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I’ve come to write on you again.

Man, it has been a really long time since my last update. I don’t know how this will go or how consistent I will be about it, or even if anyone will read it, but since I am up and thinking about it, I figured it is worth a shot.

So . . . to update my last update . . . the job situation got worked out. It was this whole mental scenario where the company I was working for was shutting down but our book of business was potentially going to be sold to another company which meant I would be transitioned over into a new gig at the new place IF the sale went through. Holy God, was that stressful. Every day I was left to wonder “Will this actually happen? Will I have a job tomorrow or will I be unemployed?” And honestly, it felt like it was changing every day. Plus, I had to interview for my own job again after about five years of doing it which was okay because the interviews went well, but nerve-wracking because I found myself worrying about whether or not people liked me.  But the sale happened and I transferred over and so far, it has actually been pretty good. I make more money and I actually have a support team to help me as opposed to being the only one left in my department because they’ve laid off everyone else. So yay me and yay new job like a year and a half later!

In terms of traveling, Boy and I went to Paris a year ago today (I told you I was behind!). I had never been to Europe before, so it was kind of daunting the first couple days, but then we got in the groove and things were good. I saw many beautiful things and Boy and I got to have the honeymoon we always dreamed we would have but couldn’t afford/didn’t have time for when we actually got married four years ago. While in Paris, we also had the big discussion that many married couples have – is it time for kids? We were renting an apartment in this district of Paris right by a school and every day, we would end up trotting through this entire group of adorable Parisian children wearing peacoats and eating croissants and it was like uterine catnip, I have got to say. So we decided we were ready and some months later, this happened . . .

Yep! That’s my baby! We have a couple of names picked out, but so far, we have been calling him “Ripley” after the Alien movies because we are classy like that.
(And if you are wondering if I wore my Alien ultrasound shirt to my ultrasound? Yes. Yes, I did.)

To answer the most basic questions for you:
1) I am due in January.
2) It is a boy.

The pregnancy so far has had its ups and downs. The first trimester was hard on me as I was pretty sick and felt kind of socially isolated because I couldn’t leave the house much for fear of vomiting/falling asleep in a public place. Also, while most people were thrilled for us and incredibly supportive of our new addition, some were kind of  . . . not . . . which sucked a little bit. However, this second trimester, I have been feeling a lot stronger and healthier and just generally better, so I’ve been able to enjoy myself and feel more like a normal person again. A normal person who has a smaller person inside them who kicks them and insists on 5AM pee breaks, but a normal person nonetheless.

Anyway, I have more things to say about the pregnancy stuff later, but as of right now, I have to toddle back to bed for a bit so Ripley and I can be well-rested to meet his new cousin Nora today. Yes, my lovely in-laws and adorable niece Abby have a new addition to their family who arrived about a month ago, so the cousins will be about five months apart which I think is pretty cool since my closest cousin in age is 10 years younger than me.

So, yes, hope this blog post finds my readers well – however many of you there are after almost a year and a half’s absence – and I will hopefully check in again soon.

XOXOXO,
Girl

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Judd Nelson - He was harsh.

This is probably what my blog would say to me if my blog had a voice. Don’t you forget about me. Remember the good times? The posting multiple times a day with general randomness? Can’t we have that again?

And the truth is, we could, I am just lazy when it comes to updating.

So what has happened since October? Many, many things. One of the biggest things was that Boy’s grandmother passed away at the end of October.

We had known it was coming, but it still really sucked for everyone since she was the Matriarch of the family and it was a loss that resonanted through his family. Boy’s grandmother had been having mental issues since before we got together – Alzhemeir’s – so by the time we were a couple, she would spend large stretches of time not particularly lucid. In fact, there were only a handful of times I can recall that we spoke and she seemed aware of what was happening. Happily enough, one of those lucid times was an occasion where I got to show her our wedding album and that was good. She had been too sick to come to our wedding, but regailing her with stories and hearing her talk about her life was pretty cool. 

Anyway, her passing struck a strange cord with me because I realized that I had never really gotten to know her that well and now that she was gone, I never really would. It’s a weird feeling when you lose someone like that – of course you miss them, but you also miss the potential of them – all the great stories and experiences you could have had with them. 

Grandma holding Abbey. Could she have looked any prouder? 🙂

Her passing also hit me pretty hard because the day of her funeral was the 1 year anniversary of my cousin Tassy’s death, which I still sometimes feel emotional about. Our friends Jack and Sally finally finished editing our wedding video a little while ago, and when I watched it and saw Tassy hugging me and us talking together, I had to make Boy stop the DVD so I could erupt in tears. Even sitting here, typing this, I feel misty about it all over again. Four people lost in one year. Definitely not an ideal 12 months, let me tell you.

On the social front, the last few months of the year were pretty good. Over the last year, Boy and I made a decision to start making more of an effort to meet people, so we ended up making a lot of really good friends. It’s funny, I think as you get older, you oftentimes develop this attitude that you can’t just be friendly and extend hang out invitations to people. But you totally can! In fact, doing so led me to:

1. Try fondue.
2. Have Mexican Thanksgiving.
3. Get superdrunk on gin martinis.
4. Attend a giant bonfire on Toronto Island.
5. See a fire show.
6. Attend my first cabaret/burlesque show.
7. Build a giant birdcage.
8. Attend multiple Christmas parties.
9. Throw crazy theme parties.
10. Play D&D for the first time. (Yes, I know this is supremely nerdy, but some new friends of ours who host a nerd podcast convinced us to as an experiment and it was pretty funny.)

And how can you not love that? Making a bunch of new friends and trying a bunch of new stuff is only ever awesome. It’s what keeps life from being monotonous in the face of boring things like work.

Speaking of work, the bosses decided that my department was overpopulated with two people, so they didn’t renew my awesome co-worker’s contract and now, my department is just me. I’m not really sure why this became an issue now, considering that when I started, our department had three people in it, but they made some weird Highlander-eqse decision and now there can be only one! coordinator. I’m going to see how it goes for the next little while, but truth be told, I am starting to think about my options and looking into another position somewhere else. Considering I am now expected to fill the void of two coworkers, I’m not particularly impressed with the situation and in spite of the glowing praise I received in my last evaluation, I don’t think kind words are enough to make up for the fact that I’m poorly paid. I mean, I know it’s not all about money, but I have friends that are administrative assistants that make more than I do as a supervisor so that kind of sucks. If only I could find a job that allowed me to snark on movies all day, I would be set!

And ’cause this post is rapidly turning into a hodgepodge of information, here is a bunch of other random stuff – punctuated with exclaimation marks!

1) My childhood best friend Snuffy is getting married! He and his girlfriend are planning a June wedding in Edmonton so we will be flying out and celebrating with them. I am excited for them and so happy that he’s found someone that makes him happy and sees him for the terrific person he is.

Snuffy and his fiancee. Aren't they adorable?

2) I got a brand new DSLR camera for Christmas! Not only did I get a great deal on the camera, I got an additional lens the normally retails for $280 for $50! I am a kickass shopper sometimes! Anyway, I am just learning to use it so I’m still working things out, but I’ve taken a few pictures already that I am really happy with, so things can only get better.

One of the pictures I took my first trip out with the new camera. I kind of wish that was my dog. He was so cute.

3) I am going to New York in April! I absolutely love New York and my parents were nice enough to offer to bring me with them free of charge (Boy is staying at home and working). Not only am I psyched about the fact that I get to rock it up in The Big Apple again (the last time I went was 2007), but it will be an awesome visit for me. For those of you who don’t know, back when I was engaged/newly married, I wrote for a website called Weddingbee which was awesome because I made some great girlfriends through it. I ended up leaving the site*, but have kept in touch with many of the girls since, and so while I am there, I am hopefully going to get to meet many of my close online friends for the first time in person! Hooray!

4) I am going to Paris in October! I have never been to Europe, so this is kind of huge. Again, through the kindness of Boy’s father and stepmother who are springing for our plane tickets, we are getting to have a romantic week for two in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Not only can I not wait to hit the road again (I have been so desperate to travel these past few tripless years), but doing a trip like this with Boy will be amazing. I love him so much and after everything we went through last year (we had actually been talking about a trip to Paris the week before he got laid off), being able to walk down the Champs Elysees holding his hand will pretty much be the best thing ever.

5) I am going to be babysitting my niece Abbey in June! My in-laws have a weird month stretch of my sister-in-law’s maternity leave being over and my brother-in-law not quite being done school yet, so I am going to take a couple of vacation days to go hang out with and look after her. As she is incredibly awesome and adorable (and pretty much always makes my uterus skip a beat), I am sure we are going to have a great time.

Yeah, so my niece is adorable. If my kids are half as cute, I am totally on board.

Anyway, I think that is everything important I can think of. I will try to stay on this blogging bandwagon a little more during this month and the months to come.

Hope everyone is enjoying 2011 so far!

Love,
Girl

 *Just after I got married, the site was taken over by eHarmony and I decided I didn’t feel comfortable writing for a website that had ties to the Christian Right/Anti-Gay groups. My man of honour was gay as were about 10 per cent of our guests, so it seemed kind of like a slap in the face to them and I quit. Funnily enough, some years later, after eHarmony was sued for discrimination against the LGBT community and forced to create a gay-friendly sister site, my man of honour signed up for it and met a man who later became his husband. Go figure!

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By MIA, I mean "Missing In Action," not MIA the music star. However, if I could be brave enough to dress like that when I get knocked up, that would be kind of cool.

Wow, I didn’t even realize until now that it had been as long as it’s been. Granted, I am not particularly surprised. With the way things work with my job, the later half of the summer always gets eaten up by work craziness . . . plus, this year our summer was incredibly busy and I kind of have this rule that if it comes down to writing about my life or going out and living my life, living always wins.

So yeah, I guess this calls for a cliff notes kind of update:

Boy’s job stuff:

Boy got a new job! And it’s only an hour or so away from our place! This is the most awesome thing by far. He’d been unemployed since April and with summer almost over, it was making us both a little anxious about what we would do in the months ahead. However, the third week of August, he got a call about an application, went in for an interview and bam! New job! It was funny, we went out for dinner a while ago with some friends of ours who had gone through a similar situation and they said to us “Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it will ever get better and then suddenly it does and you don’t know what the problem was,” and it was definitely like that for us. Not having to worry about money or the possibility of living apart was such a relief.

My job stuff:

I interviewed for a pretty awesome gig a few months ago and according to an inside line, I was in a shoo-in for the job. That is until the department I interviewed with was downsized and the position eliminated. This was a major bummer since I REALLY wanted that job, but I reasoned that at least they didn’t hire me and then downsize the position. Anyway, I was holding on in my job and feeling frustrated when someone in my department announced they were quitting. At this point, my department was already understaffed so I felt anxious, but this person’s departure left a spot open for me to slip in and gain some managerial control . . . which is what happened as of September 1st when I became head of my department. So yeah, I am still here slugging away, but this time it’s with a pay raise and some actual say as to how my job works. Granted, it hasn’t been that long yet, but I’m feeling much happier about what is happening now that I am not reliant on other people. I still have goals and plans for the future, but this is at least a good step forward.

Family stuff:

The last time I updated, things were a little rough on this front, but they’ve gotten better. I’ve written a lot about the problems I’ve had with my parents, but I wanted to definitely take a moment to say that as hard as things have been with them sometimes, they do actually care about me and they are supportive when I really need them to be. With all my job frustrations, they sat down and told me if things at work got too bad, they would jump in and be willing to help me out for a few months if I really needed to quit and look for something else. Although I would never take them up on something like that unless I was in a completely dire situation, it allowed me to feel like I had a little breathing room in a very stressful situation which I really, really needed. Anyway, we’ve had a couple of lunches over the past month or so (one for my mom’s birthday and one for mine) and we’ve talked and things have felt right again, which puts my heart at ease.

Friend Stuff:

We had some people distance themselves from us when we were going through these hard times. I even had one person say to me when I was explaining our situation (at this point we were still thinking Ben might have to move) “That’s depressing. I don’t want to talk about that.” While I know that these people didn’t mean to be mean, it still really sucked. Just going through something stressful like that already makes you feel like you’re alone and having people you consider to be your friends bail on you just heightens that feeling of isolation. So, to those of you who haven’t been through this with friends, here is my advice to you: It’s not all about having to say the right thing. Sometimes it’s about admitting you have no f*cking clue what to say and just checking in once in a while. Drop a line via e-mail. Swing by with some beer. Invite them over for dinner. We had some people do these incredibly simple things for us and they made a world of difference and made us that much more aware how kick ass some of our friends truly are. Thanks guys!

Miscellaneous Fun Stuff:

I was just updating my summer vacation photo album on Facebook and I realized that I have actually done a lot of stuff including:
1. Going to see Band of Horses, Broken Social Scene and Pavement live on Toronto Island. We thought it was going to rain but we had great weather for this. Unfortunately, maybe a little too great since I got pretty burned. Whoops!
2. Meeting one of my blog friends in person. Looking back on it now, it feels like a lifetime ago I was bloggin’ for the ‘Bee, but I am grateful I did it since it introduced me to a bunch of awesome people.
3. Going to see Patton Oswalt live at Just for Laughs. He was just as good as I was hoping he’d be.
4. Going to my art class’ art show. Boy helped set it up and had two pieces in it. As for me, I didn’t submit this time, but maybe next year if I am feeling braver.
5. Visiting my niece Abbey and her awesome parents. Seriously, a huge part of this summer would have been unbearable without these three people.
6.  Visiting with my Godmother who came in from Montreal. She is one of the nicest people ever but anytime I see her, it’s kind of funny because she is incredibly short and I am almost two feet taller than her.
7. Throwing a “dramatic reenactment” party with a bunch of my friends. Some people bailed last minute, but the people who did come were awesome reenactors.
8. Going to see Arcade Fire live. One of the best, if not the best, concert I have ever seen.
9. Hosting some lovely friends of ours and their three kids for a swim and dinner the August long weekend. Their kids are awesome and our friends are such good parents, it was a really nice afternoon.
10. Going to Boy’s extended family reunion. We didn’t know half the people, but we got to drink and hang out with Boy’s immediate family, so that was cool.
11. Celebrating my mom’s 59 birthday and my 28th birthday. I have a distinct feeling that 28 is going to be my year.
12.  Throwing an art show opening for Boy. He was a little bummed about the turnout, but people really liked his stuff and he sold some prints which is good.
13. Attending the 10th wedding anniversary party of two of our good friends. This might have possibly inspired us to throw an anniversary party next year, but we have to wait and see how that plays out.
14. Enjoying a fondue party with friends new and old. Melted cheese and groovy ’70s rock make everything all right.
15. Going to Fort York for the first time ever. Way to go History!

Not all of those things are in sequence and I am sure there is other stuff I am missing, but those are the biggies and they kind of help explain why I’ve been AWOL.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for now. I’m hoping once the craziness at work subsides, I’ll be able to blog more. To that end, I’ve even been in touch with a couple of people about guest blogging to kick my butt into gear, so I’ll update when that happens. But, in the meantime, here is a picture of my adorable niece. There is pretty much nothing cuter than this little bean.

Hope this blog post finds you all well and that you had an excellent summer!

Love,

Girl

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It is weird how a bunch of stuff can change quickly. Sometimes it’s over the course of a week. Sometimes it’s over the course of a day.

Today, for me, it was over the course of an hour.

First, a bunch of work stuff went down. I was awarded a generous bonus by management as part of a profit sharing program that had been set up. It was double that I got last year, which in these hard financial times is actually a major relief. I have already earmarked a chunk of it to pay for our yearly tenants insurance. I think that is a horrible sign that I am now an adult, but what are you going to do?

Anyway, I was psyched about that and I went back down to the office after the meeting where my boss was waiting . . . to tell me that he is quitting his job. As of right now, there are only the two of us in the department, so if he leaves, that leaves . . . me. He said that he would recommend me for his replacement and that he would train me up on all of his managerial duties if I decided to take the job, so I am thinking about it and will probably decide tomorrow and then talk to the big brass upstairs about logistics.

The idea of being a manager kind of freaks me out a little bit, but in a good way. One of the issues I have had with my job has been that I have felt very much like a grunt that no one listened to. If I could run things my way and hire a contract person and teach them to do things my way, I would feel better about being there. Plus, there is the whole money issue. We are paid very poorly where I work, but if they were willing to upgrade me to the salary my boss is currently making if I took over his job, I would be happy. It wouldn’t be fabulous, but it would be okay and I can live with that.

Then about half an hour after the big boss quitting revelation, I got an e-mail from my mom telling me that her sister had died. My mom and the sister in question were not particularly close. She was a child from my grandfather’s first family which he had when he was a younger man (he was born in 1899). By the time, my grandmother got pregnant with my mother, the man was 53 years old and my aunts (there were two girls from his first marriage) were all grown up. As I have mentioned before, my grandfather was kind of a douche. He really was not happy about my grandmother being knocked up (she was 43 at the time so the pregnancy was a bit of a surprise) and he even went so far as to drive my grandmother to a back alley doctor to “get rid of it.” My grandmother went ahead with the pregnancy and gave birth to my mom, who she raised alone, on August 15, 1951. Because of the dramatic age difference between the siblings and because their only connecting thread was their asshole of a father, my mom and her sisters did not often see each other when she was young and I barely saw them at all.

The older of my mother’s two sisters, Shirley, passed away several years ago. She lived a tumultuous life and was married more than once. She also, like my grandfather, suffered from alcoholism. From what I understand, she drank so much that she severely damaged her brain with booze before being committed to the sanitarium in which she died alone and penniless.

The younger of the sisters, Joyce, led a quieter, simpler life. She married a nice man who she stayed married to for 58 years, had children and retired quietly to a small town in Alberta. It was only as adults that she and my mother developed any sort of relationship, exchanging regular letters and pictures.

My aunt Joyce was kind of a phantom to me. I remember being told that I met her as a small child and as a young adult, she phoned me once after my accident to make sure I was okay (we talked for about an hour), but her existence was more of a notion than a fact to me. Most of the things I knew about her were from the things my mother would relay to me – little glimpses into a part of a family I didn’t know. But this morning when my mom e-mailed me in the middle of our family drama to tell me that she’d passed away, it did still feel like a loss.

It felt even weirder when I actually phoned my mom to check in. While I waited for the phone to ring, I still felt a bit miffed about what had happened between us and uncomfortable about what our conversation might be like, but the second we started talking again and I heard how sad she sounded, I couldn’t keep the anger going. My grandmother had passed away in 1989 and so Joyce was the last link to my mother as a little girl. Now with her gone, my mom was truly alone and as an only child myself, I could imagine the scariness of that feeling.

So we talked. Not about what was going on with us, but about her sister and how she (my mom) was doing. Joyce had really loved to read, so my mom talked about donating some books to a school library in her memory. As I consider myself fairly knowledgeable in children’s lit, I offered to help her come up with a list of books that might be good for grade schoolers and she seemed thankful and happy at the idea.

At the end of our phone conversation, she mentioned meeting up next week for drinks with her and my Godmother who will be in town from Montreal and I said okay.

And that was that. We didn’t talk about our problems or our feelings, we just both kind of accepted that death was bigger than our personal $h!t and decided to move on.

I don’t know what any of this will mean in the long run. Maybe we’re secretly doing ourselves a disservice by pretending like nothing is wrong anymore, but as for right now, with everything that’s going on, I just couldn’t keep it going.

I’m still working it out, but I think part of being a grown up sometimes, in addition to paying your insurance, is knowing when to start and when to stop a fight. I’m not saying never say you’re unhappy or call people on their $h!t, but sometimes keeping something going past the point of logic is just petty. My mom found this out the hard way when my grandmother died in the middle of a stupid argument they were having, and while I don’t think my mom is going to be shuffling off her mortal coil any time soon (the woman will outlive us all!), I didn’t want to leave our relationship on the note it was on, especially during such a sucky time.

So we’ll see what the next week brings. Considering what the last little while has been like, I’m going to take the optimistic tact and say that even if things don’t necessarily get better, that they will hopefully get easier.

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Recently, I applied for a job I was incredibly qualified for. I went in for an interview and I kicked ass. I mean seriously kicked ass. I was enthusiastic. I was knowledgeable. I made my interviewer laugh. I can safely say it was one of the best interviews I have ever had in my life.

And then, I get the call. The pitying “Oh so sorry. There were just so many great candidates . . .” call. A comment was also made that I wasn’t quite qualified for the position in the right way, even though I have been working in conjunction with this department for the last four years.

I have been job hunting on and off for two years and every interview I’ve had has been followed with rejection and polite little hints that maybe I should just be content where I am, or worse, that I should go back to working as an administrative assistant.

I do not want to be an administrative assistant. I can do better than being someone’s administrative assistant.

I want to be in publishing. I deserve, with the hard work I have put in and the love I have for it, to work in publishing.

But it feels like everywhere I turn, I’m faced with people who don’t believe in me and people who are telling me to settle and to know my place.

I am writing this post today, not as a whine, but a pledge.

I will get a job in publishing. And the people who doubted me will be amazed they were so wrong.

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I am not, by nature, an optimistic person. God knows I try to be, but a lot of the time, my pessimistic side rears its ugly head. There are people who live in “the happy house” part of their brain, but I, on the other hand, frequent “the sarcastic shack” section of my grey matter.

However, as I get older, I find that I am becoming a bit of an emotional cheerleader, especially when it comes to other people. If you are family or friend, I will root for you, encourage you and champion you as much as possible. I won’t take other people slandering you and I definitely won’t take you doing it to yourself.

This was the most normal looking picture of cheerleaders I could find. Holy crap, Google Image Search! That was a virtual tit parade!

This quality is rearing its plucky little head these days as Boy looks for work. The company that he was hoping to land a position with keeps putting out articles that he sees as depressing but I choose to see as encouraging.

“They are 2,000 people applying for jobs with them!” He’ll tell me.

“The majority of those people aren’t qualified like you are,” I’ll respond.

“I haven’t worked on those kinds of projects before!”  He’ll insist.

“But you have a kickass portfolio and three impressive letters of recommendation, extolling your creativity and work ethic!” I’ll remind him.

Whatever he throws at me, I’ll refute. I quote articles, I remind him of his experiences and I generally take the side of positivity in all arguments.

This tactic drives him crazy, and sometimes makes me wonder who has taken control of my mouth, but I can’t stop because stopping equals tacit agreement. It equals defeat and I am not ready to be defeated. I am not ready for him to be defeated.

The strange part of loving people is that sometimes, you’ll find yourself wanting more for them than they want for themselves. 

Perhaps it’s because things are less complicated as an outsider. You can hoot and holler and shout their virtues to the world endlessly and it’s simple because you’re removed from everything. You’re not all bogged down with the frustration and confusion and fear and self loathing they have floating around in their heads, so the optimism comes more naturally to you.

Or, it could be you’re so blinded by how much you love them, you just want them to have everything they should have in life and that makes it easier to be a one-man (or woman) enthusiasm band.

Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

Whatever the case, when the occasion calls for it, I do my best to think happy thoughts and stay focused on the best case scenario situation. I’ve done it for people in scholastic situations, I’ve done it for people in romantic endeavours, and now I’m doing it for my husband while he’s job hunting because he’s awesome and deserves a shot at this.

I don’t know what’s going to happen now. We both work in creative fields and it’s hard to anticipate what is going to happen with them both in the future. But for the time being, I’m going to keep on waving my pompoms.

Because if things work out for him the way I am hoping they will, it will be the sweetest “I told you so” of my life.

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Well That Sucks

Since Boy and I have been together, I have been laid off not once, but twice. I also quit a job once because I was verbally abused by my employer. So we’ve experienced my being unemployed a few times as a couple and I’ve dealt with it as an individual. As anyone who’s ever been there can tell you, even if you know it’s coming, it throws you for one helluva loop because you’re suddenly scrambling to figure out what the hell you’re going to do with your life.

Today, unfortunately, it was Boy’s turn to be thrown.

We are doing our best to look on the bright side. One of Boy’s employers has secured him some freelance work so there will be money coming in for a few more weeks. We don’t live an extravagent lifestyle and we have some savings so we’re not in dire straits. This frees Boy up to investigate some of the other employment opportunities he’s been thinking about. We have a great network of friends and family to support us emotionally through this sucky time.

But on top of all of that, we have each other. Yeah, it sounds kinda cutesy and vomit-inducing to say that – “We have each other” – but it is actually true. Part of deciding to get married is committing to being on the other person’s side. It’s like saying “Hey, I love you so much that I want to join forces with you. I want to work with you, to fight with you and to cheer you on through all the crazy $h!t that’ll be coming down the road at us. We’ll enjoy the good stuff together and when the not-so-good stuff happens, we’ll work on making it better together.”

So tonight I’m going home, and instead of freaking out/crying/worrying, Boy and I going to go out and have a nice dinner to celebrate the fact that when times get tough, it’s good to have have an ally.

And we’re going to drink. A whole lot.

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