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It's Seven Quick Takes Friday!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Once again linking up with Jen at Conversion Diary for Super Fun Friday!

1. I don't have cable in my bedroom (I believe that's called a "first world problem"), so I keep my DVD player in there and often watch DVDs. I feel like the DVD player and I have a good relationship but I'm starting to think it thinks I need to be smarter and/or more educated:





Yes, that is closed captioning IN SPANISH. Did I turn it on myself? I did not. In fact, I turned it off on the previous episode, and then when this episode came on IT TURNED ON AGAIN. I honestly have no idea why my DVD player wishes to communicate with me in Spanish, but I think this takes more investigation.

And, yes, that's Bewitched. And before you ask, I have seasons one, two, three, six, seven and eight. I think. I know I'm missing some. Who doesn't love Bewitched?

2. My sister Erin, frequent star of this blog, is of the belief, and is trying to convert others as well, that this is the "greatest video of our generation." You're welcome. I guess.

3. Do you have something in your life that you just love so much, you can't even explain it? I do. For me, that thing is Wikipedia. I could spend all day, every day reading about I'm not even sure what on Wikipedia. My favorite thing to read on Wikipedia -- deep  breath Anna, it's time to get this out in the open -- are plots of horror films. You see, I am a majah fraidy cat, and I won't see scary movies. But when I see the previews I am so interested in them that I just HAVE to know what happens. (What do you mean The Hills Have Eyes?! What is happening in that Cabin in the Woods?!?) So, in order to satisfy my curiosity, I read the plots on Wikipedia. I was certain this was something everyone did... until my sister Erin informed me that, in fact, this was something NO ONE did. Huh.

4. Speaking of things I love, how preshtastic is this picture of Baby Snicks?



Yes, that is the bunny himself asleep on his side, with his presh little head smooshed into his plastic bowl. Isn't your heart so warm now?

5. I listen to KLOVE pretty much all day long (if you don't you should try it) and this week is their fall pledge drive. They always have a charity that they support within their pledge drives, and this season is an organization called Operation Warm. In a nutshell, they make sure kids have warm coats to wear in the winter. Look at this beautiful quote from a boy who received a coat:

For goodness sakes, donate $10 and buy a kid a coat! 

6. I am in Magazine Writing class this semester for my Journalism Master's program. Our assignment right now is to write a profile story, and I chose to interview and profile filmmaker Deborah Novak, who was so kind to invite me to her house to interview her a few days ago. Her latest documentary is on New York City Ballet dancer Steven Caras, so I looked him up on Facebook and on a whim, messaged him to see if he'd comment for my story. Not only did he comment, he replied within a couple hours AND wrote at least a paragraph. It was awesome. What a nice man. And an awesome experience for a ballet nerd like me.

7.  I am starting a new job on Monday... more to come later, but please pray for me.

Oh Boy

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I'm not very outspokenly political -- I prefer to keep my thoughts to myself and instead encourage people to do things like donate to the food bank and buy needy kids winter coats -- but this photo really struck me this morning:


I saw it on yahoo.com. The smiles say "Pleased to see  ya, opponent," but the eyes, oh the eyes. If eyes could kill, we'd have had two dead dudes in the OK Corral last night.

Seven Quick Takes Friday (at Camp Patton!)

Friday, September 14, 2012

1. And the lamest blogger of the year award goes to... myself. I know, please, don't everyone be jealous all at once. For some reason it takes an OMG IT'S QUICK TAKES FRIDAY jolt to get me to post. And I don't know why... I love blogging and writing. Perhaps this (incredibly prestigious and not at all made up) award will be what I need to get it going!

2. I had the stinkin' coolest experience this morning. You may remember the surgery I had that I posted about back in July. Well a couple weeks ago the post got a comment from someone whose parents saw my commercial. This girl has hyperhidrosis just like me and had been suffering for many years. I offered her my email address and we've been corresponding ever since. This morning was her surgery! A couple of days ago I thought it might be nice for me to stop in and see her before her surgery. (I live only a couple blocks from the hospital.) But then I thought, is that weird? I mean... I'm an introvert, I'm not usually trying to make awkward conversation with people I don't know. But then my mom wisely told me to go with my gut, and honestly, I would have found it comforting to talk with someone who had personally had the surgery. So I emailed her and asked if I could stop by or if that'd be weird. She said she'd love to meet me. So I got to Cabell this morning and had a really awkward conversation with the  nice lady at the desk. It went something like this:

Lady: Can I help you?
Me: Yes, I'm looking for _____________."
Lady: I think she's here, let me look. (Looks at paper.) She's here, but she can't have visitors yet. 
Me: That's okay, do you know if her parents are here?
Lady: I don't know, but you can look. 
Me: I don't know what her parents look like.
Lady: (Gives look.)
Me: Um, well, see, I don't actually know _________. Dr. Kiev did my surgery too and _________ emailed me and we've been chatting so I thought I'd come see her. 
Lady: (Still looking.)
Me: Oh, I mean, she knows I'm coming!
Lady: Let's look over in the waiting area for her mom. 

Luckily, said lady was SUPER nice. Cause honestly she could have said "Are you family? I can't tell you if ________ is here. Security?" 

3. Anyway back to why it was a cool experince. (Or "stinkin' cool" I believe was the expression.) I got to meet her, talk with her and her mom and generally feel awesome that I'd met someone just like myself. I brought her some hand lotion, like my mom got me after my surgery, and she started crying, so her mom did and me too. I'm just DYING to know how her procedure went and how she's feeling. I can't wait to hear from her!

4. In other news, I had to find this old thing I'd written that I knew was somewhere online. The only thing I knew to do to find it was Google myself (you've done it too, don't lie) and this is what came up:
Dude, I'm not going to lie, it is AWESOME that I'm the only Anna Lafferre in the U.S. and Canada. Sure, Lafferre has been a pain to pronounce and spell all these years, but how many people can say they are the ONLY person with that name in the U.S.? Not many I bet! And I mean I know we're all special,  blah, blah, but AWESOME. :)

5.  I held a kitten at work today. EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Once again, if you knew me 3 years ago, you'd be like WTF? Where did Anna go? Until I got Baby Snicks I was not known for my love of animals. I still don't like cats much, but WHO can turn down the opportunity to hold a kitten that weighs less than a pound? I about died. Although I bet Snicks knows I held another furry little one. Yikes.

6. My sister Erin has kindly been working on the dance studio website. She's doing it for free, and I saw the basic format the other day and it is so lovely! She is coming over tonight so we can go over some content-related things but it should be up and running by Monday!

7. This afternoon I've been reflecting on the fact that I have a lot of really good friends. People that I probably don't thank enough or tell enough how much I appreciate their friendship. I am a really blessed person. As the Ellis Paul song goes, "Thank the Lord for the friends he cast in the play he wrote for you." 

Go see amazing Grace for better takes this week! 

7QT Friday!

Friday, September 7, 2012

1. Another week spent worrying about Snicks' poo. Lordy day. I got up Monday morning (thank God it was a holiday from work) and found that he had had a bout of... shall we say... diarrhea at some point early that morning. I spent about three hours cleaning it off the floor, the walls (seriously?) and off Snicks himself. Rabbits do not get baths, nor do they like the water, so hovering over the kitchen sink while clutching a squirmy Snicks and trying to wash his tail end was a really enjoyable way to pass 30 minutes. After researching online and learning that Snicks was to die any minute because he could not survive a bout of diarrhea, I realized he had what is loving and correctly called "poopy butt syndrome" (no lie) possibly because I am an overly indulgent mama who provides Baby Snicks with ample time with his best friend, oats. Needless to say Snicks has spent the remainder of the week hating his life while I've provided him with only greens, hay and some pellet foods. Unfortunately for oats, Snicks has found a new best friend. His name is shoebox and Snicks had enjoyed snacking on him this week. They've grown so close.

2. Also speaking of Snicks, sometimes I look down and I honestly realize that I have a rabbit running around my house. A rabbit. Just roaming. Odd.



3. Has anyone ever realized that "turn it off, then turn it back on" is like the catch-all quick fix for pretty much everything in the world? Internet not working? Turn your computer off then turn it back on. Cable guide frozen? Turn off the cable  box then turn it back on! Too bad we can't use that for things like people and days. :) 

4. For those that know me, you know I have literally been counting the days until the Season 2 premiere of "Once Upon a Time." (23 more days!!!) I am so excited. Every Sunday night I tune in for the weekly dose of fabulous magic to get me through the next week. #MagicisComing is trending on Twitter and I LOVE IT!

5. I love teaching my students in ballet. They are wonderful. This year, I'm teaching Creative Movement to the 3-, 4- and 5-year olds; teaching a class called Dance Fundamentals to kids who are around 7-, 8- and 9-years old and then teaching our oldest students who are all in middle or high school. It makes me so happy to have our dance floor full of kids standing at the barre. Fabulous! And my little ones exhaust me and crack me up. The hardest part is listening to the sound of my own voice non-stop from 5-8:30 p.m. every Thursday. I know it's hard to believe, but I actually do get tired of hearing myself. 

6. This weekend I am headed to Louisville, KY for the wedding of a friend of mine. I'm very excited for her! I'm also really excited to be travelling there and staying in a hotel with my BFF Melissa. What a fun weekend away!

7. I am contemplating a somewhat big life change and would appreciate any and all prayers for discernment. Thank you. 

Adventure Runs in My Veins

Monday, September 3, 2012

I grew up with two younger brothers and two younger sisters. I also taught ballet to little children (still do) and did a lot of baby-sitting. Far past the age where most of my peers had "grown up," I still had Santa Claus at Christmas, I watched a lot of Nick Jr., I built tents out of couch cushions and sheets, I dressed up barbies and read stories about princesses.

It stands to reason that I very well may never grow up. Sure, I have a job, I live in my own apartment and I pay utility bills. But Anna who believes in magic is really the truth. In my heart, I really believe that true love is real, that baby Snicks understands what I'm saying, that real life can be like a fairy tale. I never want to be too "old" to chase an ice cream truck or catch a firefly. I like to dance around my apartment and think really I'm Snow White. I think my life holds more promise than it shows right now and that there is so much more to my life than there seems to be.

A dear friend of mine sent me the link to this blog post this afternoon. It perfectly states exactly how I see the world. In summary (my favorite parts):

"Children revere story, because they live inside it. They live inside it because they understand that we are all more than we seem to be. I am a creator born of the Creator. Adventure runs in my veins. There is winter, and there is cold, and there is dirty laundry, and there are sticky dishes. It is mine to delight in making them all over again, to make a tent of the sheets, and a carpet from the moss – spaces for the sacred ones to gather. There is a promise in that."

Anna who believes in magic, indeed. 

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Friday, August 31, 2012


1. Nothing in this world is more irritating than smearing some peanut butter on a mousetrap, setting it out in the evening and getting up the next morning to find THE PEANUT BUTTER GONE BUT NO DEAD MOUSE. I think I spoke too soon, nothing in this world is more irritating than the aforementioned happening MULTIPLE TIMES IN A ROW. I live in a garage apartment and I get mice from time-to-time. I only ever see/catch them when it gets cold out but since I was at the store the other day I decided to get my fall supply of mousetraps, and, oh what the hey, set them. I don't know what is more annoying, the fact that there is a mouse loose somewhere in my apartment or the fact it is outsmarting me!

2. Tomorrow marks the biggest college football game of the season... if you live in West Virginia. Actually if you live in southern West Virginia; our northern counties could not care less. Tomorrow is the infamous Coal Bowl, or when West Virginia University takes on in-state rival Marshall University. There are a lot of stats I could mention and facts I could give, but in short, WVU is a legitimate ball team and Marshall really isn't. They used to be, but not lately. They have never beaten West Virginia. The trouble with me is -- I'm a WVU fan living in Marshall territory. My mom grew up in Morgantown (where WVU is located) and my dad went to school there. I come from a long line of die-hard, bleed blue and gold Mountaineer fans. Alas, I grew up in Huntington because my dad got a job here. (Love Huntington!) I don't now nor have I ever owned a Marshall shirt. I have about 17 WVU ones though. Give or take. Let's Gooooooooooooooooooooooo Mountaineers!

3. As I've mentioned many a time on this blog, I live in an alley in a garage apartment. A lot of people who live on the legitimate street park their cars back there, and apparently one was broken into the other day. Forgive me Lord, but when I heard about it I thought "Thank God it was them and not me." I know that's terrible but I just don't think I could take it. It makes me so nervous because besides locking your car and house doors, what more can you really do?

4. I have to say, I'm a little bit down today. I got paid today at work, and already I am down to only $100 to get through the next two weeks before the next pay day. Luckily I've purchased a tank of gas, but I've bought no food yet this month. Guess Snicks and I will go another two weeks just eating what we have! I know we'll be fine. I think I'm so stressed because I got my bills for my surgery -- one from the doctor, one from the hospital and one from the anesthesia -- and I don't qualify for any type of charity assistance because my insurance covered part of it and it's considered "elective" surgery. (Don't get me started.) It looks like I'll be paying these bills for at least the next seven years. I guess I just feel like a failure in so many ways. I'm 28-years-old but I don't make enough money and I have too much debt to even be able to grocery shop every month. I haven't always been the smartest with money, but nor do I think I'm the worst in the world. Average I suppose. Poor little Snicks didn't end up with the best provider did he? I know this sounds like I'm ungrateful for what I do have, and I know I'm much better off than most, guess I just needed to talk about it.

5. We got started back to dance this week and I'm so glad. It's been a wonderful week there after a really hard year or two. I'm so glad to see my new students and my "old" students. That place is a TON of work, but it's worth every second when I see my students and know how happy they are. One mom told me that, on the morning of what was our first day back to The Nutcracker rehearsals, her 13-year-old woke up and said, "Daddy, I get to go home today." And she meant back to the studio. My heart is full.

6. You may have noticed that I added a quote to the top of my blog. I LOVE IT! As you know, magic is my thing ever since one of my dancers wrote it about me a few months back. When I read this quote, I just knew it would be my favorite quote ever and I had to look at it every day. (I know the design of it is super crappy but I'm really not very good and have little knowledge of web design so I work with what I got!) It just does something to my heart when I read it. It makes me have hope I think. Or the feeling that maybe I'm special. Silly I guess.

7. I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day weekend. 

Seven Quick Takes Fridayyyyyy

Friday, August 24, 2012

Do you ever read people's Facebook statuses and wonder what compels people to publicize some of this stuff? A couple of years ago, at the end of the year, Facebook had this application where it would turn a random assortment of a year's worth of your Facebook statuses into a collage. It's pretty awesome to look back and see what you posted for a year. So I thought... let's look back at what I've posted this week! Perhaps it'll be a great insight into me and hopefully not too embarrassing! Rules are I can't skip a post... it has to be the last seven I posted, honor system.

1.  Attention haters (you know who you are): I have just returned from the vet with Snicks where I was informed that he weighs 4 lbs. and, as I've been saying, IS AT A HEALTHY WEIGHT!

2. Just heard this on the radio: "Any fool can know how many seeds are in an apple, but only God knows how many apples are in one seed." Really reminded me in a big way -- you never know how many "apples" you're gonna grow with the seeds you plant.

3. Words which do not give the light of Christ increase the darkness.

4. I just love old movies! Every time I watch one it just makes me believe in love and happy endings! And really, that's what movies should do. I love leaving the movies thinking Gene Kelly may be just around the corner...
 
5. So excited to be seeing the 60th anniversary presentation of Singin' in the Rain at Cinemark tonight with Erin. Woot woot!

6. What an AWESOME day outside! :)

7. 

 
  Go see Jen

BFFs

Monday, August 20, 2012


A fun shot of Baby Snicks and his best friend, oats. They're rarely separated.

As an aside, I was so jealous that all these people could put together multiple pics into one pic on Instagram. I looked all over for where on the app you could do this to no avail. Turns out you need another app (I chose PicStitch) in order to do this. Duh.

7 Quick Takes Friday!

Friday, August 17, 2012

1. Look at this precious photo of Baby Snicks sleeping on his side:


Are you dying a little bit yet? As an absolutely necessary piece of information -- bunnies sleeping on their sides means they are totally relaxed and do not fear that they may be eaten at a moment's notice. I will say, my goodness this picture makes Snicks look a little... rotund. I promise he's not fat! I think I just shoot all his pictures way close-up which makes him look like a bit of a chunk. In reality he's about 4 lbs. He's just fluffy! At any rate, he's going for his yearly bunny physical next week (trying to prolong his life as long as possible ya know) so we'll know for sure his exact weight. 

2. THE TOILET HAS LEFT THE STREET! Woot woot. That's what I'm talking about. Where it went or when or why, I don't know. But it's gone. 

3. So I get a daily delivery of our local newspaper. Because I live in an alley, the paperboy just tosses the paper toward my front door. This morning I went out to  leave for work and get my paper, and it wasn't there. However, I did see the remains of the rubber band and plastic bag it was in. Which means someone stole my paper. Which really teed me off a bit because I really enjoy reading the paper. On my way to work I thought okay, Mother Teresa (yep, I totally brought in the big guns) would be totally fine with someone stealing her paper. Maybe that person needed it. And then I got to work and found out that a college friend of mine delivered her twin girls yesterday at only 23 weeks and weighing only about a pound each, and it really humbled me. A stolen newspaper does in no way exist on the same plane of problems as  17 week premature baby girls. 

4. In case you are at all compelled, some of our sorority sisters set up a donation site for Dana, her fiance Drew, and their baby girls, very aptly and wonderfully named Hope and Faith. You can find it here.

5. Ever since the centipede intruder of 2012, I have been on red alert for  bugs in my house. I read somewhere that you are never more than 10 feet away (or was it 6 feet away?) from a spider. Not cool. (I'm sure Jen and company are cracking up over my little centipede, but this is West Virginia, not Texas, and I DON'T DO CENTIPEDE!)

6. My dear friend Jaye has recently fallen in love with a wonderful man and I LOVE IT. They met only recently, but when you know, you know! I love following their little love story and can't wait till they get married. I LOVE LOVE!

7. My cousin Katie who is 6-years-old sends me mail from time to time: little letters or pictures she's colored of bunnies. So last night I sat down and colored a picture of a dinosaur for her "from" Baby Snicks. I'm mailing it today. I love it!

Go see Jen for more exciting takes!

Home Invasion

Thursday, August 16, 2012



Sooo I go into my room last night to go to bed, and what do I see on my curtain but a big, scary bug with like 1638 legs. (And if you know me, you know I do NOT do leg.) I am a really bad blogger because my initial thought wasn't to grab my camera and snap a picture of the offensive bug, but after looking at Google images this morning, I found one almost the same:

Fantastic. 

Now, this is one of the biggest plights of the single gal. Killing these offensive -- let's just be honest they're not bugs, they're animals. So of course I'm hollering for Snicks to come help a person out, but, believe it or not, he never comes. 

I finally Cirque de Soleil myself to get a shoe while holding the curtain, and when I turn around I've lost the bug. So of course I'm holding a heel in one hand whilst moving the curtain around with the other, searching. After about three minutes, I see the breaker-and-enterer scurrying across the carpet towards the closet. I know for sure that if he is allowed to find sanctuary in the closet, it will be lifelong because there are 46 pairs of shoes in there. And it's dark. I unleash the almighty wrath of God upon this (alleged, he hasn't been convicted yet) intruder by heaving the shoe upon him several (hundred) times. I really don't advocate killing, but my thought is it has invaded my home uninvited, and I sure as shoot am not going to pick him up and take him back outside.

The minute I go to get some TP to pick up the remains, guess who comes sauntering out from under the bed like "Oh? You were calling me? Did you need something?" Bunnies.

Another One 'Bout Erin

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

There are certain days that I talk to Erin that I feel really bad for hoarding all her funny to myself. And by certain days, I mean every day that I talk to Erin. I know that other people also find her hilarious, but really how many people is she reaching with her comedy in one day in Huntington? 35? It can't possibly be that many. I have been telling her for awhile it's time for a blog because this blog is pretty much turning into a shrine to the funny things Erin says. Take this recent conversation: (Erin's in white, I'm in green, as if you couldn't tell that by reading the conversation and realizing what's funny and what's not.)




 

Jobs

I finally realized why the bloggers whose blogs I read and enjoy most often are the funniest people I know. It's because they are all stay-at-home or work-from-home moms, so they can openly and honestly talk about their jobs without fear of being fired. There is so much I'd like to share about my job -- the good, the bad, the funny and the downright astonishing -- and I'd love to have feedback. But, alas. I need my job to keep supporting the lifestyle to which I've become accustomed. (Read: I like to have an apartment and eat food.) So I shall not be talking about my job, even though I think it would up the funny level of this blog from level yellow to level red or whatever.

Toilet Watch: Day Three

Thursday, August 9, 2012

It's still there:


Outstanding.

And the Emmy Goes To...

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Here's my (local TV news) commercial concerning my surgery. Because if you can't post your own commercial on your own blog, who's going to? Gah.


Toilet Watch: Day One

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What do you see when you walk outside your house? A nice front lawn maybe? Perhaps a lovely garden with some flowers or vegetables growing? Or how about a neighbor's house, them picking up their morning paper giving you a friendly "How do?" 

Now imagine you're me.


Yeah. That's a toilet seat. I mean, how is this even possible? WHO leaves a toilet seat outside their house? 

In the effort of full-disclosure, I will say that I do live in an alley. I live AROUND nice neighborhoods but not exactly in one. Technically I live in a garage apartment (MUCH like Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, minus the nice cars, Humphrey Bogart and William Holden, plus one rabbit) that is surrounded by a couple other alley apartments as well as garages belonging to the front houses. Yes, there are weeds growing in front of my house, which I have sprayed, pulled and which keep coming back, but I am somehow able to contain my trash to my trash can. The point is, I try to take some pride in my living space. Clearly these people do not. That, or they live in the front house and use the alley only for trash purposes, which I think is totally uncool. 

The kicker is, we all know the trash men are not picking up and disposing of this toilet in their regular rounds, which happened to be this morning. So -- how long will the toilet sit there? 

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Friday, August 3, 2012

1. My great friend Jenna who is pretty much tied with my sister Erin for funniest person I know (awards ceremony will be taking place sometime this fall) gave me the best belated birthday gift yesterday:

It's an actual old-fashioned pocket watch necklace! How awesome. Best part, as I'm sure you can see, is the little rabbit charm attached. I'm wearing this today and I love it.

2. Speaking of rabbits, I'm not sure I've mentioned this  before but I love baby Snicks. In fact, I think it goes a little beyond love and into obsession. I am obsessed with Snicks. I worry about him constantly and if he's got enough love, food, water, attention, exercise, etc. I've been house sitting for a friend this week which means I haven't been home to spend time with Snicks as much as I'd like. I literally cried about it the other night. I'm just lying there watching Lochte vs. Phelps with the soundtrack to their swimming sounding a bit like: SNICKS WILL THINK I'VE MOVED OUT AND HE'LL FORGET I'M HIS MAMA AND HE WON'T LOVE ME ANYMORE AND HE'LL JUST DIE OF UNHAPPINESS. I just tried to eat my salad for lunch and I just COULD NOT BE-LIEVE that I could selfishly eat my salad whilst Snicks was home alone for going on hour #16 and WHAT IF HE IS STARVING TO DEATH?! (Never mind I visited with him yesterday around 6 p.m. and provided him more food than he'll ever need in a day.) I just can't stand it sometimes. I wish I could put him in a little pouch and bring him everywhere I go. (Which he'd hate.) I am such a mega-weirdo and I can hear myself saying these things, thinking ANNA STOP but I just can't help it. Look at that face:


3. I have to mention that I LOVE seeing Mary Lou Retton all over the Olympic games. Mary Lou is just a regular gal from West Virginia just like myself! Except she has an Olympic gold medal. And I don't. She's just a regular gal from West Virginia with an Olympic Gold medal -- and I'm from West Virginia too! :) 

4. You know what are not cool? Mosquitoes. They bite you and then you itch and stuff. What's the deal with that?

5. As I complain about that, I am bringing up a mental picture of something I saw on Kate's blog The Rhodes Log yesterday. Seriously I saw this photo, and stared it at for no less than five minutes while my brain tried to process what I was seeing. No joke. I clicked away, and then I went right back and stared for another few minutes. If you are brave, and have about an hour to spare for your brain to comprehend what you are seeing, then click here. And remember -- what you're seeing was IN SOMEONE'S HOUSE. 

6. I've been thinking a lot lately about what this blog is "about." (Those of you who read are probably like "Why is she wondering about that? The answer is NOTHING.") I mean I don't really have insights to share on marriage or raising children, I'm not funny and witty like Jenna and I'm not on some cool life adventure to chronicle. However, I will say that Jen directed my attention to a new column on the National Catholic Register the other day that made me do a lot of thinking, and I am organizing my thoughts for a possible future post. 

7. What's the haps this weekend for everyone? I am finishing my house sitting, cleaning my apartment which is in desperate need of a good dusting, vacuuming, laundry doing and rabbit-cuddling and finalizing some things at my dance studio. Have a great one! :) 


Go see Jen for cooler stuff.

Fauxlympics

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Anyone else out there thoroughly enjoying the Olympics? Because I totally am. Every two years I become overly obsessed with the games and become an expert on things I know nothing about. (If ONLY Michael Phelps had taken one more stroke in the 200 meter butterfly he would have won gold and not silver! Why didn't he listen to me?) 

Not only that, but every two years I get irrationally angry at my parents for not cultivating some sort of talent in me. I honestly believe I could have been a figure skater, an ice dancer, a gymnast, a marathon runner, a hurdler or a swimmer if my parents could have just pushed me a little harder. But I guess they just couldn't be bothered. What a feeling to be the greatest in the world at something. I can't even imagine what that would be like. 


I guess I should also point out that my Olympic games watching has been accompanied by my Taco Bell burrito-, ice cream- and Tositos with a hint of lime- eating. So perhaps my parents should have cultivated weight lifting or sumo wrestling or something instead.

7QT Friday

Friday, July 27, 2012



1. After a couple weeks off from being able to do Seven Quick Takes Friday, I'm finally back! I love these Friday "get togethers" because I feel really connected to bloggers from all around the country!

2. Not sure if you all have heard about this little issue with a little-known restaurant called Chick-Fil-A. Something to do with gay marriage rights and delicious chicken sandwiches. At any rate, I have nothing to say on this subject other than it's CHICK-fil-a. Not CHIC-fil-a. I cannot tell you the number of times I've read it in print spelled incorrectly lately and it's making me nuts! CHICK!

3. My best friend Melissa's little brother Tyler released an album today! An album! You can buy it on Amazon and iTunes. He is so talented! The album is called "Spirituals," and I am so exited to get a copy. I was even invited to the official launch party/concert this Sunday night and it's going to be so much fun!

4. So lots of interesting things have happened ever since my surgery. Namely, I think because I was the first person in this area to receive the surgery, the hospital asked me to film a PSA for the local news. The hospital does this from time to time, they're called "Cabell Huntington Hospital News Break" and they air randomly on WSAZ, our local news station. They interviewed me and my doctor, and even more excitingly, they came to my dance studio to film me teaching some of the little ones in class. I am really hoping this PSA will reach someone who is suffering from hyperhidrosis as I was, and through this, might find some relief. God willing.

5. I was going in to my house the other day when I realized that my recently-wed neighbors had a RIDICULOUS amount of trash outside their house waiting for the garbage man. I looked at my own (single, with the lid on, containing one garbage bag) trash can and it occurred to me how much less trash I use as a single person than my recently-married friends. In conclusion -- GO GREEN. Don't get married! :) 

6. This is going to go down in history as the creepiest quick take ever written, but I am obsessed with Grace Patton and her life. If you are not reading her blog, Camp Patton, then I seriously don't know how you are living a good life.  Her photos are ridiculously good and her writing style just cracks me up. The way she describes her kids and their antics... sheesh... it makes me laugh and I feel like I know them. 

7. I HAVE TO HAVE THIS:
JAVOedge Sparkle Bow Charm for Headphone Jack (Purple) (Quantity x 1)

 It is an iPhone hair bow. (Duh.) It's just beyond the cutest thing I've ever seen. I'm dying. A glittery hair bow for your iPhone. Must. Not. Click. On. Buy.


See Jen for greater takes!

Wow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

This is a picture of my mom:


I post that to provide you with the correct mental picture of the person with whom I just had the following email exchange --

Me: (Sent an email concerning my fall tuition payment, when it's due and to whom to send the check)*

Mom: I will get 'er done.

Me: Sometimes I don't know where you come from. 

Mom: WHAT!!!???? My Mom and Dad!

In case you couldn't tell from the above photo, my mom is a 50-something short lady with glasses who works as a receptionist at a Catholic church. She is also not known for her hilarious jokes (ask my sister about that) so I'm not sure what happened today. Or why she felt the need to "get 'er done." Frankly my mom makes me smile. Although I will be checking her Lean Cuisine meals for recalls due to accidental additions of crack. 

 *Lest you think I am some mooch living off my parents, yes, they help me with my graduate school tuition but it's a loan and I'm paying it back!

   

I Love Lops

My birthday was this past Thursday (the 19th) and I honestly have to say it might have been the best birthday ever! The sunshine hanging over the whole day was that it was the 2-week anniversary of my successful surgery, but the day in and of itself was great. I got a dozen donuts from  my coworker (Jolly Pirate, yummmm!), my boss took me out to lunch, I got to teach ballet to my favorite little ones and then my family and I had dinner at the Olive Garden. After opening up some really nice gifts from my family (crock pot, an "I Love Lops" tee shirt and DVDs of Dick Van Dyke, The Cosby Show and Hey Dude, do these people know me or what?) I attended the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises with my brothers, sister Erin and my brother's girlfriend. In the event you have not seen that movie, I insist you do so immediately. I'm an admitted Batman fan from way back, but this movie was simply outstanding. My jaw was on the floor by the end. Amazing. 

The next day I flew to DC for the Saturday wedding of my old friend Catherine, which was lovely. I got to stay with my good friend Colleen and also hang out with my other good friend Katie, neither of whom I've seen in about two years. Do you want to see some pictures? Yeah, me too. HAHA. I don't know what it is about me, but I am awful at taking pictures, remembering to take pictures, etc. In fact the only photo I took all weekend was this:



 Impressive, no? I actually took this to illustrate to Colleen the depths to which one must go in order to fly to West Virginia. I was thrilled to find a relatively inexpensive flight direct from Charleston, WV to Reagan and back. I don't know if you've ever been to Reagan National Airport in DC, but it's decently nice. I guess. I don't know. I'm not a connoisseur of airports, although I can tell you I hate Charles duGalle in Paris and JFK in NYC, but whatevs. At any rate, I discovered my gate was 36A. Cool. I head to gate 36 and don't see my flight on any of the monitors. To make a long story short, I found out that if you're flying to West Virginia, you don't get to wait upstairs with all the other passengers flying to more exotic destinations like Greenville, SC. If you're flying to the Best Virginia, you must escalate downstairs to the world's tiniest waiting area where  you can't hear any announcements being made. Not only are you left downstairs, but you don't even get to board an airplane. First you must board a bus (you can see it through the windows there) which drives you to the middle of the airplane parking lot (I kid you not) where you finally get to walk across the lot, up some steps and board your plane. Good God. What did West Virginia ever do to you?

Anyways, that pretty much sums up my weekend in a nutshell. I'll be leaving you with a picture of Snicks sorting coupons because who doesn't want to see a rabbit sorting coupons?

What is Up

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

I bought this water bottle the other day on a suggestion from my sister Erin, who said it's awesome because there's a little thing in it that acts as a filter so it's like having a mini-Brita. Word.


What she didn't tell me is that it is also apparently like having a mini-garden hose. I swear that thing is shut, but it leaked a whole pool into my console there. I could keep a small fish in there. Paging Honda. What I really don't understand is that I purchased it at Goodwill, which is clearly known for it's high-quality merchandise.

Also, is it weird for someone to have a favorite episode of I Love Lucy, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Monkees? Like a legit favorite episode you could recall the contents of on command? What if that person is, say, 27? Okay fine, it's me.  (Not The Twilight Zone? you ask. Yeah, only because there are too many episodes I love to pick a favorite. Same with Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Bewitched and Taxi.) Secondly, is it weird for someone to go around thinking about what their favorite episode of The Dick Van Dyke show is? These are the questions that keep me awake at night. My mind is such that I like to mentally organize my favorite episodes of old TV shows. My mind likes to organize everything into neat lists. Sometimes I'm on my way to the office supplies closet and I just get lost in thought about things like did I like Mary Tyler Moore's hair better on Dick Van Dyke or her own show. I'm stopping now. Right now.

Antics

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

I've recently confirmed that Snickers "wide load" Lafferre spends the majority of his life under the dresser eating gift bags.


Although I should be grateful that photographing His Highness allowed me to discover a wayward DVD. It's probably a classic I've really been missing like "Sleepover" or "Nancy Drew."

Ask and It Shall Be Given To You

Monday, July 9, 2012

I haven't written a new blog post in over a week and I didn't even participate in last Friday's Seven Quick Takes -- eek! I promise I have a good reason and I will talk about it now.

I wasn't sure I wanted to talk really publicly about this, which is why this is the first time I'm mentioning it, either on my blog or on Facebook in a specific way. I wasn't sure if I wanted to talk about it because it is kind of personal and also because if it didn't work, then I knew I'd be very depressed and upset and I didn't want lots of people asking me how it went if the results were bad. However, things have gone better than I ever could have hoped, so I decided to write this in the event it helps someone else...

For at least the past 20 years I have suffered from something called hyperhidrosis. In VERY simple terms, it means that I am an excessive sweater, however it really is so much more than that. My hyperhidrosis afflicts my hands, feet and my underarms. For my entire lifetime, hyperhidrosis has affected every aspect of my life every single day of my life. Not one hour has gone by that I was not acutely aware of my excessive sweating. The first time I remember being acutely aware of my excessive sweating was in 5th grade when I was 10 years old. I went to a Catholic school, and I remember one week I was entering the pew for mass with my class, desperately wishing I didn't have to sit with my classmates so that I didn't have to shake any of their hands during the sign of peace.

Sweating? You may ask. Well that's not such a big deal, right? Wrong. So, so, so, so wrong. Like many things, until you've experienced hyperhidrosis you don't know how horrible it makes your life. Imagine never wanting to go to a school dance because you didn't want to have to touch your date's hand for pictures or to dance. Imagine not being able to wear certain color shirts -- like light blue or grey -- because your massive sweat stains would show. Imagine writing on lined paper at school and the blue ink from the lines staining your hand. Imagine struggling to sew a pointe shoe because your hands couldn't grasp a needle, almost breaking your ankle because your sweaty foot slid out of your sandal or leaving a sweaty hand print on desks, tables, glass and floors. I know the countless times my hands have been so sweaty I lost the grasp of my steering wheel. I know how I've not been able to lift a kettlebell over my head for fear my sweaty grasp would drop it on my head. I know how many times I have been dehydrated and my hands have swollen because of excessive sweat. I know how many kids in baby ballet have said "Miss Anna your hands are wet!" and how many hot days I haven't been able to wear flip flops because my feet would slip out of them. Imagine your hands, feet and underarms being wet ALL THE TIME. I lived every day of my life in fear that someone would touch my hand. I work in development and public relations and the thought of having to shake someone's hand was TERRIFYING. Thank goodness I don't go on a lot of dates because the thought of my date wanting to hold my hand made me certain it was better just not to go. Not only was the thought of someone else grasping my hand or accidentally touching my foot horrifying, but the feeling of it on myself was awful as well. My sweat was always cold -- my hands, feet and underarms always felt cold and wet -- so moving my arms felt so disgusting. My underarms were always wet and cold. I could be sitting in a 65 degree room literally shivering with cold -- yet my hands and underarms would still be pouring sweat. Perhaps most sadly for my future, as much as I've always wanted a husband and a family, I thought that I honestly never wanted a wedding because I couldn't imagine spending a whole day in that sweaty dress, slipping out of my shoes with my hands pouring sweat and my fingers swelling. That is so sad.

I, and people like me I'm sure, came up with lots of tricks to try to disguise my hyperhidrosis. If I was at a cocktail party, I'd always be sure to hold my drink in my right hand so that when I went to shake someone's hand I could play off the sweat as condensation from the drink. I never wore light colored shirts so my armpit sweat wouldn't show. I wore socks as often as possible because the cotton helped wick the sweat. My family, God bless them, who knew my problem always  made sure to help in any way they could so I wouldn't have to touch a stranger's hand. These are just a few of the tricks I tried to disguise my sweating. The reality was, though, no matter what I did my hand, feet and underarms just kept sweating a cold, clammy, dripping sweat. I never felt comfortable in my own skin.  

One of the hardest things about hyperhidrosis is that it is not a well-known problem. The U.S. National Library of Medicine estimates that only 2-3% of the population suffers from the disorder. Hyperhydrosis can be secondary (caused by another disease such as cancer or hypothyroidism) or, as in my case, primary. The Library of Medicine also says, "In the majority of primary hyperhidrosis cases, no cause can be found. It seems to run in families." Clearly there is not a lot known about the cause of hyperhidrosis, and in my case, no one else in my family is afflicted. One of the hardest parts about it is the toll it takes on a person emotionally. There were times that I'd open up to someone I thought was a good friend about my problem, and often I was met with reactions such as "I sweat a lot too!" or "You might sweat in your hands a lot, but I sweat just as much in my back." To that I say: HAORFGAHOSJFHASOKJDFHASDOFHSOA;FHAWOIUGHWOIUAHGOAIUHGASOIUGHA. NO YOU DO NOT! Telling someone with severe hyperhidrosis that you "sweat too" is like telling someone with lung cancer that you cough a lot too. Normal people sweat when it gets warm, they get nervous, they exercise, etc. And, yes, I agree that some people sweat more than others. But sweating a lot and hyperhidrosis are not the same thing at all.

My mom and I first reported my problem to my pediatrician when I was younger; this is when I first learned of the word "hyperhidrosis" and that it was an actual problem that affected (albeit few) people other than me. For YEARS I tried all sorts of remedies -- I took oral medications whose side effects listed drying of the hands; I used washes and creams, even having my mom wrap my hands in saran wrap before I went to sleep at night to help the medicine work; I tried special deodorants. I did all of this with absolutely no help whatsoever. The most drastic thing I tried was in fall of 2010 when a local dermatologist administered Botox shots to my hands, feet and underarms in an attempt to paralyze my sweat glands. This is supposed to work for over 80 percent of people who suffer from hyperhidrosis. I don't know how else to describe the procedure other than to say it was barbaric. The dermatologist administered literally hundreds of shots in my hands, feet and underarms. Besides being incredibly painful and expensive, the treatment did not work whatsoever. It did not decrease my sweating even somewhat. Even if it had, Botox is not a "cure" and I would have had to go back every few months and re-endure the treatment to stay dry. After the Botox failed, I was at a really low point, thinking I would be suffering forever.

I talked to God for years asking him why I had to endure this. That it seemed like such a little thing in the grand scheme of His creation and why couldn't He take it away. I still don't know why I needed to suffer from this for so long, but I am here to tell you, after over 20 years of praying, God heard me.

For about 10 years I have known that there was a surgery out there that supposedly could cure hyperhidrosis. I did a lot of independent research about it on the internet. However, the surgery was not well-known nor was it performed by a great many people. There was a doctor in California who could do it and one in Florida I think. There was certainly no one who could do it that lived in my area, and there weren't even any doctors here who knew about the surgery who could even refer me to anyone. So after the Botox failed, I pretty much resigned myself to the embarrassment, discomfort and general pain hyperhydrosis would cause me for the rest of my life. I "offered it up" as my fellow Catholics would say, but I'm sure I was never too graceful about it. 

Until...

I was flipping pages in my local newspaper, the Herald-Dispatch, and came upon an advertisement from Cabell Huntington Hospital featuring a Dr. Jonathan Kiev. The large headline -- HYPERHIDROSIS -- definitely caught my attention. In the ad, Dr. Kiev described hyperhidrosis and a surgical procedure, an endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy, that could cure it. Could it be? Was this the surgery I had always hoped for being done by a surgeon in my area?!? I picked up my phone that day and made an appointment with Dr. Kiev, and it would turn out to be the best phone call I'd ever make.

On June 14 I went to see Dr. Kiev for a consultation. I described to him my hyperhidrosis, how long I had suffered, how it impacted my life and all the treatments I had tried. When I finished, Dr. Kiev described the surgery to me: he would make a small incision in my side, and go in and sever the sympathetic nerve and then do the same thing on my other side. He said that my hyperhidrosis is caused by an extremely over-active sympathetic nerve. In my case, my nerve is firing all the time, and this surgery would sever the nerve and break the chain telling my body to sweat. It would cure my hands, and significantly help my underarms and feet. Most importantly, Dr. Kiev told me that this surgery worked instantaneously; I would wake up with dry hands! Let me say that again -- I WOULD WAKE UP WITH DRY HANDS. Dr. Kiev told me that I was a perfect candidate and that I would be the first person in the area to receive this surgery. He moved to Huntington about 5-6 months ago and trained at the Mayo Clinic, where this surgery was pioneered. I scheduled a surgery date and went through my pre-operative screening. During the scheduling and screening, Dr. Kiev asked if I'd explain to the nurses what hyperhidrosis was, how it had affected my life and everything about my personal experience because no one had ever heard of it, let alone knew there was a surgery Dr. Kiev could do to cure it.


This is me pre-surgery. Erin described me as "peppy" but I think that is a kind way of saying "scared to death."
This past Thursday, July 5, I received my endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy. Without going into great detail about the procedure, I will say that the whole experience was relatively easy. My super sister Erin accompanied me to the procedure (lest you think my mom is not a caring person, she was actually across town at another hospital accompanying my dad to a surgery he was having, long story), and I cannot say enough good things about the staff I encountered at Cabell Huntington Hospital. Not only were they kind, they all seemed genuinely excited for me. Dr. Kiev came by and asked if I was ready, I said yes, and a short time later I was wheeled into the operating room. The next thing I remember, I was waking up in the recovery room, feeling my own hands and I said, "Did it work?" This super kind post-op nurse looked at me and smiled and said "It worked!" My doctor came by and informed me that they had put temperature clamps on my hands during surgery, and the minute my nerves were clipped they watched the temperature of my hands climb! I couldn't stop feeling my own hands -- they were dry and so, so warm. My sister came back to see me and she held my hand. I've never been happy to hold anyone's hand in my entire life, but I really didn't want Erin to let go that day.

This is me post-surgery. As I said, "This is a very happy Anna!" As Erin said, "...or just blind" as I didn't have my glasses on at the time and was just coming out of anesthesia. Touche.
I spent a few days resting and recovering. Although I always felt pretty good, my chest and back did have some pain due to the fact my lungs had to be deflated so Dr. Kiev could reach my nerves, and I think anesthesia can really make you feel run down. My sister brought me to my parents' house to recover, and each of my siblings took turns holding my hands. My sister Emma, who was born when I was 10 years old, said "Anna, I really expected your hand to feel like it's always felt my whole life, but your hand is so warm." Each of my brothers and sisters kept exclaiming how amazing it was to feel my hands be so warm and dry. When my mom got home she grabbed my hands and touched my feet and kept saying how she had never felt my hands or feet not be cold and wet. When my dad finally got home from the hospital (with his leg broken in two places and in a cast) the first thing he did was reach for my hand.

That first day, every hour was a miracle. I literally would think "my hands haven't sweat for one hour!" Then it became 12 hours, then 24, then 48. Fast forward to five days later and my hands, feet and underarms still have not sweat. NOT SWEAT ONCE. Never has one day of my life gone by where I haven't sweat profusely. My mom bought me my first bottle of hand cream. I'll be 28 on the 19th and I have never had or used hand cream once in my entire life. I love hand cream! In addition, I went to mass with my parents on Sunday and during the sign of peace, each shook my hand. Usually they hug me at that time because, well, they're my family, but each of them knew what a big deal it would be for me to voluntarily reach  my hand out and grasp theirs. 


This is something I've never had before. It's called HAND CREAM. Have you guys tried this? :)
I honestly can't express in words how grateful, ecstatic and relieved I am. My whole life has changed, and I am so grateful to Dr. Kiev. I am so grateful to my family, who spent years protecting me and supporting me and who have genuinely and whole-heartedly shared in my joy and excitement post-surgery. 

I don't know if anyone who will ever read this suffers from severe hyperhidrosis, but if you do, I just want to say that I UNDERSTAND. I'm not advocating everyone run out there for surgery, but if you have tried the creams, washes, deodorants, Botox and exhausted every option, I sincerely recommend you investigate the thoracic sympathectomy. Today. Right now. It will change your life. It has certainly changed mine. I honestly cannot say how much my life has improved in the past five days. It is a true miracle.

And speaking of miracles, if anyone reading this has prayed and prayed to God for something but you feel like He doesn't hear you, HE DOES. It took twenty years of praying, and I might never know why He waited that long to say yes, but He did. 


"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the Lord.

Seven Quick Takes Friday

Friday, June 29, 2012



1. Do you ever have a day when it seems like no matter how hard you try you just can't seem to get one darn thing done? Yesterday was kind of like that. I was at work all day, I taught the little kids at ballet -- why was I not accomplishing anything? Then I realized... I had had the following conversation with my sister Erin. (I'm in green, she's in white. Backstory: she had driven us to WalMart the previous day where I purchased litter for my rabbit, as well as two boxes of candy.) 






No wonder I got nothing accomplished yesterday. This consumed a lot of my day.

2. This picture makes me so happy, and I mean that with absolutely no sarcasm:


I LOVE TO CLEAN. I am aware that I am one of those incredibly odd people (probably not just because of my love of cleaning either.) My mom will talk about how she wishes she had a maid, and I'm like "WHY?!?" Why would you give that opportunity to someone else? I love cleaning... I love how I feel when I'm doing it and I love how I feel when I'm done. The Flylady thing my mom got into for a while? Once again, why? Who wants to clean for 15 minutes and TAKE A BREAK when you could just power through and keep on cleaning?

3. Lest you think I am a major wackadoodle (not far from the truth, I'm sure) I absolutely cannot stand to do laundry. I have determined this is because there is no instant gratifcation with it. First you have to sort it, then do one load in the washer, then move that load to the dryer or the drying rack, then put in another load, then when the first load is dry you have to fold it or put it on hangers and THEN you have to put it away. Who made up this barbaric and inane system? It takes like three days to do one load! GAH!

4. I am so excited because my best friend/co-dance teacher Melissa and I are hosting a sleepover for our middle and high school students at the dance studio tonight. We thought it would be a nice way for them to hang out and socialize and a fun thing to do in the summer. I don't know what we're getting ourselves into with 15 or so teens and pre-teens, but all our girls are great, so I know we'll have fun!

5. In preparation for the sleepover I made a playlist so we could have a dance party. I put out an all-call to the girls on Facebook asking them to name some of their favorite songs so I could include them. I got answers like:

Call me maybe, what makes you beautiful, boyfriend, brokenhearted, one thing, put your hearts up, single ladies, moves like jagger, lights, Price Tag, Wild Ones, Somebody That I Used To Know, Sexy And I know it, starships, stronger.. Ummm and I think that's it! Lol 

Um, what? What the crap are half these songs? I must be older than I think. I spent the evening texting Melissa like "What is 'Lights'? Have you ever heard of this?" She hadn't. I spent a lot of time Googling and hoping for the best. 

6. For Melissa and me, I included such gems as Paula Abdul's "Forever Your Girl" and Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself" as I feel it is our duty to educate the girls in classic tunes!

7. On a serious note, I have a few close family members with some health problems and would really appreciate any and all prayers for their healing. Thank you so much!

Go see Jen for more awesome takes!

How Far is that From Richmond?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Notice anything wrong with this picture:


I sincerely hope so, but if you're not from West Virginia, then you probably don't. Let's look closer:






What the crap is this?  Where is the top portion of West Virginia? This alleged "map" of the United States has rendered the counties of Hancock, Brooke, Ohio and part of Marshall totally off the map. (Thank you fourth grade West Virginia History class for the ability to name those counties.) In case you have no clue what I'm talking about, allow me to show you an accurate portrayal of the great state of West Virginia:


See that lovely -- and very, very real -- northern panhandle? Sadly, this is not the first "map" of the "United States" I've seen that freely gives West Virginia's northernmost counties to Pennsylvania and/or Ohio. 

Sadly, this is not the only problem West Virginia (the BEST Virginia) encounters when dealing with an uneducated citizenry. You cannot even imagine the amount of times I've visited another state and told someone I'm from Huntington, West Virginia, only to hear the following responses:

Ooohh western Virginia! (Nope.)
How is far is that from Richmond? (Beats me...?)
I know someone that goes to Virginia Tech! (Um, great?)

It's not just "regular" people either -- newscasters, sportscasters and a lot of people who should know better think West Virginia is not her own state. To which I always wonder, are these people not aware that that the Civil War occurred? Also, if they know that the US has 50 states, what do they think those 50 are if West Virginia is not one? 

I know West Virginia has a large uphill battle to fight on this issue, which we have been fighting for years. But for the love of Stonewall Jackson, is it too much to ask that map makers kindly let us keep our northern four?
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