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I Owe You!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

To all my friends who patiently listened to me whine about this long winter, I figure I owe you a spring blog.

Oh, and except for a brief mention or two, it won't be about running! LOL

The winter here in Northern Wisconsin seems to be finally losing it's grip. We've been enjoying some warmer weather and yes, I have been out for some runs.

Now, the whiny runner in me hasn't been totally happy with my runs but that's because she has a tendency to expect to be exactly where she was last fall. Yes, I KNOW that's unrealistic, and also a bit un-safe since it means that I have a tendency to push too fast, too far and maybe even too often considering where I'm really at. BUT.....that's probably all I should say about that. LOL

I'm cross training today in the form of gardening/yard clean up. My right knee has needed just a bit more of a break than I really wanted to give it and since the yard needs it, it's a good excuse!

I'm not a big time gardener. I have a raised bed which will not be ready for planting for at least another month and I have a few flower beds and scattered landscape plantings. Up until yesterday, I would not have been able to even see those flower beds much less get into them. I started to do some clean up yesterday in the first exposed areas and was looking forward to more today and I have not been disappointed. More of the snow is gone so I have been able to work for an hour this morning.

Now, I should tell you that there are still areas in our yard with snow/ice that is at least 3-4 feet deep but I was able to clean up the area where my rhubarb will be popping up sometime soon (I hope) and I also got all the pots and planters cleaned of last years plant debris and the spot where the chives reside has been cleaned up too. A little of the flower bed on the lake side has been cleaned but there's still a lot of snow and ice there. I also was able to get the protective cover off the rose bush and a little clean up around the base of that and I've got a start on removing the protection from my Azalea bushes.

As I worked out there, I kept seeing little signs of spring. My chives are pushing up and there are some hardy things that are also greening up and showing their faces. This is as restorative to me as the day of stretching and not running is to my legs and knees.

Just thought I needed to share this with all of you who patted my back and whispered encouraging words as I whined about the seemingly never ending winter.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINIEMIE 4/14/2014 3:43PM

    See you can do it, you can find cheer in greens poking through. I'm proud of you and I envy you your rhubarb bed. I've never grown it, which in a way is good cause if I'd have grown it in Ohio it would belong to someone else and they may not have appreciated it.
We had lots of chives in Ohio and I'm trying to get it going here, wished it grew as well as the English Ivy.
I do want to look into seeing if there is a variety to grow in GA, and how much work it will take. I'm working very hard trying to kill the English Ivy. I finally broke down and hired someone to give me a hand with my yard, not the mowing-I need the exercise and I don't mind doing that. I will have someone come and work on the beds, edging and shrubs....We'll see how that works out. If I need a lawn mowed, my grandson always wants money-maybe he'll work for some this year.
Donna, I pray your winter is on it's way out for good. Erik told me we are supposed to dip down to 33 tomorrow-argh, I'm going to have to cover my raised bed.
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JDELI10533 4/14/2014 5:46AM

    Some days it's hard to remember that Spring ALWAYS comes, but then, there it is!

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CATANTIGO 4/10/2014 7:06AM

    "Life is good."

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TERI-RIFIC 4/9/2014 5:53PM

    emoticon loved reading this. I used to have azaleas at my old hose. I love them. A severe winter makes spring even better!!! When it FINALLY comes.

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JANET552 4/9/2014 5:30PM

    This is you: emoticon I wasn't sure Spring would come but it has in the best way possible. I think I'm going to plant lettuce before the end of the week. This is me: emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 4/9/2014 5:22PM

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ANDREWMOM 4/9/2014 1:53PM


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"It's Not Difficult To Do The Right Thing"

Friday, April 04, 2014

This morning I was watching a movie on TV. Yes, that is one of my guilty pleasures. LOL

The movie I was watching this morning was I believe, "Confession". The story was about a lawyer who was defending a man who shot and killed 3 hospital ER workers who had failed to "care enough" to see his ill son fast enough to save the boy's life.

On the surface, this would not sound like an uplifting movie, but as is often the case, there is more to a story than first thought. The man who committed these murders was a very moral man who wished to plead guilty and pay for his crime/sin. At one point he told his lawyer, " It's not difficult to do the right thing. What's difficult, is knowing what the right thing is, and once you know what the right thing is, you can only do the right thing" I probably paraphrased that a bit, but you get the drift.

I have been thinking about that line all morning.

Here on Sparkpeople, we have access to all kinds of information and tools to help us know and do the right thing. But...........and this is a big but, we don't always do the right thing.

I think our failure to always do the right thing might stem in the fact that we may not always be aiming for what is really the right thing.

I'm 62 years old. I've had a lot of years of trying to figure out what's right and then to try to do it. That can otherwise be termed yo-yo dieting. LOL Why did I fail at some of those earlier attempts?

When I was a lot younger, I would diet in an attempt to look a certain way. I would strive to be a certain size. Sometimes those goals weren't even realistic. I was being influenced back then, by an idealized image that didn't take my genetic make up or my environmental cues/learned behaviors.

There were times, when I had great success in losing weight, but when I went back to "normal" eating and activity, I slipped and once again was faced with the same old problem.

It wasn't that difficult to do what I needed to do to lose weight but I wasn't really going after the right thing so I couldn't maintain it.

Wow! emoticon LOL

I was a slow learner! LOL But I have learned a lot and when I found Sparkpeople, I was finally aiming for the goal of a lifestyle that would optimize my health and improve (hopefully) my life. It's never to late! LOL

Along with more appropriate goals, I also did a great deal of self discovery. I think I'm in a different place today.

Ok, now I have been facing up to my difficult winter. I have managed to gain my 5 pounds of leeway that is all part of my maintenance. I've gained it before and lost it fairly quickly, when I see the climb in my weight, I buckle down and get right back on track. This time, those pounds are stuck pretty tightly to my butt....LOL. But, I have been buckling down and I WILL put those pounds back in the cushion category soon.


Because I know what the right thing is! So I just HAVE to do it. There's no other way to live.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SABLEFYRE 4/9/2014 11:32AM

    Girlfriend you hit the nail on the head, and I think this was a message I needed to hear today. I will support you as you "Do the right thing" and I will reset my mind to doing the same.

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JANET552 4/7/2014 3:03PM

    Inspiration comes from so many different places -- if we are listening. As you remind us -- if it is to be, it's up to me. Thanks for the blog!!

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JEN-LOVES-LIFE 4/6/2014 10:14PM

    Great blog. You make a lot of sense. I am working through a series of Bible studies that are sort of like SparkPeople + God. One of the lines or mantras that they reference a lot is "Do the next right thing". Take each day as a series of choices and do the right thing as often as you can. If you mess up or over indulge,make up for it with whatever your next choice is.

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BJHARRIS549 4/6/2014 9:59AM

    WOW, you are talking to me! I needed this message and thank you so much.... emoticon

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CATANTIGO 4/5/2014 3:54PM

    Well said, my friend, well said.

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GINIEMIE 4/5/2014 10:49AM

    Okay except for movie watching, age, and Florida, I could have written the same thing...but you do it so much more eloquently. Thanks, Donna, for reminding me that it is I who have to do the right thing.
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WASCALLYWONE 4/4/2014 8:15PM

    You are so wise, Donna!

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TERI-RIFIC 4/4/2014 4:26PM

    emoticon I feel the same way about my younger years and not doing the right thing. You put it very well.

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DEBBIECK 4/4/2014 4:24PM

    So true. I think that is when I am the most angry with myself - when I know the right thing to do and don't do it. For a variety of reasons. None of them good reasons.

I love the inspiration for your blog. It is always wonderful when we catch glimpses of meaning for our own lives when we are observing something else (like a movie).

Thanks, Donna, for the food for thought. :)

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Celebrating Spring

Friday, March 21, 2014

Yesterday as I read Coach Nicole's DailySpark Blog, I thought..."Oh Really?"

It was a first day of spring entry, timely and it did show a number of nice things we might want to spark up our spring fitness lives.

What had made me question of course, is that in this latitude, the polar vortex doesn't seem to be done with us! When I read that there had already been a couple of days in the 70's where she is, I sighed. We had a snowstorm on the 19th. Our weather pattern here as of late has been for every day of warmer temps and maybe a little sunshine, we get at least two days of colder temps when we never hit 30. I shouldn't complain, this pattern has been allowing for a little melting of snow and ice without a deluge of run off that would lead to major issues. But it has been frustrating. It's been a long, long winter.

Shortly after reading the DailySpark blog, I read a message from my friend Janet. I've been talking about going for a run outdoors ever since most of the ice left our road and yesterday was supposed to be one of those days when it would be a little warmer. " Was I going to run?" Hmmmmmmmmm............Then I saw a similar post from another friend Raelene. "What was on my agenda for the day?" Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.......Did I even have an agenda? Oh, I had things I needed and wanted to do around the house and a new recipe I wanted to try, a lecture we were thinking about going to in the evening, and of course, since the weather was going to allow it, our daily walk. But, was there anything different or exciting on the calendar for the first day of spring?

This is what I love about my spark sisters! I could feel a gentle pressure on my backside.

Time to stop talking about it. Time to take a run outdoors! I have wimped my way through the long lonely winter concentrating on indoor fitness. I won't fault myself for staying inside since our roads were more than treacherous and there were days that 5 minutes out there could freeze your face off, but now, the road is mostly clear of ice and the temp yesterday was a balmy 35 degrees when I actually got up to put action to resolve.

Problem number one. What to wear? I have many choices there since my favorite reward is running gear. 35 degrees may sound cold to those who are already enjoying spring like weather but I know I will soon be too warm once I'm moving out there, so I have to layer. It takes me a while to dress and gear up since I'm dreadfully out of the habit and I have to think about each item.

Finally, I'm ready and problem number two arises as my husband asks where I will be running. This is one of our safety routines. I share my projected route with him and how long I expect to be out so he can mount a rescue mission if I am not home when expected. I know our road is mostly clear of ice. The road around the other side of the lake is also mostly clear but that road is my hill route and I am not really ready for a hill workout. There is still a lot of snow out there and not much in the way of road shoulders even when the ditches are clear so the county road is likely to be a bit unsafe with traffic. The road around the North shore of the next lake is a favored route in the summer when I want to run traffic free but it is heavily shaded so likely to still be icier than our roads. What's a girl to do?

I choose the hill route and commit to a run/walk which is probably the wisest choice for many reasons anyway.

And then......................................

I celebrated spring! The best celebration that I could enjoy.

We all know that the hardest part of any workout is to get started. As I said, I've done my workouts inside this winter and though I love running outdoors, you get in the habit of kind of waiting for the perfect conditions. Perfect rarely presents itself. Getting out the door is really more dependent on habit or on a commitment to our friends. If we're meeting a friend we're less likely to blow off the workout. By necessity, I have to run alone but I still have those friends who have gently pushed me out the door.

Thanks for the push. I needed that! LOL emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINIEMIE 3/22/2014 7:20PM

    Thanks for the kick. Now I'll apologize because I'm one of the one who has enjoyed some balmy days. Yesterday I was mowing-mostly weeds but mowing in a tee-shirt after I got warmed up, then I was cleaning dead leaves from the edge of my yard and side-walk.
I need to get out and walk more. I don't run, some issues I have, but I should get out and walk more. Today I was a slug, took my eldest DGD shopping for fabric for the granddaughters spring dresses. She wanted to help me cut it out, we didn't get that far because I had to pre-wash the fabric. We had mostly an indoor day.
Tomorrow is a new day and although we are due rain and a frisky 26 on Tuesday, I'm going to try and work/walk outside more often.
Keep it up GF, emoticon emoticon
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PATRICIA4472 3/22/2014 8:16AM

    I thought the same thing at first when I read Coach Nicole's blog. But it encouraged me, too, even if our outdoor environment isn't nearly (HA!!!) spring!

emoticon (That's a huge snowball that the guy is pushing!)

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JANET552 3/21/2014 3:03PM

    I am so glad you got out there and ran!! Now, feel free to tell me at any time to put down the (insert food item) and go do something constructive.

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TERI-RIFIC 3/21/2014 1:47PM

    emoticon emoticon If I hadn't discovered that the bike path near my house is plowed because it is also access to the water plant, I wouldn't have gotten out as much. The cold is bad but the road conditions are worse. Your husband sounds so sweet! I tell my hubs that I'll be dead a month before he notices. He's sweet in his own way but def not a worrier! (about me) I noticed that the March winds showed up in force today! Congrats on getting out there!! emoticon emoticon

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CATANTIGO 3/21/2014 11:43AM

    Yay for you!!!! Now I feel as if you sent that kick my way. I'll definitely be heading outside for a walk today. Thanks for the nudge.

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ONMYMEDS 3/21/2014 9:41AM

    Wow, I could totally relate to this blog, same weather, same excuses. Good for you for getting out there.

I sometimes need to consult my running journal to remind me how to layer depending on the weather conditions. I'm surprised that I was smart enough to include that info in my journal.


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IFDEEVARUNS2 3/21/2014 9:30AM


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Healthy Habits

Monday, March 17, 2014

For some time now, I have been trying to follow a number of healthy habits.

The emphasis in that sentence is on the word "trying". My friends would be the first to report that I don't always succeed in doing that, except that you are all too polite to do so. LOL

I admit it. I am not perfect! Far from it!

But, I DO try. Eating balanced, healthy meals most of the time. Weighing and measuring my food most of the time. Maintaining an active lifestyle including regular cardio exercise and less often doing my strength training ( not perfect by any means) and getting adequate sleep when I can, but that's not always something that comes easy. Aside from these basic things, I have been trying to be more consistent about using sunscreen and practicing good oral health habits, limiting but not prohibiting those special treats like chocolate and adult beverages. I drink lots of water and seldom have a diet soda. Eating a rainbow is routine.

A lot of these habits are fairly recent in my life. Some of us it seems need to live several decades before we get wise. LOL I'm still trying to develop my wisdom. LOL A work in progress as they say.

I've been thinking about all these things for the last couple of weeks. You see, a number of members of the "A SWIFT KICK" team were able to get together for a face to face meet at a hotel centrally located to some of the team. Unfortunately, the entire team is spread out rather far and wide and some had other obligations so we couldn't all meet......this time!

Now, one of our members was heard to say "What happens in Wausau, stays in Wausau" emoticon LOL What I will say is that we had a great time.

Up until a few short years ago, we were all total strangers. Now, we have been cyber friends anxious to actually put voice and face to our daily conversations on Sparkpeople. We were able to do that and discovered that not a single awkward moment occurs between good friends no matter how you've come to know each other.

We planned this gathering so that we could bring our own food and drink, having a private party room at the hotel. We wanted to be able to freely talk, laugh, cry if the mood struck, and talk and laugh some more without having to worry about disturbing others or maybe lose some of our precious time shuttling to and from restaurants. Of course, there was lots of good food. It should be no surprise that there are some excellent cooks in this group, and having one member who is a professional.....well, we had good food! Some of the goodies were not entirely healthy, but a lot of it was made with our goals in mind. I tried to be mindful of what I ate and how much, but there are witnesses so I won't try to kid you....I indulged! I drank more red wine than I would normally have. I indulged in a delicious caramel chocolate bar and a sliver of wonderful pie along with fruit, salad, and some meatballs and a small turkey sandwich. I planned on these indulgences and I thoroughly enjoyed every morsel. And..............I allowed myself something I haven't done for a long streak. I didn't track everything I ate!!!

Was this aberrant behavior bad?

Emphatically, NO! Even though I also skipped my plan to hit the health center at the hotel when I awakened with a sinus headache made worse by the aforementioned wine. (not wise yet)

Now I wouldn't advocate using celebrations as an excuse to abandon healthy habits, and as I said, I did "try" to moderate some of my indulgences, but since I don't believe in totally denying myself of anything, I think that "occasionally" loosening the reins, is not a bad thing.

There is one more thing about this particular indulgent weekend.

Cultivating friendships is another healthy habit, one which is particularly important to me. Living in the northwoods makes it difficult for me to have much friend time. Winter round here means it becomes even more remote since only a few hardy souls stick it out year round. Sometimes a month or more can go by without my having an in person conversation with anyone but my husband who is my best friend but really........

So, meeting the friends with whom I have daily chats on line, sharing hugs along with conversation, is a very healthy thing to do.

This is another healthy habit to add to my must do list. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINIEMIE 3/18/2014 5:24PM

    Well I wasn't blessed to be there, and I do think it's a great idea to actually meet face to face. Having friends to laugh with (healthy), cry with (healthy) share successes & failures (healthy) wine (healthy) sounds cool. I'm not in a rural area, but I'm not close to anyone in my neighborhood. I appreciate all the friends I've made at SP and am glad that many of you were able to meet, eat, drink and enjoy. Now I know you'll all get back to tracking, exercising, and encouraging each other here.
Hugs to all.
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WASCALLYWONE 3/18/2014 9:56AM

    You took the words right out of my mouth!! Since we live in similar circumstances (remote,) you know I can relate!!

Now, however, I have to get hold of those reins and pull my indulgences IN! I seem to be going backwards, despite better habits, in general. That age thing.... I guess....

Love ya, Donna! emoticon

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CATANTIGO 3/18/2014 9:01AM

    It was, truly, a wonderful time. Maybe the calories we ate in Wausau, stayed in Wausau? That's my motto, and I'm sticking to it.

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JANET552 3/18/2014 7:45AM

    It was good for all of us in so many ways. In those ways that might not have been so good, well that's okay too.

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AKATHLEEN54 3/17/2014 9:52PM

    I think its awesome that you had the opportunity to socialize with friends that you have become close to in your Spark family and because it was such a special occasion I would say all bets are off for being strict and keeping totally to your plan. It was a wonderful opportunity for friendship, companionship girl time and sharing moments that you will always treasure. And hopefully, there will be more like it in your future.... good for you!! emoticon

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DEBBIECK 3/17/2014 6:49PM

    No worries, friend, you were totally on the mark! I thought you and everyone else did a pretty good job of trying to mindfully indulge in the treats for the weekend. We had a nice balance of foods and dishes! I join you in your enjoyment of the company of old friends we just hadn't met yet:).

Anytime you get tired of only seeing Steve, come on south to see me! :)

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AJB121299 3/17/2014 6:33PM


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How Crazy Is This?

Friday, March 07, 2014

I am sitting at my desk, having packed up my laptop. There is a suitcase and a cooler in the hall just outside the office door. The car is already loaded with my sparkrecipe flax seed muffins...blueberry, strawberry, cherry and apricot. My wine, and some soda, water and my dinner contribution all set to go.

Why so much preparation? Why so much excitement?

I'm heading out to a sparkteam meet. We haven't managed to all be able to make it but enough of the team that it feels like a full team rally....we are all coming with our missing sisters in our hearts!

It's ABSOLUTELY AMAZING how this site has drawn so many strangers together as besties.

How Crazy is this? NOT!!! LOL

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATANTIGO 3/8/2014 7:44PM

    It was WONDERFUL!

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PATRICIA4472 3/8/2014 8:14AM

    Can't wait to hear all about it!

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AKATHLEEN54 3/7/2014 9:55PM

    Enjoy!! Sounds like a lot of fun!!

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BJHARRIS549 3/7/2014 8:20PM

    Enjoy! emoticon

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TUFFYBIRD 3/7/2014 6:59PM

    Enjoy! I met with 5 SP friends in Shipshewana in June 2011. To me it felt like getting together with old friends and we certainly didn't run out of things to talk about - or laugh about.

Have fun.


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GINIEMIE 3/7/2014 1:24PM

    How marvelous. Have lots of fun. Give Janet a hug from me and tell her to give you one from me. Almost makes me wished I lived up there. Almost until I think of winter....
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JANET552 3/7/2014 12:12PM

    WooHoo! I'm looking forward to it. I think I'll wait till the weather advisory ends and I want to get one more walk today. See you soon!

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TERI-RIFIC 3/7/2014 11:38AM

    How exciting!! Can't wait to see the pics and hear all about it. emoticon

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