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A year later - saying goodbye to a very special furry friend

Monday, May 16, 2011


Today, I dedicate my blog to the very fond memories of my dear little furball who left this earthly life a year ago. Although I did have a dog growing up, it was Peaches who stole my heart and made me the animal lover that I am today.

For those who have followed my blogs, you know that my Sparkname is her initials and the date of her death...051610. Nothing complicated but just another way to keep her in my thoughts on a daily basis.

I thought I would be sad today but instead I'm filled with enough funny memories of her and her exploits that I can laugh and miss her in a good way. She was a funny old broad and only did what she wanted to do. She would go off to bed when she felt tired, she would eat when she was hungry and not on some human's schedule, she would play with squeaky toys at all hours, and most of all she knew she was loved by many.

Her vet marvelled at her! She lived a long life (17.5 years) mainly because she was walked 4 times a day, was taken for car rides at least once a day, was played with, was cuddled and was fed a balanced diet. She was loved and she loved us back. She taught us how to love a dog so much that a year later we still talk about her and can laugh. We have no regrets about her life.

Now, how does that relate to my journey? Well, I've got to give that same dedication and compassion to myself. Right now, I know what to do to make this program work for me but I'm afraid of it. I don't know how to be any different that who I am right now. I'm used to shopping in plus-sized stores, I'm used to being overlooked and I'm comfortable in my own skin. The only thing is, I'm not happy.

I have to make some small, yet attainable changes. So for this week, it will be breakfast. No more eating little throughout the day and gorging at night. I am going to have oatmeal for breakfast and I pledge to get 6 glasses of water in this week as well. I will still walk the dogs as per usual. The oatmeal works for me because it a) fills me up, b) makes me ultimately consume less calories, and c) gets me back into a routine.

So Peaches, although I wish you were still on this earth with me, I know you are out there somewhere painfree and cheering me on. I love you "Little Miss" and was so blessed to have you teach me what is really important in life cannot be bought or bargained for. Woof-woof! xo Susan

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEMARE 5/19/2011 7:40AM

    So sweet. Thanks for sharing. emoticon

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DAWNO64 5/18/2011 11:37AM

    Awwww...I lost my "forever dog" a little over two years ago; only had him for just less than three years but he left a major hole in my heart. We just "clicked". I'm glad thinking of Peaches made you happy.

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GAYLE-G-63 5/17/2011 3:20PM


May Peaches always stay in your heart.

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JAKEANDNELLIE 5/17/2011 1:26PM

    What a wonderful tribute to Peaches and the unconditional love you shared with her. Please give yourself the same love and dedication that you shared with her.
I "shared" Buddy with my mother for 8 years. He was a rescue and was older when we adopted him. I only live 10 minutes from her and am over there almost every day for at least a few minutes (she's 83 and lives alone) so I was just attached to Buddy as she was. It broke our hearts when he passed away last August.
A furry "mess" was pushed from a car in front of my brother's house about 2 months ago, and the car sped away. That beautiful puppy now lives with mom and brings joy to our lives. Would you believe we named her Peaches! She's "a peach of a puppy" and is truly loved.
Stay positive and take care of yourself.

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RULEBERG 5/17/2011 12:43PM

    Peaches lived to be so old because you took such care of her. In honor of her, take that same care with yourself. Do it for Peaches.

I never had a pet until I got a cat at 32. She lived almost 17 years and I have never loved anything like I did Addie. (I don't tell the people in my life that, of course!) It is such an innocent and pure love. I don't know that we ever let our guard down entirely that much with people. And unlike people, there is never one painful memory of things they said that couldn't be taken back--that is something we humans all do, and regret of course. But not our beloved fur friends.

Peaches was lucky to have you for a mom. It goes without saying, how lucky you were that Peaches came to stay with you. Stick with your oatmeal and your water and your walks. Do it for your other fur kids, if not for yourself!

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MILLISMA 5/17/2011 12:32PM

    beautiful....thanks for sharing emoticon

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HOPEFULANGE 5/17/2011 12:01PM


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JANET552 5/17/2011 5:49AM

    I love your tribute to Peaches. She sounds like a wonderful and confident dog who had a very loving family. I like how you honor her life.

I like your plan for yourself. You are right about starting small. Good luck!!

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TEMPEST272002 5/16/2011 6:46PM

    Peaches sounds like a real character. It's so hard to lose our fur friends & there have been so many times I wished we had matching life spans. It's nice that now you can spend time thinking about the happy,funny moments. You know she'd much rather that.

I'm happy with your new eating plan. I eat oatmeal almost every morning - but I lke to make it "gourmet": 1/3 c dry oatmeal, 1/8c raisons (or other dried fruit), 1/8c sliced almonds, 1 heaping tbsp flaxseed & a shake of cinnamon. Sometimes I put in apple sauce instead of raisons or 1 tbsp natural peanut butter instead of the nuts. Delicious! Quick, easy, tasty and it keeps me satisfied for hours.

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KAYDE53 5/16/2011 5:52PM

    It's so hard to lose them, especially when they've lived so long & became such a part of our lives. She's looks so sweet & cuddly!! Hang on to those fond memories!! emoticon

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MISSM66 5/16/2011 5:22PM

    I love this blog thanks for sharing emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GOOZLEBEAR 5/16/2011 5:14PM

    Love this blog and appreciate you sharing your fond memories of Peaches. She was adorable and that face reflected all the love and care your family gave her. She would want you to take care of yourself. You can do this, I'm having a problem right now too and realize we are all on this journey together.

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ERIKO1908 5/16/2011 4:30PM

    What a beautiful blog tribute to Peaches! Thanks so much for sharing it with us. It sounds like you are on the right track plan-wise & Peaches is probably doggy-grinning down at you from Doggie Heaven, barking..."That's my momma!!" HUGS!!!

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LESLIES537 5/16/2011 2:15PM

    What a great tribute to your beloved Peaches! She was such a cutie. I'm glad she could bring so much joy into your life! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAMAPERRY 5/16/2011 1:18PM

    Awwwwwwwwwww. Cute!! emoticon

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BLESSED2BEME 5/16/2011 1:13PM

Very wonderful, emotionally happy blog! I can so relate:) It is only the small steps I've taken, one at a time and worked hard on that I've been able to stick with! We can both do this though!

Thank you for sharing about Peaches. Especially since I am a new friend and didn't know her history. From one dog lover to another, you were blessed and the blessings continue:)

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CRAZYDOGLADYBO 5/16/2011 12:41PM

    I agree with MOMMA_LITTLE, she is adorable, and not sure if she likes the out fit.

I like you game plan, I am a big fan of small steps and changing one thing at a time. Oatmeal for breakfast sounds wonderful. Are you going to have some fruit with it?

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BOVEY63 5/16/2011 12:18PM

    She sure looks like she was a sweetie! So glad you have many wonderful, funny memories of time shared with her. You were lucky to have each other.

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    Oh, SUSAN! She was ADORABLE! I have to laugh at that last one because she does NOT look like that outfit was HER idea! emoticon

I hate it that our furry friends can't just keep on getting older with us... we always seem to have to say goodbye to them way too soon. emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/16/2011 12:12:44 PM

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Why I deleted my blog entry for today

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I sort of vented in a blog entry for today and the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I should just erase the whole thing and chaulk it up to a bad day.

I really appreciate all the support ALL of my friends so freely give me...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOVEY63 5/16/2011 12:16PM

    I missed the blog, and hope that things are going better for you now.

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MEMARE 5/16/2011 7:48AM

    I missed it too Susan... but I loved your yellow tea pot! emoticon Share a vent anytime you feel. We all have bad days, after all we are just human you know. emoticon

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BLESSED2BEME 5/15/2011 11:30PM

    I missed that blog too but I think that sometimes we just need to be able to get stuff out and blogging is a great way. I can understand wanting to delete it. I've seen other people do the same thing. I like to keep my page upbeat and positive myself but there are days that it just doesn't happen and I'm so glad I have friends here who understand but also encourage me to think positive and look for the good! Glad you are feeling better:)

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THETURTLEBEAR 5/15/2011 10:02PM

    When I'm really angry or annoyed, I often write an email about it, or to the person who annoyed me...and then erase it. Putting it into words is often just the medicine. Hope everything is turning as sunny as your beautiful Spark page!

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GABBY308 5/15/2011 9:15PM

    I read the other blog...it's this crappy weather! I was cheered just looking at yout background of daisies!

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    emoticon emoticon

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GOOZLEBEAR 5/15/2011 8:11PM

    I thought that is what blogs were for, to vent or share our feelings. I know there are those that think only positive things should be posted but if you are having a bad day, we are here for you!


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KAMAPERRY 5/15/2011 7:57PM

    Love you girl, you say what you need to. Always, ok? emoticon

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TEMPEST272002 5/15/2011 7:48PM

    I missed the blog - but sometimes a delete is a good thing. You vented, you felt better - and then you were able to let it go.
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Did I just sleep through Spring, Summer and Fall?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Oh dear, the weather gods seem to playing another one of their favourite tricks on us Newfoundlanders. Yesterday it was an ever so balmy 2 degrees with a very cold northeasterly gale blowing through you. Yes, I'm being sarcastic when I used the word balmy! This morning Lou and Maddy raced out the patio door to do their business and slipped on the frost covered steps. Their facial expressions were a riot and Lou even stopped and stared at her paws. "Mom, I lost traction...cool....can I try it again"

Tonight the weather hasn't improved although the wet snow has stopped and I can hear the birds out. Poor little things must be half-frozen to death. No wonder they are busy because they are just trying to keep warm!

Needless to say, I've begged off all dog walking duties and have very sneakily encourage my husband that some "fresh, brisk air would do him good" after a week of being in school. In my mind, nothing makes me lazier than blah weather......please somebody send me a ray of sunshine!

Funny enough, I'm not depressed! Usually this would send me over the deep edge but I know that this too will pass. Talk to me in few days, however, and I might have a different tune to sing.

Have done absolutely dreadful with the eating. Who knew that autumns' comfort food would extend to this time in May! Unfortunately, I'm not talking about warming soups and stews here but rather truckloads of chocolate, chips, etc. Last night we even ordered pizza! Crap!

Have some doggie news. Louisa has been scratching her privates a lot so after two courses of antibiotics, the vet clinic did an internal exam on Thursday. It was very similar to what we know as the ever-dreaded Pap Test and she came home very sedated and pitiful looking. Other than they've discovered some "abnormalities" we don't know what is going on. Please keep your fingers and paws crossed that all is well with her and that if it isn't, God gives us the strength to provide love and compassion to her? It was a year ago this weekend that we lost the love of our lives.....Peaches....still hurts.

Well, with that, I'm going to say goodbye before I start to cry. Once again, please send some warm weather our way......seal it up in an envelope if you have to and mail it to me.....

xo Susan

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEMPEST272002 5/15/2011 7:50PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
I'm so sorry to hear about Louisa. Let's hope the news is better than expected.

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KAMAPERRY 5/15/2011 7:32PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GAYLE-G-63 5/15/2011 10:42AM


Susan, you and your entire family are in my thoughts.

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BOVEY63 5/15/2011 10:36AM

    Here's some sunshine - hope it warms things up.
Prayers and best wishes for Louisa.

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HOPEFULANGE 5/15/2011 7:36AM

    Yuck, wet snow is the worst! Summer is (fingers crossed) just around the corner! I've been equally horrible with eating. Chips and candy Friday night and Chinese food last night! emoticon

Sorry to hear about Louisa. My dog Leto is having really bad seasonal allergies and can't stop licking, biting and scratching everywhere on himself. He's even got under his arms torn up. Allegra seems to be helping a bit, but we have a vet appointment on Thursday to see how we can handle it better.

Good luck Lou!

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JLITT62 5/15/2011 4:53AM

    Sending very good vibes for Louisa. Whatever happens, I know you will care for her lovingly. I had lots of companion animal chats with people at our garage sale yesterday, & several dogs accompanied their people, too.

Thankfully no snow here, but it was a very chilly day to be sitting outside all day & it took me hours to warm back up!

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_LINDA 5/14/2011 10:48PM

    Poor Louisa :(( Wishing her all the best. Sorry about your loss of Peaches :((
You, on the other hand, what was your excuse? Oh the weather, stuff you have lived with all your life. You have never considered a move, like everyone else, to Beautiful BC? Not possible, like a lot of us? Just have to suck it up and get out there. But I agree icy sidewalks ARE dangerous. So that leaves indoor workouts. Lots available free online. No excuses. And the eating? Only you are truly responsible for what goes in your mouth, what groceries you buy, etc. Once again, no excuses. Just have to get off your posterior and get it done! Do the right thing. You know what it is. You also know you can do it! Dig Deep. Go for it!
If I can do it, so can you!

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    Oh, I hope your doggie is ok!!!I have to run to work.... Love you, my friend! emoticon

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THETURTLEBEAR 5/14/2011 6:09PM

    Even though I'm WAAAY south of you, we had unseasonably cool weather too, so I related to your blog title. I surely hope the fur baby is okay!!

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KAYDE53 5/14/2011 5:59PM

    I think everyone is having strange weather this year! We're having unseasonably warm weather down here, so I'll gladly send you some, more like summer than spring! Oh, I do hope & pray nothing serious is the matter with your Louisa! Perhaps there will be an easier fix than you think!! Hang in there!! emoticon emoticon

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How I walked 500 km one baby step at a time

Thursday, May 12, 2011


Although I haven't been the most active member of Spark, nor the most aware of what I've been eating, I noticed yesterday that since I joined Spark I have walked a little over 500 km. Now this might be pitiful to some and a miracle to others but the point is I....as in ME.....walked 500km since September 1st. I'm amazed and I'm so glad that I've kept track of my mileage. This is something to be proud of so in my moments of doubt and self-defeat, I have to remind myself that a year ago this time I couldn't (and didn't want to) walk the length of myself!

So, I've learned a valuable lesson. If I started out and said I'm going to walk a minimum of ____km a week, I would have given up within the first few days. The days when the sweat poured down or when the weather became cold would have been enough to send me back to my comfortable chesterfield. But, no, I started out by just saying I was going to try to walk the dogs. I didn't say I was going to do it everyday but I would do it when I felt like I could. And there you have it.....I started out very slowly and never made a conscious effort to pick things up or to do it more regularly. After a time, our walks became a habit and now if I miss a day I really miss it. I don't knock myself out with regret, but I do miss it and miss my lungs breathing in fresh air and looking at two happy and contented dogs.

What else can I learn from this? I can put the same "formula" to work with my nutrition. I am stating here for all of you to read that I am going to become more aware. The days when I can look back and use the 80/20 rule, I am going to applaud but the other not so successful days are not going to be enough to send me off the beaten path! No more all or nothing thinking! If I had that attitude with walking I'd still be on the sofa waiting for the magical moment.

Anyway, like I said, 500 km may not be much to some of you while others may think that amount is out of reach. But I'm ME, and you are YOU, so we have to find what works for us. I can say with pride that over the fall and winter of 2010-2011 I logged 500 km..yeah for me! For once I feel a sense of pride in an accomplishment and that self-appreciation is what makes this our own unique journey!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VICKILYN4 5/18/2011 9:30PM

    emoticon emoticon Way to go Susan!!!

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CHRISTINA791 5/13/2011 5:41PM

    Fantastic job, and proof that those little victories add up. You don't have to run a marathon the first week in, you just have to keep doing what you're doing and you'll accomplish great things. Congratulations on hitting the 500k mark, and here's hoping the next 500 treat you just as well.

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LESLIES537 5/13/2011 11:56AM

    Be proud, be very proud! That is a great accomplishment! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JLITT62 5/13/2011 4:41AM

    And you SHOULD be proud. A healthy habit is wonderful, and as you're noting, it can spark more healthy habits.

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    You are really doing great with this mental picture of what will work for you! If you can SEE it, you can DO it, I think! You're doing fantastic! I'd say more, but it's night-night time! emoticon

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_LINDA 5/13/2011 12:14AM

    I think 500 km is fantastic!! You rock! Going from the couch to walking is a major achievement! Be proud! Good luck with your food!
You can do this!!

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KAMAPERRY 5/13/2011 12:12AM

    That is awesome!! Wooooooooooooo Hooooooooooooooooo!!

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THETURTLEBEAR 5/12/2011 9:19PM

    That is FABULOUS! I love you blog! What an inspiration to others - you have figured ou the secret to all this!!

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S3XYDIVASMOM 5/12/2011 9:11PM

    Salt Lake City, Utah to Boise, Idaho. That's a pretty good jaunt. If I get in my car and drive nonstop, it will take 5 hours. So, I'm not laughing: I'm truly impressed. The beauty of it is, this is not something you visualized. You just saw yourself getting off the couch to walk the dogs. But it all adds up. Keep up the good work.

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HOPEFULANGE 5/12/2011 8:23PM

    Holy Crow! That's further than walking from Badger to St. John's! Great going Susan...keep doing what you enjoy! emoticon

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TEMPEST272002 5/12/2011 8:02PM

    I know what you mean about not keeping up with it if you had set a specific goal, but surprising yourself with how far you'd come taking one step at a time. So proud of you! And I do think 500km is quite the accomplishment!

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BECCAJ98 5/12/2011 7:06PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Great job!! Keep it up!

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Living on an island and eating what is available.....

Sunday, May 08, 2011


This blog was inspired by a friends blog in which she encouraged us to try new things. I am in total agreement but does anybody else live where grocery shopping largely depends on what is available?

I live on the island portion of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. For produce to arrive on our shelves, it has to be trucked to Nova Scotia, be put on a ferry, and driven halfway across the island. The ferry crossing takes about 6 hours and the drive to here is about 7. That is in good weather when the highways are open and the ocean is calm enough to sail on!

We have two grocery stores. Yesterday I wanted some sweet potatoes and there were none in the first store and in the second one they looked shrivelled up. Same goes for bananas, ginger, spinach, strawberries etc,

I'm not complaining! I grew up this way and have become quite used to the store clerks shaking their heads and saying, "no, the trucks are all stuck in North Sydney and won't be here for a few day". It just makes trying new things a game of hit and miss.

Come on now, the staples of the traditional Newfoundland diet has for generations been salt or fresh cod, moose meat, rabbits, ducks, berries and the few vegetables like potatoes and beets. There are parts of northern Newfoundland and most of Labrador for which the growing season is too short for even carrots! Salt beef is something that most people have with every cooked meal...basically meat, soaked in brine and stored in buckets....salted so much that refrigeration is only a polite suggestion.

Now, I'm lucky. I live in a town of about 20,000 people but this is the hub for a lot of communities. So imagine planning your meals, driving four hours to get here to find out the trucks haven't been in and there is slim pickings in the produce section. Is it any wonder people are eating the convenience foods? I watch with horror as people fill up their grocery carts with drink mixes instead of juice, tin milk instead of fresh, tin fruit (packed in sugar) instead of fresh, etc.

This summer I am planning on expanding my food choices. I have never had artichokes, avocados, leeks, papaya, black beans, fiddle heads, but if I can find it I am going to try things out. I found out I love asparagus (we never could get it growing up) and sweet potatoes weren't bought because we had a perfectly good supply of regular potatoes. Maybe this will be the year I try out Ugli fruit (I've only seen them once in our town), Passion Fruit (have never seen them), or try squash of any kind......or maybe I will have to wait for the trucks to come in!

emoticon Susan!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAZINMICH 5/9/2011 11:04PM

    We were watching Air Alaska which depicted similar food issues! It's amazing how spoiled we really are. I get so frustrated when cucumbers are not fresh during the winter months. I couldn't imagine having to plan out dinners and not know what would be at the store! So Crazy! This year I am doing the same as you - expanding my pallet. Trying to eat new healthy foods I've never tried. So far I'm enjoying it. I now love mushrooms - both raw and cooked, I love bananas, I love fruit! I ate a strawberry for the first time - nope, still don't care for that texture. LOL. Try as much as you can! Hopefully you can buy frozen veggies & fruits and make smoothies out of them to get in some additional healthy stuff. I can't wait to read your future blogs about things you try, I'm so curious now as to what else I should be trying!

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_LINDA 5/9/2011 9:45PM

    I wish you luck getting some new kids of produce! I know I am lucky to have access to a wide range of fruits and veggies. I do enjoy them, but know as they have traveled so very far they aren't always in the best of condition or the freshest. I can see why they sometimes recommend frozen as it gets done when they are just harvested..Better than some truck that has traveled 1,000 + miles... Same with canned goods.
Have a good evening and great sleep!

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KANSASROSE67 5/9/2011 4:20PM

    Very interesting blog! I wish I could send you some of our garden produce! Just picked more than a gallon of radishes...I love them, but that's a little excessive! Drifter's contribution (horse manure) really upped our production this year.

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KAMAPERRY 5/9/2011 12:36PM

    Wow, I am so spoiled!! This makes me so thankful for what I have available! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BOVEY63 5/9/2011 11:37AM

    We're not on an island, but are still limited when it comes to the variety of fresh vegetables and fruits in our area. During the summer months the variety is a little better. There is a local health food store but as a single mom the prices are most often too high for my budget. I will try and get to the farmer's market as often as possible this summer and see if there is anything new to try.

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LESLIES537 5/9/2011 10:24AM

    I just learned to love asparagus too!! AND broccoli! I never thought I would say that! lol I want to try the ugly fruit out too, I saw those in the store and never heard of such a thing!

Good work Susan! emoticon

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    WOW! I wish I could visit there! Just during the carrot season, mind you! emoticonI'm a warm weather lover! emoticonYour blog really should help a lot of people appreciate the fresh, wonderful food as close as a mile's drive to the nearest store (in most places). It sure did me! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BEATLETOT 5/9/2011 8:42AM

    Oh, my. I never thought about what it's like buying food on a northern island, just the idea of buying milk, bread and gas in places like Hawaii and Bermuda! It must be so crazy-expensive!

You've never had guacamole, ever? Oh, you're in for a treat when you try the avocados!

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JLITT62 5/9/2011 4:44AM

    Good lord, I would perish up there - altho the cold & snow would probably do me in first! I hope you get to try some of the foods on your list - some of them are great! Especially avocados - which I never had til I was an adult cause my mom doesn't like them & they weren't as prevalent when I was growing up, either.

Do you garden?

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TEMPEST272002 5/8/2011 10:48PM

    I'd never thought about shipping to NFLD like that before. I like your attitude of trying things as they come in. Very adventurous! Reminds me of when my son was young and doing a report on China. I took him to Chinatown & we purchased several different fruits we didn't recognize & then took them home for the family to sample. Had a lot of laughs that night. Don't forget about sparkrecipes as a resource - you can see recipes by ingredient & find ways to cook up some of the more exotic veggies.

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    Ah, wow! I wouldn't know what to do.

Do you get the frozen veggies? They are frozen fresh with a quick freeze and no additives.

I hope you get to try a new veggie/fruit soon.

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GARDENQE2 5/8/2011 9:03PM

    Oh, My goodness! You have my sympathy! I would really suffer without a great variety of produce!

I have lived in many areas of the USA and I have found that there are differences everywhere.

In Washington state, the stores had dozens of varieties of apples, and lots of fresh fish and shellfish.

In Michigan, there were many varieties of cheese, potatoes, root vegs, and winter squash.

I am now in New Mexico. We have many varieties of peppers, avocados, and many unusual tropical fruits...but only 1 or 2 kinds of apples, frozen fish, one kind of potatoes, summer squash and canned pumpkin, and I haven't seen one parsnip or beet.

It is an adventure to move from place to place, and a further adventure to learn to shop in a new area!

Keep asking at your local stores for new things...it should encourage them to purchase different items...and your neighbors may enjoy food adventures as well.

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BLESSED2BEME 5/8/2011 8:16PM

    Wow! This really sheads light on how different we all live depending on our situations or locations. I grew up on avacados and couldn't imagine not having them in my life. I do have a hard time getting decent ones where I live now but we can at least get them.

I admire that you are desiring to try these new things. I can only imagine some of what you eat from your region.

BTW, I lived in Ottawa, Canada for 3 years (late 90's/early '00). I was stationed at the U.S. Embassy while I was still on active duty in the U.S. Air Force. We really enjoyed the new things we got to experience while stationed there and miss our dear friends and living there very much!

Good luck with your goals to try these new (to you) foods!

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