Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thanks for Noticing

I have a long time friend who is in a service area I use a couple of times a year.  Today was one of the days I had to call upon his service.

When he arrived I took him to the area where the problem existed and he started asking me questions but I couldn't come up with the word I needed to explain the entire issue to him and was stumbling around with my words when he said: "Are you all there?"  I looked at him and said, "Yes, I just can't think of the word."  He said "No, are you all there?" and then he used held his hands about a foot apart and moved them up and down.  I then realized he was talking about my physical presence and not my mind.

I then told him about how much weight I have lost and what I have been doing and thanked him for noticing.

That is the second time this week someone has noticed my weight loss.  I have to say it feels good.

It also helped me when I was grocery shopping tonight.  Chocolate boxes from Mother's Day were on sale, but I kept on walking. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Chair

I wrote about "The Chair" in an email to an old friend on November 24, 2015.  My friend wrote me back and suggested I take the names out, do a little rewrite, and then publish it because he found it to be beautiful. I probably will never work on getting it published, but I thought I would post it here.
The Chair.

I have a chair that is a recliner.  I have had it since either before my youngest, almost 22 years old, was born or right after.  It is a recliner for short people.  It is the only piece of furniture I can sit on in the house and my feet touch the floor.  I love this chair.  I have rocked more babies and toddlers in this chair than I can count. I have rocked little boys who have been here at sleepovers and ended up crying for their mothers because the coyotes howling scared them.  I have slept in this chair with a sick child on my lap.

I have rocked adult children in this chair and talked away their fears and tears.  My oldest and one of his friends in particular have made great use of my lap.  I make my youngest sit in my lap in this chair just to irritate him. 

This chair is the chair that sat next to Raymond's chair all those years. It is the chair where I sat while we discussed our decisions about our life and his death.  It is the chair I slept in next to his hospital bed in the living room so I could hold his hand through the night. 

It is the chair I mourned Raymond in, day after day, unable to move because my life dreams were over.

It is the chair I sat in next to my Mom  while we watched her favorite television shows.

It is the chair I mourned my Mom in and thought about how I was now an orphan and I had no one to turn to for advice.

It is the chair I sit in when I am sick, recovering from surgery, or have such a horrible migraine that I am curled up in a ball and my youngest is doing all he can to help me. 

It is also the chair that has springs coming out of the cushion that catch on my socks and cause me to fall to the ground.   My handyman and one of the boys who visits often have cut the the springs down to the best of their abilities but I still get poked.  The cording is coming off the front of the chair and the plastic pokes and scratches my legs.  There is no padding left in the chair.  It is a pitiful chair, but still I hang on to it. 

Yesterday, November 23, 2015, I took my youngest shopping because I am buying him a new couch for Christmas.   Our third stop was at La-z-boy furniture.  We found a couch that we both loved and on clearance so we are all set to go, but wait I tell the salesman, "Do you still have the recliners for short people?"   He takes me to the chairs for people my height and I start trying them out.  I found one on sale that I love and I ask if it comes in green.  I ordered the chair. 

I thought I would be sad or have remorse over making such a decision.  I came home and sat in my chair and waited.  All I felt was happiness.  The chair is not what made the memories.  It was the interaction between those I love and me. 

Until recently I couldn't tell the difference.  Talking and listening to an old friend has allowed me to open myself up again. A few years ago I let someone convince me I was worthless, but my old friend has never seen me that way (that I know of) and being around him allows me to remember how I really am if I don't let the doubt creep in.

I am not sure I could have ordered a new chair 60 days ago before I became reacquainted with my old friend.

The new chair feels like a big step for me.  As big as going out with my old friend on Halloween, but not nearly as wonderful. 

I have no idea how long my old friend will stay in my life this time, but no matter what happens I will always appreciate that our renewed friendship has opened my eyes to what I have been blind to for the last few years.  He has reminded me that I have worth.  He has allowed me to be myself. 

57 Is Here, What Will This Year Bring?

I have decided to continue on my quest to lose weight for my 57th year.

This morning the scale showed my weight as less than what I weighed when I got pregnant with my youngest son 23 years ago.  Which means I have lost 41.8 pounds since January, 2014. I lost 12.6 pounds in 2014, 16.2 pounds in 2015, and so far in 2016 I have lost 13 pounds,  These are from my morning weights and not my official TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly) weights, but they are pretty close to my TOPS weights.  I weigh in at TOPS at night so it is always a little higher plus there are clothes involved at night.

When I logged my new weight into MyFitnessPal today it showed that I had met the last goal I had entered and I had to set a new goal.  I have been setting my goal each time to be 5 pounds less than the previous goal.  This has been working for me in the past year.  Saying to myself "I need to lose 91 pounds" wasn't working.  It was just too depressing, especially when at one time I only needed to lose 30, and then it was 60, so hitting 91 was a huge low for me.  Five pounds seems very doable, when there are times it seems far away, I change it to 3 pounds.  I am being very careful not to set myself up for failure by setting goals I cannot reach in a reasonable amount of time.

I may never lose all 91 pounds, but I hope to at least get back to what I weighed when I got pregnant with my oldest 27 years ago (another 9 pounds) and I really hope to get back to what I weighed when I got married (another 39 pounds).  My ultimate goal is actually 10 pounds less than what I weighed when I got married (If you are keeping up, you know that is 49 pounds). 

I would also like to do more strength training, but if it happens it happens.  I know from my past that I can set myself up for failure if I set a goal and then do not reach it. 

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Staying Focused

I have really been focusing on my weight for the past 6 months.  I have managed to lose 38.2 pounds since January, 2014.  Of that 38.2 pounds, 25 of those pounds were lost since January, 2015. 

I did it by focusing only on 5 pounds at a time.  I found that if I looked at the large amount of weight I needed to lose I would get depressed and think "I will never lose that much weight."  Once I started just focusing on five pounds at a time I found I could stay on track. 

I weigh myself every day.  I do not deprive myself of things I want, but I make sure I ask myself each time "Is it worth it?"  Just yesterday I really wanted to buy a $1.00 box of Red Vines, but I knew if I bought it I would eat the entire box.  I stood in line at the grocery looking at that box of Red Vines and thought about how it would taste, how I would feel afterwards, and would the taste of the Red Vines be worth how I felt afterwards.  The Red Vines stayed on the shelf.

I often crave something salty and sweet. I have found that 9 almond M&M's in a bowl of 40 whole grain Goldfish is just right to take care of that craving, and  I make sure I log it into my food log on MyFitnessPal.

My exercise is getting 7,000 steps every day I can because it gets me points with my health insurance program where I am awarded with money based on my points each quarter. Some days I get more steps, but I definitely try for 7,000.  I have earned all my money each quarter. 

I have been cleaning out my closet each time I go down a size.  I am no longer buying clothes in the plus size section of the stores.  I have a friend who shops with me and makes sure I buy clothes that fit me and I don't go back into the "baggy" look. 

I still have a very long way to go, but I think I can keep on the program.

I am less than 5 pounds away from weighing what I did 23 years ago when I became pregnant with my youngest child.  That is my next goal.  After that I will be 10 pounds away from weighing what I did when I got pregnant with my oldest child 27 years ago.  I am very exited about reaching those numbers again. 

Staying focused is what it is going to take. 

Sunday, February 28, 2016

There Are Some Memories

Whenever I ask my youngest if he remembers something from his childhood he replies "I really don't remember my childhood." 

The other night we were sitting around with one of his friends and talking about memories and my youngest admitted he only had four real memories of his father, Raymond.  Two good memories and two bad ones.

The good memories were:

Raymond and the boys used to set off rockets in the back field.
Raymond used to play chess with the boys and one time the youngest beat him and there is a terrific picture of that match to commemorate the occasion.

The bad memories were:
The sippy cup incident
Raymond's dying

The sippy cup incident was something none of us ever forgot, certainly not Raymond.  I wasn't in the room when it happened but it involved Raymond throwing a sippy cup at the same time the oldest moved and the cup whacking the oldest in the head.  The youngest was standing next to the oldest at the time and he remembers being glad he didn't get whacked by the cup. 

Raymond's death, as I have written before, was not a peaceful death.  The boys had the option to leave our home at any time that night, there was even a friend here standing by to take them away, but both boys opted to stay.  In fact, the youngest barely left Raymond's side unless he was in school the entire time Raymond was in hospice.  All I could tell the youngest the other night was that I was following what he expressed as his wishes when it came to his dad's death and I didn't know anything else to do. 

I am glad to know he has some memories and that some of them are good ones.

Moving On

2015 was a year of firsts. 

The first wedding anniversary I didn't sit in my chair and weep for Raymond.

The first time I made it through Raymond's birthday without anger over all he has missed in these past years and how we were supposed to be together.

The first time I actually forgot the anniversary of Raymond's death. 

The first time for me to receive a romantic kiss in 10 years.  Yes, a romantic kiss.  It happened on Halloween night when I was out for an evening with a man I have known since I was 24 years old.  A man who used to be my boss. 

I always thought I would feel guilt when I shared a kiss for the first time after Raymond's death, but there was no guilt   There was just the realization that I was in the company of a man I greatly respect and I was having a wonderful time.

In 2015 I realized I was really ready to move on with my life.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Sparks Family

While cleaning out a file cabinet tonight I found information on my dad's family. His name was Arlie Sparks and he was born in Evelyn, KY, but  was raised in Irvine, KY.  The information came from a cemetery tour.

Arlie Sparks: December 4, 1919 - April 26, 1998 (Age 78)

My sister:
Deborah Ann Sparks: 1948-1955 (Age 7)


Lonzel Sparks: October 22, 1912-March 12, 1961 (Age 48)
Local Sparks: October 9, 1914-November 25, 1975 (Age 61)

Beulah Sparks Spurlin: September 9, 1911 - September 30, 1982 (Age 71) -
      Husband Charles Spurlin November 22, 1902- December 17, 1972 (Age 70)
Alma Sparks Abshear: July 25, 1925 - February 24, 1988 (Age 62)
Zula Sparks Rose: Died May 30, 2015 at age 92 - Husband Morris Rose died 2011

My grandfather:
Benjamin Harrison Sparks: 1889-1950 (Age 61)

My grandmother:
Sarah Catherine Durbin Sparks: 1889-1969 (Age 80)

Great Aunt (Sarah Catherine's Sister)
Mary Elizabeth Ingram: January 2, 1882-November 24, 1974 (Age 92)
Husband: Murrell Ingram: July 15 1877-March 1, 1969 (Age 92)

Dad's Cousin:
Dixie Kirby: April 7, 1906-June 15, 1989 (Age 83)
Husband: JW "Brud" Kirby, October 18, 1906 to May 11, 1977 (Age 70)

Others, Exact Relationship Unknown
W.J. Sparks: August 1, 1884-December 26, 1973 (Age 89)
Louisa Sparks: June 12, 1881-March 24, 1964 (Age 83)

J.A. Durbin: 1855-1928 (Age 73)
Elizabeth Durbin: 1856-1936 (Age 80)
Annis Durbin: September 1869-May 7, 1937 (Age 67)
Elisha Curtis Durbin: June 29, 1859-July 13, 1946 (Age 87)
W.H. Durbin: March 23, 1892-December 21, 1921 (Age 28)
W.H. Durbin: 1829-1912 (Age 83)
Mary Durbin: 1829-1893 (Age 64)
Amus Marion Durbin: April 19, 1862-October 18, 1884 (Age 22)
Hade Durbin: December 17, 1865-December 20, 1938 (Age 73)
Emma Webb Durbin: June 11, 1865-January 19, 1944 (Age 79)

Charley C Baker
September 2, 1885 - June 30, 1968 (Age 83)
Mandy Baker
April 10, 1886-January 8, 1937 (Age 51)

Vance Ingram: January 30, 1904-April 9, 1970 (Age 66)
Mary C. Ingram: September 8, 1898-January 30, 1977 (Age 79)
Phillip W. Ingram: March 7, 1938 - October 14 1938