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SPY 2; Day 8: Mental Health Day, Sort Of

Friday, February 04, 2011

Those of you who've followed my blogs know that this year has started roughly. Most of January was consumed by the cold that was more than a cold. That was followed by the organizational changes and the very strong hint that my job is less than secure.

Along with that have been my own issues and stresses.

I asked my boss late yesterday afternoon if I could take today off as a vacation day and conceded that, given the late hour, a half day might be fair. He left it up to me. After that, his boss asked me for something that I could not definitively answer until this morning because I needed confirmation from our Knoxville office or our Atlanta agent. So I came in this morning, got that information and did a few other things. Not many. Everything I touch this year seems to require more information than I have at hand, so it has been frustrating.

God / fate / whatever you call it works in mysterious ways. I was able to do something at the bank today that I would not have been able to do after hours, get a replacement ATM card. Then I did the grocery shopping. That means, for the weekend, there's nothing I must do except recharge and get in some exercise!

I am tired in every possible way except I am not sleepy. I have been eating right, taking vitamins and getting sleep, but I have been unable to function. I feel as if I am moving through concrete, I have had intermittent shortness of breath but I am physically fine.

Thank you, SparkFriends, for keeping in touch. You have helped me stay focused in at least this area of my life. Thank you is too small a word.

But one very cool thing happened! I am a member of the "Slowest Loser" team. The leader works for SparkPeople. In one of his recent blogs, he asked the team to share what the team means to us. A bunch of us weighed in, so many that he got his wife to select the few that he would share in the follow-up blog. One chosen is my SparkFriend Ishiigirl and another was mine! I did not know this until another SparkFriend mentioned it on my SparkPage. What a nice way to end a rough week!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 2/5/2011 8:37PM

    You are probably still recovering from the cold/flu that you had in January. You need a few more restful days to get your energy back.

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CATLADY52 2/5/2011 5:12PM

    Hang in there gal. We all have those days of trying so hard and not making any progress. Then there is some recognition of what you have done that makes it all worthwhile. Taake the time to pamper yourself a little. emoticon

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JAKEANDNELLIE 2/5/2011 2:45PM

    I read your comments in his blog and was proud to say "she's my friend."
Just keep pushing forward, day by day, hour by hour. That's the only thing that kept me going through January.
Stay determined!
Sheila

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MARTI2395 2/5/2011 11:17AM

  YOU NEED A WEEKEND OFF JUST TO RELAX TAKE A BATH.

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ISHIIGIRL 2/5/2011 8:29AM

    You deserved the recognition. I think taking time for yourself is the best thing you can do to recharge your battery. You need to do something nice for yourself like get a massage or rent some great movies and just veg. I hope that is what you plan to do this weekend. Take care of yourself! Hugs, Paige

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LIBBYFITZ 2/5/2011 7:01AM

    emoticonThat was a nice way to end a rough week. emoticon hope you are able to have a restful weekend!

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 2/5/2011 12:36AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SPY 2, Day 7: Tired, Overwhelmed, Drastic

Friday, February 04, 2011

Perhaps 54 minutes a day is beyond me. I missed it yesterday by 14, today by 12. Perhaps I should have set a lower monthly fitness minute goal. I have walked and not much else.

I am tired. Mentally, physically (not sleepy) and emotionally.

This morning, as usual, I started with songs as I drove to work. I sang some different songs and started the day on a better foot. Yes, I am still down, but not as low as yesterday.

Food was in range in all respects save calcium. Somene brought in cupcakes for a student's birthday. I did not partake, even though they were chocolate with lots of frosting. I took it because it felt awkward not to do so, but I gave it to someone else.

Yesterday's crisis resolved itself and today was another of those times when I could not finish anything because I needed more information than I had. I am overwhelmed!

It is in that backdrop that I think of drastic unhealthy measures to get this tonnage of. I have not taken any action, but that thought is indicative of my state of being.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYSTERY4EVER 2/4/2011 10:24PM

    If hunger is not the problem, then food is not the answer. You are doing so well on living that. Give yourself credit for how far you have come. Have a great weekend.

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TEENY_BIKINI 2/4/2011 8:03PM

    emoticon

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MEGANC1988 2/4/2011 10:51AM

    emoticon on avoiding the cupcake!

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JHADZHIA 2/4/2011 12:16AM

    If your job and life are overwhelming you at the moment, its time to take a step back. Maybe your goals are too high for your present state of mind. Setting them a little lower and adjusting your food intake to compensate is not a failure. Its just being flexible in dealing with your current reality..
do consider it until things settle down for you..
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SPY 2 Day 6: I Need an Emotions OFF Switch!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

It's probably hormonal, but today I was very emotional. I was ok, for the most part, until the Toastmaster meeting. I was the grammarian/ah counter, which is my favorite role. I am known for my listening skills and for having very detailed reports. The meeting had started late, all the speeches had gone under time, so I launched into my lengthy report. This was after the GE had forgotten to call on me and had called the Toastmaster of the Day to adjourn the meeting. I was feeling really left out and jotted down every flaw in the General Evaluator's speech. After the meeting, the president of the club and one of the former presidents of the club both castigated me for going on so long. The president also found fautl with my meeting minutes, though she did praise me for my officer meeting notes. She said several times that I had gone on too long. I hate it when people say things to me more than once! I seriously thought about resigning as secretary of the club and dropping out, but decided to table that decision since I knew I was feeling very emotional.

With work, everything I touched required I ask a question. I could not finish anything! Frustrating. I emailed a contract negotiator and asked why a number on one page of the form did not match what she put in the summary email. She replied that she didn't see a problem and had attached the form to her reply. Belatedly, I realized she was teasing me. I thought I had screwed up and was just about in tears.

I could not start my online study due to some sort of computer problem. BF is in about the same mood as I am, so this evening at fun is not home.

I am so tired of the stress, of the fear, of the emotions, mine and others.

40 minutes walking today - 14 less than I should have done.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 2/3/2011 8:47PM

    40 minutes is still 40 minutes. Don't be too hard on yourself. We all get days like that.

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CATLADY52 2/3/2011 4:37PM

    As a very wise man once said "Snile through the tears". I asked what it meant and he said "it is when your want to sneer but you smile instead". It worked for me, I just hope it can for you. emoticon

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 2/3/2011 10:50AM

  thing is .. you DID manage to do *40* minutes of walking.. and, you should be happy that you accomplished that and try not to look at what you 'should have' or 'wanted' to do. from what I have seen (since we have been friends) ... is that you're a very strong person... you WILL get through these feelings and it will just make you a stronger person because of it. ~ always remember that your sp friends are always here for you whenever you need us. :)

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LIBBYFITZ 2/3/2011 7:02AM

    I agree with NONIE_C when you look at the day from a different perspective, you did well! emoticon

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NONIE_C 2/3/2011 1:40AM

    Sometimes you just need to let it out, so I don't want to dissuade you from getting your frustration off your chest. I do, however, want to encourage you to ALSO look at the positives of today. In case you're having trouble seeing them, let me point some out:
1. you did 40 mins of walking
2. you identified something you want to and will change: letting stress, fear, and emotions (your and others) run your life
3. some things at work were not actually as bad as they seemed
4. rather than make a hasty decision based on your emotional state of mind and the inconsiderate comments of others, you kept your cool and decided you'd confront it when you were good and ready to do so.

Look at that!!! Today was not so bad after all. Now you just have to do something fun with the bf and all will be peachy :)

I hope tomorrow is a more obviously positive kind of day emoticon

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JHADZHIA 2/2/2011 10:43PM

    You are entitled to get upset at a very frustrating day. Just don't let it derail your healthy lifestyle.. You got some exercise in and that is a good thing! You might not have bothered, just given up.
You can make it through this. You have the strength.
I am here for you..
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SPY 2, Day 5: I Met My Daily Fitness Minutes Goal

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

February first. I have not been as happy to see a month end as I was this January. It was a very tough month on many levels. I did not make my fitness goal last month, so I just set the same goal for this month. THEN I remembered that February is shorter than January.

What's the big deal, you say? My February goal is 1500 fitness minutes. That means, with "only" 28 days, I must put in a hair over 53 minutes every day. If I don't, those minutes roll over until I catch up!

I got in 57 minutes today. Not much in the way of cardio, but I feel so good to have met this goal today.

My nutrition numbers are all over the map. Within range in most metrics, over on a few and under in a few.

Nothing else has changed. Fear of the future, of my financial situation, job, etc. But I can change none of those things tonight, so I will enjoy the feeling of this one success.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 2/2/2011 9:14PM

    Ok! I did 40 minutes on the treadmill. You inspired me!

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CARRAND 2/2/2011 8:24PM

    Way to go! Now I need to get my body out of this chair and on to the treadmill.

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POORGIRL_DIET 2/2/2011 6:12PM

    Yay well done on the fitness minutes, You can do this. Hopefully everything will fall into place with you as well

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LIBBYFITZ 2/2/2011 3:46AM

    emoticonWell done on the fitness minutes!

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JHADZHIA 2/2/2011 12:22AM

    emoticon on your fitness! You can't control your job situation, but you can control your healthy lifestyle! Go for it!!

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 2/1/2011 10:55PM

  Congrats on getting in 57 minutes today... better than nothing! :) Have a fantastic month.

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MISSY455 2/1/2011 10:32PM

    emoticon with your fitness goal!

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JAKEANDNELLIE 2/1/2011 10:15PM

    Just take each day as it comes and deal with the challenges you face one day at a time. Don't feel any guilt about yesterday - it's over and can't be changed, so just move on. Don't worry about tomorrow - it's going to come and bring new challenges whether you worry in advance or not! Just take this journey day by day and do the best you can each day. I'm feeling much better since I've finally done this.
Stay positive,
Sheila


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MYSTERY4EVER 2/1/2011 9:55PM

    Look forward - and value the accomplishments you have done. Have a great month!

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SPY 2, Day 4: Destiny's Music

Monday, January 31, 2011

The speech I delivered today:
She Who Sings Prays Twice
Today, I invite you to step into my imaginary time machine for a short trip back to the early 1970s.
We are all teenagers for this journey and we are going to Albuquerque, New Mexico to a two-story red brick building built in the shape of an H with a rambling two story faux adobe building behind it. Together, these buildings comprise the campus of Harwood Girls School, a Board of Missions school for the Methodist church.
When I first arrived, I was chronologically 13 years old, but emotionally about 6. Who should I meet on that very first day of school but the music teacher, Winifred Wrisley. An older student introduced us and told me that Miss Wrisley could teach me to sing and to play the piano.
Remember this is only a few years after 1969, famously known as the summer of love. The teachers at Harwood have served in the Peace Corps, been missionaries around the world and have come to teach with a sense of mission. This is also a time when folk music was beginning to be used in youth church services and church sanctuaries began to reflect that influence. The music room at Harwood has burlap banners with words made from felt letters. One of them says “She who sings prays twice”.
Miss Wrisley had a rule and told us that we should leave our troubles at the door because the music room was for making music. Picture all your troubles in a backpack, she said, and leave that backpack outside the door. You can choose to pick it up when you leave.
She made the music room an oasis for me. I sang every day. Being in the choir meant traveling to churches all over the Land of Enchantment for Sunday performances. The school had 13 pianos and I played every one of them. I had my favorites, but I made sure each piano was played. Every morning, we gathered outside the dining hall for grace. I played the only song I knew every day until an older student said, I don’t know if I’m coming downstairs for breakfast or going to heaven. The song was “Jacobs Ladder”.
Three years later, Miss Wrisley sent me a letter over the summer with the sad news that she would not be returning to Harwood. She needed to stay in Vermont and take care of her mother. I was heartbroken and could not imagine the music room without her. But I continued the piano and voice lessons for the last two years of high school. We remained friends, exchanging letters full of music, often with church bulletins. Miss Wrisley was a lay minister for several small churches in rural Vermont and gave music lessons. I had the chance to visit her in Vermont. We visited Lake Champlain, Waterbury Circle (home of Ben and Jerrys), site of the Trapp Family resort (of “Sound of Music” fame), the church that sent missionaries to Kalaupapa leper colony. It had wood carvings on the outside of the church that told the story of Father Damien at the colony. I had the privilege to interview a friend of hers who told me about being at Hickam Field on the morning of December 7th, 1941. He gave me a picture that he took that morning of a plane flying overhead.
Miss Wrisley retired in Asheville, NC at the home that the Methodist Church ran for retired ministers and qualified laypeople. Through the years, our cards and letters continued. One year for her birthday, I cross-stitched a wall hanging with colorful wild flowers and the saying from her music room “She Who Sings Prays Twice”. I backed it with yellow fabric and trimmed it with red ribbon, the colors of the New Mexico flag. She told me that, when she died, it would come back to me. My Christmas letter for 2010 included the news about my summa cum laude AA in Paralegal Studies and a thank you for the music she had sent recently.
The response to that card was a letter from the property manager that Miss Wrisley died shortly before Thanksgiving. I could not sing for several days after that – my throat was choked with tears. We had known each other for nearly 40 years.
As we board my imaginary time machine and return to the present, the years creep back and we are here now. I hope you are now thinking of people who have had a profound impact on your life and are in touch with that inspiration. My talisman is a banner that says “She Who Sings Prays Twice”.

Yesterday, I hinted that tonight's blog would explain a comment a made about today being a date of great personal significance. My older brother would celebrate a birthday today were he still alive. He died when we were teens. He lived a hero and died a hero. We were the only children from our parents' marriage to each other. Shortly after I was born, Mother went home to New Mexico and Dad was in Europe fulfilling his US Army commitment. Mother married her high school sweetheart and they had four girls. I was at least 10 years old before I knew he was not my dad. When we were very little, my brother and I shared a room and were very close. I was Mother's outlet, her punching bag. My brother was the only one who could talk her down and stop or shorten the abuse.

At the end of my 8th grade year, circumstances sent me to live with my father and his new family in Alaska. I was not allowed to hug my brother or speak to him as I was hustled out the door. Two weeks later, while on a Boy Scout expedition, a rafting trip, he lost his life. The scouts encountered rough water and fallen trees and decided to leave the river, hike and get back in the water at a different point. My brother was already on shore and saw that a younger, smaller boy was still in the water. My brother went back into the water, gave the boy his life preserver and, as the current carried them downstream, both boys struggled with the water and hypothermia. Between the two of them, they had the strength to get the younger, smaller boy to safety but my brother drowned. A few days later, some campers came across some of the boys covered in campfire ash. That was the first that anyone knew there was a problem. Rangers rounded everyone up and that was how they discovered one boy was missing. They dragged the river and, days later, found my brother.

My brother had what they used to call traumatic autism. It was a miracle that he reached out and saved this boy, so they say. But he had always been my hero and always will be. Because he loved to play the guitar, my mother had this put on his marker: "Destiny asked will you be a hero? He answered singing gladly, yes."

I had fleeting thoughts of changing the speech I delivered today. I was unprepared for the emotional toll that giving that speech on my brother's birthday after the week I just had.

In terms of my SparkPeople journey, today was at least one step backwards. I had a healthy breakfast. Then came the announcement that a contractor was leaving at the end of the day. They had a going away soiree for her which meant homemade banana, cranberry and applesauce breads. I walked away from them at first, but they were there all day and I walked back. I tried most of them and skipped my healthy lunch. (I know!). I was really stressed with work so I was not hungry at lunch time, but I ate some of the breads in the afternoon. Small pieces, but, still. I am not so far along on my journey that I can flirt with that kind of food!

I am so scared that I will be laid off. I am so stressed about finances. I feel completely overwhelmed about everything! And, in the ironies of life, I found my lost glasses. I lost them a few weeks ago and have been using my old prescription. I spent the last of last year's FSA (flex spending account) dollars for the eye exam and, just this past Saturday, ordered and paid for my new glasses. That transaction ate up more than half of my FSA budget for this year! Yikes!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARRAND 2/1/2011 8:58PM

    Great speech, and wonderful story about your brother. I know how hard it must be to share something so personal, and I'd like to give you a big hug for sharing.

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 2/1/2011 10:44AM

  I am glad you had a person like Miss. Wrisley in your life.

Thanks for sharing your story.

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GREENSCRAPCAT 2/1/2011 6:47AM

    I wish I could reach into this computer and give you a big hug. What a beautiful, heartfelt story. Thank you so much for sharing.

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LIBBYFITZ 2/1/2011 2:14AM

    emoticonThank you for sharing . emoticon

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JAKEANDNELLIE 2/1/2011 1:34AM

    You were blessed to have Miss Wrisley in your life - and she was blessed to have you in hers. The memories you have will always be with you - ready to bring you up and move you forward.
Thank you for sharing such moving stories from your life.
Sheila

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JHADZHIA 2/1/2011 12:34AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
You will get through this, as you do every year. The difference is you are dealing with it in a more healthy manner, remembering good times instead of all bad. One slip does not define a healthy lifestyle. Its how you deal in the long term. You are doing fine..

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RJFERRARO315 2/1/2011 12:15AM

    Wow! You shared so much. I am so grateful that you had Miss Wrisley in your life. She added so much and what a gift of music.

Thank so much for opening up and sharing. I don't know what to write to encourage you, but don't carry the bread from today into tomorrow. emoticon

I believe in you.
Rebecca

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ROX2013 2/1/2011 12:12AM

    emoticon You are so beautiful, and thank you for sharing this with us! You have overcome many trials that most dont have and also have been blessed with the most extraordinary people that have helped to shape you into a loving, compassionate and caring person you have become and did I say determined to continue on your journey with a open heart and mind. Cherish those memories and remember to continue to make new ones as you travel forward!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/1/2011 12:16:03 AM

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