It seems I have lost some loyal blog followers. I hope my family pics and posts didn't bore them to tears or scare folks away. I believe what is meant to be will be in all aspects of life.
Monday, October 4, 2021
Saturday, October 2, 2021
Sunday, September 26, 2021
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Wadlow for more info check out this safe link. You might have to ckick twice. Find out his cause of death and many other facts.
When Robert Wadlow was born, he weighed 8lbs 5 oz.
By the time he was five years old, he was 5’6” and weighed over 100 pounds.
The Gentle Giant was born in February 1918 with hyperplasia of the pituitary gland, which resulted in an abnormally high level of human growth hormone. Wadlow’s greatest weight was 493 pounds. He was still growing at the time of his death in 1940; at age 22, he was 8’11” inches tall.Wadlow was the tallest person on earth. He lived across the river in Alton, Illinois, a St. Louis, Missouri border state.
While watching a documentary on him this morning. Bill
said, “They didn’t mention that he played cards with my grandpa back in the
1930s in the house I grew up in. No, I didn't know him. He died before I was born.”
The things you find out after decades of marriage!
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
I laid down with him. He kicked me all night and jabbered off and on. Maybe he was overly-excited about our planned events. Our bank was opening a branch office, and they were having all sorts of attractions. Charlie enjoyed a free snow cone, free popcorn, but he refused a big helium-filled ballon. He's afraid of popping balloons.
He was slightly interested in watching a young man, a balloon maker, twisting long ballooons into different characters such as Spiderman. When Charlie realized Spidey was made of balloons, he said, "Nope!"
He waited with anticipation for the Super Heroes to arrive. I explained that all I wanted was to take his picture with them, so we could show his brothers. He was all for it until they walked through the door. As you can see, he crossed his arms and flipped his entire body away from them. I snapped a photo and we left.
Papa Bill asked him about it. He said, "I was scared, Papa."
What a good papa. Bill said, "Well Charlie, we have feelings like that to keep us safe. So when you feel afraid of something, that's your warning system. It's okay to feel afraid."
Oh how I love this man of mine.
On Saturday, I told Charlie I was taking him to see BIG balloons. He said, "Oh Nana Linda, no thank you."
I assured him they would not pop and explained they were giant, hot air balloons. I drove to Forest Park, found a parking place right at the curb, and laid Charlie on a beach towel and told him to look up.
When the hot air balloons rose above the tree line, he was so excited, and started yapping, describing each.
"See that one Nana Linda? It's Mine Craft for Liam and that one is yellow and orange. And look at that one, it's Mario, and ...It was such a hot day. We watched about two dozen balloons glide above us, and then I packed up my little babbler and we sat in the air conditioned car where he continued to tell me all about each one.
When he woke up Sunday morning, Papa gave him a dollar bill. We walked to the corner store, where he selected a big pink frosted donut. He put it in a clear bag, and set it and his dollar on the counter. He clutched his donut and asked, "Where's my dollar?"
He said, "I think it was you butt talking."
Friday, September 10, 2021
On September 11, 2001 I was stunned, like every other American. I didn't know what was going on or what to do. I felt compelled to give students a voice. This true story was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul, The Spirit of America, 2016
The Feelings Flag by Linda O'Connell
I stood in my living room and cringed at the sight of the first plane hitting the first tower. I did not realize the horror had only just begun. As I drove to school I listened intently to the reports. Then, I heard that another plane had crashed.
I was as shocked and stunned as every other adult in my school. No one was sure what was going on. Teachers were asking one another, "Did you hear about the plane crashes in NY? Is America under attack?"
It was like a punch in the gut, beyond our comprehension. Everyone felt winded, worried, and wounded.
My preschool classroom was in the lower level of an inner city middle school. What I remember most is the panicked young man in the hall who shouted at me, "America is at war!"
"Calm down," I said. "Don't jump to conclusions. Nobody knows for sure what's going on. This does not mean war."
They insisted they saw it on TV and that military jets were intercepting other planes.
I walked into my classroom and watched as my students went about their school day, unaware of the attacks. My aide was capable, so I left her in charge.
I felt compelled to do something patriotic to relieve
the mounting tension and confusion the middle school students were feeling,
although I was not in charge of any of them. I cut
twelve-inch by two-inch strips of red, white and blue construction paper strips, the kinds kids use to create paper chains. I did not consult the principal or counselor. I acted on impulse. I visited each classroom and intruded on classroom teachers. I asked each if I might have a moment, then I said, "Nobody knows exactly what is going on. We've all heard rumors and news reports. It's a frightening time for all of us."
I passed out strips of paper to the students and asked them to write what they were feeling at the moment. Any fears, any words— anything would be acceptable. Some asked about spelling, and some asked if they should sign it.
"If you want to," I said.
I collected more than 200 strips and rolled them into loops, then I stapled them to the bulletin board in the cafeteria. I read an outpouring of emotional comments. "I am afraid." "I want to kick their butts." "Bomb them." "Why did this happen?" "What now?" "I want to go home."
I posted one after another, row after row, until an American flag took shape. Some of the comments were laced with misspelled words and profanity; some were smeared with tears. I did not censor. I rolled each into a loop and stapled every single one. I stood back and gazed at our"feelings flag".
At lunch I stood against the wall and observed teens and preteens, who were usually destructive with bulletin board displays, as they searched for their piece of that flag. I listened to them read their words aloud, owning their emotions, giving voice to their fears and frustrations, initiating conversations.
On that horrible day, when America came under attack, I didn't know if my actions would do any good. It just felt good to do something. My friend Tammy said, “With that spontaneous action, you gave children a voice when no one knew what to say."
The bulletin board flag stayed up for more than a week. Then the strips began disappearing as individuals claimed their sections... and their feelings.
(Thank you for reading my story.)
Tuesday, September 7, 2021
I have been in a writing slump. I usually catch up by year's end. But if I am not in the mood, it's best I wait until I am motivated. Then I can write like gangbusters!
Today I went back and looked at my submissions calendar. I have sent Chicken Soup for the Soul 22 personal essays to fit themed call outs. The majority of my stories were for humor books.
Today in my inbox, I discovered a last minute request from CSS for a humor essay. That ticked me off! I had been working diligently on my stories. If the first 15 I'd sent didn't tickle their funny bone, then apparently I didn't have what they wanted. Forget it!
I was ready to close the computer when I checked my emails one last time. No, I did not get an acceptance for one of those stories, but I laughed myself silly at some of my junk mail correspondence offers.
I thought... this could be a story. And so I got to work composing those subject line, eye catching emails and my responses to each. My piece made ME laugh.
Hope this submission lands on a few funny bones.
What is the weirdest email offer you have received?
Monday, August 30, 2021
Everyone knows you can see some interesting individuals at Walmart. Usually they are customers.
Today I had a strange encounter with a store associate when I was picking up photos.
The young man in the electronic's department presented me with the envelope of photographs. He said, "Look and see if you want them."
"I do. I want all of them. I edited them on the store photo computer."
"Well, are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure."
"That will be $2.13."
I handed him eight quarters, two nickels and three pennies.
He shouted, "Holy cow Martha! Look at this, a full sized Snickers bar. And don't feel bad, ma'am I need the change."
Okaaay. I didn't feel bad; I had cash in my wallet.
WHO was Martha? He was working alone.
A Snicker's bar?
Maybe it's me.
I left shaking my head, but pleased with my pics of Alex and Charlie in the pool.
Friday, August 27, 2021
Sometimes I am amazed at people.
We went to a restaurant, masked and socially distanced, for lunch. A couple maybe in mid 30s appeared to be on a first date. She said, "Well yes, I wouldn't mind seeing a movie. But no, I wouldn't want to see THAT movie. However since we are on a date, I would sit there beside you in the theater, but I would not enjoy it."
He told her to go online then and select something she wanted to see.
He asked what she liked to do for entertainment.
She said, "Well I'm trying to be more adventurous."
His eyes widened. "How?"
"Well skating for instance. I don't want to just skate. I'm thinking about skate boarding."
He did a double take but said nothing. He opened his wallet to pay with one of the several 100 dollar bills he flashed. Making a first date impression?
I am sitting here wondering how that date ended. They both weighed about 400 pounds, no exaggeration.
My honey made me laugh out loud yesterday. A few days ago, he noticed a little bump on his bottom lip and got a tube of herpecin (for fever blisters and canker sores) out of the medicine cabinet.
Every time I saw him he was reapplying it. I told him he might be overdoing it.
He came into the living room later and said, "Why didn't you TELL me I was using LIP GLOSS instead of that medicine on my lips for the past three days?!
The dentist always gifts patients a tube of lip gloss. I laughed until I couldn't laugh any more.
Friday, August 20, 2021
I pride myself on being resilient, possessing inner strength, and having strong faith, however...
channel surfing local and world news and foreign outlets this morning, I became so overwhelmed I could not watch for another second about how this world is in such chaos: the flooding, wild fires, hurricanes. People suffering, the pandemic raging again, and foolish adults fighting one another making mask-wearing a political issue, instead of protecting innocent children and realizing it is a potential life/death medical issue. My heart aches for our grandchildren going back into the classroom next week.
As I felt my chest tightening, I realized I was holding my breath and tensing my hands. Like the last block precariously placed upon a child's wobbly tower, I could not pile one more thing on.
So, I flipped on a sit-com rerun, Mike and Molly. Silly jokes and one liners made me grin.
Carlton's grandmother has the best lines; they never fail to make me laugh out loud. Her wise cracks to her annoying police officer grandson who lives with her, had me guffawing.
Laughter can be an emotional release, better than crying because my eyes don't get puffy and my nose doesn't get stuffy.
When Victoria, Molly's flaky sister, was reading and reciting Shakespeare with a friend, she said, "You see, I am not so much book-learned as I am magazine-learned."
That struck me not as funny but as alarming, as I fear many people are facebook-learned, social media misled, misinformed, or completely uninformed.
Crazy world we live in. You have to recognize when to turn off and tune out.
Vacation is out of the question again this year, and besides, the Florida beaches are inundated with red tide, flesh eating bacteria, sharks coming into shore, and who knows what else.
I heard, "The Redneck Riviera is a haven for Covid." The Florida Panhandle, a day's drive away, is often refered to as such. Hmm. No thank you. We will stay home.
Today I am going to take a good book into the back yard and dive in. Rather, slip in carefully, and float my worries away for an hour.
I am blessed to have actually floated and snorkeled in the Caribbean Sea with colorful fish and creatures, soaked in the Gulf of Mexico, swam in the Pacific Ocean, and waded in tide pools teeming with sea life in the Atlantic with my late best friend.
I will travel today...back in time and reminisce, reflect, and pray.
Sunday, August 15, 2021
Chicken Soup for the Soul chose my story as the featured free story in their daily newsletter on Friday 8/13/21. This story was released June 23, 2021 in Chicken Soup for the Soul Eldercare and Dementia. My mom did not have dementia. She sure knew how to juggle, though.
Social Butterfly by Linda O'Connell
“You are not moving me into a nursing home, young lady!” My tiny mom with a tight gray perm and pursed lips sat in the passenger seat of my car with her arms crossed, refusing to exit.
“Mom, this is not a nursing facility; it’s the independent living, senior apartment complex you applied for two years ago. You’re free to come and go as you wish.
Mom sat like an obstinate child. Cajoling didn’t work, sweet talk didn’t faze her, so I used my teacher voice and ordered her out of my car. I buzzed the office intercom.
“See! They lock you in!” Mom was convinced she was about to become a prisoner.
The property manager greeted us with a wide smile, “Welcome, Virginia. We’ve been expecting you.”
Mom put on her happy face like a kindergartener being praised. We walked through an elegant vestibule, past a large aviary where parakeets flitted. A lobby area with comfy plaid couches, overstuffed chairs and a large screen television had a homey feel. Tables and chairs and stocked bookcases invited residents to linger in the lobby. Mom gave me the side eye and whispered, “I am not visiting people I don’t know.”
I nodded. “You won’t have to.”
From the office to the elevator, we strolled a long, glass-enclosed hallway. Outside, the green space, teeming with flowers and bushes, was home to bunnies and even a box turtle.
“I do like to walk, and I don’t like to feel closed
in. Nice.” She commented to herself.
The manager explained the four apartment buildings were connected by these corridors, so she would be able to walk in comfort, regardless of weather.
After Mom settled in, she called me several times a day. “Do you know they have line dancing here? But I’m not joining!” She’d never been a joiner. When I had Tupperware parties she refused to attend because she didn’t feel comfortable in a crowd. I was amazed when she mentioned amenities such as card making, book clubs, and free bus transportation to shopping centers and grocery stores.
I felt a sense of relief. I had been my mom’s sole transportation for many years. I was about to get a break. Mom used her sweet voice to entice me.
“Honey, if you have time, could you come take me to the grocery store?”
I hopped on it, even though I wished she’d hop on the free bus.
“Can you come over and help me straighten my drapes?” I could hear the smile in her voice.
I dropped by whenever she called. I brought leftovers and bags of homegrown tomatoes for the residents. I took her shopping and on evening rides.
One evening while carrying her groceries to her apartment I looked at the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board. “Why isn’t your name on the bus list? I thought you said you were going to the mall this week.”
Mom waved me on and said, “I might, and I might not.”
I called my grown daughter and asked if she had seen her grandma lately.
“Of course, I have. I see her almost every other day. I always take her to the mall and grocery shopping.”
I phoned my adult son and encouraged him to stop by his grandma’s. “She might be feeling lonely, you know?”
“How could she be? I’ve seen her almost every other day. She asked me to program her television remote. Then the VCR wouldn’t rewind. When she called to tell me her thermostat wasn’t working, I had to convince her not to touch it because it’s a heat pump system. I took her for ice cream last night. She wanted me to put something high up in a closet. Next week she’ll call me to take it down.” He chuckled.
The next day Mom asked me to take her to McDonalds for a fish sandwich.
That evening my
daughter called to tell me she’d taken Mom to McDonald’s.
“Not true!” I said. “I took her this afternoon for lunch.”
“Well I just took her for a chocolate sundae.”
While we all imagined Mom suffering from loneliness, she was busier than ever yanking all our strings, orchestrating which one of us she would see on different days at different times.
Little did we know Mom, who had been shy all her life, was becoming a social butterfly in her later years. As it turns out, she had joined all sorts of clubs and had even met a best friend in a Bible study group.
When the office manager called me into her office to show me a photo of Mom and three other residents wearing white cowboy hats and silver badges, I couldn’t believe it. Mom brave enough to stand before a group?! Dressed in costume?
“This was our monthly residents’ meeting. There was a theft in our building. Someone stole the large screen T.V. last night. So, because your mom is always walking the halls, we deputized her and these other two women and man as our residence watch committee. Did you know your mom has even tried kicking up her heels on the dance floor?”
Really?! I walked into Mom’s apartment. “What have you been up to lately?”“I’ve been busy working as a deputy,” Mom beamed showing off her badge and photo. I expected her to run to the closet and pullout boogie-scooting-boots.
Mom, a late bloomer, was like a lovely wild rose that finally blossomed in her elder years.
Monday, July 26, 2021
However, we prefer this quaint little restuarant around the corner. The Dough Depot has delicious and reasonably priced lunches. The former residence takes one back in time. There are four rooms for indoor dining. But Bill and I prefer to sit on the patio to eat our yummy sandwiches served on pretzel bun and delicious, aling with large portion salads. We enjoy watching passersby moseying along, shopping in all the little shops. This has been our Wednesday date all summer. They have scrumptious and reasonably priced homemade baked goods and pastries, which always seem to find their way home with us.
We discovered that the best time to arrive is 10:45 am to 11:00. By noon there is a waiting line.
If you have a chance, check out this historic town. Maybe you'll be lucky enough to watch the Delta Queen pull in.
Saturday, July 17, 2021
Back to the ER for another bill, two more stitches, and a gauze wrap around his head. He'll be three in a couple weeks. We will be glad when the terrible twos are in the rearview mirror.
I babysat Liam and Alex this week. I took them to the playground and screamed at the top of my lungs when I saw Alex at the top of the slide leaning over. Off to the car with two kids screaming that they didn't want to leave.
The park is wooded and has lots of picnic benches. As we drove down the lane, I saw a man who appeared to be snoozing on a picnic table with this macaw on his chest. I stopped the car, rolled down my window and showed the protesting boys. The art of distraction works at any age.
The man asked if the boys wanted to see his bird up close. He walked to the car, and the macaw rode his arm perch. As it neared the open car window, the bird started screeching. "She's three years old and acts like a two-year-old kid!" the man complained.
"Sir, I know exactly what you mean. They live a long time, don't they?"
Well the man looked half a century old himself. "What are you going to do?" I asked.
He laughed as we said goodbye to the bird who couldn't get enough of his handler/owner's smooching.
Let me tell you, a peck on the lips took on new meaning for wide-eyed Liam and Alex.
Saturday, July 10, 2021
Friday I awoke at 10:00 p.m. on the couch as the meterologist excitedly said egg-size hail was pelting everything in the counties just west of us. I ran out into the pouring rain to move my car under the carport. By the time I got back in he said, "Well look at this! See the red dropping on my map? The hail is pushing down and the storm is collapsing just as it arrives in (our area)."
What a relief. The night air was eerily still. I have experienced enough tornadic activity in my life in the midwest to know to be on guard.
My granddaughter lives thrity miles south of us. She texted a video of what my mom used to call an electrical storm with continual lightning illuminating the sky. I listened to the audio as Ashley, her husband, and the kids watched what looked like fireworks. It was an incredible light show off on the horizon. "Ooh! Ahhh! Wow!"
Seven-year-old Laim said, "Imagine if all the lightning all over lit up at the same time." Creative mind!
Almost three-year-old Charlie said, "I scared." Mama told him to come by her. Needed security.
Almost four-year-old Alex said, "When is it going to be DAYtime?!" Wise little guy reasoning that soon it would end. Not soon enough.
I tend to stay away from windows and avoid being outdoors during storms, but my thrill-seeking granddaughter, an amateur photographer enjoys them.
Ten years ago, jagged baseball-size hail pelted the area of Tornado Alley in which we live, resulting in severe damage. It also did major destruction in Joplin, MO. Thus, Missouri writers did a collaborative book drive to resupply the Joplin Library and schools which were destroyed.
This poem was published in 2011 in Storm Country, The Anthology, compiled by Missouri Writers' Guild. Out of 337 submissions mine was one of 153 pieces selected.
Wind whips, gusts howl, sirens shriek.
Thunderhead barrels and swerves up interstate.
Tornado drops, streaks across prairies, into towns,
flattens flora and fauna, peels roofs like sunburned skin,
splinters treetops wishbone-fashion.
Relinguishes its bully grip, roils the Mississippi River, and heads East.
Reverberating trees and strangled hearts, still.
Night air thickens, blackness sizzles with electrified ions.
People search for their candles and wits, survey the damage.
Worried loved ones contact each other.
My cellphone plinks a text received.
I read the message and gasp. My granddaughter,
the photography major, sends me a just-snapped image.
The swirling wide-mouth monster bearing down,
chomping faster than her boyfriend can drive.
Her message: Safe! Isn't ths a grt shot?
I stomp and storm up the basement stairs,
shake the wrinkles out of my wadded up nerves,
send a silent prayer, "Protect those affected and this crazy kid, too."
I calm down and realize I used to be young and invincible.
Not included in the book: I texted her back. "Grt sht, now gt home u little sht."
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
Out of the mouths of babes. Charlie is two-years-old, very talkative, emotive, and so doggone cute. I was sitting on the patio when he asked me to help buckle his sandals. I leaned over and he held onto my shoulder.
" I like you shirt, Nanny. These are so cute." He was referring to the ties on my scoop neck peasant style blouse with beads hanging on the ends.
"Thank you, Charlie." I said.
As the blood rushed to my head, still fumbling with his sandal, he backed up a bit with his foot in my hand.
"OH, Nanny, don't be gross! Don't show you butt like this!" He pointed to my smooshed cleavage which looked like a baby's butt.
I said, "THAT is not my butt!"
He looked at the seat of my chair. "How did you get you butt UP there?"
I said, "Those are my boobs!"
We laughed and laughed.
Saturday, June 26, 2021
This man of mine is a laugh a minute! He twisted his ankle and limped or sat in his recliner while I waited on him all day. I went to bed before 10:00, so he turned off his Netflix flick that has lots of grunting, groaning, and violence in it, perpetrated by a drug lord and a queen. He came to bed early.
It takes me a while to fall asleep. Not him. He was snoring two minutes after his head hit the pillow. I was watching the news when he shouted, "Come on! Come on! Come on!"
I asked, "ME?"
"Where are we going?"
"To blow up trailers."
"With people in them?"
"No empty. Come on! BLOW. IT. UP!"
I think he watches too much TV. He does not usually talk in his sleep.
Few minutes later he woke himself coughing. I asked, "Are we still blowing up trailers?"
"NO! We did that yesterday."
At least he's following a time line.
Monday, June 21, 2021
We were both much younger in this photo, but it is one of my favorites. Mom did not like having her picture taken.
Happy heavenly birthday to my mom on her 91st birthday. When I was five, I sat in the grass with her one hot summer's eve, and she showed me how to make clover flower necklaces.
Friday, June 11, 2021
Saturday, June 5, 2021
My great-grandsons are leaving their marks... on each other and PawPaw's shed.
Liam (almost 7) sneaked up on two-year-old Charlie and left his handprint in shaving cream. Charlie freaked out after I showed him the photo on my cell phone. He tried to douse his back with water, but soon forgot about it when I brought out the paints. Three-year-old Alex loves painting outdoors.
Wednesday, June 2, 2021
My story is on page 4
I hope you can take a moment to read about an incident that happened when my little go-getter grandson was four. He is now 19 and taking me to lunch today. So proud of Nicholas who is still a high achiever and proud owner who restored his Mustang.
Sunday, May 23, 2021
More than a week has flown. Winter weather is shelved along with sweaters, and summer weather has arrived. I am delighted. This morning we were planning to go grocery shopping. Bill showered, dressed and went out on the patio. I got ready and came out to discover he was not on the patio, in the yard, or shed. Hmm...
I found him visiting our Bosnian neighbors on their front porch. It is difficult as it is to communicate with each other because we speak very-very little of each other's languages.
The woman, a little younger than us, had surgery couple weeks ago. We thought she was on vacation. Her husband told Bill, "Hospital. Her Zooknekey." He pointed to lower abdomen.
I told Bill he was probably saying uterus. Female surgery. Bill concluded the surgery was laproscopic when her husband indicated "Doctor four holes stomach."
So as we sat on the porch, her husband translated that she was feeling much better after throwing up so much. We discovered the woman had gall baldder surgery, not female surgery.
You know how difficult and awkward it can be to tell someone there is something coming out of their nose even when you speak the same language and know them well? I thought better of bringing attention to it. And kept smiling and trying to communicate with the neighbor man about their cute baby granddaughter. "She is so cute. She looks like grandpa."
"I grandpa. I love Esme." And he does!
So we were making a little progress when all of a sudden a small insect flew onto his cheek, traveled into his nose, and then backed out, and climbed into his mouth.
I had to leave. How do you say in Bosnian, "You have a booger in your nose and a bug in your mouth?"
Such is my life.
Wednesday, May 12, 2021
The other day I discovered the website of a neighborhood where I grew up many-many years ago. I was surprised and elated to see the faces and names of my childhood friends. I remember playing with the two girls (back left) Susie and Sunny. Funny how seeing this photo placed me smack dab in Susie's home across the street from our home. I can picture her dad, brothers, mom.
Life takes us far away, but somehow, and sometimes it circles us back "home." Everyone sat on porches on hot summer evenings. We went indoors to listen to 15 minute serial radio programs: Jack Benny, Young Dr. Malone and so many more. Television was just making its debut. Black and white!
The milk man delivered milk in an enclosed carriage, pulled by a single horse. And if we were lucky, he would use an ice pick to break off a chunk of ice and toss it on the grass for us. Sucking on a large ice chip on a hot summer day was a delight. Walnut Park was the last St. Louis neighborhood to have horse-drawn milk delivery wagons. Two dairies thrived in that area.
My Italian grandpa, who I called Pappy, died when I was five. He would sit on the front porch with me and drum his fingers on the rail. "Listen, hear the horses clopping our way?"
Try as I may, I could never get my little hands to make that galloping sound.
Too bad the neighborhood is a high crime area, too dangerous to drive through. I sure did leave my early childhood memories there.
I do not own the rights to this photo. But I am delighted to share it with you.
Sunday, May 9, 2021
Happy Mother's Day to all the moms in our family: my daughter, her daughter, my daughter-in-law and my step daughters. Thank you all for going when you've felt like quitting, smiling when you've felt like crying, and for taking outstanding care of my grands and great grandchildren. You all have a piece of my heart.