Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Please pray

Please continue to pray for the people of New Orleans. I added a comment to my last blog that at least it could have been so much worse. Now it is. Those levees were the only reason New Orleans could exist. Now they're gone. They can't pump the water out because there is nowhere to pump it to. Even if the water does recede sometime soon, it'll only take a thunderstorm to engulf things again without the levees.

Please just pray. As I said, most of our family is out. My brother-in-law and his 78-year-old grandmother are getting out now. They've been re-routed three times and cell phones aren't working well but my sister-in-law tells me he's out. I don't know how, I'm just thankful they're out.

Who knows when they'll get back in? We may have nieces and nephews up here to get them into school. I hope we do. They have some closer relatives in Texas but I just feel so helpless here. At least if we can get the kids here, or my husband's grandmother, I feel like that may help a little. They all have water in their homes. I can't do anything about that. I'm sitting here in my dry home, enjoying my air conditioning and my electricity and I feel so guilty.

If y'all have been to New Orleans, keep those pictures and those memories. This unique city will never be the same again.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The City that Care Forgot

"The City that Care Forgot" has long been a nickname for the city of New Orleans. They have had enough troubles in the past but everyone hoped that they would never see a storm like this.

Please include the people of New Orleans in your prayers. Most of our family and friends have made it out of the city but only God knows when they'll be able to return.

For seven years of our lives, New Orleans was our home. It hurts to see this happen to your home but even more so as we have family and friends who are going to have to pick up and go on after this.

The Jane Austen Book Club

This was an entertaining read. You do not have to be familiar with all of Austen’s novels to enjoy the dialogue about them.

There are six members of the “Central Valley/River City all-Jane-Austen-all-the-time book club.” The group is made up of four women entering “middle age”, one woman in her thirties (she is the daughter of another group member) and one man, who I’m guessing is forty-something. This is a novel about their relationships both past and present.

Jocelyn began the group and invited each member personally.
Each chapter begins with a different member hosting the group and we are invited in to see their homes and learn about their lives, including how and when they met Jocelyn.

The novel reminded me a bit of How to Make an American Quilt. In that novel a young woman meets a group of elderly ladies and learns about the lives they’ve led as they work together on a group quilt, each of them sewing something of themselves into that project. In The Jane Austen Book Club, most of the ladies are entering middle-age so we learn about their lives up to this point and are left to see how Austen influences the steps they take in the next chapter of their lives.

Though the book focuses on each of the six members of the book club, Jocelyn is the central figure as she has been a part of each of their lives. She, like the other women, is a bit snobbish about the books they read and have a certain opinion about the sort of people who would read other types of books, specifically science fiction. I admit that I am not a fan of the genre myself but much like Jocelyn, I have not read much. Someone else recommended the few SF books that I have read, and I read them a long time ago.

Grigg, the sole man in the group, recommends science fiction titles to Jocelyn and also buys them for her. She waits a long time to read them but eventually, after getting to know Grigg better, she gives his books a chance.

I was expecting to gain a new appreciation for Jane Austen and probably pick one of her books to read after I finished this novel. I was not expecting to be introduced to so many other authors as I read this one. I’ve learned that I’ve been a bit snobbish myself regarding books and while I will read more of Ms. Austen, I just may try Grigg’s suggestions: The Left Hand of Darkness (I’ve actually always meant to read that anyway) and The Lathe of Heaven. After getting a glimpse of Grigg’s childhood and his father’s fascination with Stranger in a Strange Land, I may have to re-read that one too.
(It has been 18 years since I read that one and I did not remember it well.) Armed with the comments from this book and the summary I found on Amazon, I might be able to put it in better perspective. If nothing else, Ms. Fowler and Ms. Austen have already helped me better understand why it may have been recommended to me in the first place!

I recommend that you read The Jane Austen Book Club.
Then tell me what you’re inspired to read next!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The cast is off!

Christian's bright orange cast was cut off today! His arm is free and he is a happy boy!

I'm giving him a few extra minutes of video game time right now before we do something more "productive." The whole ride home from the doctor's, all he could talk about was playing video games because it would be "so easy now!" (My 4-year-old video game addict had become quite adept at maneuvering game controls with one hand. So he was giddy with the possibility of using BOTH thumbs again!)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

My son ate a vegetable

He ate a carrot!

Yes, Christian. No, I’m not making a big deal because I’m such a Bugs Bunny fan. It's not even because I am a vegetarian. Christian ate a carrot today.

He has not done that since they came already pre-mashed by Gerber.

Granted, the only reason he ate said carrot was because his preschool teacher told him he’d have to eat either the watermelon or carrot that came with his lunch or he would not get his cookie. He saw other children eating cookies and took a big, crunchy bite!

I know I had lots of guilt about putting him into a preschool with a longer day than the others—but the peer pressure method of trying new foods is SO working!!! Yay!
(Well, OK, he ate the veggie because the peers were already on to dessert but it’s working!)

He does not run screaming from veggies here at home but simply refuses to eat one if it isn’t buttered corn! (Doesn’t matter what dessert I offer here. He just says he’s full.)

Oh, yes. I am the mother that was counting down the days until school started so I would spend my “free” time writing and then blogging about how much progress I’d made each day, rather than just reporting on what my children had been up to! So, in case you’re wondering: after I did a little bloghopping this morning (while waiting for the painter to return but that’s a whole other story….I did finally get the rest of the lawn mowed).

There. Progress.

The kiddos are catching on to our new routine much faster than Mom.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Swappy Jacks

Nope. It’s not a new breakfast cereal or a card game, though that’d be a close guess!

Christian was served “Sloppy Joes” for lunch at preschool on Monday. No big deal (except that he’s my picky eater and I wasn’t sure he’d try it—which is why I’m leaving him at preschool for lunch—trying the peer-pressure route to trying new foods!) but you know kids say the cutest things!

As you may be able to guess, he was stuck playing many card games with his sister during the summer and an all-time favorite for both of them is “Slap Jack!” So when he was served a funny looking sandwich and told it was a Sloppy Joe, he could not quite remember that. (Oh—and we’re still working on words with the “L” sound in them. So “swap” is actually “slap” in Christian-speak.) So I’ve been cracking up this week as he tells people that “Swappy Jacks are GOOOOOOD!”

Friday, August 19, 2005

Getting to work!

Well, maybe I won't save the world today but at least hope to get some productive writing done!
Christian is at a preschool program. He cried and I cried but he's playing now and it's time channel my guilt into something productive!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Making the world a better place

Leave each place a little better than when you found it.

This was the excellent advice I received from another Army spouse many moons ago. At that particular moment, she was referring to her garden and government quarters. Many families had lived in that house before her and many more would follow. She said that the least she could do was to make sure that whoever followed her found a more welcoming place than she herself had found. It was not a negative comment on her quarters. Her important message was that there is always room for improvement.

Over the years I’ve heard the same theme with a few variations. I am lucky to have the chance to move with my husband to various assignments as it is not only an opportunity to experience new places, people and cultures but it is a chance to see if I can contribute something while I’m here.

I have volunteered in various capacities, more in some places and less in others, but I have tried to contribute something. I’m thinking bigger now! This is partly due to the fact that my hubbie is trying to find the right niche to get involved in the community as well. So whether we team up as partners or divide and conquer, we want to give something back to this fantastic community that has welcomed us so much.

I keep getting a more and more involved with school organizations and activities but that is still really helping my kid. (That is part of my job as her mom. It’s time to expand my efforts!)
So as my children venture out into the school year, I’m going to venture out to make my little part of the world a little better than the way I found it. Now that I’ve announced it—I just have to go out and do it! Y’all can help—hold me to it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The way the cookie crumbles

The preschool we are/were/might be sending C to has a new director and a new set of issues--at least for me. So...spent time today getting him back on wait lists at other preschools where I'd given up previously reserved spots. Such fun.

I was frustrated at first as I'd already made grand plans for my impending "free time." (C came along before N started school, so someone has been home with me all the time for the last 7 years). So I was itinially giddy with all of the possibilities, then upset that things were not going as planned and now I have moved on to acceptance.

C is four and a half and he'll be fourteen in no time. If I don't get him out of the house for a few hours a week this fall, so what? If he doesn't get out and learn how to share with ten other kids at once, he and I can still do plenty of sharing here together.

I'm seeing the pattern now---when Dh is home for a few days in a row, parenting doesn't seem so much like trying to have a snack underwater.
(Or maybe that is just because he took on my anger at the preschool so I don't have to hold onto it as much anymore...)

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Jungle that is my Backyard

I’ve told you about the impact of the rabbit(s) on the yard but it’s me who may be endangering the rest of our plant life! Not intentionally, of course but I’m killing it quietly just the same.

I kept telling my hubbie that the weeds could not be the reason for so many dying spots in the front yard because, after all, there weren’t that many weeds! I did not realize just how many I’d just been mowing over until we went to pull them up yesterday! Yes—I think they have been choking the life out of the rest of our yard after all.

We pulled the weeds from most of the gardens as well, much to the dismay of the insect populations. I think we host a couple varieties of ants, though they have segregated their communities all on their own. Different areas of our yard have different color ants but they all object to me removing the weeds, which, of course, make up a little forest for them. Thanks to Disney, I was sure I could hear them yelling “Princess Ata! Princess Ata!” the whole time!

Then there is the poor young tree, struggling to make it out there in the big backyard. You can see it from my kitchen window and a while ago I noticed what I thought was a bit of tree fungus on one branch. I’ll get out there this afternoon and clean that off, I said.
Life happened and I forgot for a day or two. Looking back out the window, I saw it had spread a little further and leaves were dying. (Those of you who actually care for your yard/garden can already see what is coming. Look away! Go read something else—you can already tell what an irresponsible property owner I am!)

I waited a few more days! I noticed it was spreading up the tree and leaves were beginning to look like lace. So as we finally headed out to pull the weeds yesterday, I told my husband, I have to go save that tree today.

He was insistent that it was just a large, growing spider web. I was sure it was some deadly tree fungus or virus and I’d have to amputate branches. I don’t like it when I’m wrong but I will admit it. I enjoy it more when he is wrong, especially if I’m right but in this case, we were both wrong.

Tent caterpillars were building their own city all over our poor tree. At least I’ve learned that these buggers won’t kill the tree; they eat the leaves and the bark but once they’re removed, the tree should recover. So I destroyed their burgeoning civilization yesterday and hopefully our young tree will develop into a big, strong tree after all.

For those of you caterpillar-rights activists out there that are horrified at my actions, I apologize. Send me your information and if the creatures return, I’ll carefully transfer them to a box with a few leaves and ship them to you for the proper protection. (I can’t guarantee they won’t fly out of the box upon arrival but I will get them to you as soon as I can!)

To any successful gardeners out there who are shaking their heads at me but reading this far nonetheless: is there a something that I can plant in my garden that giant, ferocious grasshoppers will not eat? It does not matter if it is an annual or perennial flower, bush, etc. I’m thinking a nice, fake plastic plant might be a good way to go…

Saturday, August 13, 2005

I'm OK, You're OK

I do get by with a little help from my friends!
Though I realize I am a “slacker mom,” these help me breathe easier! Check ‘em out!

I am a slacker mom

Some of that inspiration is returning. I was going to elaborate on why, once again, my kids got a bargain-rate mom rather than the latest, greatest model with all the gadgets.

Yesterday we had some boys (2 brothers) over to play with my son These boys are wonderful. They sword-fight with Christian, tell him about Star Wars (he hasn’t seen any of the movies) and they have all just discovered the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles. They’re all about the same age—one of them has been 5 for a while and his little brother just turned 4. My son is 4 and a half, so he fits perfectly.

The boys’ mother is great. She is smart, funny, she does some sort of consulting work from home so she is always home with the boys. She is the latest, greatest model.

As they were preparing to leave, we were talking about future play dates. I mentioned that our mornings, at least on MWF, will be a little busier now that Christian is starting preschool. (I was trying to control my own excitement at the whole prospect!) I thought her oldest was going to kindergarten but not yet. They will both be homes chooled at the first-grade level this year.

I love this supermom; really, I do. I just feel like such a slacker after each play date with her and her kids! This must be apparent outwardly as well. I offered to just have the boys over for pizza and a playdate so she and her husband could have some kid-free time. My daughter was scheduled to be at a sleepover all night and hubbie was out-of-town so I thought I could handle 3 boys under 5 for a couple of hours. She asked if she could come too.

I’m not begrudging her some time here! I honestly like spending time with her—she cracks me up! However, if someone offered to have both of my kids over for a Friday night play date—where they’d get to play with a friend and I could go somewhere else—I would drop them off and try to remember to kiss them before I went running back out the door!

It is not just in comparison to this mom. I am a slacker! We have spent the entire day in the house today. The kids have not minded at all! It is raining and N, in fact, came up with a list of things we could do here so we would not have to worry about C getting wet. (Neither of them want to head back to the hospital waiting rooms to get a new cast if this one gets wet!!)

I have not ignored them. I have played countless games of Sonic the Hedgehog with C and UNO and 2-handed solitaire with N. However, I have also spent much more time on the computer than I do on a normal Saturday and I feel the guilt. We should have gone to a museum, an indoor playground or a movie.

I just have so much more energy and ideas today that I want to write them down. Do you want to know the real reason I am so energetic today? (Other than the pot of coffee I’ve consumed?) Do you? Do you? Do you?

It’s simple. I am the ultimate slacker mom. Today is the day I have been waiting for!
(For a long while now, I have been wondering when the day would come when the kids would be old enough to just get up, get a bowl of cereal and flip on the cartoons while I slept in on a Saturday morning.) Today was the day!!! Well….almost. I helped C brush his teeth and I put the DVD on but then N got up, settled with him on the couch and I left them watching Spongebob for 45 glorious minutes while I went back to bed!

They never missed me.

Only a slacker mom would let her kids watch Spongebob.
Only a slacker mom would leave her kids alone downstairs while she went to sleep!
(In my own defense, my room is right above where they were watching TV so I would have heard any commotion.)

Maybe tomorrow I’ll try it again and see if they even get that bowl of cereal on their own too!
(I know—they’ll pick the sugary cereal so then I’ll be endangering their dental health but they just might survive, I just might sleep and the world just might be a better place!)
The possibilities are endless!

We'll see...

OK--the more bloghopping I do these days, the more I'm reading about how I need to install Haloscan--so I did it.

This should make it easier for anyone wanting to comment to do so (you don't have to keep typing in your name and info each time).

However, this process just wiped out all of the comments you kind people have left me this month! So come back and visit (and say hi!) so I can see if this works!

Thanks! ~ Lory

I hate it when that happens!

I had a profound idea to share with my fellow bloggers at 4am.

I chose to go back to sleep instead and now I can’t even think of the context, let alone the comment!!

(I was awake as I’d just led the 4-year-old to the bathroom but this time he went back to bed effortlessly and went right back to sleep! Yea!)

As I settled back into my own bed, I remember having this great idea and knowing that I should run in here and type it out before going back to bed.

However, since the going back to bed part doesn’t always happen, I did that instead. Now my world-changing, though-provoking, probably Pulitzer-worthy idea is lost forever.

Ah well, at least I got some sleep!

Friday, August 12, 2005

New cast

Christian’s above-the-elbow, blue cast was removed today!

He is now sporting a smaller, bright orange cast! (Dad—and any other UF fans—I did not suggest nor encourage the color sequence! He chose them all on his own!)

This is highway-safety-worker orange but he’s happy with it! Two more weeks and then he can swim again! (School will have started but I’m sure the summer temps will hang around at least that long!)

Thursday, August 11, 2005


I will work on my WIP before I play online. I must write 300 words before I can blog.
I will work on my WIP before I play online. I must write 300 words before I can blog.
I will work on my WIP before I play online. I must write 300 words before I can blog.

You may not hear from me in a while but if I post this, I may stick to it!


Y'all have much better things to do with your time than read my whining! Other people have actual problems, as does the world.

(In other rambling thoughts: I'm not sure who and/or how someone left the theme music to the Superman movie on my answering machine today. It has nothing to do with anything at all but these are the issues that occupy my life.)

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

It is not my day

Remember the whole bathroom renovation? (The wallpaper, the color, more wallpaper, the never-ending saga…)
Dh has been home for a few days in a row. He really does not like the new bathroom color.

And in other news: I flew too close to the sun. Yup! For those of you out there who feel inclined, I give you permission to post your I told you so(s)……before I head to the dermatologist. If even I know things have to be removed, you know they’ve gotta go!

The good news: I feel good about sticking with Dh and supporting him (emotionally, anyway)through medical school as he learned everything. When it finally occurred to me that this thing on my arm was not going to go away, I asked him about it (for only the 492nd time). This time, after close scrutiny, the words, “mmm-hmmm, dome shaped, bet it’s basal cell carcinoma,” were uttered. Yeah! A diagnosis! He really is a genius! (And as far as I can tell from my extensive research (on WebMD) he’s right!)

No, wait. No cheer. It’s changing into the same thing I’ve been asking about on my leg for the last three years. Why does the term come to him now?
Ah, well. That’s OK. With my vast childcare options however, I decide that this can wait until school starts. It’s not far off now. The universe won’t really care if I ignore my body for one more week, right?

Nope. Found another one on my shoulder today. Damn epidermis. I want to tell everyone else to leave me alone—now (I mean, again) I’m talking to myself!
This too will pass. Or if it is just me that happens to pass in the night—that’s the way to go, baby!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

It’s wabbit season!

Be vewy, vewy quiet! I’m huntin’ wabbits!
No, I’m not. I am a fellow vegetarian who owns no weapons. (This is largely because I’d probably be just as inept with a rifle as Elmer Fudd). Though yesterday I sounded more like Yosemite Sam.
“Oooooh, I’m gonna git that varmint!”
These creatures are not official pets. It was cute when there was a bunny or two and SO cute when we found the two little baby bunnies! It’s been like our own Disney movie with little Kansas creatures feeling at home in our yard. (I do not sit amongst them, befriending them like Snow White, but I really relate to the little white one who was always very late for a very important date!)
As I mentioned however, these are not official pets. I feel like I have enough to do in life without cleaning up after wildlife! (Cleaning the moose nuggets out of our yard in Alaska so the kids could play was quite enough, thank you very much!) Now, Flopsy, Mopsy, Peter and the whole gang are leaving little rabbit raisins all over our yard! (By little, I mean little heaps!) If it is true that an animal will not, well—you know, where they eat, then they must not mind eating only an inch away!
The over-100° temps scorched my yard anyway but we have empty patches now where the raisins have really helped to burn away any grass that they didn’t eat!
Then again, it is possible that life is too short to spend it going after the cute little guys. Though their relatives across the pond did some damage to Mr. McGregor’s garden, these little fur balls have left our flowers alone. Much of our garden just houses them, with the exception of a plant that Natalie brought home from school. We put that out in the backyard when it was too big for the kitchen and one of those mischievous rabbits took care of that bean plant faster than you can say “hop, skip and jump!”

Maybe we’ll put out some carrots and sacrifice the yard. I recall important life lessons learned early in my childhood: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em!” After all, “that wascally wabbit always wins!”

Monday, August 08, 2005

Good Karma

If you're in a giving mood...


Holding pattern

OK! I'm blogging again while we are in a holding pattern here on the playtime front.

My son wakes up and asks me to play with him. Simple enough.
I say, "go to the bathroom and then I will play with you." Again, simple (I think).
He adamantly refuses. He doesn't have to go. His yelling over the complete unfairness of it all woke his sister, his ally. (She doesn't have to go either!)

So the allies are playing nicely together (a minor miracle in itself) and I will play online until someone acquiesces. (Or until I have to clean the floor!)

Light at the end of the tunnel

  • Only one small piece of border left to match up and paste in the bathroom.
  • School supplies have all been purchased.
  • School begins in another week. (Even the youngest will go to preschool part-time!)

There is the possibility that I may be able to get a life!
(Oh—the kids are excited about school starting too!)

It is a good day!

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I should not judge

All of this time, I have wondered about those misguided, slightly evil people who would put up wallpaper in a home that they then sell. We won’t like all of their wallpaper and what a pain to remove!! Why, why, why would anyone ever put up the pasty stuff?

Now I know! SO much easier than trying to get my painting even! Why, why, why didn’t anyone correct me? OK—this is just a wallpaper BORDER but it’s going so smoothly! I’ve spent a month working on this tiny bathroom and I have made so much progress in the last hour, I can’t believe I didn’t do this before!

We have tried the borders that you just stick to the walls (like contact paper) several times now and it has been such a horrible experience that again, I wondered why the evil stuff was invented.

Yet I gave it one more try, found a border to match my horrible paint job and THEN discovered it wasn’t already sticky. I have to put it in water and let the glue “activate!” I’ve put it off all week but DH is due home in a few hours and I thought I’d “impress” him by having a new look completed! THIS I can do!!! WHY, why, WHY did you all let me go on and on?

(Mom, I know you always told me I LIKED to do things the hard way but I thought that was just argumentative. Now I know: *choke,* mom was right!!!
Aarrghh! (It even hurts to TYPE that!!) She must be, ahem!, right though! I’ve tried everything else and now…what I thought was the “hard way” is so simple.

My poor kids have no chance.

Amazing Lady!

OK, I have never met this woman. I've read some fantastic advice regarding writing on her blogs and she has responded with even more encouragement.
She has just stayed up for the past 24 hours, blogging each half-hour, to raise money for foster children in Georgia. She is an amazing woman.
(If you read this and want to help children in Bartow County, I believe you can still donate for another day or two...)
Kudos, Angela!!!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Muffin top

If I had the poor judgment to actually bare my midriff in public, I would undoubtedly be the poster child for the “muffin top” syndrome. However, now that I’ve reached my mid-thirties and had two children, I’ve come to the realization that there is simply no reason to wear cropped tops or low-rise jeans again. Ever.

Of course I keep stating that I will get back to running several times a week and maybe, one day, I will! In the meantime, I will stay covered. I do want to thank the people who come up with names like “muffin top” and people who tell me that I am not chubby, I am fluffy! These statements will not get me back into the clothes I could wear when I was 25; however, I feel happy snacking and maintaining my soft, comfortable self! No more bothersome sharp edges or bones poking out anywhere! Do you need a shoulder to cry on? Mine are nice and comfy now!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Never say "never." Then again...

This little tiny bathroom project that should have taken a weekend is still not done!
(Tried to carefully remove the tape I put on the baseboards and ceiling to "protect" them from the paint and the tape is peeling the paint (and top layer of drywall) off my walls much more easily than any of the wallpaper peeled away!)

If we ever buy another house in which people have put up wallpaper, I will never take it down to repaint a room. I may, in a few decades, attempt painting a room again but not in the near future. We painted two rooms in this house last year--a tiny bathroom should just not take this long to paint!

I am finished ranting now but I may go get that champagne if and when this is ever completely done!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

How To Avoid The Flu

I cannot take credit for these health tips. My husband forwarded it via email but I thought I'd share this wise advice!

Eat right! Make sure you get your daily dose of fruits and veggies.Take your vitamins and bump up your vitamin C.Get plenty of exercise because exercise helps build your immune system.Walk for at least an hour a day, go for a swim, take the stairs insteadof the elevator, etc.Wash your hands often. If you can't wash them, keep a bottle ofantibacterial stuff around.Get lots of fresh air. Open windows whenever possible.Get plenty of rest.Try to eliminate as much stress from your life as possible.


Take the doctor's office approach. Think about it...
When you go for a shot, what do they do first?
Clean your arm with alcohol . . .
Because alcohol kills germs!

I walk to the liquor store. (exercise )
I put lime in my Corona...(fruit)
Celery in my Bloody Mary (veggies)
Drink outdoors on the bar patio..(fresh air)
Tell jokes, laugh..(eliminate stress)
Then pass out. (rest)

The way I see it...
If you keep your alcohol levels up, flu germs can't get you!!!!
Just remember . . . "A shot in the glass is better than one in the ass!"

Monday, August 01, 2005

Almost there!

OK! So I am lazy. I spread the bathroom project out over three weekends! (Sure, I’m home everyday but it’s hard to get too much progress made when you’re home alone with two kids—go figure!)

All of the wallpaper is scraped off, the walls are painted (darker than I thought but we can work with it) and new towel racks, pictures, will soon be hanging! It is a tiny bathroom so the work was nothing compared to the manual labor many other people do everyday; with a hubbie out-of-town all last week however and two kids home all day, I was too tired to write more than two words!

Only the finishing touches remain! Maybe I’ll go get a bottle of champagne! (OK—maybe it is not THAT big of a deal but it's a tempting idea anyway!)

Hopefully I’ll get some writing done now!