Can You Relate To Trying To Lose Weight?

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Today I want to talk a bit about the battle of the bulge, as it were. Right now I am a little frustrated with trying to lose weight.

Since last April I have lost a total of 35 pounds. I did this by cutting what I used to eat in approximately half. I have also been keeping a closer eye on the ingredient labels of the foods I buy.

Having Type 2 Diabetes helps keep me searching for healthier alternatives to what I am used to eating too. I have been diagnosed for almost four years now.

Now, losing weight is helping but I still have another  20 to 25 pounds I want to drop.Here is the rub; I seem to have hit a plateau.

I have been hovering at my present weight for months now. I gain a pound or two and then lose a pound or two.

I am trying something new in order to tip the scales once more in my favor and hopefully get me off this dang plateau. I have stopped taking sugar in my tea.

It was only one teaspoon per mug that I was adding but the way I figure it; it all adds up. My doctor is pleased although he would like to see me cut back on the number of mugs as well.

All I have to say to that is one thing at a time Doc. LOL, I tackled quitting smoking (it has been almost four years since my last cigarette) and now my battle is with weight and food.

Once I have this current battle under some sort of control I will be working on the exercise I need. What was that? You say I should be exercising while I am working on my diet?

My dear friends, I work best changing one thing at a time. Besides that, I get lots of activity in my day. I do household chores and now I have beautiful floors to keep clean.

The color of this flooring shows every errant piece of dust so I am constantly sweeping or swiffering the entire apartment as that is where the dark brown flooring is.

Then there is laundry, dishes, making the bed, plus I have RC vehicles I drive which I am always chasing after to flip back onto their wheels. Just check out my YouTube channel for some videos featuring the RCs.

Here is a quick link to the main page of my YouTube Channel in case you haven’t been over to visit it before. The link will open in a new window so you can keep reading here until you are ready to go have a look.

Susan Millard – YouTube

Please consider subscribing if you find something that interests you. I do a variety based channel so there is something for just about everyone.

On top of all that, we are often at the mall and there is lots of walking. My husband has a fast pace and I hustle to keep up. Let me tell you; it is quite the workout.

So, what I am trying to say is that I do move quite a bit throughout my day. I just don’t do exercises in the traditional sense of the word.

My husband has had similar losses from doing the same sort of thing. He has been cutting back on quantity and switching off to sugar-free pop.

His preferred drink is pop and mine is tea. We are both trying to cut the sugar out. Years ago he switched from sugar laden pop to the diet variety with sucralose instead of aspartame.

I agree, it is only marginally better for him but I will support this choice over aspartame content any day.

We finally have a scale in our house that is accurate. I weighed in at my doctor’s office one day and came home to step on my own scales. They were the same!

I try not to step on the scale too often, maybe once or twice a week, always in the morning, before I put a single sip or bite in my mouth I check where my weight is currently registering.

When I step on the scale I am also in the buff. I want my actual weight without the need to subtract an unknown number for the clothes I happen to be wearing.

Let me clarify, I am not trying to lose weight out of some need to conform to societies twisted standards of what is considered beautiful. I am losing the weight for my health.

My diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes was a wake-up call for me. That was the day the truth really sank in and I knew I could no longer live as carelessly as I had been up to that point.

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The first thing my doctor told me was that smoking was really bad for me, especially now, because diabetes plays havoc with the blood vessels and so does smoking.

So, that was the first step I tackled on my journey to better health. I used the prescription called Champix or Chantix depending on the country you live in.

Oh, how I wish there was a prescription I could take to lose weight. I am really good at taking my medications. I am not so great at choosing foods or portions of food.

I am trying, though, and life is a live and learn situation after all. Unless I am mistaken none of us has a users manual with complete instructions on what to do and how.

I must be doing something right somewhere along the line or the 35 pounds would not have gone the way it did.

Lucky for me I am still on oral medication for diabetes. The drug is called metformin but I am on the highest dose I can take.

I was informed and have since done a lot of research to confirm, that diabetes is a chronic, progressive (gradually worsening) disease.

My pancreas still produces insulin to deal with sugar levels in my blood however my body has gone into what they term as insulin resistance.

The insulin does not work the way it should to move the sugar from my blood into the cells where it can be used for energy.

My doctor tells me that in an effort to get the sugar out of my blood my pancreas will go into overdrive and become exhausted.

There are other medications to try in various combinations but eventually I may need to inject insulin.This is why I am now desperate to get control of my weight and help my body do it’s job as best I can.

Sorry for the side track and mini lesson on Type 2 Diabetes but it does explain my quest for lower numbers on that scale sitting in my bathroom.

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Do you have any tips or tricks to losing weight? Would you please share them with me in the comment section? Thank you in advance for any and all help you can provide. 🙂

I appreciate you stopping by my blog to read my thoughts once again my friends. Have a wonderful day/night wherever you are when you are reading this. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

A Progress Update: How I Am Doing With My Mandolin Now

 

LOL, I love that Keep Calm And Play Mandolin Meme…that is what is on my desktop on my computer right now; not that I need it to remind me to play. I love this mandolin!

I have picked it up every day; two or three times a day since bringing it home. Oh, and the picture to the right of it is my left hand fingertips after six days of playing. I am not sure you can see it in the photo but the calluses are building nicely.

Below is a picture of me holding my mandolin. I am thinking of making this my profile picture on Facebook and a few other places on the net. 🙂

 

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All of the research I have been doing on the net has been paying off. Not only have I gotten a fine musical instrument and a heck of a deal on everything that it comes with but I have various chord charts for beginners.

There are a few in the instruction booklet that came with the package but the ones from the internet allow me to print them out full size on printer paper.

This way too I won’t have to flip through the book to find a certain chord.

I have a binder that I have plastic sheet protectors in and I put all my photocopies in there. There is even a pocket on the inside cover of the binder where I have tucked my instruction booklet.

As I collect songs that I can practice and play I will be building myself a journal of sorts that will show my progress from beginning to my current level.

This will help keep things organized and let me find whatever I want to practice on, easily.

The booklet that came with my mandolin takes you through the very beginning of everything and you do not need to have any musical experience to play the mandolin.

So, it begins by showing you the various parts of the mandolin, how to hold it, how to hold the pick, and so on. It then talks about keeping time by tapping your foot and how to read sheet music.

I took music theory in high school and a lot of it is coming back to me althought I do prefer to use songs with the appropriate chords above the words.

I find it easier to follow and if I wonder about the beat or tempo I need only listen to a recording of the song to get the idea.

There are a multitude of videos on YouTube showing how to play certain chords or songs and also some on care and maintenance of your mandolin.

It is from one such video that I recently saw that I learned how to lower the strings closer to my fretboard. I lowered the action, as it is referred to, in order to be able to play easier and not hurt my fingers as much.

Don’t misunderstand…they still hurt, just not as badly. 😉  My fingernails are now kept closely trimmed so as to not interfere with the strings as I form the chords with my left hand. I keep my right hand trimmed the same way too.

This is not a huge deal for me anyway as my nails never seem to grow to any appreciable length without splitting or peeling. They never have been long and beautiful until I got artificial nails put on a long time ago.

Then there were the endless appointments to go and have them filled as my real nails grew out underneath them. I must admit that when I had artificial nails I felt more feminine.

I am glad I got rid of them years ago as they would just complicate playing the mandolin now.

As I explain in my update video I just posted on my YouTube channel (Embedded Below) I am now practicing quick licks that Scotty Grove showed me on his YouTube channel. What is great about that is it involves all the chords I have just learned.

This gives me something fun to try and get better at and while I am doing that I am practicing the chords at the same time. It makes practice a lot more fun and interesting.

Please take a moment and have a look at it. It is just five minutes long and you can see and hear what I have learned thus far.

I will be doing further update videos as I am able and when there is a sufficient amount of new stuff to show you.

 

 

I think the next thing I will have to work on, besides the quick licks, is my strumming patterns. Until you play a stringed instrument you really can’t appreciate how much coordination one must have to keep the beat with one hand and the notes with the other hand, at least I didn’t.

It is quite the workout for the brain and I have a new respect for musicians everywhere. When I think of the many instruments this is true of it leaves me in awe of the people that can not only play but with such skill too.

I want to be that good one day with my mandolin. Thank you for once again stopping by my blog to see what I wanted to talk about today. I do appreciate the support.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section; either here on my blog or on my videos on my YouTube channel. I try to get to every one I receive.

Have yourselves a wonderful day/night wherever you are. Now I must go practice some more and master that F Major chord. 🙂

 

 

Do I dare pick up this book?

 

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Today’s post is another one from the 365 Writing Prompts but not about music. LOL, I thought I would give you a break on that subject. 🙂

This is your life

If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.

Hmm, this is something I would really need to think about before picking up that book. How thick do you think your book would be? That alone would give you a clue as to the contents.

The question says the book contains all that has happened in your life but there’s no big deal there since we have lived through that stuff already. Most of us can remember what has happened.

The next bit of the sentence says the book also contains all that will ever happen in your life and that is a bit scarier. Think about that for a few minutes…would you really want to know?

Reading the book would take all the unexpected problems and dangers and expose them while there is still time to change things so as to prevent or lessen the impact on your life, perhaps even save your life.

But, all that will ever happen in your life also includes the pleasant surprises and special moments with loved ones. That would take some of the fun and enjoyment out of life if you knew what would be happening, don’t you think?

To me, this suggests you might as well read the last page of books or listen to someone describe a movie before you get a chance to see it for yourself. This would be a spoiler for your life!

The prompt goes on to say that if you do choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover. That means you can’t flip through and sample different chapters at key times in your life to get a sneak peak at what is coming up.

You also would not be able to skip to the end and find out when and how you are going to die without knowing all that came before it. That would be good, though, because what we go through changes how we deal with everything afterward.

In other words, you would not react to  how you die the same way knowing nothing about what lead up to it compared to being able to understand the sequence of events that brings you to when and how you die.

To make that a little clearer let’s consider an example. Okay, you are going to die of cancer. Being informed of that news, BAM smacks you right between the eyes. No warning. No preparation.

However, reading about getting sick, then being diagnosed and having the chance to choose whether to try and fight it gives you a chance to adjust and work through the emotions that come with a diagnosis like that.

I don’t like spoilers, well, except for soap operas. LOL, I don’t want anyone telling me all about a movie or a book before I have seen or read it for myself.

As tempting as it would be to learn what is ahead for me, I think reading this book cover to cover would make living it all afterward exceptionally boring.

No more surprises, no more wondering if you were going to get that promotion at work or if she would say “Yes” when you asked her to marry you. It would also tell you how many children you have and what their names will be.

The book would also tell you when your parents or friends will die and the funerals you go to. Imagine carrying around that knowledge; do you tell them? Would they want to know?

It would call into question the whole “free will” subject too. We, as human beings, are supposed to possess free will to make choices and do as we please but if that is true then how is the book able to tell us what will happen in the future?

After reading the book you would probably make different choices to avoid the bad stuff from happening or to improve the chance of good stuff happening…but then, wouldn’t that change the book?

LOL, I am so confused but after thinking about this whole idea of such a book existing for each and every one of us. I think I have made up my mind on the matter.

So, I think in the end I would NOT want to read this book. I am curious, though…what are your thoughts? Would you want to read the book about you, for your life?

 

 

 

 

I want this so bad it hurts.

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Today’s post comes from the inspiration provided by one of the 365 days of prompts from The Editors here at WordPress.com  You can find them here: 365 Days Of Writing Prompts

Practice makes perfect Tell us about a talent you’d love to have…but don’t.

Okay, from my post on August 28th I think you can guess what talent I would love to have…but don’t (yet). That’s right, I want to be able to play the mandolin.

First, great news to report since my last post about this Fender Mandolin Pack I looked at in Music City. I have since put 20% down on it and it is officially on layaway. I have 90 days to pay it off and bring it home. That could be putting so much a month on it or wait until the 90th day and just pay it off to bring it home, or any way I like as long as it is paid for by or on the 90th day. 🙂

Once I get that mandolin home out of the layaway at Music City I will begin. I know sore fingers are in my future. I will endure and persevere.

The title of this post is no exaggeration either folks. I can feel the need to learn this instrument deep inside. I dream about playing and even have a picture of it on my computer desktop.

I have played instruments in my past. When I was in high school I played the clarinet. I love music and need it in my life.

My music teacher, Mrs. Sullivan, was so impressed by my music theory marks that she gave me the option to pick another instrument after the clarinet and I chose the flute.

Those are both wind instruments though and after years of smoking my asthma is much worse now than it was then. I have tried to learn guitar since high school but failed miserably.

I don’t think I was motivated enough…I didn’t want it bad enough. So I started off fine but soon stopped practicing as often, then stopped altogether.

This frustrated my husband who was the one who bought the guitar for me and was teaching me chords and techniques. He plays both acoustic and electric guitar and just could not understand my lack of devotion.

I would have thought he, of all people, would understand because he had to push through long enough to make it a habit and master how to play. Then again maybe for him, the guitar was to him what the mandolin is for me.

It was his musical instrument of choice; something he felt compelled to play. Perhaps it is just his personality that makes it easy for him to set his sights on a goal and never let up until he achieves it.

I want that so badly…to be that kind of person.

I have already set out the reasons why I think I will stay focussed this time in my other post (the one from August 28th –> Something exciting I am planning… opens in a new window).

Most of all I want to achieve this goal so that I have something to play along with when my husband plays guitar. I also need to redeem myself in his eyes from the whole guitar fiasco so he can be proud of me.

Never have I had this level of determination, this drive, to learn an instrument. Even in high school, it was mandatory for the course to play something. Besides, I had a teacher on my case every school day in the fourth period.

Here at home, it is up to me to keep picking that mandolin up; even though my fingers are killing me, even though I am tired and can’t be bothered, even though I need to cook dinner.

You are all going to be witness to my determination this time. I will probably bore you to tears whining about my fingers or complaining that I can’t  quite get the rhythm down. LOL

Please be patient with me while I develop the discipline to persevere day after day to master the mandolin. I do appreciate all your support when it comes to my blog.

I am almost at the four-year mark since quitting smoking. As of December 17, 2016, it will be four years! If I can do that…I CAN LEARN MANDOLIN. lol 🙂

In this Fender FM100 Mandolin Pack, even a book is included to begin learning with, the chords and even a few songs to learn to play. Plus there are lots of lessons for free on the net.

There is absolutely NO excuse for me not to succeed this time. Once I post that the mandolin is out of layaway and here with me, I give you guys permission to ask me about playing in the comments of any of my posts thereafter.

I want you to keep me accountable. That will help, really! 🙂

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This is what comes in the box but this is not the same color.

I will be making a YouTube video for my channel when I bring it home so you will be able to see it in real life and not just in pictures like these.

Can you tell I am excited? LOL, I am one of those people (the ones when they start going on and on about a topic you just wish they would shut up). I am sorry but I can’t help it. 😦

It was a wise decision to put some money down on the one at Music City. I had my eye on a couple of used mandolins on our local Kijiji website and contacted the sellers. The first one failed to get back to me and then the ad disappeared.

The second seller took a day to respond and long story short after a lot of back and forth texting they said they are out of town until next week. They were also really shifty about the price they were asking too.

Hubby and I agreed…there are reasons why I was not meant to get either of those. That is how we look at these things now; if it is meant to be it will happen. If there are problems then we are not meant to have that particular item.

It may be damaged or about to break, it may be overpriced or just a bad deal altogether. There is always a reason it doesn’t work out.

All right, I will sign off for now and go surf the net for websites to bookmark that has anything to do with the mandolin; lessons, pictures, videos of people playing…you get the idea. 😉

Thank you for reading this far and letting me go on and on about this subject – you guys are awesome. 🙂 Have a wonderful day/night and I will talk to you on my next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old Before My Time =(

 

I don’t know about you but I never thought I would get this old this quickly. When I was young, in grade school and even high school, time seemed to drag on and on.

Summer vacations from school were the best and seemed to last long past the point of boredom. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking boredom the way the kids today mean when they say they are bored.

We actually went outside to play. There were no video games or cell phones or the portable tech we have now. I was a bit of a tomboy actually…I climbed trees and made mud pies as well as went hiking out in the back forty to explore the massive fields that surrounded our house.

I didn’t get into the whole makeup or fashion craze that girls my age naturally gravitated to. I did have a doll or two but they were by no means the only things I played with.

I remember cardboard dolls and paper clothes with tabs you folded over to dress them with.  I remember big console tv sets. I believe our tv in the living room was a Hitachi with an elaborate wooden cabinet and speakers built in on each side of the picture tube.

Now I am sounding just like my grandparents did when they described their childhood to me. Oh boy, that is the true marker of age, isn’t it? Telling the current generation how good they’ve got it and how much harder it was in our day.

What is the hallmark for telling off these young whipper snappers? The whole walking to school uphill both way in the deep snow and all that speech? Now I know I am getting old.

Please don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying I am ready for a retirement home in any way, shape or form. Just that I am noticing some distinct changes in the way things are now as opposed to when I was growing up.

Perhaps it is the community I have moved into out here in the country that has been the catalyst for where my thoughts are heading lately. Perhaps it is my mother’s and then my sister’s birthday that have reminded me that my  birthday is in just a few more months.

In any case, I have been noticing things that give me pause. Like the skin on the backs of my hands. They now resemble what my grandmother’s hands used to look like. Old lady hands I call them, with loose skin and the veins showing more.

Looking in the mirror now I see my Great Aunt Bea with her clip-on earrings (although mine are pierced) and saggy jowls, it forces me to think, where did the time go?  Where on earth did this old lady come from?

Recalling some of my older memories it feels like I have lived several lifetimes; like that couldn’t have all happened to me, that much time hasn’t passed, surely I am not that old!

My body reminds me some days that, yes, I am indeed getting older. My joints snap and pop (that started when I turned 40), my hair needs a dye kit every 6- 8 weeks or the gray hair can be noticed starting at the roots (that started when I was 19) but it all bothers me more now.

I get tired faster too. I used to be able to stay up pretty much around the clock and now midnight finds me nodding off on the couch while watching a movie. Gone are the party days when I was hanging out with friends, going out to bars, or talking into the wee hours of the morning.

Weight is not as easy to lose now either. Don’t even get me started on the joys of menopause! LOL That is a nice little welcome to old age present for us women. Pfft, please read this last bit as the sarcasm it is intended to be.

There is some freedom that comes with old age, though. Yes, there are upsides to all this. These days I don’t care how much other people like me, I wear a bikini when I go swimming now and have done so for that past two or three years.

Then can we talk about the senior discounts at stores that are in my not too distant future? Who doesn’t like saving money? 10 -15% off for seniors every Tuesday the signs in the window  proclaim. Some even start at age 55 although most stores say eligible seniors are qualified at age 60 +.

I don’t mean to sound depressing here folks, but I figured I would share my recent thoughts on age and how I feel about all this to see if any of you can relate to what I find myself going through.

Time is passing so much more quickly now and that puts me squarely in the category of those not thrilled with this turn of events. Yes, tick my name off in that column on the questionnaire, please.

I am still the younger version of myself on the inside, though…so I guess it is not all that bad. As long as I keep her safe in there this outside part can change all it needs to.

Where Does The Time Go?  (link will open in a new window) is a post I wrote about 7 months ago. That post was more about the speed of time passing and, although I touch on that a bit in this post, the main focus of this post is the changes I am noticing as I get older.

Thank you for dropping by my blog to read my thoughts and feelings once again, my friends. I really appreciate your support. =) Have a wonderful day/night wherever you are when you are reading this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Color Me Less Stressed =)

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You must have heard all about this coloring craze by now. Adult coloring books have made companies, that produce them, money hand over fist.

Focusing on coloring is a soothing activity that leaves all your worries and stress behind you. I want to get some to try, these kinds of pictures are right up my alley.

The little child in you comes out to play and gets to be creative. These books are so refined, intricate and elaborate begging you to bring them to life with color!

There are books with intricate designs like the ones I have featured in the slideshow above and there are intricate pictures of landscapes and people and everything imaginable.

Fine-tipped markers or pencil crayons are the usual media but I have also seen paint sets or pastels used as well. You can find them in almost any genre you are looking for.

If you like horses, say, or cats, or city streets there are books that will capture your imagination and have you looking forward to sitting down with a coffee and engaging your senses.

These things are reasonably priced as well…talk about not getting stressed out. LOL, They can be found anywhere from bookstores to your local WalMart. They sit there tempting me on the shelves as I pass by on my way to pick up food, pop or my prescriptions.

They sit there tempting me on the shelves as I pass by on my way to pick up food, pop or my prescriptions.

Much like coloring pages for kids that you can find for free on the internet and print at home there are adult coloring pages up there too. Hmm, I just got a new black tank for my printer.

A couple of memories come to mind of other colorings I have done since I hit my teenage years.

The first memory is purchasing a coloring book for older kids, Bugs Bunny and the gang if I remember right. I also bought a brand new 64 pack of crayons with the sharpener on the back.

Do you remember those? That was the ultimate crayon box that all kind of kids wished for. So many colors to choose from and the names on the wrappers were so interesting.

I was older when I bought those, although I am not sure of my exact age I do recall I was almost in high school. It was during the summer and we were visiting some friends at their cottage.

It was so relaxing and revitalizing going back to my coloring days like when I was four or five. That was then when I was not that far from those early days, to begin with. Today I am much, much older and the thought of coloring again makes me feel whimsical.

The second memory is of those posters you could get with designs like these in a tube and you got a pack of thin markers in with it. The design I had was a long winding road with all sorts of weird and wonderful cars and vehicles and people.

Some posters had that fake velvet everywhere that the design wasn’t. Depending on the design it could work to your benefit to have the bright colors stand out extra bright against the black background.

My long winding road full of weird and wonderful people and vehicles was not the velvet kind. This I do remember, all these years later I can still picture it in my mind and see with great clarity the man with the exaggerated step forward wearing this fringed vest with a peace symbol on the back.

Next time you are in your local bookstore or WalMart have a look on the shelves for adult coloring books and the kits you can get with fine markers or pencil crayons.

Tell me that they don’t call out to the little kid in you that is begging as you walk by to please, please, pulleezz can we get one. Come on…how can you resist that face? =)

Happy coloring one and all!

Happy Birthday to my sister, Karen! =)

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Happy Birthday, Karen. Today’s post is dedicated to you! That is my amazing sister Karen in the picture above and our Mother’s arm is around her.

I am so thankful to have my sister back in my life that I really need to celebrate her birthday today. As luck would have it this post (due to my new schedule of posting every third day) lands on August 31st, her birthday.

Since you awesome people that read my blog do not know us I need to explain a few things so you can understand why I am so happy and excited to be able to celebrate with Karen today.

For many years my sister and I never really talked. She knew I was here and I knew she was there but there was no love lost between us.

This was due to misunderstandings and hurt feelings growing up together. These things kept us at a distance from each other even though we shared a bedroom for our formative years.

We have since been able to have long conversations on the phone and work through those misunderstandings and hurts. I am pleased to say that now I share a beautiful and deep bond with her that at one time I never thought would be possible.

I still remember the various decoration styles that the bedroom walls went through over the years. I remember a massive field of yellow flowers on a white background to go along with our bright yellow, orange and white striped bedspreads when we were younger.

I may have a picture of that somewhere still. Happy Harry was on the bed…my yellow stuffed dog with long black ears. Do you remember him Karen?

Then I think it went to a dark chocolate  color on the trim and mint green color on the walls as we got older and more sophisticated. I really liked that one…made me feel like I was staying in a mint Oreo cookie. LOL

I remember the windows on each side of  the  one corner and that Dad made our beds each one on top of a set of drawers. The beds were joined at the head by a desk he built between them so we could study.

I must have had the worlds best-tanned eyelids since Karen was always studying and I tried to sleep with the light on. LOL She is two years and almost three months older than me and I am so proud of her for all she has accompished in her life so far.

I’m not sure if you remember this Karen, but when we were younger, and sharing that bedroom, Mom would come in late at night while we were sleeping to put our clothes away in the closet.

Mom told me once (a very long time ago now) that she would catch us talking back and forth in our sleep! What is really crazy is the fact that we made sense…you would say something, I would respond and vice versa.

Looking back now it saddens me to think of all the years we have lost.I am just so happy and excited to know that we won’t be losing any more time and have been able to reconnect, to get back the relationship that we should have had all along.

I hope I have not embarrassed you, Karen, by writing all this, but I want you to know I wish you a very happy birthday today. May this be your best year yet and may all your dreams come true. You are smart, beautiful and  the best sister a person could ask for. I love you. =)