Tuesday, December 9, 2014

I AM a natural redhead......seriously, I AM.

I get asked fairly often what color is my hair "really". I find this kind of a funny question to ask. No one ever thinks twice about asking a bottle blonde if her hair is "natural" or even a perfectly lowlighted caramel brunette if hers is from a bottle. And  yet, I encounter conversations like this rather often:

A: So what color is your hair REALLY?
Me: I'm a redhead.
Me: Yeah, I'm a redhead.
A: You dye your hair though.
Me: Yeah, I like it a darker red.
A: So you aren't a natural redhead then.
Me: Yeah, I was born with red hair.
A: Then why do you dye it?

UGH! So if an ashy blonde (often called "dirty blonde") lightens her hair to get that "perfect blonde" then she is still considered a "Natural Blonde" because blonde is what grows out of her head, she simply enhances her natural color but a copper top redhead who darkens her shade to a rich auburn isn't a natural redhead because the color you SEE isn't what grows out of her head?!? If a deep chocolate brunette adds golden caramel highlights to her hair then she is simply enhancing her natural brunette and her hair is still considered "natural"....but a strawberry blonde/ginger blonde who lowlights her hair with a medium auburn is told her hair isn't natural. It is a never ending cycle. Just because I choose to color my hair a different shade of red, doesn't mean  I'm not a natural redhead...I just choose a different shade of red!

The truth is, I've been coloring my hair for 20 years. I've been every shade of red under the sun in that 20 years. I've only passed by my natural ginger hue maybe 3 times in all of that and each time I decide that "it isn't me" and that I don't look good with my natural color. I've tried to figure out why  I feel that way. I was teased for my hair color as a kid, not as badly as some people have endured but the teasing was still there. I wanted darker hair....I felt that the brassy copper penny color it grew out of my head was simply not pretty, and made my face look like a tomato. It bleached in the sun and got blonde highlights. If I spent enough time in the sun, I went platinum blonde. I hated it. Blonde is not a good color for me.

I'm fortunate to have a husband who loves me no matter what. He doesn't seem to have a preference on my hair color and he has seen me go through an impossible to count number of shades in the 10 years we have been together. I'm sure though that the cost of upkeep and my constantly changing moods about my hair starts to get a bit annoying. He's a good sport about it though.

After dying my hair (at home) for the millionth time just a couple days ago, I got a darker shade than I wanted.....again. It isn't that it is a bad color, or that it looks unnatural. (I've had some badly unnatural looking shades over the years.) It just isn't what I was hoping for in this case. So I got to thinking and asked myself a question I don't often approach:

"Why am I never happy with the way I look?  Why do I dislike my hair so much that I'm always seeking to reinvent myself?"

The answer is a bit complicated...but the short answer is that the only time I have ever felt good about myself has been when my hair was darker than my natural color.

I've been through a lot in my life, like most people. I have always hidden the hurt rather well, and chose to put on the smile and just keep trucking on in life, but I've always struggled with self-esteem. It isn't that I feel unworthy of happiness....I'm happy with the person I am on the inside. I could list a dozen things I like or feel are valuable about myself that have nothing to do with my exterior self. But I would be lying if I said that has always been the case for me. Any time that I have had my hair close to my natural shade I have ended up in situations and relationships where I am made to feel homely, plain, disposable, unworthy and unwanted. This has been the case since I was quite young, it started with friendships and bled over into my first marriage. Now I know that my HAIR had nothing to do with the way that I was treated by people...not on that deeper level. My hair color was not the reason why my "best friend" told me that I wasn't her best friend anymore. My hair color was not the reason why the girls in my class at church and school purposely excluded me from things, made fun of me and gave me dirty looks.  I tried to be friendly, I tried to be part of things, but I was shunned, laughed at, and outright left out. I was singled out, blamed for things I didn't do, made an example of (even if all I had done was tell someone to stop doing something they weren't supposed to do). I was told I was not pretty, I was called fat (I wasn't fat then...I was athletic), the boys I would have a crush on would always like someone else (one was one of the only friends I had at the time and the other was someone who hung out with all the girls who were mean to me, even though she never was personally mean to me) so I started to compare myself to them.

I was friends with the boys though. They let me hang out with them. They thought I was funny, and I liked sports. But I always heard them talking about the other girls. How this one or that one was so pretty. I saw how they noticed them...and didn't notice me. So I compared myself to them. I looked at the girls who all hung out together. They were all the same. Pretty and thin. None of them had red hair and freckles. They were tan with dark hair and always made up. Every guy friend I ever had preferred brunettes or blondes. No one ever noticed a pretty redhead. Adults liked my hair. Adults said I was cute or that my freckles were pretty....my peers made fun of it all. Or at least that is how I felt about it.

I'm sure it is simply a coincidence that I started being told I was pretty, wasn't shunned by the girls I wanted to be friends with etc after I started coloring my hair. Something so small as my hair color couldn't possibly change if I'm pretty, or if I'm worthy of friendship. But I can't help but feel like subconsciously I have started to associate my natural appearance with those feelings of rejection and bullying.

Over the years I have allowed my hair to go back to a more natural color...close to my  natural shade anyways. The first time I let it go close to natural my (now EX) husband was verbally abusive to me and ended up cheating on me. I went through a nasty divorce and coped by not looking or acting ANYTHING like that person who wasn't good enough. Any time I have allowed my hair to lighten closer to that natural copper I have found myself feeling those worthless feelings again. (Not directed at my wonderful husband, but it reminds me that the person who was abandoned exists still inside me. and I run from her.)

Friendships have been hard for me to maintain over the years. I honestly thought that once you became an adult you didn't have backstabbing, two-faced friends. I was wrong. So my coping mechanism is to change myself, reinvent and move on. In my adult life I have only found myself with true friends when I have felt worthy myself. And each time that has been with a darker shade of auburn as opposed to my natural copper blonde.

The truth is, that I have spent more of my life as an auburn haired woman than I have as a ginger girl. I have only felt pretty when I had darker auburn hair. As a ginger I  felt awkward, plain, shunned, bullied, and over all just saw myself as "less".  The color of my hair hasn't really changed. Inside I'm still a ginger girl....just trying to "fit in" and to be "accepted". I hide that girl as much as I can because I have never felt like she was enough, she was never good enough, talented enough, pretty enough or smart enough. She was "annoying" and a bother.

I see my natural shade on my son, on other women and it is beautiful. And I think, I wish it looked like that on me. My inner Ginger is hurt. My inner copper top hides away where no one can hurt her, where she can't be teased, or thrown away, left out and shunned.

I have started to realize, today actually....as I write this, that I try to fix the inside hurt, the wounds I bury from past friendships, from people I thought cared about me, from my ex-husband and even from people who NEVER took the time to even know me, by changing my outside. When I feel in any way like "less" I decide to reinvent myself, I redye my hair as a sort of therapy. It is the same as people who go shopping, by a new wardrobe, get their nails done and pamper themselves in many ways. I don't stuff my face to feel better, I color my hair. But I realize that I'm just hiding. I'm running. Trying to get as far away from "that girl" as possible.

So I'm contemplating a challenge for myself. To work on the inside, not the outside. Feeling good about your outward appearance is important.....yes. But what good is it to look good on the outside when you are unable to feel like it is good enough?!?

So I'm thinking about ditching the dye. Maybe after 22 years it is time to break up with that bottle. Maybe it is time that I stop having to answer that question "what color is your hair REALLY??" and then stop defending and explaining the truth to people. No blonde or brunette has to defend their "natrualness"....they don't get asked if their hair is "natural" or if they  color their hair....but redheads do. I get it, you don't understand why someone with naturally red hair would want to change it....even to a different shade of red. Maybe like me, they haven't had the best experiences and the one thing they can control to change the way that people treat them is their hair color.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Confession of an Academia Junkie

So in just 2 weeks the Fall semester will begin for me. I am getting closer and closer to the end of my BA degree and I'm starting to consider if I want to continue on for my MA or not. What I'm finding difficult is that everyone always asks "so what do you want to do?" after finding out my major is in English. No, I don't want to be a teacher. I hate that I never seem to have a solid answer though. When presented with the question "What do you want to do with your degree" I am suddenly dragged back to 10 years old and being asked "What do you want to be when you grow up" and I'm that one kid who has no reply.

The truth is, I have no idea. I have spent the last 21 years of my life chasing this dream to finish  my BA in English. Along the way I thought I wanted to pursue different avenues and tried Psychology, Theatre, Music and Photography. Ultimately I went back to English because it was my "default" and it was what I was closest to completing. But what do you do with a degree in English besides teach?!?

They say to find what you love and figure out how to make a living with it. That is all fine and well, but for me it seems to be easier said than done. I don't know how to make a career out of writing, reading, photography, music and theatre. I just don't I'm all creative, "the arts" has always been what I'm good at and I don't know how to do anything else. I really don't want to teach though, and every time I think I have an answer to that dreaded question I wind up second guessing myself and changing my mind.

My kids are starting 10th and 11th grade this next week and I find myself asking them what they want to pursue in college in just a few short years, as any parent would. But I feel like a fraud telling them they need to have an idea when I don't even know what "I want to be when I grow up". How do you choose what to spend the rest of your working life doing if you can't settle on ONE thing you just *know* is your so-called "calling"? How can you be an example to your kids when all you know how to do is be in school but not out in the "real world" applying the skills you gathered in college?

I used to say that I could be a career student and be happy, and maybe that is true about me. Maybe I'm addicted to school because it is the one thing I feel that I'm genuinely good at doing. That's all I know how to do really, be a student, because I have spent my entire life being one.

So no, I don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I don't know what I'll end up "doing" with my degree in English. Maybe write, maybe edit, maybe travel the world taking photos and writing about my experiences singing my way in dive bars to get by, and maybe I'll do nothing because I have nothing particularly interesting or profound to say.

I have no clue. I do know one thing though:

My name is Emylee Noel, I'm an Academia Junkie and I have no idea what I want to *do* with my life.

Friday, August 8, 2014

What's the point?

We all have days where we feel like our efforts are for nothing. All the hard work, all the workouts and all the sacrifices and what do you get? At the end of 2 weeks you have GAINED weight? That is a tough spot in which to find yourself. You watch other people barely try and here you are busting your butt and they lose but you don't....in fact you gained weight. It isn't "muscle". It is just how your body works. At least that is how my week has been.

When you have medical conditions that aren't life threatening and are for the most part "invisible", it can be difficult to be accepting of your situation when it comes to your health. It is even more difficult to get people to listen to you, including doctors and dieticians, when you are insisting that something is wrong. They tell you to just "keep doing what you're doing and eventually your body catches up." In my experience though, this isn't exactly the case. Contrary to what people often think, it isn't a matter of not doing enough, working hard enough, eating "bad" foods, not exercising, eating too much. Not always. Some times you can do everything you are "supposed" to do, and see no results. It can be frustrating, discouraging and extremely depressing.

You know what? That's ok. It is ok to feel discouraged and frustrated. You are allowed to feel depressed that you didn't have cake, passed up the bread basket, ate all your veggies, skipped the french fries and drank all your water. All while getting an hour or more of cardio every day, eating within your allowed calories and having at least 800 calories "left" at the end of the day. Yet not only NOT losing any weight but GAINING weight. People want to tell you how to do it, that you just need to do more, or do this or that differently. The thing is though, that you are doing all you can, you are working as hard as possible but not seeing any results. You don't need everyone else's "fixes", you need support, compassion and understanding.

What's the point? The point is to stay strong, find support where you can, and to continue to reach for your goals. You don't always see results on a scale or in the mirror. You don't. It is what it is. It isn't about "sucking it up and dealing" but at the same time it sort of is that way. You do have to accept that sometimes you can't "do" anything to change the circumstances. However you can choose to respond to the situation differently.

It might not feel like there is a point to trying to lose weight, or quit smoking or whatever it is you are trying to change. Failure might seem like it is constantly chasing you down and squashing every solid effort you make. However, when you step back and see it as an opportunity to gain strength and confidence in your own ability to bounce back and stand back up when knocked down, you find success.

So I gained weight this week, in spite of all my hard work and not letting myself convince myself that skipping a work out would be ok. I worked out every day. I didn't eat a bunch of junk. I stayed within my calorie goal...and I gained. I won't lie, I am upset. I feel defeated. I feel discouraged. I feel like it is pointless to work so hard to take 3 steps backwards. And that's ok.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Working out....again

I did it! I got back on a workout schedule today. Because of my back surgery just 7 months ago, I still have to take it kind of easy. My muscles are not what they were before surgery and they certainly are not what they were when I was a gymnast and figure skater.

I'm giving myself a year to get to my goal. I'm not looking to be a "twig" or to be "skinny", that isn't my body structure. I'm curvy and strong by nature, but very petite in the bone frame. Yes, I grew with my back surgery so I can honestly say I'm 5'2" but my bones are much too small to carry the weight I've been carrying for so many years now. (I'm "fun sized" or "pocket sized" as my husband says.)

So here is to accountability....

30 minutes on my stationary recumbent bike
4 sets of 10 squats each
5 sets of  20 crunches each
4 sets of 5 push ups each
4 sets of 10 pelvic lifts each
30 minutes on my stationary recumbent bike

It isn't much.....and it is NOWHERE close to the activity levels I have done in my past. Nor is it anywhere close to where I want and need to be. It is a START though, and pretty impressive when I remind myself from where I started at the end of last year.


No matter how slow you go, it's farther than sitting on the couch.

Make progress not excuses.

And Then Life Happens.

Life has really thrown  me some curve balls lately. After dealing with the healing from spine surgery, 6 months to the day after that surgery I had another procedure. For years I have dealt  with the pain of Endometriosis and the complications of the PCOS. I had to have a partial hysterectomy and had another month of recovery and sitting on my butt to heal from that.

When I went into hospital for surgery on my back December 11th, 2013 I was not happy with the number on the scale. The year leading up to my surgery had left me unable to do much physically and though I knew logically that recovering from major spine surgery was going to take a while, I was not prepared emotionally for that journey. I don't know if I thought I would bounce back quickly and be as physically able as I was 15 years ago or what...but that wasn't what it was like. I wasn't prepared for how weak and easily exhausted my muscles and entire body would end up being.

It has been so slow going and I was finally allowed to start really exercising. Well, I was allowed to ride my stationary recumbent bike that is. Just after I was released to do so, I ended up needing to have a hysterectomy due to the extreme and increasing condition of my endometriosis. Of course that meant that I had to take it easy for another month to allow myself to heal.

It is hard to continue on a path you set for yourself when life throws what feels like the impossible roadblock at you time and time again. Sometimes we fail. I know that I could say that I did during this time. Over the last 7 months I have put on some weight, I've grown more tired and discouraged each time I got dressed and clothes didn't fit or when I stepped on the scale and saw a number I had hoped I would never see again. I could say that I failed, but I refuse to see it as a failure.

Failing is easy. Throwing your hands up and saying "oh well, I failed" and giving up is easy. Making excuses is easy. My health makes it hard, yes but not impossible, even if it feels that way. The fact that I had to relearn how to walk, shave, shower, put my shoes on, dress and even use the restroom completely on my own and in new ways to accommodate the rods, screws and metal plate in my back is NOT a failure. So weight didn't come off while I was recovering and I even put on a little bit, but I didn't put on 50 pounds and that is a success. Making excuses, even valid ones, is easy. It is easier than trying and feeling like a failure. It is easier to hide behind weight than to allow yourself to be vulnerable and exposing yourself to the world when you try and don't succeed. 

I learned a few things over the last 7 months while healing from back surgery and a hysterectomy.

1) Success is not just seeing a number on the scale go down or buying smaller clothes.
2) Not everyone who says they are on your side actually wants to see you succeed.
3) Negativity has to be eliminated. Negative people and negative thoughts have no place in my life anymore.
4) The only thing really standing in my way is ME.

And so......
1) I'm celebrating the little things, even when the scale doesn't move in the direction I want.
2) I'm paying attention not only to the words other people say to me, but to their actions. If your actions don't show that you are genuine then I'm done waiting for them to suddenly be genuine.
3) It was with a heavy heart that I had to step back and take a look at people in my life and I realized that there were several people who truly were not positive people for me. They were not true friends and honestly they never were. Sadly I had to let go of them because the negativity was weighing on me so greatly.
4) I'm no longer going to stand in my own way. I'm not going to allow the feelings, words, thoughts and insecurities of others to cause me to stand in my way and hold myself back for fear that "they" will not like me, be happy for me or support me. I'm in control of my own happiness.

Life happens. Life gets in the way. Life sends you down a new path and puts up roadblocks on your way to your goals. You have two choices though....you can roll with the punches and face each obstacle with determination and passion or you can throw your hands in the air and say "oh well, I guess it isn't meant to be."

Personally I choose not to be held back by surgeries, Celiac's Disease or PCOS (which can make losing weight extremely difficult). I'm not making excuses anymore and I refuse to stand in my own way.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Full of passion....but falling flat.

Writing has always been something that I have loved to do, and something that has always been rather "easy" for me. Although, I think it is "easy" because all I'm basically doing here is talking the way I do in every day life. A silent monologue sent out into the vast open air. Writing is therapeutic for me as well, it allows me to just let my thoughts out and sometimes that is boring. Sometimes though I get a real gem of a thought or idea and I write it down and think "wow....that was good".

This semester at school I'm taking "Writing Creative Fiction" and I'm realizing just how incredibly rusty I am...and BORING! Sitting in my class yesterday we were going over some of the students' ideas for their story. (The one major writing assignment is to write a 15 page short story). We have several smaller writing exercises that we do to help us develop our stories and strangely I found myself struggling with the first one. So, when we had a few people volunteer to go over the basic ideas they were developing, I realized just how inferior my initial writing exercise was to theirs. Or rather, my initial idea seemed so lame and uninteresting. So....it is back to the drawing board I go.

It is so intimidating to sit there and feel like you have all the passion and none of the ability. It almost makes you wonder "am I pursuing the wrong thing in school? Is writing really what I'm good at?". I know it is in there, somewhere....just locked away in a part of me that I have not tapped into in a very long time. So the assignment for tomorrow is to create two characters and to put them into conflict. So, I'm going to try to let the imagination just run away with me.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Happy New Year! Now let's relearn how to walk.

So it's 2014 and I'm on the road to recovery. So I'm back.....and ready to get back to blogging, while taking on the full load at school, handling all my kid commitments, wife duties and recovering from my back surgery.

So here is the update:

At the end of Fall Semester 2013 (December 11th) I underwent a 9.5 hour surgery on my spine. As I'm sure I have said before, they had to open up the spinal cavity for my nerves to pass through (Stenosis), replace the two discs which were nearly completely gone (at L4/5 and L5/S1), as well as stabilize the shifting that was happening with L5 and the fact that it was all the way forwards. Upon getting in there, however, the surgeon found that L5 was not just forward it was in 2 pieces and free-floating around. They also found that one of my nerves was being rubbed and there was a notch in it, so that had to be repaired as well. All in all I now have 2 titanium rods, 6 screws and a titanium plate in place. Recovery at first was very difficult. I didn't eat the first 2 days in the hospital. By day 3 I was able to keep water, Sprite and a little Jello down. The entire time I was in the hospital my appetite was terrible but I was able to begin eating solid foods, though in extremely small portions by the time I headed home. Day 3 they made me start re-learning to stand and walk. At first it took 2 people to just roll me over in bed, help me out of bed to standing and support me as I could barely shuffle my feet a few inches to "walk". It was very important to me to be able to be home for Christmas and they were thinking I would need to go to an inpatient rehabilitation center for a few days to a week, but this would mean me missing Christmas with my family. So my determination (and stubbornness)  kicked in and I insisted on walking, standing and learning to move my legs again. I surprised the Physical Therapy department, my nurses and my Neurological Surgeons by going from needing 2 people to practically move me at all, to walking almost the entire floor of where I was staying and going up and down 9 steps completely unassisted by day 6. So day 6 I went home. :-)

Upon getting home, we had to make a few accommodations for me. A recliner, a grabbing tool, help to shower, shave my legs, make myself food, housework, dressing myself etc were all necessary. Honestly without my kids and my wonderful husband I would not have been able to come home. I was not even able to get myself out of bed because my left side does not respond quite as well as I need it to just yet. I am currently at 4.5 weeks post surgery. Some of the basic personal tasks I'm able to do...thank God. Use the restroom, dry my hair and style it, put on make up and make myself something to eat so long as I don't have to bend over or lift anything more than a can of fruit (for example). I HAVE over done it many times because I have a hard time allowing others to care for me...especially when I have been the caregiver of others for 16 years. My kids however are constantly telling me to sit down, to go take a nap etc. The first couple weeks I did nothing but sleep....Valium and Morphine have that effect on me. I have had a lot of time to rest and have made many efforts to increase my abilities and my muscles.

At this point I'm back to driving, though getting in and out of my truck is a bit hard with the brace on, which I have to wear for at least the next 3 months. This brace goes from just under my bust to just below my hips...so it is quite restricting. At this point we are the fusing stage of my recovery, which I can say is an uncomfortable process to say the least. If you have ever chipped your tailbone then you know that painful sensation of sitting on that chipped tailbone and then standing up. Multiply it by about 60x.....that is how it feels when you have bones healing from screws and discs repairing. I'm finally to a point however where the morphine pills are not so necessary on a daily basis, and I have almost completely stopped having the excruciating sudden muscle spasms that slam you awake at night and cause your back to arch (which I'm NOT supposed to do at ALL). Which means the Valium is much less often needed. School started back this last week for me and the kids, which has been so exhausting for me because I'm not used to this much activity yet. But I always like a challenge. :-)

I still have a LONG way to go...the skin on my left leg and foot is still numb, and the nerves deep inside are HYPER active making any touching of my leg painful on the inside like a bruise being touched but the skin feeling nothing. I don't have full use of my left leg but I'm able to walk as long as I'm careful with my steps. I'm unable to dress myself easily, but I'm getting better at it and Ben (Devoted Husband....DH) helps me do it, as well as shower and shave my legs, every morning. I can't put socks or shoes on alone, or lotion my legs and feet, but I am able to wash my own hair, brush my teeth, hair and put on my own coat. Getting in and out of bed is still a challenge but I'm getting closer and closer to doing that myself and have even had a couple of moments where I didn't need to wake Ben up in the middle of the night (3 or 4 times) to help me out of bed and get my brace back on, then do it in reverse just so I could use the restroom. I am finally able to sleep on my right side, instead of just on my back (I'm NOT a back sleeper) and can even roll myself into that position (be it CAREFULLY and SLOWLY). Which drives Ben a little crazy because he is afraid I will hurt myself. This is a crucial time for healing because if my spine doesn't fuse properly (if I lean, twist or bend) it could cause damage or reduce the effectiveness of my surgery. Once I get settled in my school schedule, and I'm not so exhausted all the time, I'm going to be going to outpatient physical therapy so that I can regain full use of my left leg.

I still won't be able to ride my bicycle for a  year (and then we are back into winter which means I can't anyway), and I'm not sure how much or how little of the outdoor activities Ben, the kids and I used to enjoy together I will be able to fully participate in with them once I'm fully healed, only time will tell. But I'm excited and anxious to simply experience the rest of my life without the nerve pain I was experiencing, not peeing myself (unintentionally) and having to sit out of everything because of my back. If I can't do something, then I'm going to photograph everyone else, just as I always have done...I'm just not going to be in pain standing to do so anymore!

Everyone sets "New Year's Resolutions". This is year, I have some that I think everyone has. Spend more time with family, invest in growing true friendships, take better care of my health, lose weight, travel......yet I find that I'm altering mine a bit this year. Obviously, allowing myself to heal is a big part of my goals this year....

In no particular order, this next year, my promises to myself :

To allow myself the time I truly need to heal.
To spend quality time with those I value and who value me in return.
To worry less about what my scale says, and more about the health of my body.
(Living with Celiac's is a challenge, as well as the PCOS, so weight loss is not easy for me. It is better to eat what is right for my body and allow myself to heal than to worry about what the scale says.)
To stop investing so much in the relationships that do not appreciate me, do not give back, use me and disrespect me. I don't have time for the drama or problems of others.
 The only "drama" or "problems" I should be focusing on are my own and those that my immediate family must endure. It is time to allow other people to suffer the consequences of their choices in life...I can't save everyone from themselves.
To make special time for each of my children and for my husband.
To strengthen those bonds and the communication that we have with each other.
To put my talents and my passions to work.
It is by example that  we teach our children to follow their dreams, work hard and not to give up just because it gets difficult.
To read for pleasure, not just for school.
To travel....nearby or far away...or both.
To strengthen and begin the LONG process of preparing myself for hiking part (or all) of the Appalachian trail (at some point in my life....but I can't at all if I don't heal and strengthen.)

And lastly, To allow myself to "love" myself and value myself without picking myself apart every time I look in the mirror.

A long list, yes....but mostly the same list as usual.

So here is to a new  year, and relearning how to walk.....in more than one way. Baby steps still reach the goal.