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Real life

Thursday, July 28, 2011

If you have to choose between living your real life and writing about it on Spark, clearly, LIVE!

This morning found me growling at my weather radio that awakened me at 3 something to inform me of severe thunderstorms in the northern part of the county. Grumble, grumble, roll over, go back to sleep. Twenty minutes later, it invades my dreams to inform me the storms are moving north and east... away from me. Grumble, grumble... etc. So I wasn't happy to greet the alarm, and decided to snooze on for a while. By the time I was showered, lunch prepped, breakfast in hand and ready to Spark it was nearly time to head to work... so here I am after work instead.

Today at work I managed to get drawn in by some furry faces in need of homes... and this evening's "one thing" entries are getting ready to receive two new members of the household, tomorrow after work. I've spent four months pet-free, nearly five. I know I said I wanted to go a year before deciding... but these little ones need homes now.

This is how kitties come into my life. I don't go looking for them. They somehow find me. A friend at work has a farm, where people tend to abandon animals by the roadside. This past year, two pregnant cats were "dropped off". One of the litters is now three months old, spayed/neutered, wormed and rabies shots behind them. I'm getting a brother and sister... grey and white. He has stripes, she has patches. I'll do photos later.

I think I shall call him "Number 6". I shall call her "Number 2". I'm a fan of The Prisoner, you see. And his rabies papers say "kitten number 6", and hers say "kitten number 2". It's too cute. And since they will be brought to "The Village" (my house) from which they shall not be allowed to escape for the first couple of months anyway...

Yes, it doesn't take much to amuse me. emoticon emoticon

Life's good. Spark on! emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RONOSOF 7/30/2011 8:22AM

    emoticon

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REJ7777 7/30/2011 7:04AM

    That's how I got my cat. Someone just "dumped" a box of kittens on a country road. The family who rescued the kitty discovered that one of her children was allergic to cats, and was looking for a new home. I think that we've both got a soft spot for needy critters. I've had "Beauty" for about 5 years now, and I'm really glad to have her!

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KALIGIRL 7/29/2011 8:53AM

    emoticon trading a shorthair for some long-hairs?
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SUNNYWBL 7/29/2011 12:41AM

    emoticon on your new fur babies! emoticon emoticon

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MNTWINSGAL 7/29/2011 12:01AM

    Congrats on the new fur-babies, Barb! Wow....I can't believe it's been that long since Diamond has been gone. Where does the time go?

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_LINDA 7/28/2011 11:50PM

    Wow! The same thing happens to my sister on her farm, people are always dumping unwanted cats on her and she can't afford to look after them all :( That sure was kind of you to step up and help. At least, cats are a lot less work if you allow them to roam and do their own thing. But nothing beats a dog for companionship though. You have gone to the other side lol. Kitty photos are sure cute..

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SHARON2014 7/28/2011 10:12PM

    And who is Number One? We just watched the entire Prisoner series on Netflix! So glad you are getting the kitties!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/28/2011 9:01PM

    Kitten pictures: we're waiting eagerly!!

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MOBYCARP 7/28/2011 8:58PM

    Wow, you went five months! You're tenacious.

Watch out for kitties jumping into your lap. That's a prime way for me to avoid getting exercise, because I don't want to disturb the cat.

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Balance and one thing

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

It rained overnight. When I stepped out on my deck this morning, I saw a whole raft of weeds that had appeared seemingly overnight in the cracks on my patio. I decided my "one thing" this morning would include pulling a few of them. The soft, moist ground made extracting them fairly easy. There was this surge of "I did it" good feeling, immediate. Why? Because I truly dislike yard work... and when I do something I dislike, in a small amount, see the good result, and pat myself on the back, I feel a surge of victory.

Doing well in the 5K was a thrill of victory... but athletic competition is not the only way to get that feeling of living victoriously. Every day victories need to be recognized, cherished, and celebrated. Keeping small promises to oneself is the most empowering thing there is. So when you *do* the ten minutes of strength training, when you decide to have a smaller portion or make a healthier choice in a restaurant, when you alter a recipe to make it better for your family... toot your horn, if only to yourself.

Celebrate living your life victoriously. You are worth it!

Life's good. Spark on!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 7/29/2011 12:49AM

    emoticonOn both!

I love to garden! I don't like weeds in cracks, I use a spray That kills and retards thiir return. I use a heavy layer of mulch to stop garden weeds from sprouting! emoticon

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LJCANNON 7/28/2011 9:07PM

    emoticonGreat Blog!! I might start applying this Theory to Killing the Clutter in my house!!

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SEATURTLE86 7/28/2011 9:34AM

    Great Blog! Celebrating the little things keep us going.
emoticon emoticon
~Pam

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/28/2011 12:27AM

    Thank you so much for this, just what I needed to read this morning!

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SUNNY1432 7/27/2011 10:07PM

    emoticon on the 5K and killing the weeds, I hate yard work too! emoticon
Hope you had a great Thursday!!

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WATERMELLEN 7/27/2011 8:32PM

    Great concept: keeping the small promises to yourself is believing in yourself . . . and that matters. Lots.

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PENNYAN45 7/27/2011 5:31PM

    This is a very inspirational message.

We can focus on the everyday victories and on keeping the small promises to ourselves -- and then basking in our surge of victory.

Thanks!

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DEBRA0818 7/27/2011 5:08PM

    I love the idea of "small ball" which, as you proved, leads to great victories!

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KASEYCOFF 7/27/2011 2:35PM

    That is a great message, hon - excelsior!!!
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BESTSUSIEYET 7/27/2011 2:20PM

    "Keeping small promises to oneself is the most empowering thing there is." That is so very true! Keeping my promise to myself says, "I matter" and there are times I have tried to please everyone but ME. I don't want to live selfishly, but there is a happy in between, a place where I am free to take care of me, so that I am able to take care of others. I don't have to do it all, but I can do one thing to care for myself each day, and those I love will probably be better off for it, too!

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_LINDA 7/27/2011 9:01AM

    emoticon Well done!! It is always easier to pull weeds after rain. Each step we take in this healthy lifestyle is a victory. Trying to do all I could in that sculpting class yesterday was a victory as I have sore muscles to prove I tried hard lol. That which doesn't kill you will make you stronger.
Savor your victory!!

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KALIGIRL 7/27/2011 8:44AM

    emoticon I too have been 'grabbing' opportunities to pull those weeds - only wish I could do the same with the crab grass...
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JOURNEYTO60 7/27/2011 8:29AM

    Really, really a terrific thought. I love the thought of keeping "small promises to yourself" and celebrating all those little victories in the day! What an exciting way to look at life! Thanks for sharing...have a wonderful day!

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Transitions versus Finish Lines

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The gal who hates finish lines is here... with a little reverie over "when is a finish line NOT a finish line"? When it is a transition! Just about everything that "feels like a finish line" with a little bit of insight and work, can be seen as some kind of transition... because "there is no finish line".

Life has dozens if not hundreds, thousands, or millions of these transitions.

There are the tiny daily ones: bed to up and awake. From home to work mode, and vice versa. From one task to the next. In school, changing classes. In books, chapters, changes to a different set of characters or plot lines.

There are the annual ones: changing of the seasons, planting and harvest, Holidays, vacations.

There are the major life ones: Graduation from a given level of school, moving on to the next or to a working life. Marriage. Addition of members to the family (furry ones, too). Loss of loved ones. Kids growing up and moving out. Health issues or injuries.

There are major lifestyle (or financial) changes that can give pause: getting, losing, or changing jobs, moving to a new house or apartment. Downsizing, upsizing, relocating.

These changes happen to us all. They are a part of life. They shape us as we adapt to them.

Now take a look at the changes in your life and where you put health and fitness in your list of priorities as these changes occurred. Did you (as I did) leave it off the list of priorities? Drop it to the bottom of the list (just until this crisis is past)? Wish for it, but not act on the wish?

What brought you to Spark? It wasn't just that you heard about it from a friend, or saw an ad... there was a motivation inside you that said "I have to do something about my life, health, fitness"... and you came. Will you stay, through all the rest of life's transitions? Will you keep the Spark alive?

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATIE33MAHALA 7/28/2011 6:37AM

    Nice blog! I found SP while hunting answers to eating healthy meals on internet. Now, I look at SP as a life saver. Not only learning better eating habits, but also feel, I'm not alone, tons of support, and the icing on the cake- wonderful friends from all over the world. Will I be a lifer? Yes!!!! Until I can't type or see to read any more!

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WATERMELLEN 7/26/2011 7:55PM

    Oustanding blog, thank you!! There are no finish lines when it comes to tracking nutrition . . . or at least not until I stop requiring nutrition (the ultimate finish line, I suppose!!)

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WILMASOTO 7/26/2011 5:04PM

    Awesome blog!! Life is full of transitons we just have to look for them and KEEP ON SPARKING our way to good health!!

Wilma emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/26/2011 2:35PM

    I think I can honestly say that I will be an SP "lifer." Finding this website and all of the information and GREAT sparkfriends has been life changing. I may take breaks from time to time, but I can never stay away very long!

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ANDI571 7/26/2011 2:08PM

    Very good question. You are so right. I came back to Spark because I knew I had to do something. I can't let "Life" throw me off course and not get to the finish line. The finish line being, a healthy body for the rest of my life. No wheel chairs for me.

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KALIGIRL 7/26/2011 1:17PM

    It's a good question for me as I am seriously considering leaving after reaching my 2 year anniversary of weight loss this winter. I made a pledge to Annie to stay until that point and will keep my promise, beyond that who know?


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HOT4FITNESS 7/26/2011 11:48AM

    How funny that I wrote my Tuesday blog before reading yours, Transitions, changes, trimesters, chapters. We are on a constant journey of changes, learning, and teaching. Lets keep moving forward to the nest chapter. Great blog!!

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PATRISNA 7/26/2011 10:45AM

    emoticon Great blog!

Hugs,
Pat

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CONCHA77 7/26/2011 9:56AM

    Great blog!


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KASEYCOFF 7/26/2011 9:20AM

    Great analogy re finish lines. I so agree - if you're static, you're not living, in just about every sense of the word. IMHO
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_LINDA 7/26/2011 8:41AM

    I was always good about exercising, pretty much have to with RA, stop moving and the disease will take over, but my nutrition was horrible. I did eat healthy fruits and veggies because I was vegetarian, but I also used to drink loads of pop and eat cheese doodles by the huge bag full as well as chips and buttery popcorn. The one thing Spark did for me, was open my eyes to the calories in even healthy foods and thus learned portion control and what a serving size was really meant to be. Now I have the tools, even during surgical layoffs when I can't exercise, like what is looming closer for me, I will still keep careful track of everything I eat and have no real excuse to let any weight creep back on. Surgeries are a constant in my life, don't know if I will ever get peace and see the end of them, but must deal with them like you do with everything else that gets in your way.

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Transitions

Monday, July 25, 2011

Another photo from the triathlon on Sunday. This one shows people in transition.



The young woman in turquoise / blue is one of the juniors, transitioning from her bike ride to her run, pulling her hair down and headed for that blue archway where the run begins. The one in hot pink is one of the adults, transitioning from swim to bike, on her way to the bike starting line.

Transitions in a triathlon are very specific, but we have many transitions in the larger sense of life. Whatever change comes our way, we need to transition to whatever new routine will support that change. There are short transitions and long ones. Some can be planned for, others not so much.

The triathletes who think ahead and have everything laid out to make for a smooth transition shave vital seconds off their race time if the race is a close one. In life, some transitions can be similarly planned for and laid out... adding a new job? Changing schedules? Think ahead and plan for how you'll handle it without undermining your larger goal of living healthy... will you carry your lunch to work? Will you alter the time of your workouts? Will you take breaks? Stretch at your desk if it is a sedentary job?

Things can be unpredictable in transitions. A competitor has to be able to alter plans without becoming ruffled. Shoelace break? Having trouble finding the clip on the bike pedal... take the time to adjust and fix it, and your race goes smoother.

Life's journey has many transitions... here's to not letting them frustrate us, but to resiliently making them and getting into the rhythm for the next phase as smoothly as we can. It may be difficult (I know it often is for me)... but it is well worth it!

Life's good. Spark on!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 7/26/2011 1:14AM

    Thats an interesting subject - transitions. Thans for inspiring me to think about it!

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SLENDERELLA61 7/25/2011 7:17PM

    As someone with 2 days work left until retirement, your blog is extremely timely for me. Here's to smooth transitions!!

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ANDI571 7/25/2011 2:34PM

    Never thought as life having its transitions. Trying to do life smoothly is not always easy, but makes the journey much better if we can.

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_LINDA 7/25/2011 11:25AM

    Here is to smooth transitions no matter what curve balls life throws at us!!
Great photo! I always wonder how they can keep it smooth in their transitions if a whole pack of people come in getting to the next part of the race..

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KALIGIRL 7/25/2011 8:48AM

    Here's to handling transitions with grace and style!

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LRK4CHRIST 7/25/2011 8:20AM

    Good for u! Keep up the Good work!

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ELRIDDICK 7/25/2011 7:53AM

  Thanks for sharing

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You can get a good workout as a spectator, you know!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I just had the best morning. No, I did not run another race... this time I took my camera with me and walked over the the venue where the State Games was having the Triathlon competition.

In case anybody who reads these has been living under a rock and doesn't know what a triathlon is, it combines a swim, a bike ride, and a running event, all into the same race. In between the events is "transition", where the swimmer changes into the biker, and the biker into the runner, and starts the next event in the sequence. That said, here are a few shots of the Juniors, for whom this was a qualifying event for "real" events later in the year.

Swim start:


First swimmer got out (0.47 mile swim) when the clock said:

Here he is starting his bike ride:

At the end of his first loop of the ride (there were three loops around the outer perimeter of the park containing the lake where the swim was done all the way out to the Library I sometimes walk to, adding to a total of 20K / 12 miles):


Him again, returning after the third lap:


Starting his 5K run:


And coming on toward the finish line. I missed the clock, the shot was badly lighted, but he did this all in an hour and eight minutes and change. Amazing performance for a 16 year old. His 14 year old sister finished ten minutes behind him, and his nearest competition 8 minutes.


Next year? May...be me as a participant? May...be... that's a huge time commitment to train. We'll see... but some of you all know about me and my bucket list... a TRI is on it.

Oh, and as a spectator, I put in 15,000 steps, moving from spot to spot to snap my photos and cheer the athletes on.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 7/25/2011 12:25AM

    I just bet that was a great workout! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 7/24/2011 4:47PM

    WOW! That is awesome! That brother and sister must be incredibly fit! A shining example to people their age!!
Well done on keeping up with it all! I can't imagine the stamina and training you need to complete one of these. If you are going for it, all I can say is I am in awe!!

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HOT4FITNESS 7/24/2011 4:11PM

    So cool!!! Hope to be a spectator for that one!!

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SLENDERELLA61 7/24/2011 1:50PM

    Thanks for posting. I've often wondered about the transitions. Perhaps I'll go watch one myself. I do run, ride and swim, but have yet to actually put a Tri on my bucket list. Just might, though. You are encouraging me to seriously consider it! -Marsha

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LAFEMMEDELALUNE 7/24/2011 1:37PM

    Wow, you really did get in a workout while spectating! emoticon

Perhaps you could attempt a duathalon to work up to it...?

Great pictures!

Comment edited on: 7/24/2011 1:37:34 PM

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/24/2011 1:26PM

    SOOOOOO fun!!! And like I said, you just.. just... just might be ready already! That bucket is closer than you believe it to be! Let your imagination guide you!

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WORDLILY 7/24/2011 12:22PM

    What fun!

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