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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Roads I've Traveled

Yesterday was gorgeous.  The rain clouds parted, the sun shone bright, and the temperature was a balmy seventy degrees amidst the fall colors.  How could I sit in the dungeon of a class room that has no windows in the basement of the college for a full six hours on a day such as that?  I couldn't.  So as soon as I completed the obstetrics test that made my gut crumble and my head ache I ran out the doors and into the freedom of the fall skies.  

For hours I drove over hills and through woods taking so many photos my camera's 8GB memory card was filled to the brim.  With the window down I felt as free as I ever had.  The thoughts of the test and school and all my other looming responsibilities were forgotten.  The open road tends to do that to a person...

I have a habit of picking up my camera and snapping photos at various times while I am driving.  Fortunately the roads are less traveled and being stopped dead in the middle of them doesn't cause much of a hinderance. 

These are just a handful of those photos that I just have barely begun to sort and edit.  It is now pouring rain. The remnants of some tropical weather system is bearing down on much of the East Coast and with all the wind and rain it is taking the last bit of fall colors.  I couldn't have made a better decision than to lose sleep and forgo class in order to travel the roads of the Kingdom.

...PS... If you'd like to see another even more awesome fall photo than these here head over to my Photography Blog and check it out!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


This is me...

I am in a random overgrown field on some farm that I have no idea who it belongs to.  It was raining.  I had been awake for almost twenty three hours, but I was still smiling.  Why?  Because I was out in the middle of nowhere during peak foliage season with my camera.  And yes, every once and a while I just stop and take self portraits. 

I'm so glad that I forewent a decent night day of sleep because as I rounded 24 hours without rack time it began to rain.  By the time I was heading down the road to work in darkness and pouring rain the ground was covered in leaves, the leaves that were on the trees just a few hours before.  The foliage season can come and go on a whim, or wind... literally. 

I can't wait to share the photos and get back out with my camera because the leaves are still green further south!  

But in the mean time... I need a nap. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

What I Do When the Power Goes Out.

Its inevitable where I live.  We're just bound to lose power at some point.  If we go longer than a couple months we're due for an outtage.  Its just something we've learned to accept living in northern Vermont and being at the end of a power grid.  If we lose power there are only seven other homes below us on the power grid who also lose power.   We're never a priority for getting it turned back on.  

So the other day I just hung up the phone after a not-so-constructive conversation with our mortgage company over an error in our escrow account (don't even get me started) and suddenly my home when black.  It wasn't storming.  There was no ice.  Just a little wind and a light breeze.  When the power didn't come back on within about thirty seconds Shawn and I knew it was going to be off for a while.  He picked up his cell phone and dialed the electric company to report the outage.  As he was repeating our address to the guy so he could figure out where and why the power was out our fire department pagers began going off.  

"If you hold on a second you might just hear why the power is out I bet"  Shawn said and put the phone near the pager.  We heard the dispatcher say that there was a tree on the power lines about a mile from our home.  Yup.  That's why we didn't have power.  The guy from the electric company was amused that he got to listen to our dispatch to hear why and where was out of power.  Glad we could make his day...

Shawn and I dashed out of the house and to the fire station.  We hopped on the engine together and drove about a mile or two outside of town and discovered exactly why we had no power.

All it takes is one little tree!  This poor truck driver was about six inches from being able to clear the lowest hanging wire (telephone/cable wire).  Unfortunately for him he would have taken all the wires and pole with him had he tried so he had to sit there and wait the entire time until the tree could be removed.

I stood and directed traffic for the better part of two hours as we tried our best to keep the two lane road opened to smaller vehicles.  After standing on the hard pavement for over an hour and a half I was feeling sympathetic towards all those traffic controllers who commandeer the "Stop/Slow" sign all summer long.  I couldn't do it.  I'd request a chair, umbrella, my iPod, a cool drink, and revolving scenery. 

I did at least get to stare at my husband in his turnout gear for a while.  It may or may not have almost caused several moments of near car vs car situations and confusion between motorists due to my lack of diligence to the task at hand.  Oopsies.
Eventually the power company rounded the corner and jumped into action.  With a couple swift runs of their chainsaw the tree was felled and the wires literally bounced back in place.  Just like that the road was open and we were headed on our way back home.  

Ok, that may not be as exciting as any sort of call that involves any sort of flames or rescue, but it sure beats sitting at home in the dark!  So what do you do when the power goes out? Or is that just a Vermont thing now in this day and age?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering...

I did another senior portrait session earlier this week.  Those of you who are friends of Northeast Kingdom Photography on Facebook have already seen the example photos, but if you haven't or you'd like to hear about how the photoshoot went be sure to head over to my Photography Blog and see!

Unlike my last fall photo this photo is from this fall!  The leaves are almost peak!  Gorgeous, huh?  

Unfortunately the weather isn't cooperating.  It is forecasted to rain much of next week.  The only good sunny day I have a morning of clinicals (immediately following a 11p-7am shift beginning Sunday night) and then must dash home to sleep for a few hours before head back to do another night shift.  Such a schedule is not for the weary!  It is also not condusive to being outdoors during daytime hours to photograph the Northeast Kingdom in all is colorful splendor.  I may just have to sacrifice some sleep.  Its worth it... don't you think?

Have a spectacular weekend!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Oh No! Don't Fail Me Now!

My dad is pretty good with cars.  He's not a mechanic, but he can pretty much do any minor repair work you need.  Not much of that knowledge was passed down to me except I know that if you run a car too hard for too long things start to break and wear down, just like a person.  With my long commute, lead foot, and perpetual threat of cutting it close on time I am definitely hard and demanding on my poor car.  Too hard and demanding apparently because on my way home from work this morning my dash lights lit up.

My ABS and Four Wheel Drive decided to go awry all at once.

Of course, I immediately freaked...
Four wheel drive?!  I've never put my car in four wheel drive and I was driving on pavement for Christ-sakes.
Breaks?  Do I not have breaks anymore?  Do I not have ABS?  That means I have to pump the pedal, right?
I don't have time for this!  I have to work again in twelve hours. How can I get this fixed today?
Why do things break when Shawn isn't home and he can't fix them for me?!

Good news is I made it home without dying and yes my breaks were intact.  In fact, I drove the car back to work tonight and its still stopping appropriately.  I have a six hour window for it to get fixed tomorrow or else it'll have to wait until Tuesday.  And by "have to" I literally mean it will have to be driven over four hundred miles without falling apart between now and then. you may want to consider picking up hitchhikers on the interstate this weekend.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The ONE Time We Go Hiking.

Getting my husband to go hiking is like getting me to wear heels on a daily basis.  It just doesn't happen.  After not seeing each other for about a week (no exaggeration) I begged and pleaded with him to go for a hike up the mountain in town and after the fortieth time he finally agreed.  

We have gone on a hike only twice since we've been together.  Once we never even reached the top of the mountain.  I took a wrong turn and went about twenty feet off the trail before realizing it.  Shawn called me a "flatlander" and said how I didn't know what I was doing in the woods.  I immediately stormed off, back down the mountain, and straight to the car.  We didn't speak the entire way home. 

This time Shawn must have been trying to be extra nice, because he's already informed me he doesn't care to "walk in the woods like a hippie" unless he has a gun and the purpose of hunting down some animal.  But he was no peach.  Shawn's conversation during the hike was something like this.

"This is dumb"
"What is the point of hiking?"

"I thought you said it was suppose to be sunny?"

"Its raining."

"Great. Now we are going to get wet."

"Why do you think this is fun?"

"I'm going to have blisters after this."

"You can't ask me to hike again for at least another year."

Yes. It rained.  Of course it did would rain when I finally convince my husband to go for a hike.  The sun disappeared and rain clouds form just as we reach the steepest part of the mountain and the peak.  When we stepped down off the clearing at the peak and under the cover the the thick canopy of trees the sun came back out.  Other than that it was a beautiful hike...

The leaves are really starting to change!

Nothing makes me love my town more than the view from up here. Gorgeous.

Steep terrain.

Steep enough that they installed handles in the rocks.

But we survived, Shawn survived, and our marriage is intact after the immense amount of whining and complaining endured.  Next time I think I will just take the dog with me...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sunflower Bag Giveaway Winner

All of you had such great ideas of how to display/print photos.  It seems canvas and cards are the most popular choice!  And of course that gives me an idea for the upcoming holiday season.  I know its still technically summer for a few more hours yet, but its never too early to start thinking about all that shopping, wrapping, and mailing we are all about to undertake.  

So anyway... without further adieu...

The lucky winner of the canvas Sunflower bag is SouthernSass!  Congratulations. You were the lucky random commenter chosen.  Please send an email to vtcabinfever(at)hotmail(dot)com with your address so I can get that out to you!

And don't forget about the current photo assignment!  The Sept/Oct topic is "Autumn/Harvest"

Don't get too excited just yet... this is only a photo from last fall.  The leaves are still mostly green, but colors like this are coming!  Look for signs of fall or harvest where you are and share them with all of us.  Your photo could be chosen to be eligible for the winning prize or one of the runner up prizes!

PS. I'll be making some more selections from the FLICKR group later today so if you haven't already this week get your photos in! 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Photographic Merchandise - A Giveaway

Not only do I love tinkering with my photos, but I also love finding different ways to display and print them.  The other day I ordered a bag with one of my photos printed on it and it just arrived!  The photo is one that I love and I wanted to do something special with it.  

This photo is so versatile and the editing behind it really makes me proud of my work.  Also, I can't believe its from the sunflower I bought at the grocery store that sat on my front porch for a few weeks. 

The bag was just a "test product", something that I ordered to see what it would look like and if I'd like to ever order more.  Its a standard, simple, tote bag with the sunflower screen printed onto it and I would like to give it away to one of you! Why? Because I have about seventeen tote bags already and I'm nice like that.

If you would like this tote bag all you have to do is leave a comment below answering the question below.   I can't wait to hear your responses.  A winner will be chosen on Wednesday.  Oh, and if you'd like a bonus entry then make sure you're a follower! 

"What product or item do you most like photos to be displayed/printed on?"

Saturday, September 18, 2010

This is Why... (only a little gross)

This is why you look where you are going when you are walking in near complete darkness...

That is my thigh with the biggest bruise I have ever had in my entire life on it.  
I would've shared photos of it earlier, but I had to wait for the colors to "season" enough to make it look as gross as possible.  You're welcome! 

After you stop saying "Eeeeew, gross" and "Holy s#!t." a couple of questions come to mind.

How the heck did you do THAT?
Well, you see... like any sane person it was almost midnight and I was about to go to bed when I noticed a ton of lightning in the sky so I grabbed my camera and headed out the door in my pajamas.  There was a slow moving storm with a ton of lightning bearing down on my town.  I had imagined a scenario just like this in my head and knew where I wanted to set up my camera (yes, I preplan photo situations.  I am that much of a nerd).   Five minutes later I was at the "State Beach" on the other side of the lake.  From there I had a clear view of the storm.  All I had to do was walk to the shoreline, set up my tripod, and wait.  My trouble came with step 1... walking.

There were a few of those giant steel, cemented into the ground, grills dotting the shoreline that you see at parks all across the country.  I turned my head to look at the approaching storm and all the lightning, meaning I wasn't looking where I was going, and walked straight into the steel grill... the handle to be exact.  Because there was a little gravel area around the grill's base I more of slid/fell into the grill.  Classic.

Does it hurt?
When you poke it, so please don't.

How bad did it hurt when you did it?
To put it this way... I almost packed up my stuff right then and there and drove back home to cry despite all the amazing lightning.  But I didn't.  I didn't cry and  I didn't leave.  Instead I stood there, wincing, taking photo after photo of incredible lightning.  The entire time I could feel the warm rush of internal bleeding in my leg.

Why didn't you bring a flashlight?
Because our five flashlights at home are out of batteries and I didn't have that app downloaded on my iPhone, but I do now!

So for being so nice, polite, and putting up with the gross photo of my thigh below are some of the best photos from that evening following the grill incident.  One of the photos was even featured on the local news!  Enjoy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Daylight? Husband? What are Those?

This week has been my first full week of night shifts at the new job.  It means its the first week I've slept all day and sat awake at hours of the morning I forgot even existed.  That in and of itself is a huge adjustment!  To be honest it really wasn't something that I was prepared for.  I mean... you can imagine what working the night shift is like, but until you are actually awake while the rest of the world sleeps its not understandable.  This whole routine is just going to take a lot to get used to, that's all.

To make my adjustment this week even harder Shawn has been at a "Shoring Class" all week long.  While he is learning how to secure rubble, collapsed buildings, and other "unsure" things  (ha... I had to) I've been taking care of everything around the house.  We literally haven't seen each other for a week.  It makes me feel like I am single, except much less fun.  Now, I know there are women with husbands overseas and who regularly don't see their significant others for one reason or another, but for Shawn and I a week is a big deal.  No help taking care of the dogs.  No one to run errands with.  No one to greet me when I come home.  And no one to curl up in bed with me.  

Just thinking about it makes me depressed. 

The next time I'll see Shawn is Sunday for a few hours before I have to go to sleep in the middle of the day before going back to work another night shift. 

Oh, and my next day off is Tuesday.  Tuesday. And its now Friday, barely. 

Okay.  That's not making me feel any better.  I need to change my line of thought!

There.  A random yard full of ducks I saw the other morning.  Now, that's a lot happier!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Ridiculous Things People Say

The things that come out of people's mouths while I am working never cease to amaze me.  I've heard almost everything (or so I think until I hear something new...) and anyone in emergency services will have a list of their own ridiculous quotes.  These are all (honest to God) things I have had people say to me.  Many of these may have had alcohol or other substances involved....

"When did you start drinking?"
"Its Saturday. Night."

"So, why did you call for an ambulance?"
"My car isn't running and I don't have money for a cab."

"It would really be helpful for us to find you if you numbered your home."
"People would just steal it."
"I meant the house numbers not the road sign"
"I know.  I meant people will steal my numbers!"

"What did she hit you with?"
"A hammer."
"A hammer?"
"Well it wasn't a big hammer, but it was a hammer none-the-less"

"Ok, We'll take you down to the hospital and get you checked out."
"Wait. I can't go right now"
"I'm not leaving here until I get f@#!ed"

"Your dad should have named your 'Parking Ticket'"
"What? Why?"
"Because, baby, you are fine!"

"I was walking down the road and then something ran into me and knocked me onto the ground."
"No one knocked you over.  You walked into the side of a house."
"Yes.  You ran into it hard enough to wake up the people inside."

"He's going to kill himself! That's what he told me"
"I think you heard me wrong.  I'm not going to kill myself.  I'm going to kill you if you don't shut up!"

"Its Wednesday.  That means pants are optional."

"What do you mean my car isn't drivable?!"
"Its on fire."

So I'm curious...
What kind of nonsense have you heard people say?  You don't have to be in emergency services to overhear or take part in a conversation where you can't help but laugh your behind off (hopefully not in front of the person!).  Do you have something that would top the quotes on my list?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm Feeding the Cows

If I haven't been out with my camera in a few days I start to get antsy.  With my crazy work schedule at my new job working all three shifts (7a-3p, 3p-11p, and the dreaded 11p-7a) along with my old job pulling 24 hour shifts, and two days of school/nursing clinical my camera has been crying for attention.  I ache not feeling the click of the shutter under my finger.  So in lieu of taking a nap I decided I'd hop in my car for a little drive in search of photos.

When I go off driving in my car I absolutely love that I never know where I will end up and what I will do.  I've explored old buildings, ran through fields of wild flowers, and rested while taking in the most amazing views.  Occasionally my ventures include playing with animals.  Friendly horses and bovines are among my favorite so when I spotted an adorable calf and cow couple I had to stop and say hello!

I pretty much have no inhibitions when it comes to making livestock friends.  These cows didn't have any either.  So to deepen our friendship I decided to feed them the greener grass from the other side of the fence.

They loved the grass.  Guess that saying is true.

But I learned that Golden Rod, while pretty, is not something cows are interested in.
You learn something knew everyday...

I didn't get any tremendously awesome new photos, but I did have fun! When I came back home Shawn asked me where I had gone and what I had seen.  Of course I told him about my new friends and my new education on herbivore food preferences.  He just laughed and shook his head.  No big deal... just another adventure with my camera. 

Monday, September 13, 2010

Its not Always About the People

 Warning... this entry may evoke some form of emotional response.

It was fairly early in the morning.  That's usually when the time of discovery is... discovery of people, I mean.  When friends, family, or neighbors realize that something just isn't right and go checking on someone they haven't seen up and about lately.  That's when they make their discovery and that's also when we're called. 

We were called out to the middle of nowhere, and out here that is a big statement, because most everything is the middle of nowhere to begin with.  This place, however, was more than off the beaten path.  A gorgeous house and view unfolded as we crested a hill that was nothing more than a four-wheeler path certainly never meant for ambulance travel.  There was little doubt what we were going to find when we reached the home.  Loved ones unable to reach him, a friend expecting him, and neighbors who hadn't seen him; it all added up to only one conclusion...

As soon as we opened the door you could smell it.  Death. The sickly sweet smell filled the home.  Two dogs rushed past us to hurry outside and relieve themselves.  A cat came up and rubbed itself against my leg.  "Hello!  Ambulance.  Hello!" we shouted, going from room to room.  I neared a room in the back and the smell grew thicker.  Peering through the door as I approached I could see the outline of feet under the covers on a bed.  Looking through the door confirmed what we had known all along.  He had passed. 

The man was peacefully in bed and had passed in his sleep.  I didn't linger in the room.  It was not a place I wanted to be.  My partner was in the kitchen around the corner looking for any signs of identification to figure out who the man was.  On the refrigerator we found a magnet that pointed us to a "File of Life", which I found inside the fridge.  It contained every bit of information about that person laying in bed that I could possibly need for any medical situation. 

The dogs then rushed back into the house and into the kitchen, wagging their tails, and sniffing our pant legs.  Their food bowls were empty and turned over.  The water bowl was dry.  My partner and I had no idea how long they had not been fed because we had no idea how long ago their master had died.  We filled up their water bowls and they slopped every last drop down.  Then we walked outside to where the air was fresh and the dogs followed us.  

As my partner and I stood  in the yard in the cool fall-like breeze I could hear some whining.  I turned and saw the older, small dog looking at me from the steps.  He continued whining, that high pitch whine as if he had to go outside, but he was already outside.  I lowered myself to the steps so I was sitting just below the dog.  He looked at me with soft, dark eyes that were heavy and somber.  There was sadness deep in them that stared back at me.  The dog knew his master was gone.  As I leaned in to pet him he stepped forward and laid his head on my shoulder.  I melted.  

A neighbor and friend showed up after hearing through the grapevine what was going on.  He was a care taker of the land when the man was away.  I asked him about the old dog.  "Captain", he told me was the dog's name.  He was originally from the Gulf Coast, Lake Pontchartrain to be exact, and was rescued after Hurricane Katrina.  The dog had seen its fair share of hardships in his years and today was another one to add to the past. 

I couldn't stop petting Captain and he couldn't stop whining.  His sadness resonated so deep inside me.  I just sat next to him until he got up, wandered off a few feet, and laid down.  He was dealing with his loss in his own way.  

Eventually he came back to me for some more affection.  He was still whining and had begun shedding his fur like it was the first hot day in July.  I just wanted to pick him up, take him home, and make sure he never felt such sadness again. 

Instead, Vermont state police and the medical examiner finally appeared in the yard in their shiny, new, unmarked cruiser.  Paperwork was traded and the scene was handed over.  We were released and my work day had to go on.  I had to leave Captain behind in his sadness, unsure of what would happen to him.  Before I left I told the neighbor, who had volunteered to take Captain until a permanent arrangement could be made, that if he couldn't find a home for him to call the rescue squad.  It doesn't matter that I already have three dogs.  I would take Captain until the end of his days.  

As we pulled out of the driveway Captain was laying in the yard, seemingly lost in thought deeper than I could imagine.  I left him behind, a soft spot left in my heart, but knowing he'd pull through this tragedy just as he had in others before.  For some, life goes on.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Weekend -- What Would You?

If you could go back 1000 years in time and could bring one modern invention (anything) with you to introduce to their society what would you bring and why??

I'd bring my iPhone.  Why?  Because there is an app for that.  

What about you?  What would your bring?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Who Me? Couldn't Be. Oh wait...yes it can.

Who walks out of class once its over, gets to her car door, and finds that she doesn't have her keys?
This girl.

Who returns to the classroom moments later already to find that the instructor and everyone have left and locked the door?
This girl.

Who tries not to panic, runs back out to the parking lot, and searches the pavement from one end to the other?
This girl

Who runs up four flights of stairs to the security office, panicking because no one is home to rescue her if her keys are indeed lost forever?
This girl

Who looks like an idiot as the security office reached over to the wall and grabbed a set of keys resting on a peg that someone turned in after finding them laying in the parking lot?
This Girl.

Don't judge me by my key chain, either... ha

Thursday, September 9, 2010


My cat had fleas.

Actually... all my stinkin' animals had fleas.  We go through this every single fall and it drives me bananas.  I don't know how it happens because all my pets are "inside" pets, but it does.  So, every single time all the animals get a good soak in the tub.  Yes, even the cat gets a bath.

That's right...

I bathed my cat and didn't die.

But I am not entirely sure that he isn't plotting my slow and painful death this very moment.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

How Far is Too Far?

I'm used to driving everywhere for everything.  That's what happens when you live in a town of 1,000 people that is twenty five miles from anything.  But just because I'm used to it doesn't mean I like it.  Heck, I am beginning to hate driving and probably will solidify that even more in the coming weeks and months.  Why?  Because I am adding on a new career.  Instead of just doing a shift every once and a while at the rehab center I will be undertaking a four-shift-a-week position.  That's four eight hour shifts.  That's four eight hour shifts that are an hour and ten minutes from my house.  That's four eight hour shifts an hour and ten minutes from my house that cause me to lose sleep, burn gas, and become excessively tired of our two radio stations that aren't in French. 

It was quite unexpected to be offered the position, but I didn't want to turn it down either.  I should mention that I make almost twice as much at the rehab center as I do at the rescue squad.  That means less hours for more money.  Now that's my kind of equation...

So am I crazy? 

Really,  how far is too far to drive to work? 

How far do you drive to work?

I really hope we sell our house sometime in the near future, particularly before the snow falls.  Did you forget our home was for sale still?  Well, it is...  and our last several months of real estate efforts have been less than successful, but that story is for another time.  Until then I will be going to bed earlier just to accommodate for the drive time. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Third Annual - Most Amazing Redneck at the Fair Contest

You've been waiting patiently I am sure.  

Well the photos have been snapped and the polls have closed.  This year was a tough year, but as always a clear winner appeared in the end.  Without further ado here are the winners for the 3rd "Most Amazing Redneck at the Fair Contest".....

5th Runner Up
Black Denim Jeans, a Wolf T-shirt, and a pair of mullets on the prowl.

4th Runner Up
 This is a "tooth" for one.

3rd Runner Up
 A nicely placed Confederate flag tattoo (in Vermont).  Complete with Mountain Dew and a random guy wearing a Dale Jarret NASCAR T-shirt in the background.
2nd Runner Up
Mr. Aviators thought my husband and I were "four wheeler" salesmen and then complained how you can't drink beer outside of the beer tent.

1st Runner Up
Nothing says classy like walking around the fair shirtless with your family.
Nothing says redneck like a flaming chevy tattoo on your shoulder.

4th Honorable Mention "Teenyboppers"
Nothing like a bunch of twelve year old girls strutting around the fair making the carnies turn their heads.

3rd Honroable Mention "The Wolf Pack"
You must cross your arms to participate in this conversation

2nd Honorable Mention "Patches"
Nothing too abnormal.  Oh... Wait... What the heck is on her pants?!

Its apparently a collage of patches? I think?
I've heard of pants with writing across the butt, but this is ridiculous. 

1st Honorable Mention  "Get 'R Done"
Spectactin' the other pulling vehicles because you have to size up the competition.
I love how each man is in an entirely different pose.

And the Most Amazing Redneck at the Fair in 2010 is....

"Look Ma, I gotcha a Hammer!"

Think she noticed me taking her photo?  *evil snicker*

Thank you for joining me for this year's contest!  I hope you enjoyed the presentation and that you come back next year!  You just never know what you will see at the fair. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Just Dance

This is one of my best friend's three year old son

Sometimes in life you just have to dance.