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Drawing the line - but where?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I went to a funeral last week. I wanted to post a blog about it because I have things to say – but I have been reflecting on how and what to say without perhaps drawing a pack of cards down on my head from Sparkers making the huge efforts of moderation that we all are.

This was a very longstanding friend who was my opposite neighbour for 20 years until I moved to Brighton 12 years ago. He was a huge, generous personality and a very good friend to everyone he knew. Everyone is devastated – particularly, of course his wife and adult daughter. It was a harrowing but happy funeral with lots of memories, tears and laughter, which inevitably made us all feel kind of better in the end.

He was not only a big personality – he was a big drinker (neat vodka, being Ukrainian) and a big eater - wonderful traditional rich stews which he made from fatty red meat – huge suet dumplings – big platters of cheese - butter on everything. He loved getting us round his table and plying us all with food from ‘the old country’. He loved drinking brandy and coffee in good weather on Saturday mornings under the apple trees in my garden. Then his wife would come in from the Saturday morning cello lessons that she gave and we would all put together a large late lunch which we ate with our children.

It was a wonderful time in my life, coloured by his generosity and by the food, fun and entertainment he offered (he was a pretty successful classical violinist but loved to play Ukrainian folk music to us all once the vodka kicked in).

I don’t have to add that he has died younger than we would all have wished. Too young to see his daughter marry or have the pleasure of grandchildren. It was his choice – he thought he was immortal – he thought he would be the one to avoid the clogged arteries and high blood pressure. He was wrong, of course, and I guess this blog is because I am wondering where exactly one draws the line between a long healthy life and a life of big food, drink and fun for family and friends who find themselves alone earlier than strictly necessary.

That line is certainly there - but today I am finding it hard to see exactly where it is.

I should add however that at the funeral I didn't abandon the Spark principles I have been fighting so hard to acquire. I ate very carefully from the loaded table, drank mostly water and actually took myself for a walk when it got hard. So maybe there is some kind of hope for me yet.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TSEWARD 6/26/2010 10:00AM

    Very insightful. I am very sorry to hear of your loss. If there could be a positive (and I apologize...I am not making light of the loss of a loved one...absolutely nothing positive about death) losing a loved one really makes us reflect on how we are living our lives, choices we are making, and reminds us not to procrastinate. And there is LOTS AND LOTS of hope for you. I have no doubts in your determination to live a healthy life. You are doing awesome!


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TRENTDREAMER 6/20/2010 8:28AM

    I'm terribly sorry to hear about your friend.

Don't draw a line. Choose "light grey". I'll blog about it.

Comment edited on: 6/20/2010 8:36:14 AM

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MEDDYPEDDY 6/20/2010 4:35AM

    Yesterday I was at a party for a senior writer who retired - she chosed to do it at 65 because she wants to enjoy life the years left. She has children and grandchildren, her husband died from a heart-attack seven or eight years ago.

This autumn she will go to Assisi (Italy) with a church choir and another friend has asked her if she will accompany to Ulan Bator to fix some library or something like it...

She hopefully has many years left to enjoy family, friends, her garden, travels... life!
And that view inspired me to think that I also want many years ahead because there is so much to enjoy in life. Things happens and my destiny is not all in my hands but there are things I can do to make all fun thing reachable. One is to take better care of my health.

I am sorry for your loss but thank you for your thoughts!

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NEW-CAZ 6/20/2010 4:05AM

    Hi Sonia
First I must say how sorry I am that you've lost a dear friend and that his family now has to go on without him. He sounds quite a character and your tribute to him was touching- I could visualise a very loved man.

Eating and living healthily means just that-you can drink alcohol...but not to excess, you can eat cake....but not to excess.
There is no reason not to eat out and enjoy family occasions.
There's a phrase-"moderation in all things"

There is a suggested norm for exercise- 3 x 30 cardio sessions a week and 2-3 ST.
Unless you live a sedentary life there is no other requisite. If you chose to do more; for fun, for running marathons, triathlons and those are your goals-go for it!

But most people just want to be around for their kids, be able to get out and enjoy their retirement, move freely etc
It's all about balance!

And you're already balancing your life style; careful eating and small spats of regular exercise and taking on board the elixir of life (water) so of course there is hope for you, you are doing an amazing job Sonia.....and don't you forget it emoticon emoticon

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Monday, June 14, 2010

I feel weirdly (sorry MP had to steal your adjective!) pleased with myself today. Loadsa fun at the weekend and yet still on track!
In a way I have lowered my sights from the time when I originally joined SPARK – but in another way I have raised them immeasurably. I’ve joined new teams - Slowest Losers and the Official 10-Minute Daily Exercise Streak Challenge and it seems to suit me well thus far – not something I would have expected with the personality I think/thought I had. I always want everything NOW (at once and immediately!) but I have stopped worrying about rapid weight loss. So – in the past two weeks I have lost 1 pound but I have thought about every mouthful – both before and after eating. As some will know I adopted soup for a fortnight as a way forward and I still have soup once or twice a day but other sorts of meals too – all prepared and eaten consciously. I am happy to exercise in 10 minute ‘bytes’ – in fact I had already found out with Coach Nicole’s Fit Firm and Fired Up DVD that I actually do more exercise – several ‘slots’ per day rather than none because I can’t face what to me is a long haul. No chance to get bored this new way.
Who knows if all this will last – certainly not me yet – but I feel better about myself and the fact that I am making progress slowly. Go Tortoises!!!
As always I have to add a thank you to those who have encouraged me – you know who you are :-))

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TSEWARD 6/15/2010 11:44PM

    Thank you for checking on me and hanging in there past the days with no changes on my page! You are doing awesome! Eating consciously is one of the most challenging and life altering habits to learn. Once you have that licked, the rest is easy! (well, relatively speaking). I enjoyed your comment about starting out wanting everything now, immediately! Amen to that! And now you are happy and progressing with a whole new approach. I am so happy for you!

Soup is surprisingly good...a can of veggie soup lasted me a good 3 plus hours one afternoon (hunger wise)...I was shocked. I am looking into having more in my diet.

Sending you hugs and warm fuzzies!

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TRENTDREAMER 6/14/2010 9:39PM

    "Who knows if all this will last � certainly not me yet � but I feel better about myself and the fact that I am making progress slowly. Go Tortoises!!! "

* Go Tortoises!! :D

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NEW-CAZ 6/14/2010 1:33PM

    You've found what works for you Sonia, I'm pleased for you.
You don't have to slog to lose weight, small bites are just as effective.
I wish you luck hun and emoticonagain for the loss so far.
Keep at it emoticon emoticon

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Back on track - again!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Thanks to everyone's encouragement and advice I have climbed back on the the wagon and lost a pound this week thro more careful eating and regular - tho 'small' exercise. Nothing huge - but enough to make me feel better about myself.

I have finally come to see that the process is more important than big losses and I thank everyone who has helped me understand that patience and consistency is what I need to get to where I want to be.

emoticon to all.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEW-CAZ 5/31/2010 10:06AM

    emoticon Sonia
slow and sure wins the race, stick at it babe emoticon

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A good day

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I am very glad the second anniversary of my middle grandson's birth is over. It always brings back sad memories of course - well the memories never go away but it gets easier as time passes. He is buried in a very beautiful sustainability site in the lovely Meon Valley under three trees. Yesterday my son put up a wooden birdbox on one of the trees bearing a small a plaque to his memory, which was lovely. No headstones are allowed - only natural materials that will blend and degrade in a natural way. My son and his wife have considered for some time what to do. They had made a fairly large marker from a part of a small tree trunk that they found on the site and my son - who loves whittling - engraved it with Amos' name and dates. The birdbox is another step - we just hope that it will be inhabited next Spring.

I feel I can really move on now - we have all been suffering from all of this for nearly two years (and will do forever of course) but the paralysis that I have been feeling disappeared yesterday.
I stuck to my Spark guns in the meal we ate afterwards and generally know that yesterday was a good day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    So glad things get slightly easier over time. Have a similar situation with a very prem baby - she died 14 years ago but I'll never forget her

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NEW-CAZ 5/27/2010 6:46AM

    I'm glad it turned into a positive day for you and you can move on.

what a wonderful tribute for your grandson emoticon

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Moving forward

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Well - the soup has worked it's magic and I am back on track.
I also caught a Spark blog from LOSEBUDDHABELLY regarding the set-up of a new team - The Slowest Loser. I feel it's for me at the moment. I need to stop trying too hard - or indeed not trying at all when I can't keep up the effort. Patience with myself would definitely be a good thing.
The 'Slow Food Movement' in the UK (and possibly elsewhere) has similarities. It advocates meals from scratch - not ready meals or microwaved food i.e not chasing instant results. A slower and more relaxed mindset in other words.
So I am going for very slow weight loss without expectations of 'miracles' and slow exercise routines that won't damage my muscles - something I've been suffering from all this year.
Tomorrow is going to be a hard day - a memorial service at my middle grandson's grave - he should have been two years-old tomorrow but sadly he didn't get there. There will be tears and food and if I overdo anything I am not going to beat myself up. For me there's another day . . .

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADDE3333 5/26/2010 9:55PM

    I am very sorry for your loss, and sending my thoughts and prayers to you.

Take care,


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NEW-CAZ 5/26/2010 3:38AM

    Morning Sonia, I am so sorry for your loss hun and will be thinking of you emoticon

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TSEWARD 5/25/2010 6:24PM

    I am very sorry to hear of your loss. my thoughts and prayers are with you. And thank you for your encouragement! Yes, I too am hoping like mad that I didn't do anything permanent. So far the pain and swelling of my foot in general are still there. Today I used crutches. I am so mad at myself!!!!!!!!

Anyway, sorry for wallowing on this particular blog spot.

Hang in there!!! emoticon

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IAMANDARAMA 5/25/2010 6:17PM

    I'll be thinking of you.


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