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Day 368 - The Ten Commitments

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

I am a true believer when it comes to New Year's resolutions. If you don't aim high - if you don't make plans and set goals - you will just wander aimlessly and before you know it, another year will have passed. I set resolutions to give myself some direction.

This year I ended up with ten that I think are doable, but (to greater or lesser degrees) are also challenging. For this year - my Jubilee Year - especially I wanted to have some unique ones; I also wanted to have some 'practical' objectives, to develop good habits, become healthier, and to progress as a person.

These are The Ten Commitments I've come up with:

1) minimum of 10 minutes of exercise daily
2) minimum of 30 minutes of creative writing daily
3) sort computer files and bookmarks (and KEEP them organized!)
4) submit application for British citizenship
5) be able to stop taking prescription medication: in this case, that means concentrate on improving - and stabilizing - my blood pressure
6) sign up for a class, whether noncredit or credit
7) take a 'real' cruise!
8) aim for a BMI in the 'ideal' range*
9) rework my diet / nutrition
10) finish 'my' recipe book

*I need to lose twelve more pounds to get 'there.' It's an indicator, not a finish-line, but it will mean I'm improving my fitness, and that's the really important thing.

And there they are. I reserve the right to adjust, tinker, tweak, add-on, and whatever else I might deem necessary as the year progresses.

Ambitious? I hope so. If they weren't, if they were simple goals, I wouldn't have to think about them, I'd just... DO them.

Doable? I believe so. I cannot say with all certainty 'Yes, of course,' because again, if it were that simple, they wouldn't be resolutions, they would just be part of what I'm doing now, and probably long since achieved.

I'll keep you apprised. Have a good 'un, Sparklers - carpe diem!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BAKERBARBARA 1/4/2012 10:32PM

    Ooohhhh, cruise!!!!!

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APRILLSCOTT 1/3/2012 11:24PM

    You are so close to goal! You have come such a long way and done such a great job. I know you will meet these goals! I have faith in you. emoticon

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TURTLETALK 1/3/2012 11:04AM

    Good luck with your 2012 goals!

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MS.ELENI 1/3/2012 9:46AM

    Great list

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4DOGNIGHT 1/3/2012 8:54AM

    Good ones. So is that recipe book the one for Americans living in Britain? I was supposed to help you with that! It's been 2 years since we became Spark friends. You have gone on to lose lots of weight and I'm still at the same weight. This year will be different though. Are you going to continue blogging daily?

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LECATES 1/3/2012 5:40AM

    I think I like morning blogs---good way to start my day---LOL

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    Good luck with reaching your goals in 2012... +Mark

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POPSY190 1/3/2012 4:16AM

    I like number 4! Terrific goals, a good mix of health and rewards for your Jubilee year. Go for them! Have a wonderful day. Good night from emoticon

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SPARKLINSUE 1/3/2012 4:15AM

    posted the comment to this blog on the one before.. blame my age, hair colour, anything you like haha emoticon

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Day 367 - My Jubilee Year

Monday, January 02, 2012

I've mentioned this a few times and to a couple different people. This year, sometime in February, marks Elizabeth II's 60th anniversary of becoming the reigning monarch. (Seems a little strange to celebrate the death of someone, but such is the life of royalty, I guess.)

In October, I am turning 60, and I'm making 2012 MY Jubilee Year.

I've got some plans for things I want to do to mark this milestone, and some of my resolutions are based on this jubilee theme as well. I'll try to get the resolutions written up into a readable format (hah) and post those tomorrow.

Meanwhile, these first two days have gotten the year off to a flying start. Like Thanksgiving and Boxing Day, yesterday was a day devoted to the kitchen - which suits me fine. We had our traditional New Year's Day dinner of roast pork, and instead of sauerkraut (it can be difficult to find here, or at least to find what I'd consider 'good' sauerkraut) I made a British dish with red cabbage and apples. My grandmother always said as long as you have pork and cabbage for New Year's you'll have good luck all the year through.

Good company to share our dinner with, and the Christmas cake I made came out pretty well, so they tell me: I don't eat fruitcake myself. But everyone at the table except me was British, and they scarfed it up, so... I'll take their word for it.

There's four or five pieces left, and tomorrow I'm going to wrap them and freeze them individually - Himself will have a treat every few weeks. We aren't sure how well the icing (marzipan and royal icing, a British tradition) will hold up to freezing and thawing, but if that doesn't come out right, he said he'll just pick that off and eat the cake. The cake should be fine to freeze.

I was pleased with it, I'll say. The English Christmas cake is a very unfamiliar thing to me. It's quite heavy, weight-wise, but the proportion of fruit / nuts to flour / sugar is so high (probably around 80-20, if that, no kidding) that the recipe seemed to me as though it couldn't possibly work. But there 'tis, so I guess it did. Took something like four hours to bake it, if you can believe.

The snow-covered ivy leaves I decorated it with are made from royal icing. I had some icing left after covering the cake, so I thought I'd experiment. As I said, I was very pleased!

The guests left this morning, we cleaned up the few leftovers at lunch and supper, and it's back to healthy diets now. I didn't lose any weight these last couple of weeks, but equally I didn't gain any, so I'll call that an achievement. I've signed up for a couple new Spark Teams (new to me, that is; I don't know that they're newly organized) that I plan to use to get my exercising 'sparked.' That's been the biggest problem area for me all along, so I'm really psyched to get that in place.

Caught up laundry, took a pretty brisk walk this afternoon (cold!) for 1-1/2 miles, got some plans worked out for how to go about things I want to get done, spent the better part of two hours cleaning up computer files (it's one of my resolutions), and - I think that's it. Today was a holiday here since the first fell on a Sunday. Tomorrow it's back to business as usual for everybody.

I didn't make a resolution to blog daily this year, but I figure if I don't quite hit 'daily' I will come close. I want to try blogging in the morning, though. I haven't decided whether I will do a review-of-yesterday kind of thing or just see what turns up. Eh. The pressure's off.

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APRILLSCOTT 1/3/2012 11:20PM

    What a beautiful cake! I baked one that took two hours this New Year's and was gone in the same day. Yours truly takes the cake! emoticon

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REJ7777 1/3/2012 7:16AM

    That fruitcake looks absolutely delicious! emoticon

I wish you health and many wonderful experiences during your jubilee year!

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SPARKLINSUE 1/3/2012 4:13AM

    Number 1 and 2, does this mean 40 mins daily...lol emoticon

Cake looks lovely, I bought all the stuff to make one and then decided it would just be for us 2 and I am not that keen so didn't bother. I will have to make fruit scones every few weeks for Ralph to take to work..lol

Happy New Year to you both, say hi to Himself from us

sue emoticon

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POPSY190 1/3/2012 2:18AM

    You and the Queen - a winning combination! Great idea and great fruitcake, it looks perfect.

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SEAWAVE 1/2/2012 9:26PM

    What a wonderful idea, to celebrate your Jubilee Year. And your fruit cake looks absolutely gorgeous (although like you, I don't eat fruitcake either). I'm pretty sure the icing freezes well, but you'll have to let us know. After Mom died, my Dad made himself a fruitcake -- started in June, if I recall, and splashed it with rum every couple of weeks until Xmas. I got off on just the smell of it, and his new neighbours were rightfully impressed!

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LJCANNON 1/2/2012 8:51PM

    emoticonI am so looking forward to celebrating your Jubilee Year with you!!
emoticonYour cake looks incredible, I'm sure it was delicious. Great Idea about freezing pieces of it!! Even without the frosting, it will be a fun treat!!

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NURSNANA 1/2/2012 8:43PM

    Beautiful cake! Wow, 4 hours to bake it! My mom used to bake very heavy fruitcakes when I was a kid. She made them a couple of months before Christmas, and splashed them with Rum and wrapped them up in foil to let them "marinade" several weeks! I remember them being very rich, a little went a long way! I love your idea for a Jubilee year! Congratulations on maintaining your weight during the holidays!! I managed to do the same, not that I was very strict.......just careful and tried to balance my calories if I splurged. Happy New Year! ~hugs~ Nancy in Virginia

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LECATES 1/2/2012 8:22PM

    Good blog---cake looks very professional---good job.

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DEBIGENE 1/2/2012 7:47PM

    Hello my friend your cake is (was) lovely and I bet it tasted good too !!! I'm not a BIG fan of fruit cake although I can enjoy a small piece every once in a while but one with icing, that could change my mind to more often .... haha.

I see we have joined the same January JumpStart Work Out Challenge ... I realize now after 2 years, that I really MUST incorporate routine exercise into my lifestyle change, my problem is I HATE EXERCISE !!!! Hope this works at helping me to start a habit !! Good luck to you as well and a very happy 2012.

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MTULLY 1/2/2012 7:46PM

    Great idea to celebrate your Jubilee Year. I am looking forward to hearing your plans. This will be my Jubilee +5, and you have me thinking that I should look at it as a year-long event to focus on as well. Lovely idea! Congratulations on getting through the holidays without gaining any weight. That is, indeed, a fine accomplishment! Wishing you a fabulous Jubilee Year!!

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Day 366 - Or Is This 'Day One'? Again?

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Just a quickie. I found the following a while ago and figured this would be a good time to post it.

Another fresh new year is here . . .
Another year to live!
To banish worry, doubt, and fear,
To love and laugh and give!

This bright new year is given me
To live each day with zest . . .
To daily grow and try to be
My highest and my best!

I have the opportunity
Once more to right some wrongs,
To pray for peace, to plant a tree,
And sing more joyful songs!

William Arthur Ward (no idea WHEN he wrote this)

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBIGENE 1/2/2012 7:38PM

    And a world of 'good wishes' to you also from across the pond !!!

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4DOGNIGHT 1/2/2012 9:39AM

    And a Happy New Year to you too! Can't wait to see what you come up with! Carol

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SEAWAVE 1/1/2012 9:18PM

    I've never read this poem. You're right -- totally appropriate.

Have a happy and healthy 2012!

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Day 365 - Resolutions: Yay or Nay?

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Yes, I CAN!

Seems as though New Year's resolutions are like SlimJims, the dried beef jerky strips: you either love 'em, or you hate 'em.

There was a good article on Spark in favor of resolutions:


And I've seen about an equal number of essays that disparage resolutions.

I know, you can't wait for me to check in with my two cents' worth. My opinion: Yes. Make resolutions. BUT - do them rationally.

Now, some people are put off by the very word 'resolutions.' Maybe it conjures up failures from years past, or the assignment of some English teacher who required you to come up with three then expand on them.

Many of the same people who cavalierly dismiss resolutions will enthusiastically endorse goals, however, which leads me to ask: is there any real difference? Aren't resolutions, and goals, and targets - and aims, challenges, objects - essentially saying the same thing?

My dictionary says a resolution is, among other things, a decision. There's no better time than January first to see the glass as half-full, because there is great motivation to be found in the fresh start / clean slate of a new year.

Set some resolutions along the lines of the Spark article linked above, or try using the 'SMART Goals' technique to come up with resolutions. You remember SMART, the acronym for 'Specific - Measurable - Attainable - Realistic - Timed.'

Your resolutions should be specific, in the sense of giving you some guidelines to follow. It's all well and good to decide you 'will become healthier in 2012.' But give yourself some direction by listing a few ways you can become healthier, such as becoming more fit or losing weight or working to reduce your blood pressure.

Measurable: once you have your specifics in place, you can determine the best ways to measure progress. Remember, if one of your resolutions is to lose weight, the scale may not be the best method to track progress, so give measurable some thought.

And there's no sense in setting yourself goals you cannot achieve. 'Become a perfect size 2' may not be possible, but 'Fitting into my favorite jeans' might be attainable. Only you can decide which resolutions are truly possible for you, and that leads directly on to--

--realistic. Don't set the bar so high you set yourself up for failure. If you've been leading a sedentary lifestyle, is it realistic to state 'I will run a full marathon in six months'? Instead, narrow down your aspirations to a more realistic level. 'I will walk 10,000 steps per day' may be more realistic, and may even help you ultimately achieve a goal beyond the initial resolution.

The fly in the ointment could be 'Timed.' Plenty of advice out there will say not to give yourself a deadline - and plenty of equally valid advice will tell you always to set a deadline. This is where 'realistic' and 'attainable' can be useful elements. Give yourself a target time to aim for - but try to work out what interim steps you need to get to the target date, then work out how long each of those 'mini-goals' might take you.

Sure, you want to be slender, fit, toned, healthy - who doesn't? But the best encouragement and motivation for self-determination can be found in resolutions you set to challenge yourself on your way to improvement.

Spark has another good article entitled 'The Worst New Year's Resolutions You Can Make.'


It will give you help on the pitfalls to avoid when drawing up your own 2012 resolutions.

You know what our old friend Rob Browning said. 'A [person's] reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?' Or as the popular saying goes, 'Always aim for the moon: even if you miss, you'll land among the stars.'

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are! I'm wishing you the best and brightest of new years - carpe annum!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4DOGNIGHT 1/2/2012 9:38AM

    I agree with ANDI. 2012 is going to be a great year! You made it through with a daily blog every day this year! What's on your plate for next year! Happy Happy!

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MS.ELENI 1/1/2012 5:04PM

    Happy New Year to you!!

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CO-CREATOR 1/1/2012 2:54PM

    Great post. Happy new year!

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WINE4GIRL 1/1/2012 7:14AM

    I resolve to be a better friend, relative and lover. One way is to get healthier so I can be around to be those things! Thanks for another creative blog that makes me THINK!
Happy New to you!

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RORYLYONS 1/1/2012 5:24AM

    I never make any but always work on improving me ..So a toast Kasey for many blessings & good health in 2012. emoticon emoticon

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MEDDYPEDDY 1/1/2012 4:51AM

    That quote "always reach for the moon... is different in swedish and I wonder if that reflects our modest personalities...."If you aim for the stars you might at least reach the tree tops...."

Thank you for being such an inspiration on spark - you are the main motivator for my 2012 quest!

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MOBYCARP 12/31/2011 7:52PM

    A great deal of the tradition of New Years resolutions centers around resolving to change something. IMO, part of making this type of resolution rationally is to make it *when* you are ready to change.

For me, that is rarely on New Years Day. I resolved to do something about my weight on July 10, 2011. I decided to become a runner some time in late August, 2011. I joined a gym for the first time in July, 2005. I did start my first detailed personal budget on January 1, 2008; but that was driven by real changes in my personal finances at the start of 2008, not by the arbitrary date of setting resolutions.

I'm not making any New Years resolutions this year, because the important stuff I'm trying to change is already a work in progress.

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ANDI571 12/31/2011 7:20PM

    I think 2012 is going to be a very good year.

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SHARON2014 12/31/2011 6:17PM

    Excellent post! I used one of the SP articles in my post today as well! Happy New Year! emoticon

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TAMIPCHICAGO 12/31/2011 5:34PM

    Excellent post. I agree with everything. I think we should,and most of us do have our own versions of resolutions in our goals, as well as in our desires to do certain things. Keeping them realistic and doable is the important factor. It's like what I do in my business: under promise, over deliver. Same idea with my goals for the new year. I set goals I feel are very manageable, and then when I over perform, I'll be thrilled! LOL

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7356WILMA 12/31/2011 5:29PM

  Thank you for sharing!!! Happy New Year!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/31/2011 5:11PM

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, Kasey! It's tomorrow where you are, or almost tomorrow! I'll head to bed tonight at my normal time and celebrate the New Year my own way, in the light of a fresh, new morning, too!

May all your 2012 goals or resolutions be what you need them to be.

- Barb emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LECATES 12/31/2011 5:02PM

    Happy New Year!

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MISSLISA1973 12/31/2011 5:00PM

    My resolution is to walk/run 1000 miles over the course of the year. I have each month's mileage planned out, gradually increasing over the year as I get stronger. I started training in October! I missed my October and November goals, but I hit my goal of 45 miles for December! It's a little unnerving to announce a goal like this (I'm telling everyone I know and posting it all over SparkPeople and Facebook) that will take all year to accomplish. But what a rush it will be to complete it! And even if I don't quite make it, I know I will get in way more miles than I otherwise would, so I am excited.

BRING IT ON!!! emoticon

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Day 364 - Now or Never...

Friday, December 30, 2011

...to post for today. I am chafing at leaving these last few blogs in such a state, but 'people' before 'computer,' resolutions or no resolutions.

We're sitting entirely too much shooting the breeze (raining like mad all day today, so no chance of taking even a leisurely stroll), and probably eating entirely too much, but wotthehell, as Mehitabel was wont to say.

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 12/31/2011 2:30AM

    day 364 - how very inspiring! Yesterday I watched the christmas episode of Downton Abey and wanted to become british for a while... although this past year I have become aware that the brits are a savage people so IŽd better stay in civilized Swden emoticon but as it was "raining cats and dogs" here the other day, I realised that I prefer it much better than the frost and cold we have now - I would be a perfect brit concerning the weather...

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POPSY190 12/30/2011 8:54PM

    Happy New Year! We,re just 9 hours away from 2012, emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/30/2011 7:17PM

    Real life first... writing about it after!

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