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Small Things That Work For Me

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I havenít had any amazing successes or anything yet, but I have found some small things that seem to work for me. I figured, rather than waiting until Iíve lost the weight, etc., I would share them now. This serves two purposes: (1) to remind myself that I am learning and (2) to share with my SparkFamily in case any of them work for you! In no particular order...

A clear water bottle
It seems silly, but I have a plastic glass with a straw that I used to use for my water. I would drink, but it was always a chore to remember and I would realize after a couple of hours that I hadnít even had a sip. With my clear bottle (a glass milk bottle), I can see the amount of water Iíve had (or not had) and it encourages me to sip regularly instead of sporadically. Also, the fact that itís glass instead of plastic... somehow the water tastes fresher.

My mantras
I realized Iíve been using these for different purposes than I expected. I thought Iíd be pushing myself through exercise, and sometimes I do. But I also drown out the Bad Food Gnome calling me from the kitchen, and the whiny Boredom Baby that can hit at anytime. ďStronger. Leaner. Further. Fierce.Ē is especially helpful to me at these points, and usually also pushes me to exercise as a bonus! ďMigraines hurt moreĒ pushes me to exercise over those painful joint side effects from Tamoxifen. Not that I recommend ignoring pain, but once my oncologist confirmed it was the Tamoxifen and that I wasnít doing myself any harm, I needed something to push through the pain anyway.

Canít say it enough. When Iíve planned my food and identified priorities for the day, I have something to refer to when Iím undecided about what to do next, and itís a natural serving size regulator since I hardly ever plan for bad food. I also accomplish twice as much as I would otherwise.

Rewarding behaviour, not only weight loss
Since Iím changing my lifestyle, I am trying to focus most of my attention on behavioural changes instead of weight loss. Thatís not to say that losing the weight isnít important, and I do weigh myself daily and average my weight over the week (more accurate for me because of huge weight fluctuations day-to-day). But I also want to reward behaviours like exercising daily, and decluttering the house, and being able to touch my toes (eventually!).

Distraction as a strategy
I distract myself from calls from the pantry and from negativity by doing something thatís positive for myself. If Iíve done my exercise for the day, itís time to move on to something else! Depending on how much time I have, massage cuticle cream into my nails, take a bubble bath, pluck my eyebrows, try to figure out how to style my re-growing hair, declutter my desk, give myself a facial, ... something that moves me forward on my path to looking and especially feeling better!

So there they are... a few little things that are helping me along. Do you have any small things that have made a difference?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUSTYNA7 3/31/2011 11:15AM

    Just joining the list of people saying , wow, great ideas. I also liked your tractor analogy from the last blog. When I did physio the rule was 10%. When I could do a set of exercises 3 times in a row and no longer felt the burn, I could increase by 10%. Which means if I was doing ten minutes only increasing by 1 minute. It shocked me how little ten percent is. But as I say this I also mention again doing the base amount three times in a row BEFORE increasing. Impatience is a great sabatoger. I really am a person who wants to bite off more than I can chew. I have difficulty realizing that if I increase one thing it means I can't increase anything else. I'm a little kid trying to grab up as much as I can carry and leaving a trail of goodies behind as I toddle away. Not very efficient. It will come. For both of us.

Thank you for the ongoing support. Terrible few weeks and at last it is coming back into focus. Life. It's good. Lillian is doing much better so thank you so much for your prayers. Next step is for her to sleep through the night. I am sure that will make a big difference. I'm taking a bit of time to separate myself and concentrate on myself and my life for a bit before getting back involved again. We have been talking about her coming here for a while to use the pool and give Mike and Diane a bit of a break so I need to prepare myself. Decide what limits I need to set. I am amazed how some things are falling into place. I have a group coming this weekend for a funeral so have some preparation to do. I am beginning to imagine walking the Rideau again and that's exciting. I need a plan that I can do without biting off more than I can chew. Your blog was timely.

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CARLYG8 3/31/2011 9:00AM

    Thanks for sharing your great ideas! emoticon

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GO-LOEW 3/30/2011 10:03PM

    Very useful information. So glad that you are finding ways to reward yourself. I will use some of your ideas to distract myself on those occasions when I need to.

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LJR4HEALTH 3/30/2011 9:17PM

    So true its the small things that add up to big results good list of things working for you keep up the awesome work

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GATOR12 3/30/2011 1:11PM

    Good blog & good ideas. Especially when they work for YOU!

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BEATLETOT 3/30/2011 11:11AM

    This blog IS a big help! I need to work on planning, at least for the day. When I tried to make weekly plans like AmyLonghorn, I got really frustrated. Maybe she can teach me how!

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AMYLONGHORN 3/30/2011 11:08AM

    I wrote a blog about this EXACT same topic a couple of weeks ago! Drinking more water, having yogurt instead of Poptarts for breakfast at work (for me and the hubs), and getting my butt off the couch to work out are small changes I have made that will hopefully make a BIG difference!! I love your planning idea, too...I am a HUGE planner and have been planning out my dinners for the week on Sundays. I love making lists and marking them off, so that definitely is a help for me. GREAT blog and keep up the AWESOME work!!

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KELPIE57 3/30/2011 2:46AM

    Thanks for all the ideas, as always, you are an inspiration!

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JMCADE 3/29/2011 11:05PM

    Thanks for all the ides. I think I will copy this into my spredsheet where i post things from other sparkers that I will want to go back nd revisit. Thanks again.

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LISED58 3/29/2011 10:12PM

    Hi Seawave. Great blog. I like the rewarding behavioural changes rather than diet. I'm on no diet either. If I change my behaviour, everything seems to fall into place. I with I had your discipline when it came to exercise, though. You rock! :)

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SEATTLESIMS 3/29/2011 6:11PM

    great ideas! especially ones that help you focus on yourself, those are nice distractions.
Planning is a Major help. i have been trying to pack my lunch the night before so it is ready to grab and go out the door in the morning!
Good work on the Mantras, those help keep us focused.
Thanks for sharing!!

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I am a tractor!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Iíve got the will... I havenít found the way yet! I know how important it is to be consistent, but Iíve been sabotaging myself. As soon (and that means the second) I start feeling better, I push myself to exercise more, get more things done, be more active. Then I collapse. No more energy, no more get up and go... two, three, four days to recover. Iíve realized Ė or re-realized, since Iím sure this isnít the first time this particular lightbulb goes off LOL! Ė that consistency means doing something every day for a period of time before trying to do more. I need to develop that patience, to pause and appreciate the more that I am doing instead of always pushing, pushing, pushing to do what I canít yet.

I am sooo impatient with this, but I have to keep my eyes on the longer term goal: stronger, faster, longer, fiercer! I need to stop looking at all those others who are doing more than me and being dissatisfied with my recovery. I have to find my own recovery speed, and go at that speed, even if that speed is very much slower than I would like.

So, I am in full retreat and falling back to the basics - again. That means really, really paying attention to my food (measure and record what I eat, how I feel after eating), using the reclining bike (whether or not Iím hurting, because it can only help), drinking 8 glasses of water per day (this has been going pretty well lately), trying to get 8 hours of sleep every night (this has never worked for me more than two days in a row).

I am a farm tractor chugging along on a superhighway of sportscars and SUVs. Youíre all very impressive and shiny and nice, but I have to find the happiness in being a tractor right now, and quit fighting against myself. Iíll catch up in due time!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEATTLESIMS 3/28/2011 4:39PM

    Tractors are slow and steady, but they will mow down any obstacles in the way!! keep at it, little at a time!
You can do it!!

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KJNLDE 3/27/2011 8:08PM

    You are doing SUCH a great job... keep it up! One day at a time, ya know? Tractor, SUV, eh... we're all cars, right?! You are such an amazing inspiration to so many people!!Big hugs!!

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KAREN_NY 3/27/2011 7:38PM

    SUV's are topheavy, and sports cars can't handle rough roads, lol! You'll be fine - give yourself permission to do YOUR thing... and to do it better and better each day!

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LISED58 3/27/2011 6:36PM

    Hey you! What's this I read from the lady who inspires me so darn much. Wthout slow, consistent tractors the world wouldn't have any of the real, delicious and nutritious food enjoyed every single day. Add up all of your successes - take your time - (hee hee). I bet you didn't race through all of them. And when you did, where there any you had to take a second stab at 'cause you pooped yourself out the first time. The shinny and new one wants to zooom, zooom, zooom and runs out of gas way before the dependable tractor ever does. Ah, you can do this Seawave! YOU are a WINNER!!!

From one of your many number 1 fans, emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MEZZOJO 3/27/2011 6:11PM

    What a great way to think about things! I also watch others who seem to be able to do so much more, so much faster than me, and now I will just remember - "I'm a tractor!"

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PAT3ONTHEBACK 3/27/2011 1:52PM

    Tractors are unbelievably strong these days. They are flexible, bending in the middle, they are smart with huge amount of computer technology. They have GPS to keep their rows straight and so they always know where they are. And they can pull, push, dig, and travel over anything. You are amazing!

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CO-CREATOR 3/27/2011 8:36AM

    Great blog. Best wishes for your success!

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KELPIE57 3/27/2011 4:05AM

    And just think how useful tractors are! emoticon

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RUTHXG 3/27/2011 12:16AM

    I feel like a tractor too! Great analogy. And I don't see you as being in full retreat, just finding your proper pace. emoticon

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JMCADE 3/26/2011 9:47PM

    Great analogy. Don't watch the other cars on the rfreeway so close and run your tractor at its best speed. You will get there if you work for you alone and not what you think everyone else is doing.

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JULIEANNCAN 3/26/2011 8:39PM

    Great blog! I think I'm learning and re-learning this lesson myself. emoticon

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CARLYG8 3/26/2011 7:36PM

    Love this blog...and as a fellow tractor, we may not get there quite as fast, BUT we will get there!

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LADYJAKE1 3/26/2011 7:08PM

    Nice blog, I need to be more mindful of my foods as well. I seem to stop when I start to feel tired, I don't like feeling fatigue, funny my son is a sergeant in the Marine Corps and he is the epitome of fitness, he has no excuses and says fight through the pain....I raised that kid, LOL.

I have been sick and have gotten slack with eating and stopped working out, tomorrow is my new start date.

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The benefits of a good cry

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gosh, I havenít had a good cry in many, many years. Iím always the one whoís the strong one, the one who could take care of herself at a very young age, not demanding or Ďneedyí.

Well, Saturday night and Sunday, I was needy for attention with a desparation I've never known. And my poor DH didnít know what to do with me. I had a crying jag like Iíve never had, mourned my lost breasts, recalled bad memories from childhood, the whole thing. Literally crying on and off for 15 hours. I just couldnít stop myself.

Then DH and I talked and cleared the air, and I fell asleep, exhausted and expecting to wake up with a headache and stuffy sinuses.

Today, Iíve woken up feeling renewed Ė appropriate for the first full day of spring! I feel like a weight has been lifted, and Iím guessing itís just another healthy part of cancer recovery. Iíve already planned my day, cleared out some paperwork, basically looking forward to a great productive day.

Who knew! Happy Spring everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KELPIE57 3/25/2011 2:26AM

    So glad that you are feeling better xxx

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 3/24/2011 11:48AM

    emoticonI totally get this... thank you for sharing! I sometimes have my best day(s) after a good cry. Everything seems better after. emoticon

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CO-CREATOR 3/22/2011 8:09AM

    I'm glad you woke up feeling better.

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RUTHXG 3/21/2011 11:42PM

    I remember reading research showing that people who both laugh out loud & shed tears often--actually at least once a day!--are the healthiest. But I can identify with having the tears pent up. It is so good to let them out.

May spring be a time of enjoying/celebrating healing from the Big C--& being strong enough to let out the tears whenever you need to!


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PAT3ONTHEBACK 3/21/2011 11:32PM

    Wow 15 hours is a lot of despair! But, there was a lot of fodder for that despair it sounds like. I hope you are still OK and able to look back with the same sense of release all the time.

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JMCADE 3/21/2011 11:28PM

    Sometimes the best release of pent up emotion is to just cry it out. I am so glad it worked for you. Here's to really great rest of the week for you!

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JENBELLE 3/21/2011 9:04PM

    A new spring has sprung within you..... emoticon Your blog moved me. Thanks for sharing your coping and new spring outlook.

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LISED58 3/21/2011 7:42PM

    It is fitting isn't it. We all need a good soaking sometimes to feel grounded again. You are a strong and beautiful woman, Seawave. Thank you so much for sharing. I learn so much from you.

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KALISWALKER 3/21/2011 6:28PM

    emoticon emoticon

I had breast cancer treatment in 2009. I understand how you must have feel, and hope it's onward and upward now. I wish you all the best.


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    Our body knows us better than we do ... glad you were able to release those emotinos. Sending you emoticon emoticon

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MEMARE 3/21/2011 3:45PM

    emoticon emoticonGosh, you were way overdue for that!
I'm glad today is a new day.
I agree with Brenda, tears are cleansing.
Happy Spring emoticonnow you are good to go as you've done your spring cleaning. emoticon emoticon

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DUFFYDYER 3/21/2011 3:38PM

    I'm happy that you feel better. It sounds as if your cry was long overdue!

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KJNLDE 3/21/2011 3:03PM

    Great job! We all need to cry every now and then and it's GREAT that your DH was there to listen to you! I always feel like I sleep like a rock after I've had a good cry! You seem like such a strong person, you really are an inspiration! emoticon

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JOCALAT 3/21/2011 2:57PM

    emoticon emoticonSometimes you just need a good cry....

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JULIEANNCAN 3/21/2011 12:35PM

    I agree with Nan too re: how men react to crying. Crying certainly can be healing. I'm glad that is was helpful and you're feeling better. emoticon

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GATOR12 3/21/2011 10:56AM

    Even though you rarely do cry, it is so cleansing I've found. Agree w/Nan; men are helpless when we cry--they so want to solve problems and we don't know why or what to have them solve!! Grieving process of loss of things important to us??

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DEGODDESS 3/21/2011 8:52AM

    Good for you! We all need a good cry every now and then...Have fantastic days!

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NANADERRICK 3/21/2011 8:16AM

    Wow, Good for You!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

(they hardly ever know what to do when we cry!!)

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What a glorious day!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

It was a perfectly sunny day today. DH and I spent the day in the market, as planned. We wanted some turkey sausage from the Sausage Kitchen (no fillers, no MSG, no preservatives) and got lucky -- they were on sale! We walked around about 3 hours, then did a bit of groceries. This is by far the longest I've been able to walk in a very long time. My back, hips, knees and ankles are killing me, but boy do I feel great!

This week, I've been thinking a lot about self-motivation, and mantras in particular. I'd be happy if anyone out there found mine helpful!). You'll find some of these familiar, but others are quite particular to me.

FROM OTHERS (I wish I could credit them all, but I neglected to note where I found some o them... sorry!)
* Nothing feels as good as thin.
* Iím getting healthier every minute.
* Running (exercise) is a privilege. (I don't recall where I saw this, but it's one of our own Sparkers/runners)
*Just go for five (Leslie Sansone) (because once I've started, I always do more!)
* Itís about taking my power back. (Jillian Michaels)


Positive by Choice
-- this is to remind me that no matter what happens to me or what I go through, it's my decision whether I'll wallow in negativity or be positive about change. Because everything is change, whether you actively pursue it or wallow and let it hit you like a 2X4.

Stronger. Leaner. Further. Fierce.
-- this is because I'm aiming to have more strength, flexibility and stamina. Which, by extension, will make me fierce!

In one year, will I wish I had exercised today?
-- this is to remind myself that although the Tamoxifen joint pain is shorter term, the benefits of exercise will be longer term and yes, in a year I will wish I had exercised today!

Migraines hurt more.
-- again, to get through the Tamox pain... reminding myself I've been through worse!

I donít want to be a ďbĒ (i.e. flat on top, round stomach)
-- this relates to the mastectomied flat chest and round belly LOL. I'm not expecting to get washboard abs, but I definitely expect to lose the excess poundage!

Super moon tonight, and spring starts tomorrow! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LISED58 3/20/2011 8:30PM

    You're great! Thanks for sharing your mantras.

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CO-CREATOR 3/20/2011 12:14PM

    Love your mantras. Thank you for sharing!

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MEMARE 3/20/2011 9:28AM

    Sounds like you had a great day! I like your mantras - A LOT!

emoticon emoticon

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JULIEANNCAN 3/20/2011 9:03AM

    I'm glad you had a good time with DH. Thanks for sharing the mantras. Admittedly, hearing about your joint pain from Tamoxifen freaks me out though (as I recently started taking in). Best wishes to you! emoticon

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    It was a beautiful day wasn't it?! What's open in the market at this time of year - I must admit it's not a place I've expored enough but will do so this summer for sure.

As for your mantras - I love them ... especially the ones you have developed for yourself! It's wonderful to hear you were able to walk so much without pain!

Here's to another beautiful - sunshine day!!


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WeBlog Ė Favorite quote

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I find it impossible to pick one favourite, but the one that speaks to me in the SparkPeople context is:

'If you have made mistakes, even serious mistakes, you may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down, but the staying down." ~ Mary Pickford

I read this and I hear that itís ok to not be perfect, I can make mistakes, I can experiment and keep trying until I get a good fit.

In this recovery adventure that Iím on, Iím re-learning about my metabolism, and how I react to foods. Iím retraining my body to be stronger and more flexible, to have more stamina. Iím learning new habits, so that more often now I think warm fuzzy thoughts instead of reach for warm comfort foods.

Iím hitting some speed bumps along the way, and have had a few hiccups. But overall, Iím moving ahead and becoming a better me. Canít ask for more than that!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RUTHXG 3/18/2011 2:57PM

    You are coping well with some pretty HUGE speed bumps--not staying down at all. Great quote, wonderful you!

Thanks for admiring my new granddaughter with me--that's such a gift to a doting grandma like me. emoticon

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JMCADE 3/16/2011 7:35PM

    Great quote and sounds like you are picking yourself up! Great attitude. Make it work for you.

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AMYLONGHORN 3/16/2011 10:07AM

    THANK YOU for sharing that great quote! Keep up the great work!!

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CO-CREATOR 3/16/2011 10:06AM

    Great quote, thank you for sharing!!!

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    Great job! The important thing is to never ever give up!

Have a wonderful day!


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KELPIE57 3/16/2011 3:42AM

    Great quote, and great attitude!

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JULIEANNCAN 3/16/2011 1:23AM

    I *love* that quote! Thank you for sharing it. I haven't heard it before. It reminds me of the beginning of a Mary Oliver poem called Wild Geese:
"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves. . ."

It's partially saying that if you make a mistake, you don't have to repent for it forever. You just have to forgive yourself and love yourself the way you are. At least that's part of my interpretation of it.

Thanks for the great blog! :)

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KIMBERLY2313 3/15/2011 11:19PM

    Your doing so great! Thank you for sharing this quote it really hit home. I have some speed bumps too but i get up and keep going. Thats what i need to focus on rather than the fact that i feel like i failed. Keep it up starfish emoticon emoticon

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LISED58 3/15/2011 4:21PM

    I like that quote, Seawave. You're right on! Thanks for sharing your warm, fuzzy-feeling thoughts.
emoticon emoticon

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BRITNEYV 3/15/2011 4:04PM


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