If We Were Having Coffee…2/10/19

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Welcome, friend! Our coffee date again finds us battling a cold, blustery morning. The roads were pretty icy this morning, my husband barely made it home from the night shift. Come in and let’s grab a warm beverage!

Our temps continue to bounce between 40’s and 50’s (F) and subarctic. Everyone has upper respiratory junkiness and I’m convinced the yo-yo weather is a big factor in that. We got an awful dose of freezing rain last night, though the temps should climb above freezing today and melt it away. It’s an all-too-familiar scenario, happening over and over the last couple of weeks. To say that I am OVER this winter is an understatement.

Our refrigerator died this week. It started with the freezer (we have a side-by-side). We noticed things weren’t quite frozen. But the refrigerator side seemed okay. So we bought a new one (and that was quite the unexpected expense!) and didn’t worry too much when the store told us it wouldn’t be delivered until this coming Wednesday. We’ll be okay for a week, we thought. Well, that very night the refrigerator side went out also (and yes my husband tinkered around with it to try and fix it, to no avail). Luckily, we aren’t home much and my parents down the street have a spare that we can use for essentials. But we still are going to have to throw out and replace a lot of food.  And of course, the new fridge is coming the day before we leave for our ski trip. Like I need anything else to stress about during an already-busy week!

In preparation for the ski trip, we put new tires on my car on Friday. One of my old tires had a little warp so it made this annoying noise. The new tires are fabulous and the car rides so quietly now. You know you are firmly in adulthood when things like new tires bring you so much joy!

My kids are super excited for the ski trip to Wisconsin. My older daughter has been there before. This will be the first time for my younger one. She has been talking non-stop about it for weeks. She’s been trying on her new gear (thank you, Amazon!) every night. I’m excited for her. We are taking a total of ten girls… eight high school Freshmen and two middle-schoolers. Wish me luck!

Before I run off to do laundry and check things off my pre-trip to-do list, tell me all about your week…

And stop in to grab a cup with the other Weekend Coffee Share participants here. Thanks to our host, Eclectic Alli!

 

Weekend Rewind 3/6/16

weekendrewindrevised

It’s time for Weekend Rewind – my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

Two signs that the weather is getting warmer in my little world: 1) my garage door doesn’t stick in the morning and 2) my seat warmers don’t come on automatically

We have a two-car garage. The opener on my side is ancient and in desperate need of replacement. When it is below a certain temperature (about 32 by my estimation) and I hit the button to open the door, it opens about 3 inches and stops. Then I have to hit the button again and the door closes and reopens. If it is super cold, the mechanism may stick twice – requiring three button pushes. So my kids and I have jokingly referring to days as one-push days (warm), two-push days (cold) and the dreaded three-push days (so cold you might as well go back to bed). I can’t tell you how glad I am to see the start of one-push season. (Sidenote: The opener on my husband’s side is newer. The light works when you open the door and the mechanism doesn’t stick. It’s paradise on that side. He keeps offering to switch sides with me. I refuse because I used to use that side. There is a tree at the edge of the driveway on that side and you have to back around it when you exit the garage. If you back straight out you will hit it – I know this because I have hit that damn tree twice. So I stay on the other side of the garage with an opener with no light that sticks in the cold weather.)

I bought my current car last October (after I totaled my other car). Given the mild start to our winter, it was sometime in January before I noticed that the driver’s seat warmer comes on automatically when you start the car if the outside temperature is low (again somewhere in the low to mid-30s). The first time I was a little alarmed because I couldn’t figure out why my bottom was getting so warm! Then I saw the little icon on my touch screen and when it repeated the next morning I figured it out (I am not a morning person, my brain moves slowly before 8am).

Last week was a stressful week for me. Things are not resolved so I don’t feel right divulging the details at the moment… but it has to do with a certain church (that I don’t even belong to) and it’s stance against a certain youth group with which I am heavily involved. I hate confrontation but I hate injustice even more. When kids are involved, the mama bear instinct tends to come out in full force. So while I wanted to avoid the whole mess, I just couldn’t. Have you ever been thrust into the middle of a dilemma that just seems wrong on so many levels? Have you ever just wanted to go to the people in charge and shake them and give them a piece of your mind? Make them see that the only ones they are hurting are the ones they say they are trying to protect? My instinct is to fight but I know deep down that it will be useless. I feel so powerless.

On a brighter note, tonight is our annual Girl Scout banquet. All of the troops in our town (service unit) attend. There is a catered dinner and leader recognition and most importantly, girl recognition. The troops perform skits and things get all kinds of silly. This year’s theme is Scouting Around the World. Each troop was to pick a country and plan their table decorations and skit around that country. Our troop picked Egypt. The whole reason is because we wanted to do a skit with Walk Like an Egyptian (for my younger readers: Bangles, 1980’s – you must youtube it). Skit is set in a museum and the mummies and Egyptian statues come to life and dance to the iconic pop song. The girls are totally into it and have worked really hard on it. I can’t wait, it is going to be epic.

I went to a party on Saturday and actually had a good time. My husband made me go because he wants to be couple friends with his coworker and her husband. To say that I did not want to attend this party would be a gross understatement. I tried to think of every excuse known to man to get out of it. Introverts, you understand me. Luckily, everything went well. I feel like an elementary schooler that deserves a ribbon: “I played nice with others!” or “I was social today!”

Have a good week, everyone!

Weekend Rewind 2/21/16

weekendrewindrevised

It’s time for Weekend Rewind – my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

Nothing like a little Monday morning edition of Weekend Rewind (i.e. my weekend was too busy and went too quickly).

First I want to say happy 12th birthday to my daughter, Kiera! She had a great birthday weekend. I took her shopping and we had cake and ice cream with the family. She picked up some crafty things – a giant wooden “K” to paint and put on her wall, a small chest to stain and some fabric. She is also the proud new owner of a Betta fish. His (or her? Who knows?) name is Peacock, since his coloring is reminiscent of peacock feathers. We got the fish along with a small easy-cleaning tank system that is staying in her bedroom. This will be the first pet that is completely hers that she is 100% responsible for. God speed, Peacock.

Now I just have to plan her “friend party.” She doesn’t ask for much, she just wants to invite her couple closest friends and go into the city to a pizza/gaming center and have a sleepover. It just means that I have to talk to parents. I try really hard not to let my social anxiety affect my kids, but the more social they get, the harder it gets for me. I’ve been meaning to call one particular mom for a couple of weeks and I just keep putting it off.

On a more somber note, my chiropractor died over the weekend. He went into the city Friday and he was to spend the night at a friend’s house and then attend a medical conference on Saturday. He didn’t make it to either engagement. I found out on Saturday that he was missing and obsessively played out all kinds of foul play scenarios in my head. He was found on Sunday in his car (in a store parking lot) dead of an apparent heart attack. He wasn’t particularly old (in his 50s) and he was in pretty good shape so this was unexpected. I have been so sad about this since I found out. He was a gentle and personable man. When I threw my back out last spring and hobbled into his office scared and in awful pain, he was so kind and helpful. He has been treating my dad for years. You will be greatly missed, Dr. Bert.

Look what I found right after Valentine’s Day (!):

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Finally! And then this weekend, I found these:

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“What are these?!” I said incredulously as I plucked them off the shelf. WHITE mini-eggs. These are new! So, of course, I had to try them. They are filled with white chocolate so you must like that type of chocolate to enjoy these. I was both excited and apprehensive to try these newbies because my mini-egg addiction is bordering on out of control and I was hesitant to make it worse. They are… okay. I find the white chocolate to be richer and therefore I couldn’t eat as many in a sitting (which is not necessarily a bad thing). While I do like these, I don’t think I will buy them again. I am a mini-egg purist, so I prefer the originals (to the dismay of my waistline). Note to the Cadbury people: Nice try. I appreciate the attempt to branch out, but stick with what works. My original advice stands: expand the original product to more holidays!

Tomorrow is Girl Scout cookie delivery day. I am taking the day off work to sort and organize hundreds of cases of cookies. Wish me luck.

Have a great week, everyone!

 

Weekend Rewind 2/14/16

weekendrewindrevised

It’s time for Weekend Rewind – my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

First things first… THE WALKING DEAD! GAH! OK, I will post no spoilers here but if you are a fan and haven’t seen tonight’s episode then run to your dvr and watch it NOW. It is seriously one of the best episodes of the series. It is intense, amazing, inspiring. Daryl is a total badass, Rick goes bat shit crazy, people die, our favorites band together to take a stand. Ah, just go watch.

Second… happy Valentine’s Day! Like with most holidays, I count my blessings today. I realized today, as I scrolled through my facebook feed, how many of my friends were in pain today due to divorce, loss or loneliness. My husband and I are not big celebrators of V-Day, but we did watch The Walking Dead together (seriously, go watch that episode!). My children, though, poured their little hearts out in homemade valentines and cards and drawings. They are just so full of love. I happily soak in every ounce of it (and thank my lucky stars).

Unfortunately, winter arrived this week. We have had more snow in the past seven days than we have had all winter. We didn’t get much at a time, but just enough to mess up the commute. Several days. Then this morning we woke up to several inches again. As stressed out as I have been, I have managed to get back and forth safely all week. By the end of this coming week we are supposed to be back in the 60’s so *fingers crossed* I am hoping winter is almost over.

My older daughter turns 12 in eight days. Eight days. Wow. I remember bringing a tiny six-pound bundle from the hospital all those years ago. I was just worried about keeping her alive then. Now she is a tween and I worry about so much more. I worry about helping her navigate the crazy world of middle school and hormones to become a good person who will grow into a happy, well-adjusted adult. She is an awesome kid but I wish she wasn’t growing up so fast.

The girls and I had a movie night last night and we watched Maleficent (at Caitlin’s request). We’ve seen it before, it is one of our favorites. I love how it shows that there are two sides to every story and not all villains are as evil as they seem.

Have a great upcoming week, everyone!

Weekend Rewind 2/7/16

weekendrewindrevised

It’s time for Weekend Rewind – my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

Happy Superbowl Sunday!

It has been a long, hard week here. The stomach flu virus slowly made it’s way through our entire family. My husband got sick Monday morning and I got sick Monday afternoon. We were puking twinsies. We spent the day at home Tuesday recuperating. Tuesday morning at 1 am, my younger daughter got sick. She missed two days of school. My older daughter was the final holdout. Friday morning at 3 am, it struck her, too. Since my kids spend so much time at my parents’ house, I worried for them also. My mom got sick last night.

It has definitely been one of those weeks where the only goal is survival. My house is kind of a wreck and only minimal tasks have gotten done.

Then, on Thursday a wonderful thing happened. I got a box in the mail from my good friend, Violet (less stuff, more living). I opened it up and saw..

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Yes! Cadbury mini-eggs! She was able to find some locally and sent some to me. What an awesome friend.

So far today has been about the Superbowl. We are getting lots of food ready: chilli, chilli dip, dill dip, meatballs, subs, wings, potato salad. My kids are making cookies right now. But it’s not just about food. It should be an interesting game. Go Broncos!

Have a great upcoming week, everyone!

Weekend Rewind 1/31/16

weekendrewindrevised

It’s time for Weekend Rewind – my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

Two weeks until the return of the Walking Dead, everyone! February 14th! Is there something else going on that day? It sounds familiar. I have a hot date with Daryl Dixon that night and that’s all I’m focused on.

We are currently on Flu Watch 2016. My husband came home this morning after pulling the night shift at the nursing home and said that the flu is sweeping through the facility. He wore a mask and washed his hands obsessively but we all know how viruses work. It’s a matter of time. I armed myself with Lysol and went to battle around the house – faucets, handles, light switches all sanitized. I preached soap and hand sanitizer to the kids. I won’t go down without a fight.

I continue to stalk my local stores for Cadbury mini eggs. I am still egg-less. Cadbury execs, you really should market them for all holidays and not just Easter. I know you also release them at Christmas (though I had a hard time finding them this year – and thank you to my good friend, Violet, for sending me some!) so I know you get the idea. You could make pink/red/white ones for Valentine’s Day. Red, white and blue for Fourth of July. Orange and Black for Halloween. It’s an easy concept, the M&M people have figured it out. Take notes from the Peeps people, also. Get cracking, Cadbury. #Minieggsallyearlong

My older daughter, Kiera, is quite crafty. She got a sewing machine and sewing basket full of goodies for Christmas. She has made several things. She also loves youtube craft and DIY videos. Yesterday she made dominoes out of construction paper and also an arrow shooter with which to knock them down. Then she made a cool origami bird.

Speaking of my kids… there is a lot of sibling rivalry between my two girls. They bicker a lot and they are always making sure that one doesn’t get more or do more than the other. For example, if I ask them to throw some trash away, all hell breaks loose if one has more pieces of trash than the other (and don’t think that I don’t take advantage of this when it is housework time). Being an only child, this is a foreign concept to me and honestly, it drives me a bit bonkers. My husband, the oldest of three children, assures me this is normal sibling behavior. Yesterday, we were making cookies. After mixing the dough, I gave them each a beater to lick (yes, I am THAT mom that risks salmonella to let my kids act like kids). The little one was standing next to me and I reached over and stole a little bit of dough off of her beater as a joke (and because raw cookie dough is the bomb). Cue jealousy from older daughter. She actually whined, “No fair! Take some dough from me, too!”

Anyone excited for the Superbowl next weekend? I don’t have a horse in that race so I’m more excited about the snacks and the commercials than the actual game. I am kind of iffy about the halftime show. Coldplay is okay but then they added Beyonce. I’m probably in the minority but I’ve never been a fan of hers. So tell me, are you rooting for Denver or Carolina?

Have a great week, everyone!

 

 

 

Weekend Rewind 1/17/16

weekendrewindrevised

It’s time for Weekend Rewind – my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

January has been hectic, friends. My husband has a new work schedule which has taken some adjustment. The kids are always busy. My work has a life of its own. Stress has stealthily moved in, unpacked its bags and become quite the unwelcome guest. I have been taking some time and distance, trying to set things right in my own home and fortify relationships.

We saw the new Star Wars movie recently (in 3D, which I highly recommend) and I absolutely adored it. As a casual fan of the franchise, I have to say J.J. Abrams scored a home run. I was so impressed with Daisy Ridley (Rey). Rey reminds me so much of my antagonist in my current WIP (or at least how I imagine her to be).

St. Louis is no longer dealing with flood waters but we are now saddened by the loss of our Rams. The NFL team owner, Stan Kroenke (or StanK, as we call him here), finally got his way and moved the team back to Los Angeles. StanK never really wanted to be in St. Louis and has done nothing to ingratiate himself to this city or the fans. We supported the team whole-heartedly, like St. Louis sports fans do, and loved them despite their dismal play in recent years. We continued to fill the seats even when the team was nothing but a big bunch of suck. When StanK started talking about moving back to L.A., St. Louis responded by putting together a proposal for a billion dollar stadium. In the end, none of it mattered. StanK wants to be in the land of sun and money and celebrities so he can line his pockets with more dough. He is even spending his own money to build a new stadium in L.A. I’m sure that the Rams will do well there at first. They will be the shiny new toy. But if they continue to suck (and they probably will), they will lose their luster and the L.A. fans will quit supporting them (like they did 20+ years ago when their then-owner brought them to St. Louis. Irony much?). In St. Louis, we are moving on and shaking off StanK’s terrible lies and accusations and looking forward to the beginning of baseball season.

It is the freaking middle of January and we still have our Christmas tree up.

Our local store had a tiny display of Cadbury Easter candy earlier this week. Normally I hate when stores put out holiday candy two or three months before said holiday, however Easter = Cadbury mini eggs = my weakness. I am craving those things something fierce. The display only had the tiny bags (single serving bags? What the devil?!) so I bought a couple, hoping that the bigger bags would be on the shelves in a few days. I was at the store today and the display is gone and there is no Easter candy. None. There is just Valentine’s Day candy. What fresh hell is this? Was the small display just a teaser? I am now stalking this store and as soon as the mini eggs hit the shelves I am stocking up.

Lastly, this week brought the sad news of the passing of Alan Rickman. He was a true chameleon, a talented and versatile actor. From Dogma to Die Hard to Harry Potter (and so many others), he never failed to portray his character perfectly. I will probably most remember him for Severus Snape, such a complex and heartbreaking character. He brought a little bit of magic to the screen. Always.

Have a wonderful upcoming week, everyone!

Weekend Rewind 1/3/16

weekendrewindrevised

It’s time for Weekend Rewind – my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

It’s my first Weekend Rewind of 2016! Happy New Year to all! Whether you rang in the new year out on the town or at home in your pj’s, I hope that you celebrated in a way that made you happy. My new year’s eve was pretty typical. I watched movies with my girls all evening. My husband worked until 10 pm so he joined us then. My kids were able to stay up until midnight and we watched the countdown on tv. Quiet, casual and just the people that I love the most – perfect.

Our rivers have crested and the flood waters have receded considerably. All major interstates are open in St. Louis so my commute tomorrow should be uneventful (not that I want to go, I absolutely do not). In my neck of the woods, we had a couple of levee breeches and our local bridge to Illinois is still closed. Things are improving quickly, though.

My husband started working at the nursing home again in October. He works a lot of hours and he is on his feet his entire 8 hour shift (or 16 when he pulls doubles). He also does a lot of lifting. As a result, he has lost a lot of weight. He was about 220 lbs when he started and he is about 185 now. He also recently started going back to the gym and training. I can really notice the difference, he looks great. I am really proud of him. He has type 1 diabetes and he is 41 years old. Getting in shape is very important for his health. Since he started taking Adderall last year, I have seen a focus and motivation in him that I never saw before. This has now extended to his fitness. As happy as I am for him, I wish some of his determination would transfer to me. I am just hoping that my pants fit tomorrow morning after my holiday foodapalooza. I am not a resolution person, but I do want to find an exercise program that I can successfully follow (and stick with) given my back and joint pain. I am researching yoga.

We had our girl scout cookie kickoff today. This is the annual event to get the girls excited and ready to start selling cookies. Our sales start Friday (1/8). We had a great turnout so it was successful. Cookie time as a girl scout leader is stressful. I dread it every year. It is our main fundraiser, though, so it is a necessary evil. I do love those cookies. I need to start calculating how many squats I need to do to burn off 20 boxes of thin mints.

Speaking of cookies, my older daughter made cake mix cookies Saturday completely by herself. She mixed them, dropped them on the cookie sheet, baked them and put them on wax paper to cool. She even washed the dishes and wiped the counter. I love that she wants to do things like this and I love the confidence that it gives her. She is a talented young lady. She made a second batch on Sunday and got creative by putting rolos in the middle. If anyone is interested, here is how to make Kiera’s famous cake mix cookies: Mix one box of cake mix (flavor of your choosing), 1/3 cup vegetable oil and 2 eggs. Form dough into one-inch balls and roll in sugar. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 (325 for dark or nonstick pans) for 9-11 minutes.

Have a great upcoming week, everyone!

 

Weekend Rewind 12/27

weekendrewindrevised

It’s time for Weekend Rewind – my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

So, I saw this when I logged onto Facebook today:

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Thanks, Facebook. Like I’m not completely aware that I haven’t posted in six days and am probably a huge disappointment to whatever readers I may have. You are so helpful. And actually (and perhaps unfortunately), people who like Amie Writes know that six days is not “a while.” It’s more like status quo.

Having said that, I have been thinking of ways to change things up around here. Amie Writes has become more of a traditional blog and less of the creative writing space that I intended. I would like to see more fiction and poetry in 2016. Since I’m the only one that can make that happen, I am working on that plan.

I sincerely hope that everyone reading this had a wonderful holiday. Ours was blissful, full of family, food and relaxation. And rain, but I won’t complain. Christmas morning my little family opened gifts at home and then headed over to my parents’ house down the street for round two. Even though I try to emphasize it, I really don’t think my kids realize how lucky they are (and I’m not really talking about the number of gifts they got to open).

My younger daughter got a starter bow and arrow set. She has an interest in archery, but being seven years old, she needs some instruction and practice. My father is a master archer, he hunts with a bow and arrow and also shoots competitively. His basement is full of trophies. I am hoping that this will be a bonding experience for the two of them. I am also hoping that the bow and arrow and the soccer ball she also received will balance out the tablet that my parents gave her. My older daughter got a sewing machine and a sewing basket full of fabric and supplies. These were gifts from my mother whose sewing skills are unparalleled. My mother tried to teach me when I was Kiera’s age but I failed miserably, obviously devoid of the gene that bestows sewing talent. Kiera, however, shows promise. She is also very eager to learn, excited about her upcoming projects. Again, I hope this will be a bonding experience for them. My kids, of course, got many other gifts, but these are the ones that warmed my heart.

I swear I have gained five pounds in the last few days. We have had so much good food: ham, sweet potatoes, corn casserole, dill dip (our family favorite) and, of course, sweets. So. much. chocolate. I’ve also drank my fair share of Captain Morgan Parrot Bay with strawberry flavor. In fact, I may be drinking it as we speak (or type, whatever). I saw it in the store and being a huge Captain Morgan fan, I had to give it a try. It was a good decision.

I think we have watched Christmas Vacation five times in the last two weeks. We love it so much. We also had several showings of The Grinch (the original animated one, not the Jim Carey movie version).

I can’t believe that my first five-day break is over and I have to go back to work tomorrow. Luckily, I work two days and get another five-day weekend. Why does a five-day vacation go by 100 times faster than a five-day workweek??

Like I said earlier, I am thinking about how to redirect Amie Writes for 2016. I have been hoarding writing prompts on Pinterest and I definitely want to share more fiction in the new year. That is the whole reason why I started this blog. With my commute, I have a lot of time to contemplate plots and characters – which is great – but I am trying to figure out how to convert that into more actual writing.

My newest interest is bullet journaling and I am working on getting myself organized and ready to start a new bullet journal on January 1st. This is basically combining your calendar, to-do lists and journaling in one place. Again, I have been hoarding ideas on Pinterest. Stay tuned. If this works out, I will be posting about it in January.

Happy New Year and have a great upcoming week, everyone!

 

 

 

Weekend Rewind 12/20/15

weekendrewindrevised

Weekend Rewind is  my weekly casual post to chat and catch up. No prompts, no rules – anything goes.

Let’s get random…

I haven’t posted in two weeks. I’m sorry that I missed Weekend Rewind last week. I actually did start the post last Sunday night and then a power surge knocked out our internet. So I tried but was foiled by an act of God. So I spent the evening watching a marathon of Impractical Jokers. Then I thought I could finish the post the next morning. But the next morning was Monday and work was very busy. Monday turned into Tuesday and I just gave up.

Things have been more hectic as we get closer to Christmas. Amazingly, I did finish my shopping. I started at brick and mortar stores and finished up online. Amazon is magic, a modern-day wizard that can conjure up my every wish and desire. All gifts have arrived and my only remaining task is wrapping.

I had a glorious day off last week for my younger daughter’s school holiday program. I look forward to this every December. This year, the second graders were rock-and-roll-snowmen. The other grades were pirates, kids in pajamas and hip-hop reindeer. It was an adorable program with lots of energetic songs and choreography. I also got to attend her classroom party that day, gaining a new appreciation for anyone who teaches young children for a living without becoming an alcoholic.

Last night we took the kids out driving around town to look at Christmas lights. We have a local house that does an over-the-top display that draws a lot of visitors. He has a ton of lights and unique inflatables. He even comes out and greets the cars dressed as Santa and gives the kids candy canes. We also saw several houses with the Light Shower display – the thing that just projects lights onto your house. It is simplistic genius and I think we may have to look into getting one next year.

Last night was a clear night so we were actually able to see the stars (which we haven’t been able to do much lately). I was able to easily spot my favorite constellation, Orion.

My girls are having a music battle on their electronic devices. One is playing Adele and the other is playing Florida Georgia Line.

I feel like the only person in the US that hasn’t seen the new Star Wars movie.

I only have four workdays left in 2015… two this week and two next week. Bliss.

Have a great week, everyone and Happy Holidays!