Archive | August, 2013

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea

31 Aug

The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. – Isak Dinesen

Feet in the Mediterranean Sea

My feet in the Mediterranean Sea at night. The water was cold, but relaxing.

As I’ve mentioned before, I am a fish out of water. I love being in the water. And to be honest, I’m not sure where this love for the water came from. I can count the number of times I’ve been to the ocean on one had as I have always lived in the mid-west USA…no oceans close by, and no, The Great Lakes don’t count.

The first  time I saw the ocean I was about four years old and I went on vacation with my grandparents to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins who were living in one of the Carolinias at the time. Since I was so young, I really don’t remember much. I’ve been told about the trip and seen pictures but that’s not the same.

I wouldn’t return to the ocean until I was 11 years old during a family vacation to Florida. I remember splashing in the waves and wondering if there were any sharks around (I had this weird fascination with sharks, and I guess on some level they still fascinate me today – but not enough to participate in Shark Week, go figure.)

Up to this point in my life I have only seen the Atlantic Ocean, but that would change with a visit to Northern California when I was 14 years old. I had this image of the beach: hot sand, beautiful rolling ocean waves and the cute surfers – everything I’d ever seen in the movies I wanted to see in real life. Can you imagine my shock when I was informed that was what the beaches in SOUTHERN California looked like. Here’s what we saw:

A beach in Northern California, Pacific Ocean It was so cold in late June that we had on hoodies and long pants! WHAT?! Too cold to swim, too cold to surf, too cold to do anything but dip your toes in quickly just to say you had. But then, when the water comes down from Alaska, that’s about all you can do.

And then finally, FINALLY, I made it out of the country in 2007, at the age of 18, and I found myself on one of the beautiful beaches of Costa del Sol in southern Spain at sunrise.

Costa del Sol, Spain at sunrise I was in Spain as part of a school trip during Spring Break my senior year of high school. A friend and I woke up a couple of hours before sunrise, “snuck” out of our hotel (we didn’t much care for the teacher who was chaperoning and she didn’t seem to care too much what we were doing as her husband and son were also on the trip, so we were kind of left on our own and took full advantage of it) and walked the 3 or 4 blocks to the beach in the dark.

The view was breathtaking. The colors indescribable and believe me when I say the above picture does not do the actual view justice. It was so peaceful sitting on the beach in the early morning hours. We watched that little fishing boat, listened to the waves and soaked in the beauty. As I sat there, it was easy to let go of everything, to stop thinking and just be – be happy, be calm, be at peace for just a few precious moments, while all around us the city was waking up.

I can’t explain the connection I have with the ocean. I love the rhythmic sound of the rolling waves, the call of the seagulls, the song of the whales and dolphins. Maybe it’s because it’s unpredictable, one moment the water is calm and serene, the next hostile and punishing, a mighty power that seems to come from nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The color is intriguing – deep blues, turquoise, teal and crystal clear. It holds stories, secrets and mysteries in its depths, and wonders we are only beginning to uncover. It’s another world from the one we live in – oh how I long to be a mermaid sometimes just so I could explore and discover what’s really down there. I see the ocean as a reminder that things aren’t always as they appear on the surface – danger or beauty could be closer at hand than the casual observer realizes. It’s learning to recognize the difference that will determine your success and survival.


Wordless Wednesday – 8/28/13

28 Aug

When Wednesdays Attack…….

Garfield comic_7.15.13

**This comic appeared in the local newspaper on July 15, 2013

R.I.P. Asics

22 Aug

Tonight we say goodbye to a dear friend and running companion, Asics. And while it turns out you were not actually a TRUE, high-quality running shoe as I was led to believe by a salesperson who must have known less about running shoes than I did at the time, I still loved you deeply.


Asics’ untimely demise came as a shock to those closest to them. It seems like just yesterday they were embarking on their first 3 mile run at the local state park, the wind blowing through their laces while effortlessly pounding the pavement.

In their short 3 month life, they trekked many miles across back country roads. They were scuffed up, broken in, and on more than one occasion, caught in a downpour. The training was grueling, but their dreams of crossing the finish line kept them coming back for more, day after day.

It was a beautiful morning the last Saturday in April when their dream would became a reality. They were taking part in a color run 5K, their first ever running challenge. Nervously they paced the starting corral, waiting for the moment of truth – would they survive a 3.1 mile run through the dewy grass, the loose rocks, slippery mud and dirt road all while having all the colors of the rainbow thrown on them? Yes, yes they would!


There was only a short 7 days to recover and regroup as their new-found running bug took them 1,200 miles away from home to run at The Happiest Place on Earth. That’s right, these two braved the night as they raced against the Yeti for the runDisney Expedition Everest 5K Challenge! Sailing effortlessly over hay bails, quick stepping through the football tire obstacle, even getting down and dirty in the wet sand for the army crawl couldn’t make them lose their focus. They defeated the Yeti and once again claimed a running victory!


They had hoped to go into retirement, or at least a resting period for a few weeks upon returning home days later, but that was short-lived as they learned they would once again return to The Happiest Place on Earth in 5 months. This time they would need their speed and endurance as they were signed up to outrun the Disney villains in the runDisney Tower of Terror 10 Mile Race! (insert evil laughter and a bolt of lightning.)

Over the next few weeks they worked as usual, keeping pace with their training schedule. But tragedy was lurking on the side of the road. What seemed to be a minor injury, corrected with new inserts, soon proved to be too much for the pair to handle as other injuries followed. In the end, the stress of the road and the miles left to go were too much. Those closest to them are glad they are no longer suffering, as it was painful watching them deteriorate.


They are survived by their family members – Dr. Scholl’s Athletic Inserts for Her, white 1.5 inch athletic tape, Ipod touch and a running pouch.

Asics will not be forgotten. They have shown us what true dedication, determination and dreaming can achieve! Their legacy will be continued by their best friend, New Balance 870.


New Balance is scheduled to take their first run on the wide-open county roads Sunday afternoon. They will be forced to make up the slack in the training schedule that occurred during Asics’ injuries. We have complete faith in the pair as they rise to the challenge placed before them.

Also joining the running team for this race, two pairs of official running socks! It has yet to be decided who will actually be participating as the final member of the running team in October and we wish them both the best of luck in the coming weeks as they demonstrate their strengths and abilities.


And while it is always hard to say goodbye to a friend, they will be with us on the course – cheering and encouraging us to keep pushing harder, running stronger and dreaming bigger.

You won’t be forgotten.



Insecurities and Nightmares

21 Aug

I don’t know if I can blame it on the full moon, the strange weather patterns or the unbalanced hormones of being a girl, but lately I’ve been having so much doubt about things in my life — my career, my life goals, different relationships with people, the list goes on and on. I am a worrier by nature. I have been known to stress and fret about things in the past to the point where I can’t sleep, can’t eat, can’t enjoy my surroundings because I am over analyzing a situation or event or problem I probably have no control over. This is one of my flaws, I acknowledge it and accept that it is part of what makes me, well, me, and I’m working on controlling my urge to constantly worry. But recently, it’s not stressing over a class project or what I’m going to do on Saturday night, it’s bigger and scarier than that. It’s, what am I going to do for the rest of my life? Am I going to be stuck in my hometown forever? Will I find my happily ever after? Will I get to be a mom? Will I end up alone? What if no one wants to hire me? These fears, and that’s truly what they are, haunt my nights, taking the place of monsters and creepy crawlers of the dark.

About a week ago (one month to the day until my 25th birthday) I started having this dream that I was participating in a marathon, but for whatever reason, I was the only runner forced to wear an army vest and steel toed-boots. The course was through a combination of cement and quick sand. I couldn’t even see the other participants they’ve gotten so far ahead of me. It made no sense to me until a friend broke it down…

Sounds like your stresses and fears about getting your life started/moving up and out are invading your dreams now. You need a vacation. A relax and do nothing but quiet, non-exhaustive things vacation.

Of course my brain would have me running a marathon (still training for runDisney’s Tower of Terror 10 Mile run on October 4, 2013). I can see it now, I feel weighed down. Friends and family members my age are doing things I wish I were doing too, and I feel like I’m being left behind. It’s lonely, not to mention depressing in the wee hours of the night.

And let’s not forget how insecure I feel in my own skin sometimes. The same friend and I were having a conversation a few nights ago when I had a minor breakdown:

Me: It’s not that I need to cling or be included in every little detail of their life, I think I’ve proved that over this past year, I just want to be wanted. And loved unconditionally. I’ve never been the pretty one, the super smart one, the witty or funny one, I’m nothing extraordinary or special, I’m just plain and boring and mundane. I think I will always have trouble believing a guy is truly interested in me, just me. There’s no rhyme or reason he should be.

Friend: But… You subscribe to the multiple possible *soul mates worldview. That means, he is out there (several he’s, in fact). It’s only a question of finding him in this incredibly, insanely populated world (3.5 billion-ish men, chop off the old half and young quarter for just under 1 billion possibilities)

*I refuse to believe that there is just ONE perfect person for everyone. It would be nearly IMPOSSIBLE to find them. Rather, I think there are multiple people you could be perfectly happy with, it’s just a matter of finding one of them when both of you are ready to make that commitment — it’ll happen at the right time, at the right place, with one of those right people. The odds are much more in your favor this way!

Me: With my luck in the love department, my soul mates probably got eaten by a lion, joined the ministry or is circling earth in the space stay…..

Friend: Psht, you’ve more than 3 possibilities. Honestly though, do you smile?

Me: Yes

Friend: Then you must be beautiful. Do you write?

Me: Yes

Friend: Then you must be intelligent. Can you make people laugh?

Me: Sometimes

Friend: Then you must be witty or funny, depending on the day (no one wants a clown who can’t step back from the giggles). So, there. Why on earth WOULDN’T a guy want you?

Me (feeling slightly better about myself): I guess there isn’t a reason now. 🙂

Friend: Well, unless Scar decided he wanted a snack. But that’s only one of several! (And you can’t deny the appeal of an adventurous guy with a few battle scars, eh?)

Me: It would be Scar, wouldn’t it?!

Friend: He’s such a poo head. And Even though I know you’re a worrier, and that’s what you do, ya gotta step back and breathe sometimes!!

I have one of the best friends out there! This wonderful person knows just what to say to lift my spirits, she understands my insecurities and doesn’t hold them against me. She’ll listen to me complain and wonder “when will it be me” over and over again without losing her cool. She helps me remember that yes, I’m not perfect, but I’m someone pretty special in my own rights.

And then the weirdest thing happened… this conversation took place on a Saturday night, that Sunday in church the sermon was about facing your insecurities. Honestly, sometimes God’s sense of humor is a bit over the top, but it was, once again, a lesson I needed at the time when I needed it most. It was pretty emotional hearing:

“God made you right for the purpose for which he made you.” – Pastor John

Now I just need to keep reminding myself of this and I think I will be okay….

Intrusion Alert: Inside an Active Shooter Disaster Drill

12 Aug

Columbine High School. Chardon High School. Sandy Hook Elementary School. Virginia Tech.

What comes to mind when you see this list? Shooting, gunman, students, death, fear, loss. Today we live in a world where not even our school systems are safe. Innocent children and teachers lost their lives because, for whatever reason, a gunman decided they no longer deserved to live. Like others around the country, I watched the news as the events of each tragedy unfolded. I saw the horror, tears and the uncertainty of the communities as they wondered how they would piece together the shattered remains of safety and security. My sympathy went out to these people I’ve never met, my heart breaking for their loss, but I could not fully understand their feelings and difficulties…at least, not until today.

I work in the public relations office of the local hospital, and throughout the year, disaster drills are held so staff can train and prepare should such a real situation ever unfortunately arise. It was my job to photograph the event for our records. To be honest, I like seeing the drills unfold, I’ve photographed two others during my time at the hospital. Each story line behind the drill is different, you never know what to expect. For today’s drill, I knew we were going to be starting off campus at the middle school where my mom is a teacher and I thought it was going to be fun to see her while I was working. My opinion of this quickly changed, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

The scenario: An active shooter is inside the middle school. There would also be a chemical explosion that happened in the science lab (the room my mom happens to be stationed in for the drill with five students).

As I was not actively participating in the drill, I was given a bright yellow vest to wear, allowing me the freedom I needed to roam the halls while the shooter was still at large. Basically, if you were in a vest, you were considered invisible during this drill and the events unfolded around you. For this particular drill, I was told to stick with a film crew, who was also documenting the events for records.

A 1:00 PM EST the drill began with the shooter entering the middle school office. In my head I knew this was a drill, I had on my vest, I was standing behind an expensive camera and I had my own camera in hand ready to document, but my heart was in my stomach. My pulse raced as I watched through the office windows as the shooter took down the office staff and entered the main hallway where I was standing. Moments later the school wide announcement was made: “Intruder Alert. Intruder Alert.” The building is on lock-down and now it feels much too real for comfort.

I’ve told you I had on the vest which made me “invisible,” but when the shooter looked at me as he walked by I have never felt the urge to flee stronger. The menacing look on his face was enough to chill my blood, he played his part in the drill well.

He stalked the hallways, and we stalked him. As he made his way through the school my mind raced to my mom. SHE’S IN THE BUILDING! Wait, this is just a drill. BUT WHAT IF SOMETHING ELSE IS HAPPENING? IS SHE OKAY? WHAT’S GOING ON WHERE SHE IS?! You know the action is only happening right here where you are, you are watching the events unfold. My internal struggle as I fought to remind myself this was only a drill, this isn’t real.

The gym is on his right. It appears the students were in the middle of a basketball game and didn’t hear the overhead announcement. They’ve fallen to the ground right where they were when he entered. I watched in horror and he calmly walked towards the students. The ones closest to the bleachers he paid no mind to, heading straight towards one girl, gun pointed and at the ready. I heard him shout at her “you think you can turn me down and get away with it. We’ll see about that.” BANG.

I stop breathing. This is only a drill, this is only a drill, this is only a drill….I repeat it over and over.

He entered the library. BANG. BANG. BANG. A classroom – more shots fired. And then we are in the cafeteria during what appears to be a lunch period. He hunts the students as if they were animals. “Keep shoving your face while you still can.” BANG. One girl built a barricade out of chairs and was hiding beneath. Staring down at her smiling, “those chairs will never protect you.” BANG.

It takes 10 minutes from the time the school wide announcement is made that there in an active shooter in the building to the time the police are there. As they make their way into the building, they must heard the most recent shots fired in the cafeteria. They enter silently and take the shooter out. (Someone said he was shot, I don’t know if that’s true or not.) I watched intently as the police put this man in handcuffs and patted him down for more weapons. Another police unit enters, dressed in army green with helmets.

The information is relayed the shooter has been apprehended and there are serious injuries in the room. Three police officers leave to check the remainder of the school. I become their shadow. As the cops on either side of the hallway check the rooms, the one in the middle watches for what is coming at them up the hallway. At this time, we don’t know if anyone else is in the building. They make their way around the building, finding the victims in the gym and library. When they come to an intersection in the hallway, one officer stands guard while the others check for an all clear. As I listen to them communicate with each other in codes that all is secure in a certain area, I remind myself once again this today is, thankfully, just a drill. I am thankful for these men whose job it is to keep us safe, even if it means putting their lives on the line.

We get down to the wing where my mom and her students were stationed. They try the door. Locked. The lights are off. The classroom is empty.


We make our way back to the gym where the firefighters and EMS are preparing to attend to the victims. We are informed of the chemical explosion in the science lab and so now, with two firefighters in tow, we make our way back to my mom’s classroom. Same results. Room locked. Lights off. Appears to be empty. The police and firefighters find someone with a key to open the door.

The first thing I saw upon entering the room — the police officers with his gun point at my mom, who was on the ground with her students, hiding under the science tables along the wall by the door. “Does anyone have a weapon?” he demands and I hear my mom answer no, but five are injured. PHEW, SHE’S HERE. SHE’S OKAY. I can breathe again.

As my mom and her students were part of the chemical explosion, they were evacuated outside so as not to contaminate the rest of the building. She later told me the firefighters explained to them that if this were real, they would be sprayed off with water before being able to be loaded into the ambulance. Two students volunteered to be sprayed off so the firefighters had practice for the drill.

I returned to the main hall where I found the bomb dog waiting. Apparently he did his thing checking the building after the police secured it, while we were all down in the lab.

From here the victims were relocated to the hospital where the drill, and my photo responsibilities continued, but I won’t go into any detail.

Sitting here reflecting on the events of the drill, I have come to the conclusion that I will never get the sight of a gunman stalking the halls of my mom’s school out of my head. It was like living in a nightmare for 45 minutes waiting to be reassured that my mom was safe. AND TODAY WAS ONLY A DRILL.

I pray that as the new school year begins, our schools will be safe and that no one should experience even a fraction of the terror I felt today. This drill has opened my eyes and I hope that by sharing my first-hand account of this drill, you will hug your children and tell them you love them, appreciate the police, firefighters and EMTs who rush towards an emergency and not away, and most of all, I want you to remember that while this was a drill for us today, somewhere out there, this has been someone’s reality, and that is the most tragic thing of all.

My Heart is so Jet Lagged

7 Aug

Have you ever had a song say everything you couldn’t? The lyrics were as if they were written about your life, your situation, your problem. The combination of notes and rhythms sink down and touch that hidden and very private part of your soul.

I’ve mentioned it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m a music person. Not only do I express myself with words and writing, I also connect with music and singing. The emotion a single song can bring out in me would be embarrassing if it were a part of my personality I didn’t 100% embrace and accept. I had such an experience tonight.

The song of the day, week, month, well you get the idea, is Simple Plan’s “Jet Lag” ft. Natasha Bedingfield. Not familiar with it? Have a listen:

The song is about a couple who for whatever reason are thousands of miles and multiple time zones apart. It’s unclear for how long they’ve been away from each other, but you can tell it’s wearing on them.

What time is it where you are?
I miss you more than anything
And back at home you feel so far
Waitin’ for the phone to ring
It’s gettin’ lonely livin’ upside down
I don’t even wanna be in this town
Tryin’ to figure out the time zones makin’ me crazy

Welcome to my life because I know EXACTLY what this feels like. If you would have told me three years ago that I’d be in a long distance relationship (LDR) I would have said you were talking to the wrong girl. I didn’t believe in them. How could they possibly work? What kind of life would it be if you couldn’t see and be with your significant other nearly every day? Who in their right mind would want that? And why?

The answer apparently, is I would. Not once, but twice. (Twice leaves a nasty after-taste in my mouth.) You would have thought I’d learned my lesson the first time around but it’s not that simple. Both relationships, both guys are so completely different, I didn’t hesitate (okay, so I did a little the second time because I was, and still sometimes am, terrified of getting hurt again).  It’s hard when you feel like you’re the one “left-behind.” You wonder, will the distance make the heart grow fonder as the saying goes, or will they forget about you quickly when someone there, who happens to resemble you, shows interest in them? Yes, on point number two I’m speaking from experience with LDR number one. Which brings me to:

You say good morning
When it’s midnight
Going out of my head
Alone in this bed
I wake up to your sunset
And it’s driving me mad
I miss you so bad
And my heart, heart, heart is so jet-lagged
Heart, heart, heart is so jet-lagged
Heart, heart, heart is so jet-lagged, is so jet-lagged

Long distance relationships are hard — emotionally, mentally, physically. There is a hole where your heart should be in the shape of that person because they aren’t around to fill the void. You see couples out in public laughing, holding hands, kissing, looking lovingly into each other’s eyes and at first you get so jealous you fear your eyes will start blazing neon green. You don’t want to be around couples because it reminds you you’re alone, even though technically you AREN’T alone status wise.

But all that isn’t nearly as bad as the phantom memories — the memory of their touch that is so real that if you’d close your eyes and concentrate hard you’d swear they were right there. At the most inconvenient moments you’ll remember what their hand feels like in yours, the way he’d brush your hair off your cheek and kiss your forehead. Or how much you love his hugs, the ones that seal you off from the world if only for a few moments, so it’s just the two of you, together. And don’t forget his voice – you’ll get goosebumps thinking about the way he’d whisper in your ear because he knew it would tickle and make you laugh.

Having these memories attack during the day is one thing, but when they creep into your dreams that’s another. You’ll wake and be even more lonely because for a fleeting moment you believe they are there with you. However, when the haze of sleepiness clears and you realize your mistake, it will be as if the world comes crashing down around you.

And now you may be wondering, if it’s so terrible, why suffer? Why not cut your losses?

I miss you so bad [x5]
I wanna share your horizon
I miss you so bad
And see the same sun rising
I miss you so bad
And turn the hour hand back to when you were holding me.

Because I know it’s not forever — it may feel that way now, but it’s only a small amount of time in the grand scheme of things really. And when you find someone who makes you feel special and beautiful and important and most importantly wanted and loved, wouldn’t you do anything to be with them? Even if it means living 1200 miles away for a while? At least we have cell phones and video calls and the internet. I don’t even want to think about how miserable this would be if I had to wait 2 – 3 weeks for a letter to come in the mail.


But back to the song, I cried because it mirrored my current situation so much. I know I’ll get to see him soon (56 days 2 hours 47 minutes, but who’s counting?). But there are days it just feels like time is standing still. And those are the days when I want nothing more than to live in the memories, hopeful for when we’re reunited. It’s not much to go on, but it’s gotten me this far and I’m not about to give it all up now. I’m still holding out for the fairy tale, we just seem to be in the opening chapters at present time. But every story has to start somewhere I guess…

Super Shark

2 Aug

If you know nothing about me, know that I am a fish out of water. I LOVE swimming and have enjoyed being in the water all summer long for as far back as I can remember.

One of my very first swimming instructors was my mom. I was 4 years old and she was a teacher at the preschool I attended. But our story tonight happens about four years later at day camp….

Summer Day Camp was held at the houses of the Co-owners of the previously mentioned preschool. They are sisters who live next door to each other and also happen to go to my church. And, because it will be important to my story later, my mom is now the director of day camp.

What’s not to love about Day Camp? Crafts, hiking, fishing, free time, seeing friends who attend different schools and…swimming lessons in a beautiful in-ground, shallow end and super deep end pool. My favorite times of the day were spent in that pool – swim lessons in the morning and free swim in the afternoon.

When campers arrived at the beginning of the summer, we were each given a swim test and placed into the appropriate swim class for lessons. You’re going to love the names of the swim classes, I have a smile just thinking about them. Here we go:

Beginners – Advanced

Shallow-end whale
Deep-end whale

As I mentioned, I am a fish out of water so I easily tested out of the beginner groups and quickly found myself as a “cool kid” swimming in the deep end of the pool. I was learning things like standing diving from the edge of the pool, more advanced swimming strokes and how to tread water.

Now, Day Camp was held outside on the combined property of the two preschool owners. We had an all sides open shelter where we met as a camp every morning and evening, however it didn’t provide proper shelter during thunderstorms and other extreme weather situations. During these times, the campers were divided between the two houses – girls in one, boys in the other, to watch movies or play cards/board games until the storm passed.

It was on one of these days our story actually begins. It had been raining most of the day and we had been cooped up inside. We missed our swimming lesson, but as luck would have it the skies cleared in time for free swim! I was so excited to get in the pool that I didn’t bother putting my tennis shoes on all the way or worrying about tying my laces. After all I was only heading to the changing room in the basement of the house we were in. I just kind of shoved my feet in and started doing the shuffle down the cement driveway – which is on a slight hill.

I bet you can see where I’m going with this, I was being reckless in my excitement to get to the pool and I tripped on my own shoelaces, down I went. I tried to brace myself on impact and broke both bones in my right wrist in the process. OUCH!!!

Tears streaming down my cheeks and pain shooting through my arm like I have never experienced before I went to find my mom. She just knew by the angle at which I was holding my arm that it was broke, but as she was the camp director she couldn’t leave or do anything more for me at the time than give me some pain killers, luckily there was only an hour or so left in the camp day. And then she had a brilliant idea – go sit in the pool with your wrist in the cool water for BOTH free swims. (Awesome, except for the fact the pool was filled with kids running and splashing and jumping and bumping – not ideal for a girl with a freshly broken wrist, but I went anyways and it did help it feel a bit better.)

Went to the doctor and he confirmed it, a very nice clean break. Lucky for me it was summer and I’m left-handed! Phew! And I managed to get myself a lovely hot pink WATERPROOF cast! It was as if they wrapped my arm in bubble-wrap before putting the cast on.

Now, near the end of the summer each year, the camp had an overnight event which was kicked off with a swim show for the parents to showcase what we learned. The show begins with the tadpoles and works it’s way up to the most advanced swimmers with the coolest routines, the SUPER SHARKS! I was determined to be in that group for the swim show, and no cast was going to stop me. This was my year.

I don’t remember everything required to pass the test to be a Super Shark, but what I can remember is: a running dive off the diving board, fireman’s jump (don’t let your head go under), tread water for twenty minutes without stopping and swim the length of the pool without stopping. You can imagine how exhausting that, plus everything I can’t remember, would be for a normal little 8 year old, now try adding a 10 pound fully-soaked cast.

I am pleased to announce that on the VERY last day of testing, cast and all, I became a SUPER SHARK!

It’s one of the proudest moments from my childhood and to this day it gives me great pleasure to be counted as a day camp top swimmer!

Zebra Garden