A big family, a reading addiction, and the occasional celebrity scandal are the ingredients of life that create one woman's opinion on just about everything.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Waving the White Flag

Today is my 28th wedding anniversary. Twenty-eight years with the fabulous GG. Seriously. I know I gush about him from time to time (and whine too) but he's a great guy and I feel incredibly happy and blessed to have him in my life. Mostly.

We had pretty much decided not to buy anything for each other for our anniversary. Not out of any particular desire to tighten our belts or anything, but because there isn't anything we need or really want... *dun dun dun* Or so I thought.

I may have mentioned in the past that we got married on Thanksgiving weekend. It was a Saturday just like this year. We figured that with 4 days of the week being Thanksgiving and our anniversary so late in the month we have a 50-50 chance every single year that our anniversary is going to fall on the holiday weekend. So far, that's worked out pretty well for us.

The downside, if you can call it that, is the holiday. No, I'm not anti-Thanksgiving or anything, but it does have a tendency to put a crimp in travel plans, and forget about the shopping. We don't shop Thanksgiving weekend as a rule. Even with the great sales. We stay away because it cuts down on impulse buying and eliminates fighting the crowds for parking and sanity. So one might wonder how in the name of all that's holy did I end up out there with the throngs of shoppers yesterday? I can tell you this. Yesterday morning I didn't know what the day would bring when I innocently followed GG out the door to go swimming.

Can you guess what happened? If I told you they can now see the glow of my house from Mars would that help?

So, yesterday...we swam. We ate breakfast. We did some food shopping for Beanie. GG put up our outside Christmas lights. We waved Beanie and his GF off to go home. This is where the story takes a turn because the next thing I know we are standing in BEST BUY and signing for a big-ass TV to be delivered to our house. Huh? What? It was so faaaaast! How'd that happen?

Note to all of you newly wedded chickadees: You have to be vigilant! Those mans of ours conspire to catch us in a weak moment and the next thing you know your house resembles the electronics section of a major store chain. Oh, and they never own the, "I want it." Nope. The mans say "We need this.' They're tricky like that.

Anyway, back to my pathetic surrender. It's hazy, but I remember saying something to GG along the lines of, 'I don't know why we are getting such a big-ass TV when we hardly watch TV during the week'. As I said, it's all a blur when one is standing in the middle of BEST BUY with TVs, stereos, and Guitar Hero blaring all around you as a genial and fast talking sales person tells you why you can't live without a big-ass flat screen TV.

Knowing his wife well, GG reminded me that the TV purchase is all part of our plan to bribe the boys to come visit us in our dotage. *eye roll* As if a TV would make that much difference. Although... When we called to tell Beanie about the new TV he almost got in his car to come back home. WTF? He's already said he'll be home for the Super Bowl. Really? For a TV? What am I missing here?

Fortunately, GG had done his research about what TV to buy preparing for catching me in weak moment. The major stumbling block for me is that I think our living room is too small for the big-ass thing. Unfortunately we don't have a family room. *sigh* OTOH, the men in my life are over the moon. While I don't quite get it, it makes me happy to see them happy. So I've surrendered. Given in. It's done. We have a new family member.

Welcome big-ass Samsung LN52A650! Don't be a problem. Don't use too much electricity, and you better hope I don't regret having you around.

Oh, and babe? Happy Anniversary, birthday, Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, 4th of July for the next 2 years...at least.

P.S. I'm supposed to let SL's Man know we got the bigger TV (thanks so much, dude!) because of your recommend to get the 120 hz thing-y. GG said you'd know what that means. Whatever! We have a big-ass TV in our LR!

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Friday, November 28, 2008

I know what a scoundrel wants!

I had the good fortune to meet Carrie Lofty at RWA in San Francisco. I'm so excited for her and about this book. I don't even know if the contest is good any longer because that's how out of the loop I am. What I do know is that she is one awesome lady and I can't wait to check out her new book. So should you. Then we'll talk...okay?


"Mark all as Read"

I read over half of the almost 800 posts I was behind and when I got it down to 304 I made the executive decision to click "mark all as read". It didn't make me feel better to do it, but at least now I'm starting with a clean slate and can hope to keep up... I think.

On to other news. The plan every Thanksgiving weekend is to eat well, start our Christmas decorating, specifically the outside lights, and see some movies. This week we've already seen TWILIGHT and AUSTRALIA.

We saw the Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman historical epic AUSTRALIA Wednesday night. Two hours and 45 minutes people. Epic is definitely the word too. The photograpy of Australia is sweeping and larger than life. Kidman and Jackman definitely have some chemistry. I have to say I did have a bit of a swoon when Mr. Jackman was shirtless and soapy. The dude has been working out and looks incredible. Incredible. He certainly rang my chimes anyway.

Additionally, since I'm a woman who doesn't mind a little chest hair, I was very happy to see Monsieur Jackman wasn't lasered or waxed. He looked appropriately intense and manly.

So, big pictures, big story, and some sizzling chemisty. I just don't know if it needed to be 2 hours and 45 minutes. OTOH, I don't regret seeing it at all.

How's that for conflicted, contradictory and confusing?

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving...oh and one more thing

Everyone will be saying Happy Thanksgiving today and rhapsodizing about things they are grateful for. I too have many blessings for which I'm thankful, but one thing I'm always particularly grateful for is the crazy community of kooky readers that we are all a part of. You are treasures. So have a great day wherever you are and however you are celebrating your thanks.

Oh, and one more thing...

I hope you'll take a minute and go read what I had to say over at Access Romance's Readers Gab. Imagine that. My turn to post happens to fall on Thanksgiving and me doing such a bang up job on my own blog. You don't even want to know the angst... Then again, maybe you do. Even if it's only to point and laugh.

Just know lieblings that at some point today I will be raising my wine glass, taking a sip and thinking of all of you. Thanks for a great year.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Got List?

Do you make lists? I may have mentioned a time or two that I make lists. I make lists on my posts. I can get organized and focus when I have lots to do as long as I have my trusty list.

This time of year I have lists and lists and lists. I have a baking list. A Christmas gift list. A shopping list. A list for near home and a list for far from home places to shop. Doesn't everyone have a grocery list? I have a board in my kitchen where we can mark down stuff for Target/WalMart, Vons, or Costco. Yes, it takes three different stores to supply the GG household.

Of course I always have a running TBB list of books I'm looking for. It's separated into 'new or current releases' and UBS books.

Now with the holidays I go into full list mode. I have a form. Yes, an actual form. It's two sided and has four days on one side and four days on the other. I fold the 81/2 by 11 sheet of paper into fourths. I can list chores, shopping, etc. all by day so I can see the week. This way I can make decisions about time or rearrange stuff. It makes it so much easier for things that need to be done during the holidays. By dividing stuff up I can organize so I can do all the things that are important to me.

Recently there was an email sent out about Christmas cards requesting anyone who wanted to participate to put their mailing address in an email loop and the participants would exchange Christmas cards. I've been doing Christmas cards every year without missing for... Give me a sec, I'm calculating... 30 years. Yes, I know, that's longer than some of you have been alive. Which let me just say right now is a little freaky for me to realize. Anyway, I'm pretty sure my first year was 1978. I could get up and check my files, but then I'd be late for work. So you get my guess instead. Whew! You realize that this means I've been sending out cards for 30 years straight. Day-um!

Of course I don't stop there. I've also kept one card and the letter, if there was one, from each year. These have turned out to be valuable tools for dating stuff and events because when the kids want to know when something happened, like say a vacation, I've usually noted it in our family Christmas letter. So they've turned out to be like a mini-archive of lives.

How I got so off track from lists I'll never know. Anyway, my point is I'm in full list making mode. Thanksgiving marks the start. I'm doing some shopping, list making, celebrating my anniversary and Christmas decorating this weekend. What's on your list this weekend? What are all of you doing over the Thanksgiving holidays?

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Monday, November 24, 2008

The week that was...

What a week! I'm thinking I have used up all my disposable time karma or something. Still not getting my stuff together. No, don't sympathize. I've come unraveled and need to figure things out again. Kick my butt into gear here!

Since the blogger get together last Saturday I think I've been on my home computer a total of like an hour. I try planning things differently but am beginning to think I'm sabotaging myself, but that's conversation for a therapist...that I'm not seeing. Yet. *insert maniacal laugh*

I'm mentioning it just because it so unusual for us, but I had a fight, not an argument, a fight...with GG last night. I'm still agitated and we haven't made up. And, 'no' I won't tell you about it. Yet. I mention it because of the agitation and Lord knows what I'm typing.

Is it un-American to have steak for Thanksgiving dinner? None of us are in the mood for turkey.

We started Christmas shopping this past weekend. Not even for sales do I go out shopping over Thanksgiving weekend. Besides this year our anniversary falls on Saturday. Anyway, I spent way to much money in Crate and Barrel, but found a couple of things for family in there. I also got some new clothes.

Oh, Shmoo went to see TWILIGHT with his GF on Friday and told us we had to go see it. I haven't read the books and previously hadn't been too interested, but Shmoo insisted so off we all went yesterday. Beanie came home for his cousin's birthday party on Saturday night and so stayed over and went to the movie with us too.

Have any of you seen it? Those two lead actors have a lot of chemistry. Shmoo loved the clothes that Edward wore. He now is hunting for a pea-coat. We live in SoCal where the temperatures rarely drop below freezing and the kid wants a pea-coat.

Anyway, the movie was pretty good and is obviously the beginning of a very lucrative franchise. My boys all got a kick of how the young girls audibly sigh the first time Edward appears on screen. Too cute and too funny.

Done for today. Gotta go get ready for work. I'm thankful I only have two work days this week.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Almost a month...

I realized this morning that it's been almost a month since I've been in my blogging groove. Four weeks to be exact. Looking back on the last four weeks I realize how many special events or projects I've had between work and home and think to myself, "no wonder!"

I was very tired when I did my post yesterday. Pretty pathetic huh? Lordy. I call those sorts of posts my shameless appeal for attention. Look away from the train wreck people...

Anyway, the next two weeks it's Thanksgiving and then the following week the annual banquet at work. Fortunately most of the grunt work and planning that I have to do for these two events is already done so I'm feeling pretty darn good about that.

Miraculously I have been able to do a little bit of reading and fit in our SoCal blogger get together. That's the stuff that fuels the rest of my life.

Tomorrow morning GG, Shmoo and I are going to a charity fund raiser. A pancake breakfast. A pancake breakfast where firefighters will be serving us. I can't wait. It should be fun.

I also have Beanie coming home for Thanksgiving to look forward to. He'll be home for most of the weekend. Things have been slow at his regular job so he's been looking for a second one. He called yesterday to say he got hired... Guess where. Toys R Us. If you knew my son that I fondly call 'Peter Pan' you would know why he's so wildly happy at 22 and a junior in college to be working at a toy store. I wish I could convey to you how hilarious and funny he was on the phone yesterday. What do you say to someone who got to put Legos together as part of the job interview?

That's it for now. I must be off to work.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hanging On

Gotta get a break in the storm sometime soon here... Miss you madly. Another TBR day missed. Darn it! Barely reading.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Don't know what to say...

I'm at a dead loss this morning. I have so much to say and no cohesive thought process to put it in any sort of intelligent order. So you are just going to get my free associating wandering...

1. Wendy's quick run from her apartment on Saturday made me wonder what I would be grabbing if I left the house with fire literally breathing down my neck? What would be my thought process?

2. Having people in my life that I met on the internet and mean so much to me... Who'da thunk? It's remarkable and has been incredibly rewarding. I think I said something on Saturday how lucky I feel to have people to share my passion for reading Romance with. Pretty freaking cool.

3. Beanie is in the middle of all the fires in Orange County. Yes, I called, but I didn't stamp my foot and tell him he had to come home. This is a sign that my heart has caught up with my brain and knows that my baby bird has truly left the nest.

4. What is going to be my new normal with the whole blogging thing? I've been working on weeding my back log of posts and have been skimming a lot. I miss the interaction very much, but just seem to be behind all the time now...

5. There's nothing that replaces a parking lot book swap with a group of your reading pals. The conversation jumps from book to book with people holding up books and asking questions. Truly? It's just bliss. I just stood in the middle, in the way, and turned a 360 and was just wallowing in it. Love you guys!

6. What are you doing for Thanksgiving? I know I'm cooking, but don't have a handle for how many just yet. Guess I better figure that out this week.

7. Are you wondering like I am why I numbered my 'free associating'? Is it weird? I was just trying to remember and tick off all the stuff cramming my brain this morning.

8. *shhhhhhh* Don't tell anyone. I'm not going to make my bed this morning. You believe me, right?

Hey I'm writing a post before work...like the olden days way back last month. Maybe this is a good sign???

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Did you feel the great big earthquake yesterday Southern California? It was 'the big one'. 7.8 magnitude. No?

Then you, or your children, must not have participated in the Great Southern California Shake Out drill. Our agency participated and I got to learn all kinds of new stuff about first responders and disasters. Fun!?

One of the things I love about my job is that I never know what I'm going to learn next. There's always something new and I learned lots of new stuff yesterday. I have even more acronyms to add to the ever growing list. In fact, our new ESO commented on it yesterday. Everyone gets so used to referring to stuff by it's acronym we forget that someone new might not know what we are talking about. When I first started working at the fire department trying to remember everything gave me a headache. Anyway, one more first to cross off my list.

Now I get to look forward to seeing all the SoCal bloggers tomorrow. I can't wait. I'm sure we will all have lots to say and catch up. More on that later.

TGIF people!

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

I'm so out of my groove it isn't funny. Since the wedding weekend I just can't get my juggling ju-ju back. I AM reading quite a bit. I AM working quite a bit. Other than that, I'm just hanging on.

So, still alive. Not dead in a ditch. Hanging out and hanging on.

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Monday, November 10, 2008

*Cough* *Hack* *Cough*

I think it was only a week ago that I was telling you I would be catching up and checking in. Well last week turned out to be way busier at work than I expected and this past weekend the home PC got infected with a virus. Talk about a time suck. Getting rid of an annoying adware virus is like being dropped into the Twilight Zone without a map.

Obviously, and most thankfully we are rid of the virus and everything is up and running again.

Now if I can only get my blogging life back in tune I'll be happy.

BTW, all of you SoCal Bloggers don't forget our date this coming Saturday, November 15, 2008.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

The Scoop, The Dish, The Dirt...or what happened at the Wedding

You know your life is crazy when you post pictures of your niece's wedding and realize it was two weeks ago and you haven't even told the story of the event. You are all such good friends, and it was a bit humbling and startling to realize how much I tell you about my life and how invested we all are in one another. I adore you all. I do. I do. I do. Speaking of I do...

My story actually begins on Thursday. GG and I took the day before the wedding off to get the house ready and grocery shop because we were having much of my immediate family come to our house Saturday and Sunday for a BBQ and breakfast.

I tell you this because after we swam Thursday morning I called my brother, the father of the bride, and asked him to join us for breakfast. My SIL and the bride had already left for the venue and to run errands before the rehearsal dinner.

Anyway, we were having a great time until the conversation turned to the Dad update. I don't know if I've ever mentioned that my Dad lives half the year in Montana and half of the year (theoretically) here in SoCal. Dad was supposed to have left with HER to drive down here on Tuesday. Most people need two days to comfortably drive the route from MT to CA. My Dad always takes almost 3 full driving days because he likes to stop a lot. So if he left on Tuesday morning he'd be here Thursday afternoon.

So when I'm telling my brother the update, because he and Dad don't really speak any more, I let him know that Dad's been calling me about every 6 to 8 hours and updating me on his trip progress because he didn't leave MT until Wednesday NIGHT. He was only able to drive two hours out and stopped for the night.

Now call me crazy, but if I were a father estranged from most of my children and wanted them to accept my new wife and heal the rift, why would I tempt fate by leaving MT so late? Both my Dad and his wife are retired with no commitments or time constraints. Not to mention even though he's aggravating and irritating, he's also 77 years old.

Anyway I had been feeling sort of certain Dad might make it anyway because his wife is my age and she often does the driving. Well, my update to my bro was that my Dad says their pace is so slow because they are driving two separate cars. He bought her a new Prius to match his. But I digress and that's a story for another day.

My point here is that his wife has been here several times already. Why choose the time you are making the trip to go to your granddaughter's wedding the time you decide to move stuff down to SoCal and take two cars??? Huh? Why? Whatever though, right?
So my brother says, "Maybe it won't be an issue because he won't make it to the wedding." Sure I think to myself. What we wanted to avoid was making the wedding about Dad and drama and now we are all wondering and worrying about them driving and rushing and whether he will pull some slick trick and bring her at the last minute.

Throughout the day Thursday Dad calls. His progress and stops are pretty much status quo. I'm beginning to think he won't make it. Thursday night he's only half way. He says his pace is slow because of the two cars and he's going to press on ahead of his wife so he can make the wedding.

Long story short? They continue to drive together all day Friday and call and give me updates until I want to scream. Just as an aside, being the oldest sucks.

In the meantime, the rest of us are all gathering and getting ready for the wedding. Much happiness ensues. I try not to say anything to anyone about Dad because I don't want us talking and focusing on his drama. Of course that works pretty well with my brothers because they compartmentalize better than the sisters do. My sisters and I stew. And stew. And stew.

The wedding is at 6 PM. At 430 Dad calls and tells me to let my brother, the father of the bride know that he should go on without him. I almost swallow my tongue. Go on without them? Them? Uh-oh. I wonder...does my Dad actually think they'd hold the wedding for him? I'm amazed at the delusion.

I realize during this conversation that my Dad is still on Mountain time and remind him it's 430 not 530. He can still make the wedding if he really is already enroute. Of course, he wasn't. He had just arrived at their Cali home and hadn't showered or changed. He tells me his wife is too tired but he's going to try and make it.

Okay. It seems one disaster is diverted. No wife is coming. Whew! I move that message along to the masses and let them know to keep an eye peeled and their phones on vibrate because Dad isn't sure how to get to the Mission Inn.

We finish getting ready, kissing and shmoozing our way from our rooms at the Inn to the chapel where the wedding will be held. We're seated at 5:40. No Dad. More kissing and shmoozing as other family members arrive and are seated. No Dad.

6 PM. No Dad.

6:05 PM they close the doors to the chapel to prepare for the bride to walk down the aisle. My purse vibrates. It's Dad. I press ignore. 6:06 PM I'm now holding the phone in my hand to be able to shut if off because I know... It vibrates. It's Dad. He then calls GG. Dude! Look at the time! The music for the bride starts and I press redial.

I whisper, "Dad, the wedding has started. C is literally walking down the aisle. I have to..."

"I'm stuck in traffic. You'll have to press on without me."

I press 'hang up'.

Did he not hear that the bride was walking down the aisle???

The ceremony was beautiful and brief. Being Catholic we've had some looooog weddings so Shmoo trails out behind us after the ceremony and says, "Now that's my kind of wedding. Short."

*eye roll* I reply with a "Zip it."

The story ends with all of us looking for a half an hour after the wedding for my Dad. You'll be shocked to know we found him in the bar. Alone. No wife. He stayed for about 30 - 40 minutes. He barely saw the father of the bride and never saw the bride and groom. We were still enjoying cocktails and hors d'oevres before going into the reception when he left.

So no he didn't bring his wife. Just drama. We were all left wondering why he even came. And well it's easy to say he made an effort what he mostly did was cause another ripple and rift in his relationship with his kids. And while we did a pretty good job of diverting or cutting him off, he was still able to make part of the day about him.

Learning to let go is hard. It's difficult to let go of guilt and worry. All the normal things a child should feel about an elderly parent turn into something else when he is so reckless with our lives and feelings. We did make sure he didn't have more than 2 drinks and believe me that was an effort. It may also be part of the reason he left. That and his repeating to all of us over and over how much he was missing his wife. Not our mother. His wife.

There is a good part. We went on and had a wonderful time. Dad left and took his emotional vortex with him.

We laughed and danced and celebrated. My family. My blessing.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Bride and Groom

If you live in Southern California it's not unusual you might choose the Historic Mission Inn in Riverside, California as a place to get married. My niece did. It was a beautiful wedding. Their photographer Cean Ornett of CEAN ONE PHOTOGRAPHY was just awesome and here are some photos he had up on his blog of the wedding. Excellent aren't they?

The father/daughter dance. My brother didn't want a picture taken of his face because he had tears in his eyes. Yeah, fire fighters don't cry...even when their daughters get married. Whatever, KM, you were a great father of the bride.

This one is one of my favorites. Okay, I admit I'm more than a little biased and I won't shamelessly solicit your concurrence. Kudos to Cean. This is a wonderful photograph of our little missy.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wow! Just Wow!


Monday, November 03, 2008

October Reading List

Ten books in October. Of course it took me until January 2009 to get the list done. I'm nothing if not tenacious when I've made a commitment. It appears I'm on a historical binge these days and I'm reading multiple authors. Two by Johansen, two by Kleypas and two by Jodi Thomas. Wow!

LION'S BRIDE by Iris Johansen
Re-read. Still good and holds up. B++

Finally, Kev & Win's book. See my review. B

BROKEN WING by Judith James
This was a rec from Kristie who's made it her latest mission to have us all read it. See my review. B

This is the long awaited Rev's book and a part of Ms. McCarty's acclaimed and much loved (by me!) Promise series. I'm giving it a 'B' but have to admit I expected so much more from the author.

TWISTED CREEK by Jodi Thomas
Allie & Nana inherit a café in Twisted Creek. We meet the other loners that live nearby. This was a very good book and I forever thank Dev for her recommendation of it. B++

STRANGER by Megan Hart
Grace is a funeral director who pays for sex. Sam is home for his father's funeral. I received the ARC in October and read it. I did the review in January 2009 when the book came out. B++

Rafe, wallflowers Lillian & Daisy's brother comes to England. I enjoyed this addition to the series. B

DARK SUMMER by Iris Johansen
A killer and a vet. There's more than meets the eye. Quintessential Johansen thriller. B

ULTIMATE WEAPON by Shannon McKenna
This is Tamara & Val Janos' book. He's interesting and makes the book for me. I thought this was a bit more complex from one of my secret favorites. B

This is actually the third installment of the Whispering Mountain novels. I'm reading them out of order but don't think it matters. This is the oldest brother, Teagen McMurray's story. I read this one first and enjoyed it very much. B


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Born Again!

I feel almost brand new today. Headache gone. It never really blew into a full blown migraine, although if you had suggested that yesterday when I had double vision I'd have probably knocked you senseless.

Of course I have the lovely lighter than light feeling after a bad headache. The relief not to have the relentless ache and pressure is so fabulous I'm almost speechless.

I'm working on lots of stuff this afternoon of the time change. Which can anyone, any one, tell me why we are still torturing ourselves with this senseless ritual twice a year when we KNOW it doesn't work????

Anyway, I'm working on getting back into my lovely rut of a routine. I can hardly wait. First on the agenda is my October reading list. Hopefully it will be up tomorrow.

Now no more dithering. I'm going to see what all of you have been up to.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

oh woe is me...

Just when you think it's safe to go out at night...

I was so hoping to really catch up this weekend, but I have the mother of all migraines.

I'll be back when I don't have double vision and my brain doesn't feel like it's too big for my skull.