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Over-peopled, but in a good cause

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Being an introvert, I seem to have a need to take time alone to assimilate all social things that happen... the conversations I have with people, the things I've done and said, the things done and said around me. For me, that means time alone.

Yesterday was a really, really intense social day. And I have to wonder what I was thinking when I promised to help my sister clean up the party venue this afternoon. But I think I'll be OK with that because she's introverted, too... and just the two of us is quite different from a room full of people!

The social intensity yesterday? My niece was bat mitzvah'd. I went to the service, where I felt out of it, not knowing the prayers or understanding the Hebrew... but being so proud of my niece who has grown up in it and spoke with a clear sweet voice, reading her portion with confidence. I wept over the speeches her parents gave her, seeing my mom's face and my dad's pride in family reflected in my sister telling her daughter how proud she is. I had to giggle over the story of the tallit (prayer shawl)... which had been given to my sister as a conversion gift when she took up the study and practice of Judaism over a decade ago. She told the giver that she would not be using it... now that shawl has been ceremoniously wrapped around her daughter.

Now I know that here are Spark there are people of many faiths... and I'm not one to put mine out there. I'm more a believer in "show your faith by your works"... I had to put a few of these words out there to describe what I saw and felt yesterday. I'm not Jewish. But some of my family are. Anti-semites need not visit my blog today!

If you know your Bible you would have been totally at home with what was read... the Torah is the first five books of the Christian Bible, too. My niece's portion came from around the ten commandments. Not a one of us grew up in Christian Sunday School without being exposed to those... and seriously, any faith of substance teaches similar principles.

And verses from the Psalms are the same once translated to English. And my sister read them with feeling. They brought echoes of my Dad or Mom as readers in the church of our youth. And my niece's brief sermon was wise beyond her years, celebrating her coming of age.

I think at times, we drown out the young people with adult conversations at family gatherings, and it's important to take time to listen to them. I now know that there are things my nieces and nephews know that I do not (like a whole other language - Hebrew, for one thing)... and if I can get past my fear that they might think less of me for not knowing... and listen to their youthful wisdom and idealism, I can be a better person for it, and the world might be a better place, too.

There was lunch following, and an evening bring a dish and ice cream social. A huge, long day of partying after the service, in short. I'm pleased with how I planned and followed the plan, as far as food and activity are concerned. I focused on people, rather than food. This morning I find myself wondering how much of my historic food focus has been trying to gain energy to deal with people, or trying to avoid dealing with people.

The young people? Full of springs! They danced, they did the limbo (my niece is actually pretty good at it) and the adults reminisced over being young and limber enough but were not foolish enough to try it!



I left the day yesterday feeling good about the generation who will next take charge. These are good people becoming adults, despite us and because of us, and taking their places beside us.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 7/25/2010 10:06PM

    How wonderful for your and your sister.

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KASEYCOFF 7/25/2010 5:32PM

    Good one, Barb - great to spend time with family, great to celebrate the milestones. :-)

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WALKINGANNIE 7/25/2010 1:42PM

    I enjoyed this interesting blog Barb. You had a busy day, socially and emotionally. Well done for having good plans and such a positive and open attitude.

I really liked what you said about the next generation.



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REJ7777 7/25/2010 1:02PM

    I enjoyed your blog. It sounds like it was a wonderful celebration! When I'm around young people, I always try to get them to talk so that I can affirm them.

But, like you, I'm an introvert. I do not *enjoy* being at social events where there are a lot of people. It drains me. I've been blessed with many friends, but I enjoy them one at a time. I also enjoy being alone because I need time to reflect and re-energize. As an introvert, I think you understand what I mean.

I was surprised to see that it was your niece's bar mitzvah. I always thought bar mitzvahs were for boys. Shows how much I know about Jewish feasts! Did bar mitzvahs used to be just for boys and then evolved to include girls, or have they always been for both boys and girls? Just curious. emoticon

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APRILLSCOTT 7/25/2010 9:38AM

    Bsrb,
Sounds like you had an interesting day and learned a lot about another faith! Great job on focusing on people instead of food!
You know the children of today are our futures! I like what you said, "I left the day yesterday feeling good about the generation who will next take charge. These are good people becoming adults, despite us and because of us, and taking their places beside us." That's it in a nutshell isn't it, and doesn't it feel good to feel good about it? emoticon emoticon

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LJCANNON 7/25/2010 9:07AM

    It sounds as if you all had a Blessed day yesterday.
emoticonDid I read/understand right that your SparkLife has helped you enjoy your Family/Social time better? If I did, then it is another example of Spark improving so much more than 'Just' or weight.
emoticon emoticon

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PEGGYJEAN13 7/25/2010 8:44AM

    It sounds like a wonderful day.

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JUDITHANNIE 7/25/2010 8:39AM

    There is only one God it's all on how you choose to worship Him all faiths lead to the same outcome. Wonderful blog.

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GOHUSKERS2 7/25/2010 8:25AM

    That was an education for me. I did not know that girls were included in that. I always heard it was boys coming of age. That's nice to know as I like to learn new things. Sounds like, all in all, you had a wonderful day, and to me, anytime we get our small family together, whatever the occassion, it's a good day!

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MSLZZY 7/25/2010 7:25AM

    How wonderful for your niece and a great blog on accepting other religions and cultures as special. Our youth will take over for us and with us and that is a very good thing.

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Photo Walk

Saturday, July 24, 2010

People have been blogging their photo walks, and I had not taken my camera to work, so didn't post my urban walk before. Here are some of the things I see as I do my break walks throughout the work day. I start with a view of our State's Capitol building, as a general rule.



Around the corner and down the block, we see the first of three churches.


As I walk beside the capitol, I could look back over my shoulder and see the building that more tourists stop me to ask about than the public ones. For the curious, this was the Woodmen Insurance company's building and their logo. The figures are (gasp) nude... or rather they were, until some public sensitivities made the company go back and retrofit "clothes" onto them.


When I get to the far corner of my short walk, I can see the start of what's called the Near South neighborhood, an area of stately old homes. Some of them are landmarks and open to public tours. When I have time to take longer walks, I sometimes walk in that neighborhood and enjoy flowers in season.


Next corner, I'm in the shadow of the tower of the prairie.


Then we get the other two churches.



And close out the break walk with the landscaping around where I work: flowers, and native grasses... this is, after all, the great plains.


I generally do this tour a couple of times in a day, it takes about 12 - 15 minutes, depending on traffic, pace, and tourists. emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 7/25/2010 12:34PM

    It's wonderful that you have such a pleasant route to walk to work. Makes it more likely to walk when it's so enjoyable. Thank you for sharing it with us! emoticon

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APRILLSCOTT 7/25/2010 9:43AM

    I loved the walk Barb, such beautiful pictures! I love looking at different churchs! What beautiful scenery of the town! Looks like a great place to live! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/24/2010 8:59PM

    What a treat to walk through your landscape.

I do think that our outlook on life is in part formed by the architecture we experience -- the only art form we enter into.

Nature matters: but buildings do too! And you live in a place with some very distinguished buildings!!

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ANDI571 7/24/2010 8:25PM

    Loved the pictures. We get to go on vacation without leaving the house. emoticon

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CAWESTY 7/24/2010 7:57PM

    So glad you took the time to photo and share! Thanks so much. I love seeing where others live and walk, and your's is a lovely place.

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LJCANNON 7/24/2010 7:35PM

    All I can say is.........WOW!!! What an incredible walk! The buildings are so impressive. I love seeing all kinds of Old Architecture and Churches always fascinate me.
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WALKINGANNIE 7/24/2010 4:19PM

    Thanks for sharing your walk Barb. I enjoyed it.

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PENNYAN45 7/24/2010 2:35PM

    Thanks for posting the photos. It's fun to see where others are walking.
I especially love the stately old homes - in any city.



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KASEYCOFF 7/24/2010 8:48AM

    Great pictures! I love seeing what's around where people live. Boy, those old houses look fantastic. Is your page background of the Special Olympics 2010 because they are coming to your city? Or have already been? :-)

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JHADZHIA 7/24/2010 8:17AM

    Very nice! I am surprised about the statues. I thought they could get away with just about anything in the name of art these days!
You have a nice place to walk in. I have a lot of churches in my city too, practically one on every corner! Some old and stately, but a lot of modern buildings.
Good for you getting out and walking during your work day! Squeeze in exercise where ever you can!
Lumpyears1 must not have heard the stats that 95% of people believe in God LOL. No wonder they have to build so many churches!

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THIAGRAM 7/24/2010 8:14AM

  Wow! I enjoyed your photo walk very much! Thanks for sharing!

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DISMOM3 7/24/2010 8:03AM

    Thanks for sharing that. What a neat idea.

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MSLZZY 7/24/2010 7:18AM

    Wonderful pics! Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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LUMPYEARS1 7/24/2010 6:15AM

    Is that some kind of religious state with all the churches??

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Now for something completely different: body size thoughts

Friday, July 23, 2010

I lied, it's not different... I've written about this before, just today's pondering on it.

The past week or so I've been pondering about body size and identity. Again. Still. Off and on. When I was a child, I was generally considered small. When I was seven, I was under the mistaken impression that I hadn't changed size since I was two. Silly things like that.

My adult life has been rife with changes in body size, varying from what used to be 12's (probably 8's these days... in fact, I'm in 8's now... which I never was as a teenager!) up to 24's that were getting tight. Nowadays they put "X" on things: 1X, 2X, 3X, etc. but we all know what those X's mean.

Size goes far beyond what shows up on a clothing label. It's in your head. As when you drive a compact versus a full sized vehicle: what kind of parking space do you look for? You pull in with pride to the one that won't fit the bigger car and grin, like you won some kind of contest! emoticon

At the ER last Friday I became conscious of the beds, the wheel chairs, the various things that had to be "bigger" for patients of size. They came and took my bed away! Because someone else needed one with its features, and swapped me out with another that was softer and more comfy, actually, but not as heavy-duty.

Then I started pondering: I used to be "this big" and now I'm "this small"... where DID that volume go? So that got me thinking about how amazing the human body is, that it can change the shape and size it takes up on the planet! How many other things in nature do that? Trees? No. Animals, OK, yes, but you don't see them deliberately attempting to change their size and shape!

That leads to this question: why do we identify ourselves so much with our body size and shape? Does it feel uncomfortable to become thinner? Have we been classifying those around us by THEIR body size, or just judging ourselves?

No answers, mind you, just questions rattling around in the head. And a resolution: to adjust to the size I have become, and not be startled quite so often by the "parking space" I now fit into.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 7/25/2010 12:18PM

    "Now for something completely different" emoticon emoticon

I really appreciate this blog. Most of us reading it are also dealing with "changing body size" issues. Reading your reflections helped me to think things through for myself too. Our comfort or discomfort with our body size influences how we feel about ourselves and the choices we make, so it's very important!

When I had dropped down to 179 lbs. about 3 years ago, I felt so good. I felt light and energetic. But when the scale hadn't moved any more 8 months later and I was still at 179 lbs, I felt fat. I got discouraged and careless and put a lot of the weight back on. But the problem was all in my head! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/24/2010 9:02PM

    Very very interesting blog -- that whole concept of surprise at our own size (and trying not to be judgmental of others' sizes . . . ). Hmmmm. Lots to think about here: these ideas will be rattling around in MY head too. Thank you!

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THIAGRAM 7/24/2010 9:52AM

  I haven't really thought of this much. But now that I have I could probably write a whole blog on the matter. But I think what you have said is "well enough said"
Thanks for sharing!
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WALKINGANNIE 7/23/2010 5:21PM

    Another really interesting blog. I love the way that you think about things.

I still get a bit confused about my own size. I was really surprised in hospital least week when the nurses said that my legs were so slim (they actually said 'tiny') that they didn't have compression stockings small enough for me. It wasn't long ago that I couldn't find leather knee boots that would zip up.


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RAYLINSTEPHENS 7/23/2010 2:26PM

    I refuse to believe that size matters.

But sadly it does.

Great blog!

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MSLZZY 7/23/2010 2:20PM

    Like they say, size does matter. But it should not be a prerequisite to who we are and how we
are treated. Take heart in your "smaller size" and put the past behind you. It is the here
and now that counts. emoticon

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JWADDELL2 7/23/2010 10:29AM

    Gee, I have been in the same boat as most everyone here...the mind and mind-over-body reflections are amazing things! I know what you mean about feeling compassion towards those who are the size I was when I started...no judging, just compassion. I am my own worst critic, but I know that when we went to Alaska in May, my eyes teared up when I put my seatbelt on, with several inches of excess belt....the last time we had flown, I remember praying, "please, God, let it buckle!"

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KASEYCOFF 7/23/2010 10:03AM

    I don't think (I hope I don't) classify people by their body size; I tend not to judge people according to exterior criteria, and if I find myself doing it, I consciously stop it. But I am my own harshest critic, and judge myself CONSTANTLY. Usually the internal dialogue covers everything from body size to 'Why'd I say THAT?' to questioning my abilities - and I generally find fault, but only with myself. It's a mindspeak of continual judging and self-assessment. I'm really glad I don't have to use a seatbelt extender on flights anymore... that I can sit fairly comfortably in just about any public seating... that I don't have to wonder if I can 'squeeze thru' a turnstile. And like you, I would be aware of (and pleased I didn't have need of) the larger wheelchairs or the extra-strength bed. I've been relatively thin in my adult life, a couple of times, but that didn't shush the I'm-not-good-enough voices or eliminate the whole perfectionism thing. Instead of identifying body shape as being what's wrong with me, I'd still always find something. But I don't find those things in other people. Eh. You've really got me thinking here, Barb. Guess I better go meditate on some of this stuff... good blog, hon. Keep 'em coming! :-)

Comment edited on: 7/23/2010 10:08:52 AM

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ANDI571 7/23/2010 9:38AM

    I agree. You know if I am talking to someone that is the size I used to be, I will identify with them, instead of what I am now. I see the menopause stomach, instead of a stomach that is shrinking.

Good question. Do you think it is one that can be answered? emoticon

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THERAPIST2 7/23/2010 9:30AM

    Great thoughts. I especially like the part where the "vanity sizing" has fooled us. I wear 3 sizes smaller now than when I was in high school and I'm back at that weight now.

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CREATINGAMANDA 7/23/2010 9:26AM

    Great blog! I wouldn't say that I'm uncomfortable with becoming thinner, but my brain hasn't quite caught up yet because I still think I'm the same size I was when I started. It's only when certain things happen (like for you, the hospital bed, or for me putting on a pair of capris yesterday that were enormous on me) that I realize I'm not the same size.

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PEGGYJEAN13 7/23/2010 9:09AM

    It is a little like when I looked down at my legs one day and said to myself, "those are my mother's legs, when did I get those." I go through the motions of showering, dressing, and going through daily activities without really seeing myself. I am always surprised at pictures of myself but I have to see myself in the mirror when I put makeup on everyday!

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CHRISTURTLE 7/23/2010 8:58AM

    Food for thought...

Just an observation I made today regarding the way I see myself now compared to before I got back to Sparking - I was walking towards the glass doors at Dad's nursing home and caught sight of my reflection in them. "Hmmm... This bulky jacket makes my hips look big.." was what I thought that first moment I saw myself. Then I thought back to the size I was when I walked through those doors the day Dad was first transferred there from the hospital... I finally saw a reflection of the 'me' I'd become in the time since Dad had first moved in with me - I'd gone from a size 14 to a size 20 in only 12 months and my knees had suffered so much I'd had to give up work. When I realised that I had to have a quiet giggle at the way I was seeing myself today, still not seeing the improvements, focusing instead on the faults.

I spent some time while Dad was napping in his chair thinking about how I saw myself, and I came to the conclusion I definitely notice the areas needing improvement rather than the improvements I've already made with healthy eating and exercise. Don't know whether or not its the same for everyone when they see themselves unexpectedly. I know if I stand in front of my bedroom mirror I can see improvements, just not when its an unexpected glimpse of myself...wonder why?

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KALIGIRL 7/23/2010 8:46AM

    It's an interesting question considering we're all just energy. I wonder if it isn't advertising (particularly the 'small models') that makes us concentrate on size?

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And the verdict is...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

not yet in. BUT... the big scary potential diagnoses have been ruled out:

I do not have MS - the MRI showed that.
I do not have diabetes - the blood tests show that.
I did not have a stroke that they can detect, not even one of the little ones, but "just in case" I did and it's not showing up, they put me on that low dose aspirin.
The carotid arteries look fine.
Calcium levels in the blood look good... which makes me smile... means that parathyroid surgery last autumn did what it was supposed to do.

So, doctor, what's making me numb-y, tingly? Nerve pinched, maybe? He play the physical therapist range of motion "does this hurt" kind of assessment... nothing hurts. OK. Went through my list of things, including the numb finger thing from last winter.

One thing they did NOT test at the ER was my TSH, T3 and T4 levels... and since I've lost a rather significant amount of weight in the last year, he had them tested yesterday. Results to come. Apparently, if the dosage on my thyroid meds is "off" it could show up as tingling.

Beyond that, monitor, record, and come see him next month. Keep taking the baby aspirin. That's ALMOST "go live your life", right?

This morning, I'm all tingly again. Yesterday it seemed to lessen as the day wore on. My sister is volunteering a referral to her chiropractor for evaluation. I'll see how those blood tests come back and maybe consider that... because a pinched nerve in the back (even one I don't feel as pain) can do all kinds of weird stuff to the nervous system!

In the meantime... one foot in front of the other!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 7/24/2010 9:03PM

    Excellent news on the "it's not that" front: big sigh of relief. Now, to figure out how to make you more comfortable all round!

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PENNYAN45 7/23/2010 10:44AM

    This is GOOD NEWS! The really bad diagnoses have been eliminated. I am happy for you.


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REJ7777 7/23/2010 7:36AM

    I'm really glad so many serious diseases were ruled out! I do hope they find the cause soon though, so that it can be eliminated (if possible). Sure would be great if it was only a change in the dosage of a med!

"Go live your life" - Sounds like good advice! emoticon

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KASEYCOFF 7/23/2010 5:39AM

    Wow, Barb, never would've occurred to me that a kind of 'neuropathy' could be related to needing meds dosage changed! (Obviously why they still haven't awarded me that medical degree, lol.) I had a bad experience once with BP medication and losing weight: I had lost sufficient body weight to render my prescribed dosage as essentially an 'overdose' and it caused me to faint. But I never related that to '--change of body weight can also affect amounts of prescription medicines for other problems.' Live and learn, kiddo. Let us know what happens, but it sounds as tho it could just be a matter of re-adjusting the dosage. Fingers crossed! :-)

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WALKINGANNIE 7/22/2010 4:23PM

    emoticon Great news that the scaries have been ruled out. What a relief.

Hope you find an answer though to put your mind at rest.

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ANONALEE 7/22/2010 12:36PM

    Yay for the Bad Things being ruled out! And here's to a minor cause and a simple solution while we're at it!

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PEGGYJEAN13 7/22/2010 12:32PM

    It is nice when they can find a definite cause so you don't wonder. It sounds like they have done about every test they can. Our bodies are still a mystery in some ways!

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LJCANNON 7/22/2010 11:19AM

    emoticonI am HAPPY that the "Bad" things have been ruled out, and I am glad that you are still looking for answers.
Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and know that we are keeping you in our prayers.

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SROUS1340 7/22/2010 11:16AM

    Good to get all those scary diagnosis out of the way.
I've had tingling before I had the shoulder replacement, it was the nerves that had pressure on them. Chiro is a good idea. I like accupunture too.

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PATRISNA 7/22/2010 10:46AM

    Hope you can find out what is causing the tingling and numbness. Glad you are getting results.

I can empathize with you. DH recently went through some of those same tests. He has a pinched nerve that does cause pain in his back and neck. I am glad yours is not causing you pain.

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KALIGIRL 7/22/2010 8:21AM

    Glad to hear the scary stuff ruled out, but am sorry there's no answer yet.
I have a great chiro and get Zero Balance massages as preventative medicine. Let me know if you need a referral.
Sending good thoughts and prayers your way!
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MSLZZY 7/22/2010 7:56AM

    Rule out the major stuff and deal with the minor. Until all the results come back, just try not to
worry. Have a great day. emoticon

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SRFRGRL7163 7/22/2010 7:31AM

    It's hard not to worry about these things, but if your doctor has ruled out the "bad" then it's probably something simple. Don't worry, do as your doctor says and move along. Good luck!

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The trouble with being an analyst

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

These words actually escaped my mouth on the way out of the office yesterday: "The trouble with being an analyst is that you analyze EVERYTHING!"

In this case the "everything" was my recent health things. My co-workers laughed... all being analysts themselves, and completely getting it. See, medical "differential diagnosis" isn't that different from debugging a complex computer system. Just another level beyond.

Problem with all complex systems is that the same symptoms can mean so many different things. You have to get hold of all the environmental factors and trace your way through the internals to figure it out. And even then you can be fooled. You can end up fixing things that didn't need fixing, breaking things you didn't intend to break, and not fixing the original problem!

So this morning I'm taking my list of things I had written down BEFORE last Friday's episode, along with a few additions that I made AFTER... and letting the guy with the training have at it, along with the results of the tests they did Friday.

And hoping he tells me to go back and just live my life already and stop being such an... analyst!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 7/21/2010 9:04PM

    I am not an analyst, but I have on occasion been accused of being analytical.
You THINK too much!" That's always a helpful criticism. LOL.

It sounds like a good plan. We all hope for the outcome you mentioned.

emoticon emoticon

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NELLIEC 7/21/2010 5:18PM

    It is just part of your being to analyze when that is your modus operandi!

So analyze ahead and be open to alternative explanations! emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 7/21/2010 4:10PM

    Analysis is useful - and you're a precious person rather than a machine.

Hope that the experts can put your mind at rest.



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KASEYCOFF 7/21/2010 3:41PM

    I'm with 'Kaligirl' on this one - and be sure to keep us posted - ah, post analysis, lol...

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KALIGIRL 7/21/2010 1:47PM

    Just be sure to 'test' your expert...
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THIAGRAM 7/21/2010 12:14PM

  My dear wonderful hubby analyzes EVERYTHING! I have found it most helpful. At times it really has it's downsides, but I do believe the good outweighs the bad! We really should open our eyes, look around us and then act and undo, and redo and do the do!

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ANDI571 7/21/2010 9:50AM

    Here I just thought I was a worrier. Who knew I was an analyst? emoticon

Praying everything is ok. emoticon

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PEGGYJEAN13 7/21/2010 9:01AM

    Are you saying you have a tendency to make it a bigger problem than maybe it really is? Forgive me but I'm not good at analyzing!

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ANONALEE 7/21/2010 8:40AM

    As my training therapist told me ... "You can't not know what you know, can't not see what you see." For those of us with an analytical bent (whatever form that takes), we have to live with the complexities and the ambiguities that result. Which is both a blessing and a curse. Hoping you're right about your symptoms being "one of those things."

Cheers, Debra
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PMFISH 7/21/2010 8:13AM

    The mind is a wonderful thing. Sometimes we use it to our determent and the same for our body. Give the body good nutrition, even if you have to use supplements, and keep it moving.

Hope you have an excellent report.

Pat

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MSLZZY 7/21/2010 8:10AM

    Good luck with that! Analysts still....analyze! emoticon

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