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How Free is Free?!?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

How many times have you listened to a commercial on TV about some product that is free. Just go to www.whatever.com or call this toll free number in the next 30 minutes, bla, bla, bla? I learned as a kid that nothing in life (at least nothing good) is free. So you do a quick push of the control button that changes the channel. "Yeah, right! What's in it for you?" Nobody is in business for free - business means making money.

Have you ever called one of those numbers to see how honest the commercial is? I have. I must like giving the operator a hard enough time that they want to hang up on me so bad, but don't dare because they are probably working in a sweat shop somewhere. I can't believe how many people are stupid enough to go along with, "Well, it is free! You just pay the shipping and handling of $??.??. If you are not happy with the product just return it and we will return your money."

"Let me just confirm I understand this correctly - what did you say your name is? Summer? Okay, Summer. You're telling me that you'll send me this product for free. I just pay the $??.?? shipping and handling and if I don't like the product, for any reason, I just return it and you'll send my $??.?? back. Is that right?" I nailed it perfectly, according to Summer - or was it Winter, Autumn or Spring? "What about the $??.?? that it costs me to return it to you?" After a long, complicated, laborious explanation of how I would return it to get my money back without having to pay another $??.?? to return it to them, because we all know the PO will not take it without their money up front, you decide it's not the risk free, free product it was touted to be. And still they will not accept no so you end up hanging up while they are talking, feeling rude for even a second, and then kicking yourself because you let yourself like the product in the first place.

Don't get me wrong! I do not think every commercial is designed to bilk the consumer, but I no longer trust any of those product hucksters selling their products for $19.99 for a $150.00 value product(s). They have something attached to it to make money for themselves in the long run. You may receive your product, but if you return it, you will never see your $??.?? back because they will disappear faster than Santa after Christmas Eve. If you every get your money back, you will have spent more in time and energy to far outweigh the amount you spent in the first place, but you fight it for the principal of the thing.

I have learned over time that even that is not worth it. So I just push the control button and change the channel. It isn't even fun to frustrate the order taker at the other end any more. These are highly trained people with hides tougher than Rhinos and hearts colder than the current ice queen on trial for killing her 2-year-old daughter in Florida.

So now I am a skeptical senior citizen that is what we all should be at my age, but unfortunately, there are plenty of us that have never learned how to skeptical of anything. I have watched and listened to neighbors bemoaning the latest ripoff and wondering how they are going to pay the rent or buy their meds. I can only shake my head.

However, I do know of one product that is free. And it is all it's touted to be PLUS! It has all these neat things that help you get the results you are looking for, plus it has the best thing of all, a system of help-related HELP to get you past any problems you encounter using the product. There is no cost whatsoever. There is no shipping and handling fee, no downloading fee, no monthly fees, no annual fees, no hidden agendas, just honest-great-working product that you really love! Well, okay, there is one drawback, but I think that comes from not enough self-control. The product is addictive - humongously so!

Want to know what it is?

You're already using it! It's SparkPeople. This site rocks and I absolutely love it. Since you are already here, you don't need to hear the states on any of it, but I can say this:

Thank you SparkPeople for all you are doing for us and thank you SparkFriends for all your support and caring-encouraging words. I know for myself, if it wasn't for my SparkFriends, I would have given up and grown larger instead of getting closer to my dream and there is something right there. How many people, past 50, still have a dream, or create a dream and go after it. On SparkPeople, there are a bunch of us, but it is a common thought that once you are in your 50s you have either completed your dreams or given up on them. For me - that was true, until I found SP. I built a dream and have been chasing the final destination for nearly 4 years now, but it doesn't matter how long it takes me to get to my destination - in fact, I have resigned myself to the knowledge that if I reached my destination tomorrow, I'd keep searching for my destination - Maintenance is next, but I have been practicing along the way and I am pretty sure I can maintain. One thing is for certain - I'm not going back! I have already ensured my brain and body are aware of that - there is no turning back!

So, I'll keep cheering on my SparkFriends and begging them, which has never been necessary, to keep cheering me on.

I met two SparkFriends yesterday. Both are my absolute heroes and they'll kick up dust about that comment, but sorry, friends, it is true. Both have reached their goals and both are out there being the best friends any person, regardless of need, could ever hope to have. They listen, they are compassionate in their answers, and they both have a passion for SparkPeople and doesn't that say it all for all the people that have reached their goals with SparkPeople? I can hardly wait to get to my goal. I want to be just like those ahead of me.

I look at myself and wonder if I am passionate enough - I think I have that attribute. emoticon I wonder if I am compassionate enough - good grief! I have that attribute, too. I have always had compassion. I'm one of those that brings home every stray cat or dog and tries to make it happy and well. How about encouragement - well, there's a spot I think I can work on. I feel like I can't get to enough people - like I spend too much time with one person, but I don't want to be like a doctor that rushes in, does the exam, pats your hand and rushes back out with barely a hello - never mind How are you?

So I'll work on quality of encouragement now and let you all know that, I for one, think emoticon, you are emoticon, and you have chosen the emoticonest site to be successful. Go for it!

I love you guys! emoticon


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SONGBIRD800 6/23/2011 7:43PM

    Awesome blog! You really have the gift of the written word. Very motivating! Count on me to cheer you on every step of the way!

emoticon too!

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1BEACHWALKER 6/20/2011 1:46AM

    You are right nothing is for free-there is always strings attached with those products you spoke of. I quit falling for any of them long ago-even if they were saying I won a free trip around the world!!

But, yes wonderful SP is free and hopefully will stay that way! No bait and switch here! The support here is fab and the friends even better! I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for SP!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/20/2011 1:47:04 AM

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XANADUREALM 6/19/2011 4:34PM

    emoticon emoticon

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HEALTHYBARB1 6/19/2011 8:51AM

    emoticon So glad that Sparkpeople has blessed you as it is blessing me. Thanks for sharing! Smiles Barb

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MENOLLYRJ 6/19/2011 8:40AM

  I love SP too. It is so much more than just tracking calories. I finally feel like I can reach my goal.

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GINNJEN2000 6/19/2011 8:39AM

    This is one of the best things that is free and may it always be so. You are a blessing to all those that you come in contact with and please dont ever forget it either.

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BAREFOOTN 6/19/2011 8:31AM

    You are so absolutely right!!! It is the best!!! It has given me so much these last few weeks....lifestyle change, better health, friends and it just keeps on giving!! emoticon

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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

A few months ago, my Doctor asked me to take B-12. After discussing it, I decided it was probably a pretty good idea. I took it once a month for 3 months. On the fourth month I had to ask for it and he asked me if I felt like I needed it. I had been feeling so energized since the first B-12 that I wanted to keep going. I got it, but now I haven't had B-12 in 3 months. My motabolism has launched itself, and me along with it, into a wonderful world of energy.

I can't sit for more than an hour (approx) and then I've got to go do something. This is great as before, I could have sat for 8 hours or longer, and did most of the time, working at a desk for someone else. I'm not sure an employer would like me jumping up and doing 10 minutes of aerobics, or going for a 30 minute walk, etc. I don't care! I'm not accountable to anyone except me and I like what's going on.

I am so happy he suggested it and I went along with it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSILENE 6/23/2011 1:28PM

    I have been taking B-12 since January. I love them. i have had so much energy. I also take B-12 sublingual. 5000 mg. It helps with weight loss. It thins the blood and prevents blood stickiness. Blood cells sticking together is what leads to a blood clot which can cause a stroke. I am so fortunate since I don't have health insurance to have a Walmart clinic that gives it monthly for $10.00. There are other benefits to B-12 also. emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 6/20/2011 1:49AM

    The shots are better and ususally they don't like to give them for some reason! I take Super B-complex and when I forget to take one - I do notice the difference!

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GINNJEN2000 6/16/2011 6:23AM

    Ouch, but sounds like it has given you some serious energy.

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MRSMLBJ 6/15/2011 11:30PM

    I want some of that!! LOL I have been taking a B Complex pill for a long time but it sure doesn't give me a lot of energy.

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DAPHNE_RUNS 6/15/2011 5:28PM

    Ahhh, when you have energy, anything seem possible.


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FLORIDAGHOST 6/15/2011 10:51AM

    That would be shot, but the nurse gave it and it didn't hurt. She told me the doctor always made a big stink of getting them, so I made a lot of loud "Ouches" so the doctor would hear it. Everyone laughed. emoticon

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LOSER05 6/15/2011 10:30AM

    shot or pill

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The Death of a Friend!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

I wish I could claim this to be the death of my old self - but it's still alive and comes back to haunt me more often than I care to admit. Today it teased me all day about McDonald's!

Tomorrow is the military funeral of a dear friend. He and his wife were my neighbors when we first moved to Florida and they quietly introduced us to what I lovingly call the mob around here - especially when it comes to the free food - show and they come!

Anyway, he was my first IT man and he did a lot of free work on my computer. He did it free because he claimed he was learning and I was glad because I couldn't afford to pay him. Anyway, he nearly rebuilt my first laptop because it got zapped by an electrical surge during a T-Storm - MIL didn't have that protection, I do.

He was a Salvation Army Officer and missionary and talk about a sweet, quiet, huge man. He was never pushy, let you bring up the subjects of discussion you wanted and didn't make you feel like - he'll just turn it around to talk about God! I wouldn't have minded because I enjoyed his little sermons - I figured he practiced on me and that was okay.

He got ill and when he recovered, his wife got ill and struggled for awhile, then she got well and he got ill again and just couldn't recover. She took grand care of him and he always had a smile on his face and was ready to go. He knew the chariot was coming soon.

Finally, he reached a point beyond her loving care and they took him away from her. First into the hospital and then to Hospice. The Hospice here is very nice, but let's face it, not many go back to family and friends from Hospice. He didn't. He jumped on the chariot Sunday morning.

Now I really miss him. A giant gentle man always quietly pointing the way to Heaven and he's gone there.

When I read the announcement of his death over my email, I sat here and cried. I couldn't even tell my DH, who came to see why I was crying and read it over my shoulder. He just wrapped his arms around me and hung on until I could breathe again.

When you get to be my age, you realize you are closer to the end than the start and you take it all a bit different than you do when you are younger. You usually know, at my age, what to do and say when these things happen, but it seems to get harder and harder as the friends disappear one by one.

You can keep making friends, and I've made a lot in the last couple of years, but then the are all from the same era I am and to watch them drop away just gets to a point where you feel like death is becoming a very large mountain ahead of you. It isn't but it seems like it.

So tomorrow I put on the black clothes, drive to the Sarasota National Cemetery and say goodbye to my good friend, give his wife a hug - cause she's a good friend, too, and explain that I drove to her house this morning to "pay my respects" but didn't want to intrude on the family and just left the card on the step.

Not looking forward to tomorrow. Hate obligations of this type. Head up, box of tissue and onward I go. Think about me. I know if enough of you think about me, I'll feel it and keep going.

I'll be late posting tomorrow so just hang on because when I come back, I'll be posting all day in the hope of getting past it faster. I love SparkPeople and all my SparkFriends. You guys are the best and I know you'll all help me past the gloom. Thanks.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    What a wonderful tribute to your dear friend and his wife. I think your description of jumping on the chariot is such a fantastic image and so moving.
I lost my Mum last September after a long hard struggle for 15 years from cancer and then a stroke. I really lost her 3 years ago with the stroke and have been grieving since. I think I am only now coming out of depression thanks to my family and to Spark People. I know my Mum guided me here and is watching over me constantly.
I hope you coped with the funeral - I'm sure you did with the support of your husband and Sparkfriends.
Take care friend. emoticon

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1BEACHWALKER 6/12/2011 12:14AM

    So sorry for your loss Pat.It is never easy to mourn the loss of loved ones or friends. Hope you feel a little better today and with each day that goes by, know that at least he isn't in any pain anymore!Take care....


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FROSTY99 6/11/2011 9:13PM

    It is tough to lose our friends and as you say, we are in that phase of life where we are all pretty much hanging out in God's Waiting Room. Knowing he is with the Lord will hopefully bring you and the family comfort.
God Bless

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EVWINGS 6/8/2011 9:47PM

    Tomorrow my thoughts and prayers will be with you. Isn't it wonderful that you were able to have him in your live as long as you did? God be with you, his family and the rest of his friends.

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MRSMLBJ 6/8/2011 9:03PM

    It is hard saying goodbye to friends. Done a bit of that lately myself. Just knowing that we will see them again someday takes away a little of the pain. Remember the good times and the happy memories. Be thankful that your DH is there with you. God Bless you.

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    I can relate to what you are going through if only because this is what caused my mother to go on her downward spiral - when her friends started disappearing one at a time. For what it is worth, you are still making friends and this makes some difference I hope.

My mother was my dad's whole life - I give him a lot of credit for continuing on for 7 more years when I knew the agony he was suffering.

My prayers are with you in this your hour of need. May you feel safe and warm in His grace.

Loving you,

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IDLETYME 6/8/2011 9:54AM

    I know you are sad, but remember all of the good things about your friendship. Be thankful that you came together. My thoughts and prayers are with you and his family.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Abba Father, I pray that You woukd be with Floridaghost and all her friends today as they acknowledge the passing of one of your saints. Jehovah Shalom, the God of all Peace manifest Your presence with them this day. Allow them to celebrate the life of a friend and of a man devoted to You. May they grieve with the hope of seeing him again in the future and rest in the knowledge that he is with the One Who loves him most. Enfold them all in Your arms of love. Be with the family today and in the days to come as they remember the man You have called home. In Jesus' name, Amen!

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ESMOMMY13 6/8/2011 7:57AM

    Thinking about you. I struggle with funerals and wish I could avoid them all together but our family and friends need us. Praying for you and as well as all the other this man touched in his life and as they grieve for his loss but remember he is having a grand ol time with the man upstairs. :)

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DRB13_1 6/8/2011 7:36AM

    You write so eloquently. Your friend lived life well. Honor his service and contributions, and cherish all the memories.

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GINNJEN2000 6/8/2011 7:16AM

    Ah so sorry Floridaghost. This is never an easy thing

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CRAZYWOMAN10 6/8/2011 5:13AM

    I am so sorry for your loss..I am still crying after reading your blog. We cry because we'll miss them...the ones that have passed are in there glory..they are much happier and if you allow it, you will be able to feel them with you.
May God Bless you and his family.

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DJ4HEALTH 6/7/2011 11:26PM

    Sorry to hear about your friend passing, I know that he is still praying for you in heaven with Jesus. emoticon

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NVPAPERGIRL 6/7/2011 8:03PM

    So sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was a really wonderful man. Wish we could all have someone like him in our lives. All we can do is learn from his role model. Prayers are being sent your way. emoticon

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    emoticonSo sorry! emoticon

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JLPARKHURST 6/7/2011 7:09PM

    I am sorry to hear of the loss of your friend. My deepest prayers go out to you and his family. I would also like to pay my respects to him for what he did for all of us!

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LUCYFIRST1 6/7/2011 6:35PM

    I am so very sorry to hear about the loss of your dear friend. Your post is a beautiful tribute to him. Hubby's reaction to your tears was so very sweet. I'm glad to know you have such wonderful support and understanding at home.

You'll be in my prayers tonight for strength to get through tomorrow. Take care

Lots of hugs,
Mary Lou

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PRINCESS1959 6/7/2011 6:29PM

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss. You and his wife will be in my prayers emoticon

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MARTY728 6/7/2011 6:27PM

    Sorry for your loss and prayers sent for you friend. Celebrate your friend's life. Based on your blog, this fine man DEFINITELY made a difference in this world and helped many. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Half Way There!

Friday, June 03, 2011

I can't believe I am halfway to my goal. Actually about 8 pounds more than half way, but half way at any rate.

Right now I'm working on the last 13 to be under the 200 mark and reach another goal which is to beat diabetes (pre) and not have to take the pills. Plus by then, I should definitely know how to release the weight and keep on going to my 180 or 175 goal.

So many things in my life have changed. I rarely go to McDonalds because I have a strong enough mind to have termed it poison (it is for me) and I stay away from it and all the others of the same idea in food.

I wear smaller clothes than I did at 250 and if my scale was broken, I'd be using clothes as my guide and motivator because it is quite a strange feeling to realize that you can now wear smaller clothes and get rid of the "fat" ones. I recently was in a clothing store and I said to the clerk, what size do I go to after getting out of Plus? She looked at me like I had lost my mind, but I was having an anxiety attack and wondered how I was going to shop for clothes that were not in the Plus department. She took my hand and moved me down a couple of rows and pointed to the next size down. (Well, of course - but she was probably never 1 pound over weight in her life, how could she understand?) My problem was more than sizes, it was a mind set. I was thinking small or very narrowed. Like someone that thinks small company instead of big company. The point is, you limit yourself. In my case, I was limiting my loss, from Extra Economy Industrial Strength to normal. Will I ever wear petites, maybe if it counts as short legged, but not if it only means how big around you are. Do I care, no.

38 pounds down from the original weight that I started on Spark and I don't know how many more pounds I had lost before that because I rarely stood on a scale. But that doesn't matter, I'm 38 pounds less than I was at the start of my journey and that's what counts.

I had a friend ask me how I did it - lose weight. I told her about SparkPeople. She smiled and asked what kind of diet that was - she had never heard about it. I told her more about SparkPeople. She said she would check it out. I know she didn't because I know what she was hoping I would tell her. The magic formula for losing weight without having to work for it. There is no such thing.

Losing weight is something different for everyone. We must all find the formula that works for us. Mine is walking daily, doing three 10 minute breaks of quick aerobics every day, Strength training three times a week, plus eating healthy. Because of diabetes, I chose to stay within reaching distance of 30 carbs for the three main meals and 15 carbs for the four snacks I have everyday, which means I eat about every 2.5 hours a day. It keeps me from getting hungry and keeps the blood sugar levels nice and gently rolling.

When I look in the mirror, I see a thinner me and that makes me happy. Happy enough to keep walking down this road.

When I log onto SparkPeople I see friends there to encourage me and friends that I can encourage, too. Because we all need the encouragement. That is the most important thing about SparkPeople.

Thanks Spark Friends for all the help I've had and thanks for the future help. Thanks SparkPeople for being there everyday with a conduit for me and all my friends to get together in our cyber clubhouse and talk about the piles of junk we are going over, under, around, and through. We can help each other across the miles, mountains, oceans, and all the boundaries of this world and find something we can work on together that will benefit all mankind, or just ourselves.

Keep Sparkling My Friends. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1BEACHWALKER 6/12/2011 12:08AM

    Such a pretty picture of you! You are doing great! I was telling my chiropractor the other day (after he praised my weight loss) that it has been hard, but it is getting easier as time goes on. He said I bet it is really easy when you go and get smailler clothes! You betcha! I go through stores now, just sighing as I go through the misses section, where clothes are prettier and brighter colors- I am almost there! Keep up the good work! Never give up! We are all in this together!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LILACEOUS 6/11/2011 8:01PM

    Great job! I've had similar experiences with people when I share 'my secret'. They can't believe its just paying attention and moving all your parts. "But you've lost so much weight! What else are you doing?" Seriously, nobody wants to knuckle down and do the work, walk the walk and eat the eats... just making one good choice after another. It took me six months to lose 35 pounds and I consider that wonderful, but it certainly wasn't magic. I would never minimize the effort I've invested in this journey. When I'm asked about what the secret is, I tell them about SP - the wonderful supportive community and the plethora of tools and resources, motivational pieces and like-minded individuals. Most of them roll their eyes like they think I've gone around the bend. Oh well, maybe they aren't ready yet to hear what I'm offering... but maybe, just maybe, I'm planting a seed that will sprout when they are ready.

I can't wait to shop in the regular size department!!!

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BOLEBRON 6/4/2011 12:51PM

    emoticon Keep up the good work, you are almost there emoticon

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LINDYPAINTS 6/4/2011 6:51AM

    I loved this Blog, Pat!! Well done on so much hard work! Yes, it's a journey... that's OK... we are here together so it doesn't seem as hard!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CRAZYWOMAN10 6/4/2011 5:13AM

    what a great accomplishment! You truly are inspirational. I wish you continued success...I can't wait to read your next blog that says you accomplished the diabetes battle!
KEEP IT UP... emoticon emoticon

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GINNJEN2000 6/4/2011 5:10AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Rocking IT!

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WENDYWITKOSKI 6/4/2011 12:54AM

    YOU are doing the work! Way to go!

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MISSYFOX41 6/3/2011 11:23PM

    Half way to goal is a huge milestone! Congrats! emoticon

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MOM2ACAT 6/3/2011 4:49PM

    emoticon You are doing great!

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Newly Committed to Reaching My Goals!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

emoticon Yesterday I woke up and decided it was time to stop procrastinating and start working on releasing my unwanted, unhealthy weight. So at 6am, DH and I jumped into clothes and walking shoes and hit the street at 6:05am. We walked a mile in about 25 minutes, so for us, it was moving along without smelling the roses, although the lift station we passed wasn't smelling all that great! And they just fixed it, too.

Then it was into breakfast, cleanup, and work. I did some one arm wall pushups at 7:30am and some close arm wall pushups, too. Then after lunch it was relaxing with my aerobics video and intensly doing 10 minutes of workout.

Another 10 mins of aerobics at 3pm and now it's time to put dinner together.

Today was a mirror of yesterday, except a different exercise video and I discovered that I lost 2 pounds from yesterday just before lunch when I remembered to go check the weight. I should have done it before breakfast, but I forgot.

Anyway, I'm off on my goals for the month and feeling so good about myself.

Here's My Goals for June.
1. Lose 2 pounds a week for a total of 10 pounds down for June. I'll go for 12, if I can.
2. Do the exercises with more intensity.
3. Walk every morning at 6am - no excuses.
4. Meal plan each week using the Food Tracker.
5. Stick to the meal plan.
6. Keep tracking my exercise.
7. Pass my exam that I thought I was going to take last month, but now its this month.
8. Study hard to get to the next two exams and pass them.
9. Be done with the meds by mid July 2011. (Because I lost enough weight to stop the meds.)
10. Find a way to do something special for myself every day.

That's the June 2011 Goal List for me. I'm already on it and working hard to keep it going. Maybe that should be number 11. Keep it all going.

Keep Sparkling my Friends. emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FIGHT2SURVIVE 6/6/2011 11:57AM

    Sounds like you have a great plan and your page is beautiful too. I love the way you matched your background color to the tulips. Gorgeous!

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LILACEOUS 6/5/2011 8:11AM

    Stay with it! I know you can do it. There are studies that show physical exercise after studying/learning something increases the retention of information. Be well.

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GINNJEN2000 6/3/2011 8:01AM

    emoticon on getting moving so early
and what great goals to set too

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    Loved the goals, one day at a time and you will get there. emoticon

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    Great goals! emoticon

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MARTY728 6/2/2011 6:13PM


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