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I Tasted, I Sampled, I Shoveled!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. The day of Valentine cards, poems, love songs, and chocolate. It was" a day that will live in infamy", to quote the wise sage Winston Churchill.

I am afraid it will also become known as a day that will live in infamy on my scale and measuring tape.

I was a guest speaker at a High Tea yesterday.

I got all dressed up, wore my heart necklace and earrings from a Valentine's day long ago, and to be honest, I looked good.

I had never been to the place where the Tea was being held, so I appropriately had my printed out map from Google AND had programmed my GPS.

The tank was full of gas.

I left plenty early enough "just in case".

Everything was going smoothly........until I got there.

I was greeted very warmly, with smiles and hugs from a lot of people I had never met, which was really very nice.

Then I was led into the room where the event was taking place.

The table decorations on the white cloths were really something! The Decoration Committee had really outdone themselves! Absolutely lovely. There were red roses, shiny red heart confetti, and those curly wire things that have red hearts on them. And there was a lot of chocolate candies sprinkled lavishly.

Then they led me to the buffet table. Another lovely presentation, with the tables laden with not only lots of food, and a whole lot of it, but also chocolate.

I mean CHOCOLATE. Chocolate candy in boxes, chocolate puddings, chocolate cookies, hot chocolate, chocolate lattes, chocolate cakes and chocolate cakes and chocolate cakes and .....................you get the drift by now, I am sure.

So we have our eating scheduled before the talk.

I am fourth in line at the buffet table. In front of me are three people who could use some SparkPeople.com. A dangerous position for me!

My three leaders begin ladeling food onto their plates. They are not shy about their portions.

I, on the other hand, decide to set an example, and begin with putting fruit on my plate and a quarter of a croissant turkey sandwich. I add a few raw veggies and some Dijonaisse for dipping. I am doing well.

Then I see the box of chocolates. OK. I will have one dark piece of chocolate. Add it to the plate.

Now I am staring at the biggest, tallest Death by Chocolate Cake you would ever see, and there is a piece cut, but no one has availed themselves to it.

Yep, you guessed it. To be "polite", I dump the huge piece onto my plate, where it overlapps the Dijonaisse. And the fruit, AND the raw veggies. When I say this piece was huge, I mean HUGE!!!

And so it begins.

Oh, another lovely box of chocolates, this one really gourmet chocolate. I will take that one pretty piece over there.

I daintily add it to my plate right next to the sandwich.

I am offered a chocolate latte. I am gracious enough to accept it, and am somehow too distracted to tell the server to leave off the chocolate whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Oh my. Well, can't be nasty and ask for a different one, what with all the work having gone into this latte!

I make it to my place and begin to eat the sandwich. Then I take a bite of the cake. Another bit of sandwich, followed by another bite of cake.

Remembering I have fruit on my plate, I take a grape. Then I take two grapes. They are really juicy and help wash down the chocolate.

Sandwich-cake-fruit-sandwich-cake-fruit-
sandwich-cake-fruit-oh now I can see a small carrot. I will just pop my carrot, which has been under the chocolate cake and now has chocolate on it too, in my mouth.

Have you ever tried a chocolate covered carrot? It works!!

Suddenly, or so it seems, there is only a few raw veggies and one piece of mango on my plate. They all have chocolate on them, too.

Waste not, want not. And after all, it is IMPORTANT to show appreciation for all the work done to present this lovely affair. The veggies and mango disappear, but not entirely. Only the parts that had chocolate on them go in my mouth.

The clean left over veggies are left on my plate when I give the plate up.

Now to relax and have that chocolate latte with the chocolate whipped cream and chocolate shavings on it. Yum Yum. I had eaten so fast that it didn't even get cold!

Oh, there is a prettily wrapped piece of candy, sitting there, just next to my latte. Well, ONE piece of chocolate isn't going to hurt, is it? I mean, it IS Dark Chocolate, after all.

Shovel it in. And that other pretty piece over there. Grab and shovel before someone else sees it.

I still have my little sampler box of chocolates to take home, for DH. I dutifully do not open that box, but I do open another prettily wrapped piece just sitting there on the table looking lonely and like a chocolate step-sister. My heart goes out to it, and I show mercy by jamming that into my mouth too.

Finally, all the plates are cleared away and it is time to begin the program.

I have a hard time focusing on what the MC is saying because there are chocolate spots in front of my eyes.

Then I realize I have just been introduced and have to get up.

Woosh! What a RUSH! The chocolate kicks in, and I have enough energy to roller skate up Mr. Rushmore.

My mouth opens, and words flow like warm chocolate.

I have no idea what I am taking about, but when I shut up after 20 minutes, I get a standing ovation.

I must have extolled on the virtues of eating chocolate, because they are all smiling and clapping and have tears running down their faces.

I sit down next to my table mate and ask if I made any sense at all.

She replies "That was the BEST talk about LOVE I have ever heard!"

What the heck did I say? I smile and say thank you to all who come to hug me or shake my hand.

I am positive now that I did indeed talk about the wonders of chocolate. Otherwise, what could have possible moved them so much??

Who knows. I was on a chocolate rush!

This week has got to be a real active week for me to prevent me being asked to be next year's Blimp.

Because that is where I was headed yesterday. I do not want to be a Blimp in Training, so I better get my butt off this computer and outside walking the tonnage off.

Oh. One more thing. I DID manage to not taste, sample or shovel any chocolate pie in!

See how WELL I did?? emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THE_SILVER_OWL 2/17/2010 8:24PM

    Who knew that chocolate covered carrots work???

Loved it!
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GETFIT2LIVE 2/16/2010 12:41PM

    Oh my, I laughed so hard when I read your blog--and empathize so much! Once I start with chocolate, it is SO difficult to stop--and how COULD you be rude and not have at least a little there! It is too bad there's not a recording of your talk to listen to and find out what you really said!

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DARCEYOH 2/16/2010 12:12PM

    That sounds like a lot of chocolate! And while you avoided the pie, you moved it on over to me, where I did not! hehe. Does it count if it's sugar free?

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SCOUTHARPS 2/15/2010 9:07PM

  Ooooh! I love it! There should be a society for the loving on neglected chocolate, and we could be co leaders. I will make the ultimate sacrifice and help you show love to all those under appreciated chocolates. Good thing for both of us there is no such society. I love the term of blimp in training.

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NOTFATCAT 2/15/2010 5:47PM

    Sounds like a balanced meal to me. And it was for a good cause since your talk brought down the house.

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SMOORES06 2/15/2010 5:25PM

    Ok, so I LOVE your story. It is so real! We have all been there (okay maybe not at High Tea), but you get my point. I love your positive attitude that it is not the end of the world. You enjoyed it and now you know what you need to do! Thanks for sharing = )

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KAROUSELL46 2/15/2010 5:04PM

    MMmmm All that chocolate. I tease everyone at my house and tell them if there is chocolate around I can smell it and give it here. Your chocolate day sounds way to rich for me but good none the less. That's what I would have called chocolate heaven. MMmm...Karen

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SLKIDDER 2/15/2010 2:56PM

    What an amusing telling of your story. Thank you. I hope you enjoyed the chocolate, because I think you'd better pass it up for a few days!


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LKWQUILTER 2/15/2010 1:55PM

    Oh, that was a great blog. I could actually see, smell, and taste all that you experienced. I am glad that you are not beating yourself up about it but know that you better get to moving big time now.

I have the same problem--when the grands visit and there are all those goodies around, nana just has to taste, taste, and keep on tasting.

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THEGORGESBLONDE 2/15/2010 1:17PM

    I LOVE the way you told your story! I think we've all been there, but haven't been able to laugh at ourselves as you've presented it. You're going to be fine! emoticon

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LUNADRAGON 2/15/2010 1:01PM

    My dear Friend, I was smiling the whole time I read it.
I had a similar afternoon. Except it did not quite wax so full of chocolate. I think I will go blog about mine as well. I limited myself to 1 hershey kiss, 1 dove chocolate mini, and 1 other little chocolate and my allotted dessert of the week - that wasn't quite up to what I thought it would be.

Bravo on leaving the pie. That would have left too many tracks! emoticon

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PONYFARMER 2/15/2010 12:48PM

    Congrats on not shoveling the pie. I would have. You were invited to "HELL", yeah it was decorated real pretty and smelled nice. But it was hell all the same.

I like you have no abiltiy to pass up on goodies for the most part, so I am sooooooooo very glad that I was not invited to hear you speak. Cuz, I would have been in a comma from all the sugar and food and things I could stuff in my mouth.

But on the upside, it is done and gone and you move on from there. Loved the blog, LMAO, thur the entire thing, while feeling your pain.

Deborah

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SJSTOMPER 2/15/2010 12:44PM

    I loved your recount of events!! Those wonderful meetings where all the food and desserts (chocolate) that you can imagine are really deliciously overwhelming!! Loved the humor in the telling of the story.

P.S. If you made that beautiful quilt in the background, then you have great talent to go along with that humor!!

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LOVESCAMPING 2/15/2010 12:41PM

    It's just one day, sweetie. And today is a new day.

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To Margaret, With Love

Friday, February 12, 2010

I was making the Red Roses quilt for my friend, Margaret. Let me tell you about her.

Margaret is a vivacious, 40-50ish lovely woman who is director and founder of "Sherry's House" in Massachusetts. she heads up the "Why Me?" program.



Sherry's House is a wonderful, God inspired place where families with children who have cancer stay and get loved on when the kids have medical appointments back to back days, but don't have to be in hospital.

Margaret loves "her" kids. She plays with them, holds them, sings to them, rocks them and feeds them. She has been completely devoted to these kids and the cause.

Margaret has been a huge venue for Ally Cat Quilts by Krackers. She has faithfully given out the quilts to the kids, and has always let me know when she is running short of them.

I love Margaret.

Margaret is one of the friends you get whom you just know will live forever, because she is always "there" for all of us. With her bright attitude, sunny disposition, laughter and humor, Margaret will always be there. Right? I mean, she has touched so very many lives, and made scary things disappear for a whole lot of people.

Margaret is very much loved and respected. Margaret is always right THERE for all of us in more ways than can be counted. We know we will always have Margaret to lean on.

It doesn't look like that is going to happen.

Margaret has cancer. She has stage 4 cancer in her liver, and has cancer in her pancreas. Margaret is going Home.

I wanted to make her a big bed quilt of roses, but I just learned that her liver has gone into stage 4. No time to make such a quilt and get it to her before she goes.

Plans change, and so do the quilts I work on. I wish you could see "Rainbows for Queen Margaret" in person. It is really much more beautiful that the photos show.




I will be mailing it out this evening. I am sure I will cry when I drop it in the box, and my heart will be very heavy and sad.

Yes, Margaret will leave a huge gap when she leaves. None whom she has touched will ever forget her. Margaret will live in our hearts, in that special place we keep just for people like her.

We are all richer for having had Margaret in this world. I think of Margaret suffering with cancer, and I ask "Why Margaret?" I am sure Margaret has asked "Why Me?" as well.

But knowing this wonderful woman, I am sure her answer is "Why NOT me?"

If you want more information about Sherry's house, you can find it on the internet. Also you can find information about Why Me.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUNADRAGON 2/19/2010 11:15PM

    Tears. Your gift of time, and talent are precious.... friends with cancer... so hard ... blessings on you for your sweet ministry of nimble fingers. emoticon

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GCHUNG 2/15/2010 2:33PM

    What a great tribute to your friend. Lasting memories.

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KIMIKO75 2/14/2010 6:56PM

    God bless you and bless Margaret. I am sure that God has a special place saved for her with Him. You are blessed to have known her and we are blessed to have you.
Kim

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AMYJEAN911 2/14/2010 7:24AM

    emoticonI'm so sorry for you.

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LOVESCAMPING 2/13/2010 7:20PM

    Thanks for sharing this story and for sharing the photos. It is very sad and I'm sorry that you will be saying good-by to her.

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LOULOUBELLE2 2/13/2010 2:16PM

    OMG, You are so blessed to know this wonderful, couragious woman and she you......
I'm sure that you'll keep her alive in your heart as you go about making more quilts for "Why Me" and Sherry's House. What a blessing even though it's heartbreaking to say the least. emoticon

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NOTFATCAT 2/13/2010 12:48PM

    Margret sounds like a beautiful person and an inspiration to those with whom she touched. This world will surely miss her.
Good wishes for you in this troubling time.

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KAROUSELL46 2/13/2010 11:56AM

    What a beautiful quilt. I'm so sorry that Margaret has to go through this. It's an awful thing this cancer. It takes too many lives. No matter what age. You are so lucky to have this special lady in your life. emoticon

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THE_SILVER_OWL 2/12/2010 8:52PM

    My heart is aching as I read your words, so lovingly written about someone very dear to you. Margaret will leave a huge void when she leaves all those who love her. I know there is a long list of people who have appreciated her selfless acts of kindness.

Your beautiful quilt has been made with so much love, and I know she will cherish all that it represents. May you have a little comfort in knowing your gift will bring her much joy.

Hugs,
~JJ~
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SCOUTHARPS 2/12/2010 8:19PM

  Thanks for the reminder. I've had a few such people in my life. I'm learning to recognize them before they are gone.

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ELSEEBEE 2/12/2010 7:43PM

    A beautiful quilt for a beautiful lady! Thank you for telling us about Margaret.

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DVASQUEZ 2/12/2010 6:39PM

    I'm really sorry about your friend. :(

Your quilt is beautiful & I'm sure she'll love it.

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New Scrap Quilt on the Floor

Saturday, January 30, 2010



Yesterday I went to my scrap fabric basket. I rarely go there to take stuff OUT; usually it is to stuff more scraps and then quickly jam the top on and shove it back under the shelf so it will stay (somewhat) closed.

Not today. Today is a day I decided to do a withdrawal and see what I can come up with.

My idea of original design can be rather far fetched. Most people I know, when they decide to make an original quilt, get out the drafting paper, pencils, rulers and colored pencils. Not me.

I get out the scraps. No pencils, paper or colored pencils for me! That isn't because I dont think all that work is a waste of time; it is because I have never learned HOW to draft on paper.

So I use my floor. And Winsten helps, too, as you will see further on down.

I don't put up my big design wall because the cats always pull fabrics off it and then try to climb it. The floor is much easier!

I begin with a general idea in my head as to what colors I feel like using. Then I grab all those colors out of the scrap basket and put them aside.


If I find blocks or stips that were sewn but never used, I put them off to the side too. It doesn't really matter what colors these are, because I have no idea where I am going at this point.


Then I start pulling the OPPOSITE of my "feature" color out and make a pile of those. Example, starting with red, I now haul out greens.


Now it is time to get SERIOUS! I grab a piece of my feature fabric, head for the cutting table, and cut one square. This is the beginning of a new quilt.


I frame that square, then the fun begins. I start placing other fabrics around the square, making little piles all around it.


This is where my "what if" brain starts checking in.

"What if I put this one THERE, then put these OVER HERE?"

Slice, stitch, place, rearrange, and grab the next one.



I piece together small sections, then decide where they should go, or where they will fit, and stitch them together.


I like what I am seeing, and continue to add "rows" to each other, enjoying the process very much.

And so it goes.

With this last photo, I will leave you curious as to the outcome of the quilt. this is because this is how far I have gotten so far.


This is to be a very special quilt for a very special lady. When I finish the quilt, I will tell you all about this lady, and how she has impacted so very many lives. It will be a story you will never forget, I guarantee it!

So that's what is going on in my world these days.

I sneak in my walks when my back and knees begin to protest about too much time crouching and crawling all over the floor. My DH reminds me to eat. Winsten lets me know when we have been working long enough, and now it is time to play a little.

The catty girls? They fall asleep among the scraps.

Time to get off the computer and back on the floor. emoticon

Just remember, Dear Friends, that all quilts are made one block or strip at a time, and if we take it slow and steady, a true work of love will emerge!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KIMIKO75 2/4/2010 9:19AM

    I love your blog and the mystery you put into it. I also like how that fits in with life and how some of us manage our days.
I have always wanted to learn to quilt, but have just kind of muddled through. It has me eager to dig into my pile of un-used fabric and start an easy quilt when I get off work today!
Blessings to you and hope to meet you on one of the walks Karen keeps putting together.
Kim

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LOULOUBELLE2 2/2/2010 5:34PM

    After reading your blog I feel like I have been to one of your classes........You know I have always wanted to take a class from you. emoticonWe just live to far away...that process is amazing....I kind of do mine on the paper with colored pencils....then I need to find the fabrics. You already have your fabric and go from there. emoticonHope you teach some more "online" classes and I too can't wait to see the finished Rose quilt. emoticonblog.

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SLKIDDER 1/30/2010 8:27PM

    Your quilt is beautiful. I wish I could make a quilt like that. I use graph paper and rulers because I have to.
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CHATERJOY 1/30/2010 6:27PM

    Very Cool. I can't wait to see the finished product and hear about who it is for. emoticon

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GCHUNG 1/30/2010 6:06PM

    I love the story - You are more courageous than I in designing this way. What you do on your floor I do on my computer. I love the design aspect.

This quilt is fantastic. I can't wait to see the finished product. I love the colors you've chosen and all I can say is your stash is amazing!!!

Great job.

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BEVPRESLEY 1/30/2010 5:20PM

    I love it, that will be a fantastic quilt. That is basically the way my mind works too. I just hate to waste anything.

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MPENNE 1/30/2010 3:10PM

    Great quilting lesson. I am almost inspired to take up quilting.

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BLACKPRINCE2 1/30/2010 2:15PM

  Great job. I'm a quilter also. Today I quilted a large log cabin with three stars within a star. I used one jely roll and some fat quarters for the center.

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NOTFATCAT 1/30/2010 2:01PM

    You are amazing. I wish I had a tenth of your talent.
Seems you are always thinking of and doing for others. Another trait I wish for.
Your last comment about the quilt being made one block or strip at a time is very much like our lives, is it not? It is a good way to think of our life changes and progressions. If only mine didn't need so much mending..............
Thanks for the insight.

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TRIGFROST 1/30/2010 1:55PM

    emoticon Roses, just in time for Valentine Day... I bet you will be the "Special Lady" so you can keep this one. emoticon

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KAROUSELL46 1/30/2010 1:35PM

    Can't wait to see the finished quilt. You have lots of help with Winsten and the kitties. Winsten looks like he is in deep thought...now where did I put that bone emoticon...mmm

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SUESMITH73 1/30/2010 1:27PM

    Looking forward to seeing it when it is finished & to the story about the special lady. It's going to be very special indeed. Made with love.

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TINYC887 1/30/2010 1:15PM

    that is so kewl, i never learned how to quilt. My dog woulda been laying ON the pieces,lol

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LOVESCAMPING 1/30/2010 1:07PM

    Pictures of a true artist at work.

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Christine and the Polar Plunge

Sunday, January 24, 2010



Isn't she SOMETHING! This is my beautiful granddaughter, Chrisine. As you can see from the photo, she is jumping into a pool of water. Not just ANY pool of water; this one is cold, Cold, COLD!

Christine is doing the Polar Plunge to raise money for Camp Sunshine, a camp for children who are fighting for their lives by battling life threatening diseases.

Chrisine lives in Massachusetts, and the Polar Plunge was held on Mt. Wachusetts. You can see from the on-lookers that it is VERY cold outside.

But my brave little darling Christini (called that by ONLY family members), has about the biggest, bravest heart you'd ever want to get to know.

Camp Sunshine is very important to our family. While Ally fought for her life against Leukemia, that Camp kept the family together many times.

It is a wonderful place where kids, no matter how ill, can be kids. No one stares at them, or points fingers at them, or laughs at them. No one avoids the kids because they are sick and look "different".

These children are loved and encouraged to challenge themselves far beyond what the parents think their kid can do. The kids come there sick. They leave there with much more confidence, wonderful memories and new friends.

It is a place where God has laid His hands, and it is blessed.

Over $10K was raised for this wonderful place.

How blessed we are that our family knows that to be "complete", we must all serve a Higher Cause than ourselves.

Christine did just that, and I am so very proud of her!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOVESCAMPING 1/28/2010 3:32PM

    What a beautiful grandchild. It looks like Christina has inherited her grandmother's deep caring and desire to do good for others.

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DARCEYOH 1/28/2010 2:23PM

    I get chills just reading about her jumping in there! brrrr!

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BIONICBETH 1/25/2010 11:02PM

    BEARWIFE, I know you and Cindy must be very proud of Christine. She's not only beautiful outside, but clearly beautiful inside as well. (And perhaps just a wee bit insane...I'm from S. NH...I know how cold it was that day!!!)

Thank you for posting, and sharing the cause with everybody!

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THE_SILVER_OWL 1/25/2010 9:35PM

    Christine is lovely, inside and out. What a wonderful example you have set by the work you do making quilts for children with Cancer.

I can not think of many gifts we can receive that are any sweeter than this: Show by example, and then see our children (or grandchildren) pick up the torch and blaze a new path of giving.

Hugs,
~JJ~

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BIZEEMOMTO3 1/25/2010 8:04PM

    You made me cry

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RELGRAM 1/25/2010 4:15PM

  Good for her! And good for your whole family! You, especially are an inspiration to SO many. YOU GO GIRL!

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/25/2010 2:53PM

    You have good reason to be proud--go Christine!

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NOTFATCAT 1/25/2010 10:58AM

    I sure wish there wasn't a need for places like Sunshine Camp. Kids shouldn't have to experience such dreadful experiences.
But, it is good there are people like your Christine and yourself that help those same kids have glimmers of good while they are experiencing their personal tragedies.

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SUESMITH73 1/25/2010 12:56AM

    We don't hear about the good things that kids do nearly often enough! Thanks for sharing this. You should be proud! emoticon

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BEVPRESLEY 1/24/2010 11:34PM

    Generous and brave, nice combination. The camps do a great service for suffering families. I'm proud of her too.

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KAROUSELL46 1/24/2010 10:12PM

    I can see why you are proud. Places like Camp Sunshine are so important to the kids and families. Good for your DGD Christine!...Karen emoticon emoticon emoticon

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this Walk was for YOU, Darcey!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Today I was looking forward to meeting my local Spark Team members for a walk. Then I got the email that our fearless leader, Darcey, spent some time in hospital last night due to pain, and the walk was called off.

I was disappointed that we would not get together and give hugs, but then I got to thinking "Well, if the walk is called off because Darcey is in pain, I can walk for HER!"

Grab Winsten and out the door we go. A brisk 3.125 miles in 36 minutes, then I hit my "energy wall". I still have my cold, and I am sure that is what is zapping my energy.

But you know what? That's okay. I feel good about walking what I could, and the weather is so beautiful outside that I had fun. Now it is time to do a bit of low key stuff for the day, drink lots of water, eat right, take a nap, and all that has to fit in with MAKE A QUILT FOR ANOTHER KID!

I need to get busy!

Wishing you all a great Saturday, which will include some exercise, too.

Thanks for the inspiration, Darcey.....THIS walk was for YOU!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMA_BEAR_69 1/23/2010 8:27PM

    God bless you for doing a walk for Darcy. Sounds like you had a great walk too although you are still not up to par. WAY TO GO!!! emoticon
Blessings and hugs,
Helen

Comment edited on: 1/23/2010 8:28:27 PM

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LOULOUBELLE2 1/23/2010 4:37PM

    emoticonway to honor your friend by emoticonfor her.
Plus so good for you to. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KRDRAPES 1/23/2010 4:06PM

    very nice emoticon

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MPENNE 1/23/2010 3:54PM

    It is great that you decided to walk for Darcey, I know that she would have done the same for you. 3.125 miles sounds like a terrific accomplishment for someone recovering from a cold. My hat is off to you and Winsten.

I hope Darcey is back walking with you very soon.

Blessings

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