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The People Would Sing

Thursday, August 27, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=129uSUEN-8w

I was there.

If you are looking for some diet or exercise advice or inspiration today, well, feel free to click elsewhere. 'Cause it won't be in this space today. And if you feel that you simply must drag politics in here, or speak of someone's imperfect life (as if our own lives were perfect and, therefore, superior), I do hope that you'll turn around.

Not today. Please, not now.

I live and work in Boston. And today was Senator Kennedy's last trip through the city.

It was a strange, stressful day, like the planets had aligned oddly, and there was an unfamiliar tilt to the axis. I suppose that's only fitting, as when people who are larger than life, they really are -- they affect so much. And so when they are gone, the tilt changes.

So, the tilt. Today work was a strain, which it has been lately. I very nearly snapped at a coworker, a perfectly lovely woman who only wants to work with me, and work well. But I saw her after that, and smiled, and we started to talk, about this of course because it is a very big deal. She is an immigrant, here for decades from India, and so her axis has tilted many ways, I am sure.

The immigrant experience is the story of America, whether you came here by boat or just stepped off a plane. She said, she had donated to some charity or another years ago, and her name was sold, and somehow she ended up on the mailing list for Irish Immigrant Aid. So for years, she'd get mail from them, including invitations to meet Senator Kennedy. I told her she should have gone, she could've said she was from Southern Ireland. WAY South. But she didn't; the dinners cost too much. And now it's too late.

I, too, have a tale. It was around thirty years ago. I was 17, just starting school here. And friends were going to the State House to hear Ted announce he was running for President. I didn't go. I don't know why, after all, 1980 was going to be my first year voting. But I just didn't. And now it's too late.

But there's something about that moment, the Globe mentioned it, they said Teddy was asked why he wanted to be President, and he just couldn't articulate it. That had doomed that candidacy, even absent Chappaquiddick, it was just, who wants an indecisive President? Or at least someone who's not sure why they're there, or even if they want to be there?

I tell you, I can totally relate. I am going to be 47 soon, hey, just about the age he was then, and I still can't tell you whether what I do for a living will make me happy in twenty years, or ten, or even five. I have always had that kind of indecision, that kind of not being sure why I'm there, and I can feel what that feels like because that's the country I live in.

Today at least I knew why I was there. I get out of my office early (my schedule is an hour shifted earlier from everyone else's) and today was no different. My office is across the street from City Hall Plaza, so I stood and waited. A crowd slowly gathered. There was a family, speaking what I think was Portuguese. Tourists. Elderly folk. Mailmen. Office workers. Students. People in wheelchairs.

And then it happened. The motorcade came by, and behind me I heard a man clapping, so I clapped, too, and pretty soon we were applauding, only stopping to wave back at the family as they waved at us. I know they heard us. I know they saw us. And I saw Patrick sitting in the front seat of the hearse. And in the first car behind, oh, it tore at my heart, I saw Victoria. And in the car behind her was Jean, the last of the siblings. And dozens of nieces and nephews. All somber. But many of them waving. They saw. They heard. They knew we were his people. They acknowledged and we did so in turn. They knew why we were there.

When they had passed, I realized I was standing next to a coworker, but not the woman I wrote of earlier. He turned to me and just said, "History." I agreed, and wished him a good night, for it was all I could say.

As I walked away and dabbed at my eyes a little, I hoped she had gotten a chance to see and be a part of it. To be a piece of that silent dance of "thank you -- no, thank YOU."

Luck did have something to do with it, to start, I suppose. But bad luck also had something to do with it, and mixed in with all of it was a boatload of hard work and also a dollop of "I don't know why I'm here".

I know why you were here.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 8/31/2009 12:06PM

    Aww. Thanks for sharing that moment! I was away from the media coverage and all of it, so had very little sense of what transpired. I appreciate you recounting your experience.

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DAN_ODEA 8/28/2009 2:37PM

    We'll miss Ted. He was an outstanding Senator. Thanks for your descriptions; I almost feel like I was there.

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CAROLISCIOUS 8/28/2009 1:45PM

    Thanks for sharing this historic event with those of us who could not be there.
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Carol


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CANNOTFATHOM 8/28/2009 8:48AM

    Nice blog Jespah! Thanks for the Emerson, Lake and Palmer clip!

Penny

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MAKINGTIME4ME 8/28/2009 8:02AM

    Thanks for sharing your historical moment. It is a great loss to our country but a legacy that will live forever.


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MS.ELENI 8/27/2009 11:07PM

    Interesting blog

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LAB-LOVER 8/27/2009 9:06PM

    Thanks for this blog. It it indeed a sad week for the great state of Mass-a-chusetts.
I couldn't read the Globe this morning without crying. So I set it aside. As I said to another friend, I can't imagine being Ted. Seeing his two brothers assassinated for speaking up and standing up for their beliefs. And then continuing to do it himself day in and day out. Advocating for the poor and the little guy even though it would have been easy to check out and live the good life.
He will be missed.

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 8/27/2009 9:04PM

    I'm glad you were there. For me too.

My part of the planet is off kilter too. This is the end of an era in so many ways. Suddenly Massachusetts is just one among many. Small. Gone is the influence and the clarity. Our voice.

My generation was called to service by the Kennedy's. They were just sinful enough to make it comfortable. No saints here. That would not have made service seem achievable, sexy. Tarnished tipsy halos. And good works. Lots of good works.

It's a good life, this life of service.

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As Real As Real Can Get

Monday, August 24, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSmJOvLrVig

Note: the music is good but some of the imagery on the video might be disturbing.

In web development, there's a phenomenom called WYSIWYG, It stands for, well, the title of this entry's song: What You See is What You Get.

And I've been thinking about that a bit lately, and I've decided that when it comes to clothing, from now on, WYSIWYG.

See, way back when, in the dark time, before Spark, before I gave a damn, it was all elastic waists, special little slimming panels, Spanx and control top pantyhose and the like. Everything was restricting or overly loose or deceptive or just, well, a tad surreal. Nothing actually fit.

What you saw was not me. I fooled myself into believing that I looked good or at least decent, that it took off the pounds and the inches and I looked like things were at least not out of control. But the reality was that the only person whose eyes were getting any wool pulled over was, you guessed it: me.

I've woken up, you could say, and decided to go back to what I really look like. I look at ads, at magazines, at catalogs. I suppose we all do. Use this to enhance your bust! Pick this style to hide a protruding waist! Just a little lift to your keister is all you need -- and here's what you need in order to do it! Quick, put this on, it'll hide your hips! Do your makeup this way and your second chin will magically disappear!

Naturally it is all very money-driven. After all, if a store can sell you a sarong to go along with your swimsuit, or Spanx for your evening gown, or a push-up Wonder Bra for your tee shirt or whatever then they make more bucks. No one needs a degree in economics in order to figure out that equation.

But what if -- whether you *need* them or not -- you tossed the Spanx? You ripped the slimming panel out of the front of your jeans? You still wore a bra, for sure, but not one designed to make you look two cup sizes larger?

And instead you let people see that you've still, maybe, got a muffin top. Or your hips are wide. Or your bust sags because, dare I say it, you're not 20 any more? And you don't look perfect because you're a work in progress and you're real and there's something very, very beautiful about that.

I am not saying that I will abandon things that make me look good. If anything, I care more about my appearance than I did before. I like having clothes in colors and cuts that fit and flatter me. I like it when I look better (yes, slimmer) than I truly am.

But I refuse to do it with panels and elastic any more. This is, I know, why it is taking me longer to lose this size than it's taken me to lose the other 7 (yes, really) I already have.

It's because the game is being changed. By me.

This may not be my absolute greatest motivation (my health is), but it is there. I want to be the woman who looks like she's wearing Spanx.

But isn't.

WYSIWYG

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NYAYNE 8/26/2009 4:32PM

    I have to say my favorite bras are minimizers. Push um in, way in to get them in the suit jacket. I've always worn a bigger top than bottom. Please don't take my minimizers away!

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WOLFKITTY 8/26/2009 1:26AM

    "looks like wearing Spanx... but isn't."

I love it! HEhee.
Good for you!

Jocelyn

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MRS_TOAD 8/25/2009 11:55AM

    Indeed! WYSIWYG!

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ANONYGIRL 8/25/2009 8:27AM

    2 years ago I went to a wedding wearing under my suit what could only be described as a sausage casing. Every time I had to go to the bathroom, it took about 5 minutes of futzing and smooshing. I wore the same outfit in June without the girdle, and now I think I'd have to have it altered or wear a belt just to keep it on.

So I'm with you on the WYSIWYG bandwagon - I felt horrible in that elastic contraption and I'm not going back to that.

Also, as a web developer, I wholeheartedly support blogs like this. :)

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LIV2RIDE 8/25/2009 6:40AM

    Well said! WYSIWYG!!!

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GEE-KNEE 8/24/2009 11:15PM

    Heh, I was telling my sister today that those "slimming" jeans ought to be called "muffin top jeans". It all has to go somewhere. I am all for trying to look good naturally.

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4OURBOY 8/24/2009 10:03PM

    You've made this an art form!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 8/24/2009 9:39PM

    Ugh. Do people really still wear these girdle things? My mom looked sooo uncomfortable in them.

I refuse to even wear nylons!

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KUNGFOOD 8/24/2009 9:03PM

    Heheheheeeee! I *still* live in my Spanx tops.

One of these days.... probably thanx to your motivation... I'll tanx da spanx.

Thanks for visiting and as always, great blog, music.

Did you notice any heavy people in that video at all?????

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 8/24/2009 8:27PM

    My Buddhist friends have a concept they call being right sized. Right sized is what we are. Now. What ever we are.

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LAB-LOVER 8/24/2009 8:05PM

    Amen! No Spanx here... No wonderbras eithers. Although I do swear by those Macy's Magic Pants. No slimming panels, they are just cut in a way that makes me look... thin!

Cuz why look good if I can't breath and it's a pain in the hiney just to go and pee!

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MS.ELENI 8/24/2009 7:32PM

    Great blog as usual emoticon

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ANBENNER 8/24/2009 7:03PM

    I think this is a great philosophy. I always notice that women I think are attractive are the ones that are not trying to hide themselves - not wearing makeup or slimming pants or whatever. I hope you can be that person - who looks like she's faking it but really isn't - who is naturally that skinny and beautiful.

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KSTDENIS 8/24/2009 6:43PM

    great blog! i absolutely love the ending!

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The Tale of the Tape

Thursday, August 20, 2009


How to measure your keister on camera and fail basic math! Oh, and it's my month in review post.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMMASMART 9/11/2009 2:38PM

    The moral of the story I think, Is that while that is informative... It is clearly time for a new belt...

Emma

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SUZYQS1 8/27/2009 11:49PM

    Neat video-congrats-You are really smart

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KUNGFOOD 8/24/2009 9:08PM

    AWESOME. Thanks for the post... you look fantastic!

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LAB-LOVER 8/23/2009 12:58PM

    This is great -- it's the first one I've actually been able to watch! (my difficulties not the video). And LOOK! Just LOOK at those collarbones.

Good call on the 5K yesterday. It was a miserable experience in the heat/humidity. I added about 3 minutes to my last time!

-LL

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ALLIEDRAGONFLY 8/23/2009 12:04PM

    You're awesome.
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NYAYNE 8/22/2009 9:12AM

    emoticon emoticon
Great news from the tape measure. You go girl. You just proved that the scale is not the only way to measure success. As fat is replaced by muscle the scale moves slower while the tape tells the real story.

A note on the belt. I knew dancers that always wore a thin belt under their clothes next to the skin to keep tabs on weight/size and over eating. They would graze all day on healthy snacks but would never eat enough in one sitting to feel bloated. These we muscular young women that were fit and trim.

Comment edited on: 8/22/2009 9:13:51 AM

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WOLFKITTY 8/21/2009 6:09PM

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaay!! I was smiling so big while watching this! HEheee. And my husband walked into the room so he got to see what you look like too (since I'm always talking about you)! LOL!!

This is a really neato monthly review! I absolutely LOVED the part where you were looking at your current measurement and comparing to where it used to be - looking at that STRETCH of measuring tape is a really really neat visual! I'm going to have to go try it out myself!

And, I think that I'm going to make something that's the same length and add it to my vision collage bulletin board to remind me of how far I've come! GREAT way to measure beyond the scale!

You rock - AS ALWAYS Janet!
Heart ya,
Jocelyn

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MS.ELENI 8/21/2009 12:41AM

    Great blog.You are always an inspiration.Makes me believe I can do it. emoticon

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 8/20/2009 9:40PM

    Yep great motivation. Especially when the dreaded plateau descends. Or worse. My scale is going the wrong way this week. Ayeeee. After all my earlier success I have let myself get hooked on sugar again. I'm going to keep focusing on the positive. And the overall positive. Just as you suggest.

Good stuff
Thanks

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LIV2RIDE 8/20/2009 9:19PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

I love that you aren't a slave to the scale. You are doing an amazing job. Keep up the hard work.

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GEE-KNEE 8/20/2009 8:54PM

    That is so cool how much slack is in that belt. It's cute that you make little excel spread sheets and then graph it. I agree a nice graph does put things into perspective. I like the chart that my Wii Fit makes because I see the downward trends even when the weight goes up and down. It looks like a little scatter plot.

best,
jeannie
R>

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ADVENTURE-GIRL 8/20/2009 6:29PM

    Great video! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on measuring. I usually hate to measure b/c I can't find the tape measure, or whatever, but you're right its a good indicator of progress. I checked out your page, WOW, you are doing great, you are such an inspiration. Congrats on all your success!
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MARCHMAID 8/20/2009 6:29PM

    You are justifiably proud of yourself! How tall are you?

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Switch and Walk

Monday, August 17, 2009

www.youtube.com/watch?v=uawdbR9gQvo

Over the past weekend (this is why I had needed cleaning elves), my parents visited.

They of course know me at any and every weight and so are thrilled that I am where I am but at the same time I was offered some chips. Hmm.

Be that as it may, it was an occasion to listen and observe. My folks are in their late seventies. Like many people of that age group, they've had some health issues. Plus their peer group has had health concerns including, sadly, some deaths. Friends are going into assisted living. Others have the start of Alzheimer's. Others have trouble with mobility.

In short, worlds are getting smaller, and dominions are becoming diminished.

I see their own world shrinking a bit, as they love to travel but now seem to have written off going overseas. Too many health insurance questions. Too many concerns about language barriers. Too many fears of bad food or less than perfectly clean water or the ease of finding proper facilities. Too much walking. Too far from doctors and the familiar.

This from people who, when I was six and we were driving in Germany, he said to her, "Hey, that sign is showing the way to Austria. Wanna go to Austria?" "Sure!" she replied.

So, no more impulse trips to Austria. Or to England, which they both love and obviously has no language barrier.

But I don't push. They make their choices, and my husband and I make our own and we are all adults and, presumably, all have the most and best and latest information at our fingertips. No one feels how someone else feels, really.

But it makes me wonder, how the choices I make today affect the ones that I will be forced into later.

* If I choose to be healthy today, then I might (there are no guarantees) be healthier in 30 years, or 35 or more (I turn 47 in a few weeks).
* But if I don't choose to be healthy today, then chances are good that I will remain unhealthy.
* If I exercise today, not only should I be able to exercise tomorrow, I should also be able to do more basic things in the future like ~
** climb stairs readily
** reach for an item on a high shelf
** care for my own lawn and garden
** drive long distances
** walk where I want to go
** ride a bike if I so choose
** dance
** keep up
* If I eat right today, then I have a fighting chance of, in the future, being able to ~
** eat without fear of diabetes
** eat without fear of a heart attack, or needing bypass surgery
** eat affordable, sustainable foods that are not just good for me but are good for my local community and the planet
* If I drink the water, then I just might be able to, in the future ~
** keep my weight down
** not have dry mouth or eyes
** not get edema

I want to be taken out of my home feet first. And I want that to be a long, long time from now. And in the meantime, until that inevitable day, I want my time to be as good as it can be.

On Saturday, we went out and played frisbee. It was some alone together time for Mr. J and me, plus we both needed to work out. I jumped. A lot. And let me tell you -- I have sometimes seen frisbee as a chore, ugh, I need to do cardio, I'm tired of cardio, blah blah blah.

But on Saturday, I jumped and jumped. And I remembered, from back when, I suppose, I was six or so, my parents driving around Austria.

Jumping is fun.

It's fun.

Fun.

What a great word.

What an awesome, kick-bun word.

Fun. It's the essence. We should have some of it every single day, in whatever way we can, in whatever capacity.

It doesn't necessarily mean that I want to play frisbee all the time, or that I cannot be serious ever again, but I do want to have fun. Every day. For the rest of my life. For every day that remains, I want fun.

That's a lot of wrap up in a little three-letter word package.

Fun.

I highly recommend it.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANONYGIRL 8/19/2009 1:11PM

    I have a very negative, unpleasant grandmother, who discourages me every way she can from healthy eating and exercise. I disregard her, thank goodness. Just yesterday, as she was criticizing me again for working out, I told her that if I do this for myself now, I will be more likely to be strong and fit and healthy when I am her age. I'm doing all this for myself, so that when I'm old, people marvel at how young I seem! (Plus by the time I can afford to travel, I'd like to be physically able to!)

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SWEETZMIX 8/19/2009 12:50PM

    love your blogs...fun is something we should aim for everyday. we need a little fun in our lives. and ur right, what we do today will most likely effect us later in life, so we might as well take care of ourselves at the very least.

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CHERYLRG 8/19/2009 10:04AM

    GREAT post! It's a great reminder too. Thanks!

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MOESTAR1603 8/18/2009 10:21PM

    emoticon emoticonfor posting!

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FIT_TERI 8/18/2009 9:09PM

    Wow, this blog really resonates with me. I am in about the same place. Just turned 48 (what? I demand a recount!!!) a week ago, parents in their mid-late 70's. They suddenly (to me at least) seem very old and are making concessions as far as travel & activities to their age & infirmities. Most of the things that afflict them can be hereditary....diabetes, high blood pressure.

What I do know for sure is that when my parents were in their 40's, they were NOT concerned with fitness. So, we have a leg up on most of that generation I think, in terms of knowing what we do about fitness and nutrition. And, we choose to act on that knowledge. And sometimes, maybe even often, it's FUN.

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ZEBEBEE 8/18/2009 9:43AM

    I have a friend who feels one of the things that most motivated her to lose weight was something I said, which was 'Let's face it, you don't see a lot of morbidly obese 70 year olds around. They just don't make it that far.' I get that intellectually, and I'm glad it motivated her. I just need to get that, emotionally, for myself. Great blog Jespah.

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LIV2RIDE 8/18/2009 6:49AM

    Often we as adults are too "adult" to have fun. Glad you found that sweet spot. Enjoy every day like it's your last with NO REGRETS!!!

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MUPP1970 8/17/2009 10:59PM

    Well said!

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CAROLISCIOUS 8/17/2009 9:53PM

    Yes, I think about this all the time. My mother is obese, has diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis and all that comes with it. Before I started this present journey to health, I had a brush with a slightly elevated blood sugar. It really scared me. Being scared in this case was a good thing. All that is turned around and my labs have been normal since then.

Whew! Close call.



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MARCHMAID 8/17/2009 9:52PM

    Fun is the ticket. Except for the past several weeks when I've been sick with an unknown malady, and even then, I've been having some kind of fun every day--even if I have to pay for it later. : ) Today I went peddle boating with my son and his kids, my husband and I went out to dinner to celebrate our 41st anniversary and I wrote an op ed page for the local rag.

All in all, a productive and fun day. Tomorrow, I'm heading to the garden early in the day to do some weeding (which I think is fun because I thrive on hard physical work) and then I'm grabbing the kids to take them to the lake again. No time to rest--that's what eternity is for!

However, now that I've found I "lose when I snooze" you won't catch me getting up to early or skipping a nap if I do!

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CANNOTFATHOM 8/17/2009 9:42PM

    Nice blog! Gives one a lot to think about :) Frisbie sounds like fun :)


Penny

PS Thanks for the Gnarls Barkley

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LAB-LOVER 8/17/2009 9:27PM

    Wanna have more running fun? Me n Jess are doing the Cape Shore 5K on Saturday in Boston...I gotta go and register.

But I'm with QUEEN on the lawn and garden. Just today I was surveying my GROWING dominion and thinking "wouldn't it be nice to be able to afford a landscaping service?" Cuz, man, I just cannot keep up.... and I find that I don't want to either -- it feels... well... futile. Cuz them weeds just keep growing!

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 8/17/2009 9:21PM

    I am with you on all of it except the garden and the lawn. If I eat well, exercise, and drink water does that mean I have to tend the garden and mow the lawn?

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GEE-KNEE 8/17/2009 8:07PM

    Your parents sound like neat people. I agree that this healthy living thing has its benefits. Speaking of fun and jumping, at the last birthday party that I attended with my children, I snuck out to the jumper while everyone was watching the birthday boy open gifts. I want a jumper (or a trampoline). The jumper was fun.

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SAPNA. 8/17/2009 7:45PM

    You made some brilliant thought provoking points. I am with you on what you have said. If we work at our health today then we will be able to do all the things we want to do for as long as possible. maybe well into old age. If we dont take care of ourselves we will be housebound and miserable very early on. Thank you for this blog. it was a great help.

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How to Make Rio Grande Guacamole

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A demo of how to make http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-deta
il.asp?recipe=347094 (serving size is one tablespoon of guacamole goodness), plus how to do a cooking demo when you're nowhere near a kitchen. Note: this video is kinda long.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRACYZABELLE 8/13/2009 4:54AM

    yummy

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MS.ELENI 8/12/2009 4:57PM

    Wonderful. I hate guacamole but I just smiled the whole time I watched your video. And you have lost so much weight.I have to check out your spark page. I am so glad they made it where we could find everyones video.I have made a few but not near as entertaining as yours.Congrats on all your hard work emoticon

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TELERIE 8/12/2009 12:47PM

    I love guacamole and use it a lot. It was so much fun watching you and listening to you! Thanks for making this - I'll try your recipe. Congrats on the medium top - you look great!!

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NYAYNE 8/12/2009 9:53AM

    Jespah you are just way too cool. I loved this vlog as much as I love avacado. When I lived in CA avacado was a daily treat.

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LIV2RIDE 8/12/2009 6:57AM

    Thanks for sharing. I love the videos.

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KENNYWHEELS 8/11/2009 10:13PM

    As usual jespah another great vlog. very funny and also very informative. I have had avacado in sushi before joining sparkpeople and i might have to try making your recipe. I like the part about the bell pepper as a chip alternative. like you i have not had any chips in a long time. I tried to set up my camera but i can not get it to work. seem i have no software to run this coamera with my neww computer(it has vista got camera for xp)
kenny

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CAROLISCIOUS 8/11/2009 10:00PM

    Thanks for the bell pepper tip. Good to know!

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 8/11/2009 8:37PM

    Looks yummy. But even better...you look fantastic.

Brava!

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CANNOTFATHOM 8/11/2009 7:35PM

    Thanks so much for sharing your recipe!


Penny

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