129.2 pounds today! Under 130 pounds for the first time in about 11 years!!!
Since today isn’t my “official” day to do a complete update (I have been doing them every 8 days), that is all I have for now. More to come in a couple days. =))
I pray that You make Your presence incredibly obvious to these families and friends during this tragic time. God, please be with the emergency responders as they work through the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings they experienced and will continue to experience for a very long time. I pray that everyone will feel a sense of peace soon. God, thank you for keeping my own children safe while they were at the midnight showing of this movie here in our town.
In Jesus’s Holy name,
James Holmes, may God have mercy on your soul.
If you have been following my blog, you know that early in May, I rescued a baby bunny. I thought you would like to know that Peeta Cottontail still lives near me!! He spent the first 12 days or so in a cage in my bedroom (when I could convince my husband that his allergies were just his imagination) and then in the garage (when his wheezing convinced me that he is really good at acting out his imaginations).
After I set him free, I wondered if I would ever see the little bugger again and being the sap that I am, I tried really hard not to cry!
The saying goes, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.” Peeta must be mine because he came back to me!!! Hell, he SHOULD after I practically licked his ass to help him poop!!
He hung out in my yard for about 6 weeks. He made friends with a robin and a chipmunk and he learned how to completely drive my dog insane. He would see the dog running towards him barking. Rather than run away, Peeta would run closer to the dog but far enough away that he was safe thanks to our invisible fence. I swear that little rabbit knows where the fence line is!
He has since developed some courage and has crossed the street. He now visits my neighbors across the street and the ones next to them. They see him all the time and one of my neighbors has been able to feed him. I have crossed the street about 3 times now to feed him more carrots. He never runs away. He knows who I am and he knows that my presence equals treats and as soon as he sees me, he walks towards me!
Here he is today in the neighbor’s yard eating a carrot I gave him. I love him so much!!
- Peeta Returns? (thenlistblog.com)
- Ha Ha! I DIDN’T Kill The Bunny!! (Bunny Rescue Part 3) (thenlistblog.com)
- If You Love Some Bunny, Set It Free (Bunny Rescue, Final Chapter) (thenlistblog.com)
I am on day 17 of my 4 Week (Not Weight Loss) Challenge and the benefits of doing this have surprised me!!
Here is a breakdown of how I have been doing:
This seems to be the hardest part (I KNOW it is a challenge in discipline! This is why I NEED such things). The funny thing is that I have not been over-eating or eating things that are not allowed…I have been UNDER-eating and it truly is a matter of time management. I should be eating 6 small meals per day. In order to get them all in, I need to eat about every 2 hours. Life has been so busy with my daughter’s graduation party that I have had about 3 days that I didn’t eat like I should. This may not seem like a big deal (eating less than I should) but it actually is. If my calories are too low, I will lose muscle as well as fat. If I don’t eat frequently, my metabolism will slow down. And if I don’t stay disciplined, I am losing sight of my goals.
BUT!!! Here is the thing….I will do my best to get back on track but regardless of skipping a few meals, I am soooo damn happy with the way this has been going!
Not cheating has become easier and easier for me. I TOTALLY look forward to my cheat day (when I eat anything and everything I want) but in-between cheat days has been so much easier that I remember it being when I was training for my bodybuilding competition. Sure, I still have the desire to eat the forbidden stuff (frosting off my daughter’s cake, the pasta salad just taunting me in the fridge) but it is more an annoyance than anything.
Exercise: I can’t tell you how happy I am with my workouts!!!! I really dreaded working out 6 days/week and to be honest, I am not crazy about it at all. I still push myself through but when I am done, I feel fantastic!!! I feel so proud that I spent all that time working out rather than eating. The endorphins really do feel awesome. But most importantly…
I AM KICKING LUPUS’S ASS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This was the benefit I didn’t expect. Yes, I wanted to prove that I could do things that Lupus seemed to be preventing me from doing but I never imagined I would feel this much better! My pain is practically non-existent in comparison to how I felt before I started this challenge and my energy has increased so much! Even my son commented on how much energy I seem to have now. I am worried that when I go back to school, I won’t have the time to work out and I will feel worse again but I will cross that bridge when I get to it.
Weights and Measures:
Starting weight: 136 lb.
Today’s weight: 130.8 lb. (down 5.2 lbs)
Right upper thigh: 23.5 inches (down .5 inch)
Hips: 36.5 inches (down 2.5 inches)!!!
Waist: 28 inches (down 2 inches)!!!
Bust: 35 inches (down 1 inch)
Ass/Saddlebags: 40 inches (down 1 inch)
MY PANTS ARE GETTING LOOSE ON ME AND MY BRA NO LONGER DIGS INTO MY STERNUM!!! SUCCESS!!
I have completed 8 full days of my 4 Week (Not Weight Loss) Challenge! Only 22 days to go!! I soooo can do this!!!!
I thought you might like a comprehensive update. I hope all of my updates can be this inspiring!
Discipline: I actually am doing well but I seem to have a problem getting all of my meals in during the dayon occasion. This isn’t because I don’t want to eat or feel too full (although yesterday, I had to force down the pre-workout yams). I just run out of time some days and skip a meal. So much going on in life! Yesterday, I was grocery shopping during the time I should have been eating lunch and I can’t just go up to a counter in the cafe at Wegman’s and say, “Can I please have 15 shrimp with cocktail sauce and 6 baby carrots?” I ate lunch as soon as I got home but my then it was supposed to be time for my snack. I think you get the picture here.
I have not cheated other than my cheat day and that damn lick of frosting I mentioned in this post. By the way, that crack frosting? It is STILL in the fridge UNTOUCHED! I think my daughter is leaving it there for me as some sort of bait!!
The family had tacos for dinner last night. I LOVE taco meat!!!!! I am such a carnivore!! I actually thought to myself, “Nicki, the taco meat is just ground beef with some seasoning. You are going to make ground beef after your workout anyway so just eat this awesome stuff right here!” Then I reminded myself that ground beef covered in wonderful taco seasonings and sauce is NOT on the diet and this challenge is about DISCIPLINE, not weight-loss!! So I drank some coffee and removed myself from the evils within the kitchen.
Workouts: I found that the I-am-a-hamster-running-on-a-damn-wheel feeling is not present and the time flies by if I do the following. Play music from my computer from my iTunes account. Look at a group of songs, and find out when to stop my workout based on how long the song is. I love when there is a longer song in the mix. Then I am all “Sweet! I only have to do this for 5 songs!!”
This is soooo much better than looking at a watch or the screen of the machine to see how long I have been on it. My whole time is spent convincing myself that if I wait longer to look at the time, then it will be time to be done by the time I actually look. Then when I do look, and realize I am not even half-way done yet, I want to die. This is never an issue with the music! I play the music loudly, close my eyes, and get totally lost in the songs.
Weights and Measurements: The moment you have been waiting for, I am sure!!!
On 7/2 (first full day of challenge):
Weight: 136 lbs
Top of right thigh: 24 inches
Hips: 39 inches (although I am thinking now that this may have been wrong. It must have been 38 inches)
Waist: 30 inches
Bust: 36 inches
Ass/Saddlebags (THE GROSSEST PART OF MY BODY): 41 inches
Weight: 132.8 lbs (down 3.2 lbs)
Top of right thigh: 23.5 inches (.5 inch smaller)
Hips: 37 inches (2 inches smaller??? This is why I think I measured wrong last time. I doubt I lost 2 inches in my hips already).
Waist: 29 inches (1 inch smaller)
Bust: 35.75 inches ( quarter of an inch smaller)
Ass/Saddlebags: 40.5 inches (.5 inch smaller) YAYYYYYYYY!!!!
Physically, I feel like I got hit by a bus this morning but I do feel more fit already and I have not had any issues with the bulging disk in my back this week!!!!! I do have more energy. My son even commented on how I seem to have all this energy now.
I woke up yesterday with Lupus headache but I got right to working out and by the time I was done, I could move my neck and the pain was only a small annoyance!!
Mentally: I feel fantastic!!!!!!! I am so proud of myself for not eating that damn taco meat!!!!!!!
- Spartanburg Restaurants Working To Help You Eat Healthy (wspa.com)
- Tonight’s Diet, Exercise, and Measurements (thenlistblog.com)
- My (NOT Weight Loss) Challenge (thenlistblog.com)
- DAY 33: I Lost So Much Weight, See for Yourself! (muponisi.wordpress.com)
- WOW! Weight Loss Going Out For Canadian Business! (prweb.com)
- What your waist size reveals about your health (simplysupplementsblog.com)
- Measure Your Life In Inches (happykaylieplace.com)
- Top Weight Loss Mistakes Revealed (prweb.com)
- How much can you save on life insurance by losing 20 pounds? (insurance.com)
- Dukan Diet Personalized Weight Loss – Day 19 (thefashionablehousewife.com)
- Weight Loss Basics: What You Need To Know To Do It Right (gethealthyblog.wordpress.com)
- Losing Weight….Healthily. Is that even possible? Extreme Weight Loss Challenge – the Human Experiment (ireport.cnn.com)
- Q: How do I get rid of saddlebags? (jessicasmithtv.com)
- Day 5 Of My 4 Week (Not Weight Loss) Challenge (thenlistblog.com)
- How Changing My Goals Helps Me In Achieving Them. (thenlistblog.com)
- 5 Tips to Help You Build Muscle Size (livesportstoday.net)
I am going to say something here that will rub people the wrong way. Some of you who I consider to be my friends (either in person or in Blog Land) will disagree or start to feel the rage build up inside of you and I am okay with that. Why? Because I am responsible for my feelings and you are responsible for yours. Also because I believe that there is truth to what I say and I would rather be hated for being honest than liked for being fake. If you know me personally, you know that I live by these beliefs every day. You probably even know this because you and I have gone toe-to-toe at least once and at times, it got ugly, didn’t it? But if you are reading this then it means that we worked through it and you still respect me (at least a little) and I can promise you that I still respect myself which is really all that matters to me. Keep in mind that I only speak for myself. I can’t speak for you or anyone else so what I have to say is all about what I think and feel.
I am NOT okay with being over weight. I know I am not obese but I at 5’1″ and 136 pounds, I am overweight. I am not okay with the way I look when I am overweight. I am not okay with the way I feel physically when the waist of my pants puts pressure on my gut and causes discomfort all the way up to my chest. I am not okay with how my digestive system acts when I am overweight. I am not okay with feeling like I am going to crap my pants in the middle of a meeting and then again an hour later while I am caring for a patient. I am not okay with my bra feeling like a bar is digging into my sternum. I am not okay with having indentations in my ankles an hour after I have taken off my socks. I am not okay with being short of breath because my body has to work harder to move me around and MOST IMPORTANTLY, I AM NOT OKAY WITH FEELING LIKE I DO NOT HAVE CONTROL OVER MYSELF. I am not okay with blaming my weight on a long line of family genes. Yes, my whole mother’s side of my family was very overweight. They were all that way because of poor diets and lack of exercise, not because of genes. I am not okay with saying that I can’t workout and exercise because I have Lupus. In fact, having Lupus just means that I have to work harder and more often so that I stay mobile and my heart can stay healthy. Lastly, I don’t believe that anyone that is over weight is okay with it. I AM okay with overweight people. I do not believe anyone’s character should ever be judged by what their body looks like. But I am not okay with people lying to themselves because that is not healthy mentally or physically. It IS okay for people to not like aspects of themselves because that can lead to healthy changes. I believe it is easier for people to try to convince themselves and the world that they are okay with being overweight than to suffer the emotional upset of admitting that they are not okay with it and push themselves physically and mentally to overcome it. I believe that each and every person who says that they are okay with being overweight looks in the mirror in private and feels horribly bad (if they even allow themselves to look in the mirror). I BELIEVE EVERYONE IS BEAUTIFUL REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY WEIGH AND I BELIEVE EVERYONE OWES IT TO THEMSELVES TO BE HONEST AND DO THE WORK TO TRULY FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES.
I have struggled with weight for most of my life. Although I am not anorexic (God, how could I ever turn my back on glorious food?) nor do I purge after my meals, I do binge. Binging in the absence of purging IS an eating disorder and I BINGE! I have to work every single day to not binge. I have to work every single day to avoid telling myself that I deserve to binge today because I did so well on my diet yesterday. People that watch me binge are amazed. They wonder how the hell I could scarf down 3 huge plates of pasta with sausage and meatballs all at once but I do it and I can do it often.
I can’t tell you how many times in my life I have set a goal to lose weight but I can tell you that not only did I fail each and every time, i I also gained about 10 pounds as a result.
My first true success at losing weight was about 13 years ago. I walked into the gym and the owner asked me “How much weight do you want to lose? What is your goal?” At the time I was a size 16 (remember, I am only 5 feet tall) so I understood his confused look when I answered, “My goal isn’t to lose weight. My goal is to build upper body strength and endurance for firefighting.” As a result, I got stronger, I had more endurance, and I eventually lost 61 pounds and placed second in a bodybuilding competition.
My bodybuilding days are long gone and in the 12 years since I have competed, I have struggled with my weight over and over again. I never got as heavy as I was before but when I started buying size 12 jeans, I realized something. I was back to my old habits and within a year I would be wearing the size 16′s again if something didn’t change. So, I lost 12 pounds and have yo-yo’d over and over again.
It has been so easy to blame my lack of exercise on Lupus. It is easy to blame my eating crappy foods on Lupus. After all, if I am too exhausted to go shopping, how can I eat healthy?
But I am a control freak and I HATE feeling out of control of my life. I hate when I allow circumstances to make decisions for me. And I realize that I DO ALLOW THAT. I choose to take the easy route as many of us do. I choose to place blame rather than accept responsibility. And I just won’t tolerate that anymore. When I really thought about it, I realized that my goal was NOT to lose weight, look hot, or fit into a certain size pants.
My goal is to be in control of me. My goal is to not allow Lupus to make the rules. My goal is to not blame my fat ass on my mother and her mother and her mother. Yes, the SHAPE of my ass is in my genes but the SIZE of it is under my control. A “fat ass gene” simply does not exist. I want to be autonomous. I want to be the author of my life, not despite my circumstances but IN SPITE of them. I have choices each and every day to make and I want to make the right choices.
When I started my 4 Week (Not Weight Loss) Challenge 4 days ago, I set an INTRINSIC goal rather than an extrinsic one. This means that I set a goal that comes from within me (intrinsic), not from outside of me (extrinsic). I set a goal that will feed my need to be autonomous and choiceful in my life (intrinsic) rather than a goal to look better or see a smaller number on the scale (extrinsic). And when I achieve this goal, you may or may not see me any differently. I may be more physically fit. I may look the same or I may even look bigger. Since I decided on a healthy way to achieve my goal, I am assuming I won’t look bigger and I am hoping I look more physically fit but either way, the benefits will be on the inside of me and they will last a very long time.
My goal is self-discipline; to be in control and in charge of me no matter what. This goal helped me a great deal yesterday. Yesterday was day 3 of eating and working out as if I were training for a bodybuilding competition. I felt exhausted and I wanted to pig out! I thought to myself, “Self, you did awesome for 2 days, you lost 2.6 pounds already, and you can totally skip 20 minutes of cardio today. Hell, you can even eat an extra spoonful of peanut butter. It isn’t going to kill you. It is still way better than what you were doing before this challenge!” Then I reminded myself the goal of my challenge. If my goal was to lose weight, I totally would have listened to that devil on my shoulder. But my goal is to be disciplined and listening to that devil would have proven to me that I really don’t take control of my life. As soon as that though entered my mind, I felt the energy to get on the elliptical and my craving for more food wasn’t nearly as strong. I woke up this morning and got right on the machine as I planned.
This challenge will not be easy. I know that. There may be times when I try to convince myself that my goal was stupid and I really am okay with being out of control at times. But that would be taking the easy route and I would be lying to myself.
I read a wonderful article that provides a brief guide to attaining your goals at the Healtdemystified blog. Click here to get this awesome information for free!!! I have to say that it is purely coincidental that I have many of the same points in my post as there are in his guide! I wrote my draft before getting caught up on some blogs and came across this one. I was floored that much of what I was saying in my post was said here!!
- Eating disorder behaviors and weight concerns are common in women over 50 (eurekalert.org)
- My (NOT Weight Loss) Challenge (thenlistblog.com)
- Fast And Easy Weight Loss Tips That Work (musclebodyfitness.org)
- Things I do every single day to keep the weight away (threev.com.au)
- How much can you save on life insurance by losing 20 pounds? (insurance.com)
- A pair of milestones, and some insights into how I am becoming fit and losing weight. (diaryofcalories.wordpress.com)
- Mind-Body Connection (everydayhealth.com)
- Childhood Overweight and Obesity (education.com)
- No More Lies (butterflywarrior.typepad.com)
- New study finds disordered eating among older women (newsobserver.com)
- Being Overweight and a Bit About a Wedding Dress from 1995 (redheadwriting.com)
- How Changes in Body Weight Affect GERD (everydayhealth.com)
- Watch The Weight Drop Off Your Body (musclebodyfitness.org)
- No Longer Obese! (dickstersrandomthoughts.com)
- Managing Your Diet to Keep Lupus in Control (everydayhealth.com)
- Parents ‘are scared to talk to their children about weight issues’ (itv.com)
- How to Get Into Shape (answers.com)
- Follow These Tips And Reach Your Weight Loss Goal (boldstate.com)
- Bulimia (prescribedperception.wordpress.com)
- Eating disorders can hit at any age, report (canada.com)
- What’s a Healthy Body Weight for Your Age? (everydayhealth.com)
- Bulimia Nervosa and Receiving Social Security Disability (socialsecurityhome.com)
- Eating Disorders Hitting Women Over 50 (health.usnews.com)
- Drop weight like Charles Barkley (foxnews.com)
- How To Lose Weight And Feel Great Doing It (musclebodyfitness.org)
- 2012 Olympics and Achieving Your Goals (startingwith.me)
- Competency One: I am determined (soberidentity.wordpress.com)
- Goal Achievement Quote – July 4, 2012 (goalhabits.com)
- Be Successful – Making A Personal Change – Part 5 Select Your Goals For Change (wisewolftalking.com)
- New Achievement Unlocked: Six Week Challenge Success! (thesnowfoxblog.wordpress.com)
- What I believe (poweredbymythoughts.wordpress.com)
- 9 Tips To Help You Reach Your Diet And Exercise Goals (stomachfatlosstips.wordpress.com)
- Why most people don’t achieve their dreams (thechangeyourlifeblog.wordpress.com)
Totally stuck to the diet and exercise plan today despite the fact that the fire department had a wonderful dinner of Italian sausage with peppers and onions, corn, salad, and SALT POTATOES for dinner. So proud of myself for not giving in!!!
I considered posting before pics for my 4 Week (Not Weight Loss) Challenge. Then I changed my mind because I really don’t take good pictures. Then some people said I should and I started to think that if I don’t, I will regret it, especially if I look super hot after this is all said and done. Then everyone left the house except for my 14 year old son and there is NO WAY I am giving him a camera while I stand before him in a bikini top and my daughter’s shorty shorts. So….I have a video.
God this is sooooo embarrassing!!! Sandra, this is for you!!!!
As I said, this is not a weight loss challenge but we all know that I will be pissed off if I don’t lose any weight!
I mentioned my “stats” in the video. I forgot to mention that I am currently a size 10. Just sayin’ to keep with the full disclosure crap. It doesn’t get any more transparent than this, y’all!
- Weight Loss Tips And Tricks That Lead To Success (musclebodyfitness.org)
- Check Out Paula Deen’s Weight Loss! See Before And After Pics! (now100fm.cbslocal.com)
Thanks to the incredible heat we had last week and the stress I have been under the past couple months, I am in a doozie of a flair-up. My symptoms are not nearly as bad as they could be and I thank God for that every day. When I read blogs of fellow Lupus…?…onians? I feel like I am acting like such a baby for complaining at all. But, all I have are my own experiences to compare things to and this week has been tough.
On a good note, this entry isn’t going to be full of complaints. Complaints like how my back hurts so bad that it feels like there are knives going in my shoulder blades. Or complaints like I think I pulled an eye muscle from trying to look around because it seems my neck has turned to stone. Or complaints about how more hair is in the tub when I wash my hair or how I have 3…no 5 new lesions on my neck, chest, and face that make me look like I am battling puberty all over again. Complaints like how I can’t really hit the brakes in my truck because my feet are in too much pain or how I can’t carry anything because while my neck was turning to stone, my arms and legs were turning into spaghetti. I also won’t complain about how my hip has been having this amazingly painful electric shock thing going on and I feel like I am being intermittently tasered. Or how my GI track feels like it is on a loopy roller coaster and I am seriously considering seeing if they make Pull-Ups in my size. I will only buy them if they have Looney Toons characters on them though. Because without them, they are just diapers for big people.
Nope! You won’t have to read about any of that!! You are welcome.
Instead, I am going to tell you about how I managed to become mobile yesterday despite the pain.
I remembered the day my doctor quoted Newton’s First Law of Motion to me.
My doctor told me that people with chronic pain get themselves in a vicious cycle of which I need to be very mindful.
Onset of pain leads to decreased movement which leads to increase in stiffening of the joints and even more decrease in movement which leads to even more pain and so on and so forth until we turn into a big pile of hurting concrete. Okay, the concrete was my imagination…he didn’t say that.
So yesterday, despite the pain I was in, despite the lack of strength in my body, despite the fact that my joints seemed fused together, I picked up some dumbbells. I did a few bench presses with a light weight. I did some stiff-legged dead lifts even though it felt like my elbows were going to pop. I did 50 squats without holding any weights and I did 12 minutes on the elliptical. The workout was NOTHING compared to what I can do on a good day and it seemed like a waste of time while I was doing it. When I was done, I was 100% exhausted.
My neck moved!!!!! For the rest of the day, I was able to turn my head from side to side without pain. Some discomfort but no pain! It was totally worth it!
I decided yesterday that I need to do this every day. I need to do SOMETHING every day to stay moving. Even if it is just 5 minutes on the elliptical and nothing more. No matter how tired I feel or how much I hurt, I need to keep moving.
And I need to accept that the goal of my workouts is no longer to loose weight and get ripped. My goal is to stay mobile and not turn to stone. That makes me sad but it is a reality and one I am willing to accept.
- May is Lupus Awareness Month! (redefininggood.wordpress.com)
- Lupus Shoes (thenlistblog.com)
- upper left back lupus (duanesnodgrass1.typepad.com)
- Lupus Awareness Month (lohnniecakes.wordpress.com)
- Depression and lupus (butterflywarrior.typepad.com)
- Lupus and autoimmunity in 2 minutes (lupuschronicles.com)
- Lupus: My Blessing In Disguise (thenlistblog.com)
- Lupus Symptoms In Women & Coping Tips (e-prescribe.biz)
- Easy Ways To Keep Your Lupus Symptoms Under Control (e-prescribe.biz)
- Excuse me Lupus is real (butterflywarrior.typepad.com)
- Nutritional Diet For Lupus (e-prescribe.biz)
- My Self Esteem (butterflywarrior.typepad.com)
- Top 5 Reasons I Write About Lupus (Day 4 of #HAWMC) (butterflylessons.com)
- Lupus and a letter to my younger self (lupusadventurebetweenthelines.wordpress.com)
- Lupus Shoes (lupuschronicles.com)
- Reasons I Have Cried This Weekend And Will Cry Again Today; A Top 5 List (thenlistblog.com)
As you may know, I am a Non-Trad (Non-Traditional College Student). I am 40 years old and just recently earned my BA in Psychology and I am now working on my Masters in Mental Health Counseling.
Getting a degree in my late 30′s was hard work! With family and firehouse obligations, friends telling me that I neglect them, and Lupus, it often seemed like an uphill battle. But I was determined and I am proud that I completed it!
I took a Medical Leave of absence this past semester and half of the semester before that. I go back to school full-time at the end of August and to be honest, I have been really worried about that. I just don’t know if I have what it takes; the passion, the desire, the patience, the same priorities, and mostly, the energy. I am really scared that I will not succeed this time and then I will be devastated that I didn’t. I will regret so much.
I have prayed about this and more so recently. It is amazing how God never ceases to answer my prayers!!! Once again, God, thank you for having my back! How did He answer my prayers this time? When I logged onto Yahoo today, this is the article that greeted me. I think I DO have what it takes. I just need to remind myself of that!
Every June, students all over the country don their caps and gowns for graduation. Whether it’s from high school, college or graduate school, most people could easily count their own graduations on one hand.
But not 71-year-old Michael Nicholson of Kalamazoo, Mich.Nicholson has earned 29 degrees and is now pursuing his 30th.
“I just stayed in school and took menial jobs to pay for the education and just made a point of getting more degrees and eventually I retired so that I could go full-time to school,” Nicholson told ABCNews.com.
“It’s stimulation to go to the class, look at the material that’s required and meet the teacher and students. It makes life interesting for me,” he said. “Otherwise, things would be pretty dull.”
Nicholson has one bachelor’s degree, two associate’s degrees, 22 master’s degrees, three specialist degrees and one doctoral degree.
Most of the degrees are related to education such as educational leadership, library science and school psychology, but other degrees include home economics, health education and law enforcement.
Nicholson is currently working on a master’s degree in criminal justice.
“I would like to get to 33 or 34. I’m almost there,” he said. “When I complete that, I’ll feel like I’ve completed my basic education. After that, if I’m still alive — that would take me to 80 or 81 — I would then be free to pursue any type of degree.”
Nicholson’s early interest in education came from the encouragement of his parents, who wanted him to be well-educated. His Canadian father was forced to drop out of school after the third grade to work and his mother graduated from high school.
“We were motivated to continue with our educations and go as far as we could go,” he said of himself and his siblings. “She [his mother] wanted something better for us than simply working at a factory, so she kept doing the necessary for us to continue.”
Nicholson’s first degree was a bachelor’s in religious education from William Tyndale College in Michigan in 1963.
Five degrees later, he was pursuing his doctorate in education from Western Michigan University in 1978.
While pursuing the doctorate, he met Western Michigan University Professor Tom Carey when Nicholson was working as a parking lot attendant writing tickets for the university. He wrote Carey three tickets in one day and the two have now known each other for 35 years.
“I’ve had 18,000 students in class and I’ve never heard of anybody like this,” Carey told ABCNews.com. “He’s the ultimate life-long learner. I marvel at his tenacity to go to school.”
Nicholson has earned all of his degrees; none of them have been honorary or awarded degrees. Though Carey was never Nicholson’s professor, the two meet at least once a year for Nicholson to give Carey an updated resume, which he shows students in his classes.
“He’s intrinsically motivated. It’s unique, but it almost sounds bizarre,” Carey said. “Some people collect animals and he collects tassels.”
And collect tassels he does. Nicholson has been to 28 of his 29 graduation ceremonies.
What does he enjoy about the graduation ceremonies? “Just the pomp and circumstance. … I could do without the speeches,” he said with a laugh.
“Eventually, it became getting as many as I could,” he said. “There’s the excitement of graduation, but the overall objective was to get the degree.”
He has earned degrees from a dozen schools in places including Michigan, Texas, Indiana and Canada, and he always goes to class.
“I would not take an Internet class. That’s far too difficult,” Nicholson said. “I’m not one of those all-A students.”
He still works on a typewriter and his wife Sharon Nicholson helps him type up his assignments. His wife is highly educated in her own right, with seven degrees of her own.
“She helps me with my homework all the time,” he said. “I cannot function on a computer, so she has to do it.”
When asked what advice he would give to recent graduates, Nicholson paused before saying, “Don’t quit too soon. Keep up with your aspirations. A lot of people tend to throw in the towel and have to come back to it later. Don’t give up on your aspirations too soon.”
And the admittedly competitive Nicholson has no plans to give up on his own aspirations, hinting that he has his eye on a few more degrees in the next few years.
“He likes going to school and doesn’t want responsibility,” Carey said. “This is what Mike lives for. He’s about 70 and he’s not going to stop. It wouldn’t surprise me if at one point he tried law school or something else.”
- Michigan Man Has 29 College Degrees (abcnews.go.com)
- Will Scott Walker Finally Get His College Degree? (dekerivers.wordpress.com)
- Degree #3 (1yogafan.wordpress.com)
- Keiser University Recognizes New International Graduates (prweb.com)
- College Graduates Predict Economy Can Only Improve Over the Next Year (prweb.com)
- Baker College of Muskegon graduates largest class ever in 2012 (mlive.com)
- Olin Holds Seventh Commencement; Graduates Urged to Blaze New Trails (prweb.com)
- 71-Year-Old Earns Advanced Degree (huffingtonpost.com)
- (Not My) Sense of Accomplishment (thenlistblog.com)
I am not sure when it all started but about 10 years ago, I became obsessed with the idea that my husband and I needed to buy our burial plots. Immediately. I started looking for the perfect Retirement Home for us. I went alone because at the age of 30, he thought I was
nuts being a bit premature.
I started thinking about the comfort of the people left behind after I die and thought that people would be much more comfortable in a Mausoleum than outside, especially in the winter (because OF COURSE oodles of people will want to visit me after I die). I started pricing the Filing Cabinet Drawers as I like to call them.
The drawers go all the way up to the ceiling. The ones at the top are the least expensive. The ones at the floor are the second least expensive and the ones at eye level are most expensive. I had to laugh at the idea that the eye level drawers were considered “Prime Real Estate” but I was not laughing at all at the prices. If I wanted to buy one at that time, it would have to be the one at the ceiling. My family would have to bring scaffolding if they wanted to sit with me.
I decided to consider the outdoor plots. My entire family (just about) had been buried at Holy Sepulchre. It really is a beautiful cemetery but I decided to look at White Haven as well. White Haven is a bit different. They do not allow any raised markers (tomb stones) nor do they allow any planting of flowers or other “lawn trash.” The whole place looks like a park instead of a cemetery. They even call it a “Memorial Park” rather than a cemetery.
I got such a calm feeling being there and I thought “THIS is it!”
Then in 2006, my mother died. She was just shy of 64. She was buried in the ground at Holy Sepulchre.
I decided that I wanted to spend the following Mother’s Day with my mom. I packed some flowers and gardening tools, a lunch, a blanket, a book, a journal, and a blanket. The weather was beautiful.
I arrived at about 10am. I planted some flowers, sat on the blanket and read my book, wrote a letter to Mom in my journal and just took everything in. It was so peaceful and I felt closer to my mom than I had in a long time. Then I lied on the blanket and took a nap.
I woke up to some guy yelling, “THAT ONE JUST MOVED!!!” I sat up and he was staring at me. He yelled, “Oh my God! You scared the shit out of me! I thought you was dead!!!!” I laughed hysterically and yelled back, “What did you think? They just forgot to bury me or that I am a zombie?!”
Mom and I certainly enjoyed the laugh at the poor guy’s expense!
It was then and there that I decided that a ground plot where people are allowed to plant flowers was the place for me. Because my mom was in the ground in a place where gardening is allowed, I got to spend 8 hours just hanging out with her in the gorgeous weather, playing pranks on the other visitors! I don’t want to rob my kids of the opportunity to scare the ever-loving shit out of someone like that when I die!!
This post is for The 30 Days of Writing Challenge hosted by We Work For Cheese. Today’s prompt is “Hanging out in the cemetery.”
NO, NOT THOSE HAIRS! Get your mind out of the gutter!!
I have ALWAYS had a full head of hair. My mother had a natural afro.
One day (while my hair was short, mind you) I got brave and posted to Facebook what my hair looks like when I put a brush to it.
This is why I LOVED Gilda Radner!!! We had so much in common.
About a year after I was diagnosed with Lupus, my sister was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer. Understandably, she was concerned about losing her hair.
I felt so useless during the time she was in treatment for cancer.
I couldn’t turn back the clock.
I couldn’t take the cancer out of her body.
I couldn’t endure the treatments for her.
I COULD pray for her and I PRAYED MY GUTS OUT.
(Thank you, Heavenly Father, for hearing and answering my prayers!!!)
And I could help her feel less alone.
When she lost her hair, I had her shave my head too.
I was surprised at how much I LOVED not having hair to deal with every day. It was incredibly liberating!!
Because of my Lupus, I already had plenty of bald spots and my scalp was polka-dotted. If it wasn’t for this issue, I would have stayed bald longer and I would have gone in public without my caps and scarves on.
I think Sinead O’Connor had something going there!
And now that I have THIS song in my head, you can too. You are welcome.
This post is for The 30 Days of Writing Challenge hosted by We Work For Cheese. Today’s prompt is “The Short Hairs.”
- Hair With a Plan (hartlove.wordpress.com)
- Beauty Hacker: A Genius Tip for Pinning Short Hair Up (theblush.com)
- Becoming an Esophageal Cancer Survivor (everydayhealth.com)
- Types of Esophageal Cancer (everydayhealth.com)
- Detecting Esophageal Cancer (everydayhealth.com)
This post is for The 30 Days of Writing Challenge hosted by We Work For Cheese. Today’s prompt is “Sense of Accomplishment.”
I considered all of my options for the subject matter. I have accomplished so much in my life.
Husband, kids, house, EMT, Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Rochester, Getting into Grad school for Mental Health Counseling, and most recently, not overdosing on Xanax and Tequila while I nursed my obnoxious dog.
Then I thought about my bodybuilding days and I yelled out loud to nobody in particular, “Yes! I will post about my bodybuilding competition!” I mean, I will NEVER look like that again and damnit, I want the world to know about that accomplishment!
Then I visited the most recent post by Nicole Is Better.
I was so moved by this post. Partly because I am the complete opposite of a runner and her induction into the NYC Marathon is sooo awesome but mostly because I am in Grad school to become a Mental Health Counselor and her story is incredible in my eyes!!!!
Nicole has been blessed to have Mental Health Counseling available when she couldn’t afford it. Her success at getting herself mentally healthy is amazing enough!
One of Nicole’s Bucket List items was to run in the NYC Marathon and her success in getting into this event is even more amazing.
BUT!!! Are you ready for this?? You are soooo not ready for this!!!
This marathon is raising money for the same organization that enabled Nicole to receive her needed therapy for about the cost of a cup of coffee!! By running in this marathon, Nicole is making it possible for others needing Mental Health Therapy to get the help they need regardless of ability to pay!!!!!!
Holy shit!! This is HUGE!!!!!
PLEASE go visit her blog post (linked above). You don’t need to donate to her cause (although I am sure she would totally appreciate it) but I think leaving her a comment with an encouraging word would be wonderful.
Way to go, Nicole!!!! Your gift will be a blessing to so many people!!!
- Mental Wellbeing: 5 tips for maintaining your mental health (motivateyourworld.com)
- Mental Health Counseling (allaboutcounseling.com)
- Counselling Directory Wants to Get People Talking About Mental Health (prweb.com)
- Mental Health (allaboutcounseling.com)
- What The New York City Marathon Means To Me (clearlynotnormal.com)
- Couple Marry While Running The NYC Marathon! (since1910.com)
- The Man Who Made It All Possible (kararuns.com)
- Mental Health Counseling Degree (allaboutcounseling.com)
- For better care, train doctors to be mindful (futurity.org)
- Why Being “Cool” Isn’t Cool Anymore (bigthink.com)
I finished my latest drawing today and I am very excited!! It is a gift for a friend of mine. The butterfly is a tattoo she has on her breast.
Charcoal and Chalk Pastel on Paper
I’m feeling physically and emotionally beat up today. This song usually reminds me of why I shouldn’t just stay under a blanket in my bed all week and cry myself to a Xanax-induced sleep.
I am sure I am not alone today. I hope this song helps you as well. Keep your head above water and swim!
It has been seven days since my last confession. Shit. Wrong thought. Actually, I privately confess about every 7 minutes because I keep thinking that the more I talk and plead, the less chance I have of going to hell. God accounts for brownie points, right? Formally, it has been 40+ years since my last confession. Okay, fine. I have NEVER gone to confession but since I gave up Catholicism for a branch of Christianity that is a little more “God still loves you even if you ate an entire cake AND masturbated on the same day” and a little less, “ooooohhhhhh, you are in sooooooo much troubllllleeeee,” I no longer accept that not going to confession is a sin in and of itself. I mean, why would I tell some guy that probably did worse things than me all of my dirt? It will only give him ideas.
And we are back.
It has been seven days since I set Peeta Cottontail free. Yesterday, I saw a little baby bunny in my front yard. Maybe Peeta wandered from the back yard to the front yard? Well, of course that is it because I am quite certain that Peeta is the ONLY baby bunny on my street. Makes total sense to me.
I tried to film him yesterday. I just dated myself with the term “film.” Just pretend I said “record” or “capture” or “stalk” or “digitalize” or “dude” or whatever the hell makes me sound younger than someone who says “film.” Anyway, I tried to video record him yesterday but either I had too much coffee or too much crack because the damn camera was bouncing all over the place when it appeared to me that my hands were perfectly still. You would have gotten motion sickness for sure.
I recorded him a few times this morning but apparently, the crack hasn’t completely cleared my system yet and it wasn’t any better. He also was on the camera for a total of 99 seconds before he ran off, seemingly never to return again.
I threw a carrot over to where he was and then said, “Well, I guess that is it. He is gone for now.” The second I turned off the camera, this happened. That Peeta. He loves messin’ with me.
- Ha Ha! I DIDN’T Kill The Bunny!! (Bunny Rescue Part 3) (thenlistblog.com)
- If You Love Some Bunny, Set It Free (Bunny Rescue, Final Chapter) (thenlistblog.com)
Today’s post is dedicated to a good friend Traci. She is amazingly artistic and she is a strong soul! And…she is totally tatted up! Here are some of my favorites of hers.
- Would You Get This Tattoo? (987ampradio.cbslocal.com)
There is no doubt about it. Lupus sucks donkey balls. Hair loss and skin lesions are only the MINOR issues. Sure, those are the things that others see and may be the ONLY reminders to people around me that I am sick. But as horrible as they are, they really are just annoyances in the overall scheme of the illness.
The REAL issues are the ones that nobody sees. The joint pain, the neck pain, the headaches, the incredible fatigue, the BRAIN FOG…OMG, the brain fog! The frustration that I can’t do what I want or remember what it is I wanted to do. The frustration and…shit, I can’t remember the word. Give me a second here. Ummmm….the….the…dread? Sure, we’ll go with ‘dread’ because it is close enough. The frustration and the dread….no, that’s not it. The
shame guilt depression DESPAIR (I literally just went to Thesaurus.com to find that word)! The frustration and despair I feel every time I realize that I can’t do all the things I want to do. Fuck…the embarrassment of realizing that I just mentioned that a few sentences ago and didn’t remember that. The constant knowing that Lupus affects EVERY system in my body. Thinking about irreversible lung damage with every cough. Will every twinge in my chest turn into a heart attack? The FEAR that my illness will progress even more.
I am not afraid THAT this disease will claim my life. In fact, I have pretty much come to terms with the idea that it will some day. What I am afraid of is HOW it will claim my life. I won’t be feeling terrific one day and be gone the next. I am convinced my death will be a slow and painful one.
So, how the hell is this disease a BLESSING? How can I possibly look on the bright side here?
For starters, I have to. If I constantly obsess over the crap that has been handed to me or wonder if I did something to cause this (if only I didn’t go back to school, maybe I wouldn’t have been so stressed and that Lupus gene could have stayed quietly tucked away in my body, never to be seen), and never look for the blessings that came from this, I would simply give up. I would deprive myself, my family, my friends, and my Father in Heaven of all the good I have to offer (even if my offerings have to come in smaller doses now because I am feeling warn out). And the fact of the matter is that there IS good in this diagnosis. I have to really look for it and I am sure others around me don’t always see it the way I do but the good is there.
Perspective. I NOW understand that sweating the small stuff is a total waste of time. I also see how things that I used to see as big really are actually small in the over all scheme of things.
Self-Forgiveness. When I do things, I DO THINGS. Go big or stay home is my motto. If I am going to do something, I am going to do it right, damnit. Unfortunately, my way of having to do things perfectly causes stress and exertion and Lupus will jump all over that shit! Although I still beat myself up for not having the physical ability to do things perfectly, I am constantly reminding myself that it is out of necessity, not laziness, that I can’t do things the way I used to.
Self-Care. Call it selfishness if you want but I need to come first. As a wife, mother, sister, aunt, niece, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, friend, EMT, EMS Captain, lover of animals and wanter of making the world a better place, this is THE MOST DIFFICULT gift for me to accept. Luckily for me, it is becoming easier for me to 1) believe that I AM important enough to put my needs first at times and 2) remember that if I put myself at risk, I won’t be available to help others and 3) rest without feeling guilty about it.
I don’t answer the phone when it rings if I don’t want to (and yes, I hear the phone ringing now. If it is you calling me, I am choosing to ignore it because I come first today). I say things like, “I am sorry but I won’t plan a family get-together at my house.” I still feel bad that I am letting others down and I hate that although people say they understand, the look of disappointment and frustration in their faces tell me that they will NEVER understand unless they have Lupus. Regardless, I am now able to say “no” when I couldn’t before. I also realize that when I say “no” to people, it is up to THEM, not me to handle that. I took care of me, now you can take care of you.
I spend a lot of time resting now. My husband wakes me up every day with my coffee, my meds, and sometimes breakfast. I spend most of my day propped up in my bed with my laptop, coffee, TV, and cross-stitching. I relax. A LOT. If I feel like it (and ONLY if I feel like it), I do some chores and run some errands. I go on ambulance calls when my body can handle it. I pamper myself and I allow my husband to pamper me.
Appreciation For My Family. And by “family” I mean my husband and my children. This goes back to Perspective. I come first (because I have to), my husband and children come second. If I have the physical and mental energy for the rest of the world, they all will come third, fourth, and so on. But if I don’t? I still love you. I still want good things to happen for you but sorry, you didn’t make the cut. I only have so much to give and I will give to me and the wing-nuts living under my roof that either put a ring on my finger or slid out of my vagina first. End of discussion. Why? Because when Lupus finally does take me away from this place, my husband and my children can say things like, “God, she was such hard work. She was bitchy, sometimes selfish, and totally neurotic but she loved and appreciated the fuck out of us!” And THAT is really all that matters to me.
Peeta has grown so much since I first got him about 12 days ago. I have been handling him less so that it would be less traumatizing for both of us when it came time to let go. I also have been weaning him from the formula from 2 feedings/day to 1.
Lately when I remove the lid from the cage, he has been very jumpy and I can tell he really needs to be a free spirit. He doesn’t belong in a cage and he knows it. Although I never planned on keeping him as a pet (plan was always to get him big and strong enough to be free), I thought I would have held onto him longer than just shy of 2 weeks.
Today was bitter-sweet. I let Peeta go and I know he is happy and will be okay. But I am still a little sad. I suck at videography but enjoy the video none-the-less!!
Here is your new home, Peeta! Enjoy the space but be careful out there, buddy!
And because I have this song in my head today, you can too!!
So, I bet you are wondering how Baby Peeta is doing, especially after that man on the bunny rescue website told me how horrible I am for kidnapping
him her him her.
All I have to say is that I fucking rock at animal-whispering shit!!!
Peeta has doubled in size, poops on
his her own (I really need to figure out if this is a he or she bunny!) and is now up to 6-7cc’s of formula twice/day (I use Kitten Milk Replacement-or KMR- like the website suggests), tons of parsley, carrot-tops and NOW even the entire carrot!!
I still can’t get him interested in his water bottle or water dish but I am confident that when I set him free, he will figure that out.
AND…we have bonded. So much so that I am anticipating some major anxiety on my part when it comes time to let the little bugger go.
I don’t hold him anymore because I don’t want to stress him out but after a feeding, he will let me pet him and when I talk to him, he stares at me intently. As soon as I finish talking, he hops into his cozy little tissue box with my sock.
LOOK HOW STINKIN’ CUTE HE IS!!! Check out the slide show!!
When I was diagnosed with Lupus two years ago (after four long years of not having answers for my symptoms), the first thing most people said to me was, “Well at least it’s not cancer.”
I realized that some people, although their intentions are good, just don’t know how to give good support. There are plenty of things that I would have felt were supportive but this comment wasn’t one of them. Things like:
- I am sorry to hear that.
- Please let me know if you need anything.
- Now that you know what it is, hopefully, you can find some relief from your pain/symptoms.
- I will say a prayer for you
- Just providing a hug and no words would have been good too.
- Asking questions about the disease so you know more about it and I can feel somewhat understood
Don’t get me wrong. Some people did that but most people either told me how their medical issues were worse than mine or told me to “look on the bright side.”
I was torn. I didn’t want to respond in a way that would offend them but I was offended.
I didn’t want to sound insensitive to cancer patients because please believe me, I am VERY sympathetic to anyone living with cancer. I truly feel for them. Not having cancer, I can’t possibly imagine what that must be like and I hope I never have to find out. I am amazed at the strength people battling cancer have and I often wonder if I would ever have that strength or if I would simply give up. Again, I hope I never have to find out what I am truly made of in the face of cancer.
Telling someone who was just diagnosed with a disease that they will live with (and suffer from) for the rest of their life and will very likely progress AND can be fatal “at least you don’t have cancer” is not at all supportive, no matter how good your intentions.
The truth is that BOTH diseases are horrible. Hearing you are sick is horrible. And at the risk of sounding insensitive, some people DO recover from cancer. Some people are able to be treated (and I know that treatment is torture) and live the rest of their lives cancer-free. I will have lupus for the rest of my life and chances are, my lupus WILL progress (as it already has) over time. Some people die from Lupus. My aunt did.
So please don’t tell me “at least you don’t have cancer.”
My husband: ”Do you want a baby bunny?”
Me: ”Have you fucking met me?!”
Because my husband has allergies and tells me all the time about how I am the crazy cat lady only without cats, surely, he must have been screwing with me. I asked him if he was serious. He said that there is a nest near his shop that got “stepped on.” Two babies are dead and one has a broken leg. One seems fine. He asked me if I wanted them. UM. YES!
I went to the shop and looked at the nest. This was no accident. **CSI at its finest here** First of all, the nest was alongside the building in a bunch of weeds, not out in the open where it could be accidentally stepped on. (Unlike the time my friend’s husband didn’t see the bunny nest in the middle of the yard while mowing. That was horrible). Second of all, the siblings were not “stepped on.” They were STOMPED on as evident by the fact that they were completely flattened and their insides were on their outsides.
I knew what had to be done with the injured one but I am at a loss about the one that is well. I took the injured one to our vet. They have a wildlife rehabilitation center there which is awesome. So, little dude went to the hospital. I got attached to him after just spending 20 minutes with him.
What to do with the sibling? That is the tough decision to make. I want to bring it home and take care of it for a few weeks until it is ready to go on its own. I actually was responsible this time and researched it. This is what I learned:
- Wild baby bunnies are very difficult to care for and should be left in the nest (which no longer exists in this situation) or brought to the humane society. (The vet won’t take the healthy one because it is overrun with bunnies right now).
- If the babies have their eyes open (they do), they don’t NEED a nest and usually can survive on their own.
- The mother is caring for the young if the babies bellies are round and full (they are) and their bodies are warm (they are).
- People often assume a mother has abandoned her babies because the nest is found with just babies and mom is off partying somewhere (whore) but most often, they are not abandoned. Mother bunnies usually do leave the nest during the day and go back to feed the babies at night. (This explains why bunnies are never found guilty of child abuse but could possibly be charged with neglect).
- Most importantly, I have learned that it is always best to leave the babies alone or return lost babies to the nest because the mother WILL come back and call for it and care for it.
EXCEPT!!! The tech at the vet told me if the nest was destroyed, the mother will abandon it and no where in any of the readings did it tell me what to do if the rest of the siblings were senselessly murdered! Will mom go back and care for her one baby after learning that her other babies were killed? Also, there are cats galore around that shop and it is very likely that this little guy will turn into a very exciting cat toy tonight.
UGH! I am sick over this.
We decided to leave it overnight. If it is still there tomorrow, I am taking it home because I really don’t think the mom will want to stay there to raise her only child surrounded by murder.
WELL, decision has been made!! Just after I typed that last sentence, my husband called me to the window. He brought the bunny home. Guess I am going to the pet store tonight. I hope I don’t kill it.
I hope mom gets the psychological support she will need after this traumatic family crisis!
I can’t believe we kidnapped a bunny.