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Run cut short by smoke and grass

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Those are 2 separate things in case a quick misreading led you to think I was smoking grass. Come to think of it, isn’t “grass” an antiquated term now? I’m showing my age.

Anyway, I went out for a run specifically seeking a hilly route. The weather was beautiful yesterday.

At about 2 miles I ran a gauntlet of lawn mowers. People were understandably taking advantage of the weather to get outdoor chores done.

I have a severe grass allergy, something I never knew until I left Brooklyn. We didn’t have a lot of lawns. However, I run prepared. I held a handkerchief over my nose and hurried on by.

Further on I noticed that my lungs were burning. That was odd. I wasn’t running hard and didn’t feel bad at all otherwise.

Ah yes. A good 50 feet ahead of me were 2 guys smoking. They were walking in the same direction as I was going, but the wind was causing the smoke to waft right back at me. The closer I got, the stronger the smoke.

Continuing wasn’t smart so I reversed direction back past the grass people to my car. It wasn’t the pleasant, long run I planned, but better to stop and run another day. Stuff happens and each of us has our own obstacles to work around. I carry an inhaler just in case.

At least it was better than the last time I had to cut short a run – because of a snake – a copperhead. No allergy there just a racing heart!

For the record: I’m glad the 2 guys were not smoking indoors or around children. We didn’t have a lot of grass in Brooklyn, but we did have cigarette smoke.

I always had respiratory problems as a child. Looking back at home movies, it’s clear that I started coughing and rubbing my nose and eyes whenever my Dad and his friends lit up. It was a different time and nobody made the connection.

Smoking eventually killed my father. I wish someone had made it more difficult for him to smoke. I miss him.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARYJEANSL 10/23/2014 1:40AM

  I'm sorry you had to cut your run short, but it was best. I hope you get lots of nice days for running before the cold sets in.

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KANOE10 10/22/2014 9:53PM

    Hugs to you. I miss my dad also. Too bad about the grass and smoke

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MILLEDGE2 10/22/2014 8:57PM

    My dad, too. Sad, sad, sad.

Hope you're better now!

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DOVESEYES 10/22/2014 7:57PM

    My Mum too,...

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GABY1948 10/22/2014 5:32PM

    I agree...most smoked in past times. Many died....and I still see people smoking and don't understand it. Unlike you, when I was young it didn't bother me but now it does terribly. I understand what you say about missing your Dad. My dad was the light of my eye and I miss him terribly too!


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TERI-RIFIC 10/22/2014 3:51PM

    Smoking killed both my parents. I used to smoke but gave it up. Now I am extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke. Even outdoors like you mention makes me ill.

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LINDAKAY228 10/22/2014 2:30PM

    Some runs are like that and have to be cut short because of one reason or another. You did the best thing for you I think. I am old enough to still think of marijuana as "grass" too! It made me think of a song I hadn't thought of in ages. There used to be a song about the Green Green Grass of Home I think, and a guy in prison dreaming of the old home place and on and on. It was a serious song. Then someone made a parody of it about smoking the green grass of home. Can't remember the words to either one much but this just happened to make me think of those songs

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DR1939 10/22/2014 12:04PM

    We smoked for many years. What we did to our children is unforgiveable. Luckily no one seems to have suffered from it and they are in their 50s, but they could have.

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GINIEMIE 10/22/2014 10:15AM

    My daddy smoked to, up to 4 packs a day. It caused him to have a very serious heart attack with several mini ones as they were trying to get him stable. Tha t was the day he quit. It was in 1984, two years after maman died. Daddy was with us until 1996. I thank God for the time we were given after his heart attack and mom's death.
I too have asthma but it is caused by cigarette smoke and perfumed products. My mother was a seamstress and some of the ladies she sewed for drenched themselves in whatever. Only a few bothered me back then, now only a few very natural scents don't bother me.
As a teen and young woman I did smoke a wee bit and I was able to wear certain scents. I have not had a cigarette in 34 years and I avoid them at all costs.
I understand about missing your parents, it is hard no matter our age. And there are days where we still morn their leaving us.
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BOOKAPHILE 10/22/2014 9:00AM

    You protected your health and weren't trying to duck out on your exercise. It will be better next time. To paraphrase an old rhyme: "She who breathes and runs away lives to breathe (and run through) another day."

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CAROLCRC 10/22/2014 8:32AM

    Have to admit smoking grass came immediately to mind. We must be very close in age...

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LACY77 10/22/2014 8:00AM

    Sorry your run got cut short, perhaps the next time you go it will be better? emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/22/2014 7:55AM

    emoticon for missing your dad. I miss mine, too. It's been 15 years this week.

Next time out hopefully these particular obstacles will be missing from your route!

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SWEETNEEY 10/22/2014 7:46AM

    The hazards of running. I guess you gotta try around 3 a.m. and hopefully the smoker, lawnmowers and copperheads will still be asleep. emoticon

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Exactly 57 years ago in 1957 – a weird anniversary to remember

Monday, October 20, 2014

When I noticed the date this morning, I had an odd feeling that it was significant. October 20th? What was special about that? Then I remembered.

It was a Sunday morning and I was spending the weekend with my parents in a small town in PA, visiting my grandmother. I woke up with a horrible pain in my side. I couldn’t even sit up.

When it didn’t improve, we drove to the hospital in the next town. I was admitted and after some blood work, prepped for surgery – “acute appendicitis.”

I was 10 years old and really scared, more than most kids because “appendicitis” was a fearful word in our family.

My mother’s brother had died at age 13 when his appendix ruptured and my mother almost died at age 8 when the same thing happened to her.

Of course, this was nearly 30 years later and we had antibiotics now, but that fact was lost on my 10 year old mind.

Then a remarkable coincidence! We met the surgeon and my Dad recognized him. They had served together on a ship during WWII and Dr. Ryan had operated on my father. “Don’t worry,” Dad said, “You’re in good hands.” With that reassurance I felt better.

Obviously, things turned out all right except for one thing.

October 1957 – The Asian Flu Epidemic. The next day the hospital was quarantined – NO VISITORS. I was alone for one week, no TV, nothing but my own thoughts and trying to pretend I was brave. I trace my lifelong anxiety about medical things to that week.

It’s important to understand how events make us who and what we are. It’s the first step to overcoming bad stuff, putting it aside and moving on. Still our subconscious brings it to the surface when you least expect it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 10/22/2014 10:23AM

    You had every reason to be scared, and to still feel repercussions of that incident. And yes, hugs to your little 10 yr old self!

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SPARKNB 10/22/2014 4:43AM

    I had a compound fracture when I jumped off a havy coffee table, which then hit my arm. Yep repercussions....

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/20/2014 8:58PM

    Fascinating. And great insight now, over the years. Wisdom does come, doesn't it? Fortunately, you have a fine mind, and are working your way through what you know is going on in it.

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TERI-RIFIC 10/20/2014 8:12PM

    Interesting. During WWII they sent children away from their parents in London to keep them safe. It turns out that did a lot of psychological damage. The man who pioneered attachment theory, John Bowlby, was one of those children.

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SUBMOM2 10/20/2014 7:39PM

    That must have been scary! If you find yourself feeling some medical-related anxiety, think of all the things you do to keep yourself healthy. Glad you are here to tell the tale!

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GINIEMIE 10/20/2014 7:19PM

    My sister had her appendix out when she was 6 after a little classmate had died from a ruptured appendix a week earlier-tense moment for our family.
I think 1957 was hard on a lot of people, one of my brother's the one born in 1956 had the asian flu and ended up not walking or talking again for another 8 months. That was one nasty strain.
I feel for you just a kid, getting shut up in the hospital with no family. That was traumatic. You are so right, some things that happen to us when we are young haunt us for much of our lives and sometimes we cannot even trace what causes our reactions. I'm glad that medicine has advanced so we don't lose so many to appendicitis although I nearly had a ruptured one in 1972. The doctor couldn't figure out what was wrong with me 5+ weeks after I gave birth to my second child-I was rushed to emergency to find out it was a good thing my DH refused to take me back home until the doctor could figure out what was ailing me....
Wow did you open my memory banks today Elaine!
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DOVESEYES 10/20/2014 6:44PM

    That is so true thanks for sharing.

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BOOKAPHILE 10/20/2014 4:55PM

    It's nice to look back and see improvements in how things are handled...especially with kids!

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MARYJEANSL 10/20/2014 4:49PM

  That is a good insight to have. Funnily enough, it struck a chord with me for a different reason. My dearly loved older sister was born in October of 1957. Not on the 20th, but in October. And she would have been 57 this month if she had lived. Tragically, she died when she was only 34 - not from appendicitis, but from cancer. But you brought her memory back to my mind and made me smile. I wish she were still with us, but time has softened the loss and I remember good things now when I think of her.

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MJREIMERS 10/20/2014 3:25PM

    You have a good memory, but those "traumatic" events seems to stick with us. I was much older when I had my appendix out. I can't imagine being a little one.

I love your last paragraph. I think we forget that EVERYTHING in life makes us who we are today. Wow, is all I can say!

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KRISZTA11 10/20/2014 3:03PM

    emoticon to your 10-year old self!

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 10/20/2014 1:42PM

    What a powerful memory. You have done a fantastic job in surviving that time period and in allowing the date to remain in your memory as a keystone of sorts. It is great that you had the tenacity to survive and also the memory to trace how 1957 affects your emotions today.

50 years ago I was in a hospital and recall it vividly. As Shakespeare says, "The past is prologue" and I know how much it affects us, even if we have a completely logical intellectual understanding of what happened.

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WATERMELLEN 10/20/2014 1:34PM

    So glad you made it!! I remember a similar hospitalization from age four -- very scary for me too (parents did not stay with kids at hospital in that era).

It helps to recognize the experiences which have shaped us.

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DDOORN 10/20/2014 1:23PM

    Impressive memory! I have very poor recall of specific events, circumstances and muddle along as best I can without this valuable skill.


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DR1939 10/20/2014 1:08PM

    Very scary for a child.

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SWEDE_SU 10/20/2014 11:55AM

    it is indeed important to remember what makes us who we are - thank you for sharing!

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LINDAKAY228 10/20/2014 11:27AM

    Glad you got your appendix out okay in spite of the epidemic! I had mine out when I was about 8 years old in a small hospital in a rural town we lived in. I remember that there was a tv in a small tv room but none in individual rooms to watch! Funny thing to remember and one of the few things about that particular time. That and the fact we had fried bologna with eggs!

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MJZHERE 10/20/2014 10:39AM

  Strange how the past just seems to pop up sometimes. I agree - it is important to not just push it down but learn and adjust accordingly.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 10/20/2014 8:57AM

    I remember that epidemic, and being quarantined at home. I got sick at the end of that period. And then there was the scarlet fever. Scary times.

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WELLBEING67 10/20/2014 8:33AM

    Events, especially childhood ones, do have a profound effect. When I was 11, my grandfather had a sudden, totally unexpected, fatal heart attack. He and my grandmother were 2 hours away from home at their hunting cabin in northern PA. When my grandmother called us, I answered the telephone. She was hysterical and I didn't even know who she was as she asked to speak to my dad. No one was in the house except me - on a farm the folks could have been in the back 40 or out in the barn at the time but no one heard me shouting for them. I've never felt so helpless. After that I would not answer the telephone unless some one was in the house with me. I do answer the phone now, but I refuse to carry a cell phone and I think the part of the reason is because of that day. Not a happy memory but thank you for helping me make the connection.

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GABY1948 10/20/2014 8:25AM

    OH my goodness! SO glad it went well. When I read this, it rattled me...I had my appendix out when I was 9 which means 1957!!!! Not sure of the month but think it was more like summer. But that WAS a scary thing back then. Do you remember that back then all pre-surgeries got an enema? Well, I did but NO ONE explained it and I thought my insides were coming out! I cried and one nice nurse came and explained that was how it WAS.

Your last paragraph is so true, "It's important to understand how events make us who and what we are."


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Multi-level vs. 1 floor living

Sunday, October 19, 2014

When we were looking for a retirement home, realtors directed us mostly to ranch style houses for “one floor living.” Conventional wisdom advises that as we get older, climbing stairs will be difficult or impossible.

That made sense except the house we liked, right on the lake, has 3+ levels. The master bedroom suite, “the apartment” as my grandchildren call it, is at the top. The laundry room is in the walk-out, finished basement. The loft, overlooking the kitchen/dining room has an office and bedroom. Every level has a bathroom. Yeah, we were ready to retire, but not yet downsize.

There are also 106 steps down to our dock. Was this foolish? Only time will tell.

What I have discovered is that my brand new SPAT records a LOT more steps when I’m at home than when I spend a few days at my parents’ house in town – the convenient ranch style house of 1 floor living. (My parents are gone now, but we kept the house).

I completely understand the need for one floor living if you already have a medical condition that makes climbing stairs difficult. However, must we consider it as inevitable?

Is avoiding stairs when you are able to do them a good idea? After all, we are advised to take the stairs not the elevator when at work. So in retirement does that advice no longer apply?

Of course, I don’t have the answer. If the time comes that DH or I can’t climb stairs, there are options.

I can move the washer & drier to the kitchen.
There are 2 bedrooms on the main floor with a “senior” type bathroom renovated when my Mom lived with us.
Those steps down to the dock? If we can’t manage those, why live at the lake? Maybe that’s the time that living 25 miles from town isn’t smart. We do have that easy living ranch house that Mom left me.

Meanwhile, I’ll trek up and down and up and down and give my SPAT a workout.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IFDEEVARUNS2 10/20/2014 10:47AM

    My mom never gave up her two story house, and was climbing up to her bedroom every day until the end. It made sense for her.
Enjoy your lake house!

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MARGARITTM 10/20/2014 7:35AM

    I have no idea - we get steered tot he one floor plans as well.

Right now no balance or knee or hop issues.

Live now with an eye towards the future.

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MARYJEANSL 10/20/2014 1:26AM

  I agree with you. I am glad to have a two-story house because the stairs may be all the exercise I get on certain days. If I had a one-story house, I would be in even worse shape than I am in. I am happy that I can still manage stairs, and I am happy to do so, because it reminds me that, even though I am not in good shape, there are still some things I can do.

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PHEBESS 10/19/2014 9:27PM

    Definitely keep up with the stairs for as long as you can! My father kept our big old house, though in his last year he moved to the ground level and didn't go out if it was icy. Maintain as long as you can, and then adjust when you need to.

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DDOORN 10/19/2014 8:03PM

    Sounds like a beautiful house that'll keep you hopping! What a wonderful way to build movement into our daily routine!


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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 10/19/2014 7:54PM

    That is a great decision: you have a back-up plan if you and stairs no longer get along but right now, those extra steps all go into your health and well-being. I am so pleased that you have resisted conventional wisdom, which so often tries to make old babes of us prematurely.


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DOVESEYES 10/19/2014 7:33PM

    Great decision. Enjoy.

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PHOENIX1949 10/19/2014 4:23PM

    "Those steps down to the dock? If we can’t manage those, why live at the lake? "

The view!! Water is calming.

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WALLAHALLA 10/19/2014 4:09PM

    I wish we had stairs. That would make a great free workout!

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GINIEMIE 10/19/2014 1:30PM

    When Steve died, I bought a ranch with the objective of being able to offer my MIL a safe place to stay as she has a few mobility issues and I figured they'd eventually get worse. Well mom is still living in the condo with her two friends. BUT when Erik had his accident we did not need to look for a new home, he was able to move in with me. Yes we had to modify my house as I've stated in my blogs, but we had a house with no stairs for Erik to adjust to. I miss the running up and down the stairs, but I do not miss 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths a full basement-only partially completed and a garage full of things Erik and I would never use. I regret I didn't buy one of the houses with an upstairs bonus room for grandchildren and crafts-but let's face it we live and learn.
When I visit my other children I use the upstairs bathrooms and when we volunteer I use the stairs as much as possible.
I would love to live on the lake and so would Erik but he would not be able to do the stairs very often.

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SPARKNB 10/19/2014 12:34PM

    My folks still take the stairs, less though, now that they are in their late 70s. But they are both overweight. But they still do it multiple times a week (this is in a ranch house, stairs are for basement: storage, laundry, extra space).

Retiring to a lake -sounds lovely! Stairs will keep you younger than not having them.

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/19/2014 10:50AM

    I'm glad I read this this morning! I have a multi level home and sometimes the only activity I might get on a lazy day is going from level to level doing laundry, putting things away, etc.
I have thought about whether I'd be able to stay here as I get older... 30 years from now, when I'm in my 90's? As long as I can do those stairs, I will do those stairs! They KEEP me able.


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LINDAKAY228 10/19/2014 9:45AM

    I think if you can do the stairs go for it! I'm almost 60 and a year ago had a severe stroke with a brain bleed (might have said this before, not sure) My balance is affected. But I can do steps if I hold a rail. When I looked for my apartment this past June I specifically asked for a second story one for the steps I would climb (I also go out early in the morning and go up and down them a lot of times for exercise) and because I didn't want anyone above me. At church my Sunday School class is on the second floor and there is an elevator and stairs. I take the stairs If I can use a railing up and down then I'm okay. I don't avoid stairs and if there are stairs at the mall I use that instead of the escalator.

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SWEETNEEY 10/19/2014 9:40AM

    Live til you can't live no more.

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SPINNINGJW 10/19/2014 9:39AM

    From a therapeutic standpoint, if you can still climb stairs, DO IT! The old addage "use it or lose it" does apply.

I agree with the dock - if you can't handle the steps to the dock, why live on a lake? I would LOVE to live on a lake!

I loved my 2 story Prairie Box style house, and I find it difficult to get in many steps in my apartment. Someday......

Having gone on Home Visits with Occupational Therapists at my last job gave me a lot of insight into how a home can be adapted to the needs of its occupants. Moving out of a home you love does not have to be a "given."

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POINDEXTRA 10/19/2014 8:39AM

    I also question the inevitability of needing a single floor residence. Good for you for doing all of those stairs. Your house sounds fab too!

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KRISZTA11 10/19/2014 8:11AM

Visiting hilly towns I often notice very old ladies, climbing long flights of stairs slowly but persistently. They look fit and strong for their age.

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KANOE10 10/19/2014 8:04AM

    I have a three level house also. I say we stay multi leveled as long as possible. Yay for spats.

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WATERMELLEN 10/19/2014 7:54AM

    I also live in a three story house -- with our bedroom on the third floor. And keep fit running up and down the stairs (Charlie's finding it more and more difficult: we're OK at least for now!)

I often think that (if it were really necessary) putting in an elevator would be less costly than moving!!

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BA5454 10/19/2014 7:54AM

    It's an interesting thought about homes and trying to make them fit as we get older. I've had several of these thoughts as we cannot dynamite my mom (91) out of her bi-level. And although she gets around with a cane and does some fancy maneuvering to get up and down the 10 steps to the bedrooms and the same to the basement--I wonder why it is I think she has to move. She's told me that when she needs to have things arranged and/or move in with me she'll let me know, lol. Still worry though.
On the other hand, I can see why you're racking up SPA steps!

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GABY1948 10/19/2014 7:41AM

    I so totally agree with you! We have a ranch now with a basement and I go up and down as many times a day as I can make (making 3 trips out of 1, etc) We plan (Lord willing) to move south (same state) back near my boys next Spring. I do have minor knee issues but I still look at ranch AND 2 story (with basement. Only criteria there is that master br also be on main floor should the issues arise later on but I am not counting on that either!

Great blog! emoticon emoticon

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RIDLEYRIDER 10/19/2014 7:36AM

  I live in a 2-story looking at one level in our for thought!

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PICKIE98 10/19/2014 7:30AM

    Your home sounds beautiful..I have never considered anything but a one story home, but I spent my whole work day walking and running up and down stairs. Bad knees and arthritis, fibromyalgia now rule my transportation.
I do still get my 10,000 steps a day, but on level ground.

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My new Spark fashion accessory – unintended consequences

Friday, October 17, 2014

Since Sunday I’ve been testing and posting about my new Spark Activity Tracker.

Yesterday we were going out to a dinner held by one of DH’s organizations. We were ready to go when DH asked “Aren’t you going to wear that new button thing?”

So here I am.

It fit nicely on my belt and even matched color-wise.

DH, my lovable engineer, is very interested in gadgets. My status yesterday described our afternoon walk together because “we’re going out to dinner.” Mostly he was interested in how it recorded our data.

We walked for 48 minutes (2.34 miles) which at that pace only burned 144 calories for me and probably about 200 for him since he weighs more than I do. We talked about the results and how we only balanced about half the calories in the dessert we both intended to have.

The dinner was held at a hotel in a nearby city. So seriously, how many steps would I get from 50 minutes in the car each way plus a few hours sitting at a table?

Imagine my surprise when DH suggested that we walk up to the ballroom instead of taking the elevator. Then we made one “loop” around the area overlooking the lobby before signing in. Other than that my only steps were the trip to the buffet line and back down the stairs to the car.

No, that wasn’t many extra steps for the day, only a few hundred. Still, the number wasn’t the point. My little accessory just pulled him in a bit closer to the Spark mentality. How cool is that!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 10/19/2014 8:30PM

    That is great! You look lovely. My husband too is very supportive (even though he wears a size "small").


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SPARKNB 10/19/2014 12:28PM

    Very cool emoticon

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MJZHERE 10/19/2014 11:23AM

  You look beautiful! Love the top. Nice you are enjoying your tracker.

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SWEDE_SU 10/18/2014 7:16PM

    yep - just like my DH - he follows the fitbit too, and he's usually the one that says let's go get a few more steps before bedtime. it's fun!

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WATERMELLEN 10/17/2014 10:27PM

    You look terrific in that outfit -- and love the idea of treating your spat as a fashion accessory -- you're going to get your husband drawn into the healthy thing by the geek tech factor!

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WALLAHALLA 10/17/2014 9:48PM

    How emoticon

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KOHINOOR2 10/17/2014 9:06PM

    emoticon story. You look fantastic with your tracker. emoticon emoticon Thank you for sharing.

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DOVESEYES 10/17/2014 8:34PM

    It's great he's getting drawn in to it.

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BA5454 10/17/2014 7:44PM

    Success! Love the power of a little 'button', lol. I finally got mine today and am about to rev it up ;-).

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KRISZTA11 10/17/2014 5:51PM

    It is funny how the activity tracker inspired your husband to do more steps : )

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DR1939 10/17/2014 12:52PM

    emoticon The same thing happened with my hubby. He has a tracker, but doesn't use it. However, he checks my numbers because he usually walks with me.

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LINDAKAY228 10/17/2014 11:45AM

    What a great new way to draw a little closer! Didn't realize it could have that kind of additional benefit to help you get the steps!

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GINIEMIE 10/17/2014 11:43AM

    Sounds like my Steve might have been. He was so into anything electronic. He drove me nuts with it and when the children expressed a like interest I finally got some Christmas shopping help from him, because I just didn't get
Glad he's in tune to what the data means and the device does for you.
Enjoy HIM and it.
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MARYJEANSL 10/17/2014 11:25AM

  You wrote exactly what I was thinking - that it was neat that the activity tracker motivated him to try to add a few more steps. He'll become a sparker yet!

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Comment edited on: 10/17/2014 11:27:22 AM

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Comment edited on: 10/17/2014 11:26:35 AM

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BOOKAPHILE 10/17/2014 10:06AM

    It is encouraging! Maybe he will break down and get one, too? My sister and I have Fitbit One trackers, and they have made a big difference in how often we intentionally move instead of sit. (That friendly rivalry doesn't hurt, either.)

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LACY77 10/17/2014 9:42AM

    I keep mine clipped on my bra... It fits nicely there, and unless I'm wearing a sports bra, there is no bump through my clothing... but I really try to wear it from the moment I awake, to the time I lay my head down for bed.

It it very truthful, even when I might want to think I did more than I did, it is always very honest... and that is why I love my tracker! :)

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IFDEEVARUNS2 10/17/2014 9:25AM

    You just never know!

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SLENDERELLA61 10/17/2014 8:38AM

    Very, very cool, indeed! And you look very, very good and fit. I'm a bit jealous that your hubby has any interest at all. Mine is an engineer, too, but he just doesn't get it. Keep up being the good role model for the hubby. Love the outfit and the Spark Tracker goes with it perfectly!!

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TORTISE110 10/17/2014 8:19AM

    Those gadgets really change our focus. Good for you and your dh

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BBEAGAN 10/17/2014 8:12AM

    Kanoe10 - you mean hubby will want to get one of the trackers? or one of the blouse? ha!

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ARKMOGAL 10/17/2014 8:10AM

    I love this story!!! You looks GREAT by the way!!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 10/17/2014 8:03AM

    TOTALLY cool! It's funny which of the "stupid motivational tricks" of Spark People resonate with who... but all of them... the Spark points for the gamer in us, the gadgets for the geek in us... amazingly enough... push us a little further on a journey to a fuller life. emoticon

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GABY1948 10/17/2014 7:48AM

    I LOVE this story! Way to go, hubby! I am married to one also! He parks as far out as possible and doe so many things like that to help....makes ya love 'em more, doesn't it?

emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 10/17/2014 7:35AM

    That is too cute about wearing your spat as an accessory. I love that blouse you are wearing. Maybe your husband will eventually want to get one! I love having my spat track exercise and seeing the results online.


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HMBROWN1 10/17/2014 7:33AM

    Great story! I hope the dessert was awesome!

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5+ years on SP and NOW I get an activity tracker?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

I’ve kept a fitness log for decades, way before online resources were available. Back in the dark ages before the Internet, I kept my results on a spreadsheet and before that in a paper diary.

I love data and I can approximate my walking and running pace even without a device, although I use a watch on my established measured routes just to be sure.

So what after all this time made me buy and clip an activity tracker to my shoe?

First there were articles and even a blog by Watermellen about the danger of extended sitting throughout the day. I wondered about that. How much did I really move when not working out?

Then an email arrived about a “clearance” price for the Spark Activity Tracker since the new model was coming out soon.

I’m a clearance sale woman. In grocery stores I look for the specials. In clothing stores I hit the clearance rack first. We’re even looking at year-end clearance sales for the new car we will probably need. (Our 2003 Taurus is approaching 200,000 miles).

So as soon as the email arrived, I ordered the tracker.

My original plan was to wear it whenever I WASN’T working out. Then I would learn how many steps I did beyond my workouts.

Sunday is my rest day – no workout – a perfect day to get a baseline number.
Sunday: 5716 steps, 148 calories, 84 minutes, 2.4 miles

That step count is a bit high for 2.4 miles. On a track it would be about 4800.
OK, maybe I don’t have as long a stride while making dinner as I do out on the track.
Church, grocery store and up and down a lot of stairs since our lake house has 3 levels (4 if you count the loft overlooking the kitchen/dining room). Still valuable information.

Monday included a long appointment for my annual physical plus a flu shot, and a long choral rehearsal.
I was very impressed at the accuracy of the device.
I know that 1 mile = 2000 steps for me.
It will vary a bit for others depending on length of stride.
My 2 mile walk matched EXACTLY the distance and time on my watch as well as the step count.
For the day:
7435 steps, 220 calories, 86 minutes 3.5 miles
Obviously a “step” walking around my house is shorter than when I’m striding through the neighborhood and somehow this is reflected in the data.

Tuesday: I decided to give it an extensive test of accuracy
On the treadmill using the info on the display:
1 mile Walk: 4.0 (15:00 min)
1.1 mile Run at 5.8 (11 min)
1.17 mile Run/Walk (15 min)
1 mile cool-down Walk (16 min)
My summary: 4.17 miles at the gym for 57 min.

The tracker was very accurate. It recorded my 1st 2 workouts perfectly. It combined the 3rd and 4th and also included in it my steps around the gym, to the car and back into my house, which added an additional two tenths of a mile to that workout.
Summary: 8615 steps, 352 calories, 68 minutes

At that point I decided to wear the device the rest of the day to see how many steps I would do from that point.
This time I clipped it to my waistband. Several times I counted my steps manually and checked to see what the tracker recorded. It was just about perfect.
By the time I took it off around 7pm, it had recorded over 10,000 steps.

My evaluation after 3 days is that this is a great device.

If I wear it all the time, my workout entries will be automatically added to my fitness tracker. That’s nice. Plus, I’ll have additional data about my steps throughout the day which appropriately are NOT added to my fitness tracker.

That type of data is good to know and important to do, but as the descriptive information says, anything less than 10 continuous minutes doesn’t meet the criteria of exercise.

A personal observation:
Since this device is essentially tracking my STEPS (calories, distance, time), I do not think I will use it during aerobics or strength training sessions. Those are already “favorites” in my fitness tracker and can be added manually quite easily.

A final note:
At last I understand what a “Glow Getter” award is – Meeting your goal on the activity tracker.
Imagine, 5+ years here and I’m still learning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKNB 10/19/2014 12:43PM

    Huh...clearance? Will have to check that out. Might be good as a gift for my sis too. She loves gadgets.

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SWEDE_SU 10/18/2014 7:14PM

    good analysis - i'm a fitbit lady myself, but i love the dang thing - wear it all day, with a goal for steps that we almost always meet. enjoy!

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WALLAHALLA 10/16/2014 1:19PM

    I love my fitbit zip, but had considered getting the tracker just because the price was so good. Wish I could do both for awhile for a true comparison.

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TERI-RIFIC 10/16/2014 11:24AM

    I loved my SPAT. I got a fitbit when I got an iPad because the SPAT isn't wireless. If the new one is wireless I would get it. It measures biking, too, which fitbit doesn't. I also found it to be accurate.

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DRTOVAH 10/15/2014 8:50PM

  I love wearing my FitBit. Although I'm pretty good about the steps/mileage for the various routes I take, I find it very motivating to do that little extra to nudge it to the next round number.

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DOVESEYES 10/15/2014 8:18PM

    Great it is working for you !!!

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LINDAKAY228 10/15/2014 7:16PM

    Sounds like it was a great investment! I thought about it but didn't get one although it was such a great deal. I used a pedometer for about 3 or 4 years (actually went through more than one LOL), then almost 2 years ago I got a Fitbit One for a gift. After the first one got ruined in December last year somehow after I had a stroke I had to get another one. It was pricey at almost $100 but this one counts floors as well as steps, which I love The Fitbit Zip I think is about $59 and doesn't count the floors. I'm not trying to sell anyone on getting a Fitbit just mentioning that since I am using that I haven't gotten the tracker. Also the Fitbit tells me how to measure and adjust my stride on the webpage I sync it to every day so my stride is adjusted for me. And it carries over to my Spark info too. I think either one of the two different brands are excellent investments! Glad you got one.

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MARYJEANSL 10/15/2014 6:55PM

  How embarrassing is this? I got an activity tracker for Christmas last year and I still haven't taken it out of the box and figured out how to use it. (It won't be trivial to figure out for a techno-amateur like me.) I think I need to get on it right away. Heck, the battery is probably already dead.

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FORZACHANDMATT 10/15/2014 6:50PM

    That's so awesome - and thanks for all the info - mine should be arriving in the mail any day now! And I think it's great that you are still learning here :)))

And now i get the glow getter too... Thanks!

Comment edited on: 10/15/2014 6:51:19 PM

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KANSASROSE67 10/15/2014 6:48PM

    I didn't know what a "Glow Getter" award was either! Thanks for a very informative blog.

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DDOORN 10/15/2014 1:52PM

    Kudos to trying something new!


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JACKIEWALKS4FUN 10/15/2014 1:33PM

    Interesting info. I do still use my pedometer, I lose my things all the time, so that is best for me. Have been doing this a long time, have lots of info written in notebooks. Just recently trying to up my time and endurance. Still checking on my notebook.
Congrats on 5 years on spark

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ACRAIG921 10/15/2014 1:24PM

    Thanks for sharing. It sounds like you are hooked on your new tracker!! Keep up the great work.


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DR1939 10/15/2014 11:51AM

    I've the tracker for 6 months and am happy with it. It does motivate me to get up and walk.

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GABY1948 10/15/2014 10:36AM

    I have worn a plain Omron pedometer for 6 years now and want a new something or other....I would love a bracelet on because I wear mine 24x7 but the fitflex only has dots on it instead of numbers and is not rated all that well for lasting (the band) and the Garmin one is not either (online that is) and fitbit is planning something new so I am holding out until I am SURE what I want. I do love having SOMETHING keep pushing at me to move (BTW the garmin one has things on it to remind you that you need to get up and move if it's been awhile.....

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MIRAGE727 10/15/2014 10:02AM

    I totally relate! I'm learning AND becoming healthier every day at 64!
I love reading about successful people on the journey! Thanks for sharing!

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WILSONWR 10/15/2014 9:55AM

    Like you, I'm a data person. I use a lot of the fitness apps on my phone, and I also keep a pedometer in my pocket.. It doesn't update automatically, but it sure gives me a sense of my activity for the day. On my recent 20 mile hike in the Grand Tetons (see my blog), I recorded over 57,000 steps. A lot of those steps were shorter than usual, however, because of the steep inclines and all the snow! It still was a new "record" for me, and I love setting personal goals with it. Have fun with your new activity tracker!

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LEWILL1982 10/15/2014 9:23AM

    I learn something new everyday. I've been at this losing weight/maintaining/gaining a little/losing a little since early 2008. I feel like the more I learn, the more I realize I still don't know!

Glad you've found the tracker helpful. I'm always curious. I wore a pedometer for a few days. I didn't wear it on my runs, but just for my "normal" day to day and I would usually get about 4500 steps. It just shows how much exercise really matters, especially if you stare at a computer for 8-9 hours a day/5 days a week.

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PHEBESS 10/15/2014 9:11AM

    Every few days I double check my pedometer with counting my steps as I walk - and yes, fairly accurate. Depends on how hard I step - those first few minutes in the morning seem to not register, LOL.

But yes, having some kind of tracker helps a lot!

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MILLEDGE2 10/15/2014 8:03AM

    I, too, love data and when I retired, I was concerned that when I was NOT exercising, I would be way too sedentary. I was dismayed to realize that daily activity didn't put me anywhere near 10,000 steps, so my resolve increased to get my walking and step aerobic sessions in. In fact, I need to close out this message and hit the path or today won't be a "Glow Getter" day!


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ONEKIDSMOM 10/15/2014 7:45AM

    I love it when the "geek" comes out in us, trying new devices. I love the convenience of the SPAT (Spark People Activity Tracker) and how I seldom even bother to track my actual workouts, other than to reclassify what it says if I was biking or on a rowing machine, etc. I still have to add swimming and strength exercises to get a full picture, but what a boon it has been to my lazy days!

That little extra nudge to move it up to 10,000 (which I normally get without a workout other than my 10 minute walk breaks on a work day)... helps, doesn't it.


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GARDENCHRIS 10/15/2014 7:33AM


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GINIEMIE 10/15/2014 7:16AM

    I was tempted, but I already sport a fitflex and I'm really not active enough. I thank you for explaining the Glow award. You sure do have an analytic mind. Glad you are seeing benefits already.
emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BA5454 10/15/2014 7:14AM

    I had a SPAT on trial then sent it back because I figured that for what I was doing at the time, my Garmin would suffice. Well, that e-mail came at an opportune time when my workouts have changed dramatically and like you I cannot resist a good bargain (emphasis on good). So, It should be here in a day or so, LOL.

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MJREIMERS 10/15/2014 7:13AM

    You sound like me! I didn't blog until after I lost my weight.

Hey, whatever it takes to stay healthy. A change is always good when it makes you want to move more! Good job on the steps and now you know!

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WATERMELLEN 10/15/2014 7:08AM

    Love that scientific mind and the confirming analysis: like you I've been here 5+ years and don't have an activity tracker . . . hmmmmm.

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HOLLYM48 10/15/2014 7:07AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon on 5 years!!!!!

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KANOE10 10/15/2014 7:07AM

    I love my Spat/ Glow Getters are very fun to get. I find that it under reports my treadmill and elliptical distance by a bit. I manually add them. I keep it on for my aerobics as you will lose the steps. You can manually add but you will not get the steps.

Too fun. I did not know about the new spat coming.

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REJOHNSON3 10/15/2014 6:42AM

    This is good to know. I ordered two trackers. One for my wife and one for me and hopefully it creates a positive competition to see who can get the counter to be the highest each day.

Thank you for this information.

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WENDYANNE61 10/15/2014 6:41AM

    Loved reading your breakdown of data - have fun with your Spark Activity Tracker!

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