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Niagara Falls, CA / Letchworth State Park, NY

Saturday, October 25, 2008

My wife and I had a mini-vacation (Tues through Thurs.) to Niagara Falls and took a stupendous detour on our way home through Letchworth State Park, our own New York State waterfall wonder!

Unfortunately the wind was knocked from my sails the first day as I had come down with some weird fever and probable infection of some sort which made some of my hair follicles very tender and left a sore, quarter-sized lump on the back of my neck near the base of the skull. I just zoned out, slept a lot and bounced back on Weds. No cardio for me on Tues. tho! I enjoyed using the hotel's Star-Trac Edge for an hour on Weds. & Thurs.

Saw the doc yesterday and he believes this lump was a lymph node, put me on antibiotic and today it appears to have gone away entirely...go figure!

Needless to say, my one day of fever and listlessness did little to detract from our good times out and about!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAINOF4 11/8/2008 9:46PM

    I have a great photo taken at Niagara Falls. The Canada side has a beautiful park... I went there once in the fall - lots of roses & beautiful maple trees. I had a great time, it is very pretty.

I will have to remember the State Park tho, in case I'm up that way some time. I love being outside!

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    Niagra Falls is so beautiful! At least as I remember, I have not been there since I was a little girl! Sorry you were not feeling better to enjoy it!

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MOV4WARD 10/27/2008 3:09PM

    go figure! sorry u were under the weather on your special trip, rotten luck. but am so glad u r feeling better!

have been enjoying your gorgeous pics! someday, we'd like to see Niagra, it just seems spectacular!

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DDOORN 10/25/2008 10:19PM

    The Star-Trac Edge is a variation of elliptical, although without the handles for upper body. I found the stride worked for me much better than some ellipticals...very smooth and effortless, yet jacked my HR up like any other elliptical!

Here's a review @ Epinions:


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ANDALEX 10/25/2008 9:40PM

    mmm, gorgeous! i'm glad you were feeling well enough to get out and see those sights. that's a truly beautiful area of the country.

what's a star-trac edge? sounds hi tech and exciting!

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Another Year Younger...!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Yesterday was my 52nd birthday and a great way I've found to celebrate which I've been doing over the past couple of years has been to complete ALL the questions at


Last year I was growing younger by scoring 49.5 years as my "REAL" age.

This year I grew another year younger by scoring 48.4!

Woo hoo! Thank you SparkPeople and all the WONDERFUL support from everyone who has made this such a super place to grow YOUNGER! :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANGELNOOK 10/21/2008 9:55AM

  emoticonYou keep getting younger and younger! That's great!


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ANDALEX 10/17/2008 3:14PM

    happy "un"birthday! that's awesome!

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MOV4WARD 10/17/2008 1:44PM

    that's a gr8 trend! emoticon
emoticonHappy Birthday!

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KARITIGER 10/17/2008 12:56PM

    Wow! That is inspiring and awesome! Amazing weight loss.. and the pictures to prove it! Nice Job!!!

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ZELLAZM 10/17/2008 12:47PM

    Congratulations and a belated happy birthday --- at this rate, you'll be a teenager again in no time! Blessings, Michelle

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Freewheelin' Skinny Santa!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Got out for the bike ride I've been yearning for! Had my bright red t-shirt on for visibility and a pair of biking gloves which my sister gave me for my upcoming birthday. Thing is, they're bright kelly green as they are Michigan State University (my alma mater) gloves with a big "M" on them. Couldn't help but feel like I was celebrating the season a little early... :-)

What a most glorious, stupendous day it was! Glad I had those gloves on as it was pretty chilly as I rode through the lifting fog. Funny I didn't mind the cold wearing a t-shirt and shorts, but my fingers could definitely feel that cold!

Riding my bike through the fog lifting to reveal such a wondrous array of colors across the hillsides...surely this must be the peak of the fall foliage colors! In time I could see the clear expanse of blue skies unmarked by a single cloud and the sun shining over it all like a maestro orchestrating this perfect symphony on which my senses feasted!

I dared to challenge myself right away to the huge hill nearby my home, probably less than a mile away. It has stopped me from heading southward into the Binghamton area, which is much more bicycle-friendly with wide biking lanes on the side of the road.

I've attempted before a number of times, humbled each time, being forced to get off the bike and walk up to the top.

But not today! Made it to the very top and beyond without getting off the bike! Woo Hoo! What a feeling as I soared down the other side! Each time I have a victory of this sort it feels like I "own" the road in a whole new way! My heart was pounding and I was huffing and puffing like I had never done before...!

After a bit I pulled over to a bench where I called my DW to announce my victory and savored the sun beaming down.

I wanted to cruise forever today! After all, most of the area south of that hill is relatively flat. I breezed through Otsiningo Park, then headed downtown for a bit, crossing over the Washington St. bridge and finding another sunny bench to take a water break and call a few friends and chat for a bit.

On my return trip I headed up Front St., stopping at Starbucks for my Venti Bold Flavor of the Day, sipping outdoors in the sun. just savoring the moment and the splendid view of the surrounding brilliant hills aglow with the colors of fall.

Now, since I'd already succeeded in biking up this hill once, I told myself that I really didn't HAVE to tackle it one more time on my return trip. However, as I biked up much further than I ever thought I would after being on the road from 9 am till it was approaching 1 pm. My excitement over possibly succeeding yet one more time pushed me further than I should and I zigged where I should have zagged and went off the relatively narrow shoulder, which had a couple inch drop...just enough to tumble me off my bike onto my knee and came to rest on my butt, humbled yet once again...lol! It was just a scrape, had my tissue in my pocket to sop up the blood some and got back on to walk up the rest of the way and the thrill of the ride down the other side on to my home.

All in all this day was just stupendous!

Hope everyone is finding their SPARK during these beautiful autumn days!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOV4WARD 10/13/2008 4:08PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon quite a milestone there! Sounds like a glorious day! Bet you'll take that hill both ways, sooner than later :)

emoticonu makes me want a bike for Christmas! lol ;)

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ANDALEX 10/13/2008 12:37PM

    what a great post! i almost feel the wind blowing past my face just from reading it. thanks! congrats on making it up that big hill....next thing you know, you're going to cruise up it without even realizing it's there. great work!!

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ZELLAZM 10/13/2008 12:19PM

    WTG - sounds like a great day all around! Michelle

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No Matter What: I'm Gonna Get Out and RIDE!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Although I have been crazy / busy with:

my 60 hour work week,

no water in our house for 3 days,

mastering the art of shampooing, scrubbing up and rinsing with only a half gallon of water... :-) ,

a well that appears to be drying up (I believe our area is experiencing a never-mentioned drought...we live only hundreds of yards from the Chenango River! I am becoming HIGHLY concerned about our local / global water resources! For a frightening glimpse into the coming water crisis I HIGHLY recommend folks see this new documentary: Flow, For Love of Water www.flowthefilm.com/ "Water is the sleeping giant issue of the 21st Century and we all need to wake up about it. FLOW opens our eyes about the greatest threat of our time - the global water crisis. It is a compelling and passionate film. Its engaging narrative will grip the viewer."
Robert Redford),

arranging for a pellet stove installation to avoid $500 / month fuel oil bills year round,

having six replacement windows installed,

and preparing for a mini-trip to Niagara Falls, Canada to visit our Canadian friends the week of 10/20

Despite all of this I WILL get out on my bike this long weekend of what promises to be stupendous weather at least TWICE for LONNNNNGGGGG travels to restore my equilibrium. If I DON'T, I'm going to be pretty unbearable to be around! GRRRR!

Can you tell I've spent too much time away from my bike? :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDALEX 10/12/2008 9:01PM

    man, your schedule sounds insane! are you getting enough "you" time? hope you get to squeeze in a bike ride soon!

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ZELLAZM 10/11/2008 5:27AM

    Super weather here, too --- loving the days of "golden October" which is what they call it here in Germany and perfect for Nordic walking or jogging. Leaves are at their peak, weather is foggy in the morning, sunny and cool in the afternoon - YES! Will check back to see if you got those rides in.

Blessings, Michelle.

P.S Thanks for the link to the film - have just started to read more about the water crisis.

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    I hear ya about spending too much time away from my bike! I finally did get on for a couple hours last weekend for a beautiful and restorative ride with the kiddos. I've been counting the minutes until my work day is over so I can get out again this afternoon. Hopefully it won't be the only ride! Have a great weekend on your bike, Don!

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On Keeping the SPARK Alive!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What I think I'm finding out is that it is a bit of a let down in a way when all the BIG weight losses are made and all one has in the future are itty-bitty losses which seem to take TREMENDOUS efforts and persistence to accomplish!

I find it can be helpful to take time to stop and remind myself of all the pay-offs I continue to enjoy at my hard-fought-for new & improved weight:

---The compliments from others keep rolling in...always such a JOY!
---Ongoing increased mobility and capacity for such a wide range of physical activities, including returning to old favorites such as biking and scheming to tackle new territory such as cross country skiing.
---Freedom from the sugar / carb demon, which I feel I have successfully locked away and battened down the hatches for the rest of my life.
---Improved energy level and animation in my day-to-day life.
---I'm able to wear "normal" sized clothes!
---Good physical health, all vitals within normal limits.

The challenge ahead of me now is...what NEW pay-offs will I be able to enjoy and celebrate as I continue to lose those stubborn pounds closer to my goal weight? What can help to jack my motivation levels up now...?

---Improvements over "all of the above"!
---To feel more comfortable in my own skin, sufficiently accepting of my body to be able to go shirtless publicly.
---Looking foward to biking the Kal-Haven trail with my son in Spring '09. This is a 33 mile trail or 66 mile total! Don't care if we stay overnight at the other end and take a couple of days or hey, maybe succeed in doing it in ONE day...woo hoo!

I'd like to be able to add to this list some other ideas, which are eluding me as yet...so that I can give my motivation enough of a boost to squeeze my food intake down, pick up my fitness activities even more.

Appreciate any feedback, ideas others care to offer!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOV4WARD 10/2/2008 10:54PM

    methinks that in this struggle to figure these things out, we find the skills and motivation we will need to also master the "keeping it off" process too :)

i think it helps to look forward, which you are doing with this blog ~ and to remind ourselves why often until it becomes part of our new/positive thinking & approach.

i also like to think of this as kind of like beautifying & maintaining our home ~ part of our self-care routine that helps us and makes things better, healthier, happier...

if we let our house fall into disrepair, not so good, and i do enjoy the planning of the changes to the flower beds, the next time i paint, or next project....

don't know if this helps... just a few thoughts...

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FISHPOND7 10/2/2008 4:07PM

    Here are my suggestions, as you have asked in two different blogs for ideas:
1. Buy the book "Younger Next Year" and read it.
2. Using what you've learned in that book, sit down and meditate on exactly WHY you want to keep going down in your weight. Write this out and post it somewhere so you can read daily your reasons for continuing your journey.
3. Write out some new weight goals in smaller increments, such as reaching _____ lbs. by Nov. 1, ____ lbs. by Dec. 1, etc. Then focus on these smaller goals.
4. Do something different. I would suggest your workouts. Do something nice for yourself (after all, after all your work, you deserve it) and hire a Super Slow trainer and do strength training with the Super Slow protocol. You may see some serious strength gains. Remember, you want to continue building muscle and losing fat.
5. Ask yourself, are you all you want to be. Good luck on the journey.

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ZELLAZM 10/1/2008 9:07AM

    Great post, Don! Do you have any ST goals? Measurement goals? I don't remember reading anything about those areas here on your blog. Just a suggestion. I know that the measurement challenge I did awhile back was a great motivator, although as a woman I mostly preferred to see lower numbers, while men might have a different motivation. Looking forward to hearing how your race goes - any plans to do a shorter race or two in advance as practice?

blessings today

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ANDALEX 9/30/2008 9:57PM

    wow, this is a post that i really needed to read right now. i've been "backsliding" a bit! thanks for sharing your lists with us!

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KENSINGTONC 9/30/2008 4:38PM

    I hear you, especially about the big-ticket items seeming more rewarding than the little things. You've got the right attitude, though, and it's motivating to read.

Sounds like your upcoming bike ride is a pretty motivating factor in your life, and I bet you can make it in one day!

Good luck this week! emoticon

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