Where Are You Airdrie?

The creative arts are the measure and reflection of our civilization. They offer many children an opportunity to see life with a larger perspective…The moral values we treasure are reflected in the beauty and truth that is emotionally transmitted through the arts. The arts say something about us to future generations. – Ann P. Khan

Dear Airdrie,

Where are you?

You say you’re an arts town, a town that supports the arts, but where are you?  Where are you when professional artists fill the stage at Bert Church Theatre with their unique sound?  Where are you when Airdrie’s youth take the stage to show off their budding talent?  Where are you when local musicians bare their soul in haunting melodies and upbeat choruses?  Where are you when local artists proudly display their works of art?  Where are you when local playwrights present their original pieces?  Arts is an integral part of any community, but like anything, if a community doesn’t use it, or appreciate it, the community will lose it.  Arts have been in your community for years.

The arts are at AIRScares.  The arts are at Airdrie Zombie Cup.  The arts are at Dine for a Difference.  The arts are at Empty Bowls.  The arts are at Colour Me Red.  The Arts are at Relay for Life.  The arts are at Race for Kids.  The art are at the Mayor’s Run.  The arts were at the Alberta Summer Games. The arts shop local.  The arts eat local.  The arts support the community.  But where is the community for the arts?

Art is more than just what it can do for you.  Art is more than entertaining at an already established event.  Art is more than just donating a song, an album, a painting, some tickets.

This community needs to give back to the arts.  A community gives back with time.  Take the time to listen to the songs, look at the painting, the photograph, the carving.  Take the time to sit and be taken away by actors on the stage.  Take the time.

A community giving back is not always about what money can be spent.  Members of community arts groups love what they do, so it’s their money going in.  Did you know that?  If there’s a lack of sponsorship, events still happen; the cost is just dearer.  People who are in the arts believe in the arts, and will give to the arts their time, their resources, their everything.  It’s only when their everything doesn’t seem to be enough for a community who says they love the arts when people get discouraged and art becomes a trial.

Do you love the arts?  Or do you only like the arts when it can do something for you?

Volunteer Fatigue

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. – Cynthia Ozick

Volunteer fatigue.  It’s a thing.

All my life I’ve been a volunteer.  If things needed to be done, I was usually right there in the middle.  Some days I wished I could have done more, other days I wished more people would have done something.

But I’m tired.

Too often I’m seeing unfair and unrealistic expectations set on volunteers.  Just because one is volunteering does not mean they are not also professionals, but volunteers are often treated like after thoughts.  I’m not saying we should get our names in lights and a parade, but considering we’re giving up our time, and in some cases money, a certain level of respect is necessary.  Organizing volunteers is similar to herding cats.  It’s the last thing people think about, and why should people think about it?  After all, it’s not like we’re getting paid.

Another unfortunate thing about volunteers is that it’s a very small well.  It’s often the same volunteers at the same events.  It’s not sustainable.  What happens when the faithful volunteers get tired?  Nothing, because there’s no one to take up the mantle.  Tiredness turns into something more extreme, and when those volunteers “take a break”, they rarely come back.

That’s where I’m circling now.

I moved to Airdrie less than two years ago, but even before that, I was driving between Calgary and Airdrie to give my time, and I loved it.  Airdrie is a great town, with a great community.  I love seeing the community support each other, and I wanted to be a part of it.  Except, if I’m being completely honest, it’s a (small) portion of the community helping the larger community.  Which happens.  Not everyone is going to get on board.  Some people just want to go through life doing their own thing.  Diff’rent strokes, after all.

Communities are driven and shaped by not-for-profit organizations and associations.  It’s been great being involved in them, to see the change and improvement they bring.  But it’s also been detrimental.

I’ve been trying to build my own business, and I’m making some progress, but there’s a lot of things I do for free, that if I was getting paid for, there could be some positive changes in my own life.   Like I could actually afford to go on vacation, a much-needed, and at the risk of sounding immodest, much-deserved break.  I have my own dreams and goals, and for the past two years, they’ve been set aside for the good of the many (again, at the risk of sounding immodest).

I’m trying really hard to be level-headed as I write this, because I made the choice to volunteer, and as I said, I like it.  And one does not volunteer to get anything in return, other than the warm feeling in your cockles for doing good.  But to every action, there is a reaction, right?  So what’s the “reaction” to volunteering?  Here’s what it’s been in my experience:  the expectation to do more.  Not, “hey, I acknowledge that you took time to do this for me, and thanks”, but “hey, I need you this day, then this day, then this day.  You can do it, right?”  No.  I can’t do it.  Not anymore.

I find it hard to communicate how unbelievably hurt I was when the people I helped in the past 2-3 years couldn’t find the time to check out my show.  (Conversely, the people who volunteered: Stephanie, Joey, Lindsay, and Alma filled me with joy).  But where were the rest of them?  It’s hard not to think that what I do, what I’m good at is all well and good as long as it fits your purposes, but if it has nothing to do with you, then people couldn’t care less.  So I’m hurt, and disappointed.  But, on the upside, it’s forced me to re-evaluate.  I need to take the time and figure out what I want for me.  Which is difficult, because that sentence sounds super selfish, but I need to take the time for me.  How can I help others at the expense of myself?  It seems counter-productive.

This summer, I’m taking the time to discover what is good for me, and that’s going to mean potentially disappointing people.  That’s learning to say “no”.  And it’s also learning to say “good-bye”.  Perhaps more people will step up if the faithful step back, as hard as that is.

I’m still going to be active in Airdrie’s community; I wouldn’t be who I am if I wasn’t, but it’s going to be different.  Airdrie has a community of 50,000.  How many of them volunteer?  Remember, many hands make light work.  And an invested community is a strong community.

If you want to volunteer, but don’t know where to start, check out local volunteer agencies in your community.  For those of you in Airdrie, check out Volunteer Airdrie.

The End

It’s over! – Strongbad

Last week marked the end of the AirdrieLIFEstyle Challenge.  In January, 4 groups set off on a path to better health and fitness.  I had intended to blog my thoughts far more often than I did, but for various reasons, declined.  I did, however, have to mark the ending with one final entry.    I struggled with whether I should, because not everything I have to say is positive, but I am a believer that the truth is the truth, and even great things can have some negative aspects, and that they shouldn’t be hidden under a rug.

It is not my intention to insult, or point fingers, or lay blame.  I am speaking from my experiences, and mine only.

What I didn’t tell a lot of people when we first started this journey is that I almost quit before I began.  As most of you know, my schedule is a bit north of insane.  That being said, when I commit to things, I commit.  And I committed to this challenge.  Trying to figure out group exercises within my schedule was difficult.  But we did it.  I rearranged some of my calendar.  But before that, I was asked how I could ever do this.  I was told my partner was invested and that I better not let her down.  It seemed to me that my schedule was indicative of lack of true commitment, which couldn’t have been further from the truth.  Yes, my schedule was a little hectic, but I was trying to make it work.  I rearranged, I sacrificed, and I invested, and for the first couple of weeks, I was worried that my partner was disappointed she was paired with me.  Of course, if I had just talked to her, and told her all that had been said before we even started, everything would have been cleared up.

It was a little difficult.  Due to scheduling, I wasn’t at Monday workouts, so I felt like I was the odd man out (something that never really left me – to the fault of no one).

About halfway through the challenge, a group bowed out.   It was an individual choice for both of them, and while I was sad I wouldn’t see them at the gym, I understood.  Sometimes when we try to change our life for the better roadblocks pop up and there are times we aren’t equipped to hurdle them.  Just because they’re not at the gym, however, doesn’t mean they’re not working on a better lifestyle.  They’re just doing it in a different manner.  Different means to the same end.

That meant there was 3 groups left, and 1 of them was a group in name only – they weren’t part of the official challenge.  It was direct “competition”, and I don’t do well with that (mostly because historically speaking, I don’t win).  But we were still working away, and losing weight/inches.

I will say, that while I like being a girl most of the time, if we could switch genders any time we wanted, I’d want to be a dude during weight loss.  Sam was incredible!  A legitimate work-out beast, and he saw and is seeing great results!  I swear some of the times, he was just thinking of losing weight and poof! off if would go.  He’s doing the Spartan this summer, so all who are doing that, keep an eye on this guy!

About ¾ of the way through, I got injured.  There was a pinched nerve in my shoulder, and it took a couple of weeks and massage appointments to get it back to fighting form.  I’m still having trouble with it, but I’ve learned I’ve been doing some exercises wrong, which may have exacerbate it in the first place, so I’m confident it’ll be 100% soon.

There was drama.  A LOT of drama.  There were hurtful things said.  The fellowship was broken.

The last week with our original trainer was my performance week not only for my kids’ classes, but for my own show, so I wasn’t able to get to the gym.  When we first started, we took measurements.  When we don’t see results on the scale, more often than not, we see results on the measuring tape.  I missed out on that final measuring, so I don’t really have a full indication of how well I did in that 3 months, and I’m little bummed about that.  Yes, I know the blue team didn’t win the competition, but I didn’t really care about that.  I paid for a year’s membership about 3 weeks before the challenge was over.  Yes, it would have been nice to not pay for three extra months, but before I was even chosen to be a participant in this challenge, I had been planning to get a gym membership.  That’s just a roundabout way of saying I want to know how many inches I lost, but that number is forever lost to me.

But it’s not all bad news.  My partner and I are still working out together, with a new trainer.  Something I thought that was disappointing about this challenge is that there’s no transition period.  It’s work out classes 3 times a week, then when it’s over, we’re pushed out of the nest.  Even though the blue team didn’t win the big prize, we’ve committed to our journey in the long term, so our push out the nest isn’t so bad.  In fact, I’m enjoying it more.  Yes, there’s accountability, yes there’s challenging exercises, but there isn’t the “this is over in 3 months so then what do I do?” thought hanging over my head.

I’m still not sure I’m glad I joined the challenge.  I’m glad at the direction my health and fitness journey has taken.  I’m glad I’ve met some great people – people who will continue to encourage me, but sometimes the interim was not was I expecting.  And that interim was so disheartening at times that it made me question everything.

But here I am.  Before and after.  I have had people come up to me and tell me how wonderful I look, and that’s all the encouragement I need to continue doing this.  I am far more confident.  I’m going for things I never would have before.  My dreams have become bigger, but also tangible. PhotoGrid_1397353469088

And our group.  Some of us might not see each other again.  We might see each other in passing, and give a friendly nod, or a smile.  We might have coffee dates for years to come.  But whatever happens in the future, we will always have those 3 months of struggle, of minor defeat, and major success.  We saw ourselves stretch our level of ability to unimaginable lengths.  And we didn’t die, so there’s a plus.  I know this journey isn’t over for any of us, so good luck, keep pushing, and don’t quit.

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How Do You Support the Arts?

Every artist was first an amateur. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is art to you?

It could be a photograph, a movement piece, a song, a poem, a painting, a drawing, a garden, a novel.  The list can go on and on and we still would never see the end of it.  That’s the beauty of art.  It is all encompassing, surrounding us all, in all we say and do.  Art shows us our culture.  It reminds us of who we are.  It tells us what we are doing today, and who we can become tomorrow.  If we don’t have art, how can we as a people, know who we are?

In this age of grassroots movements, individuals and small groups are standing up for art and conveying it to the community at large.  There’s slam poetry groups, there’s art meetings, there’s community theatre, there’s writing clubs, and so much more.  They’re doing it because they are passionate about the medium, and their message, and they’re doing it so YOU will hear.

When then is it so difficult to find community members at these events?

Do you support the arts?  Sure, you may have voted for the individual or the political party who said they support the arts, but what about YOU?  Support is more than lip service.  Support is more than dropping some money at a fundraiser.  Support is going to the events, seeing what the artists have created, listening to their soul, and being a part of it all.  Maybe your life will be changed; maybe you’ll just have an an enjoyable evening with a friend or lover, or by yourself.

So where are you?

Where are you during local art gatherings?  Where are you during concerts held by local singer/songwriters?  Where are you during community theatre productions?  These people are telling your story.

We recently put on a show.  It ran for 3 nights and we didn’t break 70 people.  In a city of 50,000, we had less than 70 people show up.  Where were you?  Were you afraid about the content when you heard it was original?  Did you forget Shakespeare wrote original material for the Queen (and then King)? Did you miss news articles about the author being award-winning?  Did you miss the fact the author teaches drama to your children (and writes all their final performance pieces)?

What is holding you back from supporting your friends and neighbours as they pursue their passion?

This town is full of praise for the athletes who come from here, and rightfully so!  They have done great work and deserve our applause and our cheers.

So do our artists.  Artists invest just as much time and energy as our athletes; they sacrifice to create, they go without, they constantly strive for greatness.  And they achieve greatness.

Our artists work alongside other groups and charities, to use their talents to help with fundraisers, with awareness campaigns, with community development.  They are quickly forgotten in their own development.

Why is that?  Can anyone tell me?  Airdrie should have its own culture.  We have our own athletes making a name for themselves and Airdrie in the world.  Did you know our artists can do that as well? But we need the support of Airdronians to get there.

We are not just Calgary’s bedroom community.  We are our own community, with our own identity, and our artists are fighting against the stream to create a lasting memory.  Won’t you help them?

Support the arts, not just in words, not just in payments, but in deeds.  In attendance, in your time, in your life.

I close with a message from an audience member who came to see our show Saturday night:

I attended last night’s performance and I thought this play was great. The performers were wonderful. Airdrie you are fortunate to have such talented artists in your city. It is such a shame you do not support them. I live in Taber and we have the Taber Players here that perform twice per year. In a town of only 8000 people this group has a great following. Airdrie get out and support this talented group of play writers and actors. Volunteer some time and see what you have been missing!!!!!

 

 

 

Charity

That’s what I consider true generosity.  You give your all, and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing. – Simone de Beauvoir

I’m taking a break from blogging about my weight loss journey (although I hope to have a really fun announcement next week) to talk about something else.

Charity.

Easy to give, hard to ask.

A lot of the runs I did last year had an optional fundraising component.  For most of them, I opted against fundraising because I didn’t want to keep coming back to the same well.  I said to myself that this year, the only thing I’d ask for money for was the Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.  I haven’t met anyone who isn’t affected by cancer, and I wanted that to be it.

But things change.

I am involved in 3 events that I would like to fundraise for.  Instead of staggering it, and sending mass emails/facebook statuses out to everyone I know, I thought I would explain each event here – why I’m involved, who it helps, and how you can help.  Please know this isn’t meant to be a heavy handed attempt at getting funds.  I’m terrible at fundraising, so if you want to help, thank you very much.  If you don’t, that’s absolutely cool.  We can’t do it all!

So without further ado:

Colour Me Red

This is an event put on by Carter’s Quest for a Cure.  Carter’s Quest was started by Jen Ruklic, a mom in Airdrie who has a son with hemophilia.  Hemophilia is something I don’t often think about, and when I do, it’s usually in relation to the Romanovs.  To know this illness is still prevalent today, and there still isn’t a cure, despite all our technological advances is shocking.  Jen has worked tirelessly to raise awareness and funds to support the Canadian Hemophilia Society.  This isn’t a faceless disease.  A lot of us have seen pictures of Carter, or met him in person.  He’s a normal little boy who wants to do normal things without worrying if that bump on the noggin, or scrape on the knee will cause severe injury.  Colour Me Red is a hair-dying event.  There are several of us who have donated our coif to the cause.  On April 12, we will gather at The Hair Lounge and dye our hair red.  If you’d like to donate to myself or any of the other participants, you can follow this link.  There’s also a lot of opportunity to get involved.  Like Carter’s Quest on Facebook to stay up-to-date, and get information on upcoming events.

Race for Kids

I wasn’t going to do this.  I didn’t think I was ready to do a timed race with obstacles.  This event, sponsored by Capital One benefits local Boys and Girls Club.  I love the Boys and Girls Club of Airdrie.  I love all the people involved, and what they do.  I got involved last year for AIRScares, and I saw firsthand the good work they do.  Building up the next generation is very important to me, and I jump at the chance to be involved with them.  You can still register to be a part of the race, but if running isn’t for you, and you’d like to pledge toward my goal, you can follow this link.  If you’d like to volunteer for the race, or for other events, give them an email or a call.  Check out their programs too!

Relay for Life

Last year, a group of us signed up under the team name Nose Creek Players on the Block.  We’re keeping the name and doing it again this year.  The relay for life is an amazing event.  It’s a 12-hour overnight team relay, all to raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.  Here’s my pledge page if you’re interested in donating, or if you’d like to start your own team, or join one already in progress.  The memories you make will stay with you for a lifetime.

There’s obviously so many other events going on, so if you’d rather donate your time than your money, I encourage you to check out what’s going on in your area.

Running

I had run for 3 years, 2 months, 14 days, and 16 hours. – Forrest Gump

Last year I got involved in running.  It started with a group of us signing up for Colour Me Rad.  The concept of having colour bombs thrown at me while running elevated it higher than a normal run.  We signed up in February, and I said if I was going to be able to actually run for this, I would need to start training immediately.  Despite the cold weather, we started group running almost right away.  Last winter wasn’t as dreadful as this winter was, and the sidewalks and paths in Airdrie were maintained much better.   I wasn’t following any particular plan, but started slow.  Walk a minute and a half, and run a minute.  We figured out our loop and went for it.  Sometimes we went for the small one (just over 1K), and other times we went for the larger one (over 3K).  I enjoyed it.  I had always had running dreams, so I figured my body wanted to run.

All of a sudden I was signing up for runs all over the place: one a month.  I had done the Tour de Airdrie (that’s the proper name…I still maintain it should be Tour D’Airdrie), The Mayor’s Run, Relay for Life (which was more of a walk than a run), NStep run – to provide school supplies for kids, Colour me Rad, which had been postponed due to the flooding, Allies for Autism run, and finally the Superhero Run, which due to poor path marking resulted in my turning back too soon and running the fastest “5K” I had done.  I had signed up for the night run, but due to a very painful muscle strain, and a winter storm, was unable to run that one.  The muscle strain stopped me from running the Resolution Run as well.  I thought my days of running were over.  The massage therapist I saw said my knee transit was out of whack (layman’s terms) and it was very possible I would have pain in all my runs.

Last year, I had a ridiculous amount of injuries as well.  I hate talking about it, because it seems like I’m copping out.  When I first started running, I was using my very old New Balance walking shoes.  They were very comfortable, but probably not the best for the activity I was now using them for.  I started to get hip pain.  It soon became so bad, it would wake me up in my sleep, and I could barely walk.  During that time, I switched over to Merrill barefoot runners.  (Not the ones with the individual toes).  I also saw a physical therapist.  My IT band was extremely tight, so I needed to make sure to stretch a LOT better than I was after a run.  Gradually the shoes helped, and I believed having the barefoot runners was better aligning my stride, etc.  In early June, just as I was one the home stretch after a run, I got a muscle cramp.  It wasn’t one of those charlie horses you get when you sleep.  This was a cramp that rippled up and down my entire calf.  I hobbled the rest of the way home, and I was out for almost 3 weeks.  Around Canada Day, I began feeling a lump in my throat.  It might have been there before then, but I probably had ignored it, as I tend to do sometimes.  Eventually, it became visibly noticeable, and affecting my breathing – it felt like it was pressing on my larynx.  I had had something like this a few years ago, but it had “gone away”.  Now it was resurfacing with a vengeance.  I got the cyst taken care of, but I had lost a lot of momentum.  At the end of summer, my foot began bothering me.  Those barefoot runners may have been good for stride, but I needed a lot more shock absorbency than they offered.   Finally, just when I thought everything was going away, and I could start again, I got a muscle strain that caused so much pain, I could barely get in and out of my car.  That problem again eventually took care of itself, but since I didn’t know what caused it, I’m not sure if it could happen again.  The same is true with my calf cramps.  At just about every workout I do, they begin to form, and only by immediate action and stretching do I manage to keep them at bay.  I figured my running days were over.

But this year I signed up for Colour me Rad again.  It is just so fun.  And last year, I didn’t do much running during the course.  I hadn’t trained for dang hills!  I’ve been seeing so much momentum, and doing so many more things that I never thought I could do so I figured why not try running again.  I have told myself (and my running crew) that I won’t do as many as I had done last year, but it’s hard to stay away.

Saying that, I decided I have to be more consistent.  Last year, I never really got over the 1.5(walk):1(run).  Several times I tried the 1(walk):1.5(run), but I could never sustain it.  This year is going to be different.  Friday, I started using the Couch-to-5K app.  The first week (with 3 workouts/week) is the interval I am familiar with.  My goal, as I do each interval 3 times, is to gradually build up my pace.  For example, when I started Friday, I did about 2.8K.  Sunday, for my second workout, I pushed myself to go at least 3K.  Today, for my third, my goal is to be over 3.

It’s hard to look at the end result of the plan, and see that I would be running for about 30 minutes.  I can’t fathom that now.  So I have to remind myself to just see the glen in the trees that’s just ahead.  No more, definitely no less.  I also have to be careful, because I am starting to have hip pain (darn that IT band!) and cramps are always at the surface, but I know how to help with hip pain, and as my muscles form and change, hopefully the cramps will settle themselves down.

It looks like my first race is May 31, with the Boys and Girls Club (Airdrie) Race for Kids.  Last year, my best time was just over 47 minutes.  My goal is to be faster than that.  I don’t have a specific number; just faster than 47 minutes would be enough for me.  And then I’ll move on from there.

It’s hard not to compare yourself to other runners, but what I like about going to these runs, is that every runner I’ve come across are just so happy to see other runners, regardless of skill level that they shout out encouragement.  It’s a great feeling to know that whether you’re the slowest or the fastest, you all come across that same finish line.

The First 10 Pounds

Do or do not.  There is no “try”. – Yoda

I haven’t had a chance to blog any updates in a while.  It’s still hard trying to juggle things, without having everything come smashing down in a disastrous pile of woe.

But I’m getting used to it.

I’m getting used to prepping my breakfast and lunch for the next day.  (Side note: Airdrie folk, do you notice your bananas getting brown very quickly? How do you staunch the tide of browning bananas?)

I’m getting used to late suppers.  I don’t have a microwave, or the time between work and evening responsibilities to make supper at a normal hour.  Dinners are usually cooked and eaten by 9:30 with bedtime shortly thereafter.  I don’t want to hear any, “that’s not good for you”, because I know it’s not ideal, but it’s the way it goes, and this is my journey, not yours.  We all have our different things we shouldn’t do, but have no other option.  Well, I guess my other option is going to Costa Vida for that yummy chicken burrito, but (and I won’t blame it solely on the burrito), that’s part of the problem that got me in this mess.

I’m getting used to the workouts at the gym.  There are still days where I feel uncomfortable while I’m surrounded by gym-rats who embody visually what I’d like to look at.  For their part, they’ve all been very nice and encouraging.

So I’m getting there.  This last battle of the mind was a decent one, with many shots fired, but I won.  (I had a mini cupcake at the end of the week, but I won).  I refuse to believe that I’m a bad person for eating a mini cupcake, or a homemade cookie.  That’s not a healthy way of looking at food either.  Food is not the enemy.  Lack of understanding, lack of discipline is.

The hard work has paid off.  I’m just two days away from my one-month weigh in, and I’ve already lost 10lbs.

Remember when I said I couldn’t see the forest through the trees?  I think I’ve found my viewpoint.  If I continue to lose ~10lbs a month, which is healthy, and the recommended amount, by the time The Courtship of Sarah Chandler goes up, I’ll have lost ~40lbs.  By the time my birthday swings ‘round, I could potentially have lost ~100lbs.  So that’s my goal.  Yes, I have an endgame goal, but it’s too far away, it’s too intangible right now; it could easily slip through my fingers and I’ll have lost.  But 10lbs a month is good.

I’ve learned some things about people going through this journey.  Things you can say, and shouldn’t say.  Encourage them.  Some people (myself included) often don’t know how to respond to encouragement, but we need it.  Yes, we’re doing this for ourselves, but we’re the last people who can see the physical changes in our body.  Don’t trivialize what they’re feeling.  If they’re momentarily feeling rough that they didn’t make their weekly goal, let them feel it.  It’s okay to deal with disappointment.  What doesn’t help is if you preach at them and remind them why they’re doing this.  We know, believe me.  We need to know that yes, it’s a bummer, but it’s just one week, or one day, etc.  In my experience, if I internalize something, it gives it so much more power, and I end up feeling much worse about myself.  So while my logical brain knows all the good this journey is, if I have a setback, regardless of all the awesome things that’s going on, I need to mourn that setback, get it out of my system, if you will, and move one.  Let that happen.  We can’t seek comfort from a double chocolate bar anymore, but let us keep our words.

Here’s a picture of me when we started, and a picture of me on Saturday.  I feel it’s too early to spot *all* the differences, but I’m starting to see some changes.  Change is hard, even when it’s good change.  I’m not always the best with unfamiliar things, so imagine when the unfamiliar thing is me.  Things get second guessed.  Strange, isn’t it?  This is what I want, but I don’t know what to do with it when I have it.

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Thanks to all of you who have checked in, and have been so supportive.  I couldn’t imaging have all these differing emotions and feelings and not having anyone to bounce it off.

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