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Day 211: Photo Blog #30

Saturday, July 30, 2011

The thirtieth assignment is: "A picture of you last year and now - how have you changed since then?"

Faithful Readers know that I've posted before-and-after pictures a couple of times. The milestone markers seem to come up at regular intervals, so there are a few floating around on SP.

But in light of today's theme, I figured what the hey:



Now, that wasn't taken exactly one year ago. I don't seem to have any pictures of myself from July (or June, or August) last year. That's not very surprising, as I've resisted having my picture taken the last few years, so there aren't very many about. At any rate, on 30 July 2010, my weight was 213.62.

The picture above was taken in November, by which time my weight was 190.74. Today, it's 157.3. Himself took the picture below earlier this month, when we went to Hardwick Hall:



A major change, in other words, is having lost over 50 pounds in the intervening year. This is one of my favorite recent photos: I did the now-traditional picture of having both legs in one side of the knit slacks I was bursting out of just two short years ago:



But isn't this about more than about losing weight? Not just about getting physically healthier, but 'all over' healthier: mentally and emotionally, as well as physically. At least, that is my goal(s) on this journey.

The three major goals I outlined on my main page as of 21 February 2010 (just about 18 months ago, on what was effectively my two-year Sparkiversary) were to stabilize my blood sugar; increase my activity; and find motivation - something, anything, that would keep me going.

In order to achieve them, I planned three main steps: 1) moving as much as possible; 2) tracking both nutritional and fitness data; and 3) overhauling my attitude. That last continues to be the hardest work-in-progress!

Today, I am diabetes-medication free. I keep it under control by lifestyle. (As you may have read before in my blogs, the medical profession tends to call non-medicated Type 2 'diet controlled.' I prefer to call it 'lifestyle controlled.' Eh. A rose by any other name, ain't?)

A year ago I was taking one thing or another - and sometimes two and even three different medicines - but I'd really begun to despair it would be possible to backtrack to a sufficiently healthy point that the BG would be in the normal range without some kind of medicinal boost.

But here I am, off the meds, so that's a big change from last year.

Activity: I move a lot more than I did two to three years ago. At the same time, I don't move nearly as much as I should. That's down to me, and it's a real bugaboo. I know what to do, but I have a lot of difficulty 'forcing myself' to do things I need to in order to build up the strength of my back, to tackle the ongoing plantar fasciitis, to improve the knee that increasingly needs surgery.

But I am moving more, doing more, walking more, than I did a year ago, so there's a definite change.

The last - motivation, and the accompanying attitude - are my biggest struggles. I generally use the fear-based approach (FRs know what I'm talking about; those who don't - well, let's not go there tonight; I'll hash that topic soon enough). My best guess is that motivation and the underlying attitude are something I'll have to struggle with, and rework, and keep plugging away at, over and over, the rest of my life.

But I'm better at it than I was a year ago, and that's a major positive change.

I've got a long way to go. Sure, I know, it doesn't look that way on the ticker, but these last 20-odd pounds are taking forever. In science, we're taught that something mega-frozen can approach absolute zero, but never reach it - radioactive minerals will become less so as the half-life continues, but there's always some radiation left. It can't reach an 'absolute zero.'

I sometimes feel as if my weight goal is like that: it's an artificial line, an absolute zero that I can never attain. The ever-vanishing point will continue to fall just beyond my ability. 'A person's reach should exceed their grasp, or what's a heaven for?' Indeed.

Health isn't all about the scale, and the weight, and the BMI, and the constant numbers. It's about feeling strong, and awake, and energized, and alert. It's about drawing a deep breath and having it make you feel good - about picking something up and feeling muscles come into play.

Yes, I've got a ways to go. But between July 2010 and July 2011, I've seen some good changes. Good things.

Tomorrow: last photo blog. Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LJCANNON 7/31/2011 10:31PM

    Awesome Blog!! I am so Happy that you have succeeded in getting off the meds and are using Lifestyle to control your Blood Sugar!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
You Rock!!!

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DRB13_1 7/31/2011 5:42PM

    Your term - "lifestyle controlled diabetes" - is SO much more accurate and I applaud you (STANDING OVATION) for getting your glucose levels regulated without medications!
emoticon

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DTOWNSEND1966 7/31/2011 1:57PM

    Wow. I'm impressed!

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2KITTIES 7/31/2011 7:44AM

    I hope you felt a major sense of accomplishment after this post-I'm proud of ya!! And it certainly gives me hope that there are better days ahead. Most importantly, gettin goff the meds. That's big!

Congratulations on your journey for this last year-you look fantastic, and more importantly, feel good!

emoticon

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LYNMEINDERS 7/31/2011 1:14AM

    Awesome pics and boy there have certainly been some major changes....
Well done

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/31/2011 1:01AM

    Wow, awesome and inspiring!I am glad I hooked on your photoblogs as I have not been aware of your success. But now I am and maybe I get a picture of me to have something to show next year - because so far it is not htat much of a difference...

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LECATES 7/30/2011 7:55PM

    The computer keeps you tied down too much---it is sooo addictive---LOL---I need to more more too.

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/30/2011 6:19PM

    I love this paragraph, Kasey, as it says sooo much:
"Health isn't all about the scale, and the weight, and the BMI, and the constant numbers. It's about feeling strong, and awake, and energized, and alert. It's about drawing a deep breath and having it make you feel good - about picking something up and feeling muscles come into play. "

You go, woman! You are doing fantastically. Spark on! emoticon

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Day 210: Photo Blog #29

Friday, July 29, 2011

Really closing in on it, now.

Today's assignment: "A picture that can always make you smile."

There're quite a few, actually, ranging from personal pix (there are some of my kids that are riots - to my mind, at any rate) to staged photos to Sunday funnies.

I went looking thru some I have on my computer and this is what I came up with. (Because no, I couldn't just stick with one, now, could I?)

There are some pictures that just cry out for humorous taglines:



'Mabel, I said to her, Mabel, you just haven't heard the worst of it--!'

Animal pictures are often amusing anyway, and can usually make me smile. The witty type:



I love really good puns. The borderline crude--



--generally get a smile out of me.

There's the kind of picture that is - possibly - unintentionally funny:



Heaven forbid there are loose women who double as pickpockets in their spare time.

Then there are cartoons, such as talking food:



It spoke to me. I mean, ice cream DOES speak to me.

But when I sifted thru this little collection (I say 'little' - there are probably a good fifty - sixty pictures in the folder) this is the one I kept coming back to:



I know, I know. But it's so representative of both my many food issues, and my warped sense of humor - I can't help grinning. Eh. You know what Vonnegut said. 'So it goes, so it goes...'

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEUSERIVER 7/31/2011 1:20AM

    I have never seen the fruit image before...too, too funny!

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DTOWNSEND1966 7/30/2011 5:54AM

    Loved this one. Thanks... that banana image will stay with me for a really long time!

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HICKOK-HALEY 7/30/2011 2:59AM

    That was great!

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/30/2011 1:32AM

    DO I agress - oh, that banana... eating a banan is a little indecent in itself but from now on I will not se a banana without smiling... thanks!

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ASPENHUGGER 7/30/2011 12:20AM

    Just saying hi -- it's been a killer week, what with training and new computer programs, & all. The weekend threatens to continue in the same vein. I'm giving up and going to watch the rest of Murder Most English. Colin Watson is one of my all time favorite authors. The series does him justice.

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PROT358 7/29/2011 10:54PM

    That is one naughty banana! Enjoyed the pictures. Thanks for the laugh!

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/29/2011 7:52PM

    Anybody who thought I was refined would be shocked, shocked, I say, to see my reaction to this! emoticon

However, YOU know me better than that! emoticon

Rest well, friend Kasey! emoticon

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DRB13_1 7/29/2011 6:19PM

    emoticon Love your sense of humor - so funny! emoticon

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Day 209: Photo Blog #28

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Today's assignment: "A picture of something you're afraid of."

Well, you know, 'fear' being my middle name 'n' all, it's easy to come up with ideas. Not so easy to pare 'em down and pick just one. But I'll go with My Major Phobia.

Somewhere along the line I think I posted a picture of the house where I grew up. (No, that's not the fear picture - stay with me here, now.) It was a two-story log house - not a cabin, just a farmhouse made from logs.

My parents had a small farm. Our place had a U-curved driveway between the road and a creek. The barn and springhouse and so on was on the 'road' side of the creek. A couple other buildings were on the 'house' side. We had a footbridge, sturdy, with railings, that was wide enough it could have accommodated a wheelchair, but not wide enough for even a small car.

Just setting the scene here.

My father didn't acquire a riding lawn mower until, oh, I'll say probably a good ten years after they bought the place. Until then, he used a push-mower for the lawn areas and a scythe blade on his tractor for the big areas.

When I was about 7 there was an, ah, interesting accident. He was mowing a small patch of lawn between the driveway and the creek. I happened to be up on the porch (keep in mind this was probably a good... I dunno, 30 yards? probably a little more, since it was off on a diagonal from where he was mowing) with my mother.

I wasn't paying attention to Dad, really; I was probably playing or something. But I could hear the back-and-forth drone of the lawn mower, a distant rise and fall. Every so often, he would stop and pick up a branch or something, moving it out of his way. This being pre-deadman's-switch days, the lawn mower would idle when he stopped, then the rise and fall would start again.

You're with me, right?

So when the lawn mower stopped for a moment, it was routine. Then my mother said, quietly, 'That's it. I think your father's lost his mind.'

That got my attention. When I looked, he was swinging his arms around wildly. Then he started dancing - at least, that's how it looked to my seven-year-old eyes. I know I was gaping when he started tearing his clothes off.

From where we were, we couldn't see why he was acting bizarre, but you might've already guessed. He'd run over a yellow-jackets' nest. Boy, those little buggers can build fast. I mean, figure it had probably only been about a week or so since he'd last mowed it. There were enough of them to go up his pantslegs and into his shirtsleeves and really nail him good.

I don't remember any more of it. I know the story, of course, because my father frenetically jerking across the lawn, then taking his clothes off, left what you might call an indelible memory. Poor man. It must've been ghastly.

He made it up to the house - thank God, as he could easily have had enough stings to prove fatal, if the nest had been bigger. My mother practically bathed him in ammonia (you know about that, right? just like with sea-nettle or jellyfish stings, it's an antidote for the venom), he went to the doctor - all's well that ends well.

The next weekend one of my aunts came to visit, and my mother was telling her about the hornets' nest (my father had done them in - you just wait till nightfall, as they can't see after dark, and I guess they all go home at twilight so you can wipe out the whole batch in one fell swoop). My aunt said something like 'Yes, you never can tell where they go down into the ground, until you happen to step on it.' Something like that.

I spent the rest of the summer trying NOT to walk on grass. I was petrified, certain that every leaf, every weed, every blade of grass, harbored the hole that led to the biggest underground hornets' nest of all time.

Keep in mind, we lived on a farm. I know I drove my mother bats - I'm not sure Dad noticed* - but she would ask me to go get something - what? walk across the LAWN? and I wouldn't want to go. She thought I was being lazy or stubborn (me?) and would give me dire threats.

*I don't mean he didn't notice Mom was bats. I mean he didn't seem to notice my neurotic unwillingness to walk across the grass. It was years before he noticed Mom was bats, but that's another story.

Finally, I would start edging out, trying to take giant steps on tiptoe, so as to make as small an imprint as possible - thinking, of course, that so long as I didn't step right ON a yellow-jacket's entryway, I would be okay.

No kidding. The entire summer. Facing a death-march every time I walked across the yard, or out to the barn, or over to the garden. Abject terror.

And I don't know why I didn't just say to my mother (or father, or somebody) 'I'm afraid there are hornets in the grass.' I remember my mother doing her occasional 'What's the matter with you?!?' but what kid ever gave that an enlightening response?

Long story short: I am still, to this very day, terrified of hornets.



I mean, just LOOK at the thing! That's a paper-wasp, not a yellow-jacket, but makes no difference.

When my kids were little we found a huge nest in the summer kitchen of the house where we lived at the time. It was so big we had to call in an exterminator - the nest was in the walls of the building. Bald-faced hornets, he said. All I know is they were vicious little b@$!@#&s, who would sting without provocation (as my daughter can attest) and who would keep right on stinging until you managed to squash the thing.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind honeybees, and I've yet to hear of anyone being stung by a bumblebee. But I'm not sure it would break my heart if every hornet and yellow-jacket was eradicated. Not very green, but - there 'tis.

All right. Off for Chicago Code (what can I say? I got hooked), back to genealogy, the beddy-byes. Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 8/25/2011 6:43PM

    Wow! did this bring back memories!

Back in the early '60s we all went camping with my Aunt Marg (not Marge! Never Marge!) and all the sisters, cousins, brothers ( A s___ load of relatives).
This weekend was the time of the first moon landing. The second day we were to hike out to the adjacent land owner's house and watch the event on his TV.

We were to camp in southern New Jersey on some land- (dry land she had thought) that she had recently purchased! We had to bushwack our way in as there was no road or trail. My cousin Bobby was first in with his big pick -um-up truck. Quite a way in, the truck became stuck in a peat bog area. After a lot of drat-laced discussion, it became apparent that the only way to extract the truck was to winch it out tree by tree or none of the camper-trailers would be able to dragged in or set up!

While all this was going on, the air sometimes ringing with shouts of Drat, double Drat, my Uncle Bob (Bobby's father) took all the little ones ( including my three pre school daughters) farther in by foot to amuse them near a very shallow crick, aka creek.

Some time later I heard the panicked shrieks of my youngest daughter, who had stepped on a nest of those very same wasps, and they were stinging her all over her litle body. For many years to come the idea of them terrified her! Obviously, she was not allergic to the bites, but at that time we weren't sure of that. This tale to be continued in my blog, "Wasps and the First Moon Landing".



Comment edited on: 8/25/2011 6:51:14 PM

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DTOWNSEND1966 7/30/2011 5:57AM

    Gee thanks. Now I'm rethinking my new found city girl willingness to walk barefoot on the grass! pftttt I was right all along

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LYNMEINDERS 7/29/2011 5:30AM

    I'm Completely with you....we have wasps here in summertime and I really preform if they come near me....I hate them....
When we were on holiday last year they were building nests in the wood of the Chalet we were renting and my husband waited till they had got in then taped over the hole so they couldn't get out....we had a bout 4 holes.....
Will be doing it again this year if they are hanging around.....

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/29/2011 12:44AM

    I completely understand that one! I donīt have that fear because as a youngster I did not know that they existed, otherwise I would have been as scared as you... as I first learned about those who lives in the ground as a grownup, fear is more "civilised". Now I have to dig in my memories if I have something similar.

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DRB13_1 7/28/2011 9:03PM

    survival instincts kicked in...

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VINNIELOU 7/28/2011 7:49PM

    This is a great story! I love it. when my son was just about a year old, I set him on the grass and a little grass bug went in his ear and buzzed around. It took me a bit to figure out why he was screaming so terribly. That whole week of camping he was terrified of being set down. I called him my monkey boy because if I set him down he would climb back up my leg. He held on like an octopus. luckily he got over it (sort of.)ha!

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/28/2011 7:47PM

    Brave woman putting a picture of the fear... mine would be a snake. Ewwww... I could tell the tale of slaughtering my son's paper snake that he was so proud of, it wiggled so realistically. He and his dad laugh to this day when they tell the tale... me, I blush and compare myself to the "fat broad" in the BC comic strip... she pounded snakes into the ground, every time.

emoticon Rest well, Kasey friend!

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LECATES 7/28/2011 6:11PM

    My sister went into an area of the barn we were not supposed to go into--where they mixed chemicals---well, she got into a hornets nest---came out screaming and I remember my mom having to rip the shirt off of her--- needless to say, none of us ever went into that area of the barn again.

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PICKIE98 7/28/2011 5:55PM

    bees do not sting me, nor mosquitoes.. if mosquitoes put their stinger in me, they drop over dead on me.. I t has been that way since I got allergies in 8th grade..lovin' it!

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BEST_LIFE_NOW 7/28/2011 4:34PM

  Although I'm sure your story filled your young mind with terror, it had me laughing hysterically. I could just picture your dad dancing .... and you, afraid to walk on the grass!

I hate yellow jackets too! We had them by the pool at our last house and they loved to chase people. .. scared the c@ap out of me emoticon

When I was about 12, I used to go over to the junior high school and run in the summer.

I always ran barefoot, no reason why. And I was much too cool to wear glasses (except when I was sure no one would see me).

So I'm running, and notice a bunch of pretty yellow flowers on the ground . I decide to run through them ... it wouldn't really hurt anything, right?

Well, I run through a bunch of bees. I'm blind without my glasses! They are literally hanging off my feet. I freeze. What the heck am I supposed to do? I finally pull them out and walk home ... I didn't get hurt but it scared me half to death. I was wondering if I was going to swell up ... LOL

To this day, I hate running! No logic needed, that's just how my mind works!

Comment edited on: 7/28/2011 4:37:21 PM

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 7/28/2011 4:05PM

    EEEEWW! I just hate all bugs. When I'm outside they don't freak me out as much, but when I see one inside, I go ballistic.

But....when I started thinking of ONE thing I'm afraid of...if I had to choose a photo....it would be the picture of me I consider my "before" picture. Because I am terrified of ever being that sad morbidly obese woman again. Now that is what scares me!

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Day 208: Photo Blog #27

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Today's blog assignment is "A picture of yourself and a family member."

You know how some of these have been 'two-fers,' asking for photos of two (usually very different) things? Well, today I'll give you another 'two-fer,' except it will be two pictures for one assignment.

1) I think I've posted this in a blog previously, but nonetheless, a pic of Himself and ...myself!



2) My mother would keel over if she saw this - posting pictures on the 'net is such a no-no for her. (And yes, she's online. But she doesn't Spark, so it's okay. Probably. I hope.)



From left to right - my daughter, me, my mother, my grandmother, my son. That was taken a couple years ago on a glorious October day. Isn't it a great four-generations portrait?

That's all you get today. We went to Alderley Edge for a long (long long LONG) walk and I'm beat.

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEST_LIFE_NOW 7/29/2011 9:07AM

  I finally get a peek at you ... lovely!

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/28/2011 12:33AM

    Wow - four generations... that is lovely!

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DEBRITA01 7/27/2011 10:08PM

    Love both photos, especially the 4 generations...I'm sure Mom won't mind emoticon

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PROT358 7/27/2011 9:30PM

    It's easy to see the family resemblance! You're so fortunate to have such longevity in your family, to have grown children who know their great-grandmother. Thanks for sharing the pictures!

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LEANJEAN6 7/27/2011 9:29PM

    nice pictures!!! --nice family--nice husband----LOL----Lyndafrom the north-- emoticon

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SEAWAVE 7/27/2011 9:22PM

    Love the pics. I understand your mother's reluctance re: pics on the 'net, but we won't tell her you posted!

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/27/2011 7:42PM

    Love the family pictures! They bring us into the same world, you know.

Thanks again for doing the photo blogs... I've been enjoying them immensely.

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LECATES 7/27/2011 6:11PM

    Either you are very short or your children are very tall---LOL---great pictures

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PENNYAN45 7/27/2011 5:53PM

    These are great photos!
The four-generation one is excellent.
And the couple looks terrific!



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LYNMEINDERS 7/27/2011 5:22PM

    Straight to the point...I love it....

As Forest Gump would say...."thats all i gotta say about that"....lol

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Day 207, Redux: Photo Blog #26

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The assignment back on Day 7 was "Your most treasured item." Faithful Readers will recall that I decided 'item' was definitely 'thing,' not 'person,' so I didn't use a photo of my kids (that came later). I used a photo of my wedding ring.

Fair enough.

Today's photo is "A picture of something that means a lot to you." You see what I meant about that overlap business. Again.

Rather than use the same wedding-ring picture, I've slightly changed today's, to "A picture of some PLACE that means a lot to you."

And that is easy. There's a tiny village in upstate New York, halfway between Syracuse and Watertown, where one branch of my family has lived since at least 1840.

My parents were living there when I was born, and it was the place where we spent every Fourth of July until... well, I guess until I was long out of high school, maybe even until my kids came along.

Sometimes we were able to get back* for Thanksgivings, Christmases, Easters, and even the occasional Halloween or Mother's Day. And of course there was the usual assortment of family celebrations, and sorrows - virtually all of my ancestors, as well as my brother, are buried there.

*We were living in Maryland, nearly 400 miles south, and it was an all-day car trip just to get there, although I-81 has shaved a bit of time from that now.

This photo was taken around 1911, just about the time my grandmother was born:



Quite a lot of people had a copy - it's from an old postcard; my grandmother had one, which is where I'd first seen it. There was a time I could tell you the names of just about everyone who lived along the street in the picture, and probably the names of most people in the village.

If I can be said to have roots, that's the place. It goes beyond 'means a lot.' I guess it's Home.

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PICKIE98 7/27/2011 4:37PM

    Slick pic!

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/27/2011 4:19AM

    Your story gives me a lot of pictures in my head of the smalltown USA as I imagine it.Sweet!

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BLONDWUNN 7/26/2011 10:28PM

    You're so blessed to have this memory, and so many family members who add to the memories! The picture cements the image to the memory that time might ordinarily alter if you had no picture.

Thanks for sharing you good and meaningful times with us!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/26/2011 7:13PM

    Amazing that you had the postcard tucked away. And I love the interpretation of the repetitive tasks to make them unique!



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LYNMEINDERS 7/26/2011 6:59PM

    I am so pleased you are doing this blog challenge...It is awesome reading it each day....

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LECATES 7/26/2011 6:24PM

    Nice story behind that one!

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