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Sunday, January 29, 2012


Product review...Eggies

Have you seen these? Seen the infomercial? Why fuss over removing the shells from boiled eggs when you can boil them without the shell?  Hummmm, thought I.

So I picked up my computer and I found them. I ordered them. I love new stuff that saves me work or makes a time-consuming chore less so.

How do they work? (I heard you ask.)

You simply

1) break an egg in the plastic egg-shaped 4 piece container, which you have sprayed lightly with cooking spray

2) assemble the container...set the top on the bottom, (which is holding the egg)
     attach the middle ring, which holds everything together
     Screw the little top holder in place (the top has a little handle)

3) drop into nearly boiling water of at least 2.5 inches in depth

4) when water begins to boil, set your timer according to egg size from the enclosed chart.

Maybe the best part is that when they are done, they really do just pop out of the holder!

Wow, I thought, how cool to have boiled eggs with no shell to remove and cooked perfectly every time.  I ordered some for me and some extra ones for gifts.

I used them as soon as they arrived.  Very easy to understand instructions, very easy to clean parts~and the eggs?  They are odd looking, flat bottoms, but perfect.  

I believe I am a pretty average buyer, though I admit I am a sucker for kitchen gadgets!  If it's fun to use and makes my cooking easier, I want to try it.  The EGGIES, satisfied both of these requirements.  Lots of boiled eggs with no mess to clean up except washing out the cups, which cleaned up easily.

You can also scramble the eggs before cooking and season to your taste or you can add omelet ingredients in a bowl and pour them into the Eggies.  I would assemble first including the middle ring before doing this one, then you can make them a little bigger!  The texture of the scrambled egg is a little airy when cooked, but the taste is good.  I am more a of fan of the basic boiled egg. 

The cost was very reasonable, I ordered from two different online catalog stores and the price was  the same from each.  Harriet Carter got them here more quickly than the other source, but both came within 10 days of ordering.  Both cost less than $12 including shipping.

If you use a lot of boiled eggs, I do in the summer on a lot of salads and deviled eggs for potlucks or picnics, you will absolutely love these little guys.  I am probably never going to boil another egg in it's shell!

Go ahead...pick up that computer and search EGGIES...I'm betting you're gonna love 'em!


Saturday, January 28, 2012


I'm looking 10 years older than my years.
I'm feeling 10 years younger than my years.
My hair is too short.
My face looks like a relief map.
I talk too much
I ponder too much.

I spend way too much time on FB.
I spend too much time with my laptop on my lap.
I spend too little time with people.
I stay home too much.
I always have something that needs to be done.
I always have a list to work from.

I have grown children with their own families.
I have outstandingly wonderful grand children. 
I have a sister whom I love a ton.
I have a brother and I kinda love him, too!  :)
I have a momma, the best one ever.

I have a Bichon Frise girl furbaby who is 10 years old.
I have a Rat Terrier boy furbaby who is 11 years old.
I have a roomy who has a life of his own.
I have a life of my own.
We have some left over life together.
He's cute. He's a keeper.

I have 2 ebooks for sale.
I have 3 audio books for sale.
I have 1 book currently under re-write.
I don't spend nearly enough time on that.

This is a list of 'stuff' about me and yet, at the end of the day, it's just stuff. 

I have a lot of faults, a lot of shortcomings and few really good things on that list and yet, at the end of the day, it's just a list.

At the end of any day, what matters is what I did with that day.

 Did I make a difference for anyone? Anyone?  

 Did I bring a smile to anyone?  At all?

 Did anyone leak from their eyes because I touched them? One tear?

 Did I hug someone? I bet I did.

At the end of any day, what matters to me is that I mattered to someone.

Jo  ♥

Friday, January 27, 2012


Now here is a subject I can sink my teeth into. 

I have, for many years suffered from the winter blues, also known as SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Some winters are much harder than others. The sun has a clear and decisive effect on my feelings of well-being. I usually begin the downward spiral in early or mid-October when the days begin to shorten and the fall rains make the sun a rare visitor. On the sunny days, temperature is not a factor though I love the heat, I manage relatively well to function and maintain a cheery attitude. When the sun stays away for more than one day, I will feel the weight. A physical feeling of weight on my entire body. It is hard to smile, hard to laugh and hard to be productive. I sometimes fight it and push myself to DO something, anything. I sometimes make myself do something which I would normally find fun or entertaining. I don't find it fun or entertaining. If I manage to DO something, chances are it will be a minimal effort and a moderate result. My heart won't be in it and it will be obvious. The up side of that, however, is that I didn't just sit and wallow. Wallowing is a dangerous thing for me. I can slide from a bad day into a bad week into a bad month with very little effort on my part. If I can keep myself moving, even if it's half-assed, I will rebound with the next sunshiny day. So moving and doing is vital and this I have learned over the last 15 to 20 years. I understand how it works for me, this SAD condition and I understand it is my choice to wallow or fight. I usually choose to fight. Mind over matter has some power and I draw on that even though technically my problem is my mind. My mind doesn't function well without sun. I truly am solar powered.

I must say that contrary to popular belief, I seldom feel sad. I feel next to nothing. I feel empty. It isn't sadness. I just want to sit or sleep or exist without being anything. I feel as if someone has unplugged my energy source and I am in need of rest. I am not in need of rest. I have not been sleep deprived nor have I exhausted myself physically or mentally so as to bring about that feeling of having been zapped of all abilities. I just wake up with it. I then have to determine with my first cup of coffee whether I will give in or take it on. I admit that once in a while, I give in. I take it on more often though because my history tells me it won't go away if the sun doesn't come out tomorrow, if I just sit and wait for it. I have to resist the urge and get off my butt and DO something. Laundry, clean, straighten something out, write or edit, go out for lunch, shop or anything that will occupy my mind or use up my time. The feeling or lack of it will pass. I just never know when. So I choose not to lay around and hope tomorrow will be better. Today will be better. Not happy-sunshiny-bright-kind of better, but better than sleeping or sitting in a mental fog all day.

Most people who don't have this condition think it is just kind of crazy and a little self-indulgent. I wish it were. I am a bit of a control freak in my normal life so having something take control over me to any degree at all, is unacceptable. Unacceptable and real. I hate that I can't just "get over it" because that is exactly what I want. I gain strength from looking forward to sun. Silly? Maybe, but it works. If we can get away to a sunny place for a couple of weeks, I can not only refuel from the trip, I can actually keep myself somewhat leveled out by looking forward to the day we are sitting in the sun. Not having such plans makes it a bit more of a challenge, but I still look forward to the sunny days.  

This has been an unusually sunny winter for Michigan and for that I am very grateful. I have only had a few days of doom and gloom to fight and that is an amazing statement from my mind for the end of January.  I think I'm gonna make it after all!  Of course I'm gonna make it, I am surrounded by so much love and unfaltering faith, I can't lose. I can stumble, but I can't fall.

The sun will come out tomorrow...or maybe the next day...but it will shine again.


Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Does the universe correct itself?  Do you get what you give? Does what goes around really come around?  Somehow I have always believed this and to go a bit further, I think when someone causes harm to another, their future holds a larger or more painful event. My grandmother told me The Lord's vengeance is much better than my own.  She would say, "God will pay them back in ways you couldn't even imagine. Let Him take care of it. You take care of you."  Yep, I think that's right.

Just now, I am thinking of some things that have not gone the way I thought they should have gone.  Some people in my life to whom I gave more than I had to give. People who then hurt me in some way or used me in some way. Those people are gone from my life now, but I wonder and will not know, if they did "pay" for what they did to me. I guess, I know they did or they will. I don't wish I had gone after them or caused them equal or greater pain, I just know that they were dealt with by a power much bigger than I or they will be at some time.

For me, I think often that when something bad happens in my life, I must have brought it about in some way.  The universe reminding me I had a debt and it is being paid. I seldom can recall what I might have done to cause whatever I am facing, but I still think it's true, somehow.  I have had occasions where I did something just plain wrong and wondered how long it would be before my "payment" would come due. I have even thought I knew when that "payment" was presented.  Mostly, though, I don't think we are supposed to necessarily know the crime = punishment equation, just know that it exists and it will happen.  

I have seen truly good people be rewarded in the most amazing ways. I'm sure some of you have also. The person who is always helping someone do something and then out of the blue some wonderful blessing comes their way. Completely unexpected, but a "payment" that was due.  I want to be that person.  Not the one waiting for the "negative payment".  Therefore, it is my goal to do only good things. I am all too aware, however, that I am a human and therefore, a sinner.  I will do wrong.  I will try  only to do what's right. Of course, the operative word there is 'try'.

We, as a family are dealing with some heartache right now and it is very trying. I am helpless to do anything but pray and that I am doing. I am believing in the power of prayer to lift up and heal my daughter. I am believing that all things are possible and that right will prevail. I am believing that God's will will be done. I am praying for my own strength and faith to get me through this while her strength and determination will see her to a complete recovery.  

This woman is a ridiculously hard working mom. She has two fantastic daughters and a fiance that all adore her. She has an extremely high pressure job that requires a great deal of travel and he takes care of the girls while she is off taking care of pet stores needs. She has a few very good and loyal friends. She also has a family that adores her and misses seeing her. She lives 9 hours away from all of us. I respect her. I admire her and I love her with my entire being. She is my only daughter. There is nothing she could ask of me that I wouldn't do. 

Right now her brother, my precious son, is with her. He drove down to be with her as she heals and regains strength. She suffered a minor stroke this past week-end and is home now trying to rebuild herself. At 42 one does not think this is something to worry about. She had the early signs, but didn't know she did. Now, she begins her road back and because I believe what goes around comes around, I know that she will be up and at 'em sooner than expected. Good people are given challenges and they are also given the strength and ability to overcome them.  

With the added support of her brother to the daughters and fiance and some wonderful friends, she can't miss. My prayers continue and my plans include going down to see her in a while as the other support team members have to get back to their lives and may not have the time she needs from someone. I will give her that time. I may even go next week, her birthday is Thursday and I might spend that day with her for the first time in over 13 years.  

I do believe Karma is with us, like it or not.  I believe I have seen it work many times and this time, I believe it is going to be her hand up. Living a good life is just one more way we can ensure help will be there when we need it. Help will be there for her as she needs it.

May God bless all and bring healing and peace to our lives.


Sunday, January 22, 2012


Just the other day I said to my son (who is the father of a 3 year old and a 6 year old) "As soon as the baby gets into school and you can start putting away some money that you have been spending on day care, you will need to get those college funds started."  He said, "UGH". He is beginning to grasp the notion of time.

When I think of the day my first child was born I am immediately in that moment. I can so clearly remember the feelings.  I expected childbirth to be indescribably painful and for me with this baby, it was not. I had 2 excruciating pains and she was in my arms. This perfectly beautiful, round, pink baby girl. I was so in love, I thought my heart would explode. I had never felt such overwhelming protectiveness and understanding for another human and I had never felt such undeserved heavenly love. I knew without question in that moment God loved me. He chose me to raise this little soul. My life had changed forever in that hospital room when I became a mommy. I feel like that was a couple of years ago, not nearly 43.

I think of the birth of my second child just 19 months later, a much different experience. False labor 1 week before he came; painful, false labor, I might add. The day he decided he actually was making an appearance he had a difficult time fitting through the designated exit. He was a large child and apparently he squared his shoulders and tried for hours to burst forth. The labor was intense, though short. A mere 4 hours of labor produced, without the doctor present, my 8 pound 14 ounce son. OUCH. The doctor entered the room as the receiving nurse stood holding my still connected son. I said, "I expect a large discount since I delivered without you and this wonderful nurse caught my baby!"  I smiled. He returned with, "Okay, if you think you don't need stitches, I'll just be on my way."  I paid full price and got the stitches.  Baby boy had also bent my tail bone back as he made his way out. That was painful for weeks and even a couple of years it would hurt if I sat on something hard for very long. The feelings I had holding this baby were much different than my first time.

He was not pink and round and beautiful.  I told the nurse I was quite sure this wasn't my baby because I had pretty babies. She was appalled at my statement. But seriously, he was long, skinny, pointy headed and not very pretty!  By the end of week one, he was pretty darned cute. He filled out quickly because he ate non-stop!  Bring in the bottles, this mommy was running on empty. What an appetite!

I never felt overwhelmed with 2 babies, as many people do, I loved being a mommy. I enjoyed the moments of cuddling, cleaning, feeding and laughing with my babies and soothing them when they hurt. My feelings about this baby were solid and strong and I knew what to do and I knew this little miracle would be a good fit in our family.  The only boy from my generation on my side of our family. He was our little prince.  Kind of still is!  My mind cannot understand or comprehend that this was 41 years ago.

As I raised my kids from birth, I learned a lot about myself, as most parents can attest. It's always a game of setting the right example and also hoping they will turn out better than their parents. I always wanted them to be independent thinkers and motivated personalities. Boy, be careful of the wishes! I got both of those wishes. They are very independent thinkers, better parents than they had and never hesitate to say what's on their mind. All good things, I guess.  In my mind, they are still my little ones and I do have a hard time believing how many years have passed. Time just went by. It just passed day by day and into this day which is my future yesterday, as Craig Ferguson sings in his signature song. So quickly gone, my babies childhood.

We are now at the age, my Roomy and I, where the funerals we are attending are not always our friends parents, some of them are our friends. They are not all passing from disease, some are passing of natural causes. Worn out parts that just quit working. How in the hell did this happen? It's time running on and on and stopping for no man. We are all dying and it's happening one day at a time.

One day at a time. That might explain why I have learned to live in my "NOW". I know that my days and the days of everyone in my life are numbered. I know that I have this moment and possibly not one more. I cannot imagine the tragedy of losing someone that I meant to tell how important they are to me, but never found the time. I find the time because that is all I have, this time. I try to use it wisely and I try to never miss an opportunity to say something uplifting or heartfelt to someone who matters to me. If someone has always made me smile, I want them to know that. I want them to hear that from me. They do and they have. It's important to use this time to it's fullest.  You can bet that if I care about you, you already know that because I have most assuredly told you so. I might have shown you my appreciation or I might have just flat out said, "I love what you add to my life."

My Momma is 89 and I cherish every day with her. I talk with her or see her nearly everyday. I find myself thinking of her even more often than most other family members. It's because my oh so conscious mind knows how precious each minute I have with her has become. As the time winds down, I don't want to miss any of them.

I nearly lost my sister a few years back, I don't have to worry if she knows how much she means to me. I know she knows, because I have told her. She has told me. We have shown each other nothing but love for years now and my life would be sadly missing without her. She knows that.

You my friends, reading now or reading everything I write, you know how much I appreciate you and how much I value our friendship. I have shown you loyalty or love or both. I have done that by comments or joking with you or by actually saying the words. If you are wondering now if I care about you and our friendship, then I have more to do and obviously more to say!  I always have more to say.

Time is our friend and our enemy. In its passing, we receive healing from all pain, some more quickly than others. In its passing we also find memories are all we have of so many wonderful moments and so many wonderful furbabies and so many wonderful people. Memories are our treasure box immune to all time passing. Because we can remember, we have a past. Because time moves constantly forward, we have a future. Because time is everything, we have now.

I am so grateful you are here in my now and I am honored to share your now.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Story

Howling wind outside makes Jake curl up, cover up, trying to hide from the real world. He's a brave and aggressive guy on most days, but the bitter cold of a snow storm causes him to recoil every time. His bravery is more apparent on warmer sunny days that warm his muscles.

The fire is roaring and it holds his gaze. Cuddled nearby is Sadie, the cold queen. She is loving the sound of the wind howling around their over-heated home. He will protect her at all costs. That's who he is and what he does. Her job is to be cute and make him look macho. She is good at her job.

Hunger is beginning to overtake him and no one seems interested in fetching him a meal. Sadie and the other inhabitants are napping and Jake is listening to his hunger pangs. Who's going to feed this poor hungry hero?

What's a guy to do? Head for the kitchen, the food is there, the answer to his dilemma is food. Looking around he spots the storage container, "Turkey, Grain Free". That must be it. Sniffing. Touching with a paw, pulling back, listening. Nothing. He touches it again,  it moves, just a little rocking.  He hooks a nail in the edge, by accident. Voila! It tumbles over, lid opens. Grain free turkey kibbles spill out into his face. For just a moment he thinks he may have died and gone to heaven. Then he hears it. Click noises coming his way. Sadie gives him the look. He might be in big giant trouble in a few, but right now, LET'S  EAT!


Friday, January 20, 2012


  I don't know why censorship is ever needed. I believe we should be able to see, read or publish anything. Period. It is the viewer and the reader and the listener who should serve as the censor. It's a simple concept. If it offends you, don't read it, listen to it or look at it.  If you have children, limit their viewing, if it's a concern to you.

When I was raising my kids and something would come on TV that I thought wasn't appropriate, I turned it. If I thought they should see it, I left it. If they had questions or acted uncomfortable watching, we talked about that. I parented my kids.  I didn't need someone 'out there' to pre-view everything my kids and I might see. They were censoring back then, I just didn't think it was necessary.

And to be honest, I let them see almost everything there was to see because I wanted my kids to live in the real world. I wanted them to know about the good and the bad. I wanted them to be prepared not pampered. 

Now, do I want to turn on my TV and see naked people day and night? Nope and I won't be watching those shows. I have been a soap fan for years and am not pleased with the recent cancellation of two of my favorite ABC shows, but all the years I did watch, I avoided the love making scenes.  Why?  I don't wanna watch. I don't like watching people grope each other and tear off each others clothes.  Never have found that enjoyable and so since the invention of the VCR and now the DVR, I just FF through those scenes. I don't care if they included them and I don't care if someone else wants to watch them, I don't. I don't want them to be censored out because some guy in the back office is offended. I will decide, as I have, which to watch and which to FF.

I don't watch blow-'em-up and shot-'em-up movies or shows. I don't like to watch that, but I don't care if you do. I don't want them censored from my programming.

I want to write and post whatever I feel the urge to write and post. I don't want anyone to tell me that it isn't appropriate and therefore, it can't be published. They can, the readers, tell me by commenting or by not reading. I'll get the message and try something else. I think most everyone would do the same, or continue to write and post and not care if there are any readers. That's okay, too.

Now the ripping-off of another persons work, that is a different situation and again I don't see censorship being the answer. What I do see, is that there needs to be protection for the owner of a film, song, recording, writing, picture or anything else that might be shared by the owner who might want to be the only one who shares.  We do not have the right to just copy and share everything we see or hear or read. I think we KNOW that; we sometimes just don't think about it. We saw it, we loved it, we shared it. Music is often shared out of pure love. The problem is obvious, it wasn't ours to share and someone isn't being paid for their work because we gave it away. Is censorship going to stop this? I don't see how. Yes, they can pull it off.  Yes, they can fine you. But the damage has been done. You have already put it out there and someone else has already shared it as well.

Copyrighting might be the answer. Make it easier and faster. If I want to copyright something which I have published or am about to publish, I should be able to clickity click something and BOOM it belongs only to me. Doing this should also make it possible for only ME to copy.  If you try, it should make a big red splash all over the copy rendering it useless.  I am sure that software can be written in 5 minutes and sold in 10 minutes. Let's do that.

Nope, not a fan of censorship in any form; with the possible exception of parental censorship, which I feel is the most underutilized form we see today.


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ham Noodle Casserole~Tasty Tuesday

This is what was for dinner last night!

It was a hit.  Very quick and relatively healthy. (It has broccoli!)

A little high in the caloric type area, but it's comfort food, so that isn't important, right?

One pan meal.  Fewer dishes cuz you'll be too full to mess with dishes!

Cubed ham - about 1/2# or a bit more

spiral pasta
2 cups broccoli
1 medium onion

!/2 Cup sour cream
!/2 Cup cottage cheese
1 Cup shredded cheddar (1/2 in the mixture and 1/2 on to)
1 heaping tbsp paprika
salt and pepper

In a dutch oven or soup pan, cook pasta with broccoli and onion until pasta is nearly done.
While that is cooking, cube your ham and set aside.

In the empty pan, mix sour cream, cottage cheese, 1/2 the cheddar and season.  To that, add ham and pasta mixture.  Stir to blend and top with other 1/2 cheese.

Bake at 325* for about 20 minutes or until cheese is totally melted and mixture is heated through.
I covered it before baking.

Here is what the inside looks like, oh it was so good.


Monday, January 16, 2012

The Wind Beneath My Wings ~ BFF #159

I suppose we all have someone who is the Wind Beneath Our Wings.  I suppose most of us know immediately who that person would be.  I don't.  I think in my 6 decades I have had so many people supplying me with wind to stay aloft that it would be impossible for me to name just one outstanding soul.  Except there is one outstanding soul.

She is the person who is always straight with me, if I ask her opinion.  She loves me for who I am and appreciates my human frailties.  She doesn't expect me to be perfect, but often thinks maybe I am.  When I think I will try something new, she encourages me and pushes me to get at it.  When I complete a task, she is the first to comment, usually favorably.  If I screw up, she's the one to tell me it's okay to fail, you learn from that as well as success.  She seldom loses her sense of humor and almost always has a smile for me. 

As my first marriage fell apart and I was so afraid to head out on my own with two kids to support and a crappy job, it was she who knew I would be fine.  It was she who knew and told me that I would never be alone, I had support if I just reached out for a hand, I would get it.  While I was feeling desperate and vulnerable, she believed I would feed my kids, pay my rent and not lose my mind. 

I had friends who helped me.  I had a sister who helped me.  I had a lot of support, but the wind was my Momma.  The wind today is my Momma.  No one in the world believes in me more than she does.  Others give me great support and hugs and all the love I could ever want, but I only gots one Momma and she's a goodun!

Funny thing how life turns.  I always say I have no bigger fan than my Momma and most people agree, but the fact is, she has no bigger fan than me.  If she is flying today, I hope I am supplying a little bit of that wind.

My roomy, my kids, my sis, my friends...all supply wind from time to time and I hope that I return the favor, but over the long haul, it's the Momma.  It's always the Momma.  ♥

Madee and her Great-Grandma, my  Momma...  How cute are they?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pet Peeves ~ GBE2 #35

Marriage has a period of adjustment.  This is true no matter how long you have been in a relationship and for Adriana and Paul; they had spent only a handful of nights under the same roof.  Because they each had early morning responsibilities, they  had seldom stayed together.  Now they had moved into the house by the river and adjustments were in order.  Who used the shower first, does sharing the bathroom bother either of them, who makes coffee, who makes the bed?  The morning routine had been the most difficult.  Adriana had not had anyone living in her space for many years and although she loved waking to his body next to her every morning, it was hard to share her time and make the necessary changes to her long held routine.  She was more than willing to work this out and Paul was very flexible. 

"Why don't you just tell me what you did each morning before I moved in and I will figure out how to work around that?  I really don't have a set routine like you do and I can make it work for me.  My make-up is pretty much good-to-go as soon as I get out of the shower."  He smiled at her and hoped she would just lay it out for him.  He hated trying to guess what was going on in her head.

"I am a little bit of a routine freak, aren't I?  Okay, so I get up at 6 and come out to turn on the coffee.  Then I head for the shower and I do everything except get dressed.  I come back for my coffee and sit here and look out at the river while I drink a cup.  Quiet and a time to create or think about my schedule for the day, I guess, that gets me organized and off to a good start.  I don't want to have a big conversation until I get through that cup of coffee.  Then I go get dressed, make the bed and fix another cup of coffee to take with me to work.  I make a quick breakfast, scarf it down, load the dishwasher and head out the door."  It sounded very rigid to her and a bit boring, but it was what she had done for many years.  The house was always left clean and she felt in control of the day to come.  Week-ends were nothing like that, unless she had a craft show. 

"Okay, how about if I come out and make coffee, you head to the shower from bed?  Then I will make breakfast and when you come out, you can eat, enjoy your quiet time and I will take my shower.  That takes like 10 minutes.  I will be leaving before you do, but I will have time to load the dishwasher while you're making the bed and getting dressed.  Sound good?"  All Paul wanted was to slip into her life and not disrupt it anymore than just being around was going to do.  The rest of the day, work was the same and the evenings were pretty much as they had been.  He just didn't go home at bedtime. 

She thought over what he had just laid out and thought it would work.  

"Let's give that a try.  What do you wanna make for breakfast?"

"I'll decide that when I see what we have and what looks good, you'll just have to eat or pass!  Just like you do at dinner time.  You choose, you cook and I eat.  Reverse at breakfast!"  This made her smile.  What a sweet man she had married. 

The days went on and turned into months.  This marriage was becoming more than comfortable and both were settling into their new life with few problems.

The areas of concern were little things.  Pet peeves, if you will, can undo you, if you allow that to happen.  His list, had he made one, would have included the fact that Adriana could not go to bed or leave the house if everything wasn't put where it belonged.  She would walk through the house and quickly pick up his things to put them away or throw something away or put something in the dishwasher, whatever he hadn't put in it's proper place, was done.  It drove him a little nuts because he would take care of those things, just not this second.  She saw no reason to wait.  

Her list would have been very short, besides the not taking care of things before bed or before leaving the house, she would add that he misused words from time to time and it nearly drove her insane.  When he was telling her he was going to do something or that he had done something, he would say, "I went and took that paper over to them."  If he wanted her to pick something up for him, he would say, "Do you mind getting me (insert item) whilst you're out?"  There were other words, the plural of you.  He put an 's' on you, quite often if talking to a group.  "Yous can make that happen."   She corrected him constantly.  His language skills were quite acceptable with the exception of a few catch phrases.  He was trying very hard to make this change for her.  He'd been saying these types of things his whole life, not an easy change to make, but he was surely trying.

At work, Paul had been bothered by more annoying pranks during the night and had finally lately decided to hire a night guard.  It wasn't cost effective, but he wanted to know who was responsible and why.

It took only 4 days for the guard to spot, photograph and give chase to the vandal.  It was around 2a.m. and the mercury lights gave the entire building site a twilight kind of lighting.  One could see figures at quite a distance, but not details.  The shadowy figure the guard spotted was wearing a hoodie with drawstring pulled to conceal most of the face.  The build was average, couldn't tell male or female, but he headed in the direction of the movement with every intention of identifying this figure.  It moved quickly completely unaware of the newly placed guard, in and around equipment heading straight for the newest concrete pad.  It had been poured this very afternoon and would eventually be the welcome entry to the entire museum.  Right now it was a steel frame with concrete flooring, completely open to anyone looking for a place to leave a mark.  

Quietly, the guard stalked along the inside of the building while keeping an eye on the possible vandal through the not yet installed windows.  They were on a cross-hair path meeting near the front entrance, he surmised.  The figure was not trying to be invisible because he/she assumed there wasn't another soul in the area.  Once the street was not in clear view, the figure stood tall and simply walked with haste toward the target area.  

About 6 feet from the target the guard pulled out the silent camera and snapped away. Taking somewhere around 15 shots, mostly quite close, but the hoodie not giving him a really clean face shot.  He knew these photos could and would be enhanced, if he wasn't able to apprehend this person tonight.  He had not called the police yet.  He stayed in this inconspicuous place to await an actual illegal act.  He didn't have to wait long.  The figure surveyed the  new floor and the steel frame and drew out a can of neon lime paint.  The design being painted, for the camera, was a spiral type of drawing.  Very similar to the other painted images from other nights.  The guard made the call to the P.D. in hushed tones and then went on to apprehend the painter.  As an off duty officer, moonlighting to pay his mortgage, he knew exactly what to do and how to lessen the chances the perp would escape.  He approached at an angle that would leave only one way out and it would lead the perp to the river.  Not the best choice for escape, but a possibility.  Police would be up and down river from this site, just in case.

He drew his weapon and he was completely unseen and unheard until saying, "Police. I think that's enough.  Put the can down and slowly turn around.  I am armed and would prefer not to use the gun."  His voice was louder than he meant it to be, but it had the desired effect.  Turning to face him, the can in the left hand, the first thought was to paint this intruder.  But that would be an assault on an officer and that wouldn't be good.  So compliance was the choice.

"Pull that hood down with your right hand."  He had noticed the paint in the left, must indicate perp is left handed.  The woman before him was nice looking, mid to late 30's was his guess.  She almost smiled at him.  "Who are you?  Do you have ID?"

"I do, in my car.  I'm Carmen Hailey."

"Why are you doing this?"  He was still standing about 5 feet from her and the gun still pointed at her midsection.  He heard the back-up pulling in the lot behind him.  He didn't turn to look, but she looked over his shoulder toward the rushing patrolmen.

"Because I don't want this museum to be flawlessly constructed.  I want the people behind it to be annoyed and dismayed.  I don't want to do permanent damage, I just want to make a ripple.  Ya know?"

He didn't.  "Are you talking about the financial backers?"

"No, the builder.  That Paul guy."

"Did he do something to you?"

"Nope. Never even met him."


"His wife once caused me some disruption and it was life changing, but I'm not evil, I just wanted to make a mark on his work.  I  keep reading how well this project is going and how fabulous this guy is and I don't think she deserves to be, ah, I don't know, such a big shot, I guess.  As his wife, she'll be at all the celebrations when this place opens and I didn't want it to be, like ya know, perfect for her.  I never hurt anyone and I never did anything here that couldn't be easily repaired.  I wanted to be annoying.
I know it sounds insane, I have a good life now and I don't know why I felt like I had to do something, but I did.  I did."

The woman Paul had seen watching the first night.  She hadn't noticed him because she had never seen him before.  He had seen her years ago in the Walgreen store near the hospital.  It was where he did all of his drug store shopping.  He would remember her when he saw her again.

She was arrested, a misdemeanor charge of public vandalism and then Paul would have to decide if he wanted to pursue the charges.  He could request full compensation, but hearing the story she told and signed at the P.D., talking it over with Adriana, the decision was made not to give it any more attention.  Let the police handle it and just move on. They had the pictures to back up the guard/officer's word and the back-up officers had heard her confess.  Adriana did ask if he would mind if she tried to see Carmen while she was in custody.  He thought it might be a good plan, but only if the police agreed.

No one at the P.D. cared if she talked with Carmen or not.  They didn't even know who she was or what her connection was with Carmen.  So they immediately took her down to the visitors area to have a seat.  There was nothing between them except a chest high counter.  They were each seated on a stool and an officer was stationed on each side, one behind Carmen and one behind Adriana.  They could hear the conversation, but said nothing.

Adriana began speaking as soon as Carmen was seated.  Carmen looked shocked to see this woman here at the jail.

"I wanted to come and see you.  I wanted a chance to tell you that I was mentally impaired when we became friends and there was no way you could have known.  I didn't even have a clue.  I didn't know what had happened or that I had done it until much later and then, I began a long and difficult road to recovery and regret.  I wanted you to know how sorry I am everyday for what I took from you, Carmen.  You were such a good friend and I was such a horridly damaged person, I wanted to own you.  Share you with no one.  I don't expect you to forgive me, I just wanted a chance to tell you.  I hope you can let it go, the hate you probably feel for me, is not going to hurt me nearly as much as it will hurt you.  All of my illness was rooted in hate and hurt.  Please, for your own mental health Carmen, let it go."  She began to stand to leave and Carmen reached out and touched her arm.

"Sit a moment longer, please."

Adriana sat and made full eye contact with Carmen.  Up to this point, she had been looking at the counter or at Carmen's hands.

"I have had plenty of time in here these few days to think.  My lawyer can't get me out until Monday or Tuesday, so I'll have more time.  They are bringing my studies to me though so I won't fall behind in school.  I know what I was doing was stupid, I knew it when I started, but it was something.  It was something to let you know that I was still here and I didn't forget.  I realize now that I'm only punishing myself.  Maybe that was part of my plan.  Get caught, get punished.  I don't know.  I only know the spiral looking back at me when I painted it, was symbolic of what I wanted to happen to you and your new husband.  Spiraling down and out.  That was my goal.  Now my goal is to get on with my life.  I am sorry.  Kind of."

"Kind of?  Then you aren't sorry."  Another of Adriana's pet peeves jumps into her face.  If you're sorry, you're sorry, period.  Not kind of, not sorry but, plain and simple sorry.  Nothing else is an apology.

"No, I am sorry I felt like I had a score to settle, sorry I got caught acting out my revenge.  I'm not sorry I wanted you to be bothered by something for which I was responsible.  I'm sorry I thought that would make me feel better, it doesn't.  I gained nothing but a big lawyer bill and a few days in jail.  I will have a record now and you will go on with your wonderful life.  I'm an idiot and I'm sorry for that.  I'm also sorry that I fell to the depths of a mentally ill woman who was completely lost.  I'm sorry, too, that I failed to comprehend what you had been through and what you have done to overcome all of that.  I failed, Adriana, to accept that you have indeed become the good woman I first believed you to be.  I'm sorriest about that.  You do deserve to be happy and I know that today."  

Tears were flowing down her cheeks, but her voice sounded steady and calm as she recited almost in monotone all her sorrows.  Carmen had come to know these last few minutes that she had forgotten it was Adriana who had once saved her life.  She was the good one, not the 'others' who had taken the love of her life away.  Carmen now understood that Adriana was a good woman, a good friend and probably a good wife.

Adriana was thinking of her aide to Carmen's future and knew it was the right thing to do and that Carmen would be fine soon.  She rose and smiling at Carmen, made her exit.

She shared their talk with Paul that evening.  Telling him as near to exactly what had been said as possible.  She was happy to know that it was over and Carmen would pay a small price for her bad judgment.  Paul had been told that the penalty would be probation for 6 months.  He had arranged to pay her legal fees, anonymously, of course.

Life is full of good and bad days.  It is full of good and bad people doing good and bad things.  But the life Paul and Adriana had begun was very heavy in the good department.  Even living with each others pet peeves, living with each others quirks, this life was better by far than anything either had ever know before.

What the future holds is any one's guess, but if Karma exists, a happily ever after is in store for these very special people.


If you wish to read Adriana's Story from the beginning here is the list of blogs where she is found....
Curiosity 1
Holiday Traditions 2
The Worst Christmas Present 3
T'was the Day Past Christmas 4
Winter Wonderland 5
Adriana's Awakening 6
New Beginnings 7
Making a Difference 8
Love & Kisses 9
History 10
Ambition 11
I Have a Dream 12
Pet Peeves 13 and final chapter.

Hope you enjoy her little story. Jo


Friday, January 13, 2012

I Have a Dream

Angel and Adriana are busily planning a wedding, again.  The details are easy enough and the dress has been purchased.  Paul and best man Burt will be wearing suits.  They will wed by the river in the back yard of Adriana's home.  This will be their home. Paul has big plans for a remodel to make it their own.  It will be a little of him and a lot of her.  Angel's brother-in-law is a minister at the Church of God and has agreed to perform the ceremony.  Guests will be limited to some co-workers of hers and employees of his and naturally, their best friends from next door.  Angel will wear a deep pink dress which Adriana chose for her matron of honor.  She has asked her friends not to do the shower thing; instead she would love a nice night out with anyone who would like to join them.  Paul suggested they combine men and women because he had no desire to go out with a bunch of men.  That being the case, they all agreed to just make it a night at the local club.  It became an open house type affair.  Signs at both places of employment and word of mouth would be the invitations.

Maybe it was the signs that made all of this celebration common knowledge, maybe just the fact that the general contractor of the biggest job this town had undertaken in years was the subject, either way everyone in town knew about the wedding, the pre-wedding party and even the remodeling plans for the adorable house Adriana had purchased not so very long ago.  It would appear that everyone they ran into knew about and was happy about their plans.  Things were just moving along so smoothly and life finally had more sunshine than rain for two people who had been through their share of storms.

The party had a great turn out.  The 6 best friends had a nice dinner before the party guests arrived.  Once the party started, it was wonderful. A few of the attendees over-drank and a few others seemed to have passed out, but someone else would see to the safe dispatch of anyone needing assistance.  Angel had arranged a number of drivers for just such a situation.  None of the six over indulged, but they all had enough cocktails to toast and celebrate the occasion. It was exactly the kind of party they had wanted and all felt light and elated as they left the night before the wedding soiree.

About 3 AM Paul was jarred from sleep by his cell phone.  It was the police department calling to inform him there had been some trouble at the work site. No details were available, but his presence had been requested by the investigators on the scene. 

He rolled out of the bed where he had just a couple of hours before, made mad passionate love to his betrothed.  She looked very sleepy now and asked if he wanted her to come along.

"No, you sleep.  You have a wedding to star in and it's only a few hours away."  He kissed her good-bye and left her to drift back to sleep.

It was a beautiful night.  The sky was filled with stars, not a cloud to be seen.  The moon was full and bright and nearly created enough light to function without artificial means. 

As he reached the site and exited his car, he noticed a woman seated in her car at the end of the parking row.  She appeared to be watching the action as if it were a movie.  He assumed she belonged to one of the officials on scene and didn't give her another thought.  He could see her profile, because of the bright moon and thought he had seen her before, but no idea where or even when it might have been.

An investigator in plain clothes met him about half way up the wooden walkway the crew had laid out.

"Sorry to have to disturb you on the night before your wedding and all, but I thought you'd like to see what's going on here."  Greg Tilson had been on the force for 28 years and was looking at retirement in 2 more years.  He was very good at his job and his instincts were frequently right on the money.  He had a really bad feeling about the mischief that had been created here tonight. It wasn't the work of teens, he was sure of that. It was too precise and care had been taken to not cause damage to anything of much value.  Everything that had been damaged was easily replaceable and of an inexpensive nature.  The site had very expensive machinery which was left untouched.  There were bins of tools, left untouched.  The building itself wasn't damaged.  The damage was paint sprayed on the equipment, scratches in the steel doors.  Electrical wiring had been cut cleanly.  Telecommunications lines cut cleanly. These were things done by someone just trying to cause disruption, not to stop the project or to cost so much that someone, namely the general contractor, would be set back.  Just mischief.  Just disruption.  Just "Hey, look how easy this is!" kind of thing.  Greg saw this as step one.  He felt sure there would be more if they couldn't find the culprit.

"It's good that you, ya know, called and all.  I'm responsible for this place so I sorta need to know what's going on here.  Why do ya think someone would do this?  It can all be repaired in an hour or so, but why would...I mean, seriously?  Just sorta mess stuff up and take off?  Do you think they were spotted by someone?  Or just got scared?"  Paul had never had problems on a site before and didn't really know what to think or what to do.

"We are still trying to process the stuff we found.  Might find a fingerprint or maybe the perp left something behind, by mistake.  It's a long shot, but we'll give 'er a shot.  I think it's more of a warning, but I don't know what they are warning you about.  Do you have an idea?"  Greg hoped Paul knew of someone who didn't want this project, or didn't like him or didn't like one of the crews he had hired.  Something to help, any info that only Paul would have.

"I really don't know.  I haven't heard anything but good comments about this job.  The crews are all local guys and you can talk with them, but I don't know anything.  Can't honestly even imagine what would be gained by this kind of cosmetic damage."  Paul was thinking about every person he had dealt with both during and before this job and couldn't think of any negativity being shown or discussed.

The parking row was empty when he returned to his car.

He returned to his own apartment after finishing up at the site.  He touched base with each foreman and made sure things were covered and tight for the next 4 days while he and Adriana would be on their honeymoon.  He assured them all that he would be back on Wednesday to go over everything that had been done while he was gone and to compare the timeline so as to stay on schedule.  The bonus for finishing under the wire was huge and he hoped to get it and share it with the foremen.  All that having been completed, he was now free to get packed and ready for his wedding and honeymoon.  His mood took a decided upturn while thinking of the rest of this day and the next four alone with his wife.

The wedding went well.  Adriana looked elegant in her ankle length dress of off white satin.  It was slightly flared from the form fitting waist to the hem. There was a delicate lace overlay on the bodice, but the skirt was smooth and shiny.  She wore rose colored heels and carried a bouquet of rose colored lilies with lilies of the valley scattered through.  Her hair was pulled up into a soft pile of curls at the nape of her neck and the front was straightened and laid perfectly against her lightly tanned check on each side.  She wore a little more make-up than usual hoping to look good in the pictures they would be looking at for the rest of their lives.  Her dark, naturally curly hair was behaving today, almost as if it had been commanded to be perfect for this one day.  She had never looked or felt any more ravishing than on this her wedding day.  

Paul in his black suit and off white shirt (as directed by Angel), rose tie (ditto) and ridiculously continuous smile, looked every bit the bashful groom.  Nearly 50 years old and he felt like a kid again.  This woman was everything to him and she made him feel as if he had lived the days before her, only to get to her.  His life truly had begun the day he first saw Adriana.

Their lawn was manicured by a friend of Paul's earlier in the week and Angel had seen to the chairs and the arch for the ceremony.  Josh had been in charge of actually setting up this day and he had done a great job.  The music was his to arrange, as well and he had hired a local boy who DJ'd on week-ends and was happy to do this wedding.  He had all the appropriate songs, he said.  

Every wedding should have a little glitch to break the tension and their's was the music.  The young man had loaded Dolly Parton's "Working 9 to 5" instead of her "I Will Always Love You."
It was good for a quick giggle and then the wedding resumed with the proper mood restored.  It would always be their first memory of this day, looking back in years to come.

It's over and they are Mr. and Mrs. at long last.  Adriana was relieved and happy and ready for a vacation with her husband.  Ready to have nothing to distract either of them from each other for four long days and nights.  And off they drove about an hour after the ceremony.  

Thinking in the shower later that evening, she was so thankful to God for all of these blessings.  She was living a life she never even knew existed and it was all because He had a plan for her. She had a dream, oh so many years ago; tonight she was living that dream times ten.

Paul was praying a prayer of his own.  

"My dear heavenly Father, thank you for the love of this woman and for please make me worthy of such dedication.  Please guide us through this marriage and always hold us safely in your hands.
For all my sins, I ask forgiveness and help in the future to live a cleaner and more glorious life.  Please help me walk in your path. Amen"

And with those prayers being sent, the newlyweds fell into bed and began their happily ever after.
They had a dream and it was now their reality.



Professionally speaking, Adrianna was on top of her game.  She loved her job and she was appreciated regularly by the higher ups for her outstanding work.  Her staff had grown and only a few had gone on to other positions because it was a pleasant and rewarding place to work.  The pay was as good as any place doing the same kind of billing and insurance work and having Adriana at the helm made for a very easy work environment.  When pressure came down on her from above, she would find a way to motivate her staff to produce whatever was needed without feeling the pressure.  Adriana felt the pressure belonged only to her and she didn't have any need to share that with such a dedicated and hard working group of people.  She was very contented to get the job done with a staff that just made things happen.  Her ambitions were limitless.  She could see herself, one day, running this hospital.  She didn't see any reason that couldn't happen, so why not let it mill around inside her brain from time to time.  It was, after all, much better than what used to run around inside her head.

The future seemed to be nothing but new beginnings for everyone in her life.  Angel and Burt were doing well and they spent one Saturday night every month with Adriana, Paul, Marian and Josh.  Sometimes they went out for dinner and just sat and talked and sometimes they went bowling or to a show.  Every get-together ended at someone's house and a lot of laughter and love.  The six of them had become very close and it was a blessing for all.  The kids, Marian and Josh's, were included sometimes, but mostly it was an adult night out.  Teen-age sons are not really interested in hanging with old people and were responsible enough to be trusted home alone.

Her crafts, her second love, were becoming almost another job.  She loved knitting, crocheting and making trinkets.  Her craft room was always showcasing something new and half done.  The money she made from the shows was always deposited into the trust accounts for her "family" and Carmen.  The help she was giving was giving her much more than she ever expected.  It was more than just a good and warm feeling.  It was more than satisfaction in sharing her good fortune.  She knew she had earned her place in the world.  She knew it and now she accepted it because sharing her wealth, as it were, made her past somehow less important.  Less horrid and once in a while, she could even forget about it all.  It almost feels like her life began the day she left the psyche ward.  In a real way, it did begin that day.  The day she saw sunshine and smiled at a real friend, Angel.  The day she began to live alone in her head without a doctor helping her every minute to maintain the clarity.  She was healthy physically and mentally now and it must never be taken for granted.  Doing what she could for people who needed help was her duty now and her honor.

Paul was gaining so much recognition for his work on the museum that his list of bids was growing weekly.  At any given moment he would have 5 jobs or more for which bids needed to be written.  He had hired two office girls to take care of the phone and type out the bids after he worked them up.  The girls were helping more than he had ever imagined.  They totally took care of the paper work and the banking while he was actually out doing the supervising and figuring bids for new jobs.  The ambition level of this man was off the charts.  He saw his business growing daily and it never once daunted him or gave him pause.  This was what he had always hoped for and worked toward and now it was his reality.  It was time to tie up the one loose end in his ambitious life's plan.  Tonight he would ask the love of his life to spend eternity with him.

Feeling inside his jacket pocket, the ring box was hard and obvious.  It was the tangible proof of his feelings and his dreams.  He was on his way to her side and with any luck at all, he would not be returning a single man.

Adriana was freshly showered when Paul let himself in the front door.  She still had some dampness in her hair.  Her face was fresh scrubbed; not a drop of make-up remained.  She had never looked more beautiful in her life.  Paul entered the kitchen and walked directly to her, reaching out and taking her into his arms.  She looked in his eyes and accepted his kiss.  The kiss was a deep passionate and loving gesture. He held her with every inch of their bodies touching. The music playing softly in the background couldn't have been scripted any better.  They hear, "When a Man Loves a Woman" and both know he does love this woman. Ever so slowly he danced her back to her bedroom and as he gently laid her on the bed he lifted his lips just enough to allow him to speak.

Whispering he said, "I love you with all my being, Adriana.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Will you marry me?"  He resumed the kiss and didn't allow her to answer until they were left spent and exhausted side by side wrapped in each others arms.  She raised her eyes to his and whispered back to him, "Yes."  There was no more to say.  They napped for an hour or so in contentment.

As Adriana was placing Paul's plate on the counter he reached for her hands and stood holding them.

"I seem to have forgotten something earlier."  He reached into his pocket and removed the ring from the box.  He placed it on her third finger left hand and watched her face as she looked down at her new ring.  It was perfection.  The full caret princess cut with the smaller diamonds circling the band was exquisite. She couldn't take her eyes from her own hand brandishing the token of everlasting love.  She had never been happier.  She had never felt so loved and so wanted and she had never felt more in love.

"It's perfect, Paul.  I couldn't love it any more."  She threw her arms around him again and kissed him full on with the passion she carried in her heart and now on her left hand.

The wedding would be small and intimate and she could visualize it right now.  It would be everything she had ever imagined. Paul didn't care how they got married, as long as it was soon.  He felt he had waited his whole life to find her and all he wanted to be her husband.

These forty somethings were as giddy as teenagers and were more than ready for their new life to get underway.  Their ambitions were every bit as strong in their relationship as they were in their professional lives.  Successful marriages must begin this way, they each thought.  Friends who fall in love and then when the love has grown a wedding seals the deal and happily ever after, or some form of that, begins.

For them, it's yet another new beginning with all the promise of good things and eternal love.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tasty Tuesday

Creamy Italian Stoup                                                                         

1#  Italian sausage (sweet or hot, your choice)
garlic~3 cloves, diced or grated
1 small onion, chopped
3 med. Carrots, diced
2 med. Potatoes, diced
1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 cup or so mushrooms

1 Tbs basil
1 Tbs oregano
salt and pepper to taste

2 Cups parmesan cheese, grated

Béchamel (white sauce)
   3 Tbs butter, melted in sauce pan
    3 Tbs flour, stir into butter
   1 Cup milk stirred into butter/flour
    ½ Cup cream stirred into butter/flour/milk
Cook over low stirring constantly until thick and smooth and flour taste is gone.

In soup pot, brown meet, garlic, vegetables (except tomatoes) and cook until tender.  Add seasonings and tomatoes.  When well blended, add Béchamel and stir to combine.  If it is too thick, you can add a little stock or wine or water to thin slightly.  This is a stoup and should be substantially thicker than say  vegetable soup.

Cook over simmer about 30 minutes and add the cheese.  Stir and continue cooking until cheese is melted and stoup is smooth.

Serve with garlic bread or bread sticks.  No crackers will be needed this stoup is thick, creamy and very rich. 

I like a sprinkling of sharp cheddar on top…because I LOVE sharp cheddar!  


Sunday, January 8, 2012

History ~ GBE2 ~ #34

"The past is all the days that have come before this one.  History is the story of the past. His Story.  Her Story.  It is also all the days before he or she was born. We would be destined to learn everything in our own lifetimes by trial and error if no one kept track of what has gone before, wrote it down and passed it on to the following generations.  We are stronger, more prepared and more capable because we know how things were done and how they progressed to where we are today.  We do, in fact, learn from history, if we are looking to better ourselves.  If we are growing into the ultimate person, we are doing so by not repeating mistakes of the past and mimicking the successes with additions of new information.  Thus, history leads us to today and our own intelligence leads us beyond."

Adriana reads this passage from an article in the local paper.  The new museum is scheduled to open in just a few months and a great deal of press is making the opening an event no one will want to miss. Many items have been run about the builders, the history of the land, the artifacts that will be included and she had read them all.  She was so proud of Paul's hard work and very excited for him.  This job would no doubt be the first of many large projects he would be asked to participate in with the biding process.  He was doing an amazing job and everything was moving along, slightly ahead of schedule.

Their relationship was blooming into something magnificent.  She spent nearly every evening with him; even following the girls nights out with Marian and Angel.  He would often be waiting at her house when she arrived home. It was a most comfortable affair for both of them.  They talked about 'forever' now and then, though no engagement or even a proposal had actually occurred.  Both knew, when the time was right, they would marry.  Adriana hoped it would happen before she turned 50, no reason, just something she hoped would happen.  Paul never gave age any thought at all.  He was 2 years older than Adriana and it made no difference to him what the number of years on earth was, it mattered to him that they were of the same maturity level and had similar hopes for their futures.  He would be 50 on his next birthday and she had just turned 48. He knew a great deal about her history, but not all the details.  He did know she had been responsible for the deaths of people who had hurt her.  He knew of the "others" and he tried to understand it all.  He knew all the important things, she thought.  He didn't know much about her childhood, but he didn't seem to care and she didn't want to remember any of her childhood history.  It was not who she had become and was not important to her.  She had worked very hard to get beyond her problems and she liked her life now and she liked herself for the first time ever.  Looking back or going back in her mind seemed counterproductive.

Angel and Burt had married in an intimate ceremony with all of their friends and co-workers.  About a month prior to the wedding Burt had gotten a very lucrative offer from the hospital.  He had leaped at the opportunity and was now the Chief of Finances at County Hospital.  Angel was so proud of him and it was very practical working in the same location and the same hours.  Though on occasion Burt had to return for meetings after dinner, for the most part they lived the same schedule.  The round couple was very happy and to this point, had not had one argument.  They came close while selecting the house they would share.  Since they both lived in 1 bedroom apartments, they had decided to rent or buy a house before the wedding.  The market was wide open due to many foreclosures in the county.  She wanted to stay in town and he thought the country homes were very appealing.  They settled on one they both loved less than a mile from the hospital, but going away from town.  It was a 4 bedroom, 2 story with 1st first laundry and a nice back entry which would serve as the shoe and coat closet.  Burt had enlisted Paul's help to build this closet and it now looked as if it had always been there.  It reduced the entry way to a wide hall which left just enough room for a bench.  This allowed Burt and Angel a place to sit while they removed their shoes or donned their boots.  The rest of the house was perfect.  No alterations needed or wanted. Each bedroom was a different color scheme and they liked each one.  The master bedroom would be all natural shades of brown.  She chose a smooth, silky deep brown comforter for the bed and added just two plaid pillow cases of beige and deep brown.  The windows were very large and she loved the light they filtered throughout the room so she covered them with only wooden slat blinds.  They would be open most of the time.  The room also had an antique rocking chair that Burt's grandmother insisted they take.  They both loved that chair and this room just cried for such an addition.  It sat proudly in one corner and held a handmade afghan which Angel had knitted just for this room.  The dresser was about 7 foot long and 5 drawers deep.  It was a beautiful natural pine finish matching their king sized bed frame.  The night tables were massive and sat near the top of the bed on each side.  Each had a night lamp and a clock sat on his side. Her side had a small vase of lilies of the valley, her favorite flower.  The room was very relaxing and very comfortable.  There was no TV because they felt the bedroom was for sleeping and relaxing and sex.  None of those things needed TV accompaniment. 
It was her favorite room in the house and only the kitchen saw more of her time.  She loved to cook and this house had a cook's kitchen.  

So far this was a marriage made in heaven and nothing from either of their history would make anyone think anything would change any time soon.  

Paul entered the house shuffling through the mail as he walked.  He stopped to read one envelope and smiled as he handed it to Adriana.  He leaned over and gave her a soft kiss on the lips and the smile returned.  He handed her the envelope.  

"What the heck:  are you going through my mail now?  Can't a girl have a little privacy as insured by the Federal Government, I might add."  She was smiling at him as she teased him.

"Oh, isn't this great?  They are buying a house, Paul!  That's just awesome.  Oh,..." the tears fell down her cheeks as her heart swelled with happiness.  The family she had been helping through an anonymous trust had applied for a small mortgage.  She had guaranteed their loan, anonymously.  The house was going to be theirs and she knew they would never miss a payment.  Those 5 kids would have a real home and they had been eating well for 2 years now.  She had hoped the feelers she put out would lead to work for both parents and although it took several months, finally it paid off.  The parents had been hired by the same packing firm to work the same hours.  The day care had been paid by Adriana, but the parents believed it was a 3 year benefit from their new employer. After the 3 years, she had hoped they would be able to take it on themselves.  She had made a difference for this family and she loved the feeling.  Paul loved that her heart drove her to do this and she now took such pride in this family.  Not in what she was doing, but rather in what they were doing since they had received the hand up.  They had run with their opportunity and was now providing a promising future for their children.  It had worked out so well and Adriana felt she had done exactly what she needed to do and at the exact right time in their life and in her own.

The Carmen idea had been much more difficult.  Carmen had been through about 8 jobs since Adriana had last seen her.  She had lost a lot of weight and some thought she might be drinking or using drugs.  Her mental attitude was very negative and her work ethic left a great deal to be desired.  She was often late or didn't show up for work and when she would get fired, she would just walk around all day or all week until she found something else.  It didn't matter what the job consisted of, she would take it, if offered.  The last job was a waitress position in one of the small cafe's where locals mostly ate quick meals and ran off to whatever their lives required.  She had been there several months.  The locals liked her sharp tongue and the owner didn't care as long as she showed up and served food.  She didn't appear to be eating much of anything and the room she was renting now wasn't equipped with a kitchen, so she mostly snacked.  Now and then she would eat a meal at work, but certainly not daily.
When Adriana had started looking into ways to get money into her account she found it rather more difficult than her family.  There was no organization to which Carmen had turned for help.  There was no connection Adriana could hide behind.  No church, no social group, nothing she could work with at all.

Almost like magic, Angel told Adriana and Marian about a new group forming through the hospital's volunteer staff.  They were looking for women over 30 who needed education.  All one had to do was enter the name, any personal info available and you could sign your entry or not.  Adriana's eyes lit up.  She immediately went to the volunteers with her story.  An older gal, Alice, listened to her story and said, "Give me a few days, Adriana.  I believe I can help you, help this girl.  I believe she deserves your help and I want to be your tool to accomplish this end.  Please don't worry, we can make this happen."

Alice had worked her magic in less than a week.  She had it all worked out.  Carmen was notified that she had been chosen after being nominated by one of her customers.  She would be given a full ride to the community college in the course of her choosing.  She would also receive $100 a week for incidentals until she graduated providing she maintained employment and 3.0 in all her classes.  So all she had to do was keep a job and pass her classes.  Carmen was thrilled and the program had begun with the start of the next semester.  Now 2 years later, Carmen was a few months from attaining her degree.  She had already landed a job in her chosen field.  She wanted to be a paralegal and had gotten hired by a local attorney as a receptionist with a promise of promotion when the degree was in her hands.  All of this from the bank account of the woman who had killed her fiance and changed her life.  Now she had changed her life again, but this time she had made a difference for the better.  Carmen would carry the ball now, Adriana had no doubt.

Adriana's history had pushed her into action.  Because of who she had been, she had become someone much more respectable and with a heart so needing to give, that she had reached back into her history to try to repent without gratitude from her recipient.  That was key for her mental health.  That was key for her heart to feel good about helping.  She was just paying her debts, in part.  There is no way to repay anyone for having killed a loved one.  She could only work with what she had.  She had no way of undoing the evils she had done.

Her therapist had told her many times and she agreed, you can only move forward and remember your past.  You cannot undo it.  You can only work hard to never repeat the sins.  God has forgiven you, you must forgive yourself.  Adriana had done that, difficult as it was, she had forgiven herself and her 'others'.  None of them were sane enough to understand the consequences of what they had done, but Adriana now understood.  It was NOT her who had done those things, yet she was still responsible for each of the acts that nearly broke her, if she allowed herself to think.

History is to be learned from, not dwelt upon.