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Paths, Mountains, Leaps and Friends

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I've always been fascinated by trails and paths, since I was a child. I followed quite a few of them in the mountains of Wyoming, long ago, not nearly as far off the beaten path as I would have liked, but luscious and full of sustenance for the soul, nonetheless.

Sometimes I walked a trail with steep canyon walls rising high above me on both sides. Now and then it opened into a patch of sunlight filtering through the pines and lush green grass that edged the stream rushing through it. The path was covered with soft, cushy pine needles, so every footfall was muffled, and then quieted more by the gurgling sound of the melted snow searching for the lake at the bottom.

Heading for the mouth of the stream, the roar of the waterfall urging me on, I became totally lost from the world of people and machines. The spray of the water, the constant din of the falls, blocked out sight and sound of all but the most otherworldly views and brought to mind thoughts of the same. As if approaching a god. And the scent! If only I could have captured the smell of the fresh air and water and mountain pines and flowers and grasses. Ambrosia to the senses. All the while, the mountain looming upward, farther than I could see.

Mountains like these are in the tales of all the ancient religions. And no wonder, the senses are in such awe in the presence of a mountain. The eyes go upward, the heart and soul reach upward. The physical mountain is a symbol for the spiritual one that stands between each soul and its destiny. Like the tourists left behind me on the roadside, most people stand within sight of the spiritual mountain all their lives and never approach it, being content to let others dare that journey and regale them with stories of it. They avoid so many hardships that way, you see.

Most who do venture toward the mountain, use a guide or a well-traveled path tamed by many others who have gone before. But there are those whose nature it is to find their own route across the mountain; brave souls for whom the journey is a reward, even if the destination is never reached. Those that do reach it, through sheer strength of will and large doses of good fortune, become more aware than any that there is no fixed path, no single road that will take you there, but as many routes as there are souls.

If you remember the story of the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her friends went to see the Wizard to ask for gifts - things they were lacking in their lives. He sent them on a mission to kill the wicked witch and promised the gifts as a reward. When they completed their mission, they returned to find the Wizard was a fake. But they also discovered that they had found the gifts they were asking for - acquired them during their journey. Itís not the conquest of the mountain that is the reward; itís the journey there. Enjoy the journey and never be afraid of it.

If I never lay eyes on you again, I thank God for your presence in my life, this little way along the path I'm following. People join me on the path from time to time, and it hurts when we part at a crossroads. But I'd rather have had the time with you, shared the thoughts and tenderness, and cried when it couldn't go on, than to have sat here, safe and sorry, unknown and unknowing, like those travelers who only listen to tales of the mountain from the soul who had the courage to tackle it.

Sometimes you have to leap into the void.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DGAIL51 11/11/2010 10:56AM

    Karen, once again I have been so moved and inspired by your blog. I am grateful that you have taken the time to share your experience and beautiful insights and perceptions. You are indeed a blessing to me. Thank you so much.

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LAVENDERLILY 11/5/2010 12:41AM

    Thanks for sharing, Karen. We both have a special love of nature.

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MRSFARRA 11/4/2010 6:52PM

    I love your descriptive prose. Makes me really enjoy the scenery that I live with in COlorado. I feel that need to sit inthe back yard, look at the mountains and just write.

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Monday, October 04, 2010

My son and grandkids are coming from Denver.

Halloween is coming!

Thanksgiving is coming!

Christmas is coming!

What do all these things have in common?


I MUST start now to really get a grip on my eating. I've been playing fast and loose with my food plan.

So today I'm getting the regimen down again, faithfully logging in every bite and using the LOW end of my allowances.

Have to do this to avoid a major catastrophe and lose all the ground I've gained, or gain all the weight I've lost, however you want to look at it.

What is YOUR upcoming challenging event? No matter how big or how small. If it might induce you to overeat, post it here, share your worries and get some support.

At the very least, we'll keep our eyes on you, lol, so you have to behave!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ACIMPEGGY 10/10/2010 4:31PM

    The holidays, of course...from Halloween through New Year's. I will eat...I will continue to lose, even if slowly. I want to leave the 200's behind by the New Year.

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GETFITTER7 10/4/2010 9:34PM

    October is the restarting point on the nutritional tracker and the tracking of exercise. It is a good time because all of the food holidays are coming up. I am hoping that January gives me a good outcome to the tracking. I have got the know how, now is the time to do.

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FISHINGLADY66 10/4/2010 3:40PM

    Oh what a great joy to have your kids coming to visit. Those are happy happy times. I don't do bad on Halloween, it's the others I get off guard. Thanks for the reminders. You really motivate me Karen. Now I will keep a mind set on the up-coming events. emoticon emoticon emoticon and emoticon

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GOALIEGRANDMA3 10/4/2010 2:01PM

    First off, emoticon for having the grandkids visit. That is super.

As for the challenges, anytime there is a dessert around I am challenged. It doesn't matter if it is a party or I am just baking something for somebody else, etc. etc.

I wish I knew the answer to avoid the challenges. Believe me, I have tried many many suggestions. Sometimes they work, sometimes not. It just depends on my mood at the time.

I hope you enjoy all your happy up and coming events.


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JENNY888 10/4/2010 1:08PM

    I'm with you on the nutritional tracker this month.

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KAYYVAUGHN 10/4/2010 1:03PM

    We will certainly be supporting each other during these times. We always buy too much candy at Halloween. I'm going to buy miniatures, so if I eat one a day; it won't hurt.

One of the trivia questions today asked if people that ate chocolate every day lived longer. The answer is yes. Portion control must be the key.


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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/4/2010 12:49PM

    My challenge is the same as yours, minus the grandkids. LOL. I gained 10 pounds over the Holidays last year and it took me 3 months to get it back off. It is not happening again.

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SHASTA11 10/4/2010 12:36PM

    I'm so happy your kids are coming to visit. I hope you have a nice time with them.

My daughter and family are here from Louisiana and on Wednesday we're all leaving to back. I'm moving there.

Take care.

Hugs, Joan

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JEANNE229 10/4/2010 12:33PM

    I have to plan, or I don't perform at all. Last year I let it go, and I'm still making up for that gain.

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WALKSFAR 10/4/2010 12:14PM

    I'll be going on Vacation soon. No computer access while on the trip so can only log the food in a diary.

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Scent of a Woman

Monday, October 04, 2010

We all have our favorites. I wear Obsession the most. Also Red Door. Before I retired I liked Escape. Everyone got a kick out of me wearing Escape to the jail every day.

I wonder if the scent we like symbolizes anything in our life? When we change it, does that mirror some change in our life?

You know the scents and aromas from childhood can bring back a wealth of memories. Does scent do that for you in regards to special people in your life? Parents, grandparents, lovers, spouses?

Do you ever try a scent because of advertising or the NAME?

Or do you pick yours because you get a whiff of it somewhere and just have to wear it yourself?

Smell IS one of the senses and very important. Life would be so flat without it. It also has a lot to do with our APPETITE.

Animals have a much keener sense of smell than do we. It's very important to their communication, among other things. Do you ever wish your cat or dog could tell you what he "read" in all those scents he sniffs?

Rosie has to smell everything I bring into the house. She really LOVES used books, lol. No telling WHAT they tell her!

What do you FEEL about scent?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ACIMPEGGY 10/10/2010 4:30PM

    My love wears Obsession...OMG...

I like several...Imari by Avon is one. Chanel No. 5 another...

Scents...my grandma and her lily of the valley...

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DGAIL51 10/6/2010 8:57AM

    Most colognes and perfumes give me a headache, unfortunately for me & my husband who loves for me to wear scents. I occasionally find something I can wear. The last was a French perfume by Anick Goutal, sort of spicy, but don't remember the name. I do love the way it smells, so feminine and yet exotic!

A funny scent that comes to my mind is that when I think of my grandmother, I remember her feeding her chickens and the smell of the feed combined with the wet earth where they would scratch it up & make a mess. I loved to watch her feed her hens & hear all that "clucking" going on. LOL

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ZEEDRA 10/4/2010 3:56PM

    Great blog!
I remember when I was young and my older sister (by five years) had this beautiful dark blue bottle of perfume called Evening in Paris (I believe...). I didn't know at the time that it was probably a Woolworth's item...it just looked so romantic and sophisticated to me.
Fast forward many years and I became attracted to the scent Youth Dew because of how it smelled on somebody else. I bought it and wore it and nobody made any comments. Next I tried Opium. I was obviously in my exotic stage. Again no comments. I think it's about body chemistry.
Back up again and I remember an Elizabeth Arden soft scent that I bought often when I first started working. It personified an up-and-coming young secretary/Girl Friday. What was it called? Did it have "blue" in the name? I don't think it's around anymore.
Anybody remember?
Now I use any perfume I have (usually received as gifts) to sprinkle on the carpet, hallway, bathroom, etc. What does that say about this kind of transition?
As to scents bringing back memories: a big YES...that's the surest way to be transported back...like a slingshot.
All the Best, Y'all.

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JUSTJO66 10/4/2010 3:32PM

    Yes, I love my sense of smell. So many memories are brought back by smells. My Mother always wore Jergens hand lotion when I was a kid....it smells like Almonds to me. As a result..I love anything and everything about Almonds.

I also love all the spice scents for candles etc.
I don't wear perfume, gives me a headache. :o) Don't know what that says about me. EXCEPT, maybe I don't smell good. LOL. Hope NOT.

When I was younger I loved to wear the exotic spice scents (that was before EVERyThinG broke my skin out and gave me a headache) :O(

Great topic. Thanks for sharing. :o)

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JEANNE229 10/4/2010 12:36PM

    Personally, I think that scents are more potent than most memories. If I smell something from the past, it yanks me right back there.

My mother loved lilacs (perfume and the flower). I can't smell them without feeling like she is back with me again. Nice memories.

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PJSTIME 10/4/2010 11:51AM

    As far as candles I love the scent of vanilla or cinnamon usually any kind of spice scent.

As far as perfume I like Red Door and use Beautiful for special occassions. Animals do have a keen scense. Sadie smells everything as a matter of fact we play hide and seek with her treats at night. We make her go into the bedroom and hide her eyes while we place them in different spots then she has to find them. That nose just goes crazy finding her treats for the night. Lots of fun.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 10/4/2010 11:07AM

    I buy scented candles and usually they are food related. Maple Nut. Banana Nut Bread. Cherry. Strawberry. Butterscotch. Hazelnut. Vanilla. Sugar Cookies, Cinnamon Bun. LOL.

I don't buy cologne as my hubby does not like it. He will allow me to occasionally wear something vanilla scented. So I may as well put on some vanilla extract. LOL.

If I were buying though I would choose by the smell and the bottle. I like pretty bottles.

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GBSUTPHIN 10/4/2010 10:20AM

    Scent is one of the things that is most likely to bring back memories. That's why I always think of my Nana when I smell baking bread. :)

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Thursday, September 30, 2010

One scoop of ice cream emoticon

is always going to have fewer calories than two scoops of ice cream.

emoticon emoticon

Now that wasn't hard to figure out, was it?

Why is it so hard to THINK OF when you're in front of the ice cream?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOALIEGRANDMA3 10/3/2010 2:54PM

    Maybe we will now!!!!

\ emoticon

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KAYYVAUGHN 10/3/2010 9:23AM


That's good thinking!! I'll try to remember that.

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NANCY- 10/1/2010 7:42AM

    Also one scoop is easier to savor before it melts.

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JENNY888 10/1/2010 4:11AM

    True wisdom!

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FISHINGLADY66 9/30/2010 5:53PM

    Will there be a test on this next week? emoticon You make it sound so easy. I love your blogs. Keep them coming. Have a healthy day. emoticon

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SAMI199 9/30/2010 12:02PM

    Brilliant! Thank goodness we aren't taking the next step-lol
Life without icecream would be very sad...
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ZEEDRA 9/30/2010 10:27AM

Does that go for cookies too?
Just wondering in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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PJSTIME 9/30/2010 10:00AM

    And I just broke down on Tuesday and had an ice cream cone. I got a 1 scoop, but it sure was a big one scoop and I admit I ate the whole thing and it was gooooood

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    I am finally practicing portion control in that regard. At first the amount seemed like nothing but I have learned to savor every bite. And I pass on the cone now and just have a dish. emoticon

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JEANNE229 9/30/2010 9:10AM

    Karen, your advice is always right on!

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NIKKIWOOD 9/30/2010 9:10AM

    Simple yet perfect!!

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Youth Club for Seniors?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I've discovered the Fountain of Youth and you don't drink it - you SWIM in it!

Some of you remember all the pain problems I've had for years and then the discovery that I need a hip replacement. Before all that, walking was my PASSION! Joe and I used to take a one hour, 4 mile walk, in a very hilly area, every day after work. I loved it! And I have missed it, terribly, these past years. Iím very envious of all of you who can walk for and hour or more every day. Iím green with envy, in fact!

Since September 1st, though, I have really been enjoying exercise again. I meet a friend at the local heated pool and we have a good time laughing and yakking, lol. Not sure how many calories that burns! However, we are also in constant motion the entire 90 minutes - treading water, swimming, jogging, walking in chest deep water, etc.

I have to stop now and then because I'm breathing too hard to talk, lol. Can't have that. So I'm getting my heart rate up, for sure. It's been a long time since I've done anything that could be called exercise for 90 minutes straight! My body has missed it!

The first two weeks I was tired! Now I'm just invigorated and planning on increasing it to three days a week in October. I feel really good, which is not something I've said much since I had a bad flare up with my right hip.

Anyway, I haven't had any pain. NONE. I'm walking good, moving good. You can't tell I was in pain for 8 years. Miracles do happen.

I wanted to share this with you because even though Iíd always heard about water exercise being so good for you, and I had tried it on my own for 30 minute sessions, I could never join the water aerobics classes because I would always end up hurting myself.

Fear of pain is a strong deterrent.

My chiropractor told me to go to my local Boys and Girls Club. They have an Adult Swim session for three hours every day, heated pool, Mon - Fri. I would never have thought of looking at a youth club for exercise for people over 50.

One hour is a water aerobics class, but the other two hours are ďfree swimĒ, adults over 50 ONLY. Check in your area. Swimming year round is something most of us canít manage without a gym membership, but this is a pay-as-you-go ($3 per session) arrangement.

I would NEVER have believed how much GOOD this has done for me since September 1st. Instead of doing exercises with a leader and getting into moves I shouldn't make with my body, we just do what feels right for us at the time. The key is finding a buddy who promises to be there, too. No backing out. No excuses. And I certainly stay in the water 3 times as long when Iím having fun with a friend.

I hope you try year round water exercise if you are inhibited from weight bearing exercise for any reason. It is the best thing Iíve done since I began dealing with pain!

If it's the Journey that counts, this is IT!

PS - People come to this pool who are very obese. People come in walkers, wheelchairs and on crutches. Once the get in the water, a miracle happens! They are youthful, graceful, and no one sees them as disabled. A beautiful experience.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZEEDRA 9/30/2010 10:26AM

    Hi Karen,
That is a great experience and good for many of us to hear. Thanks so much. As you might remember, I too was looking for an exercise buddy for a loooong time (way before I joined SparkPeople).
This week is my fourth week with my new "buddy" and yesterday she even said she would switch to the afternoons (Mon.,Wed.,Fri.). That's my preference but I didn't want to push it for fear of losing her. The gym is much quieter in the afternoon and I'm actually awake by 1 p.m. Ha!
I'm happy for you and happy for me too!

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DGAIL51 9/25/2010 9:00PM

    Karen, I just read your "youth club" blog tonight. That sounds great! Water exercises are wonderful for painful joints. I am so glad you have found these classes and that you have had such amazing results.

I have been stooping over planting pansies today and my back feels about 92 years old I believe. I think it is time to fill the hot tub after giving it the hot summer off! LOL.

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    My first job was as a lifeguard and taught classes like this. It is wonderful exercise. I wish I had a place near here to go to.

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HAPPYONE331 9/23/2010 5:23PM

    I just know there's a pool around here someplace! Got to get in it! You're just having too much fun, thanks for sharing and for the encouragement. So glad your pain has improved so much! emoticon

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GOALIEGRANDMA3 9/23/2010 4:01PM

    I am so emoticon that you have found something that works so well for you.

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FISHINGLADY66 9/23/2010 1:04PM

    Half of doing is in the deciding. If you stumble, don't be afraid to brush yourself off and jump back in. Your doing a Great job. I'm so glad your pain is leaving. I'm proud of you, I'm happy for you. emoticon emoticon emoticon
I'll be back on Monday. Have a Great Weekend.

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LUCKYGRANNY2 9/23/2010 10:58AM

    I know what it is to be in pain and I'm so glad that you have found something to relieve yours and are having great fun at it, too. Sounds amazing and even better shared with a friend.


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VINGRAM 9/23/2010 10:35AM

    Our local rehab center has a program also - very affordable - and we know each other, laugh, share stories, get exercise......it's a great deal! vista emoticon

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GAILRUU 9/23/2010 9:36AM

    I think I will check with the local Y and see what they have to offer. Great idea.

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EARLYBIRDM 9/23/2010 9:26AM

    So glad that you found this "Youth Club." And I will join you in trying to get others to try the same thing.

I live in a 55+ community in Central Florida. We have a heated pool and I go to water aerobics classes 2 days a week, and "aquasize" classes 2 days a week. I used to watch women "pool walking" and thought that it couldn't be doing them much good, but at least they are moving. Then I tried it myself and found it to be a great exercise. Several of the women either come an hour early or stay an hour after class to pool walk. So there is usually someone to walk with. It's a great way to get to know them and the time goes by so fast while we are chatting. Several people come to the pool after class on scooters, with walkers or with canes and do their daily walking or swimming. Some have had hips or knees replaced or have had heart problems. I applaud them and am inspired by them.

Again, I am so happy that you found this new way to exercise. Wish I could meet you in the pool and walk along with you!



Comment edited on: 9/23/2010 9:33:33 AM

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JUSTJO66 9/23/2010 9:18AM

    Great idea. I will check into what there may be in my area. I used to love to walk,too. But like you.. pain has kept me from doing it . My knees have kept me from a lot of the things I love to do. I have used a recumbent bike and that's helped to the point I don't have to use a cane anymore. I sure would like to be able to really hike again. I also love the water. So, water aerobics might be just what I need.


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PJSTIME 9/23/2010 9:18AM

    Never Give Up I am so glad you found something that is working for you.

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ODIROM 9/23/2010 9:04AM


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KAYYVAUGHN 9/23/2010 8:40AM


You are an inspiration to us. You have fought the battle and won.
If I get the nerve up to try on a swim suit, I might try it.

Thanks for sharing your story.



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