The Northwest coast is a land of contrasts. At time it is wild and wave-battered, at other times quiet and restful. All along its length there is variety: long, sandy beaches, steep headlands, lush pasture, rocky covers, patches of deep forest. This is a place for photographers, hikers, picnickers, campers, and for those who want nothing more than a few relaxing moments in beautiful, unpeopled surroundings.Â ~Unknown
I apologize for the delay of this wonderful post, but I had extensive problems with my computer while attempting to upload all the photos.Â I hope you’re comfy ’cause this is ‘gonna be a long one!Â Be prepared to take your time so you’re not overwhelmed by all the gorgeous photos (if I do say so myself…and I do) and fascinating tales of our adventures in the Pacific Northwest.
You may be wondering about the title of this post…well, we’ll get to that.Â It’s my teaser to make sure you keep on reading.Â :)Â So we’re back from our two week travels and celebrations, and those two weeks were as I imagined they would be: joyful, relaxing, renewing and sentimental.Â I cannot have dreamed of a more perfect and meaningful way to celebrate one year of a healthy self.Â As you know, I’ve been looking forward to this trip since January when we returned from the Pete Gross house and my “semester abroad”.
We flew into Sea-Tac on a clear Monday morning, and Mount Rainier came out to greet us.Â It felt as though we never left.Â My mom and I navigated the airport like experts (minus the mess of Hertz…my mom’s new motto is “Hertz hurts”.Â Clever, huh?).Â At first, I was disappointed to head south on I-5, because I longed to see Seattle, but I knew Olympic National Park was waiting for us, and it would bring adventures we hadn’t yet experienced in the Pacific Northwest.Â As I drove, I soaked up the scenery:Â the towering evergreens, northwest architecture, Mount Rainier, a crowded interstate 5.Â “I’m here”, I thought to myself, “I’m actually here!!”
For Katie and me, it was the first time staying at a bed and breakfast.Â We drove through the bamboo gates at Domaine Madeleine (http://www.domainemadeleine.com/), down the gravel drive to the main house.Â There were flowers everywhere (as evidenced in all the photos below).Â We toured our rooms, unpacked and walked around the grounds.Â We walked to the edge of the backyard, and when I say “edge”, I mean “edge”!Â I’m not the best distance estimator, but there was probably a several hundred foot drop down to the Strait of Juan de Fuca.Â It was absolutely stunning, a setting raw and cultivated at the same time…from naturally carved cliffs to manicured gardens…perfect for photographs!
One of the reasons my parents chose Domaine Madeleine was the cuisine.Â Jeri, the owner, is famous for her Pacific Northwestern-influenced breakfasts, although she describes them more as brunches.Â Each morning, she served four courses of food!!!!Â She always gave us freshly-squeezed juices (from grape to plum), fancy cheeses, homemade croissants and mini-baguettes, fruit, typically some type of seafood (that’s where the northwestern influence comes in!), locally grown vegetables and a dessert such as crepes or bananas flambÃ©.Â Oh, and I can’t forget the delicious coffee, another northwestern specialty!Â We enjoyed the breakfasts so much that we opted for a later departure to Victoria, BC so as not to miss a morning at Madeleine’s!
One of the very special qualities of this B&B was Jeri’s ability to make each guest feel at home.Â The first few days, we partook of the exquisite breakfasts with two other couples.Â We fell into easy conversation, sharing stories about our families, lives and daily activities.Â One couple, from Minnesota, was visiting the area after dropping their daughter off at college.Â The husband, Marcus, was a physiologist from PA and had lots in common with my parents.Â We loved hearing their stories.Â Larry and Christine, the other couple, were from LA, and they found their way to the Olympic Peninsula after reading the book, “One Square Inch of Silence”.Â I looked forward to breakfast with the four of them, wondering where our morning talks would lead.Â Isn’t part of the fun of travel learning about others you meet along the way?Â It always opens up new worlds, and it makes travel feel more like travel than touring.Â I always loved the quote by G.K. Chesterton:Â â€œThe traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.â€
We divided our days into a series of destinations, and we modified as seen fit.Â The rental car allowed us freedom, and we put hundreds of miles on that silver Camry, traveling to Forks (the home of “Twilight”) on the way to the Hoh Rain Forest, visiting the Pacific at Rialto Beach, driving through the herds of elk and buffalo at the Olympic game farm, checking out the largest sandbar in the world (The Dungeness Spit).Â OurÂ sensible silver sedan never faltered when we climbed the steep mountains that led to Hurricane Ridge, nor did it sputter when we drove up to the northwesternmost point in the contiguous United States at Cape Flattery.Â It coasted down Highway 101, to Lake Crescent, onto the Makah and Quileute Indian reservations, throughout the city of Port Angeles, and then back to Seattle (not in that order).Â Hertz mistakingly gave us a navigation system, which guided us each step of the way.
The best way to learn more about our experience on the Olympic Peninsula is through my photo essay below.Â :)Â What was most striking about the park was the variety of activities available.Â You have mountains, lakes, the ocean, beaches crowded with driftwood and beautiful, wave-sculpted rocks.Â Evergreens abound, but the hints of fall showed in other trees, and flowers bloomed bright in gardens.Â There were wineries, pumpkin patches, lavender farms, nurseries, boat tours, a logging museum.Â Cape Flattery was one of the most striking places we visited, where waters from the Strait of Juan de Fuca dug caves into the sides of the rocks.Â We even saw a sea lion/seal frolic down below!Â The Dungeness Spit was unique not only in its sheer length, but in the fact that the beach was framed by mountains.Â The two together make for a breathtaking sight.Â Hurricane Ridge was gorgeous and refreshing, even at its high altitude.Â It also had the best gift shop.Â :)Â hahahaÂ I know, gifts shops are so….touristy!Â Hey, I’m a traveler who enjoys gift shops, what can I say?
We drove home each evening tired out, and often we were so full from breakfast, we only had snacks in the afternoon/evening.Â Cheese, crackers, olives, bread, wine…of course, there was the one day my mom stopped in the bakery on the Makah Indian Reservation.Â Katie, my dad and I decided we wanted to stroll around the Reservation museum, and my mom checked out the bakery while we did so.Â Little did we know, she was out there experiencing the native life while we merely read about it in the various exhibitions.Â Here’s what happened:Â my mom went to the bakery to get a snack for us, however the young woman behind the counter didn’t have anything prepared.Â She suggested breadsticks and homemade marinara sauce, something she could prepare in minutes in her superhot oven.Â My mom talked to her as she prepared the breadsticks, and was surprised when the woman mentioned how she was superhungry for elk spaghetti.Â “You mean, you put elk in the sauce?”, Carol asked innocently.Â “Yah…I have a hunting license, but I haven’t had the chance to get out there yet”, replied the 20-year old.Â “But so-and-so caught a bear a couple days ago”.Â She gestured to a client in the store, and suggested my mom go check out the claw he had with him.Â Well, my mom obliged and mozied over to see this claw…unfortunately, it seems she misheard the girl.Â The hunter removed an entire bear PAW from the bag in his hand…and I don’t mean the pastry kind of bear paw.Â There it was, fur and all, dangling in front of my mom who was completely disgusted.Â She expressed her distaste and the man laughed, insisting that the claws made wonderful jewelry, to which my mom replied “I bet it’s nice when it’s jewelry, but I don’t want to see a bear paw, thank you very much!!!”Â Man, I wish I were there to see her expression, and to chronicle it for you in the photos below.Â I’m sure you can imagine how surprised she was, expecting to see a little claw and instead finding herself gazing at a bloody, furry bear paw.Â That story provided us with many laughs on the trip.Â Before we left, Katie bought her a beautiful copper piece of art in the shape of a bear paw (at Pike Place)…the story lives on!!!Â By the way, the breadsticks and marinara were delicious!!!!Â I wonder if there was any elk in that marinara…..
When Saturday came, we said goodbye to Jeri and her wonderful bed and breakfast, and drove back to Sea-tac to pick up the gift of life.Â It felt so good to see the Seattle skyline still there, waiting for us.Â We exited at Mercer Street and as we pulled onto Fairview Avenue, I felt as though no time had passed since last seeing my Lake Union neighborhood in January.Â It was as we left it, peaceful and energetic at the same time.Â “There’s “Joey’s”!”Â “Hey, look, a seaplane!”Â “Ahhh…the Silver Cloud (hotel)…we missed you!”Â “There’s the SCCA!”Â “Look, sailboats…kayakers…houseboats!!!!”Â It was good to be back.Â After soaking it all in, I started worrying about the fact that we only had a week to spend there.Â Don’t worry, I didn’t dwell on it ’cause that would be pretty silly, but I think it goes to show just how much I enjoy the city (as if you didn’t already know that).
You know one of the best things about this particular trip?Â Well, for one, I was healthy.Â But most importantly, I reconnected with two friends from high school whom I hadn’t seen in about fifteen years.Â Elvira, who lives in Portland, took a train up Saturday night and stayed through Monday just to see me!Â I’m so honored, Elvira!!Â :)Â She, Katie, Laura and I spent the day together Sunday, visiting my ol’ stomping grounds:Â Minor Avenue, Carlo the dog at “Paddy Coyne’s”, “REI”, “Feathered Friends”, Pike Place and “La Spiga” for dinner.Â She accompanied me to the clinic Monday morning, lending support while they took 23 tubes of blood.Â Although the days passed quickly, it was so wonderful to spend time with her, and to learn about how she’s spent the last fifteen years.Â If you’ve ever met up with an old friend, then you know what I mean.
On Monday, my friend Holly met us at the Silver Cloud and accompanied us to REI where Laura and Katie were scheduled to climb the wall.Â I had to postpone my climb because I had my bone marrow aspirate and a skin biopsy (regular procedure to check for GVHD) done earlier in the day, and they discourage rigorous activity following bone marrows.Â We cheered them on from below, and Laura made it to the tip top of the wall (if you remember last year, she got to about 35 feet before looking down and deciding she was quite high enough).Â It was Katie’s first climb ever, and she did wonderfully!!Â She chose a different course than Laura, one that didn’t go to the tip top, but it was well over halfway there (I decided on this course too when I climbed a couple days later).Â Afterwards, it was off to another delicious dinner!!!Â By the way, I have absolutely no desire to weigh myself to see how much I gained on this trip, but I’m pretty positive it was over five pounds because we ate well!!!Â By the end of the trip, those jeans that were slightly tighter to begin with fought me just a little harder when I tried to make the button reach the button hole.Â Hey, that’s part of the joy of vacationing!Â After all, when else do you get to eat food like that?Â No more four course breakfasts for me…it’s back to blueberries and cereal!Â
Sorry…it seems I got a bit sidetracked.Â As I was saying, I got to hang out with Holly, who is also a cancer survivor.Â She ran a marathon earlier this year with Team in Training and I was very happy to be an honored teammate for her.Â It’s just so interesting to get to know someone again, and for that I thank facebook (and Lori and Katie for getting me to join!) for helping me get in touch with both Elvira and Holly.Â I guess it seems especially meaningful following a health crisis.Â I feel this amazing support from friends whom I hadn’t seen in a long while, and in that way it seemed as though no time had passed since we last met.Â Thank you both for taking the time to spend with me.
I received a very special present while out there.Â No, not my good results, although that is a true gift, but rather a book.Â We were waiting for our dinner at “Szmania’s”, and Katie pulled out what she said was a book they found for me at this famous Seattle bookstore (Elliott Bay Book Company, http://www.elliottbaybook.com/about/index.jsp).Â I unwrapped it, expecting to find a book on Seattle, but it was actually authored by yours truly!!Â On the top of the cover was the Seattle skyline as drawn in “Frasier”.Â At the bottom, Katie had used a photo of myself looking out the window at SCCA, and crafted it so it read “Julie”.Â The back of the book was black with a simple quote:Â “Fighting cancer with family, friends, humor, good medicine and a hula hoop”…sound familiar?Â It was “Julie’s Blog:Â The Seattle Months” (first page).Â I flipped through the pages to see my blog, every single entry I wrote while in Seattle, every single photo, every experience.Â I was extremely emotional, especially after noticing her intro page:Â “Hey baby, I hear the blues a-callin’, tossed salad and scambled eggs…” (you “Frasier” lovers should recognize that!!Â It’s from the show’s theme song, and that show was such a wonderful escape for all of us during our stay in Seattle.Â If you recall, we watched every single episode!!).
Katie, I can only imagine the hard work you put into arranging it for me.Â Just so the rest of you know, you can’t simply press “print” somewhere and have the blog come out in book form!Â No, no, no…Katie had to retrieve every photo, and copy and paste everything.Â To make things worse, my mom’s computer crashed earlier this year, erasing every image I had on it.Â Katie had to go into each post, pull up each individual photo and drag it into another folder before putting them into a post.Â I was laughing when she explained how each month I had about 300 photos, and then I started steroids…in December, when I was “cracked out on steroids” (as Katie puts it ), I uploaded 800 photos!!!!!Â hahahahaÂ I had no idea!Â Katie, I’ve spent several hours looking through it (I mean, it’s some good reading!), and I am so touched that you thought to do this for me.Â I will always cherish it.Â It’s the best gift I’ve ever received…oh yah, other than Laura’s cells.Â
The tears started coming down even more when I noticed the ending quote:Â “They’re callin’ again.Â Good night, Seattle, we love you.” (the end of the “Frasier” song and a fitting closure to my time out there).Â Following that quote, Katie included comments from many of you, notes about your favorite post or how my blog affected you.Â I was proud to read all those compliments, and to know that my blog actually uplifted many of you.Â I felt humbled when you thanked me for sharing my feelings.Â The thanks goes to you for reading and supporting (especially during my steroids stage when I was quite the chatterbox and picture-taker!!!)!Â Susan, all the guest bloggers were very happy to get a shout-out from you!Â They were all like, “That’s right!Â You can’t forget about our wonderful posts!”.Â Andrew, I love your signature:Â “Andrew Colletti, Transplant Class of 2002″…we were cracking up!!!
And to Laura (who had two full pages with photos of her at her sickest…throwing up and smiling a weak smile, both taken of her in a wheelchair), it was appropriate that you were separated from the rest by a page reading “Last, but certainly not least…”.Â You truly did give me the best present I could ever receive, and I found your words quite touching:Â “Julie, you’re only here today because of me…your ‘gift of life’.Â Love you, Laura”.Â hahahahahahaÂ I couldn’t have expressed it better myself!Â You really do look pitiful in those pics…I’m looking at them as I type.Â Next time I don’t feel like loaning you a sweater, I’m sure you’ll refer me to this book, to remind me what you went through to save me.Â Seriously though, you are right.Â I would most likely not be here if it weren’t for you, and I think about the transplant every day, in a good way.Â From here on out, you’re partially responsible for everything I do, good and bad!Â I can never repay you in sweaters.Â :)Â I guess you’ll just have to know in your heart that I will always be grateful, because there are no words.Â Love you.
I love you even though you doubted me when we decided to tour Efeste winery in Woodinville, WA.Â You all doubted me when we pulled up to an industrial park!Â I admit, I was pretty worried when we drove into the parking lot, thinking perhaps it was the navigation system that gave us improper directions.Â I had called ahead, not knowing the winery was actually closed, and spoken with Brennon (turns out he is the winemaker! Check him out:Â http://efeste.com/about.asp (click on “Brennon”)).Â He told us to come on by, and we could taste the wine and check out the winery.Â Later, he told Laura that he had been working on bills, and when I called, he thought to himself “Hmm…I could do bills, or I could drink wine and talk to people…I think I’ll choose the latter!”.Â We quickly learned why we couldn’t tour the vineyard…it was hundreds of miles away in the eastern part of Washington.
Brennon poured us tastings of several different Efeste wines, and we all chatted, learning about the wine, Brennon’s viticulture studies, the meaning behind the name (there are three owners, and one’s last name begins with “F” (hence “Ef”), another with “S” (thus “Es”), and the final with “T” (I think you can figure that one out).Â So, it’s pronounced F-S-T.)Â There, now you’re practically a wine connoisseur!Â :)Â We shared with him our reason for visiting Seattle and the Northwest, and we learned that one of the owners’ grandsons had acute leukemia.Â He was still undergoing treatment, but was doing well.Â Brennon created a wine in his honor!Â It will come out in 2011 (if I remember correctly), and is called “Tough Guy”.Â I love it!!Â Brennon led us through the winemaking areas, and mentioned they were harvesting some grapes that weekend, and would we like to help sort?Â Well, we’d never done that before, and our brains were slightly tinted with “Final Final”, “Jolie Bouche”, “Ceidleigh” (named after a waitress the owners once met in Australia) and “Big Papa” (so named for the big papa (or head of the family)).Â So, yes, our brains were tinted and we were so seduced by the thought of helping in the wine harvesting (or “crushing” in the wine biz), we quickly said we would help!Â Katie later changed her mind, deciding that standing for 6 or 7 hours sorting grapes was not her idea of fun on a vacation.Â
So she missed out on Friday, when Laura, Dad, Mom and I woke up early to drive out to Woodinville.Â Mom took the job of photographer and Dad, Laura and I set out to sort some grapes.Â Laura convinced us to purchase matching bandanas so we would look like Laverne and Shirley at the assembly line.Â Dad wouldn’t wear his, but you can see Laura and I donning ours in the photos below!Â Although all of us had sore backs by the end of the day, it was a fascinating process.Â The grapes were poured into this machine, and there were eight or so volunteers like ourselves waiting on the other side to grab any raisins that tried to get through.Â I felt a bit like Ethel and Lucy in the chocolate factory episode, because those grapes came pretty quickly, and there was no way we could catch all the raisins!Â After us, the grapes went into a de-stemming machine where there were other volunteers catching any stubborn stems.Â Following that, I’m not quite sure what happened, ’cause I was staring down at my grapes!Â One gentleman working with us told Laura that some people actually pay to be part of crush so they can see what it’s like!Â He also said that most wineries he’s volunteered at do not sort grapes by hand, but rather machine.Â And he should know because he and his wife volunteer so much, they get 12 free cases of wine a year (we each got two free bottles for our skilled sorting efforts)!Â I would definitely do it again, but I think rather than trying to be tough and working through, I would be wise to take some breaks so my ol’ back doesn’t complain.
I would have to say the high point of our week in Seattle came Thursday evening, when we went out to dinner with Jackie, my nurse.Â I made sure my eyebrows were plucked, my makeup and hair perfect, and I even brought out my new jacket (the one from Falmouth) for the first time.Â Â I was so proud of how healthy I looked, and I couldn’t wait to show her.Â I mean, last time she saw me I had a puffy face, swollen eyes and a unibrow!
She gave me the highest compliment possible when she told me I looked as though I never had a transplant!!Â At one point, she said I looked like the most ravishing transplant patient!Â Yup, that’s the look I was going for!!Â If they have a catalog of transplant patients, I’d love to model!Â :)Â Jackie was so important throughout the transplant process.Â My mom and I found her mere presence reassuring.Â She’s entering her 23rd year at the Hutch, and I can only imagine how many lives she’s touched in that time.Â Jackie, thank you for being so kind, thoughtful, funny, inspiring (after hearing about your experience volunteering at the Iditarod, I’m adding it to my list of things to do, places to see!), understanding and dedicated.Â You have a special place in the hearts of the Matthews clan.
I haven’t actually said much about my SCCA appointments, have I?Â Well, it seems that I am back to the old Julie!!Â My bone marrow aspirate and skin biopsies were both clear, the doctor took me off of Acyclovir (which pretty much leaves me with vitamins, allergy meds and Lexapro), I am cleared to work, go to a UVA football game, and really do almost anything I desire!Â I was surprised when Dr. Flowers advised against walking a marathon.Â She explained that many transplant patients encounter GVHD problems after marathons as a result of being so exposed to the sun.Â I assured her that I wear sunscreen every day, and I almost always use hats, but she was still hesitant.Â Ronnie suggested that maybe she doesn’t realize that I’m such a careful patient, and that I really do apply sunscreen.Â I’ll discuss this with Dr. Orloff to get his opinion as well, but if full marathons are out, I still have half marathons (Dr. Flowers OK’d these)!Â There will never be any more sunning-myself-on-the-beach days, but that’s OK…I don’t mind sitting under umbrellas.Â :)Â Â Although I got rid of the last truly transplant-related drug, they did find that I’m slightly hypothyroid, so I will take Sinthroid every day for life…no biggie though, ’cause I’m not symptomatic of hypothyroidism, and the pills do not have any side effects.
I went through a battery of tests:Â bone scan, skin biopsy, bone marrow aspirate, pulmonary function tests, blood draws, an eye exam, gynecological exam, dental exam,Â and a nasal wash.Â I did not receive any vaccines because they discovered I had the rhinovirus (common cold).Â I will, however, receive vaccines for the following in a few weeks:Â H1N1, flu, Hepatitis B, pneumococcal disease, polio, tetanus and diptheria, and Hib disease.Â They found that the Fosamax has lessened my osteopenia, and I will stay on that for another year, at which point they’ll do another bone scan and re-evaluate.Â They will also more closely monitor my thyroid now that I’m taking medication.Â Because of the medication, they will also check my liver function more often.Â My cholesterol is 182, triglycerides 148, HDL 58, LDL 94…how’s that, Dad?Â Do I get an A?Â
So really, things just couldn’t be any better!!Â Our last day in Seattle, I celebrated by climbing the REI wall.Â Next time, I’ll go for the higher climb, but I felt pretty darn good doing what I did, especially after almost seven hours of sorting grapes!Â Afterwards, we met Vera, her husband Dan, and their beautiful little girl, Stella, for dinner down near Pike Place Market.Â How wonderful it was to be able to hold Stella this time!Â Vera was a great comfort for my mom and me during the transplant, and we were delighted to be able to meet up.Â Vera, I hope sometime you guys come out here to the east coast so we can show you around Virginia!Â SCCA is really lucky to have you as a volunteer.Â Your upbeat, fun and thoughtful personality always brightened my days, and I know you must do the same with any family you meet.Â That also makes you the ideal nurse, so your patients are pretty darn lucky too.Â
Well, folks, I guess we’re arriving at the end of this post (the written portion anyway!).Â Remember those 23 tubes?Â Well, as you read previously, the SCCA lab drew 23 tubes of blood to do various tests and studies.Â When I said it out loud, it sounded like the perfect title:Â “23 Tubes”.Â It sounded symbolic of something…but what?Â Just for kicks, I typed in “23 tubes” into google, and I happened upon a blog where someone poured 23 tubes of toothpaste into one bowl and proceeded to brush his teeth…hmmm…that doesn’t really have any special meaning…it’s just weird and funny.Â I think in my case it makes more sense to list 23 things I’m thankful for, so here goes:
I’m thankful for…
1)my family (this, of course, includes Jameson, Guinness and Bella!)
7)beautiful fall days
11)baseball (especially the Yankees)
15)Honey Crisp apples
16)a good-quality camera
17)my favorite perfumes
19)my new black jacket
21)23 tubes of healthy blood!!
Go ahead…make a list!Â It’s quite fun.Â And remember:Â “There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.” - Ralph H. Blum
Again, I want to thank all of you for reading.Â Your comments always make me smile.Â Being healthy is only enjoyable when you have others to celebrate with, and I look forward to celebrations for many years to come.Â I hope the length of this post didn’t overwhelm you, but I had quite a lot to cover!
Love you lots,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJmr5CKY73M&feature=related…I like to think I’m as tough as Rocky.Â Stay tuned for a blog photo of me on the stairs of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, hoodie and all.Â :)Â Â Anyone wanna take a road trip to Philly?Â
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uY3LAFJbKyY&feature=related…This will forever be Mariano Rivera’s song, but as you know I used him for my visualization, and of course I imagined him pitching to the tune of Metallica.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0nBFWzpWXuM&feature=related…I adopted this as my theme song.Â It’s all about the beauty of life, and the importance of celebrating it, even the pain and worry.Â Sing it, Celia!!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmLzr1YSI9Y&feature=related…Remember when my mom wrote new words to this?Â How did it go…something like “Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make these stem cells grow…”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mcdbGxYX9es…This one is slower, but I liken “The Long Day is Over” to a healthy me sitting by the fire after all the treatment is over.Â
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ab1l2TwFp8…Because there’s something victorious and joyful about steel drums.Â Picture me dancing around with my healthy Laura cells.
And here’s one more song…it has nothing to do with my kicking leukemia’s butt, but I recently discovered it, and I love it!!Â Well, technically, that’s not true.Â I’m very familiar with a Spanish version sung by Enrique Iglesias, but this is by Joshua Radin…enjoy!Â http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjd6yIn2zmk
Finally, check out the video below…it’s not at all related to the rest of my post, but it’s funny and heartwarming, and I wanted to pass it on:Â http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QByHat2BJLs.