An Engagement Story – Her Perspective

My husband proposed to me on a ski trip during spring break. It was Friday, March 18, 2005. When Knight first invited me to go skiing with him, I didn’t suspect anything. I hadn’t been skiing in a very long time, and I was pretty excited about the trip, but Knight was positively bouncing with anticipation. As the ski trip got closer and closer, Knight got more and more excited, and I began to suspect that something might be up. I actually confided to a friend that I suspected he was going to “pop the question” while we were on this trip.

He’d told me that we would be having dinner one night with some friends of his family that owned a romantic bed and breakfast in Winter Park. I thought that maybe he would propose after dinner that night. Knight was going up to Winter Park first with his mother and sister. Then they were going to fly back to Austin on the same day that I flew up to Colorado, and Knight would continue his vacation with me.

When I finally arrived in Winter Park, he was happy to see me, but he did seem a little odd. He would be bouncing around one moment, then go all quiet and subdued the next. Being rather moody myself, I didn’t think much about it. In retrospect, he was obviously vacillating between excitement and nervousness. Once we made it to the ski slopes, he seemed better. But maybe I was just distracted by trying to remember how to ski. The fact that the shape of skis had changed since I had learned to ski didn’t help.

Knight coached me on a few green runs, then I told him to go off and enjoy himself on the more demanding slopes while I got my ski legs back. By the end of the day, I had figured out the new skis and was doing better (At least I was falling down less). Knight and I went back to the hotel, had dinner, and soaked in the hot tub. I was tired and a bit sore, but I had had a wonderful time. I looked forward to skiing more the next day.

We woke up the next morning to 12″ of new powder on the slopes and a prediction of gentle snow showers the rest of the day. It was a perfect day for skiing. Again, Knight and I started out together on the green slopes, then I told Knight to go have fun on the blues and blacks. When we met for a late lunch, I was pretty tired. I also knew that tonight was the night that we were having dinner at his friend’s bed and breakfast, and I wanted time to take a long hot shower before we went.

I told Knight that I was probably only good for one more long run. We wanted it to be something we would both enjoy, so he took out the trail map and we looked for something good. He suggested “Lonesome Whistle” and pointed to it on the map. It was a long green starting very high on the mountain, and I wasn’t really sure I could handle it. But he assured me that it wasn’t too steep, and added that it was a really pretty trail. I thought, “What the hell! If I have any trouble, Knight will help me.” So I said, “Sure!”.

As we got up to leave the restaurant, I thought about taking some pictures of our last run. He’d been carrying the camera, since I was afraid that I’d fall on it and break it. So I patted his chest above where his inside pocket was and asked if the camera was okay. He got the strangest look on his face and put his hand over the pocket and said that the camera was fine. He then reached inside his parka, unzipped the pocket, felt around a little bit, then pulled out the camera, showed it to me and put it back in the pocket… very carefully. I thought his behavior was a little strange, but still didn’t figure out that he was carrying an engagement ring in that pocket.

We rode the lifts up the mountain and started down the slope. At first, Knight stayed with me, then he started skiing ahead of me. I was a little unhappy about that. I wanted to ski with him, not behind him. But then suddenly he pulled off to the side of the trail. I pulled off beside him as he was pulling his skis off. I was a little confused, and asked why he had pulled over, but immediately thought about the camera and asked, “Do you want to take some pictures?”

It was a really pretty spot with undisturbed powder on the side of the trail and snow covered evergreens in the background. He pulled out the camera, and we took a few pictures. I was disappointed that there was no one else around to take a picture of us together, but it was very peaceful and private. Knight put the camera back into his pocket and then started towards me. I was about to put my skis back on, but something about the way he was coming towards me made me hesitate. He got right up to me and he began to kneel in the snow. At that moment, I finally realized that he was going to propose.

I started smiling and laughing with excitement. I felt dizzy and didn’t hear what he was saying at first because of the buzzing in my ears. But the words, “Will you marry me?” came through loud and clear. And the ring made it even more obvious. I couldn’t say anything. I just held out my left hand towards him. He put the ring on my finger, then stood up and kissed me. After the kiss, he looked at me smiling, but with his eyebrows raised and a “waiting” expression. My brain finally started working again, and I realized that I hadn’t actually answered him.

I shouted, “Yes! Yes! I will marry you!”, laughing and shaking with happiness. I kept looking at the ring on my finger. It was beautiful!! Before the trip, he had taken me to look at rings, and in one shop there had been a vintage ring that I really liked. Unfortunately, it had been far too big for me, and it had also been made of white gold which I really didn’t like. I preferred rose gold. The ring he gave me was the same style as that ring, but in rose gold and sized to fit me perfectly.

He had had it custom made so I could have the exact ring that I wanted. What a wonderful, thoughtful, amazing man!!! I finally realized that some skiers had begun to ski past us. I held up my hand and yelled,”He proposed! He proposed!”. I think that may have embarrassed Knight. He may have tried to get me to stop shouting, but I’m not sure. I just wanted to show everyone my beautiful ring and let everyone know we were engaged. Eventually, I flagged down a nice young man with an Irish brogue and asked him to take our picture.

Afterwards, we started getting ready to finish the run down the mountain. I didn’t want to put my gloves on and cover up my sparkling ring, but I knew I had to. We started down, and I was doing pretty well considering how shaken I was, and that it was snowing, and that there was already about 12″ of powder on the slope. But then suddenly, my skis just stopped and my body kept going forward. I ended up face down in the snow.

Fortunately, the powder was pretty soft, but I’d ended up with my legs and skis going in opposite directions on the uphill side of my body. It was such an awkward position that I couldn’t get up on my own. I raised my head enough to see Knight look back at me and begin to climb the slope towards me. A nice girl stopped beside me and asked if I needed help. I glanced at her and then looked back at Knight. “No thanks,” I said. “My fiancé is coming to help me.”

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Impromptu Exercise Moments

When most people think of exercising, they think of going to the gym for a workout, lifting weights in the garage, or spending at least 20 minutes on whatever exercise machine you happen to have in your house. But exercise doesn’t have to be that intense, planned for, or time consuming. It can be spontaneous, quick and easy. Sort of like quickie sex, but instead of a brief unplanned sexual encounter, you have an Impromptu Exercise Moment or IEM.

There are many times throughout the day when you find yourself stuck with nothing to do for a few moments. Take advantage of these otherwise wasted moments to do a little impromptu exercise. It doesn’t have to be something that you would do in a “real” workout. Any energetic movement counts as exercise; pacing briskly back and forth, skipping merrily around the room, even just swinging your arms around and rolling your shoulders. Anything that works your muscles even a little bit counts.

Just move! It doesn’t matter how you move, just move in some way, any way that uses a little more of your energy than just sitting or standing there does. Of course, you can also do “real” or more challenging exercises if you want to.

Even if you only do these energetic movements or exercises for a few short moments, it’s still a step towards a healthier, more physically fit life. Think of it as quickie-cising.

An easy way to start taking advantage of IEM’s is while you are watching tv. Every time a commercial comes on, stand up and do something. You can start small, simply walk a lap or two around whatever room you are in. If you feel a little more energetic, dance and/or wriggle around like a crazy person for a few moments. If you are more ambitious, try doing a few squats, lunges or even a couple of sit ups. You don’t even have to get off the couch. Instead, lay down flat on your back and do some leg lifts or scissor kicks. If you can scissor kick for the length of an entire commercial break, that’s a pretty decent little workout.

Another good time to utilize IEM’s is when you’re in your kitchen cooking. Say you’re waiting for the microwave to ding, or the water to boil, or whatever, and you have nothing to do for a few moments. Instead of just standing there, pace back and forth, jog in place, do a few side-step lunges, maybe do a couple of wall push ups. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something that is more energetic than simply standing there.

If you know that in certain rooms, you frequently have IEM’s, you can add a bit of variety to your quickie-cising by storing small dumbbells or resistance bands where you can grab and use them easily. Do a few quick bicep curls or tricep extensions or any other exercise you like, then toss the equipment back under the coffee table or wherever.

You don’t even have to be at home to take advantage of IEM’s. If you have a little privacy at work, you can do a few push ups on your desk, or any of several other exercises that you can do in your office. If you don’t have privacy, but have understanding co-workers, you can still engage in few quickie-cises if you simply explain what you are doing beforehand, and make sure that you are not disturbing anyone. Who knows? You might start a healthy new trend in your workplace.

You may not burn many calories during each of these mini-workouts, but every little bit helps, and they do add up. If you watch two hours of tv, with an average of five commercial breaks per hour, and you do something energetic during every break, you will have done the equivalent of a normal 20 minute workout in bits and pieces. You might not get all the aerobic benefits that you would get if you exercised for 20 minutes straight, but you still get many of the other benefits of a full workout.

However, burning a few calories is not the only benefit to be had from taking advantage of these IEM’s. You are also changing the way you think about exercising. You are training yourself to move your body more frequently and more energetically. You are gradually developing the habit of exercising.

Many people feel intimidated at the thought of starting a “real” exercise program that involves long structured workouts. However, the thought of these tiny little quickie-cises done during IEM’s should not be intimidating. No matter what shape you are in, you can move energetically for just a couple of minutes at a time. Over time, doing these impromptu quickie-cises can help to ease you into thinking about, and working towards doing longer, more strenuous exercise programs.

Even if you are already pretty fit, taking advantage of Impromptu Exercise Moments can help keep you healthy and improve your fitness even more. So, the next time you find yourself standing or sitting around waiting for something to happen, instead of just standing/sitting there pointlessly, get up and do something energetic. What have you got to lose?

Some other good exercises to do during IEM’s:

Easy
high knees – slow
standing torso twist
seated shoulder press with dumbbells
lateral raises with dumbbells

Moderate
high knees – fast
chair pulls
the plank and a plank variation
deltoid extensions with resistance band

Advanced
chair and desk ab exercises
one leg lunges using a chair
reverse crunches
Teaser with reverse fly using resistance band

 

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Living With Herpes

I am happily married, attractive, well-educated, and a member of the upper middle-class. Just looking at me, you would probably assume that I was a normal, healthy, middle-aged woman. However, I have an incurable disease. I have herpes. I have been living with it for over fifteen years now. And that’s the point. I have been LIVING with it. Although herpes is incurable, it is controllable, and it does NOT have to affect your life to any great degree.

I first realized that I had herpes not long after I was raped (for the second time in my life). I don’t know if it was the rapist who gave it to me or one of several partners that I had been with prior to the rape. I was somewhat promiscuous in my younger days.

None of the partners that I checked with after my diagnosis ever admitted to having herpes. However, they could have been either lying to me, for the second time (even in my wilder days, I would ask about sexually transmitted diseases before having sex with someone), or truly ignorant of their own infected status. It IS possible to have herpes and not realize it. In fact, it is surprisingly common for someone to have an STD and not know it. But, it doesn’t really matter who I got it from. I had it.

Strangely, the doctor that I went to when I discovered the first sore insisted that it couldn’t possibly be herpes because it was in the “wrong place”. It was on my outer labia rather than my inner labia. (In reality, although many sores on females do appear on the inner labia, it is not unusual for sores to appear on the outer labia, around the rectum, on the inner thighs or even inside the vagina.) I insisted that the doctor do a viral culture of the sore anyway, and, of course, the test was positive. I had herpes.

I do not know whether I have HSV-1 or HSV-2. I was tested so long ago, I’m not sure if they even differentiated between the strains yet. I think I remember the doctor telling me that oral herpes (cold sores) and genital herpes were same thing. Admittedly, both strains of herpes can be found in both places, but they are still different viruses. It is simply that HSV-1 shows up more frequently around the mouth, while HSV-2 is more often found near the genitals.

However, considering that this doctor tried to refuse to test me for herpes simply because my sore was not on my inner labia, he was probably not the most knowledgeable doctor when it came to herpes. He may not have even known enough to differentiate between the two strains. And back then, I didn’t know enough to wonder about different strains of herpes, I was just extremely upset that I had an incurable sexually transmitted disease.

But it was not the end of my life, not even my sex life.

After I was diagnosed, I ALWAYS warned potential partners before having sex that, even though I might not currently have an active sore, I still carried the herpes virus. I didn’t want to do to them what had been done to me. However, in accordance with what was commonly believed back then, I mistakenly told them that as long as I didn’t have an active sore, that there wasn’t much chance of them catching it. And, as far as I know, none of my partners ever did get infected.

I know now, that even when there is no visible sore, it is still possible to transmit the virus through asymptomatic shedding. It is believed that most people contract the virus through asymptomatic shedding. People with a noticeably active herpes sore are generally not interested in having sex. I know that when I have a sore, I am certainly not interested in having sex. It hurts too much.

However, even telling potential partners that I had herpes didn’t really affect my sex life. Only one guy — out of more than I care to admit — was even hesitant about having sex with me after I told him I had herpes. We still ended up having sex later that night. Admittedly, young horny males don’t always make the most logical choices. Young horny females are probably not much better.

Would I have slept with a guy who told me he had herpes? I can’t honestly say, since the situation never came up. If he were someone I was only interested in sexually, probably not. But if he were someone I truly cared about, I think I still would have slept with him.

Nowadays, I am happily married and, of course, my husband knows about my herpes. On the rare occasions when I suspect that I might be developing a sore, we simply avoid any sexual contact. We have been together almost nine years now, and he is still disease free.

Although herpes cannot be cured, it can be controlled. I am very lucky in that the infection I have is not very noticeably active; I get maybe one sore every several years. Since I have so few outbreaks, I do not take medication every day. I only take medicine when I notice a sore developing. Some people who have more active infections take daily medication in order to prevent outbreaks and reduce the risks of infecting their sexual partners.

In the past, when I noticed a sore developing, I would call my doctor to get a refill of my prescription for Valtrex (though I usually get the generic version Valacyclovir). However, after having to wait over the weekend with a painful sore once, I now just keep a bottle of medication on hand at all times. If I start taking the pills as soon as I notice even a hint of a sore, sometimes no sore ever develops. Occasionally, I wonder if what I thought might be a sore actually wasn’t, but the pills have no noticeable side effects for me, and I’d rather be safe than sorry. Also, as was mentioned earlier, even when the herpes virus is active in your system, you may have no noticeable symptoms. So even if no noticeable sore ever developed, what I felt could very well have been the virus becoming active in my system.

Unfortunately, I once developed a sore while traveling overseas. I had not had an outbreak for several years and hadn’t even thought about bringing my herpes medication with me. I had to endure several days of severe discomfort until I could get an appointment at a clinic and a local prescription. Because of that experience, I now make sure to carry my medication with me whenever I’m going to be away from home for more than a couple of days.

Even though I now have to keep certain medications in my house, and have to make sure to remember to bring them with me on trips, having herpes has NOT significantly changed my life. After being diagnosed, I was still able to do everything that I had done before being diagnosed.

Even my sex life did not significantly change. Yes, I had to have a little more in depth of a talk with potential partners before engaging in sex. But after the first couple of times, I got used to telling my partners that I had herpes, and it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Almost everyone I told was very understanding and even the one man who initially reacted badly eventually understood and dealt with it.

Contracting any STD is a frightening and embarrassing event. But many, many people have had or currently have an STD of some sort. Unfortunately, many people are also completely unaware that they have an STD, and that they risk infecting their partners with it during every sexual encounter. Fortunately, nowadays many STD’s can be cured with antibiotics. And even herpes, which is incurable, can be controlled with either daily medication for the more active infections, or as-needed medication for less active infections.

For herpes, there are currently three different medications that you can take:

Valtrex or its generic equivalent Valacyclovir
Famvir or its generic equivalent Famciclovir
Zovirax or its generic equivalent Acyclovir

According to several sources, approximately 1 in 4 or 5 women in America are infected with HSV-2, whereas only 1 in 8 or 9 men in America are infected with HSV-2. Sores on women can develop on the labia, in the vagina, on the cervix, around the anus, or on the thighs or buttocks. Sores on men can develop on the penis, scrotum, around the anus, or on the thighs or buttocks.

Herpes is a sexist disease. Not only do more women contract it than men, female symptoms are generally more frequent and significantly worse than male symptoms. Women are also more likely than men to have complications from herpes such as meningitis, encephalitis, and inflammation of the lower spinal cord. Also, if a pregnant woman contracts herpes or has a herpes outbreak late in her pregnancy, there can be potentially fatal consequences for her baby.

If you are afraid that you might have herpes or any other STD, get yourself tested. Even if you have no obvious symptoms of sickness, if you have had sex with more than one partner, or if your partner has had sex with other people, then it is a good idea to get tested, just to make sure you don’t have one of the sneakier STD’s. If you lead an at-risk lifestyle, it is a good idea to get tested regularly.

It is far better to know and to either cure or control the disease, than to continue in deliberate ignorance and run the significant health risks of an untreated STD. If left untreated, Syphilis, which is easily cured with antibiotics in its early stages, can cause significant damage to your heart, brain and other organs and, if left untreated, will eventually kill you. Even though herpes is in and of itself not deadly, there is evidence that those who have herpes are more likely to contract HIV than those who don’t. So knowing whether or not you have herpes or any other STD can be vitally important.

And please, if you know you have herpes (or any other STD), tell potential sexual partners about the risk of infection. It may be embarrassing to talk about having herpes before having sex, but consider how much more than embarrassing it will be when that partner comes back to confront you with a positive herpes test.

Having herpes is certainly not ideal, but few people’s lives are completely ideal. Being diagnosed with herpes does not have to ruin your life or even your sex life. It is possible to have a fulfilling life, including a fulfilling sex life while living with herpes.

For more information about herpes, check out these links:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0001860/

http://herpes.emedtv.com/genital-herpes/genital-herpes.html

http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp054.cfm

http://www.webmd.com/genital-herpes/guide/genital-herpes-overview-facts

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/genital-herpes/DS00179

http://www.cdc.gov/std/herpes/STDFact-herpes.htm

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