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TToT: Managing The Mischief of Life – Zipping Along #WildPlayNiagara #HarryPotter20 #10Thankful

It’s over and done with. As the month of June comes to a close, so does my month long celebration of twenty years since my kidney transplant.

It’s like I’ve reached some invisible, yet important marker: Now what?

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Why not a photo of what is wild and free? (Wild Horses) This makes me think of the expression: “Wild horses could not drag me away from you.” Wow. Just Wow is all I have to say.

Well, there is another event that would shape my life going forward, that took place in 1997, though I had no idea of it occurring.

Read ahead for more on the 20th anniversary of magic as I now know it.

Before I continue, I am including this ink here, rather than trying to add two posts to the linkup.

A Bold Sea of Red – Hiraeth

Check it out if you want to see a few more photos. I had trouble posting because of a few of them causing trouble. The program wouldn’t accept them and I missed the TToT deadline for last week.

I thought about making this a entirely HarryPotter20 thankful post, but I have so many more things to be thankful for this week.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for summer solstice.

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I got to be in the Yukon just before summer was quite official and it opened my eyes to the differences of the latitude I may be at, all in my own country, and how the sun affects us all.

I’m thankful for a most unexpected gift of a writing deadline extension.

I am writing a short story, one I want to hopefully help move forward our ideas of diverse characters and stories.

Then things got away from me in this chaotic month and the deadline for this was coming up fast.

Suddenly, as I was about to give up because my story wasn’t complete in time, I read about an extension the contest decided on.

I now have until the end of the week and the pressure is mounting once again. I know I can meet that challenge, thanks to something I know I won’t always be able to count on magically appearing when I’m feeling I won’t make the deadline set.

I am thankful for Niagara Falls.

I may have included this before, but once again it surprises and delights me.

I got to experience it from a entirely new vantage point, going along it on a zip line.

It constantly takes my breath away.

I’m thankful for my brother who captures everything I now miss, with his love for photos, that makes me want to cry every time I think about it.

Don’t misunderstand. I am grateful for him, but I feel everything I can not see is the beauty he expertly and lovingly captures with his camera.

I do appreciate the attention he put into documenting our zip lining day in pictures. He will work on them, to make them the best they can be in his eyes, and I will write about what June 24th, 2017 meant to me, as soon as I get through a few other pressing deadlines in these next few weeks.

I am thankful for everyone who took the time out to come with me, to help me celebrate.

They overcame any reservations they may have had and they went zipping down that wire with me.

They even put up with a sudden downpour/hailstorm with me on our way back.

I am thankful said weather event decided to make an appearance right after we completed our mission.

We were all separated, into groups from our bigger group of fifteen, kids in strollers included.

Some of us took shelter inside arcades and some were caught out in it. I was under an awning, with my father and brother-in-law and the two kids, and we just barely stayed dry, but were already soaked anyway.

Dark clouds are a part of life. If you’ve never been soaked and caught in a rainstorm, you’ve not experienced the magic of nature in its entirety.

I am thankful for my mother and my niece and nephew’s other grandma for staying down on the ground to watch the kids.

I know they had their hands full, more than one bathroom visit included.

I am thankful for the last twenty years.

In that time: I got my kidney and Harry Potter was written.

What more than that could I want/need?

I am thankful for what Harry Potter has brought into my life.

20 years later, Harry Potter’s power is still strong (Toronto Star)

It all comes down to the magic. I can venture through adulthood without sacrificing my childlike view of the world, the one I wish was and work for.

J.K. Rowling has had amazing success with the books ever since. That must be a difficult load to carry, the pressure that goes along with success like Harry Potter has brought. On the other hand, it has brought her many great things as a result.

https://wearelumos.org

I sometimes want to keep Harry Potter to myself and then I want to hear how it has touched other reader’s lives like it has mine.

We can share in it. Magic is ageless and timeless and this story gives me hope and brings me a kind of faith, I suppose as a religion in a way. This may sound strange to those who never did read Harry Potter, but it feels as real as anything, though it stands as the most successful of fictional worlds.

I realize it means considerably less to some and to some nothing at all, only a book, not representing everyone. I am glad books are constantly being written that could bring people the kind of joy this one has brought me.

Thankful to my friend Kerra for directing me
here
as I explore diversity in my own and other stories.

Something Just Like This

Now,onto big decisions for my future. There was a discussion about making some changes. I want to share photos here, for my sighted viewers, but recently was having some trouble with that. Also, it was discussed whether me publishing my pictures here makes them property of WP and if I should move all my writing to a site all my own. I am thankful I have a friend who knows what he’s talking about, even a bit, when it comes to all that.

“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

—Albus Dumbledore, “Harry Potter)

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TToT: Short and Sweet, Here and Gone #10Thankful

I never get these in on Friday. Never. Despite my best intentions, it just never happens, until now that is.

Ten Things of Thankful

I’m thankful I can go for ice cream with my family.

We have a favourite place here and I thought about what it means to be able to enjoy such a simple pleasure and summer pastime, without fearing for our lives.

In Kabul this week that was not the case. How could someone plant a bomb at such a place, where families with their children gathered? How?

I’m thankful for a new friend who has a big heart and loves to help other writers, specifically women, to work to be our true selves.

Rebirth the Heroine

I recently liked the quote about being the heroine of my own story and this fits perfectly with the message in this video. I could use her peaceful voice and reassurances right now, in the midst of what is a pretty important month for me. (More on that next week.)

I am thankful the zip lining adventure has been officially booked.

We are ten or more. That means we get the discount. Wooooo! Five dollars off each ticket is five dollars. Better than nothing.

I just need to find out if they will allow my brother to photograph anything close to where the zip lining is. I hope to write a piece and use his photos in the newsletter for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. They may want you to buy their pricy souvenir photos though. I can do that too.

Maybe if I tell WildPlay Niagara I am a writer and doing a piece to be published and my brother is a professional photographer.

Cross your fingers.

I’m thankful for a doctor who has a family member with headaches.

Well, allow me to rephrase…I am not glad about the headache thing.

I mean that she seems to understand pain, as she lives with and loves someone who deals with it. This may be why she is as compassionate and empathetic as she is.

She is trying me on a new med because this one hasn’t helped one bit. I have high hopes for the next one.

I’m thankful for an invite to a lovely dinner as a guest of
The Writers’ Union of Canada
by the local members.

I was the youngest one there, but that’s okay. They were all so friendly and I feel I could learn a lot from them.

I probably can’t go back, as the rules are pretty strict and you must be a member, but I am not sure I qualify yet.

Either way, I was happy to be a guest that one time and I had some great conversations, ate some delicious food, and maybe I even made a few future connections. We’ll see.

I’m thankful for a friend who is speaking her mind for the causes important to her and which deserve more attention.

Sweatpants & Equality – Activism Is A Movement & A Practice — Not A Moment By Kerra Bolton

Feeling helpless gets old real fast. Some people find a way to act. Kerra is one of those people. She is strong and determined and I am happy we met. I look forward to reading her words in Sweatpants & Coffee in the future. Give this one a read though.

I am thankful Canada is vowing to move ahead with our promise devoted to the environment.

I don’t understand people and I will never understand 45 and the things he does. I don’t know when enough will be enough.

I don’t pretend to understand everything about the goals set out in the Accord, but I trust in what it stands for and am honoured to be one of almost all countries of the world working to protect the planet together.

I am thankful for another chat with my neighbour.

We could sit on her deck this time.

I love her vow to find peace in her life. She did something about her unhappiness and made a change. I admire her for that. I am glad she did and we can be neighbours.

She even said she will let my dog be leashed and hang out on her deck this summer. Whenever I go away I have to lock him in my entranceway and he barks a lot. She will have a key and can bring him out with her those days, so he won’t have to be alone and she won’t have to listen to him making all that racket.

I am thankful I am off to somewhere I’ve never been.

That is why I am getting this post in early. I will be back in a week’s time and I will have a TToT post in me, all about my trip to share.

I am thankful for some time with my nephew and niece.

With the brutal attacks, more this week, bombings in Baghdad and Kabul, I was feeling anxious and sad.

I sat with my almost five-year-old nephew, in the back of their new van like we used to do as kids in ours, with the hatch wide open to the driveway, where my dad (Grandpa) swept. Reed and I talked about colours, he got a juice box for both of us, and I relaxed for the first time in days.

Then I had a peaceful moment with Mya in my lap, as she stopped crying for her mom for a minute as I called to find out if she was coming to pick her up soon. She stopped crying, suddenly, and we just sat there together.

I kept thinking about Louis Armstrong and his famous song:

What A Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

“I hear babies cry. I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more, than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.”

—Louis Armstrong

I am now off to experience that world, the part that makes it as wonderful as Armstrong sings about that is.

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Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee #AtoZChallenge

Many people are afraid of heights. I seek them out, to a point.

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This does not mean I mountain climb for fun.

The A to Z Challenge – Z is for Zip Lining

I will admit that being blind means I can’t look out (from the edge of a tower or overlooking a waterfall) and see how high I am. This may detract from some of the fear most people understandably hold.

I may not be able to see it, but my rational comprehension tells me where I am. I will go zip lining at Niagara Falls in June, 2017, twenty years after I went to sleep living one kind of life, waking to a whole new one.

I will do it, surrounded by family and friends, overlooking my favourite natural wonder of the world.

Do not take anything in life for granted. We may not get to all live one way or another. We should be appreciative when we get to experience the things in life that make living so worthwhile.

***This is my first year of joining the A to Z Challenge and so I’ve decided to post randomly, as a way for new visitors to my blog to get to know me a little better. I look forward to discovering some interesting new blogs too.

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TToT: Mid April and Easter Update #Easter #10Thankful

“No matter what happens, people need to get their stories out. Sometimes I think this is my life’s work: bearing witness, and helping others to bear witness. Bear witness, expel torment, see the red cardinal in the bare tree.”

–Carrie Snyder, “Red cardinal in bare tree”

One of my favourite writers, Canadian writers, and she speaks on what my writing mentor told me, as I grew more comfortable with my own writer status.

We who write, who call ourselves writers live as such. We are constantly observing the world around us, to write it all down when the time is right.

This week’s TToT is a little or a lot muddled all-over-the-place, kind of like my own life right now.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for the chance to see myself in the media.

Check out this commercial. This girl has a YouTube channel and she is a public speaker, on Canadian television.

I believe it is important that the world sees that beauty and these products mean just as much to those of us living with a disability in the world.

I am thankful I could help my sister.

She has stuff to do to get ready for a friend’s wedding next month and she finds it hard to get a lot of it done at home, as she always becomes distracted by stuff that needs to get done around her house.

At mine, I could hold the baby and she could work. Not a bad deal.

I am thankful for yet another helpful violin lesson.

I picked up the second line to Minuet 3 easier than I thought. I really do love this song.

It did require me to use my fourth finger, which is not strong at all. It is difficult to stretch a fourth on the string.

I am thankful for a lovely Easter surprise from my friendly new neighbour.

I was not expecting the gesture of beautifully wrapped chocolates, in tissue paper, with a bow.

She wrote a lovely note with it.

I am thankful for another enlightening episode of Anne.

This one revealed more about characters like Gilbert. This is better than I could have imagined. I love knowing more about people, even fictional people.

I am thankful for the beautifully written verbal audio descriptions on several Canadian television channels, like the CBC when I’m trying to watch an Anne episode.

“The Woman is elegantly dressed and has a kind face.”

I am thankful Canada got something before the U.S. for a change.

Yeah, I said it.

I didn’t realize this one is the same one premiering on Netflix soon.

Either way, it should appear first on Canadian television, as it is our story after all.

I am thankful for women in history who made Canada better.

A novel idea for the 19th century: women are capable of talking about serious issues – Who is Kit?
        
I am thankful I could find out that there seems to be no problem with my plans to try zip lining.

My fear was that they would be hesitant to let anyone try it who is blind. So far, according to the woman I spoke to and her manager, if I will be with a group it shouldn’t be an issue.

I am thankful for the rain and for the warming April weather.

Spring is in the air and you can feel it.

I am thankful for Easter chocolate.

I don’t know what I think about religion. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the world powers, drunk on their desperation for even more. I don’t know what I am doing in my own life even.

I do know I am thankful.

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TToT: April Showers and Scoops and Slurs, #NationalSiblingsDay #10Thankful

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” – Helen Keller

The birds have been keeping me sane all week.

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Their songs, tweets, chirps, and twittering melodies have calmed me, any moment I felt anxious about a bit of a difficult week.

It was Billie Holiday’s birthday. Her voice brings me back to a different time.

Ten Things of Thankful

I am thankful for a glimpse into an unfamiliar place.

The Colours of Kenya

Love the colours.

I meant to include this last week. Lizzi wrote this incredible story about her time in Kenya. If you haven’t read it, you should.

I am thankful for tall mountain pose.

Someone who knows a lot more about yoga than me found this one. I’ve been trying it out. The woman describes the poses well, though I don’t know I am all that good at following the instructions. The deep breathing is the nice part.

The music in the background is rather soothing, but for the clanging bell sound that makes me think of that warning bell you hear at a train track as a train comes near. Not so relaxing for me. Kind of triggering.

I am thankful for a challenging week.

I have been doing A to Z for the first time and this week has been rather fun. I’ve not put too much pressure on myself with it.

I am thankful for an opportunity to share a little piece of myself.

It Was All a Blur #MyBlindStory

I am thankful for a night out at an author reading which involved some helpful men who showed me through the library and a kind word from an author, on a night I almost missed out on entirely.

It had been a rather bad week and I almost backed out and stayed hidden at home. If I’d received the rejection to a writing pitch I would receive while I was at said author reading, or if I’d heard the unsettling news that would come later on that night involving 45 and missile strikes, I may have chosen to stay hidden. Thankfully, I hadn’t. It was a rainy night, but I am glad I braved it anyway.

“Ann Walmsley author of the Prison Book Club will be sharing her experience of becoming a book club volunteer at men’s prisons in Ontario. This incredible book recently won the Edna Staebler award in 2016. One juror Bruce Gillespie quoted: “Walmsley’s book provides a unique glimpse into the lives of incarcerated men and the transformative power of literature and fellowship.” Featured several times on CBC it is truly a honour to have her come to Woodstock Public Library.”

After the reading, I introduced myself to the author and bought a copy of her book. I spoke to her about being a writer and she gave me a bookmark with her email and told me I could email her if I ever had any questions about writing.

http://www.annwalmsley.com

I am thankful for scoops and slurs.

I have moved on from Brahms’ Lullaby and on to learning a song I didn’t recognize from my teacher’s description, until she played a little of it and a song that came, preprogrammed on my brother’s little keyboard from childhood, it all came back to me. I love the different violin techniques in this one. It will be a challenge, but one I am quite excited about taking on.

There are scoops when playing the violin. Going from one string to another.

Not all slurs are nice, but the one that occurs in this song is a new technique to me.

I am thankful for family members who are handy and generous with their talents and time.

A leak somewhere in my shower, dripping water down through my ceiling and into my living room are a different sort of April showers. Keep that outside my home preferably.

I have an uncle and cousin who do this sort of thing, fixing showers and leaks for desperate nieces and cousins like me.

The machine they had to use up in my ceiling was loud and reminded me of a dentist’s drill. Again, triggering.

Now I have a layer of dust over everything, including my books, but all is well again.

I am thankful for a day of family, an early Easter/birthday celebration.

Family days include fun, laughter, children playing, and scoops of vanilla ice cream.

I am thankful for my siblings and the siblings (my nieces and nephews) who have each other.

My nephew now has a sister, a sibling, and all of them have a friend for life.

This makes my list every year (National Siblings Day) and every year it is more and more true.

This year mine are willing to do something special with me in a few months, zip lining alongside Niagara Falls, to celebrate my twenty-year anniversary of my kidney transplant.

They are the best.

I am thankful for a surprise phone call from a friend.

I was tired, after this week, but it was nice to talk and catch up.

It’s been raining, off and on, all day long. This is April – to be expected. Not so bad.

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TToT: Run Time and Take Five – State Smash! #ShePersisted #10Thankful

Another birthday has come and gone and I’m fired up, in a lot of ways and by the positive signs of women persisting, remaining cautiously but still incredibly thankful.

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I know, I see, I’m not the only one.

Ten Things of Thankful, #10Thankful

So, to keep things in the proper perspective, I’ll just launch right into what makes me so grateful.

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(Makers, all, with Anado McLauchlin.)

I’m thankful for this group.

And for these girls.

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I’m thankful for friends, together, in one special spot.

I missed out on seeing for myself just how colourful this place was, but at least I got to take a break, for a minute or two, to sit on the couch with friends.

Thanks, Anado, for letting us into your home.

I’m thankful for newly introduced music, better late than not at all.

RIP Mr. Jarreau.

The guy sure could scat!

Speaking of music and birthdays, I’m thankful to have made it to a year with my decision to learn how to play the violin.

It was on my last birthday that I walked into a music store and rented a violin. I had no idea what I was getting into then. Well, okay, I kind of knew. I knew, but I didn’t really know. Know what I mean?

No?

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I’m thankful for a teacher, to take this photo of my re-commitment, one who hasn’t given up on me, even in those moments when I’ve wanted to give up on ever learning a difficult instrument like the violin in my thirties.

She taught me new finger exercises, ways to strengthen my left hand and the fingers on it. I spent most of my anniversary/birthday lesson wishing for new fingers, longer fingers, but I will get there, one day.

I’m thankful for another birthday.

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I’m still mulling over what that means, on a practical level of course. I had a rather subdued birthday, after spending a week in Mexico, but it did have its high points.

I had blood taken and both arms needed to be poked. I made a dentist appointment. I drank a lot of tea to fight off the beginnings of a sore throat. I had another bad eye day, noticing how blurry everything looked as I ate lunch out with my father.

I did wonder if I will still see anything by my next birthday. I am not freaked by being one age one day and another the next. I do realize, however, that I am getting older. A lot of things bring this fact home to me. I am trying to still live in the moment and enjoy all that life has to offer, but at a certain point I have to think about the future and what I want, really want and what is good for me.

Everything in life has its Run-Time.

I’m thankful for another successful, triple family birthday celebration.

It got off to a slow start, but really kicked into high gear there.

The lasagna was delicious. The kids were smarter than when we last saw them, all the way back at Christmas, if that is possible.

The best thing about each year I gain since they were all born is getting to see how they grow with every passing year, whomever happens to be the one celebrating the actual birthday.

They are all so creative and full of imagination. We adults have a ball watching them interact with each other and with all of us.

My family and I don’t likely agree on every single thing in life, but we are all pretty in sync on most things that really matter. It makes for a lovely coming together of the minds, not to mention senses of humour and attitudes on life.

There is always just the right amount of nostalgia and, this year, there are plans in the works for zip lining in Niagara Falls this spring.

Who else can you count on to try something as thrilling as zip lining with you, on a day that matters greatly to you, but your family? Mine are the best for those sorts of things.

It’s fun to sing Happy Birthday to three people at once. I only sing for two.

Happy Birthday Paul/Steve. You both crack me up and are the two best big brothers any thirty-three-year-old could ask for.

I’m thankful for my sister’s help in figuring out what I need to do, as part of taking some of my next, newest steps in my writing.

The writing is one thing. The business side is quite another. It’s all somewhat scary in its own way.

Filling out forms and paperwork is not my thing. Necessary, I realize. I truly appreciate any help I can get.

I am thankful my bracelet was found after I set it down, in my own house, and couldn’t, for the life of me, remember where I’d stashed it.

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A few of us got jewelry when we visited Anado’s home. We share this in common now and wanted to commemorate the fact.

I knew I would get home and set mine down somewhere, forgetting where that somewhere was. It scratches against the metal of my laptop when I’m writing, so I take it off, but I don’t like to.

Brian said it sounded like I was Gollum from Lord of the Rings when I couldn’t find it, the bracelet reminding him of “My Precious!” and he had a point.

Thanks to my brother-in-law for spotting where I’d left it. I hope I would have remembered, sooner or later.

Made By Anado

This is my reminder of my time in Mexico. It is more than just any old bracelet. It was made by Anado McLauchlin and it reminds me of the makers of this world. It reminds me, when I hold it, of my purpose. It brings me peace to feel all the different bits of it under my fingertips.

And, finally, I’m thankful that this hasn’t ended.

Very grateful that someone has decided to take over the weekly running of the thankful blog hop, to give its originator a well deserved break.

I would have went ahead with these gratitude posts, one way or another, but it’s nice that it will continue on with more than just this blog.

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What Was and What Will Be #FTSF

It’s almost 2017 and my neck is growing sore from looking this way and that. I turn my head back to 2016 and marvel at all that was hopeful and positive for me personally.

Of course, the rest of the world seems as out-of-control as ever, if not more so. I can’t say the year has been a bad one for me though. It’s a strange contrasting feeling. As bad as this year has been for many, January of 2017, for a lot of people isn’t looking much better. I can see their point. I plan on leaving all that behind for a week and focusing on my own personal growth and having new experiences.

Then I turn my head the other way and try to imagine the year to come.

I could list a set of goals I have for myself, things I hope to achieve, some I’m even banking on. I have this list in my own head. I just don’t know how to think of the months ahead in tune with those that I have to look back on.

The year 2017 feels like a momentous one, even when I stack the possibilities up against the things I never expected to do this year but surprised myself and did anyway.

I try to keep things in perspective. Sure, 2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday and on June 5th, it will be twenty years since I received a kidney transplant from my father. It still works so well, that I pleasantly surprise myself that everything’s still looking good in there.

I plan to begin 2017 with a BANG, so to speak. I will take a leap of faith with myself and the world. From there, I can’t say what the year might bring.

I turn thirty-three in a few months and I wonder about growing older. One minute I think I am still young and I have lots of time to achieve my dreams. Then, at other less upbeat moments, I think I am past my prime, whatever that was.

I plan to keep taking violin lessons. I want to write and write and write. I hope to submit my writing and take more chances with it, to hell with my fears of rejection or those pesky feelings of never being enough.

To celebrate on June 5th I would love to go zip lining for the first time, with my family all around me, in my favourite place in Canada and in the whole world: Niagara Falls. I am not usually much of a social person, but this time why is it I feel like I want to invite the whole world to join in the festivities?

I feel like I need to top this past year with the year to come, but that’s likely putting too much pressure on myself and on 2017 and might also be putting down the year that just was, which was full of music and writing and a podcast I am so proud of.

In 2017 I am looking forward to having a new niece or nephew and I can’t think of anything better than that, to mark all that is so wonderful about a year like 2017 could be.

Then there are those empty blocks of time, days and weeks and months that are currently a void of the unknown. This feels daunting but doesn’t need to be. It should mean all the possibilities in the world and endless hope.

If I don’t think too hard, which I have trouble with at the best of times, all the scary events that are possible for 2017 in the world remain as background noise. I fear that noise will grow louder and impossible to ignore, but if 2017 turns out anything like 2016 in my own life, I refuse to let reckless world leaders ruin my year. I’ve been waiting for it to arrive for twenty years now.

My thorough, month-by-month breakdown of my 2016 year’s successes and slips is to come here by the end of December.

Also, check out what Kristi from
Finding Ninee
thinks of and hopes for, looking ahead to 2017 and beyond.

Happy Holidays, to you and yours.

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