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Charlie Care

Friday, September 11, 2009

Charlie (my golden retriever) was pretty muddy this morning. He had been for a long walk with our son yesterday, with a swim, and although completely dried off his long, magnificent coat was tangled and matted a little, especially on his chest and leggings.

I pulled out his brush and called him to me. He does not like being brushed very much, but he wants to be cooperative. I spoke to him conversationally while fluffing up his plumage and gently removing the matts, telling him what a fine dog he is: his tail moved back and forth on the floor. There were a couple of small matts behind his ears, too, and some mud on top of his head which came out with a light brushing. It's easy for goldens to get ear infections so I took out his special ear cleanser which smells minty and fresh, and followed up with the medicated ear lotion.

Charlie looked up at me hopefully; he knows that grooming sessions are followed by freeze dried liver treats! I reached for the bag on top of the fridge and put Charlie through his paces: he loves the tricks as much as the treats!

"On your mat", "come", "sit", "stay", "wait", "about", "leave it", "down" and finally "all gone" (that's the one where he gets to finish up all the crumbs). Charlie beamed up at me, and my husband watched it all with a fond expression on his face.

Taking care of Charlie is such a pleasure. He flopped down beside my kitchen chair while I sipped my coffee and read the paper. What a great start to my day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHILOVERINAZ 9/16/2009 5:20PM

    What a great story, I feel the same way as I care for my dogs. They really are amazing!!! Such unconditional love.


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TRYINGHARD1948 9/14/2009 5:39PM

    Youmade me tear up remembering all our past dogs and the joy they brought to our lives. Thank you for sharing such a lovely experience.

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DARLENA3 9/12/2009 8:35PM

    Warm thoughts, emoticon to you and Charlie.

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BIGOLEDIVA 9/12/2009 4:28PM

    I was lost in the dreamy bliss of having a sweet puppy too...your charlie sounds wonderful! it crossed my mind that I needed to groom my little girl...when all of a sudden I hear Pffffffft! I look down and my "precious fur baby" is apparently having some tummy issues....now I'm having white carpet issues-LOL....and she DEFINITELY is in need of a bath! So thank you for getting that iniciative going BEFORE it became MANDATORY LOL!

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IMAGINE_IT 9/12/2009 3:11PM

    Awww...wonderful story..i don't have a dog anymore..but just reading this wants me to go out and get another one emoticon I can tell you have a lot of Love for your Charlie....you are a very special person...thanks once again for sharing those precious moments with us... emoticon

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KIZIDOG 9/12/2009 9:36AM

    What a wonderful story. Don't you wish it were as easy with children and spouses?(lol) Dogs are such loving caring creatures. You are lucky to have one. Star emoticon

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WHOLY_FIT_48 9/12/2009 5:21AM

    What a great story - there is nothing like a Golden. I love, love, love, love, love them. Thanks so much for sharing Charlie with us!

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BEAUTIFUL_BABY 9/11/2009 11:14PM

    Dogs you gotta love 'em. Thanks for sharing.

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DSHONEYC 9/11/2009 11:00PM

Where would we be without our loyal dog friends...I loved the picture you painted of your morning. Check out Time magazine 9/21/09 The Secrets Inside Your Dog's Mind. Have a great weekend. Kicked mine off with a long walk with Sarah to the lake overlook park...the sky was amazing reds, rusts and yellow bouncing off the western clouds at dusk. Glad to be alive!

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Stuff I Love or At Least Really Really Like

Saturday, September 05, 2009

1. Husband -- 30 years later, what I still know for sure is that the smartest, luckiest thing I ever did was marrying Mike.

2. Kids -- works in progress (as all we are) but both terrific human beings who make me proud. And of course number one above had quite a bit to do with this item as well!

3. Sister: would never never have survived without her. What an amazing woman, and my admiration for her has only increased as I've watched her dealing with recent serious health problems with grace, dignity, courage.

4. Dog Charlie -- what a sweetie! I've loved all my dogs, heaven will be the place where I'm reunited with every one of them eventually; Fritz, Pepper, Skippy, Kabul, Ambrose, Sabrina and Rufus will also be just inside the Pearly Gates, wagging and smiling! But Charlie is the Platonic Ideal of dogs; loving, companionable, never obsequious, just understanding there is no loss of self in wanting to please others. I have learned a lot from Charlie about how to get along with people! "What would Charlie do?" Greet everyone at the door wagging and with a carefully selected toy!! Wonder what he'll have for me at those Pearly Gates?? (And nope, this isn't irreverent at all).

4. Friends. Understanding, kind, supportive and delivering kicks in the rear end as required!

5. Work colleagues. What a great group of people to share a big chunk of time with every day! And the work itself: keeps the brain ticking over and some days feels like I've been useful to someone . . .

6. Nature: sunshine in its ever-changing manifestations from sunrise to sunset throughout all of the seasons; big skies and distant vistas; birds; flowers; trees; forests; rippling fields of grass; oceans; beaches; tiny northern lakes ringed by white pines; dewy mornings; hoar frost sparkling after sleet storms . . . all of these sights plus the scents of lilac and mown lawn; the sounds of cicadas and howling winds; the textures of bark, fur, powder sand, squishy spring mud. The world is an infinitely beautiful place with the power to sustain and to console us through its sheer loveliness.

7. Food! especially fresh fruits, vegetables -- yup, really really do like these best -- and oatmeal. And dark 85% cocoa chocolate! Which is or should be a food group all its own.

8. Exercise: it makes me feel great right then, and the cumulative effect of exercise keeps me feeling great all day long. Can't buy that feeling, can't achieve it any other way than by sweating it out -- may never want to roll out of bed at 5 a.m. to go to the gym but I'm always glad that I did when it's over and I'm heading for the showers.

9. Anticipation. What's coming next? What am I planning -- what treats are on the horizon to give zest to my days? What great things will happen that I never even dreamed of? Postive anticipation is the reverse of negative worry . . . worry about stuff that may never happen -- and when it doesn't happen I never wish that I'd worried more! So the deliberate cultivation of anticipation helps me manage worry.

10. SparkPeople. This is an amazing site with remarkable resources. Yup, I really really like this virtual community of like minded people!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRYINGHARD1948 9/14/2009 5:43PM

    Thank you, you show us all what a wonder our friends, family, animals, experiences in this life are while hinting at the joy that awaits us in the hereafter.

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KALISWALKER 9/10/2009 12:39PM

    What a great list! It's a nice way to get to know you.

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DARLENA3 9/9/2009 10:21PM

    This blog speaks about your wonderful personality and outlook on life. It brightens my day to read this makes me prioritize the things that are important and rejoice in them. Beautiful sentiment.


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FROSTIERACES 9/8/2009 10:21AM

    Reading this was very uplifting! I am really happy for you having such wonderful people in your life and for appreciating your surroundings. :) It's a good reminder ... :). Yep..kids are a work in progress but we love ours too endlessly! The sunny days...wow they really do make a difference in my days as well! and doggies...awe, I know these feelings. I too, have a hubby Mike in my life - hope someday he and I will be 30 years later! emoticon emoticon emoticonThanks for sharing your fabulous thoughts!

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DSHONEYC 9/6/2009 12:33PM

    emoticon emoticon
Two thumbs up, emoticon

You have inspired me, more than once. Now I want to put together not only the things I love (makes you cherish them all the more, eh?) and the things I want to do before I meet my maker. I hope your sis is doing well, and what a wonderful thing it is to have you by her side.

I guess my #1 thing would be having a sense of humor and being able to laugh,,,especially at myself. You've got it, too. emoticon

And I wish you many more laughs down the road of life.

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DBCLARINET 9/6/2009 12:20AM

    Thanks! Though of course I got all excited about the section leader gig, then today I got a letter from the U.S. Army Field Band that was like, thanks for sending your audition CD, but we're not advancing you to the next round. Boo. Every silver lining has its cloud?

BTW, love the post. This just made me happy to read. emoticon

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KIZIDOG 9/5/2009 7:37PM

    Great blog. So many things to be thankful for. we are truly blessed. I agree with your whole list and I would have to add my grandsons to the list. They are all 4 wonderful young human beings, each with a joy all there own. Have a great weekend. Star emoticon

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IMAGINE_IT 9/5/2009 7:32PM

    Best Blog ever!!! emoticon
It expresses so many things i also feel and am thankful for.. .. emoticon so much for posting this..I am happy for you..you are truly blessed...there is a lot of Love and Joy in your Life.... emoticon emoticon

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LIMASTAR 9/5/2009 3:44PM

  I really enjoyed reading your blog. It's such a sunny outlook on life.

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LADY_DONKEY 9/5/2009 2:27PM

    I really liked this! emoticon

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Rainy Lazy Weekend

Friday, August 28, 2009

Latish on Friday night after a great theatre production -- it's raining on the skylight over my head and I can hear the wind howling gently. And the forecast calls for rain all weekend.

Not such a bad thing, actually -- an excellent reason to lie low, enjoy the weekend papers, drink coffee, hang out with my family.

I'm looking forward to a rainy lazy weekend!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 8/30/2009 7:39AM

    Glad you're enjoying time with family and relaxing. :) it's nice when the weather - rain or shine helps us to do this...

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JOPAPGH 8/29/2009 7:58PM

    Kicking back sounds like fun.

My wife is visting our daughter. My son is working. So I'm enjoying some quiet time with just the dogs.

We have had very little rain here this summer, so I have been able to get my long runs in on the wekend.

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DBCLARINET 8/29/2009 12:09PM

    We had some fabulous thunderstorms here in northeast Texas on Wednesday night, and it even drizzled a bit into Thursday morning. Too bad that was the first day of classes! And that it still got up into the mid-90s with bright sunshine by afternoon! I am originally from Ohio, and this post really makes me miss the lazy, rainy weekends where everybody just kinda sat around doing nothing. And that makes me miss lazy, snowy weekends in the winter...

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KIZIDOG 8/29/2009 8:57AM

    Hi Watermellen, Haven't talked to you in awhile. Sounds like a wonderful weekend. Me I'm working, but it is raining here today in Western WA for a change too. We have had the driest summer in forever here and I for one am not complaining. Although I do appreciate that it is raining while I am working. (lol)
Enjoy your weekend. Star emoticon

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SJORDAN7157 8/29/2009 5:48AM

    Rain??? What is rain??? It has been so long since we have seen any in Central TX - let me Wikepedia it.

Sue J

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BEAUTIFUL_BABY 8/29/2009 12:00AM


Its been like that all week here.. the rain that is, its been off and on where you just cant get much done outside... ready for some SUNNY FLORIDA weather again ;)

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PANDA131 8/28/2009 11:48PM

    Now that sounds like a wonderful ideal. Read a good book could also be a wonderful way to enjoy rainy lazy weekend.
Whatever you choose too do I hope you enjoy your weekend.
Susan in East Tn.

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MAINtenance: After Three Months SP, It's My Main Thing

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yesterday was three months for me at SparkPeople: and I continue to be amazed at and grateful for this remarkable site and all the people who participate in it!

I'm continuing to track my nutrition faithfully. Most of the time I am hitting the ranges pretty accurately: only 1 day over on fat/carbs in the three months (the infamous Muchos Nachos incident!!) and sometimes a bit under. Sustaining protein in particular seems to be key for appetite control.

I'm also resuming my gym workouts as my energy returns since my medical treatments ended July 4. I'm exercising alternate days for now with cardio building up from 20 minutes and slighly lighter weights than I was using before: I'm confident this is the right approach but I'm still feeling quite a bit of residual fatigue -- which I was told to expect for at least two months and maybe longer.

And I'm really enjoying the message boards and member blogs -- learning lots about MAINTENANCE since that's my MAIN concern going forward. Also trying to figure out what the "right weight" for me actually is, but not particularly anxious about that, ready to "weight" and see . . . The 155 initially "set" by SP as my goal is a BMI 22.9 which feels a bit heavier than I want to be: I'm aiming now for 150 and will see how that works for me when I get there. Nice to be wearing my size 8s again.

Key for me will be continued nutrition tracking and continued daily weighing. I know daily weighing isn't for everyone, but long experience tells me: if I don't track nutrition and weigh every day I quickly get delusional both about how much I'm really eating, and how much my clothes are "shrinking"! So the maintenance routine has to be a "weigh of life" permanently. And SP is actually making that pretty much a fun thing!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DBCLARINET 8/17/2009 12:18AM

    I love Sanibel, too! I think this is probably the 8th time my family went, and for the first time with significant others in tow, it went pretty well! I know what you mean about fighting all that food temptation -- I was sad we weren't there for another week just so we could try more of the restaurants that popped up since the last time we were there! I also have this thing about eating seafood when I'm there, so that definitely made it easy to limit my menu choices!

My actual graduate assistantship is for the fine arts series at my school. It's more of an arts management position -- the clarinet position has been filled for several years now by two other doctoral students. But I do have a bachelors and masters degree in clarinet, and I'm starting my doctorate in the hopes of winning a playing job before I actually finish the degree. I took a year off in between to teach private lessons full-time and realized I just didn't have the patience for that many kids! Is your daughter hoping to get a playing job, too, or what is she looking into?

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JOPAPGH 8/15/2009 6:16PM

    Glad things continue to go well. I junked tracking while on vacation and only gained half a pound. I am home again and back on track with logging, although I am down to weighing myself twice a week.

Keeep up that great focus,


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IMAGINE_IT 8/12/2009 8:09AM

    I am with you on the daily weigh in....nowadays it helps me a lot...and i need to see the number every day to remind myself to make good choices for that day!!
I think you and your accomplishments are amazing!! I know that you can maintain...there is no doubt in my mind...Rock on!! emoticon emoticon

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BEAUTIFUL_BABY 8/12/2009 6:32AM

    emoticon as long as you keep it up you will get back to not being so fatigued when working out. I know you can do it!

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    I have yet to find where SP sets the goal weight for us, but that is ok. I found some charts that determined my goal weight, so I know what you are talking about.

WTG on reaching your goal and good luck on trying to go a bit lower. I am in the same place so I do understand.

One day at a time really makes it happen!


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DSHONEYC 8/11/2009 11:28PM

    I can certainly identify with delusional state when I don't check the scale and track the food.

Am thrilled (and envious in a good way) that you are feeling less fatigued and doing more things that make you happy.

You BMI sounds pretty low, but I am sure you will figure it out. Good luck and life dear emoticon

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Muchos Nachos Not-so Great!

Monday, August 03, 2009

I was thrilled to be able to play golf yesterday -- it was nine holes only, and with a power cart: but still! Beautiful evening, best company (my husband); and we stopped for a glass of wine on the patio of the club house afterwards. "Let's get some nachos, too" he suggested. And I agreed.

A huge heaping plateful of them. Ooey-gooey with lots of cheese, jalapenos, chopped sweet bell peppers, onions: and yup, inhibitions loosened by the wine probably, I ate way way too many.

Dutifully logged them into my nutrition tracker, blowing my targets for calories (natch) and fat (natch); still under for the day on protein and carbs (surprisingly). It's the first time since May I've been significantly over nutrition goals so I didn't worry too much about that. More amused with myself than anything else.

But -- I really really can't eat that way anymore. Up during the night, parched with thirst from all the sodium and a pretty upset tummy.

Didn't weigh myself today: quite certainly up with "water weight" from the sodium but can't have put on any "real" weight since a pound would require 3,500 excess calories and I was way under that.

But with the interrupted sleep, queasy tum and raging thirst that "treat" was not terrific. And I don't think I'll be tempted by nachos again anytime soon. Nachos not-so great. A useful reminder: There are better ways to celebrate than food.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DBCLARINET 8/17/2009 12:23AM

    That sounds exactly like the kind of day my husband would talk me into, huge plate of nachos and all! I can't face plugging all of that into the nutrition tracker. I know it was bad, and for some reason I just can't bring myself to face the full-on assault of numbers. emoticon

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NGALAX 8/10/2009 6:32PM

    We all must have one of these moments (or more) along the way. You need a slice of refreshing Watermelon after that!

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WACHSC 8/3/2009 10:18PM

    I guess all of these things are signs of nurturing better health habits and choices.
Glad that you got to play golf. I'm actually missing the course a bit since we returned from vacation, but the wedding planning is fun too.

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    Isn't it funny that at one time you probably would not have noticed any ill-effects of all that sodium and fat? It's great that now your body knows the difference between what you want to eat and what you should eat!

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JOPAPGH 8/3/2009 7:40PM

    If that is the first time you have fallen off the wagon since May, you have done very well indeed.

Deep fried food no longer agrees with me either.

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JIMBOUCHIE 8/3/2009 7:28PM

    We all learn by our mistakes. Let the hubby know what it did to you and maybe next he'll forgoe the Nachos.

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