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"Don't It Always Seem To Go, You Dont Know What You've Got Till It's Gone."

Monday, December 03, 2012

It all started when I made the decision switch from peanut butter to cream cheese on my whole grain, low fat waffle. I made the move because, after all, cream cheese has less calories and peanut butter. A day later, I noticed a weird rash developing around my elbows on the back of my knees. At first, I wrote it off to being heat rash from running in and out of the gym and not being very dry. However, the rash persisted, and it was driving me crazy.

My doctor told me she was 90% sure that I had some sort of reaction to what I was eating. She sent me, to an allergist. Let me say right off, that I really appreciated the allergist’s common sense approach to dealing with this issue. He told me that I had two options: I could go through a series of painful tests that would determine what foods I might have sensitivities or allergies to or I could begin a food elimination diet. He gave me some literature to read and suggested a hierarchy of food sensitivities in the order they most occur. They are as follows: dairy, red meat, sugar, and gluten. He suggested I begin by eliminating dairy from my diet and monitoring the reactions. I walked out of his office thinking “No problem!” That, I found out, was easier said than done. I was not aware of how many things that went in my mouth actually contained a dairy product and to add to my pain and suffering I never realized just how much I would miss cheese! I am originally from the state of Wisconsin, you know, “the Dairy State.” I had this image of the state fathers driving me to the state line in pointing towards Illinois banishing me and allowing me never to return. I would no longer be a Cheese Head.

I have been at this elimination diet for a week now, and the rashes have disappeared and a pleasant byproduct is that I feel significantly better. I will tell you, however, that it’s been a bit of an adventure finding things I can eat that won’t produce a negative reaction. Saturday evening I took a bite of a piece of peanut butter pie Katie had made and was itching all over in about 15 minutes. So a new and exciting journey begins and I really hope it’s dairy, LOL, because I don’t want to have to get rid of anything else.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEEMAWEST 12/7/2012 12:39AM

    I could not live without cheese! OK, maybe I'm overreacting, but really? emoticon

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 12/4/2012 6:16AM

    Food is like a does have consequences!

Glad to hear you are finding what makes you feel better. Sad to hear it involves cheese!!

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NASFKAB 12/4/2012 4:15AM

  unable to have cheese that is sad hope you find what ever ele you cant eat all the best

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LYNMEINDERS 12/4/2012 3:20AM

    I am finding that as I am getting older different things are affecting me now that neveraffected me before....I gave up meat 2 years ago and don't miss it and I very seldom eat diary...the little I do eat doesn't affect me now....

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CARTOONB 12/3/2012 10:30PM

    Dairy is a hard food to eliminate. I hope, for your sake, that it is the only one!

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REGILIEH 12/3/2012 7:25PM

    Food allergies are terrible! My husband is allergic to chocolate, thank goodness I'm not!

Good luck! I hope it won't be too bad. So glad you are feeling better!


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TOTHEFUTURE1 12/3/2012 5:58PM

    I've done the elimination diet twice many years ago without results so hope you get a quick result. I love dairy including cream cheese but would happily give it up. I am allergic to mold both in food and in the enlivenment.

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_MOBII_ 12/3/2012 5:34PM

    Heyyy, I'm from Illinois and it ain't THAT bad, lol! I'm hoping it was just dairy that was bothering you! Good luck and take care!

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SHERIO5 12/3/2012 3:26PM

    I am so glad you are beginning to feel better! I have sensitivity sounds like your doctor does have a great wishes!

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    Hey, one of my step dads was a dairy farmer. We don't want you in Illinois either. LOL. emoticon

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MOBYCARP 12/3/2012 1:29PM

    Wow. I don't know how I would cope with eliminating dairy from my diet. No skim milk with the steel cut oats, no low fat cottage cheese, no Greek yogurt? It would be a major adjustment.

I hope you navigate whatever eating adjustment you need without undue pain and suffering.

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TXMEMAW6 12/3/2012 12:42PM

    So glad you found out what was causing the rash, but I know how hard it is to give up some things you really love to eat. Good luck and good hunting!! Hope you have found all the culprits.

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MARILYNS66 12/3/2012 12:17PM

    Having to give up certain foods is not nice especially when it is something we really like. Eleven months ago I gave up all soda pop and chocolate bars - both have no nutritional value at all - but the withdrawals were something else. But well worth it - don't crave it any more, can watch others consuming them and what goes through my mind is 'How can they do that as it tastes so awful' I have thought of one or 2 more items to give up for the New Year but not sure if I will go that route or go the way route of what 2 things can I add to my food program that is healthy

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PAANDRUS 12/3/2012 11:01AM

    I would hate to give up Peanut Butter! Hope it goes well for you figuring this all out!!

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DOODIE59 12/3/2012 9:34AM

    One day when you're feeling strong -- take yourself off wheat for 3 days. You might be astounded at how good you feel:) Just sayin'.

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ADELE66 12/3/2012 9:34AM

    Ah, I feel for you! I try and follow a gluten free diet (minor intolerance) and it can be such a chore sometimes!


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MIAJOEB 12/3/2012 9:34AM

    Finding out what your body is trying to tell you is a magical mystery tour.
And aren't all Illinoians just Wisconsin want-a-bes.
I was born in Chicago..
Loved your sense of humor...

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VICKI-IS-LOSING 12/3/2012 9:29AM

    Sorry you have to give up dairy, especially cheese ( I love it too), but better to do that than to itch. emoticon

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BOOKAPHILE 12/3/2012 9:12AM

    It's a bother to diagnose, but once you find the culprit, you'll feel so much better. My Mother was gluten intolerant, which narrowed her choices significantly, but she never seriously wanted to go back to eating it because she felt SO much better when she avoided it.

You'll be feeling so much better that you may find your journey easier!

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    "I had this image of the state fathers driving me to the state line in pointing towards Illinois banishing me and allowing me never to return. I would no longer be a Cheese Head."

LOL!! I'm originally from MN.. this made me laugh out loud!! I hope you can pinpoint it soon! =)

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MISSPEACHES3 12/3/2012 9:04AM

    Good Morning,
I am so sorry that you are having to deal with this.

I have had these type of problems most of my life. Of course, these problems have gotten worse just recently. I have also been going to an Allergist.

As for the cheese, I have been allergic for a lot of years. I have found a "Fake" cheese (Soy based). It is very good. It makes a good grilled cheese sandwich, and it tastes like cheese.

There is also a vegetable cheese. It is not as good as the Soy based cheese but it is good with crackers.

Anyway, just wanted to wish you luck, and to let you know that you are not alone.


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HDHAWK 12/3/2012 9:02AM

    It's always something isn't it John? I had the same thing happen with avocados last year. I've never really liked them, but my trainer at the time had me putting 1/2 avocado on a sandwich at lunch. By day 4 I was itching so bad I couldn't stand it. I got some Benadryl and stopped the avocado. Problem solved. No wonder I never liked them! Glad you're feeling better.

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Well Dad.......... You Asked

Monday, November 26, 2012

It all started when Tim walked in the door Thursday morning. “You cut your hair!!” Katie exclaimed. “And you trimmed your beard.” “I’m seeing someone on Saturday,” he responded. “You have a date?” I asked. They all looked at me like I’d said something wrong. Back in the day, Joan and I met, we dated, we got engaged and then we got married. I realize I’ve compressed a time line. Katie, Maggie, my nieces and a nephew sat down and began to explain this phenomenon to me in that tone you use when you are trying to potty train a two year old.

Apparently people don’t just date anymore. First they “talk to one another.” I’m not sure how long talking lasts but if everything goes right they start to “see each other.” This conjured a vision of people walking around with blindfolds on until the right moment. My insecurities led me to wonder what would happen if they didn’t like what they saw? After you see one another for a prescribed period of time (No one could tell me how long this period of time was. They said “You just know.”) you begin to “date.” Dating leads to that wonderful Facebook status called “Being In A Relationship.” I’ve never been sure what to say or do when I get someone’s status update saying they are “In a relationship.” Do I send a gift? Should I get my suit cleaned? (Do they even wear suits anymore?) Thank goodness for the little thumbs-up-like-icon. I just hit that and wish them well. Being In A Relationship is sort of tricky. It can go on and on or it can end, which means you are single once again and everyone sends you sad, yet supportive messages or it can evolve into becoming “significant others.” I figure if you reach this point the term is redundant. I mean, if you invested that much of yourself shouldn’t it be significant? Does the world need to know the distinction? By this point my head was throbbing. We were only getting started.

We went into the subsets. Once you were a significant other you could tack on “partner” or “domestic partner,” Domestic partners shared a residence and the chores and duties and all the other exciting stuff that goes along with managing a household. “Partners,” maintained their own residence or not because some people don’t like the term “domestic.” During this stage of a relationship you can announce on Facebook that you are “engaged” or single depending how the partnership works out or you can just remain partners.

You can also decide you don’t really want to commit totally to a relationship but you still enjoy certain aspects of one another’s company. That’s when you become “friends with benefits.” It means that you “hook up” on occasion simple to enjoy certain pleasures without any real commitment other than showering afterwards. (Didn’t I put that diplomatically?) You are allowed to have more than one “friends with benefits.” Usually you don’t put this on Facebook because some people look at it as being a bit tawdry. While you can introduce someone as a partner, a significant other or a fiancé it is bad form to introduce someone as being a “friend with benefits.”

Sometime when I wake up in the middle of the night and play with my regrets I wish I was young again. After this discussion on Thanksgiving I’m glad I’m where I’m at. I’d need a score card to keep track of my life and mostly I learned next time, not to ask.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LYNMEINDERS 12/2/2012 12:56AM

    Love is really hard to keep up with todays phraseology

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NUNZIATA43 12/1/2012 6:37PM

    It's a whole new world out there, John! I'm glad I'm in the observer seat and not having to "execute". Well stated!

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NUNZIATA43 12/1/2012 6:30PM

    It's a whole new world out there, John! I'm glad I'm in the observer seat and not having to "execute". Well stated!

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_MOBII_ 12/1/2012 11:11AM

    Or, you can you know....just 'date' someone, go ahead, be an old fuddy duddy! emoticon

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GEEMAWEST 11/27/2012 10:54PM

    All I can say is that "Life is Complicated". And I am so glad that I don't have to worry about that aspect of life.

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RACINGSLUG 11/27/2012 2:05PM

    I'm glad I never went through that dating thing, and will never have to. For me and my husband it was straight from friendship to love.

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WORKINGSTIFF 11/27/2012 10:20AM

    I'm so happy to be old-fashioned after reading this.

I asked my son once if he ever talks to friends on his phone. "No."

They only text each other. No communication, no relationship, no committment.

I'll take the good old days anytime! Those of us in long term relationships are downright radical! Courageous even! Thanks for the chuckle!

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CRYSTALJEM 11/27/2012 7:19AM

    Exactly. :)

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DALID414 11/27/2012 1:32AM

    Too funny.

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CARTOONB 11/26/2012 9:57PM

    It's complicated doesn't begin to explain it! Ha!

And you *did* ask! emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/26/2012 9:02PM

    I think I need to add to my Thanksgiving list: I'm glad my son went so quickly from single to engaged to married... made it easier for his mom to retain her innocence.

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MOBYCARP 11/26/2012 8:44PM

    Heh. Makes me glad that my daughter explained the term "friends with benefits" with reference to *other people* and some disapproval in her voice. Not that I'm about to ask for clarification; it can't make me any happier to get her to tell me something that she's decided I don't need to know.

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SHERIO5 11/26/2012 8:42PM


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CRAZY_DIET_MOM 11/26/2012 5:16PM

    Another reason to be thankful for my husband. emoticon

Beautifully written, apparently very accurate according to my 17yr old and a great smile. Thank you.

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GARDENQE2 11/26/2012 2:25PM

    TEE! HEE!
Good clarification of present-day social mores for us ol' fuddy-duddies!.
It's great to be over the hill so nobody even cares what I'm doing!
I wonder if anyone under 50 understands the word, "tawdry?"
Keep up the good work, John!

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WORLDSERIES11 11/26/2012 2:06PM

    funny, yet sadly true emoticon

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NASFKAB 11/26/2012 1:44PM

  thanks for posting

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BOOKAPHILE 11/26/2012 1:26PM

    Next time he gets a haircut, just smile or say he looks good. What a minefield!

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ADELE66 11/26/2012 1:09PM

    I can confirm (as a single woman) that this is shockingly accurate!! I do believe that life was a lot simpler before Facebook.......!


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CELLISTA1 11/26/2012 12:57PM

    Apparently email is passe too. Those same people text but they don't email. So if I want someone to respond to an email, I have to text them to ask them to check their email and answer me.

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REGILIEH 11/26/2012 12:23PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SIMPLY-4-ME 11/26/2012 12:22PM

    If anything happens to my hubby, I'll just stay single. No way would I start dating again. It'd scare me to death.

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HDHAWK 11/26/2012 12:17PM

    This makes me laugh. I just dated my husband. I guess I'm old fashioned. I did feel a little weird calling him my boyfriend at 50 yrs. old. At least fiance was a term everyone understood. Now I don't have to worry about it anymore!

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NEELIXNKES 11/26/2012 12:16PM

    Way to complicated and I'm not that old. emoticon

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DOODIE59 11/26/2012 11:55AM

    You made my day:) I hope you have yourself a good one, too:)

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/26/2012 11:53AM

    Yep, it's hard to fathom. No wonder people don't get married like they used to. With the cost of a wedding and a divorce it's kind of good that they spend 30 years seeing if someone is date worthy. LOL.

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MARITIMER3 11/26/2012 11:49AM

    Oh John - we're just so terribly out of date. Isn't it lovely? I wouldn't want to start over again for anything.


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LUCYJOY 11/26/2012 11:39AM

    LOL-Darn, I should have gotten a "domestic partner" instead of getting married. I liked that description-you know, the part with shared household responsibilities?

Now these things are important when Christmas shopping. I mean, my son with the 4 year long domestic partnership's partner is that a family gift? What about the other son with the 6 month relationship that was friend's with benefits but now a domestic partnership? What to buy, what to buy-LOL

Loved the blog.

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DARJR50 11/26/2012 11:33AM

  Boy, can I relate to this. My feeling is the heck with it. I will do what feels right and if the younger generation can't understand it, Oh Well. As best as I can figure out the rules really haven't changed it is just the terminology. I think. Good luck with the relationship, or whatever it is call now days.

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The Life That Remains

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Watching someone die is not romantic. Paint all the portraits of angels and Jesus welcoming you home with outstretched arms and a glowing smile you want, I've never met anyone who raised their hand and said "I'll give up my seat here on good old planet earth, no problem." No matter how prepared we are, no matter what our notion of an after life is when the moment presents itself we are hard wired to survive. I watched my father go through that process for three days as he struggled to stay alive. The day before he died he reached up, removed his oxygen mask and pulled me towards him.

We were never close. Some of it had to do with geography and the rest of it with the notion that I was the antithesis of everything he believed in. I never fell into line with his other three children. He wasnt around when I was growing up. He was working three jobs. I was led to believe we were barley surviving. When he died he left my mother slightly over seven figures to live on. He told my youngest sister that he had to work so hard so he'd have money to retire with. He was 87 at the time. My dad never hugged me. My dad never told me he loved me. I cant tell you I loved my dad. I respected him. I never knew him or why he was so distant. A number of people told me its because he grew up during the Depression. I dont buy it. I had friends whose parents came from the same genreration and were warm and affectionate. Mostly, I was told what I didnt do right.

He reached up and pulled me close to him. Its the first time he touched me that I could remember. "I've led a good life, but God it's went by so fast." In his eyes I saw fear and regret and believe it or not I was at a loss for words.

The next few days saw me standing in a corner watching him die and trying somewhere inside of me to find something to latch on to. I couldnt. I just stared.
My brother Joe looked up and said. "He's not breathing." It was over, just like that. They'd sedated him a few hours earlier. He slipped away and left me with so many unanswered questions. They are all holding hands and praying and I'm just staring. I didnt know the man.

Where the happy ending?

I have lived my life believing that something good and positive can come out of anything if you look long enough and hard enough. I'm not sure how much time remains for me in. I do know that it wont be wasted. I call my kids at least once a week just to chat. Periodically they get emails simply saying its been awhile since I told you I loved you. They grin and ask Joan if I'm terminally ill. We've gone to see Rogewr Waters, baseball games and plays together. In February we get to see The Who.

Life is a lot of "Monkey see monkey do." I'm my dad in many ways. I'm not real comfortable sharing my feelings with the kids all the time. I'll find myself tearing up. My youngest calls me "Emo Boy." There is stuff I wish I'd done different. So when I get a chance, I share part of me. I accept them for where they are in their lives and as much as possible encourage them. I want them to know they are loved In many ways I'm haunted by that look of sadness in my dads eyes and for that I am most grateful and thankful for this day and all the others that remain for me.

This blog didnt start out this way, LOL. It just sorta went there.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SILLYHP1953 1/30/2013 3:31PM

    At least I had the excuse it being a step-father who acted that way, not sure how my biological father was since I never met him till I was in my 20's. I think your father was telling you he was sorry.

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ANNE-ELIZ 11/29/2012 11:31PM

    I'm so sorry to hear of your loss! I didn't see this until today; I've been offline for a couple of days.

We are never ready for this, and even less so when our relationship with the person departing has been unsatisfying in some realm. We always hope there will be some reconciliation or at least, understanding that will take place before the end and if it doesn't happen, it seems futile.

Others have made good observations here, but your own observations and reflections are the most important and they will continue over time.

As others have pointed out, you have already made decisions based on what you learned from your relationship (or lack thereof) with your father. They seem to be working well for you and giving you a more satisfying life. You have figured out a good many things that seem to have eluded him.

...a work in progress... emoticon emoticon

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REGILIEH 11/23/2012 10:11PM

    Dear John, my story isn't exactly like yours but similar. I remember the day that I realized that even though my mother wasn't what I would envision it was because of her I was a better person. Just think if your dad had been all you wanted maybe your kids wouldn't have gotten the wonderful father they have or Joan wouldn't have gotten her wonderful husband or all of us that get such joy and insight reading your blogs wouldn't have that pleasure. I would have hated missing that pleasure!!! emoticon

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MARITIMER3 11/22/2012 4:10PM

    Your children will never have to wonder if you loved them, John. Congratulations on taking the steps to be sure that they know your love. It will help them be better people, and better partners and parents. Thank you for sharing your story.

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SNOWANGELDIVA 11/22/2012 11:41AM

    I'm glad it 'went there'. Reminding one another that our breaths are borrowed, help us to stay strong and keep perspective.

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NASFKAB 11/22/2012 5:46AM

  very thoughtful thanks

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CARTOONB 11/21/2012 11:40PM

    Sometimes, we lead our thoughts. Sometimes our thoughts lead us.

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HLPRATT 11/21/2012 10:35PM

    Wow. I think you have a common story. Time does go by too fast. Im sure your dad had much in his heart he just couldn't share. I bet your kids won't think that about you though. I think it's respectable to just let it all hang out sometimes. Life is too short.

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CELLISTA1 11/21/2012 9:03PM

    So many men find it impossible to access their feelings or have true empathy. But you do. Bravo.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/21/2012 8:52PM

    The good that came out of your dad, John, was YOU! You are the father that he couldn't be.Your children don't have to wonder if they are loved.

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SLIMLEAF 11/21/2012 7:32PM


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DOODIE59 11/21/2012 4:16PM

    Lovely words and thought on many levels, John. Your learning moment has become one for your readers when we realize that your response to your father's relationship with you was to make SURE your children know they are loved. Way to Go! And Happy Thanksgiving:)

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LYNMEINDERS 11/21/2012 4:15PM

    Its awesome where it went John....
I agree with you in the fact that people that grew up in the depression weren't all like that....
I don't ever remember my Mother telling me I did good or had done well at something.....
It is what we chose to do with what we have that counts and like you I certainly haven't done things right or well at times however have made changes and ahve a good relationship with my kids.....

In a sense I was quite please that mother dies quickly...even though she was on her own when it happened and I sometimes wonder whether she took an overdose...

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LOVINGKATE 11/21/2012 2:59PM

  I love where this went. Thanksgiving is tomorrow and one of those special thanks is going to my children and their father. I feel so blessed to have had a father who was so full of life and laughter. He grew up with out a father, also the oldest of 3 other siblings. Life was hard but he did all he could to be their for his children. God bless him. He is gone now but I feel I am much like him in so many ways. My children will talk about that often. My husband grew up much like you John. When his dad pass away this year he really had no feelings for him only for his mother. My husband is a great man and father. For that, I am truely bless.
So John, being the best dad you can be will leave special memories for your children. I know in my heart that you are. Happy Thanksgiving to you and to your beauitiful family.

Comment edited on: 11/21/2012 3:01:52 PM

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CRYSTALJEM 11/21/2012 1:25PM

    Fantastic blog. I like where it went.

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HDHAWK 11/21/2012 12:32PM

    You learned many lessons from your day, one of which is to be a good father. My kids' dad is alive, but had never been much of a father to them. I can't imagine missing that. I had a very rocky relationship with my dad (which I don't discuss with family or anyone else, although I probably should). He died when I was 19 and I've never had to grieve because it was a relief not to have to deal with him any more (terrible to say, but it's how I feel). emoticon

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ANATASHIKI 11/21/2012 12:18PM

    your dad sounds like my mom. I told her once that she never told me she loved me and she replied -how could I say it so directly ? emoticon . don't say nothing good came out of it. you learned how you didn't want to live and die. it's normal not to feel very good about sharing your feelings. it's part of the " male" archetype and probably a part of your inner child that respected your father and can't accept he was wrong.or even more complicated mixed feelings : ) .I say you make a pretty good job in sharing your feelings emoticon
emoticon don't cerebralize so much , your heart knows better emoticon

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SUNNYSIDEUPMARY 11/21/2012 11:43AM

    Thank you for sharing - seriously.

When my father died it was a relief - the fruitless, anxious hope for reconciliation was over. I was surprised by the relief.

But letting go was so freeing. He was who he was. And there were some good things about him - I got my packing and organizational skills from him.

This comment started to read more like a blog or journal entry, so I shortened it - guess I need to do some more writing in those places. :) Spark really is a marvelous place to work on ourselves!

Thank you, John!

Comment edited on: 11/21/2012 11:47:50 AM

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DEBRITA01 11/21/2012 10:38AM

    Your dad was a product of his upbringing, I'm sure...just as we all are. We usually do what we know. That's not to say that one cannot change. There was a lot that your dad taught you indirectly and one important thing was what not to do with your own children. Most definitely you are a better dad because of it...

We all have this day to show love to those we hold dear...let's not live with any regrets or have any words unsaid. God bless you, John... emoticon

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LANEYPUDDLESMOM 11/21/2012 10:10AM

    Well John..I guess you can say you know someone who would give their seat up on planet earth. I have been in intensive care and had nurses and my doctor and best girlfriend at the bedside when I died on September 16, 1996. I got to be with Jesus and my little brother. I eagerly wait for my special day to be reunited with them.

Until then, I will do my very best to live each day as best I can. I enjoy all the small moments. I try to soak up every moment that I have with the people that I love. In Spring and Summer I take time to enjoy all the beauty around me that God has given us. The budding trees and flowers. He put all these beautiful things here for us to enjoy. In the fall, I listen to the rustling of leaves and watch as they playfully fall to the ground...knowing that they have to be raked but Thanking God for the shelter they have given our furry and feathers friends all through the heat of the summer and the heavy winds and rain of the season. God has given us so many things we just need to open our eyes and embrace each moment.

A few months after my husband died I was at the church for a meeting with the priest. I wanted to join the Catholic Church. It was a rainy day and I sat in the office facing the priest and just past his head was a window. As I sat listening to him talk I kept looking past his head to a branch on the tree. There was a male and female Cardinal sitting on the branch just outside the window not 4 feet away. With it raining the Male bird had his arm tucked over the female bird to shelter her from the rain..they were huddled under large fig leaves. I asked the priest to move slowly around so that he might get to see this incredible sign of God. HE moved ever so slightly and was able to see what I had been watching out his window. What an incredible experience. To see such a sight and to know that God gave me that moment. I know that he has his arms around me each day of my life. There are some days I might easily forget but I hear the birds chirp and they help to keep that memory a live. Some things need to be remembered. We learn from bad experiences. If we choose to embrace the good and the bad we are able to cherish the good memories and make our life different because of the bad.

Your dad said some very profound words to you. In those words I think he was trying to tell you that he has tried to do his best. He wanted you to know that time passes so live in the moment. Yes, there are some moments we don't want to experience ie..deaths, sickness but for the most part we have a lot of moments that we can make good. IF we choose to stay in the moment and not focus too much on our shortcomings as a person. We are all human and we make our own mistakes. We make choices we regret and we have to live with them..some of us are willing to aplogize and make amends to people we may have hurt. I think this might have been his way. Remember his words as a legacy to you. IF you think about it this person influenced your life in a very positive way. You are aware of his inability to be close to you. You are a very kind person and have a loving family that you want to be close to and are. You are not going to repeat his legacy. You express your love for your family. Girls are super easy..Just reach out and grab them and hug them and the tears..well, I'll just bet they will wipe them away with a kiss. It is quite an honor to see a man cry. If a man starts blubbering..well..then it is tough to watch.. just FYI .. lol.

You are a good person. I am proud to know you. and YES, I will take and give my seat up anyday!!!

Have a beautiful Thanksgiving.... Imogene

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BOOKAPHILE 11/21/2012 9:31AM

    John, I'm sorry for your loss - and for your Dad's loss at not knowing you better. Your response, to be a better Dad yourself, is a good one. I hope you are able to forgive him for his shortcomings.
Have a good Thanksgiving.

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MIATIA1 11/21/2012 9:09AM

    A great blog for this time of the year when we should always get up and have something to be thnkful for. We all take so many things for granted an yet are so blessed if we just stop and appreciate... Have a wonder ful Thanksgiving !

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UPENDA 11/21/2012 9:02AM

    This is just what I needed to hear today. Going through a rough time. Feeling so much better now. Thank you.

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DOTTIEJANE1 11/21/2012 8:54AM

    I can identify with your feelings ,with my mom ,never really new her .Dad left when my brothers and i were young . You are doing GREAT with your children . emoticon

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NEWMOM20121 11/21/2012 8:35AM

    Thank you for sharing

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SHERIO5 11/21/2012 8:32AM


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DABLUECAT 11/21/2012 8:24AM


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ORODEO73 11/21/2012 8:21AM

    This was wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to share such an intimate story. It seems our parents teach even when they are not around.

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The Scale

Sunday, November 18, 2012

That darned old scale!!! Just when we think we have it all figured out and we can predict its every movement, every bob and weave; from clear out of nowhere it throws a curve ball, high and tight. Sometimes we stand and stare at it, often with a modicum of contempt, daring it to inch higher. We become angry. Some of us have even been known to hurl epithets at the darned thing and threaten to throw it out the window. How dare it show us gaining weight?

When I was really young I never really grasped the concept of the first commandment: “Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.” None of my friends had altars with four headed dragons who spouted fire. None of their parents dressed in tribal robes, shaking shrunken heads on the front lawn!!! It had no meaning. Then, I met The Scale. I weigh on Saturday morning. I have a hard time sleeping Friday night. I start reviewing everything that went into my mouth the previous week and even some foods I simply lusted after in my mind and heart. Will the scale know? I always position it in the exact same place and wear the same clothes and weigh in at almost exactly the same time each week. After all a controlled environment works best, correct? I approach the scale with reverence and respect. As I enter its holy sanctuary I’ve often wondered if I should have candles burning. My lower lip trembles as I ascend the steps one at a time. Is it me or does the scale glow? Is it me, or do I hear a faint rumbling and a low deep chuckle? That can’t be lightening outside the bathroom window is it? There is that moment, as the scale cycles though, that all of time stands still. I look down waiting, heart in my throat. Then it renders its verdict. Maybe that choir in the hallway is singing “O Happy Day,” or is that the sound of a funeral dirge moving closer and closer that I hear? My existence hinges on that digital readout. My self-esteem hangs on that weekly evaluation.

Maybe you’re laughing right now. “Oh John,” you say. “You have such a way with words but you’re exaggerating.” Really, I’m exaggerating? Query me this dearest ones. If that’s the case and I’m following some flight of frenzy why is it we have those insidious little weight tickers? Why do we define ourselves as having lost or having gained? Why are the most popular blogs on any weight loss sites the ones that have the good old “Before and After” pictures or the details of how someone lost a ton of weight? What about the healthy people who aren’t stick thin? We live in a world that emphasizes what should be rather than what is. Are you happy, are you healthy, are you adopting different nutritional strategies? Are you bouncing to the gym or in the family room and down the street more than you used to? Then my friend, you are a success. You are move your “is” towards your “should be.” Did you ever stop to think that such a large number of amazing, wonderful and loving, caring people converge on the same web site each day by chance? Scale be damned, you’re amazing and you grow more amazing each day and I am glad you are part of my life even if it’s only in a virtual fashion.
I wrote this blog to support my Spark Friend JENNYBOYKIN. She’s going through the same stuff you and I do and she’s a bit discouraged. I feel all of these things from time to time and I’ll hazard a guess so do you. The good news is we are here to love and support each other and to me, that is worth a lot.

I had a 1.4 pound gain last week. You still love me don’t ya?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKLISE 11/23/2012 6:24AM

    I can totally relate to the scale "God".
But you siad it better than I ever could. emoticon

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SNOWANGELDIVA 11/22/2012 11:48AM

    "I’ve often wondered if I should have candles burning." I gut laughed, not of disrespect, but, familiarity. I was becoming a devote follower of The Scale and I sought daily it's blessed opinion. It was an emotional disaster.
I'm grounded to once a week to keep things in perspective, but, not my main focus.

I love your encouraging words and humour.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/20/2012 10:33PM

    I should weight more actually but have decided not to be a slave to the scale. I am going to judge my health by how I feel.

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TERESAKLE 11/20/2012 1:53PM

  I should'nt laugh at your 1.4 but you make it so darn funny! Hope this week the scale will be leaning to the lighter side.


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HLPRATT 11/20/2012 11:52AM

    You know I never really understood the scale. Sometimes I'm bad and it doesn't reflect it. Sometimes I'm good and the scale doesn't agree. I just know I can't put too much stock in it. I've just got to hang in there doing what I know to be right and it will all come out in the end

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WORKINGSTIFF 11/20/2012 10:02AM

    Honestly, I bought a digital scale, but never use it. There are too many variables and uncontrolable factors that go into that number, especially if you're a woman.

I don't think it's healthy mentally to be obsessed and consumed by "a number."

There are people who will read this and think, "Well, she's in denial." No, not really--a number I pay more attention to is the number of minutes I spend working out each week. Another number I pay attention to is my blood pressure. My cholesteral numbers. The number of hours of sleep I get each night. My pant size. How many times do I laugh really hard in a day?

All of these numbers give a truer indication of overall health, not just that number on the scale. How would one explain an anorexic? Starving to death, literally, but hey! that number is great!

Scales have their place, true, but don't give them more room than they deserve in life.

And one of the most important numbers? How many loved ones, how many good friends are in my life? How many people do I touch in a meaningful way every day?

Of course, you are still loved! Take care!

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JLLOVETT 11/19/2012 3:40PM

    I so needed to read this today - my scale hasn't budged in two weeks!!!!
Thanks for your inspiration!!! And yes, we still love ya!

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LYNMEINDERS 11/19/2012 2:33AM

    Brilliant points John...we do all go through exactly what you have written....and we allow that darn scale to rule us....ugh

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CRYSTALJEM 11/18/2012 11:49PM

    Excellent points. Thanks. CJ

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NASFKAB 11/18/2012 10:10PM


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NAYKNITS 11/18/2012 9:31PM

    emoticon I needed this today!

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REGILIEH 11/18/2012 8:43PM

    ABSOLUTELY!!! You are loved by multitudes!!! Whatever your size but for your own good we do wish you to be healthy! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 11/18/2012 8:37PM

    Even in maintenance, I wrestle with controlling my attitude toward the scale. Yes, I want the weight to move sideways. Yes, I'm controlling it in a range from 160-163. But somehow, a movement from 162 to 161 feels like a Good Thing and a movement from 161 to 162 feels like a Bad Thing. Go figure.

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TRISTAROSE 11/18/2012 7:10PM

    For Sure!


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CARTOONB 11/18/2012 6:29PM

    Your scale glows too?!?!? Does it laugh maniacally? Or is that just mine? I do weigh myself every day, but I don't let the scale determine how I feel about myself or the mood I'll be in. I'm trying to teach it that is just a tool to help keep me where I am happy and healthy. It can learn, right?

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/18/2012 6:28PM

    I'm overloaded on Sparking this weekend, having spent it with old friends I was meeting for the first time in person. Spark really is about all you said, and you are preaching to the choir here.

It's funny, but to offer hope to those who are coming in for the first time, we offer our success stories. Hopefully the in-between Sparker also sees the "tough time" blogs and finds encouragement. We ARE wonderful, just for not giving up. Even when we slip up, even when we gain. This is one great community! emoticon

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JENNYBOYKIN 11/18/2012 5:00PM


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SHERIO5 11/18/2012 4:27PM

    Timely.... emoticon emoticon

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JENAE954 11/18/2012 3:49PM

  Love ya?
Of course no matter what!

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BLUEROSE73 11/18/2012 2:01PM

    definitely. And I fully understand your struggle with the scale. I'm sure we all do

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LOOKY-LOU 11/18/2012 12:36PM

    Yup, still love you! And REALLY REALLY needed your words this morning.

Thank you!


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BOOKAPHILE 11/18/2012 12:25PM

    Yes, of course!

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SIMPLY-4-ME 11/18/2012 11:25AM

    Always. emoticon

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DEBRITA01 11/18/2012 11:03AM

    Sure do. Someone once told me "the scale is a fickle lover" true. emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 11/18/2012 10:59AM

    Oh, yes, John! Yes, I do!

Thank you SO much for your blog today. I gained nearly 4lb in just a matter of days last week - so unfair after it took me weeks to lose 1.75lb, with very careful weighing, measuring and tracking of everything I ate. That's why I knew you weren't exaggerating when you wrote about your self-esteem being determined by the number on the scale on a Saturday morning. My self=esteem and motivation have taken a major nose-dive this week when my efforts seem to have been in vain.

But instead you reminded us that we're much more important and, indeed, valuable than our body weight. Hard to take in, but true nonetheless. Feel free to remind me of it as often as you like!

*BIG HUG* from a grateful English friend.

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ALLISON145 11/18/2012 10:53AM

    Always, John. :-)


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LIFEISPURRFECT 11/18/2012 10:46AM

    You are a mind reader. You have such a way with words and putting pen to paper. Thank you so much for verbalizing what I have been struggling with for the past few months. Yes, we are amazing and will continue to be amazing.

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INBRAZILFORNOW 11/18/2012 10:37AM

    I grow more amazing each day... words to get me through! Thanks for posting this!

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LANEYPUDDLESMOM 11/18/2012 10:36AM

    I must say John. I simply love Thank you so much for this today. I simply needed it!!! I Thank God for people like you..a person who has a way with words that can make your spirit soar. I Thank you for making me laugh as I took this "trip to your scale with you..I could see it all happening as if I were right with you. Thank God you were dressed. I appreciate that!!! lol. It is true..all of it..every last funny word..Thank you for making my day a bit brighter..Imogene aka LaneyPuddlesMom emoticon

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HDHAWK 11/18/2012 10:34AM

    I sure do John! I only lost .2 and I know exactly why. It isn't the fault of the scale.

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Stand Still

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I heard Tara Brach read this poem the other day during her weekly podcast. It reminded me so much of the picture adjacent to it. Joans Uncle Bill would sit on that bench after work and stare out at Lake Michigan and relax. We visited one summer and he and I sat there, saying nothing to each other for a long, long time. As I looked at the lake, it almost reached out and rocked me into a very gentle and warm peacefulness. Joan walked down the hill and told us it was time for dinner. I told her I found Nirvana and that I was going to stay there forever.

A few years later, after Uncle Bill had passed, Joan went back to visit her aunt during the late winter. She snapped this photo for me.

Through the wonders of Powerpoint I was able to marry the poignant poem and the picture and because you are so dear to me I thought I'd share it with you.


If the words of the poem arent clear to you they are as follow:

Stand still.

The trees ahead and bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called here, and you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
“I have made this place around you.”
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying “Here.”
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are.

You must let it find you.
David Wagoner

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 11/16/2012 2:24PM

    I loved the photo and poem.

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DOODIE59 11/16/2012 9:05AM

    Beautiful poem and magical photo. I feel that way about the ocean. Nature is powerful. To be in it is healing.

Wishing you a wonderful weekend:)

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JENNYBOYKIN 11/16/2012 1:05AM


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JENAE954 11/15/2012 10:10PM

  Really nice.
Thank you.

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KATHIC2 11/15/2012 9:24PM


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CRYSTALJEM 11/15/2012 9:21PM


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GEEMAWEST 11/15/2012 9:07PM

    Standing Still is one of the hardest things for me to do. Which obviously means it's one of the things I really need to work on doing. Thanks for the reminder.

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LYNMEINDERS 11/15/2012 4:30PM


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TRISTAROSE 11/15/2012 4:00PM

    Beautiful ... Thank you for sharing!

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ANATASHIKI 11/15/2012 3:15PM

    looks like you could release your soul to float over the face of the waters emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 11/15/2012 3:01PM

    Thanks for sharing such a beautiful story, a poignant reminder and your handiwork!


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SHERIO5 11/15/2012 2:40PM


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SIMPLY-4-ME 11/15/2012 2:35PM

    Beautiful, thank you

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REGILIEH 11/15/2012 2:02PM

    BEAUTIFUL!!! LOVELY!!! WONDERFUL!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NASFKAB 11/15/2012 1:21PM

  awesome thanks for sharing

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DR8561 11/15/2012 1:14PM

    Beautiful! emoticon

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SHSCHLEIN 11/15/2012 12:16PM

  Just beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with all of us.

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GETFIT2LIVE 11/15/2012 12:12PM

    Love the picture and the poem. Reminds me of what God calls to do regularly: be still and know that I am God. Just what I needed this morning!

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LOVINGKATE 11/15/2012 12:08PM

  Thank you for sharing such a beautiful poem and picture. We LOVE Lake Superior. We visit as much as possible. Trees talk to us all the time. They look down on us with such mighty strength and beauty. The leaves blowing in the breeze as if to say all is well. The beauty of the water is so calming. You put the two together and what a beautiful song they make. Have a beautiful day John. God Bless.

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KJELLYBEAN15 11/15/2012 11:57AM

    Beautiful poem and beautiful picture. Thank you for sharing this.

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HDHAWK 11/15/2012 11:55AM

    We've gone to Lake Superior a few times and have a similar view outside our cabin. So relaxing!

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