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JESPAH's Recent Blog Entries

I Think I Know What I Want

Monday, January 21, 2013

www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZJNrf6NGt0

I just spent the past 2 weekends doing massive family stuff, as my mother turned 80. Two parties to accommodate everyone without going to the expense of renting a hall or making people travel too much.

I came out of it with little exercise but with decent food choices. Over the course of the 2 weeks, I gained a big honkin' .2 pounds. My measurements are fine and are comparable to what they were. By all rights, this was a staggering success, considering the dearth of exercise opportunities and the plethora of bad food choices available.

I also watched. And learned. And here's what I learned.

* Obesity is family-related. It may or may not be genetic but it certainly related to family culture. That is, people who are used to playing sports or walking or whatever will be thinner, over time. Those who are used to eating everything in sight, and making unhealthy choices, will continue to do so unless they make a supreme effort. And, over time, they will be larger.
* Perception is all. I have gained back a good 60 pounds since my lightest on SP but it does not matter. They still tell me I'm thin, God bless 'em. And my relatives who are heavy tend to see that as their normal, even as I see them hitching up their clothes, or taking thirds, or untagging themselves from Facebook images as they think they look too fat. Well, I got news for ya. The reason why your picture makes you look fat is because you ARE fat. Sorry, that's harsh. But the camera isn't adding 100+ extra pounds. That part's all you.
* Amidst challenges, there are opportunities. During the first weekend, my father and I went to a local beach and walked on the boardwalk. We did, all told, about 1.75 miles (he had thought it was 2, but my pedometer claims otherwise). But I got him up and out there. At the events, I piled my plate with salad, or vegetables, or sushi, or shrimp, or plain turkey. I refused the store-bought cake but I did have some of the homemade.
* Related to the last one - choices are all. You can make good or bad ones. No one is holding a gun to your head either way. Choose carrots or choose chips. Both are out. You're a grownup and can make this choice.
* Nobody notices if you don't finish something. I helped clean up after the second party (the first was at a restaurant). And I noticed food on people's plates. They didn't scrape them clean. Who did that? Damned if I know. And it doesn't matter. What am I, the Food Police? Yes, they should have taken less. But they didn't intake as much. Either way is a victory.
* There will always be critics. "Oh, you shouldn't run so much. My brother destroyed his knees that way." This was said by a guy who's about 12 years older than me, and walks with a cane because he's so heavy. Er, your brother destroyed his knees because he was running in the 70s, when equipment was bad. But I didn't say that. I just said, "I'll be careful, thanks." And I moved on.
* Children's behaviors should be of interest. One doesn't like fruit. Another hoarded vegetables and dip. Another was shy but ultimately made good choices. Another ran around, bored, but didn't intake too much. How will they all grow up? Of course I have no idea, but I wonder about what I saw. Will the fruit-hater learn to embrace apples? Will the run-around-er slow down and then stop and let weight catch up? Will the one making good choices continue to do so? Will the dip and veggie hoarder start hoarding much worse foods? Stay tuned, I suppose.

And through it all, these were good experiences. They are not all about food, and failed fitness opportunities. It was all, after all, really about my mother.

And what is the best gift I can give her?

To be as fit and healthy as I can be. To keep the worst of diseases at bay, if I can. To be available for her, and able to help when she (eventually) needs me, as will my father.

And so today's walk, and the omelet with tofu and the 11 cups of water? They're for you, Mom.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

QUEENOTHEFOREST 1/23/2013 8:56AM

    What a read. You captured the flavors of the experience. Which of the little ones were you Jes? I wonder. Sometimes I remember being a kid on roller skates or running like the breeze and looking at adults and promising myself I would never let myself stop running or rollerskating or swimming. What happens to us? I wonder too. This blog is like watching a movie. Loved it.

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DDOORN 1/22/2013 8:41AM

    You got it: #1 for ourselves AND others is to be the best possible role model of health and wellness that we can be!

Agree SO MUCH that obesity is SO entwined with our family culture.

Two thumbs WAY UP to your walk with your father...you just can't top great quality time together with our loved ones!

Don

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PHEBESS 1/22/2013 12:26AM

    Love it! You are so perceptive, and share that so well!

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DOGLADY13 1/21/2013 3:15PM

    I got all verklempt. Very nice blog. A beautiful gift for your parents is to be healthy for them. It's a beautiful gift for your husband. It is the best gift that you give to yourself.

Thank you for the reminder.

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MS.ELENI 1/21/2013 2:36PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BLUEANGELLK 1/21/2013 12:49PM

    Great job with your food choices and even better on your insights! Use them to kick the next pound to the curb!

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GUITARWOMAN 1/21/2013 12:03PM

    Wonderful blog!

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I'm Gonna Set Your Flag on Fire

Monday, January 14, 2013

www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1voj6H8CHY

I am back for a few days, in between parties. My mother turned 80 and so there are 2 parties. Because, well, why not?

The first one went well, and I was also the videographer for THIS - www.youtube.com/watch?v=80hS89l2T34

Yep, that's my Dad.

He learned the napkin-folding trick from his aunt, who brought it to the US from Austria. So consider it a bit o' my traditions for you.

Oh, and the buffet that was larger than Venezuela did not do too much damage.

Iko!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GUITARWOMAN 1/25/2013 12:36PM

    Love your dad and the mouse!

Would have love the buffet too...but it wouldn't have loved me!

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DDOORN 1/25/2013 8:24AM

    Hey thx for the way cool intro to your father!

Thumbs WAY up for great family times...better than gold! :-)

Don

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PICKIE98 1/15/2013 4:04PM

    What a hoot! I love that trick, I wish I could show him my "dollar bill through an apple" trick!

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 1/14/2013 10:31PM

    Pops is adorable. So is the mousie.

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DOGLADY13 1/14/2013 9:46PM

    I love buffets the size of Venezuela!

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MS.ELENI 1/14/2013 9:25PM

    Loved your Dad. He looks like he is a lot of fun to be around emoticon

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CAROLISCIOUS 1/14/2013 7:41PM

    I wonder if I could show that mouse thing to Ellie and Miles? I shall give it a try!

Glad party #1 went well!

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MS.ELENI 1/14/2013 6:30PM

    It does sound like a good time. emoticon

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CAPECODLIGHT 1/14/2013 5:15PM

    Sounds like a good time and you enjoyed yourself without totally derailing. Good for you.

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One for the Now, and Eleven for the Later

Monday, January 07, 2013

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sb5aq5HcS1A

I am poised on the brink of some massive family stuff. My mother is turning 80 later this week. And so there will be two parties. It's not that the two sides of the family don't get along or anything like that; it's just that there are WAY too many people. Hence there's just no way we could do a party without it turning into an *affair*, complete with a hall and a caterer and all that other junk.

Therefore, the first will be my mother's side, held at a Chinese buffet near their home, on the 12th. I am taking a train in on the 11th and staying until the 14th. The second will be at my aunt's in NJ, on the 19th. For that one, both Mr. j and I are coming in on the 18th and staying until the 20th.

In the meantime, the number of people staying at my folks' is spiraling out of control. As in, I received an email, asking which couch I preferred. Argh. I would go to a motel, but it just ain't in the budget. And so I flipped a coin and it came up guest bedroom, rather than den.

I suspect I will also be on driving duty. I have been on photo album duty already, which has resulted in pics of mystery babies and forgotten images of their friends from God knows when and holy crap when did your hair look like THAT?

Helpful hint from jes - never, EVER, make it apparent if you're at all good at anything like that. 'Cause you'll be stuck doing it every f'in' time.

But I do it, I do it because I have to, but also because of course I love my mother and I want her to be happy. I haven't got the bucks to give her a trip or a day spa visit or an iPad or whatever. So the album is it. I wrote a sonnet.

In dieting news, this whole trip will be an occasion to try to stay away from really bad foods and squeeze in some form of exercise. Since pretty much no one but me regularly works out, this will be tricky, as this is supposed to be Family Togetherness Time (TM). Hence running off (literally) for an hour every day may not be in the cards. As for walking with someone, er, I'm not so sure I want to do that, either. I'll find a way; I always do. This might involve getting up super-early. Pain in the patoot but otherwise I get no exercise and no alone time and that is not good.

Now, I realize there is very little above about me actually enjoying any of this. I do like seeing my family and all of that. And I haven't seen my cousins in a LONG time (although I keep up with most of them on Facebook, so it's not like I'm completely clueless as to how their lives are currently going). But it just seems so trying.

And, the unspoken bit, the part that nobody mentions, is, we all wonder - is this the last big birthday where all are together? Is this the swan song, the final hurrah? Or is it one in a continuing series, and we'll laugh about how silly and scared we were when she hits 90 or 100? Of course, there's no way for me to know, or for anyone to know, not right now.

And so I will go. And I will grin and bear it, and will try to have my own needs fulfilled as I dovetail them with others' needs and it all gets wrapped up in a pretty little anxiety bow.

That frustrated scream you're hearing from the vague direction of Long Island? That would be me. Enjoy the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 1/15/2013 8:25AM

    I'm betting you'll be able to pull off some good family times during this event...pulling off workouts & healthy eating is always a challenge. That's what un-raveled me during the past holiday season, ugh!

Don

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CHEETARA79 1/9/2013 6:17AM

    Greg and I call it Family Torture Time, in a loving way of course. I don't envy you those two trips! My grandpa turns 100 this year, within days of Greg, so we're toying with a 130th birthday party. Who knows? That party will have to be down in the Bronx, possibly at the senior center that my Grandpa goes to every day. He still lives on his own. His hearing and sight are gone but the man is still sharp as a friggin tack.

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PROVERBS31JULIA 1/8/2013 6:54PM

    She'll only have one 80th birthday so better to party as many times as ya'll can! Bring a sleeping bag to help pad out the couch or the den or wherever you end up sleeping. The scrapbook sounds great. And someone mentioned the electric photo frame - that's also a big hit with my mom (we had a 69.5 year birthday party for my mom one Memorial day weekend because her birthday is in the winter and my siblings and their families in colleges etc were busy in the fall and winter months with their games etc) and us kids all kicked in a few bucks (well I don't know like 10 each? 20? depends on how fancy a frame, I guess....) and then we all loaded in the photos we had from various jump drives and flash cards and email. Worked out well. Mom never suspected a thing and she didn't have to mess with adding the photos in. She LOVES her photo frame. So that's something to consider (especially if you hurry, your family might be able to find some nice ones on clearance prices from being "last year's model" just in time for your mom's birthday! (one of the advantages of a January birthday - I know! That's where I get a lot of my own birthday presents!! haha!).

In any case however it works out, have a great trip! And don't worry about the 90th birthday until it gets there!! Worry about one birthday at a time!! ;-)
(or if you want to worry about it, you'll have 10 years to think about the next poem to write!?)

Enjoy!



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BESEVEN 1/8/2013 11:49AM

    3 years are something my daughter and I share. She enters the double digits in March and I turn 50 in December! Congrats to your Mom, and don't stress, just flow with the go! emoticon

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KASEYCOFF 1/8/2013 4:00AM

    Well, by golly, congrats to your mother!

Love the photo album idea - after all, really, what can you get for someone at that age they haven't already got or don't want? When my grandmother turned 95 we got her one of those digital frames that cycle photographs. My uncle had collected pictures from all of us and scanned them in - she loved it!

Re the running: surely in a family that big, someone - a cousin, a nephew, a sister-in-law, someone - also runs / works out. And if they don't, who knows, you might convert a nonbeliever who'll at least keep you company while you're there!
emoticon
p.s. For what it's worth, I think a sonnet trumps a limerick, lol...

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 1/7/2013 10:25PM

    Well maybe it will be a pain in the patoot but I for one am expecting some hilarious blogs out of all this. After all these years I feel like one of the clan.

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SAINTBETH 1/7/2013 8:20PM

    Happy birthday, Mom! You can handle it. And a walk to take a break from family might make it even better.

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TEMPEST272002 1/7/2013 7:45PM

    If I was your mum, the photo album would be my most treasured gift! It's wonderful that you have the skills to put that together for her & I bet it will be the hit of the party. Sounds like you have a good plan to deal with the family stress. Hopefully there won't be too many unpleasant moments... but there will be lots of laughter and fun. Lucky you on the coin toss. lol

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DOGLADY13 1/7/2013 4:19PM

    You know what... I used to think it was rude to go off on a run when I was with family. But they don't really care. Pick a time when people are just doing nothing and then go. I typically head out around 10 in the morning.

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GUITARWOMAN 1/7/2013 12:38PM

    Wow, what planning!

I think you are a good daughter.

Try and get some workouts in, I know you can do it!

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MS.ELENI 1/7/2013 12:17PM

    We have a lot of 0's this year. My grand daughter turns 20,my youngest daughter will be 40,My oldest son 50, My hubby 70 and my sister will turn 80. My sisters kids will do something for her and my brother is coming from arizona. i know Bill's kids will want to do something but I don't want my kids left out.We just had them all here and really don't want to go thru that again. But it might be the best thing.These things are stressful

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Now is That a Light in Sky or Just a Spark in my Heart?

Monday, December 31, 2012

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPvau0RBYPk

I am thinking of Decembers, and of transitions. This is the end of my - no lie - 5th year at Spark. And I am ending it at my heaviest (albeit not by much), even more than at the end of the first year, when I had lost a good 120 or so in 365 days and was feeling incredible and invincible and did not see the bumpy road ahead, despite numerous warnings.

Numbers are ... interesting. But it makes the most sense to look at not only the last measured day of each year, but also at the closest thing I've got to the last day I measured before starting (I didn't start measuring until the end of January of 2008, but cut me a modicum of slack, okay?).

Weight
2007 346*
2008 232
2009 180.6*
2010 203.4
2011 213.2
2012 234.2

So, yeah, it's not wonderful right now, except of course in comparison to '07. The 20 or so pounds gained every year is troubling. But check out some inch #s.

Bicep
2007 19*
2008 13.75
2009 12.5*
2010 13.75
2011 12.5*
2012 13.25

Bust
2007 54.75*
2008 43.25
2009 37*
2010 39
2011 40.75
2012 41

Band
2007 47.5*
2008 36.5
2009 33.25*
2010 35.5
2011 36.25
2012 36.75

Waist
2007 49*
2008 37.5
2009 32.5*
2010 36.75
2011 37.25
2012 37.75

Belly
2007 59.5*
2008 42
2009 35.5*
2010 38
2011 38.25
2012 42

Hip/Butt
2007 51/64*
2008 45/49.25
2009 40.25/42.25*
2010 43.25/43.25 *Note I count them the same since I had surgery to remove an apron of skin
2011 43.25/43.25
2012 45.25/45.25

Thigh
2007 32.25*
2008 22
2009 20*
2010 22.25
2011 20*
2012 21.75

And I look at these #s. While they are not wonderful right now, they're not bad. I find it particularly interesting to compare to the end of 2009, my lowest December. And my inch #s are just, well, they're pretty damned amazing when you consider it's a 53.6 pound gain. Hips are the biggest gain (5 inches). But otherwise, well, there's a reason why I'm still fitting into size Medium tees. And my size below is between a 14 and a 16 (it had been down to 10 at the lowest).

I'm more densely packed. So I'm more muscle-bound, I suppose. It came out yesterday, as I swung a shovel for nearly an hour and got almost half of our rather long driveway cleared of heavy, wet snow. And today I feel fine, ready to tackle the second half.

But what does 2013 hold? And 2014 and beyond?

I will admit it is far, FAR more difficult to get motivated. I see my fellow long-termers struggling, at whatever weight they feel is too much (and half the time, their drop-dead weight is lower than my lowest had been, and I admit to feelings of less than charity at times when I see those numbers and I read those complaints). Many simply drop out, for weeks at a time, or months, perhaps ashamed to post certain #s or maybe it's all too overwhelming and the whole thing is just too depressing and unpleasant.

Dammit, this life business is HARD!!!

And so it is.

What would you say to the end of 2007 you?

I'll tell you one thing I WOULDN'T say to her.

I wouldn't tell her that she'd have a quick glory year and then mire in gains again. I wouldn't tell her that Onederland would be but a fleeting visit.

Because that does no good. And it's not accurate, anyway, for things may change, right?

I'd tell her that she can do this. I'd tell her that it's not easy. I'd tell her that it will be a mixed bag. I'd tell that there will be some regaining. I'd tell her that 50 is a tougher year than 45, but it's probably an easier year than 55 and what does that say about things?

It's funny. We go through our immature periods, and we have little discipline and self-control, and we gain. And then when we get our collective acts in gear and can trust ourselves to be careful with weighing and measuring and counting and the like, our bodies laugh and say - Hey, you shoulda done this earlier.

But until a time machine is invented, this is what we've got. And so, ask yourself, what will my 2017 self say to me?

You're so thin.
Your hair is so dark.
You don't have (so many) crows' feet.
Your skin is softer.

AND

You can do it.
It's not easy.
There will be mixed results.
You will get discouraged about some things, and encouraged about others.

Try to remember the encouraging things more.

Happy new year.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 1/14/2013 9:06AM

    Great words, these:

"You can do it.
It's not easy.
There will be mixed results.
You will get discouraged about some things, and encouraged about others."

Going to hang onto them along with the three mantras my therapist and I cooked up for a better year ahead! :-)

Don

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DMPRIDER 1/4/2013 11:29PM

    Thanks for sharing JES. It is damn hard. Hard to do and hard not to give up. But we will keep at it. I'd love to be "done" but I know that is never going to happen. I will be on this journey for the rest of my life. We're on this journey all together and we can't quit now.

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KASEYCOFF 1/3/2013 2:58AM

    What a great perspective! And I'm with you - this whole five-year business (can it BE five years?) is on my mind, too. I haven't quite sorted out where I am, where I want to go, and how I'm going to get there. But I'm determined to do it - carpe annum: seize the year!
emoticon

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 1/2/2013 9:11AM

    Ah Jes, how true it all is. I am with Carolicious. Thanks for your constancy and honesty. Let's do a healthy happy fit 2013!

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PICKIE98 12/31/2012 2:14PM

    Thanks for that. I am duly impressed of your loss of inches, regardless of the weight. As you said, you are more solid, you did not get sore after shoveling.
The weight you are hanging onto is moving around in proportion to your SKIN! Your muscles are being used like never before 2007...

You know where you are, where you were and where you would like to be in the future. For now, this is it, you are realistic and are dealing with the JOB ahead of you. Quitters are NOT losers, of weight.
yes, when I see somebody that weighs 125 and wants to lose ten pounds and they will not look in the mirror to see all of that fat. it is like a rich person not taking a cab because the seats are dirty.

It is all relative: I am not in the Lamborghini league, but I have sat in one and have the pics!!

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MS.ELENI 12/31/2012 12:26PM

    I like that you always find a positive spin. emoticon emoticon

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GUITARWOMAN 12/31/2012 12:25PM

    ups and downs, yes, that describes it!

thanks for this blog! Your body measurements are amazing!

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CAROLISCIOUS 12/31/2012 11:53AM

    My perfectionist self doesn't like it, but finally I have come to accept the ups and downs...this IS DAMN hard. We are not perfect...but, thankfully, we are resilient.

Still, I dream of to getting to a point where I sigh deeply and say, "Okay I'm done with that." Can you say, "fairytale?"

Of course that will never happen, but what does happen is the learning...what to do, what not to do, what works, what doesn't work.

Thanks for being so consistent...so open and honest...through this journey that I am proud to say we are on together.

emoticon Happy 2013!

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Let Me Start a Fire With Your Spark

Monday, December 24, 2012

www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWNKHi2joJE

I was thinking this could be an appropriate blog song, plus the quoted lyric is epic.

I know many are not reading. It is family time. It is celebration time. It is a time for letting go, a bit, as we begin to truly let go of the old year. And a lot of us end up letting go of our disciplines as well.

Ewps.

Let us, instead, let go of our anger. Let's kick resentment to the curb. Let's push slights and hurts and grudges away.

And let us leave ourselves with a far more positive essence within.

Perhaps, a case in pernt.

Mr. j and I were talking the other day. And we were describing what he eats for breakfast, versus what I eat. Now, there are days when he eats very healthfully indeed (oatmeal and the like). And there are days when his choices are, let's just say, less than optimal.

Yet he weighs less than me. And he is losing weight this way.

It angered me, truth be told. I wasn't angered at him (it's just his metabolism, after all). Rather, I was angry at the injustice of it all.

I had/have been good. I eat Cheerios and toast! Or I have a veggie omelet made with Pam! And that's just breakfast.

My lunches are usually better (in terms of health) than his are. My dinners are often the same, but when they vary, they are generally better.

I lift weights every damned day. He lifts much less often. He does walk more than I do, and he's faster. But apart from that, what gives?

And then I remembered. Or, rather, he reminded me.

* I am female.
* I am 50 years old.
* There is a history of all sorts of obesity, mainly on my mother's side but also for most of the women on my father's side as well.
* I have only been doing this for just under 5 years, and not over 45, like he has.
* And I am starting from far heavier, even now, and was starting for WAY heavier 5 years ago.

And so I remembered - life isn't fair, but there are still some reasons for the unevenness.

And I also remembered.

* I do the best to take care of myself.
* I walk even though I get discouraged.
* I race even though I am usually last.
* A lack of results is no excuse for screwing up and REALLY having a reason for no results.

Allow me to repeat that little tidbit.

A lack of results is no excuse for screwing up and REALLY having a reason for no results.

I swear, I should tattoo that on my forehead in mirror script.

And yanno what happened last week?

I ate my good breakfasts, and lunches, and dinners. I lifted. I walked. I even took a rare rest day.

And I lost over 7 pounds.

Now, at this stage of things, 7 pounds is generally a good 5 of water and salt. But I will take it gladly, and I will remind myself of what seems to be a universal truth, now and in all seasons -

Life ain't fair. But keep plugging anyway. And don't kick yourself for being imperfect. You are no angel, in your behaviors or your choices or your results.

So instead, you get to settle for being human.

And that's kinda cool.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DMPRIDER 1/4/2013 10:52PM

    Thanks for the reminder! Lack of results is no reason to throw in the towel, exercising and eating right is still better for us than not. Very good points to remember!

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 1/2/2013 9:14AM

    Well that was a great way to end the year. And it is encouraging me to be more thorough too. Thanks Jes.

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CAROLISCIOUS 12/31/2012 10:34AM

    Congrats on the loss...keep those good things going!

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STRINGS58 12/31/2012 8:12AM

    Excellent, Excellent blog! I really enjoyed reading this! I hear the messages loud and clear and I LIKE 'em! Thanks! Thanks for the background music too. May you have a Happy New Year full of compassion and continued dedication! emoticon

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DDOORN 12/25/2012 4:42PM

    Great thoughts for the New Year ahead, heck for EVERY DAY ahead!

Can't start a fire without a SPARK! :-)

http://youtu.be/sfk0uMLh
XqY

Don

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SAINTBETH 12/25/2012 12:11PM

    good reminders

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QUEENOTHEFOREST 12/25/2012 8:24AM

    Great sentiments! Happy day every day Jes.

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WOLFKITTY 12/24/2012 8:45PM

    Good rememberings! :)

Joce

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PHEBESS 12/24/2012 5:07PM

    Yup - DH can lose weight on what he calls the pastry diet - I'd gain if I did that. Life isn't fair. But we each do the best we can with what we've got!

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GUITARWOMAN 12/24/2012 2:19PM

    Yes, being human is kind of cool...do our best, take responsibility, and forgive our own lapses.....that's what it is about!

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MS.ELENI 12/24/2012 12:59PM

    emoticon Have a great Christmas eve

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