Friday, April 12, 2013

Season change

According to the calendar, spring has arrived in the Northern hemisphere, although as many will attest to it doesn’t feel it here in Northern New England.  The weather forecast is calling for snow showers and mixed precipitation.  The good news is the angle of the sun will make certain whatever falls and attempts to stay on the ground, doesn’t.  The two writing groups I belong to are encouraging member’s to blog about spring, I’ve seen posts about renewal, pussy willows, warm sun and the return of green grass; all wonderful writings, but not what’s on my mind at the moment.

In addition to the calendar, I have come to mark the change of seasons by the sports I watch, activities I engage in and holidays. Spring for me arrives with the NCAA women’s basketball tourney (Go Huskies!) I know I am close to the end of winter when the NASCAR Daytona 500 is run. Summer is marked by baseball (which I don’t follow until the World Series and then only teams I am interested in) and fall arrives with the advent of football (American style, again a sport I don’t follow until the Super Bowl.) I know spring has arrived with the opening day of fishing season; summer with Memorial Day, autumn with Labor Day and winter comes the week after Columbus Day.   Thanksgiving, Christmas and Fourth of July are seasons unto themselves, and not associated with anything meteorological. Living in Maine I learned to see the seasons as Mud, bug, hot mowing, autumn, and wicked cold shoveling.

There are many spiritual and philosophical applications to season change, but frankly those heady, lofty thoughts escape me for the moment. I will tell you marking season change by holidays, activities and sporting events makes me appreciate the everyday.  When there isn’t a sport I watch or a holiday the year passes as usual and I enjoy the usual. Many people are “grousing” about the length of this year’s winter weather and perpetually wishing for spring. There are days I long for warmth, but by marking seasons not by the calendar but by activities makes me look forward to the next change and not wish for something I have no control over (i.e.: the weather.)  At the moment I am in the everyday, the lull between my next change of season, which is fishing (when it warms up enough.)

Per usual this is my opinion, but I recommend marking season change by activities and holiday not by the calendar. Since the holidays seem to be a bit more predictable than the weather.  Have fun my friends, happy season change!

Friday, April 5, 2013

What Part of….

This post was originally written in October 2011. I felt it was appropriate however, since my internet at work is not working correctly and I am having to learn patience.  Enjoy my readers!

It is a stunning day in Northern New England today!  The trees have turned color; the sky is a perfect shade of blue with just enough gray clouds to remind you it is autumn.  The temperature is perfect for me and there is a brisk wind.  I took a ride today to see friends and do some grocery shopping in “the slightly bigger city.”  It was on the way home this blog took shape!  After leaving my friends I went to a shopping center; the traffic, as expected was heavier, no biggy, except for the driver’s who sit at green lights, drive slow on the highway and fast in a crowded parking lot!  I recognize I am impatient while driving, but really sitting at a stoplight that is green, in heavy traffic…. I find myself yelling “What part of green light means go, don’t you understand?”

This thought per usual flourished into something larger and caused me to think about the other things that cause me to ask, “What part of…don’t you understand?”  I have to be introspective at times like these and question my own feelings, am I justified or simply impatient and in the wrong?  I try to understand and quickly respond when someone says they need to go or need to hang up from a phone call; I try to keep my texts short and sweet when I know someone is busy.  I believe we all know those people who continue to converse long beyond a less than subtle cue.  I love (sarcasm implied here) when someone comes to your office for what appears to be a quick question only to have it turn into a half hour conversation, again I ask “what part of only having a quick minute don’t you understand?”  Don’t you see that I am busy or I am ready to leave, I am giving the cue of standing up, holding papers in my hand, turning around to my computer…etc?

The slow down on my side of the highway today was due to someone gawking at the back up on the opposite side of the road.  The back up was caused by a group of people crossing over a guardrail onto a divided highway that had oncoming traffic moving at 65 mph.  I just had to ask “what part of NO PEDESTRIANS on the highway, did these people not understand?”  And secondly “what part of keeping your speed up so you don’t get plowed by the person behind you” did the person who slowed down not understand?  My mother told me about someone she was following who kept stopping beneath signs that clearly stated “NO STOPPING” and waiting for her.  Now it was very nice that the person was conscientious and caring about waiting to be certain my mother was following, but her point was the person, without fail, stopped 2-3 times beneath similar signs!  Not a distance before or a distance after, NO right beneath the sign!

I realize there are areas in my life in which the question “What part of … don’t you understand” applies.  Habits and opinions I hold, which lead to the same place they always have.  I frequently look at my self in the mirror and say “Eldridge, what part of… aren’t you understanding?”  As usual, this blog, which starts as a rant at the world, ends up cutting into my grain.  The question on my mind now is “Eldridge, what part of don’t be stupid, show mercy and value others don’t you understand?”  I’m not saying that I won’t ever ask the question again, but I’m hopeful that when I ask the question it is with a little less frustration and a little more compassion toward others.  AHHH, patience at human failings is a hard fought battle, but one worth fighting for we all fail and come up short.  Who knows the reason you were placed where you were placed at any given time.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter reflection 2013

If there were ever a case to be made for pre-destination I could be the poster child. Baptized as an infant in water mingled with water from the Jordan river, in the choir loft at 5 days old, attended my first sunrise service at 2 months old, wrapped in a blanket and sleeper, carried by my mother over a stone wall into a field. Quite literally I stood at my mother’s side as she wrote human-interest stories for the local newspaper and beneath her microphone, holding my little guitar as we performed as a family on stage. Is there any wonder I am who I am, and do what I do?

I have to admit; Easter is one, if not the one holiday I love the most. Christmas is wonderful as it is a time of family, but Easter is glorious for me.  I have wonderful memories and impressions surrounding this holiday, and Easter is simply not Easter to me without a sunrise service, breakfast and a music filled morning service. I don’t remember my first sunrise service, however I have many memories of other ones as I was growing up. My father, being the youth group leader, was intricately involved with the development, implementation of the service and following breakfast at the church, as both were the responsibilities of the youth group. Often after breakfast my parents and I would return home, were I was treated to hunting for the Easter eggs the bunny had meticulously hidden. I ran around the yard seeking the eggs I had colored earlier in the week; finding them nestled in carefully constructed nests of fallen leaves on the bumper of the camper, in the crotch of tree limbs, in the window boxes, on the wood pile, in the flower bed.  We always colored a dozen or two, so we could keep count of how many were found. As careful as the bunny was there was one year an egg was not found until the summer, when it permeated the back patio with the stench of the dead.

Fond memories of my grandmother also surface this time of year, for she often sang solos on Palm Sunday and/or Easter, and if she didn’t, my mother did. I am stirred by the words and music of “The Palms,” “The Holy City,” and “Christ the Lord is Risen today.” To this day I can hear her voice raised in praise with the words “I know my redeemer liveth!”  I find nothing more stirring then an organ, rumbling the pews; inspiring the congregants.
Why do I share all of this? Well, I’ve been thinking an awful lot about why I have gotten so excited about having the honor of leading worship this Easter weekend at my church. It’s in my blood, my nature, my upbringing; my parents made certain, this holiday was special. I want to encourage you to make some memories this year, where will you be this weekend? Will you be hunting eggs hidden by a bunny, stuffing yourself with chocolate or will you be basking in the glory of the risen Christ? I hope the latter, with the egg hunting and chocolate gorging following. Regardless of whether you have new clothes or not, gather with others this Sunday and celebrate. Remember, it was just another day as far as the three women were concerned when they went to the tomb; it was only after meeting the risen LORD, were their lives changed for eternity. He is Risen Indeed!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Random thoughts

I have started at least 4 different posts in my head over the last month, going so far as to write the ideas down in a little book I carry with me.  However, none of them have made it to fruition. So my thought is to combine them into one post, which hopefully (if you read this it did) makes it to the blog.

First, I love my windows program. It allows me to have multiple projects going at once and switch between them with a click of my mouse. I can engage in multi-tasking, which is a polite way of saying “attention deficit” without getting too confused. One of the posts I started was on Squirrels and Crows. I’ve decided I’m a squirrel, for when I have too many things to choose from I stand in the middle of the road running back and forth until I am hit by oncoming traffic.  Crows on the other hand are people who are drawn away by shiny objects, but can return to the point they left off with ease. The long and the short of this idea is I hope to be like my cat, who once focused on an object will sit silently, contemplating the next move and then move decisively at the opportune time, but doesn’t wait too long so the prey moves on.

Secondly, I have come to the conclusion life is too short to engage in negative, worrisome thoughts and activities. I enjoy interacting with people who have a great sense of humor. These are people who can laugh at themselves and don’t take life too seriously all the time. My notes on this post read as follows: “If worry is like paying rent for something you don’t own, then hate and discontent is like buying a house and letting someone else live there free of charge while you remain homeless. Hate & discontent take up room in your brain and emotions like weeds in a garden. They sap all the goodness from the soil leaving us unfruitful and weak. I have decided hating people and things’, even strongly disliking them, takes too much energy; energy, which can be put toward better, more creative, more productive things. Especially in our current age when with the click of a mouse button we can “block” someone. Not all things are that easy, but a correlation can be drawn.”

Okay, so the third post I was going to write on was measuring a cat’s tail.  A few nights ago my mother asked me “have you ever tried to measure the tail of a cat?” To which I replied, “why, no. Why do you ask?”  Of course the next night I found my measuring tape and proceeded to chase my cat around the house trying to measure his tail (never got it.) It was a silly question, but nonetheless entertaining for a moment. In my opinion we need to engage in such silliness. Go back to point two, life is too short…try to measure your cat’s tail, have some fun. Oh, by the way…my dog’s tail is 19” long. He just laid there and let me do whatever. As for my mother’s cat she believes the tail to be approximately 9”, never did get an accurate measure.

The last idea written in my little book of blog notes was on anticipation; how much I love the feeling of anticipation. I had gotten an invitation to go Downeast with good friends of mine for a day. I was as excited as a kid at Christmas and had a “fluttery” feeling the remainder of the week. Additionally, one night a couple of weeks ago I was outside and smelled melting snow, yes there is a distinct smell. I was filled with the joy of anticipating spring coming to northern New England. As much as I love the feeling of anticipation I am keenly aware of the other side of this coin, dread. Dread is the feeling of impending doom, such as a bill coming due when there is little to no money, a life threatening condition…etc.  In his book “Mere Christianity” C.S. Lewis writes, “…Evil is a parasite, not an original thing. The powers which enable evil to carry on are powers given it by goodness.” I have come to embrace this idea choosing to believe, nothing comes into my life, but what it must pass through the hand of my heavenly Father. Meaning whenever something evil comes my way I choose to look to Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith rather than allow evil to cloud my view of a greater purpose for my situation. I am far from perfect in applying this belief quickly, but in regards to anticipation, I can choose to anticipate the good, which comes from persevering rather than dreading the process; knowing that “all things work together for good….” I can dread what will happen in this world as I hurtle toward “the end” or I can anticipate a life in heaven when my end comes.

So there you have it, all the posts that should have been posted in February are now combined into one for March. Maybe some of these ideas will show up in later posts as “fleshed out” ideas, maybe not.  Either way, these are my opinions, take ‘em or leave ‘em and as always, these and $2.50 will get you a cup of coffee.  Now go measure your cat’s tail!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Twisted road signs

This post was written in 2009 but never posted, thought it was appropriate. Please excuse the length, it is a bit longer than I usually write.  Hope you enjoy!

As I was driving home from work, traveling a very familiar route I noticed one of the road signs turned incorrectly.  It was the sign that identified the names of the roads and it was twisted so the signs pointed in the wrong directions.  Of course being the creative person that I am I began to think about what this means to a driver and what life lessons could I learn.  I also remembered another instance this past weekend when a friend of mine lost their GPS unit while traveling in un-familiar territory.  So much of our lives can be likened to driving and traveling; we are quite frankly on a journey through life.  I have heard that adage so much it is close to nauseating but nonetheless true.

There is a stop sign in Lubec, Maine set way back from the end of the road.  Now, I know from having traveled there, it means I am supposed to stop at the end of the road, but when I traveled with my niece and came to the intersection, she immediately noticed the placement of the sign and questioned where she was to stop.  As I chuckled I told her, “the end of the road,” but what if I hadn’t been there to tell her.  She would have figured it out, but what a life lesson about misplaced stop signs.  Let’s go back to the twisted street sign.  If I didn’t live in the area and I was looking for specific road markers I would have thought that the road I needed went straight ahead rather than turning left.  Anyone who has driven in un-familiar territory knows the importance of properly placed road signs.  I live in the woods, so if you get lost you can end up in a multitude of different places, but not the one you want.  How true is this to our own lives and how we live them.

Two thoughts immediately come to mind for me, first, it is important to know where you are going and how to get there.  Second it is important to know how to find your way back when you make a mistake.  I think there is also a lesson to be learned from people getting lost.  We can often be condemning of others when they “fall into sin.”  If someone’s road signs were twisted then they may have lost their way quite innocently and not on purpose.  That is where it is important to be able to give them a map or directions on how to get back.  Yeah, some people purposely go down the wrong road, how many times have you been driving and seen someone asking directions with an exasperated person sitting next to them.  You can read their lips as they say, see I told you we needed to turn around.  It is easy to allow pride to keep us on a wrong road because we believe we know what is best.

For the Christian the Bible is our road map, our GPS unit that gives us directions on our journey.  I don’t have a GPS in my car, I don’t own one, but I have been told that as you get closer to a turn the voice becomes more insistent and borders on being rude, especially if you missed the turn.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love technology when it works.  I do not like the feeling of being helpless when my cell phone or computer dies.  I prefer a map to a GPS most of the time, maybe I’m a control freak, but it is important to have a paper version of instructions to go by.  I also find it helpful when someone gives me some clues as to what I’m looking for.  For example, when I give directions to my house I will let people know what to look for when coming up to a turn; houses or businesses, trees and barns that will give them a clue as to getting close.  I think this is similar to sermons or bible studies.  As we study the WORD OF GOD we learn what signs to look for that tell us we are getting close to where GOD would have us turn.  Life is not a straightaway that we can drive fast on, no it is more like a country road that twists and turns that we need to go slower on or crash.  The other thing to think about is that we are not all on the same road.  There are many ways to get to my house depending upon the direction that you are coming from.  However, before you think I am going to say there are many ways to get to GOD, you are very wrong.  There are many ways to get to my house, but I live on only one road at one specific address.  The closer you get to my house, the fewer options you have to get here until there is only one, the one true road I live on, the one box number that designates my address.  Many times we believe that someone is lost, so lost that they will never get to the one true place, but remember the twisted road sign, if someone were to go straight instead of left, they would come to a stop sign and then be able to turn left and get to my house.  I think, in my opinion that GOD gives us the opportunity to make the correct turn even after we missed the first.  He understands that road signs get twisted and we get lost from time to time.

I want to talk about how the signs get twisted, because I think there is a lesson to be learned in that.  Living in the north, I get snow, meaning that there are snowplows that during blinding storms can hit and twist a sign.  Sometimes the wind blows so strong that the signs buffet back and forth and get twisted, I have seen that happen in the pictures of hurricanes and tornados.  That stop sign in Lubec, it was placed where it was most likely because there was soft ground rather than pavement to sink the post into.  I correlate storms, plows, wind and hard ground with life.  How many times have we used the phrase “someone lost their bearings?”  When traveling through life, we need to be aware that some people’s interpretation of scripture gets skewed and they may inadvertently turn us down the wrong path.  That is why we always want to check someone’s counsel against the WORD OF GOD, for that is the only road map that stays true.  I like getting input into my decisions; so much so that I have gone down the wrong road thinking I was right.  Only for the Grace of God did I make it back, but sometimes I had to return to a certain point in the road to find out where I had gone wrong.  I believe strongly in being reminded of my position in Christ, what he has done for me and what the Bible says for that is where I measure and begin each journey from, it is the start point on my GPS.

Some concluding thoughts; first we need to trust the one true map to Christ, the Bible.  For only with that map are we going to make it safely to God.  Secondly, we need to check our bearings by this map frequently less we be led off track by a twisted road sign.  In this same thought we need to be aware that some people offering us directions can lead us astray because their signs are twisted by storms, plows, wind and hard hearted ness.  Thirdly, we are not all on the same road at the same time.  Our signs are not going to look exactly the same, some will come to a stop sign quicker than others will or they will have to take a right hand turn rather than a left depending upon where they are coming from.  And finally even the lost can be found, regardless of how lost they are.  The only ones that will remain lost at the end of the day are those who conscientiously and repeatedly refuse to ask for and follow sound guidance and directions.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Little Sister

A friend of mine had a birthday this week. I don’t get to see her as often as both of us would like due to the distance between our houses. I follow her on Facebook and we make comments back and forth to each other through that venue. To be perfectly honest I don’t remember exactly how and when we met, but we have been friends for a number of years, I refer to her fondly as “little sister.” Being the youngest of three, I grew up as the baby of the family, and since there were so many years difference between my sister, brother and I, my upbringing was probably closer to that of an only child, so having a “little sister” is special to me.
Little sister is someone who when we are together, we laugh. She has a wonderful sense of humor, slow to anger, loyal and very comfortable to be with. Months can go by yet it is like we saw each other the day before when we do talk. An obvious fault I see is she under estimates her worth to others. There could be far worse faults, one of which is the opposite of this … I.E.: having an over-inflated ego. I’ll admit striking a healthy balance between those two is sometimes challenging. I like people who don’t take themselves too seriously; I have to say I am blessed with a circle of close friends who are that way (as well as a wonderful family.) They keep me grounded and gently “pop” my over inflated ego when needed. On the flip side, I can count on them to bolster my confidence when I waiver.  I am saddened when I think there are people out there who do not have a network of friends or a close family like I do. There are some people who know many people, but aren’t close with anyone and then there are those who are simply isolated for one reason or another.
You’re probably wondering, what is the purpose of this post? Well, specifically it is to recognize and appreciate the birth of someone who has enriched my life by simply being.  The broader purpose is to celebrate the lives of all my close friends and family; to thank them for being, and for being my friends and my family. At a time in history when we can call someone “a friend” simply by requesting through a social network, I’m happy to be able to say I have friends who weren’t requested, didn’t request me and weren’t as easy to get by simply hitting “accept.” or “confirm request.” We did it the old fashioned way of living life together and continue appreciating each precious moment we have together, when we get them.  Go hug your close friends, tell them how much you appreciate the fact that they were born and are your friend!  Make certain you tell your family, how much you love them. Do it often, for humans easily forget. Happy Birthday little sister and many more!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Being a successful grown up

I have heard many people through the years describe age as a state of mind, which on a certain level is true. However, it is inevitable our bodies’ age with the passage of time. What I do whole heartedly support is the notion that “being grown-up” is a state of mind.  Adulthood is a stage in human physiological development in which the only thing that keeps growing is our ears, nose and feet. It is a stage in life in which society expects us to be responsible for ourselves and independent. But being grown up is most definitely, in my opinion, a state of mind.
I recently had to order heating oil, for it is winter here in Maine and the temps are hovering around zero. When I ordered it and paid for it right then and there, I felt quite grown-up. Upon further reflection I discovered this feeling of being a successful grown up happens when I decide, make and indulge in a meal that “hits the spot.”  It is in the accomplishment of mundane tasks some of the greatest satisfaction comes, the regular paying of bills, washing the dishes, doing the laundry; which for some people are perceived as the mundane and distasteful side of being an Adult. Don’t get me wrong, there are many times I do not wish to be an adult and do not wish to be responsible, but it is when I complete the distasteful tasks and take care of myself I feel the most successful as a grown up. Maybe I can boil this down to “adulthood stinks, feeling grown up rocks.”  Shortly after the call to the oil company I turned to my office mate and remarked on how successfully grown up I was feeling.  I was giddy, but made certain I clarified feeling grown up is a fleeting period of time.  It does not apply to any time prior and may not last long after, but for this fleeting moment, I feel successful in being “grown-up.” In fact within the hour, I was a far from feeling grown up, but all of being an adult.
I know a number of people who are adults, but have difficulty being grown up. I think all of us could think of people we know and people in the news who are adults but have difficulty being grown up. In my opinion (here I go again) I will summarize this by saying, feeling like a successful grown up means making the choice of just because I can doesn’t mean I should and just because I don’t have to doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. Using age gained wisdom and working through the hard, the mundane and everyday life with joy, I hope to string together a series of grown up periods of time, for “adulthood can stink, but feeling grown up rocks!”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Slow Down!

This is the fifth attempt at this post. If three times are a charm, I’m working on my second charm! Many ideas have swirled this past week all culminating around this one thought, “slow down.” Originally I was going to visit the familiar topics of appreciating the seeming insignificant things or paying attention to details, but neither of these ideas congealed completely, in both cases I start to write, then edit, write some more, edit some more…etc.
Although my readers won’t see, I have taken pen in hand to write this post. Last week I was appalled when I discovered my handwriting was deteriorating to hen scratch. My notes looked more like a doctor’s prescription than notes. Many people down through the years have complimented me on my penmanship, to which I proudly proclaim I was raised by a writer and teacher! To think my handwriting had declined so severely was appalling and disheartening to say the least. I will confess handwriting this post is time consuming and tiring to the muscles in my wrist and forearm. It is taking discipline to remain seated and focused on this task.
Slowing down is not a virtue extolled by our western society. We are pressured to work efficiently, which often means taking short cuts. Despite all the messages from Health professionals about taking time for ourselves, we don’t eat right, exercise, rest or enjoy relationships. Despite all the messages encouraging people to work in a quality manner we often find (at least I do) mistakes and shoddy workmanship. I’m guilty to wanting things yesterday and being testy when I don’t get what I want when I want it; shame on me! This past weekend I was given the gift of a French press, for those who are unfamiliar; it is a coffeemaker of sorts. The original impetus of this post came from the press. I realized making coffee in the press takes work, takes time, and takes effort! I have to grind the beans, boil the water, pour the boiling water into the carafe, wait for it to steep then plunge the grounds to the bottom, there are few to no shortcuts to this process, but the end result is worth the effort. The quality of the brew is virtually unsurpassed.
Just like handwriting this post, making coffee in a press brings a sense of satisfaction that no computer or drip coffeemaker can bring. I’m not about to stop drinking drip coffee or using my computer to write blog posts but I think I will take more time to breathe and focus on quality. I have made it to the end of this post without moving (other than to reach for the dictionary.) I have written this without the use of grammar check or the word processer pull down box for synonyms. Scripture tells us to “be still and know…” It also shows us examples of withdrawing for times of rest; even GOD rested on the seventh day after completing a quality job.
Do what you will with this, I’m going to make a conscious effort to work efficiently but with quality, even if it means taking a little extra time. Nothing is worth doing if you don’t do it right. Of course this is my opinion and if you stop by, you won’t need $2.50 to get a cup of my brew, just the time to wait for it.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Random thoughts to start the year

Happy New Year everyone!  I trust your holidays were wonderful, I know mine were but I am happy to be into the new year and back to a routine.  As I was reviewing how 2012 went I realized I had somewhat reached my goal of posting once a month, due in most part to multiple posts in some months, which made up for the months I missed. I have decided to keep with the same goal for 2013, with the intent of greater consistency (we will see now, won't we!)  But a couple of random thoughts have recently risen to my attention and figured now is as a good a time as any to share.

The first is, I am "insanely normal." I live a quiet life, but not the life of a hermit as some may percieve, but overall, insanely normal. I was in the bank the other day and had to sign on an electronic signature pad. It took a bit for my signature to register in the computer, so I asked "it accepted it?" The woman looked at me replying "why, have you had problems before?" to which I said "no, I am who I am, have been for 50 years and insanely normal," to which she laughed and we parted company. I am grateful for my normal life, I have struggles like everyone else but purposely try to avoid difficulty when I can, I'm not sure others do. I appreciate being the unique human GOD made me to be, but have come to appreciate more the similarities my life has to others who live quiet lives. But enough about this....suffice it to say I am learning to love normalcy.

My second random thought has to do with becoming an "expert." I was watching the weather channel as I do in the morning (and at night before bed, and on the weekends, and, and .....yeah I'm a weather channel junky.) Moving on, I listened as the broadcaster talked about an upper level distrubance mixing with a surface low creating such and such a condition causing storms to something or ruther over the southern states. I began to imagine myself having a conversation with someone about the weather ('cuz that's what we do in New England) and saying "yeah, there is an upper level distrubance mixing with a surface low causing....blah, blah, blah.) Oh how knowledgable I would sound, just like an expert.  Many years ago, a former boss told me the true definition of expert - EX means "former" and XPERT is "a drip of water."  I think the internet has made many experts in the world, don't you agree?

So in closing, I think for 2013 I'm going to go for "happy, healthy, productive and insanely normal." I'm going to try to stay away from sounding like an "ex-pert" and out of difficulties that can be avoided. A toast to insanely normal! See you soon again.