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When I Grow Up...

Monday, April 14, 2014

I had such a wonderful jog yesterday in my favorite local park, Dorchester:

I maintained my jogging gait as I went up the ridge to jog along the top of the dam...the same angle as this photo was taken. This ridge is such a GLORIOUS place to be in the part as one is right on top of the dam which creates the lake you see on the one side and on the other side you see the valley of Whitney Point and its school sprawling, often with the athletic fields filled with kids playing football or other sports. Today was an amazing day because of the WINDS! Oh MY I felt like I was going to take FLIGHT!

I felt just like this little boy and remembered the image, spreading my arms like a bird as I jogged along the ridge smiling and laughing out loud...

Sending this out with wishes for everyone to dig deep, find your SPARK and CELEBRATE IT!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 4/24/2014 3:05PM

    Wonderful place to run!

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COMMIT2BFIT4ME 4/15/2014 11:09AM

    Wonderful! I can just picture you out there with your arms stretched out as if you were soaring at great heights. Aahhh, I know why..because you are! Have a sparktaculous day!


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KANOE10 4/15/2014 8:01AM

    Beautiful pictures. The joy of your run is contagious!

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L*I*T*A* 4/15/2014 1:04AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAM60SUMTHINK 4/14/2014 10:16PM

    "Share the Joy" is what you did in this smile-evoking blog; loved it!
Thanks for letting us soar with you!

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WATERMELLEN 4/14/2014 7:53PM

    Just love the exuberance of this blog!! You're tapping into new joy.

And: congrats on losing that 2 pounds.

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ONEKIDSMOM 4/14/2014 7:46PM

    I remember that park! We used to take our son there when he was little. Great place to picnic and play. Love the Joseph Heller quote... second childhood is the bomb!

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1CRAZYDOG 4/14/2014 5:52PM

    What a gorgeous picture! Inspiration to be sure.

Have a good time with your training today.

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No one should relinquish his duty, even though it is flawed; all actions are enveloped by flaws as fire is enveloped by smoke. From the Bhagavad Gita
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PATRICIAAK 4/14/2014 4:37PM

    sounds wonderful

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STRIVERONE 4/14/2014 3:54PM

A couple years ago a friend of mine decided to do the Broome County sprint triathlon at Whitney Point. I am not much of a swimmer, but I accompanied him several times on his bike and run practices there and went to the event as a spectator. Dorchester Park really is a gem and not overused.

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123ELAINE456 4/14/2014 11:41AM

  A Beautiful Photo. Sounds like you had a Wonderful Jogging on the Ridge. You are doing Great. Keep It Up. God Blessings Always. Have a Fantastic Day. Take Care.

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ZELLAZM 4/14/2014 10:22AM

    Springtime always makes me feel like this! Joy!

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WMUGRAD 4/14/2014 10:16AM


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_LINDA 4/14/2014 10:03AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Yes, never lose that childhood sense of wonder. There is always something out there to bring a smile to your mug :)
Love your photo (and background)! Wish it were not 18 this morning, but the sunshine makes those browns and grays a little bit brighter!

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MNCYCLIST 4/14/2014 9:27AM


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SLIMMERJESSE 4/14/2014 9:15AM

    What a joyful blog! Thanks.

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CHANGE4FIT 4/14/2014 9:14AM

    Wow-what a beautiful view!

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JLAMING263 4/14/2014 9:12AM


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VALERIEMAHA 4/14/2014 9:00AM

    You're on fire in the world -- vibrant, engaged, childlike, tuned to the Mystery... you and Mary Oliver:

Mysteries, Yes

Truly, we live with mysteries too marvelous
to be understood.

How grass can be nourishing in the
mouths of the lambs.
How rivers and stones are forever
in allegiance with gravity
while we ourselves dream of rising.
How two hands touch and the bonds
will never be broken.
How people come, from delight or the
scars of damage,
to the comfort of a poem.

Let me keep my distance, always, from those
who think they have the answers.

Let me keep company always with those who say
"Look!" and laugh in astonishment,
and bow their heads.

~ Mary Oliver ~

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HMBROWN1 4/14/2014 8:46AM

    Sounds like you had a great run!

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Salty Upper Lip: Prepping for 5K

Saturday, April 12, 2014

We've been graced by stupendous spring-into-summer-like weather this weekend and EVERYBODY'S heading outdoors! Today I began in earnest to prepare for the Binghamton Bridge Run, my only 5K of the year...good timing since I am still taking the anti-coagulant and am staying off the bike.

So I focus on jogging...or fast-walking...lol!

One voice told myself before heading out to our Vestal Rail - Trail to jog 4 miles: first of the season, take it easy, it's okay if you need to walk some of it.

The other voice? "Heh: no WAY are you gonna walk!" ;-)

And nope, I didn't...my time for 4 miles wasn't TOO bad, 50 mins. or 12.5 min. mile. Considering my best 5K time over the past few years has only been an 11 min. mile I thought I did pretty good for my first crack at it today. My tunes were as helpful as ever...Springsteen's Dancing In The Dark had a spot-on pace for my jog. Got my salty upper lip, just like I do when I have a hard ride on my bike!

I waved at a couple of cyclists from the bike club as they rode by...longing to join them, but being oh-so-patient with the process!

Yesterday I met with the fellow at the Arrhythmia Center who ran the test on my pacemaker and determined that everything was looking good. I'll be getting my own box for doing the same in a few weeks. I was very precise in my questioning of him: So the readings today indicate that my heart is doing what it should, not dropping beats, no blood pooling in the atrium any longer? Correct, he said. And this is wired directly to my cardiologist, right? Correct.

Well even though I don't meet with the cardiologist until May 19th, I'm going to start e-mailing her next week about discontinuing my anti-coagulant and see if I can get started BEFORE May 19th...!

The box is a very non-intrusive process and unlike my earlier explanation of this occurring every night in my sleep I can run the test any time and it's only necessary to run once every few months. Easy peasy!

The pounds are holding steady these days...some zig-zagging but lately holding around 216.5. I'm enjoying downsizing my clothes...even though the pounds aren't dropping I feel like the inches are. Have to get cozy with the tape measure sometime. I'm actually getting a teensy sense of scrawniness around my shoulders and upper chest and eager to get back to my upper body strength training, but am still restricted: no heavy lifting, pushing, etc. This should be discontinued also when I meet with my cardiologist on May 19th.

Sometimes I get a little frustrated over the plateau, but mostly I'm "okay" with it...realizing that a "pause for the cause" ain't such a bad idea! This isn't a race, it's all about building a lifestyle that can weather the test of time. I also tell myself that numbers are one thing, but what works when it comes to living my life is another.

The "hungries" have reared their head now & then...and although I've overindulged in the quantity of food, I've stood firm in maintaining my zero-sugar, zero-grain, no-food from 9 pm until noon approach...occasionally creeping up to 10 pm. Avoiding sugar and grains has worked well for me and I think I will be able to stand by this approach, with some thoughts of adding oatmeal when cycling comes along...but keeping my oats "clean" with no sugar or butter, just lots of cinnamon and banana to sweeten it.

So all in all, I've been keepin' on, keepin' on!

Hope everyone is savoring weather that's just as tasty as ours has been this weekend! :-)


PS: Update! Down 2 pounds all of a sudden today! 14 pounds from GOAL! More proof that if you work your SPARK the pay-offs will come! :-)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2WHEELER 4/14/2014 8:32AM

    Way to go, Don!! You're becoming a very wise man. Glad to hear that things look positive on the medical side. You'll nail that 5K if you're already running 4 miles. I'd like to keep up a little running, but focusing on getting my bike legs back right now.

We're enjoying beautiful weather, too. At least until tomorrow.

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ZELLAZM 4/14/2014 6:16AM

    WTG on cutting out the grains and sugar - and on the good results! Looking forward to your training blogs and, of course, rooting for you as you do your 5K - soon!

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1CRAZYDOG 4/13/2014 4:50PM

    Good job with the release of 2 lbs.! You are right to be patient with the process and sounds like you did well with that. Hmmm...the hungries get to me sometimes, too, and sounds like you did well quelling that beast!

I do so much better, too, with both salt and sugar out of my system! Both are so darned addictive and more importantly, don't agree w/my body! So, if it doesn't agree with me, I'm not putting it in me!

Good luck and here's to a good sparking week.

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*¨♥ *`*•.¸☆´¨`*“
Today is a new beginning, the first step on a very special journey. Along the way there will be new sights to see and concepts to learn. As you travel through this day, take time to acknowledge yourself and celebrate your choice to live mindfully and wholeheartedly! With your mind and heart open, you are creating the space to manifest the life of your dream. Deepak Chopra
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RACEWELLWON 4/13/2014 4:06PM

    Good for Don - see back on Track Cycling and hitting the Happy Trail Me too and loving it ! Love Steele Oats ! Thanks for the support - Oh name change - a gift to myself for my third Spark Anniversary - Happy Spring - Yeah Karen

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_LINDA 4/13/2014 4:01PM

    Great news all around!! Way to run it!! So glad your added equipment isn't going to be a bother! Imagine getting to do what you love by May 19!
Hope your great weather continues and you can get outside regularly!
Congrats on the weight loss! May it continue!

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DOGLADY13 4/13/2014 3:37PM

    I used to live in Binghamton - back in the late 1990s. I worked at the Agway store and lived on Broome Street.

It feels so good to get outside and exercise. So much better than the treadmill and stationary bike.

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L*I*T*A* 4/13/2014 3:18PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 4/13/2014 1:12PM

    You are creating a healthy lifestyle for yourself! The pause for a cause is needed and you are doing a great job of taking care of yourself. Your healthy eating is working and your maintenance is going well.

Have fun in the next race!

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HILLSLUG98239 4/13/2014 12:28PM

    I feel your pain about not being able to ride. I had a doctor-ordered lay off last summer. I walked. A lot. Sometimes three times a day.

Hang in there : all will be right with the world again soon!

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HIPPICHICK1 4/13/2014 10:42AM

    I've started to nix grains from my diet recently. I read an article about how many "teaspoons" of sugar are in one's diet. They gave the formula for figuring it out. Take your total amount of carbs, for example, my low end recommended by Spark is 165 grams of carbs, so we'll use that number. (I have often times eaten up to 200 grams of carbs in a day, but usually stay at the low end as I tried to get more healthy fats into my diet, which fill me up for long periods of time.)

Now, subtract the grams of fiber you ate from the carbs and then divide by 5 and that will give you the # of tsps of sugar (because all food is converted into sugar when it is digested) that you consumed in a day.

The target is 6-12 tsps., so 165 g of carbs minus 40 g of fiber = 125 divided 5 = 25 tsps of sugar!! I was like WOAH!

I have slowly, using baby steps, been reducing the carbs and so far (over 4 days) have reduced it to an average of 20 tsps a day. Yesterday was a mere 14 tsps, but I gotta say, it ain't easy!

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WATERMELLEN 4/13/2014 9:28AM

    This is totally impressive! Great run, and great progress with your heart health. Great discipline on the food front too.

You are indeed building a lifestyle that will stand the test of time.

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BROOKLYN_BORN 4/13/2014 7:52AM

    Good job sticking with the plan. I've got relatives up in your 'neck of the woods' - nice area.

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    Don, try quinoa also. I hope your oatmeal is the slow cook type. It's best to start from scratch always.

You are doing very well and being a good boy with your program. Caution is not being thrown in the trash bin and you'll make more long lasting progress that way.

Keep on keeping on.

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STRIVERONE 4/13/2014 12:18AM

    That's a pretty good clip, all things considered. Hope Judith and I see you at the Bridge Run.

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PATRICIAAK 4/13/2014 12:07AM

    staying sensible and steady is super

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123ELAINE456 4/12/2014 11:39PM

  Sounds like you are progressing forward very well. Keep it up. You done great on you jogging run too. WTG!!! God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care.

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ONEKIDSMOM 4/12/2014 11:10PM

    Love the background photo... I remember that trail... think it's had some upgrades in the past 15 years! Glad to hear you're making good progress in getting back to 100%.

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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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2015TODAY 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.

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¸¸.•☆´.•*¨.♥ 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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