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Surprise: Mini-Milestone Nailed Tonight!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Hey, nailed a mini-milestone today:

The route from my daytime work to my private practice office is 1 1/2 miles each way. Normally I use the Nordic Poles and walk with some jogging tossed in.

Too slippery for the poles to "dig in" today so for the first time I jogged the whole way THERE and BACK!

Now I know to you Road Runners (*beep beep*) around here this may be a walk in the park, but it felt mighty fine to this, as yet, non-runner! :-)


ps...and as a bonus there was shovelable snow in my driveway tonight and my neighbor was the good samaritan I've asked him to be and DIDN'T snowblow it out for me...lol!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMSMILEY88 1/15/2011 10:35PM

    That's great! I can't imagine running in those conditions. emoticon

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OUTDOORGIRL69 1/10/2011 10:13PM

    Good job Don

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FRACTALMYTH 1/8/2011 3:01PM

    Yay for jogging! My hubby has a similar problem - the neighbours kept mowing our road side verge (800m road frontage) with their ride-ons because they feel sorry for him using a push mower. He's had to ask them each, individually, to stop it! Great work!

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    That is awesome! I applaud you my handsome friend!

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L*I*T*A* 1/8/2011 12:19PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANDYINBC 1/8/2011 12:15PM

    Way to go! Super milestone. Not mini in my books!

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BKWERM 1/8/2011 9:50AM

    Congratulations, Don and Happy New Year!

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CARRIE1948 1/8/2011 8:51AM

    Well done! I've been using my cane when I go out so I don't fall.

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MERIADATH 1/8/2011 8:49AM

    I do understand. I live on a hill, I mean a BIG hill. From the bottom to my house is a 895 ft elevation difference. This summer...(drum roll please)...I was able to ride my bike from top to bottom without embarrassing myself in front of the neighborhood kids.

So congratulations!

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WATERMELLEN 1/8/2011 8:45AM

    Nice work!!

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FRECKS96 1/8/2011 8:02AM

    Woot!! Congrats, that's awesome!

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SCOTTK3000 1/8/2011 7:49AM

    all right!!!

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GR8CATSBY 1/8/2011 7:48AM

    Good job on the jogging!!!! (But watch out for black ice!)

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FERRETLOVER1 1/8/2011 7:30AM

    emoticon It's no surprise to me, Don. You can do whatever you set out to do!! emoticon

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DAISYBELL6 1/8/2011 7:15AM

    Each new activity we conquer is a blessing!

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JLITT62 1/8/2011 5:20AM

    LOL at you being happy your neighbor DIDN't snowblow your driveway. I like exercise, but I hate shoveling, and even with DH handling the snowblower & me shoveling, it still takes an hour -- shudder to think how long it would take with just a shovel. Oh wait, I did it all myself by shovel when we got 17" last March . . .

GREAT job! Slow & easy is the way to build up your miles without injuring yourself. Not that I run very far yet myself.

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COLOURFULME 1/8/2011 4:04AM

    WOOHOO! That is great! Through the snow and being slippery for the poles must be a difficult run. WOOHOO!

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STARDUSTD 1/8/2011 2:43AM

  And you say you're not a runner! Running a mile and a half (twice!) in snow sounds like a runner to me. Congratulations!

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BARBARA_BOO 1/8/2011 2:34AM

    It doesn't sound like YOU will be having any difficulty staying fit this winter. Once you get the driveway done, I think you should make one of those creative snowmen that turns the heads of passers-by, to let them know a person lives there who likes to play in the snow.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Oops! Yes, Virginia, There IS Some Magic!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Pardon the post-holidays reference to Miracle on 34th Street...but I had some afterthoughts to my last blog and realized that there really IS magic! Miracles really DO happen!

Here's the catch: It is all within us! I will still maintain that there IS no magic "out there." It lies within our hearts and minds. This is not some fanciful rambling. We all hold within us the potential to listen to our inner selves, to enable ourselves to SING through our lives and accomplish TRULY AMAZING feats!

For example, consider some of the accomplishments people have made under the most ADVERSE conditions such as the POW who is finally released after years of existing in an environment deprived of even basic stimulation yet has thoroughly mastered the piano via years of practice on an imaginary piano drawn on the dirt floor or imagined in thin air. Or under less adverse conditions such as the musical composer who "hears" their final masterpiece before ever putting pen to paper; the artist who "sees" their artistic masterwork before ever picking up the paintbrush; the writer who envisions their novel or poem before putting a single word down on paper or the inventer who has conceptualized their final product before any tinkering begins.

They are not unique, they are tapping into their own magic, their own potential for creating miracles...something we ALL can do!

It is SO IMPORTANT to inspire yourself by dreaming of accomplishing things that will make your heart SING!

SEE IT! FEEL IT! There is TREMENDOUS POWER within us to TRANSFORM our lives! And we can't do this by beating ourselves up, wagging the finger at ourselves...forget about guilt, regrets, shame...just set all of that aside at least for a moment, take a deep breath and give yourself permission to DREAM and to flesh out every detail of your dream within your mind's eye.

It is this VISION that can light and sustain that fire 'neath us to tempt, nudge and lead us into *being* the change we want to see for ourselves!

As I've lost the weight I've been THRILLED to take on challenges I had never previously DREAMED were possible in my past:

Running (well, maybe let's call it 'jogging'...running is NEXT!)
Cycling (best outing was 175 miles in 2 days...woo hoo!)
Cross Country Skiing

Every one of these have been such a THRILL! I have other ideas for the future: to run a 5k, spinning, dance class (although I have two left feet my heart just SINGS along with music...hoping to celebrate that through DANCE as well!). Many of you already know my grand plan for this year: to cycling a multi-day, possibly multi-state trip...! Courtesy of my local SparkTeam I'm also considering being the third leg of a Triathlon team in which I'll cycle 12 miles up and down some of the most challenging hills upstate New York can serve up to a cyclist!

How would YOU love to celebrate the new and healthy you?!?!

Dream it! Feel it! Start building those baby steps that will slowly, surely MAKE IT HAPPEN!

This is what THE SPARK is all about! And that, I believe, is an even better word for all of this magic and miracles! Find your SPARK and fan it into a BONFIRE!

Finally, although no one can "make" that magic within happen for you, there are people who can be SO INVALUABLE in supporting your efforts, acting as BELLOWS for your SPARK! I cannot thank my fellow members of SparkPeople enough for all the tremendous support, words of encouragement throughout my time here as part of this wonderful community! For a myriad of reasons it has been a very difficult winter for me thus far. I had taken some serious backsteps in thoughts, feelings and actions. I'm turning the corner on this, locking myself down on what I know will lead me back to MY SPARK!

Spend more time with people who are BELLOWS, less time with people who are buckets of water!

Another hearty thanks & shout out going to the new members joining our SparkFamily as your enthusiasm, hope and dedication has also been an invaluable SPARK which has helped me to re-capture my own!

Yours in SPARK!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Yes, I do believe! Thank you for this blog! Hugs

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JLITT62 1/7/2011 8:00PM

    Spark buddies are the best. I do wish there was a more active local group here. Many have tried (myself included) just doesn't seem to ignite.

I am working on those dreams . . . right now trying to simply figure out what they really are. Thank you for the reminder!

Don't think I'll be making JASR, but DH is interested in the Dempsey Challenge since our friends are doing it -- it includes cycling events, ya know (it's in Maine, but a lot closer to me than Pittsburgh is!).

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L*I*T*A* 1/7/2011 11:43AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GETUP-N-GOGIRL 1/7/2011 10:45AM

    It is all within us! I will still maintain that there IS no magic "out there." It lies within our hearts and minds.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

True! True! True! True!

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ETAGGEL 1/7/2011 10:37AM

    Really good blog! I realized this a couple of years back when I joined Spark! Yes I had the desire to change, there was enough magic left in me to dream it. But I could not have done it without my friends on SparkPeople! They were there to encourage and support me all the way! And though I reached my weight loss goal a while back, through Spark I am still learning about me! SparkPeople is so much more than a weight loss program!
Thanks for posting!

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MRDPOLING 1/7/2011 10:28AM

    Well put!

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VALERIEMAHA 1/7/2011 10:02AM


You're right about the magic, Don and I had an AHA! experience last night concerning your first blog as well...and you've kinda' sorta' spoken to it in this one...another HUGE example of MAGIC is the support and encouragement and downright love that I have felt showered upon me from friends in the SparkCommunity. The support here via people and systems are pure magic...yes they are!!!

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DAYHIKER 1/7/2011 9:13AM

    What a great post and what a great encourager YOU are!! emoticon


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DAISYBELL6 1/7/2011 9:11AM

    Thank you for a great blog, Mr. Bellows!

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No Magic!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

(Most of you who are familiar with me have heard me wax on about these things before, but I thought I'd share for the benefit of the many newbies who've come on board and also for my OWN benefit as I mention at the end.)

There is no magic out there.

Everytime someone comes along and claims a certain product or a certain new diet is the be-all, end-all my first response is to be HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS and SKEPTICAL:

Um...if this works so well, don't you suppose the media would be blasting away from every radio station, magazine, tv show, etc about the WONDERS of this product? Wouldn't EVERYONE be doing this and MOST OF ALL:

Wouldn't obesity disappear off the face of the PLANET?!? There is NOBODY who would *volunteer* to be obese! Stigma against obesity is so great that people would rather be mentally ill or a criminal than to be obese!

There also is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to building a healthy lifestyle. We all have to find a path that works for ourself.

There are some general guidelines that work, in my opinion, for all. My go-to food guru is Michael Pollan and his Food Rules. EVERYTHING he's written is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, but Food Rules is the most consise, to the point, plain English, common sense approach to eating ANYWHERE!

Here is a great article which describes the approach, which is basically:

Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.

Can you get any simpler? :-)

Some other corrolaries? Avoid highly processed foods. Avoid foods that come in a box. Avoid foods that have more than 5 ingredients or ingredients with names you cannot pronounce. Avoid foods that have been advertised. Avoid foods that your grandmother would not recognize as foods.

In other words get back to basics. Prepare your own food. Avoid commercially prepared ANYTHING.

Article link:


The other important aspect of food? Quantity! We can be making the HIGHEST QUALITY food choices...but if we eat too much? You won't lose weight and might yet gain as well! How do we monitor quanitity?

Use the SparkPeople Food Tracker!


I was slow to come around to the power of this tool (or other forms of logging / tracking my food), and am guilty of having fallen off the wagon this past holiday season and am paying the consequences now! Today, for the first time, I was OBSESSING with the food tracker in preparing for a meal I was having out with others at Red Lobster tonight. I cut way back on my food earlier in the day. Looked up Red Lobster recipes shared in the food tracker to get an idea how much "damage" they would contain. I knew enough to avoid those cheesey biscuits...highly processed carbie foods wake up my inner voracious carbie tiger that can NEVER be satisfied! I also knew I would not choose any deep fried or oopy-goopy cheesey main course. I settled on Seafood Stuffed Flounder, broccoli, tossed salad with balsamic vinaigrette and water with a lemon wedge. Later tonight I had a bowl of my 15 bean soup. All for a total of 737 calories! It was the first time I tracked a meal before I ate it! Makes it REAL TOUGH to backpedal and change one's mind once you've logged it into the tracker! AND it was delicious and I felt nicely "full" and satisfied afterward.

Another point, for those of us "food addicts:"

Learn your trigger foods. You know, the foods that are "radioactive" such that having one throws all restraint out the window and opens that bottomless pit inside that can NEVER be satisfied?

Be very mindful of these foods, respect their danger and take appropriate preventative steps. Initially I highly recommend removing them from your life. Why sabotage yourself? Over time we can attempt to build psychological muscle which can allow us to gradually reintroduce our trigger foods in a very careful, controlled manner. However I will say that is a risky proposition and I will also admit that I have not been successful in doing this. I have known others who have succeeded in their pursuits and my hat's off to them for being able to do this. I am not there yet and don't know if I can EVER allow my trigger foods into my life in a moderate way.

But who knows?

Sorry to go on and on...but I'm finding it helpful to ME TOO by reviewing for myself "what works" as a form of re-dedication to myself and living a SPARKED LIFE!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OUTDOORGIRL69 1/10/2011 10:34PM

    Don... That was a great Blog.

I am just getting time to look at all my SP friends Blogs and leaving comments. I have been very slow at responding lately. I have just had a lot on my mind lately that I have put into my Blogs.

Keep up the good work. You are an inspiration to me.

God Bless

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WATERMELLEN 1/8/2011 8:48AM

    Love this: "highly processed carbie foods wake up my inner voracious carbie tiger that can NEVER be satisfied". So true for me!!

And love your reference to 15 bean soup: I'm the soup meister, always have a big pot of soup in the fridge, different every week, and my go-to for supper every day.

Want to add you as a friend so your blogs come up -- and I can keep in touch.

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GETUP-N-GOGIRL 1/7/2011 10:43AM

    Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.

Can you get any simpler? :-)
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Oh yeah! Gotta absolutely LOVE this reminder!
Thanks Don!

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VALERIEMAHA 1/7/2011 9:15AM

    Like I said above -- EUREKA!

Comment edited on: 1/7/2011 10:04:19 AM

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LADYGWEN25 1/7/2011 9:09AM

    i agree. thanks for the reminder! Even some of us who've been sparking away need the memory job every once in awhile... Keep up the great work Don!

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VALERIEMAHA 1/7/2011 8:58AM

    Blessed be!

Comment edited on: 1/7/2011 10:03:33 AM

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FRECKS96 1/7/2011 8:47AM

    Thanks for the reminders Don! It really can be a simple formula.

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SCOTTK3000 1/7/2011 8:24AM

    This is great! Thanks. mmmmm...flounder!

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JLITT62 1/7/2011 8:01AM

    Great blog & so true! It has taken me about 20 years to get to the point where I can usually have trigger foods around. Once in a blue moon I might get into trouble with them, but it's rare enough for me that it's worth having them -- cause sometimes you really just need a treat, ya know?

I haven't read Michael Pollan, but already live by most of that. But it can definitely be hard -- the allure of protein bars, for instance. PURE bars, for instance, are great -- very few ingredients. But are they the ones I actually eat? Too often the answer is no.

Of course I could make my own. I make most of my own food, I really aspire to making all of my own food . . . but then there's real life, and even without a job, it can be hard to make ALL your own food.

Great reminders!

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DAISYBELL6 1/7/2011 7:38AM

    Good solid information! Thank you for sharing.

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MRDPOLING 1/7/2011 7:03AM

    Wish more in the world could read these words of wisdom!

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    Great reminders, Don! It's probably a good idea, more than we know, to review the basics.

Me too,

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BARBARA_BOO 1/7/2011 1:53AM

    I fought the Food Tracker from time to time, too.

Over the holidays I didn't use it and thought "I'm doing OK. I'm not eating huge portions. I may gain a lb or 2 or maintain. That's fine." El wrongo! I had to re-lose more than I thought I would. It was nasty!

Writing down what I eat and planning ahead are two of the most valuable tools I have.

I love this thought "...Over time we can attempt to build psychological muscle...." Right on!

~Barbara emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 1/7/2011 12:35AM

    Amen! and again I say AMEN!

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COLOURFULME 1/7/2011 12:30AM

    It is a pain in the you know what that tracker. But it works. If I dont track its like I don't know what I have to. And I prefer to do it in advance because it only takes so much time. Sometimes I feel like a spoiled child you know the whining ones. I don't want to do the tracking so I don't but I live up to consequences later.
Happy New Year to you!

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L*I*T*A* 1/6/2011 11:15PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Sending Holiday Wishes to ALL!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Heartfelt appreciation and gratitude going out to ALL of our SparkFamily and sincerest wishes for Peace On Earth as sung so well on one of my very favorite songs of the season! I just LOVE this father / daughter dual effort!

Someone presented this music SO well here at YouTube:


Updated: A tad behind schedule for my blog, but perfect timing for Christmas: this appeared in my inbox this morning. A wonderful message from the Dali Lama: A Human Approach to World Peace:



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 1/3/2011 9:39AM

    I hope you had a merry Christmas, Don...and are getting a good start on the New Year. Had to come looking for you today - my notifications are off and I hadn't seen a post for you in awhile!


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 12/28/2010 4:21PM

    happy happy to you too, Don!

Love the new profile pic, btw. You look Badass.

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LADYGWEN25 12/26/2010 1:55PM

    Merry CHristmas Don and here's hoping for a joyous holiday for you and a very prosperous NEw Year!

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CARRIE1948 12/25/2010 8:26AM

    Merry happy

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ANITAHASGOALS 12/25/2010 6:57AM

  Merry Christmas right back at you. I luv all the graphics and the background on your page. I hope that you have a blessed and wonderful fun filled and relaxing day.

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COLOURFULME 12/25/2010 5:25AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
...*./ | \ .*
...* ' ಧಿ წ' *.
, წ ♥ۣۜঔ ,
. '* ۵ ಧಿ ঔ♥ۣۜঔ
... '' *,ಧಿ ঔ წ' ღ 'ঔ *' '
.. ' ' ' ۵წ * ಧಿ ♥ ಧಿ* ۵ ' ' '
. '' *ঔ , ♥ۣۜঔ ,წ ঔ* ''
* ' ঔწ ۵ ঔ♥ۣۜঔ
; ۵ ' * '
..' ' ' ಧಿ .♥ۣۜಧಿ
; ಧಿ. ঔ წ ' ' '
..' ' *ಧಿ წ ღ *♥* ღ ಧಿ* ' '

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Merry♪♫**.♪ Christmas
♥ .**♫♪
Merry ♪♫**.♫♪C
♥ ♥
Merry ♪♫**♫♪Ch
♪♫**.♥ .**♫♪
.And A Happy New Year!
29; .**♫♪...

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/25/2010 5:31:40 AM

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L*I*T*A* 12/24/2010 8:33PM

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FRECKS96 12/24/2010 6:25PM

    Merry Christmas Don! How blessed the Binghamton group is to have you.

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MOV4WARD 12/24/2010 5:31PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonMerry Christmas Don & best wishes for Happy, Healthy New Year full of progress for you & yours! jules :)

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TERRYMEMPHIS 12/24/2010 2:58PM

    Don, Merry X-mas. Your a great guy. Terry

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VALERIEMAHA 12/24/2010 2:58PM

    Incredible graphics accompanying that amazing song with such an important message, and so beautifully rendered by the father and daughter.

I really knew nothing of Vince Gill. (He has sold more than 22 million albums. He has been honored by the Country Music Association with 18 CMA Awards, including two Entertainer of the Year awards and five Male Vocalist Awards. Gill has also earned 20 Grammy Awards, more than any other male Country music artist. In 2007, Gill was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.) Wonder where I've been??? Jenny sounds young there, eh. She's 28 now and married.

It's such a pleasure to have your presence in my life. Your friendship is the best gift I could ask for, Don!

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De-Stress From the Holidays with a Few Chuckles...!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

From one of my favorite techie e-mails: Windows Secrets ( windowssecrets.com )

"We're not sure what to make of this, but the Wacky column is a Windows Secrets subscriber favorite measured by the number of hits it receives proving that our readers have a fine sense of humor.

So to end 2010 with a smile, we've put together a special Wacky the five most popular of the year. We'll start, however, with one of our all-time favorite videos. And at the end, we've tossed in two more of our particular favorites. Enjoy!"


Some GOOD ones here folks...!

Everyone have a WONDERFUL holiday season and whatever you do...

Keep the SPARK!

Bigtime appreciation going out to all of my SparkFamily for all your support, enthusiasm, kindness, understanding and caring kicks-in-the-butt!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

L*I*T*A* 12/23/2010 1:10PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LMB-ESQ 12/23/2010 11:16AM

    Loved the dog playing in the snow! He looks like ours in a different color. They are so funny! We could learn a lot from a dog about how to enjoy life. Thanks for sharing!

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MISS_VIV 12/23/2010 9:21AM

    As always - coming thru with the right stuff at the right time. Have a joyous season and thanks for all that you have done for me. You keep me SPARKIN' emoticon

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LADYGWEN25 12/23/2010 8:11AM

    thanks Don! and thank you for always being so supportive and helpful in return. It's a blessing to share the Spark with you. HAve a wonderful holiday season!

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LMATTHEWS76 12/23/2010 7:27AM


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KIN59VARA 12/23/2010 7:14AM

    Thanks for sharing

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JESPAH 12/23/2010 7:13AM

    Okay, the guy with the copier -- I am thinkin', there is a totally new purpose to Sparkin' now.

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VALERIEMAHA 12/23/2010 7:08AM

    Wish I could watch them (having problems with my connection card)!

And to paraphrase a good friend of mine, "Bigtime appreciation going out to you Don for all your support, enthusiasm, kindness, understanding and caring kicks-in-the-butt!" YEAH!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOSTLIME 12/23/2010 7:05AM

    Thank you for the morning laugh!

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CLWALDRO 12/23/2010 6:57AM

    very funny thanks for making my day a little brighter with laughter

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