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Thursday, September 29, 2011

a day in the life of: 2 [slightly] sane sisters

Before I begin, I would like to say that I am particularly proud of the use of alliteration in this blog title.  Alliteration is such a cool thing, don't you think?  You are either agreeing with me right now or thinking to yourself, 'This chick is cuh-ray-zee; not only does she get excited about things like alliteration but she shares this information rather than keeping it to herself.'

Well, I know Emily will appreciate it.  And that brings me to my point that I was trying to make in the first place.  Although we are not clinically insane, Emily and I often times wonder about each others [as well as our own] mental and physical well-being.  From the looks and responses that we evoke from others we are able to easily conclude that we are not altogether sane, either.  [I think the fact that we use our cognitive skill sets to arrive at this conclusion is something of importance as well.]  So, for argument's [and alliteration's] sake we call ourselves [slightly] sane


I decided that you might like to go on a trip with me.  A day trip, that is.  I have wanted to go and visit the Sister [and Brother] for a while now and am excited that I finally have an opportunity to do so.  Only I don’t want to go alone and I want you to go with me.  So hop in and enjoy the backseat to what is a normal day in the lives of these two [slightly] sane sisters.

Don’t worry about the 107 degree weather.  I know some of you are not used to such extreme weather conditions but trust me, once the temperature passes 97 degrees and the humidity 72% it’s all about the same.  As Emily said earlier today [when we were debating whether to take our electronics in with us to eat or let them suffer in the heat], ‘The way I see it, if I can survive in the heat than so can my technology and equipment.  I’ve made it so far.’  Don’t worry, we’ll stop for ice cold beverages periodically throughout the day for your thirst palette and, if you can stand the loud noise that comes from putting Emily’s A.C. on High, you’ll be cool, too.

So, here we go!

2:31 pm:  We arrive in College Station just in time to save Emily from having to walk the 923 steps [I’ve counted] in the 103 degree scorching heat [not kidding] to her car, Nelda.  Needless to say she was thrilled about the curbside service and we are happy to save her this one walk through the dessert.

2:32 pm:  Emily lets it be known very quickly that she is starving.  Since we [you & I] ate just before leaving we let her pick the place as we have no preference.  We are secretly excited that she chooses Antonio’s pizza because, well, maybe we could use a piece of pizza after all.  We decide to go with the ever-dependable pepperoni pizza and determine not to let the horrendous 2-point perspective mural ruin our dining experience.  [The content itself is not horrendous but the technique—I have no words because it is actually more like a 12-point perspective.]  Did your pizza taste okay?

3:01 pm:  After we eat and sit for just a few minutes to let our food settle [remember we have a lot to do today!] we walk the few blocks to FedEx, a 16” x 20” piece of framed art in hand, to have said artwork packed, not sealed.  Emily was selected to have one of her self-portraits exhibited in a special exhibit at a museum in North Carolina!

3:23 pm:  Emily needs to be driven back to the Langford Complex so that she can drop off the packed, not sealed package off in the administration office as they are going to cover the shipping costs for her.  Although it’s difficult, you and I wait patiently in the car—Difficult for me because being in this place always makes my pulse start racing, my eyes start twitching, and my right hand to cramp up into mouse-holding position; difficult for you because you have heard the horror stories of my tenure in this place.

3:32 pm:  No sooner than Emily is in the car, we speed off in hopes to vacate the premises lest we go into shock and end up spending the day in the E.R. instead of doing whatever it is that we need to be doing.  On our way we stop at the conveniently located McDonald’s for 2 Large drinks because if there’s one thing our Mom taught us it’s that a day of errands is only made better with a Mickey D’s Sweet Tea [or Diet Coke] in hand.  Previous experience has taught us that we cannot place what we know will be our order in the drive thru.  Have you ever gone through a drive thru with your sister [who prefers Dr. Pepper over Coke] in tow and asked for 1 Large half-Coke & half-Diet Coke and 1 Large half-Dr. Pepper & half-Diet Dr. Pepper?  Well we [Emily & I] have and we drove off with 2 Large half-Diet Coke & half-Dr. Peppers.  Yuck.

By now we have burned at least 93 calories from laughing and said ‘I miss you’ at least 7 times.  You haven’t said much, though.  Are you okay?  You’re being awfully quiet back there.  Maybe you’re just taking it all in.

3:29-4:26 pm:  We continue on our errands stopping in Michael’s for a skull, Half Price Books for 50 vinyl records, and Hobby Lobby for yarn and a vase.  Real shopping [for accessories and outfits] will have to wait for a later date when we have time and money.

4:29 pm:  We arrive at one of the local coffee shops, Mugwalls, where we plan to spend more than 17 minutes.  [I just heard you breathe a sigh of relief.]  Finding a table that will seat all of us, we begin to unload our bags of computers, To Do lists, and centerpiece making supplies.  It’s hard not to people watch at places like this.  Some students come to catch up with a friend over coffee while some set up with enough space and caffeine to stay for days.  Some students look happy to be reading the Bestseller in their hands while some look about ready to pull their hair out with one hand and throw their graphing calculator out the window with the other.  Needless to say, we [some of you and me] are grateful that this is no longer our lives. 

7:00 pm:  Yikes!  How did it get so late?  We have only one hour and 15 minutes to pick up Emily’s car, drive home, take showers and get to back to campus for the campus-wide Bible Study— Breakaway—that starts at 9:00 pm.  Somehow we manage to accomplish this all while meeting Brother’s new girlfriend.  We’ll have to check her out later.  We also discovered that my front left tire is low again.  Something else we will have to check out later.  For now she will stay parked.

8:56 pm:  We arrive at Kyle Field with moments to spare and don’t have to search too hard to find Brother Andrew and the seats that he has saved for us.  I am so excited about Breakaway tonight as I myself rarely made time to go to this amazing weekly event during my years at TAMU.  As the band starts playing and we start worshiping I am so overcome with emotion at the reality of what is going on in this moment: almost 10,000 college students coming together to publicly proclaim and worship our Lord and Savior.  It is a beautiful thing.  I wonder if I would have faithfully and eagerly attended had there been something like this available to me during my undergrad years.  I am saddened because I know the truth.  The truth is there was something like this and I did not make the effort to attend regularly.  It wasn’t as large [my school wasn’t even 10,000 students strong] and it wasn’t held in the basketball arena but it’s purpose was the same.  Sadly I don’t even remember the name.

Breakaway is a non-denominational student ministry that was started by Gregg Matte and a few of his roommates who decided to have a hallway Bible Study.  At first, they held meetings in their dorm room.  Now they are 9,000 strong on a low attendance night and blowing the roof off of the basketball arena.  They are doing some amazing things in College Station, TX.

This video is not of super quality but I was able to capture a couple seconds of the worship experience.  Just imagine 10,000 college students singing 'Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me....' in the football stadium on a school night.  UH-MAY-ZING.

11:47 pm:  Back at home, we gear up to do our [Emily’s] daily Insanity workout routine.  Have you ever tried Insanity?!  It is nuts.  Although in her bedroom and squished between her bed and closet doors was not the ideal place to try this workout for the first time, I did make it to the end.  [I’m not sure if I can say the same for you!]  Emily was amazing as she is 4 weeks into the workout!

12:39 am:  After quick showers and mildly planning the next day we fall into bed with me, of course, passing out even before Emily’s head hit the pillow.

8:59 am:  I awake before my alarm [a rarity indeed] and decide to get back to work on the centerpieces that I promised my cousin for her wedding.  Needing the sofa, I am afraid that I had to wake you up as well.

9:30 am:  Sleeping Beauty joins us and we proceed to work in the comfort of our own home and pajamas for the next couple of hours.  I [nearly] finish the centerpieces, Andrew’s laundry, some of Emily’s laundry, and pack up my small-sized suitcase that has largely exploded all over the house.  How does it do that?!  Emily listens/watches a tutorial on how to digitally apply makeup in Photoshop.  When Andrew joins us at 12:29 pm we are just about to start getting ready for our scheduled lunch.  Unfortunately he cannot join us as he has to get to class [the only reason he was up at the early our of 12:29 am].

1:51 pm:  Choosing a new restaurant in town we hurry in and study the menu.  Thankfully Emily has been here before and she quickly tells us what she suggests.  Knowing that we are in a crunch for time we take her advice and order trying not to drool on the cashier.  The food smells go-hood!  I would tell you the name of the place but I can’t remember.  You should know though, shouldn’t you?   You were there with us!  The chips and salsa were sooooo yummy and spicy.

2:43 pm:  We drop Emily off at Langford again for a meeting with one of her committee professors.  We’ll pick her up when she calls.  Man, a personal chauffeur seems like a pretty good deal!

2:47 pm:  You and I grace the walls and tables of McDonald’s once more but this time it’s to stay for a while.   We’ll be fine, though, as this is a true college-town McDonald’s.  It’s almost loungy.  In the front, high-ceilinged room that normally houses Play Places you can find grouped, comfortable seating, commercially covered sofas, electrical outlets at every table, white noise, and plenty of natural light.  The best thing about any and all McDonald’s: the amount of crack they put in their coke.  Seriously, that stuff will cure any headache or ailment so fast that you’ll be feeling good before you know it!

4:07 pm:  We get the call that Emily is done with her meeting and is ready to pick up.  On our way out, we order her a beverage as well, knowing that she will be thrilled to have an ice cold half & half with her name on it waiting for her in the car.

4:11 pm:  We pick our Grad-school Princess up and head back to the house.  Time has gotten away from us again and you and I have to get back home before it gets dark.  [Remember the leaky tire we still have to deal with.] 

4:47 pm:  On our way out of town and Emily’s way back to school, we stop to fill the leaky tire up with air, praying that it will last the 1.5 hour trip back.  Saying good-bye, we part ways but don’t get too emotional because we will see her again tomorrow.  Pulling out of the parking lot, we put in Glee ‘The Warblers’ and proceed to jam the entire way home to ‘Teenage Dream’ and ‘Soul Sister.’

I hope you enjoyed your trip!  Thank you so much for coming along with me; we'll work on your harmonizing with The Warblers next time :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

one nation, under God

Psalm 46 [read by President Obama at the 9/11 Memorial]
 1 God is our refuge and strength,
   an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
   and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
   and the mountains quake with their surging.
 4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
   the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
   God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
   he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
 7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our fortress.
 8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
   the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
   to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
   he burns the shields with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
   I will be exalted among the nations,
   I will be exalted in the earth.”
 11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
   the God of Jacob is our fortress.
I could see it on her face; her tear-stained cheeks, red nose, and new flood of tears welling up in her eyes told me that something was wrong. As I looked around the room I noticed that my peers all shared a similar look of shock and despair on their faces. Thinking back over the last 5 minutes-from the bell signaling the end of 2nd hour to the one signaling the beginning of the 3rd hour-I hadn’t noticed anything out of place on the faces of my fellow 1,200 school-mates. But then again, I was probably distracted by searching the crowds for some cute boy’s face or making sure that my plaid, Catholic school-girl like skirt wasn’t riding up in the back. [I blame the constant battle between a book-bag and uniform skirts on the entire male species. I am sure it was a male who designed the book-bag-one shouldered bags are wa-hay cuter-just as I am sure it was their idea that we girls wear skirts as part of a uniform.]

A compilation of most of the innocent victims who's lives were taken that day [Richard Drew/AP]

Eventually both of the towers fell [Richard Drew/AP]
We all slid into our seats before the final tones of the bell rang and I still did not know what was going on. I interacted with Mrs. Menard on several levels outside of the classroom, student-teacher relationship and had seen her emotions get the better of her on more than one occasion. I had seen our band perform a ballad so beautifully that it had moved her to tears before. And that was just our warm-up/practice!  But this was different; everyone seemed to know something that I did not and although I could dismiss the tears in Mrs. Menard’s eyes I could not do so for my peers.

Are you okay?’ I asked her, ‘I can tell something is wrong.’  I don’t remember the look on her face at that moment, but I can imagine that it held evidence of one of two feelings: either shock that I could be so cold-hearted or distraught at having to say the awful words out loud. The possibility that I was unaware of the morning’s events never crossed her mind. After all, it was 9:43 on the morning of a September 11, 2001, and 3 of 4 planes had already been hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Centers and Pennsylvania.

3 planes have just crashed in New York and Pennsylvania; haven’t you been listening?’ she asked me incredulously. Well, yes, I had been listening. I had been listening to the notes and sounds coming from a 70+ member band for the last hour. 3rd period was when 1st band held class and due to exceptionally high decibels not present in most other classrooms, we were unable to hear the announcements that had been being made throughout the past hour. The whole nation had come to a screeching halt while our trophy-lined band room continued on like any other normal Tuesday morning.

Some people leaped from the tops of the towers in desperation to escape the fires and explosions [Richard Drew/AP]

The rest of the day went by in a blur. All of our teachers handled the day differently; some let us watch the news on TV, some let us call our parents on our phones, while some continued on with their curriculum. I do remember 3 specifics of that day, however: 1) my friend, Jason, declared that he was going to join the Army as we stood in line for lunch and I feared that he might do so that afternoon, 2) my family and Jason joined our church family in our sanctuary later that night to watch President Bush’s response, and 3) I had no idea what the World Trade Centers even were. I had an image in my mind as to what went on in the buildings, but I knew those conclusions were probably wrong as I only had the words ‘world’, ‘trade’, and ‘centers’ to go by.  I just didn’t think that 2 extremely tall buildings with large, open rooms filled with vendors from all over the world selling and trading their goods was likely to be what was actually housed within what were twin, standing buildings earlier that morning.

The streets of NYC were destroyed and ash-covered for miles around the explosion [Richard Drew/AP]

And now, here we are today, marking the 10 year anniversary of the fateful day that changed American history forever. For some, it is a reminder of the emptiness present in their life since their loved one did not come home that day. For 9/11 survivors, it is a reminder of the challenges that they have had to overcome since their lives literally flashed before their eyes.

25 Most Powerful Photos

Sweet baby, Jacob
I knew today would usher in a surge of emotions. I baby-sat this little guy all afternoon and was able to watch the news coverage of 9/11 Remembrance during most of it; I was thankful for this time as I don't know that I would have sat and watched for that long otherwise.  Boy, was I anything but prepared. I watched interviews, testimonies, and footage of thousands gathered at the various remembrance sites. I watched the names of the nearly 3,000 victims tick by at the bottom of the screen. I think we could listen and watch for days and still not hear most of the stories of the thousands of heroes that stepped up during that time. I listened to a few stories and every single one of them had me in tears.

 Ground Zero Memorial [Richard Drew/AP]

Take Stephen Siller, for example. On his way out of a Manhatten firehouse where he had just finished his shift, he heard the news that the towers had been attacked. Recognizing his call to duty, he headed straight for the towers with his fire truck. When he got to a tunnel that had been blocked he jumped out of his truck, donned his 60 lbs worth of gear and equipment, and proceeded to run the rest of the way to do his part.

Stephen died that day in efforts to help his fellow Americans. He left behind 5 young kids, a wife, and 5 brothers and sisters who had raised him from the time he was 10 years old.  After piecing together his whereabouts and actions of that day, his brother and family put together a foundation to help other 9/11 families. The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Tower Foundation now holds a 5K run [Tunnel to Tower 5K] each year where 1,000s gather and run the same route that Stephen took that day.

The Tunnel to Tower 5K retraces the steps of Stephen Siller on 9/11/11.  Many of the firemen and women participating will wear their gear, just as Stephen did that day.
In his interview with Fox News, Stephen's brother Frank was asked how his family-especially Stephen’s wife and kids-had dealt with the pain and struggles of moving on from that day. He responded with this: ‘Stephen taught us all that you don’t run away from your problems; you go at them head on give it your all.’ I was an immediate puddle on the floor.

Then there were the people on United Airlines Flight 93 who were able to fight back against the terrorists. In his speech to the family members at the dedication ceremony in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, President Bill Clinton compared and contrasted Flight 93 with the Alamo and the Spartan wars. Those battles were different, he said, because they knew what was coming to them. The people aboard Flight 93 just happened to board a plane that day. Yet, they were the first to fight back and the first battle ‘won’ in the War on Terrorism.

My goal was to have already read the book 'Let's Roll' by Lisa Beamer.  Unfortunately, I have yet to make it by the library where I hope they have a copy.  Below is a picture of her husband's famous quote engraved in the Flight 93 memorial.  I am looking forward to reading the book and will definitely let you know how it goes!

Todd Beamer's infamous last words aboard United Airlines Flight 93 is engraved at the 9/11 Memorial in Shanksville, PA

And the list of heroic people goes on and on. A day that will forever be engrained in the memories and hearts of any American alive in 2001 also serves as a reminder that, in the face of disaster and strife, the American people will rise up and serve together. My prayers and thoughts go out to every person who lost someone that day as well as those who where there and miraculously survived.

25 Most Powerful Photos

For more incredible pictures like the one above go to the following link: 9/11 The 25 Most Powerful Photos.  You can also found tons more of incredible photo albums towards the bottom of the page.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

p[lanes], t[rains], & [football fields]

I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!  Ours was not so laid back but, as always, still had a great time!  That being said, brace yourself as this post may seem slightly random and long.  [In truth, that's how it all went down!]

The week leading into the 3 day weekend took an unexpected and sad turn when my dad's first cousin, Janice, passed away suddenly.  We headed to Alabama for the services and celebration of her life and, although the nature of the trip was sad, it was great to see a lot of family!

Most of [maybe all?!] the first cousins and their spouses.

Rhonda, Donna, Amy, Me, & Laura

The first cousins [Daddy's in the back middle], Aunt Bernice, & Uncle Malcom
Sherry & Mom

We loaded up on Saturday and drudgingly piled into the 'Burb for our 12+ drive of miles and miles of interstate lanes home.  Drudgingly for three reasons: 1) the 12+ hour drive home, 2) the radio in the trusty 'Burb quit working thus making it impossible to listen to the Alabama vs. Kent State game, & 3) Dad not being able to listen to said football game on said broken radio.  Now don't get me wrong, I love football, especially the Tide, but listening to it on the radio is not usually my thing.  I get too distracted by other stuff that I can see.  This is not the case for Daddy, however.  So, 25 minutes into our drive, we stopped in Tiny Town to pick up an FM/AM radio.

Unfortunately the radio did not work [insert huge, load groan of disappointment here] so we had to rely on the modern technology of smart phones to watch current drives.  So, our conversation for the first 3 hours were tiny spurts of football code

The rest of the drive down the interstate lanes was otherwise uneventful aside from an unfortunate accident my foot had with the seat in front of me and the torrential rains that we drove through for 8 hours.  As far as my toe is concerned, I'm not sure exactly what happened, but I do know that the following things were accessories to the Unfortunate Event: a phone charger, a medium Wendy's Coke 0, and a flip-flop.  The cause for said Unfortunate Event was one of the following outside forces: 1) a bump in the road, 2) a quick swerve to avoid something, or 3)  acceleration while merging onto the interstate.  The culprit: the front passenger seat's sliding track.  It did not feel good.  On the other hand, the ant bites that I acquired at the cemetery ceased to itch at this time.

In the marketing world, it is common practice to put your main, catchy point in Big TypeBold TypeExcited Type, or perhaps even a Different Color Type.  Sometimes it is a MIX-OF-ALL TYPES WITH A CRAZY TWIST OF ALL CAPS!!!!!!!!!  [Followed by an excessive amounts of exclamation mark-edness].  Now I know what you're thinking: 'Why the sudden lesson in marketing?!'  Well, I'm glad you asked.  Look at the picture below; what do you notice?  The correct answer to this question is that is obviously the largest-sized picture in this post.  [Other acceptable answers include: rain, speedy wind-shield wiper action, and poor picture quality.]

'But Ellen, WHY is it the largest picture in this post?!'  Another excellent question and once again, I am so glad that you asked.  This picture is the largest image in the post because I want you to see the rain that we drove through for last 2/3 of the trip home, right up to the doorstep of the city that we live in.  We drove through all that rain and our dying, depressing, and recessing yard got none.  Zero.  [Well, maybe like a 0.0000001 of an inch from the tears my mom cried over this fact.]  I also blew up the picture for those of you who, like myself, have not seen rain since perhaps some light April showers.  I wanted to remind you what it looks like so that the next time [and there will be a next time-my pastor said so] you see rain you don't have a wreck, trying to dodge the unfamiliar moisture falling from the sky.

***Please note that loud, boom-like noises-called Thunder-and bright flashes of light-called Lightening-may also accompany the water drops falling from the sky-called Rain.  Do not be alarmed, this is a normal occurrence in most parts of the world and please, for the safety of you and other vehicles, please pull over on the side of the road if you have any know heart problems.

That was the last time I saw rain and after just checking the 10 day forecast, it looks like it will be the last for another 3 months.

[football fields].

After getting home at 12:30 on Saturday night, Mom and I decided that we had not had enough QT with the 'Burb and thought that a trip to College Station would help the situation.  A final, wind-down lap, if you will.  So, on Sunday afternoon, we loaded back up-this time with football tickets, checks made out to the kids [Brother & Sister], and our best game face that we could muster.  We purposefully left the ponchos at home, hoping that the act of not being prepared would in fact really catch us unprepared.  We were not so fortunate.  We were, however, showered with ash.  We were aware of the brush fire in CStat before we left, but were told that the game would still go on and well, we had our game faces on so we would go on, too.  

You can't see flames in this picture, but they were there.  It ended up being a 100 acre fire and was scary because it was in town and maybe 2 miles away from our townhouse.  No beuno.

We met Emily & Andrew before the game for a bite to eat at Fudrucker's.  We were surprised but thankful to be one of just a few groups in there.  Andrew & I ate like normal people, both ordering the Best Burger Deal: a 1/3 lb burger, fries, and cookie.  The cookie making it the best burger deal.  Mom & Emily [neither of whom are trying to watch their waste lines (because they don't need to)] mutually decided that it isn't the cookie that makes the meal deal, it's the Half-a-Pan-of-Brownie-Smothered-Under-3-Scoops-of-Ice-Cream-Caramel-Chocolate-Whipped-Cream-and-Cherries Sundae.  [They only got the cherries because they knew I would want them].  They are so thoughtful that way.

After swapping checks for band-aids and good company for wardrobe changes Mom, Andrew, & I headed to the football field for some Aggie football!!!
Thank you, Andrew, for allowing this too-cute picture.  I know it's tough under pressure, when your 'friends' stand by and make fun of you.  Much love, Ellen & Mom
One thing I love, love about each and every home TAMU game is the fly-over.  Most people do, actually, and the stadium is nearly always 85% full before the signing of The National Anthem because of this shared love.  This particular time, a lone B-25 Mitchell flew over for the crowd's enjoyment.  It's a shame they do not have a home game next weekend for 9/11.  I can only imagine what they would bring out for that game!

I was informed by Mr. Randy that the B-25 Mitchell had a very important role in a very significant event of some sort.  Unfortunately I can't remember what he told me.  Just know that it is, or was, very important and if you happen to see him, do me a favor and ask him what makes the B-25 Mitchell so important [and then call me!].

Another one of my favorite things to see before a game is the players who go to the end zone to kneel and pray.  I will never tire of seeing that!

"Now forming at the north end of Kyle Field, the nationally famous Fightin' Texas Aggie Band."  Well, in this picture that have already formed inn the north end and have moved into their 'T' position.  They are so fun to watch!

About 11 minutes into the 1st Quarter, I felt Mom's head resting on my shoulder; she was so sleepy!  Once an adult, twice a child.  We persevered, though, watching the action down on the football field and despite the 57 mph winds, floating ashes, and the absence of Coca-Cola products on the entire campus.  Feeling pretty sure of a secured W, we decided to leave with about 10 minutes left in the 4th Quarter.

Some might call us 2%ers.  But me, I call us 200%ers.  We did, after all, show up at the football field despite mild obstacles such as sleep deprivation, 'Burb fever, and forest fires.

After so many late nights, hours in the 'Burb, and flying soot, I did my best to un-labor on Labor Day.  I did make a Labor Day resolution, though.  It is to workout.  This resolution is different from any other workout resolutions that I have made in the past as I am not setting out to look like the next Jillian Michaels by next week or lifetime.  Keeping this in mind, I set out for the gym yesterday and did a strenuous, 60-minutes of yoga.  And this was my view when in the Downward Dog position:

I hope you had a fun and safe holiday weekend!
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