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WATERMELLEN's Recent Blog Entries

In Recovery from a Specially Busy Time

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

After a wonderful week of holidays (an outstanding creative writing course) my work has been particularly demanding in the last short while. All-consuming, actually: much much time plus much much emotional energy. I've worked right through several weekends -- and it's been worth it, I got the results necessary in a crucial situation.

Now . . . ahhhhhh . . . . must slow down and recover a bit. Also devote some time and energy to the stuff that's waiting its turn!!

And: all of that's meant less time on SparkPeople, less time for exercise too.

But I have kept right on tracking the nutrition and controlling the weight.

The cardio has been affected because (in addition to the busy busy) it appears that my darn toe problems have NOT been resolved -- I was back to the surgeon today who says it's likely further and more radical treatment will be indicated. This too has prevented me getting back into the running consistently. I'd resumed the 8 km program - really loving it -- but the toe would not stop bleeding, unfortunately. So will have to back off a bit, and if another round of surgery is inevitable, then the backing off could be for a fairly lengthy period. Will be trying a more moderate laser approach first before more surgery.

Il faut reculer pour mieux sauter; ya gotta fall back in order to leap forward. Might not be doing any really really BIG leaps for awhile but that's OK. Big leaps will come!!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRIGHTSPARK7 7/27/2010 2:26PM

    Great catching up with you, Ellen! I've been on Spark less myself recently. So great that your hard work paid off! I am in awe that you kept tracking throughout your busy period. Well done!
Glad you have some time to kick back, give your toe the time and rest it needs. Wishing you all the best for treatment and healing. emoticon

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TEENY_BIKINI 7/23/2010 6:56PM

    Oh, I am so sorry about your toe. Maybe this down time will do it some good. There is nothing like kicking back and unwinding and just addressing little things that get put on the backburner.

It sounds like you accomplished a lot though. And that is awesomesauce.

Yeah you!!!!


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TKADEEPBREATH 7/22/2010 11:05PM

    I'm so glad I'm not the only one with the "busy" problem. The writing course sounds great. And the business stuff, as long as we get through it and all the time invested pays off, it's worth it.

Sorry you are suffering with your toe. It's so easy to take foot health for granted. Our feet work so hard for us. I hope your next procedure takes care of it.

Hope you have something fun planned for the weekend. Talk to you soon, dear friend. Jan emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 7/22/2010 5:32PM

    It's great to see you back again Ellen. I have been wondering about you. Glad that you enjoyed the creative writing course.

I'm really sorry about your toe and hope that you can get the problem resolved successfully as soon as possible.

Take care.


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    I promise not to panic next time I notice you missing.

It is reassuring to know that you are willing and able to pull back when you have to. That way I don't have to worry.

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(Sending Loving Toe-d thoughts your way!!!)

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GEODAWG 7/22/2010 6:03AM

    Missed seeing you here. So sorry about your injured toe. I do hope you get it resolved soon. Nice to have you back!

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WHOLY_FIT_48 7/22/2010 5:51AM

    So glad to see you back on the boards here at SP. You had to prioritize your time according to your life situation and I applaud you for doing so intelligently...although I know many of us were freaking out and asking "Where's Watermellen?". LOL Hope you know that's because you are greatly appreciated for the encouragement you give to so many of us. Creative writing course - hhhmm, that sounds fun, interesting and challenging. It's always nice when the extra work we do pays off in terms of results...doesn't always but glad for you in this case it did. And, I am so sorry to hear about your toe. Will be praying for a good healthy resolution and proper healing. And frogs don't always move with great leaps...sometimes they just scoot forward a bit at a time. But they still get to where they want to be as you will as well. Blessings.

PS Tell Charlie that my 3 goldens said he is to be especially attentive to you and must be careful he doesn't step on your toes...not the place for big golden paws. LOL

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MELAPHANTN 7/21/2010 10:32PM

    Little by little, bit by bit, ups and downs but the graph chart says your always moving towards your goals and that is success no matter how you look at it.

Sorry about the toe, sounds painful. Hopefully the surgery will go well and you will be able to do whatever you want with no problems soon.

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PENNYAN45 7/21/2010 9:47PM

    It's good to hear that all your hard work and busyness over the past few weeks led to the desired outcomes!

Hmm, it's too bad how something as small as a toe can mess up major plans.


I'm picturing those doggy devices that put wheels in place of a dog's injured hind legs.

A skate board or roller skates, maybe? emoticon


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JOPAPGH 7/21/2010 9:42PM

    Nice to see you around. Hope the toes are resolved soon and you can get back to what you want to do.

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Dessert in a Cup

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The number of calories -- and the quantity of fat and sugar -- in a number of popular cold summer beverages is pretty shocking, at least according to a recent article in the Toronto Globe and Mail. Gotta admit, I don't have these things often but the numbers really suprised me.

Here's the link if you're interested in getting all of the gruesome details:


Who would have thought that a McDonald’s Triple Thick Vanilla Milkshake has 1100 calories: as much saturated fat as three McDonald’s cheeseburgers and 140 grams (35 teaspoons worth) of sugar!!

The Cold Stone Creamery Oh Fudge Milkshake (“Gotta Have It” size, 24 oz. would not be a better choice: 1920 calories, 69 grams saturated fat, 750 milligrams sodium, 200 grams sugar. That's more than a day's worth of calories for most of us plus 3.5 days' worth of fat and the sugar equivalent of 40 Fudgee-O cookies. Yikes!!

The article goes on to list a number of other options including Canada's fave Tim Horton's items and various smoothies that clearly won't do much to smooth my hips and thighs . . . but as for me, it looks like I'm gonna be sticking with my usual hot coffee. Yup, that would be my "only remaining sin": black coffee -- way too many cups a day, probably, but still.

And maybe an occasional skim milk latte with Splenda! Sigh. Not glamorous, not summery but -- about what I can handle.

Can do either of these over icecubes if it gets really really hot, I suppose.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRIGHTSPARK7 7/5/2010 2:58PM

    Boy, am I glad for home made smoothies even more, now that I've read your blog! And one of my favorite desserts is in season here in California: a fresh fig. Yummmm.

Enjoy your holiday, Ellen! Coffee over ice cubes ... very cool. LOL!

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TEENY_BIKINI 7/1/2010 9:18PM

    Love my coffee and I am never giving it up. Woot!!


I can't believe how many calories some foods have in them. Amazing.

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    Coffee is my favorite diet drink... hot, iced, or maybe with a little frothed skim milk. Tastes amazing, makes any workout better, next to no calories!

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WALKINGANNIE 7/1/2010 4:08PM

    Yikes ! A milkshake at 1100 calories!!

Back to the frozen blueberries I think!


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DSHONEYC 7/1/2010 2:23PM

    Thanks, Ellen, for putting "The Big Chill" on our summer favorites.

Seriously, we can probably make lots of "lower cal/fat/sugar" options at home. Perhaps someone will start a franchise (is this a good idea or what?) that features nothing but healthy options, including good for you milkshakes and light lattes.

Personally when I drink, if it ain't wine then its water. Or tea or coffee or V8. Coffee is not a sin...in some research cycles is is branded good for you. But like anything, too much of a good thing ... whatever.

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/1/2010 10:56AM

    Yes, it is shocking. And the biggest shock for me, since I'm truly addicted to watermelon, was to find how many calories SP lists for it. Especially since I have been known to eat one a day for days and days!

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IMAGINE_IT 7/1/2010 10:09AM

    Crazy..crazy amount of calories..that is why i stay far away from those 'Shakes' thank goodness that is one item on the food/drink list i do not crave..however i did have a small shake from Wendy's the other night and when i tracked it the next day i was shocked to see that it had 330cal... emoticon and i mean it was the smallest of the smallest they had!!! Live and learn..that's all i can say for myself..lol

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MARYMAC45 6/30/2010 9:57PM

    I would have never guessed that a milkshake was so high in cals & fats. Thanks for the info.

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SLENDERELLA61 6/30/2010 9:38PM

    I knew milkshakes were a lot, but that's more than I would have suspected. Thanks for the warning. Yep. Sticking to the water and maybe a little tea, coffee, or Crystal Light. -Marsha

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Five Minutes Exercise a Day Controls Weight Gain

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

That's what a recent article in the Toronto Star claims: and it's based upon Harvard School of Public Health research. Here's the link if you want to read the whole thing:


The gist of the article: particularly for women over age 50, as little as five minutes a day of brisk walking -- as if you're running for the bus -- or biking is enough to do the trick. And biking is often less stressful on the knee and hip joints.

Of course it's better if you expand upon it, add some strength training and so on: but the five minutes built into the daily routine is the "tipping point". Another study, from the Massachusetts General Hospital, provides evidence that doubling the five minutes to ten minutes a day can "trigger profound and lasting changes in metabolism and improve overall health". Wow.

So many women really are just too busy with work and families to make time for exercise. We've been accustomed to think that 30 minutes is the minimum and that you have to break a sweat to make it worthwhile. That makes a shower necessary and then restyling of the hair and makeup and so on: and when we can't do all of that, there may be no choice but not to exercise at all.

But five minutes: that's more doable! Ten minutes is apparently close to miraculous!

For me, then, this was encouraging news.

Almost every one of us can find five or ten minutes -- and apparently five or ten minutes may be enough.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROBINSNEWNEST 7/27/2010 1:39AM

    good to know...I like your page and postings. emoticon

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STLRZGRRL 7/5/2010 8:17PM

    Five minutes is better than no minutes.

I agree!

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PENNYAN45 7/1/2010 11:17AM

    This is encouraging information. We tend to think 5 or 10 minutes won't do much of anything. It's helpful to know better now.

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VENISEW1 6/30/2010 9:43PM

    Every little bit counts! Something is definitely better than nothing emoticon

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JESSIEAUDREY 6/30/2010 8:02PM

    I would beg to differ... How can 5 minutes be enough? Even with working out 5 days a week for at least one hour and tracking my calories, there are still times when I don't feel like it's enough.

Comment edited on: 6/30/2010 8:03:12 PM

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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cautiously tried a run again today and yay! was able to trot around the track for a steady 30 minutes, wearing shoes and socks, and without any significant objection from my toe!

This makes me very very happy indeed. (When I tried two weeks ago there was . . . um . . . . oooooooozing. But none at all today. )

And I followed up the run with a very vigorous upper and lower body weights workout plus stretching . . .

And I followed up the gym with a 30 minute woodland trail hike with son and Charlie: Charlie was thrilled to be able to swim in the stream running along the path. There were wildflowers in bloom (daisies, big pink clovers, twining purple vetch) and dragonflies: it was a lovely place which I had not known about, and not at all far from our house.

And I followed up the hike with grocery shopping and then a pleasant dinner with my husband: BBQ steak for him, Greek-seasoned shrimp for me, plus broccoli and baked potatoes, and a glass of red wine for each of us: then ice cream (not too too much) and fresh local strawberries. Quite a treat but still within my calorie range and delicious.

I'm exhausted but in a good way. It's been a very nice day.

Still, I will be following up this blog with an early-to-bed night: and golf tomorrow if the weather cooperates!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STLRZGRRL 7/5/2010 8:12PM

    Ellen, I am just now getting a chance to catch up with you, you Wonder Woman!

I am SO PROUD of your toe... doing right by you and only after a little while...

Your day sounds like it was a really good one... I love those days... full up in a good way!


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CMB2048 6/30/2010 5:21PM

    I feel tired for you! Lots of exercise and I bet it made you feel great!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 6/30/2010 2:56PM

    Yay on the running again!!!!! Happy toes!!
And you found a new woodland trail not far from your house where Charlie can swim! Goldens love streams and creeks. Duke always goes for the muddiest wallows.
Time with family, good healthy food ... a lovely day.

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PENNYAN45 6/28/2010 10:08PM

    I'm so glad that your foot is back doing what it is designed to do! Congratulations.

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IMAGINE_IT 6/27/2010 4:32PM

    That is some great news..i am happy to hear that you are on your way to a complete recovery!! Yeeeeeeeeaaah emoticon
Your day also sounds great..life is beautiful..and especially if one can enjoy and treasure the 'smaller things' such as a walk through beautiful Nature..spending time with the people we love..i am glad your day was a good day emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 6/27/2010 3:53PM

    So glad you are able to run again. Here's to your health! Sounds like you are doing so many things right, including enjoying life. Take care. Keep up the good work! -Marsha

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MSSNOWY 6/27/2010 6:49AM

    Sounds like a wonderful busy day. Bet you slept well afterwards. Glad you are able to get back into your routine with your toe cooperating. Also glad Charlie got a swim. My guys are envious.

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WALKINGANNIE 6/27/2010 5:59AM

    It's so good to hear that you're back on track Ellen. I'm sure that your determination and common sense have enhanced your recovery. You are one of the people who inspired me by your example.

Your meal sounds perfect.

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WHOLY_FIT_48 6/27/2010 5:34AM

    That's wonderful that you were able to run again with no toe issue. And the woodland hike - an enjoyable experience on its own made even more so because you had a happy Golden with you swimming and running...I can see Charlie smiling. emoticon

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MAYITA65KILOS 6/26/2010 9:02PM

    Keep going, congratulations on your success. emoticon

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GEODAWG 6/26/2010 8:48PM

    Congrats on running again. Your area sounds so beautiful! And my son's black German Sheppard is named Charlie!

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JOPAPGH 6/26/2010 8:46PM

    Great to hear you are back to running. I ran 10 miles today on the same route where my injury occurred, so I am feeling good.

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SLIMMERJESSE 6/26/2010 8:41PM

    Congrats on being able to run again. Good for you.

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DSHONEYC 6/26/2010 8:37PM

    Oh, I wish there was a woodland area with a stream in my neighborhood! Sounds divine. Now all that running and sweating sounds like *ell to me, but am happy for you. Another malady overcome!

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Graduation: Taking Time to Celebrate

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Our son's graduation this past week was a specially happy occasion: the weather was gorgeous all day; the university put on a wonderful garden party with a trio playing classical music and then a parade of the gowned graduands to Convocation Hall led by a bagpiper; and we took lots of pictures at picturesque spots all over the same beuatiful campus where both his parents also got our first degrees! Even co-opted a bystander into taking pictures of the three of us together . . . on the historic front steps.

Then off for duck curry at our son's favourite Thai restaurant.

Determining what's coming next will be a big challenge for our boy, given the lack of jobs out there. For now he's bussing tables and bartending at a restaurant -- and doing the very best he can at that not very glamorous job. (Which again follows in his parents' footsteps: between the two of us and when necessary we've also done pretty well every job you can think of and as best we could at the time.)

But rather than worrying or pressuring, it was great to pause and simply enjoy with him all that he's accomplished. There is nothing simple about completing a four year honours degree at a first rate university in a difficult subject: philosophy. And above all (he's a sunny, warm personality) simply to enjoy a day when the three of us could hang around together. Apparently we don't embarrass him too too much, and that's gotta be a relief . . . .

What comes next will unfold in the fullness of time. It did for us, it will for him.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STLRZGRRL 7/5/2010 8:16PM

    Your son is something special, El. I know because he was raised by such a great woman.

(And man... and dogger!)

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HAPPYNSMILING 6/29/2010 2:26PM

    emoticon How wonderful!! Congrats to your son...and to you as parents!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 6/26/2010 11:17AM

    Sounds like a beautiful event. And proud of your son for obvious reasons. Great attitude in letting go and letting life take him where it may - just as it has for us. Have a wonderful weekend.

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CMB2048 6/24/2010 9:35PM

    YOu should be very proud of him. Tell him to follow his passion and it will all fall into place.

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MSSNOWY 6/23/2010 9:37PM

    Congratulations to your son! That's a great accomplishment. It is a tough job market and it seems that no one gets into the 'perfect' job that they stay with forever -- so if he just values the journey and learns from each thing he does, he will be doing the right thing. Isn't it lovely to celebrate our children and admire them for who they've become. Congrats to you and your husband, too.


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PENNYAN45 6/23/2010 12:37AM

    What a special time for your son - and for you, his parents. Congratulations on his major accomplishment.
Congratulations, too, on being parents who have such a non-pressuring and accepting attitude about your son's current employment. You are so right that he will find something that will appeal to him in time. And it is much easier for him that you are giving him the space to make that decision for himself.


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SLENDERELLA61 6/21/2010 8:38PM

    Great accomplishment for all of you! Great attitude! Great blog!

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GEODAWG 6/21/2010 7:34PM

    How marvelous your son has graduated from college. We have had five of our six graduate from college and we are so proud. Now, we have grandchildren who are in college. One has already graduated and two more are studying. It is marvelous what a little influence can do!

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IMAGINE_IT 6/21/2010 2:59PM

    emoticon on your Son's graduation...and i am wishing him the Best for his Future. emoticon
.....and as for you Ellen.....treasure the time you still have him close by...before he goes 'off into the big wide world'.

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WALKINGANNIE 6/21/2010 2:27PM

    Warm congratulations to your son. This sounds like a wonderful family celebration adding new achievements to combine with older memories.

I'm so pleased that you are blessed with improved health to enjoy it as well.

Being a parent seems to bring its concerns no matter how old our offspring are, but your son has a good degree, a good family and isn't afraid of hard work. He'll be fine with that combination.

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PUDLECRAZY 6/21/2010 3:15AM

    Congratulations to you and your son on his graduation! A joyous occasion, indeed.

The job situation is frustrating. My son is working for the Census Bureau... so myc for a degree in physics. Hopefully the economy will eventually turn around and things will open up again job-wise.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 6/20/2010 11:57PM

    How marvelous! Congratulations to all of you, Ellen and especially to your son. Not only is he bright and gifted, he has a great work ethic. Philosophy is not an easy subject. Well done, to him. Thanks for sharing your great news. So glad to hear of his success ... from your alma mater no less!

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REVJVH 6/20/2010 11:19PM

    What a great reason to take a moment and celebrate the heck out of it. Congratulations to you and to your son. If he's willing to do anything until the right thing comes along, he'll make his way in the world and then some. It sounds like he's got what it takes.

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PHEBESS 6/20/2010 10:32PM

    Mazel tov to your son!!!!! (And you two as the proud parents!)

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JOPAPGH 6/20/2010 10:15PM

    Daughter graduated about a month ago with a Batchelor of Fine Arts degree. I could worry and fret about her future given current conditions, but she did graduate with highest honors, is very passionate about what she does and has always been a tireless worker.

She will remain in Baltimore and find her own way, rather than moving back home with us. She's charting her own course and, as scary as it feels, helping the birds out of the nest is what successful parents are supposed to do.

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BOOKAPHILE 6/20/2010 10:10PM

    Congratulations to you and to your son! Soak in those memories. Well done, all of you.

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