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Transitioning the mind for Autumn

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Changing weather is harking the beginning of Fall. We will still have the occasional warm, even hot days, but now they will be a rarity. With cooler weather out comes the frisky in animals and people! Along with it comes the instinctive urge for warm foods and aromas to fill the house in the evenings.

For me, that means stocking up on good veggies to make soups. I love a cabbage / tomato based soup... add beans or lentils, quinoa, or brown rice... and you're getting a pretty complete meal for not a lot of calorie buck!

Cooler weather also means I might want to warm up the house with my oven: now's the time to be baking that potato or yam, using the regular oven to heat up that fish filet or roast a chicken breast. So many healthy options to choose among and still feed the soul as it prepares for Winter ahead.

What's your favorite Fall food, and how are YOU planning to make it healthy? emoticon

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATIE33MAHALA 9/22/2011 8:13AM

    YAMS!!! Baked, they are naturally sweet, they don't need anything! ( little butter maybe) but no sugar. Sometimes I use sprinkle of cinnamon. I love having piece of fish, nice yam, and asparagus for dinner, then had a fresh plum for desert. Can you tell me, is it harmful to measure meat, or fish, but not the veggies? Can we eat as much as we want of those??

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DEBRITA01 9/16/2011 1:58PM

    Mmmm, I was just thinking about soup while grocery shopping and bought some ingredients for tortellini soup. Can't have cold weather without some soup! I also love crisp, juicy apples in the fall and I love pumpkin pie. To make the pie fit into my program, I make it without the crust...tastes great and figure friendly.

p.s. Have you ever posted those soup recipes on SP? I'm always looking for new recipes emoticon

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ANDI571 9/16/2011 1:09PM

    I'm like you, warm soups are so good on a brisk day. I have never been a hot tea drinker, but am finding that good hot tea is becoming satisfying.

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_LINDA 9/16/2011 12:41PM

    I love the fall harvest time, parsnips, sweet potato, carrots, beets, all manner of squash, have spaghetti on the menu made spicy with a curried chick pea. No warm oven here, Mom does all the cooking for me as I have no pots or pans for big things as well as no spices, oils, etc. I am mostly a raw fruits and veggie fan, not into cooking of any kind..So its a treat having the cooked stuff. i do bake potatoes in the microwave, my favorite being the Russian blue, they taste as good as they look!
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MSLZZY 9/16/2011 10:03AM

    I thawed some chicken broth from the freezer and made soup last night. My, but it tasted good! I skipped the saltine crackers as filler and concentrated on the broth and carrots.
I did reserve most of the chicken meat to use for sandwiches at lunch today.
I still have lots of veggies in the garden that escaped the frost so good eats can
still be had in the weeks to come.

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WATERMELLEN 9/15/2011 4:51PM

    Soup it is for me too!! Love them (all year round, actually). And yup, the occasional baked potato. Plus: apple crisp with crunchy oat topping, cinnamon, and a tiny bit of low fat vanilla ice cream: coming soon!

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KIKI0531 9/15/2011 3:33PM

    Love Love the Fall season and I cooked me up some steel cut oats this morning with some cinnamon, banana and peanut butter. Thanks to a fellow Sparkler who recommended a few great things to do with them !! Yummy !! emoticon

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BARBAELLEN 9/15/2011 2:41PM

    Lots of creamed things among my Fall favorites. Butternut squash soup and root vegetables au gratin are at the top of the list. I'm finding that Greek Yoghurt is a wonderful substitute in lots of creamy and cheese-laden things, and my picky eaters have never known the difference. But REAL autumn always means apple dumplings and pumpkin pie -- until I find a workaround on these, it just means the whipped cream part has to go!

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BUGGYS 9/15/2011 10:20AM

    I love making soups in the winter and going to the apple orchard and pumpkin farms with the grandkids and there is nothing better than watching a Packer game!!!! emoticon emoticon

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46SHADOW 9/15/2011 9:02AM

    Love fall harvest food. Right now, my favorite is gazpacho soup-not warm but using all those new harvested tomatoes.

Comment edited on: 9/15/2011 9:02:15 AM

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DEBRA0818 9/15/2011 8:38AM

    Fall is my favorite season although I have to wait for it until winter here in Florida (LOL). But the football season brings out the slow cooker for my favorite stews, especially a Tuscan stew that can be made with almost any protein, stewed tomatoes, kdney beans, mixed veggies, tomato sauce, garlic, onions and peppers. Served it for Monday Night Football using Italian sausage as the protein to some friends and everyone went back for seconds. A great stew!

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KALIGIRL 9/15/2011 8:17AM

    Love the fall and all that goes with it - soups are my specialty especially cabbage based. Mark's mom used to make chalupas (sp?) and I may see if I can find the recipe.

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KATHRYNLP 9/15/2011 8:05AM

    We always take the grandkids to a 'pick your own pumpkin' farm... as well as a 'pick your own apples', same farm. Lots of fun, and exercise. I wrote a blog the other day that really tells you what Fall time means to me... emoticon

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Back up plan in progress

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Not being able to take the withdrawal from e-mail and Spark, I dusted off the old computer and brought it out of the basement to feed my addiction. The internet is really, really slow on the old machine, but I'm typing in Notepad and will copy and paste it.

On the way home from work tonight, I placed my order for a new laptop. Been wanting one for a while, as in ever since my kid swiped my last for for college in 2003, was it?

This machine hasn't been used since 2007, according to one piece of software that I updated. Woo-hoo! Here's to backup plans.

In about a week, I hope to be back up to speed! In the meantime, given the speed of this one, don't expect a lot of pictures or even text from this end. This old thing feels like the computer in hotel lobbies!

Life's still good... and I can deal with whatever it brings! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 9/16/2011 1:03PM

    Interesting, I have to wonder if my old computer is the cause of my slow internet now.. Its been seriously bogging down and the browser keeps freezing up.. I couldn't get my new computer on the internet, it wasn't recognizing the server and there was no fix for that :(

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DEBRA0818 9/15/2011 8:41AM

    We're all connected now in a way that makes it difficult to give up.

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KALIGIRL 9/15/2011 8:24AM

    Here's to dealing with life!
... and cleaning out the basement? emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/15/2011 8:24:35 AM

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MOBYCARP 9/15/2011 6:34AM

    FWIW, my vintage 2003 laptop ultimately slowed to uselessness under WinXP. With nothing to lose, I installed Ubuntu Linux; it's fast enough to be a backup web browser now, but mostly I use the Sudoku app on it.

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GOHUSKERS2 9/15/2011 2:46AM

    I hear ya.....can't get through the day without it myself.

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MSLZZY 9/14/2011 11:25PM

    Making lemonade out of lemons, so to speak! Whatever keeps you connected is a good thing! HUGS!

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Computer Problems

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

OK, I've been having computer issues, so much so that I could not get online this morning when I usually Spark and blog! So... if I disappear for a while, it is because it completely fried and I haven't got the backup plan in place yet!

As has become a pattern here in the "retirement red zone", every time something breaks, I carefully consider whether I will replace it. Remember my fantasy blog last year about possibly giving up having a car? Anybody who does gets extra brownie points for longevity as a reader of my blogs! emoticon

So, this morning's fantasy was how I would live if I gave up the computer! It did not take long for me to realize that this is not truly an option for me. While I can fantasize about going to the library for internet and e-mail... let's face it, for many of us, e-mail, FaceBook, SparkPeople... have kind of become the telephone of our generation!

So, with that realization in mind, I'm starting to look at replacement options. I downgraded my cell phone last year... perhaps this is the year I downgrade the computer! And in the meantime, hope I'll still be Sparking along.

Speaking of Spark... I've found this amazing book that is named "Spark" but *isn't* Chris Downey's book... it's a book on the mind-body connection... from the point of view of exercise helping your brain stay healthy! As if feeling good and being more fit were not reward enough in itself, Dr. John J. Ratey, M.D., the author, cites all kinds of scientific research that shows it fights mental illness and helps us learn better!

Who knew? I've always thought of mind-body being things like Yoga and meditation... it's aerobic exercise, too!

Life's good. Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 9/14/2011 11:43AM

    Waiting for irrigation folks @ the house... emoticon
marking sprinkler heads in the rain.

I'll be interested to know what you decide - the iPad doesn't seem to totally replace the laptop, particularly with the way it handles websites...

Love the mind-body-soul connection - if it wasn't for Plato, I'm not sure we'd have ever considered them separate

Comment edited on: 9/14/2011 11:43:37 AM

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MSLZZY 9/14/2011 7:14AM

    I remember the car issues but you resolved that quite well. Good luck getting a better computer because I would miss your daily dose of reality. Everything wears out but with
SP, it can be one problem that we can push off with healthier choices and exercise.
Keep on SParking!

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KARIDIAN1 9/13/2011 11:19PM

    I went to the library a few times when my computer died last summer. I did not enjoy it- they screens were all set too high and my neck gave out on me. Had a monster headache and sore neck. Happened each time I went there. Could not believe how many people used them or how many they had. Am spoiled by all the computer equipment we have at home.

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WATERMELLEN 9/13/2011 8:26PM

    Hope you're not going to try computerless . . . we would all miss you too much!

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DEBRITA01 9/13/2011 8:19PM

    Can't imagine not having a computer....I'd like to spend less time on here, but wouldn't be able to make it without a computer at home :) Good luck as you explore your options...lots to choose from. emoticon

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SUNNY332 9/13/2011 7:50PM

    So Sorry - I hate it when I am having computer problems.

We leave in the morning for Hawaii. Going to see our soldier and to celebrate our 45th Anniversary. DH ask me not to take my computer so this will be the first time in a long time that I have been computer free for 2 weeks. There is one in the business center at the Hotel so may jump on there just to say Hi to everyone on MM&P's.

Take care and Hugs, Sunny

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_LINDA 9/13/2011 7:47PM

    The ironic thing is, that getting a new computer, even a cheaper one, will probably make it a faster, more memory, bigger hard drive better then the spiffy one you currently have!!! I hate the way they get so out of date so quickly. This four year old one I have bogs down and freezes frequently in spite of having nothing much on it, but some of that may be due to my problematic connection too. I like it because it has a 17 inch screen.. If I had to go to a library for my internet, I would soon lose interest as it would take me too long going back and forth all the time.
I never have driven so can't imagine losing the convenience of having that transportation..
Treat yourself, you are worth it!!

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A great morning to run

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Cool, a little chilly before the 8 a.m. start of the Buffalo Run. This is in a hilly park, locally, and the distance is 5 miles. I am not particularly confident of my ability to run at this distance, have been waffling over whether / how much to walk in the midst of jogging, and had even given myself permission to walk the whole way.

But... this is one of those races where the "real runners" show up, and the competitor in me gets awakened... kind of want to test myself against them. I found Deanna (HOT4FITNESS) before the race, and her husband was running, as well. I started out with her, walked the first four minutes by my watch, to get a good warm up, but then felt impelled to start using the gravity of the downhill slope to increase my pace, especially since there were slow joggers in front of us that I probably could have walked past (Deanna did).

At mile one, I was blown away by the time of 11 minutes (they had folks with stop watches at each mile, telling off the times as runners passed). I found my natural inclination had me running 7 minutes before I dropped to a recovery walk for one... the amount of time jogging reduced over the course of the race, but the walking recoveries remained about a minute each. I mostly ran the downhills, slow jogged the uphills, and did my recovery walks on flat (OK, on one uphill, too, let's be honest).

In the end (which was uphill to a short flat), I crossed with the gun clock reading 51 minutes and change. Woo-hoo... I *did* blow away my anticipated time of 11 minute miles. (Official time for 5 miles was 50:21, or a 10:05 pace per mile.) Remember I said the "real runners" show up for this one? The winner in my age/gender group had an 8:35 pace... and that was not even a record for the race. Good for her! I was 8th in my age/gender group. Felt great!

Next outing: Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure, on October 2nd.

After the race - Me and Deanna:

After the race - Deanna and her hubby:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KNITLEIGH 9/13/2011 2:39PM

    You are so amazing and a wonderful example!

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KALIGIRL 9/13/2011 8:47AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Here's to the ace(s)!

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TAMMY411 9/12/2011 12:15PM

    Good Job!! Sounds like fun. emoticon

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SUNNY332 9/12/2011 8:37AM

    Way to go, Barb. You are doing awsome!

Best wishes on the Susan G. Koman race.

Hugs, Sunny

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MSLZZY 9/11/2011 11:27PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 9/11/2011 11:22PM

    I'm really blown away by you performance today!
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_LINDA 9/11/2011 9:01PM

    Looking great Barb!! Well done!!! I do envy you that runner's feeling! My workouts are a rush but totally go nowhere lol. The idea of going the distance and competing against others to bring the best out in yourself is very appealing! But my only goal is to keep up with the young girls half my age in class ;) Onward and upward!
This race was a primer for the Oct 2nd one (great cause). You are going to rock that one too, I can see it coming!!

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BARBAELLEN 9/11/2011 8:09PM

    I think you've entered the "real runner" zone. Congratulations on pushing yourself and doing so extremely well. Fantastic!

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MOBYCARP 9/11/2011 6:23PM

    emoticonIIRC, this is the race you weren't sure you wanted to do, because it was longer than your range? Great result stretching that range a bit!

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WATERMELLEN 9/11/2011 5:49PM

    You look like the athlete you are!! Awesome!! Nothing like the endorphin grin!!

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MARTHAWILL 9/11/2011 4:56PM

    Way to go! Weather was great here for a run also. Did a 5k this a.m. which is less than 5 miles. Pushed myself to defeat my last time and ended up first in my age group - 60-69. Totally shocked.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HOT4FITNESS 9/11/2011 1:59PM

    Way to Go!!! And great pics. Somehow we are always smiling to the finish.

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GOHUSKERS2 9/11/2011 12:37PM

    It is so nice and you and Deanna can do these races together. Wow, I never realized how tall her hubby is. She came up to see me when I was at Bryan in March. Super gal. Sounds like you both made great times. Not long till the next race. Way to go Barb.

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ANDI571 9/11/2011 12:17PM

    Wow! emoticon

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SPCALLER 9/11/2011 12:12PM

    Its a Beautiful morning here too! Have a great Sunday! :)

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Turning stress into determination

Saturday, September 10, 2011

This has truly been a chopped up week. I let stuff get to me on Monday and had a fatigued, lazy, anxious, grazing day. Tuesday I handled things better, getting back into my program and pepping myself up. Had a dental appointment that morning, and work is going crazy, so a part of me stresses over even time off for health care.

Wednesday I broke a tooth, requiring a second dental visit. He took care of the broken tooth, thankfully not needing to put on a crown. Almost as soon as I was done with that and put my stuff away at work, it was back across town to be extra ears for my sister at the Cancer center.

The decision she'd been struggling with was taken out of her hands by the recommendation of the doctor we were talking with... his recommendation for her continued therapy was clear, it does not include the option she would have to fight the insurance company over... because of something in her pathology. So... thanks for all the prayers for guidance and wisdom... looks like they worked! Another layer of stress removed.

Back to work only to get faced with a challenge to another project that I had thought was going well. More stress, and a choppy day. But I had done my bit... I had written my pep talk to myself, and I was mentally prepared.

The work bottom line is that I've decided I need to go to work today. I did find an important code bug, and fixed it, but testing turned up another misinterpretation of a requirement on Friday. It is in code someone else wrote, but that coder is not available, having been moved onto another priority. I had not resolved it by end of business yesterday. I wisely came home and got a good night's sleep.

Today, I pick up my race packet for the Buffalo run tomorrow. emoticon I may just end up walking the whole thing, and that's OK. emoticon After I get my race packet, I will go to work, to catch up on status reports and maybe give that second implementation problem a look. If I get it, OK, if not, I've given it a shot.

And tomorrow? I have a great Autumn Day for a morning walk in the park, and quite possibly a distant view of the air show. We've got the Blue Angels here for the weekend!

Life is good... I am determined... let us all Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KASEYCOFF 9/11/2011 2:19PM

    Sometimes it's all a juggling act, ain't? But it sounds as tho you are maintaining a pretty even keel, so - yep, so far, so good!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 9/10/2011 9:38PM

    So glad that your sister's treatment course has been resolved without need for a battle. And re the code bug . . . good plan! I often find that when I'm stressed over a work problem, if I put it on to "simmer" while I work out (not consciously thinking about it -- leaving it on the back burner) by the time I"m in the shower I've got a new idea to try . . .

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BARBAELLEN 9/10/2011 8:38PM

    I'm so glad you blog. Your determination and focus are incredible, and I don't know if I'll ever get to where your are. But, when I see how much you've achieved and how you haven't become complacent, I'm always reminded that this needs to be a lifestyle change, not a diet. Haven't completely internalized that yet, but working on it.

Enjoy your run tomorrow in your cute and functional shorts!!

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DEBRA0818 9/10/2011 11:39AM

    Your story reminds me that many of the things that make us anxious never actually happen. If only we could let each day's worries be sufficient to the day thereof (loosely quoting the Bible). On the other hand, tremendous worry then leads to great relief, which feels really good. Gah!


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_LINDA 9/10/2011 9:59AM

    Way to focus and get back into it! Nice to hear some of the stressers turned out not to be the worst that could happen.. Good luck with that code, and may you have some great weather for your race! Hope you do get to see some of the air show!. I saw some of ours as the planes formed up outside of the show area which just happened to be over my Mom's house, which is close to the airport..
We can all take a lesson for your determination to not let things build up and get to you!
Keep up the great work!

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JUST_TRI_IT 9/10/2011 9:10AM

    Determination is in your soul:) sounds like the week was filled with a lot and you still stay positive. Enjoy your run:)


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ANDI571 9/10/2011 9:09AM

    I still haven't turned stress into determination, but I am getting there. You are doing great, keep up the good job. Prayers for your sister..... emoticon

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