Friday, December 21, 2007
Yes, she is home and recuperating. She came home a day early. Kim flew out to get her, as well as make sure she got the prescription pain reliever she needed before she flew home. She managed to finish the one exam she had to take, and came home a day early. Filled to the brim with Tylenol/codeine, Dramamine, Lorazapam and Sudafed, she managed to survive the flight, but still not sleep. Now, just how is that possible???
She was home by 8:30, tucked in on the couch with more meds, and hot rice packs (rice in a knotted sock, heated in the microwave) for her swollen neck and painful ears. She slept until 1:00 the next day. I had to get her up to take her to the doctor. He was quite surprised that she hadn't been put on Tylenol3, as well as steroids right away. These are the times it's hard to have your child so far away. And on top of the Mono, she also has a ear infection in both ears, and is also on an antibiotic.
Back home, and to bed. Oh - did I mention I am also sick? And came home from the doc with an antibiotic also? So sick me is taking care of sick her. LOL. She slept, and I rested, and Kesley babysat Emma here, which entertained us all. Especially Cairo.
Yesterday I didn't go to work. I felt too yucky, and wanted to stay with Carissa. Late afternoon, around the time my work day would have been done we went to get groceries for her annual Christmas Party. I can hear you now - WHY is she still having this party if she is sick????
One, it's tradition and her gift to her friends. Two- She needs to see her friends, she is lonely and bored. Three - her friends are gonna help. Four - I am here to supervise and make sure she rests as she works. And, Five- did you ever try to keep Carissa from doing anything? So I just try to minimize the damage.
So, now it's finally Friday and I have been baking, and making Party Mix, doing more laundry, that kinda thing. I knew what kind of a day it was gonna be when shortly after Carissa got up she hollered that her tooth had gone down the drain. OK - let me explain.
She soon learned that they came loose quite often, but she could re-adhere them with denture adhesive. Always thinking, that girl.... So today, one of the teeth came off, and fell in the sink. Murphy's law - the water was running. She slammed it off right away and hollered. So I grabbed a wrench, headed up to the bathroom and took the trap out - there was no way I was paying $400 for a temporary tooth for 2 weeks.....
We got the tooth, and I went to reattach the trap, but in doing so found out the bottom of that 25 year old pipe was as thin as tin foil. Yep, I punched a hole in it. If I were MacGyver, I'd know how to fix it with duct tape and gum. Ah well. My hubby will fix it tomorrow. The same thing happened to our kitchen sink a couple years ago and he fixed it. :) Now if he could just manage to fix the leaking toilet while he's at it..... No! Wait! We need a working toilet for the party...... LOL. Then, as my sister laughingly said "[Then] you'll have a new bathroom... Kinda."
Well - that' s one way to look at it.
Anyway, I am still here, but busy. Busy hiding from anything else that can go wrong. Like the dog vomiting all over my bedroom floor at 4 a.m. :)
Monday, December 17, 2007
Well, the weekend is over. It couldn't decide whether to be good or bad, or maybe naughty or nice would be more appropriate for this time of year.
Saturday started well. I managed to roll outta bed and get some bleary eyed work done - you know, laundry, that kind of thing. I got sidetracked on line reading about my alma mater, which is going through growing pains trying to incorporate a more inclusive approach to their philosophy as well as their doctrinal statement. That took a couple hours....
I realized suddenly that I had stuff to do - shower, bake cookies and make a hot artichoke dip for our church Christmas Party.....
Kelsey and I quickly whipped up a batch of Molasses cookie dough and popped it into the fridge. I ran to shower while the dough chilled. Somewhere along the way I managed to dry the laundry and pay some bills.
I baked the cookies, which really turned out well. Yay! Soft, warm and chewy molasses crinkle cookies sparkling with a sugar coating. YUM! While they cooled I chopped the artichokes and whipped up the dip and popped it into the oven. It smelled SO GOOD!
While it baked I quickly found and wrapped a White Elephant gift for the party. ~ Don't even get me started on White Elephant exchanges.....
Time to go. Juggling food and gifts I start for the door. Kim comes pounding up the stairs from his basement office. "Do I have time to shower?" Uh -no.....it's snowing and the roads are awful and we have just enough time to get to the party - 45 minutes away. I sigh and head for the car. Up goes the garage door - I see a couple inches of snow, and cars to be moved. Tick, tick, tick. He can't move the cars until he clears them off. Tick, tick, tick. He can't find the keys. Tick, tick, tick. He forgets the garage door won't close from the remote right now - so back inside to shut it. Tick, tick, tick. Sigh. Finally, we are on our way.
The roads aren't horrible, but they aren't good either. But still, nothing to warrant the 30 miles an hour some people are diving. This is making me crazy. Finally, we arrive at Mike and Julie's. Almost on time, and still the first people there. Huh. We try to help Mike with a few last minutes things, and then we sit and talk with Julie. This party is also a celebration of her 30th birthday... :) We have a good evening. Good food. Good friends. Good wine. Good conversation. Games. Gift exchange. Time flies......
Around ten we have to go. The roads are getting worse and the snow is falling faster. Still, traffic is moving fairly well along the country route. Obscured lines to be sure, but still, moving. I get almost to the toll way. Tired, but nothing two hands and a fully engaged brain can't handle. My cell phone rings. That can't be good. I fumble for it in my zipped coat pocket while trying to remain on the road. It's Carissa. Who has mono. And is totally distraught. She is in pain - both physical and emotional. Totally drained, exhausted and incoherent. Lonely, frustrated, and unable to sleep. So, now it's one hand on the wheel and my brain in Boston. Snow falling faster, wind blown snow covering the road.
Nothing I say helps. If anything it makes her cry harder. After twenty minutes she is a bit calmer and she hangs up. Now I have both hands on the wheel, but my brain is still in Boston. Where it will remain for the rest of the weekend. We get home safely. No thanks to me and my brain. Carissa calls again. Another twenty minutes. More frustration on both sides, and more worry on mine. By two a.m. I think we are all finally in bed.
Exhausted we choose not to go to church Sunday. The roads are still bad, we are all exhausted and the 45-minute drive seems daunting today. And I am not feeling well. I sleep in, but finally give in and get up when the dog starts using my body for a trampoline. Suddenly the most important thing to do today is clean out the Video/DVD cabinet. Why? Your guess is as good as mine. But that takes some time and it's nice to have that done. Let see, what else can I do? I check email - no word from Carissa. I want to know how she's doing, but I sure don't wanna wake her up if she's sleeping. So, I bite the bullet and wrap gifts. I hate wrapping gifts. But someone's gotta do it, right? So I drag out the paper and the scissors and tape. And all the gifts, as well as my trusty elf Kelsey to assist me. Kim goes out to shovel.
Gifts are done. Now what can I do? Thankfully the phone rings. It is Carissa. She still sounds crappy. And upset. But some better. Her upcoming Wednesday project has been excused. And she has emailed her adviser to, well, advise him of the situation. She has also emailed her OT prof. She's thirsty, and achy, and tired - and lonely. But she doesn't sound like she did last night. OK. I feel some better. Let's watch a movie....that works. Well, for a half hour when she calls again. Still upset, but better. Her adviser, who is also her theater prof told her not to worry about her project due Monday. And two of her friends arrived at her room to make her soup, hot tea, and clean. Angels they were. Up til now all her friends had been treating her like she had the plague.....
Back to my movie.
For ten minutes.
She calls again. Her OT teacher said she could take the test early, or wait until after winter break. She opts to take it early. Who wants to worry about it over the long winter break? But the point is, she can take it, be done, and come home early. Kim changes her flight, and books one of his own so he can go and get her and bring her home. One less thing to worry about. Especially if the weather continues to be bad on the East Coast.
Back to the movie.
For two minutes. Her friend calls me. This is her longtime friend from West Chicago. She wants me to know she is communicating with Carissa and telling her all the stuff I want to tell her, but she won't listen to because I am her mom. Go Jess! Another worry covered. Jess will whip her into shape - or into bed to sleep as the case may be.
Finally I can finish the movie, find time to read, watch a little TV and go to bed. The weekend has been long. Worrisome. Tiring. And somewhat productive. The yard is covered with a foot of snow that is still clean and sparkly. That almost offsets the condensation on the interior of the skylight that is dripping on the kitchen floor.....
Thursday, December 13, 2007
|You Are a Purple Crayon|
Your world is colored in dreamy, divine, and classy colors.
You hold yourself to a sky high standard, and you are always graceful.
People envy, idolize, and copy you without realizing it. You are an icon for those who know you.
And while it is hard to be a perfectionist, rest assured it's paying off!
Your color wheel opposite is yellow. While yellow people may be wise, they lack the manners and class needed to impress you.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I received one of the best early Christmas gifts anyone could get me! My sister sent me James Taylor's most recent Christmas Album. It was released last year, and I can't believe I waited a whole year to get it.....
The best part was she sent it early, and said to open it early so I could enjoy it this holiday season. Ahhhhhh.....James Taylor. Musical comfort food.
Somehow I feel like I'm more in the holiday spirit already. And less stressed! :)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Here's what you do:
1. Go to the Wikipedia home page and click random article. That is your band's name.
2. Click random article again; that is your album name.
3. Click random article 15 more times; those are the tracks on your album.
Band: The Hamptons
1. TVC 15
2. Cash cow
3. Fibrous dysplasia
4. Computer telephony integration
5. Kay Hull
6. Adams Park
7. Contact dermatitis
8. Isle of Man
9. Patrick Henry High School
10. Tapanila railway station
14. Chaff (radar countermeasure)
What did you come up with????
Monday, December 10, 2007
Is no place sacred? Is no place safe? If we have crossed the line of accepted sanctuary there is nothing left.
And to kill innocent people as well, that are giving of themselves to make the world a better place....
How can we stop it? Shooting people is not the way to resolve differences, gain notoriety, avenge bullying. The world is not a safe place, I know that. But schools, and churches and shopping malls?
At a time of year known for peace and good will?
My heart hurts.
And I am afraid for my children.....
and children every where.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
It's dark in my house as I curl up in a chair by the window. Outside I can see the neighbors Christmas lights winking merrily. Joyfully. It's Christmas!
It's the best time of year! People tend to be more giving, more accepting. Friendlier. Forgiving. Excitement, joy and good cheer abound.
Good will toward men.
Most of the time.
Blink, Blink. The angels wings glitter, the trains wheels appear to turn. The twinkling star on the neighbors roof shines across the snowy yard.
Fear not, behold I bring you good tidings of great joy. Which shall be to all people. ALL People. Not just those who look like me, sound like me or think like me. ALL people.
Blue lights chase one another across the edge of the neighbors roof. Peace on earth. Silent night. All is calm.
The house is cold. No candles glow. No cookies are made. The tree is bare.
Christmas music from the other room floats at the edge of my consciousness. Harmonic, joyful, pleasant, inane.
The clock ticks. The sky is clear. The stars twinkle.
God's in his heaven, all's right with the world.
It came upon the midnight clear.....
The furnace hums, the dog stretches. The snow family next door are all wearing sparkling red scarves.
All I want for Christmas.....
Peace, forgiveness, love, restoration.
The clock chimes. The wind whispers.
Sleep in heavenly peace.
But I have promises to keep,
and miles to go before I sleep.
And miles to go before I sleep.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thursday, December 06, 2007
The Work of Christmas
"When the song of the angels is stilled,
when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home,
when the shepherds are back with the flocks,
then the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost,
to heal those broken in spirit,
to feed the hungry,
to release the oppressed,
to rebuild the nations,
to bring peace among all peoples,
to make a little music with the heart…
And to radiate the Light of Christ,
every day, in every way, in all that we do and in all that we say.
Then the work of Christmas begins.
-- Howard Thurman, The Mood of Christmas
Wednesday, December 05, 2007
I was gonna write a thought provoking post this morning about Oberweis and the 14th district special congressional election in Illinois. I was. really. A post about how I couldn't reconcile buying his milk that I want to buy because of this:
Our Farmers' Pledge....with his immigration policy. I gave up.
Our pledge is signed by all the farmers who produce and supply milk exclusively for Oberweis Dairy.
We, the families who care for cows that produce milk for Oberweis Dairy, are proud to pledge that we will:
- Never use artificial growth hormones.
- Only provide milk that is free of antibiotics. If a cow gets sick, we will treat her back to health using the best available medicines but not use her milk again until it is free of antibiotics.
- Treat our cows humanely.
- Do nothing different than if our children and families were drinking all of the milk we produce.
We pledge all of this so that your family can drink Oberweis milk with confidence. We understand that if we fail to meet these obligations, we will no longer have the privilege of providing milk to Oberweis Dairy.
We treat our cows humanely.
The family farmers who care for our cows are proud to pledge to treat their cows well. For example, our cows have time to graze in pastures versus spending all their time confined in a barn, and our farmers do their best to keep our cows warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Oberweis cows are treated more like pets than farm animals.
Here's the question....if I support his business, aren't I in fact supporting his beliefs? I have a headache. I couldn't work it out no matter how hard I tried. Who said this way of living like Christ was easy? It's not. Social Justice is hard. Loving people is hard. Bucking the trend is hard. Paying more for products in order to support fair trade and practices is hard. Walking a mile in another's shoes is hard. Realizing God doesn't love and bless the USA exclusively is hard. It's just hard.
So, I gave up on the post. I don't have my thoughts well defined enough in my mind to even begin to sound coherent.
If you're interested in Oberweis's stance on immigration - you can find it here.
What do you think?
Monday, December 03, 2007
Plus, now I have direct phone numbers to about 5 higher ups, who keep calling me btw to see how the silly service is working.....LOL. Suffice it to say Dean, Ron and Anita are my new best friends.... there were others too, like ROY the coolest service man ever. Anyway. I'm knocking on wood and crossing my fingers and holding my breath - whatever, hoping that it is FINALLY, FINALLY fixed.
Now, on to UPS......
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
On Thanksgiving day, we went down at 4:00. No internet. That sucked. So, when it hadn't returned by eight, we called service. They set up an appointment for Monday, the 26th. The internet remained down on Friday and on Saturday.
On Sunday they called us (computer, not live) and said a problem in our area had been resolved, and we should be fine. If not, press 1.
Which I did. And got sent into cyberspace purgatory. Elevator music and annoying announcements for a half hour. At which time it promptly hung up. I called dispatch and sure enough, we no longer had an appointment for Monday, but they could reschedule me. For Wednesday.
On Monday night we got a call from Comcast - just like before: said a problem in our area had been resolved, and we should be fine. If not, press 1.
And, silly me, I did.
Really angry I called service, insisted on talking to a supervisor, and went through 3 years of stories. He, BTW, was very nice, and very helpful. That's all he can be from Canada......
He set up an appointment for 1:00 pm on Tuesday. This time the cancellation had worked in our favor.
Until the technician showed up at 10. I was at work. I rushed home and to this guys credit he was wonderful, and he replaced the cable to our house, and reconfigured the inside to with a heavier duty cable. When he left our throughput was 17,000. Not the 1,000 it had been earlier when it had arbitrarily chosen to work.
By 4:00 through-put was 3,000. I chalked it up to Internet congestion. Cuz a tech had just been there. Oh - and I forgot to say, they STILL attempted to keep the 1-3 appointment and blasted me on the phone for not being there after the third attempt to reach me. How was I to know that when Roy was there in the morning he didn't cancel the afternoon call - that was the same call.....duh.
By 9:00 pm, we were down. DOWN. Hubby spent an hour with service. No luck. Scheduled an appointment for today between 4 and 6 after I said if I missed anymore work I'd lose my job....
Well, you guessed it. This morning we got a call from COMCAST: a problem in our area had been resolved, and we should be fine. If not, press 1.
I immediately hung up and called Comcast. Sure enough we no longer have an open ticket. After pitching a royal fit (because they said all they can do is reschedule....) and two supervisors later they are supposedly investigating this whole situation, and are going to get back to me. Sure.
I'm not holding my breath.
But at $129.00 a month I think I deserve better than this!
IF YOU HAVE A CHOICE.....DO NOT CHOOSE COMCAST!
BTW - the service center actually had the gall to ask if I wanted to switch my phone service to Comcast.......
EDIT - I just sent letters to the City of West Chicago, as well as my alderman, and Rick Germano, Senior VP of customer operations at Comcast....
good luck to me.
EDIT #2 After emailing Rick Germano I got good results. Lots of help, both on the phone and at my house. My internet is now working like a dream. I guess you just have to get to the right person at Comcast. Thank you Rick, Anita, Ron and Dean. I appreciate all your help!!
Gordon Features Faculty and Alumni Artists In "To The Least of These"
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
I need some inspiration. Serious inspiration. I need some wonderful recipes that I will enjoy cooking. I'm tired of eating the same old stuff. But, where to start? Trying to find recipes on line just gives me a headache. And how inspiring is the Food Network when all they show is road tripping around the world eating in places I will never get to? Suddenly instead of food I get travel? Huh. I want to eat healthier and more responsibly. Good luck with that. Where are the ideas? The recipes? HELP!!
Interesting vegetarian? Hearty stews? Exotic twists on chicken?
I can't face the grocery aisle one more day without some inspiration.
I like the fact that this wonderful college where my daughter goes, shares.
With the whole North Shore.
Instead of turning inward and celebrating as a closed community of specific members, they open their doors and arms wide and bring blessing to an entire community.
They offer a tree lighting, an evening of caroling and story telling. And two different concerts - something for everyone. Family friendly. Some events are free. And not only that, they invite participants to bring gifts, gifts that will be taken to five service organizations in the community of Lynn, MA.
They are specifically requesting toys for children, warm winter clothing for children and their parents, art supplies and school supplies. What a neat opportunity to bless their community - as well as an opportunity for parents to teach children about sharing.....
Here's what they are offering:
"Christmas at Gordon" Schedule Of Events:
Christmas Tree Lighting:Thursday, December 6, 6 p.m. Pedestrian Mall. *Free
Christmas Film: Elf, Thursday, December 6, 7 p.m. in the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. *Free
"Come All Ye and Sing": A first-ever North Shore community carol-sing interwoven with story-telling by Jan Carlberg, Friday, December 7, 7:30 p.m. in the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. *Free
Holiday Bookstore Sale: 20% off clothing, gifts, supplies and trade publications, Friday, December 7 and Saturday, December 8, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. in the Lane Student Center.
Family Christmas Concert: A special Christmas celebration for children and families with a special visit from Saint Nicholas and other popular Christmas characters. Saturday, December 8, 4 p.m. in the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. Tickets: $16; $10 group rate (four or more)
The Christmas Gala: A festival of Christmas featuring music of the season performed by the Gordon Wind Ensemble, College Choir and Women's Choir, Saturday, December 8, 7:30 p.m., in the A. J. Gordon Memorial Chapel. Tickets:$16
Friday, November 23, 2007
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about...
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Well, thanks for continuing to stop by despite my lack of meaningful posts. It's one of those cycles. Sorry. Lots of stuff whirling in my brain, but nothing that my fingers seem to want to type. It's like there's a block between brain and fingertips. Besides, the stuff I am processing is so random and I'm not sure how I feel, or what I think, or what I can even say that won't frustrate me more... It's just that there are a multitude of things to deal with - and I can't seem to sort them out, because they all seem to be knotted together. It's much easier not to deal with them at all. And we all know how that works; the more you ignore a snarl, the knottier it becomes....
I'll do it tomorrow.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Your Personality Profile
The Big Five Personality Test
You are much more intellectually curious and sensitive to beauty than most. Your beliefs tend to be individualistic and frequently drift towards the unconventional. You enjoy your imagination and the exciting places it takes you!
You avoid forseeable trouble through purposefully planning and achieve success through persistence. You are reliable and in control of your life.
You are quiet and somewhat withdrawn. You don`t need lots of other people to have fun, and frankly people can be tiring.
People get along with you easily. You are considerate and friendly, and think that other people are generally honest and decent.
You are generally calm. Although some situations can make you feel emotional, your feelings tend to be warranted.
|IN COMPARISON, THE AVERAGE ECOLOGICAL FOOTPRINT IN YOUR COUNTRY IS 24 ACRES PER PERSON. |
WORLDWIDE, THERE EXIST 4.5 BIOLOGICALLY PRODUCTIVE ACRES PER PERSON.
IF EVERYONE LIVED LIKE YOU, WE WOULD NEED 3.7 PLANETS.
Take the Quiz
Thursday, November 08, 2007
I realize this is seriously close to rant status, but it just really, really bugs me that Christmas is EVERYWHERE. Store displays were up before Halloween. Christmas music has hit the airwaves. Christmas commercials are all ready merrily enticing our children. And my own town, for Pete's sake, has all the Christmas decorations up.
Have we forgotten we have an important holiday in November? A holiday that isn't a boon to stores and marketers and CEO's stretching out greedy hands to gather the windfall to be sure. But a holiday in which we count our blessings, give thanks for all we are and have; a holiday to share good food, good conversation and memories with family and friends. To relax and enjoy the moment, to slow down and unwind - well, until we rush out the door at 5:30 am on the day after Thanksgiving to grab and shove, selfishly forgetting love and kindness to take advantage of those wonderful "early" Christmas bargains.....
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
So, tonight I came home from work with an hour to spare before I had to take Carissa to the airport. Yes, she had to go back to school...
Anyway, I came home to finish up a few things, make sure she was packed and just have a calm few minutes before we headed out. Jess's mom came by to bring a few things for Carissa to take to Jess at Gordon, and Cairo, as usual, turned into a scaredy cat. Nothing new. Then for some reason he started tearing around - I think he was still scared, but wanted to play, and his adreneline must have been pretty high.
So much for relaxing. All hell broke loose, and amidst the melee we suddenly saw blood. MOM! How did Cairo get hurt? - So I look and he has a gash on his left leg. I mean a hole. Like a good 2 inches long and bleeding. We still don't know what happened. Did he catch it on his crate? A drawer handle? My ring when I tried to catch him? So, now, we have to leave in fifteen minutes for the airport and Cairo is dripping blood and obviously needs stitches. Chris isn't home and Kelsey has to go babysit. So Linda (Jess's mom) and I bandage Cai up, Carissa quickly prints out her boarding pass, throws her suitcase in the car, I bundle up Cairo, and off we go. First stop, the vet. Yep. Stitches. "How in the world did he do that?" Yeah, I wanna know too...... so, after assuring me he is ok, and that he will be ready to pick up when I get back from the airport we jump in the car and off we go. Traffic is miserable. Just horrible. I finally get to Franklin Park so Kim can take Carissa to the airport and I can go back and get Cai. Phew. Kelsey calls, she doesn't have the IPASS transponder and has to take the Tollway to Wendy's. Just pretend like you have it. We'll deal with it later.
Finally, I get back and pick up the pup. Several stitches. He was a good patient. Just a local anesthetic was all he needed. Shaved leg. It looks pretty gross. But he is comical in his Elizabethean Collar. Just call him reverse cone head. He doesn't get that he can't fit through small spaces now. He keeps running into things. It would be funnier if I didn't feel so badly for him. And my wallet. $200.00 bucks later - which included said collar and antibiotics - we are on our way home. Carissa calls. Her flight has been delayed for an hour and a half. For this I fought traffic and drove like crazy to get her there???? She won't get home now until 12:30. AM. Oh, shoot, I forgot my sheets are in the washer. The ones Cairo bled all over. No big deal I guess. I can't go to work tomorrow, I have to babysit the dog.....
Monday, November 05, 2007
Sorry, for the lack of blogging lately. I have a GOOD excuse. Really. Carissa came home for a visit on Thursday and she is here until tomorrow....It was fun to have her home, and to finally get caught up on life at Gordon. She got to spend time with her boyfriend, as well as several other friends over the weekend. We took Carissa and Andy out to dinner on Friday, and she got to surprise her Via Christus friends on Sunday. Plus she did get to stop by the high school and see rehearsal for the fall play since she won't be home next weekend to see it. We managed to sneak in a little shopping - for long sleeved shirts and boots - on Saturday. So it has been fun, but busy and tiring. And I haven't been reading, or thinking any deep thoughts..... so I have nothing to write about. She's leaving tomorrow, and the house will be quiet again and back to normal - whatever that is....