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The story behind my photo collage

Monday, November 08, 2010


Well, after several days of browsing, snipping, arranging and pasting I finally finished my long awaited collage last evening. It is now proudly displayed on our fridge door and my husband joked about how excited I was to be doing it. If you haven't done one, I highly recommend it!

Well, after I finished my blog my husband asked me the significance of each picture and it was so easy to tell him that I thought I would share it with all of you.

FRIENDS - That is a shout out to my friend who suggested SparkPeople to me and to all of you, my newest friends, who encourage me more than you will ever know. emoticon


RED RUBBER BOOTS - An inspiration for turning rainy, gloomy days into brighter ones by wearing funky, practical footwear. Imagine the fun I would have splashing in puddles! I am currently in the process of looking for a great pair of rain rubbers! emoticon

CANADIAN FLAG - Well, what can I say? I'm glad and proud to be a Canadian! emoticon

COMMITMENT "1" versus PROCRASTINATION "0" - my new motto emoticon

REFERENCE TO AND A PICTURE OF A REDHEAD - (look hard you will see a black wooden moustache magnet on the redhead's face) - After years of hating my colouring I'm finally embracing it. The moustache magnet (a recent present from my brother) is a silly reminder of the bond we share. I know he is encouraging me on! emoticon

START RUNNING - A reference to the fact that I want to start running! I'm not quite ready yet but it is one of my medium-term goals. emoticon

SUNFLOWER - The flowers we chose for Dad's memorial service....I still smile and think of him when I see sunflowers growing to their majestic heights. emoticon

FETCH - Refers to getting fit in the company of my dogs. With them it is totally fine to be silly and I'm not sure who has more fun with a stick or a ball! emoticon

HAPPY LIFE - NO REGRETS - If I was going to be buried that is what I would want on my tombstone....quite a choice for somebody living with depression. emoticon

LEATHER COAT - This reminds me of classic clothes that are meant to be worn and look better with age. It is also a subtle reminder that I will one day be able to wear non-plus sized clothes. emoticon

LEATHER RIDING BOOTS - This is another reminder of the lifestyle I want to live. Not that I'm a horse rider but I love that casual comfortable look. No stilettos for me. Oh, and it also reminds me that I long to wear boots without extra-wide calves!!!! emoticon

WATCH - A reminder to watch myself and to be accountable to myself! emoticon

PRESENT - A gentle reminder to look for the specialness of every day and not just special occasion ones. Maybe its is giving my dear Mom an unexpected gift or giving somebody the gift of my time. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMA_BEAR_69 11/9/2010 4:06AM

    Thank you so much for sharing the meaning behind your collage choices. AWESOME!!! I think I will make a new one and just update as my ideas have changed since I made my original one!!

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S3XYDIVASMOM 11/8/2010 5:32PM

    I looked at that assignment and thought it sounded like more bother than it was worth. Well, you certainly made the bother worthwhile. Thanks for sharing.

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BLESSED2BEME 11/8/2010 12:27PM

    Way to go - very cool. You put a lot of thought into and inspired us in the process. Thanks for sharing!

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APIRLRAIN888 11/8/2010 12:05PM

    very cool!

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RIMAJO 11/8/2010 10:38AM

    Your collage & its meaning all make wonderful sense.. You did an excellent job with this project Susan.. I too have to commend your husband for taking an interest in what matters to you, not all husbands do.

Hope you have a great day & get the chance to get outside for another game of fetch!

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DORYH20 11/8/2010 8:52AM

    First of all... KUDOS to the hubby for 'showing' interest in your collage emoticon

And from one Canadian girl to another...NICE JOB! I have not done a collage yet. Perhaps, that can be one of my rewards. It would be nice not to spend money on one. And the fact that it is personal and made by 'little ol me' (one day) is a BONUS!

I loved the meaning behind Red Rubber Boots, the sunflowers, the emoticon
and the gift.
Thanks for posting your collage for others to read. It is truly 'a gift'. emoticon

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JHADZHIA 11/8/2010 8:51AM

    Fabulous! Making a collage was one of the first things Spark recommended in their Fast Break program. Another thing was making yourself a business card (membership Card & Pledge) to show your commitment to the new lifestyle and then sign it (they have the template). Its on my fridge still. I don't have room for a collage on their as my artistic niece's artwork gets first priority.
I am at home with being a redhead too, but I won't wear pink, red and orange ;) Although Mom is going to look at my wonderful ski outfit and see if it can be altered without losing the design. I think not, too much material would need to come off :((
Have a marvelous Monday!!

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MEMARE 11/8/2010 8:50AM

    I really like this! emoticon
Thanks for sharing the meaning behind your collage components.


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What a difference the sun can make

Sunday, November 07, 2010

I woke up this morning dreading the day as it was rainy and rather dull outside. As most of you know, I so battle with depression and have SAD (Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder) on top of that.

Anyway, I was sitting back feeling sorry for myself when I grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and started writing out how I felt. For every negative feeling, I came up with a positive one. I was amazed how quickly I started to feel better!

Just to give you two examples of things I wrote:

1. The weather is so rainy and gray. My response to this was, I have a nice little house, out of the rain. I have lights I can turn on if I find the darkness too much. And I also have a hood should I feel inspired to walk in the rain.

2. I have a mountain of laundry to do. My response to this was, I have a brand new washer and dryer downstairs that works wonderfully. I do not have to lug my laundry to a laundromat. I should be thankful for that.

Once I felt a wee bit better, we bundled up, stopped at Tim Hortons for a coffee and drove to our normal walking spot. We were just getting out of the car when the sun came out and we ended up walking for 60 minutes in t-shirts and jeans. Talk about having a great November day after all.

Just wanted to share my experience with you and I hope you are all enjoying a nice Sunday afternoon.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OUBACHE 11/8/2010 12:23PM

    It's so true that for everything we can see as negative, there is a way to see the positive. It just takes a little bit more work for some of us to do it this way, but I think it gets easier with practice.

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DAWNO64 11/8/2010 12:03PM

    Congrats! A little positive thinking can go a long way; that's why we have the Positive Post challenge on the SAD team. If you post something positive every day, it helps lift the doldrums a little.

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MEMARE 11/8/2010 8:45AM

    Thatís a great thing to do; accentuate the positive!
You did real good! Glad you had a great day!

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JHADZHIA 11/7/2010 11:36PM

    Wonderful!! Good for you finding the postitives!! I know what you mean about the dark. I am so happy its been sunny and warm lately as most of our 'spring' and 'summer' was cold, wet and with record rainfalls..Wasn't ready for the cold, dark days ahead we must face here in winter. Glad your day worked out for you!

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 11/7/2010 9:56PM

    Sounds like you had a great day after all. WOOHOO!! So glad you enjoyed your walk!!!

Comment edited on: 11/7/2010 9:57:11 PM

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S3XYDIVASMOM 11/7/2010 9:42PM

    I think your exercise of matching every negative with a positive is a good idea for all of us, even those of us who rarely deal with depression. Thanks for the blog.

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SUGARBABY60 11/7/2010 8:48PM

    I to had a nice walk in the sunshine today and it boosted y moral also. I even saw 5 chipmonks scurrying around checking me out. Glad your day turned out well. emoticon

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APIRLRAIN888 11/7/2010 8:11PM

    love it!!!! I feel that way blogging here!! makes my journey easier, more manageable

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JLITT62 11/7/2010 6:26PM

    Great blog! You're right, there's always something to be grateful for if we look hard enough. And it feels better than feeling down, anyway, right?

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BLESSED2BEME 11/7/2010 5:08PM

    We miss Tim Horton's so much from our time in Canada! I need the sun too and become depressed easily when it is dark and grey. It is especially hard in the thick of winter when the days are the shortest.

Praying for sunshine for you!

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WILLOWWINDS 11/7/2010 5:06PM

    Great idea. Glad things turned around for you.



= emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/7/2010 5:07:52 PM

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CATLOVER110 11/7/2010 3:35PM

    Good for you for arguing with those negative thoughts! I need to follow your example. Way to go! emoticon

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TRYN2MUCH 11/7/2010 1:48PM

    I love the sun! Not to be in it all the time but to look out my window and see it really boosts my psyche. Glad you didn't let not seeing it keep you from deciding to walk but how nice it came out just as you started.


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Walking in the dark

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Hello Spark Friends~

My husband, Maddy, Lou, and I just returned from a walk in complete darkness and I have to say it was an "eye" opener! We walked in our normal spot where there is no traffic and although we did take a flashlight (just in case) it was really nice walking in the dark. It is a beautiful November evening with temperatures of 17 degrees (c) which is highly abnormal for here so it added to the charm of the evening.

Do you know how much you can actually see in the dark...it is amazing how quickly your eyes adjust and just how much light there are from the stars and moon. I highly recommend it!

Only once during our walk did I turn to my husband and say that I was glad I wasn`t scared off by watching too many episodes of Criminal Minds.....he laughed and then made a scary scream-like howl to see if I was really freaked out. Ha!

Hope you are all having a great weekend. Remember the clocks go back for some of us tomorrow night. I can`t wait to see daylight again when getting ready for work!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMA_BEAR_69 11/7/2010 9:58PM

    I love the daylight in the morning but really hate that it gets dark so early. Oh well, can't have it all for sure!!

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POOH_BEAR_69 11/7/2010 5:08PM

    Glad you were able to enjoy the evening. I can't wait for a little daylight earlier in the morning. It will make my morning commute much easier... emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Wow, I just a took a trip down memory lane reading your blog. As kids we went camping every weekend and after an evening of placing hide and go seek around our campsite with our flashlights we would take a walk to the bridge to cool down. Funny that we would always have to use our flashlights to start the walk but the closer we got to the bridge the moon and stars always seemed to shine that much brighter and we could turn them off and enjoy the moonlite walk back. It was always so quite and calm and as kids we all made comments about it and had a great appreciation for it.

Thanks for sharing and glad you are able to enjoy such nice weather. Get it in while you can cause you know it won't last long. emoticon

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S3XYDIVASMOM 11/6/2010 11:25PM

    I get up and walk before I go to work. It's always in the dark. I kind of enjoy the solitude of being up before the birds. I suppose if I let my mind dwell on it, it could be scary. Mostly I have been startled by other walkers who I don't see until they say hello. I intend to enjoy the extra hour of sleep tonight. I hope you do as well.

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JHADZHIA 11/6/2010 8:20PM

    Sounds nice! I am too far into the city. The light pollution extends far out. You see only the moon and a few of the brighter stars. It was nice here too, 10, tomorrow is supposed to be 14 then the snow comes. We enjoyed a walk in the off leash dog area and boy did we get a dog show!! So many dogs, tiny little ones, big ones, all breeds from purebreds to mutts, even saw a puggle, but she was all black!! From a beagle and a pug, imagine that! Just love getting those doggy kisses :)) I went walking once along the river trying to look for the beaver at dusk and got caught at night, boy was it dark there, no lights along the natural river trails.
No worrying about time changes here, same old, same old..
Have a great evening!

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HOPEFULANGE 11/6/2010 7:50PM

    What nice weather we're having! We went for a hike this afternoon. You wouldn't say it's November. emoticon

I take my dog for a walk in the dark a lot now since it gets dark so early. I have an orange vest I put on him though so the cars can see us!

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An article of interest : Lose Weight Like a Guy - Self. com

Friday, November 05, 2010


I'm in the process of making up my collage and so have been browsing through magazines etc. I found a very interesting article in the November 2010 issue of Self.

I'm trying to post a link but all I can do is post something you can copy and paste into your browser.


Here is a quick summary of what the article said:
1. Have a one track mind and focus on one area to change at a time.
2. Grunt, groan and sweat - they signal intensity which is better than slow and steady
3. Act oblivious to the exercisers around you. Focus on what you are doing and not what you look like.
4. Feed your ego. Ego is a powerful motivator...brag of your success.
5. Ditch the dinner drama - treat food as fuel and eat because you are hungry not out of stress or boredom.
6. Pump Iron. Strength training revs your metabolism
7. Don't overthink - just do it!
8. Eat real food! Not those low-calorie treats, or diet foods. Fill up on satisfying , real food.
9. Care about your stats - men tend to supplement their look-better goals with performance-based ones
10. Be a bit studly - apparently guys rarely doubt that they are going to succeed.

I can really relate with numbers 1 and 7 because I tend to over think everything and try to change too much at one time. Also, I'm guilty over not treating food as fuel. Sometimes I focus too much on calories instead of nutritional content.

Anyway, I thought this would be a great read for us female Sparkers!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEMPEST272002 11/6/2010 12:05AM

    Interesting article. I agree with almost all of it. I've especially converted to sweating and eating lots of real food. The only one I question is "don't overthink it, just do it!" For me, thinking through the why's of my overeating has been critical to making the necessary changes. Women do tend to ruminate more on our inner lives - I think it's a strength, not a weakness. Of course, all this thinking should be done in conjunction with healthy doses of 4 & 10!

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S3XYDIVASMOM 11/5/2010 10:40PM

    1. Good idea. Women tend to be into wholesale change once they get started.
2. In a way I disagree. Too much too fast very well may mean you have to quit.
3. Funny, I just told my daughter today that exercise tends to be a narcissistic act. We're so focused on what we're doing that we don't pay much attention to what's going on around us. (She was worried about being the only fat person at the gym.)
5. Sorry. Food is much more than fuel to me. I'm not going to pretend it isn't.
6. Pump Iron. I do.
7. Don't overthink - just do it! Amen
8. Yes. See my comment on 5.
9. Now that I'm close to my goal weight, I'm realizing how important performance goals are.
10. Or be a bit slutty. It's a new way to look at oneself.

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APIRLRAIN888 11/5/2010 8:40PM

    lol in my house! that more EAT like the WOMAN, the man is going the opposite (chk out my recent blog on the subject!) LMAO

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HOPEFULANGE 11/5/2010 5:48PM

    I like "Eat Real Food!" My mother and my sister both think I'm dieting and eating rabbit food and say "they could never do that". I think I've had 2 salads since starting spark!

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JHADZHIA 11/5/2010 5:04PM

    I am so into what this article suggests! I am in my own little world when I work out, and I do grimace, etc. when pushing on the machines because I am trying my hardest. When I look around when I am on the recovery pads at Curves, I see very few women putting any effort into their workouts. Chatting, barely going through a range of motion, its more of a social thing with them. I am guessing this is why I never get talked to, as the look on my face concentrating and pushing hard must scare them off LOL.
I was never into diet things, hate them! Its the real deal for me. I actually look for the yogurt with the most fat because I am always low on it. I eat mostly raw fruits and veggies and am always scrambling to make up the fat and fiber.
My cheese has to be old and high fat ;), I think those processed slices taste exactly like rubber lol. My popcorn has to have butter on it, too dry otherwise (I only eat it at Mom's where I can watch movies on her TV, I don't have any at home). I enjoy my dark 90% cocoa chocolate (in moderation).
I never think about what I have to do -I just get at it, to procrastinate means to think up an excuse not to do it!
This sure resonates with me! They always called me a tom boy lol! I always like male dominated activities like paintball, knife collecting and was really into army things and would have joined, but flunked the medical :(
Enjoy your Friday!!

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Branching out

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Hope you are all doing well and are somehow embracing the start of yet another month. I'm doing well and for the past few days have actually managed to drink my 8 glasses of water. I think I have a path to the washroom at work beaten down but I'm hoping my body will soon get used to the increased fluids.

I bought another coat today but before you all think I'm a "fashionista" (not really sure how to spell that), let me assure you that my last purchase of a similar style coat was 6 years ago and was size 2x. It was on sale at Lands' End and I bought it through the mail. It was my first black coat in my life and now it is still fine but I'm very proud to say is too big for me. It also attracts dog fur like glue but that is my life story.

Anyway, today I bought myself a softshell type coat for walking. It is still a XXL but is a trim fit. I actually think it is too snug but I think I'm so used to having my clothes BIG that I no longer know what fits me!

So, what is so special about buying a coat? Nothing, really. But the fact that I bought my first item of red clothing in 44 years is a breakthrough! I'm a redhead and always felt my hair somehow clashed with red but when I tried this coat on it made my face look brighter.

I'm sort of the mindset that we can wear any colours we want as long as we have the confidence to do so, but I've always wore rather drab colours. Now, I'm stepping up a notch...a blue dress coat several weeks ago and now a reddish one! Oh yeah, and I bought my very first pair of dangly earrings today. I usually wear discreet studs or simple hoops but I'm branching out and I'm loving the me I'm turning into.

Thanks again for reading! Happy Sparking!

Susan emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LESLIES537 11/5/2010 12:30PM

    Good for you!! Being a redhead myself, I've shyed away from oranges and reds in the past like you...but when I did finally buy a red shirt I got SO many compliments on it and everybody raved about how good that color looked on me! I think it's great you're branching out and adding some color into your wardrobe. I'm sure it looks fabulous on you!! I want pics!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JLITT62 11/5/2010 5:32AM

    I love to hear that you're breaking out into colors!

I think we all go thru this: we own a lot of black cause a) we think it makes us look thinner and b) we think it makes us blend in more.

And then we start to get some confidence back, and suddenly we want color!

I knew I did this. I didn't think my wardrobe was that bad, really, I love purple after all, but I found there was a whole lot of black in it -- and while black has its place, boy, I was getting sick of it.

Good job!

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APIRLRAIN888 11/4/2010 10:16PM

    woohoo! awesome ;p show it off walking

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S3XYDIVASMOM 11/4/2010 9:31PM

    It sounds like you are letting your light shine. Personally, I've always loved red. And I have worn it on top with the theory that if I make the top look larger, the bottom looks smaller. I'm glad you've discovered the joy of bright colors. emoticon

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JHADZHIA 11/4/2010 7:23PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
That is fantastic! As a redhead, I wouldn't be caught dead in red, orange or pink! I think you are very brave to want to wear that color! I have a very ruddy complexion, so I have always worn dull colors to tone it down a bit. Black is my favorite and sets off redhair so strikingly. You probably are looking fantastic in it!

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THEMAESTRO 11/4/2010 6:40PM


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