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Oh, to be 4 again

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Size 4 that is. It may have something to do with the fact that I've gotten out the summer clothes and am still the same size I was last year, but my motivation to lose has really increased lately. I remember thinking then that I would need some new khakis next year because the 6's would certainly be too big by summer 2012. And they're not. They fit just fine.
Somehow, this has caused me to be more diligent in my tracking and in staying within my ranges. I love the 5% challenges, but all the focus on air miles of exercise sometimes overshadows the importance --- for me, personally -- of keeping my eating under control. It helps that I'm loving the summer fruits - strawberries, watermelon, honeydew, etc. - and choosing those as snacks instead of higher-calorie choices. Did I say I love summer?
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On the master's degree front, I'm in the middle of researching my final paper. You are probably all getting tired of hearing me talk about "final this" and "final that". And I'm getting tired of hearing myself say it, too! I'm ready to be done! However, my topic is interesting --- challenging at the same time. I've got plenty of material. Researching is fun for me - I love chasing down rabbit trails! So, as usual, my difficulty is narrowing down the topic and being selective in my use of resources.

Tomorrow is a German holiday - Pentecost Monday - so I'll spend the day in the library. My study break will be lunch with one of my professors who is here from the States. She's been teaching at the Bible school this past week. It's a course that I took from her a few years ago and we've become friends since then. She's extended her stay a few days to get some R&R. Fun!

That's all for now! Keep those good thoughts and prayers coming!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRANNIEDID 6/2/2012 11:08AM

    I love that you are making progress with your degree and you are not letting the size thing discourage you! I am making progress on the food front. With mom in the house in addition to my adult children and granddaughter I have let stress be an excuse for eating! I do love summer fruits, cherries are my favorite!!!

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RUNNINGOMA 5/29/2012 11:12AM

    Hmmm, I'm just saying, "oh, to be 10 again". I don't remember EVER being less than a 9, and I was totally thin then!
I have actually done better in the last couple months just challenging myself. I've lost more this month than ever just being focused on eating right and meeting my goals for exercise.
I'm glad you are enjoying your topic. Have fun with it and with your friend!

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JOANNKW 5/28/2012 3:34PM

    Heck, I don't think I want to be true size 6 (although I owned a pr of 6 pants and a skirt that was a 4 - many years ago - however, they weren't 'real' sizes - i am just too tall to look good in a 4! As for the 5% challenge - I found the emphasis on exercise to be surprising - since I wanted to lose weight (and did) I liked it, but I do much better at weight loss when I am not focusing on the exercise as much. Sad but true. So I am still waffling on the next challenge, since I hate to not really help the group. I noticed our group really was up in the standings on the weight loss, after not being up on the actual air miles - so I figured that was good.

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NDTEACHER1 5/28/2012 12:34PM

    I never get tired of hearing about your academic progress, it is fantastic! A size 4, I wish I was even close to that, but I too came to a decision to get back on track and do what worked before I started to fall apart with weight loss. Take care.

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/28/2012 7:21AM

    You will wonder what to do with yourself when all the papers are in and the study is over. All the best.

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HAKAPES 5/28/2012 2:19AM

    Go for it! Fruis and veggies are on top of my list, too. I noticed, since I do regular exercise, my hunger goes much more for fresh things.

And I guess you know the drill: weight loss is 70% nutrition, and 30% exercise.

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JERSEYGIRL24 5/28/2012 12:20AM


I've also been lurking and reading your blogs, even if I don't always comment on them. I am not going to participate in the 5% challenge this summer (unless I have a last minute change of heart, which is possible). We will have to have a big virtual party for you when you finish your paper.

Size 6, huh??? What I wouldn't give to be there. I am also looking forward to summer fruits. I love watermelon.

Glad that Monday is a holiday for you across the pond. Enjoy the day,



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VISUALLYRICS 5/27/2012 7:45PM

    OOhhh! How nice your day sounds. Enjoy your lunch with a friend and your holiday tomorrow... emoticon
I never get tired of reading your blogs....you always inspire me.
I really love summer fruits too...esp watermelon these last few days.

emoticon emoticon emoticon ~ Laura

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RUNNERRACHEL 5/27/2012 7:41PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon I love summer too! (I'm a teacher so you would expect it, right?) Have a great day studying and a great lunch with your professor!
Glad your final paper is coming along and that you're enjoying chasing rabbit trails! emoticon

Have a great Sunday!

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60+ Pages Down

Saturday, May 19, 2012

...and another 15 to go! This morning, I finally sent off my final project report to my mentor and to my evaluating prof. It hasn't really sunk in that it's DONE. Of course, it's only one step in the finals process for my master's. On Monday, I get the topic for the final 15-page paper. I then have two weeks to research and write. Written and oral finals are on June 18 and 19. Thanks to all who have sent their encouragement, who have prayed and are praying...there have been some times of discouragement and I believe it's God's power working through prayer that has carried me through.
One reason for the further delay is that my original mentor, a fellow missionary here in Germany, had to go back to the States on emergency leave. His mother was diagnosed with a serious form of brain cancer. In the midst of all that, I didn't feel I could burden him with the paper, and spent some time finding another mentor who could review the project report. Because the report is in English, this limited my alternatives. My "new" mentor is a missionary educator and dear friend in Zambia. She has already reported that she has the report downloaded and will be reading and giving me feedback on it by the end of the week. Don't you just love the possibilities that the Internet affords us?!!
So, now I'm looking around at all the things that haven't gotten done while I've been focused on the work. Where to begin!? First, a quick walk to the Post Office and back to return a skirt that didn't fit. That got me out in the sunshine and fresh air and inspired me to call a df to go Nordic walking this afternoon. Got the exercise thing COVERED today!
emoticon (----add poles)
My eating has been off the chart this past few days and I'm going to give myself the grace of staying off the scale until I'm back on track. The week ahead at the language school is looking to be my all-time busiest so I need to do some pre-cooking and planning so the upwards trend doesn't continue!
I have some 28 blog posts from Spark buddies to read and respond to! There's a big soccer match (Bayern München vs. Chelsea) on TV this evening so I'll get to that while I watch. I've missed hearing your news and updates.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 5/21/2012 2:00PM

    Whew! That's a whole lotta paperwork going down! Thx for the reminder...with cycling season upon us, my poles are getting a tad dusty...lol!


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FRANNIEDID 5/21/2012 10:17AM

    Congratulations Michelle, you inspire me! Not too long now and you will be finished and have a Masters! You should be so proud of yourself!

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AEO_SUNSHINE 5/20/2012 5:42PM

    You are an inspiration - studying is hard to do and you seem to be juggling more than that one ball - you seem to keep them all up in the air!

Don't forget to walk - it is a way to relax and clear the thoughts from the brain if only for a brief time - destressing is good.

Congrats on finishing you paper - hope the 15 page subject is one that you will enjoy working on.

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JOANNKW 5/19/2012 9:39PM

    Great job! I'm keeping you in my prayers. I do agree with you about the internet. What a blessing it often is.

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RUNNINGOMA 5/19/2012 4:46PM

    I bet you are somewhat relieved. We will just pray you through the next part of your project. Way to go on getting that exercise done! Great stress reliever!

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RUNNERRACHEL 5/19/2012 4:16PM

    Great job on getting those 60 pages done! Wow! You are very fortunate that you were able to find someone to help you while your mentor was away. Good job staying active and giving yourself a break from weighing in. Keep up the great work!

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JANETELIZABETH1 5/19/2012 2:03PM

    You are making good progress... PTL you were able to find a new mentor at such short notice. Praying for your (other) mentor's mom and their strength to be able to get through.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 5/19/2012 9:59AM

    How awesome that your new mentor is able to pick up and help you with your paper over the internet. It seems like things are moving along!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 5/19/2012 9:42AM

You have to be feeling pretty good right now!
Good job.

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VISUALLYRICS 5/19/2012 9:37AM

    emoticon Michelle on such Progress!! ...what a blessing that God provided a new mentor.... He is an AWESOME God!
Way To Go on your Nordic walking today.... looks like you're making it a Fit & Fab weekend!
...as for the nutrition/scales thingy.....I love your attitude about that! Thank YOU for allowing me to learn from you & your journey! You are the emoticon

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CAROLYN0107 5/19/2012 9:27AM

    emoticon on getting the 60 page paper done, and finding another mentor. I trust you'll like your topic for the 15 page paper. What will you be doing after graduation?
I'm awaiting May 29th total knee replacement surgery and then I am supposed to be up walking the next day, 12 weeks after having broken my knee/leg and wrist. Ten days to go!!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 5/19/2012 9:25AM

    Congrats on getting that huge project sent off for review! I can't imagine having to do something that monsterous. Your final will be here before you know it! Keep up the great work!

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Down to the Wire

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I've set myself a May 7 deadline for completion of my master's project. It's going to be a stretch but I can do it. I'll probably take a vacation day or two to chain myself to the desk. One thing I've learned through my studies is that it's hard for me to finish things because of perfectionist tendencies. I need to find the balance between doing my best and doing things "perfectly."

This is especially hard on things like this teaching project - it won't be finished until I've actually taught the class in Albania this fall. The project is the PREPARATION for the class and not teaching the class itself, although I'm doing a couple of teaching units beforehand as rehearsals (one was a workshop on Friday, the second a home group study on Thursday).

Even after I've taught the course this fall, it won't be finished because I'll find things that I want to do differently the next time I teach it. I'll need to adapt it to the next group to take the course in the next setting. Setting the boundaries for the project has been one of the biggest challenges for someone who needs a lot of time to make decisions!

Even though I'll be busy, I'll be Sparking -- although I may not be very chatty. More than ever during times of pressure, I need exercise as a release and energizer, and good food as fuel! All prayers appreciated!

...from www.icanhazcheeseburger.com
The weather here went from winter to summer within about three days. Yesterday was AMAZING and the perfect day for a 12 km walk (about 7 miles). This was an organized thing here in the wooded hills around our little town. It takes place each year. Businesses pledge funds for each kilometer that is run or walked and the proceeds go to an organization that's building a school in Ethiopia.

I sweat so much that my skin was sandy with little grains of salt! Good thing that they had a water station. I had drunk a couple of glasses before the race and took a bottle with me, but my supply was gone about half way through the hike! Forgot to mention - I didn't run, I pole-walked along with my usual Saturday-afternoon pole-walking buddies. Fun day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JERSEYGIRL24 5/6/2012 8:42PM

    I know you'll do great... I just know it.

Great to set the deadline for yourself. Great that you can exercise a little in between.

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DDOORN 5/3/2012 2:48PM

    I'm sure you're gonna NAIL this project! Go for it Michelle!

Kudos to the hike! I'm a terrible "sweater" too. One advantage to cycling is that I get "blow-dried"...lol!


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MAMASUDS 5/3/2012 1:51AM

    That sounds like a great hike! Today should be great weather for NWalking since it has cooled off a bit. I hope you are able to find the perfect balance between exercise and work this week. Hugs and blessings!

Comment edited on: 5/3/2012 1:52:20 AM

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HAKAPES 5/2/2012 1:28PM

    Some exercise inbetween your sessions?

It boosts energy levels to a great extent!

I recommend a short exercise in the morning, a short after lunch, and a short in the evening to close the day.

Keep us posted on your progress!
I'm checking back until May 7th then!

Comment edited on: 5/2/2012 1:29:19 PM

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SJG1953 5/1/2012 2:18AM

    Good for you, Michelle!! I am so happy for you. You are just about there!! I have no doubts you will be successful! Prayers going up for you dear friend!! God bless you! Shirley

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    Good for you! I have heard of the salt grains, they rub marathoners' skin raw.

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WALKINGBYFAITH2 4/30/2012 6:56PM

    You will no doubt do great on your final project. I have great faith in you. You know yourself well enough to know when it is time to stop fussing and admit that you are finished. Congratulations in advance!!

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NEWLIBRARIAN 4/30/2012 9:15AM

    what a nice community project to be a part of.
Good luck with the project.

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FRANNIEDID 4/30/2012 8:44AM

    I so understand, however, my problem is procrastination. I realized, as an adult, that I was the poster child for that girl who was never identified with ADD. I am still working on my degree and it has taken years because of procrastination! I am going to follow your lead and set my finish date for September 1st!

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/30/2012 5:47AM

    Sending lots of positive energy to help you through to the finishing line. Loved the walking. We are fluctuating between Autumn and mid Winter at the moment.. so we are still getting some beautiful days.

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GETTINGFIT4HIM 4/30/2012 12:56AM

  emoticon and I know you will do a emoticon job! Praying for you!!

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ABETTERSOUL 4/29/2012 9:59PM

    Praying that you finish your project on time and that it is close to "perfection"...LOL!
I agree with fitness being an outlet!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 4/29/2012 9:45PM

    I'm a perfectionist too so I know how hard it is to find balance. You will do great though. Way to go on the walk!

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VISUALLYRICS 4/29/2012 8:43PM

    emoticon on your 12 km walk !! Nice going...I can relate - fitness is a release for me too....& it always energizes me.

Praying you will find the Balance you are looking for, Michelle, Laura emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 4/29/2012 7:48PM

    You can do this and I wish you the best as you find just the technique to make it happen. You've developed some great habits and they will serve you well.

emoticon emoticon

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NDTEACHER1 4/29/2012 6:49PM

    I understand that perfectionist streak entirely! I'm proud of you, you can do it!

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MTNGRL 4/29/2012 5:22PM

    The deadline is right around the corner and I know you will meet it. If you need a few vacation days to get it done by May 7th then take them. If you are missing we will know what you are doing, lol!!

It was down right freezing here the last few days. Today is so pleasant..is it really Spring time now?

Way to go on your walk! I am glad they had water stations along the way.

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SIMPLELIFE4REAL 4/29/2012 4:43PM

    Good for you for setting a deadline for yourself to get your graduate work done! You can do it!

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CYCLINGSANDY 4/29/2012 2:51PM

    I kind of start and stop when I doing my graduate work too. I have a tendency to compare what others have written in the assignments since we post our comments with our small group online. I want it to be just so, and writing is not so easy for me.

I will praying for you this week as you finish your Master's strong and with God's strength and power caming through you. The teaching part of the project in ALbania sounds exciting.

Yes, it was warm to the point of hot at times in the sun yesterday. What a fun fitness time you had too.

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NEWNAC304 4/29/2012 10:43AM

    Good luck on the project, I'm sure you'll do fine!

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Five Years

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Yesterday was my 5th Sparkiversary!? How did I miss that?! A new Spark friend had to point it out to me. Now, I knew it was in April but I thought it was coming up sometime in the week ahead.
Anyhow, happy Sparkiversary to meeee! One day late. About par for the course these days ;)
Profound reflections on the occasion may or may not be coming up in a future post. As they say, don't hold your breath. Instead, get out and exercise or something!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

A very happy 5th Spanniversary to you!!!!!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/30/2012 7:56:47 PM

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SJG1953 4/28/2012 2:45AM

    Happy Sparkversary!! You sound a lot like me lately. I've been too busy working to notice much of anything these days!

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CAROLYN0107 4/27/2012 7:24PM

    Happy SparkVersary!! My 5th will be next January.

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CHICKEYBABE 4/24/2012 12:40PM

    WTG! Just think you are light years ahead of where you were five years ago. emoticon

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JERSEYGIRL24 4/24/2012 7:01AM

    emoticonon your emoticon. To borrow a song from a popular 80s sitcom, thank you for being my friend. I am sure that you have accomplished much, even if it is not as much as you would like (as is the case for most people). Many more!!!

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MAMASUDS 4/23/2012 4:24PM

    Congratulations! Thanks for letting us share in your journey!

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FRANNIEDID 4/23/2012 11:13AM

    OMG, mine was last week and I totally missed it! Anyway Congratulations, you have inspired me so much the last 5 years! emoticon

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M77355 4/23/2012 9:34AM

    You're great proof of what sticking to it can look like!
Congratulations on a life well lived!

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/23/2012 7:33AM

    Happy. Sparkversary. Amazing how the time slips by, all the best for the next five.

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VISUALLYRICS 4/22/2012 10:26PM

    Happy 5th Anniversary!!! emoticon
emoticon Go Progress Maker, Michelle!! emoticon

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 4/22/2012 8:19PM

    Happy Sparkversary indeed!

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JAXMOMMY 4/22/2012 7:44PM

    Congrats Michelle! Hard to hold your breath and exercise! Good advice! I am so happy to have "met" you on the Firecracker team! Keep Sparking; Keep Firecracking!

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MTNGRL 4/22/2012 7:34PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Time flies when you are having fun with friends!
Happy Sparkversary!

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ABETTERSOUL 4/22/2012 4:21PM

    emoticon Happy anniversary!!! emoticon

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JANETELIZABETH1 4/22/2012 4:16PM

    What an achievement Michelle!!
Many emoticonon your emoticon....I'll be there too in a few weeks! Wow!!!

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PHYLISSCR 4/22/2012 2:45PM

    Congrats to you!

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EJOY-EVELYN 4/22/2012 2:15PM

    I'm not far behind you. Happy 5-Year SparkVersary! May the healthy living habits you've developed take you well into the next several decades!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/22/2012 2:16:03 PM

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REDRUNNERMOM713 4/22/2012 1:44PM

    Happy Sparkversary! emoticon

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CYALE76 4/22/2012 1:04PM

    Happy Sparkaversary!! emoticon

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RUNNERRACHEL 4/22/2012 12:42PM

    Happy Sparkversary!

emoticon emoticon

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GNABNSHAPE 4/22/2012 12:40PM

    emoticon Here's to another 5!

Comment edited on: 4/22/2012 12:40:50 PM

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Don't look

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sometimes it's just not a good idea to click on the 10-day forecast button on the weather website. They're predicting rain and cold weather for the next week and a half! I take that back - the sun is going to shine on Tuesday - or maybe Wednesday. But that's it.

I'm taking consolation in the fact that the weather here in Germany in April is extremely unpredictable - they even have a saying "April, April, der macht was er will!" = "April, April, does whatever it wants." So maybe it will want to be a little warmer and sunnier?

Not complaining, really, just saying. It's also not bad running temperature weather, as long as the rain stays in the clouds and doesn't pour down constantly.

Time for the "Annie" song!

Have a good tomorrow and rest of the week, everyone! And if you're going to be in southern Germany, don't forget your umbrellas!

P.S. You looked! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAMASUDS 4/22/2012 10:23AM

    You have to try harder than that to keep me away.
The sun is shining as I type, but I can see the black clouds both to the east and the west, so it won't last long. Yesterday was crazy with like 15 minute intervals of sun and rain. Since our fitness studio is in the attic of an old factory, I am enjoying the mild weather while it lasts. Once it hits 30 outside, there is no way you will get me up there again until fall. emoticon

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EJOY-EVELYN 4/17/2012 7:53PM

    I love the Queen's total look here. Love the hat the most, then enjoy the matching colors.

We, too, have had 79F the other day, then snow and ice yesterday, followed by beautiful but cool sunshine today along the Lake Superior region. May however our days be . . . may we be a blessing to all that we have to accomplish. Blessings to you!

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FRANNIEDID 4/16/2012 10:52AM

    It is much the same here, the next week is cloudy and not very warm! Summer is coming though and this like all things will pass!!!

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LIGIRLATHEART 4/16/2012 8:51AM

    I look at 10-days too.... (We desperately need rain in New Jersey!)

"Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life." ~ John Updike

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NEWLIBRARIAN 4/16/2012 8:09AM

    Great Pic to add to your blog
My weather is pretty erratic too.
Let a smile be your umbrella

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RUNNERRACHEL 4/15/2012 11:38PM

    Rain or shine you'll have the warmth of your kind heart and great personality to light your environment.

Sorry to hear about the predictions for the weather. I really can't complain here in Southern California! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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VISUALLYRICS 4/15/2012 11:26PM

    I looked! emoticon .... LOL! emoticon rain...rain go away ...come again another day.

love the Annie song. emoticon

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DDOORN 4/15/2012 9:53PM

    Yeah, I hear ya...I glom onto the weather forecast all the time and allow it to buoy or sinker my mood way too much!


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TRYINGHARD1948 4/15/2012 7:51PM

    It was just too tempting, that don't word!

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JODIRICHARDS 4/15/2012 5:41PM

    Weather is not fun to work with, I've been cold ever since I've returned to the US.

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ENIGMA13 4/15/2012 4:07PM

    They say the same thing in MN! LOL

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