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SHIRAZSOLLY's Recent Blog Entries

Walking across the country

Friday, March 29, 2013

Last weekend I joined Spark's Virtual Walk/Run/Cycle thru US @

If you visit the team page and click on the map of the US you will be redirected to the abysmally slow (at least on my computer) government website where you enter your miles by the day. You can see your progress in not only numbers, but also in a photo, because the website adds your current miles to your previous miles, calculates the distance to the next city and updates the photo of where you "currently are", based on your new mileage.

I was hoping to make this virtual trip from Oregon to Virginia so I could virtually see the family I left behind when I moved. (My family's been on both coasts for over a hundred and fifty years. I am pretty sure this is the first virtual walk between coasts anyone has taken during that time period.) However, the site apparently only allows one way travel, from Virginia to Oregon. This is still fun, though. I have already driven on EXACTLY the road I am now "walking" on with my dog Solly. We are ".43 miles outside Williamsburg".

We started a few days ago and have been walking approximately 3 miles a day. We've tried three places so far - two parks and one quiet historic town. We've been barked at, charged by aggressive dogs, honked at and rained on. But Solly - a timid guy, despite his size - is already getting more enthusiastic about each trip. I need to get some mace just in case the loose dog problem gets worse.

I am delighted by his pleasure in coming with me, despite the problems with other dogs. (One nice thing about dog children versus human children... dogs can reach the teenaged years, where Solly is now, and still think Mommy is wonderful!)

I need to carve out a little more time to do this and we need to step up the pace or we will never get across this country! (Classes start again next week!)

P.S. Off the subject... today I got an application to volunteer at the Veterans' Administration Hospice in Roseburg. Before I start I have to get tested for TB titers, get a FBI background check with fingerprints and go through some bureaucratic paperwork and training. But then I will be doing more of what I love. No, it won't help me with my weight or with my finances. But most of these vets are from the Korean War era and feel forgotten. This spring and summer I am taking a lighter classload so I can afford a few hours a week. Besides, volunteer work looks good on my bachelor's application (I know I'm not even in an associate's program yet!) and I just plain want to. My own life is enriched by nearly every patient I serve.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAPECODLIGHT 4/1/2013 3:03PM

    That's a great idea about the walking. It will take me FOREVER to make it across the country, but I am going to check this out.
So glad to hear you are volunteering - you will make such a tremendous difference in the vets' lives.

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ECOAGE 3/29/2013 11:02AM

    There are some days that I don't feel like walking and I only make it out the door because of this group walking with me across the country. It's fun and a good group!

And thank you for what you are doing for our veterans.

I'll be seeing you on the road!
Gail (ecoage)

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PHEBESS 3/29/2013 10:28AM

    Great idea! I'm with a team that's walking around the equator (and we're about 90%+ of the way there) - and another team that's walking around the perimeter of Australia.

Lots of fun!

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PUDLECRAZY 3/29/2013 6:53AM

    Is your poodle going to accompany you on your virtual walk? emoticon

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Just to show hubby I wasn't giving up...

Thursday, March 21, 2013

I came home with a dramatic hair cut, just like I would if I had been accepted into my first choice for nursing school after all. The whole reason I joined Spark was because I was going to be doing a group interview alongside people a lot younger than me at this nursing school. And then I wasn't chosen. I do have an essay to write at nursing school number 2 on April 6th, though.

Since my grades are so high and I have worked so hard, I felt terribly deflated and powerless last night. Like I did all that work for NOTHING! (Which of course isn't true.) This morning I wanted to show my husband I hadn't given up. So I went to get a haircut and perm anyway.

It was kind of fun. I almost always cut my own hair because it seems no one ever does what I ask them to, but this experience was really great. The stylist (Brigitte at DuBonne's in Eugene, Oregon) listened well. She cut it exactly the way I asked (but better!) She gave me a nice wave - no poodle look for me!

She was amused and kind about the fact that I didn't know how to do a lot of girl stuff, so she showed me how to make pretty ponytails. She demonstrated a 1940's glamour do's with big rollers, pins and hairspray. She was soooo nice. I paid a lot, but I was entertained and pampered, too.

I left some hair for Locks of Love. Not as much as I could have if I hadn't lopped off 8 inches a few months ago, but about 6 inches worth.

I even feel motivated to stay on my diet and exercise program, even without the big interview that motivated me to join Spark.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 3/23/2013 4:15AM

    YAY for new hair styling - makes you feel more confident, right? And good luck with the next school application!

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CAPECODLIGHT 3/21/2013 2:15PM

    Sorry about the interview, but there will be other opportunities. Good for you getting your mini-makeover. I like a wash and go hair style without fuss myself.
Keep Sparking!

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GAYLLYNNE 3/21/2013 8:30AM


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AZTLAN777 3/21/2013 2:37AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SHANNONY84 3/21/2013 2:14AM

    I hope you enjoy your new haircut and good luck on the interview....

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Got a kick in the gut!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I'm sure I aced my exam tonight.

But I ALSO got word tonight I was NOT accepted into the nursing program in the college I most wanted to attend. They changed the criteria this year. Last year I would have been accepted, because grades were counted on the applications as exactly the grades they were. Last year nursing students who received As in anatomy and physiology were given priority because they naturally had to understand those classes to be nurses!

I have 82 credits worth of As and 8 credits worth of Bs (in math classes). I even tutor other students in anatomy and physiology. But guess what? THIS year, anatomy As count like Bs! The one B in math that shows on my application suddenly is a liability. People with Bs in Anatomy but an A in that math class are now getting accepted into the nursing program. In the real world, computers calculate medicine dosages but cannot help a nurse with theories of health and disease.

For the last three years my grades have been in the top 5% or better. I'm Phi theta kappa. Apparently I didn't need to lock myself in a room and study all those hours straight after all.

I either have to choose the next college down on my list (where I am likely to be accepted) or retake that math class for an A and reapply next year. Or I can change majors entirely. At age 47-almost-48, these are hard choices. I've already moved across country and lost one good job to help my family. Then I got laid off two years after moving here. Now I've got to change majors, maybe? I feel ill, antsy, a knot in my stomach.

Tonight I am not at home. I am at my mother's because I said I'd help her tomorrow. Tonight I don't even have my own books, my own computer, my own stuff, my own Solly. (Solly's my standard poodle. He's a good boy, always ready, even at two am, to play or console... whatever is needed. I could use him now.)

But what do I do now? No Solly. Can't eat all of Mom's food, drink all her wine, bang my head against her wall and act like a foolish 20 year old. Other colleges within a reasonable drive aren't looking tons better, at least in my current frame of mind. I guess I will have to attempt to act my age and decide I can't solve my problem tonight.

I'm rarely depressed. Maybe I'll write nice things tomorrow.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOBBESIS49 3/25/2013 12:39PM

    Oh poop La.. I heard that Nursing school has been made tough tough tough to get into but YOU YOU YOU have what it takes! Shake it off

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Sending some sunshine your way.. Don't let discouragement sink your dreams!

Comment edited on: 3/25/2013 12:40:51 PM

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ALIHIKES 3/20/2013 10:56AM

    So sorry to hear that you have to make such hard decisions. The nursing colleges are VERY competitive and many qualified students are being rejected for no reason, other than there is not enough space. It is almost like a lottery. Good luck and best wishes!

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MSKRIS7 3/20/2013 8:33AM


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PHEBESS 3/20/2013 4:30AM

    Big hugs, sweetie. It sounds very frustrating, and totally unfair. But I've often found that things like this happen for a reason, and if you decide to go with college #2, I'm confident it will turn out to be the better option - even if it doesn't seem like it right now.

Again, big hugs. It will work out - it's just the time between now and then that's frustrating.

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Playing Hooky

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Playing hooky from studying for ten minutes

My last exam for the term. A big, scary one and I SHOULD NOT be playing hooky! I have to go to work today and the exam is ten minutes after work (just down the hall) and I've barely studied all weekend.

But I can't help myself. I have big plans.

My husband is having surgery and I have to stay home with him next week. But after that, I decided to only take online classes this spring. I am tired of the commute. I am tired of two jobs. This spring I want to work in the garden for the first time in 3 years. I want to hike with my dog. I want to do the virtual hike across country to virtually see my brother, who lives in Virginia, where I used to live. I don't have much time before this crazy schedule starts all over again.

I dug up a photo of myself hiking really slowly while I was feeling ill (angina) and I look like HELL! This is what happens when my asthma gets too bad and I've been leaning on my inhaler too much. I am now on better medication and in control and think I'll be ok.

Plus, I look like a migrant worker in the photo. I am 5'6" but the way I am built (no hips), all my fat settles on top of my muscle from my waist on down to my ankles so that I look like a big, solid column. I'm like the stubby guys you see coming in from the fields, all covered with dirt, just a foot taller.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANNONY84 3/21/2013 2:15AM

    Good luck to your husband. I will pray for him and your exam!

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PHEBESS 3/19/2013 8:27PM

    I too have asthma, and I hike slowly. (Hey, at least we hike.)

Good luck to your husband, I hope all goes well and he feels better very soon!

And good luck on that exam!!

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Diet avatars

Monday, March 18, 2013

For some reason I am fascinated with diet avatars. I've been messing around online trying to get one to look like my body for over an hour. Mind you, I have a final exam to study for and it is ALSO almost midnight and I DO have to work at two client's houses tomorrow. So what the heck do I think I'm doing? Especially since I tried to make a body look like mine LAST night about midnight?

Clearly, this is a waste of my time. All I've come up with is Jennifer Anniston, several months pregnant. Those are might be HER petite thighs and knees but they are clearly not MINE. That might be her petite little head, but it's most certainly not MINE. Moreover, even the hair is too petite to be mine.

Now that I have uploaded these, maybe I will be done with it, like eating dairy that I am NOT supposed to have because it will make me feel bad tomorrow (both physically and emotionally). I guarantee I will look at this tomorrow and wonder why it was worth missing any sleep at all.

I used to have a client who ordered every diet product that came advertised in his mailbox. I would try to talk him out of it, explaining that the claims showed correlations, not proofs. But he wanted so badly to believe, so he would wait until I left and order them anyway. He had cupboards and drawers filled with bottles of half used miracle products.

I think this diet avatar lust is like his wishful thinking. It's fun making "me" instantly smaller. Except it doesn't look like me, so I'm not at all convinced.

While I was up on a rickety step stool trying to get a heating pad out of the top shelf of a client's closet today, I heard some woman on a game show give an answer that made me laugh and almost lose my balance. The question? "How much money would you pay to lose ten pounds instantly?" She immediately answered, without a second's hesitation, "One THOUSAND dollars!"

A thousand dollars. Not ten, not even a hundred. A THOUSAND.

While I was driving home, I wondered what my price was. For ten pounds, probably not very much. Ten really wouldn't change my life much. To look like I did when I was holding that chicken again, without the hangy skin around the belly and thighs I know I would have if I instantly lost 20 pounds? Well, for that I'd probably pay ten dollars.

Maybe twenty. Thirty? Who am I kidding? The interview is in three weeks. I'd shell out two or three hundred and hope my husband didn't notice the money was missing.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GREBJACK 12/14/2013 12:08AM

    Wow, I just tried, and honestly the before model looked better than the after, but that was no what I saw in the mirror. I need one that lets me put the whole 30 pounds onto my thighs and hips!

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FIFIFRIZZLE 8/25/2013 6:36PM

    Where did you get the avatars from? I've tried a few suggestions but they don't seem to be current.

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SHIRAZSOLLY 3/18/2013 10:25AM

    Apparently, as many diet pill buyers should have learned by now, there are no straight money for pound trades. You shell out money, you don't just get your weight loss.

We'd have to read the fine print very, very carefully.

On page 257 in that "pay $100 per 10 pounds" of instant weight loss (that Broken and Shiraz are apparently willing to consider) there might be a sentence or two about ten years of boulder-busting with sledgehammers in Siberia.

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CAPECODLIGHT 3/18/2013 9:55AM

    I use and it shows my current and my projected avatar. It's pretty close, or at least close enough for me.

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AGED-CRYSTAL 3/18/2013 8:06AM

    That is an interesting question SHIRAZSOLLY. I would say that IF I had the money and am honest about it I would pay a large amount of money to get the instant gratification of losing 50 lbs or more emoticon . But as PHEBESS said I would be sceptical as to when it would come find me again emoticon .

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PHEBESS 3/18/2013 6:49AM

    Yeah, it took me forever to get a model that looked close to me - and still doesn't, not much. And yeah, there's that wish for an instantaneous change.

But I'm not sure I'd pay money to instantly be 40 or 50 lbs smaller. I think I'd be always skeptical.

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