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On your mom's advice about being wary of strangers

Friday, December 30, 2011

A college chum of mine once quipped that as a child she had been warned to not talk to strangers, but she had trouble distinguishing between "a stranger and a friend I hadn't met yet"! Online friendships allow a certain distance in making that determination, in identifying kindred spirits and developing trust before meeting in person.

Most of my Spark friends are just that: kindred spirits that I have identified by reading their blogs, going to their spark pages, being on their teams and finding that they have similar goals, interests and motivations in this great journey to a healthy lifestyle. Many of them have similar challenges and road blocks in the path, or echo feelings and attitudes I have felt. Many are in similar life phases. It makes for the potential of magic.

Yesterday's meeting with Mary was one of those magical things. Another Spark friend described her first meeting with a fellow Sparker as being like an instant connection and level of comfort, as though they had been neighbors for years. That's kind of what it was like for me: we know a lot about each other already, as neighbors do, but not everything... there are a lot of little gaps and holes that getting together and interacting in a live conversation can fill.

And sorry but emoticon icons can't hold a candle to the real thing!

So, as I said after meeting other Spark friends last year: if you get the chance to meet a Spark friend in person - go for it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARIDIAN1 12/30/2011 9:14PM

    What fun for both of you.

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MSLZZY 12/30/2011 8:48PM

    Those opportunities may be few and far between but what fun that could be! HUGS!

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ANDI571 12/30/2011 9:34AM

    I agree meeting spark friends in person is such a great experience. I'm so glad you got to do that.

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LJCANNON 12/30/2011 9:26AM

    emoticonI am so happy (and Jealous!) for you both!! When I win the Lottery*, I think I will plan a trp to meet all of my Spark Friends in person.

*it might be awhile because my plan is to Win The Lottery without ever buying a Ticket!! I am working on that!

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HOT4FITNESS 12/30/2011 8:53AM

    And meeting you this past year was an awesome experience. And not just meeting but working together in staying healthy.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/30/2011 8:35AM

    Kindred spirits, indeed! Have a GREAT day, Barb!

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DEBRITA01 12/30/2011 8:30AM

    Glad you were able to meet up...loved the photo. It's a blessing to meet a Sparkfriend in real life. I met MARENAMOO and it was wonderful!

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LATTELEE 12/30/2011 7:36AM

  Good story...

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FROGGGY13 12/30/2011 7:35AM

    Indeed, meeting someone that way is magical!
We moved to a new country almost two years ago, and are lucky to have made friends who faced similar challenges - lots to relate to.

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MILLERGIRL719 12/30/2011 7:32AM

    I met a Spark Friend, too, and it was great! Yes, go for it!

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People in our lives... and Spark people in our lives

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A friend of mine quoted to me once that people entered our lives for "a reason, a season, or a lifetime". It rang true at the time, as I thought back over the people whose words or actions have touched my life... seemingly at random... for a reason. And of those whose paths crossed into my life while we worked together or lived in the same town, or shared an interest... but then we went on with our lives and lost touch... for a season.

And then there are those that we meet that remain friends for a lifetime. Some may be those that we drop back in to the same themes when we meet, even if it has been years since we last saw one another. Some are in our lives by accident of birth, but somehow despite that are close (I feel this way about my siblings). Some started out as "for a reason" or "for a season" and then became lifelong friends... I have a collection of people with whom I worked when I was younger. Our lives took different directions, but this time of year, we write and play catch up.

And then there is my Spark friend collection. The semi-anonymity of an environment on-line makes it possible to share inner thoughts in ways we sometimes fail to do with those close to us "in meat space" (as my son calls it). The possibility of actually meeting face to face or doing something together is a transition or a milestone. Today holds the potential of such a meeting. COOKME123 (Mary) and her husband intend to be on the road and might just hit my city at a time that makes meeting possible.

I am trying to protect myself from having too high expectations, as I know that vagaries of travel can play havoc with timing and such... so this is a day of HOPE. It may not happen, but I am hoping that it will! I've cleared my afternoon calendar of work meetings just for this reason.

We have been Spark Friends for a while now, swapping encouragement, blogging back and forth... reinforcing our determination to live healthier. If this comes off, we've promised to take pictures and share.

But I wanted to say that even if I never meet some of my Spark Friends in person, these are folks that are definitely in my life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. We're in this journey together, even while we are miles, states, or nations apart.

Here's to YOUR Spark journey, and to mine, and to where those lines intersect: for a reason, for a season, or for a lifetime! Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MNTWINSGAL 12/29/2011 11:07PM

    It's so much fun to finally meet someone with whom you have shared such innermost personal thoughts, as we do here on SP. I've only met one Spark Buddy (Sunny) in real life, but we instantly clicked as if we had been neighbors for years. It's fabulous!

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JUST_TRI_IT 12/29/2011 7:47PM

    So glad that it did work out... (I read this after you actually got to meet) WOOHOO!!!

emoticon to both of you...


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DEBRITA01 12/29/2011 5:44PM

    Hope you got the chance to meet Mary today. I love all the friends I've met here and would love to meet in person one day. Give Mary a hug from me!

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MIZCATHI 12/29/2011 11:56AM

    It will be nice for you meet Mary. I wish I could meet all of my Spark friends in person!

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_LINDA 12/29/2011 11:20AM

    That would be so awesome if you met your Spark friend Mary, I hope it all works out! I can't imagine meeting anyone in person, would be so thrilling!

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BUGGYS 12/29/2011 9:48AM

    SP and my friends here have become my family of sorts...their encouragement and support can't be beat and I rely on them for so many things!!! Mary lives a couple hours from me in my own state and although we've tried to meet, we haven't...say hi for me too!

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ANDI571 12/29/2011 9:44AM

    I know what you mean. My spark friends have become very important to me. My one regret is that I may never get to meet some of them. I look forward to logging on and seeing what everyone is up to. I had the privilege of meeting Shawwb (Brenda) twice now. I loved it.

Tell Mary Andi says hi.

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MIRAGE727 12/29/2011 9:33AM

    If it happens, it's that much sweeter. I can't wait to meet my SparkPeeps.

I so value my SparkFriends! They inspire me and support me. Because of some, I have reached higher grounds that I never would have imagined. I love you all. Thank you!

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SUNNY332 12/29/2011 9:30AM

    Awe - that would be wonderful. I have met several Spark Friends and it is great. If it all works out that you get to meet, be sure and have her husband take some photos.

Do have a lovely day.


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LJCANNON 12/29/2011 9:25AM

    emoticonWell, of course you will take pictures and share when/if the meeting happens!! Otherwise there will be a Turtle Riot in Sparkville.
emoticonMeeting up with SparkFriends is such a Special Treat!!

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LEANJEAN6 12/29/2011 7:54AM

    Ever nice blog! I treasure my Spark friends--They sure do encourage one tpo keep going---- I enjoy seeing your cat too--LOL--Lynda

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MSLZZY 12/29/2011 7:42AM

    Hoping you and your friends can meet up today. At least the roads are clear of ice and snow.
Here's to journeys! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FROGGGY13 12/29/2011 7:41AM

    What you wrote rings true. I hope you get to meet Mary and her husband!

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SAMI199 12/29/2011 7:36AM

    I have my fingers crossed...I love your blog-as always.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOURNEYTO60 12/29/2011 7:33AM

    Very touching! I hope you do get to meet and enjoy your visit! I have sparkfriends, some facebook friends, and many pen pals that I have never met. I am always surprised at how special they are to me anyway and how real they seem in my life. It is truly a benefit of technology to bring people together who otherwise wouldn't be. Thanks for posting!!!

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WATERMELLEN 12/29/2011 7:30AM

    So true. Hope you get to meet your spark friend (and that we get to share the pictures!). But certainly the semi-anonymous encouragement and support I've received here is (in its effects) as real as it gets!! "Meat" space or not! (and I do love that expression . . . )

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The hardest thing to maintain is...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

probably different for everyone. For me? The hardest thing to maintain is motivation.

This is why Spark works for me. This is why I need Spark even though I use other tools (like a commercial diet program, a gym, a personal trainer). Spark gives me a place to obsess in writing about "me, me, me!" and my motivation. It gives me a place to brag on my successes and whine about my failures among others who truly do "get it".

This is why I come blog almost every day.

I'm fond of saying several old tired things, and I need to hear myself say them over and over again.

1. "It's not about the scale. It's about the behavior." Behave in healthy ways and the scale will take care of itself.

2. "I love feeling fit." I love the little surprises of fitness: discovering that it's easier to do things than it once was. Things that come into one's life at random or regular intervals and require one to do something out of the norm, for example wresting the Christmas tree into the house, or running up the stairs at work because of a power outage.

I love being among fit people and feeling that "I belong here". OMG! I never would have thought it 25 years ago, but I find participating in events like 5K's and last year's first half marathon bring on an incredible high! Finding that the others accept you because you're out there putting forth the effort? Priceless.

Speaking of being among fit people, a funny thing happened at the gym. While jostling for position, a very muscular young man stepped around me swinging a kettle bell and apologized, I shrugged it off and said something like "just think of me as your mom"... then back-pedaled... "or maybe that's not a good thing..." Thinking and joking about the possibility that he might NOT avoid giving his mom a hard time. He said, "No, that's a good thing."

Being fanciful, I envisioned many of us "older" moms with fit adult children, becoming fit ourselves, making a tidal wave of fitness across the land!

3. "It's never the same ten pounds." This is one of my favorites. Because it's not. When I slip and start to regain, it is usually a sign that something else in my life is out of kilter and needs examination. And it's NOT the same thing over and over, it is something new, or something I didn't quite address before. Maybe I'm ready to address it now.

4. "Activity is a tool. Nutrition plans are tools." Tools are used to craft things: these tools are used to craft health and fitness, and build a good life.

And life IS good! Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KARIDIAN1 12/28/2011 11:52PM

    You got it- SP does keep me motivated and going. Especially all my SP friends.

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JUST_TRI_IT 12/28/2011 11:25PM

    Interesting ideas to ponder... I find it fascinating that for as much as we want to be unique individuals in this life, we find much solace when fellow human beings utter similar thoughts, worries, triumphs etc as we have had. We are comforted by common bonds... And I find such comfort when you bravely say things I have yet to say out loud.


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RONNIEHUEY 12/28/2011 8:40PM

    Good Blog! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 12/28/2011 7:36PM

    As always -- letting me listen on your self-pep talks is inspiring. I like particularly the idea that "it's never the same 10 pounds".

Motivation for me is always always always after-acquired -- that is, acquired after I just go ahead and do whatever it is I was waiting to do until I felt motivated!!

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_LINDA 12/28/2011 6:52PM

    You are right on that Sparks is a great ongoing motivator to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I am thankful you do blog regularly to give us our thoughts for the day. Its never the same ten pounds -good one!! Life is ever changing and sometimes the curveballs hit and sometimes they miss or sneak up on us when we are not prepared. But as long as we become aware and get back on track, we can still avoid the dreaded gain it all back trial a lot of people are going through. Its remarkable how many people come on my teams, saying, I was on Sparks once before..but now have to lose.. yada, yada. That won't be me. I like the tools on here and I won't stop using them!!

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MSLZZY 12/28/2011 6:26PM

    Yes, having the right tools for the job is a good thing. And SP has all the right tools. It's just knowing how to use them that counts. Excellent points you shared. HUGS!

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FITGRL124 12/28/2011 11:08AM

    LOVE your blog!!!! emoticon

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MIZCATHI 12/28/2011 10:50AM

    Just the kind of motivation I needed to hear this morning. I am learning so many new things about myself during this journey, and it's all vital to my continued growth. I thought at 57 that I would know all the answers, but sometimes I am surprised by the questions. My body is constantly surprising me and when I listen, I am able to hear the wake up call. The past 6 months have been a struggle, but you are correct, it's not the same 10 lbs. The 10 lbs i gained were about the tendency I have to protect myself when things become difficult, and I am forced to try new things. The extra food becomes a panacea, but it is not a way to cope, it's a way to hide. I am so grateful you are here and among my friends - giving a voice to the call I need in my ear at all times.

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JOHAL52 12/28/2011 9:56AM

    Thank you thank you for this blog!! I especially liked "it's never the same ten pounds." That is SO thought provoking!

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KATHRYNLP 12/28/2011 8:52AM

    emoticonThis really hits home... emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 12/28/2011 7:58AM

    Great blog, Barb!! You are so right on! I had never heard that it is never the same 10 pounds. Very interesting. The rest I could have written. Sparks really does help the motivation. Having SparkFriends like you is decidedly inspirational!! -Marsha

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JOURNEYTO60 12/28/2011 7:31AM

    You are so right! Thank you for posting, Definitely not old and tired sayings- they are certainly tried and true! Needed to read this this morning....enjoy your steel oats! Nancy

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Workday pep talk blogs are back

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

After three days off ... glorious days, mind you... where I delayed the blogs until I could brag on my workouts... it's time once again to go to the early morning "get through today" pep talks. My lunch is packed. My oats are simmering. My coffee is at my elbow.

Acknowledgement of anniversaries: 56 years ago today my mom ducked out on the household to give birth. The result you folks may know here on Spark as MobyCarp. I was 3 years old and fascinated by the wrinkly red creature that slept in a basket at first. This kid was amazing, let me tell you. He was reading before kindergarten, back in the days before Headstart. He can do ANYTHING he sets his mind do, and as I said last Summer when I introduced him to SparkPeople, he is a Force to be Reckoned With. Am I a fan of my family? You betcha! Wish him a Happy!

Also, a brief two years ago today, I drank my last carbonated beverage. The first year going without was at times tough. I spent a year leading up to giving it up entirely in cutting down. I gave up the bubbles mainly due to the bone loss to which they contribute. I can't afford to lose more bone. I like being able to stand, run, etc. Of course, to compensate, I've become a much more serious coffee fan!

Plan for this week: It's a short work week, only four days, and a lot of people are taking it off, or parts of it. I am hoping it will be a mostly quiet work week because of that. We got an e-mail on Friday last week that we can wear jeans to work this week - that's a WooHoo! from me, for sure. I'm a jeans kinda gal.

Have the workout togs in the trunk, hoping to follow through with leaving work on time. This is a week for savoring the Holiday just past, assessing the year, and deciding on goals for the next one... helping us out... sunshine should be increasing now, a minute or so every day or two. Don't you love it when the sunshine returns?

Have a great week, all! Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Have a happy week!

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KARIDIAN1 12/28/2011 1:11AM

    Sounds like you are going to have a great week. Wish we could wear jeans for a week. It's all too rare we can wear jeans at work.

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_LINDA 12/27/2011 7:55PM

    Happy, Happy to MobyCarp! Well done giving up the carbonated beverages! You rock! Enjoy your short work week -hope it will be routine..

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SUNNYWBL 12/27/2011 5:07PM

    I sure am a big fan of increasing sunlight! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 12/27/2011 12:00PM

    Love your pep talks -- and your tribute to Moby! Appreciate your primer on reading while walking (may be too late for me actually since my grade two days are pretty distant . . . ). And: on the coffee front, I read recently that 5 cups of caffeinated coffee a day are considered protective against quite a number of cancers, including breast cancer. So of course I devoutly believe it to be true and will be continuing with my "only remaining sin".

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DRKYASHI 12/27/2011 10:50AM

    Hooray for Pep Talks! emoticon

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KRISZTA11 12/27/2011 10:35AM

Great blog!
I wish you a peaceful holiday-time working week!

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MSLZZY 12/27/2011 9:49AM

    I'll have to go to his page, for sure! Glad you get to wear jeans this week. I live in them. Dressing up for the office here would be a chore. And going on a run in dress pants would work better than a dress and I have done that, too.
Have a wonderful week leading up to the New Year! HUGS!

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FROGGGY13 12/27/2011 7:41AM

    This is such a happy blog! Thank you for sharing and cheerung me up. Have a great week!

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JUST_TRI_IT 12/27/2011 7:38AM

    Hmmmm, the early morning pep talk is a good idea!!! If I do not write my own, I might just come on over to read yours!!

Enjoy the quieter days this week -- and the gym after work today;)


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Too nice out

Monday, December 26, 2011

My blended training plan had "Swim" written on it for today. After all, the gym was closed yesterday, so outdoor exercise was perfect. The gym is open today, and Sundays or Mondays are my normal swim days. But a look outdoors at the bright sunshine, and a quick glance at the indoor/outdoor thermometer rising to the 50 mark outdoors drew me toward the door on foot instead.

A walk today, not a jog. Took my book along for the journey (yes, I'm one of those fools that walk and read at the same time), but also took the time to look up and see the beauty I was walking through. The lake is partially frozen, with wide stretches of open water out in the center.

I walked the bike trails beyond the dog run, coming home a different way from yesterday, walking through groves of pine. The mapping function tells me I covered 4.26 miles in the 80 minutes I was out.

I also took the time to contemplate competition. I responded to my brother's blog this morning with a crack about the nature of competition... "does your competitive nature make you drag your feet from activity that you cannot be the best at?" It kind of extends: how many times in your life's journey have you denigrated a goal, rather than reach for it? The old "sour grapes" attitude?

As I think about 2012 and my determination to continue into year 3 of "maintenance"... that competition contemplation is relevant. It is in some ways related to perfectionism getting in the way of excellence. A competitive spirit that says it is better not to try than to try and fail to win, is very similar.

Thus, one of my prime tools in successful living lies in giving myself permission to be a failure: in changing my mindset to believe that it is better to try and fail than never to try at all.

With that, I have to once again declare that Life is Good! Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOBYCARP 12/27/2011 7:36PM

    Competitive nature, and food for thought. I owe you a blog on the other side of the disadvantages of being competitive.

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MEDDYPEDDY 12/27/2011 1:18AM

    I used to walk and read when I was young - on my way home from school fridays when we could have books from the school library. They were finished by the time I got home. Even tried to bike and read, did NOT work at all... and today I do not walk and read anymore.

Interesting about that competetive attitude - I usually donīt try to compete int things I canīt win, but not by not doing it, "just" by declaring from the first move that I am not competing...

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_LINDA 12/26/2011 11:42PM

    Good for you getting out! I could never read while walking, would trip over my feet or something uneven on the pavement.. I like my hands free and on the elliptical, you should be working the arms as well as the body, not flipping pages in my humble opinion. Oh how I can't wait to gwt back in my exercising!!!

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ANDI571 12/26/2011 10:30PM

    You are so right my friend, spark on.... emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/26/2011 8:27PM

    Again, Barb, I have to say that you inspire me. I haven't had the time to get on the elliptical for the past three days. Of course it doesn't help that it's in my son's room and he was home and sleeping-in way past my workout time. I know -- excuses, excuses. Tomorrow and Wednesday aren't looking all that good either. Guess I'll try to keep my focus on getting back into healthier eating. I send all the "good stuff" home with the boys, so it's not here to tempt me. A small step, but a step nonetheless.

Can't believe I'll be meeting you in 3 days -- I'm excited! Have a good night.

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MSLZZY 12/26/2011 7:21PM

    Another gorgeous day in South Dakota. Almost 50 degrees and sunshine. Stuck inside working-sigh! Maybe tomorrow.

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KARIDIAN1 12/26/2011 7:17PM

    It was really nice in MN today. We pretty much hit 50 degrees this afternoon. I worked until noon and was able to skip out early. Had a nice walk later in the afternoon. We are hoping to be shooting at more pistol competitions this summer. That is how we get our competitive itch scratched.

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WATERMELLEN 12/26/2011 6:45PM

    OK, if you can walk and read at the same time . . . . why can't I? I do read on the elliptical but haven't tried it either on the track or (gasp) actually outside on city streets!! But now you've got me feeling competitive!!

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