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I OWN Self-Gifting!

Friday, December 07, 2012


OK, I'm not the only one.

The Toronto Globe and Mail tells me that people spend around $237 (about 20%) of their Christmas gift budget on . . . themselves!

What are you buying yourself this Christmas?

And are you shopping for you in the stores? On line? Or both??

No big indulgences from me to me, actually . . . but there have been a few bargoons hunted down on ebay and etsy. Some "new" wool suits for work at amazing amazing prices: with shipping, about $40 each.

And last weekend I had to buy some new brown boots given my old ones had collapsed completely. On sale again (with a sharply discounted second pair of shorty beige cowgirl boots, not expensive at all). (That's because I hate to pay full price for anything.)

Biggest self-gift?

NOT overeating. NOT overstuffing with holiday indulgences.

Tracking every day.

Sticking with the non-caloric indulgences. So that my 29" waistbands will still fit when those etsy suits arrive in the mail!

Highly motivating, this self-gifting stuff!! (And nowhere close to $237 either.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FIRECOM 12/25/2012 10:30AM

    Self gifting is a treasured art form. When I do gifting to others, I always select gifts that I would like to receive as well.

Money is very tight for us in our Autumn of our lives but we make do and love the life we have.

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TBANMAN 12/9/2012 4:40PM

    Material self-gift - Oscar de la Renta micro fleece pj's - half off at Costco!

Non material self-gifts - not cheating. Everything in moderation. Continuing to exercise. Hitting my 2012 fitness target of 12,000 minutes. Self-compassion.

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CARRAND 12/8/2012 9:57PM

    I am a master at self-gifting!

This year i bought some new furniture for the house. I'm calling it my gift to my husband, but of course I'm enjoying those glass fronted book shelves as much as he is.

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    Way to go on the self-gifting of health! It sure is important :)

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NANCY- 12/8/2012 8:36AM

    I love your self gift of taking care of yourself.

I will be the first to admit to self gifting. with my birthday just 6 days before Christmas. I find that it is difficult to pass up a bargain of a treat. I have a me day. Get my hair done, go out and enjoy the decorations and if I find a bargain or two why not. My recent gift, some shoes that I have been wanting/needing. The two pairs were an upgrade replacement.

I will pay full price for a gift to another... and my shopping is usually done before December. Thanks for the reminder that the best gift is taking care of ourselves.

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SUSANNAH31 12/8/2012 12:21AM

    When we are shopping for others at Christmas, it's a great time to take advantage of the sales and get an item or two for ourselves. I'm a believer!

You are so right, though. The biggest gift we give ourselves is all the hard work we do here on Spark People - and the good results from it.

emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 12/7/2012 11:40PM

    Very well done!! What a score!! It would be ludicrous to pass up such great bargains!
I am not a shopper. I hate it really. I don't buy things for myself unless I absolutely need something and even then I am very fussy and what I get has to be perfect. If it wasn't for Mom shopping around and finding all those fabulous clothes for me, I would still be in sweat pants :P. I am a simple person, and the only thing I want in clothes is comfort and warmth. I would like to buy my loved one gifts, but they never let on anything that they want. Its really hard to buy for adults and kids that have grown up. Mom buys them clothing like hoodies and PJ's, so she has those bases covered.
I always track too :) My gift to myself is staying as fit and healthy as I can be.
Have a Wonderful Weekend!

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DALID414 12/7/2012 10:12PM

    emoticon Where you spying on me? emoticon I was just out shopping, with the intent of getting my mom and sister off my list, walked out with ONLY stuff for moi! I'll to their gifts, promise!

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BUNNIEBUILDER 12/7/2012 10:04PM

    when I buy stuff for myself during the holidays, I wrap them and write It's from Lulu... which is my dog lol I cant help buying stuff for myself when everything is sooo much cheaper during the holiday time!

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1CRAZYDOG 12/7/2012 10:02PM

    Good job!!!

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/7/2012 9:57PM

    Oh, we could have a conversation about this self-gifting thing, Ellen. I think my 2012 "retail therapy" of self-gifting probably tops a whole buncha folks. But then again, we are talking a lot of pent-up demand... and that article was right on the money (pun intended) about the first purchase being the hardest, and the follow-ons being easier.

However, investing in one's health? No question it is money well spent!

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TJCADDO 12/7/2012 9:44PM

    Love that you have stayed within budget money-wise and calorie -wise. It's going to be a good year!

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Joy's Rule of One: Holiday Eating!

Thursday, December 06, 2012


What a great video with Joy Bauer on how to survive the endless array of seasonal holiday treats, without ballooning up!

My fave tip? Yup, the "rule of one" . . . one of everything, moderate portion size. One appetizer, one drink, one plateful, one dessert. And then she offers some additional help in choosing that "one".

Here's to getting through the next month feeling less stuffed than the turkey!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STARDUSTD 12/12/2012 12:34PM

  Thanks for sharing! It helped to heighten my holiday resolve. emoticon

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PHEBESS 12/7/2012 5:07PM

    My rule of thumb is similar - except I don't eat anything I don't absolutely love! If it's there, I get to eat one moderate portion. If everything there is mediocre (to me), I can skip it. And dessert should be either chocolate, or panna cotta - I can leave pretty much anything else.

Because really, why waste calories on food I don't love?

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NANCY- 12/7/2012 7:41AM

    Thanks for sharing this. The simple rules like this help us be selective yet enjoy.

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SUSANNAH31 12/7/2012 7:18AM

    This was very good advice. I also like the tips she gave about the dips that are best: salsa & spicy mustard - as well as the nutritional hummus, bean dip, and guacamole.
Thanks for posting it.


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PMRUNNER 12/7/2012 5:59AM

    Thanks for sharing, very sensible advice.

I haven't been looking forward to the holidays due to the excess food. If I can incorporate some of these ideas, I should be able to come out of the holiday spree in a better state.

Hope you have happy holidays!

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NUOVAELLE 12/7/2012 1:49AM

    Rule of one and being carefully selective! I think those two tips can take us through the holidays unharmed.
Great link! Thank you for sharing!

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_LINDA 12/7/2012 12:48AM

    Awesome link! I am lucky in one meal. My apartment building's meal is strictly serving controlled -they dish it out and they only give you one tiny dessert -no worries about being overstuffed at that one! But the upcoming bridge club one -has healthy enough fare -wraps and soup -but you can go for seconds if there are leftovers which there tends to be of the wraps and dainties. Then of course, when my Mom decides to hold hers -she always overdoes it and I am getting 4,000 calories a day eating leftovers for the week :PPP. I like the idea of portion control, but my little fridge freezer is too small to freeze the leftovers to enjoy another day :(
I too, like that rule of one and keeping it to things you can't get through the year -like all the German specialty treats that come out now-my favorite is gingerbread hearts filled with plum fruit and coated with dark chocolate -this is heaven in every bite and incredibly is only 130 calories for THREE of them! With low fat too! I get them at London Drugs - was on sale for only 2.36 for a package!
Here is to keeping it real!
emoticon emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/6/2012 11:29PM


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DONNACFIT 12/6/2012 10:53PM

    Thanks for sharing :) Hope you have a healthy and blessed Christmas season!!

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DALID414 12/6/2012 9:53PM

    Love it!

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PHOENIX1949 12/6/2012 8:56PM

    Nice reinforcement for items most of us 'professional dieters' are aware of. Awareness and practice definitely different from one another. Thanks for sharing.

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CRYSTALJEM 12/6/2012 8:55PM

    And here I was hoping that one of everything translated to one of every item on the table. I knew it had to be too good to be true. LOL

Comment edited on: 12/6/2012 8:56:09 PM

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1CRAZYDOG 12/6/2012 8:33PM


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PHILTRILL 12/6/2012 8:30PM

    That is really a great way to be around family, friends, co-workers etc.. this season with all the different varieties of food. Just stick to 1 portion size. emoticon

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WILLOWBROOK5 12/6/2012 8:28PM

    Really helpful. Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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MSROZZIE 12/6/2012 8:26PM

    That's planning ahead. You will surely enjoy the holiday season. Good luck! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/6/2012 8:26:21 PM

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/6/2012 8:25PM

    To moderation, and choices! Nothing tastes as good as fit feels!

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X5X52000 12/6/2012 8:24PM

    emoticon emoticon for sharing!

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Rainy Dark Day

Sunday, December 02, 2012

. . . I listened to the rain on the roof all night: semi-solid! But the rain didn't evolve into the white fluffy stuff, so it's not looking skiable today.

OK, then. Plan B? I got in a great workout at the gym yesterday . . . 30 minutes on the elliptical plus upper body free weights.

If it actually stopped raining . . . a hike with Charlie? Pretty muddy!!

Our Christmas plans are very low key this year. We're all sad DS isn't coming home and nobody's telling Charlie! We'll Skype. Things change, feelings don't, and we'll adapt. Have to admit, less planning/organization is likely to happen since DS is our only family member who really *likes* Christmas. DD is vegan, very anti-materialistic etc. So we'll keep it simple. And . . . yup, that does mean less work for me in particular. I can live with that!

Busy work week upcoming, With nothing pressing here, it may be that this is a day to just soak in a hot bath, then hunker down with a good book . . . maybe with a fresh pot of soup simmering. Spicy peanut chicken appeals.

Rainy dark days: cozy, comfortable, love the sound of rain on the roof.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANCY- 12/3/2012 9:36AM

    I love your ability to adapt. You make the best out of any situation.

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TRYINGHARD1948 12/3/2012 12:52AM

    Keep warm and dry, blessings.

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SLENDERELLA61 12/2/2012 10:06PM

    Spicy peanut chicken does sound wonderful on a rainy day. Hope you enjoy. And perhaps the low key holiday will be good. Sure hope so.

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CRYSTALJEM 12/2/2012 9:50PM

    That does sound cozy. Sorry to hear DS won't make it home. The soup sounds delish. Would love to hang out in your kitchen. Raining here too. Highway still ok but our grid is like a curling rink. Hope it's sunny tomorrow.

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PHEBESS 12/2/2012 8:54PM

    We definitely need the occasional day to curl up with a good book and relax! (And a pot of tea helps!)

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_LINDA 12/2/2012 4:02PM

    Rain is very soothing. I actually didn't mind if it rained when I was on a camping trip as a kid, because I just loved how it sounded on the tent canvas :) And that after rain fresh air can't be beat. However the reality here is blowing cold snowy overcast days with high windchills for six days in a row now with no signs of let up. But no time to curl up and read, too much to do.
I just love hearing about your soups, you sure are the undisputed Queen of soups! I used to love Mom's soups, she would make them from whatever she had on hand, so no two were the same, but she didn't have as many exotic ingredients on hand as you have. But she usually doesn't offer me soups though. So I have to make do with this awesome black beluga bean chili, it just rocks :)
Remember, we do have to have at least one day of rest and recovery -and a dark, rainy Sunday does sound like the perfect time for a good read and hot soaking bath in either epsom salts, bubble bath or a bath bomb ;)

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DALID414 12/2/2012 3:11PM

    I love it when it rains, but only when I get to stay indoors emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 12/2/2012 2:31PM

    LOVE soup! I made a pot of minestrone yesterday. My goal is to have a healthy, homemade soup every day for lunch. emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/2/2012 11:28AM

    Soup on a cold, dark day... ahhhh!

It's unseasonably warm here... supposed to top out at 65 F and sunny. I'm plotting on a bike ride this afternoon in the best of it. I already went and swam at the gym... which, as I've often said before, it the best exercise that doesn't feel like exercise I have discovered!

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

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-AMANDA79- 12/2/2012 10:29AM

    Enjoy! Wish we could get some rain...

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WILLOWBROOK5 12/2/2012 9:54AM

    Wishing you a warm and cozy Sunday!

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SUSANNAH31 12/2/2012 9:50AM

    A hot bath and a good book are my favorites for a dark rainy day. Soup simmering on the stove is perfect too. Sometimes I add in a roaring fireplace, and maybe some soft music in the background.

Christmas with young adult children can be a time of disappointment for many parents. It often was for us. That is all temporary though. It is more than made up for when those adult children marry and have their own children. That is when we parents get an encore - as grandparents - and we become stars again in those beautiful little bright eyes.

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1CRAZYDOG 12/2/2012 9:48AM

    Our DS won't be coming home for the holidays either, but we'll just do a simple Christmas too. I know we'll spend it with my parents, so that's a good thing.


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Kinda Chuffed: No DOMS

Thursday, November 29, 2012

I was anticipating DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) after my first XC ski of the season Sunday. It was a tough slog in the slush.

But: the rowing machine and the elliptical and the strength training seem to have done their job. (Or maybe it was the evening grosbeak euphoria, who knows).

Not a twinge!

Supposed to rain this weekend, sob sob.

Who would have ever thought I'd look forward to winter so much??

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BSTAKINGACTION 11/30/2012 7:44AM

    I know! Our winter is panning out to be warmer than expected and I may be waiting a while for snow. :(

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CARRAND 11/29/2012 8:36PM


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ONEKIDSMOM 11/29/2012 7:38PM

    I re-added just a little strength training this week... and was surprised at the DOMS! Hmmm!

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1CRAZYDOG 11/29/2012 6:50PM

    Well, glad you didn't have DOMS!

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PHEBESS 11/29/2012 6:33PM

    I couldn't figure out if "chuffed" was happy or sad, LOL!

But congrats on the victory!

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PHOENIX1949 11/29/2012 5:20PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 11/29/2012 5:15PM

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE the non-scale victories! Like my bathing suit the other day, that slid on like it was waiting for me!

Can't sympathize with you on the weather...today we hiked in 65 degree weather with full sun dappling on the leaves and rocks. Heaven on earth!!!

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ROOSTER72 11/29/2012 3:42PM

    Rain, rain, go away!

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DABLUECAT 11/29/2012 2:40PM

    I was sore when I tried ski-joring (pulled by a horse while I was wearing downhill skis). I never did downhill skiing before. I've been cross-country and you're right probably the other exercise helped prepare your body.

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CRYSTALJEM 11/29/2012 2:16PM

    Glad you're enjoying it. I'm a little bit more with Linda. Blowing snow, high Wind-chill, gray skies; not that much fun here. Now skiing does sound like fun tho.

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_LINDA 11/29/2012 1:00PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
And that is a good thing, you fit person, you! Well done!!
It is currently -14 here with a high wind chill due to the whipping wind. Can't say I look forward to winter so much :P Its been like this all week. Will think of you enjoying your skiing!

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M77355 11/29/2012 11:36AM

    Good for you!

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SWAZY33 11/29/2012 9:49AM

    emoticon emoticon

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NANCY- 11/29/2012 9:20AM

    emoticon emoticon
It is wonderful to reap the benefits of cross training. (No Pain)

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SLENDERELLA61 11/29/2012 8:46AM

    You are so FIT!!! That is just great, Ellen! Celebrate!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 11/29/2012 8:22AM

    You must be in great shape.

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First Cross Country Ski: With Evening Grosbeaks!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

After a very warm week, with temperatures of 14C Thursday (DH actually played golf, and claimed to have enjoyed it!), snow has been falling here since late Friday. And today I got out for my first cross country ski.

The snow was wet and slushy, caking under the skis every couple of strides . . . but I still loved it.

Slogging up the hill towards my car, I saw on the horizon a flock of fifty or sixty chunky looking "starlings" wheeling in the sky, then settling into a leafless maple not far away. It's too late in the year for starlings, and I stopped to listen. Yes! The distinctive "windchime" voices of evening grosbeaks! Like small crystal bells ringing, so convivial!

I truly love these colourful yellow, black and white birds with their thick strong beaks. They're almost as big as a robin, but with colouring more like a goldfinch and a similar undulating flight. A single grosbeak can crack open and eat about 100 sunflower seeds in a matter of minutes . . . so you can guess what a flock can do to a bird feeder in a half hour or so!

It's probably been a decade since I last saw a flock -- generally in early or late winter, since they always seem to be "passing through" rather than consistent winter inhabitants in my part of the world.

Of course I didnt' have a camera with me . . . and these aren't my pictures or sound recordings. But I've put in a couple links below in case you'd like to see or hear a flock of grosbeaks.

And after our ski, soaking wet with our efforts, we headed to a cross country ski shop to pick up some special klister wax just in case it's slushy for the next ski. DH has already stripped down and cleaned the skis . . .



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANCY- 11/26/2012 7:41AM

    What a wonderful way to enjoy the season.

I love the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. My hubby is the bird lover in the family... I just get curious. A predator bird perched on our birdfeeder scaring away the the little chickdee, titmouse, and even the squirrel. It looked a little like this:

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PHEBESS 11/26/2012 3:52AM

    Sounds wonderful!!! Grosbeaks are lovely birds!! (Not to mention how much fun Xcountry can be!)

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TRYINGHARD1948 11/26/2012 2:03AM


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ROOSTER72 11/25/2012 10:48PM

    I am so jealous - I would love to live somewhere where I could go XC skiing easily through the winter. One day!
Enjoy every opportunity - make up for those of us who have to drive over 2 hours in a very short snow season.

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1CRAZYDOG 11/25/2012 8:57PM

    What a beautiful bird and their song is gorgeous! I can see why you enjoyed it so much!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 11/25/2012 8:55PM

    After not being able to XC ski AT ALL last winter, I'm hoping that we'll get some snow down here and I'll be able to do the one form of cardio my knee can handle that gave me a runner's high...

So, yeah. Kinda jealous, actually. LOL


Yeah, wrong kind of skier. But my friends DO like to do crazy hills on the long boards...

Also kind of hoping to get back on the single board - here's hoping I don't tear my shoulder again!

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3016DEBRA 11/25/2012 8:41PM

  Sounds fantistic! emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 11/25/2012 8:07PM

    So glad you are back skiing. I know you love it. And I know it burns lots of calories and it a good fitness activity.

Your description was just lovely. I enjoyed the chime sounds and video clip, too.I can see why you love those dear birds! -Marsha

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_LINDA 11/25/2012 8:04PM

    How wonderful to get out and enjoy some skiing! Thanks for the link, those bird songs were awesome! Its nice to hear the individual songs too as often there are a lot of birds around and you have trouble picking out one individual.
It was cold here today, starting out at -21 and not warming up much, but Mom and I went on two short walks to stores in her area anyway just to get some fresh air. I have to go to the club tonight for some work and setup. Have to dress warm!
Hope you have a good work week!

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JACKIE542 11/25/2012 8:00PM

    emoticon emoticon

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ACTIVE_AT_60 11/25/2012 7:51PM

    love that three letter word .. S-K-I :-)

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GROEDER 11/25/2012 7:44PM

    It looks and sounds like you are off to a good start on your winter activities. I hope the snow conditions get better and you see a lot more woldlife.

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CARRAND 11/25/2012 7:40PM


Comment edited on: 11/25/2012 7:41:03 PM

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ONEKIDSMOM 11/25/2012 7:40PM

    Birdlife is one of the joys of walking / jogging outdoors. But of course I had to click the link to hear the birdsong... only I had this napping cat purring in my lap when I did. Wow! You should have seen him sit up and take notice! Ears forward, eyes shifting, looking for the source of the noises. emoticon

Sounds like a lovely start to your Winter.

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DEBBYNATION 11/25/2012 7:27PM


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