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Safety Not Guaranteed

Sunday, March 30, 2014

I just have to give this movie one of the most heart-felt shout outs and and jump up & downs I've had over a movie in a long, long time. I knew way back when it came out that this was going to be a special movie. Check out the reviews below and see the trailer on YouTube:




FINALLY our local library had the DVD among its rentals! The sense of wonder, excitement, curiosity, anticipation and enthrallment over the progression of characters and relationships had me smiling in empathy and laughing at loud at points throughout the movie.

Check you logic and critical judgment at the door before viewing and come along for the joyous ride that this movie offers!!

It brought me back to my childhood days of swimming in Lake Michigan beyond the buoy into the thrilling depths beyond and re-kindled my fondness for quotes such as these:

"When I grow up I want to be a little boy." Joseph Heller

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain

"Run from what's comfortable. Forget safety. Live where you fear to live. Destroy your reputation. Be notorious. I have tried prudent planning long enough. From now on I'll be mad." -Rumi, as recently shared by SONGBUDDHA & VALERIEMAHA

And on such high notes take a musical trip with this high-energy, heartfelt concert with Brasilian masters Ivan Lins, Joao Bosco and Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubacalba! It is such a blast! Get up and MOVE! How wonderful to have music such as this by world-class masters!!


Spark Through Your Sunday everyone!!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 4/12/2014 1:42AM

    I just can't have enough of movies, this one was on my horizon, thanks for the recommendation, will go for it!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 4/1/2014 9:27PM

    emoticon Thanks for posting the links for the previews!

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GIRANIMAL 4/1/2014 12:58PM

    Thanks! I love Aubrey Plaza in Parks and Rec, so we'll be sure to check it out! emoticon

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COMMIT2BFIT4ME 3/31/2014 5:08PM

    I enjoyed the movie on Netflix recently. Good pick! Music is great too.

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LKG9999 3/31/2014 4:47PM

    I've added this to my movie list. :)

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CHANGE4FIT 3/31/2014 10:48AM

    Looks facinating and the trailer made me smile!

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RAINBOWFALLS 3/31/2014 8:23AM

    Have a great week!

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123ELAINE456 3/31/2014 12:57AM

  Awesome Blog. The Music is Beautiful. God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/30/2014 10:15PM

    I saw that on Netflix, I think. Hysterical.


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LOLA_LALA 3/30/2014 9:51PM

    Don, for never failing us in bringing us all the "bestest of all the restest"! I've got the Lins/Bosco/Rubalcaba concert playing right now - WOWZERS!!! Magical, magical stuff, though at 9:45 PM, it'll probably keep me wide-awake for the remainder of the evening! I also loved your Joseph Heller (what a master!) quote: "When I grow up I want to be a little boy." If one thing's surprised me the older I get, it's that with each passing year, I feel just a little more in touch with the "kid version" of myself - so enjoyable! emoticon

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MNCYCLIST 3/30/2014 8:28PM

    I feel that I live this quote whenever I'm on my bike: "When I grow up I want to be a little boy!" Thanks for sharing, Don.

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L*I*T*A* 3/30/2014 7:23PM

    good to know.........
great share will look it up @ our library......

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PATRICIAAK 3/30/2014 5:41PM

    great, uplifting blog.

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1CRAZYDOG 3/30/2014 4:55PM

    Thank you for the trailer! Going to look it up.

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    Don, I looked at the Youtube preview on this and it seems very heartwarming and down to earth.

Here's one for you: Mr. Nobody. A little more intense for sure. Loved it!

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BILLB000 3/30/2014 3:23PM

    Looks like a wonderful movie. Going on my short list. I appreciate movies that put positives into your life.... Thanks...

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WATERMELLEN 3/30/2014 3:14PM

    Appreciate this recommendation!! Gonna check it out if poss!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/30/2014 1:38PM

    Will check it out. And, if you have Netflix, don't miss Nicky's Family.

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_LINDA 3/30/2014 1:13PM

    Sounds like an awesome movie!! I saw that trailer just fine, but the music video didn't work, started then stalled and quit with an error message :(( Will try later, going out in the blowing snow and cold to mall crawl!! Not my favorite activity but walking outside is too dangerous very icy from the previous snow melt and freeze up.
Enjoy your day!

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2014TODAY 3/30/2014 11:50AM

    The movie looks interesting!

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    Thanks for the tip!

Make Today a Great Day!

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The OTHER NSA: Pile With A Smile!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I've enjoyed getting back into the swing of things at Spinning Class this week along with some nice walk / jogs outside now that the temps are rounding the bend again and warming up some.

Rather than naming these Non-Scale Victories as is often spoken about 'round these parts, I prefer to consider them Non-Scale Awarenesses (NSA)...not necessarily a whoop for joy but a smile of appreciation and a valuing the progress that I am making. Doubly so in that I appreciate the progress not only in my body, but in my awareness and the ability to give myself credit for what I've accomplished.

I'm riding LIGHTER! It used to be while riding I would lean forward more and put pressure on my arms to lighten my "load" and lessen the discomfort of the saddle. Now I find myself often sitting up straight during some of the sprints and pumping my arms as though I was jogging or slapping my legs in time to the music...a lightness not only in my saddle, but in my spirit too!

I have found "the bike"...you know, the one bike in the whole room that makes the most sense as YOUR bike? Back in the corner, next to the fan :-) but ALSO situated so that I always have a view of the outdoors as window space is at a premium and I like to be reminded of where I'd RATHER be cycling so that I can at least virtually "go there" during my spinning efforts. The other benefit is that I'm also next to the mirror that runs along the far wall of the class so that I can better acquaint myself with my body, my appearance and attempt to dispel the distortions of my self-perceptions one baby-step at a time. I've been mirror-averse all my life...ENOUGH!

Freeing my hands from the handlebars also allows them to rest on my thighs and I can appreciate the strength and firmness of my quads: yes, I know they'll take me wherever I choose to go on my bike! Although the critic in me grimaces over the top-down view of my skin flapping around my thighs as if I was about to take off like a flying squirrel, I look in the mirror and to my surprise that skin isn't visible. Hoping to become as appreciative of this skin as I am of my quads...!

One night while doing my own spinning routine another young fellow was doing the same thing. He started before me. When he finished up I gave him a thumbs up on his hour-long session and said "feels good! I love turning into a soaking wet pile with a smile!" He smiled and said "that's the goal, isn't it?" winked as he stepped out of the room.

Another discovery: I have a SPINE! While showering I noticed that I could feel the definition of my backbone...no poking or prodding required! :-)

In the locker room I overhear some young fellows talking about their weigh-ins, one remarking on his 219 pounds. He's shorter than me, more muscular, but certainly very appealing build. Hmm... Strength training. Missing that! So important! But I realize too that even when I WAS lifting weights 3x a week I wasn't paying too much attention to varying what I was doing other than bumping the weights up a smidgen here and there. Not sure if I can put enough time & energy into doing more than the same-old same old. But weights continue to be off-limits until May 7th...which brings me to my latest medical timeline!

Got my staples out this past Monday, healing is progressing nicely. My son, the neurosurgical Physician Assistant, duly put the fear of God in me regarding the importance of respecting the lifting, shoveling, pulling, pushing restrictions in the use of my left arm until the May 7th date: doing so could risk having the pacemaker dislodged in my chest and require re-installation! Okay I sez back to him: we're running out of wood pellets and I have a ton to move this weekend. You willing to do it for me? Great son that he is, of course he did! But I insisted he plop those 40# bags on my good right shoulder so I could hasten the loading / unloading and he could take the bag off my shoulder on the other end...lol!

The most IMPORTANT timeline of all, however, is when can the anti-coagulant be discontinued! In April I get a black box which wirelessly reads my pacemaker and sends data back to the doctor and manufacturer. I'm followed up with the Nurse Practitioner in mid-May. If all goes well and everything is running as it should she said it is likely the anti-coagulant can be finally discontinued then. Whew!

I am so PSYCHED about riding this year, lighter and spriter than ever...feeling pumped in spinning class...just winding up tighter and tighter ready to go go GO! I have acquired the final pieces of my self-supported touring gear. Even so part of me warns, cautions that I'd better have a plan B just in case...heaven forbid!

Already the riding calendar is marching on and the ride I planned to lead for my bike club will pre-date any D/C of anti-coagulant. And other cool rides are going to come & go. I wonder about having enough time in the saddle to be ready for the 500 Miles Across New York at the end of July:


And I don't want to miss riding with everyone at our annual Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour!


In the meantime I will occupy myself getting ready for the Binghamton Bridge Run and my one & only 5K of the year...which should be a wonderful celebration of being lighter also!


Hoping everyone out there is thoroughly enjoying the weekend!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COMMIT2BFIT4ME 3/31/2014 5:11PM

    Some awesome goals coming up this year. Keep up the good work. So glad you are healing up well.


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CHANGE4FIT 3/31/2014 10:42AM

    Great news on all fronts!

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LOLA_LALA 3/30/2014 9:42PM

    I always enjoy reading about your adventures in tremendous fitness, Don, even if they leave me needing to collapse into a chair like a sack o' potatoes emoticon It must be great fun to enjoy all these modalities in such a lovely part of the country, too, especially at this time of year! I'll think of you as I do my customary 60 crunches tomorrow AM. Have a terrific week!!

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_LINDA 3/30/2014 11:22AM

    emoticon emoticon
Nothing like being on the road to recovery and getting to enjoy your favorite sport!
Those events sound fabulous!! But oh my! 500 miles!! It would be those mountains that would concern me! Hope you have somewhere to get in hill work!
Here is to rocking and rolling it!

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CELIAMINER 3/30/2014 10:17AM

    Glad you are healing well! And what a great son to help you with all that lifting!

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HIPPICHICK1 3/30/2014 9:41AM

    A blog bursting with all sorts of good news! Good to hear!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/30/2014 9:35AM

    You blog is full of excitement and it's infectious. (smiling)

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1CRAZYDOG 3/30/2014 9:10AM

    Non-scale Awareness. What an awesome term for sure. I am going to adapt that if it's ok with you! Think it is a far better descriptive term!

Glad you got your staples out and LISTENED to the restrictions. I am a nurse, so I can appreciate your son's feelings! Good for him! I love nursing and it's a career with endless career paths. He has certainly chosen a wonderful path!

Good luck with the ST. And isn't it great to be riding lighter! Awesome.

¨`*•.¸ ♥ ¸.•*´¨☆¨`*•.¸ ♥ ¸.•*´¨♥¸.•*´¨☆(¸.•´¨`¸•

¸¸.•☆´.•*¨.♥ Happy Sunday . . . blessings¨`♥ *`*•.¸☆´¨`*
(¸.•´`* .♥ (¸.•☆´.¸•¨`*♥•☆´¨
R>"Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship." Buddha

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KANOE10 3/30/2014 7:57AM

    Your non scale awareness is so exciting. LIghter and Spriter is the way to go. You are noticing all of the wonderful effects of training and eating healthy. I think you are going to have a great biking season.

I am glad your son is there to help you through your healing and that you are following the doctor's advice on no lifting until May. What a sweet son to help you.

Have a wonderful day! You are doing great.

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VALERIEMAHA 3/30/2014 7:56AM

    I'm beginning to develop a sour grapes attitude as you continue to soar (NOT). You just keep going higher and higher on so many levels. It's amazing. And your writing skill in articulating the journey adds another layer of understanding. Keep FLYING, my friend!

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/30/2014 7:49AM

    I agree with WATERMELLEN that your joie de vivre shines through. And it's a wise man who follows doctors' orders about restrictions. Don't want any of that re-insertion stuff!

Have a joyous week, and hold on to those dreams. You may miss a few rides, but you will savor every minute of the journey... and like the rest... LOVE the term Non Scale Awareness! I might just "borrow" it in future blogs.

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WATERMELLEN 3/30/2014 7:19AM

    What a lovely blog, thoroughly enjoyed it. Your joie de vivre is so appealing and engaging . . . with your "non scale awarenesses" , pleasure in the present moment and anticipation of good times to come. So glad you're listening to your son AND permitting him to help you, which is a terrific gift itself.

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    Wow, Don, 500miles!!! Whoop! Whoop!

I'm not certain where this new vegan program is taking me, but perhaps my desire of walking another 1/2 marathon is in the works? That is MY 500 mile bike ride.

Well done and you sound in great, yet balanced spirits. You sailed through the pacemaker surgery and are adhering to the after surgery instructions. Well done!

Now, eat your fruits and veggies!

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123ELAINE456 3/30/2014 1:57AM

  Awesome Blog!!! Very Inspiring. You are moving right along. That is Fantastic. Be careful that you don't do things that you aren't suppose do as your son says. You have a Wonderful Son too. Enjoy doing things that you can do. God Blessings Always. have a Wonderful Week. Take Care.

Comment edited on: 3/30/2014 1:58:41 AM

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SAM60SUMTHINK 3/30/2014 1:10AM

    Non-Scale Awarenesses! Excellent term! Great that your son is a good one; not only helping with hauling, but aware of the post-surgicals!!

The FANY ride seems pretty intense for only a few months away, but I'd not be surprised to hear you're heading to the Falls and planning to ride to the Springs. You are doing GREAT. Am amazed at your quick recovery... like that long walk you took so soon after the pacemaker was 'installed'. As I'd read your blog abou it, this voice inside my head said: "he did WHAT?!" Amazing. You're an inspiration, my friend!

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PATRICIAAK 3/29/2014 11:47PM

    great strides - fantastic!

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Working the Spark: The Pay-Offs Keep Rolling In!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Today started off with a bang when I hit my new low weight of the year...woo hoo! Only 17 pounds away from my goal of 200!

I had already had a plan to clear the closet of all my old clothes that are really too big. I don't want ANYTHING around to make it easy to backslide!

However little did I know what treasures I would find among the SMALLER clothes that I had forgotten I had outgrown! VERY nice stuff! And I'm re-kindling the fun and self-satisfaction of being able to look better in clothes. Not only am I shedding the pounds, but shedding the feedbag mentality! :-)

But the coolest thing I found of all? A few years back I had finally sprung for one of our bike club's jerseys. I am NOT a spandex kinda guy, but I love our club and wanted to be able to wear it with pride.

Little did I know how teensy their sizes ran. I was too embarrassed to take my XL back and ask for a TWO XL...! So in the closet it went.

Until now!

I do enjoy a little dancing in the privacy of my home with the right tunes playing...but I have NEVER danced the Linus & Snoopy dance with such abandon, vigor and JOY as I did this morning! Totally Cloud 9! No music required!

Passing on a whole lotta clothes for someone to use. The heavy duty 30 gallon bag is out in the car waiting to be dropped off...whew! Feelin' so fine!

Spent the rest of the day buzzing about the house cleaning, hauling stuff out to the car for the landfill tomorrow also...clearing the decks!

Also cooking up a storm, new soup o' the week a cauliflower, barley, celery, onions and garlic combo. I also have a bundle of asparagus for cooking but never got around to doing anything with it. I had a lovely conversation with my sister recently about re-visiting vegetables which had formerly been dubbed "yuck" veggies in my childhood. I've been wanting to see if they are still "yuck" or not. Already tried Brussels sprouts and yep, still yuck IMHO. She agreed, which had us chuckling, flashing back to various methods of ditching veggies we didn't like when we were kids. :-) I mentioned asparagus to her and she said she is a big fan of asparagus. I looked at some recipes, considered even adding them to my soup with the cauliflower, but then thought perhaps that would do a disservice to the asparagus...which btw was on sale for the low, low price of 99 cents a pound...prompting me to nab some to try. Perhaps I'll just try munching some raw? We'll see. Any suggestions out there? Stay tuned for asparagus adventures!

I'm back behind the wheel of a car again! So what's the first thing I do? Pack it up and head out to the fitness center for the first spinning class I've had in a few weeks...YES! I managed a nice balance between not overdoing it, but challenging myself into a good sweat. The best thing about it? My quads had been nagging at me since overdoing it with a 5 mile walk - jog I had done earlier in the week...putting the accent heavily on jog, thinking of my annual 5K coming in May. All the stretching and walking I'd done since then didn't seem to alleviate the nattering my quads were giving me. But when I finished my spin class? No more pain! Sweet double benefit!

Okay, going to wrap up with some fun stuff like Crazy Russian Hacker and cycling tidbits!

Crazy Russian Hacker cracks me up. Sometimes his schtick just gets me eye-rolling and smiling, other stuff is laugh-out-loud hilarity. This one with his mother is some of both. This one caught my eye as between my home made soups and home made garlic I crank through a fair amount of garlic and hey, an easy way to peel garlic? I'm up for that! Perhaps this is old news to some of you, even if so these folks will crack you up. Plus: I can vouch for the technique! It works like a charm!


Okay, on to a cycling smile:

As seen on Twitter: Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach him to fish & feed him for a lifetime. Give a cyclist a fish & "hmm...good for 150 km!"

I have to give a special shout out to Willie Weir and the chronicles of his cycling adventures around the globe. I know I've spoken of him before, but I keep ever-so-slowly progressing through his book SpokeSongs and find SO much delight in his stories! Not that I'll ever take to cycling through such daunting venues as India, South Africa or the Balkans...but I just love his way of opening up with people and inspiring them to open up with him. As he often says in his writings, if he was just another token tourist bopping about with backpack or luggage most people wouldn't give him the time of day. But to see someone rolling along on a bicycle toting panniers and camping gear...? As he puts it: "Bicycles Are Magic. They Open Doors."

Plus he's a cheapskate like me! Not that I would sign up for THIS cost-saving measure he took in the Balkans where they were going to charge him WAY too much for setting up his tent. He discovered that nearby campgrounds for nudists were half as expensive...off he goes! Wow! This guy really knows how not to push the envelop or think outside of the box...he TORCHES 'EM! LOVE his audacity and hope to pull more of that into my life!

Let's get Sparkin' our way through another week, shall we?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYCHRIS1952 4/1/2014 9:25PM

    emoticon emoticon

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_MOBII_ 3/28/2014 12:07PM

    What a great blog! I am so happy for you and I can just picture you doing the Snoopy dance!
You are a great inspiration!

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IMSMILEY88 3/28/2014 9:54AM

    CONGRATS!!! And, I LOVED your post. Your enthusiasm & excitement are contagious! I smiled while reading the entire post. I'm STILL smiling! emoticon I hope you are still feeling that 'high' and doing all kinds of great things! emoticon

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SAM60SUMTHINK 3/27/2014 10:21PM

    CONGRAT'S!! And... how kewl that you are nearing goal at your 7-year Sparkaversary; it's only a few weeks off! HOW ABSOLUTELY FULLFILLING!!!! Wonder how close you'll get by then! Your new mantra while exercising - be it oncycle or foot - could easily be one with a countdown: "17-to-go, 17-to-go, 17-to-go".... "12-to-go, 12-to-go"....

Did I miss it... or... : what is your ultimate-goal reward going to be?

Um. Not a biking-camping trip to the Balkins???

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BOBBYD31 3/25/2014 9:56PM

    Asparagus- best i ever, ever had.
preheat oven to 350
hold both ends and bend until it breaks, toss the stem end keep the top
lightly coat cookie sheet with olive oil
cook about 10 min, roll then lightly pepper and salt
return to oven until tender depending on size about 10- 20 min
remove an cover with a coating of Parmesan cheese return to oven 2-3 min and then enjoy.

you can do the same with brussel sprouts. cut off bottom stem then cut in half. cooking time varies depending on size and thickness

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GIRANIMAL 3/25/2014 4:02PM

    Congrats on your weekend purging, particularly tossing too-big clothes and discovering ones that now fit! I love free shopping trips. emoticon

Roasting is MAGICAL for nearly any veggie, IMHO. Last night's dinner/today's lunch was broiled salmon with roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, garlic and Brussels sprouts. emoticon I advise trying both B. sprouts and asparagus roasted (just like L-M said) -- in fact, roasting is what brought me around to once-hated cauliflower!

Tonight I am trying a "recipe" (not really) for asparagus with lemon juice and a little feta cheese, but I can't recall offhand if it's first roasted or steamed. I expect it to be delicious. (I married a Greek - I am now a firm believer that lemon and a good feta can take ANYTHING up a notch or two!) emoticon

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CZEIDMAN 3/25/2014 12:34PM

  Kudos to you. Also for Brussel sprouts- after roasting a whole pan (just a little olive oil with salt/pepper) toss with 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. It's not so much that it makes them syrupy- but takes away that "blech" part for me.
good luck.

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OUATEONE2 3/25/2014 10:58AM

    Congrats on continued success with weight loss and healthy lifestyle. And yes, cycling clothing tends to offer no cover for oversize humans; I don't think the cycling clothing runs smaller but that all manufacturers of non-cycling clothing are just making all clothes larger but still labeling them as a smaller size and the cycling clothe makers refuse to do so. Just my two cents, which does not get you much these days. Gotta read Weir, sounds great. emoticon

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CHANGE4FIT 3/25/2014 8:28AM

    Great blog, Don, and your energy is apparent in your writing :). Asparagus-love it and can't wait until those little spears begin to poke their heads up in their raised bed this spring!! We like it grilled with a little olive oil, salt and rosemary. I also like it steamed and cooled in the fridge-can eat it as a snack or side this way. Finally, the steamed asparagus is good in a frittata or omelet, too. I love brussel sprouts-ever tried them roasted?? Honestly, can't think of a veggie I don't like....this is a good thing :))
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RAINBOWFALLS 3/25/2014 7:41AM

    Speaking of garlic and asparagus - I love to add a little olive oil and grill or bake (roast) during the colder season. Keep on Sparking! You are doing fantastic!

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PATRICIAAK 3/24/2014 11:41PM

I enjoy steamed asparagus

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1CRAZYDOG 3/24/2014 4:47PM

    GOOD JOB!!!! I have donated a LOT of clothes in the process of progress on this journey. But it's such a good feeling.

Asparagus . . . have you tried roasting it with other veggies? I just roasted cauliflower, broccoli, sweet white and purple onion, celery,carrots and asparagus yesterday for the week. It gives a little milder flavor to the asparagus. You can season the veggies any way you like. I first put about 1 tablespoon of olive on the veggies, then season with pepper, Mrs. Dash, Worcestershire, onion and garlic powder and some Italian seasoning. Let it roast @ 325 f for about 1 hr. Check. I like the veggies al dente because they'll be re-heated anyway.

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RACEWELLWON 3/24/2014 2:16PM

    Better late than Never , to get here for me !! I am so happy for you , Don !! Major Congrats emoticon I just love getting rid of those big clothes - a whole new meaning to Spring Cleaning emoticon I donate to the homeless . That soup sounds delish !! Be right over - the Asparagus - I prepare in a Frita or egg white Omelet in the morning - quick and easy and tasty - or just steamed with Smart Balance ( little) over brown rice - Mmmmm - you sound well and great spirits ! Been spring cleaning that mental junk out - Peeling Garlic - great idea - too cute that Mom ! emoticon Karen

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L*I*T*A* 3/24/2014 12:05PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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2WHEELER 3/24/2014 11:27AM

    I don't know where to begin, but suffice to say this is a fantastic blog. I can hear your joy in the blog. April emoticon I'm rolling out the emoticon whether there is a foot of snow or emoticon !

Congratulations on being so close to goal. You've done a remarkable job--will I recognize you the next time we meet? Oh, yeah, you'll be the skinny guy singing and bouncing along wearing spandex. I won't be able to miss you.

I'll have to get busy and read Willie Weir. I read so many cycling blogs it is hard to keep up with them all.

Brussel sprouts--did you roast them with a touch of olive oil (& garlic)? That completely changes their flavor. They, along with kale, have become my favorite vegetables. I don't like roasted kale (it's the new "in" thing), but I love fresh kale salads--much more flavor than any lettuce.

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 3/24/2014 11:09AM

    That was great! Smiiiillliiinnnnggg! emoticon
Our oldest son loves to do asparagus on the grill with olive oil; I like mine steamed with a tad of salt. Yum. Makes my mouth water. BUT be prepared for the smelly urination later - just a part of the process!

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ROMANTILLY 3/24/2014 11:04AM

    Thanks for the post Don. You always get me in a great mood and help me get my encouragement back when feeling a bit down or low. I love to read your success stories.

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HIPPICHICK1 3/24/2014 9:42AM

    You had me at "cauliflower, barley, celery, onions and garlic combo."
I have to try that!!
I'm with you on the Brussels sprouts express to YUCK and I still hate asparagus, but my hubby loves it so I buy it for him and roast them in a touch of grape seed oil (a good oil for high heating) and a little salt. He likes them that way very much. Roast aT 400 DEGREES f FOR 12 MINS. Oops. Caps lock!
Afterwards you can toss them with a little olive oil, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, or leave them plain. Apparently either way the asparagus is really yummy...to him!
emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 3/24/2014 9:41AM

    You are on a happy roll! It is such fun to clean out your closet of old large clothes. It shows a commitment to not regaining that weight. How nice to find that club biking shirt. I had the same thing..I was given a staff shirt and did not want to ask for a larger size!

Your soup sounds yummy. I am a big asparagus fan as well.

Happy Spring! You are doing great!

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VALERIEMAHA 3/24/2014 9:12AM

    You are CARRYING THE TORCH -- and leaving me speechless! (*Except* yes, Ellen's advice on roasting the asparagus is perfect -- snap off the bottom, I use a little balsamic with the EVOO. And yes, the young ones are delicious raw too!)

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/24/2014 8:45AM

    How fabulous!

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WATERMELLEN 3/24/2014 8:29AM

    What an exuberant and joyous blog: you are rolling this!! Love to think of you able to wear your bike club shirt -- and discovering clothes that fit again while ditching all the clothes that are too big (that was key for me, but it took me about 5 years to get rid of all the biggies!!).

Soup sounds terrific. I made my fave go to chicken minestrone, had a parmesan rind to simmer along with the veggies.

Snuck a few sliced Brussels sprouts and kale blossoms into the soup -- asparagus and B sprouts are both great roasted with a bit of EVOO at 400, but the asparagus (snap off the woody stems) take much less time.

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FERRETLOVER1 3/24/2014 7:39AM

    What an awesome feeling it is to be able to wear clothes you thought you would never fit into again in this life! You are one emoticon due, Don! I am so happy for you that I am doing a little dance right here in my kitchen! emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/24/2014 6:59AM

    emoticon Shopping the closet! LOVE it... the price is right, and usually, if you kept it, it was because of good memories!

Love that you sound so HAPPY! emoticon Spring is almost here... cycling season ahead!

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    I watched that video, Don. Neat! They do sell garlic peelers at the stores. Try Bed, Bath and Beyond. I think they run about $4. I put a clove of garlic in my green juice I make daily. Since I only use 1 clove I peel it by hand no big deal.

Glad you are doing so darn well! Yea you! So many wins. Glad your quads are feeling better. Your going to nail the 5K.

Now, if you want a REAL challenge: check out the Race to Robie Creek here in Boise, Idaho. That's a true challenge. I walked it one year and vow to do it again. Perhaps next year. All on raw food, green juice and fruit. BTW: I love asparagus and I do eat it raw. Organic of course!

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123ELAINE456 3/24/2014 12:32AM

  Awesome Blog!!! Well Said!!! You are doing Great. Tried to get link. This is what I got. This Page Cannot Be Displayed. Sorry. Keep It Up. God Blessings Always. Take Care. Have a Wonderful Week.

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JULIEABIGAIL 3/23/2014 11:47PM

  OMG, don! what an energized, uplifting blog! your enthusiasm is infectious! thank you for sharing! congrats on all your joyous achievements of the day. sweetie, yikes! i would not recommend your eating asparagus raw! i would either roast it with a tad of evoo, salt (substitute), pepper, and perhaps a wee bit of garlic (also great if you roast cherry tomatoes with them), OR parboil them (timing depends on size and freshness of the stalks). of course, snap off the tough ends of each stalk first (some people use a peeler to peel the tougher parts of the stalk). either of these simple methods will give you a good idea of the actual flavor of the asparagus (i love it!). and remember, for many people, it is apparent pretty quickly in the urine that one has partaken of asparagus, so fear not! emoticon

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Quiet Leadership

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Another member inspired my blog for today when she pondered the fact that others considered her to be a "leader" but she wasn't so comfortable thinking of herself in that way...it didn't seem to "fit" her perception of herself. Here were the thoughts I shared, plus a little "bonus"...

"Leader" is one of those tricky words isn't it? Often we can think of a leader as a General Patton taking the bull by the horns and barking out orders.

But I prefer to think of a leader as a person of influence. And when we think of it that way we begin to realize how much impact our behavior has on those around us.

For example when I began to make healthier food choices I realized to resist the tempting treats and snacks that my colleagues were always bringing to work I was going to have to bring lots of fresh veggies and fruits to slice up into a big bowl for healthy gnoshing through the afternoon. My office partner used to have a candy dish on his desk that used to be a big hit.

But day in and day out I quietly went about preparing my freggie bowl and invite folks to feel free to help themselves. I didn't take to the bully pulpit, pick up the megaphone, wag my finger or prosetylize...at least not TOO vigorously...lol!

And yanno? Over time the decadent snacks and treats brought to the lunchroom trailed off into increasingly rare occurrences, even bringing about a finger-wagging from others: "Why did you bring in that CONTRABAND?!?"

And whereas contraband used to vaporize into mouths within minutes in the past, it now sits for hours and sometimes ends up being tossed into the trash (Where it belongs...lol!).

Some of us now get out for power walks at lunch now. More folks are off to their fitness centers after work.

In my own quiet way I see myself as having been a potent influence on this process and feel justified in considering myself a "leader," NOT of the General Patton variety!

I think ALL of us have this power to influence those around us in extremely potent ways! We ALL can be leaders, whether in our homes or beyond!

So many of us know and are so fond of Gandhi's words: "Be the change you want to see in the world." My play with this is to say: "Be the SPARK you want to see in the world!

I enjoyed a lovely 4+ mile walk after an early dinner tonight and was able to take advantage of the lengthening days. I made sure to pick a route with some nice uphill challenges PLUS had a super conversation with my youngest sister while walking part of the way. After finishing the conversation it was time for TUNES and one of my faves came up.

I DARE you to NOT clap your hands, swing your hips and sing along with this like I was doing during my walk... :-)


Near the end of the walk the sun was setting and playing off the clouds in a striking way when my music took a turn for thoughtful, pensive mood which was a perfect fit for this sunset and wrapping up my walk:


Thank you everyone for all your blog support these days! I'm humbled and doing my best to soak up your praise and compliments...like many of you this does not come easily but I've resolved to strengthen my abilities to be kind to myself and to truly take in deserved recognition.

Take care and keep it SPARKIN'!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINAJANE76 3/24/2014 3:37PM

    Quiet leadership can often be the best kind because it's the type that other people can learn from by example. Leadership doesn't have to be dictatorial and it doesn't mean that you have all of the answers. It just means you have the ability to help bring out the best in others.

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SAM60SUMTHINK 3/21/2014 8:22PM

    Excellent. As always! Your description is abslutely on-targe! Alleged 'leaders' who go by the name do not always so well grasp the reality of truly leading.

As always, your blog links sent me cybering along into a musical journey of sites and sonds! Thank you for this evening's voyage of discovery!

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CHANGE4FIT 3/20/2014 12:57PM

    Thoughtful and well spoken as always. Yes there are those with the title, but it pays to pay attention to the real leaders in every situation....

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CELIAMINER 3/19/2014 8:13AM

    I like your description of leadership. I, too, don't consider myself a leader, and it took all the willpower I could muster to break my sugar habit, especially when the person in the cubby next to mine kept a huge bowl of candy in a prominent place. Later, as I lost the weight, I didn't take the initiative and talk about it. Only when someone asked would I mention SP, eating better, and exercising more. However, like you, I am noticing more people in my office taking walks and eating healthier. Even the holiday party, which used to be a contest for the sweetest, most fattening foods, now boasts more freggie platters and lean meats. So maybe I can think of myself as a leader by example.

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WATERMELLEN 3/19/2014 7:58AM

    You. Are. A. Leader.

No question about your leadership here. (I continue to notice the quiet way you welcome new members: just one example of many). And clearly in the workplace as well.

What a great walk that has to have been!!

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RAINBOWFALLS 3/18/2014 10:53AM

    You do have a way with words and you are a very good leader. Take care and keep on Sparking!

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HIPPICHICK1 3/17/2014 2:36PM

    Leadership comes in all different forms. Silent and stealthy is the best!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 3/17/2014 11:30AM

    I see you're just coming into the interior recognition of a part of you that has loomed large for me ever since we've become friends, Don. The way you move through the world with grace and beauty is a special part of who you are and what you offer to family, friends, and even strangers. You lead by being you, with that spirit of service always there, with that lively, loving way of connecting with others, with that special way of expressing aliveness that translates to ways that we can see potential in ourselves.

Thank you for who you are and all you do.

Comment edited on: 3/17/2014 11:32:38 AM

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L*I*T*A* 3/16/2014 12:42PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ZELLAZM 3/16/2014 9:29AM


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KANOE10 3/16/2014 8:02AM

    I love that" Be the change you want to see in the world. " Yes, be the Spark you want to see in the world also works. You can be a quiet leader and influence people by your choices and actions. In my job I am the only one who consistently eats fruits and veges and does not indulge in the staff treats. People are always commenting on my lunches which consist of salads with roasted vegetables or exotic stir frys. Much as I get tired of telling people what I am eating, I suspect they want to know because I have kept my weight off.

I am pleased your office has responded and has made healthy changes!

You are an excellent influence on all of us!

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123ELAINE456 3/16/2014 1:02AM

  Awesome Blog!!! You are doing Great Job on Leadership in your Office. Keep It Up!!! Love your views on Leadership too. God Blessings Always. Take Care!!!

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PATRICIAAK 3/16/2014 12:03AM

    Another 'like' blog. This is so on target. Thanks

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STRIVERONE 3/15/2014 10:44PM

    The greatest leaders are those who lead by example. There are many who do just that in the Spark universe, but I can vouch for your real contribution here in real world Broome County. You certainly do deserve the recognition. Bask.

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GROEDER 3/15/2014 9:32PM

    Great blog, Don!!!
When I have been called a "leader" it only strengthens my resolve to do an even better job of making myself better, so I can show others that it really can be done.
I see you as a partner on this journey. Always there with support and encouragement when I need it. Thank you very much for all you do.

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/15/2014 9:26PM

    You are so right about the nature of leadership... it starts with following an idea: to make healthier choices. All it takes is ONE person committed to it, to have others who'd just been wishing someone would... lurking in the shadows, lamenting that the culture was just too ingrained to change. By providing for your own success, quietly, you inspired others and changed your work culture!

You might not have set OUT to become a leader, but by following your principles, and keeping your promises to yourself... you BECAME one. Embrace it. Cherish it. You rock! emoticon

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LOLA_LALA 3/15/2014 9:20PM

    Magnificent, very wisdom-packed blog, Don! emoticon I think some of us are more inclined to be followers than leaders, and we do so happily (and as part of our nature). But when push comes to shove, we must all really lead ourselves in the end, mustn't we? It's taking responsibility for the self, and ultimately, it helps the rest of the world in ways indirect and direct as well :)

LOVELY photo!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/15/2014 9:14PM

    Glad you reminded me that it doesn't come easily because you DO make it look effortless, Don. I admire that.

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_LINDA 3/15/2014 9:06PM

    Good on you!! Way to convert your office staff!
Thank you for sharing your wonderful music and walk!
Spark on!

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1CRAZYDOG 3/15/2014 9:02PM

    THINFITRAWKIND summed it up best for me. We don't choose leadership, but it chooses us!

I so agree with your quiet leadership . . . leading by example. . . and words. It is humbling to realize that with our actions and words we can influence anothers choice!

Good job you've done.

Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day.

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    Leadership isn't something that one chooses. IT chooses you.

I was talking to a friend of mine today. She gave me a very interesting compliment. She stated that I am a "way shower". Someone who forages ahead of others. I guess to make certain there aren't any land mines? LOL

You are in a very good space Don. Truly a very kind person and one that looks upon others with love in your heart. Thank you!

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JULIEABIGAIL 3/15/2014 8:08PM

  don, thank you again for a thoughtful, uplifting, insightful blog. i think "leadership" can be interpreted much like "power," which can have a connotation of "power over" or "domination," or can be the power of "empowerment," which i find far more effective and long-lasting. "leadership" can also have a connotation of being a dominant force, or, these days, thankfully, it can be seen in more of a "facilitator" role, encouraging, reinforcing, supporting positive ideas and feedback. "leadership" no longer has to be hierarchical, and it can be kind, humble, and tacit. you lead by example, and who would NOT want to emulate you! emoticon

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Another First! Thanks & Shout Out to Our SparkFamily!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thank you everyone for all of your TREMENDOUS support which pushed one of my recent blogs ("A Change in Perspective: Preparing for Maintenance") toward achieving my very first Popular Blog Post award!

It's not only a super day for this reason alone, but have notched down in another couple of ways that have me psyched as well: 1) I've crossed another big number by dropping below 220, which would be 100 pounds below where I started when joining SparkPeople in 2007 and 2) This led me to pulling out a "Large" shirt which I tried on only a few weeks ago and had barely buttoned around my belly yet already fits comfortably today...YES! Soon to kiss all the XLs goodbye and pass on to the Thrift Store!

While I'm lovin' it, I can't help but do a little head-scratching as over the past few weeks the pounds have NOT been flying. It's been a patience game for myself seeing the numbers drib, drab, zig up, zag down and just reminding myself to stay the course: ounce by ounce those pounds are gonna go!

PLUS not only have the pounds been slowing way down but with all this cardiac stuff going on my workouts have been more sparsely populated and less vigorous.

Since being unable to drive last week I have yet to get to the fitness center and relegated myself to mostly walking, jogging...yet look at these rewards I'm reaping! Go me! :-)

Such a wonderful note on which to kick off my weekend!

Thank you again everyone!

Viva la SPARK!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCCOURTT 3/17/2014 1:41PM

    Congrad - All the way around!!! On the Blog, but more important on what you've done emoticon

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HAPPY-DESTINY 3/16/2014 11:25AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 3/15/2014 9:45AM

    I am glad you had a popular blog. Your words are inspirational and should be read by everyone! Even though you are healing, you are still losing and are staying focused. Great job on the 100 pound loss. That is magnificent,

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SAM60SUMTHINK 3/14/2014 10:14PM

    Awesome and well-deserved 'popular blog' award!
You've come a long way!!
And ALL your blogs are so full of ideas, music and inspiration!

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WATERMELLEN 3/14/2014 10:00PM

    Delighted to get that popular blog motivation: although all your blogs are popular with me! Congrats on the weight loss: those pounds have no choice but to disappear because you are sticking with the program. And: I see you've put in over 500 exercise minutes already this month, before the halfway mark. On a roll, fully committed to your heart recovery and ongoing health!!

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1CRAZYDOG 3/14/2014 8:47PM

    Awesome!!!!!! Congratulations.

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L*I*T*A* 3/14/2014 7:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/14/2014 7:41PM

    emoticon emoticon Slow and steady, even with little zigs and zags... and over time... LOOK AT YOU! emoticon emoticon

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PATRICIAAK 3/14/2014 7:29PM

    Congrats to an inspiring guy.
Reading your blogs gives me hope.

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TINAJANE76 3/14/2014 4:15PM

    Awesome, Don--I'm so happy for you! Enjoy the attention, your Large shirts and have a great weekend!

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_LINDA 3/14/2014 1:06PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I too, couldn't believe you hadn't had a popular blog post until now!
Great news on the smaller size!! Weight never comes off in a straight line and its amazing you lost some with all your restrictions right now!
So keep it going, you are obviously doing something that is working for you!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAESTROSHASHA 3/14/2014 11:44AM

    All this accomplishment and it includes a blog post award AND a dropped clothing sizes?!?! Now that's cause for CELEBRATION! Way to go! :)

Comment edited on: 3/14/2014 11:45:12 AM

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DAISYBELL6 3/14/2014 11:38AM

    Way to go Don! I think all your posts should be Popular blog posts!

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123ELAINE456 3/14/2014 11:31AM

  Awesome Blog!!! Well Said!!! Well Done!!! You are doing Great. Keep It Up!!! You Can Do It!!! WTG!!! God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Weekend!!!

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CHANGE4FIT 3/14/2014 11:30AM

    Yay you! So glad you have had a remarkable "reboot" in so many ways. Keep on Sparkin',

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BEATLETOT 3/14/2014 11:05AM

    What the...? Your first Popular Blog? No way!!! Congratulations on everything!

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VALERIEMAHA 3/14/2014 10:31AM

    I can't believe this is just your FIRST Popular Blog Post award??? But anyway, HIP HIP HOORAY!

Just reading your ROCKIN' blog amped up my day several notches. Thanks for modeling how it's done, my friend, as you simply jump over all the obstacles and continue your journey-of-a-lifetime, to optimal wellbeing and contentment!

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ALIIDA 3/14/2014 10:21AM

    Great feeling, that, throwing out the large shirts. Well done! Very happy to hear how well you are doing. emoticon

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    emoticon emoticon

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WENWIN 3/14/2014 9:53AM

    Don...there is nothing tougher than just staying the course during the ups and downs. Congrats on all your accomplishments!!

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PEZMOM1 3/14/2014 9:44AM

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HIPPICHICK1 3/14/2014 9:20AM

    Perhaps you weren't eating enough? Or working out too much? Maybe? Regardless, congrats on ALL of your recent successes!!
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SLIMMERJESSE 3/14/2014 9:01AM

    So glad you're doing great.

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ANDREWMOM 3/14/2014 8:56AM

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