Saturday, July 26, 2008

Photo Challenge - NUMBERS!

Here are my contributions to the most recent Brenda Photo Challenge, hosted by Karen M. The theme is "numbers". For my first picture, I went with the obvious choice, a picture of my Numb3rs DVDs: I love this show! The guy that plays Charlie Eppes, the math professor, is the actor who played Bernard the Head Elf in the first two Santa Clause movies. He's why I first tuned into the show. And Rob Morrow, who plays Don Eppes, reminds me a little bit of my nephew, Joseph. I think it's the mouth - the way his lips are always pursed. Yoda (my nickname for my nephew) always does that with his mouth, too. lol My second picture is this:

Don't you just love that song "The Twelve Days of Christmas"? Probably THE best song that features numbers. Makes me get all warm and fuzzy just singing it in my head..."On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...". Yessiree Bob. I could hear that every single day of the year and would love it each and every time. My third picture is definitely personal (Not that kind of personal, you pervs! Sheesh!). It's a picture of my keychain and charm that I've recently received from Weight Watchers. (Yes, me, the Queen of Complaining About Weight, broke down and joined Weight Watchers 10 weeks ago this past Wednesday. Yay me! lol) I received the copper colored keychain a couple of weeks ago when I reached my first goal of 10% body weight loss (I circled the little number "10" that's stamped into the metal) and I received the silver charm that has the number "25" as well as the abbreviation "lbs" stamped into the metal, 3 days ago when I officially lost (what I hope to be) my first 25 pounds. I'm very proud of both of those numbers. I honestly don't know which is a harder struggle...quitting the cigarettes or losing weight. But boy howdy, I'm sure glad I developed all these bad habits in my misspent youth. Trying to rid myself of them now that I'm in my 40's has really given me reasons for getting out of bed every morning. (She said with teeth gritted and eyes crossed.) LOL

Now for those of you who are just here to check out the Numbers Photo Challenge pictures, you might want to stop here. The rest of this post is a little bit of bragging, a little bit of self-pity and a whole lot of talk about dropping pounds. In other words, it might just bore you to tears! lol Okay...don't say I didn't warn you!

Anywho...has anybody else heard the phrase "Livin' Large"? It (normally) means:

Living Large: "a. U.S. slang"; to live large: to live in an extravagant manner; (hence) to be very successful, popular, or wealthy, esp. ostentatiously so.

Well that's not the meaning I had in mind when I named my blog. No, no, no... I named my blog "Just Livin' Large" because of the size of my arse, not the size of my wallet or my house. See, my arse is large. And well, it is definitely livin' - (don't think I'm not grateful for that, eh?). But I wasn't too happy with thegeneral state of my arse or the rest of me, for that matter, when I first started blogging. My very first post went like this:

Monday, June 11, 2007
So I stopped smoking. Now what? Okay, well I stopped smoking 16 weeks and 6 days ago (but who's counting, right?). What happens now? Will this almost uncontrollable urge to eat everything in sight stop soon? Will I continue to grow larger and larger and larger until one day I find the only thing that will fit me is a queen size bedsheet? I went clothes shopping the other day, mainly because I was down to one pair of pants that I could zip. I was shocked to discover that my clothes weren't suffering from an unexplained laundry mishap. They hadn't shrunk. I had grown. A lot. A whole lot. In my mind, I'm not fat. In my mirror, well let's not go there. Not only are my clothes not mysteriously altered to a smaller size as per my previous stated belief, but apparently my mirror isn't reflecting an inaccurate vision due to some glazing error. I'm just fat. When did this happen? When did I go from "fluffy" to "fat"? And is this condition permanent? And have I reached the fat boiling point that makes me actually take action to change this? Tune in tomorrow...

You might say I've been "fixated" on the subject for a while although only recently have I decided to actually do anything about it. It happened after that little "Mini-Moon" Randey and I took to OKC back in May. Remember, I'd bought new clothes for the trip. Really BIG new clothes. Even when I was buying those clothes, I still refused to believe how large I'd gotten. Until I saw the pictures of me in those clothes, that is. YOW-ZA! I mean really...YOW-ZA! It was awful. I was disgusted with myself and decided that enough was enough. That Monday, I got online, found the nearest Weight Watchers meeting and that Wednesday, I attended it and joined. As of this past Wednesday (10 weeks after my first meeting), I've lost a total of 25.4 pounds. I feel better, I act better, I'm more outgoing...(this is the bragging part I mentioned earlier, in case you couldn't tell! lol). Now for the pity dad, my step-mom, my step-sister and my nephew all came down from Oklahoma almost two weeks ago to drop said nephew off with us. I was all excited. After all, they hadn't seen me since the weekend before I'd joined Weight Watchers and here I'd lost 20, count 'em, 20 pounds! Oh I just knew I would be positively basking in the glory of that heady achievement, yessir. Only...nobody noticed. Not one person said anything. In fact, other than Randey, no one's said much of anything about my weight loss (although when I make a point of patting myself on the back after my meetings, the boys have been very nice about it and have at least acknowledged the effort. lol). Oh and Aunt Sandi said she thought I looked like I'd dropped a little weight when she saw the vacation pictures (thank you very much Aunt Sandi!) But for everyone else out there: Hello, people! I'm 25 pounds smaller than I was 2 1/2 months ago! Doesn't it show? Well.....apparently not. But that's okay for now. I'm still plugging along, watching what I eat, learning new things and ways to cook, moving my body more. And even if no one else ever, ever notices that I'm slowly shrinking right before their very eyes, I know it. I guess that'll have to do. Of course, I'm never one to suffer in silence (hence this post. lol) or to trudge along with no reward for myself, so to celebrate losing 20 pounds, which was the 10% of my body weight I mentioned earlier, I got this:Oooooh, aaaaahhhhh. A pretty new pink bike. Randey and I are going to start riding bikes in the evenings instead of just going for walks. Pretty cool looking, isn't it? I love it. Here's hoping I don't fall off and break something - it's been a while since I've tootled around on just 2 wheels! Hmmmm, now which handle did they say operates the brake???

Friday, July 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Desiree'!

My only daughter, Desiree', turns 21 years old today. Happy Birthday, Des! Here she is when she was almost 3 years old. See those eyes? Deep, dark brown. Kinda sparkly. Great happy smile. Cute little button nose. Just such a sweet little face. Oh yeah. A sweet little face that was always, always, always full of mischief. (That's a mother's nice way of saying it has damn near killed me trying to get her raised! Whew!!) I'm telling you, this kid spent more minutes in timeout than the combined penalty time total of all the hockey players in the history of the National Hockey League. And that's saying something. But here we are, 2008, and she's now 21 years old. And I survived! Yippee! Happy Birthday, Des - I hope we have a great year together!

In other "children news"...I finally got to speak with my son, Nick! Yay!!! I haven't spoken to him since he deployed. He'd tried to call once before, but we weren't home and I didn't hear my cell phone ring either. Talk about crushed! I was sick about that. But he called last night and we got to speak for a pretty good bit of time. He was able to give me an address that I can send a care package for him to. And you know what he asked for? Canned boiled peanuts. How funny is that? I'm hoping to get some when I'm in Florida next week. I can't seem to find any around here in Texas. And if my beautiful son wants boiled peanuts, that my beautiful son shall have them. (I had to say it like that because Nick has requested that I not call him "beautiful" anymore. So, naturally, I feel compelled to call him "beautiful" every chance I get. lol)

Here's a picture of Nick from his survival school days. Nick, honey. Let's face it. You are a beautiful man. I know it, you know it, Jodie knows it, heck everybody knows it. Don't fight it, baby. Just go with it. :) And one more thing, son. I am so very proud of you. I know you don't like me saying that on my blog - you're not into the bragging aspect of your job, but I am. I know what you're sacrificing by serving in our armed forces and by being deployed. I know what you're missing out on in your children's lives. And I also know that you volunteered for this deployment and I know why. I am very, very sad to know how much your service costs you and your family, but I am so grateful that you and others like you are willing to make those sacrifices so that the rest of us can sit back and revel in our freedoms. (So yes, Nick, I'm grateful and I'm proud and no, son, I will not stop talking about it, even though you've asked me to. I love you. Stay safe. ~Mom)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Childhood Reminders, More Art Attack (I'm so ashamed) and the REAL fine art in our home...

From the time I was 3 years old until I was 6, we lived in Japan. My dad was in the Air Force and that's where we were stationed at that time. I don't remember much really, except the earthquakes, my first boyfriend (slobber faced Mark, whom I loved with all my kindergartner's heart) and my dad making me ride my bike without my trusty training wheels (really think he could have been a little more sympathetic to my fear on this subject and a little less snarky). I wish I had retained more of the memories from our time overseas. Even some of the things I think I remember, I'm not sure are accurate. Frustrating. But anyway, last Friday Randey and I went "antiquing". That's what we call it when we go junk shopping. lol We were at a place in Ft. Worth and had just about finished walking through there when Randey spotted this: A Pachinko machine! Talk about sweet childhood memories! We played one of these all the time - my parents even brought one home from Japan when we moved stateside (sure wish I knew what had happened to that one!). I had seen one in another antique place in Benbrook, Texas a couple of months ago and showed it to Randey. But that one was $100, had pieces missing and was no where near in working order. This one, however, was marked $40 and seems to be missing just the "leg" braces and the actual Pachinko steel balls, which you can order on e-bay. I was so excited! We snapped it up, of course. Well, "snap" might not be the perfect word to describe what we did with it because the darn thing weighs a ton! Randey hefted it up and lugged it to the front desk. There. That's more accurate. This machine even came with original paperwork that shows it to be "reconditioned from Pachinko parlor use to home use". The date says it was reconditioned in 1973 and states that the machine was no more than 2 years old at the time of reconditioning. I have no idea what on earth I'm going to do with this beast or where I'm going to put it, but I do know that seeing it has allowed me to recapture a small and fun part of my childhood memories. (*big smile*)

Oh and one other thing we found is this (spotting that Pachinko machine must have brought us good luck!):

Another piece of "art". LOL This one is tiny - probably only about 5 x 7 inches, although the frame, of course, gives it a little more bulk. Kat says I'm not supposed to say how much I pay for art, so I won't tell you what it cost. Well, except to say Randey thinks it was the best $5 he's ever spent on a painting. HA! (Sorry, Kat I couldn't help myself. Buying cheap is just such a thrill for me. lol) So I guess we're still suffering from our art attacks after all. And while we have a lot of fun finding these landscape paintings together, our real art collection comes from our children. Let me show you what I mean...

See this? Jake did this one in 2nd grade and won first place in the Okaloosa County Elementary School Art Competition. I adore this masterpiece.
Jake also writes poetry and won a contest with this poem (you can click on it to enlarge it enough to read what it says). This poem was written when Jake was 13 and was published in a book of poems.
Kaleb's done a little artwork himself. Now I'm not normally a fan of Picasso and his ilk, but I like this one. Kaleb did it I think it 5th or 6th grade. Very cool. Kaleb also did this picture - I believe when he was in 9th grade. I love the intense colors.
Des did this metal rendition of a butterfly in one of her school classes years ago. Des was never one for enjoying crafting or anything so this object is particularly special. It's probably just about the only thing of its kind that she's ever done.
Now we come to Nick's artwork. You have to understand that Nick is my oldest (he's almost 7 years older than Desiree', my second child). When Nick was very young, we moved a lot. It was just him and me and we didn't really have any roots anywhere. Seeing as how we moved so often, I (sadly) don't have a lot of his "art projects" from school. In fact, the only reason I have this piece of art is because my Aunt Ginger saved it (she adored Nick - spoiled him rotten every chance she got and treasured everything about this kid). I'm so grateful that she saved this, Nick's "turkey hands".
Nick, however, is not so grateful. He says it makes him look like he's a tad bit goofy. Here Kaleb and Jacob have their Van Goghs and Picassos and even Des has a metal work that has a certain complexity to it and then there's Nick, with his turkey hands. Listening to him gripe about how I put all their work up together and his ends up looking somewhat "lacking" is actually half the fun, to tell you the truth. Naturally, I think his turkey hands are beautiful! And so will his children some day, when they see his artwork. I display our finest art on this wall, mainly:
My children...artists, every one. That landscape picture fetish Randey and I have is just for funnies. We know the value of real art. How could we not, with examples like this in our home?