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Of My Past, Dreams, and User Errors

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Has there ever been someone from your past that pops up in your memories or your dreams randomly, so they're never really ever clear from your mind?

2003 was not a great year for me.

I was attending Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI for Architecture. I was taking 18 or 19 credits every semester. The major required a course called Studio, which was the design course (where you design a project, do drawings and build 3d models before getting your designs ripped apart by critics ala Project Runway). Studio was a 9 hour a week course, and the out-of-class investment time was a minimum of 3x that to finish the work. Often it was longer. Let's round to 40 hours a week. FOR ONE CLASS. On top of taking four other courses. In addition to this, I worked 30+ hours a week to pay rent in a slummy apartment where when it was windy, the snow would pile on my bedroom floor. I had a male and female roommate who HATED each other. They would passive aggressively fight all the time. They would stay up late because neither of them was going to school. I didn't have a safe, quiet place to work. My college bestie and I were no longer speaking. I was 300 miles from the only person I trusted, my Dad, and he was busy with his new wife.

In January, my Gran died. My Gran was the closest thing I had to a real mom back then, as my adoptive mom had long ago moved to Florida and essentially abandoned me, except for the monthly guilt-trip phone calls. Gran was 87 years old. I went to visit her at the nursing home the day she died, on my way back to school. She was skeletal. We visited for a half hour. She asked me when I was going to visit again. I told her Easter, when I had my next break. I left. I drove the 6 hours back to school. I called home to say I had made it. I could hear my Dad crying. She had died before I made it back to school.

My crappy male roommate left the heat on 90 for days while I was away for the funeral, running up the bill to almost $500. I didn't last long up there after that. Two, maybe 3 weeks? I asked the Dean for a leave of absence, which he granted reluctantly, but I knew I wasn't coming back. My step-family, who lived in nearby Massachusetts, helped me move out. Female roommate was long gone by then. Male roommate had pissed on her bedroom floor and sprinkled sugar over it, making a crust, which we then had to clean. He also broke a bunch of light switch covers. He rummaged through my things while I was out, leaving notes about what he'd found. I'm not sure I quite made it to nervous breakdown territory, but it might have been close. I sobbed the whole time. It upset me more than these people, my step family, who were very new to me, had to see me like this. I'm sure it was very distressing.

I moved back in with my Dad and Step-Mom, which I'm sure you can imagine was very volatile at times. In March, my 13-year old Cocker Spaniel had to be put down because of cancer. Everything dog-related had been thrown away by my Step-Mom by the time we got back from the vet's office. I lost it. I had lost my Gran and my dog, and I had "lost" my Dad to this woman who couldn't wait to throw away everything that reminded me of my pet. I was severely depressed. Step-Mom suggested therapy, which I agreed with. I got a job at a family owned chain of grocery stores called Genuardi's, which, if there are any left, are now owned by Safeway. All the ones I know of closed. Genuardi's is where I met Chris.

Chris was also in a rebuilding stage of life. He was decent-looking, tall, had Southern manners and an easy going demeanor. Like me, he liked to tease people, so we threw friendly harassments at each other during training. One day he teased me about something that rubbed me the wrong way, I don't even remember what, and I gave him a stern look and jokingly said "If you don't stop I'm going to shoot you in the face." Surprisingly, he burst out laughing. Later he would tell people that's when he knew we were going to be friends. (People apparently like it when I'm a bit of a butthole!)

We talked a lot. He was in therapy too, for bi-polar disorder. He was only a few years older than me but was divorced with two young kids who lived with their mom in Oklahoma. He was from NJ originally so came back after the divorce because his mom, Step-Dad and half-brother and -sister were here. We were very open about our crazy emotions and step-family problems and just how tumultuous life was in general. I was already engaged to my husband but it was very long distance, and I wasn't going to school, just work and therapy, so I had a lot of spare time. We started hanging out outside of work, absolutely just friends.

At some point though, a couple of years in, maybe late 2005, it became a little more than that. He was here and Paulo was 500 miles away. I started questioning my feelings for Chris. I had to write myself a list of the positives and negatives of the two of them, which I discussed with my therapist. Chris had too many negatives. Still, I kept getting this feeling that he liked me too. He never, ever said anything, or tried anything. He dated multiple women while we were friends, but nothing super serious. So I asked. He insisted that no, we were just friends. This sealed my decision. We remained friends, but things were strained after that. At the time, I thought it was just me. I was heavy, and I thought unattractive. I was upset about being rejected, despite not being single. Therapy was wrapping up, but I was still fragile at this point. I wondered what was wrong with me.

Either way, he was still a good friend, and I asked him to be in my wedding. He agreed. But well before the wedding, he stopped answering his phone. I drove by his place. It was closed up, empty, and for sale. I persisted, leaving voice mail after voicemail. Worried. Where did he go? What happened? This had happened before, but he had turned up in a halfway house, having gone off his meds and having a severe manic episode. This time it took longer. Almost a month later he finally answered his phone. His voice was strained, very upset, and it sounded like he'd been crying. He didn't tell me much, except he was sorry for the way he left, without telling me. He said he had moved back to Oklahoma to be closer to his kids. We lost touch after that.

It's always hard to lose a friend. But what can you do when someone cuts you off? So I moved on. I got married. I listened to my closest friends say bad things about this guy, to make me feel better I guess. But he wasn't bad. He had problems, but he wasn't a bad person. It's not always the person in control, sometimes it's the disorder. People in general need to be more understanding of these things. Everyone has a reason behind the things they do.

So anyway, fast forward to 2011. I'm married. Things are good. I get a message on Facebook from Chris, out of the blue. He tells me he's sorry, and tells me that part of the reason he left so suddenly was because he was in love with me. I had spent the last five years hoping I would bump into him somewhere so I could throw a rock at him. I was angry at being abandoned by someone else. (Abandonment issues, remember?) I had told him I had felt like he'd used me at times: like when I had gone with him to drive his kids to Indiana to get picked up by their mom, or when he'd wanted to take them to the beach but didn't have the money. (I realize in hindsight I didn't have to do any of those things.) But he told me he had just wanted to spend as much time with me as possible. He didn't try to rekindle our friendship: maybe my anger quelled that desire or maybe he just wanted closure, I don't know. I haven't heard from him since.

But I think about him often. Just randomly. Despite how it ended he WAS a good friend to me, and what I needed at that point in my life was a good friend. I dreamt of him last night, which is what prompted this excessively long foray into my past and psyche. The dream wasn't much. I was cleaning my place (which, like in all dreams, was completely different looking from my actual home, but was still "my" home) and someone came inside to tell me there was someone on my front porch waiting for me (I don't have a front porch). And there he was, like he always was, sitting on a patio chair, legs crossed in the way men cross their legs, with ankle resting on knee, talking on his cell phone with one hand, smoking a cigarette in the other. Telling me he was sorry to drop back into my life yet again. And then I woke up. It's funny how such a precise image can stand out in our memories like that and require a ridiculously lengthy blog to get it out. Maybe now I can work on letting go of it.

As for user error, I "fixed" my sewing machine. I say "fixed" because it wasn't broken. I'd been threading it wrong for all this time. I am a dumb*ss. So this morning I threaded it correctly, and it works perfectly. I can now begin working on my mom's Christmas present hardcore! I want to finish it by Thanksgiving if I can. Still not sure if we're going to be spending Christmas with her or not, so I need to make sure I have enough time to ship it.

On the health front, I've got a dentist appointment this afternoon to fix some fillings, so I get to leave work at 2:45. (But let's be honest, leaving work to go to the dentist is not fun. I'd rather stay at work.)

Not much else going on today, but I needed to get that off my chest, and I feel better now that it's down on "paper".

Have a great day, everyone!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FINCHFEEDER80 10/23/2014 1:29PM

    I was in a horrible relationship in 2005. It was short, about six months, but it was brutal. The guy was an emotionally abusive, cheating alcoholic. And very manipulative. I had no idea just how under his thumb he had me until he left. Basically, anything negative that happened, or any way he treated me was my fault kind of crap. My friends had apparently been planning an intervention for me before the guy just up and left, leaving behind a lot of baggage and a Dear John letter on the living room table. I was angry. At first I was just angry at him for just leaving and the way he treated me. And then I was angry at myself for allowing the situation to happen. I really shut down and just shut myself away from the world in general.

My best friend at the time was a guy named Brian. Brian was dating someone else, and by this point in our relationship I wasn't interested in anything romantic with him. I harbored a crush on him for a while, but once I got to know him he was like a brother from another mother. He was also just about the only person I spent any significant time with for most of the first year after that relationship. It was a safe place. Brian wouldn't push me to talk about it, but he would listen when I needed to. And we just enjoyed each other's company. I was "the other woman". He was also the one who introduced me to D&D, which ended up being how I met my husband!

We've kind of drifted off our separate ways a bit. He's moved about 45 minutes down the road with his girlfriend. Plus, he discovered alcohol kind of late in life, so when they do have gatherings at the house it's usually alcohol fueled. And while they have crash space, Sleeping on someone's floor drunk at 34 years old while my husband is at home just isn't that appealing to me. So we don't see each other much. It makes me sad sometimes, but I'll definitely always have love for him. It would be kind of nice if that whole group of us started spending more time together.

I have an ex that part of me will always love who pops up in dreams sometimes, but that's another long story for another day. ;)

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CATTUTT 10/23/2014 1:19PM

    I definitely have one person who continually haunts my dreams. I try so hard to forget this person, but they pop up anyway.

I hope getting this out on your blog made you feel more clear headed about it all, dreams can leave you feeling so messed up.

Good luck at the dentist!

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GSEATON 10/23/2014 12:54PM

    GURL! You are an author and you KNOW it! I hope you are keeping track of all stuff written and some day you are published! Amazing story. For real.

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SIMONEKP 10/23/2014 12:48PM

    I know what you mean, I have an ex that I really thought I would spend the rest of my life with but things didn't work out, I still think of him from time to time and he has randomly appeared in my dreams. He was a really good friend before we started dating and most of the time when I think of him it is of the days when we were just friends.

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GETTING_FIT44 10/23/2014 12:36PM

    I can certainly admit to thinking about people from my past at random moments which happen often. I always thought I was the only one (which has driven me nuts for years!). I think we all do it. I have had to say good-bye to friends who actually come back into my life. I wouldn't act on these thoughts though, I used to with each person and it only created emotional hell because I thought me randomly dreaming about them meant that things would get better if I tried. I've since learned that I don't communicate with anyone I've let go of unless they contact me first. It's rare that they do, but I certainly hate going after people.

Hope you are feeling better about Christ though. Don't worry too much, and now we both know we aren't the only ones who randomly think of people in the past!

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CHICAM 10/23/2014 11:31AM

    Loved reading your story. We all have those dreams of people that just stick in our hearts and mind now and then. Wish life was easier for us all. I have dreams with my late husband. I always believed people are supposed to die in there old ages, but life sprung a very hard one on me and my kids. He died from a meningitis (from a simple cold). He was at the time 31 years old when he passed away, I was 27. The love of my life. I had 2 children Daniel 5 and Elisa 7 years old when he passed away. My heart will always remember him as the love of my life. I thank God for all the good memories I have of him. I re married 13 years ago to a very good man, he also was a widower and new what I had gone through. I am very happy with my husband but will NEVER forget my late husband. I know my husband will also not forget his late wife. We love each other and he is very important to me. My kids love him very much as a dad. But still I love when I have a dream with my late husband. I get to hug him and talk to him. I always ask him in my dreams why did he leave me with our kids? In some dreams he says he went to study to get a better job to help our life get better and in other dreams he says he just had to go and that he was sorry for having left me alone. Poor guy he died and no one wants to die, leaving a wife and children. At least we have these dreams to remember good people in our lives that we cared very much for. emoticon

Comment edited on: 10/23/2014 11:33:16 AM

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BRAINBENTT 10/23/2014 11:29AM

    thank you for sharing

i hope your life is filled with joy going forward

emoticon

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MY9STONEJOURNEY 10/23/2014 11:16AM

    OMG I absolutely LOVE this BLOG!!! I didn't want it to end. I can so relate my year was 2006-2007 Sophomore year my life literally fell to pieces. Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuuu so much for sharing. WE SURVIVED!!!! You get this special feeling when you go back to a time/event where you knew you COULDN'T make it only to realize YOU DID!!! AMAZEBALLS!!! emoticon

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NUTSNUTSGETEM 10/23/2014 11:11AM

    I went to Catholic School through high school. If you know many Catholics, you'll know that we know our Bible much less than other Christian denominations. But, I guess it was back in freshman year of high school, Sister Inez was trying to change that a bit. So, in religion class, one morning a week, she would have us flip open the Bible randomly and read a verse. I still remember the first one I had to read. It was from the Book of Sirach (which I think is only in the Catholic Old Testament) - kind of like the Book of Wisdom. And the verse was, "Never abandon an old friend. You will never find another to replace him." Probably 25 years-ish later, you made me think of it.

Everyone we meet has some impact one us one way or another - some more than others. Ultimately, it all worked out for you.

But, in terms of letting go - I think I might need to take one of your kettlebells and whack the woman who threw out all of your dog's things. Yes. It's a decade later. But, I think it would make me feel better.

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VERSESTHATHURT 10/23/2014 11:10AM

    I think there are people we encounter that leave a mark on our lives, sometimes good and sometimes bad. We carry a bit of that person with us forever whether we want to or not.

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Fighting For Your Health

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

So now that I have this new kettlebell routine that doesn't require having a video streaming, I've been watching Comcast's Music Choice Rock Channel. I tried the metal channel, because heavy metal is awesome, but unfortunately there's a bit too much death metal and screamo on that channel. The MC Rock Channel is way better, and in spite of occasionally playing Foo Fighters or (ugh) Nickelback, most of the stuff on there is pretty good. I've discovered 3 new bands I like. This week's winner is In This Moment, which is kind of like Pantera with a female singer, but without the exceptional guitar skills of Dimebag Darrell. In This Moment is very heavy, and some of the songs are not for the faint of heart. Not a ton of swearing, so probably safe for kids. Most of it is allusion. So anyway, I heard the song "Sick Like Me" which I LOVED, so I explored them further on Spotify and found the PERFECT song for motivating exercise for me. Without further ado, I give you the lyrics to "Comanche":

I feel the pressure is building in me
My stomachís sick, itís getting harder to breathe
I hear the screaming, I feel the disease
Thereís blood in the air, and there is death on the breeze

Will you come with me?
Will you stand with me?
Would you follow me?
Would you believe with me?
Tell me youíll bleed with me
Tell me youíll die with me

Come on, come on
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Yell it out, do or die
Let me hear your war cry

We wanted peace but you brought this war
We took enough and we canít take any more
With our fists in the air, weíll burn it all to the ground
We will tear your (profanity redacted) empire down

Will you come with me?
Will you stand with me?
Would you follow me?
Would you believe with me?
Tell me youíll bleed with me
Tell me youíll die with me

Come on, come on
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Yell it out, do or die
Let me hear your war cry

We wanted peace but you brought this war
We wanted peace but you brought this war
We wanted peace but you brought this war
We took enough and we wonít take anymore

Will you come with me?
Will you stand with me?
Would you follow me?
Would you believe with me?
Tell me youíll bleed with me
Tell me youíll die with me

Come on, come on
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Yell it out, do or die
Let me hear your war cry

Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Come on, get up
Let me hear your war cry
Yell it out, do or die
Let me hear your war cry

Let me hear your war cry



Okay, so, if you're not into really heavy music, maybe this isn't for you, but it really pumps me up. If I did heavy lifting, this would absolutely be on my playlist. And I'm going to use it as a call to arms for you guys.

This journey or self-betterment we're all on? It's like a war, where the enemy is ourselves. Not other people, not the food, not the couch, but against ourselves and our own minds. And while it might be a war, it's a war we have an excellent chance of winning, if we use the right strategies.

So which of you are going to join me in this fight for health? Which of you are going to work, and sweat, and make the effort? Winning is simple, but not easy. It takes more than the minimum effort. It takes mental strength. It takes being willing to be uncomfortable for a while. It takes believing in yourself. I believe in you. Each and every one of you.

Oh, and this war? It isn't over when you hit maintenance. I'm still in this battle hardcore. I've just switched focus from carpet bombing to sniping. I'm working on building muscle and toning my body. I'm up almost 8 lbs right now. Normally this would freak me out. But my clothes aren't any tighter! If anything my jeans are all baggy now. I'm taking this as a sign that I'm doing something right. The bells are working. My arms look a LOT better. My thighs are looking better. My conditioning is definitely better. I *feel* better. My moods are better. So how is it a loss? IT ISN'T. I'm winning my war. You can win your war too.

Stand with me and win your war.


Weekly Menu

Sunday
Entertaining Portuguese Dinner: Chicken Espetadas, Pico-Style Octopus, Chourico (did you know Portuguese chourico is very low in fat, unlike other sausages?), Sweet Bread, Azorean vegetables, Potato & Onion Casserole

Monday
Chicken & Mixed Nut Honey Mustard Stir Fry
Bok Choy Sauteed in garlic, ginger and soy
White Rice

Tuesday
Bean with Bacon Soup

Wednesday
Ribeye w/ Barley Salad

Thursday
Homemade Pork Lo Mein

Friday
Cupcake Tin Pork Pies, Butternut Squash

Saturday
Spaghetti & Tossed Salad

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NETGYRL 10/24/2014 12:58PM

    Booyah! This is definitely a war and I am in it to win it!

Loved "Sick like me". "Comanche" sounds like something I would hear on an episode of "The Walking Dead". :) Def gets the blood pumping.

Comment edited on: 10/24/2014 12:59:29 PM

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LIVEDAILY 10/22/2014 5:01PM

    Another awesome menu! Pray tell, how does one make cupcake tin pork pies, and how many can one eat?

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JAMIRBLAZE 10/22/2014 8:45AM

    Love In This Moment. "Sick Like Me" is definitely in high rotation at the moment on my Spotify. I like some of the screaming metal at times, but I have to be in the mood. Usually while lifting or running, but not always.

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 10/21/2014 10:12PM

    Love that song!

Thanks for the recommendation!

XOXO

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WISHICOULDFLY 10/21/2014 3:27PM

    OK. I'll come stand with you. But I don't wanna bleed or die. OK? emoticon

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ARRREAGLES 10/21/2014 2:46PM

    with you as the general? Yeah. I'll run through the field screaming and firing my gun.

Thanks for the awesome pep talk!

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GSEATON 10/21/2014 2:35PM

    I kinda was a metal girl, back in the Metallica day, lol. Death metal is NOT for me. Just total screaming and thrash. Love your menus too! Hugs from SP mama!~

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CATTUTT 10/21/2014 2:17PM

    Love the lyrics of that song!

And you are right, the war is with ourselves. I like to blame other things... especially my diabetes... but the war is with me.

Your menu sounds delectable, as always!

Hope you're having a great Tuesday!

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First World Problems

Friday, October 17, 2014

Yeah. It's me again.

I have a serious first world problem.

My name is Andrea. I'm 33 years old. And I have no clue how to dress my body.

*the crowd murmurs "hi Andrea"*

Okay so maybe that's not entirely true. What I mean is I have no CONFIDENCE in dressing my body. I hem and haw and spend hours if not days mulling over whether or not a fashion choice I make actually looks good, or if I am secretly making a giant joke out of myself.

This week my problem is my skinny jeans. I like them, a lot, and I think they look cute on me... BUT... it's getting colder... and the flats I've been wearing them are old and tattered and too big. I need replacement shoes. I WANT shoes that are a) cute, b) good for daily wear including walking the dog, and c) cover me up enough for fall.

I found a pair of ankle boots that were cute. I tried them on. They were all of the above except... I'm not sure they GO WITH THE SKINNY JEANS. And what bugs me the most about it is I CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHY. There is an itty bitty gap between the top of the boots and the bottom of the jeans. My skinnies are long. I'm not sure if that tiny gap should be there or not! ARGH. I DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M DOING!



I think I'm fine with the actual clothing part... but... shoes? I feel like a lost puppy. Maybe I should just snag another pair of flats not dissimilar to my old ones. *sigh* Maybe I should stop wearing skinny jeans. HOW DID I GET TO MY 30s WITHOUT LEARNING THIS STUFF?! (I mean, I *know* how. My adoptive mom was a tomboy and so is my birth mom. ARGH. No wonder people wear Uggs and flipflops all the time. It helps you avoid making an actual shoe choice. *sigh*) I think it's ridiculous that it's upsetting me. I'm just feeling like there's a fine line between someone my age looking casual cute and someone my age looking like they're trying to be a teenager.

I guess I should have taken a picture and asked you guys. I was just kind of tired and upset and frustrated and it took me five years to convince my husband that you DO NOT WEAR WHITE ATHLETIC SOCKS WITH BLACK MEN'S DRESS SHOES, so he is quite literally NO HELP. "You look good even if you just wear a paper bag, dear." It's a very sweet sentiment but it doesn't help me decide anything.

I am super insecure about shoes.

I'm not really looking for help just need to vent.

A lot of the problem is $$$. If I had unlimited funds I would have a much easier time of it. But with the repairs to my car, and the new car, and Christmas coming... it's just stressing me.

Sorry for the down note post, peeps. It's amazing what will set me off these days. I'm so totally cool, calm and collected about so many things but then it comes to clothes and I'm like OH MAH GAWD WHAT DO I DO. Haha.

Anyway, thanks for letting me get it out. emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

POMATOJUICE 10/22/2014 1:11PM

    I would have all sorts of opinions with a pic! Honestly, though, for where you live, you could get away with all sorts of kinds of boots. I freaking love boots. Fall is for boots! Ankle boots, mid calf, knee high! Invest in a pair you like& you can wear them over skinny jeans, leggings, or with skirts!

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VERSESTHATHURT 10/21/2014 10:00AM

    So... I have a Gwynnie Bee subscription and one of the extra perks is the pictures of the models wearing the clothes. Even if that particular item isn't something I like, seeing what shoes, jewelry, etc that they paired with it is helpful. Because I also have no idea how to dress myself.

And, I really want some boots and/ankle boots but my legs are so freaking huge I don't even know if wide-calf would get the job done. It makes me sad.

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AHTRAP 10/20/2014 10:55PM

    What if the 'dress' shoes are more like work shoes/loafers? Are white socks okay then? All these silly rules to remember...

hope you've solved your dilemma

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FINCHFEEDER80 10/20/2014 2:39PM

    P.S. Ran into a girl in the kitchen here at work who was wearing ankle length jeans and ankle boots. She was showing a little skin, if that helps you at all.

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UNSWEETMAMA 10/20/2014 11:42AM

    I wear Crocs every day. So, yeah. I'm wouldn't be any help if you were asking for it.

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FINCHFEEDER80 10/20/2014 9:50AM

    I am honestly no help at all. I also have a 29" inseam so it is extrodinarily rare that I have this problem. I enjoy wearing skinny jeans as well but I don't have any ankle length boots. Those seem to never really come in no or low heels. I have several mid calf, and I am always in search of a knee high pair I can actually zip up over my big old man calves. I'm going to go with everyone else, if you like the way it looks, it's comfortable and makes you happy, then roll with it. I think when you exude confidence and you own what you are wearing, then no one gives is a second thought! I would be such a shoe hound if I had unlimited funds!

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ANNABELLISABEL 10/19/2014 8:50PM

    Wear what you like! If you don't love that the boots don't cover your jeans, maybe opt for mid-calf boots, do what you're comfortable in.

My fiance says the same paper-bag line, so sweet but totally not what I'm asking for! lol.



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SGTCUPCAKE 10/18/2014 1:43PM

    I was curious about ankle boots too now that you mentioned it. Here is this blogger's suggestions:

http://sarahsre
allife.com/2014/01/10/how-to-we
ar-ankle-boots-part-deux/

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SGTCUPCAKE 10/18/2014 1:34PM

    Can you take pictures? I'm a bit of a fashionista and I get compliments daily on the clothes that I put together. It may sound like I'm bragging...but if you had seen how i dressed in high school (addidas pants and XXL t shirts...I didn't even own a real bra), I have come a LONG LONG LONG way. I'm a meaty girl, with thick thighs but I have learned how to balance skinny jeans with my top half without looking like a total pear. I personally think that ankle boots can be a little difficult to pull off if you are not rail thin (just my opinion).Would love to see a picture if you can take one.

Also, are you on pinterest? I get a lot of outfit ideas on pinterest. Here is my board:
http://www.pinterest.com/carly_
castro/class-n-sass/

By the way I have over 40 pairs of shoes so I like choices with skinny jeans :)
I like Knee boots with skinny jeans
Flats
Toms look great with skinny jeans too for a more casual look
Heels also work really well with skinny jeans BUT they are not really great for walking the dog

Let me know if you are not able to view the Pinterest board!

I agree with everyone else though, it IS about confidence. If you are unsure if the style you have put together may or may not work, then other people will sense it.


As for the money situation, how much can you afford to spend on a nice pair of LONG LASTING shoes?

Comment edited on: 10/18/2014 1:39:21 PM

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HONEYBEESBLISS 10/18/2014 1:00PM

    P.S. I pinterested it and found out that you ARE supposed to have a gap in some way most of the time with ankle boots...some people say it's wrong to have the jeans go over the boots but then there are others who say that's not wrong either...very subjective but at least I have more ideas for wearing mine!!! HAHAHAHAHA Mostly the secret is to not make your ankles look fat...if you do that you are correct no matter what you do. LOL ;-D

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CATTUTT 10/18/2014 12:56PM

    I fully sympathize with you and not wanting to look like you're trying to be a teenager. I feel so torn between not wanting to look older than I am, but not wanting to look like I"m trying to hard to hang on to lost youth. It IS really frustrating.

Hope today is a better day!

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HONEYBEESBLISS 10/18/2014 12:27PM

    LOL I'm not sure if the gap would be bad or not, but I am going to take a (what I think is) educated guess and say it's probably not an issue since lately there's a trend of rolling up the hem of pants to make a gap between your pants and shoes AND because there are ankle length jeans too that also create that gap on purpose. So I believe that it does work. Also I've seen them pair those shoes with dresses or shorts which to me feels weird but I think it looks cute on others, but on me nah...maybe 'cause I'm short I feel like it cuts me off weirdly.

Also from what I see of fashion watching things like Project Runway it's more about personal style than anything else. Sure there's always gonna be "guru's" who might say this or that is right and this or that is wrong but really for the average person it doesn't really matter. Plus I might have bad "taste" myself since some things I LOVE of PR and the judges won't like!!! HA! So who knows in a way. I think it's more subjective than anything else and things that used to be perfect fashion sense are now no-no's! Like they will roast a designer who is too matchy-matchy with accessories, yet I can't help but match most of the time so does that mean I have bad taste? Maybe if I was trying to be a designer on Project Runway!!! LOL But I'm me, you are you, and basically we all get to wear what we think looks awesome and own it! So if you love it rock it!!! If you hate it ditch it! But I don't think you have to fear looking like a teen, your taste is not teen taste so I don't think you'll accidentally do it, you'd have to go shopping in the juniors section and put on the loud crop tops with bow in the back with a huge opening in the back so that you can't wear a bra and tight loud leggings with those ankle boots to look like you are trying to be a teen!!! HAHA Mostly it's some of the more teen prints that you have to worry about, and also the junior stuff tends to be really revealing too. So don't worry about it so much and just do what feels awesome to you! It's about expressing YOU.

Also I wouldn't mind seeing a photo if you wanted to post one!

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WISHICOULDFLY 10/18/2014 11:12AM

    What a fabulous problem to have. No more "what makes me not look as fat" to "What fashion combo do I like the best on my smokin' hot bod?" emoticon on replacing fat woes with fashion ones! emoticon I want to have these "problems" too!

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 10/18/2014 8:20AM

    LOL! I love hearing about such "problems" my dear.

You legs are looking amazing on the photos so you may not want to cover them up, but every consider a pair of long boots? So many cute options for that.

Or, just go with the tried and true flats!

Let us know what happens. The suspense is killing me....

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BUBBLEJ1 10/18/2014 4:03AM

    I wear my skinny jeans with my sketchers. In fact, I wear everything with my sketchers, including a maxi dresses. I almost wore a white pair on my wedding day, but my bridesmaid had a fit and told me not to. I'm on my 3rd pair and I think they are the best shoe in the whole world. I don't know if I'm fashionable or not. My critics are 5 and think that I'm the best thing since sliced bread.

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ICEDEMETER 10/17/2014 11:22PM

    OK, first of all, keep in mind the one thing that makes any outfit look like a great fashion statement: CONFIDENCE. When you put something on and look in the mirror and think "oh yeah - I'm rockin' this", then you're good to go! What is currently in style, or supposedly more suitable for a different generation, or whatever other thing is totally irrelevant - if you love how YOU look in it, then it is YOUR style.

The best way to be confident in an outfit is to feel totally comfortable in it, and to know that it is suitable for where you are. You wouldn't want to be wearing that hot anniversary dress and heels to walk the dog - but a pair of skinny jeans and a pair of comfortable booties? Yup, perfect.

You didn't get that feeling from those particular boots paired with your skinny jeans, so I'd be inclined to keep looking until you get the ones that you instantly love.

Personally, I'm old and chill easily, so wouldn't go for the "gap" between boots and jeans simply from the perspective that I would get cold. A pair of high wool socks would fix that quite nicely. That said - I love boots and have everything from hikers to knee-high stiletto, and wear ankle-boots with my skinny jeans (usually the ones with 1-1/2" heels), but mine go just high enough that there is no gap.

If you're still looking, then try some low-calf height boots, with a 1" riding heel --- comfortable enough to wear all day, even standing on concrete, but can go easily with any leg-width on a pant, or with a skirt or dress. When you find the "right" ones, you'll know it - with no question!

This whole "dressing the new body" thing does have its challenges...


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SCRAPPYGAMBLER 10/17/2014 10:40PM

  If the ankle boots/or skinny jeans were too short add a pair of long (thick) socks! I always wear a pair of Timberlands with a long pair of socks over my skinny jeans. They just look like they belong together also...what about gym shoes?

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LIVEDAILY 10/17/2014 10:07PM

    Breathe. This, too, shall pass.

A wee bit of advice: wear what YOU like wearing.

I love Crocs flip flops. I own a pair in navy, black, turquoise, red, yellow, lime green, pink, and purple. I won't wear them to school, but they're on my feet the minute I get home. I have a pair of dusty red cowboy boots, low. 2 pairs of Minnetonka moccasins, navy and brown. THREE pairs of sneakers/running shoes/athletic shoes. One pair of chucks, low tops. 1 pair of winter hiking/snow boots. What do I wear to school EVERY. SINGLE. Day? The athletic shoes, simply because my school is a 4 story building, and on any given day I can walk up and down the stairs of all 4 floors at least once and I HAVE to have comfortable, supportive shoes on my feet. Personally, I cannot comprehend how women wear heels all day, but that's me. If my feet are happy, then I'm a happy camper.

If you like wearing flats, then go and buy another pair of flats! TJMaxx, Marshalls, Kohls, and HomeGoods often have great shoes for less (that's where I got my Minnetonkas, 'cause there was no way I was going to pay $70 for a pair of leather flats!!) Flats look cute with jeans!

The ankle boots were probably just fine. Have you tried getting jeans in a "tall" size? They'd be a bit longer for you, and you might have enough play with the length that you could tuck them in a bit, inside the boot. But then I've seen women wear ankle boots with skirts - so, again, it's wearing what YOU like.

Yours Hubs is a sweetie.

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I've Become "That Person"

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

You know. That person who loves working out. That person who thinks sweat is an accomplishment.

When did this happen?

It must have been slow and over time. Or maybe... just maybe... I really have found the workout that I truly love.

I know you guys have heard me ramble about my kettlebell and how much I love it. More than a month later and it's still true. I've stepped up my workout twice already! I bought my new best friend on September 2nd and have gone from doing an 8 minute workout to doing a 30 minute workout with 30 minutes of abs. I work out for an HOUR now three days a week. WTH?! And I FREAKING LOVE IT.

My weight is up, but my measurements are not up, so it's got to be muscle or water or something. I feel stronger, I am stronger, and it has been mentioned to me that I have more definition, even if I don't see it. My clothes certainly don't feel tighter, so I can't be screwing it up!

I did my first session of my new workout this morning. And I was SWEATY.




Look at my back!

I also had sweat rolling down my neck.

When I was fat, I hated sweating. It was gross. Now it's an achievement, a goal.

This is just more evidence that we all need to find the things we LOVE to do, and then it doesn't feel like work(ing out).

I love hiking, I love kettlebells. I'm going to just keep on doing what I love.

YOU CAN DO IT TOO!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMONEKP 10/17/2014 12:37PM

    emoticon

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LOLATURTLE 10/16/2014 9:47AM

    Yay! I miss doing weights and such. Maybe I'll look for a routine I can do with just my two lame-o dumbbells I have at home. I love the pool, but the weight room at my gym is pretty sad. haha!

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AHTRAP 10/16/2014 9:14AM

    I must admit, I'm a little jealous that you've joined the ranks of those who have found your *thing*.

And while I applaud you becoming one of 'those people' (read in a snooty British accent, for best effect), one question remains - have you named your kettlebell?

I'm pretty sure that's the final step of irrevocable crossing over to the other side.

Hope I can join you and the rest some day :)

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LIVEDAILY 10/16/2014 3:18AM

    emoticon

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WEBEZE 10/16/2014 2:03AM

    That is so awesome that you found what you Love. I am still trying to find mine.

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ECCOVISION1 10/15/2014 9:09PM

    emoticon emoticon
That same passion is happening to me! I just love doing Pilates with resistance bands!

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STEPH-KNEE 10/15/2014 8:43PM

    You are emoticon emoticon

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READYRISA 10/15/2014 7:35PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MADMANSMAMA87 10/15/2014 6:07PM

    Awesome Job, Doll!!!
YOU are FABULOUS!!!
Hugs,

Jes

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MSBBYTHEBAY 10/15/2014 4:26PM

    emoticon

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FORZACHANDMATT 10/15/2014 3:36PM

    This is so inspiring!! So glad you found kettlebell - do you do your own thing or a class somewhere? And I sweat a TON too - I used to think it was gross too but now feel the way you do :)

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ARRREAGLES 10/15/2014 3:27PM

    I am going to agree with Cattutt and say it's awesome for you to embrace what gets you going. There is something so empowering about finding something you really enjoy doing, and then doing it. I mean, no one can say this is the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do, because you are the one who gets to reap the rewards and look amazing all the while doing it.

Great job, and keep doing what you're doing. It's amazing to be a part of it, just to read and enjoy the enthusiasm and excitement and joy.

BADASS!

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FOR_THE_DUDES 10/15/2014 3:18PM

    You should combine your passions. Do kettlebells in the woods! With Bingley! Seriously, another great, great blog.

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WIFE48 10/15/2014 3:01PM

    emoticon emoticon

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WISHICOULDFLY 10/15/2014 2:43PM

    AH. I want to join this club. I need to clear kettlebells with my physical therapist - maybe after my rotator cuff is better.I am so happy for you and glad that you kept with it. You are an inspiration!

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HONEYBEESBLISS 10/15/2014 2:36PM

    LOL It's weird to join the love it club when you used to be in the hate it club! LOL And it's awesome feeling to love it!
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CATTUTT 10/15/2014 2:34PM

    It's so bad ass that you've found what really gets you going. That's awesome! I'm kind of feeling that way about yoga, even though I have a LONG way to go to get good at it. And a whole half hour of abs blows my mind, so good job!

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MINEA999 10/15/2014 2:14PM

    I know what you mean! For the last 3 months, I've been doing a free weight and body weight exercise routine - a one hour workout designed by a trainer (and changed every 6 weeks for variety) - two to three times a week. And I've been going to kickboxing 3 times a week. And every time, I soak through my clothes. I used to hate it, but now that I've discovered I actually LIKE the weight lifting and kickboxing, it feels great. Like I've really accomplished something after an hour.

I haven't really lost any weight, but my shape is changing, people have mentioned it. And I'm feeling very 'strong' now.

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FINCHFEEDER80 10/15/2014 1:49PM

    Welcome to the club. The "I love to sweat" club! emoticon

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NETGYRL 10/15/2014 1:47PM

    Awesome! I know I have a kettlebell around here somewhere...

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100-lb Lost Reward Hike

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

(This blog brought to you in part by The Tea Party's "Luxuria")

I want to dwell in yesterday a little longer. I want to remember the overcast, cool day, the mountains and trees and sky, the moist chill in the air, the mist on my face as we sat by the pond.

The day started out slow. Mondays are bells days for me, and I really love bells day. I have a routine now. Up at 5, coffee, reading, maybe get some bookkeeping work done, have some nuts to get some energy. Around 6:15, get on my workout clothes, setup the PS3 to play YouTube, get my video set up, fill my water cup. I get my bell out in the middle of the floor and tie my sneakers. And then I work up a sweat. But this Monday didn't start like that, because I was finally, after 10 months of waiting, doing my 100-lb lost reward hike.

I took my time and packed my backpack: two bottles of water, homemade trailmix (half ounce of cocktail peanuts, 8 Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips, 3 dried apricots), a Lemon Zest Luna Bar, a small apple, an umbrella, a sleeveless vest, a pair of leather gloves, some Wet Ones, a small pocket knife, my sunglasses, and of course my phone to take pictures. I had made two cds of podcasts: The Instance and StarTalk Radio. I walked Bingley, hopped in the car, popped in the cd of The Instance, and got rolling. I wanted something more than music to accompany me on the hour and fifteen minute drive up the NJ Turnpike, something to distract my thoughts.
The drive was smooth, despite going through major construction, and as I drove from exit 3 to exit 9 I was pleased to see the state had planned wildflowers in pinks, whites and purples along the 'Pike as part of a beautification project. Which is a good thing, considering most people traveling through NJ travel this road, as it is also route 95, which as far as I know goes from Maine to Miami. So when people talk about NJ being cruddy, this is the drive they're talking about. I saw license plates from Texas, Illinois, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Kentucky and a few more I can't remember.

I made it to my bestie's house and then she took over the driving. We stopped in Chester to have brunch, where I thoroughly enjoyed a Monte Cristo, which is one of my diner favorites. We chatted a lot: the sorts of conversations the ladies on Sex and the City often have, the type of stuff you can only really talk about with a bestie, with whom you can talk about almost anything. It wasn't far to the trail from there: we stopped at the visitors center to grab maps then drove to the Douglas Trail parking lot. After a quick pee break we headed up the trail!


(The beginning)


(Looking back the way we came)


(The freakin' colors)


(The giant stump)

I was super excited because I really wanted to compare it to the last time I did the same hike. It was October 2011, and I was 275 lbs. Yesterday I was around 165. So 110 lbs lighter than the last time. The difference was awesome. I can't remember too much of the hike from before, only that it took us almost 50% longer. We stopped a lot more the first time. The ascent was challenging, but not terribly difficult. We had to stop a few times for bestie to catch her breath, and she hikes frequently! I didn't feel like I *had* to stop, but the breaks were nice. I guess all the working out I've been doing has been conditioning me. On the way we saw a huge tree that had fallen, the base of which was taller than my 5'2" tall bestie. Further along we came by a stream. We climbed the 1150 foot elevation in about an hour and 15 minutes, moving from Douglas Trail to the Appalachian Trail and reaching Sunfish Pond. Once at Sunfish Pond we sat on a nice stone bench and ate snacks and chatted a while before traversing the rockiest part of our route, which was the part of the AT that skims the edge of Sunfish Pond. The rocks are large and loose, and you need to be careful, but there are trees close to the edge of the trail we used to help us move safely. Near the end of the section of the AT we were planning to follow is an area where people build little structures out of the stones. It was getting late, so we didn't stop to look. We finished the AT portion of the trail, and turned at Garvey Springs Trail.


(the stream)






(The colors of garnet and peridot)


(Appalachian Trail sign)


(craggy rocks)


(on the AT)


(Sunfish Pond Sign)


(Sunfish Pond from the bench)


(bestie with lichen covered rocks)


(rock structures)

Garvey Springs Trail is very steep, and it was slick from the leaves and the mist, and the rocks are loose. Yet I managed to make it to the bottom without injuring myself, which is a small miracle considering I fell twice and I am a super mega klutzoid. Like, seriously. I could be standing still and lose my balance. I blame it on having a ton of ear infections as a child and being top heavy. *shrugs* So the worst injury I sustained was a teensy tiny scratch on my ringfinger from a thorny bush. The descent, like I said, was difficult: I could really feel it in my knees and thighs, and I was a bit afraid of breaking a kneecap!
We got back to the car around 4 PM, making the round trip just over 3 hours. Not bad for 5+ miles and 1150 feet of elevation I don't think. I got home just after 7 PM and enjoyed a nice bowl of homemade chili, which was perfect considering I was chilled and tired. And let me tell you, a hot shower feels AMAZEBALLS after a long hike.


(red blaze)

Today I'm just relaxing as much as possible, and right this second I'm enjoying "Coco Paradise" from Graze, which is Belgian Milk Chocolate, Coconut and Dried Cranberries. Yum! The only plan for tonight is to manage to stay awake long enough to watch Agents of Shield.

Here's the menu for the rest of the week:

Tues: Chicken Paillards in Lemon Butter Sauce with White Rice and a Veggie
Weds: Open Faced Roast Beef Sandwiches w/ Mashed Potatoes and a Veggie
Thurs: Chili Spaghetti
Friday: Buffalo Chicken Thighs w/ Crudite and Baked Potatoes
Saturday: Soup, Grilled Cheese and Tossed Salad

SIDE NOTE: Tori Amos' "Mother" just came on my Spotify and my god how beautiful is her voice in the chorus?
Mother the car is here
Somebody leave the light on
Black chariot for the redhead DANCING dancing girl
He's gonna change my name
Maybe you'll leave the light on
Just in just in case I like the dancing I can remember where I come from


Hope your week is going well!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIMONEKP 10/17/2014 12:33PM

    looks like a great hike

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LOLATURTLE 10/16/2014 9:45AM

    How did I miss this awesome blog??

Congrats on your amazing, beautiful, fun hike!

And, of COURSE, on your 110 pound loss!

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AHTRAP 10/16/2014 9:31AM

    Ooh, ooh, Tea Party...fantastic band! Funny thing, I just looked up to see if there was any recent news (since they called it quits ten years ago, after Seven Circles), and apparently, they're back (and have been active-ish since 2011??), new album out last month, and going on tour in Canada next month. (closest show on US Thanksgiving, sadly). Their original base was across the river from Detroit, but I never managed to catch them live back in the day.

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LIVEDAILY 10/16/2014 3:31AM

    Beautiful hike! Thanks for sharing such a special event with us!

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HONEYBEESBLISS 10/15/2014 10:41AM

    Your hike sounded wonderful!!! So happy for you that you got to do it!

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WISHICOULDFLY 10/15/2014 9:35AM

    I am so happy for you that you had this wonderful day with your friend making beautiful memories. This hike will stay with you for a long time refreshing your spirit. What a beautiful way to reward yourself for reaching your goals. emoticon

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ARRREAGLES 10/15/2014 5:03AM

    What they said. Only with exclamation marks.

!!!!!

Love those amazeballs times. Go you!

Thanks for sharing!

:)

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SWEDE_SU 10/15/2014 4:28AM

    sounds like a beautiful hike, thanks for sharing!

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WEBEZE 10/15/2014 2:18AM

    What a beautiful hike. So nice to have a bestie to go with.

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CATTUTT 10/14/2014 9:28PM

    I am so excited to read this blog! The photos were fantastic and it looked like a beautiful trail. And I"m so glad to hear it was easier and more enjoyable this time. I hope it was worth the waiting you've been doing for it, although it sounds like it was. What a great experience to share with your bestie, and as a reward to yourself for all you've done.

Tori Amos is a taste I have acquired as I have gotten older. Didn't like her when I was young, now I love her. I'm weird. lol

Hope you're having a great night!

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ECCOVISION1 10/14/2014 9:05PM

    What a beautiful hike!
That is such a great reward for losing 100 pounds!
The great pictures inspire me to take a hike with my best friend Lila.

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FOR_THE_DUDES 10/14/2014 8:45PM

    No hyperbole here. This is the best and most inspiring blog I've seen on here. I absolutely love this 100 pound reward. You've mentioned it many times before, but seeing you do it, feeling your pride...I have to follow your footsteps. I'm going to sit down and consider what my 100 pound reward will be. (Still have 41 pounds to go.) I'm rooting for you. I'm celebrating with you. I'm savoring this victory with you.

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SPEDED2 10/14/2014 7:28PM

    Beautiful fall photos.

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BA5454 10/14/2014 6:51PM

    Gorgeous pics and super job on the hike! Love fall and hiking ;-). emoticon emoticon

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MSBBYTHEBAY 10/14/2014 5:44PM

    Your hike sounds amazing and your joyful face in the picture is lovely.

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NETGYRL 10/14/2014 5:15PM

    Your hike sounds like it was awesome! I am so glad you finally go to do it. Thanks for all the photos, it was fun to see as well and read about your adventure. Have a great week.

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JAMIRBLAZE 10/14/2014 5:01PM

    Great pictures - looks like an awesome trip! And yep, 95 ends in Miami on the southern end where I have been many times. Haven't made it to the northern end yet.

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MINEA999 10/14/2014 4:53PM

    Looks like a gorgeous hike - fall hiking is the best because of the colours! One day I'm going to have to make it out that way.



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GRACEOMALLEY 10/14/2014 4:48PM

    Gorgeous hike on a perfect hiking day and you definitely deserved this! You are rightfully proud of what you've accomplished and how far you have come! emoticon
Thanks for the pictures - and the travelogue and for sharing your outing with us!

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FORZACHANDMATT 10/14/2014 4:42PM

    This blog makes me so happy because I can feel your happiness - about being healthy and more fit and the fact that the reward is the hike - way to go! You are inspiring and the pictures are beautiful!

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JADED_CHICK19 10/14/2014 4:27PM

    Love the photos and congrats on an amazing job reaching 100+ pounds loss and on your celebratory hike!

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FINCHFEEDER80 10/14/2014 4:26PM

    This is totally something my bestie and I would do! Glad you had a great time, and thanks for sharing your pics. I hope you have a wonderful week as well!

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UNSWEETMAMA 10/14/2014 4:24PM

    What a fantastic reward for your achievement and comparison to how you did "before".

Thank you for the pretty pictures and for taking us along.
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(Edited for spelling. Doh.)

Comment edited on: 10/14/2014 4:25:05 PM

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