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November 28, 2014
8:21am EST

Rated: 18+ | Book | Other | #1910861
walk into the blue mist, drench yourself in the sapphire rain...
  Just like raindrops join to create a cleansing shower, so my words intertwine to bring you my thoughts and feelings in the form of a blog. When the storm is over, you have puddles to reflect and remember what has just passed.

Pull on your rainboots and take a walk, jump some puddles.
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April 8, 2013 at 7:27pm
April 8, 2013 at 7:27pm
4/8 Another Manic Monday!
Prompt for April 8, 2013: What is your favorite and/or least favorite day of the week?

During the school year I would have to say that Mondays are my least favorite. Sometimes it is tough to get back into the swing of the work week after a delicious weekend off. I tend to be a night owl and often stay up later on Friday and Saturday nights than I should. Sunday nights are my worst sleeping nights. Occasionally I have to take Melatonin or Zzzquill to help me fall asleep. The students often don't feel like working on Mondays - especially after a week break. UGH! I'm glad I wasn't in the classroom today when at least one of the kids felt he shouldn't have to do any work because it was "too hard" to switch from a week of school, to a week off, to being back to school. OH that boy!

My second least favorite day is any day that has the feel and stench of a Monday, but isn't really a Monday.

Saturdays are by far the best! Even better now that the warm weather is seeping back in (until this weekend when temps are supposed to plunge 40-50 degrees) Bah!!!

HOWEVER, let me say that every day that I'm above ground and I can breath is a wonderful day!!! =)
April 4, 2013 at 6:06pm
April 4, 2013 at 6:06pm
Prompt for April 4, 2013: April is National Poetry Month - Write about what poetry means to you.

I find poetry much more difficult to write than prose. There are too many rules that you have to follow about syllables and rhyme schemes. Then there is the flow - it has to flow - I can't remember which rule that is.

I used to write poetry in late high school and college. Those were my dark years, filled with depression and trying to figure out who I was and how I fit into the world. Some of my poems were decent, some if it was just crap. But it was always filled to the brim with emotion. It was okay to yell and scream and cuss in a poem when I couldn't do it out loud. If I'd spoke the words it would have seemed like the cry for help that it really was.

I have a difficult time reading other peoples poetry most of the time. Even though I'm a pretty person who often feels empathy and sympathy for others, I can't always pull it from a poem. Maybe it's because their words are too personal. *shakes her head* I really don't know.

I tried writing poetry when I was in happier moods - that's when it really sounded like crap. Fake. Forced. I think I still feel emotions. Or maybe life has made me numb.
April 3, 2013 at 8:01pm
April 3, 2013 at 8:01pm
4/3/13 Strings and Rings
Prompt: Hold your hands out in front of you, palms down. Imagine that you have a total of six strings tied around your fingers. Write about the objects that are dangling from the strings.

*Noteb* Left Pinky: Attached to this string would be a very small cornucopia. You know this saying: She has more ____ in her little finger than he does in his whole body. The cornucopia is a symbol for abundance. When I am giving thanks for all my blessings, I also throw out to the universe that I have an abundance of many great things (love, health, happiness, patience, finances, peace/tranquility, love of life). What better reminder of my abundance than a cornucopia. Did you know: The Cornucopia (Latin, ‘horn of plenty’), a spiraling, woven basket overflowing with an abundance of produce, is an ever-present symbol of harvest prosperity. The symbol dates back to an ancient tale of the Nymph Amalthea, who, as a reward from the infant Zeus for a meal of Goat’s milk, was given an enchanted goat’s horn which gave whatever one wished for. The cornucopia became a ubiquitous symbol of fortune and plenty, and was associated with many Goddesses, including Fortuna, the goddess of good fortune, and Ceres, Goddess of agriculture.

*Noter* Left Ring Finger: Attached to this string would be a photograph of my daughter. This is a constant reminder that my daughter is of utmost importance to me - she's my heart. Did you know: before medical science discovered how the circulatory system functioned, people believed that a vein of blood ran directly from the third finger on the left hand to the heart. Because of the hand-heart connection, they chose the descriptive name vena amori, Latin for the vein of love, for this particular vein.

*Noteg* Left Middle: Attached to this string would be a notebook. A place to write down thoughts, ideas, dreams, criticisms, to-do lists, and observations. I can write whatever I like, regardless of what anyone else thinks. Want to be mean and disrespectful when you read someone you don't agree with, then my notebook is attached to the correct finger to give you my nonverbal response. Did you know: In Western countries, extending the middle finger (either on its own, or along with the index finger in the United Kingdom) is an offensive and obscene gesture, colloquially known as "flipping the bird",[1] "flipping someone off", or simply "giving the finger". The gesture is usually used as a form of insult to the person it is directed to.

*Noteo* Left index finger: Attached to this string would be my iPod shuffle. I love my music - so many songs to listen to, so many delicious voices caressing my ears. This is the appropriate finger for my iPod because like music the index finger is very important. Did you know: the index finger is usually the most dextrous and sensitive finger of the hand.

*Notev* Left thumb: Attached to my thumb would be a very small drum. The drum is a reminder that it's okay to be yourself, to be different, to march to the beat of your own drum. The thumb is different than our other digits as it is the only one that is opposable. Did you know: Primatologists and hand research pioneers J. Napier and P. Napier defined opposition as: "A movement by which the pulp surface of the thumb is placed squarely in contact with - or diametrically opposite to - the terminal pads of one or all of the remaining digits."

and lastly...

*Noteb* Right ring finger: This string would hang from a ring and from the string would be a blue ink pen that wrote beautifully. I write more neatly with blue ink than any other color - well, when writing with ball point pens that is. I've found a couple of blank ink pens that wrote like the words were just flowing from my mind to the paper with nothing in between. Did you know: When a right-handed person wears rings, the left hand is the yin and the right hand is the yang. A ring on the yin hand represents receiving a certain skill or trait. A ring on the yang hand represents giving those skills or traits to others. For a left-handed individual, the right hand is the yin and the left hand is the yang. Read more: Meaning of Rings on Fingers |
April 2, 2013 at 7:59pm
April 2, 2013 at 7:59pm
4/2/13 A couple of first for the second
The April 2, 2013 prompt for "30-Day Blogging Challenge" is
Write about your first school dance, first date, or first friend.

First school dance - I believe it was 6th grade. I still felt sorta new to the school having arrived in 5th grade. It was a small town and people don't move into it or out of it often. After 20 years we were still considered "new" by some of the folks who'd been born and bred there for many generations. I believe I had a crush on a kid named Derek at the time. He was kinda tall and skinny and probably didn't have a clue that I liked him. If you asked him today (and you could, he's one of my facebook friends) if he knew I had a crush on him, he'd probably tell you that you were crazy. LOL! Today he's still tall, but the skinny boy from 6th grade has disappeared. He's grown into a hulk of a man who loves his Harley.

First date - Hmmm... I honestly couldn't tell ya. *ponders* I didn't date much in high school. Can ya tell? I guess maybe my Junior Prom was my first real date. I went with my best guy friend, Erich. We double dated with another one of my friends, Chad. We went out for steak dinner before prom and had a good time at the dance. I had the biggest crush on Erich - always have and probably always will. A few years ago I attended my class reunion and Erich was there (even though he graduated the year after me) - the reunion was held at a bar and grill in our hometown. Yeah, we know how to party. *rolls her eyes* Anyway, my Erich was a bit tipsy at the time. He bought my drinks the rest of the night. At one point told me he loved me - always had and always would and then he kissed me. All I could think was - I've waited a long, long time for this. However, there are parts of my life he wasn't willing to accept. Like I said, we lived in a very small, country town.... my daughter being bi-racial didn't fit into his narrow-minded way of thinking. I still care about him, probably still love him. Given the opportunity I wish I could convince him that he would be better served with a broader belief system, but I think he's too stuck to even try. Occasionally I think about the "what-if's", but most of the time I just let sleeping dogs lie. [Odd side note: Erich's sister married Derek from the 'first school dance']
April 1, 2013 at 10:55am
April 1, 2013 at 10:55am
4/1/13 - April Fools Day
Prompt: Today is April Fool's day... Find out a bit about Tom Fool and the History behind April Fool's Day then tell us about the best prank you ever pulled or ever had pulled on you.

The best prank I ever pulled would have to be just a year or so ago. Gotta love social media for its quick access to the masses. I posted on Facebook that I'd had a phone interview with a school down in West Palm Beach, Florida and they were interested in hiring me. I put in my post that they would be contacting me soon to set up a face-to-face interview to hire me for the upcoming school year.

I had dozens of responses from people congratulating me on the initial interview and wishing me well for the second interview. I have friends in West Palm Beach and they were thrilled. They even offered to let me stay with them during my second interview.

Sadly, it was all a ruse and I had to eventually share that I didn't really have either interview. I think the worst part was having to tell myself that it wasn't true. =(
April 1, 2013 at 8:23am
April 1, 2013 at 8:23am
April 1, 2013

Dating Websites

I've joined more than one of these dating websites. They are almost more depressing than just being alone. For starters, I really hate writing about myself - at least the questions that they ask. If I had any idea what to say that attracted me, do you really think I would still be alone? I'm never sure what a guy wants to hear about. Looks? Personality? That I'll cook and clean for him?? That I'm independent and don't need him? Yeah, none of that seems to work. Do they want serious? Witty? *shakes head* I just don't know. And then I look at the people they match me with and I wonder if they paid ANY attention to how I answered the questions to begin with.

Once this beautiful man responded to one of my 'ads'. He was adorable and after reading about him I was super intrigued. Intelligent, liked to travel, had his own business, had gone to college, liked kids and family was a priority. Sounded wonderful so I started corresponding with him. His words to me were beautiful and made me feel so good about myself. I thought about him day and night. I kept wondering, though, what this amazing man saw in me. It was there, that itch, in the back of my mind. The itch grew to a clawing when I began to notice that he wouldn't answer personal questions... that he was avoiding certain topics.

My guardian angels, or God, or someone, was looking out for me. While showering one morning this voice entered my head - it wasn't my thoughts, though I know that is hard to believe - and told me to look up Nigerian scams on the internet. That's pretty specific. I quickly ended my shower and headed to my computer. There, on the pages of a website about Nigerian Scams, I found my beautiful Antonio.... I found the words he had written to me - verbatum. Antonio wasn't truly Antonio - there WAS not Antonio. There was, however, an evil, evil person sitting in a cubicle in Nigeria spewing love and caring to hundreds, maybe thousands of women. Eventually he would have asked me for money to help with one problem or another - a sick father in many of the previous letters he'd sent to others.

My heart was broken. I felt a rejection that wasn't even real. I felt stupid for believing that someone like this man could be smitten with me. I felt sick to my stomach that some outfit in Nigeria was doing this to thousands of people - men and women - and some were so desperate to be loved that they would actually send the money. After reading more on the website and a few other places I found that Nigeria doesn't stop this sort of fraud from taking place. Sometimes they are even in on the action taking a cut of the money. It's sickening. It's evil. Playing on the emotions and basic need for love that is inate in all of us.

I am fortunate that I had someone watching over me. At the same time I felt another wall go up around me. Another layer of brick stacked on top that keeps me from trusting others. How thick can the walls around that part of your heart get? The right person will help knock them down.... he'll be willing to scale the walls and find my heart hidden inside with it's scratches and bruises and tattered bandaids. True love will mend my heart and will help me put it on display for all to see instead of keeping it behind the battle walls.
March 30, 2013 at 10:23am
March 30, 2013 at 10:23am
3/30/13 - Serial Experience - Part II
Serial Experience – Part Two!

Prompt for March 30, 2013

Recall a short anecdote from your daily life this past month. It can have a moral or not, be humorous or mundane, it doesn’t matter. On the first day (yesterday), write the story from your point of view. On the second day (today), write the story from the perspective of an inanimate object or animal which was present in the previous entry

Part II: Goodbye, Cold Cruel World

Wednesday March 20, 2013 11:59 PM

My dearest Diary, you do know that I've loved you so much all these years. You are the best listener.

I fear my days are numbered; the end is coming soon. My breath is becoming sporadic and labored. I can feel a cold chill creeping into my insides. I'm scared. I don't want this to be the end. There's so much more that I should be able to do and be. But I just feel weak all over. And my girls, my girls have left me here alone. They are upset with me because I can't be the furnace they need me to be. I was hopeful when they came home after 5pm that they would stay with me through the night. They don't handle being cold well though. It's my own fault they left. Curse this stupid body! I think I will just try to sleep, not that sleep will come easily, but I must try. God, please don't let this be the end of me. Goodnight, Diary, and if I don't wake tomorrow, I love you Diary.

Thursday March 21, 2013 8:00 PM

Yo Diary!! What's up!?

Do you see this? It's like a brand new me! Oh, I've not felt this alive in ages! My girl called the doctor to come check on me. I did my best to show him I could live, that I wanted to live. He zapped me a little and I blasted my heat like I knew I could. Then, though, he said something wasn't right! He said I needed to have my heat exchanger replaced. I was worried. I wasn't sure if they'd be able to find a donor in time to save me. The heavens be thanked there was a replacement close by.

They put me under and took out the part that was cracked and bad. Then they put my new one in and put me back together. It took two doctors and a few hours to get it done, but look at me now! I feel all warm and fuzzy inside and I can share that heat with my girls. Look how happy they are to be back here with me. I'm so glad the doctors were able to fix me. I wasn't read to die yet; wasn't ready to go to that big appliance warehouse in the sky.

Well, Dairy, gonna end here for the day. I have work to do. Gotta keep my girls snuggly warm. Goodnight, Diary.

March 29, 2013 at 4:15pm
March 29, 2013 at 4:15pm
3/29/2013 - Serial Experience - Part I
Serial Experience – Part One!

Prompt for March 29, 2013

Recall a short anecdote from your daily life this past month. It can have a moral or not, be humorous or mundane, it doesn’t matter. On the first day, write the story from your point of view. On the second day (tomorrow), write the story from the perspective of an inanimate object or animal which was present in the previous entry.

Part I: The Day the Furnace Died

Wednesday 3/20/2013 10:34PM

Dear Diary,

It all started before I had even opened my eyes this morning. The alarm went off at 5AM as usual and I rolled over to shut it off, as usual. Then I rolled back into my nice, comfy, warm spot in my nest of a bed. Morning arrives much too quickly. It's amazing how speedy those night time hours are when the ones that happen when the sun is up move so much slower. Anyway, back to being snuggly in bed. I took a deep breath in through my nose to wake myself up and realized that very moment that something was wrong. I took another long sniff of the air. Brrr... cold. SNIFFF!!! Yes, definitely colder than it should be. Not good. I rolled outta bed and immediately threw socks and sweats on. Turning on the light in the dining room I checked the thermostate. It's an older one - the round kind that you actually have to turn to change the temperature. It's set at 70, but the actual temperature is reading lower than that. Really NOT GOOD. I headed out to the back porch (unheated, no insulation, ACK!) and find that the furnace is out. Quickly I walked back inside to the thermostat. Turn it off, wait a couple of seconds, turn it back on. I heard the furnace start up! YES I thought! So I went back to the porch only to hear the furnace shut off before it could start blowing warm air through my house. CRAP! I pulled the filter out thinking perhaps it was past due to be changed. Nope - no problems there. I left it out, ran back in the house and tried the off, on trick again. No go. CRAP CRAP CRAP! All I could think was that I don't have time for this today - big meeting at work that I HAVE to attend, too early to call the repairmen, too cold to take a frickin' shower. *sighs*

Headed to the bathroom to see how bad sleeping had damaged my hair. Figured it would do for another day and that I would call the repairman as soon as I got home that afternoon. HA! Yeah right. *rolls eyes* Codi had practice afterschool and I had my meeting. Didn't leave school until around 4:45 which put us getting home around 5:15. Guess what time the heating place closed? Yeah, you guessed it: 5PM. *hangs head* Didn't get them called in time, but did leave them a message to let them know I would be calling the next morning. As Codi snuggled down into her big comforter I looked at the menacing thermostat again. It was down in the 50's with a cold front and snow coming overnight. REALLY??? I took a deep breath and called my parents who live just 10 minutes away to see if we can spend the night. Fortunately my parents are more than welcoming. I fixed some dinner and gathered everything we would need overnight while Codi packed her backpack for the next day. As soon as dinner was finished I called Peggy to let her know I wouldn't be at work the next day because of the blasted furnace.

So here I am, lying in bed in the room Codi and I shared for about 9 months after her dad kicked us out. The twin bed is covered with plastic because my niece with multiple disablities hasn't learned how to use the bathroom in the toilet yet and sometimes soaks through her diaper. This plastic liner is noisy and makes me feel uncomfortable. The pillow is not my pillow. I'm not going to get much sleep tonight, I can already tell. *sighs*

Well, Diary, Codi is trying to sleep so I need to turn off the light and let her get some rest. I will talk to you more tomorrow.

Thursday 3/21/2013 7:45PM

Hello again, Diary! Did you miss me? Ha!

Guess what?! I'm all snuggly warm again! Hooray! Let me tell you about it because I know you are dying to know! Getting ready for school/work at my parents' house is always a bit unnerving since we get up so early. I hate creeping around trying not to wake people up. We managed though and while dropping Codi off at school I stopped in my room to make sure things would go smoothly. I told them I hoped I would be back, but didn't really know since I hadn't gotten ahold of the repairmen the night before. While I'm clarifying instructions my phone sorta rings. Sorta because it didn't really ring, but went straight to voice mail. The wiring in the school hates my phone and I get zilcho service. Anyway - it was the furnace repair company calling back. AWESOME! I head home, but wait until I"m actually there to return the call. Two rings and Danny answers the phone. Unfortunately since they hadn't heard from me yet they'd sent all the fellas out to other work sites. =( He would be back in touch when one was available. Fantastic I say and prepare to wait. I pulled a sweatshirt on over my t-shirt, but still felt chilly so I grabbed a sweater and put it on, too. I rolled the Edenpure I borrowed from mom and dad over to the computer desk and turned it on full blast. Oh Yeah... Warmth! At least for the left side of my body; the right is still freezing. Have I told you lately, Dear Diary, that I really do not like being cold?? I decided I needed a blanket as well and wrapped my warm Mexican blanket around my shoulders.

An hour or so later the first repairman shows up. He heads back to the cold back porch, messes with it a bit, asks me to turn it on, and up the darn thing cranks. A tiny button - maybe 3/8 of an inch - needed to be pushed. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Then he says "Woah!!! THAT should NOT be happening!!!" At this point I feel my stomach lurch a bit because I'm thinking about the cost of that WOAH is going to be. He shows me the problem and tells me we really need to turn the furnace off again and that we HAVE to get it fixed because he can't let it run like it is. Heat exchanger he called it. He heads back out to his truck and calls the office. Eventually he comes back in and tells me the news. Plus side - the part is under warranty. Hooray!! Negative - Still going to cost $xxx. Ugh. Plus side - they've located the part and can fix it today before my kiddo needs to be picked up from track practice. YES! He leaves me there in the cold telling me someone else will be there later to fix it. Nice!

A couple of hours later there is another knock at the door - different fella (older, not nearly as cute as the first guy) is there to yank out the bad parts. I show him where the furnace is and the other door that he can use to come and go. I head back to my warm spot by the computer. I've gotten colder so I've added fingerless gloves and a hat that looks like a penguin. I'm sure I looked like a fool, but I really, really don't like being cold. An hour goes by and a 3rd fella walks into my kitchen. I jump a bit because I didn't know there was a third guy! He's cuter than the first two by far!! He washes his hands and says they are done. SWEET! He just grins at me and I realize I still have my gloves and penguin hat on. Delightful. I head out to the back porch so they can show me it's fixed and crank it up. Within moments they tell me to go open all my windows. I look at them with a crazy look. The older fella opens the door into the kitchen and smoke rolls out. OH NO!!! WHAT THE!!! He calms me by telling me it's because of how they package the part they installed. So I had to open all the darn windows. They left - didn't leave a bill, wouldn't take payment for what I was quoted. I work on fanning the smoke out of the house so I can close the windows. Eventually it's better and I shut the windows before heading to get Codi.

Now we're home and the house is warm and cozy. I've bumped up the temperature a few degrees in hopes it will heat up faster and I will warm back up. I really don't like being cold.
March 28, 2013 at 7:36pm
March 28, 2013 at 7:36pm
3/28/2013 Opinion Thursday - Dream On
It’s Opinion Thursday!

Prompt for March 28, 2013

Do you believe our dreams have a meaning or purpose? What is your opinion on dream interpretation? Have you ever tried to interpret your dreams?

I dream in color. Not everyone does. Some people dream in black and white.

The jury that rules over my mind is still out on the subject of whether or not dreams have meaning or purpose. I've heard that dreams are the minds way of working through and resolving issues that we have a difficult time processing through while awake. By interpreting the dreams we should be better able to handle the problem since we've gotten through some of the tougher parts of it while our ego stayed out of the situation. Sounds pretty good in theory.

I think it's interesting to check out dream dictionaries to see what certain things in my dreams mean. I don't put a lot of stock into it though, as there isn't a dictionary around that contains some of the weird stuff in my dreams. Sometimes the literal meaning of my dream is pretty obvious. I used to have tons of dreams where I was wandering around looking for something - though I have no idea WHAT I was looking for. (I think U2 sang a song about it!) Some of these dreams took place in huge maze-like mansions, some took place in cemeteries. But when you look at the big picture I was looking for something - probably means that I felt like something was missing in my life. Seems pretty common - a lot of us what some changes in our lives... we feel like if we just had that something everything would be great.

One of the oddest dreams I remember having was one about ghosts - used to have a lot of those, too. In this particular one a female ghost was floating above me as I was lying in bed. Kinda reminded me of the scene with Bill Murray from Ghost Busters where Sigorney Weaver is creepy and possessed... only this woman wasn't creepy. She sat three dice with unusual patterns on my headboard shelf, said something, and then was gone. I tried for days to figure out what the hell those dice meant and who the woman was. Never figured it out.

This has nothing to do with dream interpretation, but the worst dream experience I've ever had involved sleep paralysis. Many of you have probably heard of The Old Hag Syndrome. It felt like someone very powerful and heavy was trying to push me down through my mattress. I couldn't move, I couldn't make a sound, and had no way to fight it off. Very scary!! Dr. Max Hirshkowitz, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Veterans Administration Medical Center in Houston, says that sleep paralysis occurs when the brain is in the transition state between deep, dreaming sleep (known as REM sleep for its rapid eye movement) and waking up. During REM dreaming sleep, the brain has turned off most of the body's muscle function so we cannot act out our dreams - we are temporarily paralyzed.

So, it boils down to what a person wants to believe. Some will find meaning in their dreams. Some will just enjoy them for being different. Others will never remember a single one and profess till they reach the grave that they've never had a single one. If finding meaning helps the person, then by all means, let them believe it. However, if it drives them batty then perhaps they should find solutions elsewhere.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.
Edgar Allan Poe
March 27, 2013 at 6:18pm
March 27, 2013 at 6:18pm
3/27/2013 - War Chest Wednesday- Too Blessed to be Stressed
It’s War Chest Wednesday!

Prompt for March 27, 2013

How long have you gone without something necessary to your survival (food, shelter, water, sleep, or clothing)?

I am blessed beyond measure! My life has been a fortunate one - even the parts that I complain about are blessings. Now, don't get me wrong... but 'fortunate' and 'blessed' I don't mean that I have been priviledged or had everything I've ever wanted. I have never had an abundance of material items. But I've never been without life's necessities - unless it was something I CHOSE to do.

I have been through situations where I was concerned that I would have to deal with the difficult predicament of not having things needed for survival. When I was laid off from the Department of Corrections back in 2009 it felt like my world was going to come crashing down around me. Single parent, house mortgage, car note, kid growing by leaps and bounds, no child support, debt out the butt because I'd been living at or beyond my means (around 53k). I wondered what my next step was going to be. Thankfully, God smiled down on me and lead me to a job (half the salary, but I wasn't about to turn it down!!). Sure, there have been some tough stretches - but nothing compared to what others have had to endure. Like I said, I have been fortunate and blessed.

The 'thing' I've gone without the most is sleep. This is often my own doing. I'm a night owl who has to be up at 5am. =) I'm also a paranormal investigator - and well, we hunt at night. There have been times when I've been up all day, all night, and most of the next day when I've been on an investigation. Single parents can't just decide they need a nap and take one even if they've been out all night; I still had a kiddo to take care of the day of and the day after an investigation. There were also the occasions in college when I would either pull and all nighter hanging with friends or studying (hahaha) or working the over-night shift in the dorm office. I still miss out on sleep - reading, watching movies, worry, insomnia, too much caffeine, but it's never much - few hours here or there.

I've been a lucky gal. I've always had the necessities to survive. Not everyone is that lucky. I'm appreciative of this prompt to remind me not to take them for granted.

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