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Moving Back to Oregon - update!

Monday, February 20, 2012

I have been busy, busy, busy. Packing and going through trying to get rid of extraneous possessions.

The situation that I wrote about in my previous blog with the lease at our current apartments has been pretty much resolved. We posted an ad on Craigslist and She (our apartment complex manager) also posted one. HERS looked like a SCAM. She only posted a picture of the leasing office which look like a small house, and put the wrong info in the listing. I don't understand how she has/keeps this job. Our listing worked. Someone who had applied for an apartment here back in December came into her office the very next day and said they wanted the place. They had already been approved and done all the income qualification paperwork and everything so there is not even going to be a week between us moving out and them moving in. We don't have to pay anything. It's still a really crappy policy but I don't have the time or resources to do anything about that. We are not the only people going through issues with them so I am confident she will be in trouble soon. She blamed a lot on the previous manager, which is her sister-in-law, so she's obviously a really stand-up person. (Not)

So now I need to find a place to live in the new city sight unseen which I am getting anxious about because my husband starts his job March 19th. Today being a holiday a lot of offices are closed, so I haven't even been able to contact any places yet or get any response. Yeesh! I am hoping the process will be much more expedited this time because we are definitely not going for a low income establishment again. Too much paperwork and too many restrictions and hassles.

My husband is giving notice at his current job today and I am packing and trying to get as much done as I can. His parents have offered to DRIVE out here with their truck which is no small task to help because we could really use the extra space in he truck and need one of them to drive one of our vehicles out there. Another factor is that there may be snow or ice for part of the drive. We may have to take a really roundabout route or just take it really slow. We will have to see how that goes but I do not have winter/snow tires so that is most scary for my little car.

I will not miss much about the Idaho Falls area, but I feel bad that we are leaving behind some good friends who are stuck here for another year. It's going to be a really good opportunity for us. Even though it is a new place, it will be more what we are used to hopefully.

I am going to have to cut this short so I can get my stuff done around here.
THANK YOU SO MUCH to all the spark people who took the time to give me advice and feedback about the situation. I was really touched, sincerely. It really made me feel better and I will make sure that I don't get screwed around any more by this place after we are gone, and I will certainly make sure of the terms in my next lease before I sign anything. I really appreciated all your kind words!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEELIXNKES 2/22/2012 12:25PM

    emoticon So glad it worked out. Sending you energizing but calming thoughts for the days ahead. emoticon

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SHRINKINGLULU 2/21/2012 5:26PM

    Sounds pretty exciting!! Good luck with all that packing!

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CODYG123 2/21/2012 3:19PM

    It sounds like you are half way there! One thing I keep in mind is that there is always more stuff around the corner. Don't let the stuff control you. Good luck!

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GWTRIKER 2/20/2012 10:26PM

    Good luck in your move. It is never easy deciding what to keep and what to get rid of. Have a safe journey.

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Getting Back to Oregon?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Sorry if you are reading this and it seems like a jumbled mess. I got up really early this morning and just needed to vent and get this news out there. Yesterday was SO STRESSFUL. There are going to be many stressful days and weeks to follow so i probably won't be around much. So much has happened this past week I don't even really know how to process it. My husband and I got some really great news, followed by some not great news and we are now in an even worse, more precarious situation than the last time we moved, which I didn't think was possible!

My husband has been applying for jobs in other areas because right now there seemed to be a glut of them in the areas we were looking to get to and these opportunities in his field don't come up very often. He applied in Las Vegas, and Spokane, Washington and never got called. he applied in Seattle which is a big deal, and didn't get an offer, or even a callback. He had a phone interview with a station on Monday and got a job offer Thursday. The station is in Southern Oregon, we had previously lived in the Portland, Or area but I think Southern Oregon is as close as we are going to get right now. The job is not a huge bump up career or salary wise but it is going to be only a 6-7 hour drive to see his family as opposed to an all day travel nightmare that we can only afford to undertake for Thanksgiving. It is more of a managerial role than he has ever had before so that will be good. Plus it is in a place where hopefully we can settle down for a few years instead of living the way we have been where we are always unstable, always looking for the next better thing. Eastern Idaho is not a terrible place to live, it has just not been a great fit for us because the culture here is quite different than what we are used to.

We of course feel like we have to accept the offer, we are definitely going to, the only real problem with it is that they want him as soon as possible which is problematic because we have SO MUCH STUFF to do before we can move. Yes we put our selves into the situation by applying, I accept that 100%. My husband works in the TV news business so at least we have the excuse that it is "sweeps" right now so they are giving us a little leeway because having an employee up and leave during sweeps is I guess, verboten. He is not under contract so technically he could leave whenever, but we have so much to do in order to move, we need as much time as we can get.

So we contacted our apartment manager to tell her that we need to find out how to give notice that we are moving and all that. We live in Income assisted apartments which has been all that we can afford. When we first moved here the acting manager went over our lease and told us that the only stipulation to breaking the lease would be that we would have to pay an extra month of rent past our move-out date, and give 30 days notice of course. Apparently this policy has changed with our 2nd year lease. When we signed our 2nd year lease, management had changed more than once, we are never notifed when there is a new manager so I can't say how many times. Apparently there was NO manager for a few months and we were never aware. We pay our rent and other than yearly recertification we haven't really had to deal with the managers all that much.

We were supposed to sign a new year long lease in May 2011. That did not happen. We went to the office and expressed interest and nothing was done until August 2011. We had tried to find another place to live closer to his work with no luck and we wanted to stay. We always knew that we would be getting out early as soon as we could find a job because we didn't want to be moving during the hottest part of Summer. When we resigned, literally the manager came over and brought papers and said "Have these back to me tomorrow so I can start processing them." She never offered to go over it with us. I don't know if she is required to. If I had known about the policy change we NEVER would have re-signed. It is not like a normal complex where you just re-sign a lease, we have to be re-approved through our financial records that we are still eligible to live here, which took about 2 months to be completed before we could move in in the first place in 2010. There were extenuating circumstances in that, but still it was pretty ridiculous.

Anyhow to get to the main problem: the new policy is that if we are going to break our lease WE have to find a new tenant or else pay the remaining part of the lease. Which normally would just mean paying through May since that would have been our year mark, but since the management dropped the ball, it means paying through to AUGUST. her excuse is that the previous manager left during that period and when she came into the job she had 65 people to re-certify. That's not really my problem. I feel like we should not be held to that since we should have been re-signed in May regardless. But we did sign the lease, so we are held to that. I don't see that there is anything we can do. I called her yesterday and had words with her and was essentially out-bitched. She is not very professional and not very bright honestly, (she admitted that if I emailed her her response might not make any sense...How did you get this job??)but good at talking over people just repeating her point until you can see that nothing else matters and nothing is going to get through. I ended up getting frustrated and 'angry crying' which I guess is better than screaming and yelling, but far more embarrassing. Now we have less than a month to do countless moving related errands, find a place in the new city to live (sight unseen), advertise and find a new tenant, and wrap up all loose ends here.

My husband and I are excited about the opportunity, but it has just been a crap storm finding out about this lease thing, and how soon we need to move. I know we should have known about it and we are liable since we signed, but that doesn't make it suck any less. So we have put an ad on craigslist and any potential renters are supposed to contact our manager. I have heard nothing but bad things about her, so I am trying to be really optimistic that she will do her job properly. She says the complex is at 100% capacity so ours is the only vacancy available. I'm hoping that is a good thing. We need to get to contacting potential apartments in the new city too and this is just feeling way too familiar from the crap we went through when we moved here originally.

I spent all of yesterday assessing our packing situation and forcing things that we don't need on our very nice next door neighbor. Said neighbor offered to call the corporate office of our apartment complex anonymously but was never able to get through to anybody. Her and I have never been best friends, but she was really there for me yesterday and I think I would have been a useless puddle on the floor literally (very emotional) and figuratively if I hadn't had her to talk through it with and be indignant with, so that was nice at least. Plus I got rid of some stuff, Woo!

I know we brought the situation on ourselves by applying for a job when we didn't know all that moving would entail. We are lucky in a sense because when we moved here we kept 2 closets worth of stuff that we never unpacked because we knew we were in a temporary situation here. Mostly wall hangings and picture frames and keepsakes that are fragile and had been very carefully packed in very sturdy boxes. I went through some of these yesterday and realized maybe they were a little TOO carefully packed and fit a couple more things into some boxes. I am hoping we can downgrade a little of our stuff so that we don't need the absolute biggest U-haul in existence for our 15+ hour commute to the new city. Not to mention I don't think we will find an apartment quite as big as this one in our budget, so I don't want to live like hoarders in a smaller place with wall-to-wall crap.

So that is what is going on in my world right now. if you are my sparkfriend do not be alarmed if there is no word from me for a while, or if I leave some very cryptic frustrated status updates. The gym that i joined recently has a branch in the new city, so I have every intention of keeping up with that, but packing and settling the moving situation is all that is in my forseeable future.

To end with some positive vibes:
Yay Oregon!!
Much closer to family!
Winco!!
Rain!!
Real weather and normal seasons!!!
NO SALES TAX!!
Recycling!!!!
Yayy!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SRHALLIN 2/19/2012 8:20PM

    Man, there's just so much frustration about that lease agreement. My aunt was hit with a similar agreement when she left her last apartment. She offered to pay them for the 30 days, +30 days, and they refused to take it. So, she declined to pay them for any of it; which had apparently become the standard response from the complex's frustrated former tenants. When she left, they had 8 vacancies that other tenants hadn't been able to fill for them when leaving, either.

Still, to put a clause like that into a low-income housing complex seems ludicrous. I'd talk to the state about it, as that is obviously at odds with the financial conditions for the people residing there. Maybe talk to your case worker? (There are always people looking for low-income housing who can't get onto Section 8 because of the waiting lists... so, maybe you'll get lucky.)

I know it is all horribly stressful, but, stay mindful of your feed and enthusiastic about the opportunity. The more positives you can find in this experience, the less stressful it will be for you and your DH. You're an amazing woman, and I know that it won't be easy, but, it is do-able and you and your family will be much stronger and happier with your feet planted in firmer ground.

I'm here if you need me, as always. - hugs -

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CHEEKY1000 2/19/2012 3:26PM

    I'm jealous! Oregon is beautiful! I'm in Arizona, so anything with seasons other than Hot and Hottest is vastly appealing. lol

What a terrible policy! I can't even believe that's legal. I could see being responsible for a month's rent or something while THEY find someone (especially because you didn't just change your mind--you're moving out of state for a job). That's their job, and it sounds like your apartment complex is in high demand.

Best wishes!!

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BETTA13 2/18/2012 11:17AM

    Hope things go well for you. I was raised in Portland. I am excited for you. It is awesome to live close to family.
I have a good feeling things will work out for you...just thinking out loud.
Hugs...hope to see you back on SP soon.
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OUTDOORGIRL69 2/17/2012 8:36PM

    I agree with IRISHBEANERGAL. Go above the management. This is from a manager that I am.

Good luck and my prayers are there for you.

Lots of

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ADLINS 2/17/2012 6:55PM

    I may soon be in a similar position except about the lease as mine is literally up this month, but I also believe mine was pay a month's rent. Here's what I would do. Read the lease if you haven't already. Don't take her word for what it says. Then, go over her head and contact the management company directly.

Then, take a deep breath and let it all go. If this is it, this is it and you can't change. What you can do is find the tenant and look forward to this return to Oregon. I know it seems impossible right now, but it all comes out in the wash and in the end you'll be someplace you want to be and your husband will have a great new job opportunity.

Hang in there! And, feel free to vent anytime.

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TURTLERASKIN 2/17/2012 4:31PM

    I'm so sorry you're in this situation.

What the management company told you -- that it is your responsibility to find a tenant -- doesn't sound right to me. Usually what happens if a tenant terminates a lease early is that the tenant can be required to pay damages, meaning that the tenant can be required to pay the rent for the time the apartment is empty. BUT usually the law puts the burden on the management company to find a replacement tenant.

Idaho Legal Aid (idaholegalaid.org) may be able to help you deal with the landlord; it's worth a call to them to find out what the law actually says and whether a lawyer who knows landlord-tenant law in Idaho can think of other ways to fix this situation.

I'll be thinking of you.

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SUSUSUZZZIE 2/17/2012 2:16PM

    Congratulations on the new job for your husband. It sounds very exciting. And just plug along and do your best. I will work out. And do your best to work out your stress in healthy ways.

I'm sending you a SparkMail about your lease situation. I'm not sure if anything will help, but it may be something.
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IRISHBEANERGAL 2/17/2012 12:55PM

    I would go over the head of the manager to the management company and plead your case. Limited income housing is at a premium (usually) so there have to be people looking. Perhaps they (the management company) will meet you half way.

Congrats on the good news about Oregon.

~Irish

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September Wrap-Up Review

Sunday, October 02, 2011

I'm sorry I have been a little absentee with commenting on the friend feed and friend's blogs. I've gotten some spark-fatigue and I am still tracking and doing everything I'm just finding myself not wanting to spend as much time on the computer. I have a busy time coming up but I will try to check in with everyone when I remember. I had a great vacation with my husband and my in-laws and managed to not gorge myself completely on goodies. I ate more than I normally would but within reason and never to the point of being over-full. I went hiking and swimming and our cabin/condo had 3 floors so there was lots of stair climbing. I had a bit of a hard time getting back into the swing of things at home after my few "free-reign" food days. I got back to tracking right away and reeled that in quickly.

I was really fatigued for a couple of days, I think in part because I had to change my thyroid medication schedule while we were gone and then switch back when we got home. So no exercise for almost a week. I was worried to weigh in after that, but I guess all my vacation activity made up for it because I was somehow still down 2.2 pounds. I expected at least some gain that I would have to work off. I was more than a little confused by that, but I'm sure there are many factors that could explain it. I'm not gonna look a "gift horse in the mouth" or whatever.

I did meet my personal goal to lose at least 20 lbs by this vacation!
I am glad I got a chance to have a little break from tracking every morsel that passes my lips and especially glad that I am now through to the other side and firmly planted back on the spark-wagon.

Coming up at the end of October is my birthday. We have a birthday weekend planned and I fully expect to eat whatever I want and not worry about it. We are staying at a hotel in Pocatello with a really fabulous pool, pretty much only so that I can swim. Last year we went all the way to Boise so I could swim (among other things) so this is slightly more reasonable. I will get to swim every day, maybe even twice a day and we are planning to hike along the greenbelt. I won't be near a computer to track and I know that after successfully making it through this vacation I can be ok with that. I can get back on track immediately afterwards and still meet my goals.



Total Fitness Minutes: 1,012

Total Exercise Calories Burned: 9,252

Miles Tracked: 30.65 (I don't trust the tracker on the exercise bike so I don't count biked miles, which is why this month's milage is so low, most of this is walked or hiked.)

Exercise Days: 20 out of 30

Pounds Lost: 9.8!! (8/30-9/30)


I have gotten back on the exercise bike and have phased out the Walk It Out game for a little while because it was bothering my knees. I do 10-15 minutes at a time because it hurts my rear end too much to do more, but I do it 2-3 times a day to make up for it. I have also gotten lots of late night walks in at the high school track. Soon it will be getting down to freezing at night so I don't know how much longer I will be able to keep this up. It's very windy here and that makes the cold all the more difficult to handle. I also pulled a muscle in my calf or something (walking the track) right before my vacation and was super worried that it was going to make me unable to do anything. I used the heating pad on it until it was time for bed and woke up to find it all better. I guess I'm pretty lucky there.

emoticonI've been losing weight consistently despite having a bit of resistance from myself to getting back on the exercise train. I feel like I'm giving in to excuses not to do as much because the weight loss numbers are still coming so maybe I don't need to work AS hard. I went from doing 60-90 minutes of cardio 5-6 days a week (120 once) in the beginning of the month to only doing 20-40. I think 60-90 a day was too much, but I need to get out of this funk and talk myself into being more consistent. 30-40 minutes a day I would be fine with, I just seem to be trying harder to get out of it altogether more often where as before I felt weird if I took a day off. I have a lot of other activities to occupy myself with this month so I think I need to make a list of priorities to hang up in front of the computer desk to see every day what I need to do and in what order.


Other Goals & Accomplishments for the month:

I did my measurements October 1st, but I'm still going to mention them here just to not have to write a separate blog. I've lost another 10 inches from various parts of my body for about 23 inches total. 3 inches from my hips total, 1.5 inches from each upper arm, and roughly 2 inches from each thigh.

I lost (just barely) 10 lbs this month which is the most I have lost in a given month since re-igniting my "spark"

As I mentioned before, I have hit the 20 lb loss milestone, almost 25.

I can walk over 2 miles at a time without stopping!


Only 4 books read for September again but they were all really good. I had a couple of false starts on a couple that weren't very good and not worth my time. I FINALLY got Bossypants by Tina Fey and really liked it (I was 14th in line for it on hold at the library). I also read a fiction book about a woman who had gastric bypass surgery and was dealing with life after weight loss (and quite a few other personal problems). Such A Pretty Face by Cathy Lamb, more chick-lit than is my norm but I highly recommend it. It was long but it had so much going on that I breezed through it. Right now I am just about finished with Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which is non-fiction by Barbara Kingsolver. I'm thinking of writing a blog devoted to it because it is fantastic. Recommended for fans of Super Size Me (movie) or Fast Food Nation and things of that nature. I am still on track for my goal for the year, and I have some spooky fiction lined up for October.

I still need to get better at doing strength training more often. I did really well for about a week and had sore TRICEPS for the first time I can ever recall (that lasted 2-3 days no less).

I have been doing really well at cutting down on sodium. I added 3-4 teaspoons of paprika to my favorite seasoning salt shaker to thin out the salt. I use it on popcorn, potatoes, pretty much everything and it is actually very tasty with the paprika. And bright red which is fun.

I am still eating fruit every night and even brought a bunch with me to have for breakfasts on our little vacation. In-laws think it's weird that I refrigerate bananas, but oh well. Grapes will probably not be this cheap for much longer so I will probably have to transition to apples.

My follow-up appointment to do bloodwork and see if my thyroid medicine is a high enough dose is in a couple weeks. I also get to have my annual 'lady-parts' exam at the same visit which I am not too thrilled about. I haven't had one done in 3-4 years so I guess I'm due. I'm hoping that when they weigh me someone will actually notice the difference from last time, we'll see.


Cooking Adventures:
Now that the weather is going to be cooling off I am getting into baking in a big way and loving it. I made oatmeal/wholewheat bread last week that turned out to be more of a breakfasty or snack type bread because it was very sweet, but sooo good. This week I am going to try to make a sandwich bread for my husband to use so we can stop buying bread. I am getting back into making my own healthy pizza crusts with things like ground flax and oat bran and wheat germ. I have done this for years now but I keep repurposing the recipe to be more nutritious and fewer calories. Because of my husbands work schedule we rarely have meals together so I like to have pizza nights for myself (within range of course) to watch my favorite shows. Or I will make a big pizza for us to share on the weekends. I have about 12 incarnations of my pizza recipe in my sparkrecipes as it is ever evolving.

Lumpy bread loaf.

Proof of crackers.
I am making my fabulous crackers to send my father-in-law as a birthday present (since we also got him a pretty hideous swim suit). Next week I am going to try my hand at making whole wheat tortillas (with some other healthy things thrown in) to make burritos for my husband. There are some really good healthy ones on the market that I want to try to emulate that cost 3-4 dollars a bag. I am hoping this will work out because it will save us a lot of money.

Doesn't really relate to anything, and maybe I'm way late to the party, but I found pretty much the best nerd-feminist-girl blog ever. I'm not that into comic books but if you skip over some stuff there are a lot of really great reads here: themarysue.com.



October Goals (yes I am talking to myself here):

Get MORE STRENGTH training in. It is super easy you just have to remember to do it. I have Kettlebells for Dummies coming from the library so hopefully I can figure out a good routine.

Keep up the outdoor walking until it's too cold to do so anymore.

Keep stationary biking, even if you have to do 10 minutes 4 or 5 times a day.

Don't let your birthday be a roadblock to success. Enjoy yourself for a couple DAYS, not the whole week. Get back on track quickly, stay motivated, and finish the year STRONG. Focus on the clothes in the closet that still don't fit. Focus on not turning another year older, fatter again. Can't be at goal by/before 27 if we don't power through 26.

Get some Art/Craft projects done. My mother-in-law asked me to make some things for her booth at a holiday bazaar that she participates in every year so I have to get these things done and sent to her before November. I have just barely started so I need to get some work done on that.

Read more. Halloween has been my absolute favorite holiday since I was a kid. My October tradition is to make a big list of spooky theme fiction, and then put as many on hold at the library as I can get. I will be busy with some other things but I would like to get 6-8 books read because I am really excited for some of my choices this year. We also have probably 10-15 horror movies saved on our DVR from movie channel free previews so we need to have more movie weekends.
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EDIT: I have been thinking of re-starting a non-spark related blog I wrote a few posts on a long time ago and turning it into a recipe blog. I probably won't be able to start on it until November, but it looks like my crackers will have to be the first entry and I will definitely share it with my spark-buds. Thanks everybody for asking about my cooking projects!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEELIXNKES 10/4/2011 11:43AM

    Sounds like a great month and I can't wait to see the recipe for the crackers. That bread looks yummy too. I've never made bread by hand but never had any luck with bread machines. I need to pull out my kitchen aid dough hook and try to make some recipes I have been saving to try. I found a dairyfree sandwich bread to try but have been putting it off since most of my cooking experiments lately have been duds. Have a great October!!

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BLACKROSE_222 10/3/2011 12:50PM

    Wow - awesome catch up! Thanks and great work on everything!

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MRS_EVA_K 10/3/2011 8:33AM

    emoticon The most important thing about weight loss is doing what works for you. On the ST have you thought about yoga? It gets the heart rate up some because of the breathing and it counts as cardio here but it's a great way to ease into ST. At least it was for me. I like Sara Ivanhoe and Corrina Hammer. a friend suggests Lilias! AM and PM Yoga for Seniors DVD because it's gentle, she suggests ignore the seniors part. She got hers at the library.

Keep going. I look forward to your update on the thyroid.

Blessings,
Eva

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TURTLERASKIN 10/2/2011 10:36PM

    Woo hoo September, and may October be even better! I totally hear you on the not wanting to exercise; I went through a couple weeks like that. Sometimes I forced myself to do it, sometimes now. I had a weekend of indulgence, and then for some reason it was really easy to recommit. So I'm now convinced we all have these down cycles, and it's good to indulge them a little bit as it makes returning easier.

I hope you guys have a fun birthday weekend! My grandparents left Pocatello (well, Burley) in WW2 to move to California, so it's always fun to see that it's a real place!

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SRHALLIN 10/2/2011 9:51PM

    As always, you are moving in the right direction. And you are so pragmatic in your approach. Sometimes I think my single-mindedness - while having benefits - could do with some tempering so that I do not burnout. Thankfully, today is not that day.

Nonetheless, I am always in awe of how well you keep account of your efforts and your results. You keep your details so well in order that I think I must be doing a much poorer job very often.

I'm so proud of you and your hard work and determination. You are on the right road, and I am always honored to share your path with you.

Enjoy the journey. Done correctly, it will not end until you do. :)

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ADLINS 10/2/2011 8:28PM

    You are amazing! Congrats on the weight loss and successful vacation. I, too, have also over sparked and work hard to find a balance. I just started ChaLean Extreme which is all about the weight training and think it's making a difference. I still need to do measurements and body fat, but I know a couple of things are going to throw a wrench in this program before I'm done (a trip and probable surgery) so it will take me a little longer than three months to finish. However, it's definitely weight training and I'm loving it.

As for the exercise, I aim for about 45-60 minutes a day and that works. With the ChaLean, since it's six days a week (different workout each day which is super good for me), I'm doing it even if it's later than I normally do and am revved after each workout, so think in those terms - how awesome you'll feel when you're done.

I barely finished a book this month, so you're four is really good! Just a lot going on and I think I wandered a bit with the book so the next one will just be something plain fun.

The bread and the crackers look amazing. I use crackers with my tuna and am wondering if maybe I should follow your footsteps and make my own. Is it a recipe that can be shared!

Have a super good week!

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SUSUSUZZZIE 10/2/2011 7:37PM

    WOW! What a September! Congratulations on the weight and inches losses!

Your birthday weekend and getting to swim sounds great! Let us know when it gets closer to your birthday!

I'm also very interested in your recipe for crackers if you will share.

Happy October!
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ANNECEK 10/2/2011 6:15PM

    Wow, what a wrap up and your goals are pointing you in the right direction.

I'm like you sometimes, the continuous sparking has to give and a break is warranted.

Good job on the vacation, it sounds like the lifestyle change=you. It sounds like you are planning on how to deal with potential pitfalls very well.

You should post your recipes on Sparkrecipes they sound very good and I am really interested in the tortilla's you are planning to make. The crackers look great too! Are they really crunchy? It all looks so yummy. emoticon

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Happy October!!

Saturday, October 01, 2011

I am working on a September wrap up blog but until then I thought I would send a little shout out to my sparkfriends on the 1st of my most favorite month.

October is my favorite because Autumn is my favorite, and while autumn starts in September technically, nothing really exciting happens until October. Halloween has also always been my favorite holiday too, and my birthday is the week before Halloween. I collect Halloween themed things, thus my new background image.

Here is the full view so you can see all the pictures and a little explanation below of what they are.
I made this with the Oprah.com dream board maker http://www.oprah.com/dreamboard
which was recommended to me by another spark member.


Clockwise from the Left top corner:
Orange and white spiderweb cake was from my birthday in 2008. Monster hand favors from chocolate cupcake from my birthday in 2009. Sidenote: we went to 3 different stores trying to find a good halloween theme cake last year and failed, don't know why. Next: Skeleton bride and groom that we bought because I had originally wanted to get married on halloween but the timing didn't work out, we used them at our January wedding anyhow. They are from the halloween collection at Yankee Candle.

Below that, my husband and I from one of our engagement photos taken in October 2009 at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Or. See you in your dreams is a little figurine/statue that we saw at a craft store once, the artist is Jim Shore and he makes a lot of creepily awesome things. Next to that is our Jack' O lantern from 2008.

Pumpkin clothing tag that I have saved for probably 10 years (tattoo idea). Orange moon is just a google image search find. Then, my beloved German Shepherd who is no longer with us eating the pumpkin innards from jack'o lantern 2008. I still can't believe I didn't find out she LOVED to eat pumpkin guts until she was 13 years old. DOMO! in a pumpkin patch.

Above domo: Sunset on Halloween 2010, not altered, the clouds really were orange and black. Middle: A necklace with charms that my husband has given me with a jack pumpkin and owl, I love owls. Falls leaves and a squirrel in a tree from birthday trip to Boise in 2010.

I miss Oregon particularly this time of year because there is no "fall scent" in the air here. I think the potato dirt and cow smells overwhelm it. Fall colors are hard to find in nature here for whatever reason. Yellow is about as autumny as we get in our yard. We went to a park in Boise last year and I stole an entire paper bag of different fall leaves just so I could have them to remember that these colors exist.

I hope everyone has an awesome autumn!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLACKROSE_222 10/3/2011 1:08PM

    Awesome job! I love it and am excited to read about your October!

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MOM2ACAT 10/2/2011 3:11PM

    Beautiful dream board!

I use to work with a girl whose favorite movie was The Nightmare Before Christmas, and she loved Halloween too; I know at the time I was still working she was planning a Halloween themed wedding.

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TURTLERASKIN 10/2/2011 11:50AM

    Gorgeous pictures and great stories! I will admit that I got spoiled in Chicago with fall; here in So Cal, fall is different; more subtle, gentler. I like it, but sometimes you want those more aggressive smells, and the chill in the air.

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SUSUSUZZZIE 10/1/2011 10:59PM

    I love all of the pictures and your explanations! What an awesome idea! And thanks you for the dream maker tip - I'm going to have to check that out.

Happy Autumn!
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ANNECEK 10/1/2011 4:44PM

    Love the color and festive atmosphere of your background/page. Thanks for the how-to link!

Anne emoticon

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Hiking Trip and Before Pictures

Sunday, September 04, 2011

I'm not out of the woods yet....

But I am sticking to the path and trying my best not to get lost.
I am now into the 280's and hoping to keep blazing through them without stopping. Go ahead and do the math, yes I weighed THAT much, not proud, but it is what it is and now I'm changing it.


This was taken about 1 month ago (7/30):


No, I didn't realize my skirt was all crooked at the time. Yes I'm posting this anyway, I probably walked around the zoo all day like that and saw my husband's coworkers like that, so why not share my crookedness with my sparkfriends? Yes I am a fan of bright colors. Yes I am wearing athletic shoes with a skirt because I wanted to get some real walking done and not be horribly uncomfortable. No I didn't get a side view because this was taken in the parking lot of the zoo before we went in and I was just trying to get the picture done before a big truck drove through it.

I need this picture and I need the reminder it gives me. When I look in the mirror, I absolutely do not see myself this way. In pictures is the only way I really see how large I have let myself become. I have some kind of disordered way of seeing my body. I don't see myself as thin by any stretch of the imagination, but when I look at myself in the mirror (even naked) I don't seem as wide and round as I truly look in pictures. There might be an element of denial here, I don't see an exaggerated super-fat version of myself in pictures either. I did measurements just a few days ago, and even before I got the tape measure out, I looked in the full length mirror to see if I noticed any changes and I certainly did. I'm not overly judgmental of my body. After all, where would I be without it?? I take every roll and dimple at face value. I don't hate my body, I accept it, strengths and weaknesses. I won't mangle myself with surgery, so it and I are stuck together "as is." I can only atone for my past indiscretions by trying to make it the best it can be now. But, when I look in a mirror I guess I have no idea of the dimensions of my body and even though my clothes don't fit the way they did then, I see myself almost the same as I did at 250 or 230 in the past.

This picture was taken this weekend on our hiking trip (9/3):


Yes, more bright colors. Same shoes. I still forgot to get a side view. 8 lbs lighter than previous picture.

That is Upper Mesa Falls and I had to take about 100 rickety wood stairs to get there after hiking a little over 2 miles of dirt trail. My feet were screaming at me but we'd driven 70 or so miles to get there so I wanted to see everything in one trip. This isn't exactly a progress picture. I'm definitely not an "after" by any means yet. I see some differences, I'm not gonna lie. I don't look great but I do look better. A positive change for sure and I'm not discouraged that I don't have a perfect body, and I still have all this cottage cheese crap on my upper arms that might never go away. I hiked over 2 miles and I have a ton of gigantic bug bites and some very sore feet today to show for it.






I'm proud that I did that and kept going. I could have turned around halfway, which I probably would have done if this were the same time last year. I didn't struggle on the trail at all until my feet started complaining. I made it back to the car and then went even further to get to the other falls. I want to be able to do this kind of activity with ease. No excuses, no worrying about whether I will be able to do it. It was one mile there and one mile back and my feet got sore before we got there. I think I need to get some of them 'barefoot' shoes eventually because the cause of my discomfort almost always seems to be the way my shoes and socks rub and not my actual feet. I will definitely be getting some bug spray or something in the future.

There is another falls called Cave Falls about 20 miles from Mesa Falls, but by the time we got done at Mesa we were starving so we just drove back to Ashton, Idaho to get some dinner. I have to say I did not feel guilty eating diner food after all that. That was my first real restaurant meal since reigniting my 'spark'. Cave Falls will have to be another trip, maybe next month?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HIPPICHICK1 9/10/2011 11:05PM

    I think you look fabulous in your bright colours! I'm not a fan of dark colours, but I do like jewel tones. Lately bright green and bright pink have been catching my eye and I have a growing collection of clothes in those colours.
I can really see a big difference between the two photos! You're doing a fantastic job!!
Gorgeous sunset!

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BLOSSOM2344 9/5/2011 2:46PM

    I so relate! emoticon I love bright colors, have that same distorted self perception -although in many cases it could be the mirror itself. Store dressing rooms are practically "fun houses" with the tricks they pull, as are many of the cheaper full length mirrors. Doesn't really help us in the long run.

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BETTA13 9/5/2011 1:42AM

    Love the pictures! I don't think we can tell your skirt is crooked at all! You look great.


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ADLINS 9/4/2011 11:16PM

    What a wonderful hike! And, great pictures... the after, I can definitely see some change. I, too, love bright colors! I hope that never changes for you.

Love the attitude you have about your body! It is what we have and what God gave us, so the best we can do is take good care of it. Keep on going...

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TURTLERASKIN 9/4/2011 10:39PM

    Great blog! I completely understand what you mean about disordered viewing. I don't see myself in the mirror as I appear in pictures. And, strangely, that's as true now as it was when I started this trip.

By the way, the hike sounds lovely, and the pictures are great!

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SUSUSUZZZIE 9/4/2011 9:46PM

    What a great blog. And thank you for sharing pictures of you and your hike. What a beautiful water fall. I love your brightly colored clothes! emoticon

I relate to much of what you say, including not seeing myself as big as I am. I'm always shocked when I see myself in pictures yet I see myself every day in the mirror.

I hope you share pictures of your next hike.

Congratulations on all of your progress! Keep up the fantastic work and thank you for sharing with us!



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ZOE812 9/4/2011 8:18PM

    Congratulations on your accomplishing the hike without giving up! You look great and I'm sure feel so much better than you did a month ago. You're awesome!

My Husband and I hike every Fall and the last two years it was a struggle. One of my main reasons for getting back on SP almost 8 weeks ago was so that when we go to the mountains this year it won't be such a struggle. Like you I'm not even near what I want to be or should be... that's another year down the road but in 8 weeks I've made sure to exercise every day to build my stamina. I feel so much better and can't wait to give it a whirl on the trails. This year is going to be a little easier, and next year should be amazing!

Also, I feel the same way you do... I don't see myself as big as I really am... is that bad? Not sure.

Anyway, keep up the great work! You're doing amazing! I hope you get to take the other trails soon!

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SRHALLIN 9/4/2011 6:42PM

    I love how honestly and candidly you look at yourself and your journey. Its a very stark and revealing way to express one's self. You are fearless in your approach to your journey, and there's something quietly and deeply moving about the way you move towards your goal.

It's always been a pleasure to know and speak with you. You inspire me with your blunt and tenacious way of moving through the good and the bad on this road.

I look forward to continuing to share your journey. Best wishes, Darlin'.

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EVOLVEFISH 9/4/2011 6:42PM

    I am so proud of you, Aurora! That is some serious amount of hiking, and look what you did! That's awesome!

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Way to go, doll!

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