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Saturday, 8/25 Apologies from a very tired sparker

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hi all,

I'm so tired--and sore. To illustrate my point, I started this blog at 9:30 Friday evening, woke up at 2:00AM and continued to work on it and here I am at 9AM wrapping it up...

I am trying hard to manage my schedule at work, my after work obligations, and then fit in caring for my family and myself. I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed and under-efficient right now. My back and hip pain are growing by leaps and bounds day after day as well. I am hoping it is because I wore a different pair of shoes on Thursday and Friday, but that probably cannot explain it all. I looked back over my food journal and I had to be to work early for my turn at door duty and I missed breakfast. (I brought it with me.) I got to eat some fruit while the classroom teachers were dismissing their classes. Then, we had a meeting after work--part of "The Leader in Me" training that we started the first day of school. I had to leave it early to get to my "final" grad class for my ELL endorsement. (They taped the training, so I will have to add watching that to my schedule for next week.) I finally got around to eating half of my sandwich then. When my class was over and I got to go home--I skipped the pool--I finally got to sit down and eat a meal.

I have back to back reading groups all day long, and then I leave work to appointments or my class or, on a good day, to get to the pool "early" on a few rare days. I have been falling asleep after I eat dinner. I cannot fight that off either. Then, after I sleep between one and two hours, I wake up. Thursday night, I woke up with the most horrid leg cramps I have ever had. The other four nights this week, it was with my regular pain. On Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, my hip pain started escalating and it is still outrageous. However, getting back to sleep evaded me on work nights until between 4:30 and 5:30. I then got another hour or so of sleep before I had to go to work. I am running on empty. I slept until 7:30 this morning, so I have refueled a bit.

If you are someone who sleeps well, this probably makes little sense to you. However, I have several spark friends who also have difficulties sleeping due to health conditions and I know they understand. Getting 3 or more hours of uninterrupted sleep is a gift. There is little I can do about it. I have tried medication to help, but it either leaves me feeling hung over, unable to wake up, or they leave this taste in my mouth that infiltrates everything I taste or drink for weeks at a time. None of those is an alternative I can choose over my own sleeplessness.

I have plenty to do today, which is what every working mother gets on the weekend. This morning, I need to go shopping for a new couch because ours is about on its last leg. I also have to go shopping for a family picnic this afternoon to celebrate Mitchell's birthday tomorrow. (He has commitments tomorrow after church--his ultimate frisbee team meets on Sundays and we didnt want to wait so late to have our family party. Somewhere in there, I am going to work out at the pool and by leaving tomorrow free, I will be able to swim and exercise then as well.

This is my first week with every part of my schedule in place. I have a meeting after school on Monday, then I will go to the pool from 5-6:15. From there, I will go to the open house at the kids' school. Tuesday is mine. Wednesday is my grad class. On Thursday, I have a doctor's appointment followed by Weight Watchers before I can go work out. Friday is also mine. I have no lunch or prep time built into my day, so I have a lot to accomplish for the approx. 65 children I work with during the day.

I gained .4 this week--and I don't count under a half a pound as a true gain, but I know why it wasn't a loss. I didn't eat enough. I am living proof that that is what happens when your body doesn't get enough to eat. I do a good job at getting between 6-8 servings of fruits and veggies, but I miss on proteins, healthy oils, dairy, and carbs. I have changed a great deal from my days of overeating carbs--but I am still not living the way I need to live. I am trying--I use a checklist, but it seems wrong to shove food in my mouth at night when I do not want any more. This is a problem that seems to be unique to me. I am going to start eating my yogurt in the car on the way to work to help get some more healthy nutrients in me each day. I set fruit out for me and my new bunny, Digger. She came from a farmer and is not ready to live indoors and be a pet yet. I am trying to train her in my spare moments.

On top of everything, I am trying to keep Chloe comfortable and happy. I am sure that she is coming to the end of her life. Bassets don't often live past 13 or 14, and she is a 17 year old sweet girl. I have to feed her every couple of hours and she only seems to want a bite or two of cheese or scrambled egg or sandwich meat these days. She sips a bit of milk. She doesn't do much anymore and is getting very thin. If she starts looking like she is uncomfortable or in pain, we may need to make a hard choice. It is hard to see this, but I know that her last 4 years with us have been happy times for this old girl. I love her a lot and am doing my best to keep her happy and comfortable. It is taking a lot of energy as well.

Time for me to go--maybe I'll get to spark pages and blogs this evening. Please know that I care about you all and am missing our time together. I think this ice bag is going with me for my errands.
Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 8/26/2012 1:29AM

    So very sorry you are having such a horrible week and times. That is so sad about Chloe, but I am sure she will let you know when its become too much for her. Surely one of your many children can help out with the rabbit? I am a little surprised you took on another pet so quickly when your plate is already overflowing..This is not good for you mentally or physically to have so little time for yourself and with the lack of sleep. Its no wonder your pain has jumped with all the stress you are placing on your body. Like all your Dr. appointments and work hours, you have to start making appointments for YOURSELF as well. Please look after yourself before you become run down and sick. We are already in a vulnerable position with our disease, don't need to ask for more problems.
Don't worry about Sparking, everyone understands. Use any free time to look after your needs first. You are a priority!!
{{{gentle hugs}}}

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    You know I totally understand, Sylvia, and am going though similar problems. Burning the candle at both ends. Not enough time in the day to do it all well. Treading water. Trying to keep up. Stressed. Overwhelmed. Sleeping fitfully, exercising erratically, eating is off, and coping with overwhelming medical problems. Pain, fatigue, etc. Like you, I just punch through it and do the best I can. We are made of the same cloth.

I hope Chloe is comfortable. I know you will take good care of her.

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    Take care of you! Sometimes we have to just put aside some things we want to do for a time. Hugs!

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WALKZWDOGZ 8/25/2012 3:16PM

    S'alright. Spark can wait. Grab a nap when you can. Prayers for you & Chloe. You're so lucky to have found each other. emoticon

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NICHOLE_4 8/25/2012 11:27AM

    I don't have sleeping problems but my Autistic 5 year old does. So to some extent I do understand!

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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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