family, friendship, funny, humor, kids, mom humor, nurses, parenting, society, stories

A Mothers Perspective…

I was silently munching on toast that was cooked for too long, and that had cooled too much, for the butter to melt. I was driving to work and still rehashing the scenes from my Mothers Day morning so far….

I pushed the snooze button too many times as usual, and was hurried to get out the door. I tried to let the dogs out, but it was raining, and the thunder was booming outside. The dogs are scared of storms and have actual prescribed medication for this disease process. You may realize at this point, that I have no tolerance for this. Needless to say, they refused to go outside the door. Since I didnt have time to pull them outdoors, knowing that the claws of all four of their extremities would be holding onto the doorframe…risking me losing my grip on them, and falling onto the wet concrete….I went on my way.

As a consequence to my lazy actions, just prior to leaving my house, I stepped in dog urine that would soak through the only pair of good black socks I had clean. I took a deep breath, while fetching out the only pair of black socks left in my drawer….church socks with a very low thread count!!

Though I was feeling a little irritated upon my departure, I was determined not to let it ruin my day. As I ate my toast, I found myself listening to the easy listening station. I hummed along with a good Billy Joel song, before a commercial came on. The station was wishing all mothers a happy Mothers Day, and was surprising all of us, by playing a full 24 hours of “Ladies of the 80's”….

I found myself cynically laughing. Do we as mothers feel as though they just dont play enough of this music throughout the year, and then thank Jesus that we have this one special day, when we can listen to all of the Cindi Lauper, Barara Streisand, and Donna Summer songs that we have longed to hear all year long? I think I speak for all of us when I say…..YES! WE DO!!

Unfortunately, I worked12 hours today, and didnt enjoy one of these songs, which could have made my attitude worse…but I stayed strong. This was my third 12 hour shift in a row, and I am a pathetic baby when it comes to my exhaustion in response to this. However, I was lucky enough to work with the same ladies on all three of those days, which gave us plenty of time to plan our Mothers Day Gala.

We had Starbucks, chocolates and candy from parents, donated cookies from the doctors, and then OF COURSE, we ordered out! We ate questionable sushi that was in take out form, and somehow managed to keep all $96 down, for the duration of the day.

It was a well needed, quiet, and relaxing day at work, in which we shared not only with our peers, that were mothers, but also with the mothers of the babies on our unit. Sometimes Mother's Day is put into perspective when you get to spend it with mothers with ailing children. It reminded me that everybody has a different story when it comes to Mother's Day…stories that many of us take for granted.

Last night, I found my ownself weepy eyed on the eve of Mothers Day. Last year, on this very day, I wrote a tribute to both of my mothers and the phenomenal roles they play in my life. That same year, I lost one of them to the very cancer she was surviving at the time. This Mother's Day was a little different for me.

Still today, I feel so lucky. I have so many great memories with my Mama P, and feel lucky to have known her for the amount of time I did….She will never leave my heart. I felt lucky to still have my own mother, who is the funniest, most carefree, loving, and accepting mother in the world. I felt lucky that I had 4 healthy children at home that call me mom, and I felt lucky to have a chance to have a different perspective into the lives of mothers who dont have that same luxury.

After learning that I had to work on Mother's Day, a handful of people said “Oh, that sucks! So you didnt even get to enjoy your Mother's Day”!?….BUT they were wrong…I did!

Today, I celebrated the day with many mothers….and with people that had mothers of their own. I got to help make silly baby “footprint butterflies”, that were to the MOMS, and from their babies in the NICU. Today I saw mothers smile over the simplest things. Today, my own children surprised me at work by bringing me chocolates and home made gifts to brighten my day. They are still little enough that they hid the presents in their hands, behind their backs….and I was smiling over the most simple things. Today, I got the opportunity to call my mom and tell her how much I love her….and I know she smiled over my smallest sentiment.

Everybodys story is different…. Some moms are great, some are sick, and some leave a bad taste in the mouth of their child. Some moms have lost their only child, some moms never got to be, and some of our mothers are no longer with us. Regardless, mothers somehow hold tight to our hearts and minds.

Today, my tired, dog urine soaked sock wearing body, is happy… Not only because I got the chance to be a good mother, but also because I feel so fortunate to have had two Mothers that have loved me, and that I have loved in return.

Happy Mothers Day!!

http://theishumquads.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/elijah-and-mommy_00761.jpg

 

 

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funny, health, humor, humour, society

TanFastic: The Perfect Job for Teenage Con Artists

I sat outside the building for a long while before gaining the courage to go in. I knew I was going to get taken advantage of again, despite the fact I had given myself a million pep talks, telling myself that I was smarter than this!!

This is the third February in a row that I have prepared for a “girls trip” to Mexico. Since I know I will spend my entire trip burned to a crisp, due to my pasty fair skin, and regardless if I wear 50 or above sunscreen (which I do anyway), I have taken it upon myself to hit the tanning bed for a few sessions prior to my trip.

Three years ago, when I made my first trip to Suntan city, I was feeling a little nervous about it. I hadnt been to the tanning bed for about 15 years prior to this, so I honestly didnt know what I was doing. What I can tell you, if you havent been for awhile yourself, is that alot has changed. I remember when I would just pay my $20 for the month, and I could tan every day for 30 days if I wanted to. You didnt need eyewear, or lotions, or intensifiers. The only extra thing you may have needed was a playboy bunny sticker, to leave a faded white spot on your body…proof that you were actually tanning.

Well, times have changed, and I was completely overwhelmed. First of all, all I needed was 8 to 10 sesssions at most. I thought, if I paid about $2 a session x 10…Id be out about $20 bucks plus tax!! As you may have guessed, I was wrong. So wrong in fact, that I felt like I had been physically raped upon leaving there. My head was down in shame.

After the teenage Barbados looking girl at the counter, talked me into becoming a member for a low fee of $30 (because it was a better deal), and even though I thought I had made it clear that I would only be attending 10 sessions, the REAL raping began.

GIRL: “Now do you have eyewear”?

ME: “NO”

GIRL: “Its required by law. I can sell you these large goggles for $2.99 that will show a line across your nose and sides of your face, Or for $6 I can sell you these small compact goggles that fit in this tiny case with ease, and show no tan lines on your face at all. Its up to you”! (smiling cheerfully)

ME: “UH….I need the ones with no lines I guess”!

GIRL: “What color? We have a bunch of kinds. Purple, sparkly, glow in the dark….. Which do you like”? (smiling cheerfully).

ME: “UH…..Green I guess.”

GIRL: “I can sell them to you on this lanyard for $8.50″? Do you want the lanyard”?

At this point, I was growing a little aggitated. I just wanted to get in and out of this place. I knew I wouldnt be able to even stay in that bed longer than 5 minutes, and this process was unbearable. Who the HELL carries their fancy sun tanning goggles around their neck, on a lanyard???

ME: “I wont be needing the lanyard”! (rolling my eyes in a passive aggressive manner)

GIRL: “Ok. Now, what kind of intensifier and lotion would you like to purchase? We have some really great deals running right now.”

ME: “I dont need any of that. Im just going to be going the 10 sessions”.

GIRL: “We strongly encourage you to utilize these products. With your fair skin, you will be likely to burn easily, and we want to prevent this at all costs. Your skin is important to us, and Im sure it is to you as well (giggling). Now, with your membership, I can give you extra deals. This one here is one of my favorites…Smell it”!

ME: “How much is it”?

GIRL: “$115, but I can get it for you for $90, with your membership”! (smiling uncontrollably)

ME: “UH…Thats not going to work out”.

GIRL: ” OK.. I can get you this intensifier and lotion for $60 with your discount, plus its a great deal….Its like over half off as it is”.

ME: “Is this really necessary”?

GIRL: “Its very important to keep your skin moisturized”.

ME: “Ok. Sounds like a good deal…Ill take it.” (smililng because I got a great deal).

Next was the style of bed, and type of bulb I wanted. I cant even go into all the different styles and prices that went along with that, because it gets me riled up again. I just wanted the old style bed from the nineties…with the bulbs that burnt your flesh right off. After all, I had just bought the “good” moisturizer! However, just like the rest of the conversation, it took a wrong turn again. The bronzed teenager had talked me into a level 3 bed, which meant nothing to me except for apparently it gets me less burned and costs more money….and then she carried on about loving and caring for my skin and so forth…..as she collected my money, and as I just stared at her in a catatonic fashion. To make this long story a bit shorter, I will just say that my 10 sessions cost me roughly $200!!!

To make matters worse, Im extremely allergic to the intensifier. Regardless, I have used it for the all of my 10 sessions in the last 3 years. It was liquid gold in my eyes. I only itch for about the first 45 minutes after the visit, and the raised welts go away after 2 hours or so. It seems like a small price to pay for what I was talked into doing all those years ago. Also, I never once have made it for the entire 20 minutes…my skin is too fair.

I think about all those people that pay their $200 dollars and get so many more minutes than I do, and feel taken advantage of again. Today, after finally making my way in, paying my $140 for 10 sessions, tanning for 6 minutes, and making my way back to my car, I feel no less shame. Its true that I was strong….I didnt become a member, I didnt buy the lanyard, and I didnt buy any creams, but how did I ONLY save $60 from the last visit, when I bought up the store???

SOMETHING AINT RIGHT!!!

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death, family, poetry, society

Emotional Roller Coaster

I stare at her picture, as though Im in a room full of mirrors.

Days seem like weeks. Weeks seem like years.

Rationality and Madness are separated by a line that is taunting.

Our souls were intertwined. Her abscence is daunting.

 

Tears blind my eyes, and seem to fill up my days.

Forgive me please. My mind's in a haze.

I see what youre saying, but my view is somewhat distorted.

Im not feeling loved. Im feeling less than supported.

 

I want to move forward, but lack the strength to take a step.

I loved her so much. I never realized the depth.

I want to be positive and surrounded by those that I love.

I want to be with her. I want to look down from above.

 

I should be gaining strength, but Im only growing weaker.

I cant see the light. My future appears bleaker.

My eyes are so heavy, but fight the weight to stay open.

Somethings not right. Something feels broken.

 

Sleep is inviting, as it calls out loudly and tempts me.

My thoughts are so full. My soul is just empty.

Please be patient, until the answer becomes clear.

Im still holding my angel very near.

 

Today is the wedding anniversary of my Dad and Patty. As I reflect on how hard it has been for me to have lost Patty this past year, I realize that I sometimes lose sight of how much harder it has been for my Dad. Feelings are like roller coasters, and no one has the answers to how to respond. Recently, I just sat down and tried to think about what he may be feeling. In return, I came up with this. Though she isn't here physically any longer, Im still going to give a shout out….. “Happy Anniversary”!…. Because it just feels right!

 

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cancer, death, family, healing, health, society

Self Compassion Leads to Self Healing

Emotions seem to be all over the place, despite the fact that almost every moment of time is filled. It's an expectation to be sad and tearful when someone close to you dies. People say they're sorry, give you hugs, and try to sense what you may be needing. Once the goodbyes are given, its expected that we move on. The empathy is suddenly gone, and we need to move on with our lives.

I agree with this in a sense! After all, who wants to sit around crying about things every minute of every day. It's depressing for starters, plus nothing can be done about the circumstances anyway. Unfortunately, the sadness still looms. The loss is still present.

We go on, but with never ending, passing thoughts continuing to invade our brains….the part of the brain that is connected directly to our hearts! We laugh, we play, we do our regular day to day process, until something disrupts it. A song, a photo, an old race shirt, a recipe, a missed phone call, or simply silence. Tears well up, because it still stings, but we don't have time to focus on that anymore….we are expected to move on. So we dry our eyes, and fill the silence, pushing the thoughts to the back. They aren't forgotten, but instead, begin to recur even more frequently.

As the sadness gets pushed to the back corner of our minds, the emotion builds. This emotion does not necessarily appear to others to be feelings of sadness, but instead shows itself as anger, annoyance, impatience, and intolerance. Tears fall easily, showing sensitivity, and even more anger, but the reality is hidden so far beneath. The reality is sadness. The reality is loss.

This is a feeling of indifference, one that is not so easy to remedy. Normally the task of sorting through thoughts and feelings, reevaluating, and then evaluating again, leads to positive results with some sort of answer. Here, there is no answer. It's uncharted territory.

Finding the balance between going on and standing still is a sort of maze that is completely unclear. There is enough knowledge to be aware that this feeling will ease with time, the maze will become easier to navigate through, and there will be a newer, different ending….. One that balances the past and the future.

There is enough sadness to wonder how that can be.

The questions are many, the answers are few.

I continue to remind myself that compassion for ourselves is key, and time is second best. For now, I guess that will have to do.



β€œThe emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it…”

― Nicholas Sparks, At First Sight


http://www.transformleaders.tv/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Self-Compassion1.jpg





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cancer, family, healing, humor, running, society, travel

Comfort In Times of Grief

As we travel back home in a caravan of 4 cars, I wonder how many of us will make it back…My dad and brothers have turned out to be horrible drivers, weaving in and out of traffic like maniacs!!!

After the first memorial service for our mama P is over, we are Indiana bound again! This week, my family experienced almost every emotion possible, yet we are still somehow held together……

Yesterday was the most emotional day for us, with the memorial time looming. We spent the morning thumb tacking pictures of Patty onto poster boards. We were still surrounded by one another, but quieter than normal.

We had decided earlier in the week to walk a 5k together in honor of Patty, prior to the service…the same 5K course that she ran close her house frequently. Renee had gone out that morning to get us t shirts and craft items so that we could each decorate a shirt with something that reminded us of Patty. For our family, we were fairly quiet during this process too. The kids used heart stickers and letters to spell out grandmas name. The adults used paint to make breast cancer ribbons, and markers to say encouraging phrases.

After we were done, we shared our designs with each other, and just as always, there was plenty to laugh about! First off, none of us were truly gifted with the talent of the artist…but we tried! When I put my shirt on, the breasts I had drawn on the front of my shirt were PERFECTLY placed…only one was larger than the other…. which I think is fairly normal! The shirt that won though, at least in my opinion, was my brother Nathan's! He had crafted a large gold chain around the neck of his shirt, with gold marker. Then, with block letters, payed tribute to his Mama P by putting her name on the chain. However, in traditional Nathan fashion, he didnt spell it right…So it said, in GIANT letters….. MOMAP.

We laughed at his expense for a long while, but he still wore it with pride, claiming he got the gold chain at a discount store! I guarantee Patty was smiling at him from above!!!!

The walk was phenomenal! We challenged each other with daring feats, the kids picked up treasures that were really trash….it rained…….we got burrs on our shoes and clothes….we ran, we talked, we walked, and we complained if it was our turn to hold the baby or the dog!…..but mostly, we laughed ALOT….

Finally, after getting ourselves dolled up, we made our way to the memorial service. It was interesting to mingle with people that none of us knew well, but that knew and loved Patty dearly. Somehow I found myself fascinated, as I watched near strangers well up with tears, as they spoke about my mama with love in their hearts. She had touched so many people….people we knew nothing about.

The service was beautiful…it was a perfect tribute to Patty. It was simple and elegant, just like herself. All of her quilts were on display, as well as a multitude of other things she had made with her own hands.

As the songs played, with the pictures of her past on the screen, I admit, my gut and my heart took a jab. It didnt seem right that she wasn't here. My heart hurt more as I watched my own children mourn, and even more when my youngest daughter went to the front of the church to grab her quilt off of the railing during the service itself. She needed comforted, and what better way than in the arms of her own grandma.

With the tears though, also came laughter. It was nice to hear uplifting stories of our mama P, by those who loved her here in Texas. Also, it was nice to reflect with my family afterwards, about the service itself.

Before leaving the church, we all left smiling. My sister in law Penny told us a story about her infant daughter Emma, cooing and playing during the service. She said she was doing things that she and my brother had been trying to teach her, but that she wouldn't EVER do. They both felt certain that she was playing with her grandma! My brother feels that Patty was playing with Emma to get back at him for acting up in church so many times in his own youth! We all could picture her doing this, and felt content to leave there believing exactly that! She will be greatly missed!

When we got home, my sister in laws and I made our way to Pattys closet, where we each found a sweatshirt and sweatpants to wrap ourselves in. Somehow, it was comforting. All of us then made our way to the fireplace, where we cuddled under Pattys quilts, sipped on wine, and shared stories about our lives, and shared memories of Patty. It seemed strange that we would be leaving here without her this time.

Today, we packed up as a team, and are continuing to travel in a family unit. We have already picked at each other about who the worst drivers are, who has to use the bathroom the most, and who wears the biggest granny panties (which so far is me)! I'm sure in the next couple of days we will share ALOT more laughter and adventure, before heading back to our normal chaotic lives.

We have one more memorial to prepare for next week in Indiana. Though that is the one that will be the saddest, as it is our final “See ya later”, I can't help but to feel lucky for what I have had, and continue to have in my life.

 

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cancer, family, funny, healing, society, travel

LIFE’S IRONY

Its been interesting staying here at my Dad and Patty's house, with my siblings, all at the same time. Sadly, this is what Patty always wanted, but rarely achieved. She wanted us to share Christmas, or Thanksgiving, or a summer trip….all here together as a family unit! However, as each of our lives got hectic, and then as we started families of our own, this never occurred. It became too hard for all of us to manage vacations, or time off, at the exact time same time, and it became even harder as our children grew older, and had events for us to coordinate, in addition to our own.

It's ironic that we found the time now. Looking back, I wish we had made it more of a priority, but who could ever have known?!….No one ever knows! It's impossible to plan life like that, and pointless to beat ourselves up about it now. We all had plenty of great times together…just not necessarily at this house.

Last year, while Patty was going through chemotherapy, one of my brothers and sister in laws was here, at the same time as Renee and I. Patty wanted out of the house, and she wanted to walk….though she was very tired and frail. She took us on a whole wine trail, through the Grapevine area…about six wineries total. We went to lunch, we walked, we talked, we laughed, we loved…….

She tired before the last 2, and needed to go home to rest, so she and my dad took took their grand babies home to watch movies. It was a day to remember….

Last night, after my brothers and I, and their wives, made the last of the memorial arrangements at the church, we went to two of those same wineries. But this time, as a whole family unit…. Aunt rhonda included:). We were reminiscing, toasting, and missing our Mama P.

When we got back to the house, we started a fire in the fireplace, we listened to music, we sang, we talked, and we laughed, all while sipping on our winery finds. I KNOW that she was looking down and smiling. Her family was all here!

This time though, I was wishing that SHE could join US….

TODAY, we woke up refreshed…..That is, after my brothers got a good nights sleep, snuggling under a single blanket, out by the campfire…and after Renee and I slept on a hard bar, that was beneath the thin mattress of the the pull out couch, that conveniently rested beneath our spines and livers πŸ™‚

It didnt matter though, because today….WE BUSTED OUT!

We cleaned! We vacuumed, dusted, did the dishes, and the laundry. My brothers, mowed, weed eated, cleaned the patio, and frolicked outside, while the ladies tended to the inside! I however got stuck bleaching two full bathrooms, that my dad assured me were clean?! I laughed out loud, and vomitted in my mouth, while cleaning my “dads bathroom”! I gave a shout out to Patty, saying “I now know why you said you never entered this room”! This house is now as clean as it will ever be again….Cheers to you Patty πŸ™‚

After cleaning the house, and sharing a celebratory beer in the warm sun, we all loaded in the car, for the task that none of us looked forward to…..We went to pick up Pattys urn….

We were ok…My brothers, my dad, and I were together! On the way home though, my dad drove separately, he had errands to run. We laughed and talked with Patty, the whole way home. We reminded her that this is most likely the last time she will be alone with us…..without dad around…. So, we got our talking in….because from now on, my dad will dominate all the rest of the conversations that surround her:)

I dared my brother to text my dad and tell him that he accidently broke the angel wing off the urn. We laughed as we pictured telling him that we think that we got most of the ashes back in, and that we think we can hot glue it back on, so that MOST people wouldn't even notice!

We laughed hard, but I'm certain my dad wouldn't have found it funny right now. However, Patty would have laughed with us…Actually, I know she was. She would not have wanted us to drone on, making this whole process formal and serious. That is not how our family interacts.

The funny thing is, I could actually hear her laughing along with us while this was happening. Her laugh was always very contagious…..

I hope I never forget the sound of that laughter πŸ™‚

 

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family, friendship, funny, humor, society, travel

“GET PACKING TIA”!

My children just finished packing the car….And I can't wait to see how it looks. πŸ™‚ I have spent most of the morning tidying up the house, putting bags together, finding pictures, and searching for quilts, hats, and scarfs around my house to take to Texas with us. Today, we are Texas bound again.

I can honestly say that this is the first time I am dreading my trip to Texas. I'm not looking forward to entering the home, knowing my Mama P isn't there, and I'm NOT looking forward to the memorial.

It's funny, but ever since she passed away, I have been talking to her frequently. I suddenly want to point out all the drama that I had been telling her about in person, all of these years. Now, I feel like she can see it for herself…..though she also can see my reaction too!

I simply don't want to go to Texas! I feel, in some way, as though if I don't attend the memorial, or enter her home without her presence, then it can't be final….Not for me at least. Today, I've found myself talking to her more than ever, AND trying to ignore her more than ever. While I'm dragging my feet grumpily, she's urging me in the direction I need to go. I guess she's the angel on my right shoulder, trying to knock my little devil attitude off of my left shoulder! πŸ™‚

As I was packing my own things up, my mind was wandering….as it usually does, and I started to entertain myself….as I usually do….

4 pairs of granny panties….check…Fancy dress…check…Fancy shoes…check…Silpada necklace..check…Silpada earrings…check….Coach purse…check!

It's amusing that I even have this stuff in my house….fancy name brand things I mean. I have never been one to care about the name on anything, and honestly don't think the name makes something prettier! However, I always seem to be able to be talked into believing that I do, in fact, need these items.

I'm not talking about the goodwill finds that I know I need… like the matching gold slippers, leisure suits, and jean rompers either. When I purchase those sorts of items,I feel like I'm actually robbing them! What I'm talking about are the things such as the Silpada jewelry. My friend Kellie tells me every year, when her party is being thrown, that I NEED new $60 earrings. Even though I disagree, somehow in the end, I'm saying “You are so right Kel. Do I need the matching necklace too?” Which she always responds to with a GIANT “Yes”, because she needs a new FREE matching set herself, and she won't get it unless she has enough buyers. Normally for $60, I would expect at least 30 pairs of earrings, yet somehow I do feel like a rock star when I wear these high dollar finds.

Next is this Coach purse that I love. I wouldn't have a Coach purse if Patty hadn't given it to me, because I think it's dumb to pay this high dollar for a silly old purse, that carries old reciepts and mint condition tampons, with half chewed gum, stuck to the tips! I could feed at least 100 homeless people on Thanksgiving, for what one of these purses cost! People have been telling me for years that I need a fancier purse…. and until now, I thought they were all stupid! However, they were right! I did need this purse. I am of a completely different caliber now. I walk with better posture and everything.

Yesterday, I gave into a sort of peer pressure again, and bought my first lunch satchel from a 31 party, with my own monogrammed initials on it. While my friend Angie, was having the party, she wasn't the one peer pressuring me. Instead, it was the high class, pompous girls I work with! :). They all have these fancy lunch pails, each with their cute little names on it, so it won't be confused with another's. Whenever I pull out my good, cute, polka dotted “Igloo” lunch satchel, they giggle and point….or at least I feel like they are in their minds. They finally made me realize that I NEED that fancy $18 plus tax, plus shipping, plus extra for the initials, lunch satchel!

I get talked into everything!….Those matching Mallow run winery sweatshirts and matching pedicures, that my friends Amy and Tina told me I needed, so I could look cool like them….and I did!….Those fancy pink plastic sunglasses that I bought on the beaches of Mexico, after Renee told me I needed them, so that I can now use them for racing my bicycle or wear them during a wind storm! I needed them!…..I even had to be talked into getting my eyebrows waxed so I could be more classy. My friend Anne tried to tell me that about 12 years ago, and I only did it for the first time about 5 years ago. With the amount of hair that comes off of those sticky patches, I think my hairdresser agrees with Anne!…..And now, the most recent encouragement comes from my friend Dusty, who thinks it might be a good idea for me to get a tattoo in Pattys honor. She even agrees to go with me, but isn't sure she will get a matching one! We thought maybe on my wrist or neck would be best, but couldn't decide if her name should be written in a heart, or in a different language! πŸ™‚

This is where my thought process stopped, before directing myself back to the packing. I admit I started laughing, because I know Patty would have rolled her eyes and laughed about the tattoo idea, or any of my shenanigans really.

I wondered how Patty knew what to buy…She was always so classy and had all the name brand stuff, and her nails and hair were always done perfectly! How could I have not have picked up some of these traits naturally from her?

That's when I heard her say to me “GET PACKING TIA”! …..AND so I did:)

 

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