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FRENCHIFAL's Recent Blog Entries

It's been a rough week!

Friday, July 18, 2014

The week didn't start off well for me. On Monday, my parents had to take their older dog to the vet to be put to sleep. It's been years since I lived with them, so I hadn't noticed how much she had aged...but when I went to the vets office to meet them, she was very emaciated, had no energy or interest in what was happening, her back hips were so bad she could barely stand, and her belly was distended - apparently, she had urinated blood that morning. My parents had been talking about how much worse she was for about a week (it all happened pretty fast, I guess), but that clinched it!

And last night, one of the apartments in my complex caught fire. I still don't know how it happened, but luckily one of the neighbors smelled smoke, pulled the fire alarm, and kicked in the door to the apartment that was on fire. He tried to use a fire extinguisher, but it was too big by that time. The man who lived there was taken to the hospital, but luckily no one else was hurt...though they probably lost some stuff, and one person's cat was very unhappy with being removed and scratched him up...

It wasn't my apartment, or my building, but it was still pretty scary! I heard the cat yowling (it was REALLY unhappy being moved!) and went outside thinking that there was a feral cat hurt somewhere - only to find tons of black smoke pouring out of the building and my neighbors gathering in the parking lot!

The police responded quickly, and within a few minutes the fire trucks had the fire out, but still...this is the first time I've ever been that close to a fire (aside from controlled bonfires, and the occasional fireplace), and it was really nerve-wracking to think this could have happened in my building too..and to know that my neighbors, some of whom I've known for 5 years, had to go through an even more terrifying ordeal!

For the last couple of weeks, I've been wavering about my decision to move to Madison. But after this past week...I can't get there fast enough! That's the terrible part about aging - having to watch your parents get sick, go through surgeries and go on medication, losing beloved pets, and all of the tragedies you have to live through.

Well, enough moping! Here is my parent's older dog...from the first vet visit in 2002 to her last days with us.

Her first visit to the vet...about a week after we first found her. She was only about 6 weeks old at the time, and weighed about 6-7 pounds. Even then, her sweet fuzzy puppy face was full of attitude! Then again, well behaved dogs seldom make history...

This series of pictures if from about a month later, during Easter weekend. My family came up to my college to visit, and brought the puppy (who had doubled in height and weight, and looked HUGE to me!) And please forgive my brother...he was a 17-year-old-boy being forced to visit his sister's freshman dorm!

I'm having trouble finding pictures of the next four years now...but in 2007, I found a stray 6-month-old black lab mix. She was covered in fleas - as in, a whole cloud of them around her - and she had gnawed herself raw in several places. She was so skinny you could see every bone in her body...and so afraid of people after being badly abused, she was cringing with her tail between her legs, belly on the ground, crying, when I caught up with her. Drizzty took her in hand and taught her to be a real dog, defended her from new people while she recovered from her traumas, schooled her when she stepped out of line...and the two of them were not separated for more than an hour or two from that day to Drizzty's last.

And yes, she kept that attitude. I've never met a dog with a bigger personality...if you said something to her, even if you were using the "happy voice", she knew what you said and responded in kind. I kid you not. This dog's responses to everything we said were eerily spot on!

And she was determined to be the alpha...even if it meant conquering us humans! While I lived with my parents, I really struggled to exercise. The second I was on the ground - for yoga, strength training, stretching, etc - I was fair game.

Towards the end, she slept a lot more. But between my parents, my brother, her buddy Shadow, and all of her other friends (on two legs and on four), she always had a buddy to watch over her while she napped!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHARJOPAUL 7/19/2014 10:05AM

    I'm sorry for your rough week and the loss of your wonderful friend/pet. Losing a pet is losing a member of your family.

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HDHAWK 7/18/2014 7:15PM

    What a sweetie. I'm sorry for your loss and your parents. It's always so hard to lose our pets.

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NHES220 7/18/2014 2:07PM

    So sorry for your parents loss and yours. So glad you were not hurt in the fire - very scary. Hoping things are looking up for you.

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MSHEL7 7/18/2014 2:04PM

    Almost had a big fire here yesterday, my dryer caught fire. It scared the begeezers out of me. I'm glad that it wasn't in your complex and that no one was seriously hurt. Take care.

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CATTUTT 7/18/2014 12:33PM

    Aw, so sorry the doggy had to be put down. That's very sad. And the fire is scary business. I'd be totally traumatized. Glad no one was hurt too badly though!

Hope you're having a good day today, since your week hasn't been going so well.

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DR1939 7/18/2014 12:27PM


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Declaring my own Independence!

Friday, July 04, 2014

Several years ago, before I started to embrace healthier habits, I hated holidays.

Holidays meant that my family would all be together...and in my mind, they were all judging me. I've been curvy since puberty hit, but after I left for college and got up to my heaviest weight...well, I felt like holidays were a tribunal, with my whole family studying me, watching every bite I put in my mouth, and judging me for each and every one of them.

Silly, yes. Paranoid? Definitely!

But that was how I felt. It all came from inside me, rather than from any of my relatives - whom I know now are very supportive and love me as I am! Holidays just made me feel like I was on display.

The biggest - and best - change I've made is how I spend my free time. Working two more-than-full-time jobs, going back to school...I have to budget my time very carefully! And I would be lying if I said I'm eating as healthy, working out as regularly...and I have gained a few pounds because of it.

Here comes a three-day weekend, though. In the old days, I would hide in my computer and my video games, and comfort myself with food.

Not anymore! In the past few years, I have managed to declare my independence from those unhealthy habits, the trigger foods, and the self-destructive cycles that used to keep me from becoming the person that, deep down, I had always wanted to be!

Today, I started the day by going kayaking with my boyfriend and one of his work colleagues. Great start to the day! We paddled about 3-3.5 river miles in a little more than an hour, so we were moving at a pretty good pace!

After that, I rode my bike over to pick up my BFF, her boyfriend, and my goddaughter, and we rode through the park and over to my parents house. The cookout was pretty small and simply...I had a veggie burger, reasonably-sized portions of potato salad, baked beans, and cole slaw. I did give in and have a second beer - but then I opted for watermelon in place of pie for dessert.

Then back on my bike to get home! Altogether, I biked about 13 miles today!!

So that was my fourth of July. Tomorrow, I'm going to pick up my goddaughter and another friend for some blueberry picking, then I'm heading to Louisville to see my other BFF!!

How did you spend your Independence Day?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSHEL7 7/7/2014 8:52PM

    Hope it was wonderful for you!!

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BUTTERFLY-1976 7/7/2014 1:04PM

    Sounds like an awesome day :)

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CINDHOLM 7/5/2014 3:54PM


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CATTUTT 7/5/2014 2:04PM

    You should be so proud of yourself for having such a great day! Lots of exercise, that's awesome. You've definitely set an example of a healthy holiday!

I didn't do much of anything, other than go for a walk. Otherwise I just stayed inside and hung out with dh.

Hope you have fun berry picking!

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MISSG180 7/5/2014 11:15AM

    Excellent! You are taking care of yourself in a tough time, and that's great!

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SHARJOPAUL 7/5/2014 9:02AM

    Sounds like you had a great day.

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BA5454 7/5/2014 6:07AM

    Sounds like a super time--kayaking is something I have yet to try. And congrats on being so active! Yep, holidays can be tough but it looks like you have a new perspective on them ;-). Keep up the great work!

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DR1939 7/5/2014 1:09AM


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ROCKYCPA 7/4/2014 11:27PM

    Glad you had a good day!

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ARNETTELEE 7/4/2014 10:34PM

  Happy 4th!

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My garden is starting to look delicious!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

It's been a few weeks, but my garden has already grown so much bigger!!

In early May, I tilled one half of my plot and put in 6 tomato plants - and then it froze again. Luckily, 5 of the tomato plants survived!

The last weekend in May, I finally tilled the other half of the plot, weeded the half that was already planted, and put in more tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs, peppers, and lettuce!

They've done really well in the past few weeks...especially the squash plants!! I had no idea they'd get so big!

Today, I finally weeded the garden again (well, mostly!), transplanted the cucumbers, lettuces, tomatillos, and moved the eggplants closer to the fence.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BUTTERFLY-1976 6/30/2014 9:03PM

    Looks good

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MSHEL7 6/30/2014 5:18PM

    Your garden looks wonderful!! Great job.

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STFRENCH 6/30/2014 2:07PM

    Wow!! Good job; it looks fabulous :) xx

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MISSG180 6/29/2014 7:42PM

    Looks wonderful!

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SHARJOPAUL 6/29/2014 9:37AM

    Looking Great!

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SWEETTOOTH10 6/29/2014 6:53AM

    What a wonderfully yummy looking garden you have going! I 'm having better luck this year w/ my garden, than the last couple. My lettuce is ready to pick , beans will be real soon as will the cukes. Going to get tomatoes from neighbors, because I just have no luck w/ those! Enjoy!

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SLIMMINGSHAY 6/28/2014 8:36PM

    Looks fabulous! I wish I had space to do this! Woo!

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DR1939 6/28/2014 5:31PM

    Looks good. Should be delicious eating soon.

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KATIBUG49 6/28/2014 3:43PM

    Looks good, we have gotten a couple of tomatoes & cucumbers so far, love the fresh taste of home grown vegetables.

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ALIHIKES 6/28/2014 3:00PM

    Your garden looks great!

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MJRVIC2000 6/28/2014 2:25PM

    We have had great garden results this year, thanks to the Lord and the rain He has provided. God Bless YOU! Vic.

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DANALMILLAN 6/28/2014 2:13PM


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GERIKRAGH 6/28/2014 2:13PM

    I have a black thumb. Decided this year to visit Farmer's Markets. Let them do all the work. Every year I'm lucky to get one tomato, two squash, and some peppers! Bah humbug!

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CATTUTT 6/28/2014 2:02PM

    I'm so jealous that you get to have a garden. I've never tried gardening, but I'd love to. Alas, unless I plant vegetables in my carpet, it's a no go. lol Enjoy the fresh produce!

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I can't lie...I've been freaking out!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

It's been a couple weeks since I wrote a blog, and I have to be honest....they haven't been good weeks.

The emotional eating beast reared its ugly head, and it took some time to get control of myself again. Today, I finally added all of the food I've been eating (and drinking), and I've been averaging 3500-4000 calories a day over the last week!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

I can't believe I let this happen!

Which explains my weight gain, of course. At the peak of my quit smoking effort, before I started losing weight again, I was at 180-ish. After I ran the Mini last month, I was down to 162.5....but as of yesterday, I'm back up to 169.1.

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So here's where I am right now:

In less than two months, I'm moving to Madison. I got into the University of Wisconsin for graduate school, which is GREAT! But I don't have a job lined up in Madison, which is scary. And I still haven't heard back on my financial aid, so I don't know how I'm paying my tuition yet either.


My BF is getting really upset that I'm leaving...but every time I suggest that we should end the relationship now, he gets even more upset. He wants to spend as much time with me as he can. Which is sweet, but I'm not feeling the same way - and all I'm getting from him now is extra stress and guilt.

Mostly because I have ZERO free time. I needed to take a couple of prerequisites this summer, so in addition to working more than full time, I'm taking two classes.

And, funny story, teaching three classes....

I got a part-time job teaching English and career exploration classes with this year's Upward Bound program. I'm really excited, because I need the experience in front of a classroom if I want to get an assistantship at UW. Plus, I love the program and what they do for kids!


Now, I teach classes 8-noon Monday-Friday...then work at my full-time job from noon-8/9-ish. Most Saturdays, I work environmental events - lakes/river festivals, eco-blitzes, envirofests, etc. And then, I also have to do homework, draw up lesson plans, grade papers, send out resumes....

I'm about two seconds away from EXPLODING!!

And while I should still be trying to spend as much time as I can with friends and family (and BF...), all I want is for them to leave me alone so I can get through the end of classes (in mid-July)!

It just felt too hard to take care of myself anymore. So I just gave up. I didn't want to cook, so I ordered take-out. I didn't have time for longer I skipped working out entirely.

Of course, now I feel awful. I've got no energy, and I feel bloated and heavy. So I'm getting back on track. I dragged my BF hiking at Shades, then on a kayaking trip last weekend. This past weekend, I was at a bio-blitz and spent several hours hiking...and last night, I hauled myself off the couch and out to Zumba class.

I'm feeling a lot better - in particular, I've got my classes and work schedule under control, and I've adjusted to it. I've also restocked my apartment with healthy, quick meals, and scheduled time for myself (tonight, I'm getting a massage!) so that I can handle the stress a little better.

All I have to do is make it to the last day of classes - July 12. I can do it. It's only a month...and now that I'm getting ready to start a challenging degree program, I KNOW that I need the planning and time management help, so this is a good kind of busy for me!!

Deep breaths...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIHIKES 6/13/2014 1:09AM

    It is very exciting that you have been admitted to graduate school, and that you are moving. Good luck with all the changes that are going on in your life! And I know you can incorporate healthy habits, it will only help you cope with the stresses and changes. emoticon

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GRACEOMALLEY 6/10/2014 7:14PM

    Congratulations on Grad School!

Don't worry so much about other people. You've got a LOT on your plate and you do what you need to do to make it work for what you need to accomplish - be it teaching or food or sleeping or watching TV. Be true to yourself and you'll be much more for everyone else - REALLY!

Hang in there and vent here whenever you need to! emoticon

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MSHEL7 6/10/2014 6:14PM

    Massage yay, stress-not so much. I hate that you are going through this. I know how hard it is to get yourself back, but you can do it and you will. Fake it til you make it if you must. Get a good plan going now so that when you are in school again it will be easier for you.

Have a wonderful massage, I'm jealous!!

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DR1939 6/10/2014 5:22PM

    You do have a lot going on. Perhaps you need to think about putting your needs first for now. That's hard for women to do as we are acculturated to serve others first. A graduate program is a full-time commitment and if the others in your life, BF, BFF, or good works groups can't give you the time and space you need, you need to consider ignoring their demands on your time. I know this is tough advice but those who really care will stick around, and who wants the others in their life. BTW, I finished my undergraduate degree at 42 and my Ph.D. at 50 and had to figure out what I could and could not manage. It is possible, and it is worth it.

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MRSRIGS1 6/10/2014 2:27PM

    Wow you have a lot going on in your life. However, I see you've taken a step back to take it all in and tackle life. You've put a good plan forth and I believe you can achieve your goals! emoticon

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GINILEE4 6/10/2014 2:23PM

    WHat an amazing prospect!!! I went back to school at 42 and loved, loved, it. I had FINALLY, figured out what I wanted to do and made it a point to get every ounce of information there was. After the 3 years I had 2 degrees and my life suddenly became all new again. I felt like a teenager. I hope the experience doesn't grind you down. It IS VERY hard to do it all. I had 2 teenagers and a DH and a house to maintain the whole time, plus an hour commute on the train each way. YOU CAN DO THIS!!! It is the most exciting thing you have ever done, so savour each hurdle and really FEEL what GRAND success is like! Have fun too, don't forget you.

Gini emoticon

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STFRENCH 6/10/2014 2:22PM

    I'm exhausted just looking at your schedule, but I think it's a capital idea to make time for yourself otherwise you are going to burn out.

Congratulations on getting into University, I hope you enjoy it emoticon

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CATTUTT 6/10/2014 1:30PM

    Holy crap, you poor girl! It sounds like you are too busy to breathe. I respect you for being able to keep so many balls in the air at once. I couldn't do it.

Sorry to hear the boyfriend isn't making things easy for you right now. You sure don't need anymore grief.

I hope you get through the next month with flying colors!

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MOJO0607 6/10/2014 1:28PM

    Congrats on the acceptance into the University of Wisconsin Grad School...what a great motivator to furthering your life's goals and seeing what really matters to you. Even more kudos for seeing what you were sacrificing healthwise and making efforts to turn that train around. You will be and do great, if you keep your focus and goals clear and work towards attaining them one day at a time. Best of luck in all your endeavors!

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Miss Kitty is not happy...

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

She actually did pretty well! The fact that it was hot probably helped...the water felt good. But she sat nicely in the sink, and my dad (the poor man) didn't even have to hold her while I went to get a towel!

Getting her dry, on the other hand...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STFRENCH 6/12/2014 10:04AM

    I have finally managed to watch your little video (it works from my laptop but not from my phone... Now I know!)

Awww, poor little Miss Kitty. I loved it when she went and hid behind your plant!! emoticon

I would never be able to bathe Candy so the fact that Miss Kitty sat nicely in the sink for your dad is brilliant


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NHES220 5/28/2014 12:26PM

    My cat is not a fan of baths, glad you got it accomplished!

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LESLIE2561 5/27/2014 11:29PM

    My dog tries to eat the towel when I dry him. I think she did really well.

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MARIANNMC 5/27/2014 6:16PM


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CINDHOLM 5/27/2014 2:18PM


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SLIMMINGSHAY 5/27/2014 1:47PM

    Haha! too cute! Its a vid!

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STFRENCH 5/27/2014 1:33PM

    Oh no! I can't see the photo emoticon

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GRACEOMALLEY 5/27/2014 12:40PM

She did very well. I have a few scars from giving a cat or two a bath over the years.

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SLIMMINGSHAY 5/27/2014 12:31PM

    Is there a picture? I can't see it...

Funny story though!

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ROCKYCPA 5/27/2014 12:05PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MSHEL7 5/27/2014 11:57AM


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JLAMING263 5/27/2014 11:49AM

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