Thursday, December 31, 2009

365 Photo Challenge

So, a friend of mine is hosting a 365 Photo Challenge starting tomorrow. It's a challenge to take a picture a day and post it. I am planning to jump in on it, and hoping that I can find the time to post every day. I fear though, knowing me and the way I am, that my posts may be weekly, rather than daily, unless I just upload a picture and don't describe it. But I'm game. She posed the challenge, and I accept. Thanks, Andrea!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Plumbing fun abounds

So, a couple of weeks ago, we discovered that the kitchen faucet was leaking under the sink and running out on the floor from the cabinet. Hubby and I decided we could replace it since we had replaced it so many years ago when we moved in. I went to Lowes and picked out a new faucet. Hubby put the new faucet in, but afterwards, the dishwasher didn't work. It wasn't getting water. So, for a couple of evenings, we were so busy, we couldn't diagnose the problem.

Hubby fiddled with the valves and the dishwasher began to work. But when the dishwasher began to drain, it broke out the connection on the garbage disposal and yes, flooded the cabinet and kitchen floor again... So, we quickly shut off the dishwasher. The water level was lower than the bottom of the door, so we had some time to figure it all out.

We debated about whether to replace the garbage disposal or to just plumb it up to the sink and be done with it. We went to Home Depot and got a new garbage disposal. We thought we were home free, but tonight, the news is that the dishwasher isn't working again. Ugh... I hate plumbing. I hate finding a flood in the kitchen.

I dare not ask if anything else can go wrong...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A quick trip (or two) to the grocery store

So, I just needed to pick up a few items on the way home from work after picking the kids up at daycare. Shouldn't have been a big issue, but it turned in to one. I went to the grocery store, twice. Yeah, I know you are scratching your head and asking, "Why Twice?". Well, the first time we didn't actually make it in to the grocery store, only to the parking lot.

Bless my son's little heart, he knows he's supposed to wait til I get around and open his door before he jumps out, but for some reason, he decided not to wait on me. By the time I got out of the car, he'd unbuckled and flung his door open. As I turned to head around the car to let him out, I saw him stand back up and start crying. Yes, he fell out of the car and hit his face on the concrete parking lot. Poor baby! He didn't scrape his nose or anything else, and I can't tell you exactly how it is that only his lip was bleeding and swelling. So, I checked to see if all of his teeth were still in place, made sure he wasn't hurt any other place and loaded him back in the car and went home to take care of my wounded boy. I cleaned him up when we got home and had him hold some ice on his lip. No teeth were lost or even loosened, so that was good. No other swelling, raspberries or bleeding showed up on any other part of him. We sat in silence for about 20 minutes waiting for the bleeding lip to stop bleeding and stop swelling. He's a trooper... He really only cried for about 2 minutes. I think he was more scared than anything. And I'd like to believe that he'll remember to wait for me, at least for the next day or two, before opening his door. I did put the child lock back on the door. I didn't realize it was off. They must have undone it the last time they did work on my car.

So, anyway, once Daddy got home and my boy got to tell him the perils of getting out of the car before he was supposed to, I headed off back to the store. As I said, my list was pretty short... 6 items... Bread, Milk, Kitty Litter, Cereal, Hair stuff, and Dinner. As I went up and down only the aisles I needed, I found Kitty Litter on sale and it had a $2 off coupon attached to the bottle. Yay! I grabbed Milk. I grabbed the hair creme for my hubby. I ended up remembering that I wanted to pick up an ankle brace because my ankle has been feeling somewhat weak, so I grabbed that (one item so far, not on my list). I got around to the bread aisle and grabbed a loaf. Then, it was off to the Cereal aisle. My kids go through boxes and boxes of cereal at what I think is a rapid pace, so when there's a deal to be had, I try to stock up. Bonus deal of the day? 4 boxes of cereal on special for $6 with a $20 purchase (usually the boxes are somewhere between $2 and $3 each)... And, I had 2 $1 off two boxes coupons. So, I picked up the obligatory 4 boxes and tore the required store coupon out of the circular tucking it away with my $2 off kitty litter, and 2 $1 off two boxes of cereal coupons. As I was walking out of the cereal aisle, I saw a new granola type snack being offered for 2/$4 with a coupon machine dispensing an additional $.55 off each, so I snagged 2 varieties of this new snack and two coupons. I glanced at the circular one more time to see if any other coupon deals had to be grabbed. I picked up a package of fruit cups for snacks for $1 with my coupon from the circular. Headed off to pick up dinner which ended up being a roasted chicken. Given that Mexican food had been suggested by my daughter in talks about dinner, I swung back by and grabbed some fresh tortillas and a bag of shredded cheese (also on sale) and then headed to check out. So, yeah, I strayed from my list a little. I try really hard not to do that. But I did score a few good snacks to stash away. And I have a much more supported ankle today...

So, here we are at check out. I saved around $22 with my coupons and store rewards savings... my check out total was around $46. I didn't think that was bad, considering that the brace itself was about $9. So, if you take that out and take out dinner items (which was somewhere around $10) my bill was about $27 for the 5 other items on my list, plus my snacks. Not a bad deal if you ask me. Saved almost as much as I spent on my list items and my additional snack stash items... And dinner for 4 was around $10 (with cheese, tortillas and chicken left over for another meal, YUM).

I headed home and my boy was no worse for the wear. He was snuggled up in Daddy's lap, waiting patiently for dinner to arrive. My daughter was sprawled on the couch waiting a little less patiently for dinner to arrive. Ha ha!

Not to bad for 2 trips to the grocery store (or at least to the parking lot of the grocery store).


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Samples, Freebies, Coupons, oh my

I've been busy getting kids ready for school to start and haven't been as faithful in getting coupons cut, sorted and organized, but my last two shopping trips for groceries have show that the effort pays off.

I started buying two Sunday papers every week. Yeah, it's $5 but in my past three shopping trips, I've saved over $65 due specifically to the coupons I've taken with me. It's great. I love being the lady who puts all that stuff on the belt to be scanned and then hands the cashier a fist full of coupons to watch with great anticipation while the discounts come off the grand total.

And I'm eager to get home and get the mail every day now because instead of just receiving bills and credit card offers, which I have NO interest in, I now usually get at least a coupon in the mail every day, if not a free sample or something along with it. My kids love to get the mail because they never know if there's gonna be some new brightly colored little box to help mom open when we get inside.

So, yeah, it's a good thing. I am really working to get a system down. I am also really working to find other ways to trim the spending. I thought I'd have time for email surveys, but I find I don't have as much time as I hoped to do them. I don't even manage to keep up with paid to read emails these days. So, I may step out of those. But coupons, those keep me challenged and I just love free money and things. I consider them to be free money because I just don't pay as much for things as I used to.

I do have to tell you that my husband is getting used to trying new varieties of things, but he's still hankering for his usual brands on some things. It all evens out though. If I can find a balance between the brands he's loyal to and some new and exciting brands that cost less and work better, it's a good thing. Every little bit helps!

So, there ya go. That's my update. It's late in coming and I hope to find a way to be more consistent. I need to do like so many of my online mentors do... take pictures of the free stuff, keep track of what I save, and detail out my shopping trips. I think I'll find more motivation to do what it takes to keep every penny that comes in to our accounts in our accounts instead of just blindly spending them.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Long time no talk

Not sure how my life got to spinning out of control, but I'm working to reign it all back in.

Lately, I've been busy just doing family things. We've been on vacation and we've been working on finding a balance at home. My daughter is ready to start 6th grade and is now a part of the Youth program at church. My son is ready to start Kindergarten. Oh my... Work has been way busy, and Hubby's work has been busy too. So, it all kind of adds up and when I get a free minute, it seems like I am either catching up on things I should have already done, or passed out because I don't sleep as much as I should.

Well enough complaining. Really, my life isn't all that bad. I do have a job. Hubby has a job. We have two wonderful children and we're still managing to make ends meet. So many are not doing that very well these days.

I do find that I have been spending more time on Facebook lately. I didn't really think I wanted to jump into that because I'm already not good at keeping up with my blog here (evidenced by the long periods of time between posts). But it has sucked me in. And those darned Farm games!!! OOOoooo!!!

Recently, I've been working on ways to trim back our spending. So, I attended a great brown bag lunch and learn from a lady who blogs and saves with coupons, participates in online surveys, etc. I had forgotten what a fun "game" it is to be that person in line with $150 worth of groceries and a fist full of coupons! It's fun. And I also forgot how much fun it is to sign up for free samples of stuff. Years ago, a friend of mine and I spent a great deal of time scouring around for free samples on the internet and we'd compare how many we could find and actually receive. Again, a fun game. I've begun to do that again and the samples, free coupons and everything are starting to roll in.

Here's an example of the fun I have had with coupons, free deals, etc. Recently, our team at work had an outing to Dave & Busters. Well, I happened upon a coupon for a free $10 play with a purchase of $10. So, already, I had saved $10. Then, I ended up signing up for their rewards program (free program) and getting a coupon for a free $10 play. So, for $12 (had to buy the refillable card), I got $30 worth of play time. Not a bad deal.

Well, I'm on the lookout for more fun, more coupons, more ways to save and just having a great time with it. I'll try to be better about posting here, so that I can share my finds and fun with you all.

Happy reading!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Slacker!!! I AM A SLACKER!!!

Wow... Has it really been that long since I posted? Phwew... Life got crazy... Girl Scout Cookie Sales and then just madness of living.
So, this weekend, we spent the weekend rearranging, decluttering and prepping for new desks, a bookshelf and a lateral file (well, new to us). They are great. We got them from friends of ours. And I had to take pictures while they didn't have piles of crap piled on them! Ha Ha!

First, there's a small desk with hutch that will eventually end up in our daughter's room. Here's a good place for the laptops.

Then, an L shaped desk with a hutch that will have permanent residence here in the family room.

Then, a book shelf.

And, a Lateral file cabinet.

Now, we just have to recover from the weekend... Thank goodness for good friends that help you move the heavy stuff!
Next weekend? Yep, more furniture. We are inheriting a bedroom set (bunk beds, desk, dresser) from a friend for our son. Phwew...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Always Playing Catch Up

Catching up. Yep, that's what I'm doing right now. I am recovering from some wicked, quick-hitting virus or something. Tuesday, I hit the brick wall in the afternoon, the fever set in and by Wednesday morning, it was all gone. Phwew.

So, I need to acknowledge that my friend, Ashley, presented me with a blog award some time ago and I didn't even get a chance to load it up here to proudly display it. Thank you Ashley!

I need to pass this on to 6 people who encourage and inspire me. I will need to regroup a bit but I promise to come back and pass it along!!! Bear with me!

Phwew. I feel like I've lost a week or two again. How does that happen?

Off to see about finishing up some stuff real quick before I shut this thing down for the night. You know, fun stuff like loading and starting the dishwasher, folding clothes, picking up toys (kids and mine apparently). Be back soon.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Girl Scout Cookies

Wow, so tomorrow (or is that today), we have to turn in Audra's initial cookie order. Man, I've been sitting here adding all these different order sheets. My girl has done AWESOME!!! As it stands now (and we still have orders outstanding from folks who haven't gotten back to us), she's at 557 boxes. Her goal is 2009, but her minimum that she wants to sell is 1000.

1000 boxes sold will get a Girl Scout into the Diva Club. Audra's been in it for the past two years. Divas get to do fun things for all their hard work. Last year, Audra went to dinner and then to a theater to see a production of High School Musical. The year before, she spent the day with 4 Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders learning different routines and dancing with them. This year, the Divas get to go to the Great Wolf Lodge. What's a Great Wolf Lodge? It's a lodge where they have an indoor water park and so they stay in these really cool rooms and get a pass for the water park. 1500 boxes sold will get a Girl Scout into the Diva Club, as well as get her an IPOD. 2009 boxes sold will get a Girl Scout into the EXTREME Diva Club. With that, she'll get the Great Wolf Lodge Trip, the IPOD and a Wii. Of course, all the Diva levels also get all the incentives available for all the lower levels. So, we'll see how she does. I hope she at least makes it to 1000 boxes. I'd hate to see her not make it this year after being in it the past two years.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Random End of the Week rambling

Well, the week has finally come to an end. Phwew... Monday was kind of a bummer day for me. I was really down in the dumps due to the passing of a very dear friend of mine. And Work has been stressful in and of itself, so between those two things, I just was very down. Tuesday morning, hubby and I attended the funeral for our friend, WALTER. Walter was a wonderful man. He was kind of like a grandpa to my girl. He was kind of like a father figure for my hubby... not that my hubby doesn't have an awesome dad... It was a very nice funeral... it was geared towards a celebration of his life. Walter was a Woodworker. He was so talented with wood, that I swear he could make anything you could dream of out of wood. And, I can still hear him asking me "How's Pipsqueak?" That was his nickname for Audra. Walter also taught my hubby to make his first wood turned pen. I have that pen. I think it was a great adventure for both Walter and hubby. I think Walter really enjoyed teaching others with the same love of woodworking that he had. And I think my hubby really got a boost of confidence that he could do it. Sadly, no pens have been made since then! So many people had stories of how Walter had helped them or done something for them or was just an all around good man. Yes, he was an absolutely Good Man.

Tuesday afternoon, I worked from home, and as you know, I worked from home all day on Wednesday. Yesterday we finally got back to normal weather. It was still cold, but no precipitation and the ice was gone. Today, it was still below freezing when we left the house, but it was very nice this afternoon.

So, my big plans for the weekend are: Shopping with the girls tomorrow, a trip to the Girl Scout Shop to pick up various and assundered uniform pieces, patches and pins, church on Sunday, Confirmation Class for Audra on Sunday afternoon and Superbowl watching here at home after that. I personally plan to work on the scrapbooking project I've been given to do. I need to get it done. I still have 5 more events to scrap about before it's completed.

Well, that was a really random post. Guess I didn't have my dander up about anything today that really made me want to type just about one particular thing.

I'm off...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

We're having a regular heat wave! NOT!

So, we went from 80 something degrees on Saturday to what has already gone up to 23 degrees this morning. And the best part? It's gonna be 79 on Sunday... Then in the 40s early next week. You just GOTTA love this weather... Both kids' Schools are closed today... and I decided not to chance going to work and neither did my hubby...

I know I rant about weather probably entirely too much, but with two kids who suffer from allergies and bounce colds back and forth... it's consuming my life these days.

I did manage to bundle up enough this morning to carefully walk outside today and take a few pictures, since I've been such a slacker on my picture-a-day challenge to myself... It was very odd for there to be NO traffic at our corner... It's never like that...

So, we are inside, trying to stay warm, hoping the power stays on and I'm attempting to get some work done... yeah, can you tell?
Later today, we are supposed to get up to a balmy 42 degrees... Lovely... At least it should melt this ice accumulation we have gathered in the past 24 hours. Oh well, on to the next thing to rant about...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Parenting a miracle (or two)

Parenting... What a small word to describe such a big responsibility. Yes, it's a RESPONSIBILITY!!! I whole-heartedly believe that many people just aren't made to be Parents. And then there are the few who make it look so easy, it's not even funny (no, I am not included in that). Then, there are the rest of us. Yes, I'm a parent. I'm a mom. I love being a mom. I am the mom to two wonderful kids... Audra, who's 10, and Layden, who just turned 5 on Friday. I wouldn't have it any other way.

I consider Audra to be our first miracle. She must have been based on what the doctors told me when trying to have a second child. And Layden, well, he's our other miracle, specifically chosen for us by God. We adopted him in 2007. How lucky we are to have these two miracles in our lives. I am grateful, even on the bad behavior days... Of course, I have to remind myself of my gratitude constantly in between dealing with bad choices on those days.

I can tell you that I was TOTALLY unprepared for life with a boy. And I am not afraid to admit this. And now, nearly 2 years have passed since this bright, energetic, headstrong little guy came in to our lives, I look back and see that he really has come so far. But, he does have so far to go. And the beauty of that is that we get to go down that road with him.

And let me brag on my Girl for a minute. She's a beautiful, girly-girl who's bright and outgoing. She's bubbly and funny. And she's determined to be the best she can be in school. Thank God for that.

Parenting is no easy task and I find myself envious of those who make it look so easy. But I'm certain that they have their days in the fire as well, I am just not privy to them.

Hug your kids, love your kids, thank God for your kids. They are after all miracles...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tough day at the vet

Yesterday morning, my kitty, Spencer, had his senior check up. I had no idea how to prepare for going to the vet. Oh, the kitty check up wasn't what I was worried about. The big thing was that I would also be picking up our Best Friend, Rocky's, ashes. Rocky was our dog for about 13-1/2 years. The week before Thanksgiving, he began to have issues that we knew were probably a sign of the end that was to come. The Saturday after Thanksgiving, Bob and I made the decision to put him down rather than let him suffer. It was a horribly sad day for us. Audra has never known a day without Rocky. Bob and I have had Rocky since he was just a 9 month old rescue puppy. When we had him put down, the vet told us to take our time to grieve and then come settle up with him. Well, yesterday was that day.

I thought I was okay. I thought I could get through it without too many tears. I swore I wasn't going to cry til I got back in the car. Needless to say, no matter how much I talked my self through it, I didn't even make it through Spencer's check up before I started to cry. The vet has been our vet for nearly 15 years and has been through our losing Sebastian Kitty years ago. And he loved to jog in our neighborhood and see Rocky, so I think Rocky had become pretty special to him over the years. While standing there paying my bill, He came over and put his arms around me and hugged me to tell me it was okay and that he understood. What more could you ask for in a vet... he's a real person. With the completion of paying my bill, I picked up Spencer in his crate and picked up the bag that held Rocky in his beautiful box. I marched out to the car, gathered my thoughts and headed home. I took the long way home simply because I wasn't ready to discuss with the kids what was in the box. And in fact, I didn't bring the box in from the car til the kids were otherwise occupied.

So, Rocky is with us again, and I realized how much I still really miss him... And, Spencer is doing well and still very healthy, even though he's large and in charge!

ROCKY 1995-2008

Thursday, January 8, 2009

You might be a redneck

Okay, so a friend of mine sent me an email with this picture attached and a subject of "You might be a Redneck".

It made me laugh. I needed the laugh after the day I had at work. And thus, I thought I'd post it here too!


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

8 More Envelopes of Pictures

Isn't it funny how you look at pictures online and decide to order some and it might not seem like it's that many. Then, the order arrives and you end up scratching your head because you couldn't have possibly ordered THAT many pictures... Yep, I have 8 more envelopes full of pictures from various folks and events during our Centennial year at church. That's the project I'm working on. A Scrapbook of the Centennial Year.

So, I brought the 8 envelopes with me to work today. Figured I could crop them down at lunch and be that much further ahead. Phwew. These are gonna be some big scrapbooks!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Biggest Loser Club

So, I'm on day three in the Biggest Loser Club. I haven't stepped back on the scale yet because I'm trying to be good and not get back on til weigh in time comes. I wasn't sure if I should sign up for their online program or not, but decided I'd try 3 months and see how it goes. So far, so good. I like their food journal and exercise journal. And man do they ever have a lot of recipes and meal plans... I love that! And you can customize anything and everything in your meal plan. From dishes to ingredients.

It's been interesting to see how much I snack just because I'm bored, tired, whatever and not because I'm hungry. I know all this stuff... been on program after program. It's all common sense. Gotta move, Gotta eat right, Gotta control portions, you name it. I'm sure we've all been on programs with these common sense ideas. Well, I'm working on my common sense now... and losing 50 pounds... Wish me luck. I know it won't be easy, but it WILL be worth it!

Much love,
until next time...

Monday, January 5, 2009

See what I mean?

Okay, so I went out and took my picture today... Well, I took a few... Check this out...

Yeah, lots of ice on lots of trees today... and powerlines and who knows what else... Yuck!

Oh, and if you can get past the fact that we still haven't taken down our Icicle lights, you will get a kick out of this...

Icicles on icicle lights... Tee Hee

Did I mention I'm easily amused?

Did someone say Winter? (continued)

Okay, so here we are at the 5th of January... and the forecast today? Freezing Rain!!! Yep, the high temperature for the day occurred sometime just past Midnight I believe, or at least it seems that way... and right now? It's 31 Degrees outside!!! Geeze... it's no wonder my throat is sore. And the hacking and coughing here at work has picked up.

Yep, there is my rant for the afternoon!

I feel better now.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Pictures of the week so far...

Yep, I was playing with the camera. I'm working very hard to make sure that I take at least one picture with our Nikon D40 every day. A couple of days ago, the kids were outside playing and I got some great pictures of my son. He figured out how to climb the tree out front and now all he asks is if he can go out and climb the tree.

And check out this Sunset a few days ago... I walked out the door to come somewhere and looked up to see this. I ran back in and got the camera and snapped a few photos. We don't get clouds with coloring like this often enough. (or maybe I just miss it).

So, I'm challenging myself to be sure to take at least one photo a day with this camera so that I can get the hang of what to do in different situations. I just keep finding out how much I DON'T know about this camera. Fun for me. Practice makes perfect!

Here's my kitty too!

Did someone say Winter??

So, did someone say that this was Winter??? I just went back and looked at the highs and lows for temperature between Christmas and New Year's Day... The High temp on Christmas was 64 degrees... the low was 40. Now, fast forward to New Year's Day. The high temp was 64, the low was 39. Today (well, yesterday by now), it was a balmy 78 degrees... Yep, 78 degrees. And that's for the 3rd of January!!! Geeze... it's very hard to get in the Christmas spirit with the temperatures being what they have been. Of course, we did have a couple of very cold fronts come through between the first part of November and Thanksgiving, but now we just bounce between 50s and high 70s for highs. There is a saying here (as with what I'm sure are a hundred other places)... "If you don't like the Texas weather, just wait 5 minutes. It will change." Yeah, right... It doesn't tend to change that quickly most of the time, but we have been known to go from 70+ degree weather to 40+ degree weather in a matter of hours in an afternoon.

So, where is Winter???

Winter is simply a "season" on the calendar for us for the most part. We usually have a couple of weeks in February where we get ice, but aside from that, it's usually pretty warm here. My kids were dressed in SHORTS today!!! And a couple of days ago, they just had hoodies on when they went outside rather than be bundled up!

The thing I like about Winter is that it's cool and everyone bundles up. I get to wear fleece stuff and velour stuff and slippers and cuddle on the couch under a blanket. I enjoy the cool weather for the most part. I don't really like Ice, Snow, etc and for that I'm thankful for wear we live... Yep, North Texas. We only really experience Ice and the yuck for a couple of weeks in February... although, we did have an ice storm the week before Thanksgiving, but it was very short-lived.

I love the Winter Holidays... Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. It's so filled with family and rememberances and traditions.

What don't I like about Winter? Well, ice. 'nuff said...

I guess that's just par for the course. I don't really have a season I like more than any other... Until we get to summer and it's 100+ for days and days in a row... It's not Summer's fault, but dang that's hot and bothersome!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

So, yesterday was New Year's Day, 2009. I was hoping to actually get to scrapbooking on the project I am working on for our church. However, I spent most of my day building out my scrapping area and sorting and stuff. Not quite the productive time I had hoped to spend. It's okay though because now I can actually reach my scrapbooking stuff (yeah, crap was piled up in front of it all and I couldn't hardly even see it). My wonderful hubby built me a bench that my plastic storage drawers will eventually reside under. The nice thing is that now, for the first time since I got it, I have my scraprack up on the bench and I don't have to disassemble it everytime I clear out my scrapping area so we can eat (yeah, former scrapping area was the dining room table).

So, I just got done looking at a bunch of photos on line from our church events and ordering them. I have several events worth of pictures in hand, but I finally got a link to some albums from one of our church members who is a really good photographer. So, I had to order some to fill in. So, now that that is done, and my scrapbooking stuff is almost sorted, I have pulled out my pics for my project and I can start to put some pictures on pages... I have already cropped and rounded corners... Now it's matting time and then layouts! So, at least I am not starting completely from scratch.

I guess spending the day yesterday and most of today organizing should make it a little easier to really get going on my scrapbooking. I keep looking at the forums on some of my favorite scrapbooking sites and keep eyeing the idea of jumping in on some challenges... But then I realize I am probably better off sticking to one and if that ends up going well perhaps I can jump in on some monthly ones or weekly ones later on. Right now, I'm concentrating on the Journalling/blogging challenge from (Shameless plug, I know).

So, hubby just went to get the kiddos from daycare and I suspect they'll be wired when they get home. I guess I should really get these pictures matted and make some real, demonstrable progress on this book!

I'll be back later, probably when I take a break.