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Trivia A Student: FINALLY!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Oh, my.

Got the notification this morning that I was a "Trivia A Student" in August!!!

Well, that sure was a long time coming . . . diligent efforts since May 2009 and yup, this would be the first time!!

Generally speaking, I've had a modest amount of academic success over the years. A degree here and there; even a few scattered scholarships . . . . .

But never ever EVER the elusive "Trivia A Student" designation. Until now!

It may never happen again. In fact, I'm thinking it's not likely to ever happen again. My record is dismal: I am just not at all clever at the kind of questions posed on the Trivia tab. But I do try just about every day. Even though I am quite capable of getting 3 wrong before I get 3 right . . . and not at all reliable about getting 3 right first try. All of this means that August 2011 must have been an amazing month, even though I wasn't paying a lot of attention to my cumulative score.

It was a surprise. And here I am now, basking in the glow.

My good SP friend Sandy (TRYINGHARDER61) knows full well how envious I've been of her Trivia scores: and I'm sure she will be rejoicing with me in my (temporary) success now!

Yay Trivia! Because even when I get them wrong, I've learned plenty! That's why this Trivia A Student accomplishment is for me actually right up there. Surpassed only with the amazing honour of having been named a Spark People Motivator.

(I know that the learning from playing and losing at Trivia has very much been linked towhat is genuinely my biggest personal accomplishment by far, way more important than degrees or job stuff: namely, taking 90 pounds off and keeping it off. I weighed myself after my workout at the gym, and I'm holding steady at 138 today even after a slightly indulgent supper last night . . . quite happy with that).

OK, just imagine me taking off the dunce cap, stepping down from the stool in the corner . . . yeah!!.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUESKY_321 9/6/2011 7:39AM

    I never even knew about the trivia ... look at that - I'm getting smarter already!

Congrats to you!

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VALERIEMAHA 9/5/2011 9:51AM

I am SO the opposite of you in that sense (do I have a competitive bone in my body?). I don't even even consider forging ahead , conquering something (such as increasing exercise to so many minutes for so many days/week) as winning a competition against myself. I attribute it partly to conditioning (the era and rural area I grew up in) and nature (wimpy dreamy Pisces).

That said, where does one find the Trivia Challenge (perhaps even add it to your blog for the unkowing curious)?

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DBCLARINET 9/4/2011 6:34PM

    Congrats, yay!

But... what's a "Trivia A Student"? It sounds super-cool!

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NANCY- 9/4/2011 10:40AM

What a stellar accomplishment. I have learned so much playing the trivia, It's a great quick way to increase our knowledge,.
It's the little things that mean a lot.

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MOBYCARP 9/3/2011 6:39PM

    emoticon emoticon

I play trivia every day, and my long term (well, not quite two month) average is somewhere around 75%. I do notice that I'm getting some repeat questions right that I got wrong the first time. I suspect that's the only way I'll get stuff right like "How many calories do you save by eating this okay choice instead of that dumb choice?" I have a hard time caring about those.

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SLENDERELLA61 9/3/2011 5:48PM

    CONGRATS on the A+ trivia student! That's an impressive accomplishment. However, maintaining a 90 pound weight loss is, well, just amazing and awesome. Isn't it? Of course it is!! Keep up the great work and you are likely to have a string of A pluses and a steady weight under 140!! -Marsha

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/3/2011 3:30PM

    emoticon emoticon I don't even try for the trivia award... I am mega-impressed with your achievement!

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PHEBESS 9/3/2011 1:54PM

    YAY!!!!! Way to go!!!!!!! I'd be thrilled too!

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GROEDER 9/3/2011 1:38PM

    Congratulations!!!! I know how hard it is to get that award. I have gotten it once and been trying to do it again, with no success. So, I'll keep going for a second one if you will!!

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AZMOMXTWO 9/3/2011 1:34PM

  `WAY TO GO I got mine this month also 1st time ever

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Satisfying Stress

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Wouldn't want EVERY day (or couple of days) to be so stressful but . . . it's the nature of the work I do that stuff comes in the door on an urgent basis. Requiring that you drop everything else and attend to it. Right away.

Get the facts, get stuff drafted, served, research, prepare submissions, make an appearance, be prepared to go. And while you're waiting to be heard, negotiate negotiate negotiate.

Try to get it settled . . . because there's more certainty and control and "custom tailoring" available in a negotiated resolution.

Fun? Not exactly.

But: gets the ol' adrenalin going, anyhow.

And reminds me that nope, I'm not remotely close to being ready to retire, that's for sure.

Because: I enjoy what I do. The strategy, the research, the analysis . . . all of that. A different kind of workout that brings together the intellectual with the people skills. Particularly if at the end I believe we've got to the the best achievable result.

Not perfection, maybe. But the best achievable result.

(Like Beck's lowest sustainable weight, I'm thinking!)

Last night, not so much sleep: tonight should be much more restful!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 9/5/2011 10:30PM

    My work can be that way sometimes...especially when I'm on the cusp of making things happen for my clients...moving to a better home, starting up with a new clinic or therapist...more demands, but at the same time more rewards too!


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    I had been contemplating going back to my former, incredibly high stress career because I was kind of missing the money. But then the next day, at my current low stress job, I was hit at the door with a fire that I had to figure out and solve immediately. I did it and it was fun but it was a great reminder how I used to fight several high stress fires every day and how I really don't feel like handling that much stress on a daily basis any more.

(your job sounds fun though... sometimes I crave stress like I crave sugary crap food. I know it's bad for me but I long for the buzz I used to get)

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TBANMAN 9/2/2011 12:17PM

    I also work in a high-stress environment at a job and career I am passionate about.

If you love what you do for a living, you'll never work a day in your life.

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NANCY- 9/2/2011 6:50AM

    Yikes I got stressed just reading this. LOL
It seems that you have found your balance.

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PHEBESS 9/1/2011 10:55PM

    Intellectual challenge is stimulating, though it can certainly be tiring! And yes, it also brings much satisfaction!

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Sisters' Day

Saturday, August 27, 2011

. . . . was fun fun fun, as always!

Glorious two hour drive over to our "half way" meeting spot, with golden rod in bloom and trees laden with apples slowly reddening in the sun.

Lots of coffee; delicious tomato basil soup and garden salads, and a (shared) slice of unbelievably dense chocolate fudge cake, to celebrate her birthday next week. Worth every calorie. (And I humiliated her by singing "happy birthday" too heh heh!!)

In addition, of course, there had to be a little shopping!!

Found for me, a new long black wool and cashmere blend winter coat, for "work". It has a huge collar, big buttons and some very nice seaming at the back in a V shape at the waist, with a fan pleat below. Long enough in the sleeves, yay, which is always tricky for me!! Marked down from $280 to $39!! Plus a dark taupe silky jersey with a relaxed turtle neck and some interesting ruching at neck and sleeves to wear under a suit . . . marked down from $38 to $5.98!! Sister got some terrific basic black pants, her fave waistbandless style, marked down from $80 to $14.98. (I'd bought her a new camel handbag . . . and a little olive green fall sweater . . . perfect with her red hair and green eyes . . . which she took away to open on "the day" next week).

Lots of laughter, lots of memories . . . only wish we lived closer together so we could see each other more often!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 8/31/2011 8:58AM

    I miss my sisters. We are spread throughout the country...San Diego, Anchorage, Michigan and me in NY...sheesh but those miles really DO get in the way!


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VALERIEMAHA 8/30/2011 8:28PM

    And a good time was had by all!!! Such a delight in every way.

Will you be my honorary sister??? Let's see, half-way in-between would be one day's driving OR MORE...but for me it would be totally worth it!
P.S. What is the name of the store that you find these amazing bargains in?

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PHEBESS 8/29/2011 4:57PM

    I TRULY need to go shopping with you!!!!!!

And so nice that you have such fun with your sister!

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KALIGIRL 8/29/2011 8:54AM

    Sounda grand! Love those sister days!

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BLUESKY_321 8/29/2011 8:14AM

    Sounds like a wonderful day! Thanks for sharing ... reminds me how lucky I am to see my sisters often (and to have patience when it seems like it's *too* often!)

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TEENY_BIKINI 8/28/2011 7:36PM

    Wow. That sounds fun. And oh how
I love a good deal. The coat sounds amazing. And you can't beat the price!

I am glad you had this wonderful time. Yay.


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TRYINGHARD1948 8/28/2011 6:20PM

    Ellen, what a joyous blog. Happy Birthday to your sister and the clothes sound divine.

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NANCY- 8/28/2011 12:35AM

    How wonderful! Spending time with together celebrating is always fum.
Can you take me shopping with you... those prices are amazing.

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MSSNOWY 8/28/2011 12:27AM

    Glad you had such a fabulous day. My sis's birthday was this week, but she's 2/3 of a continent away, so we just talked on the phone. Nice to be able to get together, though. We did last year.

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DBCLARINET 8/27/2011 11:34PM

    Sounds like an awesome day, with some awesome finds!

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SLENDERELLA61 8/27/2011 9:59PM

    What a great celebration!! That is a marvelous way to do it - to meet in the middle. My sis and I need to try that. She lives 4 hours away as well.

And are you the shopper! What bargains. My guess is that your petite size enables you to find such great bargains. Don't think I ever found anything good on sale when I was a 2X.

Glad you enjoyed your treat. When you only have such a thing once in a blue moon it truly is a treat. And I know you have total confidence that you can handle it, it won't trip you up, it's part of your healthy approach to food. An occasionally treat should be enjoyed.

So glad you are doing so well. Take care. -Marsha

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The Weigh I Was: May 2009

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Yesterday I was leafing through a stack of old magazines at the gym. Looking for some entertainment on the elliptical. (A lot of the ladies at my Y take in reading material to recycle and share and I do too, from time to time).

The January 2009 issue of Shape had an interesting article about six people who'd collectively lost 300 pounds. I didn't recall it: it looked new to me, and maybe a source of a few new ideas or tips. So I picked it up.

But there it was inside the front cover -- my handwriting. My notes. Clearly made in May 2009 when I'd joined Spark People!

What had I written down?

My username: WATERMELLEN. And password. The sparkpeople.com website address.

The two teams to which I'd been assigned on registration: SP class of May 10-16/09, and people over 50 with 10-24 pounds to lose.

I remember what I then weighed: 172. That's not written down. But the SP goal weight is noted: 155. And the target date: September 6, 2009.

I'd also jotted down my starting measurements:

Neck 14.5 inches.
Waist 32.5 inches.
Hips 40.5 inches.
Thigh 23.5 inches.

And: I'd written down "Spark People's Nutrition Tracker". Which was probably the key piece of information, because that's been the most important tool to lose the weight. (Other than the SP community, of course: the wonderful people here. But I didn't know that then!)

In May 2009, I had a record of successful weight loss and weight loss maintenance. I had taken off 80 pounds between June 2001 and February 2002, going from 230 to 150. Susan Estrich's "Making the Case for Yourself" was the inspiration that time.

And up until late 2008 I'd kept the 80 pounds off pretty steadily for some six years. Maybe never going below 150, but never going above 155 either. (My blip up in early 2009? Comfort eating, my old nemesis, triggered by a serious health scare). So: 155 should be doable, I remember thinking in May 2009.

What about the time frame? In May 2009, I also remembered that the first 60 pounds had come off pretty quickly. I had got down to about 170 by November 2001. But after that it took four months to lose the last 20. So: losing 17 pounds by September 6 was about right.

And I did. Reaching goal weight by August 15.

Yesterday I weighed myself after my workout on the Y's professional scales: just a smidge over 137. Holding steady. And I measured myself when I got home:

Neck: 12.5 inches.
Waist: just under 28 inches.
Hips: 37 inches.
Thigh: 20.5 inches.

There have been some ups and downs, of course, since May 2009. I was back at 163 in January of this year.

And with the help of the Beck Diet Solution (thanks SLENDERELLA61) tackled learning to think like a thin person . . . which has made a difference. Is 137 what Beck would call my "lowest maintainable weight"? That remains to be seen, but I've been there without more than a little swing for several months now. And I'm not looking to go lower.

This is the weight I was in high school and university.

The January 2009 issue of Shape magazine? An heirloom, obviously. So I tucked it into my gym bag and brought it home again!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOHAL52 8/26/2011 1:12PM

    That is fabulous Ellen!! Really inspirational!

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VALERIEMAHA 8/24/2011 10:02AM

    RIGHT there with Chris (who I followed over here!) on how WONDERFUL (and provocative) this blog and story is, Ellen! You are one of my MAJOR inspirations here in this SCommunity!

Thanks for all you are and all you offer,

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PUDLECRAZY 8/24/2011 8:54AM

    Wonderful blog,wonderful story Ellen! What a coincidence finding a magazine with your notes on it - a reminder of where you've been, where you are now, and the journey in between.

You are the emoticon!

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PHEBESS 8/23/2011 9:03AM

    You are my inspiration - trite as that sounds, it absolutely is true!

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KALIGIRL 8/23/2011 9:00AM

    What a marvelous journey - emoticonfor sharing!

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DBCLARINET 8/22/2011 7:48PM

    Oooh, that left me feeling all warm and fuzzy on the inside!

And with that, my brain just took a left turn. Speaking of fuzzy, have you ever seen a woollybear that was all a light-golden color? I saw one the other day, and it made me wonder if it was really a woollybear or not.

Having said warm and fuzzy, I remembered some posts of yours in the past about woollybears, so I thought I'd ask!

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LINDAJ0621 8/22/2011 4:16PM

    Great motivational story!!!
emoticon emoticon

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BLUESKY_321 8/22/2011 7:55AM

    wow ... kismet! finding that magazine certainly seems fortuitous ... I can't imagine a better piece of motivation for helping to keep you on the path that you've forged for yourself!

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SLENDERELLA61 8/21/2011 8:29PM

    Wow, Ellen!! Great story. Some of it I knew, but this blog fills in some of the history. You are an inspiration. So glad you have achieved that tight maintenance range you wanted. You have done very, very well, and your head is in the right place to keep it up, too. Love those measurements!! Thanks for this great blog!! I "like" it very, very much!!

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MTP717 8/21/2011 4:04PM

  Congratulations! You are truly an inspiration!

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DDOORN 8/21/2011 3:00PM

    Wonderful accomplishment! What a vibrant addition you have been to our SparkFamily!

Thank you for being there and keeping on with your support and sharing your success!


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NANCY- 8/21/2011 11:57AM

    Wow! Sweetie you are such an inspiration.
You show me that our goals can be achieved and maintained. I know you came to SP for you and that is the best way to do it.

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WATERMELLEN 8/21/2011 10:59AM

    PS Went back and checked my old blogs: actually reached goal weight July 18, 2009.

What a site!! Wow!!

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Late Summer Friday Afternoon

Friday, August 19, 2011

Left work early . . . wanted to get home and see Charlie before heading to the golf course.

The cicadas are singing, the sun is warm, the sky is blue . . . . now where's that husband of mine??

Time to get started on the weekend!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 8/20/2011 8:47AM

    YAY for Friday afternoons!!!!!

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TRYINGHARD1948 8/20/2011 6:00AM


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SMILEYBEE 8/19/2011 4:45PM

    Sounds nice! Have a great weekend!

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