Another Year Comes to an End

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As 2013 comes to a close, I have begun to reflect over all that has occurred. A lot of changes and growth happened this year. I moved, changed jobs, lost weight, gained weight and went on a big vacation. You never know what’s to come with me. I like changes and if it were up to me I would keep on trying new things constantly.

The first half of the year I focused on saving money and becoming healthy. I was exercising regularly and religiously watched what I ate. I lost over 30 lbs and believed it was just the beginning of becoming a better me. I had a great working relationship with my dispatch partner, Dawn and all was looking up for me. Why oh why must I rock the boat when I am sailing thru calm waters? I get bored when things stay the same, I think.

In June I changed jobs and moved to a fabulous new dwelling. And my goodness, I love my new place. It’s an apartment in a great community. It has been 4 yrs since I lived alone and oh how I have missed the privacy and solitude. The new job is in the same line of work I have been in for years. It’s just a larger company with more money, better benefits and closer to home. But not what I was expecting at all. There is a lot I could say about this but I will refrain. At least for now.

With the move and the job change I fell off the wagon big time. The healthy wagon that is. I fell into my old ways and got comfortable. Mountain Dew goes down like water and my regular exercise regime is walking to and from my car. If coworkers order out then I have been jumping in too. Smelling Popeyes @ the desk next to me is just too much to bear. So unfortunately I gained all of my weight back, and some. I am working on trying to get back on track somehow. Exercise, water and healthier foods are in my future.

Then in November I took my first trip to Europe. I have dreamt of this my whole life. I went to Switzerland, France, Germany and The Netherlands. It was life changing for me. Something I will never forget. I put my job on hold and spent all my money but it was worth it. Traveling to me is more valuable than anything. I have to figure out a way to do it and get paid. So far I have been to Africa, Asia, Europe and of course North America. Still have three more continents to go.

This year I have learned that it is so hard to teach an old dog new tricks, that you can NEVER let your guard down on your weaknesses, and saving money IS the key. My highest point of the year was loosing weight, and my lowest point was gaining it all back. Like always, I am looking forward to the new year. I love new beginnings. And can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for me!

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2013′s list of my 10 favorite things

I did a post over a year ago titled 10 of my favorite things. Well this post is going to list my current passions. Maybe I’ll do like Oprah and have a list for each year. Too bad I don’t have anything to give away. Maybe people would read my blog if I did. I love my lists.

1. Matrix Biolage Keratin Dose is a spray on leave in hair conditioner. This has saved me so much time in the mornings. And My hair has never been softer since I have started using this! I have tried other spray in conditioners but they are not anything like this one. Trust me, this is the best one out there!

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2. Bath & Body Works Wallflower Fragrance Bulb with Sweet Pea Scent. Well Sweet Pea is my favorite not sure if it’s yours. My entire apartment smells of this incredible fragrance and I know I should have bought several more replacements.  I think you can get 4 for $20. I can’t describe the scent but I think most people know what it smells like.

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3. Brita filtered bottle - By reducing the taste and odor of Chlorine, Brita® filters transform tap water into great-tasting drinking water. I have spent so much money on bottled waters. This saves me a ton. You only need to change the filter every 2 months. Now I can just fill my water bottle at any faucet and it tastes great. Lately I have been filling it with ice and letting it slowly melt down.
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4. Grandma’s Vanilla Sandwich Cookies! Oh my Lord these are good. I have found these in the vending machine @ work and am now hooked. I get the minis and believe these are the best little vanilla cookies out there. Not good if your dieting though, unless you eat just one. Ha!

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5. Monograms. I am totally into monograming this year. There’s so many things on my wish list that is monogrammed.

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6. Prilosec. Over the counter one,  not the prescription. For some reason, the prescription (which may be the exact same thing) doesn’t work for me at all. I feel like I would be dead without it. And wouldn’t you know it but the OTC one is more expensive.

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7. Mary Kay liquid black eyeliner. No explanation needed.

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8. Downton Abbey…. Yes, I wrote a whole post on my blog on this. Now just counting down the days until the next season starts. 7 more days to be exact. I don’t know anyone that watched it that didn’t fall completely in love with it.

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9. The Do Not Disturb option on my iPhone settings. Yes! Most people use it for when they sleep. I use it during the day. And at night…

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10. Candy Cane Thrill blizzard (or milkshake) from DQ. It screams my name. I love it!!

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Whats your favorite things for 2013. I could go on and on but am limiting myself to 10 on here.

Can you die from a toothache???

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I wrote this post almost 3 months ago but never published.

I’m not exactly sure how this post will turn out because I am under the influence of pain medication at this time. I have been having a time with my teeth this year. Somehow and someway I just let my teeth go. Don’t misunderstand me, they are not yellow or grimy looking. They are clean, white and straight. But apparently two of my teeth need root canals. I have been having ungodly toothaches and in terrible pain. Toothaches have to be the worst pain ever. I don’t have the money for a root canal and my dental insurance has reached its yearly allowance. So what to do….

I don’t want to pull them but can’t stay in this pain. If I hurry up and change jobs then I can get new dental insurance. Or maybe I can date a Endodontist. I could cash out some of my retirement or sell my only car. Ok, ok, I’m not really going to do any of those suggestions. So I guess my real options are to have both bad teeth pulled, go to the clinic in the hood or bear with the pain until I save up enough for 2 root canals. Life sucks. It’s never easy and something always comes along to trip us up. I will never be rich so I need to brace myself for more and more financial burdens to be thrown my way.

Well, since I originally wrote this I have been under an Endodontist care. I have so far spared my teeth. Whewwww. I DID however change jobs and got new dental insurance so it will include a root canal. It’s weird how the older we get then more and more of our health seems to slowly fall apart. I could have prevented this but got very complacent. Since this occurred I have become obsessed with flossing my teeth. Really. I cannot eat a thing without flossing afterwards. And if I have a sweet tea to drink or any kind of soft drink then I want to run brush my teeth afterwards to rinse the sugar off of my teeth. I wish I would have started this behavior 10 years ago. Oh well. We live and learn.

My New Home

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I have finally moved! I could not be happier. Really. I have been so grateful to Paul and Kari for opening their homes to me. But there is nothing like being in your own space. It’s been a long time coming but this place has made it worth the wait. I could not have found a more perfect place for me to rest my head at night. I am very picky and its checks off every one of my requirements.

My drive is only 30 minutes to work, 40 minutes to Paul’s and 40 minutes to Kari’s. I have a pharmacy and grocery store right across the street, in addition to lots of other businesses. The location is safe and clean. I guess they always say location, location, location is the key and I believe it. I have never lived in this county before and don’t know many people in the area but I am up for the change.

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I am living in a gated community with all the amenities. There’s the pool, 24 hr gym, car wash station and more. The staff here really do an outstanding job of customer service and they try to take care of everything for you including changing your light bulbs, your air filters and more! I have a great upstairs apartment with a screened in balcony and plenty of closet space. My place looks brand new. The peace and quiet of living all alone again is so refreshing.

I’m not sure how long I will be this fortunate but I will appreciate every day spent here. I know all too well how easy it is to lose it all. This is the happiest I have been in my life in many many years. Finally having a place to call home has given me a sense of stability. I have found a new church home and getting situated with my new job. Everything seems to be falling into place.

Watching from a distance

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It’s been a long time since I have posted anything on here. I have been so busy with some life changes. But I need to share something that has been weighing heavy on my heart. I have been watching from afar as a loved one has struggled with an unfair hardship. This story is for him.

There’s someone named John that means a lot to me. John used to be married to Bertha Nevaeh. She is an evil ugly woman. Bertha had convinced John to marry her after just two months of courtship. John obviously was stupid and fell under her spell.

John and Bertha had lots of children together in the short time they were together and allowed her to walk all over him. Ugly Bertha made all the rules and was very controlling. She didn’t approve of his family or friends. After 10 years of marriage, ugly Bertha decided to kick poor John to the curb. Literally. He was served with papers and had to get out. Broke and distraught he left his wife, children and home with only $11 to his name.

His evil wife was having an affair while he had to live out of his work vehicle. Yes, this is a true story! His boss then allowed him to sleep on a cot in his business for 10 days and thankfully was feeding him. He moved a few times after that renting a room here and there. He did what he had to do, kept his job and continued to see and care for his children.

All the children were confused and upset about the family being broke apart and the chaos around them. Their oldest child decided to reach out to her mother’s church friends for help. Well once ugly Bertha found out, she kicked their eldest out too. So the child moved right in with John and he raised her all alone for the 4 years she was in high school. Bertha just wrote the eldest off and wanted nothing to do with her because she thought of her as a traitor. Wow!

After many many years all alone, John has finally fallen in love with a beautiful woman named Angelina. Angelina is kind and patient and so sweet. She is soft-spoken and gentle. She is everything that ugly Bertha is not. But amazingly, Bertha is still controlling John to some degree. Ugly Bertha is using the children as pawns and is constantly threatening to withhold visitation for one reason or another.

I don’t know how long beautiful Angelina can hang in there while Bertha torments their relationship. Bertha calls at all hours of the night and is still upsetting John by her constant drama.

John — please hear me out…. Cut all ties with evil ugly Bertha! You have no reason to have contact with her. Your children are all old enough to know how to get in contact with you. They understand their mother is a mental case. You have your family and friends supporting you. And most importantly, do not mess up your relationship with the best thing woman you have ever had, Angelina.

I don’t mean to hurt your feelings and I love you like a sister. Do what you need to do. Just thought if you read it in black and white then you could see the big picture.

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I took this pic of Linda when we were partners in Pembroke

I took this pic of Linda when we were partners in Pembroke

A few days ago my friend Linda died. I just can’t believe she is gone. I can not seem to think of anything else. I just keep wanting to pick up the phone and call her. She would be shocked over this too. This seems to be unreal. I am constantly remembering back through all my memories of her and the last time I saw her. The last time I think I saw her was a year ago and I went to her house. I sat at her kitchen table with her as we gossiped about all our old co-workers. We laughed and enjoyed reminiscing over old times. I told everyone she was 59 but she was actually 62. Oops. She definitely didn’t look it.  I should have went and seen her since then. I’m such a slack friend. But I do know that she knew I loved her.

She was a 911 dispatcher. She was feisty. She had been at the same job for 29 long years according to her boss. But the obituary from the funeral home has that she worked there 26 years. So I’m not sure exactly. Regardless she loved that job and devoted her life to it. But over the last 5 or 10 years she was really getting burned out. Who could blame her? She trained me and so many others. She tried to be so thorough. Everyone in the small town of Pembroke has spoken to her over the phone at one time or another. She dispatched police, Ems, fire, animal control, among others. She answered the 911 calls and administrative lines. She sacrificed so much time with her family during holidays and special events to keep her job going.

Linda had the biggest heart. She would give you a ride, share her lunch with you and welcome you into her home. She would take home a stray dog or someone who needs a place to sleep. She was very trusting and super country. She lived like very few people I know. She loved horses, her two children and her grand kids. She was very unique and they just don’t make people like her anymore. She’s from a different era. It always made me smile to hear her pronounce the word, window. She would say windrs. It was so cute how she threw in a R in certain words. And because of that I would call her Linder. LOL.

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We spent hours upon hours talking and sharing secrets when we worked. She was the best listener. I confided in her with so much. And she was like a vault and never ever told a secret. I remember seeing her hold it together at her husbands funeral. But mostly I will remember the laughs we had. What an awesome lady! Gosh, I will miss her so much and can’t imagine what her family is going through. Her death was such a shock. Here is the words the Flanders funeral home has on-line about her,

“Linda Fanning Wilkes, age 62 died Friday afternoon at East Georgia Regional Medical Center.  Mrs. Wilkes was a long-time resident of Bulloch County and worked as a 911 dispatcher for Bryan County for over 26 years.  She loved to fish, was a member of Believer’s Church in Statesboro and was preceded in death by her husband of 42 years, Buddy Wilkes.

Survivors include her son Robert Allen Wilkes of Bulloch County; daughter and son-in-law Darlene and Aaron Barnard of Bulloch County; brother Johnny Fanning of Groveland; sisters Betty Hughes and Mary Cowart, both of Claxton; five grandchildren Candi Carroll, Christy Daley, Brandon Conder, Dakota Wilkes and Michelle Wilkes and three great grandchildren Matthew Fordham, MacKenzy Fail and Nathan Albaugh.

Visitation will be held 6-9 P.M. Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at the funeral home.  Funeral services will be held 11 A.M. Wednesday, May 15, 2013 in the chapel of Flanders Morrison Funeral Home with Pastor Scott Moore officiating.  Flandersmorrisonfuneralhome.com”

Rest In Peace my friend, I love you!

Biggest Loser Open Casting Call…fail

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Well today sucked. But no one can say I didn’t try. Here, let me explain…..  I applied on-line to be on NBC’s The Biggest Loser Season 15 about 6 months ago, maybe even longer than that. I finally heard back from them on April 22nd. They suggested I show up in person @ the Open Casting Call today in Charleston if I was still interested. I have really been wanting to do this. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to lose weight and compete to win $250,000. About a week ago, a friend from work mentioned she and another girl were planning on going to it also and suggested we all go together. That made my day. Whewwww, I won’t have to face it all alone.

On April 30th I received an email from The Biggest Loser Casting Group offering me a ‘cut the line’ pass. This email entitled me and one friend a spot at the front of the line at the Charleston casting call.  It gave instructions on exactly what time they expected me and where to go. But, about two days ago, I was advised that one of the girls probably was going to bail on the trip. That was okay though. There will still be two of us going and we’ll still be in good shape (no pun intended). We got together last night to sort out all of our plans. All is good. We made a couple of videos together and I printed out some pictures they have requested. I stayed at my daughter’s house last night and went to bed at a decent hour but between my nerves and the fact that I work straight nights, I tossed and turned all night.

This is my before weight gain and after pic

This is my before weight gain and after pic

I got up bright and early this morning to the sound of pouring down rain and a throbbing headache. I was still excited though. I took extra care in getting ready and fixing my hair, ya know you gotta look nice for the cameras. I knew I had to get out the door by 930am in order to pick my friend up on the way and was running right on schedule. As I was putting the final touches on my make up and spraying down my hair for the last time, I glanced at my phone and noticed a text message. It was from my friend telling me that she had to cancel. Oh nooooooooooo! I panicked for a second. Not sure I could mentally do this on my own. Being unsuccessful with finding a replacement ride along, I decided to buck up and just do it on my own. Yep, all by myself. A few tears later and I was driving off into the clouds and rain.

Along the way there, my bad luck seemed to hang with me. I had to unexpectantly slam on the brakes and my purse flew to the floor and all the contents being dumped all over. Lovely! It was just one thing after another. My gps wouldn’t work so I had to use the navigation on my phone and my shoes were killing my feet. What in the world is going on?! Finally made it there 2 and a half hours later, parked in the garage and proceeded to the crazy line that wrapped around the building. You would think American Idol was in town. After standing in line for a few minutes I remember my ‘head of the line’ pass. I asked a girl in front of me if everyone got one and she had never heard of it. So, I ditched the line and headed for the entrance of the building. What do you know, the damn pass worked! Something is actually going my way. Shocker! Once inside a staff member had me fill out a form and collected one of my pictures. I was then put at a long table with about ten other applicants and one staff member. She interviewed all of us at once. We each got about 30 seconds to a minute to tell our story.

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I am not shy and never hold back. But when the lady called on me to speak I all of a sudden got nervous and could not even remember my age. Really. All the others at my table were smooth. They almost all had a super dramatic story to tell. Their kid was dying of cancer or they had been homeless at one time or their husband used to beat them. Jeez. Then I said I live in Georgia and I’m a dispatcher. Hahaha. That’s almost all I could think of. Some of the others even broke into tears. I wanted to scream out, “Liar”. Why didn’t I cry? I never sounded so plain and normal in my whole life. And before I knew it the interview was over.

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Feeling like a failure and still milking my headache, I made my way to the parking garage to retrieve my car as I craved IHOP pancakes. And there I find someone parked so close to my car I could not even squeeze between their car and mine to get in. I’m surprised I don’t have a flat tire. Somehow someway I managed to get into my car and leave. Reset the navigation on my phone to my home address this time and not my daughter’s, I started my longer drive home in the rain. But this time the phone gps took me all back woods and even down dirt roads. I thought my car was going to get stuck in the mud at one point. Today just wasn’t my day. I obviously know I won’t be picked for this reality show. I will just have to keep on keepin on with my weight loss journey on my own. I have lost 26.6 lbs all by myself over the last 5 months. I can do this!

My top 10 reasons why I do not work ON an ambulance….

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I have worked in Public Safety for over 12 years. I’m a dispatcher and have been with several different agencies. I have dispatched Police, Deputy Sheriffs, Ambulances, Helicopters and Fire Depts, among others. Over the years people have asked me if I would ever consider working the street as an EMT or paramedic. Well the answer is no and always has been. Nothing about patient care appeals to me. I admire and respect those who can do it but I am not one. If it is your calling then I do think you will get a great sense of accomplishment from it.

Here is just some reasons on why I choose not to work on an ambulance……

* I do not like the sound of cockroaches crackling under my feet as I walk thru a strangers living room.

* Sitting in a cramped space in the back of an ambulance caring for a homeless man who has bugs and crumbs in his beard with a really bad stench in the middle of the summer is not my idea of a good time.

* Scheduled to work a 24 hr shift and after running calls all day, finally laying down and dozing into a nice sleep and the tones go off and have to jump up and run out the door to another call. No snooze button.

* Running a call in the pouring rain to go to meet with the police on the side of the road so they can have you check out an extremely intoxicated person who was driving and is now spitting in your face while talking too loud.

* Being puked on, bled on, taking care of someone with very bad diarrhea and seeing other bodily fluids is not a career I dream of.

* Running a 911 call to a patient that is having a minor issue like a cold that could be handled in a doctor’s office.

* Getting paid the same amount that someone in Wal-Mart gets while saving someones life.

* Being exposed to a variety of blood-borne infectious diseases and illnesses.

* Dealing with death of the very young, child abuse or rapes face to face.

* Having to lift very large obese patients that eventually over time cause havoc on your back and legs.

 

There’s many more but I will stop at ten. You get the point. It is not a job for just anyone. I admire, respect and love soooooo many that do this for a living. I am not slamming them by any means. Just stressing the reasons on why it’s not for me.

Mind over matter

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I read an article not long ago about bed bugs. I never thought much about them until recently. I work at a fire station and one of the stations was having an infestation of them just recently. Between reading the article and hearing the talk about them at work, I began to get a bit itchy just thinking about them. This morning I checked into the Wingate by Wyndham. I travel and stay in hotels room every couple of months. I live more than a 90 minute drive from work so sometimes its easier to just get a room then drive that far when tired. Never ever felt squeamish from a room before. I can pull back the sheets and go right to sleep without a second thought. Oh, but not today.

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I’m creeping out. That damn article. Now I am laying here and can’t thing of anything else but those nasty bug bugs. Ever couple seconds I think I feel something on my leg, and then my head or my arm. Ughhhhhh. I have got up and investigated the sheet twice already. I don’t want to check out. I just got here an hour and half ago. I wish I could just think of something else. My ear is itching and then my foot is. This is ridiculous. There can’t be bug bugs here. This has got to be my imagination. Gosh, I hope the little suckers don’t crawl into my suitcase. Am I ruined for hotel stays for the rest of my life now? What am I going to do?

I do believe in mind over matter. The term mind over matter refers to controlling pain that one may or may not be experiencing. Thankfully I fell asleep eventually. The mind is a very powerful thing. It’s what holds us back and what helps us to overcome addictions. Mind over matter can be used in just about every aspect in our lives.

Mind your own business

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What the hell is wrong with some people? Why would someone write on your Facebook or twitter page to say they disagree with you? I don’t get it. Do it on your own wall. I’ll tell you if I want a debate.  If I am posting my beliefs and my opinions and you don’t like them, well then delete me. Block me. Unfriend me. I don’t care what you do. I’m not referring to the times someone asks for your advice or your opinion. That is a totally different thing. Now if I say, “So and so is my pick for President. What do you think?”,  that would be a whole other story. I would never think of just going to someone’s wall and writing, “Nope, I don’t like your opinion.” If I see someone post something clearly against my beliefs like, ‘Go Hitler’ or ‘I can drink and drive’ then so be it. I would obviously realize I don’t need to be following them on a social website. Like most of us were taught as children, if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. By throwing your opinion on someone that will not change the minds of those who think differently.

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I really don’t mind a respectful debate. Message me and ask me to explain why I believe the way I do. Then ask if I would like to hear your side. That way no ones feelings get hurt and it is a productive conversation. Believe it or not, I have many friends with complete opposite beliefs than I have. Religious, political and social issues are very sensitive subjects. And those differences are what makes the world go round. But be cautious when sharing it with others of a different view-point, if you’re not writing it on your own wall.

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I am passionate about my beliefs, as I am sure you are as well. I do not want to keep my opinions to myself nor do I want to force them on you. My parents raised me to be considerate of those around me and the diverse feelings of the world. Like I said, delete me if you want, block me, unfriend or just hide me. I don’t care. Just don’t be disrespectful. And as Sweet Brown says, Ain’t no body got time for that!

“Don’t be defeatist dear, it’s terribly middle class”…… Dowager Countess of Grantham

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Have you gotten into the whole Downton Abbey craze? I held off as long as I could but yes, I have. If you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard of it let me tell you about it. Downton Abbey is a British period drama television series that comes on PBS. The first thing I have ever watched on PBS since Sesame Street. Its only been aired in the US since January of 2011. It is a series, set in the fictional Yorkshire country estate of Downton Abbey, representing  the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era — with the great events in history having an effect on their lives and on the British social hierarchy. I never in a million years thought I would get into something like this. But oh my Gosh, I am in love with it!!!

Downton Abbey has received critical applause from television critics and won numerous accolades, including a Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries or Television Film and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries. It was recognised by Guinness World Records as the most critically acclaimed English-language television series of 2011, and became the first international television series to receive the largest number of nominations in the history of the Primetime Emmy Awards, with twenty-seven in total. It was the most watched television series on both ITV and PBS. By the third series, it had become one of the most widely watched television shows in the world. You just cannot argue with those statistics.

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It takes place from the year 1912 to 1921. Or at least that’s where it left off on Sunday night, Season 3 finale. The scene of Downton Abbey on the show from the outside and most of it inside  is actually Highclere Castle. Highclere Castle is a 1000 acre country house in Hampshire, England, United Kingdom. Filming of the 4th series begins this month. I have no idea when it is coming back on but I can promise you I am holding my breath waiting. I must say I was peered pressured into watching it and since then I have been trying to threaten others around me to do the same. I got my daughter to watch it and she loves it as much as I do. I have met two people (Amanda Legassi and Carol Shuman) who said it just wasn’t their cup of tea, no pun intended. I may be shocked but not offended. To each their own.

I beg of you to try to give it a shot. If you get On-Demand through your cable company then watch it that way. Thats the best. But if not, go to pbs.org and watch them all on-line for free (for a limited time). If all else fails, go to youtube.com and pay to watch them. Get comfortable and get ready for the show to begin. Wonderful one-liners like, “What’s a weekend.”

Off to see the Bid-A-Mins

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I went to Egypt in March of 2009. As I mentioned in my earlier post of Jordan, I was not expecting much. In fact I never wanted to go to this part of the world. I’m a city girl and I like things new and clean. The Middle East was never on my to-do list. With that being said, I decided to join my sweet cousin and her large group of friends on their trip to Egypt. And lo and behold this was the best trip of my life. I took over 1000 pictures and had the time of my life. Let me share with you some of the highlights.

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Our first day there we flew to Aswan.  We went to see the Abu Simbel temples. They are two massive rock temples in Nubia, southern Egypt. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, southwest of Aswan. The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari.  The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir.

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From there we went and boarded a cruise ship on The Nile River.  We got settled in to our rooms and then went to Edfu. The next morning we viewed the Aswan High Dam, the granite quarries with the unfinished Obelisk, and Philae’s Temple of Isis. Afterwards we sailed to Kom Ombo to visit the Ptolemaic Temple, built in honor of gods Horus and Sobek.  The next day we visited the 2000-year-old Temple of Horus. Standing as Egypt’s best preserved temple and second largest after Karnak, the Temple of Horus is a compelling construction both in terms of size and intricacy. That afternoon we sailed via Esna to Luxor, the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes. 

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I learned so much on this trip. I missed out on a lot of history in school from playing around and had to do catch up on this trip.  The following day we went to Luxor and visited the famed Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, the Colossi of Memnon, and the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut. The City of Luxor has often been called the worlds greatest open air museum, it is and much more. The number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled to anywhere else in the world that is known of. Luxor consists of The City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor.
Luxor Temple is a large Ancient Egyptian temple complex located on the east bank of the River Nile in the city today known as Luxor and was founded in 1400 BC.

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The next day was my birthday and being still in Luxor we visited the Temples of Karnak and Luxor as well as the famous Avenue of Sphinxes. That night we went to the Sound and Light Show at the Temple of Karnak. What a way to spend a birthday! At dinner on the cruise ship everyone sang happy birthday to me in the main dining room. The next day we departed from our cruise ship and went to the Airport and flew to Cairo. 
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Arriving in Cairo was like going from the fields of Iowa to the center of Manhattan.  Crazy but oh so exciting. Cairo is the capital city of Egypt, and is the largest city in Africa. It is the largest metropolitan area in Egypt, and is one of the most populous in the world.  In our first day there we did sightseeing including an up-close panoramic view of the Pyramids of Cheops, Khefren, and Mycerinus, a visit to the Sphinx, and the Valley Temple. And I got to go in the big pyramid and climb to the top. Probably one of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life. We visited the world-renowned Egyptian Museum, with its treasures of King Tut and artifacts dating back some 3,350 years. We Enjoyed lunch at a local restaurant nearby. After lunch, we visited the Citadel, the medieval fortress of Salah-El-Din, the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, and the Khan El Khalili Bazaar.

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The Khan El Khalili was probably my favorite thing of the whole trip.  Khan El-Khalili is an ancient shopping area, nothing less, but some of the shops have also their own little factories or workshops. This shopping area dates back to 1382. I was really looking forward to coming here more than any other place there. It is like one huge maze and you could definitely get lost. We had a guide who took us through, thankfully. It is truly something you would have to see to believe. You can find almost anything there. That night we went to the Sound and Light show at the Great Pyramid. 

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The reason I titled this post Off to see the Bid-A-Mins is because with their accent over there they pronounce pyramids like bid-a-mins. There really was so much more but I could not mention it all. Most importantly it was the people I was with that made it such a fantastic trip. We laughed and drank and danced. What more could you ask for.

 

Where have I been??

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For the longest time I thought I was a Republican. Since the very beginning felt this way and never doubted it. Well during the last Presidential election I did a little research and decided, no, I’m actually closer to a Libertarian. But not exactly. Just kind of. I always assumed there were just three political parties in America. NOT! I thought when people said Independent then that meant you just go with the flow and do whatever you want. I feel like an idiot now.

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But there is actually a party called American Independent. Someone at work told me the other night that my beliefs sounded like I was an Independent. So I did some reading and was shocked. Really shocked. I AM AN AMERICAN INDEPENDENT. I have never met anyone who belongs to this party so I guess that’s why I have been so clueless. Do you know what The American Independent Party believes? Let me tell you…

We Acknowledge the Creator’s Gracious Gifts
The American Independent Party gratefully acknowledges God as the Creator of all and appeals to Him for help in protecting all He has graciously given us. With all these gifts comes the right to use them justly. Hence all such rights are the gifts of God as affirmed in our Declaration of Independence. These include the right to life and liberty.

Declaration of Independence Rights are God-Given
All rights are unalienable in that none have a right to take them unjustly. Liberty includes the pursuit of happiness, which is the possession and exercise of virtue. Liberty includes the right to use and claim as an individual possession any unclaimed thing received from the hand of God, in or upon or above the Earth. This right to any possession includes its entire use, that is, its exchange, control, protection, and entire disposition. And the first and greatest of these possessions is our life.

God-Given Duties to Individuals
God gave Man this earth to make of it a well-tended Garden, not to leave it an uninhabited wilderness. He gave us our lives, not to be lived to ourselves alone, but in love to one another. And the duty to love certainly includes the duty not to act hatefully towards others. Therefore, we have a duty to be at peace with each other. Our duty to love one another includes a duty to protect each other from unjust harm. We have further a duty to cooperate with each other in the fulfillment of these duties. Such duties are the basis for just government.

As the only creature made in God’s image and likeness, all men have an equal duty to love themselves and others to honor that image of the God they are commanded to love. To obliterate that image by unjustly taking a life is the highest crime that one may do to another. To take a life justly is the most somber obligation God ever imposes.

Our Constitution Enables Us to Protect Our Rights and Fulfill Our Duties
To secure and fulfill all God-given rights and duties, governments are instituted among men. To fulfill those duties and protect those rights, We the People of the United States of America ordained and established a Constitution for ourselves.

Rights and Duties of Association, Including that Forceful Association, Government
God created Man with two great dimensions, individual and social. In so doing He gave us the right to associate with each other to take advantage of our rights and to fulfill our duties. The right to associate includes the right to choose one’s associates, but does not include the right to force others to associate.

God has imposed on men a duty to associate in governments to put a justified fear into the hearts of evildoers. These duties are given for the good of all, but not to deprive any of the rights they are designed to protect! Governments should never commit the crimes they are created to prevent!

No association of men has any rights of itself, but only by reason of the rights contributed to it according to the covenant established among its members. That fundamental limit on associations includes the greatest and most forceful of all human associations, government. However, among all our rights we find those derived from our duties, for we all have a right to justly pursue our duties.

Therefore:

The Constitution: the Original Contract that America has with Itself
The American Independent Party is the party of ordered liberty in a nation under God. We believe in strict adherence to written law. We believe the Constitution is the contract America has with itself. Its willful distortion has led to the violation of our Tenth Amendment guaranteed right to limited government, which inevitably requires oppressive taxation. Its faithful application will lift that awful burden.

Freedom from “Liberalism”
Freed from the lawless oppression of Liberal rule, we may then compassionately and justly use our energy and ingenuity to provide for ourselves and our families. We will then establish truly free and responsible enterprise and reassert the basic human right to property.

The Protection of Life, and the Duties and Rights of Families
We believe in protecting all human life however weak, defenseless, or disheartened; we endorse the family as the essential bulwark of liberty, compassion, responsibility, and industry; and declare the family’s right and responsibility to nurture, discipline, and educate its children. We maintain that all humans are persons from the beginning of their biological development and especially deserve our love and nurture when they are weakest and most dependent.

Marriage Between a Man and a Woman
We insist that marriage is between a man and a woman and assert the role of the law in establishing and reinforcing the mutual rights and obligations of that God-ordained contract.

The Individual and Common Defense
We assert the absolute, concurrent Second Amendment guaranteed individual right to self defense against impositions by other citizens or our government, coupled with a strong common defense, a common defense which requires a national sovereignty not damaged by imprudent or un-Constitutional treaties.

Opposition to Illegal Immigration and Support of Secure Borders
We oppose all illegal immigration. We support secure borders and immigration policies inviting the best of the world to join us in freedom. We emphatically demand that our borders be protected against intrusions by that most straight-forward and practical means, a fence, reinforced by all the necessary manpower and electronic surveillance. We also insist that those who violate our immigration laws, be they illegal immigrants or their employer, be punished for their crime in a way that will deter them from future offenses.

Our Great Pro-Life Constitution
The Republic established by our Constitution is the greatest of all pro-life institutions. In the first place, it protects our lives from the impositions of foreign nations and internal disorder. Our Constitution in its Fifth Amendment also forbids the government to take life, or liberty, or property unjustly. The Fourteenth amendment requires all States to apply all the protections they provide for life equally to all visitors or citizens, and to all born or unborn persons within the territories governed by their laws.

Public Servants, Not Public Masters! All Governments Under God
We believe that all those who govern are the servants of God for the good of citizens. Therefore all governments are under God whether they like it or not! This is why we call those who rule in our nation, Public Servants. We will resist by all political means at our disposal the increasing inclination of our Public employees and representatives to become, ever more, Public Masters.

In consequence whereof, we call upon all men who value their God-given liberty to join us in pursuit of these political convictions.

In life it is all about creating yourself. I am a work in process and always changing. You can probably tell from my posts on here. I am learning and growing everyday. So excuse me for changing my affiliations. I got to keep it going until I get it right.

 

I’ve been bitten

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Yes, I’ve been bitten by the running bug. It is addicting. I am behind on my recorded TV shows, catching up with my cousin and everything else because I have been all consumed with completing my C25K app. I dream now of being a runner. I am slow though. Very slow. But continuing on. I have lost 14.4 lbs. I still cramp when running, but its way better than it was at the beginning. I still forget sometimes to stretch and currently working on breathing techniques.

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According to Livestrong.com, Getting the most out of your jogging sessions involves more than building leg strength, picking a good path and buying the right shoes. Proper breathing also plays a vital role in how successful your jogging experience is. By learning breathing techniques to use while running, you can improve your speed and potentially increase your pace with little effort.

Some people recommend at the beginning to breathe in and out on the same foot.  So, for example, bring your right foot forward, take a breath in, the next time you bring your right foot forward, exhale. And then after running for a while and getting that one down then most switch over to the 3-2, 3 breaths in, 2 out.  And then every once in a while exhale big time to get all air out and then take a huge breath in and then resume.

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The girl who started me out jogging does 2-1; 2 small breaths in and one slow out. Breathing a specific way is a lot harder than it seems. But regardless of however you breathe, The most important thing, as others have mentioned, is breathing deep.  Avoid rapid shallow breathing, as it doesn’t turnover the air in your lungs sufficiently to replenish the oxygen you’re using.

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I have had to try out 4 different earphones to find the ones I like best. I got new running shoes and an armband to hold my ipod and keys. I am trying to do whatever I can to make this running thing possible. With me it’s all trial and error. Thanks to the ones jogging with me like Stephanie, Amanda, Joan and Angel. Everyone has been so patient with me.

 

My Weight Loss Journey Update….

I do know for sure that I can’t multi-task. I have been focused on a couple different things lately which has caused my blogging to take a back seat. The first distraction has been my concentration on my new toy, my Gateway 17′ laptop. It came with Windows 8 which is taking me a little while to get used to. And the 2nd thing is, of course working desperately on my weight loss. I am only 10 lbs down but am going to share with you the things I have learned so far on my journey. More so probably for myself so I can look back over this when I am struggling and be able to regroup with the tools that seem to work.

One of the things I have done is made a vision board all about fitness and weight loss. I have it pinned up on the inside of my closet door and try to glance at it daily. I wrote the date on the back so I will know exactly how long it has taken me to reach my goal. It may seem a bit cheesy to some but it has worked for me in the past. I did this because I believe weight loss is more mental than physical. This is to try to reprogram my mind on healthy thoughts.  Here is a picture of it, if it comes through ok…

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Second thing is I downloaded several apps on my smart phone. I went through so many until I found the two that help the most. C25K (by Zen Labs) is my favorite exercise one. It starts you out from a sedentary person to a 5K runner. It stands for Couch to 5K. Any beginner can use this. The other one I use is My Fitness Pal. You list your weight and what your goal weight is and it will calculate how many calories you should be in taking a day. Then you list everything you eat, drink or exercise on there and it calculates everything for you. It even has a bar code thingy so you can scan everything. I love love it. That way all through out the day you know whether you are below your calorie count or over it.

After I gave up soft drinks completely and got bored with water I started drinking Powerade Zero. A lot. And slowly I started realizing my rings were getting tight again. These drinks are ok but too much and you will retain fluid. Try to only drink them if you are working out and sweating or no more than one after every two bottles of waters. All intake you have is important. It’s all trial and error. Everyone’s body is different and handles different things differently.

Two different doctors told me that weight loss is 90% what you eat and 10% what you exercise. So put your time and energy on eating smaller portions and more often and NEVER skip a meal. Do little steps like changing white bread to wheat and more vegetables in place of everything else. LOL. Small steps everyday make big changes in the end. And don’t stop if you fall off the wagon. It’s your own personal experiment that you are making as you go. Even though exercise only contributes to 10%, don’t forget to add it into your daily life. Once you start exercising and have a routine then your body will love it. And miss it when you don’t.

I have taken bits and pieces of information from several sources and trying to implement into my life. Ten down and 90 more to go.

 

Success is not a race, be patient.

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This whole changing my eating habits plan is way way harder than anything I have ever done. I think this is more challenging for some than others. Some have a weakness with alcohol, some drugs, some cigarettes, some sex. Well my weakness is definitely food. I am probably an addict. I feel like I have a sickness. This has been total torture. I am NOT dieting. I am not doing the shakes or pills. I am just trying to eat right. Eating right for me is small portions, more often and healthy foods.

I am exercising almost daily. I enjoy that. I am slow and don’t last terribly long, yet, but I am consistent. One problem I notice with working out is that my appetite increases. And the more I exercise the more leg cramps I get.   My struggle is with food. I am already sick of salad and chicken and water. I have noticed that my downfall through this whole thing has been not pre-planning my meals and giving in to convenience. I am trying to cut back or cut out breads, butter, mayo, sweets and absolutely NO soft drinks. I have stood on a number of different scales over the last two weeks and they all read something different. I am going with the one with the biggest weight loss which is 9 pounds so far.

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My goal now is not to lose a certain amount (but 100 lbs would be nice), it’s to keep going. I have a history of quitting. I’m a commitment-phobe I guess. So all I want is to not stop. To keep this going even if I mess up. To restart over and over again, no matter what. As I continue on this venture I have begun to learn a lot about myself. Most of it is not good though. This change has nothing to do with my age or a New Years Resolution or any kind of fad. I am tired of being tired and fat. Its exhausting and embarrassing. So please keep the prayers coming at me and hope I push away from the table more.

 

 

2013

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I am looking forward to 2013. I love new beginnings. I love change. 2012 hasn’t been bad for me but I am hoping for exciting and fun things to come. With the New Year only weeks away, I am putting my list of New Year Resolutions together. Yes, I am one of those. And I actually put a great deal of thought into it and list them all out. Planning for my coming year has made me recollect on the good and bad of this year. I can definitely say I have had more good than bad this year. Thank God. I have been under less stress and shed less tears than most years in the past. I am constantly thinking of ways to be a better person. I have so much I can improve on that the sky is the limit. Ohhhh, where to begin…

 

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Continue on with my effort of changing my body image and health. I have just started working out (slowly) since the day after Thanksgiving and do not want to stop. My hope for 2013 is to run my first 5K. I don’t feel I have an option but to move forward. So my resolution is kind of vague but it is to just don’t stop with exercise. 

 

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3This one kind of goes with the first one but it is to continue working on changing my eating habits. I am like an alcoholic but with food. Not always with eating too much though, just eating ALL the wrong things. I apparently have no will power or strength when it comes to this area of my life.  This has been my hardest challenge ever. And it is something I will have to fight for the rest of my life.

 

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4Finances are always on my list each year. I am not too far behind on this one but becoming debt free and actually building up my savings is a goal for this coming year. Thanks to my current living situation I have been able to stay above water.

 

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AThis one will be one of my harder ones to reach but it’s to grow my hair out. I haven’t had it long in years and am terribly impatient. But I love to try just for a different look. Not sure what hair colors 2013 will bring into my life but I do want to go longer.

5.  Read more books. I read some great books this year and hope to broaden my literary interests in 2013. There is nothing like losing yourself in a great novel. I feel guilty and a bit lazy if I go too long without reading one.

I am not including travel in my list this year. All because of step #1. I don’t smoke and very rarely drink so I don’t need to list those. This pretty much sums it up. Wish me luck and good luck to you if you set goals for our New Year.

 

5 year olds, Really??!

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I am appalled and shocked like everyone else over the school shooting today. I shouldn’t be though. But this shooting has seem to hit me hard in the heart. Children are so innocent and trusting. They are pure. How could anyone want to include them in their rant and shooting spree??? I know this isn’t suppose to make any sense since the shooter would obviously have to be mentally ill. But our minds still tend to try to figure this out. I am grateful this shooter’s mother died today in the aspect that she does not need to see the devastation her son has caused. Not sure if I explained myself correctly in that. I hope that the children who were shot died instantly and felt no pain or suffering. I pray for the children who witnessed any part of this. I cannot imagine what they are feeling or going through at this time. The only thing that makes me feel a little better about this is that those children who died went straight into Jesus’ arms. I do truly believe that. I want to believe they are comforted and loved so much that they do not remember anything before that.

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This world sucks! And I think it is just going to get worse. Hang on for the ride. We have no choice but to keep going. Tell your family and friends that you love them and just be ready when its your time. I know I am. I’m not sure why God allows heart-break but I will see the big picture when this is all over. Just pray for all of those involved that were left behind.

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As far as the gun aspect….. this to me would be more of a reason to ARM up. I have a gun but if I didn’t I damn sure would get one now. I never want to be nearby and see someone shoot a child in front of me. If guns were made illegal then these losers with mental illness would still find a way to get one. They aren’t exactly following the letter of the law.

Here is the lyrics to the song When the Children Cry by White Lion. So fitting to hear this song today.

“When The Children Cry”

Little child
Dry your crying eyes
How can I explain
The fear you feel inside
‘Cause you were born
Into this evil world
Where man is killing man
And no one knows just whyWhat have we become
Just look what we have done
All that we destroyed
You must build again

When the children cry
Let them know we tried
‘Cause when the children sing
Then the new world begins

Little child
You must show the way
To a better day
For all the young
‘Cause you were born
For the world to see
That we all can live
With love and peace

No more presidents
And all the wars will end
One united world under God

When the children cry
Let them know we tried
‘Cause when the children sing
Then the new world begins

What have we become
Just look what we have done
All that we destroyed
You must build again

No more presidents
And all the wars will end
One united world under God

When the children cry
Let them know we tried
‘Cause when the children sing
The new world begins

What have we become
Just look what we have done
All that we destroyed
You must build again

No more presidents
And all the wars will end
One united world under God

When the children cry
Let them know we tried
‘Cause when the children fight
Let them know it ain’t right
When the children pray
Let them know the way
‘Cause when the children sing
Then the new world begins

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you

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Well I have gotten so sick and tired of being a fat ass that I have decided to break down and change my habits. This is a big step for me. I don’t like to commit to things if there’s even the slightest chance of failure. And the percentage of screwing this up is HUGE. I see all these friends of mine around me running marathons and 5K’s and wishing I could join in. I have passed up on a lot of life’s adventures due to my weight issues. My health has suffered among other things and I just want to change it. So I am putting my best foot forward to do whatever it takes to do this.

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I started the work out portion the day after Thanksgiving. I was given a free membership to the gym through my work, thank God. I started very slow. Probably slower than I needed to. But I was trying to most importantly begin a habit. A habit of going there. Once there I realized I had a bigger problem with being there exercising when others were. I only wanted to go if the place was empty. I would sometimes pull up and leave if I saw other cars in the parking lot. Or I would shut off the treadmill mid walk and bolt for the door if someone came in. I have gotten better about it but still working on dealing with it. I think it is humiliation or being so self-conscious.

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I decided to change my eating habits about 4 days ago. This is my greatest challenge. I love the food I was eating. LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! But I am trying to not think of that queso dip, tostitos and mountain dew. I am focusing on water, grilled chicken, green beans and salad, among some other things. I am trying to eat small portions and more frequently. Eating right is the hardest thing I have had to try to do in my life. And my doctor told me today that he believes eating right is about 90% of what it takes to lose weight and be healthy with 10% of it for fitness. That is insane and not fair.

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I am in no way enjoying this. But I hope to one day. I will not stop. I feel like I look like an idiot and am terribly embarrassed  But I will do what I got to do. I pray that this will be an obsession with me. I want to be a fanatic. So I am asking everyone who reads this to please say a prayer for me because I need all the help I can get.

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I prize the privilege of being alone –Carl Rogers

I am a loner. I crave my quiet time by myself. But I don’t think I have the personality of a typical loner. I am not independent, like I think most of them are.  I am a people person who loves life. I cannot explain it. I have been this way for many years. I first remember craving the alone time in my late twenties. I have been this way ever since. I hate talking on a phone, always have. If it were up to me then I would turn off the phones when I walked in the door. But I don’t because you never know when a love one needs me. Sometimes I can spend hours and hours at home alone with no TV and no radio, nothing but silence. And that to me can be the most peaceful time ever.

The shocking thing to me is that I am an extrovert and I am supposed to be with people.  That is my nature, I just know it is. I love to be the life of the party. I am loud. I just don’t fit the mold of being an introvert either.  I wonder how a therapist would describe me. I know very few loners so I don’t have much to compare it to. Pablo Picasso once said Without great solitude no serious work is possible. I can understand that.

I also read that The mind is sharper and keener in seclusion and uninterrupted solitude. Originality thrives in seclusion free of outside influences beating upon us to cripple the creative mind. Be alone—that is the secret of invention: be alone, that is when ideas are born. –Nikola Tesla, quoted in Thomas P. Hughes’s American Genesis: A Century of Invention and Technological Enthusiasm.  That is awesome!

Growing up I always thought of loners as those mountain men that move up to a cabin in the woods or people with mental illness or people extremely shy. Well, I am none of those. I am outgoing and fun, laugh a lot and sometimes too loud. I prefer the isolation, at least most of the time. There is those few instances where company is nice. It just doesn’t happen very often. I guess I am just strange.

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