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It's the end of the month. You KNOW what that means!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Progress photos. I've rearranged the pictures on the front page, and updated the profile shot to be "current".

But as I was messing around with the camera last night, I managed to surprise myself with the look on my face as I hugged the dog... so I had to share that one. I won't give up the one with the sisters from last weekend, though. And what I found had to move off the front page? My "really, really before" picture.

I hesitated, and then decided: it's time for me to accept and embrace this new size. To "stand tall and be small" as Kaseycoff told me to do. I love that motto. "Small pride!" I'm going to have to come up with a few more.

This doesn't change where I CAME from, mind, just a declaration that I want to stay here at "home weight", as WalkingAnnie calls it.

It's amazing what we pick up from our Spark Friends to keep us moving in the right direction.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEGGYJEAN13 8/1/2010 12:14AM

    Grrreat pics!

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KALIGIRL 7/31/2010 6:36PM

    You look fabulous! - here's to tall and small!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/31/2010 3:27PM

    Your new 'home' is compact and perfectly formed!

Well done!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NELLIEC 7/31/2010 2:04PM

    Small pride sounds like a great concept! (I am five feet tall.)

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ANONALEE 7/31/2010 8:24AM

    Congratulations, Barb! And welcome to Smallville, your new permanent home.


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SUNNY332 7/31/2010 8:03AM

    What a great post and what a great motto for you.

You know a lot of my inspiration came from you. I am still biking and walking so know we will both make the 2nd set of 365 miles this year and will probably more than likely exceed that too. How awesome is that?? I would say we are doing GREAT!

Keep up the good work.

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MSLZZY 7/31/2010 7:45AM

    Great motto and GREAT photo! You are awesome! Have a SPARKtacular day and weekend! emoticon emoticon

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And the yard work goes on...

Friday, July 30, 2010

Since last weekend was spent people-ing, I did not get anything done on the yard... regular followers may remember I'm working on "sleeping beauty's forest" otherwise known as nasty weed overgrowth. Since I *do* have to deal with things like allergens and sinus reactions to the same, I'm a little slow at this.

In any case, apparently some of the neighbors have not been happy with my rate of progress, and I got one of those neighborhood association notes in my mailbox about this tree:

I had already taken its picture (above) on July 10th. It was on my list. I just hadn't got to it yet. But oh, my goodness, we get the threat of being turned into the COUNTY, no less, for not controlling the vegetation! Does it look THAT BAD to you?

Regardless of my feelings about getting this ah-hem! embarrassing note, it must have served its purpose, because it got me outside at dusk one evening this week, at the risk of my allergies, and it now looks like this:

I wrote an imaginary insulting letter back to them, which I did NOT send, and hummed the tune to Harper Valley PTA and imagined snipping their little necks... and I'll never look at a neighbor walking their dog by my property again without just "knowing" that they are judging me... but... despite that "feelings" reaction, I do feel better when the yard looks better. So, like I said, did NOT send the letter.

Still, neighborhood associations are a little like the anonymous people who put notes in lockers in high school, telling someone they are a mess and ought to do something about their hair, makeup or weight. Just a more grown up variety. And if I really didn't want them watching over me, I shouldn't have moved into this neighborhood to begin with.

Now isn't that a better reaction than downing a pint of Ben & Jerry's?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WALKINGANNIE 7/31/2010 3:29PM

    You keep your body busy but you're not a busybody like some of your neighbours! (Hope the vocabulary is international!)

emoticon emoticon

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PEGGYJEAN13 7/31/2010 12:24AM

    It sounds like you have tattle-tale neighbors who are just waiting to find something wrong. You did a great fix it job. Now the "police" will have to find someone else to pick on!

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SUNNY332 7/30/2010 10:56AM

    Much better reaction than a Pint of Ben and Jerry's. I am so proud of you.

Neighborhood associations are good at pointing the finger at everyone else.

You deserve a medal. emoticon Team Player of your Association.

Hugs, Sunny

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MSLZZY 7/30/2010 10:25AM

    Some people are just whiners and complainers so I'd just ignore them. The tree looks awesome now so it should be quiet. Have a good day and take care! emoticon

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BLONDWUNN 7/30/2010 9:58AM

    I also love the way you thought through the whole issue. It started my day with laughs.

Comment edited on: 7/30/2010 10:01:33 AM

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BLONDWUNN 7/30/2010 9:56AM

    I can relate!!! That's one the reasons I moved to my unzoned retreat in the WV mountains! Before this I lived in a planned community where everyone HAD to have the same trash can, the SAME white fence (only in the backyard), NO clotheslines, NO swimming pools (the community had one), NO satellite dishes over a certain size, and so on. Any changes to the porch, the front door, the siding of your house, the color of your house, HAD TO BE APPROVED FIRST. For that I paid $242 dollars a month - no lie.

But I must say, your finished tree is beautiful. I'm proud of the hard work you do!

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KALIGIRL 7/30/2010 8:42AM

    Much better reaction and your tree looks fabulous, but I wish whoever it was would have had to courage to come to you and tell you the tree was bothering them.
You were the adult in this situation.

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MT-MOONCHASER 7/30/2010 8:42AM

    Way to go on getting this done. It does look much better, but isn't it a pain to be reminded?

Maybe you ought to turn them in to the Post Office for leaving notes in your mailbox. Unless they mailed it, it is against federal law to leave things in your mailbox...

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PATRISNA 7/30/2010 8:30AM

    I lost it somewhere in our moves, but I had a magazine story about a woman who lived in a condo. She planted those giant sunflowers in front of her condo. Her neighborhood association had fits. She got threatening letters. She said the birds and kids loved them and she gave seeds to anyone who asked. she was hoping sun flowers would be growing in several yards the next year.


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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Several people have asked the unanswerable question of "When will he be home?" and "For how long?"

Well, the answer to the first is "sooner than originally planned". But no exact date given, of course. They never do, operational security and the vagaries of travel being what they are. Within the next month or so, is what we estimate. So it's time to start getting things ready! Thus the car repairs.

The car is back in the garage stall here, and it purrs like a kitten. Mom's pleased. No more muffler roar or wheel bearing squeal. Granted, mom's wallet is considerably thinner, but it's worth it.

The second question is both harder and easier. Easy answer, "indefinitely." Harder: He'll still be on orders for a while, and being a reservist, that means driving back and forth to various places: another good reason to be getting the car fixed up. His reserve contract is not up; there's no guarantee they won't send him somewhere else in the next couple of years. BUT, as we all know, we live one day at a time. I'm trying hard not to count down the days!

I just know it will be a huge weight off my shoulders when his boots are back in the continental U.S. Even knowing that the "most horrifying day of his life" was on U.S. soil. Even knowing that he's going to have to face "that place" again. I just want him home to hug!

Nobody who is a mom can argue with that emotion, I'm sure.

Today's adventure will be a reverse of Monday's. I left my own car in the garage at work when I went to pick his up yesterday afternoon. So this morning I'm walking a mile and a half to catch the bus to work. I could catch it at a closer stop, I just thought it would be a nice morning walk to add to my steps if I walked across the neighborhood to the further stop. In the cool of the morning!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BESTSUSIEYET 7/29/2010 10:37PM

    Good for you, getting that extra walk in this morning! So glad to hear your longed-for date is drawing near -- we trust that God will provide a safe, happy homecoming! God bless your family in special ways!!

Thanks for the hula hoop goodie -- making fitness FUN is going to be key for us in learning not just to lose, but to maintain healthy habits!

God Bless You on your Journey to Health!!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/29/2010 5:30PM

    Thanks for the update Barb. Hope you had a good day and the time will pass quickly until your son is home again safely.

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PEGGYJEAN13 7/29/2010 1:25PM

    It is hard when our children have to be overseas. It is always a celebration for the moms and dads as well as the soldier when they get home. Give him a hug from me too plus tell him thank you for his work.

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ANDI571 7/29/2010 10:23AM

    So thankful his return will be sooner than later. I can't even imagine as a mother what you go through. But I bet you are so proud of him. I know I am proud of those who will stand up and take charge in protecting our country.

Good job on walking a longer distance to the bus stop. emoticon

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SUNNY332 7/29/2010 8:36AM

    What an awesome way to start your day.

Have a good day and keep us posted on his arrival.

I know you are just so excited.

Be Blessed.


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KALIGIRL 7/29/2010 8:34AM

    What a great way to start your day.
So happy your son will be home and you will have some peace @ least for a little while.

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MSLZZY 7/29/2010 7:15AM

    I hope the time goes quickly for you and that DS can remain home without traveling the world again! HUGS!

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Moving slowly, but moving

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Yesterday was a lost day! On Monday I took my son's car in to prep it for his return. There were several maintenance issues that he'd been "putting off" for budgetary reasons, and this mom wants him to have a solid reliable vehicle under him when he gets back. Ouch on the price tag for that, but I will be so glad to hand this car back to him in prime condition.

The little car had to stay overnight as not all the work could be done in one day. So, the background photo shows how I went home... on a city bus. It's been a while since I rode the bus, and the technology has changed in the interim. These buses TALK to you. They announce upcoming intersections at select points in the route ("Approaching 48th and Normal"), and give in display AND voice, "STOP REQUESTED". Not my grandmother's bus, that's for sure.

Which brings me to this morning's reverie: what kept our grandparents fit? Well, this particular grandma (the one I associate with buses) did not drive after grandpa died. She walked everywhere she could, took the bus for longer trips, relied on rides from friends, or in special cases, took taxi cabs. How many steps would it add to our modern day if we did all that?

Yesterday I got nailed by seasonal allergy / sinus yucks and have spent the last 24 hours attempting to be unconscious as much as possible. This morning, I hunger shoved the unsettled tummy aside, and I've just had some breakfast. So, next step: see if I can get ready and feel OK about going to work!

Hope you all have a great... Wednesday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRISNA 7/29/2010 10:03PM

    You are a great mom! I'm glad your son will be home soon.

My mother always walked everywhere. She never got a driver's license so unless my dad took her somewhere in the evening she was always walking. There was not mass transit in those days.

She was still walking during her 70s to stores near her condo to shop. A few years ago she injured her knee and had to have a knee replacement. I'm sure the 80 years of walking is why she is a very independent, alert, and a fairly healthy 84 year old.

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WALKINGANNIE 7/28/2010 2:55PM

    I'm sure that your son will appreciate the care that you have taken with his car? Will he be home soon and for long?

I suspect that we still walk and use public transport a bit more in the UK than in the US but there's no doubt that most of us have less walking to do than previous generations. I don't remember my mother having to measure a mnimum of 10,000 steps a day.

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CONCHA77 7/28/2010 10:13AM

    You are a such a good mom for helping out getting your son's car fixed. I know he will appreciate it.
My grand mom use to go everywhere by bus, she never drove a car. She lived in the city and even took the bus grocery shopping and to work. I haven't been on a bus since I was in 5th grade except for a tour bus or a quick trip from the airport. Sounds like fun.
Hope your allergies are better today!
(What city is that on your background picture?)

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ANDI571 7/28/2010 9:55AM

    Just think how many steps we would get in if we quit going through the drive-thru for the bank, restaurant, pharmacy etc. We want everything quick, but we are giving up on health doing it.

Is your son do back soon?

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BLONDWUNN 7/28/2010 9:32AM

    What a wonderful, loving Mom you are! I'm with you about our children driving safe cars, and until they're more financially secure, a little help from parents is a good thing!

My mother, who is 91, tells me how they used a hand-pump in their kitchen for water. Good exercise. Look at old pictures: do you see fat people? Not! If we're creative we can set aside some of our comforts such as the TV remote, and add steps to our day.

Loved what you said about the bus. There are no buses anywhere near my remote home, but one never knows when, like you, when the occasion will occur! Best to you and your family!

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REJ7777 7/28/2010 9:10AM

    Sounds like a mother's love! Your son should be very happy with his "new" car! emoticon

I've never had a bus talk to me. emoticon Sure must be useful in not missing your stop!

I'll be heading out to pick up some things in a few minutes. I'll be walking. I would always have taken the car before. I still don't walk to close-by places as often as I should though. I'm still working on it.

Hope you feel better soon! emoticon

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SUNNY332 7/28/2010 9:04AM

    Glad you are feeling better. When will your soldier return?
How nice of you to get his car in for maintenance.

Have a GREAT day.


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KALIGIRL 7/28/2010 8:58AM

    Trip to Europe was filled with public transport - wish we had more here for our health and the planet's.
Hope you feel better soon!

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DEBRITA01 7/28/2010 8:37AM

    What kept our grandparents fit? Exactly what you described...they didn't have the conveniences we do and had a good work ethic. My grandparents were pretty hard working and industrious...not ones to sit and watch t.v. I especially think of my great-grandma, bless her heart, she would have an itinerary for each day of the week. Monday was laundry and ironing day, Tuesday was housecleaning, etc....and each day she cooked from scratch and walked everywhere she needed to go. She lived an active and productive life.

I know for me, living in these times, I can be lazy since everything is easier. What I don't understand is...with all the modern conveniences we enjoy, why don't we have more TIME? Sorry, that's a topic for another blog...

Hope your son returns safely and enjoys many miles on his overhauled car. And, I hope you feel better soon...I know your pain with the sinus infections...they are the pits! Take care...

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MSLZZY 7/28/2010 7:57AM

    Hope today is better! HUGS!

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Adjusting views

Monday, July 26, 2010

I saw a blog this weekend that talked about taking a break from Spark, because the person realized that she didn't want to be quite so self-focused on the weight thing. It made me think (as generally happens when I read ANY point of view)... about whether I was going too far in that direction.

If all you see of a person is their "spark" life, for some of us it could start to look that way: we look at the scale. We look at our nutrition. We look at our activity. And we write about our struggles and our dreams in that regard.

It all kind of depends on how you use it: is it part of a whole life... where the healthy initiatives need to be talked about SOMEWHERE (like here?), and you still have a purpose and mission in life beyond losing weight or getting fit?

The whole philosophy of Spark and motivating ourselves to get healthy and fit is so that we can fulfill personal missions and visions: those visions can vary from being there for children and grandchildren to achieving financial independence to changing careers... to volunteering and helping others.

Only each individual can reach the conclusion of whether the focus is tipping in an incorrect direction for him or her. As of right now, I think I'm OK... and I hope most of us are... and if not... we can adjust and do what we need to do to keep our balance in life.

That said... I have echoes of Annie (WalkingAnnie) in my head this morning, as my scale dipped below 130. For the first time since college, I'm sure. Now is when I start to get "nervous" about having lost maybe "too much". I've been monitoring my intake and I'm within range, but I may need to take care to start once again eating a little more. Not a LOT, but a little.

On the other hand... am I comfortable letting another few pounds slip off? I'm still well within healthy BMI ranges! With that thought at the back of my head I did something I NEVER thought I'd do in my adult life: I ordered some bottoms in a size "small", because that's what the sizing chart says, based on my current measurements (and because the mediums I already own of these things are now uncomfortably loose... I'm going to be running in these pants!)

This is messing with my mind, just a bit. The word "small". It's not always a flattering word. If you describe a person as a "small" person, sometimes the subtext says "petty", or "shallow", or "lacking vision". I want to be sure that as I adjust to wearing clothing with such a label, I don't take on the negatives of it! Even in my self-talk! Especially in my self-talk.

How do you think about "small"? Does it scare you? Does it attract you? Do you focus on its positives, or its negatives? Could semantics be keeping unhealthy habits going?

Anyway, just some more of those rattling thoughts on a Monday morning. Hope the start to your week is a good one!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PEGGYJEAN13 7/29/2010 1:32PM

    I'm a little late reading this but I'm glad I found it! Like you, it takes awhile to adjust to a different size. My problem is I wonder if it is temporary and I'm just going to go back to my old ways of not enough exercise and too much food. That is where SP comes in to keep me accountable and on track. I don't want to be obsessive about it but I think I would get off track without it.

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REJ7777 7/26/2010 10:28PM

    In my case, SP helps me to keep a needed focus on my weight-loss. It's not my reason for living, just a very efficient tool. I find that it's very easy for me NOT to keep health and weight-related issues on the front burner. SP helps to keep me focused. It's not always easy to have the right balance though. I'd be interested to know where that ex-Sparker is health and weight-wise one year from now. It saddens me when I see Spark motivators who have lost so much weight they've been featured in magazine articles, then you read in some blogs that they've put all the weight back on. They haven't posted in months and years. I wish I could control my weight without all this effort and focus, but I can't. I'm very grateful for SP and for my SparkFriends!

As far as the 130 goes, it depends on how you feel. Do you feel strong, healthy and energetic? If you're eating healthy and exercising, I think your weight will settle at the best weight for you. Especially if you strength train to add muscle weight. BTW, I'd have a very hard time thinking of you as "small" in any way but the positive sense!

Comment edited on: 7/26/2010 10:30:51 PM

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SHARON2014 7/26/2010 4:33PM

    Excellent blog and thought-provoking discussion. I dropped SP for similar reasons. Now that I am back, since I am totally off-track, I am taking a more measured approach. Trying to walk more each day, cut portions by 25%, forget points and challenges. But, I do like to keep up with my Friends who have shared so much of their lives with me and supported me as well. And, you are one of my SSF's, Sister Spark Friends! Sharon

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WALKINGANNIE 7/26/2010 3:57PM

    Thanks for another thought-provoking blog Barb.

I think that my concern is less with being 'small' and more with being extreme - whether that's over or underweight.

Every now and then I have a wobble about what I feel is the right weight / size / fat%, etc for me and where I would fit into an imaginary line-up of 'normal' women. I truly don't feel as if I would be 2nd in a line-up of 100 women of my age at the smallest end. It just doesn't match my perception - which then makes me challenge my own judgement.

I think I'm over my latest wobble now but it still doesn't take much to make me have doubts. You and other friends are a great help as we work through these feelings.

I'm a healthy BMI and nowhere near the low end of that range. Scarily, this must mean that a lot of women of my age must be very overweight and that a 'normal' weight and size is substantially higher than an averagely healthy BMI.

I think we have to trust ourselves and each other. I know that SP friends will let me know if I'm getting too extreme - and I'll do the same for them.

emoticon emoticon

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ANONALEE 7/26/2010 12:15PM

    The size "Small" does scare me -- I don't know why, but I've always equated small with weak and defenseless. Something I need to get over as the scale slips ever downward. Getting ride of these irrational ideas is part of the pathway for me. I'm interested in your thoughts on it, too!

>P.S. Congratulations for another milestone achieved! emoticon

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ANDI571 7/26/2010 10:17AM

    I feel like MSLZZY, small is just like the number on the scale. For my age and height, I think a small would be to much, but for someone else, it would be just right. I think it is up to the individual. I don't even think Weight Watchers says anything unless you start falling under the range of healthy.

I remember when I lost years ago, my 5'4" niece thought I should get down to the same size as her. I am 5'8". I couldn't convince her that the height made a difference. I think at that time, I was in a size 12, and she was a 9. I wore a size 9 when I was in ninth grade and weighed 125 pounds. I think that would be to much now.

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KASEYCOFF 7/26/2010 9:10AM

    1) You're right, we only see the 'Spark' side of our fellow Sparklers. But just like if you're on a bowling team your discussions will be predominated by scores and techniques and league standings... just like if you're into quilting and you spend time with other quilters and you talk about fabrics and projects and colors... just like anything else in life, THIS is where we focus on nutrition, health, losing weight - so in short, no, I don't think your focus (on losing weight and getting fit) is 'tipping' too far. Moderation in all things, and from what you write it sounds as tho you're aware and work to achieve that balance in your own life.

2) Considering size and healthy BMI and so on, take a look at this blog:


I don't often recommend blogs, but I'm recommending this one, because Catherine (the blogger) makes a brilliant point about health. The standard of health isn't necessarily the BMI but could (perhaps) be better measured by determining percentage of body fat. I think the point has merit and is something to consider.

3) As long as you aren't crossing a line where you are 'below' a healthy BMI, or at too low a bodyweight for your height, then you are on track and doing fine. I think it's just as important to monitor measurements, weight, BP - BG, etc. when you're on maintenance as it is when you're working toward a goal of healthy weight and better fitness. And for what it's worth, I don't have any more negative connotations for 'small' in this context than I do for 'losing.' If there's another word that you're more comfortable with - 'petite' 'tiny' 'little' - use it, but no, there's no negative association for 'small' (at least, not in MY head). I describe myself as 'losing' weight, not as 'gaining health' or any of the other terms that seem to be coming into vogue. Maybe it's just me, but semantics don't motivate me and don't give me a psychological boost, really.

Be small, Barb! Stand tall and be small! You are achieving a wonderful goal - revel in it and be proud! (Thinks me.)

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JAM2DREW 7/26/2010 8:32AM

    Great blog! You are right that we are focused too much on numbers - the scale, tracking what we eat, etc. that we often forget what is important. I know that I am there.

Sounds like you are making great progress in all directions. Keep up the good work!

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KALIGIRL 7/26/2010 8:28AM

    I love this blog. emoticon

I've decided to stop tracking (and even logging in for sparkpoints) as I find keeping up with my fellow sparkers and reading the health articles takes enough of my time. I'm not sure if I can go cold turkey, but part of it is so liberating. I've reached my goals of weight and nutrition and feel I'm ready to let go of the tools I used to get me there.
We shall see...

PS - You look fabulous, so I'd say small suits you.

Comment edited on: 7/26/2010 8:28:58 AM

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MSLZZY 7/26/2010 7:48AM

    Small. to me, is just like a number on the scale. I try not to give it so much power over my life. Keep a positive attitude about it and you'll be fine.
Under 130? Awesome! emoticon

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