150,000-199,999 SparkPoints 177,149
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Having way way way too much fun ziplining over alligators! That's right! Take a close look!

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Color Run -- post run celebration with my daughter and 2 of her best friends!

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Hubby & I hanging out in the Colorado mountains! What a pretty day that was!

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Stability Ball
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Dancing Lessons
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Spa Visit

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If you stop by and visit, leave a comment. Tell me how you're doing. We all have our up days and our down days. Maybe you'll brighten my day and maybe I'll brighten yours. We'll never know until we try!

Summer 2018 update: I had been leaving updates at the bottom of the page and adding them below the previous one but things are getting rosier. Life's usual bumps have brought ups and downs. I think my 30 year old daughter has suffered the most with these swings. The worst was when my daughter's BFF's (inseparable since the girls were 4 years old) 19 month old son died. He had DiGeorge syndrome as well as no thymus. We were at Children's Hospital in DC spending the day with her and her husband the day they took him off life support. (We were not there for that part.) Then about a year later, my daughter's close friend miscarried after she told the doctor to hold off on inducing her. (I cannot imagine the guilt and the regret!) And then when it comes to tender mercies, another close friend of my daughter has a two year old that is finally growing back her hair after beating Stage 4 liver cancer. The tender mercy was that the physical therapist sent them to the dr after noticing the baby's stomach was distended. Why PT? This poor child was born with a messed up left shoulder and has already had several surgeries to try to repair it. Through all of this, I am so proud of my daughter for being an amazing friend, emotional supporter, and most of all, listener. If being there with her friends has ever brought her down, it has not lasted long.

My son continues to stay clean. He's had some ups and downs with work, GFs, and life -- but he's doing good.

On July 19th 2018, I celebrated the 30th anniversary of my thyroid surgery. (After surgery, I spent several years going in and out of radiation therapy but that's a story for another day!) Now the trick is to find a thyroid pill dosage that is high enough to continue to suppress the cancer but not so high that it does damage to my bones and heart.

That's the end of my summer 2018 Sparkpage update. Hope life is treating everyone well. Remember, the ultimate goal is to be healthy and enjoy this short life!


Going back to what started off as a fun and frivolous summer in 2007 turned bitterly foul toward the end of August that year and then continued on its own momentum to finish as one of the worst times of my life I have ever endured. But now, things are coming back to center and I am ready to commit (or is it recommit) myself 100% to the healthy lifestyle that I had started with Sparks back in January 2007.

I find it amazing that for years life chugs along at its own pace. Little things happen that are blips on the road of life. And you roll with the punches and keep on going. Plantar fasciitis, sinus infections, and other glitches hang on maybe too long but not enough to knock you down hard. But then sometimes, one thing after another happens and you wonder what is keeping you from curling up in a ball and sobbing in the corner!

On the night of August 26th, 2007 we had a half inch of rain. It was about 10pm when I finished two back to back workouts on my elliptical & Bowflex and caught up with my hunny and daughter in the kitchen. I realized that I had left my water bottle downstairs and went to get it so I could finish it. When I got to the rec room, I saw some thing that will forever stay seared in my memory: thick ugly brown muddy water was oozing in under the sliding glass door. Long story not so short, after surviving Virginia's direct hit from hurricane Isabel in 2003, some construction company ripped out 600 acres of trees behind our house and left an overflow pond that was severely under engineered. We ended up with 16" of muck in our basement. The builder tried to convince us that what had happened was an act of God while the insurance said we were not covered for this! We are still fighting the builder and have a lawyer on retainer and are moving forward with legal proceedings. So my basement looks pretty much exactly how marvelous ServiceMaster left it: no drywall, no insulation, no furniture (except lawn chairs), and about $70,000 worth of belongings (some pieces went back about a half century) in the local dump. I will keep you posted on the basement proceedings as they happen.

Then a few weeks later, I had a bad mammogram. The letter I got said that most of the time, these turn out to be nothing but that they would rather err on the side of caution. I checked all over the internet and everything I read repeated that same message. But I was still inconsolable! I have already lost a friend to breast cancer and I am a thyroid cancer survivor. The worst of it was that I had to wait 3 weeks before I could go back for the 2nd mammogram and the ultrasound. Those were probably the worst 3 weeks of my life! At the second appointment, the xray dr. said she was pretty certain the lump was a cyst and that it would pop the instant the biopsy needle touched it. UGG! I had to wait another miserable 3 weeks. I swear they used a Black Decker cordless drill to do the biopsy and the mass did pop as soon as the biopsy needle hit it. And yes, the pathology report came back negative!!

Then in the middle of the whole mammogram mess, I had female surgery. The only real drawback from the surgery was that I had to rest for 6 weeks and let my body heal. But as soon as I got the go ahead to go back to working out, I hit the elliptical hard and added back weight training as well.

The night of my surgery, my teenage son finally admitted to hunny and me what we had suspected all summer. He was using pot. He tried to rationalize everything but the bottom line is that even if pot was legal, I would no more approve of habitual pot use than I would approve of habitual alcohol use! We told him to cut it out and get his act together. Two nights later, he was out past midnight which is a curfew violation for under 18 drivers in VA. He had been flaunting that law all summer but what does mom know? Well, his buddy tossed a cigarette butt out the window which resulted in them getting pulled over and that led to search of the car where my son had a pipe and a blunt of pot while his buddy had a pipe as well.

Then a few weeks after the traffic violation, a pot deal went bad and the buyer held my son & 2 of his friends hostage over the money. The buyer said he would kill my son's family so now we have ADT in our house. (And we went with the deluxe security system that will notify me if there is water in my basement. See there is a silver lining here!! I will now be able to sleep whenever it rains because I will not have to keep checking for flooding in my basement.) And the story gets better because in mid-November my son has to testify in court about the whole hostage thing.

***** 1/20/08 UPDATE: First the good news: my daughter is back at college after winter break. It was so wonderful having her home those precious weeks during the break. She had an awesome fall semester and finished with an overall GPA of 3.1!! And yes, it is like fire and ice in my house!! Now on to my son: when we went for his arraignment, he failed the urine screen for pot. He KNEW this would be a bad thing to do because the lawyer had repeatedly warned him that they would hold him in juvenile detention until he tested clean, which can take up to 38 days! Unfortunately, the timing of events was such that he almost missed Christmas with the family -- he spent a total of 9 days in lock-up. Since coming home, his attitude towards his dad & me is not as harsh as it was before but he routinely pushes the limit on his court-ordered evening curfew. *****

*****March 2009 update: our lawsuit against the negligent construction company still lingers. Our lawyer has found out that the county was getting ready to shut down operations because of so many erosion violations that were not getting fixed. My son continues to make very rough choices. We have completely cut him off financially so gas and cigarette money are his problem. On the other hand, my daughter will soon be finished with her junior year at college and is planning to graduate with honors. This is in spite of being the main source of support to her boyfriend for the year his dear mother bravely fought cancer. My daughter takes so much joy in their absolutely sweet Great Dane who is having fun in obedience classes and is on target to go into "hospital pet" training shortly. In other news, hubby is recovering well from his heart attack and we are thrilled that the damage was microscopic because of our fast actions. He is a very odd case since he weighs 195 & is 6 ft tall. The day of his heart attack, his blood work came back normal, including cholesterol and liver functions. The best we can surmise is that the damage was done BEFORE he started his health kick and working out at the gym in January 2008. *********

********* ********* August 2009 update: Back in June, my son was busted for misdemeanor pot and felony drug possession (he was busted with a cousin of Ritalin, which my son does not take, except apparently for recreational purposes!!) He goes to court in mid-October. The lawsuit against the builder that sunk us in 16" of mud continues. On the bright side, hunny is recovering well from his heart attack and continues to follow dr.'s orders!! And my daughter, who is now a senior in college, finished her junior year by making Dean's List! ********* *********

********* ********* December 2009 update: My son is considering technical training to pursue his passion so I hope once he is done with the court system following his drug charges from this past summer, then we will resume looking into the post-high school education. My daughter is still doing fantastic at college and enjoying working part-time at a radio station near her college where she gets to meet the likes of Keith Urban and Papa Roach! *********

********* ********* November 2010 update: The lawsuit against the construction company still drags on but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. My daughter is working 2 part-time jobs since graduating college as she cannot seem to get any nibbles on her resume for any entry level jobs. I'm going to blame it on the economy as she missed graduating college with honors by a measly 0.04 points!!! Speaking of the economy, hubby got laid off 2 months ago. He has been in the printing industry for over 30 years but has had no luck either with finding a new job. So he has decided to change professions and has started studying for his ACE certification at home. It's tough studying and he definitely has my sympathy!! His lay-off is very rough but our situation could have been worse! Six months ago, I started a new job after looking for six months! I could see the handwriting on the wall and tried to get out of a potential bad situation. Two days after I was told my lay-off would be official, I got the offer for the job I have right now. I love my new job but it is intensely stressful and the hours can be very long. My son seems to be coming around and growing out of his drug-hazed days. He is also working 2 part-time jobs and averaging over 40 hours a week. He is saving money to go away to technical school. He was recently baptized after professing his faith and I am so very proud of him! On an even sadder note, in a few weeks, it'll be a year since my sweet 14 year old cat died. He was one of a kind and I still miss him always purring and always under my feet. Then a few weeks after our cat died from congestive heart failure, my daughter's most incredible Great Dane died on the operating table from a twisted spleen. She and her boyfriend were in deep mourning for a while but decided to adopt a cutie from a kill shelter and this wonderful pit bull/black lab/Heinz 57 mix is the apple of their eyes! ********* *********

That is my story since that awful last part of summer and autumn 2007. I used to have my background picture from the night of the flood. Of all the pictures I have from that night, that one was especially tragic because it showed how the flood killed Guitar Hero 2 and I was really enjoying jamming with my son! Plus I was getting really good at it!!

So what have I learned form this experience? After all, if things happen and we do not step back and reflect on the events, then what was the point?

-- I keep telling myself that I cannot control my son's behavior nor his choices but I can control how I react to him and his choices. That distinction is very important!!

-- I learned that material things are just that and discovered that my priorities are straight. I only cried once over the basement and that was when I discovered the ruined portrait of my late mother as a teenager. When I was afraid that I had breast cancer, I could not stop crying. In a way, I guess perspective is an amazing thing.

-- If I can throw in a plug for Sparks: I have also learned that blogging is a great way to vent, work things out, and get encouraging feedback from fellow Sparkers. I did my best to not stress eat during the worst of times and I honestly believe that blogging was (and still is) a marvelous, healing source of strength that held me together during those miserable days and will continue to be an important part of the glue that holds me together as I continue on my journey of life!

-- And lastly, now that I can finally work out again I have found this final piece of the puzzle has given me an unbelievable strength to stay incredibly dedicated to my diet and exercise plan. I am determined to tightly hold on to this strength for as long as I can and would love to be able to keep it until I am at goal weight.

Like phoenix rising from the ashes, I have come back with a more determined resolve and inner strength. Onward and upward is the only way to go from here!!

Member Since: 1/8/2007

Fitness Minutes: 110,274

My Goals:
I want to like my reflection!

I also want to get toned and healthy from the inside out by eating right as often as possible along with really concentrating on my form when I do my strength training and Pilates.

My Program:
I have set my nutritional goals and exercise goals to lose the weight at a nice steady pace that is not set up for failure.

In addition, I have revamped my workout routine to include Pilates, My Fitness Coach (Wii), Gold's Gym Cardio Boxing (Wii), Zumba, an Ultimate 2 Bowflex and an elliptical. Since all this is in my house, I have very limited excuses for not keeping up with my workouts!!

Personal healthy lifestyle motto: "Nothing tastes as good as success!"

Additionally, I have 2 more sayings:

Now that I have reached my BIG 5-0: Years wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.

"Do, or do not. There is no 'try.'" Yoda

Personal Information:
I earned my screen name back when my babies were little but I find that I am still exhausted! Now the cause seems to have shifted from spending all my energy on taking care of my babies to working to pay for their college! (I was able to work part-time until 4 years ago when we decided that my time would be better spent pushing my career. BTW, I have never regretted being able to spend so much time with my children when they were little!)

Nowadays, my oldest baby is doing awesome. She graduated Old Dominion University back in Spring 2010 and is on her way to grad school. My youngest is showing signs of growing up and that does a mother's heart good! Since graduating HS in Spring 2009, he has caused some of his own problems but seems to be recovering from his fumbles!

Otherwise, between enjoying what little bit of time my hunny and I can share, I am learning and growing in my job and squeezing in workouts whenever I can.

Other Information:
My babies may be growing up but they are just as awesome as the day I brought each one home from the hospital! Of course their dad is also awesome!


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