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What amazes you?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

About yourself, that is?

I know some of you are sitting there and grumbling to yourself that nothing about you amazes you. But there's always something -- you just have been taught to downplay your own strengths and you've probably put yourself on the back burner as well.

It's definitely time to take center stage!

So what brought on this blog? I was looking at my neck in the mirror the other day.

For the longest time I thought I didn't have much of a neck. And quite frankly, at almost 50, it isn't my most attractive feature.

But I have discovered that while I'm certainly no Audrey Hepburn, my neck is a lot longer than I imagined. In fact, I'm noticing that a lot lately. I look at that photo of me before my first 5k. At the time, all I could focus on was that little bitty muffin top. Now I look at it, and I see slender legs and arms. Lookin' good, as they say.

Yeah, it's a narcisstic blog, but in a good way. When you notice the good stuff about yourself -- your looks, your abilities, your strengths, what have you -- you FEEL good about yourself. When you feel good about yourself, you're motivated to take better care of yourself. You're sparked!

And on a totally different subject, there are all sorts of eating plans floating around out there (for a price) on the Internet. They all say they'll refund your money, no questions asked, within a certain time period. The gimmick being that what have you got to lose (pun intended).

I've tried a few. The latest one, "Cheat Your Way Thin", wasn't for me. As I mentioned, I've taken some ideas from it, but in the end, it was just too complicated for me and I wasn't losing much weight either.

I must say I was impressed -- yes, I got my refund, no questions asked, within 24 hours. I'm sure there are unscrupulous plans and sites out there -- this one happened to be recommended by a source I trust, but it's the first time I've asked for my money back and I was really expecting questions. There weren't any. Just sayin'.

So what amazes you about yourself?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PCOH051610 12/14/2010 8:18AM

    Funny how our common thread is that we are quick to point out our "not" so finer points but have a job coming up with things we are proud of! I'm just noticing I have a really short waist(honestly you would have thought I would have noticed this before!) but I guess my rolls etc were blocking my view. Some people might think this is a negative comment but because of my short-waist, my legs look longer!

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DDOORN 12/12/2010 10:58PM

    Criticism seems to come so easily, can just rattle off SO many faults!

Somehow things seem to conspire against being able to give oneself credit, pats-on-the-back for the GOOD that we've accomplished!

While I can name some body parts I've been pleased with...leaner cheeks with more definition, those cycling quads and leaner, longer neck...it still seems so easy to discredit those with the faults that automatically pile up on the back burner. Tough to stay focused on the positive...sort of have to build those self-affirming, narcissistic muscles! :-)


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FRECKS96 12/12/2010 2:04PM

    This is such an important concept. Our society tends to look down on "self-love" (such as it is); but if we can't love and respect our selves (including our bodies and abilities), then we will not have any love to share.

I am amazed at my seemingly natural ability to run and enjoy it.
I am amazed at how easily my body adapted to my new lifestyle.
I am amazed at the definition in my arms and shoulders.

Thank you!!

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KEAKMAN 12/12/2010 11:05AM

    My physical and mental strength and stamina are what amazes me about me. (There isn't much I can't do as long as it doesn't have to be fast!) Unfortunately, those two things are what gets my body in trouble....too much strength can cause injury!

And your neck - it DOES remind me of Audrey Hepburn!

Comment edited on: 12/12/2010 11:06:10 AM

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SLIMMERJESSE 12/12/2010 10:03AM

    I guess I'm just amazed that I'm still standing after the events of this year. And also amazed at how consistently helpful your blogs are! Have a great day.

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NATPLUMMER 12/12/2010 9:16AM

    What amazes me about myself is my love of running. I didn't think I would, but now I'm sort of sad on days I don't run (even though I do other exercise that I like).

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GOROSIEO 12/12/2010 9:03AM

    Good blog. Amazing how we can critique (negatively) ourselves so easily. I like IFURR77's response-the body does respond. I guess I like my ability to be steady, be disciplined. I have no food hangups or obsessions, which I consider kind of a gift not something I necessarily developed.

When I was in WW the instructor had us list 50 things that we could be proud of. You have to really think for 50. So I remember writing obvious things like giving birth to 3 girls, first one in my family to go to college and little things like helped put a roof on my house. Now I just wish I knew where that list was. emoticon

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IFFUR77 12/12/2010 8:33AM

    how quickly my body is willing to adjust to working out and eating well!!!
lets keep up the good work we can do this together!!!

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SENATOR9 12/12/2010 8:08AM

    With all the problem around us I can still smile I stay focus on the positive. That was a good bloq emoticon

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KIMBYUT 12/12/2010 8:06AM

    I love this, like most people I stress out about those areas I want to improve and often let that supersede those things I'm proud of and the accomplishments I have made. In fact, last week I hadn't been working out or eating healthy (always a downer on my confidence). Then I took a step back and I said to her, look at me-I bearyself up over the 20 pounds that I want to lose BUT I don't recognize the things I've done and the abilities I have. I have lost 90 pounds, I run, I kickbox, I participate in a bootcamp, I have an athletic, strong body. My muscular legs push me through a 5K, allow me to mountain bike or just bike along the street for 20 miles, my strong arms assist in my affection for rock wall climbing, my energy contributes to my desire to be active whether it is ice skating or zip lining, etc. My confidence (as a result of weight loss) forces me to challenge myself to constantly step outside my comfort zone and try new things which have led to a love of mountain biking, rockwall climbing, adventure running, the list goes on and I'm continuously looking for new adventures. I LOVE my past successes, I love my sense of adventure, I love my athletic body...why am I harping on my 20 pounds of excess weight!? Great blog!!

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There are no shortcuts

Saturday, December 11, 2010

When we were in Kauai, we went to a beach I'd read about. It was quite scenic, and not that hard to find (or get to) but what the guidebook didn't say was that the gates are locked at 6 pm. It also didn't tell you that if you park in the second lot, you are right by the beach. If you park in the first lot, you have to walk over to the second lot or take a shortcut. Only it wasn't apparent which trail actually led to the beach.

So it was getting on for 5:30 pm and we knew we had to leave (cause the roads are barely roads and you have to drive real slow). Only DH thought if we just climb this sand dune, we can take a short cut back to where we parked.

There are no shortcuts.

I got to the top of the dune and basically it just dropped off into nothingness. So now we had to climb back down it (did I mention this was a very large dune?) -- and DH was still looking for the short cut! He kept dragging me off in all directions in the hopes of finding a shorter route, when in the end if we had just gone back the way we came (as I suggested) we would have walked less.

There are no shortcuts in healthy eating, either. Low carb. MUFAs. Cabbage soup diets. And so on. While there might be a kernel of truth in even the wackiest of diets, the truth is simple:

Eat less
Eat predominantly whole foods
Stop eating before you're full to the point of bursting
Move more

Yup, it really is that simple.

I know people who've done a wide variety of wacky diets -- and yes, they're all successful for a diet (because at the heart of a wacky diet, it's cutting out whole food groups and thus restricting your calorie intake without you potentially even realizing it) -- but I know very few people who've stayed on their wacky diets for years.

This crazy holiday season, while you're stepping away from the sugarplum fairies, also step away from the wacky diets. You know what to do.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 12/11/2010 10:12PM

    MUFAs...? New one on me!

Anyhow: yep it really is that simple. Not that this makes it EASY, but simple! :-)

Love Pollan's food rules...just basic common sense: eat FOOD (not highly processed stuff your grandmother wouldn't even recognize as food), mostly plants, not too much.


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LEONALIONESS 12/11/2010 4:25PM

    ;) Not all diets that cut out food groups are wacky.
LOL. I always get flak for not eating meat/dairy with the whole "you're removing whole food groups!" stuff - which isn't even true. Dairy, yeah, but the whole concept of food groups is sort of inaccurate and outdated anyway. I really don't think dairy deserves a group! It's so darn unnecessary.

Anyway, tangent over.
I agree with the rest entirely! :D

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DEE797 12/11/2010 3:47PM

    Good Blog...and tells it like it is. There are no shortcuts but sure wish there were.... emoticon

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KEAKMAN 12/11/2010 3:26PM

    And am I right to assume that the extra calories I burn vainly searching for a shortcut doesn't count? emoticon

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NATPLUMMER 12/11/2010 2:11PM

    Excellent blog. I agree, there are no shortcuts (although it would be nice if there were).

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DOUGLYE 12/11/2010 1:57PM

    Nice blog. I agree whole heartedly.

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What's your role?

Friday, December 10, 2010

We'll get to the title in a bit.

Well, heard a dog click-clicking on our fake wood floors early this morning. Should I get up? Let DH handle it? I let DH handle (or not handle it as the case may be) and that was a mistake. Walked in later to let the dogs out to find a "big" (for a small dog) yucky pile of poo.

Seriously, how can DH sleep thru that? Just the walking around alone would've woken me up. And of course I could smell it as soon as I stepped in the room (and he claims I can't smell anything).

Things could always be worse -- I know he tried (just wish he'd lick DH awake), and of course he could've just let rip on the bed and that would've been a godawful mess. This was easy enough to clean up.

Did get myself to the pool last night. It's easier to psych myself into that than running outside, since I leave a nice warm house and don't hit the frigid air til I arrive at the school. That first lap is a killer, and then I'm fine.

Pleased to find out that while there will be a 2 week break from swimming over the holidays, I can get back to it in January - February (only once a week, but that just makes the running schedule a bit easier to work around it). I'm assuming that there will be a spring break and then another session.

I so love to swim. I've been missing it for years. I love how it's a total body workout like so few things are. I've found I even enjoy crawl again. I might have to invest in a wet suit tho! Not quite sure where you even buy those.

So as I was swimming, I was thinking about the roles we play. Mine was always the quiet, shy, bookworm-brainy girl. My brother was the trouble maker. And my sister was the athlete.

Yet we are not defined by the roles we think we play. Apparently my BIL used to be a runner before he messed up his leg in a horrible skiing accident (he still skies). My sister tried to go with him once, and immediately decided running wasn't for her (swimming is her sport -- I enjoy it, but she's really good at it).

But she didn't ease into it like I did. She just went with her husband one day, figuring she was reasonably fit, and thought she was going to die afterwards and never tried again.

I have been trying to run -- God knows why -- off & on for years. And it didn't stick until SP. Because now I have a whole team of people encouraging me, inspiring me, giving me advice. I am even beginning to pay it forward -- chatting with a woman about running after swimming last night, telling her my story, telling her about a running program for beginners at a local sporting shoes store that I've heard praise for but haven't tried myself and C25K.

We are not assigned roles, however much it might feel as if we are. We can play any role we put our mind to.

So what's your role? And what role do you REALLY want to play?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEALTH4LYFE 12/11/2010 7:35PM

    Earlier today I was thinking about the "hobbies" I currently have and what I do to make my life more interesting. Before running, I don't think I really had a passion for a sport or a particular thing I could call my own. I am a daughter, sister, mom (which includes a myriad of roles including, but not limited to: chauffeur, cook, nurse, teacher, coach, maid, activity planner, financial advisor, etc...) a wife, which also includes a number of roles, but more ones I choose than absorb as a mom, an office manager, which doesn't define me, but does provide me with the opportunity to engage in conversations with the adult world and do a job of which I am proud. That has some personal significance for me, primarily as a professional. But for me personally, who am I? I am in the process of learning what makes me tick, what do I love to do? how I can better spend my time to become the me I want to become. It's an ever evolving role. emoticon

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DDOORN 12/11/2010 6:51AM

    We all can try on various roles, like different outfits. Currently I see myself as a cyclist, but a couple years ago...? No way! Lately I've been "dabbling" with running...do I see myself as a "runner?" Nah...not *yet*...but I'm open to the idea and keep trying it on for size.

As a child I and the water were "one"...just LOVED the water. Hoping to reclaim my water "outfit" once again sometime.

And who knows how many others...? :-)


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DDHEART 12/10/2010 6:10PM

    I'm smiling to myself here since I have discovered yet more that you and Kate and I may have in common....we really could have been BFFs in high school! Of course, I like to do a lot of water play but I'm not a strong swimmer, never took swimming lessons so this January when we join our local rec center I am planning on trying to do the lap thing....you make it sound like something i could grow to enjoy.....paying it forward...yes you have in many ways. Now, role.....I have grown to see myself as a runner and I like the role of quasi athlete....cheerleader.....role model....I have always been a natural caretaker and that will probably always be a part of the picture...there is an evolution of our roles and that is as it should be....where will be be next year?

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IFDEEVARUNS2 12/10/2010 12:06PM

    The interesting thing is how the roles can change, even as we relate to the same person. I think of my older two kids as friends as well as children.

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KEAKMAN 12/10/2010 9:52AM

    I've already said that I was the "smart one" You and I would have been BFFs in high school. If we had ever come out of our shells enough to talk to each other! I still don't see myself as athletic. But I do love running. And when I label myself, it is "runner" But I also love cheerleading. And encouraging. Advising. Helping. I wish I could be a triathlete, but swimming in open water freaks me out. I would like to be "skier" but the cold gets to me too quickly. Sounds like I need to quit making excuses and just do things, huh?

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NATPLUMMER 12/10/2010 9:28AM

    I'm sorry about the poo. That's definitely no fun. When we tried to take one of the stray cats in, we had problems with poo around the house (and pee).
I'm glad you got your swim in.
Like you I was the quiet, shy, bookworm-brainy girl. I guess I still am to some extent. I was never an athlete. In junior high I was in corrective p.e. because of my bad knees, apparently their still not so great. I do find myself enjoying running (when I can) so maybe I'm turning into the athlete. I'm also the baker, the cat box cleaner, the housekeeper, the cook, the friend, the sister, the researcher, the wife and the kitty mom. I enjoy all of the roles (except housekeeper and cat box cleaner).

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FRECKS96 12/10/2010 9:10AM

    I totally get what you mean. Years ago, I was Julie, teacher, occasional party girl. Then I because Julie the wife and eventually, Julie the mother. When I started SP, one of my goals was to find ME again. Now I am Julie the runner (and so much more). It is so important to define our own roles instead of letting our roles define us.

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Seeing green & excited, too

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Ok, most everyone at my WW meeting this morning was reporting great losses with their new PointsPlus program. I, however, saw a small gain -- but I am not surprised. Yes, traveling, less exercise than normal due to not feeling well, lots more eating out than normal (including both lunch & dinner yesterday), and TOM due to arrive any moment.

Actually, just those last 2 items could definitely account for the gain (only .4 lb -- I am not worried, but of course I'm a bit envious).

But I'm excited. This week should be much more normal for me. Whether or not my folks are coming up in a few days is still a question mark. Called them this afternoon, which has been my first free moment to catch my breath almost since getting back, but they weren't in so I left a message.

Got the snow tires on, the oil changed, stopped at Target & Sports Authority, and Barnes & Noble.

I must say, even tho it's damn cold out there (won't get much over 20F today), I could actually potentially see myself running this afternoon . . . if it weren't a non-running week. But I still do plan to go swimming this evening. Well, that's the plan at the moment, anyway. We'll see what decision I make when I'm actually faced with the dark & cold. But I wrote it here, so it's much more likely to happen.

Did well at SA (with a $25 off coupon & a $25 giftcard) and stocked up on more cold weather running gear, including a knit hat with a neck warmer and a visor. And a really cool Nike top with a hoodie that has a slit so I can put my ponytail out thru it -- I assume, anyway, I sure didn't have my hair in a ponytail today!

I usually spend about the first 5 minutes of my runs walking to warm up. I think I may have to start warming up by walking inside, and then hit the road running. We'll see.

I'm really surprised that no one has come up with the running boot yet . . . cause quite frankly I'd be first in line!

So I'm excited to give the new PointsPlus program my all this week, and hopefully see a reward next week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRECKS96 12/10/2010 9:11AM

    I love finding my groove again after a disruption-it makes it that much sweeter. Congrats on your purchases-I need to make an investment in more running clothes again soon, too.

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MZSLYDE01 12/10/2010 7:15AM

    I hope your doing well - I just wanted to pop in and say Hi. I missed being on so much - Was having withdrawals and wanted to while I have the chance catch up on some reading and my friends.
I hope you do well with weight watchers - I did it for awhile when I first started on my journey and did really well with it. I have thought of doing it again many times lately. I still have the books and everything. I think I lost almost 15 pounds using it. It was fun for me to count the points and plan everything out. I need to get back to it being fun again.

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NATPLUMMER 12/9/2010 8:02PM

    I think impending TOM could easily account for 0.4 pounds and probably even more so you might even be down some.
It is nice to get back to the normal routine after a trip.
You had quite the busy day today.
Maybe warming up inside before your runs would be a good idea. 20 is really damn cold.
Have a good swim when you go emoticon
I'll cross my fingers for a loss with the new PointsPlus program!

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DDOORN 12/9/2010 4:31PM

    Awesome job, considering your "relaxed" approach during vacation! A great testimony to your new SPARKED lifestyle!


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DAYHIKER 12/9/2010 3:27PM

    Oh yeah; I was down three the first week on PointsPlus. Lovin' it. It's easier to stick with the plan when you're not hungry all the time. I could barely get in the Good Health Guidelines (3 milks over age 50 is 6 of them!) on 18P a day before.


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What do you really want?

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I am back home. My car is fixed. The cats slept with us last night. First time in years Giz has slept with us; he won't sleep with us when the dogs are here, and doesn't even usually sleep with us anymore on the rare occasion they're not -- guess the cold was really getting to them! In the low 20s, and not likely to get warmer anytime soon.

So, I was faced with lots of food decisions the last few days. You'd think staying in someone else's home would make life easier -- and it does to some degree -- but it also comes with its challenges -- and surprises.

Like one night we had Chinese. My SIL picked it up, and did ask what we wanted, but since we didn't have a menu I really didn't know what to say. Thankfully my MIL is not supposed to have sodium (her high BP is now damaging her kidneys with all the stress and that is obviously very upsetting) -- so they got here steamed veggies (and I ate most of them). Dodged a bullet there!

Talked MIL into some roast asparagus with the roast beef she made, and along with the salad enough to fill me up.

Luckily my SIL made brussel sprouts AND broccoli to go with the beer butt chicken, so I was good there.

Got deli one day, but since I was the one to buy it, thankfully I had control and got myself a veggie sandwich.

So about those choices -- my BIL also went out to get us fresh bagels & lox one day. The bagels were even warm. I chose not to have one. I can have bagels & lox anytime, and we have some in the freezer back home. Granted, they're not fresh bagels, but I have millet & flax bagels that I really enjoy and they even have a tiny bit of nutritional value.

It's all about choosing when to splurge and when not to. As I said, I can have bagels & lox anytime. I chose to splurge more in Hawaii, on things I don't normally eat -- and only when it was really good too.

So when you're faced with all those choices, ask yourself if this is something you could make yourself? Is it something you can have anytime? Or is it something you really want, and rarely have?

You don't have to be on the see-food diet (see food, eat food). You DO have choices.

I even had a choice last night -- our plane was late getting into Atlanta, so we had no time to get dinner. I always travel with protein bars. ALWAYS. For this very reason. I was able to eat a protein bar, we did get a snack box and I had some pita chips & hummus as well, and one square of Lindt chocolate that I had with me.

This time I also chose to go light on the exercise. I like to take one week off of running every month or so, and I'd already planned for that to be this week. I had planned to do some yoga, OTOH, but that never happened. I knew I needed some rest since I wasn't feeling 100% and it seemed like there were people coughing up lungs next to us on every flight. So far, so good.

I did get lots of walking in tho. FIL must be in constant motion. The man doesn't sit down from the time he gets up to the time he goes to bed -- literally. And there is nothing that he enjoys doing anymore (other than eating). Eating and being in motion are the only times he's calm and/or happy.

We took him out on longer walks than my MIL normally does, without my MIL, on the hills she doesn't like to walk on (altho it would be good for her). It's the only thing that prevents meltdowns. We spent about 8+ hours a day with them, so my MIL could also have a break and shower or just lay down, things that are difficult for her.

She does have help most days, and normally my SIL will take my FIL for an hour or so every day, but she took a break too obviously while we were there. I truly don't know how my MIL does it. Imagine having a toddler who never naps and can't entertain itself even for a second -- and just like a toddler, you have to watch him so he doesn't try to eat something inedible. She didn't have any help except for that last day we were there, which is when we went on the chocolate tour.

We feel guilty that we can't help more, but what can you do when you're clear across the country? She's good about it, but I know my SIL resents the fact that we can't help more -- she's human.

Well, anyway, I'm rambling. Remember, you have choices. When presented with all those holiday goodies, don't just dive right in. Give it some thought. And always remember why you're making the choices you are. Write down your goals. Put them where you'll read them every day. Put before & after photos where you can see them -- to remember how far you've come, and to motivate you to make healthy choices.

You CAN lose weight before the end of the year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 12/9/2010 9:07AM

    Sounds like a well-thought-out, healthy and fun time!

Now: betcha need a vacation from your vacation! :-)


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SKINNYPOWELL1 12/9/2010 8:12AM

    Glad you're back and sounds like you made it through the food challenges with flying colors. You are so right about having a choice, it's up to YOU. You did great. I know it's very hard taking care of elderly parents, some of the simple everyday things for us to do are very hard for them to do, we do what we can. Again, glad you're back, your blog got me thinking about my choc cake - is that something I want to splurge on or can I have it any time? I can have it anytime, maybe that's why I can easily walk away from it now. Enjoy your chilly day.

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SHEILA1505 12/8/2010 12:53PM

    Welcome back and congrats on good choices and carrying the protein bars etc

Glad you were able to give MIL a bit of a break too :)


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NATPLUMMER 12/8/2010 12:43PM

    You made excellent choices!! I'm sure you got plenty of walking in.
It's understandable that SIL is resentful. It would be very hard not to be to some extent.
You are correct, they are always choices. I try to make them good ones (but every once in a while, I don't...but hey, I'm human).

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DAYHIKER 12/8/2010 10:31AM

    What a week you had and you did well with your choices! We have a low key holiday season so I shouldn't have too many hard decisions to make but I'm definitely for saving the splurges on things that we don't have year around. It's the same with traveling; why eat what you can eat at home!

Cindy in very cold Indiana

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