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A different kind of Christmas

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Yesterday I got a visit from one of my sisters and her daughter, bearing an "Auntie Gift" of the pigtail hat. Today I discovered that despite my embracing my second childhood, said hat doesn't withstand the rigors of jogging.
It started to slip off toward the end of mile one of my four mile journey. I tucked it into a pocket until I dropped back to a walk for the last mile.

No such problem with the running tights. They performed marvelously. Not that it was that chilly out... I think it was close to 50, if not topping that, sunny, very little if any wind. Lots of folks were out and about this Christmas afternoon.

Since I didn't host last night, I was able to go to church at 7, and be home before my normal bedtime. Amazing how at my age routine is my friend. I really don't like staying out late, throws me off too much.

Now I'm stretched and showered and satisfied... feels good! Wishing you all the peace of the season, and the fitness you're working for.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 12/26/2011 2:08PM

    I like it! It looks like fun -- a hat that would be worn by a woman who is young at heart. It fits you well.

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MNTWINSGAL 12/26/2011 10:42AM

    Sounds like a lovely Christmas. I hope you feel rested, relaxed, and rejuvenated today!

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LINDAJOYWK 12/26/2011 8:02AM

    I can so picture you as a little girl with pigtails climbing a tree! Glad you had fun!

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FROGGGY13 12/26/2011 1:22AM

    Adorable hat, snazzy tights! I so hear you on routine - I recognze It sounds boring, but stating up late throws me as well.
Have a great week!

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IMNENA23 12/25/2011 7:52PM

    emoticonLove um!

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LJCANNON 12/25/2011 6:55PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I have come to think that the only thing better than a good pair of Shoes is a Hat for Winter Walks. Yours looks pretty AWESOME!!

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MOBYCARP 12/25/2011 6:51PM

    The hat is cute, but the tights are functional! You might not have needed them at 50° F, but they should stand you in good stead down through the 40s and perhaps 30s.

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RADFEN 12/25/2011 6:13PM

    I've got tights, but not the hat. Does it help?

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_LINDA 12/25/2011 4:54PM

    Too cute!! I was wondering who that stranger was on my friend feed! LOOK at those GAMS!! Someone's been working out!! Looking good!!
Glad you got some sleep at a normal time!
Hope you have a relaxing Christmas Day! Merry, Merry!
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MSLZZY 12/25/2011 4:52PM

    Cute hat and tights! Those hats are all the rage now.
Routines have a lot going for them. My usual is bedtime at 11 and up at 5, subject to change by pager or DS's schedule. So glad you had a great Christmas

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PARKERB2 12/25/2011 4:41PM

    Like the hat and tights. I like my routine too, especially my bedtime at 9:30 p.m. Have a great Christmas.

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The Morning Before Christmas

Saturday, December 24, 2011

'twas the morn' before Christmas and all through the gym,
The treadmills were crowded, the faces were grim.

Edited to expand:
'twas the morn' before Christmas
and all through the gym
The treadmills were crowded
The faces were grim!

The benches were covered with sweat-dripping towels
We vied for the free weights
We didn't want dowels.

And after the grunting
The cool down and stretching
There came relieved grins
The smiles became fetching.

And we heard one another
As each one departed...
"Boy that sure felt good.
I am glad that I started."

And we heard the staff sigh,
as they locked the doors tight.
"Merry Christmas to all!
Now go turn out the light!"

Ok, done, 'nuff parody. But seriously, the gym closed at 2 p.m. today, and is closed on Christmas Day, so anybody who wanted a serious workout was there in spades, crowding us all together. I had Handel's Messiah in the ear buds and it felt good to be back after my "sideline" trip this week. I did the trainer's first workout, then came home, showered and changed into something more festive.

Wishing all my fellow Sparklers a happy, healthy, sane next few days... for that matter, next week!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 12/27/2011 5:05PM

    Great parody and GREAT job getting in the early workout! Enjoy your Chrestmas holiday!

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KRISZTA11 12/25/2011 11:48AM

Good poem!
I'm glad you enjoyed the workout : )

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/25/2011 12:07AM

    Good for you, Barb. I love the convenience of having the elliptical in my home. However, when it's set up in my son's room and he's home (and sleeping in) I find I'm not getting any elliptical time in. But the trade-off is having him home for three days which almost never happens anymore. I'll be back on the machine on Tuesday for sure.

Have a great Christmas!

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MSLZZY 12/24/2011 10:38PM

    Now there's a different look at Christmas! Glad you got your workout in and now you can enjoy Christmas, knowing you did what you needed to do before the holiday. Have a very Merry Christmas! HUGS!

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KARIDIAN1 12/24/2011 10:07PM

    Cute! Enjoy the Holidays!

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WATERMELLEN 12/24/2011 8:08PM

    I had a great workout this morning too: and that reminds me, haven't logged it yet! Our gym was open till 7 am to 5 pm and not crowded at all; snagged my favourite elliptical, did a super upper body free weights work out. And: tomorrow I'll get in a brisk walk at the very least.

Merry Christmas!

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JUST_TRI_IT 12/24/2011 5:23PM

    Dang.. I wish you had finished your rhyme! Wishing you a great workout in the new tights :)


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SLENDERELLA61 12/24/2011 4:13PM

    Good for you for getting your workout in!! Inspiring. Absolutely. I thought I was too tired and had too much to do to exercise today, but maybe, just maybe, I'll find the time and energy. Thanks. -Marsha

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ANDI571 12/24/2011 3:09PM

    Does standing making food all morning count as a workout. emoticon I only licked a couple of spatulas, but started the morning off with two glazed donuts. I haven't had a donut in sooooooo long. Mmmmm!

You go Barb, you rock!


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HOT4FITNESS 12/24/2011 2:54PM

    i didn't make it to the gym today, had to be at work at 9 am. However, did manage to get a walking video in early this morning. Have a festive rest of the day.

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_LINDA 12/24/2011 2:51PM

    Good for you getting it on with last minute exercise!! You are going to be ready to rock!! Have a fantastic Christmas!! Relax, breathe, experience the feeling of the season, let the others stress out..
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Back to work today

Friday, December 23, 2011

I managed to sideline myself with some kind of bug for the past couple of days. I think what my mom used to call the "holiday flu" is at least partly self-imposed by eating the rich foods of the season and overstressing. This particular time it was different. It seemed to start out with the sinus "weather nose". Which puzzles me because we haven't had much "weather".

I skipped the gym and went to bed early on Tuesday. Wednesday I couldn't cajole myself into going to work, just felt pretty lousy. I did this at least in part as preventative strategy. I know the bulk of my team is taking today off, and I for sure didn't want to press my luck earlier in the week, wear myself out, leave me sicker, and leave the workplace uncovered for the last work day before Christmas.

I got so far as to go to work yesterday, but packed it in after an hour. My body probably could have survived, but my mind was not functioning and I was still feeling that weariness.

Being this odd kind of ill got me thinking and pondering over fitness versus health. Being sick while fit is somehow different from being sick while unfit. That whole "my body could have survived" might be part of the difference... I think I'm better before I'm wholly recovered. I did let my body have a little more activity yesterday than the day before.

This is fighting a childhood conversation with my mother in my head: "If you're too sick to go to school"... I think I've written this one before. At my age, though... it's having to change. "If you're too sick to think clearly, you have no business being at work. But you still have to take care of your body." That doesn't mean "go out and play" but it does mean nurture yourself, and that may include taking some steps, pacing in the house or walking gently on the treadmill. No extremes, but moving.

Balance in all things. Here's to a better health day, recovery and a self-nurturing Christmas weekend!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/24/2011 10:55AM

    I am glad you are being sensible and not trying to work through whatever is ailing you. In all ways in this healthy lifestyle we must look after ourselves and that includes down time when we are sick. Continue to take care of yourself and feel better soon!

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COMPUCATHY 12/24/2011 10:23AM

    I hope you have a GREAT healthy, happy Christmas weekend! Take it easy...ease back into things've been down for a few days...easy does it! Thanks for your encouragement! Spark on! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SUNONMAPLES 12/23/2011 10:21PM

  When I'm taking care of myself, I find that illnesses don't last as long as when I'm just cruising. Hoping that will be so for you, too! Sounds as though you're doing all of the right things. I love your "little old lady" thing -- that's me, too!!! I don't believe that we are EVER too old to be healthy and to move and work to be well. It's people like you on SP who help me feel continually moved to get out, push for new goals, and feel better!

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NEWKAREN43 12/23/2011 9:41PM

    First, I've added you as a friend, I find myself on your page through other mutual friends so it must be right! Second, I love, love the beautiful nativity on your background. It's lovely. Third, I have some of the same tapes playing in my head, "If you are too sick to go to school..." but I'm slowly changing the tape to fit a new me, and find myself thinking for myself and breaking some of the 'rules' from childhood. I'm glad you are feeling better, and noticing that your fitness makes a difference in your life day to day! Good for you! Merry Christmas. Karen

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WATERMELLEN 12/23/2011 9:32PM

    Excellent self care strategy: and it's amazing how good quiet and methodical feel after a period of brain fuzz!

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KARIDIAN1 12/23/2011 6:43PM

    You need to take care of yourself too this time of year.

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MOBYCARP 12/23/2011 4:55PM

    Realizing that too sick to think clearly meant I shouldn't go to work was a tough adjustment for me, too. Time was, I had a job I could do even if I wasn't thinking clearly. No more.

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RONNIEHUEY 12/23/2011 11:47AM

    Hope you feel better by Christmas emoticon emoticon

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LJCANNON 12/23/2011 11:11AM

    emoticonGlad to hear that you are on the mend. Balance is the Key we didn't have--in my opinion--when we were unfit. Too many of us had the "All or Nothing" mentality, and we pushed hard when we should have been Resting and Nurturing ourselves!
emoticon emoticonThanks for reminding us of that lesson!!

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FROGGGY13 12/23/2011 10:32AM

    One has to rest up and nurture oneself even during minor illnesses. I'm glad you are feeling better; when you feel like you can take a few steps on the treadmill, you're on your way to recovery. emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/23/2011 9:17AM

    Happy to hear you're feeling better, Barb. And yes, balance -- if we can achieve that, we've achieved a lot.

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MSLZZY 12/23/2011 8:50AM

    So glad you are feeling better. It is always a good idea to pamper yourself a little so it doesn't get worse. Thanks for the goode, BTW, and have a very Merry Christmas. No snow? Here's a little to get you in the mood!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HOT4FITNESS 12/23/2011 8:34AM

    Glad you are felling better and took the time to rest your body. As we get "fit" we tend to learn to listen to our bodies more and more. Good job in doing the right thing.and keeping it all in balance

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DEBRA0818 12/23/2011 8:29AM

    I'm surprised I have not joined you yet with a holiday illness -- the stress around the holidays usually makes me vulnerable enough to get a bug of some kind. In any case, I really sympathize with both the illness, the sense of responsibility and the difference in feeling from being fit v. not so much so. Best wishes for a speedy recovery and nice Christmas.

Cheers, Debra

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MIZCATHI 12/23/2011 8:23AM

    Hoping you are feeling yourself again soon - and good work taking care of yourself! Have a Happy Holiday.

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And the season of restrospectives

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Most of the TV station "retrospective" shows come between Christmas and New Year's. This is not surprising... we tend to look back, assess, and move forward at anniversaries of significance: beginning/end of a school year, a project, too. New Year's is just one of those times we have agreed on as being an ending / beginning.

Since I sort of feel "I've had my Christmas" and am all full of that glow... I've started to move on to restrospective thoughts. Here are a few that roam through my warped brain this morning:

2011 was a year with losses, and we're not talking poundage. We are talking people and pets beloved. We are talking health issues among loved ones. Taken in the right light, losses can bring us closer together and make us appreciate more what we do have... I've see that in action this year, and for this I am grateful. Taken in the right light, they can motivate us to take care of ourselves and our own health. For this, also, I am grateful.

2011 was a year of athleticism. The bling and the t-shirt collection grew this year with a 10 mile, a half marathon, a mud run 5K, two "ordinary" 5K's, and a 5 mile effort on foot. Some walking, some walking/jogging intervals. The sense of accomplishment and "Yes, I can!" is priceless.

It was a year of maintenance, the second since declaring myself "done" with the losing phase. But it was truly the first year of attempting to truly NOT lose. The first year of maintenance I let my body drift downward and find its true "home" range. This "not losing" thing is tricky, and I hope I am learning the tricks so that "not losing" doesn't turn into "slowly gaining"!

2011 was a year when I began re-assessing how long I want to keep working. The losses have a tendency to point one's thought in that direction. The health issues of others make one realize one's own mortality: I expect that this theme will continue into 2012. You get to this point in life and you start to sense that you can CHOOSE what to do with whatever you are blessed to have remaining, that you need to steer into the next phase of life.

I don't know what 2012 will bring, but I'm starting to think about what I will put on my "wish list / reward list". I know I've already signed up for the half marathon in May. I have my sights on my first Triathlon in July. In between and around? Who knows? But fitness has to be part of my life. It just does. No doubts about that.

And one of the big keys to keeping that motivation and remembering how much it means to me? Right here, friends and fellow Sparklers... in my own blogs and those of others, in the Spark teams and the tracking.

Love you all! emoticon
Happy Hannukah to the Jewish among you... I'll think of you lighting candles tonight. emoticon
Merry Christmas to those in advent... I can feel it in the air! emoticon

And a wonderful week to all!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 12/24/2011 10:22AM

    Wow Barb! What a year you have had, and you handled it very well and indeed are building upon it! You are such a great example and inspiration to us all here in Sparkland! I can't imagine -a TRIATHLON!!
You are strong, you are woman, and you are absolutely FABULOUS!!
May you experience all the good health, happiness and good fortune you can handle in the New Year and always!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MEDDYPEDDY 12/24/2011 2:41AM

    This inspires me to love being older - there is so much joy in being able to see things in a wider perspective... thanks!

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    You've wrapped up much of my life too. Acomplishments and losses. I take the positive spin. This is what life goes ahead and you can't stop it.
What to do?
ENJOY THE RIDE! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 12/22/2011 8:01PM

    Really enjoyed this blog. You've accomplished so much, experienced so much, and have great opportunities going forward!

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GOHUSKERS2 12/22/2011 5:37PM

    Wonderful blog Barb.

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MSLZZY 12/20/2011 2:15PM

    Perfect! Looking back and looking ahead. Time to make plans and revisit goals. You sound like you kow just what you want to accomplish. Happy holidays! HUGS!

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KARIDIAN1 12/20/2011 9:46AM

    I too have been thinking about all i have accomplished with SP and how far I have come with my weight loss this year. Truly it is amazing and I don;t think I could have dome it without all the wonderful SP friends I have met and what I have learned on the site.

Retiring now is something my husband and I mention more and more. I could retire now with a full pension, but at 56, I still would have to find another job since it's too early for Social Security for me. We have financial obligations that need to be addressed first before I give up my present job.

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DEBRA0818 12/20/2011 8:56AM

    I love the look back (they say that counselors are the ultimate nostalgia buffs LOL) and the look forward; I have so much to be thankful for and so much to anticipate with hope. There is one thing that has struck me this year and that is that hanging around SP is good for the gradual dawning of good habits -- it keeps the focus where it needs to be for long term success.

Happy, Healthy 2012!

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The season of blessings

Monday, December 19, 2011

Is this time of year so different from any other? We still go to work. We still take care of daily chores. But there is an excitement, an expectation. Some of us work hard to damp that expectation down, seeking to avoid the disappointment of hopes unfulfilled. Some of us battle feelings of sadness that our own life isn't "more", somehow. But not everyone!

Yesterday I went to visit my sister in law, the one with ALS. I went bearing a plate of the cookies my son helped bake on Saturday, a gift to the household, which includes her daughter in law and two grand-daughters... all of them left behind by my nephew's passing last February.

What did I find in my visit? A home full of love and caring. A home full of positives and hope. Because she tires easily I don’t stay long. We talked of the things we can be grateful for: that she has family living with her, to help her. We talked of the amazing technology that allows her to text and have it give me a synthetic voice phone call, of the fancier camera technology that will read her eye movements and allow her to type (she doesn’t have that yet, she can still type). We expressed gratitude that she has a window she can look out on the world. That she still has *some* mobility and functionality.

We spoke of hope: that the pharmaceutical trial she’s a part of will result in slowing down or stopping the progress of the disease, and she will be able to adjust to a “new normal”, knowing what she can do, and finding new ways to do common things. She wishes she could be more active, and she wants to find a level of activity she *can* live with and be as healthy as she can for as long as she can.

There were some tears, too, when we spoke of her son, and what a good father he had been to his beautiful little girls. They are growing up so fast. I sat with them for a bit while the visiting priest ministered to my sister in law.

I had done my own workout at the gym before our visit. After the visit I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather and allowed myself to go calendar shopping. I love motivational calendars, and am so disappointed that Spark didn’t offer a page a day one this year. Fortunately, I kept some of my favorite Spark Calendar pages to recycle!

And as I reflected on my day, I came to the gentle awareness that yes, this is what Christmas is about... the love and appreciation we bear to one another. Christmas is about hope and love.

May these joys fill your home, whether you celebrate the arrival of the Christ child, the Winter Solstice and the growing return of light to the world, any other religious event or nothing at all. If I have one wish for the world it is for gratitude, hope, comfort and love to permeate hearts and minds everywhere.

Or, to put in in the old-fashioned way: Peace on Earth, Goodwill to all.

Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBRITA01 12/22/2011 10:04PM

    Your SIL's positivity is inspiring and your words touched my heart. Christmas IS about love. Merry Christmas! emoticon

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CONCHA77 12/20/2011 8:17AM

    I don't know if it is your beautiful words this morning that I am reading on this blog or my hormones but tears are rolling and my heart is filled with joy, it's all good. You surely filled my heart with joy. Merry Christmas, Barb.
Tis the Season. emoticon

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KARIDIAN1 12/19/2011 11:47PM

    Your sister has such a good attitude for everything she is dealing with. So nice that you can visit them often.

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FIT4GOOD3 12/19/2011 1:57PM

    Thank you, Barb, for this inspiring blog. You have a beautiful family - your son chose well!

Wishing you and yours every blessing of the season.


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MSLZZY 12/19/2011 1:27PM


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ANDI571 12/19/2011 12:08PM

    I am always in awe of those that are going through such trials, and you would never know it by their attitude. I'm glad you had a nice visit. emoticon

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KALIGIRL 12/19/2011 11:16AM

    "If I have one wish for the world it is for gratitude, hope, comfort and love to permeate hearts and minds everywhere."

Amen and a joyous holiday season to you!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/19/2011 9:44AM

    A beautiful blog, Barb. This is tagged the season of hope and love, and yet we should be in that spirit all year through. So glad you were able to have such a warm and loving visit with your sister. God's blessings to you and yours!

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