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Tuesday, 12/28--I'm getting better!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hi everybody,

I'm getting better. Really!! I am getting better in so many ways! emoticon

How am I getting better Let me count the ways:

1. emoticonI saw the doctor yesterday and had my shoulder checked out--I also started physical therapy. Thee are three incision areas--2 are tiny where the scope went in. There is a bigger area right on my shoulder line that's about 2 inches long. The comment was, "we can't tell how you did this, but whatever it was was a doozy." It is healing and almost looks healed now. I had some physical therapy and she was surprised at how well it was moving for so early on. I am not allowed to do anything with the arm and must wear the sling for a long time--but I am getting better. That nauseating burning pain in the back of my shoulder which sent me to the doctor way back on August 2 is gone. emoticon I am not yet over the surgical disruption, but I am getting better!!

2. emoticon I have the same physical therapist who worked with me in the pool last March who discharged me--and I haven't seen her at all since late April. She kept looking at me and then finally asked me about the weight I had lost and told me how good I look. emoticonThere is a point when you lose a lot of weight that you don't get compliments very often, so it is really good to hear them once in a while. emoticon I look better and graduated from therapy for my back and legs--and have kept on exercising them anyway. I am getting better.

3. There was a big mix-up over the refill on my meds (because a nurse unrelated to any of my doctors got involved.) It took a long time on he phone today with me talking to four different people at two different doctor's offices to get this all fixed. The best part of all is that one of the nurses is usually very unpleasant with me and the rest of the females in this world, and today, I started off by recognizing her skill and how important she was--and she took care of things for me. emoticonI'm getting better at dealing with tricky people.

4. I assigned duties to all of the kids today and I patiently let them do what I asked of them...it got done and I protected the healing taking place in my shoulder. I didn't interfere or do the chores myself to do them better or faster or anything else. I am getting better. emoticon emoticon

5. I worked harder today at all of the things I know that helped me to lose weight and become healthy. I drank all of my water emoticon and I got in my 6 servings of fruits and vegetables. emoticon emoticon When I needed something to eat, I had grapes emoticon and not a cookie or two. I am convinced that eating healthy has helped with my shoulder healing to the point that it already is. It is particularly nice to know that I have some role in what my body is doing. I am getting better.

6. I went to the pool yesterday and tonight with permission from my health care people. emoticon I did fess up and let both the doctor and the physical therapist that I had already been there. I am doing about 2/3 of my work out at about 2/3 of the intensity as before and I am not doing anything that I am not allowed to do. emoticon emoticon Next week, I will be able to submerge my shoulder in the water--but I won't be able to do any movement on that right side for a while. It is amazing how happy my legs, my back and even my left shoulder have been since I've been going back. I never expected to have working out be such an important part of my life. emoticon I go in the evening these days, given my work schedule--and it has almost completely TV in my life. I never expected that either, and I never realized how easy it was to give it up. I admit that I still watch one soap each day, and I watch little else. I wonder how much time that I wasted in front of that thing. emoticonI am so much better!! emoticon

7. Finally, I realize that I am happier now than ever before. Again, it is because I have found that living in a more healthy way is good for me in so many ways. Exercising each day, good food choices, the way that I spend my time, my good friends (online and on land), and making good choices all work together to make me feel "right." I take time for my faith each day and I just feel better as a person. I am sure that losing 120+ pounds plays a big role in that, but my attitude is all about who I am, what I am and what I do. I am getting better and my focus is on what is best for me and those who I love more now than ever before. I think I understand some things better now than I did when I was lugging around an extra person on my body--I see the little things and understand how they work together and make me better.

I'm getting better. I'm healing, I'm happy and I'm raring to go. What more can I say?

Oh, I know--thank you everyone who has a hand in my improved lifestyle and:

Gentle hugs,
Sylvia emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACEBELL 12/30/2010 9:48AM

    You are definitely an inspiration to me. Thank you for your posts. You have such a great outlook. I wish you the very best New Year. "2011 will be Heaven" grace emoticon

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 12/29/2010 5:52PM

    I'm so happy for you! Excellent news all the way around. Congratulations on all your success! Love ya, Dawn emoticon

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STEPPYSUE 12/29/2010 1:10PM

    Great job and congratulations on all the ways that you are getting better!

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Sunday, 12/26 A photo year in review...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hello everyone,

I just wrote a nice long paragraph that disappeared for no apparent reason. I wish I understood computers a bit better than I do. (That is one of my professional goals for this school year!!) I want to share some highlights of 2010, but most of my photos are on our computer which is in the shop, on hold because the serial number is worn off on the bottom of the laptop and we cannot find one document that has the number written on it. I cannot believe that Apple doesn't have it since they worked on our MacBook once before. It has a factory sponsored three year warranty, so they have to know they can authorize repairs. They also have to know that it couldn't be an alternate machine because one from the same year would also have the same warranty, so there is no scam that would benefit from doing monkey business.... I hate all of the riles and issues in our lives because somebody did something dishonest some where...)

Anyway, let me share some photos here with you...

This is the senior choir at Mason's graduation in late May.

This is Mason receiving his "diploma." (You know, I'm not even sure if he went and picked the real thing up!!)

These are a few photos from the summer reading and activity program at our church.

Here's a beautiful summer sky!!

Three of the dogs--Lady always runs from the cameras and we miss getting her in the photos!

However, we caught her in this photo trying to get away from the camera while there was a nice Frankie and Lady photo-op.

Some of the kitties--Lumpy, Smoky, The Bandit, and Ty

The new school that I teach in (The Center for Math and Science) that officially opened on August 2.

My classroom complete with children.

A surprise gift in early October from one of my students to add to my apple collection!!

Late fall camping and some flooding of the Mississippi River--all awesome with beauty and fun!

Our youngest son's winter "junior" bowling league with Micah at the helm.

Holiday concerts that feature our two youngest children!

The children's pageant at our church--of course none of my photos with our two youngest dressed as angels up in the choir loft turned out. (A mother always wants photos of their children in white with halos, even though we know better, lol)

Here's Jerry, my daughter's bunny that she tried to name "Rasputin," but was overwhelming outvoted by everyone else.

I cannot find my photos of the church on Christmas Eve or my holiday photos--I obviously made a mistake downloading them. I hope I didn't make a mistake and lose them.

Anyway, I wanted to review the blessings and fun of the past year and share some "new" photos with you that I know hadn't made it to a blog. When I get my other machine back, I'll have more of these. I hope that you enjoy a little glimpse into my world as much as I enjoy sharing.

Gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMRANA 12/27/2010 4:36PM

  Thanks for sharing all the photos, Sylvia! I enjoyed looking at them all ~ though as usual, the kitty cats stole my heart.


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JRSWHIMSY 12/27/2010 2:29PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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ENUFF81020 12/27/2010 1:19PM

    Tee Hee, I'm on the other side of the camera--that is often what I have done...I never used to have my photo done at all, so I'm getting better!

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LOULOUBELLE2 12/27/2010 12:54PM

emoticonPlease do get yourself an external hard drive and use it to back up your info.....that's how I handle going back and forth between CO and AZ. Actually I do most of my work on it. The external is so much easier than carrying computers, even lap tops, back and forth. I also have one just for pictures. Just remember to keep backing up your data to if not daily, weekly. emoticon
Love the pictures.....I just wonder where you are in them.

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 12/27/2010 8:37AM

    I love all the photos. Thanks for sharing my friend. Love ya, Dawn emoticon emoticon

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KKKAREN 12/27/2010 7:27AM

    Nice photos but where were you in the pictures? I need to get myself a camera.

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STUBBSKID69 12/27/2010 2:45AM

    Your doggies are soooo cute! I also have four dogs and they have become my children as my daughter just graduated from high school. Computers are a wonderful tool but they can be frustrating! I would also recommend and external hard drive back things up. I also learned the hard way.

It isn't real, but here's another apple to add to your collection! emoticon

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ENUFF81020 12/27/2010 2:03AM

    What a reasonable and easy idea--duh. I need to save the many photos I have been taking recently and I need to get better at taking them. Both would give me a better picture into our lives. Our kids are all growing up so fast with the baby of our 8 now in junior high. Taking photos and saving them is so much less expensive than it was when our oldest kids were young!
Thanks for your suggestion. I am adding that to my "to do" list for during the holiday!!

Comment edited on: 12/27/2010 3:13:12 AM

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MRSMLBJ 12/27/2010 1:05AM

    A little hint for you about saving things when it come to computers. Get an external hard drive and save to that. And also save to CDs or flash drives. We have our stuff saved in at least 2 different places off the computer...just in case. Learned our lesson the hard way.

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Friday, 12/24 Christmas wishes

Friday, December 24, 2010

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
The Spirit of Christmas

I have a list of people I know
All written in a book, emoticon
And every year at Christmastime emoticon emoticon
I go and take a look.
And that is when I realize
That those names are a part
Not of the book theyíre written in
But of my very heart. emoticon
For each name stands for someone
Who has crossed my path sometime,
And in that meeting theyíve become
A treasured friend of mine.
And once youíve met some people
The years cannot erase emoticon
The memory of a pleasant word
Or a friendly face.
So when I send a Christmas card emoticon
That is addressed to you,
Itís because youíre on that list
Of folk Iím indebted to.
And your are one of many folk who
In times past Iíve met
And happen to be one of those
I donít want to forget.
And whether I have known you for
Many years or few,
In some way you have a part in
Shaping things I do. emoticon
This, the spirit of Christmas, that emoticon
Forever and ever endures,
May it leave its richest blessing
In the hearts of you and yours. emoticon emoticon

Gentle hugs and Christian love to each of my Spark Friends and acquaintances,
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLESSED2BEME 12/24/2010 1:46PM

    Merry Christmas and Blessings to you Sylvia!

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LOULOUBELLE2 12/24/2010 10:38AM

    Beautiful....... Your name is in MY BOOK.
Christmas Blessings to you and all your family. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 12/24/2010 9:15AM

    Bright blessings for the happiest of holidays to you & yours my precious friend. Love, Dawn emoticon

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Thursday, 12/23 Eating REALLY is more than consuming food!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Hi everybody,

This is a big realization--one that isn't quite new and one that has been studied by a lot of people who are authorities on physiology and psychology and other "ologies." Yet, I have picked up some understandings this past few days as I recuperate from my surgery. I think I am wired to think about things and pick them apart and to get my "aha" moments from my own applications. Anyway, if you combine my recuperation with the holiday season, there are a lot of ways to look at eating in my radar right now.
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First of all, let me lie my cards on the table to start with. I cannot weigh in right now. The guys put up one of the Christmas trees in the place where I always weigh in because I get an accurate and consistent number from our scale. I figured out how to do it, even with the tree, but now I cannot possible bend over and pick up the scale to place it in the right place. OK, for the next couple of weeks, I simply cannot weigh in. Secondly, I know that is not an excuse to misbehave or slide on my habits because I cannot let my weight grow out of hand and I cannot do the yo yo thing again--and I won't--but it has loosened the reins a bit. Maybe I needed that, only time can tell.
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Things that I have finally REALLY figured out...
*Eating should really be about getting the nutrients from food and beverages that our bodies really need for energy and for life. It should be that simple, that is the job of food.
*Eating is the act of putting food in our mouths and showing and swallowing--that stays the same. However it is everything around that act of chewing and swallowing that can make the difference in what eating actually is.

So, WHAT can be so powerful to actually alter the act of chewing and swallowing?

*The physical body of the person doing the chewing and swallowing plays a big role. If you are healthy, eating is often that straightforward thing I mentioned of consuming food--but if you are not healthy, the entire act becomes different. There are a variety of ways that we can be less than healthy, and unfortunately, I have had experience with many of them. The environment around that person is also significant in being able to alter the act of actual eating and what it really looks like and becomes.

I started out my life being a chubby child to an obese child, teen, young adult, adult--with yoyo dieting starting when I was about 11 years old. Unhealthy is someone who learns to change their weight in a short period of time by tightly monitoring what goes in their mouth. When I was around 18 years old, I dieted in a way that I passed out from lack of nourishment a few times. The one thing I remember happening to me besides losing some 60 pounds is that I ended up quite ill with rather large kidney stones fighting their way out of my body. I'm going to call this unhealthiness "Overweight stress." And, by the way, every time I have ever lost weight in this manner, I have gained it all back and it doesn't really work.

I have lived with depression as a personal part of my life and I have lived with or close to family members with bi-polar disorder, AD/HD, autism, and other "mental issues." As one deals with these stresses on how (s)he sees the world, eating is something that can be done with little thought and can run the range of healthy eating to over or under eating, to any kind of binge eating imaginable. I have dealt with emotional overload with needs of my loved ones and loss of life and friends and work. Weight can fluctuate up or down slightly, greatly, or not at all... I'm going to kind this kind of unhealthiness "Mental stress."

I have also lived with serious osteo-arthritis and fibromyalgia the past 15 years. I have had so many surgeries that it seems unbelievable in the quest to put my body into a functional order. I have also had RSD, a spine infection, heart disease, gall bladder disease, and the list goes on. As one seeks relief from pain and malaise, eating becomes another thing besides the act of consuming food. It becomes a distraction, a familiar friend--and this is a time when I now can say I understand the real definition of "comfort food." I am currently on my 6th day past shoulder surgery that included a rotator cuff repair, reattachment of a tendon, and the required arthritis clean-up of bone spurs and loose pieces of cartilage and bone. I didn't realize until the day of my surgery and beyond that even though this is now an outpatient surgery that it is one that doctors don't approve of as an outpatient procedure and that they consider as a "big ticket" procedure. I am doing okay--I'm following doctor's orders and things seem to be progressing appropriately, but it has and is painful. I haven't been "on my program" as faithfully as I have been on it for well over a year. I have shamelessly used food for comfort as I have waited for pain meds to numb me up or as I have sat in misery waiting to be asleep or as I have tried to wiggle my fingers on this hand in a splint to get past the swelling that is ongoing from my arm being immobilized. I'm going to call this kind of unhealthiness "Healing stress."

I am an elementary school teacher and work in an environment that is very "social" by nature. We are working hard to teach children about appropriate social activity and behaviors, customs, good health, literacy, math, content areas, physical activity, bullying, drug and alcohol abuse, etc... As a staff, we are under pressure from the entire world with the ramifications of "no child left behind" and teacher accountability as the children have more and more requirements piled on their plates. Parents who cannot buy pencils and crayons can buy expensive treats laden with fat and sugar. Staff members treat each other on a regular basis by leaving donuts, cakes, and other high fat items in the "staff room" regularly--we have to treat the staff on our birthdays, it's expected. On days when we are required to work long work days with conferences or parent activities or training days, we have "pot lucks" with the sheer amount of food for the number of persons involved being a bit unbelievable. Some of us do our best to participate in healthy team activities and meals, but it is not the norm. Walking away from the constant food supply is difficult but generally doable with some restraint. Dealing with the stress is tough, but can be done... However, we all break down at some point and fall into the trap. I am aware that there are other professions dealing with similar issues--people in medicine comes to mind easily, with thankful patients sending cookie trays and pizza parties for the staff and stress meeting laws and rules. Any place of employment with over 15 or 20 people probably falls into this situation. I will call this "Employment stress."

Finally, I want to include "Social stress" as a final stress. This comes around any of us when there is a holiday, a vacation, or an event like the Super Bowl or the Oscars that people get together for a celebration. As a society, we eat and enjoy food as part of the social experience, more than as a way of consuming nutrients and sustenance.

Now the unsettling part of these 4 stresses that I have described in my personal layman's terms is that most don't occur by themselves. In this past week since my surgery, I have experienced all of them but "Overweight stress." (Thank you Spark People for helping me to get away from that part of my life.) With my surgery, the impact of the holidays, the end of the semester at school, and some extra emotional baggage--there has been a lot on my mind. I haven't done my best in making food choices and really understood what the phrase "comfort food" means. Food can be a distraction from anything that is causing one any type of pain. I even am not sure that this is a totally bad thing. I have learned so many good things here at Spark People to help me develop a healthy attitude about eating and a healthy lifestyle. Everything from using the nutrition and fitness trackers, to seeking out varying types of information to using the wonderful online community here can help us to avoid

Adding some Christmas cookies to my daily diet shouldn't have hurt me at the scale much and I enjoyed sharing them with others. I also have been tracking my food daily and my somewhat decreased activity as well. (Being super busy at work has helped me greatly with my loss of time at the pool for healing. Yesterday, I got in over 15,000 steps as I struggled to analyze test scores and to make some fairly stressful decisions on my schedule.) The pleasure in eating a cookie at the right time was a welcome and important escape from some pain.

Knowing more about myself and how food works has been a real gift--thank you, Spark People.
Understanding that I am not "the only one," handling these issues and that there are ways to work within them has been a blessing--again, thank you Spark People.
Knowledge of ways to deal with the issues in my life and unhealthy ways of handling food as a result has been invaluable. Thank you SPark People for letting me know that I am "normal" in my responses to the issues and that if I use food as more than than something to consume will not be the end of the world or my healthy lifestyle. I understand that I can function as a person and sometimes eat because of another reason rather than securing healthy nutrients in my life, and I won't have failed as a person or as someone who is living a healthy lifestyle. I am still so much healthier than I was over two years ago when I joined Spark People. I am a human being living my life, which is sometimes stressful, sometimes painful, and sometimes plain old difficult. I am doing okay--and I am okay.
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If you have stuck with my rambling and my thinking this far, I have just really had some "aha" moments here. The big one is that I am accepting the person who I am. The next one is that I can admit, here in this place, that I have been doing some "comfort eating," and that I have not been hiding or sneaking to do it. My family knows that I have done some of this and that I am aware of it as well. I also am able to understand that I will not ruin my efforts and world by having done some of this. I know that it isn't as wonderful as it could have been, but it also isn't a tragedy either. My life will go on and I know how to eat and how I want to live. I haven't stepped so far off-track with eating a few treats that I am not living a healthy lifestyle that my body needs.

There is one other thing that I need to share that is related to all of this. I am right now living under doctor's orders-- a"post-op" patient. I was told that I couldn't get my shoulder we and that unfortunately that included showers and similar activity. 6 days ago was my last time in the pool, where I do my daily exercise. I am very faithful to my exercise program that began as physical therapy and rehab, and that I have moved into a daily workout with more sets, more resistance, and more activities that I have learned from Spark People and the staff at the fitness center. Anyway, with the pain and my job I have--and I really only missed a half day of work with this procedure, I have gotten in a good deal of walking to keep active, but it hasn't been the same. My arthritic body has been getting more and more uncomfortable. Today, I got my oldest daughter to help me to put on my most loose swim suit, and I went to the pool. I spent about an hour walking, doing kicks, squats, balance activities, and stretching without moving my arm or allowing it to be in any but the two positions I am allowed to have it in. It was amazing--it took about 15 minutes in the water before I felt the big ball of pain in the right side of my lower back to break up and dissipate. Exercise has become an important part of who I am. I know that I am not one of the people here who run marathons and who do all of these amazing things with their bodies, but I have found my place in the world of physical activity. I can walk UNASSISTED in the water and I cannot do that on land. I can move comfortably with the water supporting me as I walk, bend, stretch, use resistance equipment and swim some laps. I love it and I need it. I can't believe either of those things is part of my reality, but it is. I enjoyed my time int he pool so much today and it helped me and my attitude so much. It is also a part of who I am--and with help, I am going to go to the pool EARLY in the morning and do the same exercise. I still cannot bend or get my arm wet--or wash my hair, but I can give myself this gift of moving my body and I am going to do this special thing. I do live a healthy lifestyle and I crave what is best for me. This also gives me another reason to say thank you to Spark People.

Life is good. It got better for me because of Spark People.

I am a person who makes healthy choices when I eat and I practice portion control. I exercise daily. I go to my doctors regularly and I follow their instructions. I take my medications and vitamins as described. I am living a healthy lifestyle.

Life is good.
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emoticonmy Spark Friends and Spark People
Gentle emoticon and emoticonSylvia
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JHADZHIA 12/24/2010 2:39PM

    This seems to be the season for Spark friends unloading their innermost thoughts and trials. I am glad putting it all in print gave you proper perspective on where you are in your healthy lifestyle. Hopefully, anyone reading it can see themselves there and recognize the triggers too. I am so glad you found a way to get into the pool in spite of your arm. I won't have such luck with my surgery as my elbow must remain at my waist, making it impossible to get into the water without getting it wet., I can't lift it up to get it out of the way either.
Do enjoy your holiday with your family and let them take care of all the work, and just relax and enjoy yourself! And HEAL!!
May all the blessings of the season be yours
{{{ gentle hugs}}}

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NASFKAB 12/24/2010 5:20AM

  Way to go! You are an inspiration the way you continue to battle on

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HUEY15 12/24/2010 4:02AM

    Live Life

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Sunday, 12/19 Random thoughts about SP

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Hi all,

First of all--my update: The pain block wore off in the early morning hours yesterday. I have been managing pain with my meds and it has been tolerable. I have had my husband help me take frequent walks around the house and gotten my kid to do household things for us. I have resorted to some comfort eating, which makes me a bit sad--however it was a welcome pain diversion at the moment, so I can live with that. I have had medication induced scattered sleep off and on all day, so my world is off as well,but given the nature of this procedure, that is to be expected. My poor tiny, handicapped kitty has climbed on my shoulder twice and gotten major screaming out of me with her under 5 pounds of weight, so I think my family put her in a closed room of the house, poor baby. Anyway, I fell asleep early, between 9 and 10, and I just woke up before 2 in a lot of pain. I don't think I can set an alarm clock to take pain meds to ward off pain before the fact--and I know this will not be a long-term, random pain like before--this will only get better.
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I've been thinking a lot about sp today and have some things i want to say:

*I really like the daily insider and continue to learn from it regularly. i had never seen the calendar from today with my daily review on it. the important thing came last week on the day when they showed the "friend feed." i wondered how my friends were always so good and prompt in responding to my sp accomplishments, and now i know. i'll be adding that vheck of your accomplishments to my routines here over the next few days.

*There are so many ways that you can do the same thing around here. this makes me think that we can do the same activities in so many differing ways that we might not even see this site in the same way.

*I am still not sure i use the fitness tracker the right way. i used to list each of my activities on the tracker each day with the amount of time i do them. i recently discovered the cardio checklist on the same page, so I marked my favorites on the menu (like the food tracker!) and have been recording my individual activity. Each day, my feed records the correct amount of exercise that I have done, but that calendar i just found out about seems to be totaling the two things. am i doing too much there? if you can tell me, let me know.

*there is never enough time to do everything here that i want to do on this site. no matter what. i have had the computer on all day and have been catching up with everyone, but i have so much more i want to do. i didn't respond because this one-handed typing is so slow (Linda, I'm sure thinking about your upcoming replacement surgery...)yet, i want to read about everyone's activities!
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that's enough for now. i make even more spelling errors typing like this. i am having big trouble with t. r, and y--and anyone who has ever watched "wheel of fortune" knows two of hose letters are pretty common. have awonderful day--i am going to go huddle!

gentle hugs,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JRSWHIMSY 12/21/2010 11:03AM

    *gentle hugs* Take it easy and don't worry about us. Read what you can, type only what you have to, and know we're thinking of you :)

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DAWNWATERWOMAN 12/19/2010 8:48PM

    I'm sorry that you're still in pain. I hope that you heal quickly & find peace from your pain. Love ya, Dawn emoticon

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EMRANA 12/19/2010 1:38PM

  Huddle and snuggle, dear Sylvia. emoticon

I love the friend feed. I never paid attention to it either until one of my spark friends showed me. Now it's one of the first things I look at each day, and one of the last I check before I log off my computer. It definitely adds to the community of this site.

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STEPPYSUE 12/19/2010 7:51AM

    Huddle up baby, it's where we can often see that someone has either made progress or needs support, both worthy of our immediate attention. Keep sparkin!

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