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Keeping up with good habits....and some Spark questions

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

So we finally finished up our 3-week project in 2 weeks & 2 days! I called my office up and had them book me a flight out of here tomorrow, which beats the hell out of departing Saturday.

Still managed to get in 2 workouts today (to include push-ups). I've got a late morning flight out, so I may try to fit in a morning workout, but I've been asked to give a lift to a few other guys that have earlier flights than me, so I may need to leave earlier than planned....more to follow.

In the meantime, I'm eating down my supply of fruits, veggies, and chicken breasts that I had stocked up on over the weekend thinking I'd be here the whole week. I'll give the housekeeping staff anything good that's left.

Overall it's been a great 2.5 weeks.....the true test on my weight loss will be Thursday AM when I can weigh in at home. To keep the momentum going, I told SWMBO to stock up on veggies & fruits for some more smoothies during the week (at least enough to get through Sunday when I hit the road again). And I told my front office staff to NOT load me up with meetings Thursday & Friday so I can get caught back up and get in some good cardio time.

So this is going to be my challenge; how to translate these newly formed "on the road" habits to "back at home" habits? I've got some ideas on how to eat better, less processed foods. I knocked around a few ideas with SWMBO tonight, and we have the inklings of a plan that can lock in a few key things on the food front. I'll likely not be able to keep up the twice daily workouts when I get back to the office, but I am going to shoot for locking in some cardio days when I'm not doing ST.

So far I’ve got 1600 fitness minutes, so with some good planning, I should make my goal of 2,000 minutes this month. (

But here’s a weird one for you… the hell does Spark really track fitness minutes? I’ve got 1,600 minutes on SparkAmerica, but only 1,530 on my fitness tracker! There’s some lame disclaimer about capping daily points for the “Leader Board tracking” (which I really don’t give a rat’s ass about), I just want a simple, single place to know how all those various minutes I’ve been sweating out add up! Any pointers appreciated.

While I’m here griping, here’s another one that blew my mind these past few weeks. I go shopping for some healthy snacks and think to myself, “Hey, popcorn’s a good idea. You can nuke up a bag of light, un-buttery popcorn and that can tide you over nicely”

So I go looking at Orville Redenbacher, Newman’s Own, Pop Secret, etc., basically combing the nutrition labels on the entire gamut of “Light” and “Fat-free” popcorn bags.

Almost every one has 100 calories per serving…..and 3 servings per bag!

You’ve got to be bagging me! I’m going to work my ass off for 30-45 minutes just so I can have one freaking bag of popcorn! If I’m going to hell, it better be for a mortal sin and not a venial one!

That’s about it….if that’s the worst thing I can gripe about, life is pretty damn good.

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERYL_B 3/22/2012 8:00PM

    I had the popcorn experience a few months ago. Even air popped popcorn adds ups the calories really fast. I was so happy when I thought I could pop a big bowl of air popped popcorn and be able to munch all night while watching tv. However when I put it in the nutrition tracker it was a lot more than I thought. Granted I had a lot, but I thought it was pretty harmless and I was wrong.

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SNUZSUZ 3/22/2012 11:43AM

    No help here but a 100 calorie snack doesn't sound too bad??

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 3/20/2012 11:56PM

    Popcorn Indiana has some good, already popped options, too. To me, a small bag of popcorn (the 100 cal packs are good) is a worthy snack because I know it has fiber and fills my salt cravings without opening a bag of Lays.

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    There are also 100 cal packs of popcorn? I have a box of them. I hope it doesn't expire by the time I get around too eating them. I don't eat popcorn often. Maybe that's an idea if you want a grab and go snack? Otherwise I ditto the air-popped idea.

The fitness tracker? pfft, no idea. I just plug my info into the fitness tracker and really, my body knows what I did and how hard I pushed myself so it gets the benefit of it all anyways.

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SAFARIBABE 3/20/2012 10:48PM

    OK popcorn I can help with! Don't go for the nuked stuff! There's a really good bagged popcorn...air popped 130 cals per oz....and just close up the bag and it stays fresh! The other option is to make up your own large air popped pop corn put it in an air tight containr and it'll keep a couple days.

For the fitness mins....I keep a separate Excel sheet of all the stuff I'm up to. My running, my biking (levels, times, HR, mode, etc), cardio mins, miles moved, etc etc...

Hope this helps! Safe trip tomorrow!! If anyone can keep up their new found habits it's Goo Guy!!!

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I'm better than Ferris Bueller.....and a nice NSV!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Well I've got to tell you, yesterday I had one of my laziest Sundays....almost ever!

Woke up early, sparked a little, drove over to Starbucks & had some Joe while I read the news and started another book on the Kindle. Hung out there till lunch time. Grabbed a bite, came back to the hotel room....and took a nap!

Read some more....stretched....decided against a workout on such a perfectly lazy some more....made a smoothie for some more.....and called it a day!

Ferris Bueller couldn't have come up with a better plan!

So today I felt incredibly refreshed and ready for an AM and a PM workout! Hit a spin class at lunchtime and revved that 40 lb flywheel for a good 45 minutes. Went back to the saltmines till 5:00 PM, then hit the gym for some ST, pushups, and abs....and received a very nice NSV to boot.

I grabbed a mat and parked it in a corner in one of the aerobic rooms and teed up my "Six Pack Promise Abs" app. I really like these routines.....they change up every time and so are never boring, but man they work upper abs, lower abs, obliques, and ab muscles I never knew existed. It's got videos and everything on there to show exactly what the routine should look like.

So I'm jamming away in the corner doing weirdo things called "Frog Crunches"


and "Side Plank Progressions"

Now mind you, these are short, 5-7 minute, routines, but they are awesome just due to the variation.

Anyway, I'm cruising along, jamming away on the 80s playlist, and when I finish, I turn around and see two of my 40-something colleagues behind me working hard to stretch out some overly stiff backs and hamstrings. They look up as I wipe down the mat and say;

"Dude, you're making us look bad!"

I made a rat-tail with my gym towel and gave them both a nice "Thwack" on the back as I walked out with a smile!

Have a great night spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VTORIA3 3/23/2012 5:38AM

    You have a no nonsense approach to your fitness. Refreshing!

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SHERYL_B 3/22/2012 8:11PM


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KALISWALKER 3/20/2012 2:21PM

    emoticonNSV are great!

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HEALTHIERKEN 3/20/2012 11:43AM

    ah, deference! How sweet it is : )

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JECKIE 3/20/2012 8:32AM

    Very nice! :) Isn't it fun to see such great proof of your awesomeness?

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/20/2012 6:44AM

    emoticon for both a day off and an NSV!

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CLAIREINPARIS 3/20/2012 3:59AM

    emoticon Wonderful! You ROCK!!!

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EUPHRATES 3/20/2012 1:23AM


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KAYZAKCX 3/20/2012 12:06AM


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CHEEKY1000 3/19/2012 11:55PM

    I'm still stuck on that lazy day you had. I want one. lol Actually, I've been a bit too lazy lately with working out, but your day just sounded so peaceful. Sigh....

Keep it up!! Woohoo!!

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    Woot woot! Sounds like an excellent way to spend a Sunday :)

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STARL_73 3/19/2012 10:08PM

    Wow! I do love gym stories like that (got one of my own). Something to hold to!

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SAFARIBABE 3/19/2012 9:58PM

    That's awesome!! Maybe there is something to all that green goo!

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ESILBO 3/19/2012 9:51PM

    GREAT JOB emoticon

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REBECCATKD 3/19/2012 9:42PM

    What a beautiful moment! Way show those guys what they're missing!

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Record low weight....and a very dangerous breakfast!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Well, so I don't want to get too excited here, but....I may have gotten below 180 lbs....for the first time in probably 10-15 years!

Before I go changing tickers and all, I want to get back home and check it out on my "known quantity" scale. The one they've got here in this upscale gym I've been using looks pretty accurate and legit....but I've known machines to have variations before. But if so, then I'll have lost almost 6 lbs in about 3 weeks.

If this turns out to be the real deal, then I've got some serious re-evaluating to do on how I do business. Granted I've been working out a lot more, but it's really with the diet that I've made some big changes. Lot's more fruit & veggies, little to no "processed food" snacks (e.g. peanut butter), lot less processed carbs (e.g. bread), and a conscious effort to limit foods with high sodium.

Of course today I threw all that out the window! I woke up and instead of my usual putzing around routine, I went to the gym so I could weigh in and get in a workout....this meant no water, no coffee, no snack until after the weigh in. All good so far.

Then I hit the cardio for an hour, drove over to Starbucks for some morning Joe, came to the room, showered, shaved, sparked....and holy moly it's almost 1100 and I haven't eaten a damn thing!

Then the craving started.....

.....I wanted breakfast....

....a big breakfast.....

....a breakfast that included; eggs.....bacon.....pancakes...syrup...

I felt like a hungry shark, thrashing through the ocean looking for a wounded surfer flailing in the surf with a bloody, open gash.

In other words, I found myself driving down I-35 looking for a Cracker Barrel!

I won't lie to was good...real good....sweet, salty, crispy, buttery good.

Of course, once the feeding frenzy was over, I faced the music, right there at my table with some ad of a doe-eyed cherub from a 1930s vegetable carton smiling smugly down at me as I ran the numbers on the iPhone.

That was a 1210 calorie feeding frenzy my Spark friends! See, nothing good ever comes from getting hungry!

So the rest of the day I spent in penance. Went shopping for some more veggies & fruit for smoothies, read some on the veranda (yeah, it's pretty cool, this hotel has a veranda!), then hit the gym for a second workout of HIIT and abs to sweat out the salt....and the fat......and the syrup....and the, oh you name it!

The cool part was I spotted an old friend tucked away in a corner of the gym I hadn't yet explored....the True Stretch!

Just what I needed after a double workout and Momma's Pancake breakfast! I did almost every stretch they showed on the machine:

Then I came back to the room, did my "perfect pushups", cleaned up, and made me a smoothie for all told, I've stayed under calories today, but man was it close!

On the push-up challenge.....well today marks day #6 of doing 4 sets of pushups every day....except for Wednesday when I did 8!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DIANNEMT 3/20/2012 1:07PM

    Once in a while--you eat what you WANT. Just ONCE in a while.

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BOBF15 3/20/2012 12:21PM

    Wow, you are doing so awesome, what dedication. Proud of you.

I think the diet is key, getting the right type foods is more important then the quantity.

Quality means more than empty calories.

Way to go.

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FANGFACEKITTY 3/20/2012 6:49AM

    How ever did you survive that breakfast? I shudder to think of it. Of course I am not a Cracker Barrel fan and that kind of breakfast has never been a staple for me. Point me in the direction of a good pizza place now...

Congrats on the pushps, Goodie on its way.

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JMCADE 3/19/2012 1:42PM

    Great turn around to your day!! But I think you hae learned to be sure and eat something in the morning!!!! Waiting to hear if your scale gives you the same results!! I'll bet it does. Great workout.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 3/19/2012 1:11PM

    Way to go on hitting that low weight!!! I eat Cracker Barrel once a year and I refuse to feel guilty afterwards!

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SHERYL_B 3/18/2012 10:09PM

    Love Cracker Barrel!!!! Good thing the closest one is an hour away from me!

You have been kicking butt - don't get done on yourself. Consider it a reward for the hard work you have been doing. Knowing you, this won't really set you off track, it is a one time thing. We all deserve that every once in a while.

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ESILBO 3/18/2012 7:18PM


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BILL60 3/18/2012 8:54AM

    Well done!! I visited that "Evil Place" last year, after having biked over 500 miles in 7 days. So, like you, well deserved.

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SAFARIBABE 3/18/2012 7:33AM

    OMG...I once had a team of South African's working with me. They were out of town on assignment and dicsocvered Cracker Barrel....they ate there at LEAST twice a day! That place is EVIL for the hips! LOL WTG on the pushups! I only managed 5 due to some really late nights at the office, but there you to improve!! Sounds like you're getting some good down time while you're on the road! Well deserved!! Have a great Sunday oh great green goo drinker!

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HEALTHIERKEN 3/17/2012 11:55PM

    Hey! Your delicisio breakfast (and believe me, that's the breakfast I crave every single day : )
was really two meals and a snack, so 1210 cals--not that bad. Good on ya for keeping within range for the rest of the day. What I'm usually conscience-smitten over after one of those breakfasts is the sodium and sugar. But they taste soooooo good, and whatthehell, whatthehell, what's life without a little envelope-pushing now and again??!!!

ps: got my fingers crossed that your home scale agrees with the gym scale : ) : ) : )

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KAYZAKCX 3/17/2012 10:31PM

    Cracker Barrel...mmmmmm...Momma's Pancake Breakfast...mmmmmm...though I usually go with the sausage instead of bacon...they just can't be resisted...just remember, nothing beats the taste of a green smoothie (or so I've heard).

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Hardcore Spartan Routine

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

So I am really digging this hardcore routine I'm in the middle of right now. The work project I have going on here is pretty regimented; we have set hours we have to be in, set hours when we have to break for lunch, and a hard stop at the end of the day so that the support staff can take care of everything in preparation for the next day's load.

For me, it's like a freaking miracle! You mean I HAVE to take an hour & 15 min off for lunch? SURE! You mean we have to be DONE every day by 5:00 PM? SURE!!! I can't remember when I've ever had it so's like spring break as an adult in the workforce!

So far that has translated into me getting in some pretty incredible gym sessions.....twice a day during the week. I can get in a quick 45 minutes at lunch, then another hour or more after work. I try to balance straight up cardio with ST, add in some HIIT every few days, and if the timing works out, take a spin class in the gym next door.

But the cool part has been my eating habits. I've got a pretty good system of making a big batch of green smoothie in the AM, having a glass or 2 for breakfast and filling a 24 oz travel mug to have during the day for lunch & snack. The first few days I did this, I noticed I was still pretty hungry during the day and so I needed some augmentation.

Well over the weekend, I talked to my 25 year old gym rat son who's goal is to GAIN weight so he can be a 190 lb hunk of burning about 8-10 % body fat!! (Youth really is wasted on the young)

Anyway, in between his stories of protein powders and vitamin supplements he says, "Dad, if you've got a fridge in your room and you don't want to go out to eat or cook, go look in the frozen foods section for "Tyson's Grilled & Ready chicken breasts". They're all cooked, taste great, and it's chock full of protein with hardly any fat"

From the mouths of babes! So I went out and bought a bag....and next thing you know old Jed's a millionaire! They are not bad at all....just slightly salty, but they taste pretty darn good.

So now, I've got veggies & fruit and some protein during the day, and it comes out to about 700-800 calories that tide me over very nicely till dinner.

I've been pretty successful with eating out. There's a damn good Vietnamese place that make a mean Pho (about 500 calories of broth and rice noodles) that I've been to 4x so far in almost 10 days and I've been able to make due with some very tame worst dinner so far was a 900 calorie serving of some pork & chicken fried rice that I suddenly got a craving for. But overall, I have stayed below my max calories, and even closer to my mins, for most of this trip

So now I'm trying to figure out how I can translate this back to my "normal" routine when I get back home.....I've got some ideas. I know I won't be able to do the hardcore 2 a day workouts like now (I wish!), but it's the eating part I need to work on. I do some of my best thinking during my cardio sessions, and today I started laying the ground work for how I can "normalize" the better eating habits I've got going....more to follow....

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERYL_B 3/16/2012 10:56PM

    I can't even picture a regimented office schedule anymore. Granted, I stick pretty close to 40-42 hours a week usually, but rarely does that include lunch and usually I am leaving work to go to whatever meetings I have that evening (which of course is my own fault - I'm working on that).

I have not heard of those chicken breasts, I might have to try them. I have a George Foreman and I love that for chicken (I'm not sure I have ever used it for anything else).

Keep it up - hope you are able to convert some of your current schedules back to real life.

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HEALTHIERKEN 3/15/2012 9:45PM

    You're definitely an inspiration, GETSTRONGRRR! Hats off to you.

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COCOA-JUMBO 3/15/2012 1:06PM

    Nice job on the eating and working out! Getting two workouts in a day would be so awesome! I get an hour lunch, but I'm a girl so I don't want to get all sweaty because I wouldn't have time to shower and get beautiful again before returning to work! lol

I'm going to try those chicken breasts. I eat a lot of chicken but sometimes it takes to long to cook. Thanks for the idea!

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MNCYCLIST 3/15/2012 9:41AM

    Sounds great, and good that you're taking advantage of that time! Have a great day!

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CLAIREINPARIS 3/15/2012 3:43AM

    Wow, it sounds like a very useful time, learning a lot and eating healthily (and 2 workouts a day, woohoo!!!). I LOVE pho, I am jealous you have a Vietnamese place nearby. :)

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KAYZAKCX 3/15/2012 2:40AM

    Sounds like a nice set up. So, exactly what are green smoothies?

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GOODGETNBETR 3/14/2012 11:21PM

    Enjoy your spring break and keep up the good work.

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SAFARIBABE 3/14/2012 10:38PM

    Hey Jed! Sounds like you're doing great on the road....shame you still need some pants that actually fit the leaner, meaner you! LOL Wish I had your energy! It's all I can do to get through 1 workout and keep up with pushups, squats and crunches, not to mention all my sparkin'. Wish my office would close at 5! 11.5 hours of billable time today and I'm done in! Have a great night!

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Unintended Consequences

Monday, March 12, 2012

Well now I don't usually procrastinate on too many things, but I am now paying the price for putting off something I should have done a while new pants!

Slowly but surely, even though my weight is only incrementally declining, my body measurements keep shifting around and my clothes have been feeling quite loose. Now I'm not much of a shopper, so I've made due with tightening the belt a few notches and staying comfortable in my duds.

But this past week, I've found myself pulling and tugging up on my pants like a teen-age street thug. Then today I got a glimpse of myself in an unfamiliar full-length mirror....and it looked like I was swimming in a zoot suit!

I guess my spartan lifestyle this past week has had some dramatic effect. The problem is I'm too fussy to just go out and buy some emergency shirts and pants. So here I am on the road for the next few weeks with one suitcase full of clothes....what to do?

Well after work today I found a quick turn alteration store and had the nice Latina lady nip and tuck, stitch and sew and waited while she put Humpty Dumpty together again. I think I can make due these next 2 or 3 weeks with what I've got, but I can no longer put off the inevitable.

So now I have no choice.....I totally underestimated my's amazing how you get used to seeing yourself in familiar mirrors and spots....all it took was for a totally different lighting condition and distance from the mirror for me to realize that, "Yikes, this is now serious!"

Of course, if I'm going to go that route, then hell, I might as well keep powering through this week and next with my new routine and see what happens....maybe I can just go dig out those size 32 jeans I've had buried in the back of the closet for 10 years and be done with it!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 3/14/2012 7:52PM

    I have a similar issue. All my clothes need change. Especially pants. I changed all my jeans recently, almost a fortune, but my suits needs to go, and new ones needs to come. However, until funds flow in, I will wear the bell pepper style.

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HEALTHIERKEN 3/14/2012 2:02AM

    Way to go, GETSTRONGRRR! Now, buy yourself a new mirror too ; )
Gotta admire your resourcefulness, taking the pants in for alteration. I wouldn't even know how to find a seamstress!!!!

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JECKIE 3/13/2012 8:57AM

    Hah! I've been putting off buying new clothes too! It came to a critical point this week and something MUST be done.

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BEATLETOT 3/13/2012 8:30AM

    That's awesome!!! Congrats!

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SAFARIBABE 3/13/2012 6:39AM

    First off....WTG!! Next....kick in the butt. Sugar, you are going to be in San Antonio for 2 or 3 more have your weekends free b/c you can't get your team to work...AND they DO have stores in Texas. Put all of these together and you get....BUY PANTS!!!! Even if you want them altered, they can do that in 2 weeks! Why don't you surprise SWMBO by showing up after your long trip looking like the fit trim push-up god that you are rather than like a kid wearing his dad's suit!

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KAYZAKCX 3/13/2012 2:06AM

    That's a rather nice problem to have. Congrats!

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    Way to go! It's awesome when realizing it's time for new pants! emoticon

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MNABOY 3/12/2012 11:31PM

    It is great to be able to recycle your own clothes! Keep it up.

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NEPTUNE1939 3/12/2012 10:25PM

    LOL there are many out there that wish they had the same problem. You have a great attitude! Me i just wear coveralls and sweats. Keep up my friend, Earl

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