.1. Do you know how your parents met? (see August 11, 2011)
2. Do you know where your mother grew up?
3. Do you know where your father grew up?
4. Do you know where some of your grandparents grew up?
5. Do you know where some of your grandparents met?
6. Do you know where your parents were married?
7. Do you know what went on when you were being born?
8. Do you know the source of your name?
9. Do you know some things about what happened when your brothers or sisters were being born?
10. Do you know which person in your family you look most like?
11. Do you know which person in the family you act most like?
12. Do you know some of the illnesses and injuries that your parents experienced when they were younger?
13. Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences?
14. Do you know some things that happened to your mom or dad when they were in school?
15. Do you know the national background of your family (such as English, German, Russian, etc)?
16. Do you know some of the jobs that your parents had when they were young?
17. Do you know some awards that your parents received when they were young?
18. Do you know the names of the schools that your mom went to?
19. Do you know the names of the schools that your dad went to?
20. Do you know about a relative whose face "froze" in a grumpy position because he or she did not smile enough?

Have you shared these stories with your kids?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quick Funny from Primary

In Primary we have been practicing the song "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" and the Primary President asked the children  what they would do if the Savior was actually standing beside them; of course looking for answers like 'be really good' and 'do the things I should.'

Those were actually the kinds of answers she got (mostly) today... but it reminded me of a time several years ago when I was teaching the 5-year-olds. Someone asked the question: "What would you do if the Savior stood beside you?"

On of the girls in my class immediately replied: "I would say: Holy, crap! It's Jesus!"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


We celebrated our 12th anniversary yesterday. I can honestly say I would gladly do it all again. I love being married to Aaron.

We didn't have much in the way of plans. We'd tossed around maybe ordering Chinese food or maybe taking the kids and going out to dinner. But when I picked up the kids they were ALL in a mood. Several meltdowns occurred before I could even get them into the house. I knew I didn't want to take that all out to try and enjoy a dinner.

At the very last minute (6:15, for a 7:00 start) I texted the lovely Sarah to see if there was any chance she could babysit at short notice on a school night. I'm grateful that both she and her mother agreed to it! Sarah and her brother Adam came over and suddenly the kids were different people! Happy, cheerful, fun to be with! Where were those kids 30 minutes ago?

Aaron and I drove around a bit deciding where to go and decided to try Pinocchio's Italian Restaurant downtown. It was pretty good... though we found it very odd when another couple came in near closing time when the restaurant had pretty much emptied out; and with almost every table in the restaurant to choose from, the hostess chose to seat them RIGHT next to us. The tables are not spaced far apart, either, so we felt like we were suddenly on a double-date with these strangers. :)

We had a nice dinner together. We didn't have to feed anyone else, or referee anyone's arguments, or clean up after the kids (though I'll confess that I had to clean up after myself several times because I kept dropping noodles, LOL; usually I can blame that kind of thing on the kids!). We joked that we should have gone to Subway for dinner, since that's where we ate on our wedding night. :) By the time the wedding and reception were over, we were starving and Subway was the only place still open! So we enjoyed a romantic wedding dinner of Subway sandwiches back in our room at the bed and breakfast.

We reminisced about previous anniversaries. For our first anniversary, we spent the weekend at a bed and breakfast in Manitou Springs. It was very romantic.

For our second anniversary we had similar plans, but a major blizzard struck and the whole city was snowed in for several days. We were disappointed to cancel our plans, but still enjoyed the time together away from work.

On our third anniversary, Haley was 3 months old. We wanted to do something special, but we had this tiny child to deal with. So we drove the 8 hours to Vernal to visit my parents for the weekend, solely so we could leave Haley with my mother overnight and we could spend the night at the bed and breakfast where we'd stayed on our wedding night. It was lovely, but in retrospect a little ridiculous to drive so far!

And then... we just kind of stopped doing anything much. Too difficult with kids! We've generally managed a dinner date (though I know we were snowed in at least a couple more times - March 19 is apparently prime time for a big snowstorm), but we leave it at that. That's ok. It's the day-to-day life that makes our marriage special, not just one day.

I enjoyed the surprise flowers that I found when I got home from work. I enjoyed the evening out with Aaron. I really enjoyed coming home to find the kids already asleep! And most of all, I've enjoyed being married for the last 12 years. Happy anniversary, sweetheart!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Quick Funny from Brekken

Brekken is standing on a tall stool and shouts: "I believe I can fly!" immediately before leaping from the stool.

He crashes to the ground and lies there for a moment, stunned.

Then he stands, brushes himself off, and tells me seriously: "Oops. I guess I was wrong."

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Quick Funny from Preston

I was complaining about the weather... because I swear that the weatherman said that this week was supposed to be warm and clear!

Preston heard me and responded (impatiently):

"Mom, the weatherman doesn't control the weather! God chooses the weather and He doesn't have to tell the weatherman what He's going to do."

Monday, March 11, 2013

Quick Funny from Brekken

I don't know what game the boys are playing, but I just overheard Brekken saying:

"This just in. The penguins are all going to die! That's 9News, goodnight."

Me Me Me

I think most people think I'm nice and normal. Pretty much cheerful and easygoing all the time. The truth is, they're only seeing the Outside Me.

Outside Me is relentlessly cheerful. Outside Me writes funny posts for facebook, hangs out with co-workers in the breakroom cracking jokes, and loves a girls' night out every now and then. Outside Me takes the kids to the museum or does a craft or cooking project with them. Outside me is fun to be with. And Outside Me is real, it's just not all of me... or even most of me.

There's also Middle Me... that's the middle ground between the Outside Me that I wish I really was all the time and the Inside Me that is a horrible mess. Middle Me can't quite manage to write a funny post, but can maybe repost something someone else put together. Middle Me stays closed in the office all day to avoid having to talk to co-workers too much. Middle Me finds excuses not to go out to church events or hang out with friends, even knowing it would probably be a lot of fun. Middle Me has a hard time interacting with the kids sometimes. Middle Me takes the kids to the park so they can run around and have fun, with no effort required on Mommy's part. Middle Me lets the kids do a Mommy Makeover, because they do all the work and Mommy just has to sit in the chair. Middle Me gets grumpy and yells at the kids way too easily. Middle Me is low-key, sometimes cranky, a little too quiet, and not a whole lot of fun.

And then there's Inside Me. Inside Me is not fun. Inside Me doesn't want to get out of bed in the morning - or even the afternoon. Inside Me is just tired all the time. Nothing seems to help. Inside Me cries at the drop of a hat... lunch gets burned? Deadline is missed? Low on gas? Turn on the waterworks. Inside Me doesn't play with the kids. Inside Me just sits in the chair and hopes that the kids aren't getting into too much trouble in the next room. Inside Me tries to convince the kids that we should all watch a movie... just because that's easier for Mommy. Inside Me can't manage to do the dishes or sweep the floors because it's just too much effort. Inside Me can't answer the phone or open the mail because there might be bad news. Inside Me can't get anything done at work because Inside Me has lost the ability to concentrate. Inside Me dreads going to church/work/school functions because people might figure out just how inadequate Inside Me really is. Inside Me desperately wants to stop feeling this way, but just can't manage it.

I tried to talk to Aaron about it a little yesterday. But Inside Me doesn't have the words to talk in person. Inside Me can only get out the sentence... "I think I need new meds. These don't seem to be working." But Inside Me can't manage to say what I really meant... "I'm drowning and I need you to help me."

Because Aaron can't read minds, he could only respond to what I managed to say out loud. And he reminded me that I was off my meds for almost two weeks. We had a couple of very large, very unexpected expenses that left us broke. We literally had no money to go refill my prescriptions and I figured it was no big deal to go without for a few days. And then the few days stretched a little longer. And honestly, I didn't notice a difference. Maybe I was a little crankier with the kids, but nothing major. So it seems odd that now that I'm back ON my meds that I'm spiralling down so fast. But as Aaron pointed out, it can take time for the meds to take effect, and maybe I was off them long enough to have to start over building them up in my system. I'm hoping that's what it is, and in another week or so I can stop feeling so terrible all the time. Inside Me just needs to cheer the hell up.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sundays are Hard

Because the realization that it's Sunday inevitably triggers Preston to melt down. Then follows anywhere from 1-4 hours (depending on when Preston learned that it was Sunday) of screaming, crying, refusal to dress, eat lunch, or otherwise cooperate, and dramatic proclamations that we don't love him and we wish he would die. And that's just Preston. Brekken often follows Preston's lead, so he starts throwing fits as well. Haley is generally easier to deal with, but Rylen is a typical 2-year-old and thus a little hard to get ready for the day. I'm exhausted and done and out of patience and spirituality before we even step out the door. 

So now I'm sitting here in Sacrament meeting and listening to the speaker tell us that Heavenly Father will not give you more than you can handle... But I feel like I'm in over my head. I don't feel like I'm handling things. 

I'm in a hole. It's so deep I feel like I can't climb out. All I want to do I'd sleep and cry. Yet somehow I'm supposed to work and be a good wife and do my church calling and take care of the house and take care of the children and deal with Preston's problems. And I'm failing at all of it. 

Thursday, March 7, 2013

What Am I Supposed to Do?

For many years, I didn't plan to have children. None at all. I didn't think it would be fair to any potential children to bring them into a family like mine.

Let me be clear - I love my family. They are good people. They are some of my favorite people in the world. My idea of a great time is a chance to visit my family and just hang out.

But the thing about my family is that we have more than our fair share of mental health challenges. I've shared a bit about my recent struggles with anxiety disorder. And I've told you that it seems likely that it has a strong genetic component. I can trace family stories back for a number of generations and tell you about mental health disorders in the family line.

I've heard stories of Grandma Great, who was known to suddenly snap and get angry enough to hurl knives across the kitchen. My grandfather - her son - is prone to depression. My grandmother - his wife - suffers from OCD. Oh, it's undiagnosed, but it's obvious. She is a hoarder. The images you see on the television shows are true... and worse.

So my poor mother got a double-dose of trouble from Grandma and Grandpa. The genetic tendency combined with some horrible things that happened to her as a child led to a lifetime of depression and anxiety. My mother has been hospitalized for treatment many times over the years, and still struggles. Almost all of my siblings have, at one time or another or currently, been medicated for depression and/or anxiety.

My brother Kevin was the worst. He was so young when he startled struggling to deal with life. I remember the kicking, screaming fits when it was time to do something simple like going to church. These weren't normal tantrums that you see in a child who doesn't want to do something. It was levels and levels above. Every day was so hard. He was sad and angry and rebellious and depressed and scared and more - and all at once.

I don't know for sure how old he was when this all started. I do know that it was before he started kindergarten. The year he started kindergarten, they were building a new high school and jr. high school in our town. There wasn't enough room in the current school to accommodate all the current 6-9th graders, so we were on a split schedule. The jr. high students went to school from early morning until lunch. The middle school students went to school after lunch and stayed late. I was in middle school, so my mornings were free. In an effort to help Kevin deal with kindergarten better, I became the teacher's aide for his morning kindergarten class and went to school with him every day. I don't really remember how much (or how little?) this helped during that year. But I know that it didn't help in the long run. School especially became a trigger for him. Every day my parents had to quite literally drag him - kicking, screaming, and fighting - to take him to school.

At home, we never knew what to expect from Kevin. He could be fun to play with. But there were also were violent outbursts. You didn't know what might trigger it, but suddenly he was so angry and aggressive and frightening. He was uncontrollable.

I believe he was in first grade the first time he was hospitalized. He was an inpatient at Primary Children’s Hospital as they tried to get his depression, anxiety and anger under control. After all these years, I don’t remember how long he was there. I do remember that my mother was hospitalized at the same time. So our weekends were spent driving the 3 hours from Vernal to Provo to visit my mother. We children got to see her for 5-10 minutes. And then I watched the other children out on the lawn while my dad met with mom and her doctors for a couple of hours. Then we drove the hour to Salt Lake City to visit Kevin in his hospital. We were not allowed to visit him, so again we waited outside for what felt like a very long time while dad met with Kevin and the doctors. Then it was home again for the week, where we functioned as a partial family. We were luckier than many in our situation might have been. We had a strong and loving father who held us together. We had grandparents, aunts, and uncles to help. We got through that episode and other times when mom and/or Kevin was hospitalized.

As Kevin got older and stronger, it just got harder and harder to deal with him. He continued to resist efforts to get him to engage in school or church. Eventually it was easier to let him stop going to church. To let him spend his days at school as a librarian assistant instead of attending class. Then to transfer his to the special needs school. Then to let him stop going to school altogether.

I don’t know what might have happened if Kevin was growing up in today’s climate. If he was growing up in a time where kids respond to their problems by shooting up a school or a mall, might he have decided to go that route? I do know that every time I hear about a Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, Adam Lanza, or James Holmes, I wonder if my brother might have become like them. I feel so much sympathy for the victims and their families, but also for the families of the perpetrators, because I know that they might have tried everything in their power for years and years, and yet were not able to help.

Kevin’s story does get better. Shortly after high school he married sweet girl named Heather and they had three children together. These days, his anger and depression seem to be under control and he is a family man who holds down a job. He is still not a friendly guy. In truth, he’s still a little intimidating. Partly because he is a large, kind of rough looking guy. Partly because I do remember how out of control he was once upon a time. And I wonder if he might become that way again.

I don’t know all that happened during those years. A lot of it I tried to ignore as it was happening so I didn’t have to deal with it. A lot of it I don’t remember anymore because it’s better for my peace of mind if I don’t. I remember the constant stress and worry. I remember my parents trying to do everything they could to get him help, when no one seemed willing or able to provide that help. I remember that instead of help, at one point they were instead reported to CPS and investigated. I remember thinking it would never end and never get better. And I remember making the decision that I was never going to have children of my own because I didn’t want to risk having a child like Kevin.

And yet, years later I got married. And I began thinking about children. By that time, I was more distanced from the whole unhappy situation. Both geographically – I had moved to Logan, then Provo, California, and Colorado – and time-wise. It had been several years since Kevin was at his worst. He had recently married and seemed pretty stable. I didn’t think much about his challenges anymore. My mother was still depressed and struggling, but it was kind of just the way things were. That was my mom and that’s just the way she was. I stopped thinking that I could never have children.

I had four beautiful, wonderful children. I cannot and will not ever regret that. Though I know some people would agree with my younger self and say that I should not have risked passing on these mental health troubles, the world would have missed out on some wonderful spirits. We would all have been poorer for their absence.

So I cannot regret having my children, but now I am struggling as I watch my beautiful, sweet boy Preston try to deal with the world. He’s so happy and cheerful and fun to be with. Except when he isn’t. When he isn’t, he is so sad or so angry. He throws things and shouts and tells us that he hates us. He hits his brothers and sister and topples chairs and tables. He tells us that he is miserable. That every day is the worst day of his life. That he isn’t happy and he will never be happy. That he is worthless. That he can’t do anything right. That he wishes he could run away and never see us again. That he knows that we hate him. That our family and the world would be better if he was never born. That he thinks we want to kill him. That he wishes he was dead and wishes he could kill himself.


My wonderful sweet boy thinks he would be better off dead or never born. I am sobbing ugly cries just typing these words. It hurts so much to think about how he hurts. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to help. I just want to hold him and never let him go and never have to think about this again. And I can’t. I can’t make it better with a hug and a kiss. I don’t know if I can make it better at all. What am I supposed to do? Really, truly –

We took him to the pediatrician. Things have improved somewhat since Kevin was a child. At least now more people and doctors do acknowledge that it’s possible for a young child to be depressed. There are some treatment options. Our pediatrician herself has children who are dealing with mood disorders, so she is very understanding and wants to help. She gave us an immediate referral to a child psychiatrist’s office so they could evaluate him and begin to help him. And I called them right away. I want to try everything I can to help him… but I was told I couldn’t get him in to be seen until March 27. And that was the EARLY option. The children’s hospital could get us in after 6-8 weeks. Another hospital offered 8-10 weeks.

How can I call for help and tell them that my 6-year-old child is having suicidal thoughts, and they think that we should be fine waiting for at least 3 more WEEKS before someone will even talk to him? How can this be the help that we’re looking for? What are we supposed to do for 3 more weeks while we wait for them to fit us in? I know that they have other patients and that every one of those patients wants help as well. But this is MY CHILD that I’m worried about, and I cannot be so understanding about it. I just want him to see someone for help. And I want it now. And once again, I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do.

For now, the only option I've been given is to watch him. Keep an eye on him so he won't be a danger to himself or others. Take him to the ER if he gets out of control. Unfortunately, I know from experience that taking him to the ER is a ticket to a 72-hour hold. I've been through this before, and I don't want to put my baby in a hospital. So instead we wait. We hope that things stay on this side of OK for just a little longer. And I hope and pray with all my might that when we finally get to that appointment, someone will be able to help us and tell us what we are supposed to do now.

Friday, March 1, 2013

W is for Why?

I wonder about things... I'd like to ask people to explain, but I don't think I'd get a great reaction.

To my neighbors next door and across the street:
Why do you warm your car up for so long every morning? Seriously, how warm does it need to be? It's not like we have such terribly cold mornings, even. Sure, it's usually 17-18 degrees out when I leave the house in the morning, but that's not THAT bad for a short time. Yet you must be really worried about it, because you warm up the car for so long every morning. I leave the house most mornings at 5:45, and both of your cars are already puffing away while you're inside doing whatever it is you do. I can come out the door, put my things in the car, scrape my windows, start the car, and drive away while your cars idle in the driveway. More than that, if I'm driving to the office or taking a later bus, I leave the house at 6:15... and the cars are STILL sitting in the driveway warming up. You must be making better money than I am, because I certainly can't afford the gas to run the car for an extra 30+ minutes every morning.

To the other people who walk along my route to work:
Why must you spit on the sidewalk? I don't understand it. I've never been walking along and suddenly felt that I just had to spit a big wad of mucous and saliva onto the ground. Yet obviously many of you do, because I have to watch where I'm walking every morning to avoid stepping in the numerous disgusting little puddles on the sidewalks. Ick.

To Michelle Obama:
Why did you decide to go with the bangs? I know you're making the rounds of the talk shows right now and everyone raves about the new look and bangs. But you know, they kind of HAVE to tell you they love it. You're right there in front of them after all. And you don't tell someone to their face that you liked the old haircut better. No, you wait and talk about it with your friends or husband (even though he doesn't really care) or write a snarky pretend letter about it so you can point out that the bangs are way too heavy and too low across the eyes. And the combination of the bangs and the style of the rest of your hair makes your face look shorter and chubbier. And given your obssession with America's eating habits, I can't think chubbier is the look you were going for.

To my brain:
Why can't you remember things for more than a few minutes at a time? You used to be so good. You could pull up entire pages of a textbook in a single glance, just to help me pass a test. And now, you won't even hold onto simple information - like who's phone number did I just dial? Is it because I don't treat you right? I did get you that brain-training app... and yes, I only got the free trial version because I wasn't willing to pay $1.99 for the real thing, but it was something at least. And besides, Candy Crush is surely about the same - it requires a lot of thinking and gives you a good workout. I try to get you enough rest - 4-5 hours at night plus an hour or so on the bus and an occasional involuntary nap at my desk. I don't know what more you want from me, but you need to straighten up and start helping out a little more around this place!

I had more... but I seriously can't remember. Actually, I've written a number of blog posts lately and they were great. Witty, thought-provoking, fun... but by the time I get out of the shower and get dressed, I've forgotten almost all of it. That's how you ended up with this one, instead. Darn brain, anyway.