I am of a somewhat strange ancestry... though 'strange' may be a misnomer; at least in the United States where many of us have rather... ahh... interesting ancestral backgrounds.
On my dad's side, not so strange; Scottish on his mom's side, and Scottish on his dad's side... all the way back. Scottish. Period.
On my mom's side, though;
My mom's dad was Scottish, English, and Chinese (That ancestor's name was Chen En-Yeng, who was an immigrant to Jamaica).
My mom's mom (my grandmother who you may recognize as 'Nana' in some of my previous posts... Nana more or less raised me..) was Scottish and Welsh on her father's side - her dad was supposedly an illegitimate heir, on his mother's side, of Henry Morgan (of the 'Spiced Rum' fame... who also happened to have been a Welsh soldier who fought in the English Civil War, showed up in the West Indies, and became a pirate, later a privateer, and then Governor of Jamaica -- the usual disclaimer applies here, as this may be total and unadulterated bullshit.. but, that's the story as it was told to me... so who am I to go against the grain?), and on her mom's side claimed Irish (heir to the Earl of Ros common, supposedly... this one is actually true, and documented... but it isn't the kind of hear that ever actually inherits anything, thankfully... no worries about anyone plotting to poison me for my title!), Cornish.. (there were rumblings about the Duke of Devonshire.. I know that one existed, but I have never been able to find a concrete connection...), and Rroma (Gypsy) - this is sort of cool, except for the fact that in Rroma culture, when you marry a Gadje or outsider, you are expelled, ousted, given the boot... ostracized, as it were... and are no longer considered a Gypsy (so now I don't have to tell fortunes or steal or be oppressed, so I'm in luck!), Arawak Indian, and most likely African.
My grandmother was born in Jamaica, the West Indies... when it was still a British Colony, and came here when she was an adult. My Dad was born here, but his folks came over on the boat...
The man who I call my grandfather (Nana's husband; 'Pop') is actually no blood relation, having married into the family after my mom was born. My moms dad was an admiral in the Navy, and though I knew him, he wasn't really a big part of my life. Pop, however, raised me, more or less... to the extent that I took his name so that he would have an heir.
Now... as to the title of this post.
Some of the habits, traditions, superstitions, and other peculiarities of my family.
My grandfather wouldn't let you throw anything out. If you did, he brought it back, claiming that it was still good. If you tossed out moldy bread, he would bring it back, eat it... gagging the entire family... while proclaiming through a mouthful of green mold, "Penicillin!! Good!!" - Ack!!
When we drove past cemeteries, my grandmother would insist that everyone in the vehicle 'hold their buttons'.
My mom had a thing about us answering her from another room... she would call out a question from wherever she was... but if we had the temerity to yell out the answer, say 'What?!' or 'Huh?!' or even 'I'll be right there!' - we got our faces slapped through the back of our heads. If we didn't answer her and didn't arrive at her location instantly, on the other hand... we also got the shit slapped out of us. So it was a toss up, I guess....
My brother (the middle one) would fight with anyone, anywhere, under any circumstances... for any or for no reason... whether he (or they) needed it or not... This penchant has gotten his, and my asses kicked numerous times... once he cut the electric cord of the telvision.. with a pair of metal scissors.. because my mom changed the channel from a show that he sort of wanted to watch. He is arguably.. to this very day... one of the most stubborn people I have ever known. If not the most stubborn. I'm next in line..
You had to go out the same door you came in.
No hats on in the house. Or on the table.
No opening umbrellas.
No whistling in the house.
You couldn't cover a photo of a dead person.
My grandfather hated the concept of 'soaking' dishes... and would raise holy hell whenever my grandmother did that... which was basically every day.
My grandmother dressed to kill... and cooked the same way. She drove that way, too... but didn't know it... or at least didn't admit it.
A conversation regarding my grandmother's driving:
Nana: "I can drive on the side of a mountain!"
My Uncle: "Yeah. .... It's the roads that you have a hard time with."
My grandfather didn't go anywhere with the whole family. No vacations. No outings. No restaurants. Nothing. He would go out with any one of us at a time... but not with more than one. I have no idea why.
My grandfather and his entire family were Gaelic speakers. They would not, however, speak Gaelic outside of the house/family. Even to other Gaelic speakers. Whenever I asked about this, I would be 'shoosh!'ed.
If we got lost, everyone had to get out of the car and put something on inside out.
Every time the family got together, there was a big fight. With tables getting overturned and somebody bleeding.
My mom is terrified of the water.
We used to have proper 'tea'... much to the amusement of my friends...
My grandmother's cousin fought in WWI in the Canadian Army (He emigrated from Jamaica to Canada) and wrote a book about it, entitled "Private Peat". It was a best seller in its day.
My cousin wrote a book that was loosely based on our family history, entitled "Abeng". She has written quite a lot of books, actually. She is now estranged from the family because her parents passed judgment on her and gave her a hell of a time because of her sexual preference. This makes me sad. I don't care what her preferences are, so long as she is loved, and happy. Now I have no contact with her at all over this nonsense...
My grandmother was terrified of birds... but kept a few as pets for as long as I knew her. When my grandfather died, she insisted that he had become a seagull. This was disturbing to all of us.
My grandfather never once missed a day of school in his life, and never missed a day of work unless he was in the hospital. Once he was pronounced dead, but woke up and lived another eighteen years or so! He used to carry his obituary around in his pocket.
My grandmother died in a fall down a flight of stairs while out drinking with her friends to celebrate a clean bill of health from the doctor.
My granmother would send me entire letters in which she would discuss people that I had never in the whole of my life ever heard of... but she would discuss them as though I was supposed to know precisely who they were.
My brother, the middle one, was terrified of grass as a baby. (Happily, he grew out of it... and probably smoked most of it through his teens and twenties...)
My other brother, the youngest one, won't drive. He was a passenger in a motor vehicle accident in which his best friend, who was driving the car, was killed. The family blamed my brother on their son's death (unfairly, as far as I can see...), and he has never driven since then.
My grandmother's sister once had a tiger cub for a pet. When it started to knock her down, she gave it to a zoo. When she died, her son, who still lived with her, 'guarded' her body for days. When my mother and grandmother went to the house after not getting a response on the phone, he kept them hostage with a crossbow for a few hours... finally, they talked their way out of there and had him committed, and her buried.... ... okay.. that's weird.
My grandmother once told me a story that my mom, while living alone in an apartment before I was born, once got up out of bed to go to the bathroom, turned around, and saw herself still asleep in the bed. This scared the living crap out of her, and she fled the apartment and ran to a tavern either down stairs, or down the street, or at least somewhere within 'fleeing' distance... when the tavern owner returned to the apartment with her, the 'other' mom had apparently gotten up and left... though, knowing how long my mom took to get ready, I don't see how this could be possible... even if she was an infernal creature at the time. That happens to be the scary part of that story, as far as I'm concerned!
I remember eating 'chicken delight' with my grandmother while we watched the workmen working on the Verrazzano Narrows bridge.
My grandmother put on a show at the 65-65 World's Fair, and we used to go there every day when I was very small.
My grandmother used to talk to her plants. In response, they grew to unbridled sizes and shapes. We lived in a place that was dubbed 'The Congo' by the rest of the family. She could pick up a twig off of the ground and make it grow.
We had a cat, named 'Jego' who absconded from the vehicle while we were on the way back to Staten Island, NY from Rhode Island. We were actually still in Rhode Island, and had just visited, at my grandmother's insistence, the grave of a purported Gypsy Princess, or Queen, or somesuch piffle... and the cat shot out of the vehicle and headed off to parts unknown on foot. After five or six hours of looking, searching, crying, calling, and waiting... we sadly packed back into the old Valiant and headed home. A year later, Jego showed up at the door, still wearing his name tag.
My grandfather slept with all of the bedroom windows open, under only a sheet... no matter what time of year it was.
My brother -- yes, the 'middle one' -- could hit just about anything with a thrown object. You could be running through trees, and he could pick up a fallen crab apple, a monkey orange, or a rock, and nail you in the head with it while you were tearing along at full-tilt.
I eat my food one thing at a time. Everybody goes to great pains to patiently explain to me, as though to a drooling idiot, that all of the food will be subsequently mixed together in my stomach. (Thanks for that... in which case I fail to see what the big hurry is to mix it!)
My grandfather hated to see people take a drink of anything while they were eating. "Don't wash down your food!" -- Well... why the hell not?? If it's my food why can't I do what I like with it??!
My mom had a method of interrogating us where she would unfailingly catch us in a lie... particularly when we were telling the absolute truth. This was a tough one.
If, while she was beating the crap out of us, we cried.. she would accuse us of being 'pansies' 'petunias' and 'marys' -- and beat us all the harder.
If, while she was beating the crap out of us, we simply took the beating, and failed to cry, or otherwise show signs of discomfort, she would accuse us of being obstinate, stubborn, and defiant -- and beat us all the harder.
In my family, we use words like 'jook', 'weeber', 'feshivle', 'facokted', 'battyman', 'duppy', 'wunna', 'stramash', 'muckle', 'sasanach', and 'vex'.
I was told as a child that there was a creature who lived in the refrigerator, called a 'Hootie', and that it was this creature who turned the light on when you opened the fridge door.
We used to leave bowls of milk out for the 'good neighbors', also known as the 'gentry' or the 'wee people'. The milk was always gone the next day.
My grandmother used to insist that if you broke an egg into a glass of water at exactly noon on Good Friday, the shape of a large cross flanked by two smaller crosses would be formed by the egg (white? yolk? -- the egg-goo anyway...)
No matter how many times we did this to prove that it was a big pile of horseshit, she would still insist that it was true.
It was only after about ten or fifteen years after her death that it finally dawned on me that she was having us on the whole time, and probably having a good laugh about the whole thing!!
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Saturday, May 26, 2007
The licensing process for the Real Estate thing has
The rub is that the Broker who was sponsoring me decided that the process was taking much longer than he had anticipated, and that he was no longer willing to continue to pay me under the circumstances. This is understandable, actually... as a brokerage is not really set up to carry any body's weight, financially - the idea being that each agent brings in their own business, and that the brokerage takes a cut of that business (read: "The Lion's Share") in return for providing the resources to see the deal through to a successful completion..
This doesn't mean that the Real Estate thing is in the bin, just that it is on indefinite hold until the licensing situation goes through whatever permutations it must go through and a license mysteriously arrives in the mail one day... perhaps... If I am lucky....
In the meantime, I find it necessary to be able to earn a living... for, even though I am a monk, and, as such, not overly focused upon the more material side of things; I still must have a place to live, food to eat, and clothing to wear... and however humble those necessities may be, they still cost money. So.. I must work.
In Asia, there is an infrastructure in place that took form over centuries whereby the lay community and the monastic community support one another... the monastic community provides support in the form of both spiritual guidance and leadership, and in the less abstract form of manual labor when required. In return, the lay community provides support in the form of donated food, cloth, and medicine. In this country, this arrangement does not exist.. so, it is up to the individual monastic community to decide how to handle this situation. In our case, we work.. plain and simple. So, after a fashion, I have one foot in the monastic community, and one foot in the world.. which situation offers its very own particular set of benefits and obstacles.. but that is for another post.
I took a job as an "Architectural Estimator" for a manufacturing company. I described my scintillating interview technique in an earlier post entitled "Presence" whereby I simply sat there... like a bump on a log... and essentially said nothing at all of any value or substance... and got a job offer!! (Go figure!)
The job is 9AM to 5PM - Monday through Friday.. holidays off... with full medical benefits after three months... which isn't so bad! (I don't know the whys and wherefores of the benefits yet... it may very well turn out to suck very badly.. but I will cross that bridge when I come to it... from what I have been given to understand, however, it is not at all a bad arrangement.) My office is perhaps 10 to 15 minutes from my house... and the people are relatively nice... meaning that they basically leave me to my own devices; which I like.
My job is to receive requests for price quotes from material distributors, architects, and contractors; primarily for projects that involve public money, and are being bid on.
I receive a packet of product and material specifications.. and usually a set of blueprints, or plans... or simply a set of CAD drawings.
What I have to do is to read these documents, analyze them, and determine what, specifically -- both quantitatively and qualitatively -- the client requires for the project, and to then come up with a price that they can then use to come up with a bid estimate. If the bid is successful, we get the contract. This can range from a single item of less than one hundred dollars... to a contract involving millions of dollars...
The plans and specs are not always very clear in either content or meaning.. and in some cases, I am learning... a single word can completely change the meaning of the entire document! Miss that one word, and you have cost both the client, and your company a great deal of money! So.. attention to detail, and the ability to focus, despite endless interruptions, and all of the other workday distractions that crop up regularly. The upside of this is that I basically can show up, start working on my pile of 'stuff', and continue on with it until it is time to pack up and go home. And nobody bothers me!
I work in a cubicle, which I realize most people absolutely hate but, strangely, I actually like my cubicle.. (I know.. it's sort of pathetic... but, nevertheless...)
My wife gave me a plant to bring in to work with me... which I did... and it brightens the place up quite a bit! Over time, I will probably bring in other little doo-dads that will serve to lessen that certain impersonal ambiance that most cubicles have... I just don't want to rush in to things... even carrying in a plant, and my 'magnet ring' (I have a ring shaped magnet that came out of a motor or something... I have used it over the years as a paper clip holder... don't ask...) made me feel as though I looked like I was 'moving in'... which is sort of weird.
In any case, I like this job. It is somewhat tedious.. but you have to stay on your toes, otherwise you may end up having a conversation that entails providing an explanation to someone in authority regarding the six million dollars that they are no longer able to count on... and I do not wish to be party to such a conversation.
My training... or something.... consisted of about 15 minutes of a loose explanation followed by the recounting of the most recent historical fuck-ups made by my predecessors... and then I was sent off to sink or swim.
I have no experience in this sort of thing whatsoever... but, so far I am managing to hold my own. I learn a great deal each day... and hopefully I will catch on in due time.
On other fronts, I sort of feel like "The Omega Monk" - as everyone in the local Sangha (monastic community) is off in New Mexico for an extended retreat. I am the stay behind who is responsible for the running and the upkeep of the Zen Center. Well.. one other person has recently returned, so I suppose that isn't the case any longer in the strictest sense... but, for now, it is sort of quiet. We have the occasional lay person who shows up, but for the most part it has been exceedingly quiet... which is actually kind of nice!
We have gotten hit with quite a few instances of health related issues amongst our various relations... which tends to raise the stress level and put a bit of a damper on things since we are worried about our loved ones. What makes this particularly difficult is that there isn't a blessed thing that we can do to help. So.. we simply wait to hear whatever news is forthcoming. My wife is on her way right now to visit her father who was admitted to the hospital last night... we don't really know the full significance of this... but I suppose we will know in due course. I'm not sure whether this is good or bad.
Life takes its twists and turns, and carries us along with it... so I suppose that all we can do is try to roll with it and make out as best we can...
Not the most comforting advice.. but, probably truthful.
It is very warm here today... and quite humid. We sat on our patio this morning, drinking our coffee and watching the new crop of fledgling sparrows hurling themselves about as they try to learn to fly and land and take off and do all the things they must be able to do to be a fully qualified sparrow. They were making us laugh! Some of the little con artists still try to beg food from their parents by fluttering and opening their mouths... sometimes they get food, and sometimes they get a cuff about the head.. but I suppose its worth the try!
Well... thats pretty much the update, as far as I am concerned. I have a couple hours of solitude, and then I'm off to work!
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Eyes open.. beside me my wife dreams. I am warm under the covers... the room is still slightly dark, and a cool breeze is washing through the room. Casting aside the blanket, I get up and head for the bathroom to wash up and brush my teeth.
I quietly make my way downstairs and put on my monastic vestments in silence.
As I step outside and close the door behind me, a mourning dove coos somewhere in the distance. The air is still cool and the grass and leaves are moist with dew. I can feel the cool breeze on my ankles and on my face and head.
As I make my way to the Zendo, the morning is brightening slightly... I hear birds singing in a cacophony of mixed calls; mocking birds, the twitter of sparrows, wrens with their 'tea kettle - tea kettle' calls... I can hear a woodpecker working away at the trunk of a tree, in search of some particularly plump and tasty morsel hidden within.. more doves, a lark, and over the top of it all the raucous screeching of jays and crows, competing to see whether they can drown one another out.
As I enter the Zendo, I bow in greeting to one of the other monks who is the Jikijitsu, or timekeeper for the time being (we change offices from time to time, each person having a chance to fill various offices. I am Shoji these past months; It is my job to prepare and serve tea to the monastic/lay practitioners during our formal tea ceremony, and to see to the welfare of each member. The Jikijitsu and Shoji together are the two disciplinarians of the Zendo; The 'Jiki' is the 'Father figure' - harsher and more strident in doling out corrections and in redressing those who breach temple etiquette, whereas, the Shoji is the gentler 'Mother figure' who assists, encourages, and gently but firmly insists upon compliance with temple rules of conduct and etiquette. This 'Yin/Yang' pairing has been used in Zen Temples for over a thousand years... molding and shaping the minds of seekers who follow the Zen path.
Without a word, we set about preparing for the morning sitting. Once everything was just as it should be, the Jiki went to his place in the Zendo and sat. As Shoji, I remained standing by the entrance to greet and direct latecomers.
At the appointed time, I lit a stick of incense, and quietly entered the Zendo, approaching the Jiki, and bowing, then, after ceremoniously presenting the stick of incense to him, bowing again and exiting the Zendo while Jiki began to open the formal portion of the sitting. As he did his bows and prostrations, I slowly tapped out the ritual patterns on the 'Han' - the wooden block drum that calls the monastic community to the Zendo for formal Zazen, or seated meditation.
We sat, and chanted, the occasional chime and gong marking a counterpoint to the constant beat that I drummed on the Mokugyo, or wooden fish. After the chanting ended, we quietly assumed the formal sitting position for our meditation.. the monks moving fluidly, and silently, wasting very little movement... and the three chimes tapped out on the Inkin, or hand chime marked the beginning of the first sitting. The room was absolutely silent; there is no moving, adjusting, or scratching permitted during the formal sitting period - this is where the rather harsh and austere monastic discipline takes over. As the time passes, legs go numb, or cramp.. backs ache, and itches worry away - daring one to try to quickly scratch them away.. This mirrors life, where difficulties crop up at regular intervals to try to throw us off of our track. This is a lesson in impermanence, where we learn to develop an accommodating heart that is capable of enduring these periodic difficulties without succumbing to aversion or distaste, or panic, or overblown reaction... just as everything else in the cosmos, the difficulties arise and then they fade... and we learn that we don't necessarily have to 'do' anything about them! And, so learning, we are freed from the hold that they have over us... at least for now!
After a period of Kinhin, or walking meditation, we began the second sitting period.. after which we set to our assigned tasks during the silent work period, which is also part of our daily practice.
After the Jikijitsu and I cleaned and restored to Zendo to its former neat appearance, we stepped out into the bright sunshine, bowed, and thus ended another morning practice.
As I walked through the gate to my cottage, the sun was just peeking over the trees, painting the landscape gold with its rays. The birds were in full swing now, and the flowers that had been closed tightly in sleep as I left, were opening their faces to the new day!
Time for Coffee and 'Sunday Baroque'!!
May all sentient beings be peaceful.
May all sentient beings be happy.
May all sentient beings be safe.
May all sentient beings awaken to the light of their true nature.
May all sentient beings be free.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Of late, I have sort of been feeling as though I am more or less getting blown around by the winds of fate... I can't say whether this is a good thing or a bad thing; or even whether a value judgment is even necessary... it is simply an observation.
I think it is a bit silly of me to randomly pick some period of time and decide that I feel this way during this particular timeframe when, in actuality, this is basically the way it is for all of us, all the time!
I am feeling that I am hurtling along, more or less out of control, while 'things' and 'events' just sort of take place around me... and me having only the most peripheral influence over things...
One day is blurring into the next.. and I am doing this thing in my brain where I focus on one small daily recurring event and it is like watching this one event happen over and over through a zoetrope.. where each day is one picture, and the stream of days makes them appear to be rushing by at blazing speed.... I tend to wake up at more or less the same time in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom.. I am generally muzzy, and sort of disoriented from sleepiness, and, in many cases, from having woken directly out of a dream, the shreds of which are still wisping around in my brain... well, it sometimes seems to me that the focus of my life narrows to this one event... getting up to pee... to the extent that my life becomes this recurring 'getting up to pee' activity, punctuated by tiny bits of 'other stuff'.
Of course.. in my waking life, this point of view vanishes and appears silly... but in the middle of the night, it seems to me that my life is just flashing by.. and that if I were to glance in the mirror, that I would actually be able to watch myself aging, and wasting away... as years fly by like clouds in a storm.. it saddens me in the middle of the night, when no one is available to me, and the night is deathly quiet, save for the squeak of the floor under my feet... and it occurs to me to wonder, as I am dropping back off to sleep, whether some guy, much like myself, in the year 1082CE or so, had these same, or similar, thoughts... and that guy, if he existed is now not even dust anymore... he is just gone.. just like I will be in what will seem at the time of my death to be no time at all. I know this, and I accept it... but, in the dead of night, it is sad, and gray, and drab, and depressing....
The same strange point of view is true of checking the mail, having my morning coffee, going to, and then returning from, work... and all of the other 'stations' of the day... they seem to expand, and all the other stuff seems to contract.
The result is that it seems that I spend 23 hours, 57 minutes, and 48 seconds doing not-shit BS, and 1 minute 10 seconds with my wife.. This isn't true, and I know this on an intellectual level.. but in my heart, I can feel the time shrieking past... and there isn't a damned thing that I can do about it.
I just know that I will wake up one morning and realize that I am a very old man.. with one foot in the grave, one foot on a banana peel, and everything of value in my life behind me...
But, then, I also think that this is probably true of all of us... one day this will happen.
On the surface of my brain, I attempt to siphon off every minuscule molecule of joy and appreciation from every single second of my life... and I think I am better at this than most... but, I turn around and the grass that I just mowed 'a few minutes ago' needs mowing again, the leftovers that I 'just put in the fridge' are a science project, and the furniture that I 'just dusted' has a layer of dust over it...
Summers, that used to be never-ending periods of warm, meandering days, and slow cricket and star-filled nights now blast past in a single three-month blip that doesn't allow me time to get out the suntan lotion. I consciously think, "It'll be summer in a month or so..." and the next observation is that the leaves have turned.
I don't want my life to fly by... I don't want this wonderful time with my gorgeous loving wife to spin out of my grasp... I don't want to watch myself wizen and shrivel and fade... but, I suppose I don't really have much of a choice in the matter.
I will resolve in my mind to slow down, to take time to enjoy things as they happen, and the next thing I know, I will be getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, and it will feel as though I had just done this very same thing not two seconds ago...
We have to work, and we have to do all of those things that we have to do to keep the household running and everything in working order... and then, when we have the time to spend, we are so tired that we can barely keep our eyes open...
Every time one of us talks with a friend or family member, it is only to find out that someone else has died, has been diagnosed with cancer or some other hideous malady, or to be shocked to hear that the infant that we had just been informed was recently born is now graduating college.
When all that time flies by, I wonder where it goes?? I distinctly remember being six years old, and that couldn't have been more than a year or two ago... and a few minutes after that I was enlisting in the military, and then a second or two later, I was back home and 29 years old, and when I do the math, I am surprised and dismayed to learn that that was eighteen years ago!
My wife and I will celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary this coming September, and I honestly don't know where the time has gone...
So many things are happening, and so much of it has the potential to affect and to change everything in my life around.... and there isn't anything that I can do other than to simply accept it as it transpires. So this is what I do; I accept life as it presents itself to me. Often, I manage to find stillness at the center of things, and once I achieve this, I can generally maintain that stillness for some time.. until it slips away, and I am back in the maelstrom.
On top of all of it, I have a new boss that looks sort of like Danny Aiello, but with the most atrocious toupé that I have ever seen in my life. One day, a good while ago, he was getting up in the middle of the night to pee, and he was, perhaps, 47 years old or so... and now he is a fat old man, with a hideous rug on his head, in a more or less crappy dead-end job. I strongly doubt that he planned it out that way... but, nevertheless, that's how it turned out.
Even today; I got home from work, my wife walked in the door a few minutes after I did, and we had the whole night to look forward to together. We had a bite to eat, we sat down and wrote a letter to a friend of ours, and now it is almost 10PM and will soon be time for bed....
Is there a speed control on this thing??
I think that in the morning, rather than rolling over and burying my face in the pillow after that first brief encounter with consciousness and a new day, I will instead get up, and see what the morning has to offer...
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Some of you may remember posts back in February or so that Marcheline had taken a civil service test for a fairly fantastic job... well folks the results are in!!
(crumple, crumple... rip, tear, rip...) "AND.. the award for highest score in the civil service test resulting in the attainment of the FIRST PLACE ON THE ENTIRE LIST!! (This is a HUGE list!!) goes to;.. .. (Dramatic pause...)-
Good job, Girl! I'm proud of you!!
Pop over to Marcheline's 'Mental Meatloaf' and give her a high five for a job well done!!