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Mellers reprise - plus a good start on Sunday

Sunday, June 26, 2011

I knew that last night my brother in law was going to be playing the role of Osgood Lissard, the villian in "Foul Works at the Fireworks Factory". I hadn't had a chance to see him shine in this one, I had been plotting to get out to see it some Saturday when it played at 6:30 p.m. I dragged my son, and my sister and her daughter along for the ride.

He's in the middle, in black, stirring up trouble. Of interest to Sparkers? The villian has dropped about 50 pounds in the past year, getting some health issues under control in the process, so we're really proud of him on more than one front.

As with the last time, a good time was had by all. We sat in the front row, b-i-l managed a few snarks directly at the mythical nephew (who likes to root for the Empire in Star Wars, being a contrarian). Son behaved himself, though. I was the one who ended up tossing popcorn at the HERO when the hero and villian exchanged barbs and one of the hero's lines dissed Beatles Fans! How DARE he? emoticon emoticon

Anyway, for those who read these blogs like a serial:

* NO RASH or ITCH from the poison ivy. emoticon And it has been 36 hours since the encounter, so I'm hopeful that's a closed issue.

* The dehumidifier did not require repairs! Once I cleaned it up, plugged it in and turned it on, it ran like a champ. emoticon

* This morning's "one thing" turned into about three things, since I woke early. All before church... sorted through papers (time-boxing, here, there appears to be a never-ending supply), and shredding all of the records related to the dog and the most recent cat (she's been gone for several years now, but I still had her vet records!)

I also washed the front storm door glass. I kept up the gradual progress on the kitchen. It will probably take me a week to completely get the stove as clean as I want it to be. It is as though I get another three inch square covered each time I do it as a "one thing"... again, time-boxing. But, the grime is going. It shall be history, hopefully before my brother gets here in two weeks.

Yesterday evening's "one thing" involved cleaning the toaster.

What I am trying to get to the bottom of, in my retrospection, is why it takes me so long to take action in the arena of housekeeping.

I came to one insight: I have my support systems spread too far and wide, and too intermixed. The biggest process is that of decision making. I have the trait of leaving pieces of paper around that I want to "think about" or "consider later"... and they end up ALL OVER!

They start out as piles on the kitchen counter. Well, my initiative to "handle today's mail today" got rid of those piles. BUT, as I kept working on my "one thing" each day, I found piles in other parts of the house. This tells me that I slopped my deferral of deciding about pieces of paper until I was in another area of the house, and they got stuck wherever they were when I was distracted into thinking about something else. OR, in shoveling things out of the way in anticipation of guests, I hid the piles of unmade decisions.

"Do one thing" is at least in part "Decide one thing", and finish what I start. I can do this. After all, I *did* make it to my goal weight this time. And knock wood, I'm still here, a year later.

Here's to order, harmony, and a dignified life (with some pre-meditated silliness thrown in, just for fun). And dropping perfectionism and obsession... or at least damping them down.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GNUATTITUDE 6/28/2011 8:08AM

    I just happened across your blog this morning, after a couple of days of dealing with my own paper mess. For fellow strugglers, I suggest you check out "Fifteen minutes at a time" is really an effective way to tackle such jobs.

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/27/2011 10:25PM

    An old paper-management hint: take one drawer about 4" deep for your "I might want/need this" space. Into it goes sale ads, theater promotions, magazine articles, etc. Anything you want to save "just in case". If you want something, it'll be there, not too hard to find. BUT when the drawer gets full, you take the bottom 3/4 of it and Throw It Away ... Without looking through it. It's probably months old and if you'd needed it, you would have pulled it out already.

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REJ7777 6/27/2011 10:06PM

    Congratulations to your bil for losing 50 lbs. emoticon
He sure doesn't LOOK like a bad guy. emoticon

Throwing pop corn? emoticon

One thing. emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/27/2011 10:06:36 PM

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MSLZZY 6/27/2011 10:00AM

    I need to take some hints from you to "do one thing". Some days, my
thoughts are as scattered as the leaves in fall. Time to gather them'
together LOL! That will work until the next wind blows. Have a great

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SHARON2014 6/26/2011 4:05PM

    Sounds like you had a great time..throwing popcorn no less! I really like your "one thing" idea - I keep house like that myself. Right now the dining room table is littered with old receipts, etc. that I don't do anything with -- right now I'm trying to find a receipt so I can take something back...ARGHHH!
This idea sounds like what Elisabeth Elliot talks about, "do the next thing"...she tells of a woman who, when her father died, returned to their home with her mother. Her dad had left them with no money and the house would be foreclosed. She looked at her mother to see what she would do...she put on her apron and started to sweep the kitchen floor....Elisabeth's article was when you are overwhelmed by circumstances, just "do the next thing"...there is a poem - I'll post it when I come across it...right after I find my receipt!! emoticon

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_LINDA 6/26/2011 12:42PM

    Congrats to your brother in law!! That would be so much fun going to a theatre where you actualy get to participate in the action.
So glad no reaction to the ivy and your de humidifier works! This one step at a time is paying off for you..

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MNTWINSGAL 6/26/2011 12:37PM

    You hit my nail right on the head with the line about hiding the piles of 'unmade decisions" (love that phrase!) in anticipation of guests. Yes, I do it too....sometimes not to come back to them for a few months! This is how a couple of bills forgot to get paid....oops! One would think I'd learn, but while I can keep order in all other areas of my life (more or less) I still have paperwork strewn on the counter, the end tables, and especially the desk. I really need to get it more organized.....and I plan to do it by YOUR method: one thing at a time. Thanks for the motivation!

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Come Saturday morning...

Saturday, June 25, 2011

I'm ta-da-da-dah with my friends... what is it about the aging process that makes a body forget the lyrics? Still, those of us in my age range will remember the tune!

Yeah, those of you who just said, "She's high again" are right. High on those endorphins that come from so many sources. In this case, they are partly from jogging with my son. Jogging. But with my son. Anybody out there have kids? Do they condescend to exercise with you? Seriously, it gets us both out there!

We did two miles on the bike trails at a little under 10 minute mile pace, which for me is the Army 100% pace, and for him is two minutes too slow to pass. Thus the "condescend" to exercise at his mom's pace. We walked the last (third) mile, for the most part. SEE? I told y'all last week that his slow workout would be my race pace! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Poison ivy watch: Nope, no itches yet. A second shower behind me. Yes, I tossed the gloves, and washed what clothing I was wearing. I have my fingers crossed. I might just, between family immunity and taking precautions, have got away with this little lapse in attention, having caught it in time.

"Do one thing" report: this morning, I decided to take on a Saturday project. The dehumidifier. It's been sitting in the basement gathering dust. But recently I'm starting to have moisture issues with all the rain we've had lately, and I have a hankering to see if I can get the thing working again. Don't know if I can but that's my "one thing" for today... to find out.

Wishing all a great Saturday! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALOHAEV1 6/26/2011 9:33AM

    What would you do if I sang out of tune...hummmm hummm

Remind the kid that he too will be older and just smile that you are at the 100% pace! That's AWESOME

And may the itch devil stay away.

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MSLZZY 6/26/2011 8:54AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LINDAJOYWK 6/26/2011 7:11AM

    Quite a feat! Must've felt awesome!

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APRILLSCOTT 6/26/2011 12:45AM

    Good luck with the Saturday project, and I hope you have more than luck with that poison! I'm itching already just thinking about it! I love the idea of exercising with the son! I know it was an enjoyable time! emoticon

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_LINDA 6/25/2011 9:46PM

    That might be pushing her luck Ellen lol. Its great that her son gives her the time of day, never mind working out together!!!
Well done on your race pace!
I hope the bad effects of the ivy stay away, and you can enjoy your evening. Good luck with the de humidifier!!

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CHRYS13 6/25/2011 8:56PM

    How wonderful to be exercising with your son!
Hope that poison ivy threat is went down the drain as you showered!!

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MARVEEME 6/25/2011 7:51PM

    May the mechanically inclined angels assist you to success, Amen!

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MNTWINSGAL 6/25/2011 7:21PM

    .....I'm going to beeeeeee with my friend.......

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WATERMELLEN 6/25/2011 3:19PM

    So nice to exercise with your son; do you suppose he might assist with the resurrection of the dehumidifier too???

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Now I'm freaking out...

Friday, June 24, 2011

My "one thing" this evening started out to be pull a few weeds on the way to get the plastic chairs out of the shed and put them on the deck. Only, as I got close to the shed, I started to pull up some bindweed and suddenly, there in my bare hands were dark leaves in clusters of three!

Oh, dear... my old Girl Scout training kicked in, and I thought, it's poison ivy! Or is it?

Taking no chances I put it in a trash bag and washed my hands right away, avoided touching my face, and put on gloves to finish my weeding, avoiding that tub. I compared against some web site photos, and it looks like the real deal to me.

On the plus side, when my kid brother was at summer camp, he swung into a whole patch of it and never broke out. And when my son was younger, he tramped through a patch in the woods and no reaction. Soooo... here's hoping the familial immunity to the weed applies to me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MT-MOONCHASER 6/26/2011 9:55AM

    I'm with Lee -- it looks like Virginia creeper to me....but then, I've never seen poison ivy.

Anyway, now you know to look before you leap, er, pull.


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LINDAJOYWK 6/26/2011 7:05AM

    Barb-hope you washed it off right away! I'm like your brother-never been
allergic to any of that,but I figure why take chances!Good luck!

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MOMALONG 6/25/2011 5:23PM

    I was 40 years old when poison ivy first affected me. It never bothered me before until that summer and I got it 3 times. So just a warning our bodies change as we get older.

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DEBRA0818 6/25/2011 10:03AM

    Don't forget to wash your clothes and your shoes and anything you were wearing or touched after exposure -- the way people get infected and reinfected is often a case of touching their shoes or gloves and then inadvertently touching their skin. Precaution is the best cure! Good luck!!!

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REJ7777 6/25/2011 8:44AM

    emoticon Yikes! I hope you'll be OK. Isn't Girl Scout training practical!

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MSLZZY 6/25/2011 8:19AM

    Hope you are okay-hugs!

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CONCHA77 6/25/2011 8:03AM

    Well? Are you breaking out this morning? Hope not, Barb. I had poison ivy last year and it was tragic. I will check in later to see how you are.
Happy Saturday and hope all is calm. Hugs.

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SHARON2014 6/25/2011 7:43AM

    OW! Hope it's not a problem for you. We have something that looks like this, but it is Virginia Creeper. emoticon

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SHARON2014 6/25/2011 7:42AM

    OW! Hope it's not a problem for you. We have something that looks like this, but it is Virginia Creeper. emoticon

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SUNNY332 6/25/2011 7:21AM

    Yie, yie, yie - definitely looks like it is poison ivy. Hope you immediately got a shower and that your are OK today.


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LJCANNON 6/25/2011 12:26AM

    I am praying for you, and hoping that all is well.
emoticon emoticon

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APRILLSCOTT 6/24/2011 11:57PM

I hope it is not the real thing! What ever it is keep it there and don't send it my way! emoticon emoticon you are immune!

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PENNYAN45 6/24/2011 10:48PM

    The photo you have on this blog does not look like poison ivy to me. The poison ivy I'm familiar with doesn't have those serrated edges -- and the leaves can be sort of shiny.

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QUOOTIE 6/24/2011 9:42PM

    I have suspected for sometime that very little good comes from weeds!

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MNTWINSGAL 6/24/2011 9:35PM

    Crossing my fingers for you, Barb. But keep the oatmeal and calamine handy "just in case!"

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DEBRITA01 6/24/2011 9:27PM

    Have you ever gotten poison ivy before? I used to never get it and then my luck ran out one day. Now, I don't ever go near the stuff or I end up at the doctor's. Hopefully in taking the precautions you did, you washed the oil off your hands and will avoid a breakout. Here's some extra luck emoticon

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Support systems

Friday, June 24, 2011

Discussing Support Systems is kind of like coming in to the middle of a movie. The first question about support systems is "what is this system supporting?" Which returns one to the start of the movie: values and goals.

Given that you have done the first part: examined your values and articulated them to yourself, and set some goals, it is time to take a look at the systems in your life that support those goals. The systems may be physical (how you stock your kitchen, pantry, etc., where you place your exercise equipment, food and exercise trackers), psychological (motivational images in strategic spots, a personal journal), social (friends and family, Spark people). These all support your goals and your goals support your values.

The other side of support systems is to think about the things one does each day, each week, each month... look at the systems in our lives that make up that routine, and determine: are they working? Do they support our goals? Is there anything, any part of those systems that is "broken" or hindering goals or contrary to values? Then you have a bug in your system and you might want to think about what it will take to fix it.

I work in computers. Sometimes a conscious decision is made to leave a bug in a system because it would be too costly to remove it, and fixing it would not give a benefit big enough to justify the cost. We have to make those kinds of decisions in our choices about life systems, too.

As I am going through my "do one thing" initiative, it is taking me down the pathway of examining my systems. Each time I do that "one thing", I am trying to think about what the area of the house (or yard) is supporting... is my "one thing" today maintaining a system? Is it pointing out a bug in the system?

This morning's "one thing" involved clearing clutter from my vanity. The system that little area supports is the getting ready for the day and the getting ready for the night system. It is part of a personal hygiene system. The clutter I cleared off represented holding on to things that I was done with, or failing to finish the job of deciding what to do with a given piece of paper. My vanity was a flat surface in the area when that decision making process failed to complete.

To keep it clear, I have to learn to put my toys away, even if it means filing "decisions to be made". It is an extension of the "handle today's mail today"... a little further.

This thing is working much like the Spark for nutrition and exercise did... a Spark for a dignified life. Which we all are worthy of. We just have to build the support systems for this, same as for the healthy habits that nourish our bodies.

This can work. This can be long-term, too. With small steps and changed attitudes, avoiding perfectionism... I can have the life I am beginning to envision. The whole life. Not just the goal weight.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNY332 6/24/2011 7:33PM

    I agree - there has got to be more to life than a "weight goal".

Here's to living every day. emoticon

Hugs, Sunny

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_LINDA 6/24/2011 3:41PM

    Sparks mentions how getting one area under control can lead to getting others under control, the snowball effect.. A lot of people have money troubles, so they set up Spark Savings. This site has been the biggest support system to those who have very little. I can envision it some day being all things to all kinds of people for all kinds of problems with life..
I was searching for a document all this morning and completely cleaned out my filing cabinet, one slip of a paper at a time and discovered some critical things -that there is something going on with my mail and I haven't been getting anything that I should! The form I thought missing might never have been delivered in the first place!!!!So I was forced to declutter finding out critical information in the process. Sometimes it pays big time!
I need to be more on top of things obviously, and paper clutter is a biggie for me. I have ever receipt for everything I have ever purchased LOL. Well now, I only have the things still in my possession lol.

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MSLZZY 6/24/2011 2:50PM

    What a great way to look at life and SP! It's all about baby steps. Thank you!

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    Keep talking, I'm listening!

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CONCHA77 6/24/2011 12:49PM

    Great blog, made me think! hahah.
Have a great weekend.

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SEATURTLE86 6/24/2011 10:10AM

    Excellent blog! Very thought provoking! It is true that we need to get systems in place to support our goals and the life-style we want. It is also important to re-evaluate these systems regularly to "tweek" what is and isn't working. Loved the vanity analogy! Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon

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SHARON2014 6/24/2011 8:53AM

    Thought-provoking blog. I will be coming back to this one as I process my own "bugs". I do keep the clutter off the flat surfaces, but the drawers and closets --- oh my! Thanks! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 6/24/2011 8:39AM

    Love the analogy with 'leaving the bug' - cost/benefit, not to mention 'putting the toys away'. I'm a put in the drawer person - can't stand to see those lovely flat tops cluttered.

You will have a clear vanity and deal with the mail and many other 'one things'!

emoticonblog as usual.

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DEBRITA01 6/24/2011 8:12AM

    I love how SP *sparks* us into examining all aspects of our life...not only the weight loss aspect. It is all inter-related and by making small changes in different areas, you are right, we can strengthen the support system which will allow us to live our best lives.

Good blog (as Good luck to you as you continue to build on the life you deserve to have...Keep building, you are so worth it.

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REJ7777 6/24/2011 8:12AM

    What a great blog! You've been gifted with an analytical mind, and are very good at making analogies that get me thinking about things in new ways. I'll be thinking about support systems today!

Isn't it amazing that when we get one "system" of our life under control (weight, fitness), it helps us to get the other "systems" in our life under control too. As you wrote: "I can have the life I am beginning to envision. The whole life. Not just the goal weight." Me too! Me too! emoticon

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It's not about the one thing...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

it's about the attitude! It's all about the attitude.

"Do one thing" is a philosophy my older sister read about somewhere and mentioned to me in conversation a few years ago. "When you are feeling overwhelmed... just do one thing." It doesn't matter much what that one thing is, as long as it contributes to establishing order. It should not be a huge thing... as if it was huge you might not start in on it... it should be small.

"Do one thing"... then after you do that one thing you can decide whether or not to do another. And most important, you point to it and say to yourself, "You have done this one thing... you have done well."

I've observed with the Spark exercise logging that it doesn't take much to fulfill one small promise to myself... and that makes me feel good, empowered, and able to continue.

Some examples of my "one thing":

* I pulled five weeds from patio cracks before work. The patio looked better. I felt good.

* I poured eight gallons of saved "gray water" onto dry spots in my yard where I'm trying to encourage the baby grass to expand. I felt virtuous, as I'm being a conservationist of my state's water resources. AND taking care of my yard economically at the same time.

* I cleaned my vacuum cleaner's filters.

* I replaced the light in my range hood and went on to clean the surface of the hood.

* I cleaned the top of the 'fridge.

* I washed my stovetop drip pans.

All of these small things, not as part of "Spring cleaning"... but as individual "one thing" efforts done before work or between work and bedtime. Some days one has more energy to put into a "one thing" than others.

Oh, and I am indeed getting the mail handled each day, so far.

So, it's not just one day at a time... it's "one thing" at a time. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRITA01 6/24/2011 8:28AM

    Even when things seem overwhelming, we can all do one thing. I loved this blog...thanks for sharing emoticon

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REJ7777 6/24/2011 8:20AM

    I'm going to put "ONE THING" on my refrigerator, to remind myself of this blog. So often, I don't do anything because I feel overwhelmed by all there is to do. This will be a reminder that I can, in fact, do "one thing"! (And those "one things" add up.) emoticon

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PENNYAN45 6/24/2011 12:46AM

    I like this 'one thing' philosophy. It is excellent advice for those of us who can easily feel overwhelmed by any major undertaking. It is also a perfect way to begin anything.

The important message, too, is to value that 'one thing' that you do. Let it stand alone - rather than seeing it as only a small part of all that remains to be done.

Thanks for the wise words.

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_LINDA 6/23/2011 10:17PM

    Well done!! Sounds like you are succeeding with this concept :)

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 6/23/2011 9:28PM

    Bravo! Well said. emoticon

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