The initial fear I had returning to school this semester has subsided. Things are going really well for me right now, in both my academic and personal life. My grandmother is expected to make a full recovery and is doing very well at rehab. The other day my mom said she was outside playing bocce with her new friends at the nursing home! There are a lot of new, young string players in the program this year, as well as an incredibly talented older student who went "big time" and has returned to finally get his degree. My professor wisely kept me out of any principal chair positions because of my upcoming recital. I was initially surprised and a little disappointed, but I know that I am needed elsewhere, and I am more able to help the new people sitting where I am. Recitals are a big deal, after all most of us will never give many (or any) solo public performances after we graduate. So we have fun with it by making fancy fliers and wearing fancy clothes. I looked at some dresses at JCPenney, but everything they had was retro-80's and super-short. I guess that's whats "in" for homecoming this year I'm going to look elsewhere, might even go back to the shop where I bought my wedding dress. It's a shame that sometimes I think "This is too good to be true". But after so many years of struggle and being too acquainted with bad things happening to me, I keep thinking it. But then I come back to reality and realize that things really HAVE changed for the better, and there's not too much that can take that away from us. Sometimes we still think and act like we did when we were dirt poor and bringing in less than 20K a year. Sometimes I still think "Oh we better hurry home someone will need me!", only to remember that my youngest is 2 years old now and doesn't need to nurse every two hours and is at home, sound asleep in bed. Either way, I feel pretty good about my life right now-something that I realize not too many people can say right now. Things are by no means perfect, but I guess all I can say is don't give up on what you believe in, and take it from me-it DOES get better!