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Snowy peaks

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I got back Friday from a 4-day retreat for missionaries in the Swiss Alps. This has become an annual thing, but the American couple who organize it are getting up there in years. That means that each year's event is made even more special because we never know if there will be another one next year. I had what I would call a breakthrough in my spirit and have come back with a renewed sense of purpose and excitement about what the future will hold for me when I get my studies done.

Some photos! I tried uploading yesterday but my browser crashed twice. So I'll post a few today and maybe more tomorrow.

On Wednesday afternoon, three of us took the cable car up to the top of the mountain. The plan was for two of us to walk back down like we did last year. However, the path we took last year was too dangerous. This is the first year I've been up there when there was snow.

So we took an alternate route down but still had to slog through the mushy stuff for the first half hour of the two-and-a-half hour hike - and this in running shoes. It was pretty treacherous and our feet got soaked, but it was worth it. Perfect hiking weather, sunshine, amazing views, and good conversation with a dear friend who I only get to see once or twice a year.

This is the view from the bottom of the rough part of our trip. Yes, we walked down that slope - VERY slowly and carefully! I won't forget my Nordic walking poles next trip!

These mountainbikers took the same path.

Then we had to decide which trail to take - the skiers route or the "easy" way. We took the easy way! Got to see a lot of rockclimbers in action on the cliffs above us. That was very cool to see, but they were too far for my little camera to get a good shot of the action.

You can see some other hikers and climbers in this pic, but probably only if the photo is enlarged and they'll still look like ants!

I "posed" for this picture by the side of the trail, but it gives you an idea of the terrain.

The trails in Switzerland are always so well marked! This was about halfway down, as we started to get out of the snowy altitudes. Jackets off!

Thankfully, we're having the same kind of weather here back home, so I'll be going out to enjoy the beautiful, but less dramatic, autumn views in this part of southern Germany this afternoon. Enjoy your days!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SJG1953 10/21/2011 1:56AM

    Beautiful pictures and praise God for the Spiritual blessing you received!

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SPARTAN40 10/18/2011 9:58AM

    Great pictures. Great trip. Your breakthrough in my spirit sounds exciting.

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NTSOHLTHNT 10/17/2011 7:22PM

    Awesome pictures ! Thanks for sharing.

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DDOORN 10/17/2011 3:35PM

    What GORGEOUS terrain!

Thx for sharing the pics! I'll bet you "felt" those hikes afterward! :-)


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HAKAPES 10/17/2011 12:09PM

    Wonderful photos!
Makes me remember to the times I've spent in Switzerland, such a beautiful country - best place for a retreat.
And congrats for the outdoor activity! :-)

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JERSEYGIRL24 10/17/2011 11:22AM

    So nice!! I was in Switzerland only once, about 40 years ago. Loved it!! Great to see it again.

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NIKI778 10/17/2011 9:09AM

    Amazing Pictures!!! Sounds like a great hike and a great retreat. Nothing better than to come home rejuvenated and recommitted to your efforts.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 10/16/2011 8:08PM

    very pretty. I'm glad you had such a good experience with your retreat. The mountains looks so beautiful.

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HNTSMOM 10/16/2011 8:06PM

    Beautiful! Sounds like a wonderful trip.

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ASMPP1 10/16/2011 6:50PM

    emoticonThanks for sharing!

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/16/2011 5:16PM

    Absolutely stunning photographs, thank you for the beautiful scenery.

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VISUALLYRICS 10/16/2011 3:18PM

    Praise the Lord for renewal, Michelle!! How refreshing for you! What a special journey to Switzerland.
Thank you for sharing... ~ Laura emoticon

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KALISWALKER 10/16/2011 1:51PM

    Beautiful pictures! You are in great shape to hike down the mountain. What a great way to visit with your friend too. Thanks for sharing!

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ZIPCONTROL 10/16/2011 11:16AM

  Wow !! Cool !!

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NEWNAC304 10/16/2011 9:23AM

    Thanks for sharing!

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Things That Are Red

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Hearts! emoticon
I went back for my physical follow-up and got my blood test results. I'm not real happy about my cholesterol levels. Just read a good article that helped me understand the lab report. My doctor did explain it to me, but second opinion, ya know! www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Ch

My "good" cholesterol level (HDL - think H for happy) is quite high and that's good. My "bad" level (LDL - think L for Loser) is also "borderline high." The "bad" number is up a bit from 2009 (I didn't get a complete physical in 2010) and a bit more from 2008 when I was at goal weight. All the more reason to get back there, no? However, the ratio between the two is also important, and that number is good. The EKG was also AOK.

My Suitcase and the Swiss Flag: emoticon

I'll start packing for my trip to Switzerland today. I'm going to an annual missionaries' retreat in the Alps. I've been able to go most years for the past 15 and I always look forward to it as a special time with friends and with the Lord. Depending on the weather, I'll be able to go hiking in the afternoons. One of the people who has already arrived in the mountain town posted a pic on Facebook today and there's a light dusting of snow. That makes packing even more interesting.

And back to my suitcase. I've once again learned that expensive luggage can really be worth it. Actually, I got a super deal on my Victorinox bags a couple of years ago. Macy's in Florida had a luggage sale, and a weekend sale, and I had some kind of coupon on top of that, so I ended up paying about 75% of the original price. But the best thing about Victorinox (a Swiss company, by the way) is that you get a lifetime guarantee. So when the handle on the trolley cracked awhile back, I took it in to the local department store here in Germany, they sent it in, and two weeks later, I got to pick up a brand-new replacement bag and paid "rien" for it. Voilà! (The retreat is in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, so excuse me while I practice!)
Tomato Sauce and Apples: emoticon emoticon emoticon

Tomorrow is the annual flea market in our little town. Our church has a stand to sell pizza as well as coffee and cake. The proceeds benefit our partner church in the Ukraine. Today, I need to bake a cake and I've been blessed with apples, so apple cake it is. Then, tomorrow, I'll be working on the stand in the afternoon. Sometimes it's my job to cut the pizza. I like that - hacking into those pizzas with a big knife is a good way to get rid of aggressions. emoticon emoticonSometimes I'm the sauce-spreader which is a little bit more meditative. We'll see what my assignment is.
The Spark Goal Met Emoticon: emoticon

I lost a pound this past week, my challenge goal for the week, so I'm back to the weight I was at the end of the Summer 5% challenge. The Firecrackers and other teams on the Fall 5% Challenge are on their way to Athens. Think we can do something about the Greek economy while we're there?
emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALISWALKER 10/12/2011 11:32AM

    I enjoyed your blog. Wow you are going to have a great time hiking in the Alps. With cholestrol, fiber is your friend. I look forward to your next blog!


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SJG1953 10/12/2011 12:01AM

    Congratulations on your weight loss! I pray you'll have a great and blessed trip also! Sounds like your cholesterol numbers weren't too bad either, so that is good! God bless you and lots of hugs, Shirley

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DDOORN 10/11/2011 5:04PM

    Alps...! What a wonderful trip that must be!

Speaking of red...apples are so IN around here...been to the orchard a couple of times. 38 CENTS a pound for U-Pick! Can't beat it! Been eating a couple every day...making applesauce, yum!

Thx as always for stopping by my blogs and for your ongoing support!


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FRANNIEDID 10/11/2011 12:14PM

    Have fun! It sounds like a wonderful way to spend some time. I do agree, somethings are worth the price!

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JERSEYGIRL24 10/10/2011 5:14PM

    Have a great time in Switzerland, and emoticon on your weight loss this past week. emoticon



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ASMPP1 10/9/2011 5:43PM

    Have fun on your trip! A therapeutic way to not eat it the pizza!

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HAKAPES 10/9/2011 4:58AM

    Congratulations for the loss!
Make us some beautiful pictures in the missionaire weekend!

What can I say more.

Schönes rotes Wochende!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 10/8/2011 7:25PM

    You've been very busy! That's a great story about your luggage!

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RUNNERRACHEL 10/8/2011 5:51PM

    It's good to get blood work to find out where we are. Now, if there is some way to increase the good and decrease the bad kind. Thanks for the H for happy (good way to remember) and L for loser ways of remembering the good and bad cholesterol. I always forget.

Retreat sounds wonderful. Enjoy your trip!!

PS Thank you for the goodie! Looking forward to the 5k tomorrow.

Have a wonderful time. Make good use of that nice luggage of yours!

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TRYINGHARD1948 10/8/2011 4:40PM

    Have a lovely time, it sounds divine, in Switzerland. Congratulations on the weight loss and we'll look forward to your return and perhaps the recipe for that apple cake. Yum, I can smell it from here.

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SUNNY332 10/8/2011 2:23PM

    Great Post. Have a wonderful time in Switzerland with your Friends and the Lord.

Blessings, Sunny

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NEWLIBRARIAN 10/8/2011 12:19PM

    I always love your blogs!
Have fun in Switzerland.

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CYCLINGSANDY 10/8/2011 11:05AM

I expect God to bless you with His goodness and glory during your trip to Switzerland. My first trip like that was in July. I loved it in the summer, but I bet it is gorgeous in the winter too.
Enjoy the fest in your village. I pray your church raises good funds for the Ukraine church. Don't eat the pizza too much since you are concerned about cholersterol numbers. Although it would be tasty on this cold day. My numbers were up this spring from one year ago. But I was not told the actual numbers. I agree losing the weight will able us both to reduce those bad numbers.
Have safe travels!


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ANGELBELIEVER 10/8/2011 10:36AM

    Hi Michelle, Thor and I enjoyed reading your blog. You have a lot to look forward to on your trip. That is so good that you can do that mission for all these years.

emoticon on losing that pound. That's great news.

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VISUALLYRICS 10/8/2011 9:29AM

    What a lovely blog, Michelle!!
...Your life seems FULL of all good things wrapped up in a bright package! emoticon
I would have a hard time cutting that pizza & NOT eating it. emoticon
That luggage sounds luxurious - so glad you have it! I am so happy for you about your upcoming trip - what a blessing it will be for you and I know you will be a blessing to others!

emoticon on kicking that pound to the curb!

love you ~ Laura

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What's up, Doc?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Had a day off today from my part-time-that-sometimes-seems-like-full-t
ime English teaching job. No sleeping in though, as I had set up a doctor appointment for my "regular" check-up. I hadn't had the whole run-through since 2009 so it was time and I arrived at the office at 7:30 AM armed with my little list of questions.

I won't get the bloodwork and EKG results till next week. Lung capacity not the greatest but I have asthma so that was no surprise. I learned that I am indeed getting flat feet (my feet seem to have been growing the past couple of years!) and he prescribed me some inserts for my shoes. I asked if this was just part of the aging process or if my running could be causing it. The doctor said the running probably had the other effect - of strengthening the arches. He also checked the reflexes - my knees were a little slow in response, but that didn't surprise me since the poor things were probably still recovering from my long run on Sunday.

I also got a flu shot - and did NOT make the mistake of going for a run afterwards like I did last time. I don't think the nurse told me then that you shouldn't do any strenuous physical activity for 24 hours afterwards. I was having all kinds of dizziness later - oddly not during, but after the run.

Since I didn't eat breakfast before the appointment, I came home and made a big brunch - whole wheat banana pancakes topped with homemade unsweetened applesauce, a dollop of cottage cheese and maple syrup. Yum.

The language school called and I'm picking up a new student who wants to come every day for the next three weeks. That's a good thing!

Got some "air miles" in for the Firecrackers by walking to and from the doctor and the supermarket and the stationery store. It was a beautiful day - I know that fall started last week but someone forgot to tell the weather!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWLIBRARIAN 10/3/2011 8:24PM

    Sounds like you are dong well. I hope the blood work is good too!

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SPARTAN40 9/30/2011 2:41PM

    Glad you made time for the doctor's appointment. I hope all goes well with the test results.

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FRANNIEDID 9/30/2011 10:53AM

    You are a busy woman! Hope all goes well with your tests! Keep up the walking, you are inspiring me!

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SJG1953 9/29/2011 3:57AM

    I hope all your test results come back fine! I too got my flu shot this week. It's good to get it done. I'm glad you enjoyed your nice weather. We have to enjoy all those unexpected pleasures we can!

Many blessings and hugs, Shirley

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SJG1953 9/29/2011 3:48AM

    I hope all your test results come back fine! I too got my flu shot this week. It's good to get that done. I'm glad you enjoyed your nice weather. It's supposed to around 80 here tomorrow I think! We have to enjoy those moments whenever we can!

Blessings and hugs, Shirley

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*ERICA* 9/28/2011 9:32AM

    Sounds like a great day!! Thank you for telling me about the flu shot...i did not know that and I get mine today!

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HAKAPES 9/28/2011 3:44AM

    Great to run those checks!

For the shoes, I use use MBT shoes, and work great. My flat feet got better over the last two years considerably. Here in Austria, and in Hungary, they are very popular among physiotherapists, and I see now many on everyday people, too.

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JERSEYGIRL24 9/27/2011 9:46PM

    Sounds like you had quite a day! I also feel like my feet are growing, and they are so large to begin with. I probably have a size 12.5 foot. I generally wear men's shoes, which gets very discouraging.

Your breakfast sounds great. I know you are very busy but it sounds like you have the right attitude for the team.

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    so glad your dr app't went well. My arches have been flattening,too(oddly enough, since I started running 2 yrs ago). I'm wearing orthotics but the right one has been hurting lately, anyway.
You've almost encouraged me to get my 'yearly' scheduled(I'm a few m onths behind).
The pancakes sound heavenly!!!

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 9/27/2011 6:00PM

    Your breakfast sounded wonderful....yum!

Glad everything is okay with your physical.... emoticon

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 9/27/2011 5:30PM

Congratulations on taking good care of yourself! So many people don't take the time to see their doctor regularly and make sure they are on top of things healthwise. Your breakfast sounded delicious. And can I just say that
I have always been pretty confident that when anything on my body has grown larger, I have never had to wonder if it was because I was exercising too much! LOL...LOL... Keep up all your hard work!! emoticon

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JANETELIZABETH1 9/27/2011 4:26PM

    Good for you Michelle finding time to fit you in and get that much needed check up done. Hope all your results are good too...I have a routine B/T tomorrow too.

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DDOORN 9/27/2011 2:34PM

    Sounds like you're doing a super job of taking care of business!

Been doing better at that myself too!


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NEWNAC304 9/27/2011 2:32PM

    the pancakes sound yummy! Great job of getting all that walking in.

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VISUALLYRICS 9/27/2011 1:54PM

    Michelle! ...I love your style of writing! You're the emoticon
Wow! I am amazed that you run even with asthma...I admire YOU!
...and your poor knees. emoticon

What a yummy breakfast!
...and emoticon emoticon emoticonfor all of those Air miles!!

from one fitness queen to another ~ Laura emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/27/2011 1:54:48 PM

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Drum roll...

Friday, September 23, 2011

...for the Fall 5% Challenge! This is the time of year when it starts to get colder and I feel like eating carbs all day and hibernating. So it's a very good thing that this challenge is starting up tomorrow.

I'm facing the first Saturday weigh-in with some trepidation because I know I've gained back a pound or two or three since the Summer Challenge ended. My goal this time around is to break the 60 kilo barrier and get back into my maintenance range, if not reach my original goal weight of 58 kilos.

There will be a trip to the mountains of Switzerland in October, around the middle of the eight weeks. It's a missionaries' retreat and there is always lots of eating involved - but also lots of hiking if the weather cooperates. Then exams in November. Challenges within the challenge!

The "last" roses of summer that I picked from the bushes in front of church yesterday. *wistful sigh*...


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANNIEDID 9/26/2011 9:53AM

    You can do it!!! We all get off track, the key is knowing that and getting right back on again!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 9/25/2011 9:49AM

    You will do great and the roses are beautiful.

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SJG1953 9/24/2011 2:08AM

    Those roses are gorgeous! We have such an artistic Creator! You are not alone in your gain for I have gained more this month than I have gained in four years since I have been on maintenance. Have a fabulous trip! Love and hugs my friend, Shirley

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JERSEYGIRL24 9/23/2011 11:47PM


You were one of the few bright spots on our team this summer. I'm sure you'll continue to shine emoticon

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INDIANAGIRL61 9/23/2011 4:28PM

    Oh the roses are beautiful! Just a little secret between us- I think I gained back a pound or two also emoticonHave a wonderful trip.

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ASMPP1 9/23/2011 12:22PM

    dang it....double post.....

Go emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/23/2011 12:23:16 PM

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ASMPP1 9/23/2011 12:22PM

    Being aware is half the battle! emoticon

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DDOORN 9/23/2011 11:34AM

    Keep 'er movin'...! :-)

Switzerland must be SUCH a wonderful place to be!


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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 9/23/2011 11:25AM

    At least you know the "challenges within the challenge"!

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VISUALLYRICS 9/23/2011 10:53AM

    I cannot wait to see your blog later about Switzerland in October!! emoticon....and Wow!...gorgeous roses!

emoticonGO Firecrackers!!! ~ Laura

Comment edited on: 9/23/2011 10:54:00 AM

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Signs of Fall

Friday, September 09, 2011

It was just a couple of weeks ago that I posted an "I Love Summer" blog and now it looks like fall is on the way:

Chestnuts are just about to burst out of their spiky coats...
Tinges of gold and red are starting to show on the edges of the forest...
Butternut squash has appeared in the supermarkets...(but the Christmas candy and cookies - thankfully - haven't been put on display yet!)
Our last kids camp of the summer vacation ended today (phew!)...
German schools open on Monday...
It's time to book my train ticket to the annual October retreat in Switzerland...
More girls and women wearing boots on the city streets...

And I've put up about 25 jars of blackberry and plum jam...

But I would really like to hold on to the summer a LITTLE longer, please!

I've been moved by the answers to my blog post yesterday. Thank you to all who took the time to post about that "place" and moment in time ten years ago. It's amazing how these events are etched in our memories.

Now that the last week of the Summer 5% Challenge is winding up, I'll be going back to a once or twice weekly posting rhythm. I have to say I really admire those who find something to say and post on their blogs on a daily basis!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

M77355 9/15/2011 10:28AM

    Somehow I happened upon your page and have so enjoyed your photos and blogposts. You've accomplished so much in the weight loss category and other ways as well !
This summer has been brutal for us in Texas. My mom and I took a river cruise from Vienna to Amsterdam early last September so I remember how wonderful it is where you are now.
In this 'new stage of life' as I like to call it, I've loved canning... We made peach marmalade, peach chutney and figs with one slice of lemon per jar - m-m-Good! You had Quite a bounty of blackberries and plums. Isn't it fun to share these friends and family?
Here's wishing you many 'wellthy' days ahead!

Comment edited on: 9/16/2011 6:18:07 PM

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CMPEARL 9/12/2011 10:14AM

    Love your pics...especially of all the jam (YUMMY!). I personally believe that fall is the BEST time of year with the weather, school starting, college football and change of seasons emoticon

As for blogging everyday...well, I'm pretty sure I'd be down to a handful of subscribers if people tried to read my random thoughts on a daily basis! emoticon

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NEWLIBRARIAN 9/12/2011 8:56AM

    I go in streaks.
I am eating my own apples now.
A sure sign of fall for me.

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TRYINGHARD1948 9/10/2011 5:12PM

    When I read your heading I thought, wow, that is a short summer, a lot longer than a Scottish one however, as I remember them. Love your jams. yum.

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ASMPP1 9/9/2011 8:59PM

    We are turning to cooler temps here, too. A few warmer days with lots of cooler ones in between.

The jam looks great!

The Halloween candy is out in stores, here. emoticon

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NEWNAC304 9/9/2011 4:41PM

    I'm surprised that the Halloween candy isn't out in the stores yet. I'm sure it will be before long!

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VISUALLYRICS 9/9/2011 3:33PM

    Oh my! ...I'm doing emoticonto blog 1X/week..... You're doing great, Michelle!
...that jam emoticonlooks delicious! My mom and I used to make wild plum jelly.

Wow! Enjoy this October retreat in Switzerland...sounds Nice!

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    This week of posting daily has been a stretch for me too! That's why I wrote about my 8 week meal plans.

I'm with you about summer....I would like for it to hang around as long as possible. I don't mind fall, but the bad thing about fall in the Chicago area is that it means that winter is just around the corner.....that I could skip (or maybe have a much shorter version of it)!

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