Sunday, October 27, 2013

Five-Minute Friday: I FORGOT!!!

One of these days I will remember to put up my Five-Minute Friday Writing ON FRIDAY!! Man, I'm so bad about that! I know there have only been two of them, but so far I'm 0-2. Here's to hoping for next time! The thing that kills me is that I actually write it, and then I don't post the silly thing! Well, here is my second installment of Five Minute Friday!

Writing Session #2

Here is the picture that I used for inspiration:

Here is what I wrote:

My Norseman, who happens to be a dog

Sheltered by a dumpster.
Sun-burnt until your pale skin
turned the color of a Maine lobster.
Your fine, white hair burnt off your tiny body.
Dark blotches in its place, 
the color of incoming storm clouds.
I think that saying is true--"The sidewalk's so hot, you could fry an egg."

Your dark brown, M&M shaped eyes.
Longing eyes.
Deep, desperate, scared eyes.

You slept in a laundry basket.
You held your stuffed octopus.
Your brother protected you from outside the plastic bars.

Day-by-day we gained your trust.
You gained strength.
You learned English.
You played with toys.
You learned to talk to people with those M&M eyes.

You're ours forever.
You'll never have to go back.

I'm sorry the sound of chains rattling still scares you.
I'm sorry talking loudly makes you think I'm angry.
I can only love you every day and hope
that you don't remember that you were found under a dumpster.

Back Story

This is my dog, Thor (affectionately called "Littles"). This is a picture we took right after we adopted him. 7/7/2010 was the day we got Littles (Rachie's birthday). We were looking to adopt another dog. We already had a Pekingese, Rufus. We just couldn't find another dog that was "right" for us. 

One night, really late, our neighbor came down and knocked on our door with Thor in her arms. She told us that she knew we were looking to adopt a dog. She couldn't take any more (she had 5), and she didn't know what to do with this little guy. She found him earlier that day under a dumpster at Aldi close to our houses on a busy street. We think someone pulled up in this strip mall's parking lot, dumped him, and left. (Two days later she found another chihuahua who looked just like him!) We decided to keep him--he looked so neglected (and adorable!). We kept the name Lisa gave him (she said he needed a strong name!). And he's been ours ever since!

Isn't he SO adorable!

Poor thing had almost all of his baby teeth still stuck in his mouth because of all the tartar build up, and they think, when we got him, he was 6 or 7 years old! That was the worst of his health problems--his teeth were in pretty bad shape. They ended up having to pull 11 or 12 of them! Yikes! A lot of his hair had been sun-burnt off his body because he was living on asphalt during the summer, but it ended up growing back. We also ended up getting him neutered. We think he was used as a breeding dog, maybe in a puppy mill?

It was so sad to find out all of the typical "doggy things" that Thor didn't know. He didn't know how to play with toys. He didn't know how to go outside to go to the bathroom in the grass. He would pee on the porch, the driveway, the sidewalk. Everything. 

He was scared to go into the basement. He was scared of chain noises, loud voices, loud machine noises (dishwasher, washing machine, dryer), doors closing loudly, men, people in general (mostly new people), among other things. And he didn't know any English. My joke was that I was my dog's ESL teacher :) You couldn't pet him either. He wasn't sure about that. 

But three years later, he's different. I always tell him, "You seem like a real dog!" I always think of Pinocchio wanting to be a real boy. He plays with Rufus, his brother. He lets us hold and pet him (to a certain extent). He plays with toys. He "talks" to us to try to tell us what he wants. He knows some English (not a lot), but we're working on it! 

He still has some anxiety and he is needy at times, but he had a rough life. I think he's happy, and he makes us happy. The least I can do is make the rest of his life the best that I can :) We can work through some anxiety together!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Monday, October 21, 2013

"It's On" Follow-Up 2: 3rd Wedding Anniversary!!


Our wedding day was beautiful. It was a sunny, warm day in October. There was a cool breeze. The fall colors were on display in full force. It was perfect. (It would have been perfect even if it were rainy or snowy, forty below zero, and hailing golf balls.) But, this was fantastic! After twelve years together, we finally were getting hitched! We were so excited for this day! It was taking place at our favorite place: The Cincinnati Art Museum with some of our favorite people. We had each other. And we were finally making it all official!!

Photographs courtesy of Mandy Paige Photography

We had such an amazing day and so many memories for years to come. We love being able to just take a day to walk through the art museum and reminisce about our wedding and the fun we had together with our friends and family. Here's what we did the day after our wedding: 

Yep! We went back to the art museum!! Seriously, we love it THAT much! It's become a yearly tradition to go to the museum on or around our anniversary to remember our special day together. Going there makes me happy. It makes me feel calm. It makes me feel centered and at peace. I love that place. We go a lot during the year, but close to our anniversary each year we make a special trip. This year we actually went a few weeks before our anniversary.

This Year's Anniversary

This year we couldn't actually take a day off together on our actual anniversary, so we decided to take the next Friday off together. We spent our traditional fun anniversary day off together! So this year, we actually celebrated a fun, low-key day-of anniversary and a fun, day-off anniversary too! Super fun!

Our actual anniversary was on a Wednesday. We decided to get take-out, get some good drinks, and spend the evening watching some of our favorite shows hanging out with the pups. 

We got Mekong Thai for dinner, a delicious Thai restaurant in Kenwood.

I got Yakisoba with chicken. Mmm-mmm. Bjorn got Massaman curry. Mmm-mmm, too! He was a happy Bjorn! Then we went next door to the Root Cellar to choose some new beer to drink with dinner. It is so fun in there! You can get lost in all the beer and wine to choose from! We always find something interesting to try when we go there. The staff is always helpful too in making suggestions and giving recommendations on different selections that you make :) 

Just a snap of one section of wine.

Here are just a few of the interesting finds we came across at the Root Cellar! We ended up choosing the Vanilla Porter and the Honey Kolsch in the yellow bottle. Yum! They were both great! 

Btw--thought the first picture was one of artichoke beer. Bjorn thought I was nuts. He informed me that those are hops. I informed him that I didn't know hops looked like artichokes :) You learn something new every day!

After dinner we hung out with the dogs and watched some tv. It was a great night!

Our Anniversary Celebration Day

Traditionally, we go to the zoo. Eat lunch. Do something different than we usually do. And spend the day together. 

This year we didn't really have a plan. We weren't sure if the weather would be nice, and we weren't really sure what we wanted to do. 

We ended up sleeping in, eating lunch at Nordstrom Cafe, going to the zoo, stopping by Casablanca Vintage in Northside, and ordered Kinneret Cafe for dinner (a Kosher/Vegetarian, Mediterranean restaurant in Deer Park).  We had a lovely day with wonderful weather!

New fascinator from Casablanca Vintage. Love! I'm going to hang them on the wall in old frames I found and make them wall art :) 

Here's to #8 on my Happy List!

8. Do something fun for our 3rd wedding anniversary!

We had an AWESOME day! It was so much fun! I love our tradition of having a fun celebration day for our anniversary. We are always going to continue this special tradition. It gives us something to look forward to that celebrates us and our relationship. It makes us happy. It makes me happy. And that's all that matters.

Love and happiness <3 Holly

To read about my Happy List click here.
To read about exhibits happening now at The Cincinnati Art Museum click here.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

"It's On" Follow-up: My Headaches

It's been one of those crazy weeks. And I also have been trying to figure out some new information I got from going to the neurologist this week. This was the first time I have ever been to the neurologist for myself! This sounds crazy, but I was happy to go to the neurologist and nervous at the same time. 

Ever since I was 15 or 16 years old, I have had migraines. My mom and one of my sisters has them as well. My great grandmother and her mom had them too, so I guess I could say they run in the family :(  Boo, migraines! Anyone else who has migraines: I am so sorry that you have to deal with them too. I do not wish them on anyone! Ever!! If I could have one wish in the world for myself, it would be that I no longer had them. Seriously. That would be it. Nothing fancy. I am so done.

When I was younger, they started out coming on maybe once a month or once every few months. But I remember when they came on, they would hurt so badly. Sometimes I would have to take the day off of school. I couldn't do anything. I would lie in bed with a heating pad on my head with the lights off and wait hours for my migraine to go away. I couldn't turn on the lights. I couldn't open my eyes. I felt nauseated. I just sat in bed hoping to be able to fall asleep.

As I've gotten older, they have progressively gotten worse. As I finished grad school and started working full time, they hit a more regular pattern. At least 8 a moth or more. At the highest, I would have 15 to 16 migraine days per month. Sitting in the dark wishing my migraines would go away and nothing working to take them away is never my idea of a fun time, but it's all I could do. 

I have tried many different medications. Some made me gain weight, some made me have more headaches, and others made me feel loopy. I have tried massage therapy. I have tried avoiding the things that I know are my triggers: dark beer, red wine, stinky cheeses (oohh but I love you!), chocolate (oohh but I love you more!!), among other things. My doctor referred me to a neurologist because what was working okay for awhile was no longer. I will say again: I. AM. SO. DONE. WITH. MY. MIGRAINES.

So Tuesday was the day that I had waited for and worried about a lot of the summer. It took me two and a half months to get into the neurologist as a new patient. So, as a person with OCD, this left a lot of time for my mind to loop and worry and wander. The last time that I was in a neurologist's office was when my dad had his brain tumor. So that worried me. "What if my headaches are from a brain tumor?" my OCD questioned. "What if you are going to get the same news that dad did?" Realistically I knew this wouldn't happen, but the thought was always in the back of my OCD brain.

That was a hard loop to squash. It played for awhile this summer, but I was able to stop it for a long time. Closer to the date of the appointment (maybe a few days before), I did have a little anxiety before going to the doctor. I had to work a little harder at keeping this loop from playing in my head. I still have to work sometimes to keep my from getting out of control, especially when it hits so close to me emotionally. Once it's looped through my head, it's harder to squash. If it's merely a though and hasn't yet found it's way round and round in my mind head, that's even better. It's much easier to stop that way.

Once the appointment was near, I asked Bjorn to come with me to make sure I didn't leave anything out when I talked to the doctor and to help me remember everything she said. When I get anxious, my memory and my mind tend to go fuzzy and blank. In the moment I function okay, but once I'm out, I don't remember specific details of what happened in the moment. 

Hi, awesome husband!

Once I got to the doctor, I was a little anxious and nervous. But once I checked in and sat down, I felt much better! I have to say that I think it had something to do with this lovely view!!

One thing that really helps me when I am anxious is visualization. My sister puts a picture in her mind of a forest and then zooms in like shes looking at it with binoculars or a magnifying glass to calm her down. She imagines the texture of the bark on the tree and its color. She goes into really fine detail through this magnification. That DOES NOT work for me! 

No bark for me!! Sorry trees!!

I, in turn, have to visualize a scene, or a story taking place--like a movie in my head. I play the scene through my head--the people interacting, talking, and moving around. One I use often is my family at the beach. My dad's grilling out, we're relaxing, drinking margaritas, Bjorn's swimming in the ocean and crabs are walking through the sand. Someone yells, "Don't burn the burgers!" We all laugh. The more you focus on the details, the easier it is for you to focus less on your anxiety and the faster it comes down. It takes practice, but it works!

The goal: put something else in your mind!

I have a whole Pinterest Board called "Deep Breaths" devoted to "relaxing" pictures that help me visualize some crazy story in my mind and let me replace the anxious thoughts in my mind with something else. Just because trees don't relax me!! Sorry, Rach! To each his own. :)

So looking at this view out the doctor's office window really helped me. I see something beautiful like this fall view of Cincinnati and I think of mine and Bjorn's wedding three years ago. I play a picture in my mind of a specific memory I have from that day and it relaxes me. I remember a fall day that my dad sat in our front yard with my dog, Abby, and my cat, Bridget and the breeze blowing through our hair. I am in that moment and not at a doctor's office. 

Picture: Mandy Paige Photography
This relaxes me.

Once I saw that view. I stopped running my loop. I started thinking of something else, and I relaxed. Well played, doctors. Well, played. I seriously would like to thank them and the architects for designing this building with floor to ceiling windows. But enough about that.

My doctor was amazing! She made me feel like there are options for me, even though I felt like I was at the end of my rope. We made a plan. And if that plan doesn't work, we have another plan! So here's our plan for now:

  1. Don't add any new medication to the mix.
  2. Add new supplements that have been shown in studies to offer migraine relief.
  3. Look at diet and try to eliminate foods (slowly!) to try to figure out which ones are my BIG triggers.
  4. Add acupuncture.
  5. Change "rescue" migraine medication because old medication seems to no longer be working.
I feel good about this plan. I'm going back right before Christmas-time to update her on how everything is going. The only thing that has really overwhelmed me is THE LIST, as I call it. The LIST is a list of possible dietary triggers that migraine sufferers have found to cause their migraines. Whoa! That is to say the least. Here is the list:

Now my doctor made a big point about making little changes here and there to try to see if certain things are triggers or not for me. She said to think "big picture" about what I eat and see if I consume a large amount of any of these items and consider cutting back on those first to see if it helps. So here is what I decided after letting THE LIST sink in:

Here is what I decided to do: 
  1. Cut out all lunch meat (we're cooking a roast in the crockpot this week to use for some sandwiches) 
  2. Cut out all almond milk (who knew nuts were triggers! I switched to rice milk. anyone know a brand with a low amount of sugar?) 
  3. No processed soup, including broths with preservatives (I found all natural beef broth at Meijer. I think I am going to make and freeze my own vegetable stock.)
  4. Eat less chocolate--I can do this.
  5. Consume less sweetener--no "diet" drinks like "diet Snapple"
Here is what I eat a lot of that is on THE LIST:
  1. Avocadoes
  2. Beans
  3. Nuts
  4. Bananas
  5. Eggs
  6. Pickles, olives, and onions--not A TON of pickles and olives (but I love them!)
  7. CHEESE!!!
  8. I don't eat a ton of this, but I do love CHOCOLATE!!

The list is looming in the back of my head every time I go to eat something. I have to keep telling my OCD that I am slowly testing out what items are triggering my migraines. I feel like my list of 5 things is definitely doable. I am not overwhelmed by it. By the whole list--YES! But, I keep telling myself that it's okay. We're going to figure this headache thing out! I CAN DO THIS!

So this week was a good, but overwhelming week in general for me. But I do get to check one thing off my HAPPY LIST! 

                                         13. Figure out a new plan for my migraines

I was so excited that Bjorn and I stopped by the cupcake place that it right around the corner from my house! I know...totally dangerous!! We tried Salted Caramel and Hot Fudge Sundae.

And that night I got a headache. I definitely think chocolate is one of my triggers. Boo :( Bummer. Well, I think I know for sure now. Next time I'll try Snickerdoodle!

You can read about my Happy List here.

Yay! I'm so EXCITED to see what will happen with this new plan. I'm going to remember that I can't change everything all at once. I know I will feel overwhelmed at times, but I am going to remind myself that it's okay to feel like that; I am trying something new. Here goes nothing. And here's to jumping in head first with a new plan, an awesome neurologist, and some faith in finally figuring out how to make me feel better.

Love and happiness <3 Holly

To follow my board on Pinterest "Deep Breaths," click here

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Outlet #1: Putting My Thoughts on Paper

As long as I can remember I have been writing. Looking back at my teenage years and my writing, it was a lot about feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, boys, love, confusion about love and relationships, and dealing with my anxiety and obsessive thoughts. Teenage angst, what can you say?

I used to journal too when I was even in elementary school, but I don't have any of those writings anymore. I do, however, have most of the poems that I wrote since I was about 16 or so through college and beyond. Poems and short pieces of writing are the forms that my writing usually took and still does take. I did try a few times to write fictional pieces--longer fictional pieces, but I quickly felt overwhelmed thinking of undertaking such a task. 

I really wanted to write something like this, but I felt like everything about such a piece had to be perfect. I never did get around to finishing any stories that I started. I did have a few. I still remember the storylines, generally speaking. I still have notes I wrote about the characters, their relationships, the central issues in the stories. It's interesting to look back on, but I understand why I didn't finish them: the same reason I still have trouble taking on huge projects in my personal life. I feel quickly overwhelmed. That I will never do a "good enough" job, so there's no point in continuing. I'm not going to like the outcome. The "idea" of what the project is like finished is probably much better than the final product, so I am just not going to try. It's funny how my OCD brain can keep me from doing and enjoying things I love by convincing me that I will never do anything up to par.  

This past summer and the past few months, I have been squashing my OCD voice and finding the joy in writing again. I have written a few more poems. I have also started a few writing projects I guess you could call them--longer projects. Here's what I worked on when I got home from Zumba on Friday. 

Five Minute Friday: 

Writing Session #1

Okay, this is WAY late! But, oh well, I was so tired on Friday! I couldn't get this post up!

I decided to start doing a 5-Minute Friday write just to get the creative writing juices flowing. I haven't been writing as much as I used to. And one of my goals is to write more. So...I decided one fun way to get more writing in is to give myself a prompt, a picture, a word, something, and just write for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, I have to stop. After stopping, it's done. It's raw, it's there, it's not perfect, and it's just something I wrote completed.

This past Friday I decided to write about my OCD brain, but I have been collecting fun pictures on the Internet and from my house and ideas to write about in the future. I'll post them every Friday from now on :) You can write along with me too if you like! It will be fun!! 

I ended up writing a two voice poem between myself and my OCD brain. Here's what I came up with in my Five Minute Writing: Session #1...

Here it is written in my Notes on my phone. I never write there, but I didn't feel like handwriting it on Friday. I did change the first line yesterday. I realized I started out with "turn the light on" and then the next time that line of repetition came up, it was also "turn the light on." Easy fix--change the first line to "turn the light off." Here's how I wrote it on Friday...

And here's how the whole thing turned out:

Conversation with My OCD Brain

Just turn off the light.

I don't believe you.

Why not? You know it's true.

I think you're trying to pull the
wool over my eyes.

Just turn on the light.

Don't you trust me?

I'm not sure. Should I?

Of course! How could I fail you?

Just turn off the light.

But I just feel like something... what? Something has to be done?
Well, you're right! if you would just listen!
You wouldn't feel like anything is wrong.

Just turn on the light.

But I can't stop thinking about
what you said.

You won't unless you follow through.
That's the way it works. Trust me.

I just don't think that's what I need
to do. It doesn't seem in my best 

Just turn off the light.

But I am looking out for your best
interest! It will ease your mind. It's the
only way.

Just turn on the light.

But I just did!!!

You're not done yet! You know that!
Did you lose count? Three...
Right three...

Just turn off the light.
Just turn on the light.
Just turn off the light.
Just turn on the light.
Just turn off the light.

Six. It's done.

You're right. I feel better.

I told you I wouldn't let you down.

Wait, are you sure that was

Better safe than sorry. Trust me.
You'll feel better this time. Just one
more time. Start again...

Just turn on the light.

Happy Sunday.

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Dad #1: A Non-Regret, Just Not as Planned

I truly don't have any regrets in my life. I like to live my life and do the things that I love. It's not always easy with my OCD and my anxiety, but in my more recent years, it has become much easier than when I was younger. I do sometimes have trouble always saying the things I want or need to say, but I am so much better at this now. I now stand up for myself and what I believe in. I'm not afraid to share my opinions and really show people who I really am. However, I was scared to do this when I was younger for fear of judgment, sounding uneducated, being laughed at---you name it, my OCD brain fed these lies and more to me. 


I remember being a freshman in college and taking Introduction to Women's Studies. I was so excited to take this class. Women's journeys throughout history have always interested me--I love history and finding out how I got to where I am. I got this from my dad. My mom has faced some sexism in her life--she is a very strong woman, and she has raised me and my sisters that way too! (Go, Mom!!) She sparked my interest in the class as well. I always have been a feminist and wanted to do something with this interest, so I signed up for the class. 

Once it started, I automatically felt overwhelmed by everything about the class. Everyone was so opinionated and open about everything! I was one of the youngest people in the class too. I loved listening to them; and that was just it. That's all I wanted to do. I didn't have the confidence to tell people how I felt treated as a "woman/teenage girl" in the past--I was only 18! I didn't feel comfortable sharing my life experiences, my anxiety, my true self with any of these unknown faces. 

At midterm, my TA who taught the class asked me to grade myself and offer a suggestion for how I could improve my performance in the class, as she did all of her students. I told her that I didn't feel like I really contributed much to our conversations. She stopped what she was doing, looked at me, and asked, "Would participating more in class be a realistic goal for yourself? Honestly. Don't make yourself do something that you don't think you can do." 

I was shocked that these words came out of her mouth. I didn't know if I should be offended by her words or not. But now that I look back, I think her sentiment was genuine and caring. I think she new our heated debates and discussions and openness made me feel uncomfortable. I think she was looking out for me. We helped determine our grades in this class, and she didn't want me to cut myself short by telling myself that I could do something that I wasn't ready to do. Thank you, Beth, for knowing what to say. And understanding that all students do not need to be held to the same standard. I loved your class. 

The point was that Beth saw that I was doing what I could do at the time to the best of my ability. She didn't know that I had anxiety and OCD. She just knew there was a reason that I wasn't sharing in class. There was a reason that I never talked. There was a reason that I started at my desk and hoped she never called on me to comment. She never did. People always do what they can at the present time with the skills they possess. It's not always the best or what they should be doing, but it's all that they know how to do. This is how I coped. 

This is why I don't regret things in my life. How can you regret things when at the time you don't know how to do things better than you do in the moment? When you make a mistake, you learn from it, and you do better the next time. You change your actions the next time. If you want to do something, you jump in headfirst, no matter what your OCD brain tells you. No matter how much you want to rip your hair out or turn off your brain. 

Women's Studies P.S.--I did eventually get the courage to share a story about how my middle school gym teacher told me I played basketball and threw a football "good for a girl." I told him it was because my dad taught me and I am good. I don't think he liked that. The one thing I was good at was getting riled up when people made "girl comments," especially in the sense of girls not being "as good as." Rachael, my sister, can vouch for me, don't even get me started!

A Non-Regret: Just Not as Planned

The one thing in my life that I look back on and think could have gone differently under different circumstances (surrounding my anxiety) is the fact that I did not talk at my dad's funeral. I know I didn't have to. I know my dad doesn't care that I didn't. (Dad, don't be upset that I posted this!) Now that so many years have passed, I think about all the things I wanted to tell people about my dad, the things that I wanted to say but couldn't. I don't dwell on it. I don't beat myself up about it. I just know I didn't share them partly because of the overwhelming circumstances of the situation and mostly to do with my anxiety. 

Christmas years ago at my grandparents' house.

After talking about his funeral with my mom and sisters, both my sisters decided to talk. I thought about it and thought about it, but I just couldn't see myself doing it. I had so many things to say; I just couldn't see myself getting through it. I saw myself standing up and losing it--balling, screaming, shouting, throwing up, running out of the room. I looked like I was keeping it together the best I could on the outside, but on the inside, I was exhausted, devastated, torn down, beat up, drained, and void in many ways of any kind of emotion at points throughout that day--in a haze--just to get by. 

I couldn't manage it. I couldn't muster the strength over my anxiety, standing in front of people and sharing such emotion about my dad who I just watched become sicker and sicker over the past nine months. 

His socks kill me! I love it!

I have gotten up in front of people to talk numerous times. I have presented at professional conferences, I have danced on stages, and I have done many other things like this. I have some nervous ticks--my voice shakes, my hands shake, my lips get dry, I stutter, among other things that I can't control, but I managed through them and pushed myself to speak. This time, I couldn't do it. 

Today I know I did the best that I could in that moment with the strategies I had. My dad would never have expected me to do something that I was uncomfortable with. After all, he too had anxiety, especially socially, and would never have wanted me to put myself in an anxiety-causing situation. 

This is why this event in my life, even though it could have played out differently if my anxiety had been better, is a non-regret. I couldn't have done anything differently in that moment of my life. I don't regret my decision. I just know if my dad's funeral were today, I more than likely would have spoken in front of everyone about him. 

One of our last pictures together. Fall 2007.

But today, I feel up to this task. I can share about my dad because I do not have anxiety about sharing. What I say doesn't have to be "perfect." It is truthful. It is real. It is my dad.

So here and now, I offer you these words about my dad that I couldn't offer then:

My dad was a man, who loved me unconditionally.
My dad was a man, who took me to a midnight movie showing after I was stood up on a date.
My dad was a man, who cried at my college graduation.
My dad was a man, who believed in me, my choices, and my future.
My dad was a man, who taught me to drive with the patience of a saint.
My dad was a man, who stayed up until 3 a.m. reheating my hot water bottle, watching romantic comedies, and comforting me when I was sick.
My dad was a man, who made me pancakes on Saturdays.
My dad was a man, who called my cell phone to make prank calls.
My dad was a man, who never doubted my judgment.
My dad was a man, who dressed up like a skinny Santa for my Kindergarten class. I saw him, ran away, and cried. He must have been a good fake.
My dad was a man, who taught me the importance of where I come from.
My dad was a man, who valued family and loved his girls more than life.
My dad was a man, who loved my mom with all his heart and soul.
My dad was a man, whose laugh could fill a room.
My dad was a man with an infectious smile. 
My dad was a man, who forgot what cheese went in lasagna and threw in some cream cheese one night for dinner; don't ever do that!
My dad was a man, who wore hi-tops and knee socks.
My dad was a man, who video-taped every one of my dance competitions.
My dad was a man, who made me feel like I mattered.
My dad was a man, who did the dishes and then helped me with my homework until midnight.
My dad was a man, who talked to me like I was his equal, not his teenage daughter.
My dad was a man, who I admire, love, and feel with me every day.
My dad is a man, who I will carry with me the rest of my life.
He still can make me smile. 

Tattoos in remembrance of my dad: E = mc^2 \,\! ( he loved Albert Einstein) and "I am very proud of you! Love, Dad" in his handwriting, a note he wrote in one of my birthday cards.

Love and happiness <3 Holly