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CX Bounce Back!

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Well yesterday's allergy symptoms oddly let up enough for me to get a super night of sleep and woke up with hardly any symptoms other than an occasional runny nose. Whew! Glad that didn't hang on...I don't *do* sick very well, lol!

Spent a couple hours getting my feet 'neath me again with cx skiing. Still so awkward...! always fighting my crappy balance...course that works my shoulders a lot, they're feeling the after-effects of all that heavy sticking with the poles to keep myself upright. Still managed to tumble a few times, once I had a heckuva time getting upright again...no Snow Angels left by my flopping around...but a respectable attempt at a Jackson Pollack!

I always head to the flattest area I know at the north end of our local parks where they have 4 soccer fields end to end. Looped round four times. Once to quasi-bushwhack a trail left by snow-shoers...by the 3rd/4th loops had at least a LITTLE bit of slide & glide going. Snow was sticky though, being so warm, around 32 degrees. Had to shed my jacket, just a long-sleeved t-shirt was all I needed as I heat up so easily! Hopefully there will be more than the usual opportunity to go and gain greater confidence with cx skiing this winter.

Getting out and grabbing the world sure beats ANY contraband I could choose to put in my mouth! Thinking about pour food choices as limiting my ability to be, as I like to quote, "Alive In The World" sure makes it easier reach for healthier fuel!

Keep 'er Sparkin' everyone!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAM60SUMTHINK 1/10/2014 6:22PM

    Totally LOVE the concept:
Being Alive in the World is definitely good fuel!!

When I see all you do these days, I grin! The way you've transformed yourself, he way you reach out and grab onto exercise adventure is sooo fantastic!! :)

Way to go, Don!

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WATERMELLEN 1/7/2014 4:06PM

    Yay, glad you're out there.

XC skiing for me is a bit of a metaphor for life itself: there's a time to glide and a time to push!! Balance!!

And thanks for your comments on my Day four fatloser blog -- it sure is attracting a bit of heat. (Hey guys, this is Siebold not "me"!!)

Cannot imagine that a person as caring and supportive as you is not also a great dad: but probably none of us is ever completely satisfied with the job we did (and continue to do) in that context. Bet your son feels differently.

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HIPPICHICK1 1/7/2014 9:27AM

    Oh dear! If I put anything on my feet other than shoes or snow shoes it can really be a recipe for disaster. I see some snow angels in my near future because a friend has offered to loan me her X-country skis!

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KANOE10 1/7/2014 9:04AM

    great job of getting exercise and staying healthy. Have fun.

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_VALEO_ 1/7/2014 4:52AM

    With the freezing temps that you've been having lately in your part of your world, I would have feared to meet a polar bear while cx skiing!
What style do you do? Classic or Skating?

Comment edited on: 1/9/2014 6:32:22 PM

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L*I*T*A* 1/6/2014 1:40PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHANGE4FIT 1/6/2014 11:15AM

    Thanks, I needed to read that-Poor choices, prevent one from being "alive in the world"!
Best to you!

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ZELLAZM 1/6/2014 7:00AM

    Would love a chance to go cross-country skiing again - it's been years (trip to Switzerland). We don't often get enough snow in this part of the country, and when we do, it doesn't stick long enough. Glad you're getting you "sea legs" back, Don. Enjoy!

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FERRETLOVER1 1/6/2014 6:02AM

    I wish I could have seen you flailing around trying to get back up!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

So glad to hear you are feeling better!

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/5/2014 8:30PM

    How cool! Have fun!

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RACEWELLWON 1/5/2014 7:28PM

    Onward and your right , Downward - emoticon Don - X country-
I was enjoying that myself last week !! emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 1/5/2014 7:25PM

    Glad you got your bounce back. And I'm impressed by the XC ski efforts. I've not mastered that skill... but it must feel good to get out there and DO it! emoticon (What no cross country icon? Guess this one will have to do!)

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Fighting to Kick the Habit

Saturday, January 04, 2014

I came across a surprising editorial in the New York Times by Mike Tyson during my 'net wanderings today. Although he focused on his recovery from alcohol / street drugs, I, on the other hand, honed right in to how closely his insights & experiences parallel my own junk (i.e. sugary, starchy) food addiction.

Here is a link to his essay:

Fighting to Kick the Habit

Even the title hits home! Here are some of the more striking quotes:

"For addicts, discipline isn't something to strive for each new year; itís necessary for every moment."

"I had to replace the cravings for drugs or alcohol with a craving to be a better person."

"Iíve learned that being sober is more than just avoiding drugs or alcohol. Itís a lifestyle focused on making moral choices and elevating the things that make life worth living to the forefront."

"Even with your conscience nagging at you, itís extremely difficult to develop a sober and moral consciousness without a good support system." Where would we be without our supportive friends, family and SparkFamily? "Recovery is a drawn-out process, and without the continued encouragement of my support system, it would be close to impossible."

"Strangely, times of success are most dangerous for me. When people tell me, 'Youíre great' or 'Your comeback is amazing' or 'Youíre a god,' I could feed right into it and go get high." Yep, been there, done that...even recently a well-meaning person who hadn't seen me in a while was telling me how good I looked and to myself I replied: Ugh. Don't tell me that! Cuz I know the score. My tight pants knows the score! I have been known to pervert praise as an imaginary "get out of jail free" card. Which we all KNOW doesn't exist, but those well-worn grooves can be so treacherously easy to slide back into!

I know I've seen similar thoughts / struggles from those well into maintaining weight loss: "even though I hadn't been using for five years, all that time I just didn't feel comfortable in my skin."

And near the end he shares a lesson I've recently re-learned, re-honed: "I had learned not to beat up on myself. I remembered that relapse is a part of recovery." Congrats Mike and thank you for passing along your insights!

This is day 3 since my re-set. Tracking & low carbing absolute essentials to where I want to be!

I also GREATLY appreciate the HUGE tip shared by WATERMELLEN (check out her recent blogs:



I've since signed up for Steve Siebold's FatLoser program (Mental Toughness Program for Dieters) and have begun reading his free e-book:

www.fatloser.com and doing the work.

In other news, I was disappointed today to have my allergy problem, which may be more than allergies, I'm beginning to suspect, prevent me from getting out on one of the increasingly rare days when we can cross country ski in our area. I've been sneezing uncontrollably, runny eyes, raw nose from blowing, headaches (which I rarely get) and absolutely zero energy. Despite that I have been able to put together a terrific soup with beef broth, crushed tomatoes, kale, onions, garlic, jalapenos, a smidgen of pumpkin left over and black beans.

AND I've wrapped up my third day of tracking. Sure I feel lousy with my allergies, but hey, no matter what, I can always choose what to eat!

Monday I see my old allergy doc, hopefully get to the bottom of these spells which come and go and knock my socks off!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BE-THE-CHANGE 1/12/2014 8:55AM

    Thanks for sharing the links. Hope your "allergy" issues are resolved soon.

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KANOE10 1/7/2014 9:06AM

    I hope your allergies are better. I like your information on addiction. It is true that you need to stay focused every minute. Plus accepting yourself is so important.

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CHANGE4FIT 1/6/2014 11:14AM

    Great blog Don. I can so relate to the content. I have had way too much "praise" in recent weeks and it went straight to my head-at a dangerous time of year-the Holidays. Toooooo many tempting treats and I have given in to the temptation far too many times in recent weeks. It is amazing how seeking support on Spark so often "hits home" with a relevant message for one's journey.

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L*I*T*A* 1/5/2014 12:53PM

    all the best with your streaks!!!

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HIPPICHICK1 1/5/2014 11:03AM

    If you have cravings for sugary and starchy foods you may have trouble with Candida - a yeast overgrowth that is fed by foods you mentioned.

I think that being addicted to drugs is a different thing than being addicted to food. Perhaps some of us are truly food addicts, but sometimes the yeast beast will drive one to eat sugars and starch because the yeast needs these foods to live and multiply.

Let me clarify a bit. We ALL have candida in our bodies. It's natural. It is only harmful if this bacteria gets out of balance and IMO I do not think is it even possible to avoid a yeast overgrowth on the SAD (Standard American Diet), even if you don't eat that way NOW. Who hasn't eaten that way in their past?

The fact that I eat well never ever stopped the possibility of having a yeast overgrowth because again, IMO, I have had the problem since childhood. How could I have ever avoided it given the foods I was being fed? I grew up on white bread, peanut butter, jam, spaghetti, canned soups, boxed crackers, store bought baked goods, sugary cereals and very few fresh fruits and veg.

If there is already an issue and it isn't detected and dealt with, candida can spiral out of control. You can develop all sorts of symptoms from insomnia, to a constantly runny nose, brain fog, lethargy, cravings for sugar and starch (to unknowingly feed the yeast), skin rashes, athlete's foot, jock itch, mood swings, burning eyes, headaches, allergies, mucus in the stool, lump in your throat, ear pain, sinusitis, asthma, anxiety, depression...to name a few, and yeast infections and/or fungal infections for which antibiotics are often prescribed which kill all bacteria in the body. We need beneficial gut bacteria. We need a full spectrum of probiotics in our guts.

I have a friend who tells me that she believes every illness can be linked to gut health. I agree, even in the case of diseases that appear to have nothing to do with what you eat. I've learned that if I have a health issue I'm going to be looking at my diet first.

I'm not dissing the article, but our cravings for food are often not a "simple addiction" (now THAT is an oxymoron!). We are driven to eat by the yeast so the yeast can feed. If the candida is left untreated then one can develop leaky gut syndrome. The bacteria in your gut bores holes in your stomach lining and then food particles can enter the blood stream taking these foods all through the body. The candida goes systematic. It CAN get into your brain.

By my own estimation this is what has happened to me and several people around me including my mother and sister who are both inclined to do nothing about it. They are emotionally overwrought people. They both have anxiety issues in spades and often fly into rages or rants that are nonsensical. I was this way as well and I had food cravings that feed the yeast, as do my sister and mother.

My mom now has type 2 diabetes which I believe is the candida gone crazy. If left unchecked the candida can get so bad that is masquerades as other diseases including type 2 diabetes, lupus, arthritis, MS and a host of mental health problems.

How do you know you have candida? Well, you have to do some research. You can ask me for help and I can lead you in the right direction. I've been battling the yeast beast for decades and I have a lot of knowledge on the subject.

Now, having said all that, I really like the quotes you copied from the article and they can apply to any addiction. Inspiring!

Thanks for the links to WATERMELLEN's blogs.

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_LINDA 1/5/2014 9:01AM

    So sorry about the allergy attack, that is horrible :-( Hope your Dr. can figure it out fast!
Known for a long time high carb food is very addicting. Haven't learned fully to put the urges back in the box where they belong. Ellen's link and this Tyson article hit the nail on the head. Its mind over matter for sure, and constant vigilance.
That soup sounds fabulous!!
Good luck with your reboot!
emoticon emoticon

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CARRIE1948 1/5/2014 8:00AM

    Good luck on continuing your streak

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FERRETLOVER1 1/5/2014 7:24AM

    I hope the doctor can do something to help with those nasty allergies!

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ONEKIDSMOM 1/5/2014 6:57AM

    Sorry about the allergies... and even sorrier if it turns out to be "something more". This morning I'm hitting the "cold front passed through" sinus headache thing that I personally get. Sigh. Never fun, but you live with the body you've been given and learn to cope, right?

I totally understand where the addiction part of "this problem" (compulsive eating / food addiction) comes in, and the quotes are spot on.

Good luck with the Mental Toughness training. I'm doing it for the second time, and finding it interesting comparing my homework answers with what I answered in 2012.

Take care & be well!

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JUST_TRI_IT 1/5/2014 1:01AM

    Thanks for the link to the article and the quotes you found interesting/relevant. I think the one about success actually strikes home the most.


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VALERIEMAHA 1/5/2014 12:05AM

    WOW! What a powerful piece on addiction by Mike Tyson. Definitely some wonderful insights. And Ellen's observation about having to eat reminds me of what my teacher also said, "Let you intelligence guide your choices, not your tongue." And thanks too for that from Siebold, Ellen, that taking control of our health is a demonstration of personal integrity in that we are keeping a promise to ourselves.

Lots of 0 calorie food for thought!

Comment edited on: 1/5/2014 12:22:07 AM

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/4/2014 11:15PM

    Nice blog. Good info. Thanks!

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PATRICIAAK 1/4/2014 10:54PM


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RACEWELLWON 1/4/2014 10:07PM

    Thanks for the article Don - all true - addiction no matter what we are addicted too needs to be kept front and center - in our face everyday in order to keep at bay. Cause in reality dealing with addiction will never stop or ease if we are not consistent and aware of the triggers - I will check of Watermelon 's as I need to thank for a visit - Good blog Thanks , Karen

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WATERMELLEN 1/4/2014 9:55PM

    Don, I'm so glad that you've signed up for fatloser 21 day video coaching -- me too, a refresher, and it's just as great as I remembered it! Love the new ebook too . . .

And so sorry that allergies are keeping you from our beloved XC skiing. Sure hope that your doctor gets to the bottom of that for you fast fast fast!!

And I'm absolutely persuaded that addiction to food is like addiction to any other substance -- except I don't "have" to smoke and I do have to eat! So: have to make choices of food for nutrition and not for "pleasure". Yeah!!

On the issue of moral choices and addiction, one of the interesting things Siebold says in the new ebook: that attacking obesity is related to personal integrity. Because it means we're keeping our promises to ourselves.

Comment edited on: 1/4/2014 10:00:35 PM

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Joining In The New Year Re-Set

Thursday, January 02, 2014

I usually do my utmost NOT to join in with the crowd as I've always disliked the I'm-doing-it-cuz-everyone-is-doing-it mentality.

As a result I've never been a fan of New Year's Resolutions.

Well, this year will be an exception as I have backslid too much during the "dark months" and it is time to declare *ENOUGH!*

Some of the thoughts / factors influencing me are:

---Reaching the upper end of tolerance for tight clothes. Thank goodness I gave away all my "fatter" clothes...! :-)

---Feeling the pounds tugging at my cardio performance. Going slower against my will? Not at ALL tolerant of THAT!

---News of upcoming cycling events for 2014 and just not at ALL wanting to beat myself up for dragging along extra pounds that I coulda/shoulda/woulda sent to the curb.

---One of the retail therapy "indulgences" I've allowed myself over the past few months has been to gradually pick up deals on camping gear for some more self-supported cycling trips. I've got my tent/footprint, sleeping bag, super absorbent towel, inflatable pillow, powerpack for cell phone...all that's left is the air mattress and a waterproof stuff sack. All these material investments in my cycling fun has me thinking it's way past time to kick it in the pants for some physical investments into my body!

So my plan? First & foremost: no self-bashing! I've done enough of that! Now *learning* a thing or two about relapse prevention? I'm two thumbs way UP on that!

As always I've gotta keep it simple. Two critical factors will bring results for me as they always have:

1) Dial the processed carb way WAY down. In fact my hope is to only allow for perhaps one serving of fruit per day and at times legumes in soups and hummus. All sugar/flour-based carbs...fuggedaboutem!

and the REAL BIGGIE:

2) Tracking my food intake. Duh...what a shocker, right? Nothing has brought me the results and satisfaction with my efforts like tracking and being highly aware of the types of calories (fat/protein/carbohydrate) I'm consuming.

One thing I like about my past accomplishments is that without tracking, just eating what I *KNOW* and have learned over the years is "good" food for myself I am able to maintain my weight around 240 pounds. Which is no small thing given the heights my weight has reached in the past.

But: I know that is not enough to satisfy me over the long haul. I still think 200 is going to be a weight which will be an acceptable goal for myself. Who knows for sure until one gets down around that range as to whether or not this will be live-able and maintain-able...but I'd like to give it a serious shot. I succeeded once back in March 2010 and I know the critical factor which enabled this success was tracking.

Another accomplishment I feel good about is my rock-solid commitment to being physically active and working out at least 5x a week with maybe one, at most two days off.

Another thing I'm going to try short-term as a way of jump-starting my efforts is to limit my eating to roughly between the hours of noon and 8 pm. This results in a limited "fast" for the other 16 hours. I'm intrigued by this idea as it "keeps it simple:" no thoughts or concerns about eating during a good part of the day! Will it be sustainable? Dunno. I'll maintain awareness of my inner deprivation / resentment barometer...if it kicks up too much of a fuss I'll ditch this pattern. If nothing else, it sorta shakes things up which appeals to me. Let's not just get outta the rut, how about taking some DYNAMITE to the rut?!

So let's get this 2014 thing kicking, shall we? :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    thanks i really needed to read this today as I'm about to reset my self for all the same reasons , all the best for 2014

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CARRIE1948 1/5/2014 8:01AM

    Isn't it funny that it generally comes back to the basics?

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ERLYWA 1/4/2014 9:41AM

    I love how you made "no self bashing" your #1 goal! When we talk that way to ourselves, it's very difficult to stay on target with the other goals.

Sounds like 2014 will be a great year for you! :)

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VALERIEMAHA 1/4/2014 8:19AM

    As always beautifully articulated...and you're talkin' to ME! I love ONEKIDSMOM's comment, "It's not really a start... it's a remembering." Soooooo...I'm right there with you, Don. Let's track our ways to the goal together.

Ready! Set!

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HILLSLUG98239 1/3/2014 10:17PM

    Get kicking!

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_VALEO_ 1/3/2014 5:08PM

    You've been building your way to success!
I also wonder how we can have no thoughts or concerns about eating, it seems like we think and talk a lot about it... especially on this website! I am very interested in hearing more about your own experience.

I wish you a great year for cx skiing and biking! (it is also a selfish thought because I like reading your biking adventures!)

Comment edited on: 1/3/2014 6:02:48 PM

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L*I*T*A* 1/3/2014 12:54PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 1/3/2014 12:19PM

    Man, I am STARVING when I wake up in the morning. I have to eat something. I eat many small meals throughout the day.

It's cool to hear that you've been buying the gear you need for your self-supported bike tours. Today I'm going to be buying some long johns...if I get up the courage to leave the house with the -32 C windchill. Brrrrrr!

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DAISYBELL6 1/3/2014 10:53AM

    If anyone can do it, you can, Don! I'm in there with you.

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JUST_TRI_IT 1/3/2014 10:46AM

    Your first paragraph rings so familiar!!! Way yo go on dynamiting yourself out of the rut!!

May each choice bring you closer go your goals.


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GREENGENES 1/3/2014 9:14AM

    Lot's of good incentives and a reasonable plan. I don't know if I could stick with the eating between noon and 8 plan though. I need my breakfast. Good luck!

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ONEKIDSMOM 1/3/2014 7:25AM

    It's not really a start... it's a remembering... I hope you'll tell us all about your self-supported cycling tours, because that's something MOBYCARP and I used to dream about as kids. By the way, he's in your neck of the woods, "almost"... up in the Rochester, NY area.

Dream big. Do big. You're going to ROCK this year! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 1/3/2014 7:26:12 AM

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SAM60SUMTHINK 1/2/2014 11:25PM

    You've have transformed your lifestyle and are staying on top of it, so I know you will meet your goals! And, oh YES!! I agree: ENOUGH! is the right approach to 2014!
Am ready to go for it, too!!

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WATERMELLEN 1/2/2014 10:51PM

    I hear your determination. So glad you've been treating yourself to the equipment for your extended bike tours!

One thing that might help with the weight stuff is the new Steve Siebold ebook download: FatLoser! I'm pretty thrilled with it and just blogged about it . . . a big whoosh of renewed enthusiasm!!


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MS_SWEETHEART 1/2/2014 10:10PM

    Don you are emoticon and emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/2/2014 10:01PM

    I agree and have never gone along with the crowd. Wishing you the best in 2014.

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Car Maintenance Success!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What? Me work on my car? Not on your life...I'm woefully all-thumbs with most things mechanical as my wallet well-knows!

But: the one thing I enjoy about taking my car to have work done is that the shop is just a few blocks from the upper end of one of my favorite and most-well-traveled local park with it's trail. I "almost" decided to attempt to cx ski, but figured with temps heading for mid-40s the snow would be too skimpy...and it was: I kidded with a fellow who was there doing some cx skiing "You're making me regret not having brought my skis!" And he smiled, saying it was really "sticky" and not very pleasant skiing.

My plan was to walk / jog through Otsiningo, then a few blocks beyond the southern end I could connect to another park / trail at Cheri Lindsay which would take me along the river downtown where there was a blood drive today as I hoped to finally get around to donating blood. As some of you may know earlier this year in Feb. I "flunked" the Red Cross test for donating blood as my heart rate was too low, in the 20s & 30s. But since the cardioversion my heart's been bumped into a stable and healthy rhythm. So let's get back to the donor drill! HOWEVER, I mucked it up and thought the drive would run from 12 to 3 when it really ran from 8 to 1. I arrived 20 mins too late! I was pretty steamed over my mis-cue, but the last fellow there from the Red Cross said that they would've screened me out anyway as they look for a year to elapse after a health issue such as mine prevented me from donating. So put it on my list for Feb/March!

It was a PERFECT day for getting out with BOATLOADS of sunshine, lots of folks out using the trails (which always makes my heart sing!) including a few friends I caught up with along the way by surprise. However at 9 miles for the round trip I have to admit to feeling a lot more sore than I would like to be feeling...ugh! But it will pass...the sunshine and Vitamin D boost will linger through the deep freeze that lurks around the corner as the bottom drops out and we head for single digits by the mid-week.

A thought I had percolating during my walk is how focused we here at SparkPeople are over re-inventing ourselves physically and incorporating many lifestyle changes which support our "new" version of ourselves. This seems for myself and I think for many among us to lead toward broadening our re-definition of ourselves beyond the physical. Like gardeners, pruning, weeding making choices over what we want in our lives and what we don't...not only for our bodies, but our emotions, our social life, our spirituality. Working and nurturing our soil, choosing what to plant and how to foster deep, healthy roots and flourishing flora that speaks to our heart's content.

I have to credit Mary Chapin Carpenter here as a few of her songs inspired my thoughts along these lines during my walk today. She admitted to never wanting to be pigeon-holed as a country artist and has taken some bold, creative steps herself toward re-defining herself as being a singer-songwriter which speaks much more to the heart of her music:

What to Keep and What to Throw Away

Don't Need Much To Be Happy

Soul Companion (with special guest James Taylor!)

As we near our year's end many of us reflect on where we've been and what we want more of in our lives. My wish for myself and for each of you is that we listen to our hearts and follow through as best we can to breathe as much LIFE in our living as possible!


ps...on the lighter side...here is a fun link you might try. By answering these questions this website can tell what part of the country you are from. It's fun. I was a little disappointed that it appears I've lost my mid-west Chicago dialect and am pretty thoroughly upstate NY in my dialect:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHANGE4FIT 1/2/2014 3:14PM

    As always, you inspire with your writing. Now I am challenged in 2014 to increase my walks beyond 5 miles. Keep Sparkin!

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WOMANWITHGRIT 12/30/2013 3:55PM

    And thank goodness we can grow and, as you say, "reinvent" ourselves inside and out. In fact, what becomes more obvious on this path is the degree to which these are connected. You put this so well.

Every day is a new beginning and we have this one day -- here and now -- presenting an opportunity for further growth. I think growth is life -- I just got stuck along the way and SP provides a multi pronged vehicle to get "unstuck" and to grow - and therefore -- for me -- lose this defended heavy self.

Each day a new beginning. Its a sacred path - determined intention to care for ourselves.

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RAINBOWFALLS 12/30/2013 8:19AM

    Great job getting out in that fabulous weather we had. I too enjoyed the sun, but mostly through my sun roof. However, while we shopped at several stores I did tell hubby it was all about the steps!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 12/29/2013 6:23PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ZELLAZM 12/29/2013 4:03PM

    Your blogs are so rich in info sometimes! Will listen to the tunes later, but took the quiz and found that I'm still dead-center Midwest even after 29 years in Germany!

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VALERIEMAHA 12/29/2013 3:45PM

    You are a constant inspiration for me, Don. I NEED some re-invention to help me with exercise through the winter. It's such a conundrum for me. BTW, I love the titles of the songs, e.g., "What to Keep and What to Throw Away," though I can't listen to them (over my KBytes with Sprint [damn them]).

My! the dialect quiz was spot-on...Northern California for me. Thank goddess I have not picked up any smidgen of a southern accent in the (heaven forbid) almost 17 years I've lived here, since I find it most unappealing.

Now here's a quiz for you! I missed one, in Grammatically Speaking:


Comment edited on: 12/29/2013 3:49:15 PM

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_VALEO_ 12/29/2013 1:08PM

    Thanks for sharing these songs! I wish you to reinvent your way to stay healthy in the upcoming year. And to go cx skiing on fresh snow!

Without any surprise, I am a Californian "valley girl'... though when I speak, I can't fool anyone with my foreign accent! emoticon

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GREENGENES 12/29/2013 11:03AM

    Well said! Wishing you all the best!

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/29/2013 10:27AM

    Great blog. You inspire me.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/29/2013 9:16AM

    LOL... thanks for the reminder of the parks out there... miss 'em!

As for the reinvention... yep, it's part of the big picture of LIFE, which we're all journeying through. You've done amazing things with yours, and I love your blogs.

Also... about the dialect quiz? I took it twice, because I use more than one of some of the terms it offers up, depending on mood and who I'm talking with at the time! Both times my answers were honest.

First time it gave me Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Rochester, NY. The second time it gave me Louisville, KY, Richmond, VA, and Washington DC. It didn't seem to recognize where I grew up at all (Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa)... guess it's a testament to moving around a lot, having an open mind and liking to learn new language? emoticon

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 12/29/2013 9:02AM

    Reeeeallllyyy enjoyed reading about your visit to the car mechanic!!!
Thx for sharing all of your thoughts on this wonderful day. I am looking forward to continuing my healthier journey in 2014 and beyond!

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KANOE10 12/29/2013 9:00AM

    That was a great blog. You are right about re-inventing ourselves on Spark, beyond the physical. We are working on nurturing ourselves in all aspects of our lives. Thanks for sharing the songs and encouragement to follow our hearts and to live life fully.

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L*I*T*A* 12/28/2013 11:52PM


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PATRICIAAK 12/28/2013 11:48PM


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UMBILICAL 12/28/2013 10:24PM


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New Holiday Tradition!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

I think I've started a new holiday tradition! What a super way to spend my Christmas!

Community celebrates Christmas at Bandera family dinner:

(hope this link works)


I was one of the zillions of volunteers hustling to put together the meals that were delivered to the homebound. Pouring gallons of soup or gravy from bubbling cauldrons into smaller buckets from which we ladled servings into small styrofoam servings we then lidded and assembled into styrofoam packs with turkey, stuffing, cranberries and all the trimmings and volunteers would stream in and out with sacks of styrofoam dinners to deliver across the county to home-bound elderly and / or needy people. All the food was home made and prepared by volunteers who were up all night in shifts turning out such an incredible volume of food with such incredible efforts of so, so many people!

It was such a wonderful time being a part of this monumental effort of caring and generosity of spirit! I was truly blown away by the outpouring of so much hard work from such smiling, beautiful people! There were many children helping out as well. People were working in shifts literally around the clock in order to pull off such a beautiful feat.

I've always been so down on the commercialism of the holiday season and have to admit feeling a bit Scrooge-like about it all...what a relief to find something about the holidays to be FOR, instead of AGAINST and to tap into the vein of what I believe the holiday season has always been meant to be: a time of connecting, sharing, giving and loving!

Recently I've enjoyed the wisdom shared at:

www.gratefulness.org and VALERIEMAHA noted one recent essay shared by Brother David which is so relevant and beautifully stated:


Cheers & Sparks to everyone out there...loving the passing of the solstice and treasuring each days' extra sliver of sunlight!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHANGE4FIT 1/2/2014 3:09PM

    Catching up in the blogasphere...sounds like a wonderful event and I have to agree on your assessment of its relevance to the true spirit of the season. I get really grumpy about the whole gift giving thing-why on earth should we be buying gifts for family who have everything and buy what they want if they don't have it? UGH.....
I prefer giving gifts to those in need-be it food, clothes or helping out with Christmas gifts for young children-much more fulfilling.

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SASSYCHRIS1952 12/29/2013 6:20PM

    How great is that! Thank you for sharing and (almost) Happy New Year!
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ZELLAZM 12/28/2013 7:48AM

    Did something similar this year on Christmas Day and will definitely be making it a regular thing.

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GREENGENES 12/27/2013 6:47PM

    Fabulous! Something to be very proud of.

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L*I*T*A* 12/27/2013 1:20PM

    thanks for the links...........

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MOTHEPRO 12/27/2013 1:17PM


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RACEWELLWON 12/27/2013 10:36AM

    Very nice , yes with so many people in need over the Holiday Season and really all the time now ! I volunteer for the homeless shelters and women's shelters here in the City if I am uncle to physically attend to volunteer I prepare a dish or donate clothing that I or my DH can no longer ware but that is good condition . Thanks for sharing Don , Wishes for a Healthy New Year ! Karen

Comment edited on: 12/27/2013 10:37:49 AM

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VALERIEMAHA 12/27/2013 9:50AM

    It's exactly what I would expect of you, my friend. You're always pushing the envelope, expanding your horizons, stepping ever further outside that proverbial box. Goddess only knows what you'll discover and share next, Don -- LOOK OUT WORLD!!!

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KANOE10 12/27/2013 8:50AM

    That is a great new tradition. How happy the housebound people must have been to receive dinner on Christmas. I liked the article and loved that picture of the boy. The joy of a child is beautiful. That is one reason why I like teaching.


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WATERMELLEN 12/27/2013 8:36AM

    So happy that you've found something that speaks to you and fills a huge community need. Sounds like a great tradition!

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FERRETLOVER1 12/27/2013 8:31AM


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ONEKIDSMOM 12/27/2013 7:03AM

    Now THAT's a proper way to "keep Christmas"! Thanks for sharing (and of course it gave me twinges of homesickness for the geographical region)!

Thanks for sharing it!

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PATRICIAAK 12/27/2013 5:43AM


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_VALEO_ 12/27/2013 4:19AM

    That's the most perfect tradition that you could start! I am not surprised, coming for you! emoticon

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MS_SWEETHEART 12/27/2013 3:12AM

    emoticon Absolutely wonderful! emoticon

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DREAMINGOFNEWME 12/26/2013 11:39PM

    Fantastic thing to do. Well done!

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STRIVERONE 12/26/2013 11:31PM

    I'm not surprised. You're a giver - not a taker. Merry Christmas.

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FITFRIT 12/26/2013 11:19PM


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