Reclamation Proclamation

It happens slowly, doesn’t it? The distance between ideal health and uncomfortably snug pants is generally marked by gradual tiptoeing rather than giant, bold strides. Tiny, seemingly-insignificant, often-unconscious little decisions accumulate until one morning a straining button gives way and takes flight. Out of curiosity, you step on the scale and exclaim, “What the what?!! How exactly did I get here?!” And then you recall…the extra cookies, the lack of attention to regular exercise, all those delicious and totally-worth-it holiday cocktails.

Considering it was my first post-injury race, I was SHOCKED to place third for my age. Must have been a small pool.

Considering it was my first post-injury race, I was SHOCKED to place third for my age. Must have been a small pool.

After proving to myself in November that—even after a life-altering injury—I still have it in me to run a race and perform decently, I did myself a huge disservice. Rather than continuing down the path toward health, I patted myself on the back and gave myself a pass for the holidays. Because I pushed it a bit too much during the race and my foot ached as a result, I justifiably gave myself permission to ramp it back a bit. “Ramp it back a bit” gradually became, “Can’t run OR walk because it’s too cold and dark and the dog’s old,” “Give yourself a break you just started a new job!,” “You should probably test every single thing you bake during the holidays,” and finally…“What the heck?…it’s the holidays!”

As much as I enjoyed being pregnant--since I'm done growing humans--I'd like to avoid having a stomach this large again if at all possible.

As much as I enjoyed being pregnant–since I’m done growing humans–I’d like to avoid having a stomach this large again if at all possible.

Last week, after about a month and a half of slacking, I mustered the courage to step on the scale and survey the damage. Much to my dismay, I found that I am the heaviest I’ve been since pregnancy. While some of my friends scoff when I tell them this and say things like, “What are you talking about?! You look great!” I remind them that OF COURSE I look great! It’s the middle of winter! It’s still perfectly acceptable to hide all of my extra “softness” under many layers of clothing and a fabulous coat. I think they’d be singing a different tune if they saw me in a bathing suit or—better yet—talked to that button that finally gave up the fight after struggling too long to contain my girth. Whether a size 6 or a size 26, when things stop fitting the way they’re supposed to …it’s just not fun anymore. No matter how I may look to myself or anyone else…I feel sluggish and gross. The boys are starting to squish my once taught parts and say things like, “Mom: How come you’re so squishy?” How come, indeed.

I am fully aware that at the ripe old age of 42, after the birth of two children and two months of bed rest over the summer, things aren’t just going to perk up like they did when I was 20. I’m ever-so fine with the inevitable droop that befalls us all over time. Still, there comes a time to distinguish between what is inevitable and what is simply poor management. For me, that time has come. And so, I am issuing this reclamation proclamation…

Self: You don’t seem to be performing up to your potential. If you continue to underperform, a heartbreaking loss of very cute wardrobe options may ensue. Body: You belong to me and I’m taking you back. You’ve had your fun little vacation and now it’s time to get back to work. Instead of gradually tiptoeing toward a bigger size, it’s time to gradually tiptoe back to where you belong. Maybe instead of coasting up elevators, you can take the stairs. Maybe you can do some yoga while you’re catching up on Downton Abbey. Maybe you can bring your running clothes and get moving while the boys are in karate class. Perhaps you can limit yourself to just 3 pieces of chocolate most days. We’ve wandered dangerously off course and it’s time to get back into familiar territory.

The Importance of Rembembering

In the hussle and bustle of life, it is so very easy to forget…to get wrapped up in one’s own little triumphs and tragedies…to let go of the gravity of happennings outside one’s own head, own house, own neighborhood. And then there are moments when the bubble is broken…when everything so seemingly important becomes instantly insignificant. Suddenly humility and reflection are the only options. While conducting an internet search for an old work project tonight, I came across this article, these pictures, this video.

Suddenly everything that I thought I needed to accomplish tonight was overwhelmed by a need to stop and remember…to hold in my heart the families that are still mourning, the holes that will never be filled.

Also were thoughts of an amazing community that came together in just 3 short days to hold hands, have hope in what seemed a very hopeless time. When the clouds parted, voices lifted and togehter we dared to dream of something better. I’m still dreaming and hoping and remembering. I know I’m not the only one.

Not Always the One


Earlier today, I sent the boys off to their last day of all-day karate camp. It’s been an exhausting week…especially for them. With Daddy out of town and Mommy hopping around one-footed trying to make it all happen, we’re all a little worn out–both physically and emotionally. We’re all craving a return to normalcy.

The boys have been SO amazing. They have really learned to soldier up, to help out and–aside from the occasional epic meltdown–they’ve done it. They’ve both become masters of making their beds, watering the garden, feeding the animals, and helping with meal prep and cleanup. Chores are a regular part of their day and that’s a VERY good thing.

Still, it breaks my heart a little to know that so young they have had to assimilate the truth that their Mama will not always be the one they can count on. Every day, in big ways and small, they will need to become more self-reliant. Sometimes–even their strong, do-everything-and-make-it-look-easy mama just CAN’T. This is a fact I had hoped to keep hidden at least a little while longer.

This morning, B had and especially hard time. A few times this week, he has commented on how tired he is. During breakfast, he fell apart. When the storm clouds cleared and we were talking about what’s going on with him, he said, “I’m just so tired. I just don’t like having so many things to do.” While proud that he’s able to so clearly articulate at the age of 4, I couldn’t help but well up a little, hurt for all the truths he’s had to experience this summer. There have been times when both boys were so exhausted and just didn’t want to suit up and head to the next activity. Alas, a ride had been arranged, the activity had been paid for so I would dry their eyes, comfort them the best I could, and send them off to their next assignment.

Oscar decorating my cast with two of the many lovely people who came to help out and uplift this summer.

I’m so thrilled to have the kind of community that is so eager and willing to surround us as they have. I am also sad that I have not always been the one. As their mom, I want to be the one to see them try and learn. I want to be the one to greet them with a smile and a kiss at the end of the day. I even want to be the one to correct them when they step out of line. Mostly…when they’re sad or tired or hurt, I want to be the one to comfort them, to hold them, to soothe them as only a mama can. 

This summer, I have had so many wonderful moments, so many opportunities to reconnect with lovely people as they come and go…so unselfishly giving of their time and talents to help us out. Words fail to express the genuine love I feel toward everyone who has done their part to get us through. Words also fail to experss the sadness I feel for the missed moments I will never get back.

What I’m looking forward to most when this is all over is being the ONE again. I can’t wait to savor simple pleasures like conversing the car, deciding spontaneously to stop for ice cream, raising my eyebrows in that special way that only a mother can to stop bad behavior before it even gets a chance to get going. Mostly, I can’t wait to see firsthand–as only a mother’s eyes can–the many ways in which my boys are miraculous, remarkable, worthy of my undivided presence and attention. Even though my boys have seen this summer how very much I can’t, I hope that they also see that if there’s any possible way I can, I WILL. I hope that when all is said and done, they also can’t help but want me to return to being THE ONE.


It has now been 16 days since the crash that derailed–or at least seriously redirected–the summer in the Wisnia house. So much has happened in that short span to shift my thinking about my life and the people in it. For the most part,  I have been overwhelmed by the positivity and love that surrounds us. We’ve scarcely had to cook given the frequent delivery of delicious meals. The boys haven’t missed a single activity thanks to the many who have so graciously descended to give rides here there and everywhere. We’ve had help with shopping and cleaning and occupying the boys so that they don’t feel like they’re missing out even though there’s much that their mommy can’t do right now. Most moments are filled with love and joy and gratitude.

And then there are the other moments…the moments when I feel completely castrated…the moments when all I want to do is climb up into Oscar’s loft to tuck him in or comfort him when he’s had a bad dream but I can’t. There are moments when I think about all that I COULD be doing since I’m home like vacuuming, washing windows, organizing the boxes of accumulated junk in the garage, even simple things like knocking down cobwebs–and then I remember that I can’t. Even something as simple as getting a glass of water is a complicated task these days as I hop on one leg, try to manage crutches, navigate awkwardly around our tiny, cramped house. Some days–other than the obvious reason of escaping my own stench–I am left to wonder why I’m even bothering to bathe. There is nowhere to go, very little to do. These are hard facts for someone like me who is always going, always doing.

There have also been a few demoralizing moments when I have found support sadly lacking in surprising places. It’s hard to feel supported when navigating the bureaucratic purgatory of so many confusing forms and convoluted processes required to get paid, maintain benefits, obtain accommodations. On more than one occasion, I have been made to feel like I am somehow making up or embellishing the truth of my condition to get special treatment. In these moments, I just feel icky and hopeless and shocked. As someone who has been sucking it up and soldiering on my entire life, I am beyond insulted by the implication that I am somehow doing anything short of what is physically possible for me at this moment.

I am terrified that I may never run again. I am heartbroken to hear Boris say that he wishes he had a mommy who didn’t have a broken foot. I am deflated when simple things that used to take seconds take minutes, hours, or worse–aren’t even possible to accomplish right now.

I am bolstered by the fact that I WILL get better. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like for the many many people who must face the truth that their particular accident has caused damage that can never be repaired, will never get any better. As stated–for the most part I am nothing short of grateful for all that has happened since I’ve been laid up. I’m grateful it it was my foot that was smashed–not my head or my neck. I am grateful that healing is possible.

Still, the not-so-fluffy moments are real and important to acknowledge and remember too. I think that this time will help me to have so much more compassion going forward. I have been forever changed both by the immense love we have experienced and the few bits of indifference/lack of compassion we have experienced. I will forever remember how I definitely DO and definitely DON’T want to make people feel in their moment of need. At times like this, there is enough darkness to overcome in one’s one mind. Nobody who’s truly hurting should be made to feel like they have to prove the extent of their hurt to anyone. Nobody should be made to struggle to feel valid when they are convalescing and already struggling against their own feelings of invalidity.

My Left Foot: Summer Plan B

X-RaySo…anyone who has been following me on Facebook knows by now that on June 4th, I had a gnarly bike accident that resulted in me basically breaking my foot in half and dislocating every single one of (and breaking some of) my toes. Surgery to repair the damage is tomorrow. Mandatory bed rest will last most (if not all) of the summer. The this unfortunate turn of events has reinforced many truths. These include:

  1. Wearing a wedge heel while biking is perhaps not the best choice (even if I think I look fabulous doing it).
  2. Life is an unexpected and crazy thing that is totally beyond my control (even though I like to pretend otherwise in my most Type A moments).
  3. Good health care is essential (even for those of us who think ourselves relatively spry and healthy).
  4. Trying times are generally rife with silver linings and hidden blessings.

Immediately following the accident, Good Samaritans started pouring in. My neighbor (who was biking with Ouch!me) and some kind stranger doing Tai Chi in Central Park rushed to get me out of the street and make me as comfortable as possible on a park bench until Chris could arrive to take me to the ER. Another kind stranger appeared from nowhere with a bag of ice. Before I had even officially put out the word on what had happened, we were receiving calls and messages from people who heard something bad had happened who wanted to know how they could help.

I have been nothing less that astounded by the speed with which our “village” has descended to surround us during our time of need. One fellow Type A organizer with a giant, beautiful, shiny heart even spent a morning sitting next to me on my sick bed setting up a website where folks could sign up to bring food, take the boys to their summer activities, do our shopping. My mom and sister swooped in to help me handle parties and other pending commitments. We’ve had deliveries of several delicious dinners, neighbors taking the boys to swim lessons, offers to help put the boys to bed while Chris is at work, great medical advice from doctor friends, and loans of awesome medical equipment. We even received a lovely card with a gift certificate for house cleaning inside! The list of all that we have to be grateful for goes on and on. My heart could seriously burst!

Less obvious but deeply profound are the benefits of being able to linger with my boys on these summer days. Sleepy CuddlesWhile it’s certainly not how I would have wanted it to happen, it has been such an exquisite gift to be able to have so many long cuddles, eat meals slowly all together while having rich conversation. Sure, I wish I could take them to the pool and ride bikes and train for that half marathon I signed up to do Labor Day weekend. Since I can’t, I am relishing this probably once-in-a-lifetime elimination of excuses to just be still…to savor my lovelies in a way that the on-the-go me so seldom does. The boys are learning to be more independent, helpful, empathetic. These are skills that I hope they continue to hone forever. Even after the cast comes off for good, maybe we’ll all be a little better at being still and savoring one another. So Summer Plan A is a bust but Summer Plan B is turning out to be pretty OK too. Thank you, universe for this chance to be still and feel so much love.


A Letter for Later RE Boston

April 15, 2013

Dear Boys,

Perhaps you noticed that Mama’s not quite herself today. I’m a little sad…a little impatient. For reasons you don’t know and can’t yet understand, I am out of sorts. Today, two bombs ripped through Boston and tore through my heart. Today, a boy—just a little older than you lost his life simply standing on the sidelines cheering for his dad. His mom and sister will never be the same. In what should have been a moment of such triumph, so much was lost.

I couldn’t help but think of all the times that you boys have stood on the sidelines with Daddy cheering me on for so Finish Linemany races. Grandma couldn’t help thinking about that too. With cracked voice, she called just as I was putting you boys to bed to express how very happy she was that I hadn’t been running that particular race…that you and Daddy hadn’t been the ones holding the signs…standing in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The pain of parenting is just too overwhelming at times…loving someone so ferociously from your core and knowing, being reminded that you can’t always protect them…knowing, being reminded that with the freedom to experience beauty and joy and adventure comes the risk that something terrible could happen out there in the big, wide world. Sometimes I am almost suffocated by the knowledge that there is so much outside of my control when it comes to you boys. That knowledge perpetually pulses beneath my skin. On days like today, it comes screaming to the surface.

So, years from now, when you look back on the days in your childhood when Mama wasn’t as patient as she should have been…when the tolerance for brotherly bickering was nonexistent, know that THIS is what that was all about: I need to know that even when I’m not around to love you that you will at least try to love each other…even when I’m not around to protect you that you will at least try to protect each other.

In the best of circumstances, the time we get to be here is far too short. Please spend your time loving, laughing, helping. Make sure your time here is joyous. Forgive each other and forgive your Mama for the times when she just couldn’t bear to see you fight. Have adventures, experience beauty and when something ugly happens… thank all the beautiful people who are trying to make it better, BE one of the beautiful people who is trying to make it better.

Love You Madly,


I HEART Davis!

If ever you wonder why I love my quirky little town so much, just take a look at this vintage Daily Show video. Sure, there are many reasons to love a bicycle-friendly city with over 50 miles of greenbelt, with a highly educated populous…a place that breeds both the famous and imfamous. Still, nothing quite sums up this little town I call home quite like the Daily Show and Stephen Colbert.


I’ve been thinking a lot today about our family’s first and only trans-Atlantic trip to date. It’s been almost 2 years since we spent 11 days in and around Paris, visiting friends and seeing the many wonderful sights of one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Here’s a synopsis I wrote when we returned…

While our trip got off to a bumpy start, we returned home feeling that—good and bad—we would repeat the entire experience over again in a heartbeat if we had the chance.

The funky start to our trip actually began a couple of days before our departure when Boris fell off the couch and bumped is head good on our hardwood floor. The subsequent trip to the ER revealed that—while his head was fine—the rash around his mouth was in fact impetigo. We started the application of antibiotic cream and crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t need to give him ingestible (potentially horrible side-effect producing) antibiotics.

Further complicating our departure—the night before we left, Chris started feeling the rumblings of the stomach flu. I sent him to bed early and hoped that he just eaten something funny. Unfortunately, in the middle of our 10 hour flight, his symptoms worsened and he spent much of the flight in the latrine. As an added bonus, just as I was drifting off to sleep, Boris (who apparently caught Chris’ stomach bug) threw up all over me, all over himself, and all over our seat. Since Chris was “in dispose” and Oscar was asleep next to me, it was a bit of a juggling act to get everything/everyone cleaned up and settled back down. Needless to say, my mommy instincts kicked in and I didn’t sleep a wink for the duration of the flight.

Once we landed in Paris (exhausted, jetlagged, and smelling of vomit), it took an additional 4-5 hours to make it through customs, retrieve our bags, trek to the train, and make it to our friends’ house in the bitterly cold Paris suburbs. So one day of our trip was lost to travel and we burned through an additional day just recovering and sleeping off the jetlag. Just as Chris and I were starting to feel ready for action, Oscar caught the stomach flu and spent a day alternating between sleep and vomit. Meanwhile—despite the application of antibiotic cream, the rash around Boris’ mouth was worsening AND he fell down the stairs at our friends’ house and bumped his head a second time.

On the fourth day of our trip, everyone finally seemed well enough to attempt the hour-long train ride back into Paris. We got a late start but enjoyed exploring the area around the Paris Opera House. We found a really cool playground at the foot of a very old and beautiful church and let the boys play and blow off some steam. Sometime during the day, we noticed that Boris’ nose had begun to run and we speculated that he picked up a cold on the flight.

Within 24 hours, Boris was wheezing and struggling to breathe. Although we had brought his inhalers, we left the nebulizer at home and had no choice but to head to the ER for some breathing treatments. Thank goodness my good friend Claire was with me throughout the ordeal to translate! While at the ER, an x-ray revealed that Boris had bronchitis and would need a full regimen of antibiotics, steroids, and breathing treatments. Sometime during his third breathing treatment, Boris decided that he had had ENOUGH and the full force of his almost two-ness was unleashed. He tantrummed like I have never seen him tantrum before. He was completely inconsolable for about 15 minutes…a pattern which we saw repeated on several occasions in the days that followed. On the bright side, the antibiotics cleared up his impetigo.

Since our ER visit nixed our planned trip to Versailles, we settled for a late afternoon walk in the forest near our friends’ house in Burs sur Yvette. Oscar and his friend, Maya had fun hiking and helping to build a lean-to with some other kids we came upon in the forest. 

On the sixth day of our trip, the antibiotics had kicked in and we were guardedly optimistic that everyone was FINALLY ready for some adventures. We visited the Centre d’ Pompidou (Museum of Modern Art) and went to the circus (Cirque d’ Hiver). Both were AMAZING. This particular circus has been produced by the same family in Paris since the 1930s. It featured a lion tamer, amazing acrobats, a phenomenal tightrope act, some hilarious clowns, a live orchestra, and jugglers. The amphitheater was all red and velvet and had a romantic, old-world feel. We all had a blast! The night was topped off by a delicious pizza dinner en route back to the Metro. The next day, we made it to Notre Dame and the boys took a ride on the carousel outside the Hotel de Ville (where the mayor and city offices are housed).

Sometime during our first few days in France, Chris made contact with one of the foreign exchange students (Gaelle) that lived with his family many years ago. Gaelle and her husband, Giuaum (spelling?) live in the heart of Paris with their three-year-old daughter, Nina. As luck would have it, Gaelle is pregnant with twins and had just been placed on maternity leave (in France you get 6 weeks before your due date for each child…meaning Gaelle gets 12 weeks). Since Nina is in school during the day, Gaelle was free to hang out. She graciously invited us to stay with her for a few days so that we could be closer to the action. This was an offer we couldn’t refuse…especially since we had burned through so much of our vacation time being sick! We planned to head to her apartment on the eighth day of our vacation and spent the seventh day visiting the Eiffel Tower and having a goodbye dinner with our very gracious first hosts (Abdul, Claire, and Maya). It was so great to see them and we regretted that so much of our time was tainted by sickness. We felt especially horrible that when we left for Gaelle’s, Claire had caught Boris’ cold and Maya had a touch of the stomach flu. Oy! We are the WORST house guests ever! We hope we can make it up to them soon.

FINALLY feeling 100% ready to take full advantage of Paris, we spent the last couple days of our vacation making up for lost time. We saw the Arc de Triumphe, Hotel des Invalides/Napoleon’s Tomb, Musee Rodin, Musee d’ Orsay, the Louvre, Champs Elysees, the Conciergerie (where Marie Antoinette lived/was imprisoned before her unfortunate end), Sainte-Chapelle (an amazing church that was built in the 1200s and 1300s. It features the most beautiful stained glass I have ever seen), and Musee du quai Branly (African and Asian Art). We also took a boat ride down the Seine. Highlights for Chris and I included seeing amazing art and architecture unlike anywhere else in the world. Highlights for Oscar and Boris included riding on the moving walkways in the Metro and airports and seeing the “army guys” that patrol the major monuments and Metro stops to prevent terrorist attacks. On one occasion, we even got to see them blow up a strange package! (Scary for us, thrilling for the boys.)

Shortly before departing for our trip, I came across some happiness research that indicates the happiness gained from the acquisition of things—if you’re lucky—only lasts about 9 months. The stuff gets old, you get used to having it, take it for granted, etc. In contrast, the happiness gained from experiences never wanes. Memories can always be retrieved to elicit (almost) the same joy as the original marvelous experience. Our trip to Paris did much to solidify this concept for me. Even with the hardships, I was left feeling that if I have to budget, live in a small house and drive an old car forever, I’ll do it if it means that I’ll have some expendable income to create memories like the ones we just had in Paris. Yesterday, we were at Costco and Oscar spotted a picture of the Eiffel Tower. “Look, Mama!,” he said very excitedly, “The Eiffel Tower.” “That’s right, baby,” I said. Inside, I was thinking how great it is that now, the Eiffel Tower isn’t just an iconic picture to Oscar but an experience he can retrieve and relive forever. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of turning many more of the world’s wonders into fantastic memories for my boys. Vive la France!

Comic Book Mama Encourages Davis to Vote YES on Measure I

I voted “YES!” on Measure I. Water rates are going up either way, Davis…whether it’s to pay back fines for cleanup efforts related to the disgusting quality of our current water (which is classified as “waste water” when it leaves our homes given the high concentration of contaminants including arsenic) or to pay for building a cleaner water infrastructure for the future. I, for one think that we owe it to future generations to think about where we’re going and pony up for a clean, sustainable water future. If you live in Davis and agree, get those ballots in by March 5th!

Vegas Baby!/Moms on the Loose!

When a friend is turning 40 and she’s never been to Vegas, it’s sort of an obligation to accompanying her on her maiden voyage. I know, I know. I’m not supposed to tell what went on during our in in Sin City. However, our adventures were just too marvelous NOT to share.

Nancy and I arrived Friday after a turbulent and scary flight that included an attempted/aborted landing and the pilot turning the plane sideways for a bit over Lake Mead. Needless to say, we were holding hands, very grateful to land, and ready for cocktails. Since we knew Merry would be arriving ready to party on Saturday morning, we decided to take it kind of easy Friday night so that we’d be raring to go too. We walked around a bit, had appetizers and cocktails, saw the water show at the Bellagio, did some shopping, got our picture taken with Batman and Joker, and rounded out the night with food and cocktails at the Sugar Factory inside Paris.

Saturday morning, we did a short run in the freezing cold (the high was about 40 degrees each day we were there) on the strip. Afterward, Nancy very astutely noticed that we could hang out in the spa all day for just $45! The spa has several different pools of varying temperatures, a hot tub, a dry sauna, an herbal steam sauna, and an arctic room. There was also complimentary fruit, water, juice, coffee, and tea. The showers were stocked with awesome spa products and the area just outside the showers had a potpourri of styling products, blow dryers, curling irons, THE WORKS! After a bit in the spa, I left Nancy to relax and went to pick up Merry from the airport. Nancy took a lunch break from her spa-ing and we had a delicious lunch inside Paris. After lunch, we returned to the spa with Merry and soaked and steamed until it was time to get ready for “O.”

“O” was AMAZING…beautiful, mesmerizing, hypnotic. After the show, we drove the strip, got our picture at the historic Las Vegas sign, checked out the Artisan Hotel, shopped a bit, grabbed a bite, and got ready to get our groove on. We hit the club (“Pure” inside Caesar’s Palace where we were staying) and did our best to blend in with the mostly 20-somethings. I had to tell a few poor little boys that I was probably old enough to be their Mama. Merry got a good laugh when I asked one poor guy if he’d like to see a picture of my kids. Merry said that she felt tempted to tell a few guys that she pushed three human heads out of her vagina. Poor guys. They were trying so hard and some of them seemed very nice.

After dancing, we went to an all-night café and shared a couple of very decedent desserts. While lamenting that we wished we could find a place to dance that was for the over-25 crowd, our waiter tipped us off to the fact that there’s an 80s Flashback club inside the Venetian. We’ll definitely be checking that out next time! At around 3 AM, we headed upstairs to catch some zzzs.

Sunday morning, Nancy and I woke WAY before Merry and tiptoed out to walk portions of the strip we hadn’t yet explored. We saw bits of The Cosmopolitan and New York, NY. Afterward, we hit the buffet at Caesar’s for one last bit of hedonism and infusion of calories before catching our plane. Exhausted and satiated, we bid our adieus to Sin City and Merry (who was flying out later on a plane bound for SF).

I look forward to many more adventures with Nancy and Merry and all the other fabulous peeps I am lucky enough to call “Friend.” Thanks, Vegas!