Hello!  I've finally got the new computer hooked up and running the way I want it and we're hooked up to Verizon DSL with MSN for our IP, so it looks like I'm back in business.  It's nice to finally have access to a computer whenever I want and a dependable internet connection. 

    The weather here is beautiful, sunny and 65 degrees today.  I have a raging case of spring fever and though I've done a little work outside, cleaning up branches and leaves, I'm clamping down on my gardening urges.  The robins came back last week, but there is no way winter is done with this part of the world yet.  We may not get any more snow, but I'm sure it will be cold again.  Just not too cold, I hope.  The warm weather this week has the crocus blooming and the daffodils coming up as well as buds on the dogwoods and lilacs.  Since Mom and John took back over the garden we didn't have one last year.  I didn't like that at all.  This year I'm trying to find out more about container gardening and also about gardening in small spaces, particularly about mixing vegetables in amongst the flowers and shrubs.  Does anyone have any experience with that sort of thing and have advice to share, like what grows well next to what?
    Matthew is home from school for the second weekend in a row.  Last weekend he came to get his taxes done and to help me with the computer.  This time he's home to see the high school's musical, 'Beauty and the Beast.'  He has several friends in it.  We are all going tonight.  It should be good.  Derry's music department always does a job worthy of professionals and I've heard this year's sets are amazing. 
    I wasn't feeling well and missed a couple of days of work this week.  I had a cone biopsy last summer to remove cells from my cervix that were very close to being cancer (I've had two tests come back clear.  One more and I'll have a clean bill of health).  I also had a D & C to try and control some other problems.  It didn't work so in February my doctor started me on Provera.  Let's just say the results were not something I want to repeat, but his nurse assured me the Provera was just doing its job and that everything should improve.  I sure hope so.  I can't afford to miss work every month.  However, if I have the same trouble next month, I've been advised to go straight to the emergency room rather than toughing it out.
    Tim and I got a new bed this week.  After at least a couple years of waking up tied in pretzel-like knots we finally said enough is enough.  We knew we didn't want another traditional mattress as the much talked about "pressure points" were doing me in.  I rarely slept more than 5 hours a night because that was the point at which my hips and back would begin to ache.  I wanted to look at memory foam.  Tim wanted to look at waterbeds.  He hated the foam.  I hated the traditional waterbeds....something about having to be hauled up over the wooden siderails to get out of bed that turned me off.  We ended up getting a soft-side waterbed.  We both like the way it feels and so far, I've not experienced aching hips or back since sleeping in it.  The heater is a wonderful feature, especially now that it's hooked up.  The first night Tim plugged in the control for the heater, but forgot to plug it into the heater.  Brrrr, that was a chilly night and several extra blankets and turning up the furnace couldn't get me warmed up or stop the resulting leg cramps.  The only thing I'm not sure about is that Tim wanted a mattress with more motion.  I agreed to it, but every time someone rolls over....SURFS UP!  I think I might have preferred one with a little less wave action.
    I am still driving a school bus (and liking it less and less), but I haven't taken the exam for the real estate license yet.  I am hoping to pay the fee from my next paycheck and get a date scheduled.  Then it will be cram, cram, cram.  My friend, Debbie, that took the classes with me just took the exam last week.  She passed the state part, but not the national section.  We both know we will have to continue driving a bus for a while even when we do pass and get started.  Even if we worked at real estate full time, a good estimate is 3-6 months for a first sale and then it takes another 1-2 months to be paid the commission.  It's not a get rich quick job, but that's not what I'm after.  I just want to reach a level that's at least the same as driving the bus, so I can quit that.  I know there are other jobs that would allow me to do that, but I'd also have to work more hours to earn the same amount of money and very few jobs offer the mom-friendly schedule that driving the bus does.  Real estate is one of those few with a very flexible schedule.  The only other option I can see is if Tim gets another raise.  If he gets one that comes close to making up for my income, I would be able to afford to quit driving and spend more time working on real estate.  I think Tim would like to see me do that even now, but my mom has really been giving me grief about sticking with driving.
    I've been doing lots of reading this winter.  I just finished reading Melinda & Robert Blanchard's "A Trip to the Beach."  At Barnes and Noble it's listed as a travel diary, which I guess it is, but it's the Blanchard's story of giving up their fast-paced lifestyle and company in Vermont to open their dream restaurant on a Caribbean island.  It paints a wonderful picture of Anguilla, their chosen island, but more than that, it's really inspirational in its showing of how they simplified their life and went after their dream.  Apparently, I'm not the only one that's found their story inspirational because I found out they wrote a second book, "Living What You Love."  I got a copy of it while I was waiting to have new tires put on the car.  I'm about halfway through it now.  The Blanchards seem like really neat people and if I ever get to Anguilla, their restaurant is on my list of places I'd love to go.
    Matt and Megan just left.  Matt is dropping Megan at a birthday party at the skating rink and then he's going to clean out the inside of the car for me.  I guess I should go take advantage of them being out from under foot and get the kitchen floor mopped.