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New Year's more item done on the Bucket List!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Hello Spark friends new and old....a Happy 2012 to you all!!

Well this has been a wild holiday season. Wild to the extent that even though I worked out like a madman, I'm up about 4 lbs from my low weight in 2011. Of course the good news is that I did have a low weight in 2011 and it was reached only 5-6 weeks ago, so all my dealings with those tons of cakes, cookies, brownies, and other sugary delights that fell into the gravitaional well of our home this year ended up having an effect (which just reinforces my belief that you can't work off a bad diet)

But I had a great 2011 and am looking forward to an even better 2012. Because even with the last minute weight gain, I can look in the mirror today (or pictures taken during this holiday season) and be pretty darned happy with what I see back. Sure there's more to do, but compared to where I was this time last year, IT'S ALL GOOD!!!

So what did we do this New Year's? We went to bed at 10:00PM that's what we did! But it helped me scratch off yet another item on the bucket list.....a Polar Bear dive into the ocean on New Year's Day!

Here's the story....

Our new neighbors are a very social bunch, more sociable than we have had in a long time. They're great....they just eat....a lot....and drink....a lot.

In my last blog (10 day ago, oh my!) I detailed the ridiculous number of sweets that got delivered house-to-house (SWMBO and I delivered ours on 23 Dec). Well right after Christmas, they started planning the New Year's Eve party....a traveling house-to-house event filled with food (of course) where you go to one neighbors for an appetizer, another for salad, another for an entree, another for another entree, 2 more for desserts, and end up at a final one for games and drinking by the chiminea on the deck until midnight.

Well SWMBO and I were not up to it, so I planned a quick weekend getaway to Pensacola Beach, about an hour down the road from our house.

It was well worth it! SWMBO, #2 son, and I have had a great relaxing weekend...even with our New Year's Day ocean swim.

Don't ask me why, it's just one of those things I've wanted to do for a long time. Now it's not as gutsy as doing it up in Maine, but it was great jumping into the water with #2 son early in the morning....we had a blast. I even laid out on the sand for a little while and enjoyed the feeble January sun on my face with the smell of the ocean wafting all around us

We spent the rest of the morning relaxing, reading our kindles on the balcony...and then had lunch

We found a cool little Tiki bar of a place and had some very nice seafood, then the waiter kept telling us how famous their Key Lime Pie was, how it was the "Official State Pie" (do all states have an official pie?), that theirs was the best in the state, and that one slice would be just right for the three of us.

My God he was right on all three counts!

Maybe not an auspicous way to start the New Year, but I'm not a believer in omens....besides, we all decided that our best option for dinner after all this madness was to go buy a box of Raisin Bran and to have cereal for dinner!

That's all for now Spark friends, have a great night....let's have an even better 2012, and here's to there being less (lbs) of us all in 2012!!!

Oh yeah, what's on your bucket list?!?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I am happy to say that a Polar Bear Dive is not on my bucket list, unless we're talking someplace tropical and more southernly even than FL. Brave man.

My son did one a few years ago with the Boy Scouts. They actually had to have people breaking a lane in the ice for the jumpers, who had to go one at a time since the lane in the lake was so narrow.

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JOYLINNKNITS 1/1/2012 11:36PM

    Sounds like fun! Although I know from attending 5 years of college at Pensacola...that i'd rather do a new years polar bear dive in your neck of the woods than in mine!! Lake Michigan isn't the best this time of year!! emoticon

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    Sounds like you had a blast! A triple decker pie?! Oh my!

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REBECCATKD 1/1/2012 9:29PM

    Cheers to you, Polar-y Bear! Sounds like a lovely way to welcome in 2012! Thanks for being such a great support in 2011 -- what will we accomplish this year? emoticon

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SAFARIBABE 1/1/2012 8:12PM

    I know you're burning for the answer to your question...NO not every state has a pie, but Florida sure does. NY does not. Best we have is a state muffin...Apple, in case you were wondering. LOL

Way to go on the "polar" bear dive. Next year come up to NYC and have a go at the one on Coney Island. LOL Happy New Year!!

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Help!! My neighbors are trying to fatten me up!!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My God it's been over 10 days since my last blog! Forgive me Sparkers, for I have sinned!!!

Well I was very busy last week; my boss was in town for 5 days. Great guy, but much like relatives visiting during the holidays, shorter is always better.

It went very well; he was happy, I was happy, he got a great deep-dive into our operations here, which was the real reason I had asked him to spend that much time out here.

Friday, I drove to Tallahassee for my one year post-op checkup of my re-surfaced hip joint. Ortho doc said it has healed marvelously well, and to keep doing whatever I've been doing, but to plan on not running anymore to be safe. I had already geared up for this all last year, and have now made the switch from the tribe of runners to the tribe of cyclists....minus all the multi-neon colored clothing.....I'll take my Spandex plain & earth toned, thank-you very much.

Then this week-end, SWMBO and I were introduced to a weird, yet somehow refreshing, tradition of this new neighborhood we moved into in May; every night since Friday, another neighbor has come by and "gifts" us a tray of sweets!! We've got pralines, banana cake, fudge, red velvet brownies, pecan squares, you name it. What kind of a fat-filled hell on Earth did we move in to!?!?

I know they're all trying to be nice and full of southern hospitality and charm, but my God, there's about 3,000 extra calories of sweets dropped off on our doorstep every night!! And this is the real home-made, Paula Dean deal, not discounted Wal-Mart reject sweets. I guess if it gets to be our turn to deliver some goodies, I'll hand out copies of The Spark to all the neighbors!

So I'm still geared up (against this new, sweet-toothed, southern-charm enemy) to drop some weight this holiday season. I'm planning to go hard on the cardio and weight-lifting these next 2 weeks. SWMBO and I decided to make a seafood extravaganza (salmon, shrimp, mussels, etc.) for Christmas instead of turkey or ham. As for the nightly sweets train, well, we'll cope and hope the insanity stops soon.

That's all for now Spark friends, have a great night!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FANGFACEKITTY 12/22/2011 12:56PM

    Red velvet brownies? I am willing to take those off your hands.

It sounds like a very welcoming tradition, and seafood sounds delicious for Christmas dinner. Last year we had alligator and crawfish; this year we're a little more normal with a beef roast and herbed potatoes...and the crawfish jambalaya.

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HAKAPES 12/22/2011 1:50AM

    I just love your title! Made me so much laugh! :-)

Can I offer an advice?

I would go at each house, ring, say hello, tell them that how much I enjoy this tradition, I love meeting them. However, I am on a healthy lifestyle, the difficulty with sweets that my daily allowance is small. So, could they support me on my healthy lifestyle to bring fruits and vegetables. And if they discover some healthy food in the local shops, could they let me know.
Or something similar.
How would they know you don't enjoy their sweets? (Or they know and just ignore it?)

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 12/21/2011 12:53PM

    My BFs family does Christmas Eve with the "seven fishes" feast that is Italian tradition ...I think. It is awesome because there is always a healthy option (among a bunch of not so healthy options) for me to pick from.

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BEATLETOT 12/21/2011 3:39AM

    You have really well-meaning neighbors!

Last year, my husband and I hosted an exchange student from Germany who was allergic to poultry, so we had steak for Thanksgiving instead of turkey.

And it was AWESOME. SO MUCH EASIER than that stupid bird. And fewer leftovers. We did it again this year, even though we didn't have Jens with us.

A seafood meal instead for Christmas though does sound equally promising...hmm...

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ADVENTURESEEKER 12/20/2011 10:45PM

    I'd have to eat at least a bit, so I can honestly tell them how good it was and how much I enjoyed it. I'd feel guilty to throw the sweet treats away, so I may take 'em into work. Or toss 'em (not like the neighbours would know).

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My (almost) first Green Smoothie....Yum!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Well this Sunday has all the makings of a regular workday...but first, the news!

I've been hooked on smoothies for a while now. Usually I hoover up whatever stray fruit is in the fridge; pears, oranges, apples, bananas lying on the counter, and frozen combinations of strawberries, blueberries, etc.

In my zeal, I surfed on Amazon for some new ideas on this front, and came across a well reviewed book called "Green Smoothie Revolution"

It looked kind of gross. My first concoction was an equally gross tasting, fibery mess. Back to the drawing board.

After some refinement, I realized that the "more is better rule" was once again proven false. I eased up on big fat leaves of kale, arugula, etc. and balanced it with other ingredients.

The key for me was fresh mint and parsley! What a great balance they brought. I still added a few big hunks of leaf, but with the mint and parsley, plus a mango, an orange, and some pineapple, I felt like I should be sipping this thing on a white, sandy beach listening to the waves crash on the shore as I applied sunscreen to SWMBO's bare shoulders!

Anyway, this should hold me for a few hours. Here's today's plan.

I need to go into the office to finish up some reports and write some welcome notes for a few high-roller visitors I have coming into town this week. Then I hit the gym, come back and clean up for a Christmas Open House at one of our neighbors tonight. In between, SWMBO says "we are decorating the tree today, no excuses!" so that's pretty clear for my mid-afternoon activities.

Then my boss flies into town tonight at 10:30. so I'll be at the airport to get him and drop him off at his room. We start off tomorrow morning at 7:00 AM. He and a few others are in town through Thursday, and I have a dinner out with them all planned for Tuesday night. So the challenge, as usual, will be to eat well, workout, get the day's business done, and oh yeah, fit in some family time and XMAS shopping (hurray for Amazon!) before it gets too late (compounding XMAS for our family every year are the birthdays....4 total between 1 and 22 Dec....sheesh!)

Anyway, that's all for now Spark friends....have a great Sunday!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 12/17/2011 5:02PM

    I have to get into this smooth thing, too, you rave about all the time.
And the gym, too. I've read an article on doing sports at lunchtime at hbr, that motivates me. I wouldn't feel so mentally tired by the end of the day I guess.

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HEALTHIERKEN 12/13/2011 12:43AM

    I have to admit I really like fruit smoothies, but veggie ?????? I just don't think I'm ready to try them. Mint and parsley would even go well in a fruit smoothie, I'd say : )

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AFRESHSTART2 12/12/2011 12:54PM

    I have been tinkering with the thought of trying a green smoothie. Your blog has put me a little closer to getting it done!

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BILL60 12/12/2011 9:25AM

    Hang in there with your challenging schedule.

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JAZZEJR 12/11/2011 10:02PM

    Sounds yummy--especially the tropical fruits! emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/11/2011 10:02:59 PM

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MNCYCLIST 12/11/2011 6:37PM

    Hmm, I may try that, but then again...! Thanks for sharing.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 12/11/2011 4:11PM

    Can't wait til I get my smoothie maker! I asked Santa for one so if it isn't under the tree...well... I'll just have to buy it for myself!

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Travel and Hi Intensity Workouts

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Well I made it on to balmy & wet Washington DC. After some standard Delta Airline delays in Atlanta, I got into Reagan and got to my hotel around 7:00PM.

Luckily SWMBO had made me some sandwiches for the flight, so I avoided yucky airport food. Then after unpacking and making some phone calls, I decided, "what the hell, I'll hit the gym"

It's a nothing-to-brag-about workout room in a Marriot Townplace, but it did the my heart rate up, sweat going, and allowed me to log in a couple more aerobic points for the month. I tried my hand at the Hi Intensity Intervals that I've slacked off from. I found these real useful when pressed for time and I really like the afterglow. That plus I noticed the weight shed off quicker when I did these 2-3 times a week. Must find a way to get back into these....

Anyway, it's been a long day, and I've got a packed day tomorrow (must beware of the conference snacks!)

Have a great night Spark friends!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAZZEJR 12/11/2011 10:08PM

    So funny--I'm in DC now after a long day of traveling yesterday, where we sat on the plane for an hour in Detroit waiting for the pilot to arrive (he was caught in traffic!!). I'm visiting family and will hit the gym in my daughter's building tomorrow. Will try some intervals!

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HAKAPES 12/11/2011 10:17AM

    This is examplary attitude!
When I have a difficult travel day, I often think about how you hit the gym during these conferences etc, and then I squeeze in my own exercise, too.

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BELSNICKEL 12/7/2011 7:29AM

    sounds like a good beginning to an exciting adventure. Make it so, emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BILL60 12/7/2011 7:26AM

    Hang in there.

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MINDA31807 12/6/2011 9:36PM

    I loved the HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts while I was doing Turbo Fire. I plan on going back to doing the Turbo Fire/Chalean Extreme hybrid after I finish Insanity.
Great job getting in your exercise while traveling!

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A busy, lazy Sunday

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Well I got more done that I thought I would today, mostly because I had planned to do nothing at all!

I finished a novel that's been a hanging chad on my mind for a few weeks, so that was good (very anti-climactic ending....hardly worth the wait), cleaned out the garage floor from when SWMBO's car sprung a leak and spewed power steering fluid all over the place (whole bag of kitty litter did the trick), talked to family members all over the planet, put together SWMBO's newly brought mini-trampoline (I'll blog about it the first time I take her to the ER for a sprained ankle), hit the gym for an intense hour of cardio and sit-ups, continued what is now turning into a lifetime long project cataloging a massive digital music and video archive (I collect radio shows, old and new, from the BBC), then we cooked some salmon out on the grill and roasted up our second batch of winter veggies!


All in all a nice Sunday afternoon. I'm finishing up some laundry tonight. I hit the road Tuesday for 3 nights in DC, back late Thursday night.

Goal is to stay within calorie limits this week and workout every day on the road.

That's all for now Spark friends, have a great night!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FANGFACEKITTY 12/5/2011 7:15PM

    Oh my, a mini trampoline? SWMBO is much braver than me, I was just thinking to myself that there are some things I just won't do and trampoline is one of them; I am guaranteed to break something.

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SEWINGMAMACDS 12/5/2011 5:24PM

    emoticon Yeah Clovers! emoticon

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LYKKELIG 12/5/2011 2:57PM

    Nice goal and good luck with a challenge! emoticon

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CHALLENGER15 12/5/2011 8:10AM

    I like days where I take care of things!

Have a great week, Clover!

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