SARAWALKS   49,445
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Fitbit! How it is helping...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Ok, it's been 2 weeks of wearing my Fitbit 24/7 and I am seeing changes for the better! It's also been a challenge. I am spending less time on Spark, however, since I don't have to record my exercise. Fitbit does all that FOR me! So I can focus on doing, and not recording. emoticon emoticon

I have the Fitbit One, which tracks your sleep - time in bed, the amount of sleep you actually got, the # of times you woke up, and the overall efficiency of your sleep. emoticon emoticon emoticon

It was worth the extra $ to get this feature. I used to worry more about my sleep! The tracking reveals that on those nights when I wake up often, I am still sleeping a lot more than I think I am sleeping. My sleep efficiency rating doesn't go down very much on these nights, and when I can sleep longer, I am still fairly rested, despite the waking up. I KNEW this, it's one of those facts you hear, but seeing the tracking is revealing.

The relationship between exercise, evening eating, sleep, and weight loss is becoming clearer too. I CAN add an extra mile of Walk Away the Pounds if I do it at least a couple of hours before bedtime, and it does make a difference in weight loss & doesn't harm my sleep.

The most important result is not that I am doing more ACTIVE exercise. My daily walk/run time is pretty much as it was. The valuable thing is knowing the sedentary % of my day. It was much TOO HIGH, in spite of the fact that I usually walk fast for an hour or more every day, and this walk includes at least 2 fairly big hills, which register on the Fitbit as floors climbed.

So I have given some real thought to how I can be less sedentary in general, even though I LOVE to read & do stuff on the computer. I'm breaking up my reading into smaller chunks, going up & down stairs more (immediate Fitbit payoff), doing a jog around my apartment while things heat on the stove (I used to sporadically do ST during this, but not real often), and just generally walking around more. I think this more frequent motion is helping curb my cravings for food during the day. I'm also getting more work done, which is helpful since right now I have extra things to do.

I'm down to 140.8, for the second time in two weeks. Victoire! My last spike up was to 143, but only one day of that. It is such a relief to know that I don't really have to work in a lot more strenuous exercise in order to lose. I just have to get off the couch more, with a degree of purpose.

I'll keep you posted, but at this point, I have good hopes of making my goal of 139 and possibly my goal of 137 by the time we leave for Rome on Dec. 27th.
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even with emoticon coming up!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PONYFARMER 11/29/2012 7:39PM

    Great blog, I have been considering getting one for months now and I do have sleep issues, so I need to get it done. LIke NOW.

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CANNIE50 11/29/2012 6:52PM

    You are my fitbit mentor. I have worn it everyday except one, since i got it. I was disheartened to see I woke up 46 times one night! I sleep so poorly. But, after reading your explanation, I will be looking at it differently now. My current goal is "10,000 steps before 10am" and I have been doing that - it makes a difference. Thank you so much for posting this informative, encouraging blog! PS I am so impressed with how well you are doing.

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CELLO23 11/21/2012 11:36AM

    PS ignore last message - thanks to you I've now found out how to hook up my FB to SP - thought it was only the new kind you could use! Will persevere... emoticon On and up!

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CELLO23 11/21/2012 11:25AM

    Hi Sara,

This is interesting because I got the prior-model fitbit about 6 months ago and didn't make much headway with it. I think because:

*cycling and swimming don't count
*I couldn't be bothered with separate car trip logging (they were burning calories!)
*the sedentary % was SOOOO bad that I felt defeated.

Another factor was that I was getting obsessive about stats in different formats - SP, Runkeeper, my trans-American odyssey... and it was getting to be too much!

There's no one format covers everything, and I do like my Runkeeper maps that show GPS beetling around and give pace feedback.

I think I need to pare things right down and just measure one variable. Fitness minutes seemed to work on holiday (with nice foreign maps!) but since I've come back, it's been woeful. Or rather, I've been woeful.

Aggghhh! I'm really glad you've found something that works for you. And with clear results! If Runkeeper worked with SP, I'd be in heaven.

Ooh - BTW am going to a premiere tonight - a mediaeval music manuscript found in my town that hasn't been sung for 450 years! Should be exciting.

Hope all well with you, and happy Thanksgiving when it comes!

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IRISHGIRL3 11/19/2012 11:20PM

    Isn't the Fitbit one great? I still find myself on here because I love the community pages and I rather log my food here and I love the points, but I have to say, I love seeing the step and stair numbers increase so I really have been making a point to find ways to add walking here and there - walk part of my bus route each morning, walk to a further train stop to get steps, etc. I also liked adding fitbit friends from sparkpeople to use as friendly competition/motivation to keep my daily steps up.

The sleep is great because it hit me how little sleep I was getting. I've been doing much better since I've seen on paper the type of sleep I'm getting.

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CELLISTA1 11/19/2012 7:25PM

    After getting the exercise bike, I am thinking more about fitbit, and put in on my wishlist for Christmas (my daughter will get it for me). I'm assuming it will know how to record cycling?

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MAMADWARF 11/19/2012 2:02PM

    I got mine around the same time. It is helping me in the same ways. Just making me sooo much more aware! adn the days that I dont hit 10,000 steps, I really try to get them in before bed. getting up, doing laundry, putting things away, just anything to hit that mark. I have one set of stairs outside my office so I make sure i am going up there at least once a day cause I like to see those stairs add up.

it is kinda shocking to see how sedentary I am considering how busy i am but alot of it is office work and driving. it inspires me park further and move more when I do things. I LOVe the sleep thingy. I, too, am sleeping more but I am also leveled out finally due to the Amberen and my menopausal symptons are much less, including insomnia. I have the fitbit ultra and I love it. Best 100.00 i ever spent.

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SARAWALKS 11/19/2012 11:10AM

I do think it affects my food accountability, even though I am not actually tracking food. I know when I've overeaten or eaten badly, that's not an issue - the issue is, being motivated to stop and substitute.
The way Fitbit tracks, I am just more motivated in general - if I am having a day with lower activity, I tend to want to watch my food intake more. The other nice thing is, if you have the courage to weigh every day and record it, it shows your BMI right on your page. It's REALLY cool to watch that BMI going down. Somehow more motivating than just the weight number!

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JET150 11/19/2012 11:03AM

    Thanks for explaining what you like about it. It really helps me in thinking about buying one. Do you think it increases your accountability with food? That is my huge downfall.

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    Awesome! So glad for you!

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CHEPRBYTHEDOZN 11/16/2012 10:05PM

    sounds like a neat piece of electronics!!!

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SARAWALKS 11/16/2012 1:40PM

    @SEESKO - thanks for the good wishes!
@TEENY - it took me a while to pin down how the sleep thing was helping!
@CELLISTA - yep, you might want to throw it against the wall! But I bet you'd pick it up again. Thing is, it makes you more aware of how small things count & small things are often so much easier than big ones...
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CELLISTA1 11/16/2012 12:14PM

    Wow, Sara, you have explained this far better than anyone else, and put it to good use. To be honest, I'm scared to find out that I'm 95% sedentary. I guess that means I need to get one of these gadgets. Although I don't know if I'll want to move more or just throw the fitbit against a wall!

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JMEPAYNE 11/16/2012 11:18AM

    I got a fitbit last weekend... and was shocked to see my sedentary percentage is 72% on an average work day! I mean, yeah... i am tied to a desk for at least 8 hours a day, but still! I've been walking the long route to the ladies room and heading to the stairwell a few times a day. It really is motivating!

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TEENY_BIKINI 11/16/2012 10:40AM

    Holy moly. That is AWESOME. I was looking at this online yesterday. I liked the sleep feature but I didn't really understand why I should care? You explained it perfectly! I was on the fence about buying one but now I think I am sold.

You ROCK!!!!!


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LJSBPGH 11/16/2012 10:03AM

    I am returning to Sparkpeople after a half a year absence. During my 6 month hiatus I started wearing the fitbit...I LOVE my fitbit. Now, to come back and discover the two programs have joined forces....I can only describe my reaction as one of ELATION !!!!!!!! Good luck with your fitbit/Sparkpeople journey !!!!

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40LESSOFERIN 11/16/2012 9:57AM

    emoticon I just got mine yesterday!!! Although i only got the zip fitbit, but i think your right, it makes you think about how sedentary you are and keeps you moving. Thanks for sharing!!

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SEESKO 11/16/2012 9:57AM

    Glad you are enjoying your fitbit. I love mine and am so happy that spark is synched with it now (because I didn't like the fitbit site for tracking food). Keep up the great work. Hope you meet your goal before Rome.

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KISS...why does it take me so long?

Saturday, November 03, 2012

KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID! emoticon emoticon emoticon

I should never forget this, but somehow I do...

My latest trick is working like a charm. So simple.
I read a Spark article about successful maintainers and part of it is weighing every I went back to that. But lo, the same old problem...the yo-yo effect, and the yo-yo-ing was going the wrong way despite my efforts.

Hm...blame the weather? Blame changes to wanting "cold weather food?" Blame the fact that my "exercise" routine had dwindled to LOTS of long walks...ok in itself but not surprising my body much any more...
Blame aging metabolism? Is the difference between 66 and 67 really that great? Naaaaaaaa...

Blame MOI? Weeeeeell...ok...but there must be a way...I am eating more veggies, more fish, that is good...but also a bit more cheese and bread...I've cut way back on alcohol and am finally not missing it that much. A tisane in the evening does not repel me...
I've cut back on nightly snacking - the latest satisfying thing is the frozen banana trick OR a bit of pudding with fruit.

This week, with Sandy, the cold rainy set in, and I am really not into being wet and cold and walking at the same time. Soooooo, shazam, back to Leslie's Walk Away the Pounds, only this time I realized I could beat the boredom factor and learn Italian at the same time. So I've been playing my ItalianPod101 survival phrases while I do the multi-muscle walk. GOOD. But at first, no move on the scale. Surprised body, yeah. Weight loss, naaaa... in fact I went up.

Well, SO WHAT? It's a lifestyle. Maybe I'll be 142-143 forever. If I hang in there. Could be worse. emoticon

Enter...TA DA...the refrigerator. More precisely, the refrigerator DOOR. More precisely yet, the whiteboard on the refrigerator door.
Record your lowest weight. On both Spark and the board.
Each day, record your weight that day. Compare. Meditate when you see it on the consequences of what you are about to ingest.
Find substitutes. Bruschetta topping instead of cheese on that cracker. A slice of mortadella instead of cheese on that cocopop.
Are you detecting a cheese addiction here? emoticon

You brought the bloody kale COOK IT, FOR GOODNESS SAKE!

The number went down. THE NUMBER WENT DOWN! TWICE, EVEN!
Now I'm not getting excited...

But I think the universe is waking me up here...
Yesterday my faithful Omron pedometer quit.
It's 4 years old...and I did drop it...on concrete...

So that little voice said,
So I did.
And I'm glad I did.

I will let you know how it works out but for now, I have it set up and it is so freaky to go onto your fitness page and see your mileage already there. It counts calorie burn that results from just plain old pottering about, not just your heroic efforts to MOVE.

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KISS. emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JITZUROE 11/14/2012 11:15AM

    I'm proud of you! And the mention of the kale made me laugh! Hahaha I have ignored a bag of kale or two in the last for sure...

Be well today!

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HDHAWK 11/4/2012 9:34PM

    I love my fitbit!

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TEENY_BIKINI 11/4/2012 9:00PM

    Love your determination!


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CANNIE50 11/4/2012 8:42PM

    My cheese addiction is fairly specific - BLUE cheese, or as the Italians would say, gorgonzola. I want it to be part of my last meal (which I hope is about 40 or more years from now, by the way). Yes, a FITBIT! I have named mine Bitsy. Miss Bitsy and I did over 11,900 steps today - a little running, mostly trail walking, including to a beautiful sculpture garden in my neighborhood. Good for you for running hills emoticon - nice work! Also, nice work on going out in the nasty weather to buy your FITBIT. Don't you think this is such a good time to "spark" our fitness routine by getting a new gadget? Of course, I wish it had a feature that would slap my hands and seal my lips shut when I reach for sweets - maybe the next version......
PS I cannot bring myself to refer to you, or myself, as "stupid" so I have amended KISS to Keep It Simple SWEETHEART (a motto that has served me well since I got sober in 1985!) emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/4/2012 8:44:50 PM

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 11/3/2012 10:06PM

    Great blog! I think I may need some of the KISS diet principles too. Hope you love your new toy.

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LISALGB 11/3/2012 9:10PM

    Keep us posted on the Fitbit! Keep up the great work - you have got that tiger by the tail.

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CELLISTA1 11/3/2012 1:51PM

    Your determination is so impressive. And your way of finding fun in all of this is awesome! Go, Sara!


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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 11/3/2012 10:40AM

    Buona fortuna! In bocca al lupo!

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IRISHGIRL3 11/3/2012 9:30AM

    Great post! I need to gain strength when it comes to cheese addictions :)

I also just bought the fitbit a couple of days ago.... LIFE CHANGING!!!

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MIMIDOT 11/3/2012 9:17AM

    Great blog! You give me hope. I could write the same blog about myself. Except I'm 74. Thinking about a Fitfit. We'll see. Good luck to you.

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Just one word (if possible)...stolen from MICKEYMAX...thanks!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Where is your cell phone?


Your hair?

Your mother?

Your father?

Your favourite thing?

Your dream last night?

Favourite drink?

What room are you in?

Your hobby?

Your fear?

Where do you want to be in 6 years?

Where were you last night?

Something that you aren't?


Wish list item?

Last thing you did?

What are you wearing?

Your pets?


Your life?

Your mood?

Missing someone?


Your car?

Something you're not wearing?

Your favourite store?

Your favourite colour?

When is the last time you cried?

Where do you go over and over?

Five people who email me regularly?

Favourite place to eat?

Favorite place I'd like to be right now?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAMADWARF 10/30/2012 12:52AM

    I couldn't do one word answers. Does that surprise you? Can I ask. Why are you afraid of pit bulls. Did you have a bad experience. I consider myself an advocate for the breed so I was honestly just curious, not defending or judgemental...I love cannies suggestion about reading the book and getting a little Paris every day,

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CANNIE50 10/29/2012 11:22PM

    Interesting.....I hear you on Paris. Since you want to be in Paris, and since you love books, may I recommend the book about Hemingway's first wife? I was reading it last week. I would get up early, a couple hours before anyone else, soak in a bubble bath and read that book. It felt like I was spending a little time in Paris every morning.

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STRIVER57 10/28/2012 11:53AM

    waiting anxiously to see you here!!

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 10/27/2012 11:48PM

    Very nice list! I miss Wegman's and I certainly would vote to be in France!

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Walking in my town...with photos!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Fall (or autumn, if you are European!) is my favorite time of year. Brilliant leaves covering the sidewalks and mingling with the lawns still green. I walked nine miles today and this was the last half of my walk, from a quiet neighborhood close to the Penn State music buildings through a park which is just south of my neighborhood.

There were almost no cars on the street, even though it was mid-afternoon, because this neighborhood has succeeded in putting up barriers to keep people from taking shortcuts through their area!

These plants are NOT typical of central Pennsylvania but I liked their drama!

This quiet yard with its bench is more typical...

As I entered the park, the sky was quite dramatic too!

I stopped to rest on a bench with a dad and his 4-month-old baby girl - didn't take a photo though because people are sometimes nervous about that here. Right after that, I came upon this squirrel and was amazed that he did not run away, but looked right at me!

Bold fellow! emoticon

Around the corner, an old man was reading on a bench and I sneakily turned around to catch him without his knowing it...

And a biker rode into the shot! He never looked up from his book.

Further along, a lovely part of the path...

and a feast of colors...I have no idea what these plants are!

Further along, some horses have their home...including one donkey who is a bit hard to see here...

As I walked up the hill, the sky became even more dramatic!

Near the top of the hill, there is a garden beautifully planted and maintained by an environmentalist group here. Lovely flower combinations and colors!

And best of all, these, with ALL my favorite colors together!

After nine miles, my legs were fine, my feet were feeling it, but the rest of me was quite refreshed and happy!
Thanks for joining me in this walk through State College, Pennsylvania!
I'm wishing everyone lovely weather for the weekend!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 10/25/2012 11:31PM

    Well, this blog was certainly a delight. Nine miles - just a few (okay, 4.1 to be exact) more and you would have completed a half marathon, you know.......What a beautiful part of the country. I was struck by how lovely your state is, when we drove through years ago.

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MESEATURTLE 10/15/2012 8:02AM

    Super love the pics!!!! Have a great week !!!!

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REMEMBER2BME 10/15/2012 7:56AM

    Beautiful AND Great Job!

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MAMADWARF 10/14/2012 11:06PM

    beautiful! thanks for sharing with us!

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SROBERTS82 10/14/2012 9:55PM

    Lovely pics!

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TEENY_BIKINI 10/14/2012 9:31PM


Great pics!!

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DVFARLEY 10/8/2012 8:24PM

  Loved the blog and the photos! Made me so happy that I live here and walk that walk with you! THANKS! emoticon

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 10/8/2012 4:33PM

    Love all the wonderful pics! Maybe I should do something like that too. I never think to take my camera with me.

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ARCHIMEDESII 10/6/2012 2:11PM


I love the neighborhood squirrel ! Wonderful photos !!


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CLAIREINPARIS 10/6/2012 12:54PM

    Thank you so much for a lovely blog! I really enjoyed sharing part of your walk with you. Good for you for walking 9 miles!
My favorite picture might be the one of the bench, as it is so North American for me! I loved the squirrel too... In England they are just the same, not shy at all... Here they are very very shy and I rarely see one. The first picture makes such a gorgeous background!

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 10/6/2012 10:55AM

    What beautiful pictures! Thank you so much for posting this blog of your walk; the squirrel has so much character in his or her face.
I was just reading about one woman's pilgrimage from Le Puy to the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Espana, and her observations plus your wonderful blog make me want to take an observant and very mindful walk too.

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DIET_FRIEND 10/5/2012 10:55PM

    This blog took some time to put together. Thanki you for sharing!

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CELLISTA1 10/5/2012 10:01PM

    Great, Sara! This is a part of the country I've never seen before, and autumn hasn't happened yet here in Southern California. I can't believe you walked nine miles! Thanks for sharing your lovely photos.

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HARROWJET 10/5/2012 9:46PM

    Nice pictures. I like to take pictures when I am out walking too. It is fun, isn't it?

Judy emoticon

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CHIPPEE 10/5/2012 9:39PM

    I almost feel like I got to walk with you. Thanks.

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Vacationing in Rome...a poem and a photo

Friday, July 06, 2012

Not really! Don't get excited! Just going to Rome in my mind. I bought a book years ago, when going to Italy was just a gleam in my eye, which is full of unusual photos and quotations about Italy. I thought I would share some discoveries with you.

"In Italy one learns how to smile at time: perhaps not to get intoxicated by it."
Riccardo Bacchelli, 1962

These two old guys were singing opera in Piazza Navona. Benissimo!

"To An Old Philosopher In Rome" (for George Santayana)
On the threshold of heaven, the figures in the street
Become the figures of heaven, the majestic movement
Of men growing small in the distances of space,
Singing, with smaller and still smaller sound,
Unintelligible absolution and an end---

The threshold, Rome, and that more merciful Rome
Beyond, the two alike in the make of the mind.
It is as if in a human dignity
Two parallels become one, a perspective, of which
Men are part both in the inch and in the mile.

How easily the blown banners change to wings...
Things dark on the horizons of perception,
Become accompaniments of fortune, but
Of the fortune of the spirit, beyond the eye,
Not of its sphere, and yet not far beyond.

The human end in the spirit's greatest reach,
The extreme of the known in the presence of the extreme
Of the unknown.

-- Wallace Stevens

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAIA2011 5/5/2013 10:35AM

    I love Italy so much that when I get home I am still noticing beautiful architectural details everywhere and then, it fades. Nice post. Mean trick LOL!

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JITZUROE 10/3/2012 9:55PM

    Such a neat culture to just bust out in song like that : )
I have been to Rome, so as soon as I saw this title I raced right over (red rover!). It certainly brought back nice memories for me.
So for that I thank you!!!

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DEEGIRL50 8/25/2012 12:54PM

    An imaginative mind is a beautiful thing. Thank you for taking us to Rome with you.
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THE-MORE-GIRL 8/25/2012 12:31PM

    I came over to subscribe to your blog (I think I already do, but just in case) so I can cheer you on with the blog food tracking. :-)

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 8/5/2012 11:14PM

    I love Wallace Stevens and Rome, too. I've been to Italy three times in the past few years. What a wonderful blog!

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TEENY_BIKINI 7/21/2012 10:07PM


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CJWORDPLAY 7/17/2012 6:12PM

    Yes, I'm hooked. When can we go?

I want to experience the "extreme of the known in the presence of the extreme of the unknown." emoticonCiao

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CANNIE50 7/7/2012 7:30PM

    Belissimo! emoticon Italy is near the top of my "absolutely must" vacation spots.

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CELLO23 7/7/2012 5:55PM

    Wow! Thanks, Sara - you've sent me off to discover more about Wallace Stevens. Your photos are beautiful. emoticon

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LISALGB 7/7/2012 12:17AM

    Lovely! Thank you for sharing your virtual vacation! It is a wonderful blog.

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 7/6/2012 7:11PM

    Wonderful mini vacation.

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    That's so cool those guys were doing that. It brings to mind when my son and his best friend were home on break from college and started singing in the entryway to the mall. They were doing what sounded to me like the type of singing monks do -the harmony was awesome- as were the acoustics. :)

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    Oh, Sara, you are so rich in imagination, poetic soul and elegant yearnings. Thank you so much for opening the windows.


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ZURDTA- 7/6/2012 11:09AM


I went to Southern Italy in May... oh the Italian way of life... so much more relaxed...

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CLAIREINPARIS 7/6/2012 10:19AM

    Beautiful! Thank you so much Sara, for a few minutes you made me feel like I was going on vacation to one of the most gorgeous cities in the world!

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