Jul 28, 2006

My life is like a rollercoaster

...up, down, and all around, twisting and turning and churning my stomach. Sometime the road is smooth, some time it is rough and bumpy. Right now, I have to say it is definitely bumpy, driving on cobblestone bumpy. Yesterday started out great and went down hill quickly.

Actually, it didn't start out so great. I woke up to one of my closest friends calling at 4:23am. As soon as I heard his voice I started worrying. Something was definitely wrong, but being 5 hrs away, I couldn't help, or fix things for him this time. It was, also, the type of situation in which talking it out was not going to solve anything. It is a sickening when you know someone needs a shoulder and yours either can't support or just isn't big enough to reach out to them.

Later in the morning, things were going really well. I had lots of energy. I was also excited it was Thursday and I would be seeing my friends later in the evening. Even at the doc's I was excited and he was too. I definitely fed off the energy there. Going to the doc's is also a great break in the day and a relief in my life knowing that I can talk things through with someone who understands my world. After my early lunch break there, I went back to the doom and gloom of work where I had earlier informed them that I needed to take a late lunch on Monday for another appointment. Evidently, the rules have changed and I now need to fill out a time-off request form to delay my lunch hour from starting 12:30 to 1:45 pm. Being annoyed that they were going to penalize me for a late lunch, I emailed the boss back and questioned why were we now being required to fill out Time off Requests for a simple delay in lunch, when 8 hrs were still being worked. Grrrr, let's just this just say this ended with the bossman telling me I'm being ridiculous for thinking this is all a little overboard. All I can say here is that he hasn't seen me being ridiculous, yet. Damn bossman.

Although the bossman rattled my cage a bit, I couldn't let him entirely ruin my day. I stopped at Mi Lupita on my way home and ended the night with a chimmi-cheesecake with hot apples and ice cream. Mmmmm, even the dog and my thighs loved it. God bless the Mexicans and their yummy Mexi-American desserts.

Jul 26, 2006

Praising the porcelain

You know you've hit bottom when you are staring down at the bottom of a toilet; one of the most heinous places to have to look. Granted some of what you are looking at is hard water and mineral stains, but you can't help but wonder the worst. Are those hard water floaties, or someone's leftovers (from either end). I can't pass judgment since I'm leaning over this cold beast hurling as hard as I can trying to turn my stomach inside out. Dry heaving has to be like dying, because I know every time that I do, I wish death. And where does all this bile come from? I mean I take one sip of water and up comes a gallon of lovely, yellowy fluids. I can do this 20 times in a row with the same results. (I like to have good tests, can't build conclusions on a single trial).

It is times like this when I really regret many of my choices, especially when there are witnesses. I feel like the grunge on the bottom of the porcelain when someone sees me drink too much and then praise the porcelain. It makes me feel awful when someone else witnesses my world spinning out of my control because I don't know of many people who are in control of their lives and end up in positions like this. Embarrassing.

There is also a feeling of isolation when I am alone rolling on the scummy bathroom floor trying to find comfort, and/or trying to get the last of whatever is poisoning my system out. The pain is like someone trying to slap some sense into me. The loneliness is a reminder of where I will end up if this behavior continues. It is a catch 22; I don't want to be alone, but I don't want witnesses either. Welcome to hell.

Later, facing the witnesses, knowing I've screwed up, I try to laugh off the embarassment. I try to divert attention to another time or event. Please don't remind me, don't scorn me, and don't judge me. I am lost. I don't want to be the person praising the toilet. I don't want to be the person that people had to be concerned about, or grossed out by. I just want to be.

...I'm surrounded by identity crisis everywhere I turn
Am I the only one who noticed?
I can't be the only one who's learned!

I don't want to be
Anything other than what I've been trying to be lately
All I have to do
Is think of me and I have peace of mind
I'm tired of looking 'round rooms
Wondering what I've got to do
Or who I'm supposed to be
I don't want to be anything other than me...

~I don't want to be, Gavin Degraw~

Jul 25, 2006

Opossum logic

This is why I love my Dad. My sister was taking the trash out at her house and when she lifted the lid off the can she noticed a litter of baby opossums in the bottom of it. She didn't know what to do so she called my dad and the dialogue went a little something like this:

Meags: Daddy, there are baby opossums in my trash can, what should I do?
Dad: Give them water, they're thirsty.
Meags: Really? How do you know they are thirsty?
Dad: Fill the can all the way up with water and put the lid back on.
Meags: DADDY!
Dad: Well, what do you want to do? Let them loose and run them over another time with your car instead?

I love roadkill stories.

Jul 24, 2006

When the lights go out in the City

It has been a very dark week/weekend in St. Louis. At times, there were up to 750,000 people without power. In the dead heat of summer, you realize how dependent you are on air conditioning, or the very least a ceiling fan. The modern conveniences are gone. You go to the bathroom in the dark (hoping the last guy didn't leave the seat up or miss the target, per say). You have no cold drinks or ice in the fridge. You also realize all those pretty smelling candles are awful when you mix all the scents together just trying to see your way around your own house.

The air is silent...no ACs kicking on and off, no late night cars coming in and out because no one is having parties and very few restaurants are open. The restaurants have all been plagued by the power outage too. Half the city was tossing out freezers full of food. Others were more creative and had block party BBQs making sure nothing went to waste. You run your car near empty on gas and then realize there isn't a gas station with power any where around. And Walgreens, they have power, but the shelves have been wiped clean by the other survivors. As luck would have it the dog finished his food and needs more...but every pet store you drive to is without power. And the DMV, same story. Only one in St. Louis county had power this week/weekend. Hope they don't ticket you in your new van as you wanders the city with no plates.

It has been a week to reconnect with friends and family. With very few places to go, many were out in the streets visiting with the other neighbors without power. Then, there were the ones who sought refuge with lucky people like me with power. It gave us a chance to reconnect and catch up on all the little things in life that we forget about in hurried conversations on email or the phone in the evenings. Then as life slowly turns back to normal and the lights turn back on, we promise that we should all get together more often like this...reality is that we'll forget about the promises and this awful week by next weekend when everything is back to normal and you don't have to wait 20 mins at busy intersections with powerless traffic lights and a temporary stop sign.

Jul 20, 2006

Honestly, who reads the directions

We live in the world of "just pop it in the microwave" or "follow the prompts on the wizard." Noone has to learn how to do anything anymore. Everything seems self-explanatory, but every once in awhile we get thrown a curve ball, where things don't work out right until we take the time to actually read the directions (skimming the directions doesn't count).

Today's example is: I order the Nutrisystem prepared meals to make my life easier and to try something different than Seattle Sutton. Seattle Sutton was simple, each box is labeled with the day I should eat it and what meal it was. Nutrisystems, though, sends you an entire month's worth of food instead of a week with no rhyme or reason to how the food is packaged. There were no quickie directions, just several books and pamplets that seemed like they would take too long to read. I skimmed through them but didn't find anything that jumped out as 'Read Me: I am the directions'. So, this morning I dug in the box and found a bar labeled Breakfast so I ate it, then a couple hours I was hungry so I snuck in a low cal, low fat chai tea. Around lunchtime I was super-starving so I ordered a shake when we drove by Hardee's. At 3pm, I finally ate the little tub of soup labeled lunch. They have an online diary where you can track all your food and drink intake on the computer. I entered all my food (including the non-nutrisystem snacks) and realized this isn't enough calories to survive on, no wonder people lose weight.

As I drove home, I thought something is seriously wrong, or this meal plan is perfect for cheats like me. When I walked in the door at home, I went through my normal routine of letting the dogs out and catching up on mail and news as I cooled off on the couch. I decided maybe I should take a closer look at the brochures from Nutrisystem....sure enough, I'm supposed to supplement each meal with a fruit, veggie, or dairy product depending on the meal. No wonder I've been starving. Maybe I should go back to Seattle Sutton, at least then I wouldn't have to think.

Back to the world of the thoughtless and numb................

Jul 19, 2006

Human after all

Can you believe it? I'm not perfect, no where even close.

I need help, lots of help, but the question is: am I brave enough to let someone in all the way to help me fix my inadequacies???

Honest answer is NO. I've made some improvements.

I'm breathin in
I'm breathin out
So slip inside this funky house
Dishes in the sink
The TV's in repair
Don't look at the floor
Don't go up the stairs
I'm achin
I'm shakin
I'm breakin
Like Humans Do

My Michael has seen a lot of my mess when I get overwhelmed with household chores or laundry, but he never gets to see the whole picture, but I am letting him in deeper and deeper everyday (and I haven't scared him off yet). He never freaks or puts me down for not being perfect, just helps where he can. He was quite a lifesaver the first BBQ I had with him at my house. He came over to help me quickly overhaul things to accommodate guests. He didn't blare out stories about how awful my house was or that he came over early to clean up my hell. He just went on and enjoyed the party and never bitched at all. It was unbelievable support that I've only had in the past from my Mom, Dad, and baby brother since I moved out on my own. He's been overly accommodating and supportive, downright amazing.
I work & I sleep
& I dance & I'm dead
I'm eatin, I'm laughin
& I'm lovin myself
We're eatin' off plates
and we kiss with our tongues
Like Humans Do

My sister knows more than most anyone, but I don't know how to tell her I need help, I often ask or hint that I would like her to come by, but never tell her why or let her know it is more of a need, not a want. She doesn't understand that I'm still in over my head with all of this PTSD crap and really need help digging out. I can't figure out how to ask for help. I don't want to put someone else out for my problems, but I'm slowly wearing myself out because I haven't opened up and said, "I need help."

For millions of years,
In millions of homes
A man loved a woman,
A child it was born
It learned how to hurt
and it learned how to cry
Like Humans Do
My parents confuse me right now. I am pretty sure, like everyone else, they don't understand a thing I am going through right now, but they don't inquire either. I don't think they understand that I need their help as much as I need the therapy and prescriptions. I think my dad is just sick to see one of his children hurting and not sure how to step in. And my mom, I have no idea. She is usually pretty inquisitive and intuitive when it comes to me...not this time.

I have one uncle checking in every few weeks, but, again, he has no clue where to go from there to help me...and I have no clue how to ask.

Ask for help. I can give the advice to others but can't do it myself. Grrrr. This is my work in progress, my goal for the week.

I think my fear with it all is that things have gotten so far out of hand that I'm not sure people will understand why. I am afraid they will think I'm lazy, messy. Truth is I am so overwhelmed PTSD or not, I have no clue where to start and get things put back together the way I have it in my head. In my head, this is not how I want to live or live, but reality is telling a different story. I need help.

Like Humans Do by David Byrne

Jul 16, 2006


Sometimes I get headaches that seem to go straight from the back of my head/neck straight into my stomach. It is a dull, nauseating headache; one that makes me anxious. My eyes get blurry. I get panicky and hot. I'm not sure of anything when this happens. I just want it to go away.

Sometimes cooling off, separating myself in a shower or curled up on the couch helps. Blanking my mind. Sleep.

Today, I was just sitting on the couch typing, watching tv, reading, semi-wanting to forget about my family...now a headache is here and I must sleep.

Icky, pukey, hot, time to try and sleep.

Jul 15, 2006

You can pick your friends, but you can't...

This weekend I have family in from out of town. Evidently, there was a planned family dinner for last night, but noone bothered to inform me until an hour beforehand so i skipped it. Instead, I indulged myself in several margaritas and got drunk. I think I was trying to wash away the guilt of not going or maybe numb the awkward feeling of showing up late. The margaritas failed me this time. Even at the bar I felt awkward about sitting there, a very out of place feeling, never "a part" of things like I normally do when visiting this particular Mexican establishment.

To add to my downward spiral with my family...today I blew off my cousin, Marc's, 40th birthday BBQ. I, also, blew off the last chance to see and visit my Uncle Dave, who was in town. I don't think I've seen him for a year or two now. Once again guilt, but no matter how much guilt, I cannot get myself to leave the couch or clean myself up. I feel like a dead weight. I wanted to go, but this palpatating weight holds me here in my prison, my safe haven.

I fear what people might ask or say. I don't want someone to comment because I came alone when I told them ahead of time that Mike would be joining me. I don't want to answer questions about my job, it makes me feel lifeless and pointless. I have a super successful sister, a brother with beautiful kids, and another brother who is just starting to embrace adulthood...but i have nothing but myself. I can't handle the family focusing on me, when I don't even know who I am or where I stand right now. I don't have a diversion to talk about. I live alone. My job is less than thrilling. I can brag on Mike, but he won't be there to back it. I feel pathetic.

This evening, Chris and Lisa stopped by and lifted me up a bit...I have a comfort zone with them. Chris' from history. Lisa because there is something soft, always comforting and understanding about her. They helped me fix a few problems around the house. Overall, the two of them just made me feel good and know that even though Chris is the man i divorced, the two of them are a force still there for me...for compassion, understanding and to get me through life some way or another. I'm glad Lisa doesn't want Chris and I to erase our past. She embraces it knowing it made Chris who he is. He is still my key, the one person that even somewhat understands how I got here, lost in space. He holds the past as he stood there and watched me live my hell, and now no longer holds it against me.

Life handed Chris and I lemons, and we asked for tequila and salt. Cheers.

Old Maid and ice cream make the world go round

When I was a child, I would stay the night with my grandparents. My evenings there always ended with games of Old Maid on a TV tray in the corner of the backroom. Grams always sat in the adjacent corner watching over.

The next morning Grandpa R and I would always get up early and have a bowl of raisin bran, followed by Grams getting up and having a bowl of ice cream with me. (My aunts and uncles are still shocked she did this) When Grandpa would leave for work Grams would move to his chair and play Old Maid with me too.

I remember my uncles always teasing me while we played. They would taunt me about becoming an old maid, when I grew up, with thunder thighs and hippo hips. Here I am single again, but hardly an old maid, only time will tell on the outcome of that prediction, but I didn't escape the thunder thighs. The accident stole my prized dancer physique. Too bad I cannot rewind time. I'd take back the body, Old Maid, and ice cream.

Jul 14, 2006

Death becomes us

Death is something that surrounds us, something we will never be able to escape. Every day we pass death by and often we are unphased by it....dead animals in the street (mmm, yummy roadkill), passing by a funeral procession on a road (showing not an ounce of respect), murders and drownings on the news, etc., etc. We accept this as everyday life, as it is, yet, most still fear their own death. Riddle me that one, Batman.

People die. Many of us don't know how we will meet our maker, but eventually we all do. Someone could be given a death sentance by cancer, yet die the next day in a car wreck. You just never know how or when for sure your day will come, even if you do try to take control of it yourself. You are never 100% what you do to yourself will definitely bring an end to it all.

Last night, a friend of mine, Lane, was driving me home. When we were passing through the stoplight before my house we saw all the cars on the road pulling to the shoulders. Lane said, "Look, I think that is a body on the road." I didn't think it looked like that, but wasn't sure either...without my glasses it looked like something in a white trash bag. Unfortunately, where we came to rest in all the chaos was right next to a very still pale body laying on the ground. Lifeless. People were running around unsure what to do. One man tried to find a pulse without moving the body but never found a thing. When the police showed up moments later, a few people jumped in there cars and took off, couldn't be bothered by the lifeless body, or maybe running from the cops. The man that had earlier checked the pulse of the body started running after the one vehicle shouting and throwing his hands in the air. I have a feeling that vehicle was involved somehow. The sad part was the truck behind us anxiously honking their horn at both the police and those in front of them trying to get around everyone. I love the respect of modern man, can't even be bothered by a dead body in the road, wants to rush on by, like a human is equivalent to a wild rodent, another piece of roadkill.

Back at my house, Lane's last words of the evening were, "Man, I can't believe we saw a dead body tonight." It was kind of a haunting and frightening reality that we both had to sleep with. The last thought in my head last night was the victim and two tennis shoes in the middle of the highway.

Side note: Lane is driving back home on his 3-4 hour journey as I type. I hope his travels are safe. God Speed, dear friend.

Most people never have to experience the phenomena of finding someone dead or seeing someone die. Seeing a dead person in a casket is not much better sometimes, but our heads, from a very young age, are programmed to view a body in a casket as a thing of peace, a final goodbye. I, unfortunately, have experienced death multiple times.

I was the tender age of 6 when I first remember experiencing death. I recall seeing my Grandpa laying in a hospital bed with my aunts and uncles gathered around him. I was standing in the doorway of the hospital room peering in. Everyone was touching him with tears in their eyes. It is a very vivid image in my head. Even more so, sitting in the lounge at Gerber chapel and my parents telling me to stay there while they went into Grandpa's wake to say goodbye to Gramps. Being only 6, I thought that he was going to wake up one last time and say goodbye to everyone. I was confused, sad, and hurt that I couldn't see him wake up and say goodbye. To make things worse, I was sent to Grams' house with Grandma E during the services...left out of the final chance to put Grandpa to rest. I loved my Grandpa. I just wish I could've kept him around longer. I need more memories.

lightning crashes, an old mother dies
her intentions fall to the floor
the angel closes her eyes
the confusion that was hers
belongs now, to the baby down the hall

August 1994, Aunt Marie for the first time ever was not at my dance class. She told me in November 1982 that she would always be at dance class for me (when I was a scared little tot who's mother couldn't always stay because she was pregnant with my baby sister). Aunt Marie's great nieces quit dancing some time in the 80s, but she still kept coming to dance class, not only for me, but for all of us scared little tots and all of us that she supported as we learned discipline and dance.

I had to leave dance class to go and check on her. All of us were worried. I was 17 and went alone. Her car was in her garage and she was not answering her apartment door when I knocked endlessly. The lady across the hall came out and said her bathtub had been running over 24 hours and when she called the super he checked for plumbing leaks in the basement and then left, never checking on the source of the running water. I called 911 and the paramedics broke out the front window of the apartment to get into her. Then, they had to throw themselves into the bathroom door and then finally the firemen arrived and broke it down. They held me still at the doorway, holding me up, not saying a word. The way they embraced me said it all. I sat there 20 minutes until someone else I knew arrived. Alone on the front walk of the building, knowing I lost one of the greatest, most giving and supportive people in my life, I only let out a couple of tears...until I went home to my parents and explained the days events. I cried a little with them, then balled my eyes out when I was alone that night.

On Friday the 13th, October 1995, I saw a drunk driver lose control at the intersection I was crossing and hit another car and a wall. The passenger got thrown out of the car into a gas pump to his death. I believe there were other deaths, but I only remember the one. I, also, remember the deaths were more of a side note in the news instead of the main story. There was no respect or rememberence. The stories were all about the drunk driver and his history. Hmm, I just love the news.

I could go on and on, but in the end...numbness; death is our every day life.

And then I see my Pink Elephants.

Jul 12, 2006

Overstepping boundaries?

Overstepping boundaries?...Sometimes that is the best thing I can hear and exactly what I need.

...Well here she is again on the phone
Just like me hates to be alone
We just like to sit at home...
When Gwen called last night and said, "I hope I'm not overstepping my boundaries, but I heard something about you being diagnosed with PTSD." She wanted to know. She wanted to hear me tell her about the little details. She wanted to know what I was experiencing, what caused it all, and how I was hanging in there now. She, also, related her own depression associated with her divorce and her own vices that brought her down. We both had the spiral downhill and the moment when we realize we no longer have control of ourselves.
...Well she wants to live her life
Then she thinks about her life
Pulls her hair back as she screams
I dont really wanna live this life...

My ex-sister-in-law, Gwen, is quite a character and energetic spirit. She is a mortician/funeral director. Her unique job doesn't even come close to measuring up to her unique personality.
...She only drinks coffee at midnight
when the moment is not Right
her timing is quite-unusual
You see her confidence is tragic
but her intuition magic...

I think when she first started dating my brother I despised how he immediately moved in with her, etc., etc. Then, as much as I didn't want to admit it at the time, I realized she was a lot like me, or a lot like how I wanted to be again...pre-accident, which was pre-Gwen. I think after my nephew, Trent, was born (Feb 2002) the two of us started really connecting. Gwen and I are free spirits when we are in-self (great psych terminology), full of confidence. There is a difference though: I am cautious with limits versus Gwen goes for it, no matter what it is. She doesn't worry about the rest of the world and what they may be thinking. She lives for her (and now her children too). I would like to think I live for me, but I get self-conscious, worry about what others think and often put them before myself, even when I have needs not being met. Nothing is a competition with her, that is a lesson I still need to learn...I don't need to win, but I, also, don't need to be first. Second isn't easy, it feels like failure, but it is also a lot less pressure, something I really appreciate. It is a zone I'm not totally comfortable with. Yet, it is a zone that I'm going to try and explore more.
...Well she wants to be the queen
Then she thinks about her scene
Pulls her hair back as she screams
I dont really wanna be the queen...

~Meet Virginia, Train~

30 years....now that's a long time

A smile came over my face just now when I was looking for a title for today's story time. It reminds me of all the times at GAM with the Mariners. I think of Kathy bugging out her eyes and literally making contact with the 30-60 girls there any given year and telling us, "40 years...45 years...50 years, girls, that's a long time." This may not mean much to you, but Kathy lived the Mariners all those millions of years and thank goodness she did. She brings a personality to the program that no one could ever replace.

This past weekend, though, the big number was 30. Congratulations to my parents who have lovingly survived in marriage for 30 years now, much longer than the 5 I did. Hell, my sister and I barely withstood a month of planning their big 30 shindig. It was the Luau of Luau's I must say.

Our planning, and my sister's extreme hard work on her house and decorating, paid off for the sake of my parents. My parents were totally surprised and even cried when their brains had a few moments to process what was going on after the quick heart attack of having 100 plus people yelling surprise as they walked into the house. From 4pm til 1am, I never saw my parents without huge grins on their faces.

Party day started off a little rough for me. I woke up not wanting to get out of bed, nor wanting to go to the party. I only had a short list of things to attend to, but as I watched the clock tick each second of the morning away, I started getting more and more miserable about going to the party, dealing with the pressure of all the people and the possibility of missing something we should've remembered. At noon, I finally started stumbling out of bed (I should've already had my short list of things completed by then and headed to the party). As I begrudgedly showered and started getting ready, saint #1, Dana, called to see if she could help with anything but guessed I was already at the party with everything under control. Good thing she didn't put money on that guess. She took over the last minute shopping list for me and even ran it over to my sister's long before I ever made it there. After hanging up with her I decided to screw the makeup and hawaiian clothes, I just needed to get out of the house. I was more than out of time and couldn't keep fussing about hoping I would come down with some legitimate excuse not to go to the party. (at least I'm starting to discipline myself, at times)

Once on my way to pick up food, saint #2, my ex-m-i-l, called. She didn't want to ruin the surprise by showing up at the same time as my parents to the party so she was inquiring about when my parents were supposed to be there....Good question! I told her I would get back to her later on her question but could she do me a favor that I am sure would delay her so she wouldn't arrive at the same time as them. I asked her to stop and by me something Hawaiian to wear and while she was at it, could she get something for my boyfriend too (I had promised to do that for him earlier in the morning). Things were starting to look better and not so dreadfully awful.

Things always come together for me when I actually make myself go do whatever it is I'm avoiding. Someday I might actually pre-program that into my little brain so leaving the comforts of my little world won't be so difficult.

When things seem to be finally pulling together for me, I finally decided to relax a little and have a large margarita when I went to pick up the food for the party...so much for finally getting ahead. (I do have to say it made the initial rush of unfamiliar people at the beginning of the party a lot easier to take).

Here's to the next party (and hoping it is someone else's problem).

Jul 4, 2006

Money going up in smoke

The 'Old Man' recently said, "Harlyn, look at the fireworks, our money going up in smoke". This year, I think that is all the excitement I got out of the fourth of July (with one exception: the lovely annoying noise of the zillion packs of saturn missles I purchased wizzing and whistling up into the air).

Fourth of July is one of those obligation days that really drains me. No matter how old I get, I think as long as the parents are alive I will be woken up waaaaay to early to make sure I am going to be at the parade. For 29 years, I have started out the fourth of July at the Old Webster parade with the entire family at our printing company. My aunts and uncles all bring their friends and family and lots of goodies to share in the nice AC, while the little ones get help from my aunts to write their names on paper bags and rush to stake their claim on a piece of curb out in front of the shop. Now the middle school aged cousins are all enterpeneurs. They gather up all the coolers and soda in the place and wander the streets selling overpriced soda to the suckers who forgot they might need a drink while they bake themselves in the humid July heat. I sold them for $0.50, in my middle school prime, now they sell them for a $1 (good old inflation). I can't say that I get excited by the parade at all anymore. I occassionally get a good laugh at my uncles taunting unsuspecting people in the parade with blasts of water from their super soakers...or the tribe of boys scouts on rollerblades armed with water balloons and ready to get revenge. The slew of politicians, with their bandwagons, just seem to aggravate me, especially when members of my family stand up and applaud such sleazes who have yet to display any worthwhile 'Talent'. There is also quite a bit of discontent among my family (too bad we all just can't get along). If family drama doesn't make a holiday, I don't know what will (or not).

There is one thing I'll miss this year...I'll miss tearing out of the parade for the soiree at my house....BBQ'ing in the rain, dropping plates of freshly cooked meat (much to the pups delight) and finally blowing up anything we can set fire to in my front yard (not excluding small dogs and electrical lines).

Happy 4th!