Friday, July 31, 2015

Reading Challenge Update

When I committed to the 2015 Reading Challenge of reading 52 different books with specific requirements, I half expected to totally drop out.  Where was I going to find time to read 52 books? And in genres that I've never had any interest in, like sci-fi or graphic novels?

But lo and behold, it's the last day of July, and I'm halfway through. With almost half a year to go, I only have 23 left to read. Which, actually suddenly makes it sound like a lot...

Here's the categories I have left to tick off (some with the qualifying book already scheduled):

A book with 500 pages (Corelli's Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres)
A classic romance (Time to re-read my old favorite,Bronte's Wuthering Heights)
A book with a number in the title (Unless I come across something else, I plan to re-read Dickens' Tale of Two Cities)
A funny book (Reading right now, The Rosie Effect, sequel to The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion)
A mystery or thriller
A book of short stories (I left two of my favorite books of short stories, Dying Light and The Lives of Kelvin Fletcher, in Scotland, so this might be my chance to repurchase. Both written by Arkansas authors who taught at my university, Donald Hays and Miller Williams respectively)
A book set in a different country (Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe)
A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet (God Help The Child by Toni Morrison)
A Pulitzer Prize-winning book
A book based on a true story (12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup)
A book your mom loves (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson)
A book that scares you (Maybe, if I can face it, Kiss The Girls by Alex Cross)
A book more than 100 years old
A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't (But I read them all! Can I count college?)
A book with antonyms in the title (Losing My Religion: How I Lost My Faith Reporting on Religion in America and Found Unexpected Peace by William Lobdell)
A book that came out the year you were born (The BFG by Roadl Dahl - going to read it to the kids out loud)
A book set in high school 
A book with a color in the title (The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Always wanted to read that.)
A book with magic (Either going to read Tolkien's The Hobbit for the first time or re-read Rowling's Harry Potter)
A graphic novel (Incognegro by Mat Johnson)
A book that was originally written in a different language
A book set during Christmas (Dickens' A Christmas Carol. Never actually read it before!)
A book you started but never finished (That could be any number of books currently on my shelf - maybe Warriors, the book about cats by Erin Hunter that my 8-year old Fi really wants me to read)

I also need to figure out how to fit Still Life With Woodpecker (Tom Robbins) in there, our next book club book.

I'll take suggestions on any topics with no book!

And on that note, I'm off to read. I'd like to finish The Rosie Effect this week and get back up to my minimum five books a month in order to finish this thing out! Only got two each in for the months of June and July!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Screen Doors

Just over a year ago, I came out as an atheist. It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. I still remember how my heart pounded, how I kept the post in my drafts folder for days, trying to decide if I should publish or not. How I asked my husband repeatedly if he was okay with  me outing us.  How I worried about all the people who would be upset, all the doors that would slam in my face.

I ended up posting it, though, with shaking hands but an enormous sense of relief. The truth was out. I could finally be honest. Now I just wait for the reaction.

And the reaction was more positive than I ever could have hoped. A few people Facebook-unfriended me. A few people stopped talking to me. But the overwhelming majority of people offered me either words of encouragement, words of solidarity, or words of love. Some people offered their own faith and prayers, which I appreciated. Some people confided that my story resonated with them deeply and mirrored their own feelings and experiences. Very few doors slammed.

I was still fairly new in Arkansas at the time, only back a year. I was still making friends. I joined a book club around that time, the best book club in the universe, by the way. They made me feel safe, accepted, unjudged.  I made friends at the gym. They treated me as someone they trusted, cared about, someone worthy of their friendship.

These people around me - they kept the doors wide open and welcomed me freely into their lives, because of who I am, not what I believe (or don't). Most of them are Christians. They believe in living out the kind of life Jesus asked them to in the Bible, one of love, compassion, and acceptance. These people around me - they succeed in their quest to be like Jesus. I waited for the judgment to eventually fall, but it never did. They just loved.

I thought maybe coming out as an atheist wasn't nearly as terrible as everyone said it would be. After all, very few people shut the door in my face, which was far cry from what I'd braced myself for. Those who did were never close enough friends to begin with.

Now a year has gone by. But as I look back over the past year, I see something else that I never expected.

As time wore on, I noticed that some other people seemed to shy away from me, put up their guard. They hadn't shut me out, but they made some distance. This was to be expected. I imagined many people around here knew nothing of atheists beyond the loud, outspoken, and frankly not very nice Richard Dawkins types. They probably had reason enough to be concerned, a little fearful, a little unsure how I was to change. I noticed people who didn't shut the door in my face had at least taken a step back. A curious step, perhaps, or maybe a suspicious one. There was a distance there that hadn't been there before.

A screen door.

Like one who didn't want to give a salesperson too much encouragement, I realized people were standing behind their screen doors to talk to me.  They weren't shutting me out completely, but I was no longer invited in. There was an unbreakable politeness and a general kindness, but the warmth had cooled. At first, I passed it off as my imagination. A year later, though, I'm not sure it's my imagination after all. There are still screen doors making sure I don't get past the threshold.

I guess keeping the screen door closed to me is less cruel than slamming the front door entirely, but it's only slightly less hurtful. It keeps me on the defensive, paranoid, constantly over-analyzing. Is this really happening? Do they really feel this way? Was that me they were referring to? Publishing my memoir has made it even more complicated. It's one thing to be out on a blog with a small readership. It's another to be featured on the popular

I have been so lucky to have so many friends - every version of Christian even, from evangelical to liberal to Mormon - keep their doors wide open. People who can look at who I am and still believe I'm the same trustworthy, good person I've always tried my best to be. I doubt every atheist in the Bible Belt is so fortunate. I'm also lucky to know who not to bother with anymore too - the door slammers.  Good riddance to them. That kind of rejection simply makes my life easier.

But the screen doors?  Where do I go with them? Where do we stand? Will I ever prove to them that I'm not an awful human being simply because I don't believe what I used to? Are these doors locked forever or just temporarily? Is there even any point in worrying about it?

Read more about the difference between a screen door and a porch.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


My husband is a Salesforce guy. He's always tsking about various organizations' and companies' poor handling of data and how they should try Salesforce.

I think churches could use Salesforce too. Imagine the marketing and donor tracking they could do with all that data! Just imagine...

It's WJWD.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dinosaur Splash! Jaguar Turns Three-osaurus

I wish I could've had the time to write some beautiful, meaningful, heart-wrenching words regarding my youngest child turning three last weekend, but with my new job and trying to throw a birthday party with next to no planning, I just didn't have the time or the energy. I also just can't face it. If we were still in Scotland right now, this little boy would be starting Gaelic nursery next month. (Never mind the child is only just starting to speak English! Speech therapy has been awesome.) To think that this baby...

... is now this kid...

... is pretty much incomprehensible. Where did those years go? He has had one busy life in his eensy weensy three years. 

So last Saturday was his birthday, and we wanted to indulge his obsession with dinosaurs while also keeping the children from dying of July heat exhaustion, so we put on a Dinosaur Splash party for him.

My amazing friends Victoria and Brian lent us use of their incredibly awesome inflatable water slide, which seriously made the party. We had paddling pools too, but only the babies were interested in those. Everyone else went bonkers for the water slide.

We tried to make it as dinosaur themed as possible. Starting with the invitations I never sent out.

(These are actually purple, not blue. Jaguar was adamant that he was having a "puhple didor" party. It had to be PURPLE or else.)

We may have never sent the invites out, but we did at least manage to make him a purple dinosaur cake. Thank you, Pinterest!

Even the inside was purple. Jaguar freaking LOVED it.

I also made a few dirt cakes with plastic dinosaurs stomping about in them. The plastic dinosaurs may or may not have been food safe, but just shhh. We don't need to talk about that.

And I even went so far as to order a dinosaur piñata. Which of course the kids had enormous fun bashing to death. Sadly it wasn't puhple, but the Boy didn't notice.

(The best part about this piñata was how the candy flew out of it's mouth when you hit it. Even I sort of squealed the glee the first time a Tootsie roll projectile vomited out of its mouth.)

I found some cute dinosaur cups on Amazon too, which I filled with dino tattoos, stampers, candy, and more probably-not-food-safe-but-whatever mini dinosaurs. I didn't get a picture of these though, because I almost forgot to even hand them out. They never made it out of the house into the backyard, actually. I hope everyone took one home anyway. If you didn't, I still have a whole box of them in my kitchen.

Can you guess which was Jaguar's favorite?

So, despite lacking my usual over-preparedness, the party was still a smash - or shall I say a "splash"? Everyone had fun celebrating my little boyosaurus's third birthday.

Fifi apparently needed goggles.

So did Lolly.

Thanks to everyone who came over to celebrate Jaguar turning three and for making his dinosaur party a hit.  We love you!

A very happy birthday boy. He slept great that night
amongst a huge pile of new plastic dinosaurs.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Working Girl

So I have survived my first two weeks at BANPO (Big Anonymous Non-Profit Organization).  If I had tried to blog even four days ago, it would have been a disaster.

I have never been so stressed in my life.  The first full week was a hurricane of new information, new things to learn, new responsibilities, and new names and faces, and that didn't even include the slew of crazy emotions I felt from leaving my kids all day (and for the first time in Jaguar's life) and only seeing them for a couple of hours at night, during which time I was exhausted and grumpy.  I know it takes supposedly six months to really learn a new job, but I'm impatient. And I'm a perfectionist. Put the two together, throw me into a new job atmosphere, and you've got a pretty useful nuclear weapon.

My first day.
About midway through this week, I calmed down a little.  I took some work home, got myself organized (with Scott's enormous help - all hail Scott!), and took a lot of deep breaths and shed a lot of tears, and then... ahh.

When in job interviews the interviewer asks what your biggest weakness is, it's the running joke to say, "I'm a perfectionist." But y'all, the struggle is REAL.  I don't give myself any slack. I berate myself over every tiny mishap. I torment myself over every stupid or misinterpreted thing I say. I hate asking for help, because I believe I should know it all right away, immediately. And that kind of perfectionism and lack of self grace is actually pretty debilitating.

I'm feeling better about my job now, though. I do not under any circumstances have it all down, but I feel like there is going to be a point in the future someday, somewhere, when I probably will. I work with an amazing team who are all really supportive and great to work with.  It's a big adjustment, working full time after having been a stay-at-home-mum slash work-at-home-mum for the past eight years. I'm still trying to figure out how to prioritize my home time. I still have so many of the same responsibilities as well as hobbies that I did before but only a fraction of the time.  I have four baskets of laundry on the couch waiting to be folded and put away - and it's the weekend, so I'll be doing laundry again. I have complimentary copies of my book to mail out to various people but no time to get to the post office, plus I haven't had a chance at all to market my book, which is a little disappointing. I am still trying to get to the gym at least three times a week (which I managed the first week) but only got there once this week. It's mid-July, and I'm still trying to read the same book I started in mid-June. (Half of that is due to it being a long, dense book, of course.) And I miss my babies, and I miss my friends.


I'm using my brain again. I'm becoming a stand-alone person again, not just a mummy. Even as I work in the same company as Scott, I don't feel like "Scott's wife". I'm my own me. My confidence is building, though ever so slowly. I am brushing back up on my skills. I am contributing financially to the family again, and not just in a small way like I did when I worked from home. We're going to get to take our family on vacations, maybe even back to Scotland again one day (for a visit). I get to eat lunch with my husband, which is like a mini-date every day. I get to dress nice, wear heels, and put on make-up. I get to meet tons of new people and network. There are a lot of benefits to working again.

I always knew I'd go back to work eventually, so even though it's hard (especially not having Jaguar around - I miss that boy!), I have no regrets. I am sad to see that lovely chapter of my life close, but the new chapter looks promising too. Maybe even exciting. It is the year of adventure, after all.

However, it's the weekend now and time to stop thinking about work.  I'm off to go read some more of my book before turning early into bed. My mom, aunt, and I have a garage sale in the morning, so it's early bells for me!

Next on the blog, I'll talk about my little baby boy turning three. THREE. He turned three last weekend. Sob!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Challenge Accepted! June Books

June. Oh June. I read only two and a half books.

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (A book with a love triangle)
Continuing along with The Hunger Games series, I read Catching Fire, the second book. I think I possibly liked #2 better than #1. I don't want to give any spoilers, so I'll just say A) the characters in this one were all so much more interesting, complex, and diverse and B) the love triangle sucked. Gale? Seriously? I'm #TeamPeeta all the way.

I mentioned last month that Fi wanted to read the series too. I went ahead and let her. She whizzed through The Hunger Games and has now started Catching Fire. She used to want to be Hermione Granger and do magic. Now she wants to be Katniss Everdeen and shoot arrows.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (A book by a female author)
As for checking off Reading Challenge categories, yeah, I'll admit it, I had to stretch for this one. It was the only way I could simultaneously finish the series AND check off a box. "Book by a female author" ... it was always going to be a throw- away.

I didn't enjoy this one. It must be a YA trilogy thing, but I just don't enjoy the way the third part of these stories unfolds. Death and destruction, rebellions, endless warfare. Bleh. I felt the same way about Mockingjay as I did about Allegiant in the Divergent series. I soared through the first two books then had to trudge through the last. It took me a while to finish it. I will say this: the ending to this series is far more satisfying than the end to the Divergent series.

As for movies, I watched Mockingjay Part 1 after finishing the books and was okay with it. It wasn't great, but it was entertaining. As usual, though, the book was better. (And I didn't even like the book, just Katniss and Peeta. And Haymitch. Haymitch is my favorite. Katniss should've ended up with Haymitch. Just sayin'. I've got a whole theory about this.)

Also, Fi may be allowed to read the books, but she will NOT be allowed to see the movies. It's one thing to read about blood with an imagination of an eight year old who has never seen such gory images and therefore can only take it so far in her mind (or even let them pass over completely). It's another to see those images in all their horrific detail, thus imprinting them in her innocent little brain. She can watch them when she's older. A policy she thinks is totally unfair and preposterous.

I did start reading a third book last month, but I'm still only half way through. I'm reading Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama (Mr President himself), but it's a little dense (in a good way) and very thought-provoking. The main theme throughout is race, particularly what it's like being a black man in America, even more particularly, a black man with a white mom and white grandparents trying to figure out where he belongs in America. It's so full of things to think about and ponder over that it's taking me some time to get through it. I read a chapter, then have to sit on it. Hopefully I'll be finished with it soon. If I only read two books a month, I'll never complete the challenge! I'll do a more comprehensive review on Dreams... at the end of July.

To see what else I have read this year:

Monday, July 06, 2015

My Book ... Is Totes On Amazon: The Last Petal Falling

I kind of almost can't believe it. It's pretty much totally surreal.

My book is now available for purchase.


I'm incredulous, but I'm also beyond excited. And nervous. And scared.

People are going to read the intimate details of my life. Worse, they are going to read the intimate details of my SOUL. And along they way, they will read some intimate details of my friends' lives (names changed though). I hope you will all forgive me for that...

But that's what it's all about, right? Write a memoir, a true story about your life and those who touched it (or bruised it), and then let people read it. It's part of the writing process: the sharing.

It's the most vulnerable thing I've ever done. Far more vulnerable than blogging. This is truly heart-on-my-sleeve stuff.

But y'all, I've done it. I've actually done it. I started, finished, and (self) published a book. I wrote, edited, and formatted a book. (If there are STILL mistakes after ALL the editing I've done, please don't tell me. Just shhhhh.)

I'm kind of at a loss for words. Let me just say this:

Thank you so much, all of you who helped me along the way. Those of you who helped me in the writing, editing, and publishing process, and those of you who were with me throughout my life in the good times and the bad. And thank you to everyone who encouraged me to keep writing and who made me believe it would be worth it to finish. At the end of the day, I wrote this book for you as much as I wrote it for me.

It's available right now on Amazon (including UK and Prime!) and Kindle. It is also available from CreateSpace and if I'm remembering correctly, a few other online retailers (like Barnes & Noble). You can choose paperback, if you like something you can hold in your hands (like I do) or you can go the Kindle route. I kept the price as low as I could without totally underselling it, because I want it to be as accessible as possible. I don't care about making money off of it. I am just happy to have it out there. My story isn't all that different or unique, therefore I know it will resonate with many.

Please also feel free to share the link. And if you read it, please leave a review (good or bad!) on Amazon or GoodReads. I'd really appreciate that!

So without further ado...

Here is the link:

The Last Petal Falling by Lori Arnold McFarlane

And for those of you who have no idea what the book is about, here is the back cover:

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Freezer Meals For the Slow Cooker

So. Tomorrow.

It's my first day at my new job.

My first full-time office job in over eight years.

My first full-time office job since having children.

After Lolly was born, I did go back to work full-time as a childminder, where I worked nine hours a day taking care of children, but I worked from home. I didn't have to leave my kids anywhere besides school. I was still able to throw a load of laundry in the washer and run my errands during my work day.

This is going to be a whole new experience. I'm not gonna lie; I have no idea how people do it.

I mean, who takes the car to the shop when it needs an oil change? How do you keep the laundry up to date and the dishes washed? When do you shop for groceries? What time do you eat dinner if you don't get home until almost 6pm? How do you cook every night when you've been at work all day?

Talking to my other work-away-from-home friends, the answer seems most often to be "crock pot". An idea I can stand behind.

I love my slow cooker. I am a regular slow cookerer. However, even dumping ingredients in a crock pot can end up taking half an hour, especially if there's other prep involved, like frying up the beef or chopping up the onions. I won't have time for that in the mornings, what with going to the gym, eating breakfast, getting dressed for work, and getting kids fed, dressed, and out the door on time.

So being the planner-psycho that I am, I decided to try something new for these first two weeks of work.

Yesterday, I made my monthly menu plan as always, followed by my grocery list.  I took Jaguar with me to the Farmer's Market at 8am followed by the supermarket to pick up all the ingredients I'll need for the next fortnight. (Apparently, Saturday mornings are now the time one goes grocery shopping. I remember back when they were for sleeping.) When I came back home, I got to work.

Okay, so I haven't gotten as far
as the last week's menu...
I spent the rest of the morning into the afternoon making seven freezer meals to get me through the next two work weeks. (How seven and not ten? I'll get to that.)

Everything I made should easily go into the crock pot in the morning and will be ready for dinner when we get home. In theory.

I did some googling and got some ideas. I also used some ideas out of my own clever little brain. Together, I have hopefully come up with some ideas that will take one major chore off my daily To-Do list.

I started out labeling all the freezer bags. Learned The Hard Way: Label all before getting wet/frozen. I used some bags of mince or chicken that were already in the freezer and the moisture messed with my Sharpie. Anyway.

Next, I chopped up a buttload of onion.  Buttload is the precise measurement of onion you will need to make seven freezer meals. I also minced a buttload of garlic.

Then I just started filling bags. Some were easy, like the curry one. I simply purchased two jars of Tikka Masala sauce, which I combined with chicken breasts and some additional seasonings of my own liking. Some things, by the way, don't freeze well, like potato, so I'll need to remember to chop up some potatoes the night before and throw them in the crock pot with the bag that morning. (Thursday, I believe.) Then I'll just need to boil up some rice when I get home. Other meals took a little longer to throw together, like the chicken tortilla soup that required chopped onion, chopped cilantro and basil, and crushed garlic. Still, when you are crushing a buttload of garlic into a bunch of bags, it does make the process go a little quicker.

Learned The Hard Way: Gallon bags don't stand up well on their own, especially when you pour enchilada sauce into them, and they tip over and run out.  Google taught me to stand your bags in a drinks pitcher first, which is a very clever idea.

I made tortilla soup, chicken enchilada mix (just need to throw the mix into some tortillas and into the oven for a few minutes when I get home), curry, chicken pot pie (same idea, throw in oven quickly with pastry over top), chicken rice casserole, chili, and meatloaf. The meatloaf is going to be interesting... I made it all up, formed it into a ball, and froze it. It's got egg and heavy cream in it which I've read don't always freeze well, but mixed into a meatloaf I'm thinking is different than mixing in a soup or something. I hope it works.

In fact, I hope it all works. Of all the recipes, only a few of them I've ever tried in the crock pot (chili, chicken pot pie, tortilla soup), and only one of them (tortilla soup) is actually a "freezer meal" recipe. So it's going to be an interesting experiment. Or an expensive mistake.

Learned The Hard Way: Next time, I will bake or boil all the chicken first before putting it in the bags. The breasts were frozen, but the room temperature of the ingredients thawed them a little. Not entirely, so I'm hoping I don't poison the whole family, but next time I'll use either fresh chicken or pre-cooked. Again, interesting experiment or expensive mistake. For the meals that work, I'll share the recipes. I'd hate to share my recipes before discovering if they work, because obviously.

6 out of 7
Furthermore, not all recipes are created equal. Some require longer cooking times and some need shorter. This is where further experimentation will be taking place. Some recipes I think I can safely set on Low all day long (from 7.30-5.45) without worry, like the chili. Others I'm not so sure about, like the meatloaf  and the rice casserole.  For recipes that generally require a shorter cooking time, I'll be breaking out my timer. My timer is just an extension I found in the electrical hardware section of Walmart. You plug it into the wall, set the current time, then set the on and off times and plug your slow cooker into that. Learned The Hard Way a long time ago: These only work with manual slow cookers. My larger one is digital, so when the power comes on at the set time, it just blinks and blinks, waiting for someone to input all the settings (time/temp). So yes, must remember to use manual cookers those days. And remember to set the correct AM/PM in order for it to turn on at the right time. I have definitely come home to a stone cold cooker before by setting the times wrong. Tricky.

And as for the other days that won't be freezer meals, I intend to try baked potatoes in the crock pot, going out to eat (we have a date night planned for Friday, and we'll probably go to Zaxby's with kids one Wednesday when kids eat free), and easy breaded frozen chicken strips for a quick throw-in-the-oven dinner one other night.

Now that all of that is ready, I feel a little more prepared for the morning. Mine and Scott's lunches are made and in the fridge. The kids are all packed up for daycare in the morning with their clothes laid out. My clothes are hanging up and ready to go. I've got all my pre-start paperwork together. Now all that's left is to make myself a cup of tea, relax in a bath with my book, then retire to bed dressed in my workout clothes for 5am. When that alarm goes off at ridiculous o'clock in the morning, I'll be ready to go work out with my protein shake in one hand and a water bottle in the other. "Start as I mean to continue" I like to say. I'll workout for an hour, come home, shower off, eat breakfast, dress myself and the kids, and head out the door.

Gosh, I hope I don't forget to turn the crock pot on...

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

An Epitaph to the Month of June

Hey, whoa, where did June go? Did anyone see it run past?

Honestly. Where did it go?

One whole month of summer has passed.  Zoom.  Gone.  I have no idea how that happened or what I've been doing in the meantime.

For one - my book. I have proofed the second proof copy now, have sent it off for review, and refuse to proof it a third time. This is a problem I have. I'm never satisfied. I'm never finished. I find new things to add each time I read it, new commas to rearrange, new paragraph breaks to insert. There comes a time when I just have to let it go.  Give it wings and let it fly.  Kick it out of the nest. I don't know. I just have to say enough is enough. I wanted to have it launched by June 30th, but June ran away from me.  It's as scared as I am to actually publish the bloody thing.

It will be available on Kindle and in paperback in no more than two weeks. Sooner if I can lasso some damn courage and click "Complete setup."

So yes, the book has taken a lot of June away from me. But what else?  Job hunting for one.  And as of this coming Monday, I will be a full-time employee of BANPO - Big Anonymous Non-Profit Organization.  (I am no fool. People get fired for saying where they work and then accidentally one day saying, "Ugh. Work sucks." on the internets.)  So I got a job at BANPO, and I'm really excited. I'm also really scared about that.  It's been a loooong time since I've worked full-time.  And I'm going to miss my kiddie-dumplings.

June was supposed to be a month of fitting in tons of awesome mum-and-kid time, but I can't even recall what we've done that's been mega awesome. We've gone swimming. We've gotten ice cream and eaten fast food.  We've been to the park (once).  Is that all? I've taken the girls to a day camp at the community center a few times from 8-noon, while Jaguar and I ran errands or worked out.  Still, June, she ran by me so fast I barely saw her. Barely stopped and smelled a single one of her roses - or whatever flower is seasonably Juneish.

Well, anyway. Things got done. Sort of. My book got done. I got a job. Watched a couple episodes of Orange Is The New Black. Didn't get much reading done, though. (Two books. Only two books!) Or any zoo/museum/snow-cones/science center action. Haven't found us a house yet.  Haven't packed the one we're in.  I'm tired.  I kept trying to keep up with her, but June just ran too fast, all the way to her bittersweet end.

RIP, June.

I hope July is a little slower paced. I have an uneasy feeling, however, that it won't.

Precisely, son.