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My fight with

Saturday, August 10, 2013

No...this is NOT an interesting blog. Just thought I'd report on my non-interesting, but tiring day.

I should have taken "before" pictures...but IT was so ugly, I would have been embarrased.
I'm talking about the wood-tiered, re-bar "infested" flower box implanted by the former owners of my house. Judging from the number of re-bars inserted into the wood tiers, the owners felt certain this flower box would be permanent. Sadly, time and weather has a way with wood. So I have this rotting, re-bar infested flower box. It's 3 separate tiers high, 6 feet wide, and 10 feet long.

Because it's rotting so badly, I thought I'd just be able to yank the wood beams out. Nope! It's "Re-Bar City" in there!!!! It's not budging.

So today I started my deconstruction. Mind you, I'm OLD lady. I got out my handy-dandy shovel, and my "Sawz-All" saw. I started digging out all the dirt, weeds, and dead flowers from the first tier. Notice, I said...STARTED! Three hours (count them...3 hrs) later, I managed to get MOST of the dirt, weeds and dead flowers out of the first tier with my handy-dandy little shovel.

Next came the "Sawz-All" for the one portion that was fairly cleared.
First...check...any evidence of re-bar in intended area? Nope.

Oh, this is going to be easy because the wood is rotted...right? Wrong! The Sawz-All only wants to go part way through before it starts vibrating to the point my arm-flaps are jiggling at 90 miles per hour. AND it's not going to go any deeper. So then I have to cut into the first cut at an angle. I'm beginning to feel like a lumberjack. Whoo Hoo!

First cut done. Yank!!! Oh no...besides re-bar; there's giant screws! Really???? I finally got most of the dirt out of the first tier, and I finally managed to get the wood tiers off 2 sides of the first tier.

I'm TIRED. I'm HOT, I'm SWEATY. I CAN'T SEE through my glasses. My legs are SORE. My back is KILLING me...........I'm going in.

But the real killer????? SparkPeople doesn't give you points for lumberjacking!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LESLIEJEAN43 8/14/2013 4:32PM

    That sounds like an awful job! I admire your tenacity! emoticon

Hugs, Leslie

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RORYLYONS 8/14/2013 12:15AM

    We girls gotta stick together I would have my tools handy and moseyed on over to chisel out the wood... emoticon Seriously you earn a big emoticonfor all your hard work. We oldsters are hip nowadays that's for sure.. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROSEWCI 8/11/2013 7:15AM

    Oh girl, ya gotta get SOME Spark points for all that?!!! Check & see, by golly!!! How's bout chopping wood? Double check that list, Gwen! There's gotta be something!!!

I hope you took it easy the rest of the day! Perhaps a soak in the tub was warranted! Be kind to yourself!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    I think I would look at the list of exercises and find one that came as close as I could. One way or another, I WOULD enter it SOMEWHERE!!!!!! emoticon


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LUCKYDOGFARM 8/11/2013 12:58AM

    You're too funny! I would've loved to help you on that one too. No, really! I love doing stuff like that. It comes with a certain satisfaction! Knowing that you have labored and actually being able to see that results of that labor. You Go Girl! Do us proud!

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JRDIAMOND4 8/10/2013 9:47PM

    This is one of those projects that IF I lived closer I would have been a good neighbor and come over to help you but OH DARN I live in Florida. I will just have to sit in my easy chair and think to myself IF ONLY I lived closer I could help emoticon

All kidding aside, I do hope you find some help or as you get that first box started the rest becomes easier. Things I build like that have a tendency to fall apart on their own. lolol

You amaze me with what you do!!


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Why I haven't been on SparkPeople

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Why haven't I been on SparkPeople? I can't even remeber the last time I was on SparkPeople...a little over 3 months??? I've always enjoyed SparkPeople, but...

I got caught up. Too many things. When I retired I thought I'd have lots of time to do as I pleased. But then I found out I didn't know how to say 'NO" and was soon on many committees. All good!! All needful!!!

But then I started to grow weary...

When you grow weary, you start to become lax...yes...including eating and exercise habits. And yes...I've gained...a little.

Finally...I grabbed the "reins". As of the end of THIS year, I will be off two committees that took a lot of my time. That will still leave me with three. Hopefully my time will be more manageable. Even though it may sound as though I'm complaining, I'm not as I've enjoyed every moment and felt very uplifted with each.

I just added a photo to my photo album, which I'll repeat here. It needs explanation:

This is one of the committees that remains very dear to my heart and will continue to work many hours on. This was a Park that was dedicated to the public back in 1929. For many years it was a very vibrant park, but then a slow and steady decline started. Without going into detail here in this blog, it was soon going to be given to an organization, while a worthy one, would not have benefitted the public as much as retaining it as a park. We had to go through Court to keep it as a park. In the two years since we've had raffles, yard sales, t-shirt sales, etc. (YES...BUSY, BUSY, BUSY...EAT, EAT, EAT). We are now in the process of restoring the park. We've been clearing brush, cutting dead trees, will be replacing the roof on the existing pavilion, the Eagle Scouts are repairing the "restrooms", we'll be putting in a nature trail, park benches, etc., etc. It been a LOT of work, but a LOT of fun. We hope to redidicate the park this fall. We have the 1929 newspaper article when it was first dedicated, which additionally sets forth all the games that were played and who won. We hope to repeat this in as many aspects as possible.

And now...I hope to grab the reins with my eating and exercise habits...once gain.

Hope to be chatting more with my good ol' SparkFriends.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RORYLYONS 6/30/2013 1:46AM

    Sending a big wave...I'm thrilled to hear your park project is coming along so well. Keeping busy is the best medicine to staying healthy & fit.The plus side is the mind is active.. which is a very good thing . emoticon emoticon

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LESLIEJEAN43 6/29/2013 5:20PM

    I'm glad you're back!
I can relate to taking on too many activities in retirement - I've done that too, and am also cutting back so I'll have more time for the things I was looking forward to in retirement, such as reading, knitting, and working on a writing project.
I wish you great success on your return.

Hugs, Leslie emoticon

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ROSEWCI 6/23/2013 6:17AM

    You were missed, my friend! Very much so! So glad you're back in touch & that all is well in your world! I know you've been working diligently & passionately helping others...cause that's your way! Now, share some of that kindness with yourself Gwen! You're most deserving!

You are loved!!! emoticon

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LUCKYDOGFARM 6/19/2013 12:35AM

    Welcome back and a huge pat on the back for all the hard work you guys have been doing! Congratulations!

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ROCKLAND2010 6/18/2013 6:35PM

    A very worthy effort. Thank you for sharing. Welcome back!

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    GREAT to hear from you! That is good news about the park. It really does sound like it took and will continue to take a lot of work to get it where you want it. Hey! It is totally worth it though. It sounds very nice, and a great benefit to the community. Glad to have you back with us. Take care, and keep in touch.


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KIM___ 6/18/2013 4:44PM

    I love your background. It's beautiful! Welcome back to SP. I've been gone for a long bit, too.

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SLIMMERJESSE 6/18/2013 4:36PM

    Good job on keeping the park. Welcome back to SP.

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THINAGIN2 6/18/2013 4:31PM

    I know exactly what you are talking about! Do you ever wonder how you had time to work? Good luck!

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Juniata's River edge; 9-11; prayers

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I haven't blogged much and this won't be much of a blog. This is more just "my thinking or rambling".

I haven't walked in a while and I miss it. I hadn't walked, in part, due to the rains we've received over the last several days. Most of it was remnants of tropical storm Lee, but there were other weather fronts that also produced rain. I've dumped 10-1/2" inches from my rain gauge. That's a lot of rain, but fortunately it was over several days and I've not really been affected by it...other than I will have a horrible time when I can finally push-mow my lawn. The grass is about 8" high. I'm not alone...all my neighbors will have the same problem. It will be a "good workout"!

I hadn't walked in a while, also in part, due to the various functions I'm involved in. But I'll get to that a little later.

There's no threat for rain until later this afternoon. So I laced up my running shoes and walked out the door. WHAM! Whoo-Boy, the air is HEAVY! It's hard to breathe. Because I haven't walked in a while, I decide to take a SHORT walk down to the Juniata River. Well, actually, it's the RAYSTOWN BRANCH of the Juniata River. On my walk I get soaking wet from the trees dripping their heavy water droplets. You'd think it was raining. I decide to go to the River because it's known to flood in several areas, one of which is by Fort Bedford Park. It's about 1-1/2 miles from my home. You can see where the water was over and beyond the newly constructed Walking/Biking Trail. This particular portion has macadam and no damage. Just muddy now. You can see where it invaded the park portion but the picnic tables and kiddy rides remain intact.

Whew! This is good. But then I think about Texas and portions of Oklahoma who could use some rain. How sad. I'm praying rain comes their way to help with their parched ground and the many widespread fires. I am praying. I think about all those in other areas where the rains have exceeded flood stage records. I am praying.

The other reasons I haven't walked much of late: I like to keep busy. A part of it is due to the fact that it numbs my thinking about the deaths of my girls, my husband, my brother, my parents, and many other family members. A part is due to my just feeling so much better about myself when I help others. Therefore, I am extremely active with our local Food Outreach Bank; am co-chair of the Free Community Dinners that are put on by 7 local churces; and very active with our Church Missions group which is 75% for localized help and 25% worldwide help.

And now I recently became a member of a group that is trying to SAVE a dedicated Park. It could be the beautiful park it once was but our town fathers have had no interst in it for years. Now they want to break the restrictions of the deed and transfer to another entity. I won't go into detail, but it is taking a lot of effort and court time. If we can win and keep it as a Park, then there will be a lot of hard work to bring it back to its former glory. It's worth it!!!

I am passionate about these projects. So as long as I can remain healthy (which I am), if I miss a walk here and there, or don't exercise as I should, I won't beat myself up about it. I AM very active.

This is also a time for reflection regarding 9-ll. Like most of you, I could tell you in detail what I was doing at the time and how it affected me. I have been to Shanksville, the Flight 93 crash site. It's only 30 minutes from my home. IT IS SOBERING. I intend to go again when it's not quite so crowded. I am, and will be, praying.

FINALLY, I am praying for everyone on Spark People who may be struggling in some form,whether it's physical, mental or spiritual. Contrary to what YOU MAY be thinking: YOU CAN DO IT! GO FOR IT!

emoticon Gwen

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROSEWCI 9/11/2011 8:40PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon for you Gwen!
I aspire to be just like you! Compassionate & kind! And generous to a fault! I applaud your efforts in helping others...& I can see that by doing so, you're helping yourself as well! You're a strong woman through it all my friend!
And you have a emoticon of gold! Thank you for all that you do! You're a special lady, indeed! And you are loved!

emoticon emoticon

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WINFIELD28 9/10/2011 9:52PM

    Gwen, it sounds like you are getting LOTS of exercise in ALL you do!

What a blessing you are to so many others by sharing your gifts and talents and time! May you also be richly blessed. What a positive attitude you share with being busy and productive, even when life has been challenging for you. Bless You!

It must be so sobering like you said to visit Shanksville. We will never forget 9-11 or those brave people on Flight 93. So tragic.

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LESLIEJEAN43 9/10/2011 8:11PM

    I really admire you for your passion and commitment to your causes!
I have also had a lot of losses in my life, and some days it is hard to find the energy to get dressed!
Keep up the good work!

Hugs, Leslie

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4k cyclists fighting cancer (pics)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

LAST weekend was such an exciting weekend!

I had the honor of being a PART of hosting a group of 4k cyclists. It's a non-profit organization that cycles 4,000 miles across country raising cancer awareness. They do cancer education programs, health screening, visit cancer patients, cancer centers and hospices during the ride. This year there were approximately 85 riders that were split up into 3 groups:

Baltimore to San Francisco
Baltimore to Seattle
Baltimore to Portland

My church had the opportunity to host the "Baltimore to Portland" group that consisted of 25 cyclists. We were their first stop along their 4,000-mile journey. Our church has been doing this for approximately 9 years. We make arrangements for them to shower at our local high school, then we feed and make sleeping arrangements for them in our church. What an exciting group...they were SO MUCH FUN!

Below is a picture of the first group of cyclists gathering goodies at the "cold bar". At the "hot bar" we had penne pasta, spaghetti sauce, meatballs (on the side), Italian vegetables, garlic breads and hot rolls. On the cold bar we had several kinds of salads, fresh fruits, mixed nuts, etc., and cakes and apple cobbler:

After we got them "tucked in" for the night, five of us raced home for a little sleep and was back at church by 4:45 a.m. to make their breakfast of pancakes, bacon, scrambled eggs, fruit cocktail (homemade), yogurts, and the like.

Below is a picture of the entire 4k group, plus ME in my "trusty apron" (the OLD one in the front row) and another of our cooking group (last row in green). The group is happy...they had a FILLING breakfast.

They loaded up 2 vans with their gear; got their bikes into proper working order; and filled up at the water fountain...they were everywhere:

And the first group IS OFF not too long after dawn. I actually hated to see them leave (not only because they were a great group...but...I knew there was a ton of dishes back in the kitchen)!!!

It makes me wish I were younger...but then...I know I'm doing my thing!

If anyone is interested in following their journey, they can be found at I've been following the Portland group and they were last reported to be in Cleveland!

I pray they have a safe and blessed journey.

emoticon to my Sparkers and the 4k group!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BIGMELITTLEME 7/10/2011 9:55PM

    WOW that is really awesome! Looks like a lot of fun too!

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RORYLYONS 7/1/2011 7:07PM

    Your simply amazing my friend..Your really such a dear heart getting involved in such worthy causes...Pics are great too... emoticon

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JICASMOM 6/11/2011 6:08PM

    This is incredible, you are incredible!!!!! Thanks for sharing the pics and the story... Awesome!

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ROSEWCI 6/6/2011 5:42AM

    How emoticon!!! How EXCITING!
And how wonderful to be a part of such a wonderful event!
Thanks for sharing your JOY w/us Gwen!
LOVE the pics!

emoticon emoticon

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LUCKYDOGFARM 6/5/2011 10:16PM

    Hey OGC! sounds like you are right where you are supposed to be, blessing those whom you are supposed to! that is so cool, either way, to ride that far or to be able to serve those who can ride that far.


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WINFIELD28 6/5/2011 10:06PM

    How wonderful!
You ARE doing your part! You are awesome! God Bless you for ALL you do!
Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

Comment edited on: 6/5/2011 10:07:53 PM

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9 month SparkVersary (through the Cat's perspective)(pics)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Okay, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. My "master" calls me "Michael", but I'm here to tell you I AM actually the ONEGREATCAT. This is me.

My "master" has taken over my user name. I've told her to get her own user name, but she didn't like any of the names I suggested: Salt'nPepperHead, MoldyOldie, FrumpyDumpyWimp. Who knew she could get so insulted!!! be clear...this is her.

Let me tell you about "her". Her name is Gwen and I've told her she's lost her "Sparkiness". She had all these grandiose ideas about what she was going to say on her 9-month SparkVersary. I told her she needs to re-read "The Spark" as I believe she's lost some of her original spark and original goals.

I told her she shouldn't be so "consumed" with what she hasn't done, but focus on what she HAS DONE. Chris Downie's book, "The Spark", asks if there is a clash between what you really BELIEVE...and what you're trying TO DO. To that, I say "yes dear master", you have a clash. What YOU'VE been trying to do is first get healthier, and thereafter to work on weight loss.

As Onegreatcat, I can tell you that in the 9 months that Gwen has been on this site, she HAS gotten healther! Her Doc is pleased. But Gwen has been too focused of late on how she hasn't exercised as she should and hasn't lost the weight as she should. But I say...

You have lost some weight. True, you've been on a plateau for a LONG time, but quit obsessing! True, you could get off that plateau if you would crank up your exercise habits...but, my dear Master Gwen, quit trying to jump in the middle of a RAGING RIVER when you can't even swim!! Follow "The Spark" and work on those little building blocks, one step, one block at a time.

Remember this: You are healthier! That was your first goal! You have lost some weight! You walked your first 5k...something that you thought was unattainable. And with a time that shocked you! You'll get there so long as you remain committed to the Spark ideals.

Now as far as your believing you can get into a marathon or a triathlon? Isn't that a bit of a Spark "clash" at this point? I mean is it realistic for you, given the current problems you have with your knees AND (gasp) your AGE???? (ohhh, she's going to hit me for that one!). Granted, if you keep building on those building blocks...

ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE...but is it REALISTIC for today or next week? NO! Quit obsessing about what OTHERS are doing. That is THEIR journey. Not yours. Quit the whining about "this one" is doing that, and "that one" is doing this. You stick with YOUR JOURNEY. Continue with YOUR building blocks and be content with what you've accomplished THUS FAR!

Now, here's my final cat observtion. This the Gwen I can purr over:

HAR, HAR! Got her!

Okay, now that the darned cat has had HIS say, it's my turn:

Thank you SparkPeople and thank you SparkFriends for being with me and supporting me through 9 months on my journey!!! Now I'm going to re-read "The Spark" to refocus, and work on those building blocks, one step at a time. My goal is to live the rest of my life with revitalization of happiness, health, exuberance and zest. I will stretch myself, but not to the point of breaking. I WILL move beyond MY comfort zone, but I will not allow myself to overdo it and lose control.

With that said, I have "visions" of a KAYAK in my future....oooops, does that involve raging rivers???

SPARK ON all SPARKERS with YOUR goals and YOUR journey.
emoticon Gwen

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUCKYDOGFARM 4/21/2011 1:10AM

    You sure do have a smart cat!
Congrats on YOUR wonderful SparkJourney! keep it up. do YOUR thing in the SparkyFashion!

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MEGA_MILES 4/13/2011 9:04AM

    Congratulations Gwen. It looks to me like you are doing great.

Forget about that damned cat. I live with one just like him and she is so damned opinionated about whether or not I'm working hard enough.She even wants me to carry her when I'm on the treadmill!

Keep up the good work and the weight will take care of itself.

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ROSEWCI 4/13/2011 5:54AM

    emoticon to're ONEGREATCAT!
emoticon on your 9 month SparkVersary!
LOVE the advise! Focus on what you've ACCOMPLISHED to date!
emoticon You've come a long way baby!
Gwen, thank YOU for your friendship...your sense of humor...your JOY!!! Great plan to refocus by reading the Spark! Your goals for life are right on! Go for it my friend!

I'm with ya! ALL the way! emoticon emoticon

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GAYLE-G-63 4/12/2011 8:36PM

    My dearest Gwen,


This was an absolutely wonderful blog. Michael is sure Onesmarcat, too, isn't he? =)

Keep up the good work. You are worth it!!!


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LESLIEJEAN43 4/12/2011 7:36PM

    Hahahaha!!! I love the blog from you and the cat (and, who is in charge there?)!
Congratulations on your 9 months, and your well thought out plans; keep up the great work!
Hugs, Leslie

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WINFIELD28 4/12/2011 6:22PM

    ONEGREATCAT - you have one smart cat, too!
Congratulations on your 9 Month SparkVersary!

Love your blog today! It really 'spoke' to me, too!
To quote the Wonderful advice from a very smart cat:
"I told her she shouldn't be so "consumed" with what she hasn't done, but focus on what she HAS DONE." You have DONE great things, Gwen!!!
Gotten healthier, completed a 5K race and so much more!
I agree, we can't compare ourselves or obsess about what others are doing.
We are each on our own journey...but here to offer support and friendship.
And Gwen, you have been a breath of fresh air on my journey! Always lifting me up when I need it most. Thank you for your great attitude and friendship.
I wish you continued success as you travel along on YOUR Personal Journey.
Listen to Michael...he's ONESMARTCAT!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/12/2011 6:24:43 PM

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