Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I've started walking...for exercise I mean.

I've actually been walking for 35 years or so, but I just didn't go quite as far as I do now :)

Last summer T and I both needed to loose weight. I read the South Beach diet book, implimented all of the changes and made us stick to the plan. It has worked!

To "kick it up a few notches" I have started walking about 2 miles, 3 times a week, as well as lifting weights (just arms, and more reps than weight), and doing those dreaded stomach crunches and some stuff my physical therapist taught me to do a few years ago.

I've told my husband and kids that one person who really inspires me on my walks is a fellow blogger who is stationed in Iraq, his name is Sean and his link is below:


He runs about 5 miles in the desert, and I don't know how often he does it, but it is a lot more than you'll catch me doing!

Anyway, for several weeks I've been walking, and the exercise is nothing short of wonderful...it clears my head, gets me out of the house, makes my hips ache, my feet sore, and my muscles twitch for at least 30 minutes after I cool down! But all the while I think about Sean...running in the dessert, and well, I just keep smiling and walking and telling myself that if he can do what he does, I can do my 2 pidley miles and NOT complain. Also, one of my younger sisters is a runner (for fun! ackkk!!!) and she can probably do 2 miles just aa a blooming warm up! (yeah Naomi, I think about you too!:) Anyways...

On Monday I was out for my stroll. I purposely walk down a long street with a hill so I can feel the "burn" when I walk back up it. After finishing the hill and turning down another street, I heard someone walking up behind me, kind of quickly.
I live in a pretty nice area, but I am always on my guard...I glance over my shoulder and here comes a lady who is at least 10 years older than me, and she is booking! Arms swinging, big steps...she made me look like I was just wandering around! I picked up the pace a little. She was getting closer...I swung my arms a little more...now she was about to pass me...

When she got even with me, I felt like I did when I was 16 and some boy pulled up next to me at a stop light... I'D give him a look (if his car was decent)... I'd rev the engine, shift into first gear, and pop...be out in front as soon as the light turned green!!! (and I was in a ford pinto!!! ha ha ha!!!)

Oh well, as this lady went to pass me, I turned my head to look at her, and I said,
"Hey...you wanna race???" It was all I could do to keep a straight face!
She just grinned at me, and said, "Honey, I'm too old for that!!!"
I could hear her laughing as she left me in her dust, and I was laughing too...

"Sigh", I wonder if she'll be out again tomorrow evening??? I need all the inspiration I can get :)

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Darlin' Baby Girl, love you more than all the world...

Within the last 24 hours some interesting things have come from the mouth of my 10 yr old.

The first statement or question she asked me was while we were shopping...And she said,
"Mom, why do they call it Seizure salad?"

I looked at the bottle of Caesar salad dressing she was holding and had to bite my lip to keep from laughing as I explained how to say it correctly, and who Caesar was...and not the same guy as Caesar Agustus from the Bible...and why did he have a salad named after him anyway??? I didn't have all the answers on that one!

The 2nd thing she said was a total slip and gave me a peek into that little mind of hers that works like a steel trap... See, I have known for sometime that Juli processes things differently than most people. In some ways she has my problem with hearing a word...seeing it's meaning, and then coming up with something that better defines it. This is great if you are a writer, because the meaning of something has made a deep impression on you that you won't forget...it is not so good when you are trying to recall word for word something you heard or read.
Her slip was this:

"Mom, I drank a joke the other day...do you want to hear it?"

I nearly fell on the floor laughing..."You DRANK a joke???" Now, I understand what she did because I do it often,and I could really laugh at how funny her statement was. Other people would not get it I am afraid. She meant to say, "I heard a joke", but it was more than that...she had "injested" it. The joke was in her and dying to come out. You may not understand, but that's ok...just be thankful you don't have to live with either Juli or me!!!

The 3rd thing she said came after I had made her mad about something. She was being silly and I kind of brushed her off, and she was a little offended. She said:

"Mom, I bet you could even make coffee cry!!!"

I can only imagine what that meant. Coffee doesn't cry...but I guess that was the point, huh???

Oh my...she is only 10, and I may have actually met my match in the battle of words and wits in this child!!!

My Goodness!!! How I love them!!!!

Friday, March 24, 2006

To disney and back again...

The kids were gone for a week...and thankfully they are home now and life has returned to normal.

They had every experience a kid at Disney should have: Meeting chararcters they love, eating with Cinderella, riding exciting rides, buying trinkets that fall apart within 36 hours of purchase, staying at a cool hotel, and coming down with a stomach bug that kept them tossing cookies (and everything else!) for about 2 days!!!

But, from the looks of things, they had a wonderful time!

Kids are like that...and I could be more like them too--take the good with the bad.
Enjoy the wonderful things that come my way and stop looking at the stuff I can't change and can't fix.

I am trying! Enjoy the photos...there are about 120 in all, but only a few will make it on MV!

Hope each of you have a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Leadership is absent of consensus

Today, like the 100 times before, I drove through Jacksonville NC. My In-laws have a home near the coast and I have been more times than I can count. This time though, as I drove past the base housing and the main gate (Piney Green) of camp Lejeune I saw more "welcome home" signs than I have seen in the last dozen visits or so.
I read as many as I can, but today I had to pull over and take a few pictures to share with you.

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A USA Today poll over the weekend states that more than half of Americans have been touched by the war and that nearly 3 to 1 of those say the impact has been negative.
6 in 10 say a close friend, family member, or co-worker has served in Iraq, and 1 in 10 say that someone close to them has been killed or wounded there.

HMMMM...Lets see. In general, and I am including myself here, most Americans are spoiled, tender bellied, and mostly after the pursuit of happiness.
A great deal of the generation in charge, the Baby Boomers, are among the most self centered and apathetic group of Americans that our history has yet to produce. Their parents, who fought in WWII, and whose grandparents fought in WWI, as well as lived through the Great Depression were determined that the next group of kids to come along would have the American dream and it is a nightmare we live with to this day.

The people of my parents generation, and my dad turns 60 this year...My mom 56, were given creature comforts, technology, education, and opportunities like no other generation before them. I suppose it is possible that at the time of the Egyptians, the privileged classes did the same to ruin their kids, but I can not read the writing on the walls, so to speak, so I don't know!

I do know that in the era of my parents teens we faced the first real protest against war. Prior to the 60's everyone got behind the push and did what was necessary to make the USA succeed. The 60's roll along and suddenly we've got moms and dads and mushy headed teenagers...Not ALL mind you, but quite a few, who have a French mindset and just don't want to fight anybody, for any reason. Make love, not war...

My dad was on a sub towards the end of the Viet Nam conflict and did not see any action, my Uncles were both in combat. My mom, who was a teenager when her brothers went to fight, as well as being a Coast Guard kid, was heartbroken and horrified at the reactions people had about the war. I will never forget my moms insistence that supporting the troops was the most important thing she could do, and would stand up to anyone who had something negative to say about the soldiers.

I continue in her stead.

As far as the poll I mentioned above stating that the war has had a negative effect on many Americans, I have to say, "DUH!!!"
No one likes war. No one likes the toll it takes on the country. Ask any American if they could choose between Easy or Hard, most would pull out their "Easy" button from Staples. Most of us do not want to work as waiters, or fry cooks, or check-out girls at Wal-Mart, this is why so many immigrants have jobs here!
And war??? You mean, you want me to go to war? And stop killers, and build schools, and dig ditches??? Are you crazy?

A NEGATIVE impact is what is to be expected...War hurts.
Let me say that one more time...


I am tired of the hits on President Bush. I am not in his inner circle but I believe in him. I know he is a Baby Boomer, but so was Bill Clinton, and by Heavens, there is a difference in the 2 men!

There are layers and layers of political and economical crap that we have to sort, shift, and cut through to understand what is happening in Iraq. If we lower our eyes and listen to the way the liberal media presents it's findings, you will discover yourself in a bog of information that is both mis-leading, and depressing.

I REFUSE to be either...And so should you.

The one thing I find comfort in, the one thing that makes me want to dig in and yell a little louder, is that the President has not wavered in his stand against terrorism. He is pushing forward, eyes on the prize, and to Hell with CNN and the Democratic party pushing against him.

2nd thing, in my neck of the woods, troops are coming home. Men I know, men I have prayed for, and many that I do not know...but have prayed for, are on their way back, at least for a while.

Negative experiences do not always result in negative outcomes. Ask any mom about the delivery of her baby...Most will tell you it hurt like mad, was scary, and nearly ruined their bodies for a while...But would they do it again? I have yet to meet one who said NO.

Can you imagine a group of pansy liberals around the bed of the mom deep in labor and their comments?
"Oooo, this is terrible!" "You had better not let this thing be born!" "Dr. we need drugs, lots and lots of drugs!!!" "Look honey, you don't have to do this...there are other ways around this..." "Oh, the price you will pay for this is too high!!"

And the mom says..."Look out and shut up...I am about to PUSH!!!"

In her case, as in the Presidents...Leadership is absent of consensus

And even though it does not really matter to him, I would say to my President,
"I agree with you."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Philadelphia, 8-30-2005

Yesterday I got into the city of Philadelphia-
I saw the Liberty Bell and toured "National Hall", and drove past the PA Art Museum.

On the way back to the hotel yesterday I heard about an exhibit at a London Zoo where humans (voluntary-I hope?!) are on display in a "natural" setting.
I suppose it is alot like the scene in Slaughter House 5 where Billy and Montana are on display in an alien zoo on another planet.

The people who run the Zoo (the one in London) are trying to make the point that humans are merely animals ("Humanimal" is the word I think) and there is not much difference between us and them.

I think a better experiment would be to put the Zebras and Lions in charge of the office and see if anyone notices a difference in the administration and care of the Zoo. Truly, some people are very stupid.

However, earlier in the day I had walked though historic areas of this country-- which was crafted, drafted, and created by somewhat ordinary men in an extraordinary time and place. In the midst of much thought, character, values, integrity, courage and ideals between some 50 men, our country was established.

The power and creativity of the human mind seems to have no limits. Our ability for greatness and absurdity, goodness and evil, courage and cowardice, extends beyond even our power to comprehend it. Just as we can not ever know how far the universe
extends, because it continues to expand, we also can not know--or even fully guess-- the limits of what the human mind can accomplish.

It struck me as rather profound that I would experience the 2 extremes in the same day. Of course, a trip to the Bone Marrow Transplant program at Duke Hospital, and then a quick visit to the local Wal-Mart would have given me a similar experience!

Anyway, we as a nation seem to have lost touch with our roots. We as humans (well, some, but not me!) seem to have lost touch period. I would ask anyone who thinks we are "just animals" functioning on a higher plane, to walk into a neurological unit at any hospital, or take a close look at an Black Hawk Helicopter at your local state fair, or just read anything by Tony Blankley! (Or CS Lewis, or Emily Dickinson, or Robert Frost!)

The folks in London, for whatever reason, want to give humans yet another reason to just be stupid. I say, let the lions in...see how many idiots we can eliminate from our gene pool, then send a few over to congress. I imagine good old Ben Franklin would heartily agree!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

At Costco today...ancora

I don't know how well this pic will upload, I took it with my phone and emailed it, right from Costco, to my earthlink email address!!

**Side note, I felt so cool and technologically advanced after I emailed the picture to myself that I turned to T and said,

"I just uploaded the schematics to CSI and they should have a blueprint of the store in just a few minutes!"
He looked at me as though I were crazy...as did a few other people :)***

So, it is not everyday that I see my name in anything...it is old fashioned and you don't meet many people with it. SO, when I do see it, it jumps out at me.

Hey, I don't even know who these guys are!!!
You can not see me in the pic at all, but just between the third and fourth guys on the right you can see a BRIGHT LIGHT...

For sure, I said, "That MUST be me!!!" :) ha ha ha!

T said it was more likely that the light was coming from a car, being driven by me, and that this photo was the last one ever made of the group before I ran them down with my crazy driving!

(Kidding, he did not really say that...because I am an excellent driver...and he is too smart to mouth off about my driving...way too smart :)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Steamed Oysters and Fried Grub Worms...

I LOVE steamed oysters.

This past weekend I ate almost a whole peck by myself...mmmm, cooked medium, slurpy, dipped in butter and then the home-made sauce...my jaws are aching just thinking about them!

T, on the other hand, does not like them at all. He said as much at the oyster bar and one of the other customers there said, "Have you tried one in a while?. T said, "No, actually I haven't". The customer suggested that T give it a try.

I slopped one in some butter and sauce and put it on his plate. He looked at me, the customers were looking at him, and, well...he ate it! Not bad, he said...and I jumed on the chance and said, "Want another one?" I knew I was pushing my luck but didn't care. He eventually ate 3, which was about all I was willing to share.

On the way back to the hotel, he said, "Cora, you should be proud of me for eating those oysters..." And I just laughed and said, "It's not like I asked you to eat fried Grub worms!"

Now, I don't care for fried Grub worms, but while in East Asia 4 years ago I was dared, by my pastor no less, to eat the local food we were served and the worms were on the menu.
I ate 2.

Somehow I don't see T going with me to Asia anytime soon...there is no way to tell what I might slop onto his plate!!! ;)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Crystal Coast, Emerald Isle, NC

Our room with a view, the first day was windy, but just like summer from then on...

The "Old Man" (ha ha) and the Sea...

Dolphins!!! They were jumping and playing for quite a while...unfortunately my digital camera has a delay on it, so I got a lot of shots of just water!!! This one was good though...well, better than the others!

I decided to come home. Not that I will be painting or anything! I actually have an important appointment tomorrow...which could have been changed, but more about that when the time comes.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Sun, fun, and drunks...

The weather here at the coast could not be more lovely...highs in the low 80's, sunny with a few clouds, dolphins jumping around just past the surf, and less than 30 people on the beach--looking as far as you can see in either direction!

Yesterday, while reading and relaxing on the shore, we were greeted by a dude who decided we looked like a friendly couple to hang out with. He was staying at the same hotel as us and He was drunk. Talking to drunk people is more fun, I think, if you are drunk yourself, which of course we were not! First he said he was a musician, then when pressed to tell which instrument he played, he had to confess he was a songwriter.

By this time T was sending LOUD subliminal messages to me not to breathe a word about his own musical ability...which I did perceive and said nothing. (This kind of telepathy can happen after many years of being with the same person. The frustrating thing is that when it is something REALLY important that you want your mate to understand ...it DOES NOT work!) This guy told us he had worked with Van Halen...even spoke of Alex on a first name basis! Wow, I thought--to have come this far in life--to end up drunk on the beach next to a couple of people you have never met--and your one accomplishment is to have worked with Alex Van Halen on a song or 2! That is sad! He was trying so hard to impress us. Oh, it just made me feel bad :(

My son, who is 12 going on 17, recommended a book to me..."Bud, not Buddy" sometime last week, after I recommended that he read "To Kill A Mockingbird". He and I have been doing this for a while now, suggesting books and then following up with questions and conversations...it has been a wonderful way for he and I to connect when so much of the time he seems like an alien and not my sweet little boy!!! Anyway, he made a great call on this one, I was sitting on the beach crying my dang eyes out over it! It was not sad, not sappy, just well written and very touching at the end. Read it! It is a great story!

Today we went into a cool antique store, T found about 350 shark teeth (he is counting them as I write) in a jar for $25. He's like a little kid at Christmas! The disturbing thing was this...(Remember this is an antique store) we found boxes and boxes of old records, and inside were things like old Neil Diamond (who I like), and old Rolling Stones stuff, but wait...they also had BILLY IDOL's REBEL YELL!!!
Of which I have been singing in my head all week!!! In the midnight hour, she cried more more more.... Oh, I thought I'd be sick! Billy Idol, in an antique store...$5 for the record. Yes, I bought it! :P

I also found stuff like old medals and service pins for the military and police. Lots of really neat things I remember seeing at my Grandmas house, even an old humidifier that my mom used for me when I was little, yeah, I bought that too, and I'll bet it still works!

Ok, the beach adventure is over tomorrow. I might go to Charleston SC, my birthplace, and hang out there for a day or 2. T will have loads of work to do when he gets back and I'll be in an empty house. I have lots to Blog about, so it's not like I won't have anything to do...not to mention that I should be re-painting the hallways, organizing the pantry and linen closets, getting my tomato beds ready...blah! Yes, there is plenty I could do! We'll see how it goes...

See you soon! :)

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Another "Fluff" Post

My kids are getting the dream trip of a lifetime...
Granny is taking them to Disney for a week!

I am also going to benefit from this little excursion, I will be just "Cora" for 8 days, not "Mamma"...and I can hardly tell you how excited I am about it!
Of course, once a Mom, always a Mom, but they will be in great hands and well cared for, and I could use the break :)

T and I are going to the coast, Emerald Isle, at least that is the plan. Things at work are ever in flux and if he has to renegotiate on this trip, well, I will go with out him, or go with the kids! I think all of our plans are "a go", I really hope so!

I probably won't get to update Maydens Voyage while I'm away...but if I can sneak into a library for a bit, then I will do what I can. Not that any of you are hanging on my next set of words to have a good life! :) But I do enjoy this, and I've really enjoyed getting to know you. One of my sisters, who lives a few hours away, told me she felt more connected to me because she was getting to hear about all the stuff she misses out on. I thought that was about the sweetest thing she could have said, and that alone is worth keeping this up!

So friends, family, and lurkers who never say hello...I bid you farewell for a little while, but I'll be back before you know it. With beach pic's to make you long for summer! It will be in the 80's this weekend...I may actually get a little sun!!! I need it!

Bon Voyage!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Photo Essay

Kramer taking a nap in the Dining room

Just me... I took the photo in color, but liked in black and white, but the B&W would not copy to the blog. SO...I took a picture of the B&W and posted that!
A true blonde no doubt!!! :)

My flowers are blooming...

A new tea set for Easter. Isn't it cute?!!!

Ok, so now you know a little more about me...you have seen my flowers in my front yard, a pic, one of my cats, and a new tea set.
Obviously I am bored this evening, and I have lots to do actually, but don't feel like doing it. T is working VERY late again, I had hoped we were past this.
Oh well, he can long onto my blog and see what he is missing! :) Not too much from the look of things! :)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

From Here to Eternity

A friend recently posted about heaven, and whether or not it existed. The consensus on the Blog was that the only heaven a person could count on was the one you made here on earth.
Sounds politically correct enough...Not for my Muslim friends, or for the people I go to Church with, but for lots of people this sounds pretty good.

***This is not a religious post, so don't run off!!!***

I was telling my girlfriend about this over the weekend, and she was ready to tic off scripture verses and references about the reality of heaven when I stopped her and said..."Well, according to CS Lewis they are kind of right." She gave me a very queer look.

In THE WEIGHT OF GLORY, Lewis explains that when we come to the end of our lives, if we are "Believers" (he was a Christian) we would look back over our lives from the point of our conversion and see that we have been in heaven all along. Those who were crossing over to hell would find that they had, in fact, been living in hell all along.

Now, as I get older, I find it to be a little disturbing to meet people who are obviously in hell...Right now. Even some who claim to be "Believers", are not living in what I'd call heaven. I am not talking about economic conditions, or poor choices in a partner, or even people who are sick, or caring for a loved one who is sick. We all walk through Hell from time to time, but we don't have to live there.

I KNOW you know what I am talking about. There are any number of blogs we can read and be certain that the writer lives at 666 Brimstone Lane. They are angry, bitter, jealous, petty, proud, mean-spirited, selfish, and acidic. Everyday they marinade in some ugly stuff, and it spills out in the things they say, and onto the people around them.

The opposite is true of other people. Some may call themselves "Believers", and some may not...but they emit a kind of light and happiness that is easy to recognize but at the same time hard to define. I am drawn to these kinds of people. I realize that I am one of these kinds of people, inspite of the way I feel when I get up on some mornings :)

I do put my best face on, in almost everything. You might never know from this blog, or even if you spent loads of time with me, that I grew up in a home below the poverty level for many years. We got free cheese and p-butter from the Salvation Army, and on more than one occasion I went to the Health Clinic for a check up because there was no $ for a private Dr. My clothes were hand-me-downs from very nice people in the church. In 5th grade I had exactly 3 pairs of pants for the entire school year...one red, one blue, one green. I remember them well because I was sick to death of them in about 2 weeks...but I wore them for at least 36.
My sister and I loaded and stacked firewood, for our house in the city, so the woodstove my dad put in the basement would keep the house warm and keep the electric bill at bay.
There were loads of us kids...too many some would say, but we all survived and none of us went to bed hungry. We had cereal or scrambled eggs many nights, and mom always made it sound like a fun event to have breakfast for dinner...but I know now that she could feed 4-6 kids on $2.00 with milk and cereal, or eggs and bread.
In an era where my friends had alligators on their shirts, my mom was not above MAKING clothes for me. She didn't do this much, thank goodness, but I had at least one home-made purse and a skirt or 2. It was all I had, and my parents EXPECTED me to be thankful for it.

Herein lies the key...Gratitude. Thankfulness for waking each day, taking stock of what you have and being glad you have it. Not always having what you want, but wanting what you have.
It is not always easy.
I admit that I complain sometimes about any number of things, but usually I try to see the good in whatever situation life presents me with. If I have a cold, thank God it is not the flu. If I have run out of money, then I'm thankful that I know how to be resourceful. No one could stretch a dollar or a chicken further than my mom, and she taught me a lot.
I suffered from a back injury from the time I was 13 until I was 30. After years of being seen by Dr.'s, a physical therapist figured out what was wrong, and corrected it (with exercises) in about 3 weeks :)
I was sexually assaulted as a teenager and learned a valuable lesson in trust, and listening to my gut no matter what. I was verbally (and psychologically) abused by a man who should have been a mentor...my pastor, who jaded everything I saw in the church for a very long time. I made some terrible decisions at 16 which I still live with to this day.
However, nothing that has happened to me has been for nothing. In every case, and I mean EVERY one, I have been able to help another person because of my experiences.

Whatever and Whoever exists out there, and I believe it to be God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, they have given us the capacity to choose. To love, or to hate. To be grateful, or to be selfish. To give, or to always take. To listen, or ignore the people around us. To embrace this life, to love the people we meet, to cherish these moments and the time we are given, or fritter it away with worry, and envy, and anger. We get to choose, everyday. We get to decide about our own eternity, as well as getting to decide about our tomorrows.

I do believe in heaven. I do believe in love. I do believe in eternity. I do believe we are given terrible choices sometimes, and we can make the best of it, or much, much less. I hope I am on the path to heaven, and so far, as I look back, I am mostly not sorry for the bad or difficult things that have happened to me...because I can see where my pain has been a benefit for someone else...for someone who needed to know they could live through whatever they were facing because I did, and they had a friend who understands them.

We walk from here to eternity.
I am thankful for the people I am on this journey with...and some of you know that I am talking about YOU!!!

Much love,
-me :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

"Dad's back from Iraq"

I wish I had a picture!

Yesterday my daughter called me around 11 to tell me she was sick, and needed me to pick her up from school. I drove over and came through the parking lot, as I rounded the corner, there was a van with writing all over the windows.
In big letters, it read,

"Dad's back from Iraq!!!" On another window it said,
"Daddy's home!!!" and on another, "We love you daddy!!! Welcome home!!!"

The sight almost took my breath away. My eyes filled up with tears, and I just sat staring at that van for a moment...trying to imagine what is has been like for these elementary school kids to have been with out dad, for any length of time. And his wife, what about her? I pulled into a parking space, and without thinking twice, I had to find a piece of papaer, the back of envelope, to tell her how much the decorations on her car meant to me. I had to tell her thank you, and to thank her husband. I had so much to say, I can not even remember all the words that poured out of me on to that bit of paper. I did not know these people, we have never met, and yet, I wrote to that Mom as if she were my sister. And I meant every word I said.
I had to get the kids to piano later, fix a meal for guests who were coming to dinner, and finish tidying up the house. At some point while I was out, I got a call from the woman I had left a note for. I had not left my #, but I did sign my name, and we are the only T & C B---- in our city, so it was easy to figure out.
She left a message...to thank ME...for leaving a note on her car!!!

I have called her again, and had to leave a message...I hope we will meet. I hope we will have dinner together. I hope my family can meet her husband and kids, and be able to say thank you in person.

THANK YOU soldiers, where-ever you are, when ever you served, (that includes you Dad, and Grandpa Alverson, and my Uncles Jerry and Steve, and my Great Uncle Harold who was at Pearl Harbor when it was attacked!!!) for all that you left behind, and for all that you faced in defending our country. I simply can not tell you often enough how much it means to me...
-Cora :)