Saturday, November 23, 2013
I feel the need to post this picture of my Spark weight report (dating back to beginning of 2013)! Some of you may think I've been losing a LOT of weight due to the automatic status updates that Spark posts when you take off the pounds. I know that the scale is not the ultimate measure of our success. I just don't want to mislead anyone (myself included) into thinking I've been shedding lots of weight when I'm not!
In the States, I didn't have access to a scale at first, then found a digital one at my hostess's home that turned out to be really wonkers as you can tell by the flurry of activity toward the end of the time line! I couldn't seem to get an accurate reading but I recorded what it said because I had to log it for my challenges.
Now I'm home to my practically-antique analog scale that I have a bit more trust in. I took a look at my report and have to laugh at all the highs and lows because I knew that I had pretty much stayed the same - gained a pound or two during my trip to the States, but nothing TOO serious.
The good news is that the yellow line shows that I'm only about 3 pounds off where I need to be to reach my goal weight by my next birthday in July, 2013. So, if I can continue the downward trend, I may just make it by then. Oh, and I lost a pound somewhere between Wednesday's weigh-in and today! That's what tracking and the gym, and the support of super teamies will do for ya!
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Thanks to Jess, I just realized that I haven't posted a blog since the first few days I was in Florida! I've been back in Germany since Tuesday, hit the ground running (figuratively) at the language school, found myself falling asleep on the train commute home from the city, but unable to get to sleep at night. Ah, the delights of jet lag! I'm feeling pretty much over it now, after two nice long nights of 9+ hours each.
I've updated on some of my team threads about the rest of the Florida trip so forgive me if you've already read parts of my epistle elsewhere!
The reception for the show of my father's artwork was great. Flowers, music, food, lovely ambience! Dad would have had a great time! Most of the people there were either friends of mine or of his and Mom's or both. He was a rather shy person but also kind of loved being the center of attention - or at least having his work be admired and respected as it was that evening. Sales were minimal but the exhibit hangs for another 7 weeks.
The other main purpose of my trip was to help finalize the sale of my parents' condo. I didn't think I would actually have to be there physically. According to the lawyer and realtor, I should have been able to sign the documents and return them by mail or esign. But, as it turned out, it was crucial that I was there because the man who was to handle the financials for the condo association had fallen down on the job. I ended up compiling the necessary information for the buyer myself, and found a rats' nest of unpaid bills and unsorted receipts.
My challenge and my prayer was to keep my temper and to demonstrate Christian love to this man while sorting out the mess and getting the accounts up-to-date. I actually had to go to his house to get the paperwork I needed. He wasn't stealing funds, just mismanaging the paperwork and, on top of that, wasn't answering his phone or messages. I learned that he's going through personal bankruptcy proceedings and has been overwhelmed by the whole situation. In fact, he now has his rental unit in the condo group up for sale.
(By the way, I'm certainly not one to point the finger when it comes to getting into financial crises by sticking my head in the sand. In fact, this is one reason why I have an ostrich as my profile picture these days! I've grown tired of living in a constant crisis mode, often produced by procrastination.)
While in Florida, I also got one of the tax returns filed, had a great talk with the accountant about God and faith, along with our discussion of how to get the rest of the estate bookkeeping in order.
The weather was beautiful almost every day. That sure makes doing unpleasant tasks a lot easier.
I have so many other things to report but I'll save some for another day. I really want to finish out the two challenges I'm on strong, so I plan to be around SP on a daily basis again.
Go, Firecrackers, Go Azuritas!
Saturday, October 26, 2013
I arrived on Wednesday late evening. In spite of some craziness at the gate in Atlanta for my connecting flight, the trip was fine. It was a little chilly that first day, Thursday, but it's back to 80+ and sunny today. Just perfect.
My message from the Bible this morning was "pursue peace" so that's what I've been keeping in mind today. I certainly needed that advice: I finally made contact with the man-with-the-financials, and made arrangements to meet with him yesterday at noon - noon came, no call, no response, back to the old stonewalling. So I decided to go to his house and waited till 10 AM this morning before heading over there, did try to call first, but again no answer. He finally called ME when I was about two minutes from his home. He was on his way back from Tampa and would be back today around one. His "phone didn't work" yesterday, so he wasn't able to call me to cancel our meeting. I said, OK, I'll be at your house at 2. And I was. We worked together for about an hour. I think I now have all the info and can put it together to give the realtor on Monday. This was NOT how I planned on spending my first few days of vacation, although I knew it would be a working vacation.
Now we pray that the rest of the process of selling my parents' condo goes smoothly!
On Monday, I'll continue with my other main vacation project of organizing the show of my Dad's work. I need to have some giclee prints made and already have a handful of small pieces at the framers to be ready in time to hang on November 4. I won't be alone in organizing the show - the young man at the local museum is great to work with (did I say that already?) and many other friends have offered to help get things set up. We do need to work on some publicity.
It's a little strange being here knowing that I don't have the same roots here that I did when Mom and Dad were alive. I haven't been over to see the condo and don't really plan on spending any time over there waxing nostalgic. However, my former next-door neighbor is a good friend so I'll definitely visit her.
Since getting here, I've been able to see a lot of my friends already, and am invited to a party tomorrow evening where I'll see even more. I also met some artist friends of my father's who I had corresponded with after he died. They are a lovely couple from France who live in Italy and spend the winter in Florida and New Mexico. I've been invited to come visit them near Ticino in Italy next summer. That sounds wonderful!
The cough is still holding but I'm feeling much more rested. Thankful for that, and for the hospitality of my friend whose guestroom is my current home.
AND thankful for my first pair of Orthaheel sandals! The brand was recommended by someone on the Spark Plantar Fasciitis team but they're not available in Germany. Having given up about 20 pairs of shoes in recent weeks, knowing that my feet are not going to get smaller, I've been gradually replacing them with shoes with arch support, and/or shoes that can accommodate my custom-made insoles. Plantar fasciitis is no fun folks, even if it does give me an excuse to buy new shoes!
Here are the ones I got today. So far, they feel pretty good!
More good news will certainly follow...I haven't been to the beach yet!
Gold Star for everyone who read this long post!
Monday, October 21, 2013
I got back from Switzerland over a week ago and now am packing for Florida. What a contrast! In the middle of all the travel, I managed to get a UTI and a nasty cold. The UTI is gone, the cold is not but I'm feeling better and got more meds this morning at the doctor's office.
The trip to the Alps was wonderful and not what I expected. Usually, I spend the afternoons hiking and enjoying the views. I get up early and walk before breakfast, too. But we had thick fog the whole 4 days, except when it was raining or, on the second to last night, snowing. Everyone at the retreat agreed that it was a good thing because most of us ended up getting more rest that way. And many came to the retreat in serious need of that rest, both spiritually and physically. It was like a cocoon of peaceful, comforting fog that enveloped us. On the last evening, the sun came out between the clouds and we got our first glimpses of the snow-covered peaks. It was a much more dramatic sight than just streaming sunshine. Personally, I was happy to have had a chance to sing at one of the services. It was pretty much the first time I had sung in public since my dad's funeral.
Here's the song: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5gmVzbjxwl4
Now, it's off to Florida. It's turning into a bit of a crisis trip. We were supposed to close on the deal to short sell my parents' condo on October 30. Now I'm not able to provide the potential buyer with the financial paperwork he needs from the condo association. The man who's been handling (or NOT handling) the books and finances since Dad died isn't answering my calls, nor those from my cousin, who is another of the 4 owners in the small complex. I understand that this man is facing foreclosure on his own home, and has a lot on his plate right now. But he is making this more complicated by not responding. If I can't get the information from him that I need to give the buyer, the deal will fall through. That would mean the condo would go into foreclosure which would be a negative for all four owners in the complex.
On the UP side, the plans for my father's art exhibition at the local museum. This, and not the condo deal, is the big reason why I'm traveling to FL at this time. The show opens on November 4. The young man who is organizing things there is really fun to work with, and seems even more excited about the show than I am. It is great that at least this project is falling into place nicely as we email back and forth about the details.
In ALL these things, I'm trying to stay positive and thankful. I know that there are lessons in these financial messes somewhere, even if I don't see them now.
In the eating and weight loss area, I'm still just kind of holding steady. I'm not able to participate in the challenges as I'd like to, or exercise as intensively as I'd like to. But it is what it is for now and I refuse to stay discouraged even if I do fall into that pit from time to time.
Today, I realized that I'll qualify for a senior pass for the public transportation system in Stuttgart in less than a year. I'm not sure how I feel about that!
Thanks for reading, dear Spark buddies! It may be awhile before I get to thank you for commenting, but do know that I read and appreciate each message! Hope to have time to check in again by next weekend, after the jet lag has passed!
Monday, October 07, 2013
I'm off to the Swiss Alps for a 4-day retreat tomorrow. It will be a 7-hour train ride. I look forward to it - time to relax, read, listen to music and some sermon tapes, enjoy the scenery. Good fellowship, times of worship, food and fun await me at the top of the mountain!
When I get back, it will be time to start the 5% challenge - my goal is to lose 7.5 pounds. I can do that. Glad to be back with the Firecracker team this time around - some familiar faces among the members and lots of enthusiastic new ones, too!
Go, Firecrackers! and Go, Azuritas!
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