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ISLANDRITER's Recent Blog Entries

Making changes that stick, through all life's hurdles...

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Our West Coast 'New life' has been going on for about seven months now. But during the transition, achieving consistency has been a challenge. Since our move, I have done most of my work outs in a system new to me called GTS Gravity. It is great...similar to a Total Gym but more advanced and done in a group context. I needed a trainer since I have some physical issues that make group alittle complicated when trying to keep up. I added elliptical to that and strengthened my body as I navigated pretty easily around my handicaps (right ankle and shoulder).

New life for us started last June. We moved across country to begin our ownership of what is now Shasta Athletic Club. Since I have done this move the other direction, from Cali. to NC, twenty-seven years ago...and since I am older, I think it didn't throw me for a loop so much this time around.

What did throw me for a loop and halt my progress altogether was the last few months I have super sick. Something about the arid climate and the early spring No. Cali. brought horrid sinus infections. Finally I am better and it is time to start over. I have about 10 to twelve pounds to lose, but it is the whole fitness routine and consistency that I want to put in my schedule again. I have been walking and doing some elliptical, but my body aches for the old routine.

I have been tracking my food on our club's Interactive site so that my trainer can preview the tracking. But I miss my interactions something fierce. While trying to get on board with a new program for fitness, I need the support that my friends on Spark exude.
So, to receive spark support, give spark support. Right?

Tonight we meet at the club for the second step of a weight loss journey called "Step By Step". Several women have banded together, promising to give support and encouragement for the next 25 weeks. The focus for our interaction is to learn to change our habits and attitudes one step at a time. I was trained in this program called "Lifestyles" several years ago and now I am leading the group, assisting them to stay on track with their goals.

What I have learned from interacting with you guys is priceless though. I find that the sparkpeople program is about people helping people and that truly makes all the difference in the world. So for all those who have helped me walk this walk of health and well-being...a great big thank you. My teams here are something special to me...your blogs, that I sometime don't comment on, are refreshing reminders that life goes on and in the face of some pretty large obstacles, you have taught me to shine as I take the next step. That is what I have seen in all of your lives...pressing through with humor and grace!

I look forward to passing on the spark to these ladies. They are energetic, passionate and focused. They know where my roots are...deeply set in spark attitude. The Sparkpeople attitude comes out every step of the way...give support, get support; walk the goal out, one step at a time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEST_LIFE_NOW 2/22/2011 6:40PM

  emoticon It's nice to see you back!

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Best Reads of 2010...Tid Bits and Fantastic Finds

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here are my selections in various categories of the books I read this year. Please let me know some of your favorites...I am always looking for the next 'best' book!

Best Fiction:
March by Geraldine Brooks (The father of "Little Women" fame tells what happened when he joined the Civil I know why it won the Pulitzer)

Best Non-Fiction (Tie):
Columbine by David Cullen (Investigative Journalism, very well-written, inside the families, before and after, numerous surprises)
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot ( Investigative Journalism, Moving story of the woman who died of cancer before knowing her cells lived on to advance genetic testing, cloning, cancer research, and launched a medical revolution...fascinating!)

Best Suspense:
Place Last Seen by Charlotte McGuinn Freeman (Dramatic telling of the search for a missing child...beautifully written!)

Best Older Book: (Not Published in the last ten yrs.)
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith (Young girl journals about her family's life living in a ancient castle & dealing with poverty in rural England...great humor)
In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O'Brien (Failed politician has flash backs of involvement in My Lei Massacre when wife disappears....unsettling and fantastic!)

Best Inspirational/Spiritual Reads:(Still reading these)
How Strong Women Pray by Bonnie St.John (Successful Handicapped women tells her story while adding selections from other women leader as to how they pray)
A Room Called Remember by Frederick Buechner (Essays that provoke thought and initiates belief by a master Christian writer)

Best Debut (first book by an author)
Room by Emma Donoghue (Five year old Jack & Ma, survivors of years of solitary confinement...told from Jack's perspective & his immense heart!)

Best New Find: (Book by a new-to-me author)
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (A tragic beginning for a 12 year-old is put into perspective when her great Aunt allows her a new life in Savannah, Ga. Great story!)

Best Memoir:
The Mistress's Daughter by A.M. Homes (Homes' search & reunion w/ her birth father turns up some unexpected family issues, humorous)

Worth Checking Into (Books I would highly recommend, the top reads of 2010):

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard (Depressed single mom & son take in an escaped con...told from the son's perspective, up-lifting)
The Box Garden by Carol Shields (I had forgotten how much I enjoy her writing...middle aged single mom, returns home for her mother's wedding)
Oxygen by Carol Cassella (Medical suspense written by a medical doc., plus she can write...)
Without a Backward Glance by Kate Veitch (mother leaves her four children in Aussie then tries to mend their relationship; told in varying viewpts., well written)
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (Teacher helps islanders' children...unique)
Crow Lake by Mary Lawson (Canadian professor flashes back to growing up w/out parents, raised by siblings)
The Spare Room by Helen Garner (Aussie woman assists a friend succumbing to cancer/tradition med. vs alternative, thought-provoking)


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOM2ACAT 12/28/2010 6:09PM

    I haven't read Room yet but it's on my list of books I want to read.

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OSDOWNS 12/28/2010 1:58PM

    I agree about Room. It was a good book. Thanks for the book list!

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Book #51 "Noah's Compass" by Anne Tyler

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

After a divorced, 60'ish fifth-grade teacher is fired, he decides to try out retirement setting out to move into "the final phase of his life". What follows is nothing that he planned: he is attacked, wakes up in a hospital and begins a mad search for the missing memory of what happened. During this memory jogging search, his teen-aged daughter moves in, he meets a much younger woman, as he keeps attempting to settle into retirement.

Tyler is famous for writing about the menial events occurring in the lives of understated characters. "Noah's Compass" is no exception. What is fascinating is that she has perfected the art of observing these events, which could and often do happen to many of us, and portrays them with a surgeon's skill. Much like a reality show, she entertains as she subtly rolls the camera seamlessly from one everyday scene to the next producing the quiet, authentic and often ugly truth of everyday people.

As Liam, the narrator of the book, reads to his grandson about Bible characters from his coloring book, he thinks of Noah as a ship captain who is aimlessly floating out to sea, heading nowhere. But actually, Noah was given a specific purpose, to save lives in a time of crisis. Liam sees himself as detached and without purpose. He accepts this. Meanwhile, every other character in the book, his daughters, his ex-wife, his girlfriend, tend to give him the role of captain. His stunted perception of life, his unapologetic way of accommodating his character flaws makes this a realistic account of contemporary choices of people in society today.

Though Tyler may address the common man, she uncommonly keeps her characters in my mind long after the story is finished. Other books I have enjoyed by her include "Breathing Lessons", "Back When We Were Grown-ups", and "Saint Maybe".

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOM2ACAT 11/9/2010 3:54PM

    I have also read "Back When We Were Grownups", good book!

This one sounds good too.

That is awesome that you have read 51 books this year so far! I just started book #43.

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TERI99 11/9/2010 8:29AM

    Sounds like a good read. I haven't read this author; I'll have to check her out! (Of course the retired teacher part of the plot pulls me...)

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HOPE2BE 11/9/2010 7:36AM

    This really sounds interesting. I'd like to see if my library has it in stock so I can check it out. Thanks.

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This 92 yr. old Great-grandmother does the salsa...he is 29!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I could not resist posting this wonderful video. I wish I had her moves now. You out there doing Zumba now have a visual to work toward. Like the title of the video says: Never under estimate the power of an older woman! The picture is a little fuzzy, and you will have to wait for the intro. dance before the salsa gets started. But I think you will get the picture. (Do you think she practiced by doing planks??) Enjoy Neverunderestimateanoldbroad.wmv

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOPE2BE 11/8/2010 7:03AM

    I hope I can do that at that age. LOL I love to dance like that but with knee surgery and with God willing I'll be able to. Thanks for sharing.

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OUTDOORGIRL70 11/7/2010 8:46PM

    That was great. I hope when I get to be 70 I an that spry.

Thanks I will pass this one on

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Book #50 "Room" by Emma Donoghue

Saturday, November 06, 2010

A young woman is kidnapped and kept in solitary confinement in a revamped storage shed. Here she is fed, repeatedly raped and has a son. She is such a good mother that her son, Jack, now five-years-old, believes that everything in his reality is as it should be. He is secure, bright, and grounded in his mother's love. He believes she knows everything. But he couldn't know how he is helping her to stay sane and have a reason to live.

Because of her love, Jack's mother gives him rules for managing his world: TV can only be on for a hour at a time or his brain will turn to mush; hiding in Wardrobe when Old Nick comes keeps him from his anger; looking into the skylight when God's full face is there will make your eyes stop seeing. But the songs and games, the careful schedule, the stories about Old Nick all become shaken when the electricity is suddenly shut off.

Jack's profound descriptions allow us into Room, a world of beauty and subtle truths. We learn of his misconceptions and what looks like real. His mother is his sole source of his knowledge and she keeps feeding his curiosity with her carefully planned bits and pieces of truth until she cannot hold onto their fragile existence any longer.

Sweet, earnest Jack and his unique perspective makes "Room" a gem of a book. The tragedy seen through his eyes is generous, warm, nurturing, and full of faith. Baby Jesus and John the Baptist teach him about friendship and being cousins. The insects are his secret companions. His mother is all-knowing and seems to even be connected to him.

Though the horror in 'Room' is gut-wrenching, the love and life force between Jack and his mother is awe-inspiring. I was captured by the relationship of this mother and son, the writing was simple, astute, and revealing. I saw glimpses of every mother's love in the actions that take place, her sense of survival and her creative and detailed plotting. I read Jack's reactions to his world and remembered raising my own children and their views of an ever-widening world-consciousness, simple yet wise. His character also accurately defines the process of dealing with suffering and the realities delivered to each of us in our lives.


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