DEGENNAN   9,882
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Health Survey 2011 (edited to add pix)

Thursday, December 01, 2011

OK I'm doing this because Rainbowcharmer commented that I needed to blog and this is a lazy way to do it. I am a total copy cat - got this directly from DaniellesAutumn. We've all had our ups and downs, but these 2 Sparkers always motivate me with their blogs.

Disclaimer: I am choosing to eat whatever I want right now, and my fitness is limited by the fact that radiation therapy is currently making wearing a bra painful. But I would say that, by and large, I am a healthy eater and good exerciser.

1. What did you eat for breakfast?
a banana and letover Buffalo chicken dip with 1 serving of Reduced Fat Wheat Thins - not a typical breakfast when I am eating to race

2. How much water do you drink a day?
8-12 in the summer but probably only 2-5 in the winter

3. What is your favorite workout?
good hard pound on the outrigger canoe

4. What is your favorite fruit?
hard to pick just one - maybe mango

5. What is your favorite vegetable?
hmm this is another hard one, but probably summer tomatoes

6. How many calories do you burn a week?
right now I'm probably only burning 800-1600 but when I'm in training I probably burn throgh 3000-4,000

7. How many calories do you eat a day?
right now I haven't been counting but if I had to guess, 3,000-5,000. When I am eating to get lean for racing, I try to keep it down to 1600-2000

8. What are your favorite healthy snacks?
fruit, cut-up veggies, Laughing Cow cheese wedges on RF Wheat Thins or AllBran crackers, Special K chocolatey-pretzel bars, cottage cheese with cut-up tomatoes and cuke, Fiber One 90-cal bars, small bowl of high-fiber cereal with berries

9. What do you usually eat for lunch?
veggie burger on toast or sandwich thin with pickle chips, ketchup, mustard and cheese + fruit + veggie. My fave veggie burger is the Morningstar Farms California Turk'y burger

10. What is usually for dinner?
I can eat nearly the same lunch day in and day out, but I have to mix it up at dinner...some faves include a turkey sausage with veggies and a salad, Hebrew National FatFree hotdogs, spaghetti squash spaghetti with turkey meatballs in red sauce, sandwiches on Bagel Thins, grilled tuna steak witha plateful of grilled veggies, light Caesar salad with chicken, faux-Greek salad with these turkey meatballs, feta cheese and all kinds of veggies in summer when they're fresh and tasty

11. What is your favorite body part to strength train?
this is a weird question for me because I like to gain strength by paddling, not by ST, ugh. I know ST is important though, so I usually do it pretty hardcore from Jan-April. My fave part hmm...maybe my lats?

12. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?
core - I know, I know. so important! but not my fave exercises to do!

13. What is your least favorite exercise?
Stairclimber. And I once had a strength coach who actually gave me a reason not to do it - he said a body type like mine would easily get bulky on it, so I got a free pass to avoid that machine in favor of the treadmill and bike

14. What is your favorite exercise?
anything outdoors is better than anything indoors, first of all. I would have to say that paddling dragonboat with my elite team in Philly would be my first choice, followed by paddling outrigger canoe with my local training partner

15. What are your "bad" food cravings?
greasy pizza, Ruffles chips with French onion dip, cheese with fresh bread, a giant bowl of guacamole with fried tortilla chips, pasta with heavy sauces like Alfredo or Vodka sauce

16. What is your go to workout song?
changes all the time but generally cheesy top 40 works -right now I'm digging Flo Rida's 'Good Feeling' and that ridiculous LMFAO' 'Sexy and I know It' and Dev's 'In the Dark.'

17. Do you take vitamins or supplements?
nope, I try to get everything I need from eating a variety of foods

18. How often do you eat out?
right now, a lot more than normal, as much as 3-4 times a week. usually, unless people are visiting us, I only eat out maybe once a week

19. Do you eat fast food?
not very often, usually only if I'm traveling and I'm in a big hurry/unprepared

20. How do you stay motivated?
thinking about tryouts or races or something coming up. my training partner and coaches and friends are also good motivators for me.

21. Who is your biggest supporter?
hmm probably my training partner - she is about to turn 50 so she knows how hard it is to remain competitive as we get older and it's harder to shed the weight. we just can't eat anything we want anymore!

22. How much weight have you lost?
probably at least 50lbs since 2005, although recently put 10-15 back on

23. How did you determine your goal weight?
I didn't really have a goal weight when I started losing weight (this was before SP) - I just wanted to be healthier and fit back into my smaller clothes. I never used to weigh myself before SP. With SP, I somewhat arbitrarily picked 130, I think. Then I realized that I could be even smaller and trimmer with my bone structure, so now I'd like to be no bigger than 125 for peak racing

24. Do you have a gym membership?
I belong to the rowing club a mile from my house, and it has a small weight room as well as rooms with indoor rowing machines. That's where our boats are stored, too, and there's a running and biking trail right outside the door. I can also go to a small gym at work for free but I don't use it very often because I don't like to work out indoors that much.

25. How often do you work out?
right now, 1-3 times a week but that's because it hurts to wear a bra (and I'm too busty to work out without one). when I'm training hardcore, I work out 5-7 days/week and sometimes do "doubles" (like, run in the morning and paddle canoe after work).

26. How did you find Spark?
one of my dragonboat team-mates recommended it, when I was complaining about how fat I got last year. He does it religiously and he's back at his college weight now (he's in his 40s, too)

27. How much sleep do you get a night?
I aim for 8 hours but this new medication I'm taking makes me wake up with hot flashes and night sweats (GROSS) a lot. Really hoping that goes away soon, especially before summer!

28. Are you a morning or night workout person?
I prefer mornings but I can work out in the evenings when I need to, which is often- when I train with Little Nat, she has to be at work by 6:30am and she lives farther out, so we can only train together after work and on weekends.

29. Do you have a "cheat" day?
I tend to eat and drink more over the weekends and on holidays, like everybody else.

30. Do you drink soda?
I'm a total Diet Coke addict, for over 20 years, even though I keep meaning to wean myself off it. I have cut down before, and I need to even just get back to that soon.

31. Do you drink alcohol? How much?
this varies widely with my social schedule. When I'm counting calories and focusing on a race and my performance, I drink very little but I do still drink a beer or glass of wine with my friends when we're out. I'm a social drinker but I try to stay away from the fruity mixed drinks unless it's a very special occasion

pretending to drink a magnum of champagne in Miami

32. What is your favorite thing about Spark?
the people and the way it allows me to be all OCD and track stuff and play with technology

33. What do you not like about your body? What do you love about your body?
even when I am thin, I am very self-conscious about the size of my thighs - they are always big - eevn when Im so thin you can see bones in my chest. What I love about my body is that even when I'm heavier, I am strong and I can run and ski and bike and paddle and my body just MOVES and it moves well. As for a specific body part, I've always gotten compliments on my forearms, of all things.

34. Do you have a workout buddy?
I work out alone when I need to, and sometimes I do really get into that groove, but I also have several workout buddies and teams for different activities and sports. Lil Nat keeps me honest on the canoes and Rachel keeps me running at least once a week - holla!

Turkey Trot with some of my fave running buddies

35. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to this Healthy Lifestyle?
Well, before SP I never weighed myself or counted calories and that really helped me lose weight pretty fast. Because left to my own devices, I am a serious overeater! I'm also an emotional eater. Tracking doesn't always slow me down, but sometimes it does, and that is helpful. SP and tracking has also taught me about portion sizes, and now sometimes I can eyeball the right portion and I don't always need to count every potato chip and cracker.

And I'll close out with a random pic of my dog and cat:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Yay! A blog!! I mean really, over a month is far too long. :)

I have been trying to blog, but it hasn't been as frequent as I used to. But getting back to it.

I'm glad you're doing OK with the radition treatment. Just hang in there. :) Are you keeping up with the lotion routine?

Keep us updated! I worry about ya!!

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DEGENNAN 12/1/2011 3:18PM

    Hi NoRegret - does your friend have to do radiation after the chemo? Some mastectomy patients still need radiation, believe it or not. I definitely needed it because I just had the lumpectomy and between my age and a grade 3 tumor, my chance of recurrence were way too high without (over 20%). I've heard that people who do radiation after chemo are more likely to have the fatigue and I have been going to bed a little earlier maybe, and not training, but otherwise doing alright. Fingers crossed my skin holds up long enough for me to power straight on through to the finish without a break in treatment - Dec 16 is my Big Day when I end treatment. Anyway, thanks for the comment - I haven't been on SP as much lately, but I do check to see if you've blogged because you're one of my fave ladies. I would make you some of my home-made guacamole if you were in town, for sure :)

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NOREGRET2010 12/1/2011 3:10PM

    No wonder I like you so much....we like all the same foods, LOL. Especially the guacamole...mmmmm. Guacamole....

I digress. You distracted me with food...

I'm glad to read a post from you, even if it's a "cheater" post. :) I like getting to know my SP peeps so it's a fun read! I've been off the SP radar myself lately, too freaking busy..but I actually think of you often. My friend is half through her chemo treatments and when I think of her..i often think of you too. You sound "good" - like you're hanging in there...and if you aren't , you can always vent to me - really.

Hugs from the wilds of Oregon... :)

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October continues to be challenging

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

This is last week's check-in, quite a few days late. In my defense, last Friday I had to frantically finish some work before noon, and then I took a road trip. So no time to blog about my week, which was pretty much just as bad as the week before.

It has been a hard month, but there have been some high points, too. I'm still mostly glad that I put off my radiation therapy because I have been able to enjoy some sunny days on the water. The weekend before last was nice. On Saturday, it was cold and really windy, and I got strange looks for being out on the water, but it was excellent practice for handling my canoe and surfing the waves in my upcoming race. On Sunday, it was a lot calmer and the sun peeked out, so I took my team-mate Barbara out for a spin in the double.

I took this pic of her with her camera

then she took this one of me

She was afraid to go out by herself, but she was actually great in the double. I hadn't intended to leave the little back channel where our docks are located, but she was so stable and calm that I decided to take her for a ride downtown. This excursion improved my mood immensely.

When I wasn't paddling or working, though, I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. Luckily, I've started seeing a therapist and she is helping me work through my feelings. She's also helping me realize that I am distancing myself from my partner and I need to communicate with her better. So it's already paying off to see her. I've also been doing some emotional eating and going out to eat more, and it's showing in my waistline.

At a place called "Brgr" with my coworkers, prior to pigging out

I've also been enjoying plenty of kitten therapy, of course.

Wow, that's several weeks in a row with the catpix. If my little dogter knew, she would feel so neglected! I will include a dog pic ext time I blog, or maybe the time after next because I'm planning to write one about my first outrigger canoe race.

OK I really need to get back to work, so just a very quick summary of last week on my goals:

FITNESS - ok. Got in a couple long runs and a couple good paddles. ST can wait until next month.

NUTRITION - not so good, again. Making sure to eat my fruits, veggies, fiber and protein but also going a LOT of over-eating. Eating out AND eating junk food at home in the evenings. Hence the weight creeping up, despite the intense workouts.

OTHER - weight is coming up slowly, and I expect that to continue until I go back to tracking and get my snacking under control. On the mental front, I'm taking care of business by going to see a therapist. On the physical front, I had my CT scan for radiation on my breast, and I finally put on my big girl pants and start my treatments on Halloween emoticon


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEGENNAN 10/27/2011 11:35AM

    You guys, thank you for all the kind and thoughtful comments. I was having a really bad day yesterday and I ate all kinds of junk to try and make myself feel better. And you know what? It didn't help. My partner even noticed and tried to be sweet with me but I was pretty despondent. Luckily, I forced myself off my warm couch and picked the kitten off my lap this morning so I could go work out. Rain or no rain. And HVACWOMAN - I thought of you and did some ST! And all that definitely helped me feel better. Thanks again for all the nice comments - it was helpful to not feel so alone.

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RAINBOWCHARMER 10/26/2011 7:12PM

    I'm kind of in that boat too. Not doing fantastic with eating, but getting some exercise in, but not as much as I planned... lots of excuses for why... I guess we all go through things that just get in the way of our best intentions.

Good luck with the radiation! Hopefully it goes well and doesn't leave you with too many side effects. Keep us posted there.

And yes, we need pictures of the doggy soon!!

I'm not the world's biggest cat fan and I am in need of a pooch pic. :)

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NETGYRL 10/26/2011 6:12PM

    Sending the good vibes. Don't be too hard on yourself. /hugs

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WONDEROONA 10/26/2011 5:20PM

    Be kind to yourself and you will find yourself being kind to others. I'm glad you're starting your radiation again. Well, not glad, but you know what I mean. You got to start your strength training. You know that muscle helps burn fat and if you did more strength training, maybe your waistline would not increase.....LOL.I know....I don't make it a priority but lately I've been doing coach nicole's strength training and cardio videos. They are great for a short workout and there are a couple of good strength training ones that take care of the whole body. Check them out sometime.
Hope you have a good rest of the week.
PS-If you don't start ST, I'm telling your doggie on you!! LOVE THE CAT!!!

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NOREGRET2010 10/26/2011 4:38PM

    Sooo glad you posted! and ermmm, yeah. Run 2 of C25K. That is after work today...if I don't weasel out of it somehow, but that's the plan...stan.

Therapy...oh the joy. It's good stuff, but it's not always easy. Distancing yourself from others - even your spouse - is a trait stressed out people, depressed people, struggling people, tend to share.

Keep us posted on radiation...and consider yourself hugged.

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ANNIE7205 10/26/2011 4:03PM

    Sounds like you're making progress in some very important areas. Thanks for the update. And the kitty is, as always, adorable. That was my second dose of "awwww" today (co-worker's daughter brought in her 8 week old golden retriever puppy) and totally needed, thanks!

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Second Week of October

Friday, October 14, 2011

Wow, I thought last week was hard? This one was even harder. Not that it didn't have its moments, but my emotions have been all over the map and I've been doing a lot of emotional eating. Yes, more raw cookie dough. I think I need to declare our house a cookie dough-free zone, so that doesn't happen anymore. Or at least I'll have to make a special effort to go out and get some if I get that way again.

So first I'll start with some good stuff, including the nice weather we had in Pittsburgh last week. It was like summer during the days, and still fairly warm in the evenings, so I spent as much time as possible outdoors.

drinks and appetizers on our roofdeck on Friday

my new outrigger canoe paddles used on Sat/Sun

boathouse where my canoe is stored - sorry it's blurry

dining al fresco with my friend Ellen on Sat night

Now onto the goals. I think I did so-so again this week.


1. paddling - I did great on this. Tons of mileage over the weekend and another hard but shorter paddle by myself on Wednesday morning in the pouring rain brrr unfortunately, my training partner had to cancel on me for the OC2 on Tuesday night because her car needed repairing.
2. running - did great on this, too. Ran 9 miles with my friend Rachel on Tuesday and then 4.4 miles of hills by myself yesterday.
3. ST - fail. I've decided to let go of this for now, and try to adopt it AFTER my OC race. It will be getting colder and I will be working out indoors more. Although I do have plans to attend a conditioning class this Sunday morning.


I've actually done alright on protein and fiber, because I made some healthy meals like this crockpot chicken and chorizo meal with brown rice and some thin pork chop slices with fake mashed potatoes (made out of steamed cauliflower blended with fatfree half and half and some butter). And I've forced myself to track M-F. But major fail on the calorie limits because of all the snacking I've been doing in the evenings.


Still doing alright with weight, probably thanks to my intense workouts, but that should change as I ramp up to my TOM. I always gain weight then, and I am expecting to gain weight anyway, since I have been eating more than I am burning more days than not these days. As for moisturing, I have been doing that almost every day, so I am definitely feeling good about that.

Overall, it has just been a very hard and emotional week. My relationship is struggling and part of that has to do with the fact that my partner is not in a very healthy place right now. Here is a pic that I took of her last Saturday, and she has barely eaten a thing since then, so I'm sure that she has lost even more weight. Yesterday at her DRs they did not weigh her, which I thought was weird, and when the PA asked her, she refused to guess but I am guessing 115-120 tops. She is 5'8. I know a lot of people think she looks fashionable, but I think she looks sick at this weight, and I know she isn't getting enough calories.

This morning I called a therapist that I briefly saw 4 years ago, to see if she has time to see me and to find out if her office is still conveniently located just a block from my office. I have just been crying too much lately and doing self-destructive things like emotional eating and not getting enough work done at the office. I can't help but wonder if some of it is the Tamoxifen, which I have been taking faithfully over a month now. But it could just be the combination of dealing with my diagnosis + work stress + relationship stress + fighting with my brother stress. I dunno. I just know that I need help.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DANIELLESAUTUMN 10/25/2011 11:21AM

    Wow- you need some major huggage. I'm really sorry to hear about everything that's going on. Your partner definitely looks like she could use a burger or some of that cookie dough. Tough to change people who don't want to though... I'm glad you're not beating yourself up too much- AND you've been working out a lot which is great and can't hurt with handling your stress.

Hopefully getting in to see someone will help you out a bit. Plus i'm sure your TOM isn't exactly helping you feel better mentally. Love your new paddles, they're very nice! Nice job on running 9.9 miles- holy CRAP!

I hope the past week has been better for you :) Hang in there- things will look up when you're not expecting it!

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for all you cat lovers

Friday, October 14, 2011

I decided I was being a crazy cat lady wanting to put too many cat pix into my weekly update, so instead I'm going to be a crazy cat lady writing an entire blog on my cat. Obviously, I love my cat and all you cat lovers out there can appreciate what they bring to you in terms of affection, entertainment and really soft damn fur.

Self-Portrait with Cat

We've only had our cat Freyja (like the Norse goddess, or like the Scandinavian model, for you fashionistas) since February but now I can't imagine life without her. She snuggles with me every evening and overnight. I've never had such a cuddly cat before. She is still very playful and kittenish although we figure she's close to a year old now (she is a rescue). She seems to love her big sister (our dog) and does things that she seems to have learned from watching the doglet, such as burrowing under blankets and using her paw to toss food from her bowl. She may think she's a dog now? She would definitely be a LAP DOG.

less Words with Friends, more petting, please

She charmed our middle-aged dog, a miniature pinscher who is very territorial about our laps and attention, in no time flat. They aren't quite snuggling together yet, but I have high hopes this will happen over the winter, when our big and drafty house gets too cold for our short-haired dogter.

Vespa and Freyja, napping together

You may have noticed that she has some large paws. Well, it's not so much large paws as extra toes. She has 2 extra toes on each front paw and 1 extra on each back paw, for a total of 6 extra toes. That makes for a LOT of toes on such a tiny animal (she weighs less than 8 lbs). I took this pic to show one of my coworkers what her front paws look like:

Well, now that I have gotten my adoration of my tabby kitten out of my system, I might be able to write a more normal blog about my week and goals.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PANDASUE2 10/19/2011 12:23PM

    CUTE!! I am totally in LOVE with my cat too. My phone is filled with pictures of him (Mr. Pooper) and I take them constantly! Love the blog!! emoticon

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DEGENNAN 10/19/2011 12:02PM

    Freyja looks big in many of these pix because I'm always right up in her grill with my phone when I take these pix, but she's actually pretty small. She's a rescue, but our vet guessed that she is nearly a year old now, and she's less than 8 pounds. The cat and dog are just about the same exact weight right now, although the cat is a little longer. The dog is just more compact. Danielle, your comment is inspiring me to try and take a pic of her next to some furniture or some object that would give you all a better idea of her true size.

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DANIELLESAUTUMN 10/19/2011 11:56AM

    AHHH!!! She is so so cute. And you got lucky to have such a cuddly female- they can be kind of independent. Your dog is so cute too- I bet the first time you see them cuddling you're gonna want to cry! It's so cute! Try to snap some pics! Freyja is adorable- she looks kinda big too! I work with a lady who loves the extra toed kitties- it adds such a unique trait to them :)

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ANNIE7205 10/18/2011 11:26AM

    So cute, love the "mitten kitten."

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NETGYRL 10/14/2011 3:56PM

    Awww. :)

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MRE1956 10/14/2011 11:29AM

    Freyja is so cute (Vespa, too, of course - nice shot of them napping)! Enjoy them!

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First Week of October

Friday, October 07, 2011

All I an say is - PHEW! So glad that is over. I feel like it has been kind of a tough week for everyone else, too. But I couldn't be happier that it is Friday. Tonight we're having drinks and dinner with our friends and neighbors and I can't get a cocktail into my hand fast enough. I even had a massage last night for the first time in a long time and that was not even enough to cut through all the tension. Although it did help. So did my run this morning. But it has just been crazy hectic and I'm disappointed that I am already not meeting my goals for the month. In keeping with the overall crappiness, may I just take a minute now to apologize for all my pix today, which are showing up SIDEWAYS for some reason :( and I don't have time to fiddle with them because I got into work super late.

I won't get into all the different reasons it was a crappy week but I will show you a pic of my kitten, because she is sort of one of the reasons.


She is fine, but I had to take her to the vet for something minor and there was a dog emergency while we were there and it ended up being super stressful AND we were there 2+ hours, so that really cut into my day. I had a few unexpected things like that cut into my time, and leave me less time for paddling. Running is easier when time is short, because I can just head out the door, no need to get the boat out, put it together on the dock, etc.

So here's the breakdown on my various goals:


PADDLING - FAIL. I got out on the OC2 with Little Nat on Tuesday evening but that was it for the week. I feel bad because I put off my radiation therapy while the weather was still nice enough to be out on the water and I haven't been taking advantage of it at all this week, for various reasons. Luckily, I have time and great weather to look forward to a couple really long paddles this weekend!

RUNNING - SUCCESS. I ran 4 times and they were all quality runs! One 8-mile run by myself in some cold rain last Saturday, then a hilly trail run by myself on Monday, a short but faster run on Wednesday with my buddy Rachel, and another short but faster run by myself this morning. My pace should increase if I keep this up, and it will hopefully help burn off some of my stress eating.

ST- FAIL. Ugh. Need to prioritize this!

SUCCESS for protein and fiber, I think.
SUCESS for tracking every weekday, including days I did not want to because I started just eating everything in sight and/or eating out, which is so much harder to track because you have to guess on a lot of items
FAIL on 1740 calorie weekday limit. Three words for you: RAW. COOKIE. DOUGH. I did alright maybe half the week but the last 3 days were overeating galore, although only at night so maybe still less than 2400 calories

Other Goals
SUCCESS on the weight, which hasn't decreased but not up much, either
SUCCESS on preparation for radiation therapy because I've been moisturizing more often and I finally have my first appointment scheduled (Oct 24).

I had an eye appt this morning and picked out a new pair of glasses:

they will look cuter without the price tag

And just to remind me of a much less stressful week, here I am with 2 of my friends who came to visit me from Montreal a couple weekends ago at Wicked. One thing we all love about Pittsburgh is that you can drink wine right in the theater! As long as you use these goofy sippy cups:

still warm enough to rock my white pants

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WONDEROONA 10/7/2011 3:16PM

    Just think, there is still beautiful weather this weekend and you can enjoy it!! Tomorrow is a new day. Just don't beat yourself up about the past. Remember the Lion King!!! LOL

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DEGENNAN 10/7/2011 2:25PM

    You know what? The week is almost over and we are going to put it behind us and enjoy our weekend. Good luck tonight at the DR, rainbow. Next week when we look back, hopefully there will be SUCCESSES right across the board.

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RAINBOWCHARMER 10/7/2011 12:51PM

    Cute kitty! And fun glasses! Even if the pic is sideways... lol

I have been feeling like a failure this week too with the whole not able to exercise thing. But hopefully the doc will say it's healed enough to get the staples out tonight after work and I can get back to normal!!

Good luck next week! It's always a new chance to start over!

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