GARDENCHRIS's SparkPeople Blog GARDENCHRIS's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community My road trips I work for a state agency in Illinois that is union. I am a registered Republican , but believe in why we need unions. I don't always agree with what they do, but they do what is necessary to protect workers from jerk bosses and believe me there are a lot working for the State! <BR> <BR> When I am on my road trips, I am doing my job as a Chief Steward> Either having a grievance meeting, or attending an investigation etc. Illinois has 102 counties and there is at least one in each county. I ... Thu, 3 Aug 2017 20:51:01 EST A bit of a funk I've been in a bit of a funk for awhile now. <BR> <BR> My son Joshua has been a drain on my finances due to his not able to find a job. He finally found work and I told him his first paycheck was pretty much mine! <BR> <BR> Work has been VERY stressful! New computer program that doesn't work, locks us out and won't let us process applications, and to a point I get the frustration of customers when we can't process the work...... BUT DON"T take it out on me! <BR> <BR> a snap chat of wha... Sun, 23 Jul 2017 12:10:08 EST Spark and Spark friends I have been a Spark member for a number of years now. There is a lot of great info on this site, they are here to help in a lot of ways. <BR> <BR> Some of the things they have changed I do not like, but not enough for me to walk away. There are things I wish they would bring back, but not my web site. So be it. <BR> <BR> The VERY best thing about this site is the friends I have made all over the world. Some of these Spark friends have passed, some just dropped off and I think about them ... Sun, 28 May 2017 14:53:29 EST My Birthday Today is the Day..... Born 63 years ago in Munich Germany to an American Service man and German women. I somehow feel so old and at the same time like I have so much yet to do, and am looking forward to it. <BR> <BR> Had dinner with a dear friend last night we have known each other for over 25 years! We watched our children grow and help each other through some very tough times over the years. Marcia was my life line when I was going through the worst of my therapy. I would sometimes call h... Sun, 2 Apr 2017 13:58:37 EST The pressure cooker won! So.... I am on my yearly month long vacation from work. I don't have to deal with brutally cold weather being outside all day and the crazy drivers on the road..... but I digress. <BR> <BR> <BR> I spend the time purging and cleaning my house, everything gets dusted and wiped down, furniture gets moved and vacuumed...... <BR> <BR> Yesterday I started to clean the room where I keep a small desk and a lot of plants overwinter in this room. <BR> <BR> I also was trying to get dinner together,... Tue, 10 Jan 2017 12:51:29 EST I so appreciate my Spark Friends! I was inspired to write about Mom by BETRHO48, she had read a comment on my daily status that Mom was driving me crazy! <BR> <BR> So I wrote a blog about her. The picture is from her 83th birthday on my deck. I wanted to take her out to brunch that day...... BUT NO..... literally 3 days before she tells me she'd much rather have a BBQ at my house with the family. <BR> <BR> Mind you I work 2 jobs and this is Friday! My 12 hour day and working Sat all day and Sun is her BD! <BR> <BR> I te... Thu, 5 Jan 2017 14:34:07 EST A Day with MOM I love my Mother. I really do. <img src=""> <BR> <BR> this is mom at her 83th BD at my house <BR> <BR> We had our differences growing up and there was an estrangement during my divorce when I finally put myself into therapy, which was necessary as my dad had sexually abused me. I didn't talk to them for over 5 years. My dad was very ill with congestive heart failure and after much soul searching on my part dec... Tue, 3 Jan 2017 17:02:11 EST Thanksgiving and Spark Friends There have been a few blogs about Spark Friends this Thanksgiving. <BR> <BR> After reading some I just had to add my own and It has been awhile since I posted a new blog. <BR> <BR> Spark friends are very dear to me. you make me smile almost every morning! You give me things to think about and reflect on my own shortcomings or victories. <BR> <BR> You all bring all of us, another part of your lives to share with me and so many others. It is a privilege that I take very seriously. I value fr... Sun, 20 Nov 2016 13:31:22 EST A VERY funny reason to hate Mondays! I get funny videos delivered to my computer daily....... this was just to funny to not pass along! <BR> Also a great reminder that our "normal" Mondays do not even come close to what this poor fellow had to deal with! <em>40</em> <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> <link> </link> Mon, 5 Sep 2016 10:00:09 EST Part time work and crazy people I work part time for a large craft store in the Framing Dept. I started out at a different craft store now out of business years ago for extra money to pay bills after my divorce. <BR> <BR> I did a lot of my own framing at a You Frame it store doing my own needlework, so I figured I can do this. <BR> <BR> Now I have been with this company for 18 years, working only Friday evenings and open or close on Saturdays, now it is more my spending money, and most days I find it fun. I get to be cre... Sat, 27 Aug 2016 11:42:05 EST Mom and Thank You! My Mom is 84 years young. She is still pretty active and gets to where she wants to go all by herself. She is 100% German, so stubborn comes with the territory! <em>211</em> <BR> <BR> A BIG THANK YOU <em>304</em> <em>247</em> to everyone who expressed concern and offered prayers! They were sweet and appreciated. <BR> <BR> Well Friday morning she called me at 5:15 AM and she sounds in pain and she tells me she can't walk..... she also sounds garbled. I tell her I will call 911. Mi... Sun, 14 Aug 2016 11:11:39 EST Update on My Work I work at a DMV administering road tests to Truck Drivers. I test them through the whole process including a skills and a road test.... <BR> <BR> Anyway about 2 months ago the police escorted my Badda Bing manager out of the building, with a demotion and a cut in pay. He appealed to the merit commission and about 5 of us testified including me, he was his usual self and powered up on me and I remained calm and the judge cut him off and asked was there a question there. The ruling came down ... Thu, 4 Aug 2016 21:36:44 EST My work As most of you know I work at a State agency administering CDL truckers. <BR> <BR> On any day I deal with all kinds of crazy. It does not help when you have an out of control manager. <BR> <BR> The great news Friday....he was demoted and transferred out of my section. Him and I butt head pretty much the whole time he was here. <BR> <BR> I had 30 years experience over him and he was always very insecure in the employees coming to me for answers instead of him. He wanted to make the rules... Sun, 1 May 2016 14:50:11 EST A great big THANK YOU Just wanted to let all my Spark Friends and those that just stopped by to wish me a HAPPY BIRTHDAY...... THANK YOU!!!! I bought myself a nice pinwheel for my garden. I work part time at Hobby Lobby doing custom framing. So they got 2 different types in and, i bought this one. <img src=""> It is over 5 feet tall and I'm excited to get it in the garden! <BR> <BR> <BR> I worked for part of the day at the frame sto... Sun, 10 Apr 2016 14:52:00 EST YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AS I was surfing the web this morning I read another blog about girls body image from one of my Spark friends. I was interesting and I made a comment about how when I was younger that mattered to me....... I let others define who I was based on THEIR perceptions of life. <BR> <BR> I went through a very messy, ugly, time in my life that I put myself into therapy. I had been running from part of who and what became of my life, that everything just feel apart. I was VERY hard work and I HATED ... Sun, 21 Feb 2016 12:49:50 EST Gift cards for FREE I love getting free things just placed over 100.00 order with Amazon, my cost 4.34! <BR> <BR> I "cashed" in some of My Points points for a 50.00 credit and 50.00 from my Club Carlson points! Woo Hoo!! <BR> <BR> Every time somethings comes up that I am interested in I just add it to my wish list. When I get enough points I trade them in! Love it and it did not cost me anything! <BR> <BR> Enjoying the last days of my Vacation, back to work next Tuesday <em>46</em> ! Looking forward to ret... Mon, 18 Jan 2016 13:09:47 EST 50 THINGS ABOUT ME I stole this from another Spark page, sure she wouldn't mind. <BR> <BR> So here goes! Hope you enjoy reading it! <BR> <BR> 1. What time did you get up this morning? 7 am got up did my "business' fed the cat and went back to bed, then woke up at 10Am <BR> <BR> 2. How do you like your steak? med well <BR> <BR> 3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? God's not Dead <BR> <BR> 4. What is your favorite TV show? Madam Secretary <BR> <BR> 5. If you could live anywhere in the world whe... Sun, 27 Dec 2015 14:27:11 EST THOUGHTS ON THANKFULNESS Well Thanksgiving is over. <BR> The food is eaten. <BR> Family has left or will be soon. <BR> Your house is getting back to everyday living. <BR> You now are somewhat back to normal. <BR> Your brain is starting to wrap your mind around the fact that Christmas and the rest of the Holidays are just around the corner! <BR> Presents to buy and wrap. <BR> AGAIN with food. buying, preparing. <BR> Tree to put up and deal with all THAT. <BR> Your social calendar will be more full than you like........ Sun, 29 Nov 2015 12:58:38 EST Everything but the kitchen sink Ratatouille This is my version of ratatouille! I can eat it as a meal or a side. You can add some chicken or beef to it after it is cooked. I also have put lentils or Quinoa in it for protein so you wont need the chicken or beef. I sprinkle with parmesan cheese also ..... Yum Yum can't wait for it to be done . <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> this one has <BR> eggplant <BR> zucchini <... Sun, 1 Nov 2015 19:25:48 EST My Spark friends Hello everyone! <BR> <BR> I was cleaning up my page and went to check my settings and LOW and BEHOLD I have a lot of people that have friended me and I did not respond!!! I am so sorry <em>245</em> and will be working on that for a bit. <BR> <BR> Thank you so much for thinking of me and taking the time out of your busy lives to friend me into your lives. <BR> <BR> <em>252</em> <em>104</em> <em>213</em> <BR> Sun, 20 Sep 2015 14:42:21 EST Getting to know me <BR> Where is your cell phone? On the desk, next to me. <BR> <BR> Spouse? nope <BR> <BR> Your hair? naturally gray <BR> <BR> Your mother? 83 and still living on her own and she cracks me up all the time <BR> <BR> Your father? passed a few years back, not a happy camper <BR> <BR> Your favorite thing? lavender <BR> <BR> Your dream last night? nothing I can remember <BR> <BR> Favorite drink? Iced tea <BR> <BR> What room are you in? Home office . <BR> <BR> Your hobby? gardening, readin... Mon, 7 Sep 2015 11:31:22 EST My Boys I have 4 Grown Sons. <BR> <BR> Each of them is so different. <BR> <BR> The oldest is 43 and he is currently not talking to me. I do not know why, and at the moment I'm feeling so indifferent. He is going through a divorce of his own doing. I have reached out to him on more than one occasion and he is ignoring me. So be it. He like to cast me as the bad mom, and I'm not having it any more. <BR> <BR> The next is 39 and he is still single and living in Arizona. He has come back for a home vis... Sun, 6 Sep 2015 14:15:56 EST Tree Trimming My house is close to 90 years old, I have a GIANT maple tree in the back yard. <BR> <BR> It provides need shade on the house, for which I am grateful for. But it also drops TONS of leaves and helicopter all over the yard in fall and spring, which though are great exercise are a major pain! LOL <BR> <BR> During very bad storms I get a lot of fallen branches. One particular time the wind bought down a large branch that caused some minor damage to my deck. Easily fixed so not a real biggie. ... Sat, 22 Aug 2015 12:59:35 EST I hate weeds in my Garden I spent as much time, as it did not rain, in my garden yesterday. I hate having let it go this long. I do like my garden neat and tidy. <BR> <BR> Water is good for the garden, just not the amounts we have had this year! I think we have broken a 100 year record. <BR> <BR> anyway the garden was a mess. I have creeping charlie, plus clover , and they have been allowed to run wild with all this rain! <BR> I finally got the one area where they are the worst under control yesterday. <BR> <BR> ... Sun, 19 Jul 2015 11:02:14 EST My Stress levels , and Spark Friends! Morning all! This is a bit long sorry, but there is a point to it <BR> <BR> A little background. I work at a Department of Motor Vehicles issuing CDL Drivers licenses. A CDL License is for anyone driving a big rig tractor/trailer or Bus. <BR> <BR> I have been with this agency for almost 30 years. I have seen lots of changes in administrations and procedures. Some good some bad. About 10 Years ago there was a CDL scandal in our State and we are now under Federal over site. I have to go throu... Sun, 12 Jul 2015 13:21:54 EST An awesome day with friends I did a garden walk with a group of ladies from my bible study. We have been together for many years and encourage each other and step in and are there for each other through thick and thin. <BR> <BR> In the Suburbs of Chicago is Cantigny Park. The former Estate of the owner and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. It is now a multifaceted place to explore and enjoy. It has beautiful grounds , a golf course, a museum, and the botanical gardens are a delight. Here is some of the history of the p... Sun, 7 Jun 2015 12:48:52 EST Spring has Sprung in my Garden This is a blog for Cathygetsfit! <BR> <BR> Spring has arrived in my Garden! I have a bunch of Frittilara's or Checkered Lilies. Cathy had them as her Icon at one point and I told her I would post a picture when they came into bloom. So here they are! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have one lone white one near the Bush. The garden is still a mess as it has been... Mon, 20 Apr 2015 18:58:58 EST My Birthday wishes I just want to say <em>304</em> to all of my <em>223</em> 's who took the time to send me <em>144</em> or <em>246</em> and <em>247</em> on my Birthday Thursday ! Between Facebook and Spark I was smiling ALL day long!!! <BR> <BR> I didn't do much of anything with it being a holiday weekend, so all the smiling I did was wonderful! <BR> <BR> The <em>361</em> and I will be going out next Friday night to celebrate <em>236</em> and have some <em>246</em> around a table... Sat, 4 Apr 2015 20:24:27 EST Sarcastic Email I just had a friend send me this e-mail and it was to funny not to share with everyone.... ENJOY! <BR> <BR> Some chuckles for the new year: <BR> <BR> <BR> The biggest lie I tell myself is ..."I don't need to write that down, I'll remember it." <BR> Wouldn't it be great if we could put ourselves in the dryer for ten minutes; come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller! <BR> <BR> Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators. We haven't met yet! <BR> <BR> I don't trip over thin... Wed, 7 Jan 2015 13:15:34 EST How to Wrap a Cat! Just in time for Christmas! I can not see my Taz just sitting there so patiently! <BR> <BR> We all have our furry friends, big or small, quiet or not, just gotta love them! <BR> <BR> Enjoy... <BR> <BR> <BR> <link><BR>icks-how-to-wrap-a-cat-for-christmas?u<BR>tm_medium=nl&utm_source=notd&utm_conte<BR>nt=2014-12-24-article_4-title </link> Wed, 24 Dec 2014 15:48:38 EST THANK YOU! Just a short blog to let all my Spark friends know that I care for each and everyone of them! <em>304</em> <BR> <BR> I don't always stop by to say hi, or acknowledge a post on my wall or my page, but each and every post brings a smile to my face! <em>334</em> <BR> <BR> Each one of us here on Spark has our own journey <em>535</em> <em>432</em> that take us to all the places in the world. I have Spark friends in far flung places. I get to "see" a little of your place in the wo... Sun, 16 Nov 2014 14:16:52 EST CATS!!! Grrrrr My cat Taz is a royal pain in my you know what! <BR> <BR> CATS!!! grrr can you tell I'm pissed at him?!?!? LOLOL <BR> <BR> He likes to chew the plants when I bring them in for the winter, so he can spit up his furballs. I have learned to put the ones he "likes" higher on the shelf, that he can't reach. <BR> <BR> Well this morning at 5:15 AM I come down to a upended plant all over the carpet!!! Good thing/bad thing I watered them all last night so it was more clumpy to clean up but it wa... Wed, 29 Oct 2014 07:40:07 EST ILLINOIS State Fair I go down to the Fair during GOP DAY. Always get to meet the candidates and I am pretty active in politics. Don't want to get into political discussions, just the back ground on why I go to the Fair. <BR> <BR> So, there is always interesting things to see and eat at the fair. I always give myself "permission" to eat one "strange" thing each year. <BR> <BR> One year I had chocolate covered fried bacon, and before you go euwww .... it was rather good like a salty choc covered pretzel. <BR>... Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:28:05 EST # 2 on Spark leader boards Sarcastic Unlimited! I was doing some figuring this morning. <BR> <BR> About being 2nd place on the category leader board for Humor <BR> <BR> So the first place team has 2709 members, our team has 1185. <BR> <BR> They have racked up 131,913 points this month so far, at an average 49 points per member. <BR> <BR> Our team has racked up 82,259 this month so far, at an average of 69 points per member. <BR> <BR> ALL time points is 14,004,307 for the other team, which works out to about 5,178 points per person si... Sun, 17 Aug 2014 14:13:45 EST MY Little Pond As promised here are a few pictures of my rebuilt pond. <BR> It is rather like putting a jig saw puzzle together as you can see. So I had to put them all around build up an then fit them together. <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I have white and gold spotted gold fish in the pond, there have been little green frogs know to come visit also. They are cute. One year a frog moved in just before I put the heater in and he froze solid...... :(... Fri, 8 Aug 2014 21:59:48 EST stupid bulbs!! Ok .. My blog yesterday talked about the "STUPID BULBS" I have all over one side of my garden. <BR> <BR> They are called Star of Bethlehem.... well I wish they would go back to Bethlehem! LOL <BR> <BR> So I am going to show you what I am up against! <img src=""> <BR> Pretty white flowers.... that look like grass in the Spring then wither away to nothing..... they multiply like ants! <BR> <BR> this is how they look when they are EVE... Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:59:38 EST My Garden. This has been a bad year for my garden.... With all the rain and then very hot and humid. It was unbearable to be outside. <BR> <BR> I took off Friday as I did not need to work my part time job.... and the weather cooperated! <BR> <BR> I feel very good about all the work I did! I am sore, but I burned LOTS of calories. <BR> <BR> I even made my sifter for those stupid bulbs I have all over my garden <img src=""> <BR> <BR> It is 1/4... Mon, 21 Jul 2014 20:05:33 EST Vacations I have been on Vacation for the past week and a half. I usually spend all that time in my garden getting it ready for the summer. <BR> <BR> This past week I've been dealing with physical therapy for my knee, which has caused me to be behind in my garden, and I am just feeling my "age" some here! <BR> LOLOL I still enjoy the garden and want to finish, just going to take a little longer, plus the weather did not cooperate this year more, like blazing hot summer, to spring thunderstorms all i... Tue, 3 Jun 2014 13:31:37 EST Happy Mothers Day! To all the incredible Women here on Spark! Enjoy your day! <BR> <BR> Our Children do not care whether we are fat or skinny, short or tall, or any other things that we use to denigrate ourselves...... you are beautiful in their eyes! <BR> <BR> Went to church with my mom and my son. Heard a great speaker! and it was a very nice service. Then out to breakfast .... the place I was going to go to, had a long line, so stopped at the big box store to pick up some things, got gas and kept going ea... Sun, 11 May 2014 17:18:51 EST I was SPA dayed!! My Son owns 2 Planet Beach day spa's <BR> <BR> Yesterday every nerve ending I had hurt! I asked my Son if he had any openings for me to do message. He texted me back yes come at 2:30, So I show up and he SPA'D ME! for 3 hours! <BR> <BR> I did water message, it hurt like heck but I did it anyway, after about 10 minutes it felt better. He then put me in a sauna I sweated all that stuff out, <em>198</em> there was about 2-3 cups of salty water in the suit. He next gave me 2 sessions of Re... Sun, 20 Apr 2014 10:19:10 EST feel like I've been run over by a train Good grief! Is this what drug addicts feel like when they come off all those "good" drugs?? <BR> <BR> I feel like I've been run over by a train...every muscle and nerve ending is sore! And I could sleep all day. wow.... I gotta go back to work on Monday! Please keep me in prayer for energy and strength. <BR> <BR> Going to take a nice hot shower and get hair cut and try to join the living world today, might just "wake" me up. <BR> <BR> Everyone of you who take the time out of your busy liv... Sat, 19 Apr 2014 11:44:28 EST Thank you and feeling gratitude. I am feeling rather melancholy today. I was granted a work at home day and am taking advantage of it. <BR> <BR> I have spent a good part of my morning on the computer, after having slept like a baby from all the good drugs I am currently taking for my sciatic pain. The upside is that it has helped my knee settle down considerably. Considering the knee was the cause of the back pain I think they are even now! <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> I go back to my real job on Monday... I was having ver... Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:15:33 EST Me and the younsters My time with the organizing youngsters is coming to an end. <BR> <BR> We won our NLRB election resoundingly! I am very happy for the employees, as there was wage theft going on and they will now be paid! <em>380</em> <BR> <BR> I have alienated only one of the girls, she is just afraid of me, which is ok with me. <em>40</em> The other mean girl is at least sociable to me and at least is intelligent enough to figure out not to continue pi$$ing me off, as she has witnessed my assets an... Sat, 12 Apr 2014 15:41:42 EST Well the younsters were finally given a dose of reality The youngsters have been given a good life lesson. <BR> <BR> I am still off doing my thing with my union. It had become increasingly frustrating on my part. I had been trying to do what I was asked to do, and kept getting resistance and condensation from these Millennials. <em>183</em> <BR> <BR> I really do not like pulling rank, as I can usually get things done with my "personality" LOL. But things had deteriorated to the point of why am I even here? My union is paying out a lot of mone... Sun, 16 Mar 2014 12:22:11 EST More about the youngsters! LOL Well they survived me so far! <BR> <BR> I did have to pull rank to get some things taken care of that needed to get done.... they now look at me with a little more respect an an uh oh look, they are not sure who I will talk to or what I will do to get things taken care of! Sort of liking the "mystique" <em>36</em> <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> During one of our "debriefs" I had talked about what I saw as needing to get done before we did something else, during another "debrief" the "hip... Sun, 23 Feb 2014 12:45:14 EST Glad to be home, and young people..... I was in Indiana working on a campaign for my Union. <BR> <BR> What is it with young people today?? I know I'll be 60 this year but I do try to stay abreast of "new" things. I'm around younger people each and every day, it's bound to sink in by osmosis even! <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> They insisted I be in some chat thing where I'd get updates ALL the time. Mind you I'm paired with someone else on this same chat ...... If it was that IMPORTANT they'd tell me about if. I asked to be removed,... Sat, 15 Feb 2014 14:26:46 EST Your not doing your job, unless you're offending someone!! I stole this from another Spark blog! I love it as everything is so true. <BR> <BR> I don't know about you but I've Pi$$ed some folks off on different threads and it gets pulled.....I wrote on another stream today and thought for sure I'd get spanked! <em>334</em> <em>18</em> Imagine my surprise when it didn't and other people actually agreed with me about this rather whinny hurt feeling type of person....... vindicated! <BR> <BR> I was pointed to this and STOLE it! Enjoy! <BR> <... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 16:41:27 EST Mom's computer continued! OMG! I was laughing with her and at her! <em>246</em> <BR> <BR> I had loaded Google Earth on her computer. We went exploring last night. She was born in a little village in Germany. Her parents house is still in the family. So we went to Grillheim in Germany on Google Earth...... what a hoot to see her navigate Google Earth and try to find the house.... I showed her how to zoom in and she didn't recognize some of the buildings..... so I zoomed out so she could get her bearings.....she sai... Tue, 31 Dec 2013 13:52:25 EST Merry Christamas! I want to wish all my Spark friends a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS! <BR> <BR> For all of you that have laughed <em>334</em> with me or at me ..... thanks! that's what friends do. For all the shoulders that I have <em>46</em> cried on weather in pain or frustration, hope I didn't get you to wet! <BR> <BR> For all the laughter <em>246</em> and though provoking <em>58</em> blogs, for the places <em>535</em> you have shared and taken me on, for all the sharing of your lives <em>223</... Mon, 23 Dec 2013 12:32:58 EST More computer stories. Well here I am, 1 week later..... love my new computer! I hope I am able to save some things from my old hard drive, going to take it in, as well as my Mom's. Mom has a ton of stuff on as she is doing a family tree. <BR> I am also not quite sure how to transfer stuff from one hard drive to another. Plus my Son bought up a good point, If I'd a just flash drived everything and Mom's computer had a virus..... I'd of infected her new one..... so leave it for the tech people! <BR> ... Sun, 1 Dec 2013 11:37:17 EST