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Memorial Day 2013 - Heartfelt Gratitude

Monday, May 27, 2013

I always wanted to join the military. I tried each branch five times when I was a teen in Juneau, Alaska. It got to the point where the enlistment crew just shook their heads as I walked through the door. I could never pass the physical, but I really wanted to serve.

My grandfather was in the Norwegian navy before he emigrated to the US. His engineering prowess was put to use in designing ships during WWII. Dad was in the Army during the Korean War, but he served in Europe. Both grandmothers were nurses during WWII. My great uncle is entombed on the USS Arizona. My younger brother joined the Navy at 17. He was in Desert Storm and tons of other places. He just rejoined the reserves full time and is doing what he loves aboard ship. He was loaned to the Army and served in Afghanistan. On 03/27/2009, his roommate, Frankie Toner III was killed on base in Afghanistan. A nurse was also killed. Frankie died protecting the other service personnel.

I will always be sad that I could not serve, but I could not be more honored and proud of those who have. I never forget that, when someone serves, their family also serves. I know firsthand what it feels like to listen to the news with my heart in my throat, unable to breathe until I know my loved one is safe. I mourn Frankie's death and am so selfishly relieved that my brother stayed at his desk that fateful day.

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOVEITMARY 5/29/2013 4:22PM

    Beautiful. Thank you

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_LINDA 5/29/2013 1:47AM

    Its not in my history, I have no relatives with any military connection, but I too, tried to join at age 16, but failed the physical -simply because I could not bend my wrists the required number of degrees. I even went to a plastic surgeon to see if this could be fixed, and no such luck. No use applying to any branch, their requirements are universal.
It should almost be a requirement that only single, unattached people serve. Too many young children are left orphaned. Yes, we sure owe these young people spending the prime of their life in danger to keep our freedom..

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CARRAND 5/28/2013 8:42PM


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LOVESTYPOS 5/27/2013 9:46PM

    What a beautiful tribute. Thank you for sharing this.

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GETSTRONGRRR 5/27/2013 9:14PM

    Thanks for all your thoughts and your warm wishes....that's what Memorial Day is all about!

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Happy Birthday, Baby Cilantro!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Cilantro is our tiny cat who thinks she's the biggest cat in the world. Today she is 17. That would not be remarkable unless you know that she survived that horrid tainted Chinese cat treat scare several years ago. Every day since then has been a blessing!

She sleeps next to me every night and snuggles first thing in the morning. Then she demands that we exit the bed aka her throne. Everything has to be her way. She runs the house and ignores Juneau, our Maine Coon, as much as she can.

Happy birthday, baby girl! You are so loved!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOONGLOWSNANA 5/29/2013 8:58PM

  We have 14 kittens and three mamas this spring. We thought two of the adults were Toms until until they surprised us with their five kittens each. We also have four kittens born inside the house. They are all under 5 weeks of age and so cute. It will be hard to part with them when it is time to find them homes of their own. Their mama was feral last year and never lets us cuddle, but after having her babies in the house she has become much more tolerant of humans and has become a very good mama to her babies. She talks to us now saying that she needs more food because her four little butterballs are growing so fast. We'll be able to catch her now and have her spayed. I'm not sure how we will manage that with the outdoor cats since they are still skittish and have moved their babies once. The porch kitties are so wary of us that catching them will be hard, but we hope to find good homes for everyone. I hope your displaced neighbors fare as well.

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_LINDA 5/24/2013 10:14AM

    emoticon Cilantro!

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LIVINGFREE19 5/23/2013 8:40PM


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CATLADY52 5/23/2013 1:33PM

    You are lucky to have had her for so long. Happy Birthday to Cilantro. emoticon

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DESERTDREAMERS 5/23/2013 12:35PM

    Ah, emoticon kitty!

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CARRAND 5/23/2013 12:04PM

    emoticon to Cilantro!

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MISSY455 5/23/2013 2:52AM

    Isn't it funny how these furry little creatures wrap us neatly around their paws/claws! I know we feel very lucky to have our dog Daisy in our life too. Who btw also rules our house!

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UMBILICAL 5/22/2013 9:20PM

  I thought you were celebrating growing a spice.

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Praying for Moore OK

Monday, May 20, 2013

Praying for the victims, survivors and first responders. I have been through tornados and would not ever want to experience one again. This is just horrifying.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 5/21/2013 8:47PM


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_LINDA 5/21/2013 12:59AM

    It is. Simply can't imagine the terror of being in these storms. So happy to live in a climate that rarely spawns them, the trade off for freezing more months of the year.

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    emoticon emoticon

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RFJSJ50 5/20/2013 8:04PM

    Praying also.

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DEBIGENE 5/20/2013 7:48PM

    I will def be keeping them on my prayer list.

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The Last Straw?

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I wish I blogged with humor like Teeny Bikini, ChicChantal or Stonecot. I wish I blogged with the appreciation for movement like _Linda, Ramona or Nonie-C. I wish I blogged with the zest for self-improvement like OnToVictory or SkinnyInMyHead.

I appreciate these gifted and sincere bloggers. But I also read something deeper than their normal spin. Beyond the humor, the zest or the drive, their words are suffused with positive attitudes in the face of adversity.

Me? I have a positive façade. At work, I hear people being negative about Mondays, uber positive about Friday etc and I always say “_______ is one of the seven fabulous days of the week.” I DO mean that, but, inside is another story.

Friday evening, I saw my check engine light came on. This was after both of my trusted service centers had closed until Monday. My reaction was to be nearly paralyzed with fear. I could not sleep. What if I got stranded going to work today? Do I dare go grocery shopping on my lunch break? How will I get to the Laundromat? What if I can’t afford the repair? On and on.

Over the last couple of weeks, I worked out a budget so I can eventually get out of debt. The day after I paid off one bill, I discovered additional charges BF had not told me about. He watched some pay-per-view movies and had $8 of texts (I have not added texts to our cellphone plan and see no reason to change that). Both surprises were small dollars, but it was the principle. I learned about one through an email confirmation of the order and the other by downloading my bill. Those small charges, coupled with the anticipated increase in utilities (heat means room conditioner runs and a leak means high water charge) mean there’s less to spend on negotiable overhead (groceries and gas) and other things continue to be deferred (hair cut, clothes). He does not / can’t / won’t work so keeping things going is all on my shoulders.

Until things improve, I am tabling my pursuit of Paleo eating. I have lots of staples in the house that I can eat until the pressure on my paychecks lightens. I have brown, red and black rice, about a year’s worth of beans, lentils and cereal. Sigh. I have loved the increase in energy, the absence of digestive issues, absence of mental fog, etc. I will continue to do the best I can, but I must, at least temporarily, surrender to my more practical side.

My knee is feeling better, but I am still very tentative with it. A couple of weeks ago, because it was so bad and because my balance is not great to begin with, I fell 3 times. The cumulative effect of that was a concussion. That makes me even more tentative. As I age, each fall is increasingly dramatic and too much drama. Losing weight will help with balance. I know this, but I am not acting on that knowledge.

I was very close to suicidal a couple of week ago. I got some support and stabilized my thinking. I don’t even have the energy to be depressed. However, not to fear. I promised I would not act on those thoughts, at least not any time soon. Cilantro is a very old cat. Her 17th birthday is Wednesday. Juneau is not quite seven. I promised Juneau I would not leave her. If I did leave, Cilantro would be put down, BF would be homeless and who knows what would happen to Juneau. My cats are so sweet and innocent. I cannot bear the thought of their lives being terminated or turned upside down because of me. When I met Juneau, the shelter rep put her on my shoulder and she purred in my ear and into my heart.

I DO care about my BF, but I know in some ways I would be better off without him. Unfortunately, the way he’s going, that may happen. Among other things, he has heart problems and diabetes, smokes (outside for me) and does nothing to take care of himself.

I am marking time, unable to move forward. I feel as if I am treading water and there is no end in sight. On the other hand, I cannot give up. The increased weight, the impact that would have on my life, is not the answer.

I’m not sure what to say about work. At job #1, the latest wrench is that my coworker gave less than 3 days notice and left. Her new situation is great for her, but it left the department in a lurch. She handled patents, trademarks and copyright releases. We hired a temp who is handling just the patents. I am on the team that’s handling the balance until her permanent replacement can be found. It won’t be the temp – she does not have the background and the agency is too expensive. I’m in over my head, but I treasure the education.

I spent about a week compiling stats and creating an Excel chart of those stats for my boss. I was gratified to learn that he was impressed. I had to relearn how to do the charts (had not done them in over 7 years), but before I could create those, I had to gather and quantify the data. This was a manual process because our new system does not have a robust reporting feature for our legal matters. I had to learn a new formula (took me a few days to find it) and then pull that into the charts in the specific format the VP wants. Tomorrow, I will present and explain the charts and stats to the rest of the legal team. I anticipate that there will be changes based on their feedback.

In last week’s legal meeting, my boss mentioned he was working on something that required reading statutes and interviewing our technical staff before enlisting outside counsel. After the meeting, I asked him privately if I could assist. Statutes and interviews can be paralegal work. He said it was a good idea but he was not ready for me to handle it solo and that we would work it together. I am so stoked! The chances to work one on one with him, to learn from him are rare!

I lose sleep over the volume of work, but I am never bored. I am usually mentally challenged and I LOVE that!

Every Saturday, when I go to job #2, I brace myself for layoff. The job is not interesting or fun, but it is easy and the money is greatly appreciated. I do enjoy the people and the customers. Saturdays are very long and I think that dreading the day is the worst part. The afternoons are long and Sunday, my one day off, is usually consumed with errands and chores.

I could ramble on. I am a deeply flawed human being. Right now, living is impossible and existing is all I can manage. Here it is the end of the first week since the Spark Solution came out. I ordered the book when it was first advertised and was anticipating the arrival, deferring some choices until it came. The book came and I have yet to read it. I have yet to do anything that the team wants. I am sure it will be a valuable asset once I dig into it. www.sparkpeople.com/sparksolution.

Thanks for listening…

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATLADY52 5/20/2013 3:21PM

    You are willing to learn new things and stretch your mind. Those are not signs of weakness. Don't be so harsh on yourself. Take a deep breath and tell yourself to take the challenge of meeting each day head to head. emoticon

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RFJSJ50 5/20/2013 10:26AM

    I don't quite know what to say to you, except to just keep going forward, one day at a time. Life can be overwhelming and a struggle at times. Always remember that you have friends here on Spark who believe in you and in your abilities. We know that you are strong and won't give up on yourself. Just like your kitties, we're here to "purr" encouragement and love into your ear!
You are a special woman who has provided so much inspiration and motivation to me throughout our time here on Spark.
Stay strong - you are in my prayers.
Sheila emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 5/19/2013 9:49PM

    I honestly don't know how you go on with all you have on your plate :(( Its so very tough when you see a loved one pouring their life down the tubes (more stress you really don't need) you mention the small expenses he costs, but what about the cigarettes, last I heard they were horrendously expensive -if he could give up that one nasty habit, think of all the extra money you would save.. If he truly loves you, that could be one thing he could do to help out (and help himself in the process.
Its great your job does keep you challenged and I suspect that is your anchor -that huge challenge of keeping up and doing the job to their satisfaction and hopefully even earning the odd tidbit of praise for a job well done.
Mali, don't ever forget you are a loved and cherished person. You are worth fighting for. Everyone has their own talent and skill that sets them apart from everyone else. You have that incredible mind! Wishing you could be like someone else is pointless, far better to enjoy your own attributes. I know I can never be a runner and don't intend to even try, my joints would hate it, but I will try to be as fit and as active as possible because it make ME feel good. Do the best you can with what you have been given, and one step at a time, you will see improvement. Remember how good it felt for you working out with the kettlebells? We all suffer set backs and injuries, but once we are recovered, its time to slowly and carefully get back into it.
Feel better soon! Sending healing and soothing thoughts!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANNMACP0212 5/19/2013 9:06PM

    Please hang in there! Don't give up on yourself, you are a child of god and you are special. Yes, life is tough right now, but you have the strength to get through it, there are some good things going on right now (the job project for one), try to focus on that. Believe in yourself and believe that your circumstances are only temporary... It will get better!!

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Brain Craving? Imperfect Paleo Continues

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I have not stepped on the scale for a couple of weeks. I feel enormous. My knee is just now feeling nearly 100% and my balance seems to have stablized again. I am still sort of doing Paleo and still not exercising regularly. (Nothing new there)

Wanting a change from Subway's yummy chopped double chicken salad and not feeling like risking my neck walking there, I went to Carl's Jr at lunch.

A person can eat just about anywhere, but visiting a formerly familiar restaurant after making a change in the diet can be a mental challenge. I ordered the low carb burger (lettuce in lieu of bread), but I forgot to ask them to take off the cheese and the mayo. The side salad had one cucumber slice with peel, a huge tomato slice (no more citrus for me for a day or two!), a tiny pile of cheese shreds that I successfully removed (at least 90%) and a pile of huge pieces of bland iceberg lettuce. (I ask for spinach at Subways).

As I walked back to work, I thought about my craving for sweets. I saw candy at K-Mart but did not touch nor buy. I realized I wanted to chew - that's physical. But the craving for something sweet was only in my brain. An intellectual craving? Interesting. New. Different. I wonder...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 5/12/2013 7:01PM

    You did your best!

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RFJSJ50 5/12/2013 3:59PM

    My craving for sweet is what's killing my progress! I just can't seem to resist.
I'm glad your knee is better. I know how hard it is to stick with any type of exercise routine when you're in pain.

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CATLADY52 5/12/2013 2:07PM

    Glad your knee is feeling better. I know that if your knees are not strong your whole body is at risk. Have you tried any knee exercises? Just a thought. emoticon You are doing well.

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_LINDA 5/12/2013 1:39AM

    Great to hear your knee is okay again and good new with the balance!
You might find it more nutritious and less expensive to ditch the meals out and brown bag it, which also would make it easier to follow your paleo. Eating out is what derails a lot of people's efforts at weight loss, besides being expensive.
Sweets are addiction, plain and simple, once you have one, you will crave more -well done avoiding that minefield!!
Enjoy your weekend, hope you can find some 'me' time to relax and enjoy!

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LOSE4LIFE47 5/11/2013 11:24PM


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