Random Blog A Musing Farf: March 2007

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


First off, there is some sad news. Husband did not get the job I reference in my birthday wish. It was a total shock to us since he had been informed that the job was all but his, but I am holding fast to the notion that all things happen for a reason. Since Husband hates being a lawyer anyway, I suggested that he use this time to figure out what it is that he really wants to do for a living. I suggested a few ideas such as Ice Cream Flavor Inventor (I would, of course, be the official taster), but he rejected that. Well, excuuuse me for trying!

It’s been a few days since I have had a chance to sit and write, but work has been insanely busy. By the time I get home, I am so tired, it is all I can do not to fall asleep immediately. But, thankfully, things are calmer today and I have some time while waiting for a conference call to start.

The reason work has been so busy is that I represent a union that represents workers who recently had their health insurance benefits terminated because the employer failed to make the proper insurance premium payments. As part of my job in representing these people, I have been speaking to all the affected workers about how their life has been changed now that they have no health insurance. This is incredibly depressing. I have met people with potentially life threatening chronic illnesses who can not get the medication they need. I have also met a single mother of three who suffers from debilitating migraines. She takes medication daily to combat this, but 9 pills cost more than $200. This woman makes $1600 a month after takes and will have to pay $600 just for her medication. That is not going to leave enough to pay rent and feed her children. I am both sickened and saddened by the entire ordeal. Of course, if she forgoes the medication in favor of rent, she will be too ill to take care of her young children. She literally can not win this fight.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not necessarily a supporter of universal health care. Too many times I have heard of long waits for doctor appointments and inadequate access to care. Me? I like to see the doctor right away. But, there is the flip side. The workers who lost their health care could lose their homes and the plight of the uninsured and underinsured is nothing to be taken lightly. There was an article in the New York Times (I think – if I find it I will link to it) a few months back that made my skin crawl. Basically, it was about people foregoing critical end of life treatments that had a low rate of success so that they would not bankrupt their families. Yikes. What a horrible choice to have to make. And yet, people make it everyday.

So what’s the answer? I have no idea. But I do know how lucky I am. If Husband or I lose our jobs, hopefully the other will still be employed and we can fall back on that insurance. I don’t think my employer is going to stop paying my insurance premiums as a strategy in a labor dispute and, if they did, I am relatively healthy and unlikely to be in dire need of insurance.

But at least one positive has come out of this situation. I remember why I originally became a labor lawyer. My passion is renewed and now, I will stop blogging and go back to fighting for those who feel powerless to fight for themselves. And, if you don’t hear from me for a few days, you will know why.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Peg awarded me the "Thinking Blogger" award. Basically, she says I am a blogger that makes her think. Hopefully, her thought is not, "How fast can I click away from this site?"

Oh, gosh. I feel like I should have something really smart to say here, but of course I don't.

This award was created by Ilker Yoldas of The Thinking Blog and once awarded, you are supposed to recommend five other blogs that really make you think. This is harder than one would think because there are so many wonderful blogs out there with interesting and unique perspectives. I do not know how to choose. And, Peg is one of the first people I would pick to honor with this award. Her posts on being a step-parent wonderfully weave humor into sitations that would make most people crumble. I am forever in awe of her. But, alas, I do not think the rules of the award allow me to link back. So, here are five additional blogs that really make me think....

Anonymous Lawyer -everytime I forget why I hate Husband's job, this blog reminds me.
Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting - I am not a Mom yet, but when I am Alex will be one of my role models
Working Families Blog - reminds of of my politics and keeps me active fighting things that matter
Liz Rizzo's Blog - I don't always agree with her, but she does make me question whether my beliefs are real or merely a product of habit
Jenna's Blog about Kaos - Really, I spent hours thinking about this dog daily and my heart breaks every moment of it

So, there you have it. My nominations for Thinking Blogs awards - stop by and check them out.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


This is my birthday week and, as usual, there are events all week to help usher in the next year of my life. Tonight I am having dinner with my family at Mesa Grill (sadly, Brother can not attend since he is back at Miami University after spring break), Friday is my actual birthday and I am having dinner at Peter Lugar’s Steakhouse – one of my favorite restaurants in the world – with Husband, Photogenic Friend and Photogenic Wife. (Photogenic Friend’s birthday is on Sunday so Friday’s dinner is really his birthday celebration) and then on Saturday, Husband and Sister are throwing me a birthday dinner at Avenue A Sushi. Finally, we cap it all off on Sunday with brunch at Prune. Seriously, I will have gained 100 pounds by the end of the weekend since every of the above named events will definitely include cake, and I could not be more excited.

But, to me, one of the best parts of this week is Husband’s presence at all of the birthday events. Those who know me in real life (as well as long-time readers of this blog) know that Husband’s job is horrible with unpredictable hours and demanding clients. For example, he billed 13 hours of work on Thanksgiving Day. People! He works with banks! They are supposed to be closed on Thanksgiving Day!!!! And, yet, his bank clients demanded conference calls and documents. I hate them.

The problem with Husband’s schedule is the unpredictability. While he knows how important my birthday is to me, I also understand the rigors of his line of work and would not be surprised if last minute, he called to back out of dinner tonight. I would probably cry and sulk for a few days, but that would be unfair to him since I do know that he *wants* to spend time with me. But, despite his desire to spend time with me, I end up going to events alone while he is at the office and many nights, he comes home well after Tiki and I have gone to bed. I did not know it was possible to miss someone who sleeps next to you.

To that end, Husband has been actively looking for a new job. He had spoken with corporate recruiters, networked with fellow college alumni and gone on a bunch of interviews. So far, nothing has panned out. Either Husband was not senior enough for the positions or the pay cut (we know there will be a pay cut in exchange for better hours) was too severe. (Thank you again Husband for working so hard so I can work at something I love for very little money, but a fabulous environment). But today, he has a third and final interview at a company at which he would be happy to work. The hours are good, the pay not so severe as to force us into default on rent payments, and the benefits more than acceptable. Did I mention the hours? The job is basically 9-6:30 and involves no weekend work. I am so excited by the possibility; I hyperventilate just thinking about it.

So, as I blow out the candles on my various cakes this week, I will have the same wish – for Husband to have a job that allows him to be at every celebration for the rest of our lives.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Meg, a friend of one of my friends, was diagnosed with breast cancer while in college. She was adopted so she did not know her family medical history and breast cancer had always seemed like something about which other (read: older) people had to worry. It wasn’t until she had been ill for over a week that she finally went to the University health center. It was another three weeks after that before they figured out that was wrong and sent her to a specialist. By that time, the cancer had spread to both breasts and she underwent an emergency double mastectomy. Meg, ever the upbeat spirit did not let it get her down and used to joke that the new, artificial breasts that had been implanted were way better then the originals because she finally had the right size breast to wear a tank top and look hot.

Fast forward 10 years and Meg got married. In January, she gave birth to a healthy baby boy who is the spitting image of her. Like most Upper West New Yorkers on maternity leave, she loves to take the baby to Central Park on days like last week when the temperature reaches 70 degrees. So, she is sitting on the park bench giving the baby a bottle when another woman with a baby sits next to her and casually asks what is in Meg’s baby’s bottle.

“Baby formula,” replied Meg. “I use Similac Organic.”

The woman stared at her in horror before launching into a rant about mothers who are too lazy to breast feed and how their children lack not only essential vitamins but also the bond between mother and child that comes with breast feeding. When the woman was done with her rant, Meg looked at her and burst into tears. Seemingly satisfied that her message had been received, the woman promptly left.

When Meg told this story to a group of us over drinks, I asked her why she hadn’t taken the time to explain her situation.

“Because it’s not her business,” she explained. “I would never criticize her for her parenting choices and she has no right to judge me. She does not even know me.” Meg sighed, “Besides, I wonder if on some level she is right and I am doing something wrong so I don’t fight back.”

We quickly reassured Meg that she was an awesome mother and leaving her newborn son with a babysitter to enjoy cocktails with her friends was not a crime, nor was using a bottle. But it got me thinking how some people are so quick to judge others without bothering to actually learn the circumstances surrounding whatever ‘choice’ they are judging.

Tiki has developed aggression issues. Husband and I have taken him to the vet, called a trainer and pretty much done everything we can do to fix the problem. While he is still a sweetheart to humans (both adults and children), he will growl and snap at other dogs now. So, that means no more doggie day care and no more dog runs. But, it also leaves us with the problem of how to ensure that Tiki receives the proper amount of exercise while we try and work out the aggression issues. Thinking we stumbled upon a short term solution, we took him to the small dog run near our apartment – a dog run which is nearly always empty.

When we got to the run, it was empty and for about 15 minutes, Tiki romped after snowballs and ran around. As we were getting ready to leave, a person walked in with small dogs. We immediately leashed Tiki and told her we were leaving. She was really nice and told is how her dog used to be aggressive and gave us the name of a trainer she used to help remedy the problem. At this point we were standing outside the dog run when another woman with unleashed dogs walks by in order to have her dogs go into the large dog run. The dogs come close to Tiki and I politely tell her that my dog has developed agression issues and to please call her dog back. (Tiki was actually being very good and just standing next to me but I had a TIGHT grip on the leash).

The woman with the unleashed dogs begins to lecture Husband and me.

“I am so sick of people who buy Shibas. They are irresponsible people who know nothing of temperament and just buy a dog on looks.” Her dogs were ugly so I think she was jealous of how good looking Tiki is. She then went yelling at us that we were irresponsible for letting Tiki in the small dog run if we knew he had issues. Husband countered that we were not in the run but holding a leashed dog outside the run and her dogs were the ones acting inappropriately.

Husband pointed out that if we had not said anything about aggression, she would not have known (Tiki was still just sitting at my feet - a position he maintained the entire conversation). She then called me names as I was the one holding the leash and basically told me if I knew anything about dogs I would not have gotten a Shiba and that I clearly never properly socialized him. Both those statements were false. I wanted to cry because I am already on edge about this and being yelled at was the last thing I needed, especially because we were already leaving.

Here is the thing – Tiki was properly socialized. He has been exposed to other dogs on a regular basis since he was 12 weeks old. We are working with a trainer to fix the aggression issues. And, dogs often develop aggression after being mauled themselves. The woman at the dog run has no basis for assuming we were bad dog owners when she could have just as easily jumped to the conclusion that we were responsible owners attempting to re-socialize a dog who had fear aggression (and what we were doing – exposing the dog to a place with lots of doggie smells but no other dogs is exactly the first step in that process). Also, as a members of the NYC Shiba meet-up, I am well aware of the issues Shibas have and just how sweet and lovable they can be. And yet, not unlike Meg, I did not fight back because a tiny part of my thought this mean woman might be right. (Luckily, Husband did not have the same thought process and threatened to have Tiki bite her! hahaha).

While my encounter with a mean woman at a dog run is not quite as traumatic as Meg’s experience with the La Leche League Nazi, I can not figure out what would prompt a perfect stranger to just make snap judgments about another person and actually tell them! As JG commented when I emailed her out of frustration, Husband and I were being responsible by warning her that Tiki might snap and she took advantage of that to be mean. And Meg was simply responding to an innocent inquiry from another new mom.

So, in sum: If I want you to comment on how I am living my life, I will ask you your opinion. Just follow my lead and mock strangers in private with your friends and keep your mouth shut in public. Otherwise, you may find we stop trying to make Tiki less aggressive and just start having him channel that aggression to your leg…

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I have been at a loss to come up with good topics lately. Actually, that is not entirely true. I have had flashes of brilliance for blog topics, but then, just as fast as they come to me, they are gone with only the faintest trace. I fear I am turning into my mother.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with turning into my mother. She is a wonderful, selfless person who pretty much lives to make others happy and only asks for a nice piece of jewelry every once in a while from my dad in return. There are many worse ways to end up. But, Mother also has an affliction she affectionately refers to as CRAFT Syndrome. CRAFT is an acronym for Can’t Remember a Fucking Thing. And it’s true. She forgets stuff all the time. In fact, as kids, Sister, Brother and I would heartily take advantage of this and, upon getting in trouble for something, remark indignantly, “You gave me permission, remember?” The answer was always a laugh and a reminder that she had CRAFT – it worked like a charm.

I have always doubted my memory. There are times I am speaking to Sister, Brother, Husband, Father…or really anyone…. and I will recall a conversation, only to be told it 100% did not happen the way I remember. And yet, I could swear it did. I used to think everyone else was wrong, but after being corrected so many times, it is clearly my faulty memory.

Is it age? I am going to be 32 in a little more then a week, but 32 hardly seems old enough to be experiencing such memory loss. And, this time, it is more than conversations being remembered differently. I can not remember if I turned off the lights before leaving the apartment this morning (sorry Husband), I can not remember important dates unless I write them down and I most definitely can not remember the four very cool blog topics I came up with yesterday.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Maybe I should have paid more attention in 7th grade health class. You know, the class where they separate the girls and the boys and teach the girls about things the boys have no business knowing about – things like menstrual cycles and pregnancy. It’s not that I don’t know about things like that, but I remember a key component of that class was learning that boys will want to have sex and it was the girl’s job to say no. And it is the saying no part that I think I have to work on.

I hate telling people I can not do things. So, as a result, I find myself pulled in a million directions and dread even the simplest activities- including ones I should enjoy. For example, I used to love teaching SCUBA classes and signed on to teach as many as I could. But, then, after being asked to take a few extras “in an emergency” I got sick of doing it and quit altogether. I have not taught in almost a year and only miss it occasionally.

Then there are favors which should be easy, but the people for whom I am doing it seem to think that if I am helping them out (say loaning them something or storing an item for them) that I should be the one to do the extra legwork and picking up and dropping off the stuff for them. Ummm, newsflash: If I am storing your belongings in my apartment, the least you could do is to drop them off for me. Asking me to pick them up “on the way home from work” is not going to make me eager to offer to help you again. And yet, I do it. And then I get mad.

I am usually assertive in real life and have no trouble telling people what I think, so I am not sure why the constant fear of saying no to people when they ask for favors. Sure, there are the favors you do to get ahead (like offer to pick up coffee for the boss) and the favors you do because you love someone (like lend Sister clothing), but then there are the favors that are really annoying obligations that turned from an easy thing (open up front door, store books) to a major hassle (get off subway three stops too early and attempt to lug books before giving up and spending $10 on a taxi). It’s not like I care if you like me more because I went the extra mile and my epithet should not read “Here lies Farf. She was helpful” but yet, I continue to say yes, when I really want to say no.

So now, I am leaving work in order to run someone else’s errands before heading to Mother’s for dinner. At least the one thing I am happy to say to say ‘yes’ to today is some homemade meatloaf!

Monday, March 12, 2007


Husband and I have been on a pizza quest. Pretty much since the first week we started dating, we have tried to sample the various pizza fare of NYC at least once a week and, by this point, consider ourselves something of pizza connoisseurs. We are also each about 10 pounds heavier than we were when we met, but a slight increase in our BMI is hardly worth abandoning our noble quest.

So, after approximately four years of sampling, I thought I would bring our findings to the general public. Even my father would agree that this is something that would make a blog worth reading.

However, some disclaimers are in order: I do not eat meat on my pizza for religious reasons and Husband does not eat meat on his pizza because it is not worth hearing me complain about it. Also, we are from Connecticut originally and all pizza is measured by New Haven standards – thin crust, brick oven and made to order. If you want deep dish pizza reviews go elsewhere. We order the same thing, a Pizza Margherita (tomato, cheese and fresh basil) and use that as the standard by which pizzas are judged. Also, while I am sure that people will comment about great pizzas in the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island, we don’t travel often enough to those boroughs so we don’t care about the pizza there.

So, without further ado, here is the review (hey, that rhymed!)


Nick’s: There are two locations a couple of blocks from each other but the better pizza is at the 71st street location. Plus, the 24-jour delivery is key. Also, as a fan of the cornmeal on the bottom of pizza, I like the texture. However, depending on how busy they are, the quality is uneven. However, to grab a quick slice with friends after drinks, it can’t be beat.

Pizza Rustica: There are a million locations of this chain, but what really drew me here when I used to have one nearby was the fresh mozzarella option. Plus, the sauce was really sweet and the staff was more than willing to make the slice “extra hot” both by leaving it in the oven for longer and by liberally applying hot peppers. For a quick lunch, it was perfect.

Rays: They are all the same no matter whether it is Famous Original, Original or just Ray's and, although not made to order worth including in this list if only to remind people of the poor quality. The sauce tastes like it is canned, the dough like it was frozen (and it probably was) and the cheese is bland. However, the slices are huge and, when I was in school, I admit to having a slice or two on the run. Still, if you want a slice of pizza and you are on the upper west side, I would much rather head to Nick’s.


Cronkite: Awesome atmosphere and upon walking in, Husband declared it was just like a place he would open. Wonderful wine list with servers who actually know about that which they speak. Truffle pizza? How can you go wrong with a pizza covered in black truffles, even if it is $35 for a 10-inch. But, on the Pizza Margherita, the sauce tasted like Prego, the oven is clearly electric and the dough tastes like it was frozen. Plus, the pizza came out way to fast to be made to order. The real draw is the drinks…

DiFara: Heaven on a metal dish and worth a trip to Brooklyn. Here, it is all about the toppings. The artichoke pizza and portabella pizza were the best I had ever tasted. The Margarita was almost as good. Prepared by one man who does not let anyone else touch the pizza and only the freshest ingredients, this is just wonderful. Be prepared to wait at least 90 minutes for your pizza in a small restaurant with only a few dirty tables and no liquor license. I would go back again in a second.

John’s Pizza: Excellent mass produced pizza. The busier they are, the better the pizza but for pre-theater, it is worth a stop at the 44th and 8th Ave location. Also, great for tourists because it is some of the cheesiest of all the NY pizzas (although Two Boots also has a large amount of cheese) and the staff is wiling to allow you to add your own toppings and make the combination you desire.

Lambardis: Why oh why do people still come here? The lines are long, the sauce is bland and the crust is too puffy. Skip it. America's first but not NYC's best pizza.

Lazo: On First Avenue somewhere between 12th and 14th streets. For when you can’t get into Una Pizza Napolitano, it is right around the corner and a nice substitute. Fresh ingredients and reasonably priced, it also offers a wide selection of wine and pasta. Plus, the booths are comfortable and the staff very attentive.

Grimaldis: Right under the Brooklyn bridge, this is pizza the way it should be. Or rather, it used to be that. In recent years the pizza has fallen off. The sauce changed and the pizza has not had the same taste. Still worth a trip to this NY favorite, just don’t expect it to meet your expectations.

Patsy’s: The question is…which one? Excluding the location on 117th Street and 2nd Avenue, they are all the same. Decent pie made with fresh ingredients and a sauce with a little bit of a tang mixed with a subtle sugar taste. Fresh mozzarella is an important element of this pie and although it little too much cheese for me in the cheese to sauce ratio. Also, the end of the crust can be a bit doughy so make sure to ask for the pizza to be cooked “extra crispy” if you want a great experience.

Patsy’s on 117th: Yum! According to the servers, the restaurant sold the name but not the pizza recipe so this Patsy’s is in a class all its own. Sure, the neighborhood is sketchy and the atmosphere leaves something to be desired, but the pie is heavenly. Sweet sauce, excellent cheese to sauce ratio and thin crust made piping hot in a brick oven. However, having only gone on Sundays, the pizza can be a little uneven depending on who is working, although it has certainly never been bad.

Two Boots: Ok, I will admit I am always drinking when I go here so my thinking of the pizza is altered by the beer and wine, but I love the texture and the cornmeal crust and bottom. While I doubt the oven is brick, it is still a tasty treat.

Una Pizza Napolitano: I saved the best for last, even though it worked out that way alphabetically. Sure, my Father would call this “fancy pizza” and $17 for a personal sized pizza is pricey, but you will never find better. Brick oven pizzas prepared one at a time until the dough runs out. And the sauce has a sweet taste that combines deliciously with the smoky flavor in the oven. Oh, but Sister learned the hard way – there are 4 tyoes of pizzas (all variations on a Pizza Margherita) and its probably better if you don’t even bother to ask for any oregano or parmesan, because the only “extra” you are allowed is sea salt.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


It’s my birthday month. I will turn 32 on the 23rd. I kind of like it. Someone told me when I turned 23 that it was my golden year (23 on the 23rd), so this is a reverse “Golden Year.” And thirty-two makes me officially old to my younger self. From the time I was 7 until I was about 29, I kept a diary. Even in my late 20’s, there were lists of things I wanted to accomplish by “the time I am old, like 32.” Yikes. That is disturbing to read.

But when do I start to feel like a grown-up? Husband and I are planning all sorts of grown-up things such as buying a house and having a baby (no, Mother and MiL, I am not pregnant so don’t get all excited), I am a lawyer and co-Director of Haven Coalition, an all volunteer pro-choice group. On paper, I am certainly an adult, but just this past weekend I spent several minutes attempting to race the garage door by pushing the door close button from inside the garage and then trying to run out before it closed. Every time I made it safely (there was an unfortunate incident involving the recycling bin that held me up for a few precious seconds the first time) I giggled and tried again. Not very adult. Then, I went into the backyard with Tiki and chucked snowballs at him which he tried to catch in his mouth. I think I was having more fun then he was.

Sure, there have been some changes. I like to go to bed by 11pm – even on weekends. Instead of a major birthday party, this year I am opting for dinner with some close friends. Just something totally low-key. In fact, until Sister and Husband mentioned it, I had forgotten to plan anything, totally unlike me. I am having dinner at my favorite steakhouse in the entire world on the 23rd with Photogenic Friend to celebrate *his* birthday (on the 25th) and, for the first time in years, I have no plans to take my birthday off work in order to go to a spa. In fact, I have an arbitration scheduled that day.

As I write about the ways in which I have become more grown-up, I can’t help but think about the fact that I still sleep with a teddy bear and the same blanket that was in the crib as a baby. I giggle at knock-knock jokes and think a hot fudge sundae is a perfectly acceptable alternative to dinner. I jump over sidewalk cracks whenever possible and my new goal (having conquered the garage door) is to be able to hop on one foot the entire length of the Museum of Natural History.

So, I am not sure if my younger self would consider me an adult or still a child. I certainly don’t feel all grown-up, but then, I wonder if anyone ever does. And, while, if I win the lottery tonight I would likely use some of the winnings to buy stock, it would most certainly be in a company like Hagen-Daaz, as long as dividends came in the form of pints.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Many of you know the story of Kaos, the homeless dog of a homeless man that Jenna amazingly rescued from almost certain death. Anyway as copied from other folks, here is the latest update…

Please help, if you can!

We’re trying to set up a transport for THIS WEEKEND (the 10th/11th), so if you live near the route (I-95 up through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania) and have a couple hours to help
out, please check out the transport schedule and volunteer. Thanks!!! (PS If you live near Sims, NC, we need a place in that area for Kaos to spend the night on Saturday night.)

Kaos needs to be out of her current foster home by Sunday due to other circumstances with the foster family, and we’re trying to keep her from having to move into a second foster.

I haven’t written in a while – not since I went to London to visit Mara and the new baby for a weekend. On the way back I caught a cold which pretty much made life miserable for a few days and I could barely get out of bed in the morning, let alone sit down to write. And there were so many topics on which I felt like writing, but of course I forgot about them as soon as I thought about them.

So much happened this week that it has been impossible to keep up. I had a review at work which was, perhaps, one of the weirdest ever in that it appear that my boss – someone with who I thought I had an awesome relationship, hates me. But then several other people told me that they thought he was overly harsh and anyway, all that review did was make me doubt my every move.

Then C___’s dad died and I found myself crying after attempting in some feeble way to comfort her. C___ is actually a friend from high school and the mother of my goddaughter, who I believe to be the most perfect child on the face of the earth (although she holds only a slight edge over her younger brother, mostly because she can talk and tell me how great she thinks I am). Anyway, C___ is one of those people that you can’t lose touch with, which is a good thing because I can get very wrapped up in my day to day life and without people like C___, I would have no one in my life to remind me of the time I set myself on fire by reaching over a lit Menorah during dinner at her house. Haha. Good times. I spent the weekend in CT with her.

Things had been a little off lately between C___ and myself. We didn’t speak as often as we used to speak and I was more than a little hurt by her failure to give me a wedding present, mostly because I tend to shower her children with gifts whenever I see them. And this year, I had to call her to make sure the kids even got the gifts. I am not sure who really started to pull back first but I noticed things had changed and was more than a little sad about it.

So, when C___ called me and I was running around trying to accomplish a thousand different task and fight a cold, I did not stop to take the call. In fact, I did not even check the voice mail for several hours. When I did check the voicemail, it was clear that C___ had been crying and, my first though being that something had happened to her husband or children, I called back immediately. I hugged her and told her how sorry I was, but that just is not enough to really help and I wish I could do more. And really, who the heck cares about stupid presents. I am a horrible person.

Then, while in CT, I went with Sister to visit my maternal grandparents and got the following advise from my grandfather, “But a lottery ticket.” I think I will take him up on it.

So, with all that was going on, there just has been no time, but I will try to more diligent about writing.