Day 103-IBMC#5- Not So Quite Quote

Ok, its time for challenge number 5 in the Incredible Blogger Marathon Challenge and

this one may be a tough one but I’m game. img_3617 Here’s the rules: There are five quotes given to you. No! The challenge is not to describe any one quote, you need to use all five quotes to stitch a story.

quote 1

I am confused at times. Should I sound? Should I echo?

quote 2

You need not answer all the questions! You can just laugh and laugh again.

Quote 3

Thoughts-they do what we don’t ask for.

Quote 4

I knew it! That I don’t know!

Quote 5

At times, we pretend to think on one and actually think everything else.

Here’s my story:

“B-9”, the bingo caller said, loudly and clearly for all the players in the cafeteria to hear. It was game day at the Sunnyvale Nursing home and as Thelma struggled to hear the caller, she looked at fellow gamer Mildred and said “I’m confused at times, did I Bingo? Should I sound?” Mildred said she did indeed and so Thelma said, “Should I echo?” and then shouted “BINGO!” The caller then announced it true after everyone checked their cards. Later, as they continued the next set, a volunteer stopped by who was conducting a short survey for a school project. She sat down at Mildred and Thelma’s table and asked, to either of the ladies, “Do y’all mind if I ask you a few questions today ladies?” Thelma stared at her rather blankly and Mildred replied, “You need not answer all the questions, just humor her and you can laugh and laugh again.” Thelma gave Mildred a wink and turned to the volunteer. “What kind of things are you going to ask?” to which the volunteer replied, “Oh, just random things, like what your first day here at Sunnyvale was like.” Thelma considered carefully before stating her reply, “Thoughts-they do what we don’t ask for.” It was then the volunteer’s turn to stare back blankly at Thelma and Mildred said, “I knew it! You really don’t remember do you?” Thelma looked confused for a moment and said “I remember meeting you honey but that I don’t know!” Mildred replied, “I remember the first day they brought you in to meet me. You became my best friend the instant I saw you!” The volunteer stared in amazement at the exchange between the two women and stated prophetically, “At times we pretend to think on one and actually think on everything else.” At that, the two best buddies began to laugh and laugh and the volunteer rose from the table in embarrassment to go harass someone else.

 

 

Day 98-Free Days-How I'm Making NaNoWriMo Work For Me

If you are a writer, you’ve most likely heard that this is the month for NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writer’s Month.

My personal page showing my word count before today
My personal page showing my word count before today

As I’ve expressed here on my blog before, I’ve joined the challenge again this year as a Rebel, someone doing the challenge for word count only. I am also doing it to increase my speed and in the process, learn a bit more about story telling.

I’m proud of my word count so far, even though I am consumed by thoughts of what I should be doing to increase my word count all the time, to the point my dear hubby is probably annoyed with me. It is hard not to though, I have to write 50,000 words by the end of the month and this is my strategy:

  1. Using my blog
  2. Writing my daily post for 100 Naked Words on Medium
  3. Writing a story every week for submission to The Weekly Knob on  Medium
  4. Writing notes while working on a class I’m taking from Shaunta Grimes called How to Develop and Test a Story Idea
  5. Writing articles or essays for paid publications (in hopes of getting paid, lol)

Yes, it would be nice to get paid eventually for some of my writing, that is one thing I aim to accomplish after a year (or have I been writing for two?) of being on this journey. I’m learning a lot, and anything I write can be counted as part of my word total for NaNoWriMo. I’m sure that some people count everything, comments they make on other people’s posts, lists they make, whatever. Not me, just the above mentioned and anything else lengthy-even a long email.

If I’m doing it wrong, no one has pointed it out yet-and this challenge is based on an honesty policy, you don’t cheat anyone but yourself if you lie about your word count. So I’m shorting myself, if anything, by not including every single word I write. For me, it’s not about that, I want to hone my skills as a blogger, storyteller, writer of all forms and that is why I’ve taken the challenge again this year.

I was already doing the 365 day project on this here blog, so it’s a given that I would add my blog posts every day. The new writing I’m doing on Medium for various publications and the daily one, add even more. Then I discovered that I could learn some valuable lessons in storytelling from Shaunta’s class and up my word count in the process. Then, on Tuesdays-my designated writing day, I can really turn on the burners and do all of that and try to make money writing for paid publications. It all adds up, rather quickly in fact. So wish me luck and join in on the fun yourself, if you’re up to the challenge.

I wonder how many of you are doing the challenge, in secret, or in public- I don’t hear of as many bloggers, as I do people who write in other areas on other platforms. If you are, tell me about it in the comments as well as sharing your thoughts on my strategy. Do you hole yourself up in a room for hours or days at a time? Are you also driving your family nuts with what you call “this writing thing” as I am? Do you feel verified as a writer? I want to know. I sometimes feel like my family and friends don’t understand the passion I feel, or how important it is to me to make it as a writer. It isn’t a hobby to me. It’s becoming a true love.

 

Day 93- Help Me Help You-Writing With A Purpose

How my dogs can tell time is a mystery to me, yet, there was Whiskey, licking me in the face at exactly 7am this morning-the time I try to be up on my off day, the day I have earmarked for writing. To which I rolled over, glanced at my IPad, saw the time and leaped out of bed, because, of course I have that and a million other things to do on my “off” day.

I needed to take my “new” car in to the dealership, since there were existing issues from the moment we got it. The good news is, my husband purchased on a lease agreement, therefore, the dealership was prompt with service and a loaner-I simply took it in, and drove out with my exact replica loaner vehicle! No muss or fuss, I didn’t even have to sign any paperwork. He even had the radio tuned to my favorite sirius/xm station-Octane! What a super guy!!

Next on the list of course, is all of my writing assignments, which I have decided I need to figure out the best way to allocate time for. But first, there was laundry to start, dogs to feed, wait-I haven’t even fed myself, but there was coffee! Yes, that was first out of the starting gate! Anyway, I have taken on quite a bit more than I ever have, so now I need to create a schedule of sorts, to be able to fit it all in. I started with the simple list, what they are and how often they need to be written. Now, I have to set a schedule to get them all done.

The other thing that has been on my mind is, how I can make my blog better for my audience/followers, and that means, how can I be of service to you? I need to know what you want to read about, or what problems I can solve- in other words- I feel like my blog needs more purpose. I’ve been trying to market myself as an expert on alternative health, yet my blog has become more of a place to simply hang out with you guys, share my day, post my updates on our renovations, tell you about my family, and every once in a while, I’ve stuck in tidbits here and there about my Paleo lifestyle. The question is, what do you all want to see more of, or, what is there that I can write about that would interest you more? I don’t want to be another blogger that writes about writing-they are everywhere. I read stuff from lots of them, which is where I get my inspiration, and instructions on how and what to write. I have to admit though, this also creates confusion and chaos in my mind, what is my purpose?

Like I wrote in my piece for 100 Naked Words on Medium last night, I started out wanting a way to make money when I began my career as a writer over a year ago. The fact that I have not made a penny is not lost on me. My writing has improved, as well as the speed that I write, and those are huge improvements on accomplishing my goal, however, my true aim is to help people, which is why I picked the niche I did. Truth is, I am not sure I have been doing that, so now, I need to hear from you all. Another thing I’ve discovered since starting my journey as a writer is that I like the creative side of writing and that is why I’ve taken on more assignments. I want to learn more about the storytelling aspect of writing, this can also be a huge help if I ever really get into copywriting, which is what my goal was in the first place. (and to help people in the process)

To wrap all this up, I will ask you all to help me help you. Wish me luck in attaining my goal to fulfill my daily writing assignments, as well as my weekly ones, and please, tell me what I can do to be of service to you. If you want information, I can write more posts relating to my paleo lifestyle or something else you want to know more about. If you want entertainment, I could write about the music I am so passionate about, or my favorite TV shows I am convinced I can’t miss, lol. I could write about crafts, plants, whatever-the list is endless, but what do y’all want to read more about?  Yes, the goal right now is to write for 365 days consecutively, but I feel like I should be doing all that and more. When I write articles for magazines in the hopes of earning money, I write to inform, educate and hopefully help someone live a healthier life. When I write for publications like Medium, it is more of a creative outlet, a place to hone my storytelling skills. If I take on the NaNoWriMo challenge, it is a place to achieve the goal of writing 50,000 words in a month. Yes, that’s a lot of writing, however, if I ever hope to make a living from my writing, I need to be able to meet deadlines, so all of this writing is practice for me. Ok, I realize I am rambling now. Your turn, tell me what you want to see, and I will do my best to make it happen. I value my relationship with you and don’t want to lose you, so feel free to comment below with your suggestions, advice, and words of wisdom! I’m off to finally eat some breakfast, which will probably be something fast and easy like an omelet-in-a-mug, since my kitchen is in shambles! See you all tomorrow on the patio 😉

Day 76-Free Days-Happy News!

I am very exited to share something with you guys today! It’s a baby step in my creative  writing efforts, yet a step in the “write” direction (hehe)! I have been writing on the platform Medium for a few weeks and they have a publication called The Weekly Knob.  Every Monday, they give you a new prompt and you then craft a story featuring that prompt. Last week’s prompt was “broom” and my story-That Witchy Season was published today!! Yea! I love this platform because you also get “recommends” instead of “likes”, and creative feedback, support and love from the Medium writing community. I know the story could have been better, I probably could have changed the title as well, however, I feel validated that my story was accepted and then published and I just wanted to share this news. I also could spend hours reading all the other wonderful stories featured by an extremely talented pool of writers, if I didn’t have so much else to do. Maybe I can read more of them tonight, and I encourage all of you to check them out as well.  Just go to medium.com/theweeklyknob/ ThatWitchySeason on Medium,  if you’d like to read my story. There’s even a Medium app, which makes it all so much easier to navigate.

In other news, we layed more of the flooring today and now have the hallway and laundry room finished!

Hallway to the master bedroom
Hallway to the master bedroom
At the halfway point in the laundry room
At the halfway point in the laundry room

Tomorrow, we’ll install the doors and trim and then we will be one step closer to (horror of all horrors) the kitchen. Shudder! I am not exited about my kitchen being destroyed so close to the holidays!!! It has to be done though, if we expect to have floors by Thanksgiving. I’m so proud of my husband and his handiwork! (I get credit for the layout) I’m his helper, cleanup girl and designer, and we make a great team!

I have also started to make a little progress on the baby blanket I’m crocheting for Taylor’s soon-to-be-born little one. Did I tell y’all the theme for the nursery is Nightmare Before Christmas? I thought it sounded odd until I went on Pinterest and literally found hundreds of pins with the decor and all sorts of other great ideas with the theme. The colors are black, white, lavender and lime green. Although I picked a very basic pattern, I’m proud of how it’s coming along so far. I’ll post a pic when I get to the halfway point.

So that’s it, plus I have three upcoming birthdays to think about and prepare for and of course the holidays are creeping ever closer. Just a few of the things on my mind (and plate) but nothing I can’t handle. I realize this time of year is busy and stressful for everyone, the way I handle it is one bite at a time, somehow it all comes together. Just try to relax and breathe! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

Day 57- What If…. Week-

Today I decided to turn back to creative writing this week because of a seemingly brilliant idea that came to me just as I was falling asleep last night, I thought of having a week of scenario type stories focusing on What if…..

I had a lovely story almost written in my mind, then I fell asleep-and you know what they say. That is a disaster, now I can’t recall the particular story except the very beginning, or what my point was, or the direction it was supposed to go. Lesson here, always keep a notepad by the bed to jot these ideas down, but what if my husband is asleep? I don’t want to wake him once the light is off, so some ideas that I had to remedy this was to use a lighted pen, or a small flashlight, or at the very least, I could get up and take my iPad into the other room.

Why I can’t fall asleep on Sunday nights is a mystery to me, maybe because the weekend is over and I know I’m working Monday, so I start mentally preparing myself with to-do lists or writing projects come unbidden into my head. I had 3-4 of these such projects back to back racing in my mind last night, now I can only recall bits and pieces.

But now I have an idea.

After reading the word prompt on Medium for this week’s edition of The Weekly Knob, I am inspired to write a little on the subject of  Light up Medium, Light up the World. The word prompt is “candle”,  while I can’t write the same story in the both places, I can write a “what if” story. So here goes:

What if we, as a nation, lit a candle every day at a certain time in solidarity to end the madness and bring some positivity and light into the world? What do you think it would change? Would we be so busy lighting candles and thinking of our individual reasons for doing so that we would forget the hate and negativity going on in all the dark corners of the world today? Would we for once, get caught up in the action of doing something as a group to bring happiness and peace to the world that we ignore all the ignorant and inane things in the mainstream media today? What if we also said a prayer for peace and unity every time we lit that candle? Would the nation be healed? Maybe not, maybe so, I bet we’d have more of a fighting chance by coming together in this action than not. I say we try it for a week. I say, if the nation lit a candle and prayed everyday for a week, say, at 7:11, the healing would begin. What if we shared the news we were doing it, like we do every other insignificant thing we plaster all over Facebook and Instagram and Twitter? Spread the news, make it happen. Don’t you want the madness to stop? All the shootings, the press about the shootings, the riots, the protests. Light. It. Up. Light the candle, say a prayer and spread the word. I’m going to, because I really do. I want it to end and light to come back into the world. The light of Jesus. The light of God. The light of peace. I pray you do too.

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Day 47-Story Week-A Texas Love Story

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I met this crazy bull rider one day in a watering hole called Manhattan’s. Crazy thing was, I didn’t even want to be there but my friend talked me into going at the last minute. As I found out later, he didn’t want to be there either, it didn’t have his favorite pastime-foosball. He was almost as good at that as playing pool as I soon found out.

As we eyeballed each other across the room, me thinking he looked kinda like someone I used to know and him thinking he just wanted to ask me to dance or something, finally came the moment when he and his buddy approached our table. My friend and I giggled and said sure we’d dance and off we went. I wish I could say the night went as well for her as it did me, but I’d be lying.

The dance was short and soon we were outside in the parking lot admiring each other’s  cars-I was proud of my ride at the time, a Mercury Capris, and he had a small truck he was pretty happy with. The real deal was, we were checking each other out a little bit and the premise was that he was going to give me his digits that were located on his business card.

Next thing I know, he has me in his arms, asking me if I’m as sick of playing “games” as he is. I agreed I was done, and as we kissed, I knew this one was going to be different. We were leaning against my car at the time and I was so proud that it was a cool one. Black with a red pin stripe, my two favorite colors. He made me feel safe and warm and I had no qualms asking him back to my place.

I reserve the right to withhold the details, just know that was thirty one years ago. We’ve had good times and bad, raised two children and had many adventures along the way. I wouldn’t change it for anything and I love him just as much today as I did the day we met. I tell you what though, if you would have told me 31 years ago that I’d have fallen for a cowboy, I’d have said you’re crazy. I’m a rocker and he’s more of the easy listening kind of guy. We have so much in common and love each other’s company that none of that matters.

So there you have it, the short version of our Texas love story. And to think, the song that was our first dance was “You’ve Lost That Lovin Feeling”. Never gonna happen. 😍

Day 46-Story Week-A Few Stolen Moments

As she came through the back door this afternoon, she noticed a thin piece of cardboard material floating in her pool. As she carefully retrieved it, her hand brushed the water and she thought to herself, “that’s not so bad, maybe I’ll test the waters later.” Knowing she had work to do, she quickly changed into her bathing suit anyway, her thought being, there won’t be many more days left this year to take advantage of the fabulous feeling pool with the sun still warm enough to lightly tan her skin.

At first, she just sat on the steps of the pool, noticing how long it took to get used to the cool temperature. When she decided it was rather quickly, she gathered her things, a nice glass of iced tea, her towel, phone and e-cig, and her half empty bottle of tanning oil and headed to her lounge chair by the side of the pool. She had no plans to sit on it, the shade it provided was where she liked to stash her things to keep them from cooking in the sun, also, they were within easy reach once she was floating in the pool later.

As soon as she gingerly lowered herself into the water, however, she set to work excercising her legs and arms, listening to the music provided by the nearby radio. After she warmed up, she moved to the poolside ladder for a few dozen leg lifts and tried to go as long as the song that was playing on KLUV.  As she lifted, she took note of the soft, fluffy clouds that had gathered above her neighbor’s rooftop and remembered the forecast from earlier in the day predicting a fourty percent chance of rain. She wasn’t worried, who really believed the weather man anyway? Still, she kept her eyes peeled as the clouds started to turn an angry shade of gray.

Next, it was time for some pull-ups from the diving board. She grasped the end of the board and pulled herself up and out of the water as far as she could, then lowered herself back down and repeated the move. She lost count of how many she did, daydreaming her way through the movements. Sometimes it was so nice to have the peace and quiet to do exactly this and not worry about what anyone else wanted to do or wanted her to do. Was she being selfish? After all, it had been a long time since she’d even been in the pool, and she only planned on staying in an hour or so. Soon, she felt she had done enough to earn herself some time on the float.

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She took her last pull on the board and reached up and grabbed the big, blue pillow style float her husband bought at the beginning of the summer. It was the perfect size for him and he was six foot, so it was like a twin mattress for her, being only four foot nine. She hoisted herself on top and found a comfy position and proceeded to the side of the pool so she could apply some oil. Just as she reached the side, her cell phone rang and it was him, calling to let her know he was stopping by the store and did she need anything? She couldn’t help think how lucky she was to be right there as the phone rang, she would have probably broke her neck trying to get over there from where she was in the pool just  previously. After the call she applied her oil and relished a few moments in the sun before it disappeared behind the clouds and she thought, “just my luck.” Still, she waited it out and soon she found herself flipped on her tummy, wiggling her leg to the time of the music and watching the shimmering waves she was creating in the pool. The clouds grew more gray and were pushing closer together.

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Before long, her husband joined her for a few more blissful minutes until the sun went away again and they decided it was time to cook dinner anyway. As they sat on the patio, drying from their brief excursion, the thunder started to roll.

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Day 44-Story Week-My Shot With Sam

img_2538 You only have one chance to get it right, and this was my chance.

Earlier this year, while on a trip down to the Bolivar Peninsula, I passed my favorite Texas monument and thought how awesome would it be (albeit dangerous) to get the perfect selfie shot with my man Sam Houston in the background. Somehow, while watching the traffic, (thank God it was light) and balancing the camera (iPhone) just at the precise angle, I managed to snap this awesome (pat myself on the back) pic of the hero and myself while traveling at a speed of 55 mph (lets just stick to that story shall we). I really can’t remember how fast I was going, I think the speed limit is 65-70 mph through there, but since it’s close to the prison, everyone slows down and minds their manners. Which means I was risking that as well! Luckily, I got the shot and wasn’t caught!

We’ve travelled this stretch of road more times than I can count, and my husband always knows, just as he does when going over the bridge in Waco that I want that pic of the beautiful Brazos River, that I’m going to take yet another picture of good ole Sam Houston every time. Why the reason for my love affair with Sam is unclear even to me, except for the fact that the statue is massive, the tallest statue of an American hero in the world,  at 67 ft tall, he was designed by artist David Adickes and dedicated to the city of Huntsville in 1994. He is an impressive icon who sits atop a ten foot granite base. I have yet to make it to the visitor center (should have gone when I was alone) something my hubby has promised yet not fulfilled as of yet. Men are always in such a galdarned hurry to get to their destination, they fail to take in the sights and historical places along the way. Why is that?

Anyway, I was proud to capture this image and my only complaint about it was that in my rush to complete the task at hand, I forgot to smile! By the way, any of you who want to get the other picture I referred to earlier of the Brazos river, don’t plan on getting it while crossing the bridge in Waco! They have since put of some kind of support structures that completely block your view. So if you gotta have that pic, you’ll have to find a place to park and get out of the car to get it.

So maybe this wasn’t a story in the typical sense, but it’s my story and I’ll have the picture to prove it, from now until the end of my days.

What monuments have you visited and do you have some incredible shots to share? I’m sure you do, leave me a comment below, I’d love to see them! Until then, I’ll be waiting on the patio. 😉

Day 43-Story Week-Race To The Sun

I was originally going to have this week be a combo of local events and then a story I craft from a word prompt. After taking a gander at the city’s official event calendar instead of the newsletter, I realized that unless y’all want to hear about trash bash or the next time my buddies band is playing, I’ll just stick to a story-for tonight at least.

Secondly, I was going to do my story off a word prompt but decided to go off a picture prompt for my first attempt. 😊

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As her eyes popped open, it hit her that she might already be too late. She hurled herself out of the bed, as quietly as she could, so as not to disturb her sleeping roommates. Hurriedly, she threw on some clothes, grabbed her iPhone and flip flops and raced down the stairs and out the front door of the rental she shared with eighteen other women that weekend. Four of her party were on the balcony, enjoying their morning coffee as she blew past them with no words. She knew they were aware of her  motives, she’d been telling them all week that this was on her list of things she wanted to do.

She almost fell down the stairs of the cabin in her rushed state, and the other ladies hollered at her something like, “whoa, you ok?” She yelled back “yeah, I’m alright” and walked as fast as her short little legs could get her there. She could see the sky starting to change and kept thinking, ” I’m not gonna make it!” Still, she pushed on, only a few more feet now and she would be on the beach. All at once she crested the top of the dune and saw her acquaintances standing on the beach. They heard her approach and called out, “Hey! You made it!” Out of breath and overjoyed at the fact that she did indeed get there in time,  she greeted them as she took up the perfect position.

They all did, they had talked about wanting to do this just yesterday while meeting for the first time at the beach. “They” were a nice family visiting from the Houston area that struck up a friendly conversation with her as she was getting some sun and enjoying some beach time. The ladies she was with on this trip were all members or former members of a group called Sertoma that she was in when she had lived close by just a few months previously. They knew she was more about beach time than they were, so they gave her her space when she would just take off with little notice. Now she was here again, together with this other nice little group of people, all on a quest to get the sun rising over the ocean and catch it on film.

She had finally done it, as many times as she had been to one beach or another in her lifetime, this was a first for her. It had been hazy and at first, even though she’d been on time, it didn’t look good-like God was mocking her and saying, “can’t get it this time either” but then the haze cleared and there it was. She tried to adjust the size of the picture so it would show up but not have the image be blurred. She should have brought her “real” camera but the iPhone would have to do. She was proud of her efforts and so happy she bypassed coffee and conversation to get the amazing shots that nature provided….once one got their butt out of bed early enough to capture the beauty.

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Day 42-Free Days-Let Freedom Ring

As I clean up from another successful family gathering, I’m aware of the anniversary today is and think of the fifty word story I submitted just a few days ago, commemorating 9/11 in my own small way.

[Survivors and the families of lost loved ones gathered en masse to gaze at the blue lights the city had erected. In the same way they cannot forget, they will not forgive either. “We will seek justice”, they chant together. With that, the plan is hatched, retribution will be theirs.]

It has been suggested that I expound on the story, and I have been thinking on it, but I’m still not ready and honestly I don’t know if I’m that good of a storyteller.  Even after watching yet another magazine feature on the story and what has become of ground zero, I still didn’t formulate any grand idea yet. If you didn’t see CBS Sunday Morning show today, you missed a good one and what they have done is breathtaking. Inverted fountains with all the names of the missing and the dead, forever etched in stone surround each of the finished fountains, with more monuments to come. The monolithic masterpiece that stands in the place of the twin towers is a stunning, middle finger to the enemy and shows just how much we refuse to bow down and cower in fear. To me it says “we will not go quietly into the night.” It is a constant reminder that we will not forget, forgiving is up to each individual family that lost someone or survived the horror of that day and therefore, cannot be determined by me or anyone else that did not witness or personally lose someone that day.

I like to imagine that the survivors gather as a group with these things in common and dream of a way to get vengeance. If I do ever expound on the story, I will preface it with a disclaimer that it is purely a work of fiction, since I can’t begin to guess what each member of said group might be thinking. I bet one thought remains true with each and every one of them though…let freedom ring.

I thought of what I would write about this week and came up with a couple of possible topics, one was Local Events Week where I would highlight upcoming important days for citywide happenings. Another thought I had was to strengthen my storytelling skills by having story week, off of a word or sentence prompt found somewhere on the web. What would you, my followers rather hear, or, what would be helpful or interesting to you? Drop me a line, suggestion or comment and I’ll work it into the calendar for the remainder of the month. If I don’t hear from you, I guess I’m on my own and free to choose what I want. I’ll be thinking about it while sitting on the patio. 🇺🇸