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Notes on my 1st SparkPeople Conference in San Diego

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Thank you, thank you and THANK YOU to Chris "Spark Guy" Downie and all the wonderful & positive staff of SparkPeople for assembling such an inspiring day of speakers, activities and opportunities to connect with SparkPeople staff and fellow members! Everything seemed to resonate so well with my journey and the insights I have picked up along the way.

Before the conference even got under way we were all treated by KSIGMA1222 (Greg) to join him Friday evening at a jaw-droppingly gorgeous townhouse he had rented for the day. He sent an open invitation to those attending the convention to join him for a meet & greet. What a wonderful way to "warm up," meet each other and get ready for our convention...a triple WOO HOO going out to Greg! I'm hoping this can be wrapped into future conventions as a standard offering!

I especially enjoyed the panel of members sharing the "secrets" of their success: WOLFKITTY (Jocelyn) SPRING4FAL (Leah) STACEY-P (Stacey) ZIRCADIA (Dana) S318830 (Debbie). All of you on the panel did such a stupendous job! I found myself nodding in agreement to so many of the insights you all shared...not having as yet found the words to describe much of what each of you spoke.

Job VERY well done...woo hoo! It SO reinforced my commitment to this journey toward reclaiming and living my life to the fullest!

Chris Downie, SparkGuy, really revved and excited me with his talk about how the SPARK came to be. It was HIGHLY infectious to hear his vision of Spreading the Spark far and wide...paying it forward to everyone you know in every way possible! The message I seemed to hear in many ways is that we've all got to rally our local SparkPeople groups and get out and get involved...fundraisers, health and wellness events, etc. There should always be a SparkPeople contingent at all such events in your area and if they aren't, let's each of us do our part to *Make It Happen!*

We've all got to get the word out and show the world how positive, enlivening and contagious it can be to *catch the SPARK!* :-)

Great and wonderful things start at the grassroots level...and that's where each one of us can play such a vital role to the future of SparkPeople!

Chris shared details about his forthcoming book, The Spark, which will be released this coming January and will hopefully kick SparkPeople into the STRATOSPHERE gaining MUCH more exposure and spreading the spark far and wide! Chris shared that already SparkPeople.com gets more clicks per day than Oprah.com...quadruple WOO HOO to THAT! Can't wait till he's a guest on her show! :-)

It was great to see Coach Nicole working her cardio *magic* outside behind the convention center overlooking San Diego Bay on a perfectly warm, sunny day with such beautiful surroundings!

All the speakers were terrific, but I REALLY tuned in to Cheryl Richardson and her messages found in her latest book "The Art of Extreme Self Care"...here are a couple of quotes: "Nobody has the right to drain you." "Surround yourself with people who honor and boost you."


Chris (SparkGuy) introduced one of his earliest members of SparkPeople, Elle Newmark, who has through her personal work with SparkPeople been able to move forward in becoming a successful writer and is flourishing within the life she has created for herself. www.ellenewmark.com/

Chris said that the most likely next location for a SparkPeople convention would be Tampa, FL, although he did say that a lot of consideration might be given to Cincinnati, OH...the home of SparkPeople.

For those who might not have come across this link yet (I've been TRYING to spread it far and wide...lol!) here is the link to over 300 pics shared by various SparkPeople members who attended the convention:

One of the most beautiful, special and very HOPED for consequences of my literal journey to San Diego was the opportunity to re-connect with my younger sister who has lived in the area for 20+ years, yet despite this I have never visited before. No, there has never been a falling out, ill will or anything like that...it's just *life* and day-to-day business that can consume one's life. Finally, with the help of SparkPeople "nudging" me via the convention I decided to take the plunge and travel westward for the first time ever.

The picture at the top of this blog is of my sister and I. She was such a fine, fine host! She is a massage therapist. Together we took in so MUCH of the area, biking on Coronado Island, hiking and beach walking at Torrey Pines, walking through Balboa Park and the zoo. But the thing I loved the most was having some blocks of time with my sister alone in which we had each other's undivided attention. It is so difficult to stay connected when a continent lies between us! I loved finding out she had a MOUNTAIN in her back yard! I was nearly SPRINTING up those trails on the morning of my departure, wanting to take it all in one more time...woo hoo!

Here are a few links describing Fortuna Mountain and the trails around there:




I've already decided that I simply MUST return to visit...besides, I realized too late on my way home: I never got my freebie massage! :-) She was great in teaching me some additional stretches she thought I might find helpful...and I have!

Loved that California sun...even if it DID crispyfry me...peeling already! And this was despite slathering myself with sunscreen.

Well, it's late...must sign off...hope you all enjoy my thoughts and notes!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHAS1949 5/11/2009 9:20PM

    Thanks for sharing your convention thoughts and experiences. I hope the next one will be advertised really soon, so we can prepare...I WILL go next time!!

This time I live through you and did look at the 300+ pictures. It looked like so much fun and I could tell the staff was friendly and approachable..how cool is that!!

Anyway, thanks so much for sharing!


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KASHMIR 5/11/2009 3:27PM

    How cool you and your sister got in some alone time together! I have the same problem, my brother lives in Atlanta and our schedules are SO BUSY. I think I need to block out some time to go visit this year...no matter what.

As for San Deigo...I'm going to go back again next year for the UT 8k for Literacy, that is unless of course there is a Spark Convention to attend!

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ZIRCADIA 5/11/2009 11:14AM

    I REALLLLY want to visit SD again!!! It was such a wonderful trip for me, as well. :)

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PTPHELAN 5/11/2009 9:57AM

    Your recap of the time in San Diego is great. I'm so glad you reconnected with your sister. Family is so important and time goes way too quick. Now that you have experienced the beauty of San Diego, I'm sure you will go back. My family and I are going this summer for the third year in a row.

I'm pulling for the convention to be in Cincinnati next year since I live in Columbus!

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BKWERM 5/11/2009 8:43AM

    Thanks for sharing, Don. It sounds like you had a wonderful time!

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LADYWEZ 5/11/2009 5:55AM

    Sounds like a great time. So glad you got to go and have a blast.

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ZELLAZM 5/11/2009 5:19AM

    Great reporting, Don! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and personal experiences. It really sounds like your life got Sparked!

Blessings today,
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 5/11/2009 1:39AM

    Don, I'm so glad you got to go. What a wonderful experience.

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CAOMAGIC 5/10/2009 11:09PM

    I am so glad that I got to meet you and many others at the convention, an experience like this lets you see a whole other side of life. I share your joy!!
Twenty five years ago, I was sent to San Diego for a job assignment, but never got to do much there due to my job. I got to see more of the city in four days than I did in the two months that I lived there.

The speakers were awesome, everyone was friendly, and the experience was one that I will treasure for a lifetime!! I look forward to the next convention and hope that I can attend.

Take care and keep the Spark!!

Cindy O.


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Back to my GRAND...!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Felt good to clock in 1,000 calories on my treadmill tonight!

Did my strength training and mowed the lawn earlier.

Noticed something which I *think* is progress of sorts:

After I finished my treadmill session I checked my heartrate for the first time in a while and it was between 108 - 112...VERY surprising as in the past it has run between 125 - 135 and even higher after using the treadmill. Doesn't this mean my body is getting more efficient / accustomed to the effort / exertion of my treadmill workout?

Appreciate any thoughts / insights folks might have on this.

And tomorrow....enough procrastinating! Planning to put together my Convention experiences for folks!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZIRCADIA 5/10/2009 11:18AM

    YES IT DOES!!! :D I would recommend taking this as a sign to try some things to change it up a bit. Is the 1000 calories being calculated by the treadmill or do you use a Heart Rate Monitor? Just thinking because if you're exerting yourself less it's possible you're not burning as many calories if you're doing the same exercise but with a lower heart rate. Can't wait to hear your take on the convention! :D

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40FOREVERGONE 5/10/2009 8:26AM

    hey don, i see that you had a really good time at the convention. i love the photo of you and the wheel!! i am not an expert but, i would say yes it looks like your body is becoming more efficient, you are getting healthier!!! this is GREAT. keep up the good work. this is what it is all about isn't it? being healthier. i am hopeing that spark people will have a convention out here in the east coast sometimes in the near future. that way i might be able to attend. if they had one in cincinnati that would be great, since i live about 400 miles from there. so glad to see that you are improving all the time. emoticon

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JIBBIE49 5/10/2009 3:35AM

    Love the photo. Glad you went to the convention. I would have loved to have gone.
My Nathan's blood count was low again so he had to have 3 shots to bring it up, and then he has chemo again this coming week.

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Catching Up w/ MORE CA Fun!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Today went on a nature hike in Del Mar, caught up with the seals sunning themselves on the rocky shores of La Jolla and walked the beaches of Torrey Pines.

Getting ready to set sail and catch up with some pre-conference socializing with other SparkPeople members at the Gaslamp Townhouse tonight.

Tomorrow the conference starts in earnest with a morning walk @ 7 a.m.

Let the festivities commence! Woo hoo! :-)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZIRCADIA 5/7/2009 7:18PM

    It was so great to meet up with you!!! :D

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TRAINOF4 5/2/2009 8:35PM

    Take lots of pics for us! I want to see all the beautiful scenery!

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LADYWEZ 5/2/2009 5:19AM

    Enjoy Enjoy.


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JIBBIE49 5/2/2009 1:27AM

    Yes, do tell everyone that JIBBIE wishes she was there!!!! Would have loved to have heard Dr. Wayne Dyer speak tonight (Friday).

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GMACAMI 5/1/2009 9:22PM

    You look like you are having a great time "Lobster Boy". Welcome to the California sunshine... we have 75 spf sunscreen for you easterners...lol... but you have to still put it on multiple times a day...


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CHAS1949 5/1/2009 8:55PM

You will have to give everyone greetings from those of us who couldn't come. I'm so glad you are sharing your experiences!!

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Climbed A Mountain Today...TWICE! :-)

Friday, May 01, 2009

Twice...? Yep, forgot the camera the 1st time...lol!

And that's not the LEAST of what I've been cramming into my WONDERFUL stay in San Diego...!

My sister has been QUITE the gracious host and has shown me all around Balboa park. Earlier this morning we walked/jogged around her neighborhood of TierraSanta and then hiked up into Mission Hills which is practically in her BACK YARD! Climbed Mount Fortuna to take in the splendor of the view of the valley and other mountains. Later we biked for a couple hours all over Coronado Island and out to the end of the Silver Thread on their super paved path dedicated for bikes / pedestrians only. I had a bike black Electra with fat wide tires but a smooth gear system that MOVED that bike on the flat straightaways...woosh! LOVED going flat out on the bike while on the Silver Thread!

Later after dinner I hiked back up Mount Fortuna again this time armed w/ my camera...without a wide angle lens it just doesn't do justice to the panoramic view up there, but had to at least TRY! :-)

Well, now I'm fried lobster-style, sunscreen just didn't cut it, so slathered with aloe-after-burn gel. Hope it fades by morning. Usually does.

Tomorrow? More hiking and who knows? It's just been a blast!

See all my fellow SparkPeople members, coaches and all Fri. evening at the Gaslamp Townhouse and at the Convention on Saturday!

Posting a link to some of my San Diego pics thus far...not sure if it will work, so here goes...!



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAZZYJUDE 5/9/2009 4:07PM

    Great pictures Don! I am so glad you were able to get down to San Diego. One day, you will have to teach me how to put pictures on the net! Awesome job.

So, you liked the mountains we have, eh? Are you planning on getting a new bike too? lol
emoticon Jazzy!!

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AZRRT76 5/1/2009 4:28PM

    I love your pics! San Diego is so beautiful! It sounds like you are getting quite the workout there.

I hope that you have a great time at the convention!

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CHAS1949 5/1/2009 1:05PM

    I am so grateful that you are blogging about your San Diego adventures, especially the Spark Convention!! I have subscribed to your blog and will live the convention through you!! I wanted so badly to go!! NEXT convention, I will be there...I don't care where it is. I just hope they announce it early enough to plan far in advance.

Again, thanks so very much for sharing this with us!!!! YOU ROCK!!!
(Carol I)

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OUTDOORGIRL69 5/1/2009 9:57AM

    Great pictures, and glad you have all that sunshine there for you. Have fun tonight and say hi to all from all of us that couldn't make it.

God Bless

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BKWERM 5/1/2009 6:12AM

    Great pictures, Don! Thanks for sharing.

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ANDALEX 5/1/2009 3:25AM

    the link works...great pics! glad you're having such a good time!

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35th Class Reunion

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Recently I've been invited to my 35th class reunion.

I have never been to even ONE of my reunions! Finally, thx to my accomplishments and the support of SparkPeople, I think I might just go!

Well this inspired me to try a new way of Spreading the Spark...

Well, I got an email from the person organizing the reunion and it was CC'd to 20+ OTHER class members. So I hit "reply to ALL" and typed a message...knowing full well that my siggie would go out saying:

Join SPARKPEOPLE to Be Healthier Than EVER!"

Including a link to the Spark Start page... :-)

It would be so cool if some of my classmates joined!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDALEX 4/30/2009 12:36AM

    way to spread the spark :)

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ZELLAZM 4/28/2009 5:56PM

    Have a great trip! I know that the "new you" will knock 'em dead at the reunion!

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HEALTHY_CAROLYN 4/27/2009 6:18PM

    Don, I'm so happy to see all the new ways you're living your life, not holding yourself back.


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KUROSMOM 4/27/2009 9:30AM

    Just curious, why didn't you go to any of the reunions prior to this one?


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LADYWEZ 4/27/2009 6:16AM

    Good for you

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JIBBIE49 4/26/2009 11:52PM


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SLENDERELLA2010 4/26/2009 7:23PM

You look great. What a way to treat yourself, going to your reunion and
strutting your stuff!!


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