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New project!

I've been trying to get organized and get back into scrapbooking the last couple nights.  Tonight I finally decided to dive into a new project - a mini!  I really loved having a little coffee table album of my trip to China - I keep it on my desk at work and everyone loves to stop and flip through it.  So I thought I'd do something similar for Turkey.  I decided to use a 6x6 peek-a-boo chipboard album from Maya Road that I couldn't resist... it's been sitting around waiting for the perfect project.

The mess that is my desk while I'm getting started on this (please excuse my non color corrected photos... it's late and I'm lazy... lol):

It took me a bit of fiddling, but I finally decided how I wanted to approach the cover.  I painted it and then used the Papertrey Ink Guidelines stamp set and the Fresh Snow ink pad to create a pattern that reminded me of the Iznik tiles in the mosques.

And a close-up (I used a Versamark pad in Atlantic blue to get the tone on tone look in the alternating squares and the gold dots are Liquid Pearls):
I'm not sure if I'm going to add more to the cover or if it just needs the rings to look complete.  I've also toyed with the idea of doing a thin layer of Diamond Glaze.  We'll see.  Here's a peek at what I've done so far on the inside (which isn't much.  lol).

I'm adding some cardstock pages between the chipboard so that I can fit in a few more photos.  I'll add a little journaling too, but most of it will be in my regular scrapbook.

Anyway, that's it for now... I'll keep working on this and hopefully I can finish it before next week.

Getting back in the swing of things

After my lazy weekend, things are pretty much getting back to normal.  Work is gearing up to be really busy for a while and I'm back in my little attic tonight trying to get back in the scrapping groove. Tonight  I managed to do my first layout from Turkey but it's not really feeling quite right.  I like it, but I still feel like my mojo is taking a break.

This is from last Monday when we went over to the Asian side of Istanbul to take in some pretty sweet views.  I'm not sure what's up with the scan... the photos are all good in real life but they look really dark on my monitor.  Anyway, the view was awesome and it was pretty incredible to stand there and see two continents at once.

Two Continents
Now that I've scrapped a bit, hopefully I'll start feeling creative.  I hate it when I really want to scrap and I have time to work on layouts and nothing comes.  Frustrating!  But just go with the flow I guess, right?  If it's still not coming I'll just hang with the hockey games and vampire books until I start feeling inspired again :)  Too bad the 8th Sookie Stackhouse book isn't out in paperback until next month :-P

Turkish Adventure Part 3

The final recap post!  I meant to get to this sooner but I guess I was more tired than I realized so I've been lazy this weekend :) 

So... the last day.  We got up about 7 to get ready in time to go up and have another go at the yummy Turkish breakfast buffet before our tour picked us up at 8:30.  Our first stop was the Spice Market.  I think I liked this better than the Grand Bazaar (keeping in mind how little time we spent at the Grand Bazaar, however) because I loved having all of the spices and Turkish delight and the souvenir shops in one place.  We all bought Turkish delight to take home to our offices and I picked up lots of apple tea and a set of glasses as well as some fresh cumin and pepper corns and another selection of spices all in a nice little kit.  The smell in there was amazing!  I love how my kitchen smells now (I made my favorite chili recipe last night so I could use some cumin).  This is the little shop where I picked up my Turkish Delight:

And one of MANY spice displays... my nose was in heaven!

After our time was up in the Spice Market, we went back out to meet the bus and headed to the docks... we were taking a boat ride up and down the Bosphorus Strait between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.  It was a really lovely ride... about 90 minutes of relaxing and drinking apple tea while we saw fabulous views.  Here we're looking at the Asian side as we pass under the Bosphorus bridge.

And an old Roman fortress we passed on the European side:

After the boat tour, they took us to yet another special learning / shopping experience.  This time we learned a little about leather and then got to see a fashion show.  That was kind of cool and funny all at once!
They had given us little cards with scratch-off numbers so we could mark the jackets we liked before going to the showroom.  They had really lovely leather, but 500 euros for a leather jacket was pretty excessive so we didn't have much trouble walking away without a purchase.

From there, we went on to lunch at a little place across from Hagia Sophia.  We had that yummy lentil soup again along with salad, kebap and baklava.  I LOVE the baklava in Turkey... they make it with pistacios and instead of honey they use a sweet syrup that's delicious.

After lunch we went to the Chora Church - originally built in the 5th century and, of course, converted to a mosque when Contantinople was conquered.  Now it's a museum famous for its incredible frecoes and mosaics.  They were really gorgeous!  We all just stood in awe looking at them.

After our visit there, we drove across the Bosphorus Bridge to the Asian side where we had a fabulous view of both continents (Europe on the left, Asia on the right).

It was really incredible to think that we could change continents in a matter of minutes just by crossing a bridge... and taking the cruise was even cooler.  It's kind of mind-blowing to think of cruising between Europe and Aisa like that... looking at a different continent from each side of the boat. 

After that, we went back across the bridge and they dropped us back at our hotel in Sultanamet.  It wasn't quite evening yet so we took advantage of the opportunity to do some last shopping for souvenirs.  We walked up and down the street between our hotel and Hagia Sophia and had a blast... and bought a few things too ;)

After spending some time starting our packing, we headed out for our last dinner.  Nicole and I were determined to introduce Brian to the fabulous döner kebap sandwich (we had tried it for the first time in Germany a few years ago), so we headed down the street to a place we had seen earlier.  Through some limited English, Turkish and pointing, we managed to order.  One word.  Delicious.

After dinner we went back to packing until it was time for Nicole and I to head down to the spa... we had gotten Turkish baths included in our hotel package.  Brian chickened out, but we weren't missing it.  Nicole decided on a massage instead of a bath and while she was doing that, I sat in the sauna in preparation for my bath.  I had read up a lot on the Turkish baths (or hamam) so I would know what to expect, but I had done my reading on the tourist version, apparently.  lol.  My bath was much more... authentic.  I was suprised how comfortable I was, especially with a male attendant, but it was really delightful.  My bath lasted about an hour after the sauna and included the scrubbing, LOTS of massaging, and being bathed all throughout.  I was VERY clean and relaxed after that :)

Naturally I couldn't take photos of the bath, but I did manage to find a photo online of the bath in our hotel  This is the view in front of and to the right of the door into the room.  The bather lays on the platform in the middle... the only movement on my part was to just roll over or adjust limbs as requested.

Turkish Bath - Empire Palace

So after that, we finished packing and tried to rest for a bit before our airport transfer came at 4am.  Then we were off!  The trip home was long... I also got to fly every class on the airplane during a single trip!  From Istanbul to Munich I was in Economy, from Munich to DC I was in Economy Plus, from DC to LAX I was in business and from LAX to SLC I was in first.  I have to say, though, if Nicole hadn't upgraded me on those last two flights I would have been in bad shape by the time I got back.  As it was, I was so nice and comfy I was able to sleep.  Gotta love a flying recliner!

So that's the trip!  More photos here.  Now that I've rested up, I hope to get to scrapping some of these photos!

Turkish Adventure Part 2

This was probably one of the coolest days I've ever spent.  We got up early and were down in the lobby to meet the driver at 7am in order to go to the airport.  We met Serkan at the airport where we checked in, had a nice breakfast of Turkish pastries (mine was full of yummy goat cheese and parsley) and then caught our flight to Kayseri.  Once we landed, we got into the rental car that Serkan had arranged and headed off for a day in Cappadocia.  This was the part of the trip that Nicole was most looking forward to and I have to admit, I was really excited as well.

First, we stopped at a caravanseri (caravan stop) along the old Silk Road.  This was a kind of fortress / hostel where merchants traveling along the road could stop.  They could stay 3 days for free, but if they did any trading while they were there they paid a percentage of their profit.  It was really cool to walk around and see the summer and winter quarters inside.

Silk Road Hostel
This is also where we had our first experience with Turkish apple tea.  They take apples and dry them and then grind them to a powder.  Then, to make the tea, they just add hot water to the apples.  Sometimes there are some other spices, but it was soooo delicious.  I love it!

Apple Tea
I loved it so much, in fact, that the next day I bought about 6 boxes and a set of the glasses and saucers so I could drink it at home. :D

After leaving the caravanseri we drove through and stopped to see the famous Fairy Chimneys and it was cold, wet and windy when we stopped, but I was determined to get out, admire and photograph!  Here's just one of the views (it was pouring rain!):

Fairy Chimneys
While we were stopped there was a man dressed in a space suit standing under the roof of one of the souvenir shops.  It turns out it was a Swiss film crew making a film called Planet.  I'll have to watch for that one to be released :)

Then we drove through the Uchisar neighborhood (more photos later) on the way to the Kaymakli underground city (one of MANY in the region).  This particular city went 8 levels underground and was used for the people to hide when they were invaded.  We were only able to go down to the 4th level, but it was amazing.  I can't imagine what it would have been like to live down there.  The people were also much shorter back then as evidenced by the way we had to duck walk to get through the passageways.  Exhibit A:

Underground City
After that, we stopped at a little shop where we learned a bit about Turkish turquoise, but as beautiful as it all was, it was definitely out of our price range!  So we continued on and went back to the Uchisar neighborhood and Pigeon Valley where we had a delicious lunch made up of local food.

Yummy Food
Then we went out to take pictures of the valley.  They used to house pigeons in these caves and then collect their droppings to use as fertilizer.

Pigeon Valley
And here, a view of the old Roman fortress and surrounding cave dwellings.  As I said, people lived here until the 60s!  There are still some places where the people still live in caves (as long as it's safe and they aren't part of the World Heritage site).

Uchisar Cave Dwellings
From there we went to the area I was most excited to see; Göreme. This is where they had an ancient Greek Orthodox monastic community which was all carved out of the lava rock formations.  So cool!  Here's a view of some of the carved churches:

Carved Churches
And inside the churches were some really amazing frescoes.

Cave Frescoes
After finishing our visit of the churches, we went into the town and Serkan (who is native to Cappadocia and seemed to know everyone) took us to a carpet place where we learned more about how Turkish carpets are made.

Turkish Carpets
This is where Nicole, Brian and I bought our carpets.  They had much better prices than in Istanbul and some really beautiful pieces.  I absolutely LOVE the one I got!  Serkan told me after I bought it that it was a very nice selection... mine is mostly an orange color, wool on cotton done in the Kayseri style.  Gorgeous.

Then, we stopped in Avenos which is famous for their pottery.  The shop / workshop we stopped at was housed in another underground city which was really cool.  We got a quick talk about how the pottery was made and what they did to the clay to make the Iznik tiles (it's at least 60% quartz) and they showed us their showrooms.  They also gave us 50% off on anything we purchased, so naturally we couldn't turn down a deal like that!

Avenos Pottery
I got one of those dark blue painted pieces - it's a covered candy dish.  I also picked up one of those hanging balls painted like a nazar (well two, actually... he threw in one for free).

After that, we hopped back in the car and headed back to Kayseri to catch our flight back to Istanbul.  Talk about an amazing day!  We all loved every minute of it. 

Turkish Adventure Part 1

Last night I managed to get all my photos flipped and I uploaded a bunch of them... it's so fun to go back through them and see everything we did in just a couple of days! So with that, just a little warning... I'll try to be brief, but I think this will be a LONG post!

Our first day was really more of a half day.  We spent some time getting settled in the hotel and recovering from our flights and then went down to the lobby where the hotel staff told us a bit about the area (and, of course, tried to sell us on some tours).  Then our tour guide, Serkan, stopped by to meet us and offered to take us around the next afternoon after we finished the free half-day tour that came with our hotel package.  We went out on the street and wandered around a bit to get a feel for the area.  We were right down the street from Hagia Sophia in the Sultanamet district so we were close to all the cool sites.  After that, we headed back to the hotel for dinner in the restaurant... I had a mixed kebap plate with lamb shish, beef, and chicken.  I'm not normally a lamb person, but the lamb there was fantastic!  I think it's the spices.  After that, we hit the sack to be up and ready to play the next morning.

Saturday was our first full day.  We had a really nice breakfast at the hotel (they put on a sweet breakfast buffet, Turkish style) and then the tour company picked us up at 8:30.  First stop on the tour was the Hippodrome Square. As you can see, the weather was just lovely.  lol.

Hippodrome Square
We were very glad we had brought umbrellas, but wished that sitting by the open window at breakfast had told us how cold it was actually going to be so we could have brought warmer coats on the tour!

Cold and Rainy   Next stop was the Blue Mosque (Sultan Ahmet Camii).  We all took off our shoes and welcomed the warmth while walking around inside... even in our socks! 

Blue Mosque The inside was gorgeous... all of the Iznik tiles all over the walls and ceilings were incredible.  I just stood in awe trying to take it all in.

Inside Blue Mosque

We spent some time inside the mosque before moving on to our next stop, Hagia Sophia.

Hagia Sofiya The inside was being renovated, but there was still plenty to see.  They had some really gorgeous mosaics here that have been uncovered fairly recently from when it was a Christian church; they had been plastered over after Constantiople was conquered and Hagia Sophia became a mosque.

After this, we had our obligatory stop at a store where we could learn about a local craft and, coincidentally, have the opportunity to buy something.  On this tour we learned about Turkish carpets.  It was pretty interesting - they taught us about how they're made, the different types, and how Turkish carpets are different from Chinese or Moroccan, etc...  They also made one of the carpets fly just so we could say we hadn't left Turkey without seeing a flying carpet.  lol.  We weren't interested in looking at carpets there, however, so we went ahead and moved on to see the Grand Bazaar which was just around the corner.

Grand Bazaar
That place was incredible!  You could shop for an entire day and not see everything.  We spent some time wandering up and down the aisles and hallways, looking at all the different types of shops but none of us were in the mood for any serious bargaining so, shockingly, we all left without buying a single thing!  If I ever get a chance to go back to Istanbul, though, I definitely want to make sure I have plenty of time (and money!) to spend at the Grand Bazaar.

From there we found our way back to the hotel where we met up with Serkan.  He took us to a restaurant up the street where we had lunch.  Lentil soup (soooo good!), Nicole and Brian had different types of Turkish pizza, and I had Dürüm (döner kebab wrapped in flatbread) which was delicious!  For dessert, we had künefe which is a kind of cheese that's baked and covered with a sweet syrup and some grated pistacios.  To.Die.For.  So good!

After that, we walked up to the Topkapi Palace where we went through and saw the Spoonmakers Diamond (86 carats and incredible!), and Topkapi dagger, and lots of other treasures.  We went into libraries and lots of other rooms where we were able to admire more of the famous Iznik tiles.  According to Serkan the Harem was being renovated so we were only able to see a bit from the outside.

Topkapi Palace There was a great view from the palace - you could see the New City on the European side (across the estuary) as well as the Asian side of Istanbul across the Bosphorus Strait.  Serkan had us pose here so you can see the European side behind Nicole and Brian and the Asian side behind me:

Europe and AsiaAnd after that, we just managed to make it over to the Basilica Cistern or, as the Turks say, Yerebatan Serayi before it closed.  This is where a scene from From Russian with Love with Sean Connery was filmed and it was so cool!

Also, a view of one of the famous Medusa heads:

Me and Medusa

And after that, as I'm sure you can imagine, we were done!  We had thought about going over to Taksim square to look around that part of the New City and maybe do some shopping, but the weather was yucky and we were exhausted and we had to get up super early the next day for our flight to Cappadocia, so we just went back to the hotel, had a light dinner, and crashed!

So that's part 1... more to come!

I'm Baaaack!!!

I got home at about 2am after 5 airports, 4 flights and a lot of airplane food.  lol.  The trip was fabulous... I got the photos off my camera last night, but it was too late and I was too tired to flip the verticals the right way and upload them.  I should get to that tonight after I get home from work.  I can't wait to really look through and see how they all turned out and do some scrapbook layouts! 

We saw some pretty amazing stuff on this trip, the food was awesome (but the weather not so much), and the shopping was way too good for my wallet... lol.  I managed to keep myself in check, but I have to admit that, among other things, I came home with a small but gorgeous Turkish carpet (about 3x5 feet) that's currently gracing the landing at the top of my stairs.  :D

I'll try and start posting photos tonight.

One for the road

Well, so much for going to bed early tonight.  lol.  I was just going to finish my laundry and packing and go to bed when I got the itch to come up and work on a layout.  So, despite the fact that I'm definitely going to pay for this tomorrow (most likely during the 3 hour meeting with my boss and VP during which I'm pitching a project proposal... ugh!), I decided to head up to the attic and play for a bit.

This is a layout of Adorable-Nephew-Ben that I started well over a year ago but it just wasn't coming together so I set it aside and just now got back to it.  I ended up pretty much just pulling off the photos and starting from scratch.  I had no plan or idea of what I was going to do, so I just started playing... I cut out the title with my Silhouette and then played with my Simply Stationary and Heart Prints stamp sets from Papertrey Ink and suddenly it all pulled together.  I love it when that happens!

Instantly Smitten
And with that, I'm heading to bed and then tomorrow I'm going from work to the airport so I'll be back next week with photos from Turkey.  (I still can't believe I'm heading off to Turkey tomorrow!!! Surreal.)

Counting the hours...

48 hours from now I'll be on a red-eye out to spend some time with my family in VA and to meet Nicole and Brian to head off to Istanbul.  I'm so excited!  I've been running errands, picking out books for the plane, making checklists and I've already started packing (aka laying out the things I'm worried about forgetting... lol).  And, as always when preparing for a trip, I'm doing a little iPod updating.  This time I diversified a bit... lol.  I've downloaded Maroon 5 with Rihanna, Chris Brown, Jill Scott, Styles of Beyond, Fort Minor and the new album from RED.  That's a bit of a broad spectrum for me! 

Now, I just have to get through two more days of crazy-busy at work and also crossing my fingers that the weather isn't as bad as some are predicting.  Bleh.

In the meantime, I finished up another layout.  This was a redo of a layout that I originally did for a class sample.  One of the many reasons I quit teaching scrapbooking classes was that I never ended up using the layouts from my classes in my albums.  That's always seemed like a bit of a waste, you know?  Anyway, this is from June 2005 when Steph, Rae, Amber and I all met up in the District to take in a little art, some good food, and generally enjoy the fact that we lived in such an awesome area.

Snobby French Day
Surprisingly, this layout gave me a lot of trouble.  I kept wanting to add more to the right side, but everything I tried just looked terrible.  I finally decided that I should keep it simple and let the pamphlet from the museum be the main visual interest.  I guess it kind of works like a big embellishment... lol.  Can I just say that I love that I actually had paper the exact color of the shading on the woman's face?  I liked the turquoise leopard print for this (awesome American Crafts Teen line) because it felt kind of funky and modern which I thought really represented Toulouse-Lautrec.  I know, probably thinking too deep for a scrapbook layout, but I liked it :)

And now, back to my playlists!  Hopefully I'll have something else to share before I take off.  If not, I'll have plenty to share when I get back next week!


Erin took some super cute photos of Adorable-Niece-Eraleigh this week (she's now 7 months old!) How could I resist scrapping these pictures of her in her sweet little black and white dress?  From the smiles, I have a feeling she's going to be at least as much of a camera ham as Ben was... lol.

Eraleigh - 7 Months
I made a few more of those stitched felt flowers last night to use on this so the scan's a little off from the thickness, but you get the idea :)

I'm starting to count the days until we take off for Turkey... Nicole Skyped the hotel last night to confirm everything and set up our airport transfer and we got confirmation of our day-trip to Cappadocia, so at this point we're pretty much set.  All that's left now is just the wait!  I'm so excited I can hardly stand it!


I was just tagged by Shazza!  I've seen this tag floating around the internet for a while, but this is the first time I've gotten to do it... it's a fun one too!

Here are the rules:

1. Go to where you store your pictures on your computer.

2. Go to the SIXTH folder and pick the SIXTH picture.

3. Post that picture on your blog along with a short story about it.

4. You know the rest, tag SIX people and leave a comment on their blog or email them letting them know you chose them.

So here's mine:


This one is a serious flashback!  From Summer 2005, in Steph's backyard.  We were having a mid-singles BBQ and then a group of us headed off to RFK to watch the Nationals play.  Travis (who's with me in the picture) had dropped by to say goodbye to everyone.  He had just left his job and was heading off to Texas to teach Spanish while he worked on his PhD.  I was having a good day because that morning was the first (and last) time that I ran for an hour straight.  Of course, I promptly got hurt again and have never been able to run since, but at least I can say I did it!  That was a fun afternoon.  Steph - remind me why we all moved away and stopped doing stuff like this?  lol.

So I guess I'm supposed to tag some people... I'm never good at this, but since Steph, Rae and Boo were all there that afternoon, you're all it!

Thanks Shazza!

It's a pastry kind of day

I've been in the mood to make eclairs for the last few days... not eat them, just make them.  Is that just a little weird?  I think so.  In any case, it's been a while since I've taken treats to work and since I have a brainstorming meeting tomorrow with my team, I thought I'd bring us some thinking food :)  I packed up most of the rest of them as well... I usually make the rounds of the developers because it's amazing how much baked goods can get you.  lol.  Actually, I think it's just the gesture of appreciation, but either way.  Anyway, I realized it's probably been close to three years since I made these!  Time certainly does fly. 

Blog - Eclairs
The puff pastry, custard filling and chocolate frosting are all made from scratch.  Yum!

Once I got rid of the baking jitters I was able to settle down and do a little scrapping.  I have to admit, this is another redo.  Sometimes I like to work on those just because the pictures are already printed... lol.  I absolutely hate editing photos so it's nice to have the option when I want to scrap but I'm just not in the mood to deal with that part of it.  This layout is from a trip to Costa Rica a few years ago.  We were visiting the Tabacon Hot Springs and I swear, it was the most beautiful place I've ever seen... the pictures do it absolutely no justice!

I blurred out a few pictures of the parents in bathing suits just so I don't get yelled at... lol.  Anyway, this was a fun one... the earlier version of this layout really bugged me but now I'm totally satisfied.  I also love that I found those plastic butterfly clips in my stash.  Any time I can find and use something that's just perfect that I've had forever, it makes me totally happy :)

Some layouts just suck.

Well, some of mine anyway.  I don't *love* every single layout that I do (usually, though, I at least really like most of them) but every now and then I get one that I hate so much that I can't see past the crappy scrapbooking to the photos and story.  That's when I know it's time to redo.  In fact, I have a small pile of layouts that fall into this category (and they all lay face down.  lol.)  I admit it, I'm a bit of a perfectionist... I'm super picky, and I can get a little too serious about what's really just a hobby.  lol.  But since I just scrap for myself I guess that's okay, right?

Anyway, click here if you dare to see what the original looked like.  I had to keep that awesome Sassafrass Lass whale paper (and the cheesy title), so I kind of repurposed that by covering some chipboard squares with paper, inking the edges, and then hand cutting a few of the whales and sticking those on with pop dots.  The pictures are the exact same ones and I just re-typed the journaling in a smaller font, added a few strips of 7 Gypsies paper and took away a few of the embellishments.  I LOVE that it's all on a single page now and the dimension is cool too.

What a Fluke - Redo
Ah.  That sound you hear is the sigh of relief over a rescued layout.  Oh, BTW, this is from a family reunion in Port Townsend, WA... I think it was July 2002 (I need to look it up and date this) and a bunch of us had gone whale watching out on the Puget Sound.  I love whale watching... so much so that I'll take any opportunity to do it despite how sea sick I get.  lol. 

Just say no... surgery!  I just got back from the orthopedist and there's no surgery in my near future!  The MRI showed the severe arthritis and off-center patella that we already knew about which, inexplicably, doesn't bother me at all, and it showed some slight degeneration to the meniscus but no evidence of tearing anywhere.  Since I'm getting better on my own (I can now do stairs up and down AND kneel with no pain!) he said we don't need to worry about it.  He gave me a shot of cortisone so that I'll be good when I get to Turkey, but that's it!  Talk about RELIEF!!!

Back to your regularly scheduled Monday.

Happy SuperBowl Sunday!

Of course, I didn't even know who was playing until Friday when we were all talking about it at work... lol.  I'm not cheering for either team, just glad for the excuse to have yummy snacks and hoping for a good game and great commercials :)

In the meantime, I've been actually putting layouts into albums!  I KNOW.  Shock.  I still have a good foot tall stack of layouts that aren't in an album, but I've become such an album snob that I need to get some more 3-ring albums from American Crafts... the thought of dealing with post-bound  just annoys me so I'm waiting until I get some more of the ones I like :)  Lots of them are work in progress, so I have several topics in one album and as I fill them in I'll have to spread into other albums.  But at least I'm getting organized, right?  It's also much more fun and easier to look through my layouts.  For some reason I think they always look better in page protectors.  But I think that's just because I'm a little weird ;)

Last night I also did another quick one for my Paris 2006 album... this is kind of the title page for the layouts for our day trip to Belgium using a self-portrait that we took in front of the Hotel de Ville in the Grand Place.

Bienvenue a Bruxelles
That's it for today.  I have my appointment with the orthopedist in the morning before work so, although I'm going in expecting to need surgery, cross your fingers that the MRI results are good news!