Saturday, May 31, 2008

Selling the Garage

The garage sale is done. There is much less junk in our house, 3 small boxes of leftover stuff on the curb, and we're a little over $300 closer to freedom from the mortgage. Except I think some people just stopped and got some of the stuff on the curb. I took a marker and wrote "Garbage or Free to Good Home" on all three boxes.

Every year I swear I'll never do this again, but I always do. It's exhausting, it's a tremendous amount of work, but in this case it was worth $300. And being able to walk in our office.

Now I have a big decision to make that I'm debating over. Do I get on the couch and be very still with the pup for the rest of the afternoon, give up and just go to bed, or simply sit where I'm at for a while and not move. The bed would be comfy, but the couch is much closer. Staying where I'm at, of course, requires the least amount of movement, but I'm sitting upright which isn't quite as good as being horizontal. I dunno. I'll have to think about it for a minute or two.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Full Speed Ahead

It is 1:38 PM.
I just sat down at my desk for the first time since I arrived at 6:45 AM.
I have been either in meetings or class since 7 AM.
I have so many things on my to-do list that it has its own to-do list now.

I think I have reached capacity today. I feel like I've hit a wall. I have dozens of things I need to be doing, but I just can't seem to get revved back up this afternoon. The sheer volume of crap to take care of is overwhelming.

I've come to realize that my job only has two speeds - full throttle or dead stop. For the past year the two have cycled on and off fairly regularly, but now it seems that I've been stuck on full throttle since February. With no signs of slowing down before August, if then. Several strange circumstances have all popped up at once this year, slamming me with big, urgent, difficult projects and situations. The biggest one is the pending (doom) acceditation site visit sometime this fall, for which reporting is due by the end of June. It will be our first one in five years. That's a lot of reporting, for two different programs. Meanwhile I have to get the graduating fellows graduated and processed out, the new fellows processed in, and get my returning fellows acclimated to their new administrative duties as upper level trainees.

But right now I can't even motivate myself to create an invitation to the fellows farewell party we're having next week. I think I need a nap.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Goofy Fun?

I had a question today from a friend wanting to find something to do for her hubby's birthday that would be "goofy fun" like laser tag or mini golf. Except, of course, The Park on Lakeland is closed. The only thing I could think of was Gattitown, having heard Supermom talk about it. Any other suggestions?

Plant Update and a Note to Lauren

Despite my almost successful attempt at growing veggies from seeds, they fell victim to the plague in our household at the end of April. However, I will not be thwarted, and will try again next year. Meanwhile, I gave up and bought plants yesterday.

Notice the cameo by my curious pup. All in all, I planted seven tomatoes (3 different kinds) and six jalapeƱos (actually I had to buy a pack of 9, but only planted 3. Anybody need jalapeƱos? Got 3 Heatwave tomatoes left, too...) I also dug up and potted several of the herbs Mom gave me, as they were not happy in the back bed. And I realize that I did have some seed luck. I planted a couple of short rows of lettuce seed directly into the back flower bed (please ignore the grass, I know it needs to be weeded and thinned!):

And while I'm showing off, the canna in the front yard decided to go on display this weekend:

And finally, a note to Lauren. These are the mystery plants I'm planning to bring when we come, if it will stop raining long enough for me to dig some up:

They're short little plants (see the ones in the background) but send up stalks that hold the bloom. They like the partly sunny/mostly shady part of the flower bed. (Clucky, what is this? Ever seen it???) I'll work on getting the day lillies and brides wreath dug up as well. At least I know what those are!


I'm doing a little advanced planning for our South Carolina trip in the form of finding a hotel to stay at for one leg of the trip. I can usually do the whole 9 hours either going or coming, but I have to break one of them up or else my back will punish me for weeks. Anyway, one of our favorite hotel chains is the Hampton, so I started by pulling up the Hampton in Douglasville, just west of Atlanta. Here's the room description:

"1 Double Bed Nonsmoking, Comp Hi Speed-Lapdesk-Curved Shower Rod"

Seriously? A curved shower rod? Sweet! Why would I stay anywhere else? Let's book it!

For the record, last time we stayed at the Hampton in Cottondale, AL and it was awesome. Their linens were so much nicer than anything in my house! They even sell the exact same stuff on their website, and it's not cheap. Although their shower curtains are hookless, so there's some savings there...

Random Things

We've rescheduled the garage sale for this weekend. Jen isn't going to be available, so we've moved it to our house. I'm very much looking forward to having less junk in my house a little extra cash, which will hopefully cover part of our gas on our upcoming trip to South Carolina!

This past weekend we had quite a bit of family time. In addition to finally getting to see my parents, we also went to a family reunion for my mother-in-law's family and had a fantastic time. They're all hysterical and I really do love hanging out with them. My mom's family reuinion is the weekend we're gone to South Carolina, and I'm ok with that. As much as I love them, that one is usually not nearly as much fun!

There's been an awful lot of baby talk lately, so I found it quite funny when I heard that Sharonda's middle sister is pregnant. Again. She had her first last October, this one is due in November. And yes, apparently it they planned it that way! She "announced" on Mother's Day. Better still, last week Sharonda's other sister also announced. She's due in February I believe. Sharonda's life just got a bit more difficult! Seems they've already started in on her about how they all need to have one at the same time. She informed them that she didn't want her kid to be part of the litter. Nice one. I need to write that down.

And speaking of little people, I get to go visit two of my favorite little ones next week! Not a moment too soon. I miss my boys tremendously. From what I've heard, Edwin is rather excited about the visit. This is going to be the longest week and a half EVER.

Monday, May 26, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

Several years ago, during a particularly nasty cold snap right around the end of the year, I decided to revolt against celebrating the new year on January 1. It was ridiculous. It was cold and miserable. How could I get all excited about the days to come when all I wanted was to get warm? Besides, how much sense does it makes to have a holiday where loads of people go out drinking all night then try to drive home drunk in sleet and snow? I wasn't having it. I made the executive decision to swap New Year's Day with Memorial Day. We could spend the cold January day sitting with our families in front of a fire with hot chocolate talking about those who gave their lives in service to our country, the freedoms they gave us, and the lessons we've learned from it. Warm and cozy.

Then, at the end of May, when the trees have become green, the flowers have found new life, and tiny vegetables are just starting to show (except at my house, where all my sprouts died from neglect during the 3 weeks I was sick), we can celebrate the New Year. Kids can celebrate the end of one school year and anticipate the holiday weeks ahead before starting a new grade. Graduates can celebrate the end of one life and the start of something brand new. I can celebrate warmth, but not quite scorching heat yet. Wouldn't boating and grilling be a much more appropriate way to celebrate a new year rather than a memorial?

So today I celebrate New Year's Day. Unlike the miserable days of January, I feel compelled to think about setting goals and making plans. My resolutions? To get outside more this summer. To grow vegetables, which will require replanting today. To finish a quilting project. To have that garage sale. To continue eating healthier. To appreciate my family and friends more.

So Happy New Year's, everybody. Go burn some meat and kiss somebody.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Holiday Traditions

Memorial Day has it's traditions for most households. For some it's a time for throwing meat on the grill and inviting friends over. For others it means special memorial services for loved ones who have given their lives in military service. For me, Memorial Day has taken on a whole new tradition since I moved into this house.

I suppose it would be more accurate to say the Sunday before Memorial Day has its own tradition. I don't know how my old air conditioning unit knew it was a holiday weekend, but inevitably it would die the Sunday night before Memorial Day, making the service call a time-and-a-half visit and ruining any plans I had made for the day off. This happened many, many times over the years, but last year we bought a brand new shiny air conditioning unit. Sweet. The old unit with its tradition built on sweat and overtime was hauled off, and I celebrated.

At least I celebrated until tonight. Apparently the old unit left the new unit a memo:


To: New A/C
From: Old A/C

Heh heh. Wanna mess with the people that work you to death all summer? Totally shut down the last Sunday in May.

Yep. We were sitting here this evening, playing some pinball, messing with the pup, and watching the Spurs destroy the Lakers, when Greg noticed it was getting warm and went to kick down the temp on the thermostat. A few minutes later the air still hadn't cut on. A feeling of dread overcame me. Tomorrow is Memorial Day. Flashbacks started. I remember the year I was supposed to go to the movies with my brother that Monday, but instead we sat around watching the Deadliest Catch marathon and waiting on the repair guy...

This time we weren't standing for it. We scoured the unit inside and out, we pushed every button, we flipped ever breaker. The unit isn't even a year old yet, it's birthday is June 4. There was no excuse. I refuse to accept that it wouldn't work. And this time, for the first time ever, I defeated it. I found the tiny wire that had broken off, the one that carries the signal from the thermostat. Greg was able to fix it in under 3 minutes. Today I will not sleep with every fan I can find running full speed. Today I will not toss and turn, waiting until a reasonable hour to call Fred. Today is the day when we declared in one voice: "We will not go quietly into the night. We will not vanish, without a fight. We're going to live on. We're going to survive. Today, we celebrate the Sunday before Memorial Day!"

Ok, yes, I stole that from the movie Independence Day. But dangit, that's about how I feel.

Take that, Curse of the Old A/C! Take that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I've discovered that I play a much better game of Wii Pinball Hall of Fame when I don't wear my glasses. I'd like to think that has something to do with my amazing skill being so good that I don't need to see to play, I can do it by instinct. I suspect the truth has more to do with the fact that I have such a lack of skill that I play better when I can't see what I'm doing and it's mostly a matter of chance.

Anybody Know?

Yesterday a friend asked me if I knew where she could get an old, old family Bible repaired and restored. I had that same question myself a couple of years ago, as my great-grandmother's family Bible, where so many of our old family records are written, is falling apart. Unfortunately, I was never able to get a good answer and the best I could tell her was, "I think somebody at church told me that there used to be a man in either Utica or Crystal Springs who did it, but they thought the man now sent them off to be repaired..."

I have no idea of a name, or even who told me that at this point! Anybody have any better ideas on this one? I suspect it's a dying art, since we don't keep official "family" Bibles anymore. Which is a shame, really.

Friday, May 16, 2008

More Free Stuff

By now most of you know that I'm all about free stuff. In addition to searching out cool free samples and sweepstakes online, I've also taken to signing up for "special alerts" on the websites of product brands I particularly like. Usually that means they'll email special deals, coupons, and notices when they introduce new products. I even have a separate GMail account I use specifically for those types of things so they won't clog up my regular email account.

One of the companies I signed up with was Ocean Spray. I love their 100% Juice Cran-Grape and signed up with the hope of getting coupons. I've gotten a couple of things in the mail from them, a little recipe book, a coupon, the usual stuff. Imagine my surprise last week when we got home and I had a good sized box by the front door from Ocean Spray. Eh?

It was a full 64 oz bottle of their newest flavor juice. 100% Juice Cranberry-Blueberry. Now, I will admit my first reaction was, "Blueberry???" but I haven't tried it yet so I have no judgement. I don't think I've ever heard of blueberry juice anyway. Might be very tasty. They also sent a couple of recipe ideas in case you don't care to drink it straight up. Regardless, they get major points for actually shipping me this big bottle of juice to try. It also renews my motivation to sign up on the websites of brands I like. I'm not a very brand-loyal type person, but sending me free stuff definitely gives them an advantage!

And speaking of sweepstakes, both Food Network and Betty Crocker have grilling-related contests going on right now. You know I've been entering every day!

Change of Plans and More of the Ickies

We missed Mother's Day because Greg and I were both recovering from the crud. We were able to see his mother this week and rescheduled with mine for this weekend, with plans to head to their house after work tonight.

Mom and Dad are now both suffering from the crud. Mom's just starting with the sniffling and sneezing, Dad's been running fever since Monday. I don't think we'll be visiting this weekend. I'm sure they don't want the company, and I most certainly do not want either of us coming down with more ickies!

Project Managing For Dummies

I've spent much of my day playing with a new online management system our department wants to implement. I'll have my own site for our fellowship program and can do things like create calendars, task lists, link lists, upload document libraries and forms, etc. I met with a guy this morning who set me up and answered some questions and I came away a bit disappointed. It won't do half of what I'd hoped it would do, at least not as efficiently as I can do it another way. The concept is that it would be a central place for our faculty to get information and communicate. It's actually set up for a project-oriented office, but we're adapting.

My biggest concern is with a few sections begging for abuse. First, there's a place to upload picture libraries. It's supposed to be for things like logos and graphics for presentations. I know my fellows. When they're not being excellent doctors, they have an average maturity level of "crass twelve year old." The picture libraries would NOT consist of logos and professional graphics. They already have too much fun searching for each others' names on Google Images.

The other two sections I absolutely do not want them to have access to are the "Team Discussion" forum and a blog. I understand how in normal companies a discussion forum for different projects and committees could be extremely useful. Not for crass twelve year olds. I'm sure the blog would be equally as entertaining and counter productive. I'd just as soon not have that on a system maintained by hospital administration.

Taking out those parts pretty much leaves me with a cluttered online calendar and document library, which can't be accessed off campus. We already had that in the form of a shared server drive with a template calendar saved in a folder. I'd really hoped for something a little more useful.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Professionalism. We Haz It.

I'm about to go to a special faculty meeting to determine our fellowship candidate rank order. We have 12 candidates and 4 spots. We have to rank them in order of preference then hope they rank us as well so we will all get matched up during the big hoopla day next month when the magical computer sorts the national database and determines who gets to go where.

Meanwhile, I have 3 different preliminary rank lists which are all drastically different. I have at least four faculty members with very different opnions of what we are looking for in a candidate, and about six other faculty thrown into the mix who I have yet to hear from. Boss #3 is going to be running this little gathering today and has started referring to it as the faculty food fight. Sigh.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

I Dunno Why...

I have bizarre dreams all the time. It's not unusual. But last night's had two things that I found stranger than usual.

The entire time I was present, I was swinging on a tire swing in the middle of my living room.

We had a dog charger. Much like a battery charger, only you plugged up your dog.

Don't ask me to explain, those are the only two things I remember. I'm thinking the tire swing might not be a bad idea, it looked like fun, but I don't think Casper will go for the dog charger.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Talk About Hard to Shop For!

I've been charged with finding appropriate gifts for our graduating fellows, to be handed out at a reception next month. In the past we've usually special ordered either fine crystal hearts or a laser-etched anatomical heart crystal thingie. And yes, that's the technical term. Anyway, I need to find something with a cardiac/heart theme. I was griping about this task earlier, as shopping for this type of gift is waaaaay out of my comfort zone. I don't even know where to look, much less what to look for! And it's not like every schmancy gift shop in town has heart-themed stuff this time of year. Blah blah blah, gripe gripe gripe.

Then I realized that it could be so much worse. I could work in gynecology.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

By Request: A Big Lots Primer

Nicole left a comment on the last post inquiring about my fascination with Big Lots:

"I don't shop regularly at Big Lots. Is there something you know that I don't?"

How do I feel about Big Lots? I've mentioned it before in this post. There is no place on Earth quite like Big Lots. This pretty much sums up the Big Lots experience - about a year ago I bought a big package of authentic Chinese stir fry noodles for 90 cents. We loved them. I'd never seen noodles quite like them in any of the grocery stores I usually shop - they were flat like fettuccine but thin and cooked up in 3-5 minutes. Perfect texture, just the right taste. I've never found them there again.

You see, Big Lots sells close outs. There are some things you can almost always find there, like cereal and chips, but there are other things you'll only find there once. You just never know. Regardless, they have brands and products you will definitely not find at your generic grocery stores, especially ethnic food and beverages. The other thing to know is that no two stores are identical. I find different products at the I-55 store than I find in Clinton, which is different from the one in Vicksburg. Yes, I like to visit them all. Pearl, too.

What do you need to know to shop at Big Lots? Here are some tips:

1. For food, check the expiration dates. I've found that the more an item's been marked down, the closer it probably is to expiring. I bought a box of Heart Smart cereal there last summer for $1, with an expiration date only two months away. It certainly didn't last 2 months at my house, I'd eaten it all in two weeks!

2. Most stores aren't as organized as they like to think they are. If you're looking at pasta on one aisle and can't find what you want, check the other aisles carefully. There may be more stuck off somewhere else.

3. Know your grocery store prices. A lot of times Big Lots will be cheaper, but not always. And sometimes not enough to warrant buying something a little different from what you'd normally prefer. I keep a small notebook in my purse that has a list of my normal Kroger purchases. If I find something like Hunt's ketchup at Big Lots I'll pull out my notebook and see how much I pay for it at Kroger. I always put the size on my list so I can convert the per unit price if I need to. The last time I went I did find ketchup, but the price was almost the same as Kroger. Since I didn't particularly need any that day, I didn't buy it. They did have crushed tomatoes for about 30 cents a can less than Kroger, so I picked up a few. I also bought a bottle of sesame oil for $2.30, which is closer to $4 for a smaller bottle at Kroger.

4. Want to try something new? Check for it at Big Lots. I've found the single-serve boxes of cereal there for 25 cents each. It was a cereal I'd never tried before, so I picked up one to see if I'd like it. I've done the same with different ethnic foods and sauces/marinades.

5. Don't overlook the rest of the store. We bought our Sealy mattresses at Big Lots for a couple of hundred bucks less than we found them anywhere else. They were the prior year model, but otherwise the same product you'd find at a furniture store. I always hit the toy department at Christmas to buy for my friends' kids. The toy selection explodes at Christmas and, as with the groceries, you'll find a lot of the name brand toys as well as unique things you'll never see at Walmart! They always have good seasonal stuff and even a good home decor department! I also usually price their paper products and some of the pharmacy stuff I usually buy generic anyway. I've gotten great deals on things like toilet paper and ibuprofen. I like the kitchen section, too.

6. Finally, got to and sign up for their emails. You get the weekly flyer over email and every now and then they send out 20% off coupons. That's when I usually make a big trip for all the random things I normally put off!

Big Lots will never replace my regular grocery stores or eliminate Walmart from my life (I wish!), but I do like to stop by before I go to either of those to see how much of my list I can knock out at better prices.

And don't just take my word for it. Ask Stacey. She's the real Big Lots master!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More Fun Than I Can Stand

For months now I've been doing battle with Microsoft Access. If you've never used it before, trust me, it's not like picking up Excel. I had Excel defeated in about 3 hours. Access is complex. I struggled with it for a while before successfully completing an attendance tracking database for work at the end of last year. That built up my confidence and I decided to tackle a bigger, more complicated project.

Ok, don't laugh at me. You all know how I am.

I decided to build a database to track items I buy regularly at different stores so I can compare the changes in price per unit over time. Seriously. How else am I going to know if I'm consistently getting a better deal on ketchup at Kroger vs Big Lots???

You're laughing at me. Stop it.

Anyway, I've been fighting this thing for months. Actually, I've been fighting one stupid error on the input form for two months now. It was making me nuts. I had everything else set up, it just wouldn't work.

Today I fixed it. I was trying some new searches on the problem and finally found an answer. It required learning some Visual Basic programming, but I made it work! Frankly, I'm glad it was a somewhat complicated fix that required me to learn something completely new. If it had been an "Access for Idiots" answer I probably would have deleted the entire thing in disgust with myself.

Now I can go input 4 months worth of purchases and throw out the pile of receipts. And maybe build some reports. And maybe create a switchboard, just for fun. Weee! I may not get any sleep at all tonight. We're having fun now!

(And people think Greg's the nerd in our family. Ha. I think not.)

Just A Little Closer...

After starting The List yesterday I was motivated. Before I went to bed last night I emptied the Tootsie Roll bank and my purse and rolled coins.

I just made the deposit, and now we're $47 closer to this. Or maybe even this. Ooooh, the excitement! It's going to be a shopping extravaganza! Maybe I can find a way to live-blog it when the times comes.

The Big Question

Last Thursday before I went home sick one of my dear co-workers, who really is one of my favorite people in the world, said to me,

"You're not pregnant, are you?"

I'm pretty sure at the time I just stared at her, then decided it was time to go home. Since then I've put some thought into it. If being pregnant means having a nine month sinus infection/bronchitis/coughing/sneezing/ebola, then I think I'll pass.

I was reminded of it this morning when a different coworker came in not feeling very well and yet another lady in the office asked her the same question. Her response was something like, "What's wrong with you people???"

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The List

It's time to start The List again.

You know, The List of things we want to do/buy once we get the house paid off. We had a List last year for after we paid off the last of the non-mortgage debt and it turned out to be a pretty good motivator during that last push. It had everything on it from a garden hose and food chopper to a new A/C unit for the house. This time we've kinda had a general List started in our heads, but haven't started writing it down yet. Now we're looking at hopefully being done by the end of July, so I think it's time to officially start The List.

The List

1. Shower curtain hooks
2. Air purifier
3. Disney Trip (December or February)
4. Beach trip (anniversary)
5. Vacuum cleaner
6. Washing machine/maybe a dryer
7. Large skillet with lid

The List is something of a living creature, it'll grow and change over time. And yes, I know it's silly to have something on there like shower curtain hooks, but to be honest, those are the little things that remind me that there's a line between necessity and luxury. I don't have to have them. We have enough to hold up the curtain. Barely. And every time I take a shower I'm just a little more motivated. The big ticket items aren't as real to me. They aren't things I could go out and buy today if I wanted to anyway. It's the little things that remind me that I'm sacrificing now so I can appreciate those things that much more later.

That's the big lesson I've taken away from the work we've done to pay off all of our debt. Three years ago I wouldn't think twice about spending smaller amounts of money, even $20 or $30. Today I realize that there are things I need and things I want, and there isn't a thing I want that I can't wait a few weeks or months for. And very few things I need. I hope I don't lose that lesson once we're done!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Deadliest Ninja Chimp

Being sick sometimes comes with the risk of addiction. For some people it's pain meds, for some people it's things like cough syrup and nasal spray. For me it's something far, far worse. I'm addicted to the Deadliest Ninja Chimp.

I admit that I'm the one who has said that I can live without pay television service. I didn't miss it when we ditched our cable, and was ambivalent to getting DirecTV when Greg decided he needed it. That's all well and good, until we spend a full week at home sick. It started with the 3 full seasons of Deadliest Catch that we had on the DVR. I've loved this show from the first season and had seen most of them before, but they had a marathon on a few weekends ago and we went ahead and recorded them all. We've now watched them all. Including all of the "Best of" shows.

But most addicts end up desensitized to their drug of choice after a while, needing something more to keep them going. Like Women of Ninja Warrior on the G4 channel. No, I didn't make that up. And I've seen two entire years' of challenges in the past week.

But even ninja warriors are only on for a half hour at a time. Even when the schedule is expanded to include the Unbeatable Banzuke, there's still a jonesing for more. After a while you find yourself needing to Escape to Chimp Island on Animal Planet.

Seriously. I have to go back to work. The TV is killing me.

Monday, May 5, 2008

For Sale

For Sale:

One pair of lymph nodes. Used, 33 years old. Very active, larger than usual. Will trade for smaller set or consider other offers.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

You Know You're Getting Well...

All of our attempts at eating healthier over the past month or so have gone by the wayside over the past couple of weeks. Between work stress, being sick for two solid weeks, and trying to take care of other people, I don't think I've cooked a real meal in weeks. Cooking real food, much less healthy meals, takes more energy and planning than pasta-in-a-box or a burger from Sonic. Since Greg's gotten sick too, food hasn't been a priority at all. We can't taste anything and can hardly swallow, so eating's just too much trouble. I have lost all interest in being in the kitchen at all. Until now.

I've been laying on the couch going through one of the new cookbooks I got for my birthday - the Paula Dean The Lady & Sons set. Holy. Cow. Before I got out of the appetizers I'd found five things I wanted to cook. Greg had made a joke when I got them about how there wouldn't be a thing in there that we could eat if we were eating "healthy," but I've actually found quite a few things that are either not slathered in butter or are easily adjusted to be more healthy . Besides, we've both lost 5 pounds on the "too sick to care about eating" diet, so I think I can a few liberties. As long as I stay out of the dessert section, with its Double Dutch Chocolate Fudge Upside Down Cake. And the Sour Cream Caramel Cake. And the Caramel Apple Cheesecake. Oh my. Ok, back to the main courses. Baked flounder. Basil Grilled Chicken. Pepper Steak. Corn Chowder... Sigh. I think I'm getting better. This is the first time I've been really hungry in two weeks. Too bad there's no actual food in the house!

Thursday, May 1, 2008


I've noticed that sometimes the more I have on my mind the less inclined I am to write about it. I was thinking about that driving in to work this morning while the DJ's were talking about the National Day of Prayer.

The past week has been a wild roller coaster ride, not so much because of anything going on with me, but because of some extremely difficult times someone I care about deeply is going through. It's one of those things you want so desperately to fix for them, but there isn't a thing you can do to help other than just listen and be there for them.

I was giggling a little at the talk about the National Day of Prayer because for me I feel like I've had the National Week of Prayer. One night I literally sat in my floor, started to pray for my friend, and all I could do was repeat the word please over and over again. I don't even know what I was asking for, but somehow I figured God knew what I meant.

I noticed during all of this that I have been disinclined to blog. About that or much of anything. I was reminded of Mayberry taking a break from her blog to reconnect with God, and I realize that's kinda how I was feeling. It's not something I wanted to talk about, it wasn't something I wanted to share with anybody, but the need to pray was stronger than the need to talk about anything else. So that's pretty much what I've done for the past week. I've posted about being sick, but nothing else. Nothing seemed important.

We still don't know how the situation is going to end, but I've seen an interesting series of events taking place. I have no intention of sharing the story, it's not mine to share, but at some point I think I may want to share the process. I'm seeing some things that I believe are nudges from God, perhaps an answer to my prayer of please, but as my former minister used to say, "If you're 100 steps away from God, he will take 99 of them. The last one is up to you." I don't know if this person is anywhere near taking that last step, somehow I think that is still a long way off, but I think they've at least glanced in that direction. It's a start.