Leap, Leap, Leap!

Happy Leap Day!


Did you know:

It takes 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds for the Earth to make a complete revolution around the sun? But who’s counting?

So, because even adding in an extra day every 4 years doesn’t quite do the trick,  the first year of a new century only gets to be a leap year if it exactly divisible by 400.  For example, 1900 was NOT a leap year, but 2000 was.

I did a quick Wikipedia search this morning. How did anyone know anything before Wikipedia?

So, because of this pesky, uneven earth revolution, we get an extra day to train for New York/Boston/Chicago/whatever race we are doing than we normally would.  We also have to wait an extra day before it is socially acceptable to play Christmas carols.  So, it is a give and take situation.

Also, any ladies out there who are sick and tired of waiting for a ring can get down on one knee and pop the question ala Amy Adams in Leap Year. (Adorable movie by the way).  All of you boys with girlfriends better watch out! (UPDATE: apparently this is only the case in Ireland.  But in this day and age, I say go for it even if you aren’t in Ireland!)

Plus, it just feels special to celebrate such a rare occasion.

So get out there, take advantage of the extra day of life, and make it the type of day that only exists every four years.

In the Proximity of Olympians

Every once in a while, something REALLY cool happens in Albuquerque.

This weekend, that really cool thing was the 2012 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

In other words, this weekend, I watched Olympic athletes do their thang.

Awesome doesn’t even begin to explain it.

There was so much going on at once, but highlights include getting to see:

Sara Hall run

{Sara Hall #11}

(which means, I was in the same building as Ryan Hall!…I looked but couldn’t find him. Ryan is an Olympic marathon runner and Sara’s husband ).  She didn’t win (she placed 3rd in the women’s 3000m), but she is drop dead gorgeous.  And even though she didn’t win, she still runs really fast. 

Sanya Richards Ross DOMINATE. 

This lady is a running beast (check out her muscular legs).  She powerered through the women’s 400m like nobody’s business.

Turns out, her husband, Aaron Ross is a NY Giants starter (cornerback).  We sat right behind them. We were dying to fangirl over this guy, but that isn’t really our style. Stalk and photograph the heads of famous people, yes. Interrupt their lives, no. 

Both Sanya and Aaron were being bombarded by superfans, but they were so gracious.  They also sat and watched the entire competition, cheering for other runners, something most of the other athletes didn’t do.  It was a pleasure to sit behind them and their family! Yesterday was also Sanya’s 27th birthday (she’s my age), and her and Aaron’s 2nd Anniversary (seriously….we are twins!).

{Aaron Ross’ head…he was decked out in Louis Vuitton both days}

{Aaron presenting his wife with her medal}

Sanya has been to the last two Olympics, and was bronze medalist in Beijing.  She will be competing in London this summer. 

Bernard Lagat DOMINATE!

{Bernard is the guy in the center.  Galen Rupp is in front.  Bernard pulled ahead and won by a landslide}

Lagat appears to be another truly genuine person.  The three top men pictured above in the men’s 3000m are all previous Olympians, and they were of an entirely different caliber than the non-Olympians competing (by the end they were a full lap ahead of the others).  They didn’t even look like they were breaking a sweat. Lagat will compete at the Olympics in London.

Chaunte Lowe break the American high jump record. 

I don’t even know how she can launch her body up that high like she does. 

Plus this girl is HILARIOUS.  She was a boogie queen.  She’s been to the last two Olympics, and my guess is she will probably be competing in London after her performance this weekend (she was also the overall Visa Series winner).

Lots of pole vaulters fly through the air.

{Oops…didn’t quite make it}

Some interesting fashion choices. 

Why on earth would you need to run in sunglasses and a gold chain is beyond me. I guess it worked for him though because he won!

And some seriously thin (but strong) girls.

It looks like I will have to lose half my body weight to be a competitive runner.


ESPN aired the competition a few hours after it happened, so we were actually at home watching the footage.  We even saw ourselves on TV!

Having the opportunity to attend the Indoor Championships was a wonderful experience.  I have never been more inspired to be a runner.   These athletes are so powerful and good at what they do, and most are so humble.

I will be excited to watch these people compete in London this summer.  I will be cheering for them, feeling like I know them a little bit after getting a glimpse of what they are like when the camera isn’t rolling. 

Meanwhile, I have about 100 more pictures to upload that I’ll put in another blog post on another day.

Runner Identity Crisis and National Margarita Day

In recent months, I’ve started referring to myself as a “runner.”  I don’t know at what point I decided I was cool enough to identify with the likes of Flo Jo and Kara Goucher.  But I’m not completely convinced that they would welcome me into the club.

I do run.  I’ve spent lots of money on running shoes and running gear. I’ve competed in races, and I’ve finished faster than 90% of people at these races.  Most of my blog/twitter friends are runners and I usually understand what they’re talking about.

But I have yet to run a marathon.  My race times still aren’t quite up to par with the times of “real” runners. I also had no clue what Balega socks were until a couple of days ago. 

And running does not seem to be a priority in my life.


I, along with a bunch of other people recently commented on a forum that we love running at sunset.  Who knows why I said that.  Those sunset runs really are lovely.  But I truthfully would rather be lounging on the beach watching that sunset than running through it. Really, I’d rather be doing anything else at sunset than running.

And running is considered to be a stress reliever. Most “runners” clear their minds by going for hard long runs after work.

Yesterday, I had a long, stressful day.  I came home and found a spectacular margarita waiting for me (my husband is seriously amazing).  I have never been more excited to see a margarita in my life.  Running was THE FARTHEST thing from my mind.  In fact, I didn’t run at all yesterday and I had no good reason not to except for wanting to enjoy my margarita while watching Jeopardy. This isn’t what runner people do.

Don’t get me wrong.  I love running.  I love racing and getting faster. I love talking ad nauseam about running. I love reading running related articles.  And I dream about all the races I want to do. And I hate myself the day after not working out.

But at the end of the day, running isn’t what motivates me. 

Apparently, margaritas motivate me more. 

On that note…TODAY IS NATIONAL MARGARITA DAY! So, if you missed National Drink Wine Day on Saturday, now is your chance to celebrate a worthy holiday.

Tomorrow is National Chili Day, in case you are wondering.


Yesterday I had to say goodbye to one of my favorite pairs of shoes.  My puppy has destroyed exactly two things in his lifetime.  A book about surviving in the wilderness (maybe he was trying to learn something?) and this one shoe.  Both were destroyed out of revenge for not including him in our weekend adventures.   

{Me? But I’m so cute!}

The shoes were starting to show their age (6 years of pretty consistent wear), so maybe this was his way of telling me that wearing ratty shoes isn’t so cute. But still, I felt like I was saying goodbye to friends as I placed them in the trashcan… at the last possible second before the garbage man pulled up.

{What they are SUPPOSED to look like}

I think I see another margarita in my future. Annnnddd…I may not run again…. (watching Rio!).

But at least I’ll feel guilty about it tomorrow…

Drinking Wine, Playing with the Camera, and Pot Shopping

Saturday was National Drink Wine Day!

I honestly don’t know how such an important holiday went under my radar for this long (though it is quite possible that this was the first ever National Drink Wine Day), but luckily I was informed with enough time to celebrate adequately. 

Would I have drunk some wine on Saturday anyway?  Most likely.  Is drinking wine more fun when you are obligated by decree of a national holiday? I think yes.

Saturday was one of the nicest days Albuquerque has seen since fall.  We had blue skies, perfect springtime temperatures, and no wind (unlike today). 

We started out the day with a 6 mile kick-off run. After a month-long break, we have a 10 miler in March and a half-marathon in April to start getting ready for.

Then we headed to our favorite winery hangout, Casa Rondena (where we did our grape harvest and stomp last September), did a quick tasting, then shared a bottle of Meritage in the vineyard. 

The property is beautiful (well, right now the vines themselves aren’t so fabulous). Almost like having a little bit of Napa here in the desert. A friend is thinking about doing her wedding here which will be quite lovely.

I sat back and enjoyed the afternoon while Aaron fiddled with our camera, experimenting with different colors, soft focus, and who knows what (two months after getting the camera, I’m still using auto setting).  I asked him to figure out how to make retro looking pictures.  I think we’re getting closer. At least we’re more aware of the possibilities. Someday, we will understand what all those little icons mean.

{Auto -Setting Aaron}

{Soft-Focus Amy}

{Warm-Toned Amy}

{High-Contrast Amy}

{High Speed Wine Pouring}

{Playing with shadows}

This morning when we were downloading the pictures onto the computer, we noticed that there was a smudge on our lense.  So almost every picture has a little blurry spot. Either that, or we had a little winery ghost following us around. In any case, picture-taking fail.

{HUGE left hand side smudge}

After visiting the winery, Aaron was in a good mood.  I was happily surprised when he pulled into the Jackalope parking lot and offered to buy me a pot for our living room.

A couple of January’s ago, in order to fill the Christmas Tree void, we bought a palm tree type plant, but it has been living in an uninspired, plastic, planter. I’ve been talking about getting a prettier one for a while.

Jackalope is the perfect place to go pot shopping because they have a huge selection.  Plus, you can pretend to be a cultured tourist browsing in a foreign Mercado (they have “global” music blaring in the background) but without the ability to bargain over the price. 

I’m in love with our new pot.  It has just the right amount of imperfections to make it charmingly authentic, and I think it fits well in our living room.

So this weekend has me excited for Springtime.  Being able to hang out outside on a Saturday afternoon and enjoying the New Mexico landscape only made me more anxious for warmer weather.  But first, we’ll have to deal with a few more months of unpredictable storm systems and lots of wind.

Giuseppe in Training

Giuseppe is 10 months old, so we figure now is a good time to start him on a training program. A running training program.

{Did someone say RUN!?}

We want to make sure that he stays healthy and gets adequate cardio.  Plus, the little bugger has SO MUCH energy now that he’s a big boy.  We have to exercise him for an hour just to get him to sleep through the night. I figure the more he runs, the less time we’ll have to spend trying to tire him out.

And…we want to raise a competitive runner dog who can support us with his talent.

We have our sights set on our local November race, the Doggie Dash and Dawdle.  As suggested by the name, this race is for dogs and their people.  It’s a 5-k, and apparently people choose to run it without dogs (probably much better odds of placing).  But we are planning to run it with Giuseppe and include him in our racing lifestyle.

Westies aren’t necessarily a running breed, but they can be made into runners with some work.

Lots of work. And patience.

Currently, I would describe his running/walking style as distracted.

He likes to sniff everything, especially if another dog has marked it. He really likes to sniff cat poo which GROSSES ME OUT so much.  He likes to look at birds (and contemplate how he can eat them).  He wants to play with every person, dog, cat, child we pass by. He likes to run for a bit, and then he doesn’t.  And when he’s done, he’s done.  The only way we can get him moving again is to pick him up.

We have a long way to go.

But he is a fast sprinter. 

Eventually, our goal is to get him to the point where he is physically able to run 3 miles with us without having to stop every few seconds.

{Good work-out, Coach!}

All You Need is Love!

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you.”

Wentworth, Persuasion (Jane Austen): some of the most romantic few lines in literature.

Happy Valentine’s Day from the Lavenders!

May your day be filled with love and chocolate (unless you’re a puppy).

Sweetheart Run 5-K

My Bucket List goal was to run a race every month. 

Because my wallet cannot afford monthly Rock n Roll races (and I’m not yet crazy enough to run 12 half marathons a year), I knew most of these races would have to be local, shorter in distance and much smaller.

February’s race was the Sweetheart Run 5-K. Because this was a “Sweetheart” run, you had the option of competing as a couple.  We signed up as “Team Lavender.” Creative, I know.

I had a Valentine’s race outfit all planned out.   I bought a cute Valentine’s short sleeve at Target, and I had crazy socks.  It had been so warm, so shorts and a short sleeve shirt didn’t seem impractical.

But then we woke up yesterday morning to find the temperature at about 20 degrees (windchill factor 7).  My hopes of pink glory were crushed and replaced with all my winter running gear. 

The race itself was great considering how small it was (235 5-k finishers). It was well-organized, the course was pretty easy (but not very scenic) and they had breakfast items afterwards.   And they had a Kids-K which was completely adorable (we only felt a little weird talking pictures of other people’s children).

The more I run half marathons, the less I’m liking 5-k distances.  It is nice to be done after 25 minutes and not be sore the next day, but you are having to run much faster, and I’m not very fast.  Plus, you don’t have time to make up for any little hiccups because every second counts. 

We haven’t been training this last month and most of our runs have been “recovery runs” even though we have nothing to recover from. For the race, I had no juice, I couldn’t breathe, and I never felt like I warmed up. 

I finished almost 2 minutes slower than my last 5-K time: 22:53. I finished 33rd overall (Aaron finished 12), and I was the 7th female to cross the line.

I got 3rd place in my age group so I got a medal! (yay!).  Aaron came in 4th for his age group, JUST barely missing a medal. I have been wanting to place SO bad, and I’m pretty stoked that it finally happened! (even though I wish it was with a time I was more proud of).

{If you look at the results, both people in the team that placed 4th actually finished before me.  Good thing I have Aaron to help make up for my slowness!…And incidentally we knew both couples who beat us!}

AND we got 3rd place in the couples division, so we walked away with more medals and a super fancy Nambe crystal vase (retailing at $150) which is pretty amazing race swag!   Winning the vase alone was way worth doing the race!

So, we didn’t have a great race (neither of us came anywhere close to our PR times), but we ended up placing anyway! Sometimes the joy of winning (especially fancy vases) trumps personal accomplishment!

I think I’m going to really like doing these little local races!

In Honor of Sherry Arnold: Be a Safe Runner

I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about Sherry Arnold over the last month, but it wasn’t until yesterday that I looked up her story.

Sherry Arnold was a 43-year-old math teacher, wife, and mother from a small town in Montana.  She went for a run in January and was abducted a mile away from home.  Even though her body hasn’t been found, two men are in custody, and the police have declared her dead. 

This horrible story has really affected the running community because not only have we lost one of our own, but this could have been any of us. I know in dark parking lots I’m paying attention to my surroundings and I’m focused on getting where I need to go safely.  Sometimes this common sense goes out the window when I’m more intent on having a good run in broad daylight.

Today there is a virtual l run/walk in honor of Sherry.  The organizers are asking  that you dedicate today’s miles to her. 

I think this is an appropriate time to emphasize runner safety. Even though this has been reblogged a million times, it is too important to not pass on (plus, I managed to miss it until yesterday, so other people probably have too).  Originally published by Skinny Runner, one of her readers gave some common sense tips for female joggers (and males too…sometimes I think men are a little more careless than they should be).  The reader has personally known 2 women who were attacked while jogging.

What I got out of this: running in daylight, running with mace, running in a small town, running in a good neighborhood all create a FALSE sense of security. 

Tips for Reducing Your Risk (via Skinny Runner)

* Switch up your routine. Do not run the same route day after day. Both my friend and family member felt the attack was well planned.

* Run in a group. There is something to be said about safety in numbers.

* Know that just because it is daylight does not mean you are safe. Crime does not have an address or a time preference.

* Pay attention to your surroundings. This is not just when running – all the time.  Look under your car while walking up to it (especially trucks) after your run.

*Don’t look so engaged in your phone/ipod/garmin that you look vulnerable.

  *Do not share your route(s) on social media; it’s about being smart. Are you true friends with all 500 people on your FB page? (I’d also add to set your Garmin Connect to private and avoid “I’m running around the Golf Course” status updates).

*If you run alone, try to run without your music. Yes, it is hard, but trust me, it’s not as hard as being a victim.  Remember, my friend had one ear bud out of her ear, heard him and it still happened.

* Do not bring mace or a weapon. Everyone thinks they would fight and beat up the bad guy, but once I heard in explicit detail what happened to my family member, I can honestly say I do not know what I would do if it was me. Some fight and some freeze.  You will not know what you would do until it happens which I hope is never.

*If you still feel a weapon is the way to go, first take a self defense class.  I’ve taken one before and they offer a lot of great tips.  If that isn’t enough, look into Krav Maga (self defense system used by Israeli defense forces) or karate classes; Krav Maga actually has you spar with other people.  It is something we are looking into now to help us get back to normality.

In the comments section, readers also provided these tips:

* Run with your dog, especially if it is big and intimidating.

* Run with your phone (but don’t talk on it while running). If you notice someone is following you or driving slowly next to you, call 911.

* If you run from your house, lock your door when you leave and right when you come back.  Also, if you feel like you are being followed, don’t lead the attacker to your home. Head somewhere public.

* Some people said to look everyone you pass in the eye and say hello so they know that you’ve noticed them AND you know what they look like.  Other people said making eye contact leads to being chosen as a victim.  I personally don’t make eye contact, but I DO get a good look at people while they are approaching.

* People are not the only threat…dogs, coyotes, and other wildlife can also attack.  I’ve run next to coyotes before, and I’m right in the middle of a city!

So, please remember Sherry during your run today, and please make good choices.  This doesn’t need to happen to anyone else.

11 Things You Probably Never Wanted to Know About Me

Remember in high school (before facebook and myspace) when friends would email surveys around? Time to relive the glory days!
The funny folks at Eye Laugh graciously nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award last month, and I never gotten around to passing on the favor.  But I was honored nonetheless.
So, yesterday when the lovely Kristen tagged me in her “11 Random Things” I figured I better participate this time around.
Here is how it works:
1. Post these rules. 
2.  Post 11 random things about yourself.
3. Answer the questions set for you in their post.
4. Create 11 new questions for the people you tag to answer.
5. No stuff in the tagging section about you are tagged if you are reading this. You legitimately have to tag 11 people.
11 Random Things About Me:

1. Peter Jennings was my first ever crush. My 3 year old self was really drawn to his news delivery.

2. My husband and I got engaged after dating for 6 months.  When you know, you know.

3. I was in Show Choir from 7th grade until I a senior in high school.  I know my show tunes.  And I can throw a mean jazz hand.

4. I graduated with a degree in Communication and a minor in History.  I wanted to be a journalist. Then I decided in my last semester that I wanted to be a museum curator.  I am currently neither of those things.

5. I’m beyond uber nerd.  I was on the state championship Future Problem Solvers team in high school and we went to the national competition in Georgia.  I was on the 2nd place team in the state for an event in Science Olympiad.  I’ve also competed in Odyssey of the Mind and Space Design. 

6. I once read all of the Harry Potter books over a 5 day period and got so immersed I started referring to people as muggles (not on purpose). See item #5.

7. I pretty much refuse to eat clams, oysters, or any other slimy ocean creature. 

8. I didn’t start running until April of last year.  Now running is all I think and talk about. 

9. The only sport I kind of follow is college basketball because my college usually has a pretty bomb diggity team (currently ranked #13 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll!).  Considering Saint Mary’s has less than 3,000 undergrad students, I think that’s pretty awesome!

10. Princess Jasmine is the celebrity that most people tell me I look like (even though she is in fact a cartoon).

11. My dream jobs include bestselling author, Social Secretary to the President, and Executive Producer for the Oscars.


Kristen’s Questions:

1. Do you prefer to listen to music, or no music, while running or working out?

During races or on the treadmill, I listen to music.  When I’m running outside, I don’t.

2. Where do you find the most support in your life?

Definitely from my husband and my parents.

3. Would you rather read the book, or watch the movie?

The book is almost always better.

4. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be and what would you be doing?

On a warm beach drinking fruity drinks and being warm. 

5. What is your favorite meal to prepare?

Aaron is the cook in our house.  

 6. How many states and/or countries have you visited in your lifetime?

4 Countries,  22 states (17 of those I’ve actually spent the night in…the other 5 were layovers or drive throughs)

7. Ever travel a great distance for a race?

San Francisco is the farthest I’ve traveled for a race.

8. Favorite flavor of ice cream?

Vanilla.  It goes with everything.

9. If your life was a title of a song, what would it be called?

Amy is a Punk Rocker (bet the Ramones never thought of that one!).

10. What is your greatest temptation (food or otherwise) that might cause you to be less healthy?

Cookies.  I can eat hordes of them at a time.  And Doritos.  I can never have them in the house.

11. What is the scariest thing that has ever happened to you

Getting hit by a car causing hallucinations and temporary memory loss


My questions for people:

1. If you could be any candy bar, what would you be and why?

2. What is your favorite word?

3. What is the one country that you haven’t been to that you will disappointed if you never get to see?

4. What is your craziest vacation mishap?

5. What is the one thing you would grab if your house was on fire?

6. If you could be famous for any reason, why would you want to be famous?

7. For you runners, what is the one race you most want to do?

8. What decade do you wish you could have experienced?

9. Which is scarier…getting your life adjusted by the Adjustment Bureau or having the Inception people control your dreams?

10.  Where is the best place you’ve ever seen a sunset?

11. What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery jackpot?


For the last part, you’re supposed to tag other people.  Here is where I break the rules.  Most of the people I would have tagged already did this.

So I’m inviting you (yes you, even  my facebook peeps or people who randomly stumbled upon my blog today) to participate. The rules clearly say I’m not supposed to do this. 

So, if you feel so inclined, please answer any or all of the questions. And if you don’t, it’ll be the most awkward silence of my life. 

And, even though I’m not “tagging” people, I know part of this is to bring attention to other blogger friends.  I don’t usually follow or even comment on a blog until I’m fairly certain that I’ll actually read it, but the following bloggers have been encouraging and inspiring to me personally. From Kristen (linked above) and Jon who are working toward a first half marathon, Running in Mommyland who is about to run her first marathon,  Julie and Jenina who are training for Boston, and BearRunner who is jumping into an Ironman Triathlon, to Dave who has run races in 11 different countries (I just started following him, but I can tell I’m going to gain lots of knowledge). THANK YOU for being awesome!

Now, please answer some questions.  Because nobody likes awkward silences.

Snap, Crackle, Pop (or, weird Jedi Chiropractor magic)

So, even though I have missed the bandwagon by quite a bit, and nobody cares anymore (except the people in New York who are throwing a crazy parade right now),  I must acknowledge our excitement over the Super Bowl!  I haven’t chosen an NFL team to cheer for yet, but cheering for winners makes things a little easier, and it looks like the Giants are pretty much the winners this go around.  And Eli Manning is my husband. And my non-Eli Manning husband is a die-hard Giants fan. So, I cheered for the Giants loud and proud. Go Giants!

And, Go Beckham! (and thanks H&M for throwing in some man candy in between all the Audriana Lima and GoDaddy).


And, even though it is gawdawful, I can’t stop listening to this song. (MIA flips off the camera in the video too in case you were wondering).

(oops…looks like all of the Give Me All Your Luvin” youtube videos have been flagged…but imagine Madonna, Nicki, and MIA singing here).

Ok. No more Super Bowl talk!

In other news, I overcame some major fears and went to a Chiropractor.

About a week and a half before RnR Arizona, my sciatic nerve starting really hurting.  I did all of the usual things like soaking in warm water, getting a massage, stretching, and not finishing out my half marathon training.  It got better long enough for me to finish the race strong.  Of course running 13.1 miles made it hurt again and I started the whole process over.  Everything was fine until a 4 mile run last week.

When I first mentioned my sciatic issues, a friend recommended seeing a chiropractor.  I honestly NEVER would have even thought to do that on my own because I view chiropractors as scary spine snapping quack “doctor” people who deal with back problems and generally cause more harm than good. I had nightmares about a wrong move that resulted in me being paralyzed.

But when I woke up last week after a night of throbbing nerve pain, I decided to make an appointment.  Luckily another friend who is quite experienced in the world of visiting chiropractors was able to recommend someone.  Poor guy also had to answer my questions and talk me through my freak out session and convince me that I wasn’t going to die.

I have now gone in for adjustment twice with one last follow-up adjustment on Thursday (apparently it takes a few tries before your body gets the hint)  I found out that my right hip was almost an inch off from where it was supposed to be (Aaron went with me and verified that this was the case).  I’m really little, so that almost inch is a significant percentage of my overall height! Lord knows how long I’ve been walking around lopsided.

The process is so not what I was expecting.  Mostly, it feels like he is using some Jedi force to guide my bones into place.  There is a little bit of popping involved, but I was surprised that it didn’t feel like anything was happening at all. After 2 adjustments, the tenderness and pain is all but gone.  Chiropractor Tom has used his weird magic powers to eliminate my sciatic issues and make me an unlopsided person again.

With the amount of torture I’m going to be putting my body through in the upcoming months, I want to make sure that something like uneven hips doesn’t cause problems down the road.  So, thanks friends who made the suggestions and talked me through my craziness, and thanks Dr. Obi Tom.  Amazing how a little Jedi force can make a huge difference!