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May 29, 2008

Almost stranded again....

OK, so maybe today's blog title is a bit of an over dramatization. Today was one of probably the last 3 days I will make the trip up the mountains for this school year. I refused to pay attention to the weather that threatened to be stormy at times, and dressed for hot weather. Capris, sandals and all that signifies summer, though we haven't seem much of the traditionally warm weather for this time of year.

I drive up the mountains, leaving behind the sun, run into rain storms in places. I got to Heber and was pleased to find it sunny. Then I had to drive to Coalville. The weather got stormy for the last half hour of the drive there. I arrived to pouring rains, with temperatures cooled off to 42 degrees. The relatively cold temperatures don't matter I figure; school's out, so I could park close to the door, run in and get the papers from the middle school, limiting my exposure to cold. The same would be true when I had to go to the high school to run the same errand for the paperwork needed there.

I ran into the middle school, no one was really there except the principal. Thankfully, he was able to help me procure the paperwork I drove there for. I dashed out to my car, got inside, turn the ignition and nothing! Nada! Zilch! Not even a flicker of the engine trying to turn over. Oh no! How much worse is this going to be to get stranded in Coalville; further away than when I was stranded in Heber a few weeks ago, and a much smaller town to boot! Panic started mounting full fledge, while I kept telling myself, "Calm down, it will be ok, don't panic."

Despite this, the panic was starting to rise anyway as I turned on my cell phone, ready to call Jaimee for help with calling AAA. Will they take forever to get here? Has AAA helped me too many times this year (I never mentioned when my tire blew up on me about a month before the Heber incident), they'd refuse to service me again?? Thankfully, I calmed myself down enough that I never started a panicked call to Jaimee. I realized, "Hey, there is a person in the building who might be able to help me! If nothing else, he might know someone in this town who could help me." So I ran in again, and talked to the principal. What luck! He had jumper cables and knew how to use them!

This cold, shivering person stood next to my rescuer in the driving rain, as we attached the cables to my battery. Miracle of miracles, it worked! I wasn't stranded! Of course I still had to go to the high school to get the paperwork I needed before I could leave town. When I arrived at the high school, I refused to turn the car off. Using my extra set of keys, (which I now have!)I locked the door of my idling car, ran the errand. I was happy when I returned to my car to find it still running and not stolen!

I was concerned that I might not be able to start my car the next time I stopped it, leaving me stranded somewhere far away again. To be on the safe side, I drove straight to the Suzuki dealership when I got back to the Salt Lake Valley. During the last year, but most especially the last 3 or so months, I'd had odd things that seemed to be going on with my electrical system. I ignored them all, because all I cared about was that the car worked with no problems. Today I was hopeful that maybe I just needed a new battery, after the way my car died after driving many miles, and crossed my fingers that this wasn't a warning sign of any major expensive problem with the electrical system.

The service manager that helped me at the dealership was actually very kind and really great to work with when I got there. Thankfully today's "almost" drama never developed. The diagnosis: my battery cables were loose. Bumps in the road would jostle them and the electrical system showed all the warning signs I ignored in previous months, as well as the "apparently" dead battery today. All the mechanic had to do was tighten some nuts and I was good to go! To make it even sweeter they did the diagnosis, and the nut tightening for free! Here's a day when Murphy's Law refused to operate! I'm grateful for that!

Gratitude Entry: Today I'm grateful for the kind people I run into as I go about my life. Starting with the principal in Coalville and ending with the helpful service manager at the dealership, I just got more proof that people are generally awesome. I consider myself fortunate every time I meet another kind/helpful/friendly soul that shares this planet with me.

May 27, 2008

An additional note!

My "can do" attitude is bringing results! I've got a traveling companion for my road trip to Milwaukee! My sister Paula is going to join me! Yay! We shall have a GREAT time, I'm convinced!

Wow! What a concept!

I've attempted to keep myself inspired to be positive in as many ways as possible, one way is a daily email I receive from "Rev Run", from Run DMC (early rap group?) fame. While I had never hear of this guy before, question if he even has a congregation to earn the "Rev", I find some of his emails thought provokingwhich I like. Today's "Daily Word" (as he titles his emails in the subject line), has introduced a concept that I find remarkable.

Here are a couple of quotes that he made:
  • "Your attitude, not your achievements--give you happiness."
  • "Develop a great attitude. The thoughts in your mind will always be more important than the things in your life".

Wow! These two quotes taken from today's email message are quite powerful. I know there are times I'm really struggling to be positive, to not look at something negatively. Recently some things happened in a way that I was quite sad about. I understood why things were happening the way they were. I didn't quite like the way things were and felt a little sad and forlorn. I had to work really hard to find a positive way to view things. I'd start to feel I was succeeding, but then be sad again, and realize I wasn't quite where I needed to be to view things positively. I was struggling in being able to view things positively. However, I sat and thought to myself, "What am I grateful for today"? I didn't have time to get on the computer and do a 'gratitude entry', but realized I needed to find what I was grateful for that day and voice it in my mind. Once I did, I finally turned the corner, was able to feel happy and positive about the day. It was enlightening to see the power of having gratitude.

When I received the email with the above quotes this morning; I found the thoughts being shared in this email quite novel. I never would have believed these concepts, had I ever heard them. Now I'm starting to. It's amazing the power of our mind, and how much control we DO have over our life and our happiness.

Gratitude Entry: I'm so grateful to the connections I have with various people in my life. Last night I got to spend a delightful evening with a little 2 1/2 year old, visiting his house under the blanket, and holding a sweet little new baby. Spending time with both parents of these two was a joy to me as well. This evening, I went to a viewing for one of my best friend's (33 years of friendship) stepfather. She knows everyone in my family, and I know everyone in hers. We used to go home to each other's houses on weekends in college. While the occassion tonight was sad, it was wonderful to see and visit with all her brothers, their spouses and see how the nieces and nephews have grown. Her daughters embraced me and were so excited at how good I'm looking now. Her oldest daughter, tall and skinny, actually picked me and swung me a tad while hugging me. I left the viewing feeling that I'm so lucky to have another family I sorta feel part of. Maybe it's a family of my heart?? I'm so grateful that my heart is full of so many different families that I can care about, feel a part of and enjoy. How lucky can I get?

May 24, 2008

Let's think about that again...

I've been wanting to go to an AG Bell Convention in Milwaukee for a long time. All year, I've told myself I'd make it to this convention. I've been to one convention, the one that was held here in Utah some 10 or more years ago. I had the time of my life there. I got to meet so many deaf people just like me. For years people would tell me that I was unusual, that most oral deaf (speaking and lip reading deaf people) couldn't be that successful in the hearing world and I guess in life in general. I've not been a big believer that I was that unusual. I teach kids like me and I have friends like me.

When I attended the convention in Salt Lake City, I met deaf people from all over the world, doctors, lawyers, nurses, teachers, managers, business owners, psychologists, pilots, you name it. They were "like me". I enjoyed meeting many of them and socializing with them while they were here. I also enjoyed the professional sessions at the convention for educators of the deaf, as well seeing all the families that were there, the parents involved with the parent sectors brought their families and their kids bonded while involved in activities created kids to do while their parents were in sessions. I found out that many of the deaf people knew each other because when they were very young, they initially came with their parents and AG Bell was their family vacations every 2 years. As adults, they stayed involved in the "deaf sector" of AG Bell and loved to come and reconnect with everyone. I wanted to become part of this group and go back every two years to reconnect with friends old and new and build relationships. However, finances always seemed to drive me, and I never made it back to another convention.

When I first got the convention information in the mail for this year's conventiion a couple of months ago, I studied it all closely and then realized, my dream was going to be deferred again. No convention in Milwaukee for me. Earlier this week afterI got my IRS stimulus payment and put it in the bank, into the various savings accounts I now have, I found myself going back and re-thinking it again, maybe I could go. I went online and was looking at the cost of everything all together. Then I decided again, "No, this is just too much money!" I'll take too much of this money I'm starting to be able to save." So dream deferred again.

Today I worked my weekend job at the post office. When I'm keying mail, a lot of it is hypnotic and relaxing in a way, and your mind is free to ponder, or meditate, if you will. Most of the people are listening to audiobooks or music while they work, but I was thinking. Once again, the convention popped into my mind. I spent a bit of time meditating, pondering and looking at it from different angles. I really feel like I am supposed to go to this convention. You know how you feel something is just right for you? This is one of those things. I believe in listening to that inner voice. (An example from just two days ago: It was that inner voice that made me come home earlier than I had planned on Thursday, and it was the right thing, as I wouldn't have been home to help with everything when Dalia had her seizure, if I'd followed my original plan to work late.) Inside me, something is telling me I need to go.

I thought about how much money it would take and if I had the money. The truth is, between the various savings accounts I've set up that have grown recently, and including the IRS payment, I do have the money. However, I'd take away all the progress I have been making in saving recently, something I was proud of. Given I've always had difficulties with finances, wasn't it better to keep the money?

Then I thought about the journey of renovating my life. What is my goal in the renovation process? I'm attempting to re-create my life, to take the caterpiller and turn it into a beautiful butterfly. To be the person I've always wanted to be and never thought I could be. There is a journey that I need to go on, a person I'm trying to evolve into. Is it better for this journey to not touch the savings I'm building, or to finally go back to an AG Bell Convention? I analyzed the pros (positives), spent time trying to look at things the cons in different ways. Here are my pros:
  1. I've always wanted to travel, to see other parts of the country, I actually want to take a road trip and see other parts of the US. I've never taken a road trip, thinking I couldn't because I had no family to do it with, and my friends were married and only taking trips with their family. So I figured I couldn't.
  2. For 15 years, I've spent a lot of summers hibernating, isn't it time to actually DO some thing besides hibernate because I'm poor? Basically shouldn't I grab the bull by the tail and take a chance, rather than have another summer of life passing me by?
  3. I need people and connections in my life. They carry me on the journey I need to take. What connections might I make when I'm at the convention? What new friends might I meet that will guide me onwards to the new phase in my life?
  4. Most importantly, taking this chance, being positive there's a way to do it may be part of "attracting positive things" into my life (see yesterday's post titled Gratitude). How many years have I said, "No, I can't"? Isn't it time to say "Yes, I CAN, then figure out a way to make it happen?"

When I look at the difficulties/cons/negatives, I realize that I CAN work extra shifts this summer to replenish the money I take from what little savings I have. So there's a way around that. At least this year, I actually do have enough savings on hand to do it. The hotels in Milwaukee all appear to be booked for the dates of the convention, but it will be ok to stay further away if I need to travel in each day from whatever suburb I'll end up in. Maybe it will (or won't) be cheaper. I CAN invite all the people that might enjoy going, and see if anyone of my friends or families would like to join me on the road trip. If anyone bites and wants to go, then we can share gas costs and motel costs, if not, I can still do it. I CAN also check out with the rental car companies and see if anyone rents hybrids. If they do, it might be cheaper to rent a car. Even if they don't rent out hybrids, maybe I can rent a car with such good gas mileage, it would save over taking my SUV. So even with gas prices at an all time high, I CAN do it. I CAN check online and look for Motel 6 and other cheap but decent quality hotels I can find along the way and in or around Milwaukee. I CAN send an email to the my boss (he's over volunteers in Utah) for Cochlear Americas and ask if they will sponsor any/all of the registration fee in return for me agreeing to volunteer some time to man the Cochlear booth. If that doesn't work out, I CAN look into seeing if I can get a break on the registration fee by volunteering to help with the convention.

Do you see the direction I'm going in. Instead of looking for all the reasons of why I can't, and dropping the idea as I've always done in the past, I think it's crucial for my own personal growth to actually say I CAN, to be positive and essentially to make it happen. I think that the "new trick this old dog needs to learn" is to say "I CAN" and find a way to make it happen. I'm starting to believe it's an essential part of my journey. I'm going to make this a FUN road trip! I've always wanted to do something like this and never have. At age 50, it's time to quit wishing and as Nike' says, "Just Do It! That's another new trick, "Just do it". No excuses, no negatives, no can'ts. "Just do it"!

I took my first plan of action, submitting paperwork into the post office for a leave of absence that weekend, so I won't have to work. The second thing I did after submitting the paperwork, was email my Cochlear boss about possible sponsorship of my registration fee. I'm crossing my fingers on this one. Even if they won't, I CAN handle the registration fee. Tomorrow or Monday, depending on response about registration, I'll register online and pay. I will also start the research into rental cars and making that reservation. I'm also going to starting studying the route, the things to do in different states, and then based on that, places to stay along the way.

If you're a reader of my blog and you want to come, let me know. I know it's short notice, but anyone is welcome. The convention is something like June 27th through 30th. Depending on if I go alone, or if someone comes with me and what their schedule allows, I'm going to stretch out the road trip and stop and see various sights along the way, and who knows, maybe take a different route and do the same on the way back. I'm open and flexible. If I go alone, I have two weeks I could do it in, leaving anytime after working the Sunday before the convention, and arriving back to work the Saturday after the convention. Of course, if I go alone, unless I get real good deals on gas and motels, the length of the road trip might depend more on how long the money I do have lasts, rather than how much time I have between obligations in Utah. I figure I can bring my Jenny Craig breakfasts and lunch, to stretch out the money some. Life is for living, and I CAN do it!

Gratitude Entry: I'm grateful that I've always been able to get good jobs and keep them. Since I've had to work a 2nd job just to pay bills, I'm so grateful for the post office job. It pays me well, and has always been an easy job to quit when I needed to, and to come back to when I need to. To boot, the pay is much better than many part time jobs. Also, I'm grateful this time around in working at the post office, to have such a perfect schedule. I only have to work two days a week now. No more having to do two jobs in the same day. In addition, I'm grateful to be able to work the hours I do now, during the day, rather than having to wipe my body out physically by upsetting my body clock working late night shifts as I've done so often in the past.

May 23, 2008


In my life renovation project, I've endeavored to put a positive spin on things and to think positive at all times. I have learned that that we DO have control over WHAT we ALLOW ourselves to think and the power to change the directions our thought processes are going. I spent too many years feeling sorry for myself. I guess corresponding to that, I spent too many years with some levels of depressions. I ran across the following quote on Oprah's web site at this link: http://www.oprah.com/xm/mlosier/200805/mlosier_20080521.jhtml?promocode=907

  • "If you want to start attracting positive things into your life, there is one small thing you should do every day—show your gratitude, appreciation and love for the people and things around you. "On a daily basis, find something you are appreciative of or find something you are grateful for."

My life has become a joyous thing to me more and more, as my mastery level of positive thinking improves. When a negative thought starts, I can almost hear brakes screech, followed by a funny mental picture in my head of some comedy/musical trio of three fancily dressed up ladies (or maybe it's 3 men dressed as ladies?) shaking their fingers from side to side in tune with the music singing, "Stop in the name of love". I laugh uproariously to myself at this mental image, then proceed to figure out how to change my perception or thought process to a positive one. As I see the increasingly powerful changes internally and in my life, I find that I really do believe what the quote above says; we can attract positive things into our lives. I've decided to end each blog entry with a "Gratitude Entry", and then sit back and see what positive things this might bring into my life.

Todays Gratitude Entry: After the trauma of yesterday, my heart was full of joy this morning when I came upstairs and saw the sweet family I love, eating breakfast together. Most especially I felt joy to see the little kids alive and well. As I contemplated the joy of seeing their sweet faces this morning, I realized that all I really needed in my life in order to be happy was to be able to give love. I don't need to have riches, a companion in life, children of my own, or even just the money to go to the convention I want to go to next month. I have one need only: To be able to give love. When I do that, my heart is a full and joyful heart. Today I'm grateful for both this joy and this realization.


Some days you need to dig deep to look on the bright side. We as a family had a very scary hour or two, when Dalia had a seizure. First off to anyone that is just reading this, it turns out she's fine. She's been sick and her body reacted to a sudden change in body temperature this way. However, in the midst of crisis, there is much to be thankful for.
  • Today I'm thankful for 911, quick responders of literally squads of people to save the lives of love ones at a moments notice. Fire trucks, police cars, paramedics and ambulances all there in next to no time to make sure our loved ones have every fighting chance.
  • Today I'm thankful for sweet moments of joy with our loved ones. I had some sweet moments with both Dalia and Mackie, before and after the seizure, at home and at the hospital, that I will treasure. It's times like this that remind you to treasure every second.
  • Today I'm thankful for the resilience of kids. The ambulance ride and all that happened to her scared her to death and she was in tears as they prepared to transport her. Yet after the drama and we left to come home she looked around as we left the hospital and asked, "Where's my police car?" Her ride was missing and she was disappointed.
  • Today I'm thankful for family that can be reached anywhere instantly and be there at the drop of a hat for the ones we love.
  • Today I'm thankful to have people to love in my life.

May 21, 2008

Favorite Sounds

Tonight I had a dinner meeting with my fellow volunteers (Awareness Advocates) for Cochlear Americas. During Better Speech and Hearing Month, which we commonly call May, Cochlear had given us cards with quotes from some cochlear implantees regarding their favorite sounds that we could distribute. Norm, (Chance's dad, from the Chance to Hear blog) was asking us what our favorite sounds were. Really, when you think about it, that's a great question to ask deaf people who acquire the ability to hear via the implant. As we were all answering that, some of my many wonderful memories were triggered and came flooding in. So for my reading audience, I'm sharing my favorite sounds. Each one I share has a memory of my first realization of joy and astonishing amazement in realizing I could hear it. I've chosen share some of my favorite sounds, as well as to add comments of my thought processes, either when I first heard them or when they became a part of my life.

  • Rubbing your skin - That CAN'T possibly make a sound!
  • Sibilant sharp sound made by the letter "S" - What, the "s" isn't silent?
  • Clinking of the keys on your keychain - What's that noise that isn't getting louder or softer and appears to be traveling with me?
  • Popcorn popping in the microwave - You mean you don't have to put your hand on the microwave to "feel" when there are 2 or 3 seconds between pops?
  • Helicopter flying overhead while inside a building - Wow! I actually know WHAT is flying over!
  • Xylophone being played as part of band performance -Will wonders never cease, they're not drowned out by all the other instruments going on.
  • Smart remarks by someone with a quick wit, retorted in the midst of another speaker's comments - Hey, I'm laughing WITH everyone! No, confused looks of "What?" "Why is everyone laughing?"
  • Rotating sprinklers in a field a half mile away - NO WAY! How is it even possible to hear water squirting that far away?!
  • Chirping birds -I had no clue there were so many birds right outside my door.
  • Cell phone rings - No matter how loud the environmental noise, I can hear those things!
  • Sounds in other rooms - My goodness, there are sounds I can't see being made. Better put on my detective hat and track them down to figure out what they are.
  • Rain outside - I know I need my umbrella before I even open the door or the curtains. How cool is that?
  • "Ms. Lovell", spoken in the distance in a noisy room - My goodness, amidst all this noise I know one of my kids wants my attention!
  • Music- Hey I don't have to memorize every word in a song anymore.// Wow, I know what many of the words in this song I've never heard before are WITHOUT having to read them.
  • Radio - I can hear the breaking news coming in on the radio and understand what's being said without lipreading, or waiting to get home and see it on the news!
  • Audiobooks - I never could have imagined enjoying and having a library of audiobooks.

Hope you all enjoyed my "favorite sounds" memories. There's tons more where they came from, but common sense tells me I better stop somewhere and "hit the sack", if I hope to make it to work on time in the morning! Give yourselves a treat today and celebrate the "sounds" in your life

May 19, 2008

The Missing Sock

Having spent most of my life living alone, therefore being the ONLY one using the washer and dryer; I've been spared the malady of missing socks, and other laundry mishaps. If a sock disappeared on me, it usually showed up in relatively short order, in the next load of laundry, or by falling out of an outfit I put on.

Now I live with a family of 4, who do countless loads of laundry. My one load a week, sometimes two loads in a week, is nothing. The washers and dryers always seem to be full and the family always needs to work hard to keep up. Anything that disappears in the laundry, may never be seen or heard from again. The mysterious black hole of laundry gets bigger and bigger, the more loads and family members you have, to my way of reasoning.

I only have one pair of navy blue socks. This pair became more valuable to me after buying my navy blue slacks (size 12 no less), a few weeks ago. I like to wear clothes that match, after all! :) When I put away my laundry a week ago, I was distraught (well, that IS too strong a word, I have more perspective on my life than for anything about laundry leaving me distraught), over the loss of one navy blue sock. OK, so we've established, I was not distraught, but I certainly wasn't a happy camper. I figured it was gone, gone, gone never to be seen again.

Life goes on, la di dah... It's been a week full of the innumerable loads of family laundry getting done since I last did my one load of laundry. My lonely navy blue sock nearly forgotten as I set about doing this week's laundry. I went to load the washer and discovered (as usual), the latest load of the family's wet clothes needing to be moved to the dryer, and (as usual) another load of dry clothes in the dryer needing to be moved to the laundry basket. I reached into the dryer to empty it so I could begin my laundry. As if by magic, my hand withdrew from the machine holding my missing navy blue sock! Serendipity! Luck! Miraculous! I find it so funny the total amazement, and feeling of awe I have, all because I pulled out the missing sock! What does that say about me that I can find such a simple thing to be worthy of total bemusement all evening, and even write about it? Hmmmm......

May 14, 2008

Celebrate the moments...

Nothing extraordinary about today, but part of my philosophy now, is to be positive, find positives, and prepare myself to handle any set backs positively. I read a comment stating that our attitude is our thought life turned inside out. To get the attitude I want, I need to support the thought life that will be get me there.

  • Today I'm celebrating...still being committed to exercising. I've worked out with weights every other day since meeting with my former personal trainer last week, and made sure to get some walks done on the days I don't go to the gym. The amazing thing is how much I'm doing. My old body couldn't handle the physical requirements I'm putting on it now, that aren't even FAZING me!
  • Today I'm celebrating...finding a new relative. I'm on the Relay Utah Consumers Council. I'm previous chair, and have become friends with the chair person before me. Today, she brought some names as she was determined that we need to find out how we're related. She's a Roper from Oak City, with Lovells in her family history. Turns out my grandfather and her great grandfather were brothers. We're probably related in more ways than one, as we both have Lymans, Finlinsons and etc. in our lines. So the way we figure it, we're at minimum; 2nd cousins once removed! Because we were both on the same committee we joked about nepotism, and the previous power dynasty keeping the chair position in our family for two terms! We even recently got an invitation to the same family reunion in the mail!
  • Today I'm celebrating...maybe finding a new form of exercise. One of the committee members told me she wants a biking buddy. Now neither of us have bikes....but we would both like to pursue this further. Possibilities...... It doesn't matter really, exactly what materializes, it's just that I'm keeping an open mind and willing to explore possibilities. Hey, it would always be great if it works out! I'm also thinking of buying a swim suit after pay day and starting to do laps again. It's been years since I've done that, but my body now seems able to do things it couldn't for a looooooooooong time!
  • Today I'm celebrating...being positive about the week in terms of food issues. Since last Friday, I've eaten out 5 times, for all the different events this week. I know that the chances are about 95% that I will have a weight gain this week. Instead of obsessing about that, I'm happy that I have a social life, have had the opportunities to connect with friends/family/committee friends/co-workers, in all my various meals out this week. I'll just tell Jenny Craig not to tell me what the scale said this week, and focus on all my various non-scale successes.
  • Today I'm celebrating...I've still been positive and happy today, despite feeling lousy, having some sickness that's settled in my lungs (always a concern with my bad lungs). Nothing is going to get me down today.
  • Today I'm celebrating...just being alive!

May 12, 2008

Humor at the gym

As I mentioned in another blog, I worked with my former trainer last Thursday. He wrote down all the machines for my exercise regimen, amounts of weights to have on them, the numbers for seat height and all the minutiae, so I'd be able to do my workouts without him. I can't afford to pay him to work out with me anymore as a personal trainer; so this is a very important piece of paper. It allows me to know what to do, to work out alone. He suggested I take breaks and work out on weights every other day, so the muscles can repair themselves on the day in between. That made it so my next work out on weights needed to be on Saturday.

I felt positively ready to tackle gym alone. Since I don't get off work until 6:00 on Saturday evening after a full day at my weekend job, I knew it would be an evening workout. Saturday evening would be a good time, I figured, as I wouldn't have so many (any?) witnesses to my first solitary efforts. Let me begin my saying, I've always obsessed too much in the past about all the people I thought would be watching me work out. What I didn't count on for Saturday, was that with so little activity, I was the "main" attraction. Sheesh! How embarrassing! There were probably 4 men working out and then little ole me. the men seemed to spend more time sitting on machines looking around than actually using the machines. In my dreams, I'd come into the gym, coolly go through my workout, and brush out the building without a problem, cool as a cucumber! Well, you got it, the operative word was "dream".

Real picture of what the men saw:

Lady (OK, me!) looks at machine, looks back at paper, walks up and down rows staring at machines (I was trying to find machine numbers that matched the ones on my work out paper). Stops in front of machine. Looks behind, under, on top of said machine (I was trying to find like levers to adjust things, as I couldn't remember where to find seat number or how to adjust for most of the machines). Lady adjust weights. Sit down backwards on machine, reverses self. Sits on seat, clump, clump clump seat falls down a couple of levels while the lady sits on it (due to my incompetence placing seat right when adjusting levels). Clang, clang, oops, lady dropped the weights too heavily after her repetitions. You get the story. I'd be trying to act all cool and yet somehow I'd manage to do something incredibly stupid time and time again. Embarassed, I'd look around after each stupid mistake and EVERY time, I'd see one of the men watching my "act"!

Despite such embarrassment, I'm happy to say that I no longer obsess about being watched to the point that I won't go back, or the the point that I worry about it. I was trying to act "sane" though, as I'd keep laughing at myself, and talking with myself over my silly mistakes. Then I'd catch my antics being observed yet again, and I'd try to put my face back to a passive poker face. I had to really laugh at myself though when I got out of the building.

The next time I went and worked out on Monday, I do have to report that the picture "almost" matched my original dream. I almost "looked" like an exercise pro! There's still a lot of studying of paper and machines, but I didn't get on any machines backwards, have seats fall down while I'm sitting on them! Give me a couple more times and I'll look like someone who knows what she's doing! :)

Stranded in Heber: The Saga of the Lost Keys

I decided I had to share this story, after reading one of my niece's funny blog, of how she ended up being the keeper of lost keys and a coat!

Last month, I had a meeting at one of my schools in Heber. When the meeting ended at 12:45 p.m, I proceeded to leave as I wanted to grab some lunch before my next student. As I walked out to the car, I felt in the front compartment of my purse for my keys. There was nothing there! It was empty. I'm having way too many of these senior moments and losing keys recently, as I'd locked my keys in my car TWICE (before this) in the last few months.

The first time, I was saved by my sister Kenna coming out to the post office, where I was working my second job, bringing me my spare keys. Unfortunately, within the first week or so of moving in with Jaimee, I lost my spare keys. AAA had to be called to come to my rescue the second time I got locked out of my car. I had to wait a day before I could get enough help to get the phone call done, as the AAA phone number menu is too hard for me to navigate through, and somehow when calling with relay, I always end with a wrong menu selection and talking to Canada's version of AAA. Despite the day wait, at least I was stranded at home!

So here I was with my third, and most traumatic experience in recent months. I was stranded an hour from home, in a distant little town, in another galaxy far, far away. Yes, I'm exaggerating a little, but it sure felt like it. Thankfully my work has invested in a cell phone that works VERY well with my cochlear implants, and I'm able to do some phone calling. I'm not super good at it, but improving, and in desperate need of more practice (anyone want to call me and help me practice my listening skills! :D). I'm getting off the point here. I was able to hear well enough to call Jaimee for help, but not well enough to tackle difficult and unknowns callers. I certainly wasn't in the mood to talk to Canada's AAA. Jaimee did me a huge favor and called AAA for me.

I waited outside the school building, where it was a very cold mountain day. Not realizing I'd be stuck outside trybing to be visible for AAA later in the day, I thought it was warm enough to leave my sweater in the car. So I'm pacing back and forth to stave of potential frostbite, hungrily eyeing my lunch inside the car. Moving past the cold and hunger, I could see my teaching materials for a student I needed to to work with at 1:00 in the same building that I was stranded in. It all mocked me as I paced back and forth, thinking of that poor student inside the school building who wasn't getting my help that day! After what seemed like an eternity, but really wasn't, AAA showed up. My relief at getting in my car was short lived, as guess what, there were NO KEYS inside my car!

I started a search of the school grounds from my car to the building, went into the office to find out if anyone had just happened to see any keys. I went also to the classroom where I'd had our meeting. The preschool class from that morning had disbanded just before our meeting. Now the afternoon preschool was in full swing. All aides (I swear there are about 5 of them), teacher, 20 or so students all paused and to see what I was distracting their afternoon fun with. Aides and teachers took a quick check of the room. "No keys," I was informed. I emptied out my car and packed it again. Being that my car is, my office and full of teaching materials, toys, and etc; that was no easy matter. Still no keys.

AAA told me that before they left, and I'd begun my search, that if I couldn't find my keys, they'd have to put my car on a flat bed truck, due to my wheels being locked. This would cost around 50 something dollars. Then they'd have to take it to the nearest Suzuki dealership, as I'd need to get a key made from my VIN number. Only the Suzuki dealearship could do that. The nearest Suzuki dealer was in Salt Lake City. It would cost me $4.00 a mile on top of loading my car on the flatbed truck. Being the day before payday, I had NO money for this. I felt truly stranded. I could afford to walk to a motel and have enough money for one night's stay, then the next day get towed after I got paid.

I called Jaimee yet again, to see if she could talk to the dealership and find some alternatives other than what AAA thought I had to do. Well, the good news was that they didn't need my car there to make a key from the VIN. The bad news was that "I" had to be there, with my ID and my registration to show proof of ownership. How was I going to get there! I managed a lot of private eye rolls, as I thought about my predicament, but didn't panic, didn't give in to a single tear. I told myself that I would somehow make it through this, despite feeling that I might as well have been on Mars, given how far away "home" felt!

Jaimee did more calling and came to my rescue. She connected with my oldest sister Sue, who is retired and was willing to take the hour trip to come get me. She couldn't bring me back that night though to collect myy car. I needed to get back to get my car after I got my key made!! I did some thinking and realized that Joshua, one of my former students, just might be willing/able to help. He was! Here's what happened: My sister arrived at the school to pick me up by 4:00. We made it to the dealership, at 5:00.

As I walked into the parts department, what did I get? I got an email on my PDA from the pre-school teacher telling me they had found my keys! The worst part of their story, I later learned; they found the keys as they were leaving the school at 4:00. I was probably still sitting in my car in front of the school when they found them! Best I can tell, it sounds like an aide picked them up earlier in the dayand thought they were her own keys. Apparently she put them away! When she left school at the end of the day, she got "her" keys from wherever they were, realized it wasn't hers!

Despite my keys being found, I was now far, far away in another direction, though closer to home. I had to pay $85 to get some keys made from the VIN. Joshua came to the dealership to pick me up, then drove me back up the mountain to Heber. By the time I arrived in back to my car, it was 6:15. Of course school was out, and the building with my key inside was locked up tight. I owed Joshua big time for making the trip, so I treated him to dinner in Park City on the way home. By the time I was able to walk into my home, it was 9:00. p.m. I felt like one of those people I remember seeing on TV a long time ago, who kissed the ground after they got off the airplane, in a show of how grateful they were to be either back home, or on the ground...I don't remember which. I could have kissed the ground, to finally be in the safe haven of my home. Yes I am probably being melodramatic here, but ohhhhh, home sweet home!

You better believe I went on a keymaking spree after that! I made so many copies of my keys, distributed them far and wide, including a magnet under my car! I NEVER want to be stranded like that again!!! New motto, "You can NEVER have too many sets of spare keys, or tell this story too many times! If just one person out there takes a lesson from this and makes a zillion copies of their keys, I benefited mankind! :)

May 11, 2008

I brought home gold.....

On Friday, when I weighed in at Jenny Craig (207 lbs lost that day), they told me that next week they would be putting my pictures back up on the wall and to plan to be photographed next week for an updated picture to add. The office was re-painted recently, so they had to take down the pictures and story they had posted about me. While I was talking to them, I told them I wish I had those pictures to scan, so I could put them on my blog! Would you believe, they actually let me bring them home to scan. These pictures are like gold to me.

Some day I'd like to become, among many other things, a Jenny Craig National Spokesperson....they don't need the famous people, they need every day people like me, and I intend to convince them. However, I could never get that job if these pictures that show me at the begining and my progress going forward, get lost! So these pictures are the future advertising for Jenny Craig (in my dreams anyhow), and therefore they're like gold to me! They're also like gold to the center I go to, as they tell everyone about me and show it off. They like to use it as inspiration. It took me a couple of hours to scan them this evening, because of Murphy's Law at work and everything going wrong! I finally succeeded, although it's nearly midnight, and I got started around 9:00 p.m. So friends, families, Romans, countrymen (ok, I'm getting silly here), read on for the great unveling!

First up, we have pictures of me with the front and the side view, on the day I was brave enough to first set foot inside the Jenny Craig door. Notice, I have my oxygen tank at my feet. I'm holding the part that goes in my nose and around my ears, because I didn't want to be photographed tethered to oxygen. I clearly wasn't clicking into the fact that I'm getting full length pictures, making it impossible to hide my "oxygen habit".

Do you all remember that person? I surely do, The next pictures they have on the paper are from about 10 months later when I'd managed to lose 100 pounds. I wasn't at halfway yet, and speaking of halfway, I'm wondering where those pictures are, hmm. Anyhow, now you will see the pictures of me at 101 lb loss. I remember thinking how I'd lost so much weight, and yet now I can see I was still a pretty big lady!

Ok, now we are moving right along. Those of you that saw me during this period of time, does it look familiar? This next picture, they chose to add it randomly (didn't reach a specific date or target here, I'd just changed a bit and customers in the Jenny Craig Center were asking how I was doing and wanted to see an update. I can't remember exactly when it was taken. I figure somewhere between December 2007 to February 2008. I'll have to have them look in my chart next week and we can figure the date. They didn't do the side view here, for some reason.

I understand that although this was taken only about 14 lbs ago, that I look a lot different now. You can all look at the pictures I posted earlier last week and decide what you think! At least I now have pictures for everyone to see! I've got material for a couple of other posts running through my head today, however, in the interest of being able to wake up in the morning and go to work, I'm signing off for the night!

By the way, can anyone tell me what I'm doing wrong with these pictures? I understand you should be able to click on the pictures to view a larger one. Hasn't happened for a single picture I've posted. So send me clues you photographers in the family and others who might know! :) Also, anyone who knows how to put smiley faces in here, vs the dash and parenthesis after the sentence before this one, please let me know! I have lots to learn.

May 8, 2008

Mother's Day

I've done some reflecting today, brought on by a conversation earlier this week with my niece about Mother's Day. I have hardly ever noticed or paid attention anymore to days like Mother's Day and Father's Day, since losing my own parents some 4 to 8 years ago. Since I'm not a parent myself, not giving these days much thought after losing my own parents is perhaps understandable. To my niece, as a mom, Mother's Days ranks up high on her list of days she likes to celebrate. I have a family member who, like me, never had the opportunity to be a mother. This day is so difficult for her, she often can't bring herself to go to church on Mother's Day. This shows a gamut of emotions about this day, from the people I in my life.

Today, I mused often about motherhood and me, during my long commute to and from my schools. During my depressed and often bitter years, I was at times upset about my isolation and loneliness. However, not quite three years ago, I began my life renovation project. The beauty of this, is that I'm constantly growing and changing in my perceptions of life and in my evaluations of it.

When I was in my 20's I had decided that if I didn't have marriage or a family of my own by the age of 35, I would adopt and become a single mother. Short story: life happened. I never got a handle on how to live it well enough to evolve beyond surviving and being ready and able to pursue going after a single mother adoption mode. Reading the sentence I just finished, is the first time I think I could understand why it never happened. I'm kind of amazed at what I wrote and it's illuminating to me.

As I look at motherhood now, I honor the mothers who give birth to/adopt/foster children and raise families. The sacrifices are immense. During these last few years, I've learned that even without ever being a mom, you can have "children of your heart". That is the kind of mom I am today. I have children of my heart. There are young children who have entered my life, grown up in it, and I have been rewarded by their contribution, as well as allowed to contribute to their life is some small fashion.

Over two years ago, I had to move from one side of my duplex to the other, as my landlord had renovated the one side, and wished to renovate this side I was living in. At that time, I weighed nearly 400 lbs, was on oxygen 24/7 and able to do very little for myself. Out of the woodwork cropped former students. These grown up kids were from the very first class that I student-taught when they were 6th graders. After getting my teacher's license, I then taught them for 3 years when they were in middle school. They helped me with my move, which I was physically unable to do myself. During this time period, I first realized I had a family of sorts. I had "children of my heart". There have been other students who keep me in their lives since, who get to be added to my heart's family. I have learned in these last 2 1/2 to 3 years that my heart just has to be open to love for me to be fulfilled. This realization, and my ability to appreciate what I DO (vs. DON'T) have in these last few years have enriched me beyonds words.

This morning, I was eating breakfast with my little great niece and nephew gathered around me helping me eat my breakfast. My niece was on the couch opposite me watching this scene play out. The picture she was seeing of me with the kids around me was so touching to her it brought tears to her eyes. She talked about the impact I had on her life, her love for me and how much it meant to her to see the children she loves so much being connected to me who she loves so much. Further more, she talked about how much it means to her that they get to have me in their lives the way she had me in her life. I was touched and honored to my very depths by what she, a "child of my heart" felt about my role in her life. Now through her, I'm blessed to have grandchildren of my heart , as well as through the other children of my heart. How much richer could my life be?

I can never be the true parent, nor deserve the honor and respect that the true parents and grandparents are fully deserving of, but I can have/give love. I CAN be enriched and fulfilled by the love of the children of my heart. This love I can give and receive is my "manna from heaven". I have other nieces and nephews that I love; some living close, some living far away, they too are children of my heart. A couple of my nieces are readers of my blog, and I get to read theirs. I love how this technology is enrichening my life here too, by making me feel able to share a small tiny part of the lives of those I love who live far away.

Family members, former students/current friends, and all those who I'm privileged to have in my life, I love you. Thanks for all you add to my life; through all of you, I've found joy and love. To all you moms, have a great Mother's Day on Sunday. You are all wealthy in children and in experiencing the joy they bring to your lives. The young mothers are all doing awesome jobs, with little sleep and lots of stress. The grandmothers amongst you have blessings galore in those blessedly amazing children and granchildren who adore you. To all the children of my heart, thanks all the joy and love you bring to my life.

May 7, 2008

Going for it with gusto

Hey folks, just thought I would share that I've already made an appointment with my former personal trainer (from back when I thought I had money), for a session t to get me going again. Tomorrow (Thursday) at 5:00 a good workout should await me! I'm going to get some serious serotonin going!

May 6, 2008


I know a couple of people wanted to see full "body length" pictures of me. Tonight, after dinner with Joshua and Staci, Joshua was kind enough to take a couple of pictures with his Iphone. So here you have it folks! For the record I wasn't having a good hair day, but other than that, I can't complain about the picture. I NEVER like pictures of myself. These are for my readers! :)

Detective at work

Some of you've known that I've not been feeling very good for the last week or so. I missed a lot of work last week, as I struggled with some bewildering symptoms. I thought I had the flu at the beginning of the week. As the time dragged on, and I didn't feel any better, I began to think that something medical, not contagious had to be going on.

I couldn't contemplate any new medical issues arising, not when I've lost all this weight, eat so much healthier and etc. I then pondered whether there were any changes in my life that could possibly explain this. Lo and behold, I clicked in on a "change". I remembered that after about 9 years on anti-depressants, I was finally off them. My tapering off dosage was incredibly light last week, and non-existent this week. I quitt the anti-depressants for two reasons; 1) I just can't afford the $225 to refill my prescription anymore, 2) I feel I've changed so much in how I think and perceive life during the last nearly 3 year "life renovation process", I shouldn't need them anymore.

I reasoned that just maybe, there's such a thing as a withdrawal effect from going off anti-depressants, or losing the serotonin that they give you. If this turned out to be the case, could exercise and it's accompanying release of endorphins help increase serotonin to hopefully counter that effect? It didn't hurt that it was definitely time to move to another stage in my renovation project: making exercise a regular part of my life. My action plan was two-fold; 1)begin inserting an exercise program into my life, and 2) do some research to see if indeed I could be on the right path to what was really ailing me.

Yesterday, I did start exercising. I went for a long walk last night, even though I was getting off work so late, due to a faculty meeting. Not getting home from work and exercise until 7:30 p.m. wasn't something I liked. However, I just knew that it was important to make exercise the priority I have previously refused to give it. It certainly didn't hurt that it was one of the first beautiful warm spring like days to help me be ok with making the sacrifice in time. Today, I made sure to get a walk in, before I met some friends for dinner. I'm pretty proud of myself, two days in a row doing some form of exercise!! I'm also planning to start going to the gym again, I just haven't worked out how I want to incorporate that into my life. I am proud of myself for finally being willing to start exercising regularly.

Until about an hour or two ago, I still didn't know if my theory regarding serotonin withdrawal, and endorphin helping to increase serotonin had any factual bases to support it. I'm happy to say, I DID find factual support that backed up my theory. Apparently there is something known as a "discontinuation effect" for withdrawal from anti-depressants. There was a list of the symptoms one might experience. Reading the list was like reading about everything I'd experienced in the last week and a half: Dizzyness, nausea, flu-like symptoms and on and on! Wow! I am a bit impressed with myself! I turned out to be an excellent diagnostician. Maybe I should apply for House's group on TV. If you don't watch "House", ignore the last sentence, my joke just fell flat for you!

Next, I checked to see if endorphins, which I think we all know is released when we exercise, can increase our sertonin levels. Guess what ladies and gentlemen? I found information verifying that the endorphins we get from exercise CAN increase our serotonin levels in our brains. Two for two! I prescribed and began the perfect course of treatment for myself! I'm pretty impressed with myself, I don't mind admitting :) I guess all that's left is to hang my shingle and open up the shop for business. I just don't know whether that business is as a detective or a doctor!! (Tongue planted firmly in cheek)

My research pointed out that this discontinuation effect can go for anywhere from one to SEVEN (aaargh) weeks. I think I'm really going to have to get some harder workouts at the gym in, so that I can really boost up the endorphins and serotonin! I don't want to go through this for seven weeks! It does help that exercise was one of the next things I needed to tackle as I continue my ongoing "renovate my life" project. I'm glad my research backed up what my intuitive, deductive processes were telling me.

May 2, 2008

Jenny Craig Check In

Some of you like to keep track of my regular Jenny Craig in, just to know how I'm doing on my weight loss effort. I lost 1.6 lbs this week. I had a good week following pretty closely to the program. It was one of the odd weeks, because 1) I didn't eat out, 2) I was sick for a large portions of it. I knew the not eating out would help with the loss. I was concerned the lack of activity from essentially being laid up for about 5 days, off/on would prevent much success.

I'm pretty happy with the 1.6 lb loss. A comment from a colleague at work made me wonder how much I really should expect to lose. She asked if I was still losing weight. My obvious answer "Yes". That brought on a question of how much more I plan to lose. I think I told her about 20 to 25 more lbs, though the real answer was more like 30 or so. She couldn't figure out where I was to lose it from.

I was talking to Jaimee about it this evening. She told me that essentially I'm pretty thin and that I would definitely be described that way if she described me to someone. She suggested that I had a body image that was a little off. I don't know. I see the tummy that's not close to flat, the hanging fat I still see in my underarms (yes, I know I'd have to have surgery to get rid of those), the lumps on my hips and outer thighs. Her reply that got me thinking, was "How much of your weight do you think is just saggy skin? I sure wish I knew the answer to that question. When I set my initial goal weight, which in my mind was a 238 lb loss (I always think of it as a 240 lbs loss though); I was using a weight that I got to for a short time in high school as a target weight.

During the last appointment with my family doctor, I asked her about an appropriate weight goal. Her target (using height and age scale) was about 10-15 lbs more than I planned to weigh. Why should we weigh more when we get older, rather than less? I'm curious about that. If I follow her suggestion, then it would seem I should plan to lose 223 to 228 lbs total. Now that IS a weird concept right now as I write, because it would really suggest 17 to 22 lbs left to lose. That CAN'T be right!?!?

So Jaimee's question from tonight really becomes pivotal. How much does all the loose sagging skin that once housed a body close to 400 lbs weigh? What if I have 22 lbs of sagging skin? Am I at a weight that should be goal? Hmmmmmm...............

For now, unless I hear another perspective that gives clarity, or get a satisfactory answer to my questions; I'll continue to try and shoot for reaching, either my original goal weight, or the doctor's suggested goal weight. If my body gets to a point where it just WON'T lose, then I would be willing to accept that as my body telling me I am at the right weight. As for now, I'm going to think of losing 32 more lbs.