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So, I turned 40 and the world continued to spin on its axis.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012




It only took me a moment to pick myself up and dust myself off after falling to the floor in initial shock that things seemed so...dare I say it...NORMAL when I awoke the morning of my 40th birthday. Better than normal in two ways:
1) I was in Westport with my family including my parents who flew up to celebrate the milestone birthday with me. Westport and the adjacent beach area of Grayland, WA are together my favorite place on the entire planet. Add in my family, and it's a near-perfect scene.
2) My parents offered to stay and make breakfast with the kids while my hubby and I went out to beach-comb the 18 mile stretch of beach that is technically part of the Pacific Coast Highway, but less technically is white sand beach with crabs, birds, occasional sea lions and at the south end, remnants of houses and their systems (septic tanks and foundation remnants litter the southernmost tip of the beach known as "Wash-away Beach). With recent reports that many items from Japans Tsunami last year have been found washed ashore on the beach there, we were curious, but mostly we just looked forward to exploring the beach together.

In rare form, the sun was out the entire weekend and it was the warmest set of consecutive days we've had in WA state yet this year. We typically hit the beach in August and it's pretty hit or miss as to what type of weather we'll get, so to get warm sunshine in April was a near miracle.

I celebrated a few specific victories that weekend.
1) I turned 40, which, by some peoples standards really isn't that much of an achievement, yet, for those who know my background well, you know that my brother ended his life shortly after his 38th birthday and I approached this mark with trepidation and longing for a way overdue chat with him.
2) I launched my website and online store as of April 2nd, but am still adding my glass pieces as I get them weighed and measured. Putting my art and wearable creations out there for the world to see, admire and even criticize is a big deal, and I'm really proud of myself for doing it. Now to get the word out and start making sales!
3) My hubby celebrated his one year anniversary of working at Boeing, which is several milestones all rolled into one. It's the first job he's had since a major on the job back injury ended his career as an electrician and put him out of work for three years. He LOVES his work, is being recognized for being a really great and smart mechanic and he is back on day shift so he is home when the kids get home from school. He's back to having dinner with us as a family and is here to finish out cub scouts for the year with our son.
4) I got the one 'thing' I asked for from my hubby for my birthday: a Bodymedia Fit arm band. It monitors my sleep, calories burned, overall activity, etc. It's not a magic pill. It IS a constant reminder to my ID that I AM WATCHING and paying attention to myself. It was damaged when it arrived but it was replaced and I've been wearing it for a week now. It's kind of amazing what data this thing tracks. What I see right off the bat is that I don't sleep enough or well (let alone well enough). My best nights for sleep are always after yoga, so of course I'm staying with it. I'm also yearning for my bike, which is part curiosity as to how the band will track the ride and also it's been so sunny and warm lately that every time I see a cyclist, I get a pang of envy followed by a strong inclination to get on my road bike and ride! The only thing stopping me is the stupid fear of a flare up with my back. Seems like with all the stuff I'm just going for these days, fear of pain is a pretty silly thing to let stop me. I did ride twice during the weekend at Westport. Once was with Mike and the kids and the other was just me and my son. I didn't even use the ice pack I brought along, which makes me think I should give it a try.

SO...if you get a chance, please check out my website. Www.Chemicalbanana.com It links to my Artfire.com online store where I have lots of things for sale. Glass items will be uploaded in the next two weeks as I've set another self-imposed deadline. They seem to work for me. Spark on, People! We're not quite done here yet!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MELIVA 5/8/2012 6:12PM

    Happy Birthday!! It must've been a popular weekend for 40th birthdays (my friend back home had one too).
What a wonderful sounding walk...but I can't say I'm on board with the bike ride (yet). My butt has a tendency to swallow the seat...not comfortable!

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ANNAMARIE1958 5/8/2012 2:42PM

    Enjoy the 40s the 50s are even better...I know! emoticon

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BOBINVA 5/8/2012 1:08PM

    Welcome to the 40s. You are in great company. Some even say this is the best decade of their life. Enjoy. Sounds like you had a great start to it.
Your website is very cool. Loved the works.


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JEANETTECURRY 5/8/2012 12:41AM

    Enjoyed your blog. It sounds like a beautiful place where you live. I will check out your websites. God Bless you on your special Birthday Month!

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Tie it all together

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

I've figured out a few things over the past several months of quiet reflection (like quiet can be found in a loud mind).
First, the old adage is 100% true: You can't really take care of others until you've cared for yourself. Caring for oneself as you intend to care for others is key.

Second, there are some paths you are only meant to take once.

Third, nobody will protect your place for yourself in your priority list for you. Meaning: If you don't value yourself in your priority list, nobody else will.

Fourth, the best moments in life are seldom found by being 'safe'.

Fifth, melting glass makes me feel powerful, and I enjoy that feeling very much. I'll expand on that one a bit...I was a free-form ceramic sculptor once upon a time. My husband got me an electric ceramic kiln for my 39th birthday (last April) and over the past several months, I've been playing with slumping/melting glass in said kiln. I'm starting to get pretty good at it along with my resin pendants, photography and some paintings. I got a business license in December as an artist/designer and have started going to some local art fairs/sales. I'm starting an online store that should be up and running by the end of this month (God willing and the creek don't rise).

Sixth, no one ever said on his death-bed 'I just wish I'd worked more'.
Really...who would wish for that? I was hired in November as an insurance field inspector for real estate insurance. Having been an appraiser for 10 years, field inspections were nothing new to me. I got the job the day after I heard L&I was going to cut my funding off as I was considered employable, even though technically I was employed, but was in rehab for work injuries. I considered it timely that, as soon as I panicked and turned back to the safe/familiar real estate field, I got a job. It took only two weeks for me to get consumed with the need to get reports written and off my desk. I began to pay a friend to catch my kids at the bus stop and watch them for several hours while I spent more time working. Of course, I was paid nowhere near what I made as an appraiser, so at the end of the day, I was paying out almost as much as I earned in gas and sitter costs. On top of that, I was moody, not sleeping well and the monster that consumed me as an appraiser/business owner was beginning to rear its ugly head. I was quoted as saying "This job is really INTERFERING with my YOGA SCHEDULE".

It took two weeks of my hubby asking nicely for me to finally quit the job. His only request was that I spend the next six months focusing on producing and selling my art.

{everything stops}

{regrouping}

{breathing rhythmically}

{keeping up yoga schedule}

I have a plan, great support in the shape of both friends and family and a desire to GO FOR IT! No, I don't expect the world to be rocked by my work. Having sold some of my resin and glass pieces in December at the two art/craft sales I participated in, I got some great feed back and a little stronger courage to give it a shot. With my husband, family and friends behind me, I am shaking off my fear and am looking forward to focusing on an important aspect of me for the next several months. There is no reason I can't do this.

Where does my Spark fit into all of this? I'm not quite sure. For now, I'm putting all residual energy I can muster into creative avenues. That's the energy I can 'spare' after giving as much to my kids, my marriage, myself and a designated portion for extended friends and family. I don't believe even for a moment that I'm the first person to over-commit to groups on Spark. I'm probably not the only one that ever found herself overwhelmed and ducked out for awhile. I know FOR SURE that I'm not the only person who was genuinely helped by Spark, and I don't feel like my journey here is over. Humor me while I work all this out. I am so grateful for the friends I've made here, and the support I've been given. The support I've given to others here has helped me too, and I look forward to offering it again as I am able.

Wishing you all great success in February and beyond. Remember, it's the shortest month of the year, so make it a great one!


On a distantly related note, I was thinking recently of my active child and young adult-hood. I was active as all get-out. Then I was a slug for a decade. As I approach my 40th birthday in April, I am proud of myself looking back at how active I've been over the past four years. I got active again at the start of 2008 by swimming 3-5 days a week. 2009, I took to cycling. 2010, I took on a ridiculously physical job (really, that's the main thing that attracted me to it) then spent 2011 recovering from my work-sustained injuries walking...at first only a block before pain was overwhelming...now up to five miles at a time, basking in the sun shine and stomping in puddles on the rainy days. I'm exploring every playground in and around my town with the kids. I walk a mile nearly every school day with dear friends gained simply through the kids school bus stop. emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MELIVA 2/7/2012 11:29PM

    This is sooo cool. I am so glad you are doing something that you enjoy and getting away from the things that simply suck your energy (ie: toxic job). Take as much time as you need; we'll be here! Best wishes!

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BOBINVA 2/7/2012 10:57AM

    Keep exploring those playgrounds. Literally and figuratively. You are giving something invaluable to your children. Thanks for keeping things rockin.

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SALEX52 2/7/2012 2:34AM

    :-)

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Merry Christmas, Spark Friends!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. There have been so many big changes in my life over the last few months that I thought I'd wait until the changes slowed before blogging again to update you all. It seems the changes aren't done yet, and that's NOT a bad thing.

To my Spark Friends, thank you SO MUCH for your encouragement and support over this past year! Know that I think of you often, and continue to wish you well on your journey to health. On my pile of changes over the past several months is a new job, and my 'spare' time for computer play is really limited.

I am keeping up with my Bikram Yoga, although my new job doesn't fit into that schedule well (but this girl finally has her priorities in better order...Yoga over work ANY DAY!).

Life is good. Wishing you all a fantastic and adventurous New Year! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MELIVA 12/24/2011 9:23PM

    So glad to hear that all is well with you. Can't wait to get the details on your changes!

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CSDAYS 12/24/2011 2:15PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Top Excuses People Use to Not Exercise

Saturday, December 24, 2011

www.prweb.com/releases/portlandperso
naltrainer/personaltrainerportland/prw
eb9062342.htm


This is written by my friend Kisar who is a personal trainer in Portland, OR.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYJAKE1 12/24/2011 1:03PM

    Good article

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Stop the Roller Coaster. I Want To Get Off (warning...it's a long blog)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

So...October is nearly over and I still can't quite reach the box of Halloween decorations on the far side of our garage. The kids ask daily when we're going to decorate, and it's surprised me how quickly we seem to have run out of time. Yes, It's been 30 days, which by most accounts isn't QUICK, yet, ***POOF*** There they went!

The month started out on an up beat. I was getting into the rhythm of Bikram Yoga and really loving how I felt after I'd gone to practice. As is my habit, I over-did it and aggravated one out of three back injuries. I tweaked my practice a bit and identified which postures were causing me trouble. I talked with an instructor and we came up with alternative moves that would keep from making things worse. In my 1 month unlimited free trial, I practiced 21 times and, in the process, got my kids, my husband and my summer-time walking buddy to join me. This past Thursday was the last day of my one month unlimited trial, and I was so sad on Thursday when it came to an end because I didn't know how I could afford to keep the yoga up at the regular monthly fee.

I had a call out of the blue from my aunt whom I haven't seen in a few years. She had been in Seattle interviewing for a job and after several rounds of interviews, she made it through the final round and was NOT offered the position. On top of that, she missed her last flight out for the day and couldn't face spending another night alone in a hotel. I told her to grab an airport shuttle and come on up to spend the night with us. As she walked in the door, Muffins, our little inherited dog freaked out, charged at her and started to attack. Our daughter reached down to grab her and Muffins jumped up and bit Tay on the face. Four distinct teeth marks bleeding on her upper cheek. One inch higher and it would have been her eye. Really, it was a good thing the dog was the type she is with the inverted snout or she could have done REAL damage. After consultations with my husband and several family members, we had to face facts: Tay wasn't the first person Muffins bit. She'd drawn blood on me twice, bitten our son without drawing blood twice, bit our friends daughter, bit her original owners daughter and regularly tried to attack my walking buddy. Muffins had to move out. I texted Johnny's daughter that Muffins bit Tay and has to move out. She responded with 'I wish I could help'. I posted her info on a breed-specific rescue site with a 24 hours until we'd need to surrender her notice. The next morning I awoke with absolute certainty that I needed to surrender her to the pound.
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I feel like I let Johnny down. Even more than that, I feel like I let my kids down. We knew she freaked out around most women, but always excused who she bit with either 'they deserved it' or 'poor doggy is stressed from all the trauma and didn't mean it'. I miss her very much. The pound put her in a 10 day quarantine after seeing the scabs on Taylors face. They took her to a far off section of the facility and then said she wouldn't be adoptable after the quarantine ended due to her breaking the skin of a child. I tried to visit her last week but they wouldn't let me see her. She was scheduled to be 'put down' this past Tuesday.

Let me introduce myself: I'm Kristol...judge, jury and executioner of little dogs
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Our son began really struggling in school with the 2nd grade focus of writing and multiplication/math. He began reversing letters and numbers on all of his home and school work, and he got off the school bus every other day bursting into tears as soon as he saw me. It was all very familiar. My brother and I had gone through a very similar experience starting around 2nd grade. We were in honors classes all through school, but really struggled. In college, my brother and I were both tested for learning disabilities and both were confirmed to have dyslexia and another processing disorder. Seeing the signs in our son was heart-wrenching. I remembered about 6 years ago, my oldest sister called to say that my nephew was having similar problems and she took him to a vision therapist for further testing. After about a year of vision therapy, my nephew stopped reversing letters and numbers and began doing really well in school. With that in mind, we found a vision therapist not far from here and scheduled appointments for both of our children to be assessed. Hunter got the first appointment (Tay will be assessed next week) and the doctor determined that he has DOUBLE VISION when looking at eye-level and above. She said he's probably had a constant headache since he was a baby, which would explain why he has my weird minimal reaction to pain. She explained that since he's probably had this his whole life, he wouldn't have known that not everybody sees and feels that way! Poor Buddy! We were so relieved for him that it's been identified and there's something we can do about it! I thought of my brother, who was responsible for my getting tested for learning disabilities...the frustration we had always had and how helpless we felt that we'd have to always suffer through it. I thought of how excited he'd be for Hunter and the possibility of he and I getting a chance to fix our own processing problems if only he hadn't 'checked-out' of this life.
Hunter starts vision therapy for eye retraining this Friday to the tune of $125/week. We received notice on Thursday from our insurance company that they've decided to not cover his treatment. Knowing that my husbands income at his job is half what it was before he got hurt and that my income is a fraction of what it was before I got hurt, we had no idea how we were going to pay for it, but know that it's too important to not start immediately.

I saw my occupational medicine doctor early this past week. She was so happy for me about how much better I am doing with my back and shoulder. She prescribed more physical therapy for my shoulder and said L&I should approve it this time since my independent medical exam that my case worker ordered found that I needed shoulder PT still. She also cautioned me that I should look for an office-type job because they were going to release me to work a light-duty job, so my L&I income will cease any day now. On one hand, hooray for being released to work. On the other hand, I HAVE a job that they won't release me to and it took me a year and a half to get THAT. Being 'released' to find a job in this economy with the caveat that my income is going away any day now but "there's always Unemployment" is of little comfort, especially when we're barely making ends meet. How are we going to weather this? What can we do to fix this?

That part was easy...I prayed. I prayed a LOT. Then I searched Craigslist for jobs to apply to. On a whim, I checked real estate having been an appraiser for a decade. I have no interest in going back to appraising, and I let my license expire a few years ago now, but I DID love inspecting. I found a listing looking for insurance field inspectors. The description had all the parts of appraisal that I LOVED without the need to find comparables and determine land values. I submitted my resume, prayed again and then I went to bed.

I awoke in the a.m. feeling peaceful and fairly centered. I had yoga on the brain, and looked forward to soaking said brain in coffee. I checked my e-mail over my first cup and was happily surprised to see a message from the insurance inspector position asking me to take their qualifications assessment and then call for an interview. On Thursday afternoon, I was offered the job. The job pays weekly and I start training this week! The pay rate is similar to what I was earning as a merchandiser (job of injury) and starts part time but will have benefits including vacation pay and retirement when it goes full time.

Last but not least, my husband and I finally made a call we'd considered making for several years to the only area Realtor I trust to find out what we need to do to get out of our tiny 2 bedroom house. She estimates that it will be 8-10 years before the market corrects enough for us to not be underwater, and suggested we consider our long term financial goals and future when making a decision on our house. She then suggested we take out a credit card so that we had some sort of recent credit history (we got rid of all credit cards about 4 years ago, so our only debt is our house).
Mike applied for a card he'd received an offer on via mail. It has no annual fee and 0% interest for 21 months.
If we pre-pay Hunters vision therapy, we receive a discount on the weekly fee. If I pre-pay a year of yoga, I get unlimited monthly classes for 1/3rd of the monthly fee paying per month. We've decided to use the card to prepay BOTH and are dividing the total year of charges by 20 to make 20 equal monthly payments. Easy to budget. If we are able to pay it all off with our tax return, then we'll do that to get it paid off early.

A few positive developments this month includes 10 inches lost through yoga, 3 pounds lost which had previously been found after my surgery, a walking routine with a spark buddy and another neighborhood friend after we take the kids to the bus stop most mornings and a fairly smooth transition for us all since my husband started back on second shift Friday.

The year end is looking up. I look forward to October ending in the hopes that November brings new adventures of the positive sort.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MELIVA 10/30/2011 10:39PM

    Wow girl, you know how to rock the positive attitude! Congrats on the new job. Hope your year ends more posistively, but it already sounds like it's swinging that way anyway.
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BOBINVA 10/30/2011 9:33PM

    That is a lot to deal with. So glad there were many things to be grateful for. So many times we get mired in the things that get us down. There is so much in life that we have to be thankful for.

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CIRCE_NOT_XL 10/30/2011 2:58PM

    Man, life is so tough sometimes! I'm really glad that you're keeping your chin up. And I would ARGUE with the insurance about covering your son's therapy. Have the doctors write lettes, have his PT write letters. Keep asking them who their boss is and if you can talk to that person--because the bottom line is that your son needs this and it's their job to cover it.

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