So December has arrived... and with it lots of things are happening. My last post indicated that there is a lot in my head, and there still is, but I am hoping that by writing I can inspire myself to write more.
Let's see... I have not been to Zumba in over three weeks...and other than yesterday's brief workout, I have not been to the gym either.... because I hurt my back... I think that I did something to it in Zumba class... perhaps too much booty shaking for my own good. So I took it easy for a couple of weeks and it was feeling better. then I went to see my dad for Thanksgiving and sorted through some of my mom's crafting supplies, boxed them up and carried them upstairs... then Dad and I put weight in the back of our trucks to help with safely navigating the winter Maine roads.. and I think it was too much..... I was planning on babying it a bit longer, but was pushed into getting a doctor's appointment when I found myself getting out of my truck when a sharp pain almost landed me on the ground and I was stuck in a position that was in between upright and bent over... I had to push myself upright, and knew I needed to do more than baby it... so I made an appointment to see my doctor. The good news, it's muscular not a disc or bone issue... bad news... it's in the lower back, in the hardest to to heal location... her prescription, heating pad, stretching, and light workouts... so.. I did work out yesterday... warmed up on the treadmill, stretched, 1.5 miles (17 minutes) on the elliptical, then more stretching... so far so good, but I decided to take it easy today and not work out... I have also scheduled an appointment to see a chiropractor next week... so we'll see if that helps... my dad swears by his chiropractor, I hope I get as lucky.
It's the end of another semester of my masters degree... 2 weeks left. So it has been a little hectic.. this particular class has been a struggle for me. The assignments have been too specific yet open ended all at the same time... and the professor has been inconsistent with his due dates and it has been confusing at times,... not to mention how much the professor has grown to love his own voice. So I am thrilled that it is almost over.
Coaching has also begun for another season... and while I was disappointed that a few of the kids, seniors, that I have coached since they were 6th graders decided not to do track, I am excited for the kids who are doing it. There are a lot of new faces and great attitudes. I am REALLY excited for Friday's practice. I have decided that the girls team and I are doing our own special practice... as a way to do some team building... so...(and my back BETTER be able to handle this...) I have hired a Zumba teacher to come and do a private class for the team. I am so looking forward to it. The girls don't know what we are doing, they just know that I have planned something just for them... I think it will be awesome!
Life outside of work, coaching, and classes... has been fairly calm... with a couple of adventures mixed in... I have decided to not really do much decorating for Christmas... last year I spent the holiday in the hospital with my mom... and it sucked... yes, she was here, but it was when we learned that there really was no hope... that the meds had failed to help make her tumor operable... and we knew without doubt, that we would lose her. Merry Christmas.... right? So, this year, while I am not the grinch or too much of a bah humbug... I am lacking in Christmas spirit. I am not putting up my usual christmas decorations, because mom painted the decorations that I love most... and I am not ready to face those things, to bring those emotions closer to the surface.... I just can't do it... Last year I attended a holiday concert with some of my closest friends... and it was beautiful, but it was also emotional... they wanted to make it an annual event and invited me to go again this year and I declined... knowing that it would be too much... hearing the music my mom loved so much would have been hard... so ... I declined... One of my friends in that crew, Melissa, admitted to me that at first she was offended that I didn't want to go, but then felt guilty because she said she never even thought about how I would feel about the holidays and she felt guilty for that... no worries Melissa... I am glad my grief is not in the forefront of other people's minds. I did join them for dinner at their house after the concert and that was a nice compromise... to be able to see them all but not put myself through the concert. While there, Tobias, who is 3 years old, asked me why my mom had died...his questioning was so sweet, gentle... curious... kids are so innocent. I love that his parents have been so open with him and I told him my mom died because she got really sick and the doctors couldn't help her... that's the only answer I have... and maybe, in it's simplicity, it is the only answer... that answer surely involves less thinking... my conversation with Tobias somehow also came around to questioning me about whether or not I had a husband, why I don't have a husband, and if I want one, and if I will ever get one... so... I told Tobias that maybe Santa will bring me a husband for Christmas....
As far as Christmas goes... I am not sure what I will be doing... the only thing I know is that I will be with my dad. And, to the best of our abilities, we have promised that we will NOT be spending that day in any hospitals... fingers crossed there will be no need to visit any hospitals.... we considered going out to see my sister and her family... but I had a lot of mixed emotions about that... and was semi-relieved when I realized scheduling conflicts with coaching mean that I have to coach the day after Christmas, so being 5 hours away on Christmas day isn't really a do-able thing...I had mixed emotions about spending the holiday with my sister and her family because I am not really sure how I will feel that day... and while the boys would be a good distraction... I am not sure I want to be distracted... it's weird... I don't want to completely focus on the fact that my mom isn't here, but I also don't want to carry on normally... Dad and I may go to his sister's house for part of the day... and we have also been invited to have dinner with some of his friends... so I am sure we will find something to do.
So there is lots going on... and lots going on in my head... but I am trying to balance it all without overthinking any of it... which, for those of you who know me well... is totally impossible!
So when I take a hiatus from blogging it can mean one of a few things... perhaps there is nothing to write about, perhaps there is too much to write about, or sometimes there is a lot of things just swirling around in my head...or life gets busy... I think this latest break was because there has been a lot in my head and I haven't really been able to articulate it all... well that's partly true... and the rest of the truth is something that is hard to own... I haven't known how to articulate myself without evoking pity... and the things in my head are not things that I want people to feel badly for me about... they just are... what they are... and I get that... I also haven't been sure how to write things in a way that are true to myself without making other people feel badly... and that's not why I blog... so... I have let things simmer... and they will come out eventually...
In the meantime... know that I have started some blogs, but they have become so scattered, I do not yet want to post them... but there is more to come...
Posted by TallGal at 4:46 PM
Life gets a little crazy... it's already November 11th... Veteran's Day... I do of course want to recognize the men and women who have served in our military and the families of the soldiers who serve... but to be honest, my thoughts today were more about the upcoming holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's been something that has been weighing on my mind, but... today I drove by the local hardware store and they had their fence type thingys all set up... ready to support the Christmas trees that will be for sale.
I do have a lot of happy holiday memories, but as a single, chronically single person, the holidays also can bring a sense of lonliness... and this year... I am not sure I am up for celebrating... but know I will somehow survive them... I think last New Year's Eve was one of those moments that life hit me hard... I was at Sara and Phil's house with friends and as midnight struck and people were celebrating and kissing, I found myself facing the year that would take my mom from me...and I tried to disappear from the party...
The firsts after losing mom have been hard... and this will be the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without her. Last Thanksgiving was so bitter sweet... we had our annual family gathering and my sister, her husband, and her kids all came up. Mom had a decent day, feeling pretty good.... she was so happy to see my sister and her family... I remember being in the truck with her when we all met up for the first time that day, and mom was like a little kid, even clapping her hands at one point, so excited to see them...the pictures of mom at last year's Thanksgiving show her smiling ... but we also had a pretty good idea that it would be her last Thanksgiving and it was. She knew it too, I am sure, but as always, she put on her happy face and somehow brought light to the day... for everyone there. After dinner with Dad's side of the family, we all returned to my parents' house. (Me, Mom, Dad, Sis, her husband, and the boys.) The next couple days were spent with having the boys doing crafts to decorate the Christmas tree. Mom loved having the boys decorate the tree for her. My mom loved the music of Christmas... LOVED it...she sang it to herself, had cds galore of Christmas music.... Last year, Christmas was spent in the hospital...Mom's final surgery was a few days before and offered us a last ray of hope that the tumor could be removed... false hope... The hospital did a good job at making the place look festive...but it is not a good place to be on Christmas. I'm not sure what this year's Christmas will hold... I will be with Dad, that's for sure... wherever he feels he needs to be, but.. I did request that it not be at a hospital... and he agreed.
I think that the idea of the holidays approaching has been in my head a lot, but not necessarily at a conscious level... I was invited by some of my friends, to attend an annual Christmas concert that is beautiful... we went together last year and the thought was that it would become our family of friends tradition... and when I received that invitation, I froze... I don't want to be a scrooge, but I definitely don't think sitting in a beautiful auditorium with my friends and their kids listening to beautiful music... would not be good... so I turned down the invitation... This is the second Christmas since I have been living in this apartment, and I didn't do any decorating last year... and am thinking that I don't want to decorate this year either... but I did catch myself wondering where a tree would best fit...so many of my decorations were made by my mom... ugh... good and bad there...
So... I think I am struggling with the holidays coming... but am still trying to take care of myself and have taken some more steps to do that... I have found another Zumba instructor who I really like so I will be adding her class once a week... totaling 3 classes/week of Zumba plus gym visits... and last week I met with a new doctor.
My last doctor moved away, to Pennsylvania, leaving me doctorless... the office said I could simply move to another doctor there, but... I had been contemplating leaving there anyway... whenever I have needed referrals, it has been a huge battle, and after my last appt. in Boston, I told myself I should change doctors offices... so my doc leaving is kind of a good thing... So I met with a new doctor, who I liked a lot. She was actually my first doctor when I moved to this area, but when she relocated her office to a town 20 minutes away, I decided not to go with her... but, I am happy to have returned to her... our first appointment was just a sitting down, getting to know you kind of a thing... I had typed up a list of medical history and also had typed up some of my concerns... I was afraid that if I didn't write it down, that I would chicken out and not talk to her about everything I should... so we talked about family history including mom's battles with cancer, kidney and colon... and talked about how we can try to be proactive in dealing with cancer... I am disappointed because she told me there is no definite screening tool for kidney cancer... but she is going to regularly monitor my kidney functions... so that's something at least. But I left her office, with a physical scheduled, complete with bloodwork... and feeling good about really talking candidly with her about my fears and wanting her to help me be proactive in my health. So I am proud of myself for that.
So... as the holidays approach... I may become different shades of blue... but I will be okay... and will come out on the other side... having another set of 'firsts' under my belt...
Posted by TallGal at 8:52 PM
I am home from the Zumba party! Wow! It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. The schedule for the day went something like this... 1:00 - 1:45 Zumba, 1:50 - 2:10 Salsa & Samba, 2:15 - 3:00 Zumba, 3:00 - 3:20 Belly dancing, 3:25 - 4:40 Zumba, 4:40-5:00 line dancing...(not country!) My thoughts going into this today was to just listen to my body, go when I could go and stop when I needed to... As it worked out I kicked ass! I danced EVERY song, except two... one of which is a routine that I knew, and that irritates my knee and the other was the final line dance of the day and my legs were done... There were about 10 Zumba instructors who each taught 3-4 songs at a time... most of whom I had never taken a class with... I am really proud of myself...really proud... the coolest part of the day though... was that I found myself dancing... not just following steps... I found myself feeling the music, even when I made mistakes, I felt like I was dancing... I loved it! The facility that hosted us today is a dance studio, fairly new to the area... and it was beautiful. their motto is "inspiring left feet." I like that. Another great part of the day was how I began to understand more of why I love Zumba... I have always loved it for the music and the movement... but as I watched the people there today, mostly women, I was inspired to see the variety of ages, probably age 10 - age 65, the variety of body types, the variety of dance ability, and the commonality of movement and confidence... it was a beautiful experience.... but I AM tired... I may not go to the gym in the morning... :-)
Posted by TallGal at 6:11 PM
I didn't do much for Halloween... This afternoon I attended a play, Dracula, starring one of my students. She did a great job, sweet kid. Following the play I decided that I wanted to search for something Halloweenish to wear tonight as a couple of my friends and I went on a tour of Portland to hear about some of the hauntings.... and I found a purple wig... so... I decided it would be fun to have an alter ego for the night...it proved to be entertaining... and fun. The walking tour in Portland, wasn't that impressive... not necessarily worth the money, but... enjoyable. The man giving the tour was a good story teller.... and I think that is an art that is dying... so I enjoyed that part. I am glad the clocks are getting set back tonight... an extra hour of sleep is welcomed tonight... Tomorrow... I am going to a FOUR hour ZUmba Party! We'll see if I can walk on Monday! Maybe I should take the purple wig??
Posted by TallGal at 11:05 PM
I got an email from my dad today... letting me know that my mother's grave now has a headstone...I had not realized that her grave didn't have a stone yet... I knew she was buried next to my grandmother, but have not gone to the cemetery... and don't think I can... at least not anytime soon. Earlier this month, Dad took another step in his journey by ordering the stone for Mom's grave... and he emailed today letting my sister and I know it was placed today... He also apologized for putting us through all this... I hate that he takes any ownership in this... I'm sure it stems from feeling like he wasn't able to protect us, his girls (mom included in that), from all of this... I know that he would have done anything to stop this, to prevent all of this... and hate that in addition to his devastating loss of his wife, that somewhere he feels like there should have been something he could have done to make it different... I guess that's one of his many amazing qualities, and one of the many reasons we love him... but I don't think he should have to have any other layers on top of this... I hate this... I really do... I feel like Dad is taking steps to make it through every day, working so hard to just make it through each day. And many of the things he is doing to move forward brings so much back to the surface... Yuck.
Posted by TallGal at 6:28 PM
After this morning's workout, I thought about a nap... a nice long nap.... but it was so beautiful out that the call to go to the ocean was greater than the call from my pillow....So I went to Two Lights State Park...and am sooooo glad I did. It was amazing! The waves, the sound, the smell, the colors, and the warmth of the sun, made for quite an afternoon. I thought of my mom a lot today as I watched the ocean... she loved it there... and today, she would have wanted to sit there forever. Good to think of Mom, but really miss her. Enjoy the pictures! (I tried to post a video so you could hear that ocean, but not sure if it will post properly.)
Posted by TallGal at 7:08 PM
This weekend I went up to visit my dad... Left here Friday afternoon, stopped to see my grandmother and my aunts, who I always enjoy seeing, and got to Dad's a little before 7:00 p.m. Yesterday was a rainy day and we spent the day working in the apartment attached to my dad's house where my maternal grandmother had lived... Dad had already done a lot in there... I just did some cleaning... then we went out to supper...(in northern Maine dinner is the noontime meal...and supper is the evening meal!) And this morning... I got my butt up at 6:10 a.m. and left Dad's house by 6:30.... why? Because ZUMBA started here, in Portland at 10:15! I got to the gym at about 9:30 and did a little arm work and walked backwards on the treadmill (at a very slow, safe pace) before class.
So... just for the recors... if I can haul my BFA out of bed on a SUNDAY... when I could sleep in.... to drive 3 HOURS to get to a Zumba class... there is NO EXCUSE for not going to the gym (4 miles form my house) early in the mornings.... Got it? Got it. So yes, that means tomorrow... I will be at the gym by 5 a.m.... none of this 10 past business... and I will work out for an hour... no more excuses!
Posted by TallGal at 12:15 PM
I just got home from Zumba and I feel amazing, great, energized! It's such a good workout, and fun... I needed it after such a crazy couple of weeks at work...and next week will be similar... I have had soooo many meetings that require so much paperwork! I have been working on it at school, between teaching, working on it at home until 8 or 9 each night... but after next week, things should ease up a bit and I can relax....
Considering all that, I am pretty proud of myself because, other than today, I got my BFA to the gym every morning this week! Granted it didn't quite happen as i had planned... the plan was... alarm goes off 4:45... get up, throw on gym clothes, be at gym by 5, work out until 6ish, then home, shower, school.... Monday I got to the gym at 5:10, and did 3 miles on the elliptical in 38 minutes, just less than 13 minutes a mile, and came home... Tuesday, got to the gym at 5:20... just did legs, strength training, for about 40 minutes, then left... Yesterday, got to the gym at about 5:30 and did 30 minutes on the elliptical and called it good... but there was a natural consequence for my getting there later... the elliptical machines I like were all full... so I had to use the other kind... not as fun... but it worked my BFA more... and I am happy to say I have visited 2 scales this week, and they are within a pound of each other, and I am down, as of tonight, 27 pounds... since April... not rapid weight loss, but weight loss none the less... I am happy with that... considering all the emotional stuff... I have not turned to food as much as I could have and have been consistently active... so... I think getting back into my morning routine will help a lot... and I still think that by next Oct 1, I will be down a total of 125 lbs! I can do it! I WILL do it!
So what I need to get out of this is that even when life is stressful, very stressful at work, I can still fit in my workout... I feel good about that.
I'm looking forward to the weekend...seeing some of my family and and of course, being active!
Posted by TallGal at 8:54 PM
What have I been doing since the marathon? The answer is... not much... well, at least physically... My very wise sister forewarned me about the post race crash... something that apparently runners experience... having trained and worked so hard for a goal, then achieved that goal... then what?? I was convinced I would not be one of those post race crashing types... but apparently I am. I was sooo excited to do the marathon, to finish it, and to finish it at a pace faster than I thought was possible... I got all kinds of praise from people at work, from friends, and have even had some strangers tell me they saw me walking the half and were impressed... So... after the half marathon (Oct 4)... that following Tuesday I went to the gym and did a light workout... then Weds. I made it to the pool to tread water for 45 minutes... but then I had a long weekend and other than a light walk in the woods with my family on Saturday 10/10, I did nothing... until Weds. 10/14, when I returned to the gym and did the elliptical machine... Then Thursday I was determined to go to the gym for Zumba that I got a little overzealous... I got to the gym at 5:20, figuring I would walk a little on the treadmill before the 6:00 class... well... the funny part of this story, is that the class didn't start until 7:00... so I worked out from 5:20 until about 6:50, then did Zumba from 7 to 8... I was quite tired by the time Zumba began... Then I didn't do anything Friday or Saturday, but did make it to ZUmba this morning... And... to add some excitement to Zumba... I brought a new accessory. My friend Debbie had a birthday yesterday... and I bought her a bday present, and decided to get one for myself too... hip scarves, that have jingly coins like belly dancer scarves... it was fun and does make me what to put my hips into it a little bit more!
My knee has been a little tempermental since finishing the half marathon, nothing major, but a little twinge here and there. And, it does make me nervous... but... in my head I am attributing it to the fact that I have done little strength training or the physical therapy exercises for my knee that I had been doing a lot... so this week I am going to focus on those exercises and see how it goes before starting to panic.
In addition to having some lull in my physical workouts, I had not been eating well... and had not been on the scale in about 3 or 4 weeks... so today, at the gym, I braced myself and got on the scale... and it was good news... good enough to make me wonder if the scale is properly calibrated... so I will follow up with another scale... before being too happy... but it does add some motivation.
The rest of life has been pretty hectic... work... I have had numerous meetings that involve extensive amounts of paperwork... so... I have felt a bit overwhelmed.
On another note, here are some random thoughts...
I think my mom has started appearing in my dreams... well.. not appearing... because I don't remember seeing her in my dreams, but I remember things she said or maybe thought in the dreams... of which there have only been a couple I think... I saw a commercial on tv that reminded me of one of my dreams... silly really... where I was talking about getting a new cell phone because my battery was dying in my phone (which has actually been going on).. so I saw the commercial on tv where the creepy robot talks about being able to replace dead batteries with fully charged ones... and I remembered my mom telling me to just get a new battery like the commercials say... and I remember telling her that my carrier was not the one for which the advertisement applied...but... I was confused after remembering that because those commercials are pretty recent... so.. it must have been dream... then... another dream... this one I do remember... took place in my parents house, not the one that they owned for the last 2o years or so, but the house we had when I was a little girl. In my dream... I remember being at the campground with my family... not sure who was there for sure, but do specifically remember seeing my dad, my sister and her family, and me, in the dream...I do not remember seeing my mother.... and for some reason I sensed that my parents and I went to their house, our house, to get something, and while we were there, I remember being in the dining room, dad and I sitting at the table and my mom directing my and my dad's attention to the sky to see the beautiful sunset...and somehow watched as the colors changed as the clouds went from puffy to soft horizontal lines of brilliant reds and oranges... now... I don't remember my mom saying anything in my dream, or hearing a voice, but I just somehow knew she was there... and showing us the sunset...
Sounds simple enough... but, I do know there is significance with the sunset... after mom's first surgery, my sister and I left the hospital to head back to my house, and I was very emotional... and as we drove, and ate various pastries, the sunset was gorgeous... and it got to me because I remembered my mom sitting up at the campground (before ever being sick) as she watched the changing sunsets... and made a comment that if she had a job after she died, that she would want to paint the sunsets....
Crazy? Maybe... but it made sense to me somehow...
One other thing... sadly I learned this weekend that my high school principal, who was probably close to my mom's age, mid fifties, died last week from a heart attack. He and his wife had been living in Florida and their kids, who are probably in their mid to late 20s still reside in Maine... another sad loss... my thoughts are with his family...
SO... I'm not sure what it means... to have the feeling of my mom in my dreams... especially the cell phone battery thing... but, I look forward to her presence in my dreams...
Posted by TallGal at 1:13 PM
This post is for a woman maned Karla who left a comment on my blog, but I have no other way of contacting her...
Karla, I am sorry to hear of the need for a second surgery and the possibility of radiation. It sucks. There are a lot of other people who have similar stories to yours. There is a very large group of people on facebook, about 200 of us, who have or are dealing with PVNS in many different ways. Everyone there takes comfort in having support from each other and also feel good because there are opportunities for us to encourage and help one another. If you have facebook, in the search bar type in PVNS is Pants. (Apparently an English term for saying PVNS is crap!) You may find support and help there from other people.
You asked about knee exercises... I got a list from going to physical therapy. THe CPM machine was not a joke for me... I believe, without it, I would not have regained the range of motion that I have. It is monotonous being in that thing for several hours a day, but it does help. If you don't have a machine, one way you can work on bending your knee further is sitting in a rocking chair and as you rock, gradually bring the heel of the leg you had surgery on closer and closer to the chair and eventually kind of under the chair and as you rock forward you will feel it... when it hurts a little, hold it there for a while, then rock back and repeat... my doctors swore that being able to straighten my leg was as, if not more important, than bending it... so make sure you are doing some exercises to do that... if you can sit with your legs straight out in front of you, put something, like a light dumbell on your knee (with cushioning) and sit with it for a few minutes at a time while pulling your toes toward yout body (Flexing your foot.) This also works if you can use a foot stoolso that gravity helps pull the back of the knee toward the floor.
Email me anytime at Ihavepvns@aol.com
Posted by TallGal at 1:04 PM
Yesterday I was very excited... I was anticipating the arrival of my sister and a friend from high school...both of whom were planning to walk the half marathon with me and my friend Suellen. The four of us got together and headed to the marathon registration. We picked up our numbers and shirts then headed out to dinner... at the Macaroni Grill, where we could write on the table covers with crayons. Very fun! In addition to the four participants, a few great people joined us at dinner to get us psyched up. This is my amazing friend, Debbie and her family. SHE is amazing... truly. (For so many reasons!)
This is a picture of Suellen and her sister Kris. Both of these ladies have been good friends to me and were very helpful following my surgery. Suellen has often become my partner in crime, including our gym adventures.
this picture includes (from left to right) Jaime, my friend from high school, my sister, and me! We all graduated from the same high school, recently Jaime and I have been in touch via facebook.
This was me, today, about 6 a.m. as we were getting ready for the day. Last night there were some severe thunderstorms and it was pouring. We were worried we would get wet, but this morning the rain had stopped, and we managed to stay dry. (Except for the sweat....ewwww!)
This is me at the start line... look at all those people. There were over 3300 participants! Amazing. It was so cool to be a part of an event where so many people were being active. Awesome.
By mile four, our foursome had split in half. Jaime and Suellen had decided to do some jogging and went ahead of my sister and I. My sister could have ran this race, and finished with a good time, but she opted to stay with me, and I was very glad she did.
This was part of the route.. absolutely beautiful. We were envious of many houses along here... gorgeous.
This was the bagpiper who played before the marathon started and was then out on the side of the road, playing for us all. It was nice... I think this is the first time I have seen a female bagpiper... cool!
This was the guy that, at the moment, was my favorite helper along the route. HE signified the turning point for those of us doing the half marathon. I went to take his pic, and someone took my camera and got us in the picture too. The halfway point, I must say, was at the top of a steep hill... we turned and headed back towards the finish line and we were doing pretty well. Close to mile 8 one of my toes began hurting and I could tell I had a blister. (I had put on a few bandaids before starting to prevent blisters in places I usually get them... this was a NEW location.) Sis asked if I could keep going without starting, but I could tell if I didn't take care of it now, it would slow us down later... so I stopped and took off my sneaker and sock... OUCHIE... not a pretty blister- had already popped, between 2 of my toes... put on a bandaid, it felt much better, and we got going again!
By mile 10 I was pretty excited... I realized that potentially I could completely conquer the 4 hour goal... as long as I kept up my pace. At this point in the race I had stopped maintaining conversation with my sister... I was focused on keeping my stride, and getting it done.
This is me between mile 11 and 12... I took this pic myself... not a happy face... I was ready to be done, but I was very happy with the outcome!
Still going... where is the end anyway?
Ahhh... 13 miles... 0.1 miles left... I can do this.... Sis took over my camera to get some good shots.. Thanks Sis!
I like this shot because if you look close... you can see my scar on the back of my leg... if you can get over how awesome my calf muscle looks! Ha!
Cool pic... with the finish time in the background. LOVE it!
This is a pic of the four of us who did the half marathon today. Cool chicks!
This is Debbie and her son... so glad she was at the finish line... though she made me cry... emotional...two of my co-workers were at the finish line too, and that got me all choked up! It was really nice to feel supported...
Me and my Sis... Love ya lady!
I thought a lot during this walk... about where I was 2 years ago... still using a crutch post surgery... and wondering if I would ever be able to walk a mile... let alone 13.1... the people who went to dinner last night and showed up today... have been there for me through a lot... I am sure I will have more thoughts soon, but for tonight I am tired, and heading to bed!
Posted by TallGal at 6:33 PM
Whoa... what a day...
Morning: Up early to get to school to make copies for a 7:30 meeting. Attend and chair said meeting, pushed for what was best for a student despite the politics involved... turned out great... (may change if one boss decides politics are more important.) 9:40 finish said meeting and exhale sigh of relief...enter my classroom and work with kids... then lunch... alone... because my schedule doesn't workout for me to eat with other grownups on Wednesdays....
Post lunch: more work with more kids...planning/organizing coverage and accommodations for yet another week of school wide standardized testing...more work with kids... get yelled at by kid about whom the 7:30 meeting was held... marched his butt to another room and began a conversation... interrupted by teacher about whom the politics were involved in said meeting... teacher acts unprofessionally to and about the student... grit my teeth... have thoughts about kicking that teacher's ass... maintain composure and continue talking with kid who shares that he was treated like that in the middle of class today and he can't handle it anymore... by the way, from my perspective, given the history, his frustration is totally legit... and kid proceeds to fall apart... tears, everything... and this is a tough kid. Get him under control, ask him to trust me enough to get through a couple more weeks when I know things will get better, based on the meeting this morning, but can't yet share that info with said student... he agrees... I give him time to compose himself and in the meantime find another kid to speak with about an incident earlier in the week... he had lashed out at a third student who had spoken poorly about him and his family, including their agricultural livelihood...I told this student I cannot condone his behavior, but that I understood where it came from. Proceeded to engage student in conversation about his family and their livelihood and told him how much I respect how hard his family works and how much pride he takes in it... and his eyes got all teary... and he said lots of people don't get how much work it is... I told him that if he is ever in a similar situation at school to leave the situation and come to me immediately....that I would take care of any issues that other teachers may have with that.... and he smiled and asked me if that offer would still be good when he goes to the high school next year...ummm... don't think that would work.... he then shared with me how people in the farming community look out for each other... that his family is struggling and the economy is bad and he is now on free and reduced lunch... but that one of their farming neighbors left a bunch of apples on their porch yesterday to help them out... and how much he appreciated that... again getting a little teary at their kindness... me...thinking how sweet this kid is.... and how much he understands at his age, how tough things are... and wish he didn't...
School day ends... emailed parent from this morning's meeting to give her a heads up that she may want to chat with her son about his afternoon... and she emails me back thanking me for the heads up and offered compliments about our meeting and expressed gratitude that her son gets to work with me this year, saying she thinks I will help him academically and with his self esteem... awww.... that felt nice.... then talk with one of my assistants about the afternoon and conversations with the kids to keep her in the loop...
Evening: Class... hoping that I can avoid becoming a pirate this fall...meaning I go to that class and want to poke my eye out with a pencil... ugh... but I did spend time contemplating what I should do with/about the way that teacher interacted with that student and with me about that student. That's where the politics get played out... and it is a tricky tricky situation...but... I think this is one of those things about which I cannot bite my tongue.
I like my job - not the politics... but my job... working with kids... HELPING kids... not just with math or reading, but with life... maybe that sounds egotistical.. but I know those two kids felt heard today... and I feel good about that... I need to remember that tomorrow when I confront this teacher...
In the meantime... enjoying a good bowl of chili... mmmmm...
Posted by TallGal at 3:26 PM
So I got to work today and realized that I didn't have my cell phone with me. I panicked. This is the first day since my mom had been sick that I didn't have my cell phone within reach. It was very odd... and distracted me a lot today. My phone was always on, always within reach, as mom's illness progressed. I didn't want to be out of contact with mom, dad, and my sister... not for any amount of time. I constantly found myself feeling my pocket with my hand to reassure myself that my phone was there and often took it out to check for any missed calls that may have occurred if I entered a signal-less area... Since mom has died, my compulsion to have my phone glued to my body has reduced... but having it close still provides some kind of weird comfort. So, the fact that I left my house today, without it...makes me wonder... is that a good thing or a bad thing? Am I trusting more in life, that I won't get phone calls that will further rip my life apart or... am I losing my mind, along with my memory?
Posted by TallGal at 9:34 PM
So... this whole marathon thing is turning out differently than expected...
I originally signed up as a gesture to support my friend Sara who was trying to muster up the courage to run a full marathon... so I made her a deal... if she trained to run the full I would train to walk the half... and she accepted the deal... and then her husband signed on for this adventure, thinking it would be a great way for us all to get active and be healthier... then I invited my sister to come up and do it because I knew she had been wanting to get back in running mode.... and also invited my friend Suellen, who has been a huge motivator and supporter of me during my recovery from surgery... then through a social networking website, a high school friend, Jaime, mentioned she wanted to do a half marathon, so I invited her to join, with the attitude of 'the more the merrier'... So... that was 6 of us... and as I have been training it has become more and more about me doing it, completing it to prove to myself that my knee is healthy... and I am so excited to finish it and to have that moment of 'I did it...I can do anything!'
I was also really looking forward to having this be a big social thing, a crowded dinner for all of us the night before.... and a lunch out the day of... all celebrating our success and determination...
In August Sara's Achilles tendon ruptured while playing tennis... and I am so bummed for her that her full marathon journey, at least for this race, ended... it made me want to do it more, for her... then.... slowly but surely, her husband's schedule got really busy and his time for long walks disappeared... and a couple weeks ago, he decided he can't do it... I get that. And he noted that the whole point of doing it was to just get us all being active, and it has worked... he has been active and has lost a lot of weight...
So... that put is down to four of us... then yesterday my sister called... she has a great opportunity to attend a training next weekend which will then allow her to be a Zumba instructor... very cool... very very cool... she lives Zumba as much as I do, and has toyed with the idea of teaching it for a while... so I can't be mad about her taking that opportunity... but it would be cool to finish something like this together, sisters... active sisters... but if she is training for Zumba instructing... she, too, is being active... and there are other half marathons...
So... the way that I pictured this in my head has changed a lot... but... that's okay... really what it is about, for me... is doing something I never thought I could do... even before PVNS began creeping into my life... so... even if I do this solo... I will do it... and it will mean a lot to me...
Posted by TallGal at 4:18 PM
I went to see the movie FAME tonight with some coworkers. The movie was entertaining, though the plot, I felt, was lacking...however it was a beautiful display of talent, pure, raw talent. I know the people in the movie were actors and were portraying kids who were passionate about their craft... but the people in that movie were talented and, acting or not, had passion. Beautiful passion. Their love for what they were doing, wanted to do, was evident and something to behold...
And watching the movie I looked at my life... and wondered... do I have that kind of passion... for anything... do I? I think it's there, somewhere... but, it's hard for me to find right now... Yes, I am passionate about the students with whom I work, and doing things to help them. But... it isn't as strong as I have known it to be... painting... I haven't painted in a long time... I think there is passion... somewhere inside... but it is muted...
I must find a way to turn up the volume... not sure how... but at least knowing I am looking for a way, I feel okay...
Posted by TallGal at 8:31 PM
I haven't posted pics in a while... this is me, before the 10K... not a great shot, but I wanted to take a picture of myself before my first road race... next year's pic will be better!
Today, the day after my first 10k, was a pretty good day. I ate lunch with the other teachers in my wing... usually I avoid doing that because in the past, there has been a lot of negativity there, but this year it has been better... so far... so.. I joined my peers and there were three of us who had participated yesterday. It was fun to talk about how we all did and how it felt for us. It was nice to hear that people met or exceeded their goals. But I have to admit, there is a part of me that felt less than... for having walked the 10k instead of having ran it... despite lots of praise and support for my good showing, and for being proud of myself... there was part of me that felt like I was not at the same level as those that ran... but... that stems from my own insecurities, I get that... My ego was stroked, however, when one of the women who ran the 10k said that she will never do another 10k, that she will stick to 5k races because she has no desire to go further....and proceeded to tell me that she has no idea how i can even take on doing 13 miles... I reminded her that I would be walking, and she said that didn't matter... that I would be doing it...and she doesn't know how she could ever do it...and that she has a lot of respect for me taking that on.... that's a pretty nice compliment... I really want to finish the half marathon in under 4 hours....
but I have to admit, that I have started looking up other possible races... still only walking though... and am contemplating getting a team together for next year's relay for life... a walk that raises money for cancer... I read about it online last night and it brought tears to my eyes... I am sure it would be an emotional event, but would also be a great tribute to my mom... we'll see how that plays out... for now... I am focused on 13.1....
Posted by TallGal at 5:49 PM
TOday I participated in my first ever road race! It was a 10k or 6.2 mile race. I did not race... but I walked, and finished in 1 hour 45 minutes! I am very pleased with that time.
My friend Melissa was with me, along with her 4 month old son... who slept all the way!
Posted by TallGal at 5:18 PM
Today I walked 13 miles! It may have been a bit shy of 13, parts of it were hard to keep track of, but, I know if it wasn't 13 miles, it was pretty damn close! This means that I will be able to successfully walk the upcoming half marathon, 13.1 miles, without falling over. I feel very good about that... and better about the fact that I am not in a ton of pain tonight from that adventure... however I think avoiding the high heeled shoes at school tomorrow may be a good idea... and I also think taking a day off from the gym is also a good idea.
Pushing myself mentally and physically today was difficult at times, but I was very proud of myself for doing it. I have never understood why people run marathons... and have often judged those people as nuts or crazy... and while I will never be a runner, I have a new found respect for people who are. Doing something, like a marathon, or for me a half marathon, signifies something... what it signifies, I think, differs for each person. For me, it feels like a giant victory against PVNS. I think each person who chooses to participate in races that involve the need to run, walk, swim, bike, or a combination of those activities, have a purpose for doing so. I know someone who ran a marathon to prove to the world that her body was not broken. At the time I knew it was important for her, but I also didn't get it... but I think I do now... accomplishing this means not only can I do it, walk 13.1 miles, but it means I can set new goals to do more and I will accomplish those as well... I like knowing I can do things that do not come easily.
And... you can guarantee, after the half marathon, I will be getting one of those 13.1 stickers and plastering it onto my vehicle! Oh yeah!
Posted by TallGal at 6:38 PM
It was so nice to have a long weekend... 4 days off... I could do with that every weekend. I slept in a little each day and then tried to be active while also doing some school stuff. Friday I hit the gym and did a mile on the elliptical to warm up and then did my abs and weight training with my arms. Then Saturday, was the big day... I walked 8 miles! Yahooo! In 2 hours and 40 minutes... 20 minute miles... My training schedule for the half marathon dictated this to me... and I was nervous. I wondered how I would hold up, how my knee would hold up. And... I did well, my knee did well... my feet hurt some... but I was much less sore and stiff than I anticipated. Sunday I decided to skip Zumba to give my lower body a break, so I went kayaking. I paddled for almost two hours. Today, should have been a rest day, but I think my rest days will be Wednesdays because I have class those nights and it makes for a long day. So, I went to the gym this morning and walked on the treadmill for two miles in 36 minutes... probably a little quicker than my pace will be for the marathon, but good for training purposes... (probably slow for some people out there, but I'll take it!) Then I went for a bike ride tonight, but only went 3.3 miles... I was supposed to bike the marathon route with a friend so we know what we are walking, but she needed to change her plans... so I went for a solo ride, much less than 13.1 miles... but my body let me know that 3.3 miles was enough... Tomorrow she and I are going to ride the marathon route...
I am kind of excited that I am being so active... I feel good and because I am feeling so good I am eating well too. I have decided on my weight loss goal... officially... by Oct. 1, 2010... I will weigh 100 pounds less than I do today. I think it's do-able... that's about 8 pounds a month... about 2 pounds a week... realistic... It's a process... but I want this... badly. I want to be physically fit! I will be physically fit!
Posted by TallGal at 7:30 PM
At school yesterday we had school pictures. Yes, I smiled pretty. On my way to the gym to have my picture taken, I saw many students lined up outside of a small conference room, the door was open. I immediately felt bad for the students who were having their height and weight recorded for their school record, in front of their peers. Granted it wasn't like their weight was yelled out, and the scale was backwards to the rest of the kids, but, still... I felt like it was not a private way for the school to gain that information. Maybe because I was never one of those skinny minnies... but I think it isn't okay.
Weight is such a personal thing. It's something I have been aware of my entire life. I won't say that I have struggled with it all my life, because I don't see that weight loss has been a large focus of my life... but I will say that it has always been in my peripheral vision.
As a persn who has always been taller than my peers, my weight was expected to be higher than the other kids, but, for as long as I can remember, my weight has been higher than it should be. My mom was constantly worried about her weight, and as she was losing her battle with cancer and had to force herself to eat food that didn't taste good to her, she told me several times... don't waste time on worrying about your weight... just eat and be happy... wishing she had spent less time being worried about her own weight. My mom's battle with weight began early. She often spoke of her own mother commenting on her body... and my mom was taller than average as well, but her mother didn't always account for that. My mother often recalled her mother telling her that certain clothes made her look like the broad side of a barn... a phrase that stuck with my mother her entire life... often being critical of her own body and how clothes made her look.
In order to combat that, my mom vowed to never criticize my sister and I for anything pertaining to our bodies or weight. This included not dictating to us what we ate and how much we ate... While I am appreciative of the intention, it had some other implications. I grew up hating vegetables, claiming they tasted like dirt... overate at most every meal, and ate food that was not healthy... hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, chips, pizza, toast, and for snacks... I dug into my mom's low carb stash, cheese and pepperoni sticks...which I combined with carbs, chips bread, etc... so my eating habits were not healthy.
My parents did a great job at making me feel confident about my height, and with that came comfort with my size. I think the first time I remember thinking about my weight/size was after our family had been at a family gathering... my father had said something to me or maybe my sister, or maybe even to mom, about him thinking that we had had enough chips or something for that time. It didn't seem like a big deal to me in the moment, but when we got into the car, my mother was pretty assertive with my father, reminding him that he was not going to dictate what we could eat...
As I grew up I was always bigger than my friends... could never share clothes like other girls could do... and once I started playing sports, I was interested in slimming down to perform better, but I didn't think of myself as fat. Big...not fat...
Throughout my life I have been involved in sports, and do consider myself to be an athletic person. I have had several gym memberships over the years and have been in and out of routines. Despite that, my eating habits were always stronger than my work out habits, and my weight kept increasing.
Prior to PVNS, about 2 years before, I had taken control of my weight. I had lost about a hundred pounds and felt great. I am sure I have shared that here before. Once my knee started hurting, and doctors couldn't give me answers, my activity decreased, my poor eating habits reared their ugly heads, and my weight increased... by the time I was properly diagnosed with PVNS, all of my weight had returned... and since surgery I have been determined to get back to the weight I was at before my knee was bad... but I was very nervous about it... being active worried me. I didn't want to re-injure myself...
I had been doing pretty well being active in the year before my mom died, but it was hard... I was gone a lot, spending time with my family, and emotionally I was drained and it was hard to maintain energy to work out... but since April, I have been re-energized to be healthy... and when I saw my doctor this spring... two years since surgery, and knowing I don't have to go back for two years... I have been working hard with much less fear. Biking, walking, Zumba-ing, etc... I haven't been getting on the scale regularly... mostly because it has been frustrating. I weighed myself in early April and by June I had lost about 15 pounds... which is good, but in July and August, the scale didn't go any lower... I was getting frustrated. Granted, my body has changed, I have toned up and have lost some inches, but I really wanted that scale to change.
Last night at Zumba one of the women in class told me I had lost weight. I was surprised she said that. I was especially surprised because I was next to my good friend who is on the verge of meeting her 100 pound weight loss goal (SOOOOOOOO EXCITED FOR HER!) and her weight loss is very obvious. I don't feel like mine is... but it did feel good to think that someone noticed... So, today when I went to the gym, I got on the scale, and was down 5 more pounds. I was happy, put my sneakers on and got ready to work out, but then thought maybe I stood on the scale in a strange way that altered the weight... so I took my sneakers off and got back on the scale... and... it was true!! I am down 5 more pounds... so that makes a total of 20 pounds lost since April... not a fast rate, but... I feel like 20 pounds is a good chunk of weight... and I can now feel like I am in that weight losing mode... less than 20 pounds makes me kind of shrug my shoulders and say, well, that's not a big deal... not when I want to lose a total of 100 pounds... maybe 120... but ... 20 pounds.. for some reason seems like an accomplishment, and I feel good about that.
Losing weight isn't a huge focus for me, but being healthy is... My favorite part of things after I had lost that weight... was being able to DO things... that I wanted to do, without hesitating and wondering IF I had the ability to do it...
Sooo... I am on my way... I haven't thought much about a timeline for losing the weight, setting goals for myself, but... I think I want to do that. I would love to be at my goal weight in a year from now.
I would tell my mom I am not wasting time worrying about my weight... I would say that I am taking time to be healthy, as healthy as I can be.
Posted by TallGal at 1:12 PM
The first week of school... well actually last week I started school, but this is the first week with kids. Today I finally got to see my students, most of them at least. It's so interesting to see the kids I worked with last year after summer vacation, they have all grown and seemed excited to be back at school. I also like to meet kids for the first time. I learn a lot about them in a short amount of time.
My opening day activity was kind of cheesy, but I think sets a good tone... I had brought different containers, including a bowl, a cup, a gallon water bottle, etc... and I had the kids try to throw different items into the containers... I had each student stand up, showed them how far back they had to stand, and asked them which container they were aiming for and why... some aimed for the giant bowl because it seemed to be easier and had the greatest chance of meeting with success....some aimed for the cup, saying they wanted a bit more of a challenge... and when directed, one student did try to get a dice into the gallon bottle... in one group, after most of the kids had been given three chances, I had one kid come up and gave him two items to throw, and he looked a little perplexed, but said nothing, then I moved him 2 feet closer to the containers than the other kids had been allowed to get... and the kid smiled... the other kids sighed and said it was unfair. Then one of the kids said, well, he was only given two chances to get it in so it kind of IS fair that he can be closer... that is a cool debate!
This activity leads up to me having each of the kids write a goal for themselves, a personal goal, something they want to accomplish between now and December. Their goals are being written on arrows and will be put on a bulletin board which has two archers and a giant bullseye.... I will have the kids post their goals and as time passes we will check to see if we are getting close to the bullseye... (Partly so that I can keep the same bulletin board until December without having to change it!) I will somehow figure out how to incorporate math into all of their goals as well... they just don't realize it yet!
But the activity also gave us a chance to talk about setting a goal... how to get there... I had each kid explain their strategy to get things into the containers and asked how their strategy changed depending on how successful they were on the previous throw. Which led to talking about how we may not reach our goals easily, that sometimes you have to change how you get there... We talked about fairness... and how sometimes in class I may ask some kids to do more problems or different problems than others, and that it is fair when I do that because I am adjusting things to meet their needs... One girl threw all of her items quickly and returned to her seat... when I asked her about her strategy she was pretty quiet... so I asked her... did you throw them that fast so you could get back to your seat faster... she shrugged... I said... is it hard to be in front of people with everyone watching you, and she said she hated it... so I explained that to reach a goal, sometimes it will be uncomfortable and that it's important to take your time with things... that you will get better results if you don't rush through it or doing something just to do it... and it also provided me with the chance to say that in my class students will be asked to be courageous, take risks, and do some work in front of other kids and that we will work on that confidence... some of the kids were eager to volunteer to jump up and do this activity, that kid raising his hand as high as possible and waving it all around to try to get called on to be the first or next person to try it...
So... I learned a lot about the kids today...which kids seek attention, which kids are self conscious, which kids need a lot of direction, which kids like to challenge themselves....which kids are more comfortable taking the easy route...which kids will stand up for what they believe is fair or unfair... which kids can talk and listen, those who prefer to talk, and those who prefer to listen...I love the psychology this... what makes them tick... I need to know that in order to help them...I am excited to see what goals they set for themselves... and to see how I can help them achieve those goals...
All the political BS that is going on fades into the background when I get to work with these kids... it's still there, still frustrating... but... it's not what is important. The kids are!
On another note... My dad had cataract surgery today...everything went well! I felt really guilty for not being there... I felt like I was there for all of mom's surgeries and felt like I should be there today... and... missing the first day of school was not something I was comfortable with... so I was torn... Dad had made a plan to have his sister transport him back and forth and help him out... and she did, thankfully! (Thank you Donna!) But it was really hard not being there... While I am sure that Dad appreciated his sister being there and helping him... I am sure there was a part of him that felt very alone this morning as he got ready to go... and I am sure he missed mom a lot today... every day... so do I... but... things went well for dad today and I am happy about that!
Posted by TallGal at 7:48 PM
Today was my first day of school.... a teacher day, but it counts. It is so much more fun to have days with the kids. It's strange, returning to school this year. In some ways I am ready for it... I think the daily routine is going to be great for me, and keep me in a good place of working out and being healthy...but I have really enjoyed this summer and would be okay having that continue for a while. But... I will just need to make sure I make time for fun...
I am nervous about re-starting my graduate classes... I will be taking one class this semester and while I have done this before, I am nervous about it... I think I am worried about seeing people with whom I have taken other classes who knew my mom was sick...and having to face people asking me about her... but it will be okay... I am also more in the mode of being the teacher than being the student. I am looking forward to the kids. However, completing this class will mark a milestone. It will mean that I will be able to be certified as an assistant principal... will I use that anytime soon? Maybe... The politics have already started at my job and it is so frustrating... and for someone who often likes to have control... an admin role may not be that bad... we'll see.
On a different note... on Tuesday, two of my fellow teachers and I went kayaking. One of them had never been before and she loved it. It was wonderful to spend time with them outside of school, doing something I love so much.
Posted by TallGal at 4:46 PM
Last night I went into Portland for dinner... I was solo, just trying to enjoy the evening, sort of unwinding from the active days with my nephews. I went to one of my favorite spots where I could listen to some live music while sitting outside. It was pretty crowded, lots of tourists. And one lady who really made me nuts.
I think she was sightly buzzed by the time she got there. She was short, petite, blond, wearing a tube top, skirt, high heeled sandals, and had two large accessories... crutches...which due to the two inch heels on her sandals, were about two inches too short... she didn't use them as she walked... just kind of carried them allowing the bottom of the crutch touch the ground every couple of steps...She walked up to the bar and waited for the other people in her party to catch up to her... though why she, the one on crutches was faster than the people not on crutches, I am not sure...) Once they reached her, I noticed she leaned more on her crutches and slightly lifted one of her legs. As the others in her group approached two people left the bar, leaving two barstools open... her husband caringly asked her if she would be okay sitting on one with her leg on the other... and she batted her eyes and said, "Well, are you sure you guys don't mind not waiting for a table... that means you will have to stand up while we're here..." bat eyelashes here.... Of course the dutiful husband told her nobody minded standing around as long as she was comfortable. More of their friends arrived and this woman kind of jumped up to hug them... then, timing it perfectly, slowly sat back down and raised her leg onto the stool, while revealing a small bandage on her knee... seriously? crutches for a boo boo? Damsels in distress... that whole dynamic really makes me nuts. It's a game that women play... some women play. Needing to be saved by someone else... I have seen many women like her who without men around are articulate, intelligent women, but when men are around they do anything to get attention... like pretending to not know how to do things, or being overly drunk, or injured... It makes me crazy.
Is that really what men want? If so, I am going to be single forever... this is more my style:
I have never been one to let others rescue me... and hate it when other women play that game... fight your own damn dragon!
Posted by TallGal at 1:43 PM
Sorry for being AWOL on the blog front. I have been entertaining my two younger nephews, ages 7 and 6... they kept me busy! I am pretty exhausted after having them here, but am very glad that I got the chance to spend time with them. I often wish I lived closer to them so that I could see my sister more and spend more time with the boys...since there are a lot of miles between us, this summer tradition has become something I look forward to and the boys look forward to as well. Today before dropping them off with their mom they were already talking about what next year's trip to Auntee's house will be like... which one will get to come by himself and which ones will have to come together... We managed to fit in a lot of fun while they were here... I am posting some pics... of... hitting the beach, a birthday celebration (my youngest nephew turned 6 and we had a party with his parents, brothers, and me!), bowling, lobstering, mini golf, a late night search at the beach for bioluminescent organisms, a visit to a wildlife park, meeting some chihuahuas, and visiting the rocky coast to see some waves crashing.... phew... that's a lot to type, let alone do... no wonder I am tired...
I will write more soon!
Posted by TallGal at 10:22 PM