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I hope you all enjoy my efforts here!

Dec 27, 2008

Faster than a Speeding Bullet!

I had a funny incident today, when I was out to lunch with some of my good friends. They had their little baby along. She's a cutie, even if she was probably teething and cranky as a result. Anyhow, as she was being held, her by her daddy, her arm reached out and knocked his soda over in my direction.

It was so funny! I could almost see the glass of soda in ice being spilled in slow motion! In my mind as soon as I could tell the pop was going to go over, and it would spill all over me, I said to myself, "I wonder if I can move this body fast enough now to get out of the way?"

Lickety split, faster than a speeding bullet I slid out of the booth and jumped into the aisle! The result? I was 98% successful! I got just a tad on the side of my pants that was closest to the spill. That's it! All over my seat, that I was sitting was a huge puddle of ice and soda. It was also all over the table and leaking down continually after the initial spill. On me, hardly any! Three years ago, I would've been soaked with a lapful of soda and ice!

I am amazed! I can move fast now! Woo Hoo! Now that I'm faster than a speeding bullet, do you think I can leap tall buildings?

(By the way, thanks Staci for the idea to blog about this!) :-)

Dec 24, 2008

Strength through Gratitude?

For probably the last six months or so, I've been on a journey, following Oprah's recommendation (which she got from a book), where each day I write 5 things that I am grateful for that day. I've noticed that over time, slowly little changes are happening in my thought processes.

When I look at my day, to evaluate what I'm grateful for, I find I have to push away the thoughts of any bad or negatives of the day, in order to find what I'm grateful for. Sometimes it's really hard to do that. Sometimes writing my gratitude blog at night is almost a chore. At other times, it's really insightful and fulfilling. Despite the differences in how I feel day to day, I find some days I spend my days looking for things to be grateful for. When I do that, I experience more joy in the day. On other days, I don't think about it until doing the blogging gratitude log. Having to in essence "wash out the bad" as I look for the good, helps me to define my day more positively. Doing so every day is teaching me to change my outlook on life, as well as to truly live and appreciate so many little small things each and every day.

I have learned that we only have now. Tomorrow never comes, yesterday is but a memory. The memories are pleasant and joyful, when I was truly able to appreciate my experiences when they are happening, "in the now". The worries about tomorrow are less, when I realize I have no control over it, and the worries have the power to ruin my now. The truth is though, life has it's challenges, and sometimes it even has it's tragedies.

Recently, I found out a friend of mine lost the small baby she was pregnant with. I read the blog she kept during the weeks long ordeal that led to the loss of her precious son. What really clicked with me, was an entry she wrote in the midst of her ordeal. She was in the hospital, and suffering. Her post read like the most precious gratitude log. She thanked so many people, stating in profound terms all that she was grateful for. It was clear that even in the midst of tragedy, she found a way to be grateful, to appreciate all that she DID have, and all the help and love coming her way. While reading her blog, it is clear she is dealing with this tragedy in her life with such strength and such love. She is also relying on her faith as well as her family through this.

The particular entry that she wrote, which seemed to me in essence to be similar to a gratitude post has struck a chord in me. How much of her strength has come from really appreciating her life and all that she has, rather than railing at the fates and God for what she is having to endure? Maybe gratitude helps to replenish one's very core and soul. Regular readers of this blog, and/or family members, know that my brother-in-law Dick, taught me great lessons as he fought and and lost his great battle to live. One of the things that he taught me was to treasure life. He found a way to be happy and be grateful for all that he had in his life. He truly treasured every moment. While he didn't write gratitude logs, I know he lived a life feeling gratitude and joy, as well as giving service to others. I wonder how much of strength he had in tragedy and through trials came through his ability to be grateful.

I'll actually share publicly (vs. privately in my gratitude blog) the things I'm grateful for today, since it fits the theme of today's entry. I'm so grateful that I have a wonderful home and family to share a life with. The moments with the children, as we smile, laugh, play are moments of their life that I'm honored to shared. I'm grateful to wake up in a household and see people I love every morning. I'm grateful to my siblings who share their children and grandchildren with me. I'm grateful for the awesome friends that I have. Most of my friends are long time friends. They've stuck with me through the good and through the bad. Through the bad, I had to have been a terrible friend, as I wasn't happy, and wasn't able to truly appreciate them. I'm grateful for having some of the best friends in the world, as they're still my friends despite it all. I'm grateful for the technology we have today that allows me to connect with, and to share in a small way, parts of life with family members far away. My blog has made me closer to a couple of very special nieces. My recent joining of the Face book community is starting to connect me with nephews who live further away, and with whom I ached to connect. I'm thrilled at the connections coming through this awesome technology. I'm grateful for the gift of hearing. My cochlear implants allow me the joy of sound, the ability to not only hear, but to over hear. I'm grateful for former students of mine who have grown up and still manage to be in my life. Some of managed to stay in my life for years, honoring me with their friendship, others lost touch, but are re-connecting with me on Face book. How grateful I am to realize the lives that I've been fortunate to share some small part of. I'm grateful that despite all my shortcomings and challenges in the past, I was able to touch some lives. One young man who I just reconnected with on Face book, told me I was his best teacher ever. How awesome to be remembered by someone that way. I'm honored. I'm grateful for my parents, who are long gone. I miss them greatly, but their strength, integrity and love have allowed me to have so much strength in my own life. I have parents who I always knew supported me in any way they could. They "had my back". I'm grateful for the many giants in my life, the people who teach me just by how they live their lives. I'm grateful for life itself. I'm grateful for every day having the opportunity to "start over". If I make a mistake, make a bad decision, or need to learn and grow, each fresh morning provides me the opportunity to do so. I'm grateful for holidays, as an opportunity to just spend time with those you love and appreciate them. Happy Holidays everyone.

Dec 21, 2008

Opinions Wanted

Okay! So I was deciding I couldn't afford to go get a makeover. I played online and found some virtual makeover tools. With much creativity (meaning I didn't sign up and pay money for any of these virtual makeovers, so I had to be crafty with how I got a photo), I was able to print (not save) one of my sessions, then scan it. Below is the idea that I'm kind of playing with. I like the color, and may even consider going a little darker brown. The color is a golden brown, but some ash browns seemed to look good. I kind of thought the style was flattering. Who thinks I ought to toy with this style? For current hair style, go down look at my entry around Thanksgiving time with photo. Does anyone like it as much as I do, or do you have better ideas. Keep in mind my hair is thin and fine. So nothing curly or full of body works.

One Day Later:
I just decided to add this part of the post a day later. I receive some comments to the photo above on facebook, and one comment was about having the hair darker. I also wondered about whether the hair should be longer. So I went back and redid the picture with darker hair and longer. I think I like the shorter hair the best, but if I get this hair do, if I go to long between hair cuts (which I'm apt to do), the one below may happen. Should I have darker or lighter hair? Still wondering why no one comments here!!???

Dec 18, 2008

I've Fallen and Can't Get Up!

Sorry for the absence, for those who missed me! :) I've been saving up some "post titles" in draft form, so I could remember some of the things that I wanted to write about, when I was up for writing again! For some reason, I needed a "posting holiday", from both this blog, and my private "gratitude blog" that I keep.

Now I'm back! Anyhow, wondering what's behind my title? One of the things that was so awful about the size that I once was, was that when I fell, I couldn't really get up with the large unmaneuverable nearly 400 lb body I was living in. I have one bad knee that is "bone on bone". I'm convinced there's a familial tendency towards knee problems, due to the prevalence of problems in my family and all the artificial knees. However, in truth, the weight surely didn't help.

Because of the problem with my knees, it would hurt so much, that I couldn't even tolerate the short few seconds I would have to be on them, on the way to getting up, at any time that I fell. I'd have to come up with creative ways to get up off the floor, the very few times I fell. I don't know why I fell, as it doesn't seem to be something I have done for a loooooooooong time! Maybe I had worse balanced with that body, or maybe I'd trip and not be agile enough to catch myself. Anyhow, I'd have to do things like scoot to a couch, use my arms and try to pull up to the couch, and go from there.

I remember one incident where I tripped and fell in front of the classroom in the junior high I was teaching in. I had my oxygen tank connect to me as well. I sprawled in front, I can't get up, the kids are watching, necks craning, watching the "spectacle". There were two other teacher's in the room, thankfully one a man, who probably had some muscles. Anyhow, they had to come help pull me up to a standing position, bypassing my knees. That had to take some muscles to do. It's a pretty embarrassing situation if you think about it.

It wasn't until about 6 months ago that I finally allowed myself to get on the floor. I figured I should be at a point where I was agile enough to take advantage of some possible ways to get up from the floor without having to go onto my knees. I was surprised at all the different ways I could get up, without going on my knees, now that I have a much smaller, more agile body. One thing I avoided still was the knees. My hands had to take the weight and I was able to get up from there, push up style or any other number of ways I could think of! I no longer have the "falling, and can't get up problem. I'm no longer afraid of getting on the floor.

A few days ago, little Mackie wanted me to read to him (2 1/2 years old). I don't know why, but he likes me to sit on the floor in my living room in a certain spot. I was holding his little 2 month old baby brother. Mackie was pretty upset and having a hard day. He was crying a lot and wanting attention. He let me know he wanted me on the floor, reading to him. So I went downstairs, sat in our spot as I held Finnley. Mission accomplished. However, when we were done, I realized I had a dilemma. Full arms! I couldn't use my hands to help me maneuver my body up. There was no ands or buts about it, I needed to use my knees. Bracing myself for the coming pain, I went onto my knees and then up. Shocker of all shockers, NO PAIN! Nothing! What just happened? Despite my bad knee, still bone on bone, it turns out maybe a lot of my knee pain was just supporting those 222 extra pounds. Wow! Great dividends! What joy to see the things I can now do, that I thought I'd never do again, including being "on my knees"! :)

Dec 5, 2008

Successful week!

Yep, it's Friday, my Jenny Craig appointment day. I wasn't sure how I had done last week, as I went off program a little. I was afraid to look at the scale and see what the numbers were. To my great excitement, I lost over 3 lbs last week! My new total, 222.3. Now I'm 7.7 from goal! I'm thrilled with the progress! I'm so close I can feel it, and wearing my high school coat to my appointment and subsequent weigh in was GREAT! :)

Dec 4, 2008

High School Coat

Yep, here's a picture of my high school coat! (I apologize for the poorly lit picture. I may take a better picture tomorrow with a better camera and replace it if I get a chance.) I bought this in my junior year of high school, with my hard earned money. I don't know why I kept it all these years. I guess it reminded me of when I used to be able to fit it. I do remember that I bought it my junior year of high school. I had lost 40 lbs to become "thin" over the summer before my junior year began. I was working in my home town hospital lab part time, which allowed me to buy all of my own clothes.

Why did I keep it all these years? Did I really believe that I would someday fit it again? Was it a memento from my high school thin year? It was only one thin year. I put the weight on and more in time for my senior year, and never wore it again. In the 35 years since I bought this, I've moved at least 15 times that I can remember. I really am not a pack rat and have hardly any memorabilia of any kind. The things I've kept from the past are scarcely few in number. It's beyond me, but somehow, I chose, move after move to keep this coat.

I'm sure glad I did! It took me 35 years to do it, but I'm able to wear my high school coat! I bought a good quality coat as I found it very warm. Yesterday I attended The Nutcracker Ballet, wearing the outfit from my picture in the blog entry below, and this high school coat! I saw my friend's adult daughter, who loved the feel of the coat and kept running her hands up and down it, enjoying the texture of the faux fur type of material.

I can't believe at 51, an age many would call middle age, I'm enjoying the wonderful, warm winter coat I bought as a 16 year old teenager! What FUN! :)

Nov 29, 2008

Giants Among Us

Have you even had the experience of going to a funeral, and after it's over you think to yourself, I didn't know all these wonderful things about the person I cared about who just passed. I had no idea they had so many of theseparticular strengths. Why didn't I learn from them while they were here? Why didn't I notice who they were inside? Why didn't I appreciate them and learn from them?

I think so many times in our lives, we are so short-sighted and focused on our lives, we don't open our eyes and see, nor value what is around us. Sometimes we are so used to looking at the negatives about people, looking at what irritates us, their faults, their appearances and various other criteria we use to judge others that we never realize we might be living with someone who is truly a giant, in some way.

I drove to visit family members in Idaho this weekend. As I drove, I thought about my brother. Nine years ago he suffered a heart attack. He sustained permanent brain damage as a result. During the first few weeks after the heart attack, I remember hearing so many wonderful things about him from so many of the people that reached out to all of us at that time. Here I had grown up with him, loved him dearly, but truly didn't know some of wonderful strengths he possessed as a husband, father, colleague, neighbor and etc. nor did I know how many lives he had touched. I could clearly remember his faults, as only a sibling could. I knew many of his strengths, as I could tell stories of some awesome things he did. However, I fully failed to value all that he was and all that he contributed to life.

For those of you that have been following my blog since I started, you may remember me talking about my brother-in-law who died of Lou Gehrig's disease. His influence is the one that sent me on the "self-renovation" journey these last three years. He was a member of my family for over 30 years. True, he lived far away, so it was hard to get to really know him well. However, for many of the 30 years, I focused sometimes on things I "blindly perceived as faults". The fault turns out to have been in me. I never knew anything about the true giant in my own family. I began to get to know him better, during some visits to Utah to help take care of my mother, before she passed. Not too long after that, he received the diagnosis of the disease that took his life. As I watched him fully live his live with such courage, strength and joy, in the face of death no less, I learned a little tiny bit about who he really was. As my eyes began to open, I began to look at other things I should have seen, that could have alerted me to who he was.

He was raising 5 sons to be the most honorable young men. As many of them married and began having families, I saw the dedicated, patient and loving fathers and husbands they were. Through looking at his legacy, I began to see the giant soul who had a hand in shaping their futures. Why did it take me so many years and tragedies to see?

Why do we so often wait for tragedies to really appreciate what we have in life? I'm making a vow to look closely at the lives of those who cross my path for the good in them. I plan to conscientiously focus on the positives and the good of those people. I also want to let them know how much I see their strengths and value their contributions, whether to me, to their families, to their neighbors, colleagues and etc. I hope that by opening my eyes to the giants among us, I can learn from their examples, grow as a person and maybe, just maybe make a positive contribution to the lives of others.

Nov 26, 2008


Today was the day I had planned to get a little dolled up and get a picture taken to send to Jenny Craig, for use in submitting to People. As we know, that won't happen, but I went ahead and took the pictures. What do you guys think?

Nov 24, 2008

If You Want to Change Your Life, Change Your Thinking

Several months ago, I came across the thought, "If you want to change your life, change your thinking." I've worked consistently to do just that. In the beginning, the effort was just to change the negative thoughts to positive thoughts. However, as I've read/listened to Eckhart Tolle's books "A New Earth" and "The Power of Now", I've begun to have a whole new perspective on things. I can't even explain a lot of what I've learned, as it is not only deep, but it seems like a whole new terminology has been created, that can't be easily explained.

Today several things went wrong, and there were several setbacks as well. On top of that, there was an interaction with a "friend" that pushed some old buttons and just for a brief moment in time, sent me jumping off a cliff and spiraling off into negativity in my mind. It's almost breath taking the way I was spiraling downward and the thoughts, old tapes of negativity that rushed out at me. However, you know what was even more breath taking? Within the minute, I recognized what was happening in my mind! I immediately put the brakes on, and then I asked myself how to reverse that and toss out all the negative garbage that had just come flying out. I ended up using some of what I learned from recently, and within minutes, I was feeling peace. Within a few more moments, I was feeling joy again. Amazing!

You CAN teach an old dog new tricks! My thinking is indeed changing, and my life changes with it. Three years ago, I couldn't have foreseen the miracle that is my life today. Three years from today, I expect to see more miracles that maybe I haven't dreamed of yet. My life is changing, and it's a joyous process. Dare to dream, dare to change!

Magazine Update

I thought that I'd better drop a quick line in my blog and let you know that the People magazine article isn't going to happen after all. It appears that we are too late to get anything submitted in the annual "Half their Size" issue.

While I'm a little disappointed to miss this opportunity, I'm ok with it not happening. At least PR at Jenny Craig knows about me. Who knows what opportunities might show up in the future. I still have a dream to inspire and share my journey. I have faith that whatever needs to happen to live my dream, will happen!

Nov 19, 2008


Just a brief note to tell you all, something great just MAY be happening, as the result of my keeping this blog.

I got an email today from a PR person at Jenny Craig who found my blog through some "daily googling". She's talking about some possibilities of things in the future with Jenny Craig. Maybe even something in PEOPLE (the magazine)! I don't want to say more, because I don't want to jinx anything! I need to be patient and see this through and what develops! Meanwhile, I'm so excited at the possibilities that may around the next corner! Keep your fingers crossed for me! :)

Nov 15, 2008

Weight Loss Update

It's been such a long time since I've talked about my weight loss process. I've learned that when you are smaller, it is harder to lose weight! Sometimes I feel like I yo-yo a little going up and down the scales within a small few pounds. I've tried hard to stick to the program. My strategy the last three years of tasting and sampling things, so the desire to eat the whole thing or binge would go away has been a great one for me and kept me going and sticking with the program.

However, as I get smaller, my body doesn't need as many calories, and those little samples and tastes, as well as some of the meals out (as long as they're not more than once or twice a week at most), also will work well as strategies for for maintenance of the weight loss, but not for weight loss itself at this size. What I've been doing the last few months, going up and down within a small few pounds is what I've learned a typical "thin" person does. The frustration has been that I wanted to reach goal weight by the middle of December, which was my 3 year anniversary with Jenny Craig.

However, I've learned that I can't put myself through that kind of frustration right now. I want to enjoy my social life, which includes meals out with my friends. I want to sample, taste, and share the goodies that are at home, at birthday celebrations and yes, even the holidays coming up I'm sure. After three years of dogged effort, I'm ready to live life just a little more. Life is a marathon, and I'm in for the long haul. If it takes me another 6 months or longer to get to goal weight, I've decided I'm perfectly OK with that!

However, having said all that, I have to update you all and tell you, I am "officially" 11 lbs from goal! :) I was almost there before my birthday (11.5 lbs from goal the week before my birthday), then had a birthday, back to back conferences last 3 full days, staying out of town, followed with more celabratory dinners and wonderful pizza with friends, family and former students and etc. to where I ate out something like 9 times in a week. I realized early in that week that trying to be so strict so I wouldn't gain was causing me to be miserable, at a time that I wanted to celebrate, enjoy being alive, enjoy my friends and etc. I wanted to acknowledge the joy I have in being alive at 51, and excited for the next year. For so many years, I wanted to be dead by 50, so I feel like reveling in the joy of a new year and the possibilities of more joyous days and years to come. Living with stress and worry about all those meals out was taking away the joy. So I "gave up" for the rest of the week and just enjoyed the week, the people, the food, and the celebrations! When I went in to weigh in after that week, I kept my back to the scale and instructed the woman to not say a word about how I'd done. I didn't want to know if I gained. In the week or two that followed, I still didn't want to know if I still hadn't lost everything. I just wanted to focus on getting my mind set back to where I was willing to be back on program.

After three years, my Jenny Craig counselor knows me enough that yesterday she told me, you want to turn around and see this weight. So with trepidation I turned around and looked. Whatever weight I gained, I lost, and I lost new weight; an extra half a pound! Eleven pounds from goal is awesome. I've now lost a total of 219 lbs everyone. It may be slow, it may take me as long to lose the last 10 pounds as it took me to lose the first 60, but it's all ok. The journey is the important thing, living life, making progress and being happy! And I am!!!! ;) I'm living in joy.

Nov 8, 2008

Latest Label :)

I attended an all day conference in Orem today that AG Bell, Utah chapter (I'm on the board of this group), put on. It was a good day, but nothing really exciting, as conferences generally are. However, I just had to share the something that was so funny to me! I loved it!

In our conference, we have something called CART. I can't remember what all the acronyms mean, but essentially, it's a way to caption in real time, what is being said. It's similar to the captioning done on the TV during the news. In fact the same people that provide my CART services in the conferences I attend, do the captioning for the locals news station, the Jazz games and other local events on TV. The captioning is done using the same equipment that court reporters use. My understanding is that they type "phonetically", which allows them to go faster, that our standard typing.

During one session today, the CART transcriptionist made a typo. She ended up going back and correct it, but myself and my hard of hearing and deaf friends got the biggest laugh out of the typo, so I had to share. The speaker was saying "hearing impaired". She typed out "marrying impaired". We laughed and laughed and joked amongst ourselves about who was marrying impaired. I told them I finally had a new title/label for what I am that I can fit!!! I'm marrying impaired! Of course the hearing audience had no idea why all the hearing impaired people started giggling and laughing hilariously amongst ourselves!

Anyone that wants to help me out with my marrying impaired status is welcome to try! Got an eligible awesome man out there for me? :) Hahaha! I wonder what kind of accommodations the "marrying impaired" get. Hearing impaired get interpreters, CART and front row seats. What do marrying impaired get! I figure the accommodations ought to be good! ;) I would just love to put that down on some form somewhere, that I'm marrying impaired and need accommodations. Maybe they'll provide me with dates with the town's most eligible bachelors? :) Anyone want to help me fix this latest disability?

Nov 2, 2008

Halloween Pictures

Thought I'd share some adorable pictures of the little ones. I thought they looked adorable. Dalia was a princess and Mackie a fireman. Their cousin Tommy joined them in one picture.

I loved the poses I got with Mackie who never holds still. The first picture is adorable, the 2nd one shows how much he wanted to try out parts of his sister's costume. I loved this one two.

I like these pictures of Dalia, as she was so excited, she was flapping her hands! Then the 2nd picture that was a close-up shows how beautiful she is.

I wish I had better pictures of Tommy. This was the best of the ones I got, and it was all three of them.

Oct 30, 2008


Did you realize that we are awesome, not because of what we do, but just because we exist. Think about it. What does a new baby do to make us love him/her? They sleep, they cry, they eat and fill diapers. They do nothing else during the first few weeks of life. They are not loved because of what they do, or because of their personality. They are not loved because they're witty, smart, adventuresome or anything. They are loved, just because they exist. We too are that valuable. I AM, and by virtue of that, I am incredible. YOU ARE, and by virtue of that, you are incredible. We don't need to judge others, compare ourselves to others, or try to fit a mold or ideal created by society. We are enough, just because we exist. We don't have to earn love, earn approval or anything else. We just ARE precious because we exist. What an awesome concept

Oct 24, 2008


I've been attending conferences the last couple of days. At the end of one conference (for preschool educators) was a session where the presenter was so funny, we laughed and laughed! Her topic was about Relieving Stress. Did you know that the average child laughs 200 to 400 times a day and the average adult laughs 12 to 14 times per day? The second conference tonight for deaf educators, the keynote speaker was talking about humor and it's importance.

Here are some positive effects of laughter.
  • reduce stress
  • boost immune system
  • elevate mood
  • connect you to others
  • protect the heart
  • foster instant relaxation

Between both speakers today, I feel like I upped my quotient of laughter! Since I'm fighting off a cold, I surely appreciate the fact it will help boost my immune system! :)

Here some of the funny anecdotes I heard today:

  • A single teacher of a 6th grade class had students who were very curious about her. They wanted to know her first name, how old she was and on and on. She would never tell them. One day while she was in the faculty room, they got into her purse in her drawer and found her driver's license. When she came back to the room, they were laughing and laughing. "We know your first name!" then told her what it was. "We know how old you are!", chimed another. Then yet another said, and we know that you got an "F" and flunked sex!"
  • Our presenter this afternoon was stopped for speeding, through a construction zone. She was let off with a very stern warning. The policeman told her, I don't ever want to see you speeding through this construction zone again. If you do it again, I will give you a ticket then. It was all she could do to stop herself from say, "When's your shift?"
  • Then there was a student of our keynote speaker tonight who was listening to a oral report from one of his students about "Abraham Lincoln". He said, "He was born in a log cabin he built with his own hands!". He was just laughing so hard, and none of his students could get why that was so funny.
  • Two missionaries knocked on a door here in Utah, in fact I think it might have been in the Provo area. The lady was so rude and told them to get out of her yard and off her property. As they were leaving, one missionary said, "There's another door behind the house". His companion explained it was the back door, and that they needed to get off the property. His companion said, 'It could be another apartment, as sometimes there is a separate entry for other apartments in a house". So they went around back and knocked. The door was opened by the same woman, who stared at them just dumbstruck that they were there. Before she could say anything, one missionary was quick enough to come out with this quip, "We're so glad we got you, you should have met the lady at the last door we knocked on!" The woman actually started to laugh and laugh after that remark!
  • I thought I'd add another anecdote of something that really happened to me. I don't know if I've written this down in my blog before, I might have. So apologies if I've written it down before. A colleague of mine, back when I was in business (and before my implants), young family came to visit him at work. When introducing me to his little boy, he told him that he had to look at me all the time, since I couldn't hear and had to read his lips. With a puzzled expression his little boy said, "But Daddy, there are no words on my lips."

There were a ton more, but I'm finding it harder to write them down! Find the joy, find the laughter, find the humor, and have a joyful day!

Oct 19, 2008

Latest Challenge and Upcoming Fun

It's always tough to see someone you love go through hard time, challenges or pain. You want so much to help and to fix things, but you can't. You can try to be a good friend, listen to them, and hope when wanted, you can offer insight and in general, give support.

We all know that we have to go through some rough times in life. There's no avoiding it. I've gotten pretty good at learning how to get through any of the tough stuff in mine, and turn it around and keep a positive attitude and attempt to grow.

However, I find that while I'm getting good at dealing with my tough stuff, I'm not good at learning how to not let other people's stuff get me down. With my life, I can control it, I can have positive thoughts and know I'll find my way through. With other's lives, I not only have no control, but I have found myself getting upset about what others are going through, especially if I view something happening to them as wrong or unfair. I hurt when they hurt and I feel sadness. My challenge is learning to not let other's burdens, become mine. I realize that I have to show my support and love in any ways I can see to do so, then I have to return to my peace and positivity that keeps my life progressing. I have to work to make sure I learn how to not let my peace and progress be stopped due to devastation I feel on the behalf of others.

I've not got the answers, but I do feel it's progress just to realize and that I need to do this, and then to work on it consciously.

On another front, I'm going to have a birthday this week, and while it won't be the big blowout I had for myself on my 50th, I know that I will look for what is meaningful for me this birthday, and do it! I used to be depressed a lot over the things that never happened on my birthday, often feeling isolated and alone, and wishing people would do sweet things for me. Last year, I learned that "a great birthday" is in my control. I will have no expectations (that can often be followed with disappointment), of what I want others to do and just do for myself what I want. What I want this year, it's simple; a dinner with my loved ones! I can't think of anything sweeter than just time over a meal to enjoy the people I love! Maybe sweet little Dalia and/or Mackie will want to sit on my lap and help me blow out the candles?! You think? That would be bliss!

Oct 11, 2008

Tagged yet again!

I got tagged, by name in another blog. I don't know why, but my sense of etiquette tells me I need to reply! I'll play on this one, just because I like the person who tagged me! :) However, fair warning to all family and friends, please don't tag (read:guilt) me anymore!!

Here are the rules:
Link to the person who tagged you. Umm, not sure how to do this, so I'll break this rule!

Post the rules on your blog. Done

Write six random things about yourself.
  1. I love musicals! I've been known to start singing, "Food, glorious, food, and on and on (from Oliver), when about to enjoy something delicious! Obviously, I expect everyone to forgive me if I'm terribly off-tune. Gotta use the "deaf" excuse whenever I can! :)
  2. I've turned into a Diet Coke addict. I always figured that wasn't a problem because it was better to be into Diet Coke than all the doughnuts, ice cream, potato chips and other junk I would love to consume! I don't know when, but one day I'll wake up and decide it's time to break this addiction. For now, "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony". Now if that doesn't come from a Diet Coke commercial, blame the deafness again, I didn't know it didn't! For now, I persist in thinking they did a commercial with this song. :)
  3. When I was a young girl, I got impatient with how long all the girls in the family took to get ready for church. I started walking. I was picked up walking down the highway on the dotted white lines in the middle of the road. I remember thinking the white lines were for people to walk on! Einstein? I think not!
  4. The guy who picked me up from the highway and found my home, (sorta like a stray puppy here), turned out to be a VIP in my life and the very first deaf person I ever met. You know, I wonder if I was deaf yet when that happened (I was found to be deaf at 4 1/2 and I don't know how old I was when this occurred). His name was Swede Ostergar and he was the most congenial person. All the kids loved him, and knew he would hand us candy from his pocket when we came flocking around him.
  5. "Necessary" has become a somewhat special word to me. I won the spelling bee in 4th grade, a feat I'll never forget. They kept me going and going until they found a word to bring me down. Necessary was the word. I couldn't remember if it had two c's, or two s's in it. For years I got confused over that very thing still. Then when I got my cochlear implant, I was working on my auditory skills with a colleague who was doing auditory habitation, necessary was the first word that she read from her list that I understood without looking or lipreading!
  6. My favorite time of the year as a young girl growing up was lambing season. This was right in the middle of the dead of winter (starting around January and lasting a month). We'd (ok, my brother and dad were the ones who did this) had to go out every few hours and check the corrals for new baby lambs. Then they'd take them and their moms to the lambing shed, indoors and thus warmer I suppose. The reason I loved this season, is that every so often a lamb was nearly freezing to death, or had lost it's mother and needed to be brought inside the house to be warmed up or to be fed by hand. There's was nothing funner than having a little lamb in a box near the heating vent while I got to play with it, then feed it using those old glass pop bottles and with a nipple attached to it. When I was in middle school, a set of twins were orphaned and we kept them all the way until their adulthood. I got the fun responsibility of going out and giving them their bottle for many months. I loved it! They would play with me, butting me around with their noses in my calves, and then drink some more. I loved it!
Tag six people and let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog. You know what, I'm usually pretty polite, and I was going to break the this rule here. However, I decided that it was funner than I thought coming up with six random things about me. I thought I'd love to read this on some other blogs. I'm going to name two people instead of six and egg on one more person that was already named in the same tag I was named in. So, guess who? Yes, Cami! You tagged me, so you're it! Ang, you never did me anything to deserve this, but you're tagged, just because I would love to read what you could come up with. So I'm tagging you. Kasey, you did good to start your blog, you need to add it. Staci tagged you, I'm double teaming you. Get a move on and add another entry! :) Ok, I did half the rule!

Let your tagger know when your entry is up. (Don't forget to come back and tell me you completed this tag!) Eh, my tagger is reading this now! So she knows!! :) Right Staci?

Comparison of Photos

I thought it would be fun to compare the photo taken of me when 3 year old Dalia was a newborn in June 2005. Then compare it to the one of me and her youngest brother, who was born Friday. First let me apologize for the quality of the photo from 2005. It was taken with an old PDA, that no longer has service, so I can't send the photo anywhere. I had to resort to taking a picture of of the picture, glassy display screen and all!

Oct 10, 2008

Cutest Little Roommate!

Here's little Finley. Born at 12:40 a.m. on October 10, 2008 weighing in at 7 lbs 14 oz. We are all thrilled he's finally here!

Here's me holding my little roommate for the first time. I couldn't be more thrilled!

Oct 9, 2008

Quiet Heroes

Do you ever look around at the people in your life, and notice some of the quiet heroism that goes on? As I was driving today, I thought about the daily example that I am seeing in my own home.

As most people know, I live with my niece, who is pregnant. She has the kind of condition, where she struggles with frequent, increasing over the months to constant pain and contractions from 22 weeks along all the way to delivery. Her body has pretty much been in labor day and night for the last 3 or 4 weeks. She's rarely gets sleep, and constantly is in so much pain. It seems to keep getting worse. The heroism? She's a mother. I watch her manage to be so patient and kind with her little 2 and 3 year old, trying her hardest not to take make them struggle as she goes through this. No matter how hard this is for her, and it is HARD, uppermost in her mind at all times is her kids, taking care of them and protecting them. She's not first, they are.

As the pain draws out, wears her out, makes her nights eternal and her days even more so, she finds a reserve somewhere deep inside to show love, patience and forbearance to the little ones. While she's the example I'm seeing in my life, I know that around us everyday, there are people living quiet heroism in a multitude of different ways. I hope to keep my eyes open, notice the heroes, appreciate them, be thankful for them, as well as to learn and grow from them.

Oh, and as a p.s. she's finally at long last at the hospital in labor as I write this. I am so relieved her pain will soon be over, as well as excited for the new bundle of joy that will soon be part of my everyday life!

Oct 2, 2008

Memories II

A friend of mine had this entry in her blog today. It was fun for me to jog my memory, and write something about a memory of her. I even decided to follow her instructions and copy, paste (and edited to fit me) the below items from her blog into mine.
  1. As a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember!
  2. Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses.If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments.

I'm hoping to hear from as many of you in my life as possible! :)

Sep 28, 2008

Reaping what we sow

I think most everyone has heard this saying, so many times. I actually have thinking a lot about it lately, because I'm realizing how true it really is. Time-worn phrases are time-worn, because they are so useful to explain sometimes difficult concepts and yet so true at the same time.

A friend of mine has a neighbor who spends her life trying to mind the business of all her other neighbors, calling the police on every little thing, getting upset and blowing things out of proportion. While it's never ok, more then a few young teenage boys have selected to play the most awful pranks on this home and family, time and time again. It has reached the point where as one family's boys grow up and become young men, they stop the revenge, only to find that another family's young boys are going through that stage and taking their revenge out on the family. Most recently, my friend's son reported that many of the boys in the high school that don't even live in the same neighborhood talk about this family, as their snoopiness, frequent calls to the police for everything have been shared with so many of the boys' peers as they share their frustration. The actions of this neighbor are legendary at school. Now people far outside the neighborhood travel there to just pull off their pranks.

Can you imagine what kind of a life this woman and her family are living? Some pranks are truly awful, such as feces on the door, to relatively mild, power boxing (shutting off the power from the outside using their power box) the house. My friend has never had anyone try to do anything to her house. I know that she has made efforts to be sociable with the kids in the neighborhood. She'll listen to them and admire their new toys, (motor bikes, scooters, 4 wheelers and what not, I'm sure I don't know what they all are), instead of finding any misuse to immediately call and report to the police. Most every single young boy on her block has had the police called on them at least 2 or 3 times. This is not a neighborhood of juvenile delinquents, or even close. However, the young men are being treated as if they are.

I've been hearing about the stories of this woman for at least 5 years. She carries her behavior out towards others, not just the young men. Her pettiness, rudeness, nasty comments and etc. continue to amaze me to this day.

After hearing the latest tales what's happening in that neighborhood about her life, I kept thinking, how can she not "get it". All this awful stuff that happens to her, how can she not look around and see that no one else has to live with this stuff done to them. I'm definitely not saying any of the actions of revenge are justified. However, an imperfect world has people who are imperfect, and it shouldn't be surprising that some retaliate. How can she not realize that she is sowing some pretty awful seeds of discord and they are definitely being reaped. I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I think many of us never really see ourselves honestly, nor see the actions we send out and connect them with what comes back to us.

While this woman lives her life of unhappiness, aggravation, pettiness, and continues to be attacked, everyone else in the neighborhood is going about their lives in peace. She is clearly reaping what she sows. Whether we know it or not, we are all doing the same. What we put out is what we are getting back, day in and day out.

In my life renovation process, I've begun to realize that so many things I blamed on "X, Y and Z" in the past were actually what I was reaping, after some dysfunctional sowing. As I've made changes and made progress in some of the different areas of my life in the last year or two, I've begun to reap so many good things, so many blessings, so many joys.

While I'm only human and have hard times, issues popping up here and there, I'm finding that even amidst and between all this, I have so much joy and happiness coming at me. I constantly marvel now and wonder how I got to be so lucky. My perspective has surely changed from the person I used to be, who felt life was so awful, I wanted to be dead before I hit 50. Taking care each and every day to be grateful for at least 5 things, is causing me to appreciate life, appreciate what's happening to me and revel in it. There are times I have found myself starting to take wonderful things for granted, but as I struggled each day to find my 5 items to put into my gratitude blog, my ability to appreciate, enjoy and savor the joys in my life increased. I wish all of you, my readers a bountiful harvest of life's sweet joys.

Sep 24, 2008

The Purpose of Gratitude

Tonight, as I was writing my 5 items for my daily gratitude log, I realized that one of my items would make a very good blog entry in this blog, which charts my renovated life. I copied and pasted the below entry for you below:

I'm grateful for the fact I do keep a grateful blog. It really does help me to search everyday for a way to be grateful during even things/times I don't like. I was noticing today how beautiful the mountains are and really appreciating it. I was remembering one particular tree that was so gorgeous, that I remembered seeing last week, and relishing the memory of it, as it was no longer looking the same. This year is the first year I've EVER appreciated it, or taken pleasure in it. The reason is my blog. Normally I would get upset when I'd see the leaves start to change, because I hated fall. I hated fall, because winter would be right behind it, or mixed in with it. I hated winter because of the dangerous driving. All that baggage never allowed me to really see it or appreciate it. I remember when I first saw the trees changing this fall, how I struggled inside to try and find some way to be positive about it and to put that gratitude into a in a grateful entry in my gratitude blog. Now, I realize how much I've grown to appreciate something I've always hated, just because I keep the blog, and know that I need to find something in what's happening to be grateful for. Amazing! I will never forget that flaming red huge tree, set off by the small green trees all around that I was stunned by last week. It's a beautiful memory and I'm glad I could appreciate it. I saw the same tree yesterday, and it's lost many leaves, it's no longer the eye catching flaming red. All around it the trees are no longer green. As I drove down the mountain today, I noticed how much I'm observing and relishing the changes in the landscape when I drive now. How awesome it is to be able to take pleasure in things I never would have before. I'm so blessed and so grateful for this change in my life.

Sep 22, 2008

My new favorite heroine!

OK guys, I just got through watching the first half of Dancing with the Stars! I can't believe Cloris Leachman, at 82 years old is competing! 82! She was so funny, putting her leg up on Bruno's desk, kneeling in front of Len, and sitting on Carrie's lap! I want to be as vital, energetic and willing to be me at 82 years old! I'm sure she could think about a lot of reasons for someone her age not to do this. Apparently she has a "can do" attitude and is willing to live life with no excuses! That's who I want to be when I grow up! CAN DO lady, living life with no excuses!

Sep 19, 2008

What's New?

Ok, nothing is really new! I seem to be afflicted by some kind of writer's block! I can't seem to think of things to write about. I started a post titled, "Writer's Block", and it was the most incredibly boring post I think I ever tried to write! Why I feel like I need to put a new entry on my blog, when I never kept a blog before starting this one last spring, I'll never know! To avoid boring anyone (myself included), I'll do a list of the things that are new in how I live my life, since my "renovation" began.
  • I choose to walk a few blocks for lunch, instead of driving, on Fridays when I have office day.
  • If I want to go out to eat, go to a movie or do something, I DO it. I don't even care what anyone else thinks if I'm doing social things alone! I don't sit home and watch TV because there was no one to do things with.
  • I wear clothes that fit, rather than that are very baggy! I don't feel a need to hide the figure, but rather enjoy showing off things, like that I actually HAVE a waist! :)
  • I will read a book, even if I haven't watched ANY of the shows I recorded that day. (Another way of saying I'm breaking the addiction!) Iactually delete shows I've not watched!
  • I an extrovert inside and out. I used to say I was an extrovert masquerading as an introvert. I restrained myself so much from just being who and what I wanted to be. The funny thing is I never really understood just how much I did that. I've surprised myself by my behavior sometimes and the fact that I'm willing to just be myself, unapologetically and fully.
  • I'm open to new people that I meet, rather than closed off with a wall up.
  • I recognize when I am bringing myself down by allowing a negative thought or two to take root. I set about immediately to fixing my thought process and changing it around. I realize it's true, "If you want to change your life, you MUST change your thinking".
  • I am HAPPY. NOW! In this moment. Not "when" I get thin, or "when" I meet my life's partner, or "when" I'm not in debt. I'm not wasting time waiting for life to be good or worth living.

Sep 14, 2008

Want a good laugh?

If you want a good laugh, click on the title above or here: http://krullfamily5.blogspot.com/2008/09/middle-wife.html

I'm telling you, this had me in stitches laughing so hard!!! I had to share this!

Sep 13, 2008

Changing Patterns

My efforts to continue to renovate my life continue onward. It's hard to NOT do the things that you usually do, without effort or without giving any thought to them. It's almost like you operate in an unconscious manner, without ever realizing that what you are doing. Sometime deep in the past, certain choices were made. Maybe they were made when tired, when down, or just because they were easy.

The problems begin when bad choices are made. Maybe they didn't seem bad in the moment, or maybe they are just choices that are only good in moderation. Repeated again and again, becoming part of our unconscious patterns of living life, they can become detrimental. We don't realize why our life is deteriorating, or why we're unhappy. We don't realize that we may be doing something to hurt ourselves.

When I began to work on renovating myself and my life some time ago, I really was doing superficial work in the beginning. I worked on changing how I ate and losing weight. Over time, as the emotional anesthesia that my food addictions had created lessened, I became more and more aware of changes I needed to make. No really huge steps, just small ones. Sometimes a small changes would occur, then as some more time passes and a new awareness dawns, a new change occurs.

Now, however, I find myself going deeper and deeper in making changes over the past few months. Believe it or not, the blogging has helped me, as I've explored ideas and written about them. I feel like a lot of changes have come just from that. My gratitude blog that I keep has also helped me to make changes in how I perceive my life, and helped me to be more positive. I'm at the point in my life now that I'm beginning to see some of my patterns and to understand that my "previously unconscious" behavior can and needs to change. To make changes, I have to make conscious decisions and act on them purposefully.

One such pattern was how I choose to use my free time, when I'm off work. Many of the patterns I've spent my life engaging in started from isolation, living alone, and most certainly from years before my cochlear implant, and before technology came along that allow me to be able to contact people anywhere anytime.

When I moved into my first apartment, living alone, 200 miles from home, I didn't know anyone. I was 18 years old. I couldn't use a phone, due to being profoundly deaf. This was back in 1976. There was no personal computer to send email, no instant messaging, no relay. There was me at 18, alone in an apartment, going to a technical school 3 hours a day, far away from home and anything I knew. Lots of time was left over when my homework was done. I couldn't call someone up and talk. I grew up on a farm in the country. I wouldn't have thought to go window shopping, or find ways to entertain myself. My only entertainment was reading and watching TV. Heck, there weren't even captions on the TV at that time, but such was my boredom, I'd spend hours doing it.

I can remember one particular afternoon watching out the window at an quite elderly woman walking slowly down the street. I remember thinking that I knew how isolated and alone she and other elderly people probably felt. I felt at the young age of 18 that I knew what kind of isolation the elderly probably felt. That's a sobering thought. No 18 year old should be living that kind of life. Many years of isolation continued to occur, even though I ended up having some years of roommates. There were more years alone. More years without the technology that makes the life I live today possible. What were my patterns? Sleeping until noon or later on weekends or during time off work. Sitting in front of the TV or reading. I read more before captions came along. After captions came along, I became very addicted to TV.

Thirty years down the road. How did I use my time when I was off work? Same patterns that developed at an age that I wasn't aware of different choices made back when I didn't have/perceive a lot of options, and in a strange city where I knew very few people. (I did have two sisters here, but they were busy with their lives, were far apart in age and we never really hung out.) So here I was, thirty years later, sleeping through much of the weekend. Eating a storm, addicted to TV, doing nothing else really. When I became a teacher, it got even worse. Over the course of the summer my schedule would evolve to where I slept all day when people were up and about, and was awake all night when no one was around.

I wasn't as isolated though. I knew people, I had a career, I had friends. I had lots! Technology entered my life. TTYs and relay entered my life about 20 years ago, but weren't too widely used. First I had a TTY, and could only talk to people who had one. At the time I bought my first TTY, my sister and my mother were the only people I could talk to, and they were long distance. One of my best friends who was also deaf, eventually got one, and that was nice. However, relay took another few years to come out, or for me to know about it. Even once it was there, it wasn't a habit to use a phone, so I often didn't.

Email pagers entered my life about 10 years ago, computers, and instant messaging entered my home around the same time. Also around that time, I got my first implant. I had/have a huge fear of the phone. I'm getting better and better at getting past that. It's funny that I can listen to tons of audio books, without even reading the book first, listen to the radio, and yet a phone scared/scares me. Eventually I got my second implant and life was even sweeter sound-wise. I'm expected to use the phone a bit in my current job, and my work let me pick out one that is compatible with my cochlear implant. Finally, I'm starting to talk to people on the phone and get past that fear.

Wholesale changes of technology and the possibilities with them would be going on in my life, but through unconscious living of patterns from the past, I'd still revert to patterns of old in the use of my free time by 1) sleeping and 2) watching TV. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that I'm not living life. No wonder I once wanted to be dead by 50. I wasn't living, I was existing.

I've done a lot to change my patterns, just by living with people. Moving in with my niece and her family helped me to not sleep through the summer. This past summer, I did more with my time than I have during any summer since I first became a teacher 15 years ago. I had a great summer.

As readers of my blog may know, I work two jobs, thus I work 7 days a week. I rarely get a day off. However, through a quirk of how the post office works, temporary employees (non-career employees, which I'm not since my career is teaching), get fired periodically every 3 to 6 months. We're fired for 5 days then "hired back" if they like us. We call them our "5 day break". So wonder of wonders, I've got a 5 day break!

I decided that as part of my changing of my life, I was NOT going to spend my time off engaging in the typical patterns of the last 30 some years. I did sleep in about an hour or more than I am used to, but that is ALL! I'm proud to report that I LIVED today, and had a great time. I started off taking my great niece, 3 year old Dalia to the fair. It was enjoyable to spend bonding time with her at the fair. Soon after I took her to the home, I went out with 4 of my deaf cochlear implanted friends. We planned our trip for next March, when we are all going to Anaheim to "Cochlear Celebration". We had a great time chatting up a storm as well. After dinner we went to the mall shopping, window shopping and just hanging out! We stayed until the mall closed. I came home started typing my blog.

I'm grateful that I am starting to be able to see patterns in my life, to realize more and more the things I need to change, in order to grow and continue to renovate my life. I'm so grateful to enjoy living now and be excited about life and all the possibilities ahead. Today is a sweet victory for me I realized my pattern, made sure to find and choose other alternatives to govern my day. A day that at one time I would have spent in bed or in my recliner, was instead spent mostly on my feet and active. I feel such joy to succeed in my efforts to break a self-defeating pattern!
Here's my great niece at the fair today posing as a "carrot head"! See who I was lucky to spend my time with today!

Sep 9, 2008

Too Cute for Words

Aren't these the cutest bookworms ever? I have the best roommates! ;)

Sep 7, 2008


OK, my niece, Cami tagged me by name last month to do this! I was extremely busy, with returning to the 7 day a week work week and many of my committees, and organizations resuming regular meetings. So I got a free pass for a while! Generally, I hate to do tags! However, reading on how parents do things for kids on her blog today, and her "reminder" to her sister on her sister's blog as well today about the "tag", got me thinking! Number 1, I never had kids to stretch me and get me to do things I don't want to do! Sometimes it's good to do things you don't want to do for other! Number 2, I'll let Cami (and my other nieces and any nephews that might want to join in ...though I've never seen them here) be my kids by extension and I'll volunteer to do things for my "kids" that I might not have done otherwise! Hehehe! It's time I reward her patience, and help her egg her sister on by replying to the the last month's tag. :) You're on Ang!

Long Overdue Tag Response
1. Where is your cell phone? Turned off in my purse! It's really a work phone, which is a good excuse not to use it! However, if the truth be known, I'm still scared of phones, so I tend to try and avoid using them. Data communication is more my comfort zone. I've been good and made some calls though in the last month!
2. Where is your significant other? Significant other? Wahhhhhh, I want one! I'm challenging anyone that knows and loves me to look at the men in your life and see if there's anyone you think would be a great match with me, then line me up!!!
3. Your hair? My hair, hanging on my head (and needing a dye job)! Nope, I didn't curl it or fix it up today, as I wanted to just head to work as soon as I could after leaving the comfort of my bed.
4. Your mother? Well, her body is residing in a grave right next to my father's in the Riverside -Thomas Cemetery near Blackfoot. Her soul? Heaven? Here, there, everywhere. I'm sure she checks in on her loved ones at times.
5. Your father? OK, I could copy and paste the answer in number 5 above, substituting where I said "father's" in the first line to "mother's", and changing the pronouns to masculine. However, I let you just read above comments and make the changes yourself as you read!
6. Your favorite thing? Spending time connecting with and doing things with the people I love and the friends in my life. Laughter ranks very high on my list next to being with family and friends. I guess the desire to be with people/doing things with them comes from too many years living alone and being in or feeling isolation.
7. Your dream last night? Did I have any? I know we all dream, but I never seem to remember them with RARE exceptions. One dream I remembered back in 1987 about being given a job in Denver and moving there came true! I was remembering it that morning as I got ready for work. All of a sudden I realized that this job in the company in Denver office would probably be mine if I asked for it. So I went to work and asked for it. Within an hour or so of asking, I had the job. The Denver General Manager was sooooooo excited I wanted the job, he couldn't "pick him self up off the ceiling". The CEO had me up in his office almost immediately after he got the call from the Denver General Manager about my inquiry, making plans with me. All I did was have a dream! I'm hoping for a dream that allows me to see my some possible next big steps....The Everyday Face of Jenny Craig? Motivational speaker for ???, a speaker for Cochlear Americas and how to get there. Who knows?
8. Your dream/goal? Uh....guess I kind of answered this in number 7 above!
9. The room you're in? My downstairs living room.
10. Your hobby? I need some! So far in my life, solitary ones have been about all on my list, like reading and watching TV, with the TV thing taking over way too much. I'm happy to report that has drastically decreased in the last couple months or so. To me the most important things in life are people, so it's hard to find a "thing" that interests me. All I really want is to be with people, hang out with people, connect. However, we are all busy and that can't happen much....so I need to branch out and find "things" that interests me. Anyone that knows my personality and thinks they know something that would "fit" let me know! :)
11. Your fear? I don't fear much. I spent years being afraid of social situations, because I might not be able to hear what people are saying to me, or I've had bad situations when I didn't understand what people were saying. With the cochlear implants, that fear is really gone, and with my self-renovation and increased confidence, I know I can handle anything that would have scared me socially before! I think my biggest fear is always finances, paying all the bills, and then health issues would fall next for either me or anyone I love/care about. I don't entertain thoughts along these lines though. I live in the now and enjoy the now. No sense worrying about what might one day happen (or not happen).
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Number 1: Happy! Down on the list is financially secure, in a career that utilizes my strengths with public speaking, connecting with people, and inspiring others. Ideally there'd be some travel involved in that career! I'd love to be married to the person I've searched for my whole life. However, if that doesn't happen, I know I'll still be happy and finding joy in life.
13. Where were you last night? It was one of those nights where I came home from work and didn't go anywhere. Doesn't happen as much lately, but it does happen.
14. What you're not? Moody. When I was in my 20's I realized I had some tendency to be a little moody. I worked on that consciously for a few years, as I believe no one else should be punished just because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed one day. I believe I was successful in that effort, as I've discovered some people in my life now who are surprised to find I've ever been moody.
15. One of your wish list items? A group of single friends to hang with, have fun with and meet other people via activities.
16. Where you grew up? Blackfoot, Idaho
17. The last thing you did? Downloaded a free application to my iPhone that allows me to read books on it. The original classic novel, "The Last of the Mohicans" over 1100 pages and Tarzan of the Apes, over 700 pages were already on it! Maybe I'll spend some time reading those...
18. What are you wearing? jeans and a shirt and a hoodie jacket that I got on Catalina Island a year ago (it's cold in the basement).
19. Your TV? It's on the news right now.
20. Your Pet? Haven't had one since my parents got rid of Chipper (my dog) when I was in high school without telling me. Apparently she was seen joining in with the neighborhood dogs chasing sheep (and killing them). So they had to take her to the pound. She had 3 legs and we got her when I was VERY young. So I grew up with her. I was devastated. Since that time though, I've developed allergies, so I don't keep pets.
21. Your computer? Sitting on my desk not being used. I'm typing this on my work laptop, from my couch!
22 Your mood? Pleasant.
23 Missing someone? I miss some of my friends that are so busy with family, or live far away, that I don't get to hang out with them much.
24 Your car? It's a 2004 Suzuki XL7, which is a 4WD SUV. I hate the mileage in this day of steep gas prices. I do love the color of it. It's a very beautiful shade of blue. I love the 4WD part of it when the roads are bad, since I travel in the mountains a lot for my job. I want my next car to be a hybrid 4WD.
25 Something you're not wearing? Makeup. I rarely wear that much anymore. I used to wear it all the time when I was younger. However, mascara tends to flake under my eye, early in the day, the liner smudges and the foundation flakes. Don't know if my skin has gotten drier as I aged or what. However, I found I look so much better without it, than with it looking smudged and flaky. The only time I put it on is for special occasions, which are currently once in a blue moon. I stick with moisturizer and that's about it for every day wear.
26 Favorite store? I've liked the price and some of the offerings in recent times at Shopko, and have been just as into Wal-Mart, Target and K-Mart at various times in the past. I've moved beyond pure thrift store shopping to getting some sales with "thrift store" prices at "Van Heusen's in the Outlet mall in Park City, Christopher and Banks at Fashion Place mall, and TJ Maxx near me. With my size always changing, I have to keep myself in clothes, so my biggest favorite is ALWAYS a bargain.
27 Your summer? Vastly different from any other I've ever had. I traveled a little, lived with a family of little ones, spending lots of time with them, and didn't isolate or sleep through the summer AT ALL. Yes, I have been guilty of that in the past. It was a great summer just because I LIVED, not HIBERNATED.
28 Love someone? My friends, family, children of my heart and etc. and etc.
29 Your favorite color? Green, the color of nature!
30 When is the last time you laughed? I think it was a couple of weeks ago when I had a girl's night out with several of my friends from when I taught in the high school.
31 Last time you cried? Geez, I don't remember! I guess aging brain cells are good for something!

Sep 3, 2008

Public Speakers 'R Us

Just had another fun day with public speaking today. I spoke for a "too short" hour to 100 2nd graders in Kamas! What fun. This despite being asked why I have a bad voice! I even asked how many people thought I had a bad voice, and almost every hand went up! What!!!???? Then I asked how many people understood everything I said? Every hand went up. Hahaha! I told them I figured I had a "great" voice for a deaf person, and if all of them understood everything I say, then I'm doing a superb job! The fact I still loving public speaking after such a tough audience shows I'm a dyed in the wool public speaker!

Looking for a public speaker at your next event? Look no further ladies and gentlemen! I'll wow even the toughest critic! Of course, like all my audiences, by the time I finished with them, they were all my best friends and eating out of my hands! Come one come all! I dare you to see if you can help me fill up my calendar with public speaking events!!! :) Yep, you're right, I did say I believe in dreams. Here's one waiting to be filled!

Aug 29, 2008


I've grown to have a new appreciation of memories this week. I saw "Mama Mia" a 2nd time this week with a friend of mine. I had just a good time I was practically dancing in my seat. For me it was even better the 2nd time around cause I was relishing sharing a great movie with someone who was loving it every bit as much as I thought she would. After the movie, I downloaded the soundtrack onto my iPhone.

The next day, I listened to the music as I drove. As different songs came on, my memories of particular scenes associated with that song would be flashing through my memories. I found myself reacting with as much joy to the memories, as I did to the actual movie. Wow, what a concept, great memories can continue to bring joy over and over if you appreciate them enough.

I also had downloaded Randy Pausch's book "The Last Lecture". I talked about his lecture in one of my blogs within the last couple of months. In the book, he talked about memories and how important they were for him to build for his children. The children are so young that the youngest most likely won't have any memories of him when she grows up. The oldest would have the most, but he was still too young to have many, and the middle child would have fewer. He thought about the memories he had crystallized from childhood and the experiences that made them memorable, things like the trip to Disney world and others that stayed with him. He was endeavoring to create many experiences in whatever life he had left that would be the kind to stay with them and crystallizes like some of his from similar early ages. It really made me realize how important it was to live life with joy, fully engaged to create the memories that children can treasure as they get older.

In recent evenings at home, I'd been focused on trying to work and finish some projects, as the kids played around me. They enjoy hanging with me or else missed me enough (I've rarely been home in recent weeks) to hang out and play in my part of the house, even though I was not even engaging with them. I determined I was going to go home and be fully engaged and joyful, interacting in ways to build positive memories. I had bought two $10 shirts that day, I wanted to try them on when I got home. Dalia tried one on while I tried on the other, then we swapped shirts. I actually snapped a picture of her in my yellow shirt, then after we snapped that picture, we swapped shirts and we decided to take a picture of both of us wearing the shirts. I've included them here!
Don't we looked like we were having lots of fun and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Who knows, maybe even building a memory. The evening wasn't over. Dalia LOVES Mama Mia and has seen it twice herself. Mackie and Dalia listen to the soundtrack in the car with their mom. I pulled out my iPhone instead of watching one of my shows, we all three were huddled together, laughing, singing and enjoying the soundtrack. Rather than being focused on myself and my needs, I focused on building some delightful memories. Hopefully some day a few of the memories might survive to their adulthood and they will remember me fondly, whether I'm here in person and they get to reminisce, or whether I have passed on.

Another thing I discovered is that we have the power to control how we remember things that happen that are not great things to remember, maybe even negative. Yesterday I had some things happen that were upsetting in one way or another. One event was putting some papers on my car, in the middle of transferring things from the state vehicle to my personal vehicle. These papers were separated out from everything else, because they were my most important papers, that I wanted to put in an easily accessible place. Long story short, I forgot I put them up there, and drove off. They blew out of the binder they were in about 5 blocks away. I didn't realize at first where the papers flying around behind me were coming from. I was sick inside when I realized what was happening and figured I couldn't possibly retrieve them. I was going to Just drive home, sick inside and worried about not only my missing information but the papers blowing around that would violate many students' privacy. Instead, due to so many of the changes I've undergone in my personal renovation, I was willing to go back, try to figure where they started blowing and try to retrieve them. I walked two long blocks, retrieving some papers from the middle of the street when there was a break in traffic, some from gutters, and some from lanes during traffic breaks and some from lawns and etc. I was so proud of myself for being willing to be proactive and try to limit the damage. The upshot, so far, it seems that there are only two papers from that pile that are missing. I retrieved the rest. Even the tire damaged ones were readable where they needed to be. At the time I wrote my gratitude log last night, I didn't yet know how much I'd recovered and how much I hadn't. However I wrote about how grateful I was for the change in me that allowed me to be proactive and try to limit damage, rather than just slinking off and driving away, really sick inside about students personal information flying around the streets, and all the missing information. Today, when I thought about what happened, my memory that flashed through was a positive one, and it was all about my personal growth and how I handled it, not about what happened, or damaged papers.

I also had an upsetting phone call about an erroneous bill with a customer service representative that was misinformed and created a lot of conflict. After the call I found some documentation that will help me in my case and it helped me to realize the customer service operator was wrong and that I had proof of it. I even found something to be grateful about in that situation. I was grateful for the documentation I found. Even though the situation isn't over, and there will be more long calls and possible aggravation ahead, I documented the part I was grateful about. My memory today? Not the extremely aggravated and emotionally upset one from the phone call, but rather the gratefulness at what I found. My attempts to be grateful, to find something to have gratitude for, no matter how difficult, is shaping my memories making them good, where otherwise they would have been upsetting, aggravating or unsettling.

My summary of what I've learned about memories this week.
  • If we relish and enjoy the moments, being grateful for awesome experiences as we live them, we can relive the joy when the memories are activated.
  • Endeavor to live life more fully engaged and in an effort to build wonderful memories for the people you care about in your life, so that whether it's while you're alive, or after you pass on, you can still bring joy. The joy will be in the memories of those you love when they think of you and fondly, perhaps if we're lucky lovingly reminisce.
  • Find a way to be grateful for or to find a way to be positive about your negative experiences. To do so appears to cause them to lose some of their negative power to some degree. Rather, the positive things you attempt to create become a big part of what flashes through your mind when your memory of the event is activated.

Go out and live the memories that you want to have in your tomorrows!

Aug 26, 2008

Back By Popular Demand!

Ok, ok, my title is really my attempt to be funny! I've been extremely busy since starting my school year, and almost at the same time, having my social life take a jump, on top practically every committee I'm on scheduling meetings! I haven't had time to be "insightful" about anything! I like to try to do insightful entries on occasions, showing my "renovation journey". Tonight, I decided to try and do a statistics entry to answer question posed by one dear reader who wanted to know "Where are thou?" :)

  • #of days I have worked without a day off: 11
  • # of days until my next day off: 5
  • # of days off at that future date: 1
  • # of teachers emailed in last 2 weeks: >150
  • # of meals out in 2 weeks: 8
  • # of pounds gained in 2 weeks: 7
  • # of evenings I got to spend at home in 2 weeks: approx: 4-5
  • average time of arrival home on evenings NOT spent at home: 9:00 p.m.
  • # of miles I drive on average, per day: 110
  • # of school buildings I've visited in 4 days on the road: 14
  • # of works days I spent without a desk to work at due to office move: 5
  • # of days my office has been unpacked: 0
  • # of days until my office gets unpacked: 30??? 60???
  • # of students I will visit with tomorrow: 14
  • # of schools I will travel to visit above students: 8
  • # of hours i will commute tomorrow: 3
  • # of days I didn't write down 5 things to be grateful for: 0

I may be having just a little difficulty adjust from working 2 days a week, to this schedule now that summer is over and I'm back teaching. However, I'm sure in a jiffy I will get used to my schedule and maybe it will even calm down a little. I'm still keeping positive and I'm trying to get back on track with the Jenny Craig stuff. I WILL lose the weight I gained from all the dining out!

I do keep a gratitude log daily, as you noticed from my last statistic above. I have actually been keeping the gratitude log in a personal gratitude blog, that is separate from this blog and is password protected. It is more private. I've decided that in the interest of time, I will no longer include my 5 daily gratitudes in this blog. It's too much duplication to repeat them twice.

I'm firmly convinced in the importance of keeping my gratitude blog. It keeps my mind looking for positives each and every day. I find I can not be focused on negatives or obsessed with them, if I'm focusing on looking for things to be grateful for. On hard days, it's a struggle to find the 5 things to be grateful for, but those are the days it's the most important days to do it. It's a form of "counting your blessings" and a way to keep adjusting and re-adjusting the attitude towards the positive. When I analyze a day, if I'm so busy looking hard for 5 things to be grateful for, I can't look at the day in a negative light. If I look at the day in a negative light, I can't find 5 things to be grateful for at all. Another discovery: If I'm able to live my day so that I am looking for the things to be grateful for in the moments, as they are happening, I find my day becomes a joyful exercise in appreciating life while it's being lived. That is a higher level that I want to be able to sustain on a daily basis, and is a goal for me.

Aug 17, 2008

Who's your best friend?

Now that sounds like a real obvious question, that I asked in the title. It's not. Mainly because I'm going to build an argument for someone that you might not have considered. I think at some point in our adult lives, all of us realize that there's only one person we can really count on. One person that will never leave us. One person who truly cares about our welfare. No, not your parents, your sibling, your spouse, your children. None of these people people, despite how much you love each other is the person I think should come to mind. I'm going to propose that we need to be our own best friend.

Think of the best friend you've had. Do you have fun with them? Were they positive people who made you feel good about yourself? Would you ever do anything but try to make them feel good about themselves? Were you kind to each other and helpful? Think of the qualities that makes someone a best friend. Helpful, thoughtful, listens to you, compassionate, fun, and etc. Do you shun at looking at yourself in the mirror, and when you see yourself, immediately criticize your appearance? Would you do that to your best friend? When you see your best friend, you're never noticing the wrinkles, the messy hair, or anything else. You're usually noticing the smile, the good humor, and all the things you like about them. We need to do the same to ourselves.

I've gone from criticizing myself in the mirror to seeing the face of a friend! It can happen. Every time I see myself in the mirror, I give myself a big smile! I notice the nice things about myself. It's taken time and years to work on self-esteem, to work on being positive about myself, and to dismiss the negative judgements that others make about me. The negative opinions of some in my life regarding me or my character doesn't matter. The only person who's opinion matters is mine! I've gotten so much better at handling the judgements thrown my way, because I truly know who I am and who I am working to be. I also take care of myself and my emotional well being instead of being hard on myself.

One of the common things I've heard people do, is to "break a diet" and then tear themselves apart for their lapse. Of course I don't believe in diets, or in labeling food as good food and bad food, then judging ourselves if we ate bad food. However, I've seen people do this and put themselves in a tail spin over that. Would you tell your friend that the food they just ate was bad for them, they ruined their diet, and they have no will power? Never, not if you're a good best friend. I always eat what I want, no judgements ever, and then work it into my program, in whatever way I can. I'm not a bad person if I ate the home made cookie that my niece made, or the cinnamon roll in the bakery or whatever it was that is not in my program. I'm not lacking will power because I ate that. No, I just wanted a cookie, cinnamon roll or what not. No judgements needed. Instead of wasting time and energy with a "broken diet negativity " (which I've never done since by my definition, I'm not on a diet), I just make adjustment to my program and figure out how to either make room for it that day, or to continue to stick with the program with the next meal or snack. This is one way of treating yourself just as compassonately as you would your best friend.

I have another example from about 20 years ago. I wasn't as far along in terms of a positive self-esteem as I am now, but here and there I did an awesome job of being my own best friend. One day I was really upset about something that happened as a result of my deafness. This was pre-cochlear implants, so I really had many more struggles then. I was left out, lost, confused and really hurt by the isolation that was happening to me in a social situation. It was not a single situation that made me cry and feel broken-hearted, but rather, just the straw that broke the camel's back. That day, when I went home, I stood in front of the mirror and talked to myself for about an hour. Seeing myself in the mirror made me see me as a person to be treasured, rather than as someone to be upset with or be negative about. I can still see myself as I looked then. I started trying to find a positive spin what was upsetting to me, to counsel the person bawling in the mirror, the same way I do when someone (best friend, student or family member) is upset. I listened to my problems, then I tried to find a positive way to look at the situation and not tear myself apart.

As a result, I ended up giving myself one of the greatest pep talks I ever had. By the time the hour had gone by, instead of a bawling, falling apart mess, I was laughing. My skin still splotchy and swollen from the crying jag that preceded it, but the laughter, the smile and etc. breaking through. While looking at myself in the mirror, I saw so many positive things about me that I never would have seen if I hadn't been looking in the mirror and seen a person that needed my help and compassion. I even complimented myself on how good that I looked that day, even crying and all! I never forgot about that.

I didn't remember that and follow that example for much of my life. Had I worked to always take care of myself, seen myself as a valuable person in the mirror, like I did that day; I might have avoided some pretty depressing years. I might have not needed to renovate my life, like I am now. There is no blame there though. I've obviously been on a journey through life, and need to learn and to grow. I'm on the path now to something great, it doesn't matter how long it's taking me to get there or how many times I've fallen down on the way. All of it is making me who I am today. I'm grateful for who I am today.

Today after I got off work, I needed something. I was hankering for a best friend to go to dinner with, go to the movies or the mall and hang out with. I wanted something fun to end my weekend that is never really fun, since I work the entire weekend and the entire week. I have lots of good friends and people I would have loved to be with. However, just about every one of them has a family, spouses and other responsibilities. It's not like my early 20's when all my friends were single and unattached, and at the spur of the moment, we could get together and do things. Now, doing things have to be planned in advance, and there are times even those plans fall apart because of responsibilities going on in my friend's lives. So instead of being melancholy about the fact that I'm still single and unattached and wanting some companionship, where there was none avaiilable at the spur of the moment, I decided to be my own best friend tonight.

I took myself out to dinner. I hung around with myself while I tried to find things that I wanted to do. Unfortunately, not everything worked out, but I did try a few things. I tried the mall, but it was closing up. I wanted to find a new park to go walking in, but instead, found the place the map on my iPhone was leading me to was a building that was a recreational center, run by the city Park's department! :) I ended up near a theater and and almost took myself to the movies, but decided at the last minute, that there wasn't anything I wanted to see that was showing there before 10:00 p.m. That would be much too late for my schedule. However, just trying to hang with myself, find something fun to do, just helped my mood, and made me feel I was important, even if most things didn't pan out. I also resolved in the future to find more things going on in the world around me to do, and do them. It doesn't matter if I do everything alone. I always will have my best friend with me!

Most of the weekends, when I'm doing 7 day work weeks, I have tended to try to give myself some "me" time by closing the door to my apartment after I get off work and spending time alone. However, I realized how much I missed the kids now that I'm working and gone more. I know at least one of the kids (yep Dalia) wants to be down here with me much of the time when I'm home, which isn't much now. However, because I'd taken care of trying to meet my needs, failed attempts and all; my emotional equilibrium was much more balanced when I finally came home. I was ready to greet the little kids that were waiting when I got home, and spend any time with them that they wanted and to want it too! Dalia was at the door when I came home, as excited to see me as I was to see her, and wanting to come downstairs with me. Since I was "balanced" (due to my best friend trying to take care of me) I was able to be enthused and excited to be with her and to hang with her downstairs, instead of thinking I needed "me" time.

We can be our own best friend, and in doing so bring out our best selves. When we have people around to share in our lives, we can enjoy every moment with them. However, if there's no one else there, we still have a great and valuable friend around, if we just learn to be kind to ourselves and to value ourselves. When we love ourselves, our reservoir is filled. When it's filled we are able to give of ourselves unselfishly, treasure and truly love others.

Gratitude log:
  1. I'm grateful for little Dalia. I truly had a wonderful time in the hour or so I spent with her between getting home and bedtime.
  2. I'm also grateful for little Mackie. He came down wearing his sister's dress and giving me a good laugh. He is so cute, no matter what he wears or doesn't wear!
  3. I'm grateful for the journey I'm on. It's awesome to no longer feel my life is stagnating and falling apart, but rather that it's a joyous and wondrous jouorney to a future I'm eagerly anticipating.
  4. I'm grateful for the end of my post office work week. It's always nice when it's over and I have 5 days off before I go back again.
  5. I'm grateful for my best friend, me! As you can tell, she's really been and awesome friend lately and I appreciate that. I may sound schizophrenic, but I really am grateful. She's a pretty cool lady! :)