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Sunday, 8/19 Work and then, well, More Work!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hi there,

I was doing a lot better in blogging until school started, but the truth is that it is hard for me to fit everything in during a work week, so I cut back on some of my sparking. I love sparking, but hen I prioritize, my family and my job come first, then exercise, and then my online time. I don't spend mush time watching TV or playing or anything, I am too busy for that in any case.

This week has had a lot of extras--some of that will change a bit with our kids returning to school on Wednesday. Interestingly enough, temps are expected to get back into the high 80s again. I am so glad for that, the cooler almost fall-like temps of last week really saddened me, I love summer so much. I also had our building's "Back to School" night which used to be called "Open House" in the "olden days,"lol. I ended up babysitting a group of young children in our library for about 2 hours so their parents could go visit their child's classrooms and listen to the teachers talk about rules and expectations. I hadn't finished testing and making my schedule, so it was something I could do at the time. I still do not have a complete schedule--I am waiting for some of the teachers to work together and help me to see some children in the afternoon, but they haven't started trying to work together, so I am a bit lost. I may just put their children on a waiting list and see some of the many others I could see. Best practices says that it is important to see the youngest children first, but if they cannot help me, I need to move on and do something for the children of our school. I will wait and see what tomorrow will bring.

I have another job only partially completed that is waiting on teachers from our building. I am helping a church to provide tutoring for 45 of our students. They ask that the children have reasonable behavior, not be educationally disabled, and that the parents work with them in a few simple ways--like attending an informational meeting, be there to pick up their children of for when the church takes them home, and that they fill out a registration packet. I am helping to see that they get children with like reading skills and I need teachers to help me to select kids with nice behavior. I have about 6 who haven't responded to my request for names. It sure makes it hard--the meetings for parents are in a week, so those permission packets need to go home soon. I hope that my email of the day will get a response.

We have attended a couple of school activities based on the kids' music programs. I finished school shopping (for now--fall clothes will happen later!) and I am sticking to my own doctor appointments and daily workouts. My hip and back are holding their own--those injections have done so much for me. I am going to make appointments tomorrow for my cataract surgery. My vision is a definite problem. I am also, apparently, behind in follow-up appointments with the doctor who did some of my other surgery as indicated by a "slap me on the hand" letter I received Saturday. I was surprised to get it, when his staff had told me that I didn't need any more appointments a couple of years ago. I really didn't want to have any more appointments than I already do, but some things are necessary.

I had an awesome weigh-in this week, made my 5% and got a big star and also made over ten pounds and I got a star for that. I guess that even adults like stickers and goodies. It has been a hard week on a few fronts after my bunny passed away last week. A neighboring farmer gave me another bunny, a lop without a name as of yet. She isn't used to people or being in an indoor cage over her outdoor hutch and I am trying to tame her a bit. She is pretty, dark colored with interesting, soft fur. We are also quite worried for our 17 year old basset hound, Chloe. She isn't eating much and it is my guess that she is maybe reaching the end of her earthly life. I have been able to get her to drink a bit of milk and food from my hand, especially cheese and doggie treats and other people food, but not much else. I am really struggling to get her glucosamine tablets in her and I know they help her stiff joints and her ability to walk around. I am quite sad to watch this and to understand how this will likely work out. It is in the hands of a higher authority. For now, we will lovingly care for her, and love each moment we have her. It's possible that this is some kind of a bug, but it could be something else. She's a sweet old girl and we love her--we got her as a rescue 3 years ago along with our 7 year old pug, Frankie. They have added a lot to our lives along with our other basset, Lady and our Doxie-lab, Scooter.

Anyway, I haven't been idle lately--just not able to spark as much. I will do what I can and I will talk with you all more this week.

Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 8/23/2012 11:35PM

    So very sorry to hear about your poor fur babies :( If its Chloe's time, I hope it is peaceful and painless.
That is wonderful you are feeling good and that your summer is hanging on. The nights are much colder here and it gets dark too quickly, but the days have been pleasantly warm.
I hope your teacher get their act together in time for you to do something for those kids.
Like morticia says, please try make time for yourself, you need some rest & relaxation too!
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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    I am so sorry about your bunny, Sylvia, and about Chloe. I hope she is okay. I know you will take of her as you do everyone. It sounds like you are very busy as usual. Find some time for yourself.

Comment edited on: 8/20/2012 4:04:23 PM

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Monday, 8/13 When did I learn to forget to eat?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hi all,

This is a pertinent question for me to ask. Today, I brought grapes and Greek yogurt for breakfast and a lovely salad full of greens and fresh tomatoes from our garden with me to work. I got my breakfast in and I got busy working...and it was about 2:30 when I realized that I had totally forgotten to eat lunch. I hadn't even thought about eating and I wasn't hungry. I did sit down and eat that beautiful salad because I didn't want to be hungry later on. I am just wondering when I changed from someone who constantly thought about eating and food to someone who forgets to eat. It is an amazing transformation, in my humble opinion.

I am sure this seems like a trivial item to most people, but for me, I have always thought about what food is coming and about all sorts of details with the food. Food has been a friend in the time of need and one of the few things that I could enjoy for so much of my life. I haven't quit liking food--or loving it, but I have finally gotten comfortable with it. I am secure in the knowledge that it will be there and it will taste good. I am now sure that dark chocolate will always taste like dark chocolate, so I don't have to have a taste of piece of chocolate to know what it tastes like.

Have a terrific week this week. Enjoy yourselves!!
Gentle hugs,

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MORTICIAADDAMS 8/14/2012 10:52AM

    It's wonderful to not obsess over food any more and not be planning the next meal. It is freeing.

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Saturday, 8/11 Weekend Activity

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Hi all,

It has been quite a week. I have found a lot to enjoy and have kept away from any serious negative thinking although a couple of things might have taken me there. This is a bit of personal growth--I think one of the motivational comments this week helped me along: "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." In any case, it has been about accepting myself, speaking up for my needs, and then being proactive. I think that I can make decisions and justify good choices at my age and experience levels.

Wednesday was Marissa's birthday and it was fun. She and I went to the pool together--but she didn't get in. It was cold in there after a cloudy day with as close to a damp morning as we have had all season. Marissa shared birthday cookies with the staff that she has been working with and then lounged and read while I did my work out. Brr-rr. We came home for her birthday pizza--I ate two pieces which dipped me into my extra points for the week for the first time. I am sure that that didn't help my weigh-in a lot the next day. She has decided to save her birthday cake until the weekend. I can manage passing that because I have learned to not much care about many sweets.

Thursday was a bit warmer. After the Wednesday fire drill at school, I was able to do a bit more connected work at school. I have taken the bull by the horns and am doing some beginning assessment on some of our newer students. People in my role were told we couldn't do these about five years ago so that classroom teachers would take responsibilities for their own data collection, but with our class sizes being so high and the fact that we have so many new students in our building, it is ludicrous for the one staff member directly trained in assessment to not help out. I will explain this to anybody who may want to hold me accountable. It has helped me to manage some of this time as I have been trying to gather data from other buildings, particularly one rogue school in our district who simply aren't cooperating with any other of our schools. The pool was a bit better on Thursday and I got in a good work out before I went to weigh in. I lost .8 which is better than a gain. I have been looking up every food item again, whether I have thought I knew the particulars or not and I have been measuring faithfully, like I am new to all of this. I think it is helping me to think about food quality better. Our meeting topic was summer recipes and we were supposed to bring one to share. I didn't do that, but I got a couple--one is a chicken pizza made on tortillas with lots of tasty veggies that I may try this week. I like TexMex kinds of foods a lot. We did splurge financially and otherwise with a fast food meal that I should have passed on, but it was 7:30 before we got home. I had 2 KFC chicken wings along with a lot of fresh veggies for dinner. My sodium was a bit high, but I do really good with that given all of the fresh foods I have been eating as a rule.

Yesterday was a bit similar. It was the coolest morning we have had since maybe April. My work day was similar to Thursday except that I sent off an email to a couple of our "downtown administrators" and suggested that our department have a meeting, the first in at least 4.5 years. I am concerned that we are down to a staff of 8 with them not replacing anyone who has retired in as many years. I am equally worried that although our district is making procedural changes, they are not updating our related procedures. We have one new person in one of those positions and he responded nicely to my message. The other guy was away for his daughter's wedding, so I won't know if it will happen for a few more days, but one can hope!

Our two youngest have been in marching band camp all week, so we went to their "mini-show" last evening. I cannot say I enjoyed it as much as many things--the sun was right in my face and there was no way for me and my walker to find a better vantage point. The kids were dressed casually and they performed three of the four numbers they are learning for the season from "Phantom of the Opera," Marissa's suggestion for the band. I saw some, but it was just a bit odd and of course, highly unpolished for a week of work and an entire semester to go after they return to school in another week and a half. I can tell they have been working by how dirty and somewhat sunburned they have been when they have come home each day. I do appreciate that I teach little kids on a regular basis that is confirmed when I watch others work patiently with kids who seem big enough to behave better than they do, ha ha.

Today is my day to take care of things. I hope to get my hair trimmed and do some errands this morning. I am having lunch with my best friend today and will go to the pool after my daughter's voice lesson this afternoon. I need to plan out some meals and menus this weekend and work in the gardens. These tomatoes are so awesome and I have had all I could ever want. I don't know how it is that we are having such a good harvest, either from the new fertilizer, the constant work and watering we have done or just a blessing from above, but today's paper is discussing the major problems here in farm country with the corn and other commodities. I love home grown tomatoes better than any we can purchase anywhere around and they have been excellent. I can eat them for breakfast as well as other meals and put them on almost anything.

It is time for me to get going. The kids have a short marching band activity in a small (no tiny) town parade today and I need to get myself in grar.

Have a great weekend--enjoy yourselves!!
Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    My son loves tomatoes as much as you do. I am also a fan of Mexican food. I would also love some of the pizza, KFC, and cake but don't need things like that.

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_LINDA 8/11/2012 7:03PM

    Sounds like your days are going good so far! Hope you get a response about the meeting and it gets done! Doing good work all around as usual! Keep it up!!
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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Wednesday, 8/8 Marissa's Birthday and Photos of the Fair and REO Concert

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Hi all,

17 years ago today, our little girl was born into our family which then had one girl and five boys. Even with the scare that occurred when she was delivered by c-section, we never guessed that she would be the kind of young lady she is growing up to be. It was most likely that even though pre-natal tests never confirmed it, that I had untreated gestational diabetes when I carried her. She was born, weighing in at 11 pounds, 2 ounces and was so shaky that they put her in the neo-natal ICU with IVs to give her glucose that her body had grown accustomed to having. It was heartbreaking for her father and I because it was really new. It was also odd because the other babies in ICU were all preemies and she sure looked out of place, as big s she was. Now, she is a multi-talented young lady who has the voice of an angel and learns interesting, complex skills fairly easily. She also is more outgoing than most of her siblings who tend to be quiet and shy--and reserved--and can be outlandish and outrageous, while being outstanding.

Anyway, her birthday is going to put me and my new resolve to lose this 30 pounds in a tough situation. Her birthday meal of choice, is of course, her favorite--pizza. Between that and ice cream and cake; well, it will be a tough evening to navigate. My plan is to eat well for breakfast and lunch and to have a healthy snack of veggies and fruits before dinner. Salad will be available along with that pizza and I should be well within reason to have a slice or two. As for cake and ice cream, I can easily pass--but I may make sure that I have some Skinny Cows or something around for both Megan and I who are weighing in tomorrow. I think it is a sensible plan that I will be fine with--since I have time to plan.

I had my second set of SI injections yesterday and they fooled around with my sleep patterns even worse than usual last night. I fought the urge to eat when I woke up from my second 2 hour nap and I had another 2 hour nap after my husband got up at 4 to get ready for work. It may be a tough day with all of this unconnected sleep.

Here are photos starting and ending with our "Great Mississippi Valley Fair" as they advertise--and the REO Speedwagon concert in-between. The first set of photos show the scenes as we walked into the fair. It was a busy place, looking full of fun--and fair food, of course.

There were lots of farm animals and their carts and buggies around--the horses were around, on display for short periods of time. It was tough to get at them with the crowds and the heat in the upper 90's didn't make farm animals too endearing, lol.

The next display was a fenced in area of these black bears. The young ones were pacing around and the older one just sat on the ground, quietly.

Next, we continued to walk around to see more like the camel rides and the "ligers" that we didn't pay to see, lol.

Finally, the concert... There were tons and tons of people there!

Finally, the concert got started. We were directly in view of the stage, but everything was so far away and small. The two screens helped us to see details of Kevin Cronin leading the band. They played almost everything--and when I was in my 20s they were one of my favorite groups. We would get together with friends and paly cards, listening to albums until the wee hours. I have seen them at least 4 other times, but it has been a long time since I went to a concert. I forgot about how loud they are between the music itself and the gazillion other people. the loud part didn't bother me much--but we also took Micah, our 14 year old and he had never been to a rock concert before. The loudness certainly bothered him, but not enough to get away from watching their talented drummer put on a continuance performance that gave Micah thoughts on the kind of percussionist he wants to be.

Two hours after the concert started, it was dark out, but the fair was in full swing.

It was nice to squeeze in a lot of fun in the less than two weeks between the stress of the summer program and the stress of the new school year. I may make a point of attending other concerts in the near future. They are a fun part of my past and fun has been left out of my world on a regular basis the past several years.

Have a great day, today. Happy Birthday, Marissa!!

Gentle hugs,
(Mom) Sylvia

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 8/8/2012 2:18PM

    Happy, happy birthday to Marissa! What great photos you took! I had no luck at all with my concert photos -they were just colorful blurs lol. It was wonderful to hear Foreigner as I grew up on their music and I also remember REO as well.
Sorry about your sleep troubles, so frustrating that is as I know full well.
Interesting your fair had camel rides -ours is offering that for the first time, no photos as its in an enclosed area not open to the general public, just caught a glimpse in between two tents. I will be posting some of my animal photos if I get a minute, there was a nice show from a zoo on predators and prey.
Good planning for the birthday party! Just enjoy it!
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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    Happy birthday to your wonderful daughter. It sounds like you have a good plan to celebrate while staying on plan.

Love the pictures. Looked like fun!

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Monday, 8/6 Healthy Choices, Having Fun and Grant's Farm

Monday, August 06, 2012

Hi all,

I had an amazing time at the fair Friday evening--oh, the "Great Mississippi Valley Fair" and the REO Speedwagon Concert. It was so much fun--I have photos and hope to download them by tomorrow, so I'll share them then. I haven't been to a concert in a while, but it was everything I wanted it to be. I knew all of the songs--one of them threw me for a few moments, but then I got it. I sang and tapped my feet and played my air guitar and even danced a bit. I have seen REO other times and this was one of their best. Their showmanship was awesome. We sat in a special area reserved for folks with disabilities and I was a bit amazed at some of the people there. Many of these people were overweight and smoking and in wheelchairs. I almost became judgemental until I thought about who I was before SparkPeople and I knew that I didn't have the right to think what I was thinking. I wanted to reach out to a couple of them, but it wasn't the time or place for that either, especially with strangers. I am sure glad that I found Spark People and I am glad that I lost 140 pounds. I cannot imagine what shape I'd be in with that still on me--I'm sure I'd still be using that wheelchair to start with.

I have done an awesome job of analyzing my daily menus--after measuring a lot of my food so that I am not imagining what I am eating. I still have my own age-old problem of not eating enough. I ignore those red messages that I get from SP on my trackers--and I have booted it up quite a bit, but I am still below 1000 calories most days. I have been drinking up to 12 glasses of water daily and I am wondering if I should cut back on that or substitute beverages like mild and fruit juice to beef up some of my calories. I suspect that I am not going to have quite the loss I need for my hip replacement if I don't get things fixed.

My job is at a frustrating place right now--I have to collect all of the kids' reading scores to select students before I can make a schedule and I am short about 60 scores that I am trying to find. I think they may let me help with some of the assessment which will make a lot of sense. As I called other schools in our district, I found that they did not replace another Title 1 teacher who retired--and that drops us down to a department of between 8 and 10, depending on what the junior highs have done. I am very alarmed at this type of choice because having reading specialists in elementary schools makes a good deal of sense. We are trained to assess and diagnose reading issues--and reading is at the core of any and all learning. I don't know what administrators are thinking these days.

Grant's farm (yes, no segue...) is located in the St. Louis area. It formerly belonged to President Ulysses S. Grant and was bought by the Busch family (of Budweiser fame) in 1908, I think. It is beautiful. One of the things that has been done is an effort to care for local wild life and to bring some other animals has been a goal of theirs. One thing that people can do at Grant's Farm is taste a variety of beers without cost, just with reminders that with drinking comes responsibility. Admission is free, actually the only costs are for food, non-alcohol beverages, animal feed, and souvenirs. When you arrive, you start out with a ride on a tram that takes you into areas of the farm that are only for viewing and then, it drops you off in the area where all sorts of activities for families are. I tried to take photos on the tram, but I didn't have much luck because of the pace we were moving at.

This is the actual home, it is a one level home and looks quite lovely.

There were loads of animals--especially deer, birds, plains animals--but I just couldn't photograph them on the tram. I do have photos from other parts of the farm though...

There was a wonderful petting zoo--this is the goat section. They sold bottles that you could purchase to feed the goats. If you went into their very busy pen, you got mobbed by goats who wanted a special drink.

There were many animals in the petting zoo-many farm animals and thse rather large guinea pigs that my kids were quite interested in. We have had guinea pigs forever, and none of them were quite so large. They stayed huddled up around a log, most likely seeking out the coolest place to be in the 108 degree temps.

Not surprisingly, at the home of the Budweiser Clydesdales, there were lots of interesting buggies and carts around.

The variety of animals was surprising--it is almost as if the Grants family and the Busch family were creating a zoo out of their farm.

The eating area reminded me of a traditional Oktoberfest in appearance, sound and menu. They were playing polka music and the food included brats and sauerkraut as well as some more traditional items like pizza slices. It was a fun place to eat! Next to this area was a stable that contained some gentle hirses, ponies, and donkeys. After we ate, we went on to check out the pond and the birds--my kids had a lot of fun feeding them.

After spending a lot of time with the birds, we decided to go back--so it was back on the tram to the entrance and the big souvenir shop.

After buying some gifts for those who couldn't come with us, we walked back across the wooden bridge, to the parking lot, and over to the stables for the Clydesdales.

Finally, we were on the way home and I snapped a few photos of a very interesting bridge that we had crossed on the way to St. Louis and again on our return trip. We had quite a conversation about its design.

SP couldn't upload any of the other bridge photos--they were too large...I fell asleep trying .

Tuesday is my day to teach kids the proper way to use our bathrooms--and supervise four half hour recesses. I have so much important work to do, but TPTB decided that this was far more important. Hmm? Anyway, after school, I have to go for my second SI injections. I won't be allowed to go to the pool so hopefully, I will be able to do more work in my garden.

Take care of yourselves and I will share concert photos soon!
Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    The concert sounded fantastic. I would have loved it too.

Loved the pictures of Grant's Farm!!

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_LINDA 8/7/2012 10:47AM

    Awesome photos Sylvia!! its always hard to get any photos from a moving platform, you did well to get what you did!
That is terrible about the staff cutbacks. For sure, they have their priorities wrong, but alas, you are so used to them doing frustrating things :((
Do be careful with your food. To add extra, healthy calories try your nuts, almonds, walnuts (better antioxident then even blueberries!!) to get your healthy fats. Add more fruit -the natural sugars bring higher calories. I have four fruits for breakfast, in a shake to make them easy and quick to eat. Something you may want to try.
You can do anything you set your mind to, you have proven that in Spades!
You rock my awesome friend!!
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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