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Do You Really Have Time To Dawdle?

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Will you continue to blow off your workout until 'tomorrow' - over and over?
Let's talk about your food. Are you making healthy changes in your life, and more importantly, in your refrigerator?
Do the contents of your pantry have an expiration date of 2067 with all of those processed 'food items' lined up?
Is your pet expanding as you expand?

Do you really have time to waste while areas of your life waste away?

What if you were to meander through the day and then experience a health crisis that flipped your entire world on end? Perhaps a car accident, and injury, or in my case, a disease that decided to pick 1 hour into enjoying my husband's office holiday party to initiate an attack on my body like a piranha.

That was year's ago. When I look at my body now and see how this piranha beast has eaten away at the interior of my body; now reflected on the outside of it 24 hours a day, I sometimes shudder.
I know that this sounds vain, but I wish my hands looked normal to do my wedding ring justice.
All of those tiny things that make a woman feel beautiful (or at least myself), are twisted.
Some of the material things like manicures/pedicures, jewelry and shoes; things that I can't tolerate getting or wearing (Good LORD I miss sexy shoes!!!). Other things are not material, but ever so much more important, like holding my husband's hand or enjoying sleeping in later just to be closer to him, with my head on his chest, dozing off under the rhythm of his breathing.

I used to blame myself for not taking the time to enjoy those little things, but that doesn't help any. My husband prays for my healing every night, and we are thankful for the small windows of low pain I get; sometimes a day's worth per month.

Who are you to take for granted all of the freedoms you currently have?
Do you think your actions, or lack there of, will be available to you forever? Says who?

What's that line we've all said under our breath at some point? "If I only had it to do all over again..."
Don't wait for that.

Get out of your chair.
Put that unhealthy food down.
Use the multitude of resources here at SparkPeople and build a better food lifestyle.
Get outside and feel the sun on your face, the breeze on your body, the ground beneath your feet.
Call a friend and go take a hike, and then hug them wholeheartedly as you say goodbye - because you can.
Train like there is no tomorrow!
Enjoy the sunset with someone special.
Don't give up. EVER.

This time is a gift. Don't waste it.

And report back to me with your great walks/wogs/hikes/rowing/trail running sessions so I can live vicariously through YOU : ).

'nuff said.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNFLOWER4ME 9/9/2011 4:11PM


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1HAPPYWOMAN 9/4/2011 7:47PM

    Today I rode my bike in the sun, enjoying the beautiful trees, the salt tang of the ocean, the kids playing street hockey, the beautiful, beautiful world. For you, Bren, I promise to keep enjoying every moment. I promise to stay grateful and treat each day as a precious gift -- heck, each moment as the most perfect, sweet, amazing gift.

What I love about SP is the community, the sense of connection to others who are struggling with the same issues. You, however, are carrying a burden of pain that most of us will never understand. Thank you for your courage and for sharing so honestly and openly. We're all so blessed to learn from you.

I'm not religious, but I pray for you often. I send you good thoughts, healing energy, all that woo woo stuff..... Your words have touched my heart. You're in my thoughts.

Lots of love,


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MEDDYPEDDY 9/4/2011 2:43AM

    Love this blog - it knocked me off the pitypot I was dwelling on because I felt old and achy and mourning all the health I used to have... well I still have a lot of it and I still can do a lot of fun and menaingful things with myself...

As I am swedish I will have to go google your disease to find out what it is...

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AAAACK 9/4/2011 2:38AM

    You are unequivocally one of the most beautiful women I have ever known. Thank you for this eloquent reminder to live life, to touch life, and to be enfolded in life's arms while I can.

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EVERSTEPH 9/3/2011 11:17PM

    Beautifully written.

Until something awful happens, it is easy to take life for granted. Thank you very much for the reminder. emoticon

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CANNIE50 9/3/2011 10:49PM

    This is a powerful blog. I was in a nursing home earlier today, visiting a relative, and so I was acutely aware of my health, and my abilities. I also saw obese people in wheelchairs and I thought "it is so hard to be fat and it is so difficult to grow old - combining those two elements really creates a painful existence". I also realized that, as in the case of my relative, poor health brings premature old age. My relative is only 66 but has FAR less mobility and much worse quality of life than my 90 year old mother who has practiced moderate habits and has lived a healthy lifestyle. I am very grateful for my own good health and I think of you often when I am tempted to whine about my aches and pains, or cut a workout short. I wish you miracles and blessings and relief and peace. oxox C. emoticon

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    Love it!!!

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HELLAS2 9/3/2011 10:17PM

    Beautiful ... well put .... most of us do not appreciate life enough. We should never let life slip through our fingers like water.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Adult Summer Camp Anyone?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Do you remember summer camp as a child? And even better, do you remember how you related to food and exercise at that time of your life? It was probably the same memory I had: no stress or second thought about any of it - what - so - e -ver.

I remember bins full of various sugary cereals in the camp kitchen for breakfast, and grilled up hot dogs for dinner. I still smile as I reminisce about campfire stories while eating s'mores, but cannot recall any anxiety about all that food. It was just 'there'.
When the meal bell rang, I lined up with my other cabin girls. We giggled and laughed at the boys across the dining room, and talked about what song to lip synch at the talent show later that week (The Go-Go's or Wham! ?) We simply ate and went back to the fun stuff.

When did the 'fun stuff' morph into being called exercise?

What were you doing all day at summer camp years ago? I was chasing dragonflies by the water. Never caught one, but that didn't stop me from trying. I made pipe cleaner people with scrap fabric clothes (owww, why do those things always poke you???). The next day, with band aids on my fingers, I learned to build birdhouses out of popsicle sticks and made masks out of paper plates and paint.

I remember staying up late, listening to stories in our bunk beds, and later burning out my flashlight battery since I was terrified of the Boogeyman. That was almost 30 years ago.
The Boogeyman has since grown into an emotional eating monster that now scares me at night after dinner, and I can't call for my parents to save me anymore. I have armed myself to fight my Boogeyman lately, by cleaning out my pantry, spacing my meals out so I don't get too hungry, and logging onto SP to get the support of others who have their own Boogeyman too.

I vote that we create summer camp for adults. No gadgets allowed. We'd go at it old school; the way summer camp existed for most of us as children. Let's run on the grass, jump over logs and dangle from trees! - these are things we now call hitting the treadmill, plyometrics and doing pull ups, right? : )

I do have one request though. Could we swap out the scratchy wool blankets for 500 thread count sheets? I mean, come on, let's be civilized!

Can I get a Kum By Ah?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Oof, I don't know. There might be bugs. Icky. I always dreaded camp. I needed gallons of sunscreen to survive and I still got sunburned. I don't like the term "couch potato", I prefer the term "indoorsy". lol

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LSBETH 9/3/2011 12:27AM

    sign me up emoticon

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AAAACK 8/31/2011 10:46AM

    It's so funny you mention this because I was lamenting this very thing about 4 months ago. I even went online to see if anyone had such a thing. There are women's adventure retreats and of course the pricey spa retreats, but nothing as cool as Camp Jitzuroe! Count me in!

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RYDERB 8/31/2011 1:43AM

    That sounds like fun! Count me in!

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CANNIE50 8/30/2011 9:35PM

    Book me, Bren.

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RASMUSSEN5 8/30/2011 9:28PM

    Sounds great to me! Amen on the sheets!

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PATCHESOK 8/30/2011 4:01PM

    I would be all for this. Those were the good ole days. Playing ball, racing from place to place, swimming all day, if allowed......count me in!!!

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JENNYBAKER247 8/30/2011 1:48AM

    Just what we need! emoticon

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THEFITNUTLIFE 8/29/2011 11:40PM

    I'd love it if there was such a thing...count me in! And I'll bring my own bedding!! lol

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SUNFLOWER4ME 8/29/2011 11:10PM

    Me too!!

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MNMS_MOMMY 8/29/2011 10:00PM

    I'll sign up!!! Sounds good to me!

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My Toolbox Has No Tools In It

Friday, August 26, 2011

First of all, it's got a padlock on it, to which I do not have the key (my husband does).
Do you need a screw driver? Sorry, you're out of luck.
It's not filled with craftsman tools or an old hammer passed down from generation to generation.
There's no sweet family history in this box. The toolbox contains my weekly sweet treats.

I'm sure that you could mold some Laffy Taffy into a paint scraper, but it wouldn't work too well.
Red vines for hanging pictures - no good, but your walls would smell nice.
Peanut butter would probably make great putty in a pinch (see my recent blog on uses for PB).
Necco wafers could be used for making chalk outlines while measuring.
Perhaps some pop rocks would unclog your kitchen sink (be sure to take cover!)
Gummy fruit slices would work great to balance out a wobbly table.

As much as I try to tell myself that I can have weekly treats out in the (unlocked) open, those treats have turned into daily treats, and even 1 entire day's worth of treats too often in the past.

It was only after I found SparkPeople a few months ago that I was able to admit to myself:
I am an emotional eater.

I used to push my shopping cart through the grocery store, pretending that I was someone else. Casually reaching for the multipack of my trigger foods like Lemonheads and dark chocolate bars, telling myself that it was no big deal.
After all, the king sized packs were on sale, right? I am SURE I can just put all of it in the pantry, and not touch it until Saturday (6 days from then). Meanwhile, deep down you could almost hear the echoing sinister voice whispering 'uh huh, good luck with that'.

I have fought many an emotional eating battlefield in this candyland of life, and do not feel that I have overcome it. Actually, I am not sure if that will ever happen.
Maybe one day that toolbox will actually have some tools in it, and I will be able to have my trigger foods around. Only time will tell.

For now, when the microwave light bulb burns out and needs to be replaced, I'll be knocking on your door for some tools : )

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I totally love your toolbox...lmao...my partner would think I was crazy if I asked him to do that...well, crazier ;P

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RASMUSSEN5 8/28/2011 10:37PM

    I have a really difficult time with sweets and emotional eating as well. It's a very tough habit to break but you can do it! What a great solution! I love that your hubby has the key! I just may have to try that

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SUNFLOWER4ME 8/28/2011 9:26AM

    I just told you how I threw out the PB. We all have trigger foods, and I love that you share with us!

Comment edited on: 8/28/2011 9:26:29 AM

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CANNIE50 8/27/2011 12:09AM

    I long for the day when I don't have a visceral reaction to the sight of an ice cream carton, or a bag of jellybeans. I am not there yet. Maybe if I had my husband attach some sort of buzzer that shocks me when I reach for them, or hire someone to taser me when I touch them - maybe THAT would convince me sugar is not a good idea. Hmmmm...... We, my dear, have the sugar crazies, I do believe. emoticon emoticon

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RYDERB 8/27/2011 12:03AM

    What a great idea, but you are so much stronger than I am! I can see myself banging it with a sledge hammer, in complete desperation, if I even thought a box of Red Vines might be inside.

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CLOVER2 8/26/2011 9:23PM

    What a wonderful solution! Hubby is great to hold on to that key, no matter HOW desperate you are! My theory on weight loss is to do whatever works, whatever it takes! emoticon

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I Am Not A Remote Control...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Yesterday was a long day at the pain management building of the hospital.

Various parts of my body had been grinding away at me with pain, numbness and 'buzzing' for the last week. My entire left foot, one of the toes on my right foot, and my right hand pinky finger had been swollen and purple, and just misbehaving from my Complex Regional Pain Disorder (CRPD).
My husband made me call the hospital and tell them what was up, err, what was purple, and I was then ordered to come in ASAP to get my third spinal nerve block procedure in a 15 week span. I was supposed to space them out with 12 weeks in between, but my CRPD was not having it.

We were ushered into a green hued, dimly fluorescent lit room, and then one of my doctors came in to talk to us.
Have any of you seen Joe vs. the Volcano with Tom Hanks? His office lighting reminded me of this room in many ways ("suck suck sucking the life outta me!").
The docs were hesitant to do the same procedure again (since it's not really working). They wanted my consent to go another route for a procedure that would (hopefully) open the flood gates of my vascular system and get blood moving to my foot/toe/finger without waking the monster of Erythromelalgia (EM). It would be tricky, as they did not want to trigger more pain from my EM, which also affects the vascular and muscular system.
I agreed to the procedure and stressed to them, "please, DON'T wake the monster!"

My husband was sent to the waiting room and we were off to the procedure room. The anesthesiologist walked in next with extra folks in smurfy blue uniforms to help out. The doctor told me that he was having a tough time getting the needles into the area around my spine since apparently I had GREAT hamstring muscles - Hoorah for that - I think? I'll take whatever compliments I can get with my piddly no impact home workout dvd's right now. Ha!

Later hubbie drove me home to sleep, and thankfully, I woke up with some relief. The EM monster did not retaliate as much as we all had feared it might. Big smiles for that.
This means that they can slowly give me higher doses of the new drugs by way of this procedure every 4 weeks. It's not something I enjoy by any means, but I'm game. The drugs administered have a short lifespan in my body = good news.

But I am running out of options to treat my chronic pain, and have not been getting major relief yet from anything I've subjected myself to. My primary pain doctor cornered me yesterday and told me that she wanted me to get something called a Spinal Cord Stimulator attached to my spine, with the lead wires then plugged into a small device implanted in my bum cheek. I've had 2 other doctors in the past push this on me as well. I guess I can't call those guys quacks anymore : ).
But I am NOT OK with it, and it does not sit well in my heart of hearts, you know?

I still continue to choose daily pain over body numbing 'relief' that would prevent me from doing activities that I am fighting to get back in my life again, like running and jumping.

And if I said yes to the spinal cord device how would my life change?

What if I wanted to coat myself in various shades of plaid clothing and try golfing?
Nice try, but no.

How about my dreams of hang gliding lessons and (if I mustered up the nerve - Ha Ha 'nerve'), skydiving?
Just a dream hon'. Not really a reality for you if you get this device implanted.

Never mind that I find it extremely un-sexy to have essentially something the size of a car alarm remote implanted in my bum cheek.

Would I set off alarms at the airport?
Perhaps some high pitched sound emanating from my tooshy that only I would be able to hear?
Would my acupuncture treatments trigger car alarms to go off in the vicinity?
How would I change the batteries???

I asked the doctor, "have you had patients who pursued some of the activities that are considered a big no-no with this procedure/device? Perhaps people who were 'too active', and decided to do 100 jumping jacks?" I asked. "Yes, but you have to understand that there are going to be things that you simply CANNOT do." She said that she has had to re-open the area around the spine to re-attach the leads in patients in the past from too much activity.

At this point, in my mind I'm thinking, 'oh great, so you CAN plug me back into the Matrix when my wiring comes free...'

I'm a firm believer in going with your gut, and my gut has been screaming 'NOOOOOOOOOO' about this for years now. Perhaps this works for others, but I don't see this as an option for me yet, and I am not a procrastinator by any means.

I think for now I will continue to get up daily and move my body with some exercise 6 days a week. I will Spark daily and pull strength from my Sparkly pals. I will pay attention to what I fuel my body with each morning through evening, and try not to give into the despair and random hopelessness that pulled me to the pantry too often in the past.

I choose to live with my daily pain; which means feeling all of it, and respecting it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLOVER2 8/26/2011 9:58PM

    You are the bravest person I have met on this site. I think about what you are going through and I don't know...I think I would be doing ANYTHING to make it go away, or even bearable. You are in my thoughts and prayers! emoticon emoticon

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AAAACK 8/26/2011 5:42PM

    I hope this new procedure provides you the relief you need, so that you don't have to have the one you don't feel is right for you. Docs can recommend all they want, but YOU know what's right for you, and I really admire how you stand up for it. I hate to think of you in so much pain all the time, and I hope that you are able to get relief from the new procedure.

I hope one day you can run, jump, and get crazy. And I will hope for a cure for you (and everyone who lives with this debilitating disorder).

You are so strong, though. You are such a great inspiration to so many of us on this site, and probably in all areas of your life. Your attitude is always so great, and I know that can't be easy. But you make it LOOK so easy - those big smiles in your photos, your funny blogs. I think your sense of humor goes a long way to ease your daily struggles. Keep it up! Don't change, and don't let them bully you!

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RASMUSSEN5 8/25/2011 11:11PM

    You are an amazing woman! I will be praying for you hon!

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THEFITNUTLIFE 8/25/2011 8:36PM

    Oh honey! I can't even begin to imagine what you are dealing with, but just the sound of all that makes me cringe! I am glad you are standing up for what you think is best for you! Do not let anyone push you into something that you're not comfortable with. If the time comes that the pain is just too unbearable or the quality of you life is further hindered, then you can reconsider, but til then stick to your gut feeling! Prayers for you, Bren. You are one, truly amazing, strong woman. You inspire me every day :)

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CATS_MEOW_0911 8/25/2011 2:48PM

    You are one tough cookie! Hmmm...I totally understand the hesitation with getting a nerve stimulator implanted...just because we CAN treat something doesn't always mean that we SHOULD. I commend you for continuing to be highly active. Western docs are difficult because they tend to treat 1 symptom or area without consequence of the others. Sounds like your docs are at least cognizant of the effects that their procedures could have on EM and complications that could arise. No fun dealing with such a multi-faceted problem...best of luck...

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MINKABONET 8/25/2011 2:20AM

    Yes! The best idea IMO is to gather all the facts from professional sources (sounds like you've done a great job with that), weigh your options. Since you are willing to live with the level of pain you have now, seems like watchful waiting is a very good choice, since your instinct tells you not to jump into the SCS option so quickly. At least you know it's another option, should you need it in the future. Here's wishing you less pain in the future.

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1HAPPYWOMAN 8/24/2011 11:26PM

    You're facing such a difficult choice, and I applaud you for listening to your heart of hearts. I hope an effective and less invasive treatment option becomes available for you.

You are in my thoughts. I'm sending you lots of love and sparkles!

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CANNIE50 8/24/2011 11:13PM

    Oh, sweetie. I don't even know what to say. I hate the idea of you in so much pain. I have no opinion about the remote control thing - you know way more than I do. I am amazed that at the level of pain you are in, that you didn't jump on it. This just shows the strength of your spirit. PS I am loving seeing lil Miss Olive scamping all over Sparkville. oxoxo

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PURESTILLWATER 8/24/2011 10:34PM

    Every time I read about this horrible disease you have my heart just breaks for you. I am proud of you for standing for what you believe and what is right for you.

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    don't let anyone push you into doing something you don't want to do! i guess you can always revert back to that option if your pain becomes unbearable :(

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Uses for Peanut Butter

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I started to research ideas on how to use up a jar of peanut butter after my husband got his quarterly peanut butter and jelly fix.
See, I didn't care if he would need to buy a new jar every time the next craving hit him. The $4.00 jar was nothing compared to the lack of sleep and stress it was causing me by having it around (that constant singing!)
That could mean 12 weeks of drawn out torture for me, a nut butter addict, who used the heavenly goo as a crutch for decades.
I went hunting online for ways to clean out that jar with something other than my mouth (see below):

* Make peanut butter cookies and bring them to work. Great idea, but one cannot hide the odor of a nutty cookie, and I would then be revealing that hubbie's peanut butter was now gone once he got home.
* Go to an elementary school and volunteer to get the bubble gum out of children's hair- Ha!
* Make dog cookies and gift them to the canines in the neighborhood (this one I have done).
* Price tag removal on books. Apparently you can rub it on price tags AND ruin your book covers at the same time!
* De-fish the house. After cooking your fish, remove it from the pan, add some PB and heat it up. Umm, wouldn't this make your house smell like fish AND peanut butter?
* Lubricate your lawn mower - I'm thinking that this one should come with a warning to wear gloves.
*Mousetrap bait - Has anyone seen the movie Wanted? I believe this one for sure. But sadly (or not sadly), I have no mice to trap.
* Shave Lotion - Unless you want to see me leech onto my own legs with fury, I don't see this one happening. Plus, think of the injuries to come in the tub from slipping!
* Leather furniture cleaner - Really? Not a good idea for either myself or my furniture. I can already hear my husband asking me why I was licking the sofa (again).

I'll be tossing the list of peanut butter uses for now.
I'm pretty sure I'll be saving us a trip or two to the Emergency Room as well from slipping in the shower - Ha!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLOVER2 8/26/2011 9:29PM

    You gave me my first belly laugh of the day! And I DO love those endorphins! You rock!! emoticon emoticon

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    So Awesome. Maybe I'll think about this next time I try to down the jar by heating it and drinking it. Oh my bff brought me a jar of maple apple PB. If I didn't love her, I'd kill her, LOL.

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PURESTILLWATER 8/23/2011 10:09PM

    You are so funny, such a wonderful sense of humor! Love it!

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    OK, after reading the caption about shoving the dog into your bra, the name of this blog scares me...


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KELLEEH 8/22/2011 5:42PM

    Oh, no... now my jar of peanut butter is calling my name! LOL!

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CANNIE50 8/22/2011 1:29AM

    What, no picture of you with razor in one hand, puppy in the other, peanut butter on leg, and you and the puppy both gnawing on said leg? Next, I want you to research alternative uses for Nutella, the particularly evil combo of chocolate and hazelnut. emoticon

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RYDERB 8/21/2011 10:47PM

    OMG! That was so funny! I can't imagine when the leather chair would stop smelling like peanut butter. But baking cookies…. Peanut Butter cookies are my favorite! Yummy. Definitely would get rid of the jar, but I would eat those cookies, before I could give them away! emoticon

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TRAILSAGAIN 8/21/2011 9:53PM

    Like your potential uses. I never seem to need them. A jar shows up and disappears. Of course, I do find it again the next time I step on the scale. Now shaving my face might work and it would serve as a nice after shave

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KARLIBRADY1 8/21/2011 8:12PM

  Ok, THAT was funny! I go through phases with peanut butter. Sometimes I binge on it constantly and have to go thru periods where I won't keep it in the house. Other times I feel "strong" and will try keeping a jar in the house. Our latest jar has been there for 5 days and has a little over half the jar left! Woo hoo! (Except right this very moment I could really go for some peanut butter and chocolate chips. . . )

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