JIM1MICHAEL2   13,671
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JIM1MICHAEL2's Recent Blog Entries

The barn dance

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Last night, my neighbor and I went to a barn dance. It was quite an event - the first for the Historical Society in a small town near here. Round and square. It was so much fun to see the adult square dancers allow young kids to join their squares. I watched 2 kids, maybe about 10, in one square. Both in lime colored shirts, I don't know if they were brother and sister, related or not. At the beginning, they didn't want any actual physical contact with each other. The shyness of youth. Instead of the promenade, they'd walk side by side. When it came to circling the square with a hand on the shoulder of the person ahead of them, she held onto his shirt; he held onto her sweatshirt hood. There was no swinging. I watched them through several sets. By the end of the evening, they were swinging arm and arm. They were actually 'touching' each other though the promenades and circling the square. Smiling and clapping along with the adults. And the adults were so patient with them gently pushing and putting them where they should be. On the final set, the same group searched them out to complete their square. Those adults were those kids' teachers in a new activity in their lives.

I would guess this would be a great lesson in starting with Spark. I got a lot of input from others, deciding what advice I wanted to take and then gradually grew more comfortable with my part and plan. I let myself be gently pushed into the spot I wanted to be in and that would suit me as I moved through the 'dance'. And I had encouragement along the way. By the end of the evening, these 2 young people were doing pretty well. If they were to have the opportunity, I'd bet they would enjoy moving on with their 'lessons' of what they learned that night. I've learned many lessons in my few months with Spark and hope to continue.

For me, participating in Spark is a lot like these 2 kids learning to square dance. They had input from the others in the square and then decided, gradually, what would be comfortable for them. I received many replies concerning my original posts. Over these months, and by returning many posts, I've become comfortable with the part of the 'dance' I want to participate in. They stumbled, a lot, as it was their beginning. But were complimented on their progress and encouraged to keep going. I stumbled a lot as it was my beginning to what I wanted to accomplish. But I've experienced and learned from those stumbles and each day, I'm aware of where I want to be and how I want to get there. I hung onto 'shirts' and 'hoods' until I become more comfortable with doing it on my own.

I've not been as successful as I hoped in my original time frame; but better the progress I've made than not having made any progress at all. Had those 2 kids given up after that first rough square dance, they never would have had the joy of saying "I did it.

I've still got just a few pounds to go but like the 2 kids did last night, I'm going to keep at it. My fellow team members' posts are so encouraging to me. Their issues and hopes may be different than mine but it's the determination to get where they (and I) want to be that is most impressive. And I want to be able to say "I did it".

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAPHIRE196 10/22/2010 6:45AM

    Loved your story on the barn dance. One of my favorite memories from middle school was learning to square dance in P.E. I wish there were more family oriented dances and events to take your children to. Tonight, I am actually planning to take my family (and some extended) out to Senior's Kareoke night at the Senior's Center near our town. When I told my family what I wanted to do, I figured they would balk and fuss. Say that it was lame. But they each said okay, they wanted to go and I was happily surprised. Thanks for the inspirational story.

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GHK1962 10/17/2010 11:45PM

    Ok...this was one of the most awesome blogs! That was a great story to connect to Spark...to connect to life really. I wasn't sure what the initial intent of the blog was until halfway through....and ohhhh it made my insides feel good after reading this one.

Thanks so much for the post...that was a wonderful lesson.

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CAROLJEAN64 10/17/2010 4:26PM

    What a lovely way to connect life and Spark. I do think there is are great lessons that work back and forth between what goes on on line and outside of our technology connection.

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KELPIE57 10/17/2010 11:53AM

    As a Scot, I can remember that time, learning to dance....now I can use that memory to Spark! Thank you.

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LINDABEAR3 10/17/2010 11:33AM

    Good for you Margi for going to the dance. I love your blog and the way you related your watching the kids to your experience at Spark. You have made great progress


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SCREWIE 10/17/2010 11:17AM

    Such a lovely post. I would have loved to be there at the dance :)

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A difficult decision

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I made a very difficult decision today. I have decided to stop working at my 2 part time jobs. First, the backaches are getting worse. I missed Tuesday this week as I still had the backache I got at work last Tuesday. I get backaches from things that shouldn't effect me. Vacuuming, taking wet clothes out of the washer, washing dishes or windows, carrying things that aren't really heavy. Any motion with my right arm sets the backache off. Ive done the xrays, therapy thing, pain pills and muscle relaxers, chiropractic sessions, and deep massage. 2 years ago, I even had sets of 3 trigger shots each into my back muscles. Nothing has worked.

There are other issues, too. I will see my primary doc tomorrow. I want her to confirm that I have Raynauds Syndrome. My fingers and feet get cold, the circulation stops, my fingers get white and hurt. My feet burn and it hurts to walk on them. It's not life threatening but my Tuesday job is in an auction arena with 20 overhead doors open for 4 hrs - in all kinds of weather. Not good for Raynauds. I am one in a group of 4 ladies that were assigned to the same area when I went there. I will miss them terribly. But well do lunches.

My other job is at a facility for adults with mental illnesses. I love my residents but some of the work I do causes the backaches. I helped do resident laundry last Sunday, checked meds, checked & reset clocks for daylight savings, up and down stairs. Ill miss all of them. But I can visit.

Then there's my balance. I've been a little 'off balance' lately. Running into the corners of walls. Having to steady myself while walking. It's not normal for me and it's worrisome.

In the 80s and 90s, I had many neurological tests done as they suspected lupus, MS and other similar diseases. Similar symptoms as now. All tests came back within normal range. So, they tagged me w/fibromyalgia. The antidepressants I got for the depression also relieved the fibro. But that balance problem is back. And I have the soreness in my muscles, again.

And there's the asthma and breathing issues. Asthma in the dry cold weather. Asthma if I try to exert myself in summer or even in the house. I run out of breath so easily. I'm going to request breathing tests that I've also had before. They came back within normal range, too.

I was fortunate to have been able to retire at 58. I had planned ahead. My Social Security started in May 09. Fortunately, in the mid-80s, I took out a disability/loss of income policy. I've collected on it just once before. All I've been doing is paying the premiums. I notified them today, have been assigned an adjuster and will be receiving my forms in the mail within days. After a 90-day waiting period, I will begin collecting monthly disability income.

I have cried this afternoon at the thought of having to notify my employers that I can no longer work. I have cried this afternoon because I will miss my friends and residents. I have cried because I am scared. My son told me Its time, Mom. While I will have time to finish de-cluttering, Ill probably have to hire people to do my electrical, plumbing, painting, floors, etc. All things Im quite capable of doing myself. Its similar to giving up ones independence. Becoming dependent on others.

So, Im going to pull up my bootstraps, as my Grandma would say, and stop fretting and feeling sorry for myself. I have endured worse! Apparently, Its just the next step in growing up.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILDXANGELS 10/7/2011 6:54PM

    just gave up my car so i can relate,ive been crying alot emoticon

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JEN-TINK1 10/13/2010 8:22PM

    Wow! I thought I had it tough. I miss you my friend.

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MONKEYSNUFFER 9/18/2010 10:54PM

    Hope you're feeling better soon!

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GINETTEK 7/15/2010 10:15AM

    Well as you know my dear, I live with Chronic Pain. I know how difficult it can be. I know how it feels to not be able to go back to work, and missing the people. I miss some of the people. I miss what I did. But know this. As difficult as it it, in the end you will be home taking care of what needs to at your pace, and look back and realize that you really did/are making the right decision for your body. You are important and you have to care for you. I hate having to ask for help, I know being dependant to any degree on others is a horrible feeling. But you know what....if gives me more time to work on what I can handle more at my leisure. I don't have to work through pain, or asthma or allergies. I can allow myself breaks now...AND YOU WILL TOO. Good luck love and let me know if you need anything.

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JIM1MICHAEL2 7/15/2010 9:37AM

    Thank you, both Lindas. When I'm feeling better, I hope to be able to get into activities at the Y, volunteer or spend time at the Senior Center. I also have a great neighbor who wants to re-establish our weekly game night. Take care. margi. emoticon

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LINJERN 7/14/2010 2:31PM

I was 40 when I had to retire from teaching students with severe behavior problems due to a severe nervous breakdown. I think jobs give us a sense of purpose and of being needed. But right now, it seems that your purpose needs to be to take care of yourself and that it's ok. You can always visit or even volunteer when you get things straightened out. I hope to be able to do that someday too. emoticon


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LINDABEAR3 7/14/2010 10:10AM

    I think now would be a good time to check in with some of your work friends and get some more support. Maybe visit your old group home to visit some of the residents you love. You need some contact with others besides those on the computer. I hope you feel better soon, I'm praying for you and I love u and you're a great friend. think about good memories you have and plan something for the future so you have something to look forward to.

Hugs,and prayers

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JIM1MICHAEL2 7/14/2010 9:29AM

    I'm ok now with giving up work. And my disability payments have started. I thank you for your comments and concern. It was very kind of you.

I'm on the boards regularly replying to many posts. I don't normally check here unless someone has replied - like you. Thanks. margi. emoticon

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ONEGREATCAT 7/13/2010 9:05PM

I haven't seen a recent post from you. Hope you are doing well. I liked Karen15552's remark of "when one door closes, another opens". I believe that totally. I know you can do this and you have great support from your son and from the SP group. Please keep in touch!

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  AAhh, I can sure identify with your feelings about having to give jobs, etc. up because of your health. I think that the time comes for some of us to concentrate on taking care of ourselves primarily instead of others. You are so fortunate to have such a caring son, too. Is there anything that you enjoy doing for recreation now that you've given up your jobs? I am disabled but I found that I can crochet different items for myself or others. Another activity that I love is scrapbooking. I get together with other women and we create the scrapbook pages, talk, and eat together. So....what do you like to do that you CAN do? emoticon

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JERSEYCINDY1 7/3/2010 5:46PM

  Look at it as an opportunity to help people who are having a hard time dealing with the same things - it hurts and it is sad, but you have a very encouraging spirit that comes through your posting - someone out there desperately needs you, and the Lord will bring that person to you. Things look and seem bad because we can't see and understand the reason at the moment - but in the future we can look back and understand why we had to go through the things we did to get to where we are. God bless you.

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CINCYDORA 4/20/2010 12:00PM

    Keep hanging in there. It sounds as though you are making the right decision for yourself, even if it is a difficult one.

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SMILES4383 3/27/2010 7:13PM

    It's definitely tough living with chronic pain.
Have you ever tried a PAIN CLINIC?
They sometime work wonders.

Wishing you a positive week...

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JIM1MICHAEL2 3/18/2010 8:12PM

    Thanks, Nancy. I'm still at the crying stage. I talked to my son again. He just said to do it. I've worked long enough and hard enough. No use working through pain. But it's rather like you said - I'll give it to you but don't you dare take it away from me.

I don't understand why I'm so sad about this. And I don't want my son Jim to feel bad that he can't help me; he lives in another state.

I'll keep in touch. emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/18/2010 8:13:08 PM

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LINDA_NH 3/18/2010 7:50PM

    I've had to let go of a lot since being diagnosed with fibromyalgia. My children, meaning well, don't let me do anything physical around the house, which irks me to no end. It's one thing if I choose not to, but don't tell me I can't.

I understand how you're feeling. If you need to talk, we can arrange it.



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JIM1MICHAEL2 3/18/2010 6:39PM

    Thank you, Karen. I admit to having a control issue. It started when my son died; it was from SIDS but I felt responsible.

After that, losses and change not under my control have been difficult. If I want to give something away, I'll give it away. But I HATE losing - family, friends, things, jobs, independence. And don't anyone dare TAKE anything away from me.

I think you have made me think about why this is so upsetting to me. One would think I would be happy; not to have to work and have extra income coming in. It doesn't work that way with me. Thank you again, so much. emoticon margi.

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KAREN15552 3/18/2010 6:22PM

  I can relate to your pain in having to let go of things you love but can no longer do.

You will be lonely for awhile but maybe you can do what I did and keep saying "When one door closes another one opens."

Do your best to relax and remember and be thankful for the good times and that now it is time to move forward.

It is painful.....but it will pass.

Hugs and prayers for you! emoticon

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Getting up and at it...

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

For weeks, I've spent a most of my days in my pajamas. I work Tuesday mornings; I put my jammies on that night and most weeks, I'm still wearing them when the next Tuesday comes around. I felt absolutely nasty after a week in the same clothes; no brushing my teeth; just putting my hair up in a clip without even brushing it. Never washing my face. This is how my months have been going lately. But I've had my Ah Ah moment.

This morning, I expected to run errands. So, I cleaned up, brushed my teeth, washed my face and put moisturizer and make-up on. Even brushed my hair before putting it in the clip. Even put my Curves ShapeUps on. As it turned out, I didn't need to go out.

I can't believe how good I feel. It was a little of an effort to get myself cleaned up. But the results are amazing. For me, I feel as I dress. Clean, pretty, capable. Since my weight loss goal is to get down a size in jeans, my jeans are getting baggy but that makes me feel good, too.

I think the new antidepressant is working, finally. But, the point I really want to make, is about how Spark has helped me. The biggest part of my Spark Day is the emails I receive alerting me to check in with new Spark members. I welcome each new member as I get the emails; I always check back in when I'm alerted to a new post.

I have taken the focus off myself. I am helping others. Over the years, I've been involved in many volunteer projects. I participated mostly because my therapist said "it's a gym or it's volunteering.' I choose what I thought was the easier of the 2. My volunteer work saved me at that time as I had to pay attention while I was helping others. MS clients, abandoned and abused children, the elderly who had no visits from family, fund raising by running cruise bingo on a gaming ship (that was a hard gig.). That's when I realized that my capacity for caring for others was a strong point of my personality.

SparkPeople is allowing me to go back to that time in my life where part of my therapy was helping others. I feel so good answering the posts I get. I have made some dear friends on this site. When other Sparkers are dealing with depression (which I still deal with and always will) I encourage others, gently, to try replying to the emails they receive as alerts to postings. If I could only convey to them what a boost it will be for them.

It's difficult to get started. I still have to push myself to do many things - I got the trash to the curb today; that's 2 weeks in a row. I'm slowly de-cluttering my house. I'm enjoying seeing a clean living room again. There's a ton of stuff to get done here, but I'm chipping away at it. I wrote the following to another Sparker. Try to think of your depression as a huge boulder; try to chip away at it by doing for others. It will eventually become a stone that is more manageable. One day, it'll be a pebble. Then we go to a pond and skip that pebble across the water. For me, they'll always be residuals of that pebble. But it's no longer a boulder.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLIMMERKIWI 4/24/2010 5:26AM

    That is truly a wonderful blog! Why don't you copy/paste to a thread where on the DwD team - that way a lot more people will see it and take notes :-)

Kris xx

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A message from Michael...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

My 11 wk old son Michael died in 1973 from SIDS. I've been in 2 Compassionate Friends groups; I've heard stories about parents getting 'signs' from their children after their death. I've been envious of these parents as I hadn't been fortunate to have been so lucky. Or maybe I just didn't notice.

While attending a meeting in another city, a bereaved Mom told me her story: after her son died, she began to find dimes in places where they wouldn't ordinarily be. On the microwave, on the vanity, in her mailbox, etc. To her, this was her son sending her a message that he was ok.

After hearing her story, I began to look for dimes - to let me know that Michael was OK and he wants me to carry on.

I opened my car door just a couple days later and there on the ground was a dime. I cried. My 1st dime. I put it in a little cup near his pictures.

I got an apology from a clerk that her change was low. Instead of 2 quarters, I got 5 dimes.

I put a coat on last fall that I not worn since the previous winter. Guess what was in the pocket? A dime.

I probably have a couple dollars worth of dimes. But I don't know how many dimes I missed all these years. I don't feel so alone and Michael feels closer to me. I'm no longer envious of other parents who get 'signs' from their children. Every time I get a dime, that's my 'sign'.

Michael's Mom
12/6/72 to 2/23/73 emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Lovely and so beautiful. I am speechless. Blessings to you. Thankyou for sharing with us. Diana emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JIM1MICHAEL2 3/17/2010 12:59AM

    Linda - I'm grateful, too. They're precious little guys, aren't they. margi. emoticon to you, too.

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LINDA_NH 3/16/2010 11:10PM

    This made me cry. It also brought back memories of Jason, who died of SIDS in 1982 at the age of 12 weeks. He wasn't my son; I was his day care provider. I also provided care for his older brothers. Although the experience was horrific, I am so lucky I had that little angel in my life at all.

Thank you, Margi, for sharing so much of yourself.



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One word only...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Paste this into a new blog for yourself; add a question and answer w/just 1 word. Have fun!

Where is your cell phone? couch

Spouse? goofball

Your hair? long

Your mother? angel

Your father? friend

Your favorite thing? son

Your dream last night? didn't

Favorite drink? water

What room are you in? living

Your hobby? fishing

Your fear? snakes

Where do you want to be in 6 years? here

Where were you last night? work

Something that you aren't? skinny

Muffins? poppyseed

Wish list item? camper

Last thing you did? Wii

What are you wearing? sweats

Your pets? Lambchop

Friends? lots

Your life? good

Your mood? tired

Missing someone? Mom

Drinking? smoothie

Your car? Chevy

Something you're not wearing? shoes

Your favorite store? Sam's

Your favorite color? purple

When is the last time you cried? yesterday

Where do you go over and over? home

Five people who email me regularly? friends

Favorite place to eat? Subway

Favorite place I'd like to be right now? lake

Favorite season? Spring

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERESA_68 3/14/2010 6:26AM

Paste this into a new blog for yourself; add a question and answer w/just 1 word. Have fun!

Where is your cell phone? pocket

Spouse? loving

Your hair? long

Your mother? insane

Your father? passed

Your favorite thing? cats

Your dream last night? scary

Favorite drink? water

What room are you in? living

Your hobby? reading

Your fear? snakes

Where do you want to be in 6 years? alive

Where were you last night? hospital

Something that you aren't? skinny

Muffins? blueberry

Wish list item? money

Last thing you did? computer

What are you wearing? nightgown

Your pets? cats

Friends? some

Your life? good

Your mood? tired

Missing someone? dad

Drinking? coffee

Your car? Ford

Something you're not wearing? shoes

Your favorite store? wally-world

Your favorite color? blue

When is the last time you cried? this morning

Where do you go over and over? in-laws

Five people who email me regularly? friends

Favorite place to eat? home

Favorite place I'd like to be right now? sisters

Favorite season? Spring

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