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There is something about a lapful of cat

Monday, September 05, 2011

I'm typing with a lapful of purr. The smaller kitty, Patches, has decided on this chilly morning to warm my lap. When I first came downstairs and sat on the couch, I had two of them draped all over me. When you just relax into the experience, this is so totally calming.

As I predicted from observing their young personalities, she's turning into more of an indoor kitty than he. The Prisoner is the mighty jungle cat, and loves the great outdoors. Patches is more likely to go out, sniff around the deck, then ask to come back inside. Both have captured my heart completely in the few weeks they have lived here.

I've been out this morning to do my "one thing" which is continuing to work on the volunteer trees around the front of the house. It's going slowly, as my "one thing" efforts are time-boxed, but progress is visible.

Today is dedicated to recharging my batteries. I may go for a long walk later. But essentially, the plan is for it to be a quiet day: I have the dentist tomorrow morning, a big work push that will spread over the next six weeks or so, and week after next my sister's follow up radiation treatment. While I'll only be on tap to take her to the one little surgical procedure, it's on my mind... as it would be on anyone's.

Next Sunday is the 5 mile Buffalo Run. It is held in a big park, and the terrain is hilly. I'm trying to listen carefully to my knees in consideration of things like: will I walk the distance, or attempt a partial jogging pace? Five miles is longer than my normal 5K outings, the past two of which I didn't even run the whole distance. I think I'm more concerned about the potential damage to my joints if I overdo than anything else. This is for fun, and to get a baseline time for the distance.

2011 has been an "interesting" year so far. It has been the year of athletic outings, and I'm looking both backward in time and forward, trying to see what is the right balance of these events and what is the right mindset for them, to keep maintaining fitness for the rest of my life.

Meantime, a lapful of purr should help me relax into the plan, and recharge those batteries.

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRISNA 9/8/2011 3:10PM

    Sigh...I miss my cats. Maggie used to do that very thing suddenly appearing in my lap as if by magic. Lapful of cat... there is nothing else like it.


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KASEYCOFF 9/6/2011 3:51PM

    I miss having a cat around, or even a small dog. Maybe some day...

Wishing you all the best for the 5-mile. I know it's not double your usual, but you're right, it will be around half-again your 5K, if I did the math correctly!
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KARIDIAN1 9/5/2011 8:12PM

    Wish I had a lap full of kitties. I still miss mine after all these years. Hubby isn't a cat person much.

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SUNNY332 9/5/2011 3:04PM

    I would definitely have a lap full of cat if Gracie got on my lap. She is 22#'s plus - a very full lap cat indeed.

Do have a great day.

Sunny

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_LINDA 9/5/2011 11:28AM

    I do have to admit, that sounds so peaceful! My Mom's cat isn't much of a lap cat. She is too independent and doesn't like being held.. Its why I still think dogs rule, they are up for fun or cuddling anytime anywhere :)
Good for you getting after the volunteer trees, they can really get out of hand. My Mom and step dad are stuck with this volunteer crab tree that constantly rains down apples on their walk and shed, but they can't do anything about it as its their neighbour's tree on their side of the border. Their neighbors never do any yard work and everything is allowed to grow wild. They just mow their lawn and that is it. The women complains about hand pain and is unable to do anything, but she sure can play her golf at a near professional level. Seems to me she needs this one thing program too.
Wishing all the best for your sister...

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Sisters

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I'm currently reading a novel written by one of the women I work with, Delores Feeken-Schmidt. It is her first publishing, and it is a tale of three sisters and their mother, titled Isabel's Journey. I have found myself pondering about my own relationship with my sisters while reading it. Sisters are wonderful to have (brothers, too).

For those of you who have been praying with me about my older sister's breast cancer, an update: I went with her to an appointment on Friday. I'll also go with her to the hospital for preparation for her course of radiation treatment, week after next. This is the kind of cancer that responds well to the hormone blocker pill treatment. We are grateful for the prayers, and continue to pray for guidance for her in the decisions she has to make, for the doctors in their advising, and for working out the insurance and finances.

On a lighter note, one of the fun portions of my Labor Day weekend: I'm once again trekking up to the state park for the new Fall Mellodrama offering, The Troll of Trafalgar. In this short play, my brother in law plays the villian. Yes, once again I get to toss popcorn at my inlaw! I'm driving up with his wife (another of my sisters) and their daughter. It is a gorgeous day here, and I even got a bit of yardwork done as part of my "one thing" initiative this morning. Provided we all have the energy after the play, we might just meander around the park a bit on foot.

The cats are full of themselves in this cooler weather. For that matter, I have a pair of Spark kitties:




Going to have to get more outdoor shots of them, but they do tend to hide in the foliage, so it is harder to get a good photo. Life's good, Spark On! emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 9/6/2011 6:17AM

    UI am an only child,but not sisterless-I have a friend I consider a sister! Prayers for
yours!

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_LINDA 9/5/2011 9:39AM

    So glad you can be with your sister every step of the way during this traumatic diagnosis..May it all work out successfully. I trust you are geting regular checkups yourself for breast cancer as when you have a close relative diagnosed, your risk for getting it as well is increased.. Enjoy your play, hope you can enjoy the park after on such a nice day. Its nice here too, and I plan to get a long hike in :)

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KASEYCOFF 9/5/2011 6:13AM

    Oho, not the big screen but treading the boards--! And I agree, it's always fun when you actually know one of the people involved. Enjoy!
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LEANJEAN6 9/4/2011 6:43PM

    Wow! Your sister is fortunate to have yu! ---Hope you enjoy the play--and your kittens are cute!--Lynda

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 9/4/2011 6:34PM

    So glad that you will be able to be with your sister, My prayers go out for her and for you and your families.

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SAMI199 9/4/2011 6:26PM

    emoticon

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KARIDIAN1 9/4/2011 6:21PM

    It's nice you can be there for your sister during all her treatments. Keep posting the pdates so we know she is doing.

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BARBAELLEN 9/4/2011 5:38PM

    I am also so glad I have my sisters. When we were kids, I thought they were the most obnoxious creatures god had ever put on earth. The only thing they were good for was for company when absolutely nobody else was available. Who'd have thought these creatures would have grown up to be such fun and supportive people! I love having sisters!

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WATERMELLEN 9/4/2011 5:24PM

    Sisters are wonderful: my sister and I went through cancer together and . . . yeah. What a support system that was!!

Sounds like your sister is well on the path to recovery. We get earlier diagnosis now: the treatment is not much fun but . . . it works.

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ANDI571 9/4/2011 1:57PM

    emoticon Lots of hugs and prayers for your sister. I have two older brothers, but have always been close to my sister-in-laws. Shh! I always liked being the only girl. emoticon

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Bonus blog... in which I declare myself *still* a genuine Army mom!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Yes, it's that time again... a holiday weekend. I'm trying to live up to my promise to myself from last November, and this was one of those designated dates.

Original goal post: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3767570


This morning I *passed* the Army Physical Fitness Test for females in my age range for the second time. Not as high a score as on July 2nd, but passed all three sections.

* I did 28 pushups, score = 100 (max). emoticon
* I did 29 situps, score = 62 (barely passing, but this has been my trouble area, so I'll take it!) emoticon
* I covered 2 miles in 20 minutes and 44 seconds, score = 91. emoticon

Combined score 253, which I'll take. Next target test date? Veteran's Day!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 9/5/2011 11:33AM

    Well done! That is interesting you have an easier time with push ups then sit ups! usually for women its the other way around! You must be very strong, do a lot of lifting or heavy work, or just plain lucky?
You go girl!!
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MS.ELENI 9/4/2011 9:37AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PHEBESS 9/4/2011 8:22AM

    Good job!

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KASEYCOFF 9/4/2011 3:18AM

    Barb, that's fantastic--!!! I love the way you quietly go about progressing and developing good health - what an inspiration you are!
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GOHUSKERS2 9/4/2011 12:49AM

    Way to go!!!! I fainted when I read 28 pushups.

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WATERMELLEN 9/3/2011 10:58PM

    OK, is anyone singing "You're in the Army now"???

That's fantastic!!

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KARIDIAN1 9/3/2011 9:32PM

    That sounds like a neat way to test your fitness. Thanks for the idea. Will check into it.

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BARBAELLEN 9/3/2011 8:16PM

    Barb, you are too much! You are taking such good care of yourself are a constant reminder about why staying on course really makes a difference. Thanks!
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DEBRA0818 9/3/2011 5:41PM

    Congratulations Barb on keeping fit over the year; you've truly developed a lifestyle and a wonderful encouragement to those of us admiring you from a distance.

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SUNNY332 9/3/2011 3:10PM

    Awesome, way to go my friend.

You are such an inspiration.

Sunny

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MOBYCARP 9/3/2011 2:57PM

    emoticon emoticon
You're giving new meaning to the term, "maintaning."

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WORDLILY 9/3/2011 2:01PM

    Sounds pretty good from here! :D

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I missed the end of the month again...

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Midweek is not a good time for me to be looking up my "year ago" and taking my "now", so I'm as close as I can get with the updated progress photos. End of August last year, and today. Hair's changed, but for the most part, maintenance is maintenance, and it's WORKING!

If someone were to ask "what's different this time" two years ago, or even a year ago... I would have said, "nothing is dfferent this time". Today I can say that something is different about this maintenance, from prior attempts at maintaining a loss.

The first time I lost weight, I foolishly thought that maintenance would be like life before losing. Well, predictably (I can hear you experienced folks laughing)... it WAS! All the way back up those 30 pounds, and more.

The first time I got serious about losing (as in asked for and got some help with the process... learned about exchanges and nutrition and activity)... I found myself sliding up and down a LOT in maintenance. I used activity to control the regains, but eventually, since I wasn't making it a priority and continued to be an emotional eater, I tossed in the towel and regained a great deal in a single rocky year.

That regain discouraged me, big time. Who gains 50 pounds in a year? Seriously! Dangerous! To your health! But I did, and I knew how hard I had worked to lose it. While it was happening I was exhausted, putting career and finances, child, faltering marriage, crisis of faith... all in a basket of bludgeons with which to beat up on myself... and adding weight to the arguments of my unworthiness.

Still, I got as far as to see what fitness was like. I had been bit by the bug. While buried, the flame never completely died. It kept getting stirred up. Changes in responsibilities and routines challenged it. But eventually I got here again... to the land of fit... and I've been where I am for a year.

What's different this time?
1) I truly got all the way to where my body wants to be. That initial 80 pound loss, as great as it was, got stopped before I was really, really done.

2) The fluctuations even over the holidays were smaller this year. Yes, I had some "bad" behavior days, even some binge-y behavior... but it stopped and returned to sanity faster, as in with a single day or a few hours. I think I'm finally becoming a believer in "Nothing tastes as good as fit feels."

3) If I had to pick just ONE behavior that's physically different, I have to credit giving up soda. The bubbles fed my binge behavior. If I don't drink carbonated beverages, I stop sooner!

4) I know I really, really want it, and will do anything to keep it. I've had a health scare or two, and I value health more, don't take it for granted. I'm treating my body better, in general.

What's different this time? I'm more conscious of the effort of maintaining. I'm not taking MAINTENANCE for granted. Because, dear friends, maintenance doesn't happen like magic. It takes vigilance. It takes, for me "keeping it green".

And it takes a Spark-village to keep me sane. Love you all, emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 9/3/2011 10:56PM

    "Spark-village": that's a great concept! For me to maintain, I had to learn to think like a thin person. And accept that it will have to be a priority for the rest of my life! But yeah: it feels so good not just to take it off, but to keep it off: and you're doing it!! Yay you!!

(And thanks for your comment on my trivia blog: it's addictive, actually!)

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KARIDIAN1 9/3/2011 9:35PM

    Still a way away from maintenance, but you have some really good thoughts in your blog.

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MOBYCARP 9/3/2011 2:11PM

    emoticon
I hope I can do as well maintaining (when I get there), as you have done over the past year.

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_LINDA 9/3/2011 11:29AM

    Well done! It has been said maintenance is far harder then losing it in the first place, and that is so very true! I am more diligent watching what I eat now then I ever did in the 'diet' phase. It is all too easy to have those pounds sneak back on, one little step at a time and before you know it, you are wondering where the heck they came from!! Pop wasn't hard for me to give up. I went from 2L non diet (hate the stuff) in my 20's to nothing the last 10 years. Why? One day, I just got plain sick of it and couldn't stand it any more. Guess tastes can change. I don't drink coffee or milk, so that leaves water, and I drink lots of it and is all I go to when I am thirsty. Nothing else will satisfy me.
Here is to happily maintaining our healthy lifestyle, and our weight, for the rest of our lives! We can do it!! Keep up the great work!!

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DEBRITA01 9/3/2011 10:34AM

    You will succeed this time because you are figuring out all the other pieces to the fitness/wellness puzzle. You have the right attitude and vigilance to keep you moving in the right direction. And, as you said, you "really, really want it, and will do anything to keep it"...that is the key. Congrats to you and continued success! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GOHUSKERS2 9/3/2011 8:50AM

    I guess thats the big answer...you have to really want it and you did and just look at your know!!! You are an inspiration.

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HOT4FITNESS 9/3/2011 8:29AM

    And I bet onbe of the hardest wa giving up the soda. It has been a year now since I have had pop. And I would agree that i don't snack and binge eat as often. I think I m less tired too. You have a had a good year. Keep up the good work!!!

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By the way, blogging works

Friday, September 02, 2011

These little pep talks I give myself? They really do work. Yesterday I blogged about the recognition of my own needs, and how it was my job to make sure they were met so that I could then fulfil my other roles that include helping others.

When I wrote it, it was in recognition of getting close to the edge, with concerns about people I care about being high, and my usual work persona of allowing others to interrupt, making their priorities higher than mine for a bit (don't want someone else staying "stuck" on their project, as the whole team's work is important). But I had got to the point where I wasn't getting my own work things done! And by Tuesday afternoon late, I was just about ready to snap. There was NO WAY I was going to stay late. I wanted to go see for myself that my sister really was OK.

I found myself saying "no" at that point to an interrupt request for help, and then falling into the old pattern after the fact of feeling bad for having done so, stewing over the feelings the interrupter might have had.

Then Wednesday night I was in bed and the phone rang. Rather than going downstairs to look at the caller ID, I picked up. It *could* have been my sister or my son, both of whom are high on my priority list right now. But, it was NOT someone I know and care about... in fact, I have no clue who it was, probably some poor tele-surveyer or marketer or charity solicitor... but when they asked if I was available I snapped at them: I was asleep! If you don't know me personally, you should NOT be calling me. This number should be on a "do not call" list!

And again, rolling back over in bed... I had those bad feelings about having snapped at this poor person whose job it is to make those calls. What if it was some organization that I *do* regularly support? Or a survey I volunteered to take and gave my phone number to?

When I get to the edge like this, it's a sign that something is out of balance. I'm *not* prioritizing correctly or keeping things in perspective. Yes, it is also a bit of a sign of the stress I'm not handling as well as I'd like, too.

So, deep breath, write the blog. Remind myself that a) it's OK to put me first sometimes, and b) taking small moments and putting some interruptions off for a while is not only OK, it's my job to prioritize... this reminder helped me get through the day and back to a better balance point.

Today, I will have time for work, time for me, AND time for the people I care about. Oh, and I *will* remember to BREATHE.

Life's good. Spark on!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KASEYCOFF 9/4/2011 5:22AM

    Oh, absolutely - there's a reason journaling is often recommended as a therapeutic tool and as a way of getting in touch with our feelings, as well as developing some breakthrough revelations.

The other part is, sounds to me as tho you are gradually moving the balance back to 'moderation': no one thing taking up all your available time (and energy, and resources). Rather, partitioning out a section for work, a section for loved ones, and most of all, a section for yourself.

Ah... for what it's worth, Barb? I see no section in there for 'telemarketers who don't give a rat's about the other end of the phone as long as they get paid,' lol...
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FIT-AT-50 9/2/2011 9:56PM

    Ditto Watermellen! Your blog is just the reminder I needed too!

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BARBAELLEN 9/2/2011 9:55PM

    You aren't kidding. Blogging really does work. When I started blogging on SP, I figured the purpose would be to help and support others. As it happens, the only way I could blog is to just let my fingers go, since I didn't feel all that inspirational. I started getting responses like "you are so humorous" and "you are so insightful." It was shocking, as I didn't see myself that way. But it sure made me feel good that I was maybe was giving something back, and I definitely found a vehicle for catharsis. Win, win.

So, what I'm getting at is you should continue to blog just the way you do! Sometimes it will be profound, sometimes it will be musings, sometimes it will be venting, sometimes it will be just about YOU! All good things! I love your blogs and always look forward to them! Thanks!
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_LINDA 9/2/2011 8:48AM

    I have had an unlisted phone number right from the start, but those phone solicitations still find me and aggressively so, two kept calling me at all hours, several times a day, until they reached me, and it turned out they were from my bank, trying to sell me extra features and I have no wish to pay for or need.. I listened politely to their spiel and said no thanks and that was the end of that, but a new untraceable number has been calling and hanging up when I answer, strange and irritating. I have call display, and don't mind talking to these people and saying no so they don't keep calling me, but its hard to do when they hang up.
But I won't allow any interruptions of my exercise and thanks to call display, I don't have to as I can call them back when I am done.
Here is to putting yourself first!!

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DEBRA0818 9/2/2011 8:47AM

    Writing accesses a different part of me than speaking or thinking does -- and sometimes leads to surprising revelations. It's a great tool for developing clarity of mind and purpose. And it doesn't hurt that it sometimes helps others too.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 9/2/2011 8:34AM

    Yes, blogging does work! I don't even refer to it as blogging -- to me, it's "keyboard therapy." Just the process of typing my thoughts reinforces them in my head. And I need all the reinforcement I can get. I don't write them to enlighten anyone but myself. But if someone else is able to pull something they can use out of them, then that's a bonus.

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WATERMELLEN 9/2/2011 8:10AM

    Agreed! blogging works . . . and your blogs frequently work for me too, thank you!

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