Friday, February 29, 2008

Shifting Gears

Stella is three and a half weeks old now. More than one person has asked me if it has gone by fast. The answer to that is, no. When days and nights blend together with only brief periods of sporadic sleep to separate them, time does not fly. That is not to say I haven't enjoyed her very much. There's nothing much sweeter than holding a warm cuddly newborn up against your shoulder and breathing in the pheromones, or love hormones as I like to call them. I think these love hormones spread over to Matt as well when I'm nursing in bed in the middle of the night. He seems like the perfect husband and father during that time.

My question is, how come they don't seem to extend to my other two kids? I love them dearly, now don't get me wrong. But these hormones afford me oodles of patience as I am bouncing a fussy baby alone in the middle of the night. So why is that patience instantly tried the moment Cole climbs onto my lap to kiss the baby while I'm nursing? Is it the split personality phenomenon? The way that my relatively agreeable, obedient two-and-a-half year old has suddenly turned into the most contrary child on the planet. His automatic response to every request or directive is, "No!" or "I don't want to!" I've had to come up with things he wants to do even less than what I've asked him to do, so he'll choose my original request just to spite me (pretty ingenius, no?). I knew a change was coming, but I forgot how taxing it can be on a sleep-deprived mama. Margaret, who was referred to as PMG (Perfect Margaret Gayle) by our brothers and sisters when she was a baby and toddler became a different person when we brought Cole home from the hospital. We named her alter ego, Margarita, the evil twin. It passed, as I'm sure Cole's mood swings will. So I just have to keep reminding myself of that.

At least, or I could say at most Cole and Margaret LOOOOVE baby Stella and want to kiss her, hold her, entertain her every chance they get. All disobedience and moodiness has been turned to me, and thankfully I am mature enough to handle it . . .if the love hormones are lingering.We will find our new groove. Right?

Speaking of love, Matt and I celebrated our 7th Anniversary last Saturday. I'm surprised he hasn't posted about it. Too wrapped up with his reality TV I suppose ;-). However, he did not disappoint. He made reservations at a beautiful little restaurant called New Leaf Cafe in Fort Tryon Park near our house. Grandma Margaret was still here, so we had a built in babysitter and enjoyed a night out. I did my hair and put on make-up for the first time in a couple of weeks and even squeezed into a pair of nylons (gag, but they do hold in the extra baby squish that's hanging around my middle, so that's a good thing). We ordered appetizers (calamari with mint coolie, lump crab cake), dinner (sirlion tip/short ribs in a rich stout sauce, duck in a blood orange sauce), and dessert (chocolate tart with homemade Tahitian vanilla ice cream and apple upside down tart with homemade caramel ice cream. Everything was presented beautifully and oh so tasty.)

Here we are presenting skinny faces, although admittedly at this point in our marriage we're both feeling just a tad bit "fat".

And here we are in front of the lovely New Leaf Cafe.

And in honor of our 7th anniversary may I present:

Seven Reasons I don't have the "Itch"
(Be cautioned, you may feel jealous after reading this!)

1. Matt makes occasions special (a random sampling: homemade spa night for Valentine's Day, redecorating while we're away in Utah so that the place is beautiful when we come home, daddy/daughter or son dates on Saturday)

2. He makes a mean chocolate mousse.

3. He calls on his way home from the train to see if I need him to stop and get anything at the store (he's willing to get anything I need, like a bag of peanut m & m's if it's been one of those days or simply a gallon of milk).

4. He puts me to bed and then keeps Stella in the other room and cuddles her so I can get at least a couple of good hours of sleep every night.

5. He works hard to make time for our family, making sure to fit in FHE, even if it can't be Monday, and planning another night home every week to be here so we can do the laundry (and lately it has really been so HE can do the laundry, not WE).

6. Throughout the year he keeps a list of ideas for Christmas gifts and gives me the best surprises. Something I may have mentioned wanting or needing in September shows up under the Christmas tree. It's not that I need gifts, but this is an example of how incredibly thoughtful he is.

7. I'm making Matt sound perfect, but he's not. And that's the seventh reason I don't have the itch. He just tries hard, and we work hard together to make our family life one that brings us joy and peace. We enjoy life together and help each other learn from what's happening. Life is good, it's fun and I have a partner who is patient when challenges come up, but also who celebrates with me when things are going great.

I love you Matt! Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, February 28, 2008


For some reason, I have recently been overwhelmed with a desire to learn another language(s). I can't explain it. I feel I need to. And I want to.

Does anyone else feel this way? Is this a phase?

At this point, I consider myself bi-lingual. English being my first language of proficiency, and TAGALOG(Filipino) being my second. Tagalog is to Filipino as Elizabethan English is to contemporary American English. I speak and understand both.

I learned Tagalog about 12 yrs. ago when I lived in the Philippines for two years, and subsequently taught it, translated it, and continue to speak it whenever I can. In a practical sense, it's a useless language for a white, American, English speaker to know. But even so, it enriches my life. And it instantly creates a kinship with any Filipino I meet. And when we delivered our last baby, Heather got a private recovery room with a window overlooking the Hudson for FREE because I chatted up the Filipina nursing staff. It finally paid off!

I want to start right away.
My goal is to be somewhat conversational by the end of the year.


I know that SPANISH would be the obvious choice, since I live in a country with a quickly growing Latino population. That would be the most "practical" choice, domestically. But to be honest, I have always had an aversion to Spanish. Don't hate me. But I have no desire to learn it. I never have. Maybe that's why I was sent, as a missionary, to the most obscure country with one of the most difficult languages punishment for my snobbery.

My gut tells me to learn CHINESE. As China is strengthening it's influence throughout the world, I feel it will be important to be able to communicate well with 20% of the world that speaks Mandarin. I want my kids to learn it. Even though they are growing up in a 80% Dominican, Spanish speaking neighborhood. And, I have been a closeted CHINO-PHILE ever since I saw The Last Emporer as a child.

I studied FRENCH for two years in high school, and all I can remember is how to count to ten , say "I am a garcon that likes fromage", and "sleep with me tonight"(not from school). Pathetic. At one time, French was a powerful language second only to English. I think it's importance in the world is dwindling. AND, my wife speaks French(well....Quebecois).

Maybe ARABIC. After all, if that dead-beat, McCain, gets in the white-house, we will be occupying Arabic nations for the next 100 years.

Lastly, maybe I should learn DUTCH as a tribute to my heritage. My father's ancestry is almost 400 yrs. American, and his mother was Dutch. My mothers ancestry is English and French.

I need your opinion. And, what are some good independent methods of learning, that you know of? I hear Rosetta is good. Any others?

Help me get my fix, before my desire dwindles away.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Finishing the Hat

I am feeling warm feelings today toward a particular piece of theatre. I feel it is one of the most richly complex and emotionally real pieces in American theatre.


From Wikipedia:

Sunday in the Park with George is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The musical was inspired by the painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by Georges Seurat. A complex work revolving around a fictionalized Seurat immersed in singleminded concentration while painting the masterpiece, its Broadway production was greeted with mixed praise by the critics, but it has enjoyed several major revivals.

Nominated for ten Tony Awards, the musical won only two design awards but won numerous Drama Desk Awards and the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The 2008 Broadway revival is the 2005-06 UK production first presented at the Menier Chocolate Factory.


I first fell in love with this show when I was about 15. Through all of my schooling and performing, it has maintained as my personal favorite. Something about it's search for beauty in art and the human soul, makes me want to cry.

Sondheim is a genius, if you didn't already know. His ability to marry music and lyric is unsurpassed by any other musical theatre composer. With Sunday in the Park....more than any of his other shows, he allows his complex, and surprisingly singable, yet atonal melodies really follow the emotional baseline of the characters. So often in musical theatre, the music is emotionally saying something contradictory to what the character is saying and feeling. Not in Sunday...

I hear the Broadway revival that opened last week is just as good, if not better than the original with Mandy Patinkin and Bernadette Peters. It's an extension from a London production that won practically every Olivier Award(UK's Tony Award). I can't wait to see it. I have never actually seen a live production of it, only a video of the original Broadway cast. I hope this new production lives up to the visions in my head and feelings in my heart when I listen to or sing it in my world. I am glad it's getting another look after almost 25 years.

Here are links to purchase the Original Broadway Cast and the London revival production.

If you haven't heard this score, please take a couple hours and enrich your life. If you want some ITunes selections, I would recommend...

Sunday in the Park with George - Bernadette at her best
Color and Light - a musically pointillist look at creation
Finishing the Hat - George's personal battle between art and human intimacy
We Do Not Belong Together - the best breakup scene in the world
Move One - the best breakup "closure" scene in the world
Sunday - pure genius


Yes, she looks for me . . . . Good.
Let her look for me to tell me why she left me
as I always knew she would.
I had thought she understood.
They have never understood, and no reason that they should.
But if anybody could . . . .

Finishing the hat--how you have to finish the hat.
How you watch the rest of the world from a window
while you finish the hat.
Mapping out a sky . . . what you feel like, planning a sky . . .
What you feel when voices that come through the window
go, until they distance and die
Until there's nothing but sky.

And how you're always turning back too late
from the grass, or the stick, or the dog, or the light
How the kind of woman willing to wait's not
the kind that you want to find waiting
to return you to the night, dizzy from the height
Coming from the hat
Studying the hat
Entering the world of the hat
Reaching through the world of the hat like a window
Back to this one, from that.
Studying a face . . . stepping back to look at a face
Leaves a little space in the way, like a window
But to see . . . it's the only way to see

And when the woman that you wanted goes,
you can say to yourself, "Well, I give what I give!"
But the woman who won't wait for you knows
that however you live, there's a part of you
always standing by, mapping out the sky

Finishing a hat
Starting on a hat.
Finishing a hat.
Look, I made a hat--
Where there never was a hat!

Other musicals of note by Stephen Sondheim - My favorites - all amazing!

A Little Night Music
Sweeney Todd
Into the Woods

Monday, February 25, 2008

Back to Life....Back to Reality

Just as those wise chanteuses, En Vogue, sang circa 1990, we are back to life and reality, without the support of Grandma help. (well, they didn't actually sing about grandma, but you get my drift)

And it just so happens I was cast in a workshop of a new musical that is taking me out of the home for most of the week. Yes, I am abandoning my wife and kids in their hour of need.

For all those sisters out there in the RS that believe my wife doesn't want meals, because of my "progressive fathering" post ... are free to cook, serve, and deliver whatever delicacy you desire.


Because first and foremost, my wife doesn't share my views surrounding the archaic tradition of food delivery, and secondly, I really am not able to cook for them this week.

I stand humbled and ashamed of my obstinate and unhealthily independent, selfish heart.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Power of the Post

Apparently, my previous post regarding the snow drought in NYC fulfilled its mission. My post summoned the storm, and I walked out of my building this morning to a beautiful blanket of fluffy snow on everything in sight.

Below is a pictorial tribute to the wonder that is NYC under snow. Click on images for larger versions.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

I've Got the Fever!

I am going to publicly admit my love for...

"America's Next Top Model"

Last night was the "Cycle 10" premiere. Note, Tyra Banks produces a new season about every six months or so. At least it seems like it. 10 yrs. ago, Tyra was still just a successful model. Not media mogul, up-and-coming Oprah Jr.

My mother is staying with us, and subsequently sleeps in our living room. So unless she wore earplugs and averted her eyes, she was cornered into joining me and Heather in our shameful, contest-tv, "I shouldn't be watching this" addiction.

I have to say, I think it's going to be a good cycle this time 'round. This year, there are a lot of girls with a lot of spunk and "no you di'nt" attitutde.

A five-minute sampling of 'tude' highlights and wacky judge antics...

Minute 23: "Shut up, bitch! You're dead in my book!"
Minute 24: [Sobs. Hugs. Sobs. Hugs.] "I could never do nothin' like that. I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry. Wahhh..."
Minute 25: "Bitch, if you touch me, you're gonna die!"
Minute 28: The judges pretend to drink a contestant's breast milk.

In order to increase the drama, the judges are always trying to "therapize" the models by having them release their past abuses, insecurities, and painful childhoods on national tv. I feel it's morally reprehensible, but........extremely entertaining and exploitative.

It usually takes me about 4-5 episodes before I can determine a winner. And I have been right multiple times. But this year, I am going out on a limb and proclaiming America's Next Top Model to be....


Fatima hails from motherland Africa, but has grown up in Boston. Her big breakdown story was the tribal female circumcision performed on her when she was a girl. And I admit, that is one of the worst I've heard. Also, it brings attention to that terrible global issue. Just as Heather, from Cycle 9, brought attention to Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. But I don't think they will be bringing up her circumcision throughout the season. At least I hope they don't. It would be kind of awkward if they did.

Granted, in all 9 "cycles" of this show, they have never turned out a highly successful and recognizable model. But I believe that one day, Tyra will ultimately discover the next version of herself, Cindi, Naomi, Giselle, Heidi or Kate. And until that day happens, I will be in front of the TV, rooting on all those insecure, emaciated wannabes on their desperate attempt at success for doing nothing but being pretty.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Not really...

I'm posting as a way
of electronically "rain dancing" the snow to me, just as our Native American friends do in times of drought.

It's February, and I am in a snow drought.

I love snow. I love the way it muffles all sound in the morning - like you're in a padded room. I like the usual warmer weather that accompanies it. I like NOT driving in it (that's why it's so great here). I like the crunch of powder under my shoes as I try to re-enact the "Footprints" poem. (no joke, I've done it once, by myself - it's hard). And mostly, I like the way it covers this concrete jungle in a blanket of clean fluffiness. All the dirt, gum stains, oil spots, and dog/human feces disappear into the cold depths of pure, frozen, flakes of white water.

This is a picture of
a stunning February morning in 2006. It was a perfect Sunday morning, as we trudged through two feet of snow to our church five blocks away. My sister's family was visiting us. We had 27" of new snow in a 12 hour period. The most in recorded weather history for NYC - about 300 yrs. Something big interrupted. Everyone slowed down a little in this crazy place, things were a little more quiet, and for about two days, the snow maintained it's whiteness from eventual destruction by a million pedestrian footsteps. It was magic! ....Until Mr. Hankey emerged, once again, and proclaimed ....

"Hidee Ho" ... "You're in New York, sucka!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Changing of the Gaurd

It's amazing how the beautiful arrival of a baby can cause such an initial disturbance in the lives of the parents; so much so, that they require a third parent until adjustments can be made.....especially in this city.

This is my ode to the self-sacrificing women that have left their safe happy valley for the mean streets of the big apple, just to assist us in what we need while we adjust to having a third.

Margaret Gayle Herrick - age 4 1/2 - was named after these women. She has a lot to live up to.

The first assistant was Heather's mother, Grandma Gayle. She was here from a few days before Stella's birth, until just yesterday. Not only did she help with support as a birthing coach and babysitter on delivery day, she tried her best to maintain a sense of peace and tranquility in our cramped little home so mom Heather could rest and relax with the new one.

You have to understand, we don't have the comforts of suburbia such as, laundry facilities in the home, or a car, or even a space to really be alone in our 110 yr. old apartment.

-40 lbs. of laundry have to be carted, weekly, down stairs and down the block to the expensive corner laundry mat. -Groceries have to be carried or carted back home on the same said laundry cart(no bulk foods or 50-roll toilet paper packs loaded into the SUV).

-Taking our other two toddlers to/from school or playgroups, etc. while doing laundry, and picking up groceries, without anything but a stroller and the subway, is quite a physical/emotional feat.

-And finally, finding quiet solitude in our apartment for mom and the newborn is really impossible unless the other kids are out of the apartment and our neighbors have decided not to BLAST their Reggaetone music into the alley all day and night(because apparently, the whole neighborhood would like to hear this loud monotonous banging in their heads until 2 am).

So, having an extra hand for Heather, while I'm at work, to help do that laundry, and groceries, and child removal to the playground, is a HUGE blessing.

Heather and I have been "alone" without Grandma help for two days. I stayed home from work yesterday so Margaret could go to school, because new-mom Heather really shouldn't be trucking an infant and two kids on a bus ride into the Bronx yet. And the laundry had to be done. I forget how many clothes newborns go through for doing nothing all day. And, even though I'm capable of cooking food for my family, as a special Valentine's treat, Kismat Cafe blessed us with Masala, Curry, and the best seafood Kurma you could ask for (hooray for NYC delivering any kind of food to your door, even McDonalds). But today they are all alone, since I had to go back to work.

Comforting a bruised Cole-noggin
Thankfully, tomorrow is the changing of the Grandma Gaurd with the arrival of Margaret's first namesake. Grandma Margaret, my mom, is taking the red-eye to JFK to save us from ourselves and this big, scary, and inconvenient city (no joke, someone was shot and killed across the street from us the day after Stella was born.....scary....even though, we feel surprisingly safe in our neighborhood...). She will be here for ten days. And by the end of those ten days, we must be ready to return to the rigors and reality of parenthood in the ourselves. Boo-hoo.

We've done it with two.....why not three? Right?

P.S.... In addition to praising our beloved mothers, this time I am 'fishing' for empathy and support. If you empathize or support our situation........give us a "holla!" , or "what-what"(hands in the air), or even a "girlfren...shoot", as they say in our neck of the hood.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Better than..."You Know What"


7 oz. semi-sweet BAKING chocolate (55% cocoa content or higher)
6 large eggs
1/3 tsp. salt

1. Seperate 6 Large Eggs
- whites in clean mixing bowl
- yolks in separate medium bowl

2. Add 1/3 tsp. salt to egg whites

3. Whisk egg whites until stiff peaks (easiest in electric mixer)

4. Melt 7 oz. semi-sweet baking chocolate in double boiler
-Take off heat

5. Slowly incorporate melted chocolate into egg yolk bowl (not the other way around)
-Mix until smooth

6. Slowly fold in chocolate mixture into the stiff peaks. A small portion at a time. Fold until lump free and consistently brown.

7. Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Enjoy topped with fresh whipped cream. (BTW, use powdered sugar instead of granulated, it won't get watery and stay fluffier)

Upon consumption, you make experience signs of euphoria, delight, and bounce up and down in your chair. Another side effect may include a desire for more, which may eventually lead to what is called among connoisseurs as...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


In order to have 'options' for entry into the NYC Public School system, Margaret has to take tests, yes, as a 4 yr. old, to see if she can qualify for certain programs. It would take to long to explain....just believe me, finding the right school, even for kindergarten, in NYC is a ridiculously difficult process. It's usually a bad idea to just send your kid to the closest school to your house, and trust that it will be a safe and positive environment. You have to be selective and careful.

We received notice of her test date/time/location only two days before the test. And the location was in a very inconvenient part of the city to get to. I guess part of the test was to see how serious the parents are about getting their kid there on a Saturday morning.

Since mom just had a baby a fews day prior, I got to take her, just her and me. And boy, was it an adventure. We live on the most northern tip of Manhattan(Inwood). Her test was on the lower-east side in the heart of Chinatown. Not in the Canal Street - touristy part of Chinatown - but in the heart of no-English signs, we are the only white people around, Chinatown. After a bus, and three subway transfers, we arrived in the middle of another country.

The funny things is, this foreign land is only 5 miles from our house.

Thanks to Googlemaps, I was able to find the school quickly. What a beautiful school. I started to wish Margaret could come here. We were surprised to find Margaret's friends and their parents, from our neighborhood, also there for the test. Interestingly, we were the only group there. I guess they were really testing our resolve, and not just our kids' IQs.

After an hour-long test(don't get me started-she's only 4), Margaret emerged from her one-on-one, with the tester, full of smiles and confidence.

"That was so much fun, Daddy!", was her reaction to the experience. Well, I guess she is cut out for the rigors of the educational system in this city. Go Margaret.

Since it was a long trip, a long test, and would ultimately end up being a long day, I decided to really make it a real "day" for Margaret and me. Also, I could sense her feelings of displacement with the arrival of little Stella in the home. She needed some one-on-one time.

We found a great noodle-house dive - Great N.Y Noodletown, and ate the most delicious shrimp dumpling soup and chicken with bean sprouts.

Then we walked to a fruit market to get some exotic sweets for dinner that night.

Longan Fruit
(similar to Lychee)

(in grapefruit family)

All along the way we saw dancing dragons and New Yorkers celebrating the Chinese New Year. 2008 - The Year of the Rat!!!

I let Margaret pick out a pretty pink trinket from a local vendor. After first calling it her "Jewels of Terror"(I have no idea why), she changed it to her "Chinese Dream Catcher". She's been having scary dreams lately. Big imagination, you see....

After a fun cultural exploration of our Chinese neighbors, we reversed our complicated travails to our uptown 'hood, enriched, ready for a nap and a Pipers Kilt burger.

Thanks, New York City. My daughter loves you.

A little info. on NYC's Chinatown
New York City’s Chinatown, the largest Chinatown in the United States—and the site of the largest concentration of Chinese in the western hemisphere—is located on the lower east side of Manhattan. Its two square miles are loosely bounded by Kenmore and Delancey streets on the north, East and Worth streets on the south, Allen street on the east, and Broadway on the west. With a population estimated between 70,000 and 150,000.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sweet Breads.....the Yummy Kind

With the arrival of a new baby, comes the arrival of familial assistance, i.e. grandmas. Heather's mother has graciously and selflessly given her life over to our struggles with toddlers and and new infant in this crazy city. She has been an immense help with everything from nighttime feedings, to laundry, to toddler distraction, and to cooking. And she keeps the fridge stocked with Diet Coke. She really is a godsend.
And of course when you have family around, you continually make dietary, "it's a special time", excuses for eating things that are bad for you, but are just so darn tasty. Pizza, chinese, burgers, and most recently, waffles with lots of butter and whipped cream. This yummy Sunday brunch is the impetus for my ramblings today.

What kind of person are you? When given waffles, I will gladly eat them and enjoy them. But I have too many hangups with them to search them out, or to put forth any effort in cooking them myself. Early in the morning, I can't deal with uneven butter spread or pools of cold syrup when I only wanted a drizzle. See what I mean?....hangups.

My name is Matthew Herrick....
and I am a french toast person.

Some people believe that astrology can define what their core personality is all about. Others believe in color spectrums, auras, and other crazy crystal wearing, let the 'universe' speak to me, kind of hoo-ha. I believe that you can determine a person's core nature by their preference of the following three cooked breakfast breads. In no particular order:


French Toast


They obviously originate from the same breakfast treat ancestor, and they serve the same purpose - which is, to allow people to unashamedly have dessert for breakfast by coming in a bread form, and being called by a healthier name.

My wife prefers them in a different order than I. She likes Waffles, Pancakes, then French Toast. This is why we have a happy, balanced marriage. I put my breakfast treats in the following order of preference, in eating and preparing:

1. French Toast
-An alteration or life extension of existing materials. A hearty, multi-nutrient (whole-grain,eggs,milk) treat. Additions are usually limited to syrup, powdered sugar, and occasionally, jam or fruit.
This person is resourceful and desires things of substance and quality in their lives. They have the potential of being a little pretentious and tough, but they always try to make lemonade from lemons. Or in this case, delicious, soggy- breaded goodness from stale, unwanted heels, and old bread. They can present themselves with flair to others if they choose, but it is unneeded to impress.

2. Pancakes
- The most versatile of the three. Usually very processed and very unhealthy, due to the common internal addition of items such as: chocolate chips, food coloring, bananas, nuts, or any addition to spice up the flavor of bland, foamy bread. Can also be made into any shape.
This person has a spontaneous nature that is not afraid to splurge and think outside of the box of conventional eating or life choices. They understand that moderation and self-control are not always desired attributes. They are prone to say things like, "live life a little" or "come-on, it's a special day, just one won't hurt ya". They also choose to look different on a frequent basis.....just because.

3. Waffles
- The most predictable, yet treacherous of the three, due to crevices, and variances in thickness and shape. Usually made of the same ingredients, and cooked in the same way. The most common variances occur in the toppings. This is the one most prone to incorporate fruit and cream as part of it's embellishments. They generally are the most attractive of the three.
Just like the waffle, this person is solid, dependable, and predictable. And with a little bit of flair, talent, and personality, they are the favorites of any social class or demographic. Just as the waffle's likability reaches from the frozen-food isles, to expensive restaurants, and even fried chicken platters, this person can adapt to any situation with pleasing acceptance and love. But be cautious, just like the waffle, this person can be hard to handle. You never know what explosion of flavor you'll get with each bite. Also, they always dress to impress.


P.S. If you like what you read when you come by, please let me know you're there. I want to hear your voice. Even if it's just an "AMEN" or "Go to hell, you big, dumb jerk!" Anything will do. It's keeps me motivated to blog more often. Thanks for indulging my "fishing" for recognition.