Above is an orange blossom that I did FREE-hand on Paint. They are all abloom in town and it makes my walks absolutely delicious, and I snip a few here and there to bring home to my daughter. Although it's not silly or witty, I am most proud of this one because it actually looks like it could be a real piece of art--ok that's going too far, at least a tole-painting centerpiece, ok fine, it looks like a craft that you might think twice about throwing away, see the shading?? Anyway, for those of you wondering, I have been steadily walking every morning this week--a 5K every day. And I have begun to ignore the image of myself in my head--those swinging hips, and athletic top riding up, with a fresh loaf of flab bouncing about. I don't care anymore. I could look like a three-headed elephant and it wouldn't stop me at this point. I want this too bad to care about what the skinny runners think anymore. The knee thing really threw me for a loop though. I couldn't believe it but I actually MISSED running, I MISSED the horrible feeling of wanting to die, or was it that I missed the feeling of doing something that I never imagined I could do? Either way, I was in a slump for a good week and a half. I realized first hand that exercise can be a natural anti-depressant. And here is how I came to this realization: It was a Saturday night, about 5 days after I quit my regular 5K running, and I was sitting on the couch watching curling, yes, curling--the Olympic sport where they throw a rock down the ice, then sweep like a housekeeper on crack. I still don't know how the sport works, or why it is a sport for that matter, but there I was watching Canada a single rock-slide away from beating Norway (I think it was Norway) for the Gold. And all of a sudden the red-sprinkled arena broke into unison song--the Canadian national anthem. It was a spontaneous wave of support and praise for their ice-rock throwing heroes. Because I grew up just 30 minutes from the Canadian border, they taught us the US anthem AND the Canadian anthem. I knew the words and joined in with the crowd singing "Oh Canada," and then, alone on my couch, I started to cry. Maybe I was on the wrong end of a bad cycle, or maybe I just FELT for those guys and how hard they had worked sweeping that ice and skidding like Elvis Presley with a granite bowling ball. Whatever it was, I knew I had reached a new pathetic, but very funny low. It was time to kick my butt into shape again. I am happy to say that the regular speed walking has fixed my brain chemistry to where I feel completely on-track and motivated. So next time you find yourself tearing up over balding men on a slab of ice, know that it is time to rev-up your exercise routine.