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Wonderful weekend

Monday, June 23, 2014

The weather didnít cooperate as well as I had hoped this past weekend, but it sure didnít dampen the wonderful time I had. In fact, my youngest son and I embraced it and had a fun experience yesterday.

Mike, my son Troy and I spent a quiet Friday evening at home Ė light, easy dinner after work followed by a movie and early bedtime.

Mike had a meeting and then mowing at his momís, and Troy had to work until 3 p.m. on Saturday. I caught up with some friends via the phone, walked to the local antique mall to look around (amazingly didnít buy anything), planted some newly purchased flowers and plants and re-painted the arbor that goes over my front sidewalk. Saturday evening we went to my sisterís house for a family gathering/birthday party. We had such a fun evening.

Yesterday Mike wanted to go visit his mom, who is recovering from surgery at a nursing facility in Duluth, so Troy and I went along. We dropped him off and spent a few hours by a chilly and foggy Lake Superior. Had we checked the weather, we would have known to dress warmer than we had to at home Ė 80 miles made a big difference in temperatures. The weather conditions didnít keep us from enjoying our time. Troy skipped rocks on the lake Ė something he has done for most of his 16 years, while my trusty camera and me did our thing. We visited with Mikeís mom and a sister, went out for dinner and then headed back home.

Of course you know that pictures are coming next. Hope you enjoy them.


My great-niece, niece and two great-nephews (nephew's sons).


Most of the girls in my family (missing a nephew's girlfriend and my SIL). Niece, nephew's GF, sister, great-niece, my mom and me.


Troy skipping rocks at Lester River, where it enters into Lake Superior.


Me taking a picture of my reflection by the lake shore.


Seagulls resting on the rocky Lake Superior shore.


Aerial Lift Bridge barely visible through the fog.


Gulls along the Aerial Bridge canal.


"American Integrity" heading out to the lake.


A foggy Canal Park.


A tulip in Leif Erickson Park.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANESLOSS 6/30/2014 6:49PM

    Leanne,
I'm just getting back to Sparks after a bit of a break. Your weekend sounded really nice. I loved all the beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing!
Hugs,
Jane

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DSHRUBS3 6/24/2014 2:08PM

    Love the pictures!! Loved the picture of the freighter headed out to sea!!

It certainly does sound like you had a good weekend! I am so happy you did!! :-)

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CODEMAULER 6/24/2014 10:25AM

    The temperature difference is something that never fails to surprise me. Still, it's such a beautiful place that temperature swings can be forgiven.

I'm so glad that you had a nice weekend. It sure looks like you packed a lot of fun into it!

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FRAN0426 6/24/2014 12:43AM

    Some fog there in the harbor. It is nice to visit Duluth, but it almost always colder there than on the Iron Range when we visited Duluth downtown. Once you get up on the hill heading out back home it was warmer. Glad you had a nice time regardless of that chilly weather and fog.

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LIVINGFREE19 6/24/2014 12:43AM

    Love the pics, Leanne!

Duluth is such a fun place to visit!

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DEE107 6/24/2014 12:23AM

    love the pics hope tpday is a good day

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CHUBRUB3 6/23/2014 6:12PM

    Great pictures Leanne! Glad you had fun with your family.
Hugs,
Angela


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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 6/23/2014 4:35PM

    Wow, that is some fog! You have a beautiful family and it sounds like a fantastic weekend! I love the tulip pic.

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Sanity may be on its way

Friday, June 20, 2014

I almost hate to jinx things, but it finally feels like a little sanity may be coming my way. My phone rang at 6:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning (nearly two weeks ago). Mike was already up and came in to see what the call was about. It was the hospital calling to say my mom had been brought in by ambulance at 3:30 a.m. with another anxiety attack Ė she had gone in with one just two days before. He lay down beside me, and I told him that he was my sanity these days, but then I said ďNo, Sandy (a dear friend) is my sanity.Ē We both laughed, and I at least knew I still have my humor. Sandy of course thought it was hysterical!
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Here is a synopsis of the past few weeks: Mom has had two attacks requiring rides in the ambulance, my sister and I have brought her to three psychologist, and one general practitioner appointments; Mikeís mom fell and it was thought she had another mild stroke Ė turned out to be a brain tumor (most of it was removed). She will be in rehab for a month and then will require radiation Ė not sure she will be able to return to her home (lots of family squabbles over this); a friend being re-diagnosed with cancer while another continues to wage her battle with the disease as well; I finally got a handle on the accounting at work and interviews are being held next week for an accountant; two dinner meetings I had to organize already this week, and a tour coming through Saturday; no internet at work today (yesterday) so playing catch up today; roof still not finished and had some water coming in during the excessive rain this past weekend; trying to keep up with chores at home. Sleeping has been off and on due to my mind being unable to shut off.
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It is times like this that I am grateful for my sense of humor, and that those around me share in it. Laughter really can be the best medicine when times get tough. It also helps that I have some amazing people around me, and we can help each keep moving forward.

When we went to visit Mikeís mom in the hospital, we also did some shopping at a few thrift and antique stores, went out to dinner at a historic pub and took a quick pass by Lake Superior. It was pretty chilly so didnít stay long at the lake. We took a new route to Duluth, and it was a beautiful drive.

Lake Superior on a chilly June day

Vietnam Memorial on the shores of Lake Superior.

I have been trying to get some gardening done between work, family issues rain and a zillion mosquitoes. Hopefully there will be some extra time this weekend to get more done outside. I love looking around and seeing flowers opening up and so much green. It has been many years since Northern Minnesota has been so lush. Driving around it sometimes feels like I am somewhere else, and then remember this is how it looked when I was younger. Everyone has been commenting about it.


Lilacs outside of my office building.


My cement duck and pond surrounded by lots of green.


Bleeding hearts in my front yard.

Tomorrow my family will be getting together to spend time with my niece and her daughter, who are visiting from Ohio for a few days. Her hubby couldnít make it, but it will be great seeing the girls. Monday my brother and his new wife will be here, and I can finally give them the wedding photo album I put together for them. Hoping that having all this family around will boost my mom up. I talked to her last night and she does seem to be coming out of the anxiety fog she has been in the past five or so years. I think the new psychologist is going to make a big difference.

I sure hope the weather cooperates this weekend so I can get outside and do some more yard and garden work, and maybe take a long walk with Mike and the dogs. Also want to have a little mom and son time with my youngest.

May your weekend be full of fun and sunshine!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERRY631 6/22/2014 10:27AM

    Oh my goodness, Leanne! You sure have had your hands full (and overflowing)! Keeping good thoughts for both of your moms and your friends, and wishing them all good health. Hang in there and sending hugs.

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OTEN36 6/22/2014 2:34AM

    I sure hope things calm down for you and your family members Girlfriend.
You do have your plate full and I'm glad Mike is there for you.
Some good Garden time will set your nerves right.
I'm keeping you in my prayers and we will get together soon.
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LIVINGFREE19 6/21/2014 8:11PM

    You have so many issues going on with other people in your family and you seem to deal with it so well!
Always keep your humor, it really helps me in bad times when I can laugh too.

Big emoticon Leanne!

~Denise

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CODEMAULER 6/21/2014 11:26AM

    Well, at least it's not snowing...

I know life seems to be handing you a big ol' dose of challenge, but you are tougher than this. Have you ever found yourself on "Easy Street?" I suspect, if that place even exists, most of us would be bored.

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Don't worry about sanity finding you, worry abut sanity being able to keep up with you!!

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DEE107 6/21/2014 12:16AM

    hugs and take care of you too

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FRAN0426 6/20/2014 11:20PM

    So sorry to hear the news of both mothers, prayers that both will have a healthy recovery. Having a good sense of humor really is good medicine when stressful times are present. Glad to hear the northern part of Mn is lush and green. Now if the rain settles down we will have a great summer. Hoping you get as much accomplished his weekend as you have plan. Have a great weekend.

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CHUBRUB3 6/20/2014 11:06PM

    Leanne I am so glad things are looking up my friend. Prayers for your Mom. Anxiety attacks are no fun.
Love your garden and always love your humour.
Hugs,
Angela

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KRICKET4 6/20/2014 5:56PM

    Sending prayers for both moms and hoping for speedy recoveries.
Family issues of any kind are so very stressful and draining.

Having your head on straight, seeing the good in things, and of course a healthy sense of good humor are so very helpful when the going gets tough. So are good and supportive people. Your Sandy and Mike are my Gisela and Marty :) Wouldn't know what to do without either one of them.

Hope your weekend is wonderful!

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A living nightmare Ė ACCOUNTING!

Friday, May 30, 2014

As a student I liked, and was good at math, but that certainly didnít mean I was destined to become an accountant. I preferred art, photography and writing so I chose to pursue a career in Graphic Communications. After earning my degree, I was hired at a local photography studio to print graduation, wedding and other professional photos, waitressed for a few years, and then was hired as a graphic artist at my hometown newspaper. After three years, I became the editor and a year later the publishing editor, which did include accounting. It was the least enjoyable part of my remaining 10 years in the newspaper business. I hold so many wonderful memories of those days, and accounting is not one of them!

Two years ago I was hired by the University of Minnesota as the office support assistant at one of five research and outreach centers. I was told that I would back up the accountant on occasion, but it would be minimal. A few months into the job I was placing and receiving orders, doing requisition requests and purchase card reconciliations, expense and travel reports Ė nothing too terribly unpleasant. Even after a new accountant was hired in January 2013, I continued to do several of these tasks. A few weeks ago, the accountant took another position with the university in another city. This has meant much more accounting duties being thrown in my direction, along with learning that several bills hadnít been paid, requisitions for payment not turned in, etc. Fortunately there was only one area I needed to be certified in, and that was being able to make deposits. I took the training and attempted to make my first deposit (entering information and scanning checks into the computer) only to learn that a university access form needed to be submitted first. My supervisor (who has only been here for five months) and I submitted the form and I set out to make the deposit. I was part way through the process when I found out that I needed to be given access by the bank. Another form, another submission and finally access was granted. So one would deduce that the deposit has been made. Not so. This 4-day work week has been so extremely busy with the duties I was hired to do, that accounting had to be put on hold until today. I paid bills that are due, wrestled with a very complicated expense report and have been trying to get a visiting scholar paid. People have been coming in and a worker finally completed my office reconfiguration late this morning. Deposit Monday? I sure hope so!

In conclusion: I know I was never destined to be an accountant and will be the happiest person here when a new one is hired.

I do still enjoy my job overall and canít imagine working anywhere else at this time of my life.

Life outside of work continues to be busy with house and yard work. It has been so hot (the 80s are hot when it was about 45 degrees a week ago) and the mosquitoes so terrible, that working outdoors hasnít been overly pleasant. But, I will most definitely take this over the awful winter we had. On my days off I tried to get out early and get a lot accomplished before the mid-day heat set in, and hoped to do the same this weekend. It sounds like Mother Nature has other ideas though, and we can expect rain through most of the weekend. So I will concentrate indoors where there is always work to be done.

This week also brought a tragic death. The younger brother of one my oldest sonís best friends was killed in a motorcycle accident over the Memorial Day weekend. He was only 21. His funeral was this morning and the church was standing-room only. My heart breaks for his parents, brothers and family.

On a brighter note, my love life continues to be so wonderful, my sons are doing well and overall the family is fine. My niece and her daughter will be coming home for a few days at the end of June and Mikeís son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons will be coming for a visit in July. I am anxious to see all of them.

I have also started re-reading The Spark book as a way to motivate myself back into better eating and exercising more. I have to quit kicking myself for falling off the wagon, wipe off the dust and move forward. I am also committed to becoming more active in my Sparking too. I have missed my friends here and am looking forward to connecting with them more often, and maybe even making a few more Spark Friends!

Have a wonderful and safe weekend. And, as the older brother said at the funeral, "Tell those you love that you love them everyday - you never know when the last day will come."

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRICKET4 6/13/2014 2:06PM

    I'm in the same boat as far as sparking is concerned.
(Hey, your blog posted on May 30, it's June 13 today...)
Lots going on here.

Sounds like you have a busy summer ahead. Enjoy.

Keeping my fingers crossed that a good accountant will come along to rescue you from these dreadful duties. I like accounting in general and do my fair share of it at work, but have to agree that a full time accounting job would be terrible.

All the best!

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LEXIE63 5/31/2014 7:29AM

    I hope the accountant comes along soon. Rescues you from the work.
Sorry to hear about the death of that young man. Always a tragedy when someone dies so young.
Nice to know things are going well overall, though, so that is always a good thing to hear. :-)
Hugs,
Lex xxx

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CODEMAULER 5/31/2014 7:18AM

    I'm trying to get some training miles in on my bike and the rain isn't helping me, either. We'll be in Duluth next weekend for the MS-150 and I"m hoping for decent weather (please-oh-please).

Relax this weekend and make some time for fun. You've had a long week despite the holiday!

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DEE107 5/31/2014 12:49AM

    hugs my frined have a good weekend

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CHUBRUB3 5/31/2014 12:49AM

    Hugs my friend. So sad for the loss of the young man...
You will figure out what you want to do and seize it.
I know you will.
Hugs to you Leanne.
I wish you joy.
Angela


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LIVINGFREE19 5/30/2014 9:15PM

    That is so very true about telling you love someone!

I sure don't miss those mosquitoes!

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Sparking before doing a deposit

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sparking before doing a deposit

I am on my lunch break at work and realized this may be the only time I have to write a long-overdue blog.

Life continues to be a rollercoaster ride Ė high, lows, moving too fast and sometimes crashing to a stop. Overall, though, the ride has been quite good.

I may have said it before, but I have definitely had my fill of funerals Ė went to one last Friday and have another tomorrow. I think that makes about 17 since April 2012. I try to keep in mind something Mike said to me one night at home. He told me that I was lucky to be close enough to so many people that I would want to say my goodbyes to them. That is true, but still difficult.

In between the last two funerals there was a wedding Ė my brotherís first marriage at 52. I of course had to kid him by saying it took that long to find someone who could live with him! It was a small wedding, and I have to say that I donít remember ever seeing my brother so happy.

Work on my roof continues at home. A few more rotted areas were located and fixed, so we are now (hopefully) on the homestretch to completion. Then the work inside can begin. I was so excited to find two matching vintage doors at our local Re-Store to use on the entryway closet we are putting in. The doors have never been painted and still have the original, ornate knobs and plates. My house is over 100 years old and I try to keep true to the age. I really didnít think I would find matching ones in such great condition Ė and for only $35 each!

Outdoors I have planted some hops which will grow over an arbor leading up to the house (bought paint today to spruce up the arbor), an iris and zinnias given to me by my Spark Friend Dee. Most of my summer dťcor is on the deck, and will have to be moved so I can re-stain. Iím not sure what else will be planted. Will wait until the roof and deck are done, and debris cleaned up to decide.

Work has been stressful since our accountant left for another position. Several accounting jobs have been switched over to me until a new one is hired, and it is already my busiest time of the year. I could handle the extra work but we have been finding bills that havenít been paid in a while, one that has been paid that should have been discontinued last summer, order requests that werenít processed, etc. Luckily no one has taken out their frustrations on me Ė they know that I had nothing to do with the problems and am doing my best to help them. This afternoon I will be doing my first deposit and itís a big one. I know I can do it but am still a bit apprehensive. It should have been done before the account left Ė two weeks ago. I had to take a course and be certified to do it, and my certification just came through yesterday. I did get for a while this morning and photographed some of our cattle.


My hope for the weekend, other than the funeral, is to stick around home and get things done. I will also try and get to my momís and visit some friends. Throughout the weekend, I will remember all those who sacrificed their lives for our freedoms.

Thank all who have served!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DSHRUBS3 5/29/2014 1:01PM

    I'm sorry you had another funeral to go to. They are so hard.

Congratulations to your brother. I am sure it makes you very happy to see him so happy!

Also congrats on finding the doors! What a great find!

Work is keeping you very very busy!

Hopefully you had a great weekend!!

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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 5/27/2014 2:00PM

    You are always so busy, busy, busy! I'm sorry you had another funeral to go to. I hope the rest of your weekend was enjoyable and you had some nice visits!

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LEXIE63 5/26/2014 10:01AM

    Sounds like a really busy time. Hope the weekend was pleasant, and congrats on finding those doors. What a coup! :-)

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KRICKET4 5/25/2014 11:33AM

    Yup, life does seem to move with incredible speed. I often have to remind myself to take it slow and smell the roses. I'm getting better at it.

Keeping the house in shape seems to be a never ending job. Yet, rewarding at the same time. You must have been so thrilled to find those vintage doors.
I have largely stopped my home improvements as I have decided to sell the house (as is) this fall/winter. After 23 years in the same place it is time to move on. We'll likely be leaving state. All this is still in the works and I'm looking forward to exciting times.

My computer matched partner (hehe) turned out to be a great man and great match. It's been a year and we're planning on moving on together.

Great happiness and great sadness always seem to go together, they can absolutely co-exist. I'm sorry about all the loved ones you have lost. Mike is right though; what a wonderful friend you must be to have so many people in your life.

Trust the deposit went smoothly :)
Have a wonderful SparkDay.

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DEE107 5/24/2014 12:31AM

    have a great weekend and so sorry on the lost of so many but like what Mike had to say thanks

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LIVINGFREE19 5/23/2014 7:23PM

    I hope you have a super weekend, Leanne!

I, like you would like to thank our veterans on this Memorial Day.

You sound like an employee that is irreplaceable since you are trying so hard to help out, great job!

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Life in the Super Fast Lane

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I am finally getting the chance to sit down and do some Sparking. Life has been so hectic the past few weeks, and tonight I am home alone for a while - so now taking some "me" time.

What I have been up to:
1. Working on an auction at work (being held this Friday and Saturday), plus all the every day work that needs to get done. A co-worker and I also sorted through boxes of papers and took a pickup truck load to be shred.
2. Two weekends of taking pictures of children with the Easter Bunny at the local mall
3. Oldest son's and my birthdays (party with family this Sunday).
4. Leaking roof (roofer going to finally get the meta; one this weekend, but an inch of rain or 3-5 inches of snow is predicted tonight through Friday).
5. Easter with the family.
6. Death of my great-aunt (last of my maternal grandmother's siblings).
7. Youngest son got a job and until his dad buys him a car, he and I are juggling schedules with my vehicle.
8. Trying to keep up with laundry and house work.
9. Recuperating from a badly sprained ankle while trying to keep up with everything (I have been a good girl, wearing my brace religiously).

The next few weeks will be just as busy -supervisor is going on vacation and our accountant has accepted another position with the University so we will be on the search for a new one. Between the hiring process and training, it will be late summer before we have one full time. The current one will be able to work two days a week through the transition which will help a little.

When we did the shredding for work, I was able to bring some of my own. I was able to get rid of the last of the financials from the newspaper which felt so good. I loved my 13 years in newspaper and it was hard to close the doors due to economics. Now the financial part is gone and I can keep all the wonderful memories close. I also decided to shred the journals I started when I was at an all-time low in my life. A couple years ago I blogged about doing this but wasn't quite ready. Now that I am in a good place - personally and professionally, I felt it was the right time. I smiled as I watched the workers unload the box, but do admit there was a little sadness - they were such a big part of my journey from the lowest point to finding happiness.

Now that the weather is improving (fingers crossed) I am hoping to get back to daily walking and more exercise. I have let myself go, and want to get healthy for Mike, my sons and most importantly, for myself!

I am also hoping to get back to daily Sparking. I have really missed my Spark Family!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

YAMINOKODOMO 4/25/2014 3:41PM

    Wow you have been a busy busy gal! But glad you got a chance to sit down and have some "me" time.

I hope you guys find someone soon to help out in your office so you arent as crazy busy and yes the weather is definitely getting so much more prettier! I love this weather because its great for nice long walks!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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OTEN36 4/25/2014 7:21AM

    emoticon
Glad things are finally slowing down for you. You deserve some ME time to get out and exercise.
Missed you emoticon

Dee

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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 4/24/2014 2:31PM

    Wow, you have had so much going on! I hope you have a wonderful birthday celebration this weekend. You deserve it!!

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LIVINGFREE19 4/24/2014 12:35PM

    That is great that you have so much wonderful in your life!
You have definitely paid your dues!

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CODEMAULER 4/24/2014 12:28PM

    Your youngest can't be old enough to drive...

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Time really zooms by, doesn't it? Take care of yourself and enjoy the journey!

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DSHRUBS3 4/24/2014 10:18AM

    Wow ,you have been super busy. Great to get an update from you though. :-)

I need to get back to exercising as well! You are in a great place right now and am so happy for you Leanne! You are such a kind and caring person and deserve so many good things and I am happy for you!

Good luck with work!

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LEXIE63 4/24/2014 4:42AM

    It does sound like you've been busy. Congratulations on the letting go and shredding of documents related to your past. I can imagine how that must have felt.
Hoping your ankle is properly better really soon. That was one heck of a sprain you had!

Happy Birthdays! :-)
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Hugs,
Lex xxx


Comment edited on: 4/24/2014 4:42:56 AM

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DEE107 4/24/2014 12:24AM

    hugs and dont forget to breathe tooo

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CHUBRUB3 4/24/2014 12:09AM

    Awesome Leanne!
Yes you are busy. It is always great to see/hear you when you can.
I have been busy too, been a long time since I blogged.
Hugs,
Angela


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KRICKET4 4/23/2014 10:03PM

    Great to hear from you, and thanks for the update.
Though busy you sound very happy.
Glad you're back to sparking. I haven't been very active here lately myself, still juggling work, two houses, and very long commutes. Weekends are really prescious (but too short :))
Be well.

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LAMOURA 4/23/2014 9:22PM

    Glad to have you posting again..been there done that and don't want to do it again...that is being to busy to spark lol I need my sp friends!! emoticon emoticon

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