Dear Mom

Today I learned the Atlanta Temple, which has been closed for the past two years for renovations, is scheduled to be rededicated on your birthday! I only wish you were still here to share it with me. I think of the Atlanta Temple as "our" temple because of the work we did there together. The memory of that day I will cherish forever. I only wish we could have attended the temple more often together.
Today also marks the third year since your passing. I can't believe its only been three years. It seems like an eternity since I last saw you. In addition, so much has happened since I last wrote. Joshie and Lauren are expecting a baby! And guess what? It's a boy! They plan to name him after Grandpa Kidd and Uncle Clyde so his name will be Jett Edward Kidd. That means he will have your initials JEK. I hope you appreciate that.
You should see the nursery. Its perfect! Josh and Lauren decided on the Beatles Yellow Submarine as the theme. A huge yellow submarine floats on the wall above the crib, while Bonkers with green apples perched atop their heads hide in the corner. I absolutely love it and am very proud of them for being creative for and loving parents to a baby they have yet to meet. Needless to say, we are all very excited about the new addition to our little family and we all wish you were here to enjoy him too. My biggest regret is that baby Jett will never know his Grandma Kidd although Lauren and Josh have your photo hanging in the nursery. Its a lovely black and white one of you and Josh. I think you would like that.
Baby Jett is due to arrive on March 12th. It will be interesting to see if he comes early, on time, or a little late. I am hoping he arrives a little early so I can swing a rotation to see him but we'll see.
Another bit of news that I haven't shared with you, through letter, is the arrivals of Little Bit and Neville. Little Bit is a stray kitten Josh and Lauren rescued. They brought her to the Cat Farm and she's been a companion to Mary and Zu ever since. She may be little but she is all heart and she LOVES Mary and Zu. Her playfulness is a breath of fresh air and I know you would absolutely adore her.
Neville is a Bassett Hound whom we all love. He smells terrible but is so well behaved. His absolute joy in life is to be rubbed on his belly. He also enjoys wizzing on everything. Taking walks with Neville is a breeze because he stops every five minutes to urinate on something. Despite the body odor and his relentless urge to piss I feel lucky to have him at the farm and look forward to seeing him again.
Speaking of the seems I will be spending more time there than I anticipated this summer. My time in Biloxi is coming to a close. I knew it was a possibility but didn't anticipate it would happen this early in the year. I have no idea what I will do regarding future employment but hope when this door closes God will open either another door or at least a window. We'll see. If nothing else, having time off will afford me plenty of opportunities to spend time with the baby and help Dad out on the farm. Dad has plans to plant a big garden this year and it will be nice to help him with that. In addition, I can manage the "livestock" (Dad reference for Neville and the cats) and work on my tan.
There are so many more things to share. I would like to think, however, that you already know about them because you are still actively involved in my life. I don't know if I imagine it but sometimes I think I feel you near. Its not great but it beats the complete aloneness I felt before. I hope with time that sense of closeness increases.
Today and every day you are in my thoughts and prayers. I pray wherever you are, you feel peace and more love than we were capable of showing you. I love you Mammy and miss you more than I can say. I can't wait to see you again but until that day I am going to LIVE. No more moping and doping around my apartment. You didn't bring me into this world to waste my life. You brought me here so I could live and grow and progress according to Heavenly Father's plan so when my time on earth is through I will have no regrets. That is my goal. I want to take full advantage of the life you gave me to live. I have a long way to go and a lot more to accomplish but I hope wherever you are I am and will continue to make you proud.
Love you forever-

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Taj Ma Toliets...

are a contemporary addition to the Mississippi Gulf Coast post Hurricane Katrina. I wish I could take credit for coining the phrase Taj Ma Toliets but that belongs to someone who will remain anonymous.
The Taj Ma Toliets can be classified as new construction. They were not here when I arrived to the Coast almost three years ago. I think the design is interesting. The entrance is Palladianesque with a central rounded arch sandwiched between two flat arches, one on either side. Pretty impressive for beach bathrooms. Its unfortunate, between hurricanes, the economy and the recent oil spill, they are not being utilized as anticipated. Perhaps 2011 will change that. One can always hope.

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Laissez Les Bon Ton Roulette

I saw the woman on the left for the first time last Thursday when I went to retrieve my Mardi Gras costume from Josette's, the greatest costume shop I've ever been in. I was immediately fascinated by her hair, dress, makeup...everything. She reminds me of Pauley Perrette's character Abby Sciuto on my favorite show, NCIS.
Although I didn't speak to her then, Amanda and I ran into her at the Les Badineurs ball last night. She not only dresses cool but she is cool and mysterious in a way I will never be.
She embodies, in my opinion, a very distinct subculture that is deeply rooted along the Gulf Coast, especially in New Orleans. A subculture who borrows from the history of its people. A people who've inhabited this area for centuries but whose genesis began in Spain, France, Germany, the Caribbean and the West Indies. A history that involves pirates and voodoo. Its evident in the skull and cross bones, the feathers, beads and fleur-de-lis that accent their clothes and embellish their bodies. Although hints of this subculture can be found all over the world, from now on, whenever I see it, I will think of the Gulf Coast and its people.

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I'm Not an Addict...

it's just a phase, I'll get over it, one day, but for now I am loving Ore Ida's Three Cheese Bagel Bites. They are perfect for someone like me who craves pizza but can not find a decent slice anywhere on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
My sister-in-law, Lauren, served these at my brother's surprise birthday party last November. Since then, I have been searching the frozen foods aisles of Rouses, Winn-Dixie, and Wal-Mart. I finally found them at Winn-Dixie.
Priced a little over $2 they are an inexpensive alternative to eating a pizza out or even ordering one in. If you are looking for a cheap, easy way to satisfy a pizza craving look no further than Ore Ida's Bagel Bites cause Ore Ida's Bagel Bites are all right.

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This afternoon, while standing in a check-out line at Winn-Dixie, I decided to purchase the February 2011 issue of O magazine. I have never purchased a copy of O before. NEVER. I normally thumb through the outdated editions lying around during pedicures or hair appointments, after perusing the latest edition of Cosmo, Elle, Glamour, Vogue, People, or even Southern Living. O never appealed to me as an age appropriate magazine for single, sophisticated thirty-somethings. However! This evening my curiosity got the better of me. Maybe its the new year, maybe its the full moon or perhaps its a sign I'm aging, who knows? But after reading through the February's issue of O, I have to admit, I really enjoyed the upbeat tone of the magazine's contents. Instead of focusing on dieting, exercise and sex, the O magazine focuses on healthy, holistic living minus the obsession with beauty, fashion and men. The articles are informative and thought provoking without being risque or edgy. O magazine is a welcome alternative to, well, the alternatives.
February may be the first issue I've purchased but I'm certain it will not be my last. Imagine that!

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I became entangled in Disney's animated film classic, Tangled. I'm so glad I did. I loved it! Every minute. The songs were fun, the animation was great, the characters engaging. I loved Maximus, I loved Rapunzel, I loved the chameleon, but most of all I loved the theme of light and its connection to familial and even romantic love. Light was used to heal. Ultimately, light guided Rapunzel back to her family saving her from a life on enslavement and despair.
My favorite scene in the entire movie is depicted in the photo above. The idea of launching thousands of floating lanterns into the night sky is beautiful. I would love to see something like it one day. Perhaps Disney will construct a Tangled theme park where annually thousands of glowing lanterns are launched into the night sky for hopeless romantics like me. Perhaps I will make this thought a dream because "way down deep inside we all have dreams."

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Good News!

Today I received confirmation I have officially paid off ONE of my student loans!!!! Although I still owe way more than I care to think about, but constantly do anyway, I am excited to have this over $13k loan paid off. I have been making significant payments on this loan since August 2008 and am so relieved, I'm done. Now I can focus on the remaining amount. If all goes as planned, I hope to have another loan paid off by May.
Sharing this may seem trivial, but to me they are HUGE. I hate being in debt. I hate feeling obligated financially to anything or anyone. My goal is to rid myself of this burden as quickly as I possibly can. Since completing my graduate studies, paying off my student loans has been a top priority. I long for the day when I can make decisions free of financial worry or obligation. I yearn for a time when I can focus my energies on buying a home and a new car or investing in a small business such as a bee and berry farm. Until that day, I will be marking time and paying dimes to free myself of that ball-and-chain known as student loans.

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My Resolution

I declare 2011 the year Boo gets her groove back!
Although it's only ten days into the New Year, I feel I have so much to look forward to this year.
For the first time in years, I feel hope. Hope that 2011 can be a truly great year.
Hope that laughter instead of grief will fill our homes and hearts.
Hope our family will experience new life without the loss of another.
Hope we will be able to live, really live, without, or in spite of, fear.
Hope that with the arrival of Jett a small piece of my Mother will be restored to us.
Hope this baby will unite our family in a spirit of love and wonder, for the miracle of life.
It may be foolish for a person like me to hope, especially considering all that has happened over the past three years, but hope I must and live I must. It's time!
This means taking the time to exercise and eat right. It means no longer neglecting the seemingly small and insignificant things. It means dancing around my apartment whenever I feel like it without feeling a twinge of guilt for having fun. It means reading the Book of Mormon and studying my scriptures daily. Will I be perfect? No way! But the important thing is I'm trying.
I have so much to be grateful for and look forward to. So again, I declare, 2011 to be the year Boo gets her groove back 'cause there ain't nothin' wrong with groovin'! Care to join me?

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My Little Bit

Little Bit came to the Cat Farm through Josh and Lauren after they discovered her at their house. When she came into our family she was a tiny, undernourished baby with hair missing on the tip of her tail. Although she loved Mary and Zu from the start, it was evident they didn't return the sentiment especially, when Little Bit was constantly trying to attack or play with them. It was also clear they didn't appreciate Little Bit standing in the food bowl while they were trying to eat and boy, does she eat.
Since her arrival Little Bit has transformed into a healthy, confident kitten who loves to play and snuggle with Mary and Zu (who have since accepted her despite her lack of bowl-side manners). Little Bit loves people and is absolutely fearless, something I marvel at because of her size. I have become so protective of her, often carrying her while walking Neville so she does not get left behind. I also love how I can call her name and watch as she runs towards me and jumps into my outstretched arms, purring so loud it resembles a tiny motor.
Little Bit loves climbing trees, which she is very good at, and playing with Mary and Zu's latest kills. She is also becoming fast friends with Neville, who licks her face generously whenever she allows it.
She may be small in size but she is all heart and she has mine.

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I had never heard of Ski, or at least that's what I thought, until my brother pointed out Ski is mentioned in the 90's hit country song "Dumas Walker." Thinking it would be impossible to find, a friend and I spotted some on the shelves of Kroger in Richmond, Kentucky and grabbed it. If you enjoy Mountain Dew and Sprite you may appreciate Ski, which is a marriage of the two. If you are pregnant, however, this drink is not for you. It is loaded with caffeine. So do not drink it before bedtime. However, if you are looking for a novelty drink with a little kick, Ski is the beverage for you.

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