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Sunday, December 11, 2011

Gatherings are good. They remind us that we are not alone. They can also be a hazard if we start doing the "compare and compete" game with what we hear of the life experiences of others. Last evening I went to a holiday women's party I was invited to by a woman I hadn't seen in several years. Others on the invite list were also folks I knew, and had not seen in some time.

It said "regrets only" on the RSVP. I dragged my feet, knowing I liked and missed seeing these women, but also knowing I had stopped going to the meetings at which we had become acquainted. I carefully examined my motives in considering going... was I going to "show off" that I was doing well with my weight/fitness? Was I going with a thought of "dumping" the other things in my life on their collective shoulders? Or was I going out of a genuine desire to see them and to see how their lives are going?

In the end, I went, and it was so good to reconnect. We shared the themes of our year past... the patterns, looking at the big picture. Some were changing jobs, retiring, others of us had suffered losses of loved ones, some had growing careers on-going, some were at a time where family was coming first. In short, it was a spectrum of women... what we had in common is knowing our hostess.

We decorated her tree emoticon, sharing a soup supper, with lovely music in the background, and yes, at the end of the evening, we went outdoors and howled at the full moon, giggling like the girls we were and still are. Funny, but this may end up being the closest to a Christmas gathering I do this year.

For me, the self-centered introvert, the importance of processing a gathering is as important as the gathering itself. It is in the wake of such social events that I often slip back into "nibbling". I have to re-separate myself as an individual, keep my boundaries, wish my friends well, but not climb into their lives to try to "fix" them. This post-processing is today's job, and why the craving for a "cave" day. Besides needing to get the laundry done! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CEHALLA 12/13/2011 11:39AM

    I appreciate your explaining this so well. I don't know if I'm an extrovert or an introvert. I've been one or the other at different times in my life. But I know I need people to support me, especially my family. I'll have to think about this some more, so I can get what I need to feel whole.

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CUJOMOM 12/12/2011 2:15PM

    Its easy to forget how important our friends are to us, especially when we get caught up in our daily lives. I know you've had a year this year, so I'm glad you made the decision to go!

I wish all my holiday gatherings would be as comfortable as yours... I end up fighting the snack demons and then come home with too many regrets!

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SUNNY1432 12/11/2011 8:34PM

    I hope you got all your laundry done and I'm glad to hear you enjoyed your night out.

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_LINDA 12/11/2011 5:56PM

    I am an introvert that still needs lots of 'cave' time. I don't do well with social gatherings -I am the wallflower stuffing my face in the corner to hide my social inadequacies. My job has club manager has forced me to step out a bit, but I have not developed any relationships or friendships as a result. After the function is over, I am back to being completely alone. I am one of those born to be alone, and I am quite happy with that. Glad you were able to enjoy your social function with moderation :)

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PHEBESS 12/11/2011 11:42AM

    Those of us who are introverts are about 25% of the population - my husband and I both need a lot of alone time, and we're good about giving that to each other and to ourselves. The other 75% of the people, the extroverts, don't understand cave time, the need to process gatherings, the need for alone time to rejuvenate oneself.

So - good for you for going and having fun, and good for you for taking today for that alone time.

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WATERMELLEN 12/11/2011 10:17AM

    Such a candid blog -- and so helpful for me in processing a social event yesterday also. Thank you.

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MSLZZY 12/11/2011 8:36AM

    Re-connecting with friends and sharing their lives and laughter. Great evening for you and now, back to the real world. Have a great "cave" day!

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The gadget

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Some of you may recall my mentioning the acquisition and various adventures with a BodyMedia Fit device. I obtained it last January, discovered its limitations with my body chemistry, and undertook making it a normal part of my routine to the extent it could be. I would take the occasional day off to give my body a rest from skin contact, but for the most part, it told me my calorie output, and tracking food gives me calorie intake, and it was a fine tool for maintenance.

Because I was using it, I started tracking my food on its website rather than here on Spark, because I'm not going to track twice! Then the old computer fried, I got the laptop. The laptop is Windows 7. I continued to use the gadget, and it continued to work. Until right around Thanksgiving. My laptop downloaded Windows 7 SP 1 and upgraded itself. Suddenly, when I plugged in the gadget... boom! The blue screen of death.

I tried this about three times before concluding it was indeed the gadget connection that triggered the problem... rolled back the system to a level of stability, still gave the blue screen. So I stopped using the gadget. Started tracking on Spark again... you know, that works, too. It worked for some time before I got the gadget, it will work again.

After about a week of being without it, my financial hackles started to raise, because the gadget comes with a subscription fee! I wrote them about my problems, thinking I'll get out of my contract. Instead, I got a nice response from their tech support, explaining they had issues with SP 1 of Windows 7. They asked me some questions, including whether I had another computer with older technology I could use! A-hem, that would be a "no"!

Long and little, after a week of silence, they sent me a link to new drivers to download, and as of yesterday afternoon... I'm back in business with the gadget. I did fine without it for those two weeks (well, as fine recovering from my misbehavior with food as I would have with it). In return for my "pain and suffering", they are giving me three months free on my subscription, too.

So, glad to have it back! My arsenal of tools is once again enhanced. Life is good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARIDIAN1 12/10/2011 11:31PM

    Glad everything worked out for you. Amazing how we come to depend on those little gadgets.

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_LINDA 12/10/2011 12:43PM

    Good for you standing up for your rights! glad they did the right thing and you can still use it after all! But it goes against my thrift grain to actually buy something to track food and calories when there is a perfectly good one available for free.. Love Spark and wouldn't use anything else. I wouldn't like being 'attached' to something all day long -trashed too many pedometers for that to work for me.

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FROGGGY13 12/10/2011 11:43AM

    Good fo you for contacting tech support! For most things, I'm so averse to using the phone I'd rather let it slide than demand that I get my money's worth. I'm glad it's working again.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/10/2011 10:30AM

    It really is a nice little tool/gadget, isn't it? I'm taking a break from mine for a while because little old obssessive/compulsive me was getting too hung up on the numbers vs. results. But I'll be back at it again soon. Glad you were able to get the computer issue worked out.

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MOBYCARP 12/10/2011 9:39AM

    We do love our toys, don't we? Would you believe my Win 7 computer won't consistently read the USB drive with the card from my camera? Workaround is to put that in the Win XP machine, copy the files to a plain vanilla flash drive, and put the plain vanilla flash drive into the Win 7 machine. If the XP machine dies, I'll have to test that out on Linux. I'm assuming that Microsquish isn't going to automatically fix drivers for old hardware, and I don't have a nice contract on the cheap stuff like you have on your gadget.

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BESTSUSIEYET 12/10/2011 9:39AM

    Glad you at least got a little bit of customer satisfaction! Have a wonderful day!

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MSLZZY 12/10/2011 9:10AM

    At least you got a break in fees for your frustration!

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SUPER3800 12/10/2011 8:26AM

  Wow, well done dealing with them, and they took care of you I think by giving you the free extension. Great to hear the issue was resolved, and they stood behind the product.

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FITFABJENN 12/10/2011 8:05AM

    At least you know you do not need your gadget and can survive without it, but I'm sure it's nice having it back again.

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    Well done you, hoping you stay focused and good luck with reaching your goals...

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Skim nog, snow, and praises of treadmill running

Friday, December 09, 2011

This morning's special treat is "slim nog"... i.e. skim milk, heated, with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and vanilla, and a little artificial sweetner. Yums! Had it with an omelet and grape juice for my healthy breakfast.

Breakfast came after an early morning session with my friend the snow shovel. It's not a whole lot of new snow, and I cleared it all in one approximately 40 minute session. But it's slick underneath, where the ice is leftover from last Saturday's slush. A part of me wants to weather wimp out of work and go back to bed! We'll see how that plays out... because a choice must be made in the next ten minutes.

Last night I skipped ahead to week 2 day 1 of the 5K your way plan, which is 4 minute jogs with 1 minute recovery cycles. This was what I had on my plan for Saturday... but did it early, knowing it was snowing (rhymes!)

Anyway, gonna make it quick as I need to get on the road if I'm going to. Stay safe, Sparklers!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

XCALIBURGIRL 12/13/2011 9:08AM

    Yum, slim nog sounds really nice. I am right now drinking eggnog flavored coffee with french vanilla creamer, about 62 calories total. It tastes almost as good as a Starbucks Eggnog Latte at 350 calories.

Comment edited on: 12/13/2011 9:08:49 AM

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MILLERGIRL719 12/10/2011 3:27PM

    I lived in Nebraska for 3 1/2 years....I remember the snow well. Happy shoveling....what a caloried burner!!!!

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SUNNY332 12/10/2011 9:29AM

    The slim nog sounds wonderful.

I dread winter, snow and ice. The snow we got last week was light but had a layer of ice under it too. There was an accident on the bridge over the Mississippi so our DIL was delayed in the backed up traffic for over 2 hours.

I am off to bike and walk. Have a GREAT day.


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PENNYAN45 12/9/2011 11:21PM

    The slim nog sounds yummy. I often drink an old Weight Watchers drink of milk, banana, vanilla, and ice. Leaving out the banana reduces both the calories and the carbohydrates. I shall give it a try. Thanks for the idea!

Be safe with the snow and ice.


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WATERMELLEN 12/9/2011 8:51PM

    Like the idea of the slim nog . . . and thinking about a little rum flavouring?

Safe driving all winter . . . snow tires make a huge huge difference!!

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_LINDA 12/9/2011 12:27PM

    That nog sounds great -never been a fan of it! Hope you made it safely to work -the ice is still horrendous here, not getting any snow to cover it and not warm enough temperatures to melt it away either..
Have a safe and happy weekend!

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KALIGIRL 12/9/2011 8:38AM

    Hope you made it into the office - I was lucky enough to be chauffeured.
Like your 'nog' - may give it a try!

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DEBRA0818 12/9/2011 8:22AM

    Oh, I do not envy the decisions you have to make in a Nebraska winter, Barb, but I wish you safe journeys and ways to continue your training that keep you safe and healthy.


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MSLZZY 12/9/2011 8:22AM

    You stay safe, too. No snow here but we need some moisture. Just don't want to have to shovel it! HUGS!

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Thursday, December 08, 2011

Thought I was going to talk about yoga and touching my toes? Well, maybe in a bit, but this level of flexibility I want to talk about is the flexibility of my working out plans, and learning to listen to my body and my soul about the right thing to do on a given "today". Oh, and the weather forecast, too.

First, recall that I made a "blended" training plan that pretty much covers the next 8 months. Clear through July. Then I met with my personal trainer last Saturday to get my new strength training routine. At the end, as she was giving me the recommendations for rotating my workouts between the old and the new routine, she offered to make me up a calendar for the workouts.

My immediate response was "No!" I knew this would not work for me. For although I have this training plan all laid out, I have learned over time that being too rigid about the dates merely sets me up for that conversation with Polly Perfectionism, and self-criticism if I don't follow it exactly. And as anyone over 25-ish knows (and a lot of younger smart people, too)... life happens. You don't always do things on the calendar on the date they are written.

So far, I did Day 2's workout on Day 1, Day 1's on Day 2... took a rest day a day early on Day 3, and did the Day 3 workout on Day 4... I envision the rest of the workout week continuing in a similar vein. I will get 6 or 7 workouts in, they will be the ones that "feel" right depending on how my body and the snowfall responsibilities dictate.

Flexibility in training is vital to success and feeling good about myself. For me. Learn what works for you, and you're well on your way to being fit for life.

And about the touching toes? I could almost do this at the end of the Saturday workout with the trainer! I grinned and mentioned it. I have the feeling there will be more stretching in future routines... emoticon tell a trainer your weakness, and guess what you get!

Life is good. There are flakes in the forecast, and they don't scare me! emoticon

Spark on, my friends! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/9/2011 12:41AM

    You are certainly right on that. You do need to follow your own guide -body knows best! I always chose my exercise class based on how I was feeling when I woke up. With my condition you can change over night. You have to be willing to accept change and compromise. Being consistent is most important, not what you are doing, but that you are doing it regularly as you can.
Enjoy your training -on your terms!

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46SHADOW 12/8/2011 9:12PM

    I hear you!Good luck on the plan and toe touching! emoticon

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BESTSUSIEYET 12/8/2011 10:00AM

    Good for you! I agree ... Being too set on what MUST be done today makes me less likely to do it (think I have a control issue?) it is so important to listen to our bodies, and to honor ourselves in making choices (!!!) that meet today's needs. Now, I'm NOT saying "do whatever feels good" ... We need to keep our goals in mind! But allowing for the changes that come into our lives means less stress, (& less stress-induced over-eating!). Thanks for the good reminder!

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KALIGIRL 12/8/2011 8:51AM

    You are so right - you've worked 'newness' into your routine by just saying no.
emoticon on touching your toes!

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DEBRA0818 12/8/2011 8:48AM

    I'm with you on the flexibility thing -- I cannot abide more than a couple of things a week that are set in stone. Too much happens that interferes with our carefully laid plans (accidents for example -- not that we're talking about me!), and I like a general direction rather than a scripted life. As ever, it seems to be about the right balance for me -- too little planned and I flounder, too much and I panic and stall. I'm beginning to realize as I look backwards and forwards that I am more like a hot house flower than the sturdy German I always imagined myself to be!


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MSLZZY 12/8/2011 8:16AM

    Being and staying flexible saves a lot of stress later on. HUGS!

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Cooking with cats

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

I don't think I've mentioned that the cats have indeed grown to the point where nothing in the house is out of reach. I recall a recipe that my mom used to love, where every other line was "remove Johnny's hands from bowl". She used to quote that one when my younger sisters wanted to "help" in the kitchen.

Well, I could write my lunch-making, washing up, and breakfast cooking regime in a similar manner. "Remove cat from sink", wash hands, put on the milk to heat, remove cat from counter, fill coffee carafe, remove cat from sink, wash hands. Mix salad. Remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Weigh nuts and fruit for snack. Measure oats. Remove cat from counter. Wash hands. Bag snacks and finish packing lunch. Pour coffee. Remove cat from counter... Spark. Ah, yes, what would we do without them?

Last night I opted to make a rest day. I made this choice on the drive home, past the gym. I knew I could either lift last night and rest today, or rest yesterday and lift after work tonight. The decision was based on what my back was telling me. One more rest day before the next lifting session seemed in order. Accountability: tomorrow I'd better be telling y'all I lifted tonight!

The thing about training as a mature person is that there is a careful balance between proper training, under training, and over training. My kid sis told me the other day that to maintain strength, one strength workout a week was required. She learned this in a class she's taking (studying to be physical therapist, I think). To increase strength takes more than one. This was in the context of a conversation about "if the weather is too bad to go to the gym, which exercises can I do at home?" I had concluded that most of my two PT workouts I can do at home, or modify slightly to do at home, if I need to... but there are two or three exercises for which a machine is required. The reasoning is that if I missed those on one workout and only got them in once that week, I would not be losing strength.

Taken to a broader interpretation, my one a week since the beginning of November should have kept me as strong as I was to begin with. As I increase it to two a week, I should start to see some improvements. Makes sense to me. And as my major goal is not to LOSE the fitness that I've attained, sounds like a reasonable plan. Adjust, balance, modify. And never, ever, ever give up.

Life's good: Spark on! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/9/2011 12:19AM

    Interesting advice on strength training. I would have thought once a week would not be enough. I will have to remember this to ask my special PT, she is so knowledgeable.
That is the one thing I really, really hate about cats is they are always up on the highest areas in the house, kitchen counter, your favorite easy chair, where ever she can access and demolish plants, etc., etc. My Mom does use a spray bottle when she can, but this cat is a smart sneak and gets up there as soon as you are in another room. She knows what is what. Our dog never showed any inclination to get up on the furniture at all, but he was tall enough, he could lick your face when you were lying on the couch. I do miss the companionship of a dog. This cat spends most of her day sleeping and becomes active at night when you rather be sleeping. I hope your cats give you peace at night..
Love your 'recipe'!!

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MOBYCARP 12/7/2011 9:22PM

    From the title, I envisioned a variation of "101 Ways to Wok Your Dog." Of course, I knew that *you* wouldn't write anything like that!

It's interesting that there's research saying lifting once a week is sufficient to maintain strength. I'd come to that conclusion for myself by observation. The problem is, once a week is a difficult schedule to maintain from a motivational standpoint. If something happens and I miss that one day, I've missed a whole week of lifting!

Oh well. Just gotta do what you can, given time constraints and multiple life priorities.

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WATERMELLEN 12/7/2011 7:52PM

    DH read a book that set out a "once a week" weight lifting program (really demanding) and -- pretty clearly works well for him.

I'm not sure . . . but for me fitness is a whole lot about mood, toning, cardio -- not so much about weight control.

Thanks so much for that luscious looking strawberry -- my oatmeal with cocoa has been "chocolate brownie" ie with walnuts (and Splenda) but will have to try with frozen raspberries or strawberries as the sweetener!

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DEBRA0818 12/7/2011 10:53AM

    I cook with Psycho all the time -- a faithful underfoot companion that "dogs" my every move lest a crumb fall to the floor. The fact that scraps do fall from the sky keeps him pinned to the action. If he wasn't there, I would miss the company!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/7/2011 10:44AM

    I prefer them tenderly grilled with a bit of mint sauce on the side.


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TURTLETALK 12/7/2011 9:56AM

    I felt compelled to read your blog today because I was curious as to what kind of cat recipes you might be sharing. I am happy to see that you are not cooking with cats! emoticon

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SUNNY332 12/7/2011 9:12AM

    A small squirt bottle (used only a few times) sitting on the counter is message enough for my feline friends. They will learn in time.

To funny about your Mom's recipe. So glad the cats facilitated a walk down memory lane.

Have a good day and btw, good choice about lifting. Some times a girl just needs to rest. I am sure you will feel better this evening.

Hugs, Sunny

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KALIGIRL 12/7/2011 8:25AM

    "Adjust, balance, modify. And never, ever, ever give up."
Wise words from a wise woman.

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MSLZZY 12/7/2011 8:17AM

    Good advice on the strength training. I learned something today.
I am so glad my cat avoids the counter and sink. Now to train her to stay off the table-LOL!

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